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

Welcome! to Issue 72 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

Well, it’s official....our charity bike ride is announced in this issue! eek! Rob and I have teamed up with Jacqui and Adrian Brown to organise a 400km cycle tour of our department, in 6 days. We are raising money for the children’s charity, Rêves. Are we mad? Yes probably!, but our aim is to have FUN and do something worthwhile.... so please support us however you can. You can read all about it on page 24... Also in this issue, being the month of lurve...Helen Tait-Wright shares her experiences of a wedding here in our beautiful region. Read carefully - there’s a lot involved in organising a French wedding! The fitness regime is still going strong although I’m a bit shy about running in -6˚C, so those mornings are better spent on the indoor exercise bike! But the kms are clocking up! Well stay warm, and I’ll be back next month.....when we can look forward to the arrival of Spring :-)

Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

à plus, Sarah

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents Whats’ On4 Getting Out & About 6 A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres 8 Our Furry Friends 9 French Life 10 Clubs & Associations 12 Hobbies 14 Health, Beauty & Fitness 16 Home & Garden 18 Communications 22 Where We Live24 Take a Break 28 Food & Drink 30 Motoring 33 Building & Renovation 36 Business & Finance 41 Property 45

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group

45 34 2 39 29 44

Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) 36 ARB French Property 47 Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 19 Argo Carpentry 38 Assurances Maucourt (GAN) 35 Beau Jardin (Garden Care) 20 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 43 Blevins Franks Financial Management 42 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 45 Carlill-Strover Building 39 Cherry Picker Hire 39 Chris Bassett Construction 39 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 36 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 45 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 36 Cottage Services (Garden Maintenance) 19 Creature Comforts ( Repairs and Renovations) 38 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 44 Darren Lawrence 38 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 19 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 36 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 16 Down to Earth Pool Design 45 Ecopower Europe  45 expat-radio 23 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 34 Fresco Interiors 19 Ginger’s Kitchen 31 Gites.co.uk 47 Give the Dog a Comb (Dog Grooming) 9 Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants 43 Hallmark Electricité 36 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HTW Photography 16 Impact79 34 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 38 Irving Location - Digger Hire 37 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 37 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 37 Jeff’s Metalwork 39 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 34 John Snee (Groundworks) 37 Jon the Carpetman 19 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 19 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 31 La Vie en Yoga 17 Leggett Immobilier 46 L’Emporium, L’Absie 6 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 29 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 38 ML Computers 23 Motor Parts Charente 34 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Naked Curries 31 Needa Hand Services 21 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 17 Plan 170 (Professional building plans) 40 Polar Express (Frozen Foods) 29 Restaurant des Canards 31 Rob Berry Plastering Services 40 Robert Lupton Electrician 36 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 22 Sarah Berry Online (Website Design) 23 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 37 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 9 Simon the Tiler 38 Smart Moves (Transport Services) 34 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 38 Steve Robin (Plumber) 36 Strictly Roofing 39 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 7 Susan Monnereau (Translation Services) 7 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 34 This Month’s Advertisers 3 Val Assist (Translation Services) 7 Vendée Glass Courses 15 Webservices.Dramatis 23 YesBays.info (Free ads website) 23

© Sarah Berry 2017. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: fevrier 2017 - Tirage: 4500 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 3

What ’s On... LEGGETT IMMOBILIER RECRUITMENT DAY At Le Restauarant du Golf Allée du Chêne Landy, Cholet.




BOOK & CREAM TEA AFTERNOON In aid of Cancer Support and the Helianthus Association. 2pm5pm. Find details on P.6


PURE FITNESS Fitness class restarts for 2017 at La Chapelle St Etienne. E: jane-trescothick@orange.fr


HOPE CHARITY SHOP REOPENS See advert on P.9 ‘LE MISANTHROPE’ LIVE BROADCAST, 8.30pm Showing at Ciné Venise Verte in Saint Hilaire la Pallud. www.cine-venise-verte.fr


CARNA’PIZZ’OKE In Chanteloup. A fun family affair organised by the Victor Hugo School in Chanteloup ...pizzas and karaoke! (Plus refreshments, sweets & ice creams) From 7pm in the Salle des Fêtes. Tel: 09 81 42 94 90


VALENTINE’S MEAL by GINGER’S KITCHEN An evening meal at Maisontiers with aperitif, wine and coffee included, 20€. Reservations essential before 7th February. Contact Lynda on 06 23 00 72 04 or by email gingers.kitchen@orange.fr

ST VALENTINE’S MARKET, SAVEURS D’HIVER At La Creche, Niort. See advert P.6





VALENTINE’S EVENING MEAL At Restaurant des Canards, Chef Butonne. advert on P.31 for details.

14 See

VALENTINE’S EVENING MEAL At A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. See advert on P.29 for details.

EVERY THURSDAY PM - Quizwitch Quiz At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle from 8pm. 2.50€ p/p. Monies raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. EVERY TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Workshops. Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see www. ladeuxiemechance.com 3RD WEDS of month - Team Quiz At Le Clemenceau Bar 7.30pm, in aid of animal charities. Last FRIDAY of month - Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96.



TRADITIONAL DANCE EVENING An evening of traditional dance including dance groups from Italy, Poitou and Brittany at the Salle Jacques Prévert, from 7pm at Salle Prevert, Melle. 10€ entry.


WALKING/CYCLING CIRCUITS Discover the landscapes of Thouarsais through hiking circuits (from 9 to 16 kms) and 3 mountain bike circuits (28, 40 and 60 kms). Scheduled refreshments.





Running until 30th April... « Une passion qui donne des ailes » “A passion that gives wings” in Niort. An exhibition of the history of aviation in Deux-Sèvres, including letters & postcards, uniforms, aviation equipment. Genuine enthusiasts will not be disappointed. Monday to Friday, from 8:30 am to 5 pm www.archives.deux-sevres.com 18th March - St Patrick’s Irish Meal 5th April - Le Tour de Finance at Domaine de la Tuilerie, 10am-2pm. 5th & 6th May - Theatrivasles’ next production

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2017

2nd February 14th February 28th February 5th March 17th March 16th April

Chandeleur (Fête des Crêpes) Valentine’s Day (Saint Valentin) Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) Grandmothers’ Day (Grands-mères) Saint Patrick’s Day Easter Sunday (Pâques)

28th May 4th June

Mothers’ Day (Fête des Mères) Pentecost (Pentecôte)

18th June 21st June

Fathers’ Day (Fête des Pères) World Music Day (Fête de la Musique)

1st October 31st October

Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grand-pères) Halloween

17th April 1st May 8th May 25th May 5th June

Dates in yellow = Public Holidays Dates in orange = Celebration Days


St Martin de Sanzay Terves Christmas Market Etusson La Chapelle Thireuil CLOSED February ‘17 Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 www.reelfishandchips.net

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

14th July 15th August

Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) Labour Day (Fête du Travail) Victory in Europe Day (Fête de la Victoire) Ascension Day (Ascension) Pentecost (Lundi de Pentecôte)

National Day (Fête Nationale) Assumption of Mary (Assomption)

1st November All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) 11th November Armistice Day (Armistice) 25th December Christmas Day (Noël)

Dates in pink represent celebration days, not public holidays.

La Vendée Chippy Weds: St Vincent Sterlanges - Reopening 1st Feb Thurs: from March find us at Bar ‘Chill-Out’, Mervent (formerly Au Fil de l’eau) Check website for date nearer time. Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’ - Reopening 3rd Feb Sat 4th Feb : Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 www.lavendeechippy.com OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at:

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 Gourville 16170 St Jean d’Angély 17400 BACK 28th Feb @ Beauvais

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

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm



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


Benet 85490 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Tuesdays......... Lezay 79120 Civray 86400 (1st Tuesday in month) Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Vasles 79340 Wednesdays.... Parthenay 79200 - and - Celles-sur-Belle 79370 Ruffec 16700 Thursdays........ Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 - and - Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Gençay 86160 Friday............... Thouars 79100 - and - Melle 79500 Secondigny 79130 (pm) - and - St Aubin le Cloud (pm) Saturdays........ Bressuire 79300 - and - Champdeniers 79220 Chef-Boutonne 79110 Airvault 79600 - and - Niort 79000 Saint Maixent-l’École 79400 Fontenay-le-Comte 85200 Ruffec 16700 Magné 79460 Moncoutant 79320 Sundays............ Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170 Thénezay 79390 Saint-Varent 79330 Saint-Loup-Lamairé 79600

1st Sunday at 10.30am: Chef Boutonne. Followed by tea & coffee. • 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay • 4th Sunday at 11am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea & coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch. A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website www.church-in-france.com or contact us by email: office. goodshepherd@orange.fr Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71 The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes www.thefillingstationfrance.com or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15 ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.


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

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


Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm

The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us in our seasonal services. Held at the R.C. Church in Arçay (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun) Please see our website for details www.escoval.org

Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr



2nd: Chef Boutonne 6th: Limalonges 8th: Aigre 13th: Theil Rabier

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

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

GET CONNECTED! FACEBOOK: thedeuxsevresmonthly TWITTER: @The DSMagazine

Reopens 27th Feb

PINTEREST: dsmmonthly

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine

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

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

Getting Out & About


Sunday 5th February 2.00pm to 4.00 pm at

45 rue du Bois Baudron 79100 Mauzé Thouarsais

TEA/COFFEE - 1€ SCONE WITH CLOTTED CREAM AND JAM - 1,50€ Many thanks to everyone who supported our book afternoons last year. We made just under 1300€ for The Heliathus Association animal charity - another successful year. Now we are well into winter and things are a bit quiet on the events front at weekends, so we thought we would do a Sunday mini book afternoon with a cream tea.

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

So if you are at a loose end on Sunday 5 February between 2pm and 5pm why not come and sit by our warm log burners and have a cup of tea or coffee and chat with friends. We will be serving scones, jam and clotted cream (or creme fraiche for those on new year diets!). We will have a few boxes of books out on the terrace for you to hunt through. Money raised from the sale of refreshments will be in aid of the local Cancer Support group and proceeds from the books will go to the Helianthus Association animal charity as usual. We look forward to seeing you. Theresa and Steve Penney Email: stpenney@hotmail.com Tel: 05 49 66 03 73

DATE FOR YOUR DIARIES: Back to regular book afternoons on 29th March

Eat Your Soup!

by Sue Burgess

Les étrennes are also the tips that are given to the dustbin men (les éboueurs) and other people at New Year. Ever wondered about all the different words you can find for soup ? What do they all mean exactly ? In the Middle ages the word soupe described a thick slice of bread onto which your stew, (le ragoût) was poured. Society has changed, cooking techniques have changed, the class system has changed and vocabulary too. The word potage has its origins in the 17th century and means food cooked in the pot (aliments cuits dans le pot), generally vegetables, which is how we get the word potager (vegetable garden). Potage was served hot or cold and was supposed to be more refined (chic) than soupe which was too rustic. Le bouillon is the liquid/juice produced from cooking meat or vegetables and it has a lot of nutritive values. It is used in a lot of recipes including le potage and le consommé. Le consommé is based on a beef, game or fish bouillon. It is eaten hot or ice cold. It must be really clear and grease or fat free. Le Velouté is so called because of its perfectly smooth and creamy texture. There is often cream added to it. La crème is made of mashed vegetables mixed with cream. The most famous and most refined is La Vichyssoise made from leeks and potatoes with chives and served chilled on long summer evenings. Une bisque is a velouté which has seafood as its main ingredient, Lobster bisque (bisque d’homard) for example. Generally speaking les potages or soups are served with the evening meal. At lunchtime you are more likely to find other kinds of starters (les hors-d’oeuvre). Le souper is supper or evening meal and there is also the verb souper which means to have supper. In Provence, Le Gros Souper is the name given to Christmas Eve dinner which includes the 13 desserts.

Vocabulary Vocabulaire: à la soupe!

(Familiar) Grub’s up!

aller à la coupe

to take advantage of something even going against your convictions

être soupe au lait

to be subject to brief outbursts of anger

une soupe à grimace

unpleasant attitude

un marchand de soupe

(Familiar) A restaurant owner who doesn’t care about the quality of his meals

la soupe populaire

a charity that gives out free meals

arriver comme un cheveu sur la soupe

to come at the worst possible moment

cracher dans la soupe

to bite the hand that feeds you

une cuillère à soupe

soup spoon

en avoir soupé de ‘something’

to be fed up to the back teeth of something

la soupe

(Familiar) melting snow, slush The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 7

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres nOIRLIEU

by Sue Burgess

Noirlieu is situated between Bressuire and Argenton-les-Vallées (Argentonnay), not far from La Chapelle Gaudin. The name Noirlieu would appear to be negative but in fact the real origin of the name is not so. Noirlieu comes from the old ‘NIGER LUCUS’ which became ‘NERLUC’ in the Middle Ages. So it was an area where a black ((niger) in the sense of thick)) wood (lucus) grew. Perhaps it was a sacred place. Noirlieu château used to be the seat of an important seigneury which spread over the whole of the commune. The 1811 land registry plans show the extent of the buildings of the old seigneury and show how important they were in the town centre. The first lords of Noirlieu were the Carrion, from Anjou. Today only two towers and a long building (the servants’ quarters), with a doorway for carts, remain from the old château which was transformed into agricultural buildings.

