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Annual Subscription Costs: 31,00€ within France, 20€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:.................................................................................................. Postal Address:........................................................................................... ................................................................................................................... Postcode:..................................... Country:............................................. Tel:.............................................................................................................. Email:.......................................................................................................... Please make cheques payable to SARAH BERRY.

Welcome! to Issue 59 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine.

Hi everyone, Well, that’s another New Year behind us, and a Christmas with family and friends celebrated; I hope yours were all you hoped for. Personally, I slept through most of it (2015 was a busy year!), luckily I managed to wake up for the best parts ;) 2016 - WOW! – I remember celebrating the Millennium as if it happened yesterday. But here we are, 16 years later, in a very different world. Lots of things do remain the same though, a bit like ‘The DSM’...what’s going on, clubs and associations, puzzles, trades and services, advice and information, health and beauty, cars, animal welfare, gardening, food and drink, and more, all covered monthly! We are always looking for feedback from readers to improve our magazine, your comments are very helpful. Now the festive season’s over, keep the log burner stoked and stay warm, it’ll soon be spring and time to open the shutters! See you next month... Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: Website:

à plus, Sarah

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

112 €pean Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents What’s On 4 Getting Out & About 6 Hobbies 10 Clubs & Associations 12 A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres 14 Our Furry Friends 15 Communications 18 Health, Beauty & Fitness 20 Take a Break 21 The DSM’s 2015 Quiz22 Home & Garden 24 Food & Drink 27 Motoring 30 Building & Renovation 32 Business & Finance 38 Property 41

This Month’s Advertisers

79 Renovations 35 ABORDimmo 41 Ace Pneus (Tyre supplier & Fitter) 31 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) 2 Agence Immobilier A.I.P 42 AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) 35 Alan Pearce Plumber 34 Allez Français 43 Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group 40 Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) 33 ARB French Property 24 & 43 Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 25 Argo Carpentry 37 Assurances Maucourt (GAN) 31 Bar Le Clemenceau 6 Beaux Villages Immobilier 43 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 39 Bill McEvoy