Clergy’s Assembly and swore allegiance to the Civil Constitution but later retracted and was forced to leave the parish and find refuge in his family. He was arrested and taken to La Rochelle from where he was sent to French Guyana. He was executed in 1793. The commune of Noirterre suffered heavily in the 1914 – 1918 war. 40 soldiers born in Noirterre were killed at the front. A voir / Must see • Le monument aux morts / The War Memorial The war memorial with its cross is situated on the road to Thouars at the end of the town. It covers an area of 700m2 and was built with the help of the local population and the parish priest.

The memorial was inaugurated in 1921 and has the double aim of giving thanks to God who gave the victory and also of remembering the soldiers who fought for victory and won it through their bravery and by giving their lives.

Several things make the monument rather unusual. The six artillery shells which dominate the site were given to Noirterre by Georges Clemenceau. The shells come from the Arsenal at Clermont-Ferrand and each one weighs 167kg, empty.

The two canons were given by the Commandant of the Camp of Châlons following a request from the town council sent to Georges Clemenceau. They are Russian canons made in 1892 and 1893 in the Urals. They were taken from the Russians by the Germans who then used them against the French. Each one weighs 5,250 kg.

The money to pay for the monument was raised by the local inhabitants and their families.

The Old Castle of Noirterre In the centre of the village you can see the ruins of an old 15th century castle. This rectangular dwelling belonged to the barony of Bressuire in the Middle Ages.


The old Château of Brosse-Moreau (private property) dates from the 16th century. It has a small Renaissance chapel.

Noirterre is an old commune which is now one of the associated communes of Bressuire. The inhabitants are the Noirterriens and Noirterriennes. The commune has several ponds and lakes, the largest are l’Étang de l’Ajonc and l’Étang de la Brosse-Moreau, which both date from the Middle Ages. The commune is crossed by the Madoire, one of the tributaries of the Thouet.

Bois Savary was another chateau which came under the barony of Bressuire. Its gate has coats of arms and a bust representing Christophe Cahiduc, the lord of Bois-Savarit in 1605.

The Chateau of Grand Cruhé which has unfortunately been destroyed, used to depend on the castle of Noirterre. A mound which dominates the surroundings can still be seen.

Notre-Dame of Noirterre Church Noirterre had an 11th century Romanesque church which was falling into ruins and so it was replaced by the present church which was built between 1882 and 1902.

The Bridge and the old Roman Road Noirterre is crossed by the old Roman road which linked Bressuire to Thouars. It passes close to Bois Brémaud, Grand Cruhé, Bois Savary and Grand-Champ. In 1370, Bertrand Duguesclin certainly used this road to get to Bressuire which was held by the English. The bridge had a bad reputation in the Middle Ages – it was said to be cursed and several people were said to have disappeared here.

The old Brick Works - Briqueterie Moinereau, at La Maison Neuve A 19th century factory making bricks and tiles. It closed in 1992 and the machinery was sold. The old factory is now a private property.

A church is first mentioned in Noirlieu in the 13th century. The church is dedicated to Saint Germain, the bishop of Auxerre (from 418 to 448). Noirlieu’s history is darkened by the story of Andrée Garaude, who was condemned as a witch by the judges of the castellany of Bressuire and burned at the stake in Noirlieu on 21 September 1475. The details of her trial were found in archives in the Chateau in St Loup-sur-Thouet and are now in the county archives. What is remarkable about her story is that Andrée says she met the devil 16 times and recounts in some detail, what happened between the devil and the witches at the sabbaths. She apparently met the devil for the first time, when she called on him for help after her sheep had been killed – a large black dog appeared. Later the devil took the form of a man dressed in black. It was the devil hmiself who took her to the first Sabbath and thereafter she used the traditional transport of a broomstick. She was accused of poisoning and killing neighbours and dogs and was finally judged as a witch.

Noirterre is crossed by the RD938ter which joins Bressuire to Thouars and is a major road with over 1,200 vehicles passing along it every day. The commune is also crossed by the Tours – La Rochesur-Yon railway line and the old railway station used to be busy with freight transport. The name Noirterre does not come from the colour of the ground as one might suppose but from the presence of a Gallo-Roman cemetery situated in a field near Petit Cruhé. A document dating from the 11th century states that Noirterre is so called because of the graves. A graveyard always reminds us of darkness and blackness. Noirterre is very old. In 950 the commune is mentioned in a document of a monastery which was situated at Noirterre. Noirterre and its surrounding area were certainly inhabited in prehistoric times, flint arrows found in the village of Badard are proof of this. During the Middle Ages, Noirterre came under the Barony of Bressuire (De BEAUMONT-BRESSUIRE family), who depended on the Viscount of Thouars who swore allegiance to the King. In 1789, Jean Frogier and Jacques Garsuault, two citizens of Noirterre, accepted to represent the people of Noirterre at the assembly of the Tiers État in Poitiers. On the 3rd August 1794, 1,200 peasants assembled at Noirterre. In Noirlieu, they were attacked by the royalists under General Grignon. The priest of Noirterre, Charles Cornuault, participated in the 8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

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

Our Furry Friends

BLUE A 3 year old Braque/Pointer X Please meet Blue, a happy, loving little man with a love and zest for life. He is full of fun and has loads of love to give to the right family! He loves his walks but will pull on the lead. A gentle leader would take care of that problem and he is not particularly obedient off lead so training would be a must. Blue’s problem is that he doesn’t like lots of noise or shouting, he gets stressed and withdrawn, even shaking sometimes, so his new family would need to be calm around him. Although he is great and proven with children over six years old, perhaps a more mature environment would suit him better. Blue is great with other dogs; he loves to play and, in his foster home, has his own cat Lulu who he loves to chase. It’s not serious though or she wouldn’t choose to sleep in the same basket as him very happily! So if you are looking for a faithful, loving, funny and playful companion please take Blue!

UPDATE TO CHRISTMAS FUNDRAISER Thank you to everyone to came along and supported our Christmas Fundraising Sale. We raised just over 400€ which allowed us to get a few cats sterilised and paid off a vet bill. And, with the little left over we bought some ear mite cream (22€ a tube) for another lady who has over 35 rescued cats, all with ear mites. For the coming year we hope to have monthly coffee mornings with varying themes. A massive THANK YOU from the kittens and we hope you have a healthy, peaceful year ahead.

Heather Rosemary

Blue is medium sized, castrated, vaccinated, microchipped and wormed so ready to find his forever home! For more details, please contact: Jane Percival Tel: 05 46 33 15 41 / 06 66 89 73 63 Email: percival.john@wanadoo.fr Based in 17160 Mons


www.elephanthaven.com assogalia85@gmail.com

Animal Association offering help to cats and dogs in need.

Always looking for help, volunteers and foster carers. Call 06 71 03 63 08 or email: Pasapattes79@hotmail.fr

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 9

French Life

French Weddings L

this is an illogical request as we have a certificate at birth which we expect to keep and be able to use for the duration of our lives. However, this is France!  To obtain the new certified copy you have to apply to the General Register Office in the UK and ask for a “new” copy. This costs £23.40 per person, plus postage.

a Belle France is a popular marriage destination for nonFrench residents, as well as a logical choice for expat residents in France.

As a non-resident, the paperwork to arrange a civil wedding while out of the country is complex. Non-residents who do not have a parent living in France require a special dispensation to get married in the country, and this is very rarely granted. Many couples therefore prefer to have the civil wedding in their country of origin or residence, and hold a second, religious or secular, ceremony in France, taking advantage of some of the beautiful locations and generally better weather. Last year Chris and I got married here in the Deux-Sèvres. As French residents it seemed the right thing to do, especially in the light of political events in 2016 which made us want to feel more connected to the French community.

• •

The first thing to note is that the only legal place to be married in France is at the Mairie, in a civil ceremony. This can of course be followed by another celebration, religious or otherwise, if you choose.

Either you, your partner or one of your parents will need to have been living in the town where you wish to get married for at least 40 days before the ceremony.

We had the choice of two Mairies, as we live (are domiciled) in one commune, but have another property (residence) in a neighbouring commune, so we chose the Maire we liked the best! Naturally, as this is France, the marriage process starts with lots of paperwork! On going to the Mairie we were presented with the list of documents required for each person: • •

Passport Birth Certificate. This must be a current certified copy of your birth certificates, less than 3 months old. For anyone English

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

by Helen Tait-Wright

Then you have to get each certificate translated by a Certified Translator (Traducteur Assermente). The costs of this will depend on who you use, but we paid 94€ for both translations, plus 20€ for the recorded postage. Proof of domicile/residence.  This will be a French utility bill or property tax bill (Taxe d’Habitation). Certificat de Coutume. This is a document that is obtained from the British Embassy in Paris and states that you are free to marry, and also that your marriage in France will be legal in the UK. There is a list of documents that you are required to send to the Embassy, which will include birth certificates and previous divorce documents or change of name deeds if applicable. The certificate costs 68€ per person, plus 6,55€ for postage.  Certificat de Celibat. There is no equivalent to this certificate in British law so there is a link on the British Embassy website which allows you to download an official note to explain this. This is free! Marriage Contract Certificate. In France there are several different regimes you can be married under - again an alien concept for us ex-pats. My advice here would be to take the advice of a Notaire to establish which is the best for your individual situation. If necessary the Notaire will draw up what is effectively a pre-nuptual agreement. This must be done before the wedding. The default is that property acquired during the marriage is held in common (régime légal de communauté réduite aux acquêts) while property acquired outside the marriage is not. Attestation sur L’Honneur. This is document that you will be given by the Mairie to complete, along with a lengthy form which basically duplicates all the info given elsewhere.

Photos: © HTW Photography

Liste de Temoins. This is where you declare who your witnesses are, and this document also comes from the Mairie for you to complete. Each person can have one or two Witnesses. Each Witness then has a further form to complete and submit along with a copy of their passports.

You may choose for this to be a religious ceremony, in which case there are several ministers who officiate at the English speaking churches to call on, or you may choose something more secular and seek out a marriage celebrant. Popular ceremonies in this genre include hand tying and candle lighting.

OK, so you have finally got all that paperwork together, and taken it to the Mairie! Phew!

One thing you should be aware of though, is that it seems to be quite common that when you find a venue, all you are renting is the space. Unless specifically stated, do not expect any assistance with the organisation of your day, this is all down to you.

The Mairie will then publish the banns for a fixed period. As in the UK, this is a formality where your intent to marry is publically announced, to allow anyone with knowledge of a legal impediment (eg. an existing marriage) time to notify the registrar. This process typically takes at least four weeks. The ceremony must take place at the Mairie, in a room open to the public, no less than 10 days and no more than one year after authorisation is granted.  Please note, if you wait more than three months, you may have to supply new copies of your birth certificates. The Maire or their representative will preside over the ceremony. The ceremony will be in French, so for the comfort of your English guests and to make sure you understand what is going on you might want to have a translator present. After the ceremony, you will be presented with a family record document (livret de famille). This is an ongoing record of all elements relating to the marriage (births, adoptions, deaths, divorce, etc.) and includes a copy of your marriage certificate (l’acte de mariage). By default, both spouses keep their own name. Each may add the other’s name to theirs at this time for no charge, or a woman may replace her name with her husband’s. Either or both may go through the process to legally change their name. As a non-resident, who has previously had a legal marriage elsewhere, France and our region in particular offers a wonderful choice of beautiful venues for your ceremony; and as there are no licensing requirements, you really do have a wealth of choice. From Chateaux and ancient buildings to Troglodyte caves with a back drop of vines and sunflowers, what could be more romantic and memorable?

As you can imagine, for non-residents this is pretty daunting. You will need to find and co-ordinate all or any of the services required to make your day as you imagine it …… this might include caterers, a photographer, music, cars, linen hire, cake maker, florist, wine, etc etc. Although I know of people who have done this and spent the morning of their wedding setting up tables, doing floral arrangements and putting out chairs, it is perhaps not the most relaxing way to start your day and my advice would be to engage the services of a wedding planner, or at least someone who is familiar with the venue and area to co-ordinate all of this for you. On the plus side, many of these venues have rental accommodation as well, so you and some of your guests can stay on-site making the day more intimate. If you are getting married in the Deux-Sèvres this year, we wish you a wonderful day and every future happiness!   Contact Helen Tait-Wright via www.htwphotography.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 11

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


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


We meet every third Tuesday of the month, 2.30pm with free tea/coffee and bscuits at Le Bon Vertoef, 28 Grand Rue, 79110 TILLOU. (Nr Chef Boutonne). Everyone welcome for garden talk! For further information contact Mike Curtis 05 46 33 66 17 (eves).

Tai Chi in Bressuire and Le Breuil Barret

Each Tuesday evening (8.30pm-9.30pm) at the Centre SocioCulturel in Bressuire. Each Friday afternoon (3pm-4.30pm) at the Salle Communale in Le Breuil Barret. Simply turn up in loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear. Phone Terry on 05 49 65 60 34 or visit: www.chentaiji-fr.com THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:


Come KNIT/CROCHET with us every Friday at 3.30pm in the Café des Sports, Chef-Boutonne. Beginners to Experts - all welcome. Contact us via Facebook (Girls that do knitting and crochet) or Melanie on 06 65 17 89 16. The Rainbow Association Charity Shop (previously The Hope Association Shop 87)

Raising Funds for animals in need Open every Wednesday plus the 1st Saturday of each month, 10am-5pm “Route 66”, Rue de la Liberation, 87320 Buissier Poitevine RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: rafasof@orange.fr or Tel Website Short URL: http://goo.gl/ut80T

TTL Photography Group

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

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or visit www.cancersupportdeuxsevres.com Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

Thanks to the support of the Centre we meet every Wednesday 7.30pm-9pm, at 7 rue Anne Desrays, for conversation in English & French, for a mutual understanding of each other’s language and culture. Contact 05 49 66 35 11 or the Centre 05 49 66 76 40 email jpc.allorent@orange.fr or eugene_mc_cabe@hotmail.com

Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay

French 4-part choir established over 30 years (with 2 English members) always looking for “new blood”! Excellent Musical Director. Come to a rehearsal and see for yourselves. Contact Keith for more info keithandcarol@orange.fr 05 49 69 14 89

Pure Fitness


A British style band, who meet each Tuesday at 8pm, at the Salle de la Cendille, Limalonges (just 1km from the N10). All levels welcome. Contact www.justbrass79.fr or call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or Christian on 05 49 29 78 84.

We are a netball team in Vasles (79340). We meet every Monday 6-7pm at the Salle Omnisports in Vasles for training with our qualified English coach. It’s fun and a great way to keep fit, so come along or contact: knight-kelly@sky.com.

2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club Come and join us for a bike ride, or just a cup of coffee and a chat, with bike-minded people. As the name suggests, wet meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site. www.2ndsundayclub.fr

Craft Café Creatif

Do you enjoy knitting or sewing in the company of others? Join us in L’Absie for an enjoyable afternoon over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. For details contact Carole on email: carole.stocking@gmail.com 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

Exercise to music classes - every Tuesday 7pm-8pm Salle des Fêtes, La Chapelle St Etienne 79240. For more info contact jane-trescothick@orange.fr

Shamanic Drum circle for laughter and health.... held in Chanteloup Salle (near Bressuire - department 79) Wednesdays 3pm - 4.30pm Price 15€ To book your place or for more information please call Pam on 05 49 65 55 25 or email: irving.philip@wanadoo.fr FANCY A KICK ABOUT?

We are a small group of footballers who meet on Thursday evenings at 7pm in L’Absie for an informal kick about in the park. New players of all ages and abilities always welcome. For details email: john.etherington@orange.fr

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

Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)

by Terri Laverick

A Happy New Year to everyone. I did a quick review of last year before sitting down to write this article and was amazed at what we had achieved last year. We seemed to have periods when life was calm and nothing much was happening, to times of absolute mayhem. We managed, with your help, last year to donate 2,250€. This money went to SSAFA France, RAFA France and the Pompiers. We are hoping to raise even more money this year, so look out for our events in the DSM. The Annual General Meeting of CSSG will take place on 4th February, at Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux. The meeting commences at 11am but several of us meet beforehand for a British style breakfast. If you wish to join us, please do, although Joy will need to know if you require breakfast. To those of you who joined us at the Terves Christmas Market, a huge Thank You. It was a super day, exhausting but very enjoyable. This year it will be held on Sunday 3rd December. Monies raised from Terves last year will be shared between SSAFA France and Resto de Coeur. At present we are looking at dates for the CSSG Summer Fair, and also finalising details for another Race Night and Curry Supper in April. Details of all future events will be advertised in the DSM. We are always looking for new members, but if you would just like to help on an ad hoc basis we’d love to hear from you. As you know, times are hard for many of us, but the Armed Forces Charities working here in France are in need of your support, so please do come along to our events. We keep our expenses to the bare minimum, in fact we often forget to charge them, it’s our way of giving. Please contact us at combinedssg@gmail.com to receive information about upcoming events and ways in which you can help us. Our thanks for your ongoing support, we can’t do it without you.

Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. including contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows. Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 54€ per annum will be requested. How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

A Word from the Wings

by Sue Fitzgerald

Guilt is a much maligned emotion and people have gone so far as to say that it serves no constructive purpose whatsoever. It is however, one of the emotions I experience when we take a bow at the end of a performance, to the applause of the audience. When the closing music begins, the curtains are pulled and the performance is over, my mind is a whirlpool of emotions. Guilt isn’t front and centre, there’s a hell of a lot going on in there; I’m happy, relieved (if I haven’t overworked the prompt) and there’s an adrenaline buzz which leaves me beaming widely and wandering about in circles for the next thirty minutes pointlessly saying things like ‘well!’ or ‘right then!’ or ‘phew!’. There’s also the tinge of sadness that after all the rehearsals and learning of lines, that it’s all over until next time...  The guilt is definitely there though, mixed in with the other emotions and manifesting in a little glance to the prompt and a smile to the sound and lights crew. The reason for my guilt is that there are an awful lot of people who are absolutely essential to putting on a show and who don’t get to stand up and see the applause, so in a bid to turn my guilt into something constructive, here’s my applause for them. I’d like to offer massive and genuine thanks to everyone who helps us to put on TheatriVasles shows. Four times a year, on production day at the theatre in Vasles there are (Warning: this is a necessarily long list!) stage managers, set movers, bar staff, a prompt, front-of-housers, box officers, techies and people with big vans to shift stuff around in. Before that we have people managing websites and facebook, storing sets, selling tickets, looking after finances, producing amazing artwork, buying and sourcing props, making costumes, liaising with the wonderful Mairie at Vasles, communicating with the French and English press, building sets, cleaning the theatre, buying booze and organising publicity.  © Theatrivasles 2017

It’s a long list of people who enable us to get on stage and perform the bit you see. So, at the end of our next production, should you be able to attend and find yourself moved to clapping, please give it some extra for the majority of TheatriVasles who are not on stage. Without them, the show wouldn’t go on. As a theatre group committed to putting on high quality productions, TheatriVasles are always looking to expand and find new members to join us (as you can see, there are plenty of roles to go around!). If you would like to get involved then please do contact us at theatrivasles@gmail.com - we’d love to hear from you.  Our next production will be on the 5th and 6th of May 2017, at 8pm at the theatre in Vasles, 79340. As soon as our script mules make it across the border, we’ll announce the title of the show. More news to follow in our next column in the April edition of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’.  

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

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

Tips for Weaving Romance into your Novel


ith St Valentine on the 14th, February is a romantic month. Love and emotion are a part of life, and so should also play some part in our stories. Even if you’re not writing a romance as such, adding a relationship to your story will give it spark, emotional punch and sometimes motive. We’re not talking pink fluff here, but a genuine human feeling we can all recognise. But it must be woven into your story from the beginning so it seems perfectly natural. Just slapping a few romantic moments into a scene or developing a romantic interest to add flavour can look superficial. Parachuting a random romantic element halfway through a novel to add conflict also causes confusion because it sends the wrong message and sends your story off in a new direction. Far better when your protagonist has an attraction to another character from the start (whether either or both know it or not) and that attraction forms the basis for allied support in the plot. As the characters meet obstacles and tension ramps up, there might be moments when the two characters become closer through their common purpose. They may even seem to be falling in love, with a hint at the end that they may get together. But the main goal of the story must stay central unless you’re writing a straightforward romance. If you’re not and the focus shifts to the characters’ relationship, the reader will become annoyed because you’re not delivering what you promised on the back cover. If a spy thriller turns into a romance… Well, I can hear the thud of books or even e-readers being thrown onto the floor. However, a romantic character in a non-romance genre can play a strong part. Sometimes they can be a terrific way of introducing a plot twist. He/she might betray the protagonist and cause them a double grief such as Vesper Lynd does in the James Bond books. Or he/she might provide the strong faith in the protagonist that keeps them going when all seems lost. As with other types of character – best friend, business rival, boss or junior – the romantic interest may play a pivotal part in the story such as discovering evidence against the antagonist, or even as catalyst of the climax to the story. (No pun intended.) An ex-spouse or partner can introduce natural conflict and carries potential to impact on the main plot. Are their feelings as buried as they like to think they are? Why not contrast glances, smiles and hand touching with snappy, antagonistic dialogue? You can choose whether to bring them together or make the parting permanent as a result of the main plot. And at the risk of being indelicate, the characters do not need to have rampant sex throughout. Romance is about attraction, and a developing relationship with its hesitation, uncertainty and tenderness along the way. And if you are busy solving a dark mystery, awaiting the result of the Battle of Waterloo, or throwing a tyrant off a planet in the 25th century, there may not be time for much within the scope of your story. Featuring romantic characters can add emotion, tension and conflict to any story. Make them rounded and credible and you’ll have added an extra dimension that the reader will love.

Happy writing!

Alison has compiled the articles from this column into The 500 Word Writing Buddy, available on Amazon. Her fifth novel, INSURRECTIO, is now out. 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Beryl Brennan and Vanda Lawrence for this month’s reviews. If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email it to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Bad Blood by Linda Fairstein Linda is one of the popular band of crime writers from the US and a former District Attorney, so it’s not surprising that her fictional heroine Alexandra Cooper is also a prosecutor. In this particular case , ‘Coop’ is prosecuting a man charged with strangling his wealthy wife after she had threatened to leave him. The method of murder is reminiscent of a previous one linked to him and his brother. But how could that be when at that time one was on his honeymoon and the other in a clinic having a bone marrow transfusion. The story takes us into the subterranean labrynthe systems below New York which gives life to the city, along with the intricacies of Myeloma treatment, as once again this master storyteller has the reader hooked. by B. Brennan

The Teacher by Katerina Diamond ‘Jeffrey Stone looked over the sea of despondent young faces as he gave assembly, occasionally glancing up at the steel frame of the atrium. At this time he had no idea that come the morning he would be discovered hanging from it by his neck.’ Now, that’s the first paragraph in the first chapter of this book and each subsequent chapter is as sharp and tense as the first, relating to different people, in different places and sometimes many years apart, but they all tie in together as the story builds to a climax, with even more tension if that’s possible. This is the first novel by this author – I shall look out for her next, this was certainly one hell of a good read. by V. Lawrence

Are you a bit of a Bookworm?

If you are an avid reader and would like to share your book reviews with us, we would love to publish them! Please send to us by email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.

Bees at the Little White House Experiences of a new Bee keeper... The very beginnings.....

by Gloria Fisher

Most people are aware of the plight of the humble Honey Bee. Their decline is caused by several things, from the use of harmful pesticides to the arrival of the Asian Hornet which can decimate a hive of healthy bees in a very short time; there is also the verorra mite. Let me first stress that I am not an expert, just a person who is interested in helping these marvellous insects, with an added bonus of honey and wax in a good year, both of which I am sure I can put to good use. Man cannot replicate honey; he can get close but not the real thing. I am hoping to show, through this series of articles, what is involved in becoming a new Bee Keeper, from the very beginnings to the honey harvest. These articles will be just my experiences of my first year, stings and all, and if anyone would like to join me on the journey then there will be even more happy bees. I first became interested in bees when I noticed them enjoying the Comfrey flowers in my garden in England. I wondered why they were there and what they were doing so I decided to find out. This led me to look into the hobby of bee-keeping which I found fascinating.   I found a very nice beekeeper who helped me set up a hive and brought me my first swarm. Unfortunately I moved before the honey harvest, but I have it on good authority that there was plenty of honey in that hive! When I moved to France it was always in my mind to start up again when possible, so when our ‘new’ house came with a very overgrown field I could see my opportunity. The first job was to clear the field of brambles, stinging nettles and dead trees as there was virtually no sunlight getting in. This took some time and quite a few scratches - the field had not been touched for over 20 years. Then, once cleared, the field needed rotovating so that I could actually get my fork in the ground to be able to plant some vegetables and seeds for bee flowers.

See Page 47

FILMS IN ENGLISH There are cinemas in our department which show films in their original language. Marked as ‘VO’ (Version Originale) or ‘VOST’ (Version Originale avec Sous-Titrage). These films can be seen at a number of locations. Use the websites below to check your local cinema for screenings.

Above: our field

I found some Beekeepers at a Car Boot and luckily one of them spoke a little English so they were able to help me. They gave me an old copy of ‘Abeille de France’ - ‘Bees in France’. The magazine had suppliers, websites and some interesting articles that I wish I could understand. I am learning French but the world of Bees is a bit different to ‘normal’ conversation.

Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: www.lefauteuilrouge.fr Parthenay Cinema: www.cinema.foyer.cc-parthenay.fr/foyer Melle cinema: www.lemelies-melle.info Niort CGR cinema: www.cgrcinemas.fr/niort/# Niort Moulin du Roc: www.moulinduroc.asso.fr L’échiquier at Pouzauges: www.echiquier-paysdepouzauges.fr and find others at www.allocine.fr

Next time:

Finding a supplier, buying and preparing the hive.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 15

Health, Beauty & Fitness GREAT GRAINS: What is a wholegrain?


by Lorraine Wallace

hole grains, or foods made from them, contain all the essential parts and naturally-occurring nutrients of the entire grain seed in their original proportions. If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed to still be considered a whole grain. The difference between whole grains and refined grains Whole grains contain essential enzymes, iron, dietary fibre, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins as well as natural oils. Unfortunately, once exposed to light, air and heat, whole grains can go rancid. Refined grains have had their outer layer removed during the milling process to allow for a much longer shelf life. However, in doing this, they lose most of the nutrients listed above, offering a less nutritious option. So if we take rice – brown and white rice are from the same grain, but as white rice has had its fibre and nutrients stripped out it becomes a refined carbohydrate (bad)  which turns to sugar rapidly. Brown rice however is composed of 80% complex carbohydrates (good), so not only are you getting the nutritious benefits for your health, but these nutrients keep you feeling fuller for longer. The following, if eaten in a form that includes the bran, germ and endosperm, are considered whole grains. This isn’t a complete list but I’ve included the most commonly known, many of which are gluten free. ◊ Rye ◊ Amaranth ◊ Sorghum (also called milo) ◊ Barley ◊ Teff ◊ Buckwheat ◊ Wheat, including varieties ◊ Cornmeal (or polenta) such as spelt, farro, Kamut®, ◊ Millet durum and forms such as ◊ Oats, including oatmeal bulgur, cracked wheat and ◊ Quinoa wheatberries ◊ Rice, both brown rice and ◊ Wild rice coloured rice Technically, amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat are not grains as they are not in the Poaceae botanical family, but these “pseudograins” are normally included with true cereal grains because their nutritional profile, preparation, and use are so similar. Storing whole grains Whole grains are best stored in airtight containers, preferably glass, in a cool dark place. Some people store them in the fridge. Phytic Acid Eliminating phytic acid that is found within the outer shell of grains is important, as it can get in the way of your body absorbing some minerals found in other foods in your meal. With grains, simply cooking them will eliminate some of the phytic acid but it is recommended that most grains are soaked in advance to eliminate the acid and increase digestibility. Why eat whole grains? There is increasing evidence that regularly eating whole grains, as part of a balanced diet, can reduce the risk of many common diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Both the fibre and the package of nutrients in the grain work to offer protection. However, some people don’t do so well eating grains of any kind. They can feel sluggish and bloated among other symptoms, so while they are packed with nutritious content, it’s important to pay close attention to how you react to them. www.lorrainewallace.com Email: lorraine@lorrainewallace.com ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77 16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

Helpful French Vocabulary... A & E Dentisit Doctor Nurse

....... les urgences .......dentiste .......médecin (m) / docteur (m) .......infirmièr(e)

Ache, pain .......douleur (f) Arm .......bras (m) to Blister .......cloquer (verb) to Break .......casser (verb) Dehydration .......déshydratation (f) In case of an Eczema .......eczéma (m) Emergency Eye wash .......collyre (m) Hand .......main (f) Head Call 112 ....... tête (f) Hearing aid .......appareil (m) or 18 Leg .......jambe (f) Neck .......cou (m) You can spea to Overheat in English - wait fok .......échauffer (verb) r an Prescription .......ordonnance (f) Interpreter to to Scald come on the line. .......ébouillanter (verb) Seizure, fit; attack .......accès (m) Do not hang up! Shoulder .......épaule (f) Skin allergy .......allergie cutanée Sprain .......entorse (f) Stroke .......apoplexie (f) Sunscreen .......écran solaire (m) Sunstroke (to get) .......attraper une insolation Swelling .......enflure (f) Tablet .......comprimé (m) Tonsilitis .......amygdalite (f) Tooth .......dent (f)


Yoga for Life

recall the moment when I made the connection between yoga and life. I was completing my training in Rishikesh, India. We were practicing Warrior Pose, a position that develops strength and balance in the legs. My teacher said:

Emotional Freedom Dance

by Rebecca Novick

“A strong back leg is your good friend. What are your strengths? What is your back leg?” Yoga can benefit anyone. But as a mature woman who recently discovered this path, I find the benefits all the more available to those with life experience. As my teacher would say, “Yoga is not exercise. It is a path for how to live your life.” Conserving our energy The idea behind yoga is to exert the least effort for the maximum effect. The best progress is made without too much force or tension, when we relax into whatever it is that we are doing. Respecting our present limitations It is extremely important in yoga, as in life, to discover and respect our present limitations. From that point, we can then explore them and see that they are not fixed boundaries. A little Challenge is good As we explore our limitations in yoga we find that they shift and widen. In the same way, in our lives we find that through practice and effort, something we once thought was beyond our capacity becomes gradually easier. Adjustment is important In life, as in yoga, we may be tempted to give something up because it doesn’t seem to be working. Sometimes a few minor adjustments in our pose—or in our life—can make all the difference. Breathe! Much of yoga practice concerns how to use the breath. Breathing is so simple and natural, and brings us back to the present moment. Yoga teaches us to breathe no matter what is going on.

Wednesday 1st March 3.00pm - 4.30pm at Chanteloup Village Salle, dept 79 10€ per person (half of the proceeds being paid to animal charity) by Pamela Irving

What is Emotional Freedom Dance? The class is a combination of Emotional Freedom Technique (something I use in my work as a hypnotherapist) and meridian body tapping (something I use in my work as a massage therapist) and dancing without rules (something I enjoy !) With Emotional Freedom Dance you will:-

• • • • • • • • • • •

Improve your fitness at your own pace Improve will power to lose weight Release negative habits in relation to how you treat your body Release blockages from the body Restore your connection to your body Relearn how to relax and love your body Improve your self esteem, Improve your breathing Release muscular tension You are able to express yourself without words Have fun !

Rebecca Novick is a writer and yoga teacher based in Parthenay.

No experience is necessary.

Contact 05 17 31 60 30 or by email: lavieenyoga@gmail.com or please see advert below.

Please feel free to contact Pam on 05 49 65 55 25 or email: irving.philip@wanadoo.fr to book your place or if you need any more information.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 17

Home & Garden

A Soft Touch...


by Sue & Rik Newell, La Deuxième Chance

ombining paint colours and matching fabrics for your soft furnishings can be difficult. If you are struggling then maybe we can help by suggesting an easy option...

Have you ever considered painting or dyeing fabric with paint? Not just any old paint, obviously, for this we recommend using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™. To completely change the colour of fabric (small or large), try the dip dyeing method below. You can control how strong the colour comes through simply by adding more water. Linen, cotton, cotton voile and synthetic curtains all work well with this technique. You can also use patterned cottons or linens.

HOW TO DIP-DYE FABRIC: Create your dye by adding 1 tablespoon of Chalk Paint™ to roughly 1000ml of tepid water in a bucket or washing up bowl – stir thoroughly to ensure the paint is completely diluted and evenly dispersed. Dip your fabric into the dye, agitate the fabric until the whole piece is evenly dyed. Do not leave the fabric to soak – remove from the water and leave to drip-dry outside in direct sunshine or next to a heater. Once dry, iron or tumble dry the fabric to seal the colour. Do not use salt to seal the fabric as with this method it may lead to colour bleed. Once sealed you can then wash your material on a 30° wash with no colour loss. Tip! The longer the fabric is left unwashed the less likely it will be to fade once washed, and remember, when painting any fabric, test a small area first.

CREATING YOUR OWN PATTERNED FABRICS: You can create different areas of colour by firstly painting fabric with a dye wash. You can add stripes with the help of a little masking tape. Using a brush, apply the dye mix to your fabric. When painting velvet try using one of Annie Sloan’s Pure Bristle brushes. They are great for working the paint in to fabric. (With velvet you may need to add more water to your mix).

Photos © La Deuxième Chance 2017

The fabric can be over painted by hand using undiluted paint; or designs can be added using a stencil, using a sponge roller to avoid leakage.


Painting an upholstered chair can achieve a simple and wonderful transformation. Choose a chair that is not to soft or squishy as it will be too absorbent and will not dry out properly. Paint directly on to the fabric, but do have a glass of water nearby, to dip your brush into, so that the paint is thin enough to absorb nicely into the fabric. Normally allow two coats for an even coverage. Allow to dry for 24 hours or until bone dry. Then apply a coat of Annie Sloan’s soft wax. Give the surface a good buff to give more of a leathery feel. If you would like to know more about dyeing and painting fabric join us on a workshop. All products, along with Annie’s books covering the subject, (“Colour Recipes” and “Paint Everything”) are available from La Deuxième Chance, 7 Rue de la Croix Cholette, Le Bois de Messé 79120 . Tel: 05 49 27 12 62 or online at www.ladeuxiemechance.com/webstore

e to adding gilding or découpag niture finishes. ... Nextmonth d fur nte pai r you age to es iqu hn projects plus


18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 19


by Vanda Lawrence

which float to the surface will not germinate so you can discard them. Don’t forget that peas don’t like to have any members of the onion family as neighbours in the seed bed. Tree pollarding and coppicing can be undertaken in February/ March. ‘Pollarding’ means pruning back to the trunk or stem to control size and shape, while ‘coppicing’ means pruning close to the base of the plant. We can coppice to ensure willows and dogwoods produce a fresh crop of bright stems - shorten the stems to within 2”-3” of the ground before the leaves appear in late February-early March.


lowly, slowly, the evenings are becoming longer and brighter and temperatures will slowly improve. Patience is a virtue, as the saying goes, but won’t it be lovely to have time to potter in the garden for longer in the afternoons? Get ready in the potager by covering the soil with glass or plastic to help warm the soil, thus enabling you to sow your seeds two or three weeks earlier.

Clematis can be pruned now. Spring and winter-flowering Clematis flower on previous season’s wood so only need to be pruned if they have outgrown their space. If you wish to tidy the plant or reduce the size do so immediately after flowering. Early, largeflowered Clematis, flowering in May/June should be dealt with in February/March by cutting out dead and weak stems. The later flowering hybrids are the easiest to deal with: in February/March start at the base of each plant and work upwards to find the 2nd pair of live buds. Prune just above these.

At last I’ve found time to sort through my seed packets so am sowing broad beans, sprouting broccoli, Batavia lettuce and radishes. The radish seeds I bought in the UK last year are easy-to-use seed tapes – the tiny seeds are held in place between two thin paper tapes so that all you need to do is cut the tape to the correct length, lay it across the soil, cover with earth and water in. The seeds are spaced regularly so you don’t have to worry about thinning out as they germinate. If I see them over here in France I would certainly buy them again, they’re so easy. Remember to protect all these seeds from cold, rain and hungry birds by covering with cloches. Start chitting early potatoes now. 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. When the shoots are 1/2” - 1” long and the soil has warmed up they can be planted out. Aubergines and peppers can be sown in a heated propagator so they will be ready to plant out as early as possible. Plant Echalotes in February/March and sow leeks any time now until September. If you are planning to grow peas you can speed up germination by leaving the seeds in water overnight. Those seeds

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

Clematis©WikimediaCommons/ Liz West

Once the fruit trees have all be pruned it will be time to give them a good feed. Now is the best time as it will provide a boost when the trees come into leaf again and is less likely to have been washed away through the soil during earlier winter rains. Nitrogen promotes leaves and vigorous growth; phosphorus encourages roots, fruit and healthy growth and potassium is necessary for good fruit colour, flavour and fruit bud development. You could hang fat balls temporarily in the trees now to encourage birds to come and eat up any greenfly or wooly aphids that might have survived the winter. Peach trees need to be sprayed with a copper fungicide to prevent leaf curl. Established currant and gooseberry bushes can be cut back this month. Simply remove dead wood, weak and crossing branches and older, less productive branches. You need only leave about a dozen vigorous branches to grow on and fruit. Raspberries and blackberries should be dealt with too. Remove wood which has already fruited, tie in new shoots and prune these where necessary to restrict height and avoid crowded branches later in the year. Cut out raspberry suckers as they appear to keep the plants under control. Cover early fruiting strawberries with cloches to protect from late frosts. In the flower beds it’s time to finish clearing the dead tops of hardy perennials, if you haven’t already had time to do it. Top-dress established borders with fertiliser and dig in. If you are planning on growing Sweet Peas this year you can sow them indoors now. Just roll newspaper strips into 1.5” diameter tubes and fill each one with compost. Stand them upright inside a

large plant pot to support them and moisten the soil before planting one seed in each tube. You will be able to plant out each tube once the seeds have germinated – the roots will grow through the newspaper. Begonias can be started into growth now too. Place them just below the surface in trays of damp compost, with the indented side uppermost. When they are growing well and once all risk of frost has passed they can be planted out. Garden ponds need to be checked too. If there are any leaks which need repairing, now is the time to do it, before the water-lilies and marginals start to wake up and most certainly before the frogs, toads & goldfish start spawning, in case it becomes necessary to drain the pond in order to complete the task. Frogs often hibernate in the mud at the bottom of the pond, becoming active in February/March when they lay their spawn in shallower parts of the pond. However, frogs need to be on land to feed, so if your pond has steep sides and a low water level you must make provision for them to exit the pond when necessary. You could consider making a ladder from plastic mesh to help them. Make sure the mesh extends below the water line and pin the top end into soil or grass, or hold in place with a heavy slab or stone ornament. Now, as the weather gradually warms up and plants start sending up their young, juicy green leaves the slugs will have a hey-day. But I’ve recently read about an effective organic slug treatment – garlic drench. You can make your own with two crushed garlic cloves added to two pints of water. Boil for half an hour and then strain off the liquid and bottle it. Plastic milk cartons are good. Keep the liquid in a cool place and once a week, in their early growing season of March and April, dose your plants from a watering can. Add two teaspoons of drench to one gallon of water and water the plants and a good circle of soil around them. Good luck! So now I’ll say ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ to you all – see you next month.

Sweet pea

PHASES OF THE MOON FEBRUARY 2017 NEW Moon 1st Quarter 28th January 4th February

Full Moon

11th February

3rd Quarter

18th February

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 21

Communications Is it Worth Upgrading a PC?

by Ross Hendry

effectively spending less on repairs the older the PC was. The same consideration should be made when considering an upgrade; will upgrading just one component solve the problem?


nlike a mobile phone or tablet, personal computers, both laptops and desktop type are capable of being upgraded but why or when should you consider this?

When they are new our PCs seem really quic but as time goes on they become slower and eventually become frustrating. What used to seem to be instant, causes us to wait or get impatient and maybe click again. This only makes matters worse by doubling the work the PC has to do and further slowing down the response time. Obviously the first thing to do is make sure we are not being slowed down by unwanted programs loading, or having older less efficient programs running and ensuring that we do not have malware doing naughty things in the background. If, after you have tried all of these and your PC is still slow, should you try to upgrade your hardware? The first consideration is what is upgradeable and is it worth it? A desktop or tower type PC is like a Lego set, you can pretty much replace each individual component. However, some upgrades require more than just replacing one piece; for example, if you want to replace the processor with the latest type, is the main board or motherboard capable of accepting the new processors? If not you then need to replace the mother board and possibly the RAM and maybe even the power supply. Going this far you will certainly get improvements but it is possibly more sensible to replace the whole PC. Upgrades to a laptop may be made, but in most cases it is only the RAM and hard disk that are capable of being upgraded. Besides speed why else would you consider upgrading? Running out of storage space is probably the most important of these, unless you are a photographer or gamer, in which case you might need to improve the graphics capability to get better resolution of your images. This may also improve the speed of game play or rendering images. Last month we looked at the age of the PC when considering whether to repair or replace it, gauging the cost benefit ratio,

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

RAM (Random Access Memory). This used to be the first item to consider when speeding up a PC and is a relatively inexpensive and easy upgrade to make; most PCs are capable of using more RAM than they are supplied with and you should check with your PC manufacturers as to the type and maximum RAM your PC can take. You may also use an on-line detector to check what RAM your PC has and the maximum you may have, here: www.uk.crucial.com/ gbr/en. Once you have your new RAM, search for instructions on how to replace it. Usually you will find a video online showing you exactly how for your make and model of PC. Hard Disk Drive - Replacing your hard disk drive is a solution for “running out of space” on your PC; this also has a dramatic effect on the speed of a PC. With a desktop PC you can probably have more than one hard disk drive but not so on most laptops. A relatively new type of hard disk called a solid state drive (SSD) has made this a really great upgrade, because these drives are incredibly quick (up to 5 times faster than a traditional mechanical hard disk drive) and they use far less power. This potentially gives laptop users considerably more battery life and all users much faster read/write speeds. Your PC will probably boot in half the time with an SSD, I have had great success upgrading quite old, slower laptops with SSDs and been amazed at the performance improvement, making some useable for another year or two. Operating System Upgrade – If you are running Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8, check and see if your computer will accept an OS upgrade. This means checking that the component parts of your computer work with the newer operating system. Your manufacturer’s site will let you know if an OS upgrade is viable - a simple upgrade from a 32bit version of your OS to the 64 bit will permit you to accept more RAM that is useable and thus improve the speed. You can check on the Microsoft website to see the life cycle of your operating system. For example Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 are end of life products, here: www.support.microsoft.com/ en-us/help/13853/windows-lifecycle-fact-sheet. Windows 10 is more efficient and secure than any of its predecessors and so well worth considering as a performance upgrade. Changing operating system may also give an old PC a new lease of life. Linux, an open source operating system, is incredibly efficient and can make quite old PCs useable - well worth researching. If you are not confident with upgrading your PC yourself, do ask your PC technician for their advice. I am sure they will be happy to consider your actual needs and advise whether an upgrade will help you. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing.

WEB SERVICES FOR YOU Hello, we are Price and Brenda. Between us we have decades of experience in supporting the Information Technology needs of students, faculty, staff and the public in a university environment. We bring our expertise to the Vendée and Deux-Sèvres, and chances are if you have a problem or need a new website, we can help. When potential and returning customers research services related to yours online, their search should lead them to you. As a small business owner, a modern, fully responsive website that keeps the customer engaged gives you an edge over the competition. Whether you need a new site or a refresh to promote your services, your art, or if your inner blogger needs a platform, we’ll help you to achieve a beautiful site and make the process a pleasurable experience. Computer malware subverts your PC, and can cause a number of intrusive problems. But what is malware? How do computer viruses work and how can they affect your life? When do you know your system is infected? In order to help you identify issues, what you can do about it and when you need a professional, we have put together a free guide called ‘Field Guide to Malware’. In fact, we’ll be offering free guides regularly on our website! Our expertise lies in network access from home connectivity, security, and family safety, to providing public WIFI access. Simply sharing a WIFI password with guests at your restaurant, pub, B&B, or campground is not enough. With increased volume, concerns about security, capacity, coverage, and liability grow significantly. From dealing with signal problems resulting from thick walls in your maison ancienne, to establishing WIFI service for your guests, expanding your WIFI coverage and capacity, or resolving problems with your current system, contact us for a solution.

Price & Brenda at Webservices.Dramatis https://webservices.dramat.is

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 23

Where We Live...

Riding the for

ur Meet The Tour Fo Sarah Berry Age: 40. Occupation: Owner/editor of the DeuxSèvres Monthly. Biking experience: An occasional wobble around on a mountain bike, usually when Rob and I are on holiday. Regular/previous sports: I started playing netball once a week last year – my first exercise since leaving school. Preparation: I hit the big 4-Oh! this year, was totally unfit so I decided to train for... a Triathlon! Yep, a 400m open water swim, followed by a 20km bike ride and finally a 4k run. The event will be on August 26 at Château de Chantilly, 40 miles north of Paris, and is part of the Castle Triathlon series (www.castletriathlonseries.co.uk). I started training in September with fast walks, slow jogs and extra time in the saddle. Four months on and the walks have developed into runs. Swimming progress is slow [I blame awkward opening times at the local pool] but cycling is the easiest of the three sports for me. Tour bike: I have a shiny, new Felt ZW95 road bike with an aluminium frame, 18 gears and weighing under 10kg. But if the weather’s cold and wet I’ll be training on an indoor exercise bike. Riding the Tour de Rêves because: I wanted to get fit and do something worthwhile at the same time. I chose the Rêves charity simply because I can’t have children myself, so it would be wonderful to help others. Biggest fear: A blistered bum!

Rob Berry Age: 49. Occupation: Self-employed plasterer. Biking experience: A complete novice to proper cycling. Regular/previous sports: Having d a wide range of spent 23 years in the British Army I playe , cross-country sports at various levels, including swimming the Army running and basketball. But nothing since leaving nine years ago. for a Triathlon Preparation: I’m also in training with Sarah s and much allow work when runs for her join I er. summ this ise bike. exerc our on than r rathe prefer cycling outdoors hoping I’m so ing train ical phys of y plent nt mea life Army . then had I s level ss fitne the to I’ve got time to get back got a B’Twin Tour bike: Santa was really kind to me. I’ve carbon forks e, fram inium alum with bike Triban 520 road . Quite a gears 27 with lete and Shimano Sora gearset comp bike! ntain mou 100€ old y trust my to bit different orting Sarah as Riding the Tour de Rêves because: I’m supp to get be d her husband and best friend. Plus it woul middgood n. regio le my from ber blub ss rid of some of the exce Biggest fear: Wearing lycra for a week! 24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

Above: The Tour Four; (from left to right) Sarah Berry, Rob Berry, Jacqui Brown, Adrian Brown. © Megan Macdonald 2017


ou know how it happens. Four people chatting about life in general. Things like how unfit you are and how you’d like to do something about it. How you’d like to lose a few pounds from your waistline while at the same time adding some pounds to the coffers of a worthwhile cause. Then the conversation gets more serious. Suddenly you’ve said something you might later regret. Suddenly talking about getting fitter, not fatter, leads to hours on the saddle of an exercise bike, length after length in a swimming pool, mile after mile running through the Deux-Sèvres countryside in the cold, wind and rain. By then, of course, it’s too late to back out. The plan has been hatched. Everything is going full steam ahead. That’s how it happened. The Tour de Rêves.

...A look at what makes France so special

Deux-Sèvres Charity

Jacqui Brown Age: 45. Occupation: Ex-accountant, now a blogger and The Deux-Sèvres Monthly columnist. Biking experience: Adrian and I started in 2011 with two old road bikes and soon progressed from short . The bikes family rides to more adventurous day trips now used are and 2013 in ones new with ced repla were sprint fast from – ad off-ro and on for all sorts of riding – tours -long week to nees Pyre or Alps the to trips and rides iers. pann with fully-loaded baggage Regular/previous sports: Nothing in particular. we are Preparation: We are rather hoping the fact that gh. enou cycling regulars will be bike, with 16 Tour bike: Pendleton Initial aluminium road es. The bike bottl r wate two and ge lugga gears, clip-on weighs under 10kg. ys looking Riding the Tour de Rêves because: We are kalwa so many to spea We . nture for our next biking adve erful wond the of e awar not are who here living le peop and out go t don’ they as step places right on their door all over this ve achie us d helpe have bikes The re. explo France. finding a good Biggest fear: Not keeping up and notpatis serie stop. noon after mida or stop e morning coffe

Adrian Brown by Mick Austin

Six consecutive days in the saddle, riding 400 kilometres to raise money to help seriously ill children. Six days in September filled not only with bursting lungs, aching legs and the occasional bad hair day, but also Fun with a capital F. Family and friends lining the roads cheering the cyclists on. People willingly dipping into their pockets to help children in need. The Tour de Rêves is the dream of four friends from Department 79. It’s going to happen and they want you to be a big part of it!

Age: 46. Occupation: Management con sultant. Biking experience: The same as Jacqui’s. Regular/previous sports: A professional sailor many yea rs ago. Tour bike: Italian Wilier alu min ium roa d bike with 30 gears. Same weight and equipm ent as Jacqui’s bike. Riding the Tour de Rêv ause: Jacqui and I feel the same about cycling. Oneesbigbec adventure. Biggest fear: Not keepin with the itinerary. All it takes is some bad weather org up a cou might be struggling to make up ple of punctures and we the time later on.

The Route

Adrian on one of his many outings. © J. Brown.


DAY 1: SECONDIGNY - MELLE AREA DAY 2: MELLE AREA TO NIORT/COULON DAY 3: NIORT/COULON TO PARTHENAY DAY 4: PARTHENAY TO THOUARS DAY 5: THOUARS TO BRESSUIRE DAY 6: BRESSUIRE: SECONDIGNY The Tour de Rêves 2017 will start and finish at the Place de Maréchal Leclerc in Secondigny. The ‘Grand Départ’ will be on the morning of Monday, 4th September and it will finish 400 kilometres and six days later on Saturday, 9th September. The route is a figure of eight and will pass through some of the bigger towns and villages in the area. Planned stopover points are: night one Pays Mellois; night two Coulon or Niort; night three Parthenay; night four Thouars; night five Bressuire; finishing in Secondigny. The riders will be trackable by GPS so people can check where they are and turn up to join in the fun. There will be daily stops at B&Bs and hotels along the route and there will be a support vehicle (piloted by Sarah’s dad, Mick) carrying bike spares, first aid kits, water, energy foods, overnight bags and, of course, essentials like hairdryers and hair straighteners!

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

The Charity The Tour de Rêves is going to be a fun event with a serious aim – to raise money for a charity called Rêves (www.reves.fr), a national charity that helps seriously ill children and adolescents. By realising a child’s wildest wishes the charity allows them to escape from everyday life and experience unforgettable moments that can help them regain their confidence in the future and give them the strength to fight against their illnesses. Since its creation in 1994, the association has brought the dreams of many youngsters to fruition, including trips to New York, Cyprus, Disneyland Paris, a parachute jump, a ride in a Ferrari, swimming with dolphins and even a meeting with DJ Snake! All the money raised by the Tour de Rêves will go to the Rêves charity. There will be no administration fees. The Tour Four will pay for their own bikes. Any other equipment or event costs will be either donated or sponsored, or again paid for by the Tour Four.

The Browns’ bikes © J. Brown.

How You Can Help Roll up, roll up! They want as many people as possible to start the challenge (and share the pain) with them from Secondigny on 4th September. Mount up and ride with them for a kilometre, a stage, a day or the whole Tour. Complete a short form on The DSM website (www. thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr) to register for the Tour and you’ll be sent a charity fundraising pack complete with sponsorship forms. You can raise cash as an individual or as a group of friends and/or family and money can be raised by the kilometre or an amount if you plan to do the whole challenge. And you don’t even have to get on your bike to help raise cash for the Rêves charity. Collection boxes will be placed in various cafes, restaurants and shops along the planned route and around the Deux-Sèvres department throughout the summer, along with fliers to let you know what’s going on and when.

hip Business Sponsors There will be four seriously tired riders looking to get their heads down for the five nights of the Tour. If you have accommodation in any of the planned overnight stops (see left) then the Tour Four would love to hear from you. Any help with the costs would be much appreciated and there will be plenty of free publicity for anyone offering “room at the inn”!


The route will be finalised using Ride With GPS (www. ridewithgps.com), which allows full route planning and then download of a .gpx file which can then be loaded onto a GPS computer or a smart phone. The riders will be using a dedicated Garmin cycle computer with full turn-by-turn navigation.

With a total planned distance of almost 400kms, the riders will be looking to average 65-80kms per day at an average speed of 18-20kph.

• •

Total elevation gain: 4000m Average time in the saddle per day: Four hours. Average calories burned per person per hour: 700-1000.

• •

Average calories burned per person per day: 2800-4000.

Average number of pedal strokes per person per day: 20,000.

Refuelling stops: At least one every two hours, to include morning coffee and afternoon beer and patisserie!

The Tour Four are hoping some of their business friends will be joining them in raising money for a worthy cause too. In return they will have their business mentioned in the Tour publicity, and perhaps even have their company logo on the Tour shirts. If you’d like to be involved, please contact them via Sarah at ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’.

Keep Up to Date September might seem a long way away but they are already busy organising and training for the Tour de Rêves. You can keep in touch with how things are progressing through regular monthly updates from Jacqui in The Deux-Sèvres Monthly mag. Watch out for top cycling tips, training ideas and some technical stuff as well. Sarah will be writing a regular blog on her fitness journey (www.triathlonmadness.blogspot.fr) and there will be visual updates on The DSM’s Facebook feeds as well.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY... As much as they want everyone to turn up and enjoy the Tour de Rêves, the organisers can’t be held responsible for others riding the route or those watching the action. The correct services will be notified about the event and their support vehicle is sure to be fully occupied trying to keep the four of them on the move.

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

Take a Break Across: 1. Increase in value or to a higher point (5) 4. An arrow that is shot from a crossbow (7) 8. Help or assist (3) 9. Capable of being avoided (9) 10. An object that can be used to hold things (9) 12. A fixed charge for a professional service (3) 13.  The act of coming together again; Germany for example (13) 15. The day before (3) 16. Area in the London borough of Haringey (9) 17.  Someone who speaks with involuntary pauses and repetitions (9) 20. A stabilizer on a ship (3) 21. South Africa’s first demo- cratically elected President (7) 22. The rate at which the heart beats (5)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Across: 1. Is able to do something in prison? (3) 3. Puts together publicity for a large number heading south (4) 5. Found in a little Cotswold village store (4) 9. Confuse Pi and brackets for a photographic convention (5) 10. Leaked out over time and became totally immersed in (7) 11. Log call a vile builder made to a pub in the neighbourhood (7,5) 14. Harden moss if your environment supports it (6) 15. Straightaway, priest is working half the town (6) 18. Idaho, for example, unaffected by normal conditions (7,5) 21. To incite about French taking time off is to raise a storm (7) 22. Gain an advantage over an unpopular party? (5) 23. Beginner driving a vehicle for computer expert (4) 24. Title-less encryptions are read as evocative poems (4) 25. CS being used in exchange brings fish to ground (3)

Down: 1. Someone who runs risks (7) 2.  A contract binding one party into the service of another (9) 3. Long thin fluffy scarf of feathers or fur (3) 4. The last Hanoverian ruler of England (1819-1901) (5,8) 5. Every second one of a series; do something in turns (9) 6. Cause friction (3) 7. City in eastern Belgium (5) 11. Greatest of the ancient Athenian philosophers (9) 12.  Provoking horror; extremely distressing (9) 14. Politician who is running for public office (7) 15. Horseracing town in Surrey (5) 18. Large pot for making tea or coffee (3) 19. Tear or to be torn violently (3)

Down: 1. Start to run away from accident then find some money (4) 2. Pins ape down to get articles to go in! (7) 3. Redesign barrel frame for crop cultivator (6,6) 4. A certain amount dished out for party wise guy? (6) 6. Al cut off current, just for something to talk about (5) 7. I left the oasis to find some money (3) 8. Statements giving lad’s reaction after being turned over (12) 12. Instrument applied retrospectively to find ill-gotten gains (4) 13. Enterprise, popular for the moment, and making money (4) 16. Puts down a form of music, but atones grievously given time (7) 17. Criticised because I am not among the finer points brought up (6)

19. Remit raises alarm (5)

20. More money, this time found in searching old accounts (4) 21. Metal container for money (3)

Well, what do you know? 1) Name the American actress who appeared in the films ‘Lost in Translation’, ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ and as Black Widow in ‘Iron Man 2’. 2) What was the world’s first adhesive Postage Stamp, in use from 6th May 1840? 3) Who was lead guitarist and singer in Fleetwood Mac from 1967 to 1971? 4) The feathers of which bird are thought to be unlucky if brought indoors? 5) Published in 1887, what was the first Sherlock Holmes story? 6) Which condiment has been produced by the same family firm near Norwich since 1814? 7) From 1930 until his retirement in 1970 where exactly was Reginald Dixon the organist? 28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

With thanks to M.Morris

Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get? 8) Who was the secretary of state for war whose image appeared on recruiting posters during WW1? 9) Whose first album, released in 1977 was ‘Never Mind the Bllocks...’? 10) Thomas Midgely Jr., chemist, was responsible for Chloro-Fluoro Carbons and which other major 20th century pollutant? 11) Who played the inept Inspector Clouseau in five ‘Pink Panther’ films? 12) Born Nov. 22nd 1930, which English Theatre & film director founded and directed the R.S.C. from 1960 to ‘68 and was Director of the National Theatre from 1973 to ‘88? And finally, if you have 12 correct answers (or even if you don’t), what is the connection between those 12 answers or parts thereof? Copyright RJS 2017

Answers on P.35 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

DSM Easy Crossword

Food & Drink The Trotter Challenge...


by Jacqueline Brown

ebruary might be a short month but it’s a difficult one. I want to get out in the garden; but knowing what to do when the ground is either frozen solid or soggy isn’t easy. I need to get out on the bike; but despite lots of warm layers and wet weather cycle gear, my motivation is lacking when it’s cold. I can see why many people look forward to a ski holiday in February, but that isn’t me, which is why I tend to find myself in the kitchen. You know I have a weakness for melted cheese dishes, so imagine my delight when I opened my Christmas present from my brother, a chef, who lives in Surrey and hasn’t been to France since September 2004. Inside a beautiful box with a subtle design and the words “Produits du Terroir” and “Chevre de Poitou” printed on it, was a miniature oven dish, the perfect shape and size to fit a goat cheese log into, plus a recipe card (in French and English) suggesting I roll my goat cheese in cranberry and pistachios before oven baking it for ten minutes. It may well have been made in China and sold in Surrey, but it has found it’s spiritual home back in my Poitou-Charentes (or should that be Nouvelle Aquitaine) kitchen, where there is never a shortage of goat cheese or keen appetites ready to eat it. To counterbalance the cheesy naughtiness I have also been experimenting with my bone broths. When you buy your meat like we do, half a pig at a time, it comes with trotters, but I had no idea what to do with trotters, so they sat forgotten in the freezer. Some say they are a delicacy, but I had yet to be brave enough to give any of the recipes I found a go, until I saw a bone broth diet featured on a TV show, where a trotter was used to make the broth. I’m a big bone broth fan, especially at this time of year when it gives my soups and stews flavour and goodness, so I took the trotter challenge; two trotters, a slow cooker, bay leaves, two carrots, an onion, two cloves of garlic and enough water to cover. I then left the slow cooker to work it’s magic for twenty-four hours. The kitchen smelt great and the stock was dark, gelatinous and delicious. Unlike the diet guinea pig on TV, who was replacing her food for two days a week by drinking bone broth, I used it as the main cooking liquid in all my dishes until it ran out. I’m now about to delve into the depths of the deep freeze and find the other long-buried trotters, which should keep me in stock until the winter is over. You have no doubt read about ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’s’ 2017 cycling challenge, Tour pour Rèves, where Adrian and I will be touring the Deux-Sèvres with Sarah and Rob Berry this September. I am both excited about the adventure and the chance to explore the Deux-Sèvres, but nervous too. 400km in six days, with no rest day, will be a challenge, even though I love adventures on my bike. Over the coming months we will be sharing our planning and training and I hope you’ll enjoy following our journey.

www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: frenchvillagediaries@gmail.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 29

The Charm of Chenin and the Three Musketeers of Champagne


’m writing this in the post-Christmas season trough when scintillating, witty and original ideas are hard to come by. It’s grey and raining outside, the kind of rain that just keeps slowly dropping, so the best my numbed brain can conjure up to talk about are some grape varieties. Well, come to think of it, why not? They are, after all, what make our favourite beverage. Back to basics, my boy, back to basics. And hopefully a reminder of sunny days. Chenin, also known as Chenin blanc, is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde variety. In the New World it is most often used as a workhorse, particularly so in South Africa where it is the most planted grape and is even used as the base for a range of fortified wines and spirits. In California it forms part of innocuous blends (typically with Chardonnay), similarly so in Australia. A bit of a Jekyll of all trades (although Hyde was the bad guy if I remember correctly – can never resist a bad pun). However, when planted in its spiritual homeland, the central Loire, particularly Anjou-Saumur and the Touraine, it really comes into its own. It’s the age-old matter of the alchemy between climate, soil, and yield. This is where Chenin’s versatility shines. It produces some of the best dry whites you will find anywhere, in the region of Savennières; some of the longestliving sweet whites in, for example, the regions of Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezaux, and Quarts de Chaume; and to complete the trilogy it provides (on its own or with Chardonnay) a considerable amount of sparkling wine (‘Crémant’) from Saumur and Vouvray. Look for flavours of honey, damp straw, apple, wax. Also marked acidity which contributes to the longevity of the best examples. In the best Loire Chenins, the grape is unblended so you’re getting a pure hit of grape variety and terroir. Try the dry with saumon au beurre blanc and the sweet with tarte tatin. The dry and sweet bottles don’t come everyday-cheap, but in terms of value for money they are worth every cent you fork out. Much more affordable as an everyday treat, a glass at breakfast with your eggs Benedict why not, are the sparklers – which segues me neatly, even though I say so myself, to…

by John Sherwin

…Champagne. The three authorised grape varieties here are Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay. The two Pinots are of course red-skinned varieties but with, as for all red grapes, a neutral, dishwatery coloured juice. Now, I could talk about all three varieties, particularly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, until the cows come home, but here I’m focussing on their contribution to champagne. It always surprises me that some French Wine Tours clients, wine connoisseurs as they are, don’t realise that grape juice is not coloured: the colour for red wine comes from the skin and prolonged contact therewith. If you drain off the juice before contact, voilà, you have the wherewithal to make a white champagne, or plain old white wine come to that. Normally, champagne is made from a blend of the three. Pinot Noir gives structure and depth of fruit. Chardonnay gives austerity and elegance in young champagnes, but develops into mature fruitiness as it ages. Pinot Meunier adds richness and different elements of fruitiness. If you see a label announcing ‘Blanc de blanc’, meaning ‘white from white’ you’re looking at 100% Chardonnay from the area around and to the south of Epernay. ‘Blanc de noirs’ tells you that the ‘white’ you’re getting is from ‘black’ grapes, ie one or the other or both Pinots. Pink champagnes, which I think are the height of elegance (am I being a bit cheesy? Don’t care!) are the only rosé format in France where it is authorised to mix red and white still wine before the second fermentation adds bubbles. So, what to eat with your three musketeers? I’ve heard it said far too often that ‘champagne goes with everything’. Duh, no it doesn’t. If you look long and hard enough you’ll find such phrases usually emanate from the spokespeople of champagne makers. As ever, mix local wine with local dishes. How about épaule d’agneau farcie à la Champenoise (shoulder of lamb stuffed with chopped pork and tomatoes flavoured with juniper and champagne)? Or truite Ardennaise (brown trout sautéed in butter and finished off with crème fraiche and Ardennes ham)? Not forgetting a Genoese sponge cake filled with almond meringues and thick cream. Now, do you feel better? OK, it’s February, the worst month of all, but also the shortest – how clever is that? Things are looking up from here, my dears. John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017


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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 31

Simple warming dishes

for cold February days by Lynda Gee

Egg and Bacon Ramkins 4 eggs ’ 4 fine rashers of streaky bacon ‘poitrine fume e’ fraich e ‘crèm cream thick of ns spoo 4 soup salt and pepper. Preheat the oven to 200⁰C. . Separate the eggs and mix the whites with the cream grease lightly to r Wipe 4 ramekin dishes with a buttered pape d the inside of aroun bacon of r rashe a wrap then them and each one. and gently Pour the egg white and cream mixture into these to taste. er pepp and Salt one. place an egg yolk on top of each white the until or tes, minu 12 10 d Bake in the oven for aroun taste. mix is lightly set and the yolks cooked to individual starter or even Serve with fresh crispy baguette or toast as anice with a little Also ! fast break bacon and egg easy as an egg white the with in mixed r kippe or n salmo cooked, flaked and cream.

Baked potatoes with Roquefort (serves 4) 4 large baking potatoes 125 g Roquefort cheese 2 or 3 eggs separated salt and pepper. Sauce: 100g of crème fraiche plus another 50 g of Roquefort. Wash the unpeeled potatoes and bake in a hot oven for around 1 hour or until cooked through. Whilst still hot slice the top off each one and carefully spoon out the cooked potato taking care not to break the skins. In a bowl break up the still hot potato and the Roquefort with a fork, and mix with the egg yolks and the salt and pepper, or just pepper as Roquefort is already quite salty. Beat the egg whites until stiff and carefully incorporate into the puree. Place the mix back into the potato skins and return to the hot oven for around 10 -15 minutes to lightly souffle and gratinée. Delicious with broccoli and, if you like, served with extra sauce. (Prepared by crumbling the other 50g of Roquefort into the crème fraiche and heating gently in a sauce pan or the microwave until hot and the cheese has melted. )

Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full at-home catering service. You can see her advert on P.31. © flickr/Will

Tel: 06 23 00 72 04 ~ Email: gingers.kitchen@orange.fr

Easy Strudel 1 pack of prepared puff pastry ‘pate feuilletee’ 1 eating apple a handful of raisins soaked in boiling water with a little rum and cinnamon added Soup spoon of brown sugar little caster sugar a little beaten egg, butter.

© WikimediaCommons/Tom _Page

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

Peel, core, quarter and thinly slice the apple. Unroll the circle of pastry, I usually leave it on the paper to make it easier to work with. Working on one section at a time, place a layer of apple slices, sprinkle with the prepared raisins and a little brown sugar, dot with small pieces of butter and fold. Continue until all the pastry is filled and folded into a ‘roll’. Brush with the beaten egg and dust with caster sugar. Place on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven 200⁰C for around 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden and lightly risen.

© flickr_Joe_Hall

(Ingredients for 4)

Motoring Watch out, Lady Driver!

by Helen Tait-Wright

fter another day where I witnessed once again the frankly woeful driving standards that abound here in France, it turns my attention to the minor miracle that must have occurred when France produced the greatest female racing driver of all time.


Mouton’s great results shut the mouths of the press who had criticised Audi for signing a woman driver. But, the best was yet to come.  At Rally San Remo, Mouton and her co-driver Fabrizia Pons finished first, holding off Lancia drivers Henri Toivonen and Ari Vatanen. 

This absolute legend is of course the great Michele Mouton, a heroine of mine.

Her first victory was also the first ever World Rally Championship win for a female driver.

Driving in Group B, Michele Mouton was, and still is, the bravest, most skillful, and most successful woman in motorsport history.

Despite 4 more WRC victories in 1982 she did not gain the overall title, but earned Audi the manufacturer’s title and the ‘International Rally Driver of the Year’ award for herself. After a disappointing year in 1983, with the A2 variant of the Group B Audi Quattro, Mouton concentrated on the notorious Pikes Peak hillclimb in 1984, finishing second overall. However, in 1985, against all odds and organiser’s protests, she conquered the demanding Colorado mountain with the time of 11:25:38.

She was born on June 23, 1951, in Grasse, a town on the riviera, and started driving early, at the age of 14, making her first gear shifts in her father’s Citroën 2CV. Mouton started to take an interest in racing while she was in her early twenties, when a friend, Jean Taibi, invited her to be his co-driver at Tour de Corse.  After several races, including her first World Rally Championship race, the 1973 Rallye Monte Carlo, she was persuaded by her father to try switching to the driver’s seat, and that’s when the legend of Michele Mouton was born. As her father promised, he soon bought her a car, a Renault Alpine A110, (previously featured in one of my articles) one of the most potent cars of its era.  However, he also gave her a year to prove herself, which she did.  In 1974, Mouton made her WRC debut in the driver’s seat at the 18th Tour de Corse rally, where she finished 12th overall, kickstarting rumours that her car had an illegal engine.  As a result of that claim, the car was inspected, but it passed because there were no secret or illegal engine upgrades, just her skill and dedication at play.  The following year she contested the Tour de Corse again and improved her result to seventh, and also raced at Le Mans with an all girl team, winning their 2 litre class. In 1977 she signed for Fiat France, and continued with rally successes through to the 1980 season. To the shock of Michele and the press, the newly formed Audi Sport factory team approached Mouton in 1981, to drive the mighty Audi Quattro. The season started badly for Mouton who retired at Monaco before the event even started, despite showing great pace during the practice sessions. 

Michele announced her retirement from rallying at the same time as the Group B era ended, after the death of Toivonen, but never actually quit racing. She was a service driver for several rally raids (desert rallies) and in 1988 she co-founded the Race of Champions in memory of Henri Toivonen who was her great rival, but also a close friend.  Other notable rally outings for her were the 2000 London Sydney Marathon in which she finished second, and the 2004 and 2009 Dakar where she was a press driver. In 2010, Michele became the first president of FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission, promoting motorsports as a place where women have equal opportunities. Pretty amazing stuff! Who says women can’t drive?! Contact Helen: helen@stodel.org

Photo: www.rushlane.com

She missed Rally Sweden because she lacked experience on ice, but returned to Rally Portugal where she finished fourth, despite running the rally with electrical problems.

Her victory at Pikes Peak was ground breaking. It was a victory that ultimately broke all the barriers when it comes to gender inequality in racing. During the climb, Mouton faced a hailstorm and despite that, she broke Al Unser Jr’s 1982 record by thirteen seconds, adding further significance to the win.  In addition to being the fastest one at Pikes Peak, Mouton was the first international racer in the first non-American car to conquer the notorious trail.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 33

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A footnote to the ‘By Golly’ article in the November issue.

by Tony Barrett


rustrated by delicate health, Florence Kate Upton was found unfit to serve in any physical capacity during the First World War. So, she satisfied her determination to help out by donating to the third fund-raising auction for the Red Cross and The Order of the Hospital of Saint John, conducted by Christies in 1917.

The lot included the complete set of original drawings for eleven of the Golliwogg and Dutch Doll books, the manuscripts for four of the books, and a glass case which contained the original dolls owned by Upton Golliwogg, Peggy, Sarah Jane, Meg, Weg and The Midget. The catalogue features a special note under the lot which stated: ‘Golliwogg was the creation of Miss Florence Upton, and the doll in this lot is the original from which all Golliwoggs were taken’. Despite Florence’s misgivings that the items would not sell, because the dolls and hundreds of drawings were catalogued to be sold as one lot, the lot was indeed purchased for a considerable amount. In the April 1917 edition of The Red Cross: The Official Journal of the British Red Cross Society, the organisation confirmed that ‘Miss Florence Upton’s Famous Golliwog collection fetched 450 Guineas (£472.50) at Christie’s Sale.’

Above: The ‘Gollywog’ ambulance in 1917 in France, and top left: Florence Kate Upton.

The money realised from the sale of Florence Upton’s drawings purchased and equipped an ambulance, aptly christened ‘Golliwogg’, which went to the front and served in France during the First World War. Tony Barrett : pardeloup@aol.com

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38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 39

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Business & Finance Marketing Matters by Cindy Mobey

Promote and Measure What You Do


nce you have your business up and running, and you know who your customers are likely to be and what they like, it’s time to give some thought to how you can promote your business, your products or services to that audience.

The obvious way is to have a website, where you can put all your products or services in one place and promote the whole thing. Social Media is another popular way, Facebook in particular. You can put links to your website, or to individual product pages, you can use it to showcase new products and to ask people what they want. If you sell products, you might want to think about selling your products online, by having an online shop. You can do this via Etsy or Ebay. You can also use Amazon – there’s an Amazon Handmade site. You can also sell your wares at local craft fairs or have a regular market stall in a particular place, where people know they can find you whenever they want to. Have business cards or flyers made and have them on your stall ready to give out to potential customers…and always give one when you sell anything. Make sure that your business card has your website and social media page(s) listed. You could also do special promotions, like the bigger supermarkets do…maybe a buy one, get one free or buy one, get another half price. Or perhaps a giveaway gift if people spend over a certain amount with you. Customers love a bargain and they love a freebie and it’s a great way to promote your business. Wherever you live, there are always free directories where you can advertise your business; this might be in a free magazine or online. Wherever you can get free advertising, always take up the offer as you never know who will be reading that particular publication and who will see your advert. Of course, it’s also worth looking at paying for advertising in local papers, magazines or on a local radio station. It doesn’t usually cost too much to do this. Measurement Once you’ve promoted your business, you need to measure if the promotion you’re doing is working. Review your business regularly, so you know what forms of advertising work well for you and what don’t. •

Look at your social media sites – which posts reach the most people? Which posts get the most comments or likes? • Look at the stats for your website – which pages get the most unique views…can you work out why? • When a customer contacts you by phone or email, ask them where they heard about you, so you know which advertising is working for you. • If something you do is successful, shout about it! If you have great feedback about a particular product or service, publish it so others can read it. • Similarly, if you find something that isn’t working, then either bin it, put it aside for now or look at ways to improve whatever it is. So, good luck with looking at what worked well and what didn’t in 2016. Then spend some time deciding what you’re going to do and how to make 2017 an even better year! Email me if you need some help or advice. Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: cindymobey@outlook.com

FREE ADVERTISING! Our You Tube Channel is now live and we are inviting you to send us your short videos promoting your businesses. These will be added to our Channel and shared online, free of charge, for a 6 month period. Please email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr or share to our Facebook page. We will upload to our You Tube Channel when content is approved.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 41

Inheriting Pensions in France

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks


ne of the things I find most interesting about my job is how individuals’ circumstances are all different and how each person’s situation needs to be looked into carefully, so that the best advice is given. When you take financial advice, make sure it is personalised for your situation and the fact that you are living in France. I was asked to give advice recently to a lady we will call Mrs A, which highlights some of the pitfalls people may need to be aware of. Sadly, Mrs A’s husband had died at the age of 67. He had a private pension in the UK that had been paying him an income. Their UK adviser gave the widow the option of taking the fund as a lump sum or carry on receiving an income. If she had elected to take the lump sum, this would have been free of both inheritance tax and income tax in the UK. In France it would have been treated as a payment from husband to wife, so no French succession tax or income tax would have been due. Her adviser was not familiar with the rules in France and so did not advise Mrs A of this and she chose to take the income. This remains free of taxes in the UK, but it is all taxed as income in France – 14% in her case. There is a second issue. When Mrs A dies what is left of the pension fund will go to her children. Whilst, again, this would not be an issue in the UK, in France the fund will be liable to succession tax – 20% in this instance, but could be up to 60% if she had been leaving the money to step-children.

• • • •

The whole amount could have been invested in the assurancevie with no tax immediately payable in France. When taking income from the assurance-vie, she would only pay income tax and social charges on the growth element of the funds she had invested. Since she has held the policy for more than eight years, she will have no income tax liability as the gain element of the withdrawals will be less than the €4,600 tax free allowance. As the value of her assurance-vie is less than the €152,500 per beneficiary, no succession tax will be due when the money passes to the children.

Fortunately, this case had a favourable outcome. I was able to assist Mrs A in challenging her UK IFA, who agreed to fully recompense her. However, it highlights how important it is that the advice that you receive is designed for your circumstances in France. Although some UK advisers may be “passported” to offer advice to expatriates living abroad, they do not always have a comprehensive understanding of the French tax regime. The area of pensions can be particularly complex and whether you are resident in France or the UK can have an impact on your options and the amount of tax you pay. This is a subject I will be looking at further next month. Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

When I reviewed her situation, it was immediately clear that Mrs A had not been given the best advice for her circumstances. She already had an assurance-vie and was still under aged 70. If she had elected to take the lump sum rather than the income, she would have had the following benefits in France:

‘‘What is the best option for receiving my UK pension in France?” Talk to the people who know. contact us now on


05 49 75 07 24


Blevins Franks Group is represented in France by the following companies: Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) and Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF). BFFM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided overseas, via the Insurance Mediation Directive from Malta, the regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, register number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissement Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on www.orias.fr). BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465.


42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017


2017 French Finance Bill and Amended 2016 Finance Bill

Measures for smaller companies •

A gradual decrease of the corporate income tax rate has been put into place. A new rate of 28% will apply to small and medium sized enterprises (SME) up to a profit of €75,000. Companies that are able to benefit from the rate of 15% will retain that possibility, meaning that 3 tax rates could potentially be applied. The cap on amortisation of cars will be increased for cars with low emissions. From January 1st 2017, a new cap of €30,000 is introduced for electric cars and a cap of €20,300 can be used for hybrid vehicles with C0² emissions between 20g per km and 60g per km. The tax credit for the reduction of the cost of employment will be increased from 6% to 7% from January 2017. As a reminder, the tax credit is applied to the gross amount of salaries lower than 2.5 times the French minimum wage. Progressively VAT on petrol will benefit from the same measures as VAT on diesel. For 2017, 10% of VAT on petrol can be reclaimed. The rate will increase progressively from now until 2021.



ost of you by now know about the savings account called Assurance Vie which is an investment with tax advantage (revenues and inheritance tax) but did you know that with us, there are different sorts of Assurance Vie depending on what you expect from your money. This article will present you with one very innovative assurance vie from Allianz, which is looking to guarantee you with a regular income for the rest of your life.

Criteria for subscribing. Available to any French resident of 50 to 75 years old who have a minimum of 30 000€ to invest. Maximum 500 000€. How does it work. This investment guarantees you an income for

life hence the name Invest4Life! This income is 2.5% of the amount you invest but is re-evaluated once a year on the anniversary date of the contract and it can never come down, it can only go up! E.g.: You invest 100 000€ so you will get 2 500€ per year of income (payments can be made yearly, quarterly or monthly). After one year, your investment has gone up to 120 000€ so your new income is now 3 000€ per year. Then the year after the investment is 90 000€, your income will still be 3 000! Even if you have no money left! (in the case of a crash) you will always get the highest revenue you reached. The income can start from the age of 60 meaning you can invest the money at 50 years old but only start receiving the income at the age of 60. Even if you don’t receive the income, it is re-evaluated every year if your capital grows.

How the money is invested. The money is invested in one fund: Allianz Strategy 50. Noted 5 stars by Morningstar (Independent investment research). Allianz Strategy 50 has made 1.97% during last year, 25.23% over 3 years and 62.62% over 5 years. Of course, performances of the past are no guarantees for the future.

Measures for individuals A new advance payment of tax credits will be put in place for tax credits from 2017. The first payment will be made in 2018 as income tax assessment is presently deferred by one year from the year of earnings. As of 2018, taxpayers will receive the equivalent of 30% of their tax credits from 2017 by March 1st. This new mechanism only applies to recurring social or family tax credits such as those on child care or on the hire of home help. Extension of tax credits for energy transition (CITE): The tax credit is applied to specific work done in your home if the building has been completed for over 2 years. A detailed list of items covering insulation, energy saving boilers, windows etc. is available online or from your local tax office. The tax credit is equal to 30% of amounts spent to the limit of €16,000 for a couple and €8,000 for one person. The initial measure should have stopped December 31st but has been extended until the end of 2017. For those of you working in the building trade, make sure you’re fully registered and have the required certifications. Tax credits on the hire of home help are extended to all. Before December 31st 2016 the tax credit is only available for individuals working or on unemployment benefits. Other individuals could only ask for tax relief meaning that the excess amount couldn’t be reimbursed as a cash amount. The extension of the tax credit to all means that retired people will be able to benefit from the reimbursement. These are just a few of the new changes introduced, but for any advice, or further information, please do get in touch. Grant Thornton - French Chartered Accountants 02 47 60 56 56 Email: adam.nicol@fr.gt.com

by Isabelle Want

Fees. Entry fee is 4.50% negotiable. Usually above 100 000€, I take 0%. Management fee per year is 0.99%+ between 0.84 and 3.18% for the income guarantees (depends on your age and when you start the income).

Withdrawals. Partial and total are possible at any time. No fees. If you do a partial withdrawal, it will reduce your guaranteed income by the same %. So if you cash in 10 000€ and that represents 10% of your capital, your guaranteed income is reduced by 10%. Adding money to it. Not possible - You can open another one with 30 000€ though! Conclusion. With interest rates being at their lowest ever, it is imperative to look at alternative investments that would bring more income without risking it all. Especially, if inflation goes above the % of interest you get. If this happens, you actually lose money without realising it! Allianz has a solvability ratio that is one of the best on the market at 174% for Allianz France and 200% for Allianz Group so don’t hesitate to contact me for any further information regarding our very large range of investments. And remember to check out our website www.bh-assurances.fr for more information.

Isabelle Want: BH Assurances, Ruffec 05 45 31 01 61 or 06 71 30 39 11 Email: isabelle.want@bh-assurances.fr The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 43

No Orias: 07004255


ew Year in France is always full of changes to tax legislation as the finance bill for the current year and the amended finance bill for the previous year are published. The finance bills cover a vast number of items, but presented in the following article are just a few of the main changes that may have an effect on those of you living here in France.

by Adam Nicol, Office Director Tours Office.

Ask Amanda “Where can I find out details of any recent legislation changes which may impact my French investments?” Last month I mentioned potential changes in Assurance Vie products using “fonds en euro” investments. Since that article was published the French government have approved the Sapin II amendment outlined in January. The changes only effect ‘fonds en euro’ investments and not other Assurance Vie options offered in France. If you have any questions about your current investments or are interested in understanding more about your financial options, now you live in France, you can either call or email me on the number below or attend our April, ‘Le Tour de Finance’ roadshow in Niort.

Le Tour De Finance 5th April 2017 at Domaine de la Tuilerie from 10.00 until 14.00 hours 98 route de la Rochelle 79000, Niort Bessines www.restaurant-la-tuilerie.com (Further information can be found by following this link: http://www.ltdf.eu/5th-april-2017-niort-bessines/) Our Tour de Finance events are a great opportunity for you to meet and ask questions of several industry experts representing some of the most prominent companies in their field, covering pensions & QROPS, currency exchange, your French will, tax efficient investing, estate planning and more. 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. The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

Amanda Johnson of The Spectrum IFA Group 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 Email: amanda.johnson@spectrum-ifa.com

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017

Brexit Consequences by Sue Cook

“I receive a regular income that I need to transfer to France and I am wondering how I can fix a rate in advance and how long for? Am I able to protect myself from potential losses if markets move in the wrong direction?” Along with large transfers for property purchase or sale, regular payments are one of the main reasons for which expats transfer money to or from France. And, if making the right decision is essential when sending a large sum abroad, it is as important for smaller amounts which are transferred on a monthly or quarterly basis. Although many expats see regular transfers as a complicated and stressful process, currency specialists offer solutions that enable you to make the most of your money without any worry. Indeed, you can decide to set up Direct Debit so the payments for your pension, mortgage payments, etc., are sent automatically and you get to enjoy hasslefree transfers. According to your requirements, you may decide to choose between a variable or fixed Direct Debit plan. With a variable plan, you will obtain flexibility regarding the dates at which you can transfer (up to five different dates each month) and you will have the ability to change or stop your transfers at any time. Regarding the rates of each transfer, they will simply be the live exchange rate applicable at the date of each transaction, which means that it will fluctuate and you may get a different rate every time. If you prefer to fix  a rate for the coming 6 months to ensure that if markets fluctuate, you will still be able to transfer at the initial chosen rate, you may consider a fixed regular payment plan.  However, you should be aware that this plan generally offers less flexibility around the dates  (start and middle of each month) and is binding for a certain period, generally 6 months.  Therefore, you won’t be able to change the terms of the contract before the contract period. In some instances, alternatives to regular payments might be more suitable to your requirements. Ensuring that you find the best solution will not only save you time and hassle, but also money. It is essential that you speak to a currency specialist who will provide you guidance on the range of services available and help to protect you against markets fluctuations. Remember that every little bit that you save each month could quickly add up to a large amount, so don’t hesitate to talk to the specialists.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2017 | 45

The Magical Marais Poitevin Marais Poitevin The Magical


n the edge of the Deux-Sèvres, ‘Green Venice’ is the last remaining part of marshes which once covered this part of Western France. Today the Marais Poitevin is renowned world-wide; artists are drawn here by the magic play of light on water. Rivers wander lazily to the sea and the whole region is crisscrossed by a system of canals lined in green by willows and poplar trees – truly Venise Verte. Dotted along these waterways are pretty stone cottages and villages which entice and delight. One of the most charming is Arçais with small winding lanes and a harbour overlooked by a small château. Set in a quiet lane is a three bedroom house (Leggett ref: 70719, photo left). Its front courtyard is enclosed, paved and lined with trees while at the rear, enticingly, is a jetty with your own flat bottomed boat. There are restaurants and shops in the village, with even more in St Hilaire la Palud just 3 kms away. The house is light and airy with a spacious conservatory opening on to a terrace with steps down into the garden. For sale at 152 600€. Our next property (ref: 63412, photo right) has the most beautiful setting in a hamlet just outside lovely Coulon. Formerly farm buildings this stunning four bedroom stone home provides the perfect mix of traditional exterior blended with high spec. interiors. The bathrooms and kitchen are brand new, the décor

by Joanna Leggett

neutral - an ideal for you to move straight in and enjoy living. The garden is fully enclosed with many fruit trees and the heated pool and terrace face south. Tempting at 408 100€. Niort with its daily market and shops galore is just 4 kms away! But how about a superb stone house in a dynamic village with amenities and restaurants within walking distance? With 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms this elegant maison de maître (ref: 53566, photo left) is currently run as a B&B but would make a wonderful family or holiday home. In the village there’s a jetty for boat trips, a school and antiques while St Hilaire la Palud is again just 3 kms away! Inside there are Renaissance style doors and windows, beautiful cornicing and stone walls. Outside are large stone barns with potential (in good condition) a landscaped garden with BBQ and room for a pool! On the market at 333 900€ .. did we mention it was close to a golf course?

Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents.com/poitou-charentes-property



Ref: 71628 Charming character property in a small hamlet with 3 bedrooms, pool, gardens, workshop and barn. CHENAY €178,200

Buying or selling?

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 71306 4 bedroom detached house with 3 horse boxes, barn, workshop, garage and over 1 Ha. Edge of small village. BRIOUX SUR BOUTONNE €246,100


Ref: 71641 Exceptional 4 bed / 2 bath equestrian farmhouse on 11.8Ha offering stable block, indoor pool and workshops. ST AUBIN LE CLOUD €508,800

Ref: 68835 This character 4 bed / 2 bath townhouse with a garage is an ideal holiday home. 60kms from Poitiers airport. SECONDIGNY €82,500

Ref: 71047 Pretty stone property set in 1500m2 of mature gardens with outbuildings, between Bressuire & Parthenay. MAISONTIERS €119,900

Ref: 71033 9kms from Sauzé-Vaussais and Chef Boutonne is this fabulous 4 bed / 3 bath home with pool and garage. PIOUSSAY €278,200

Looking for a new career? Join our winning team. To find out about becoming a sales agent contact max79@leggett.fr

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


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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, February 2017  

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, February 2017  

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

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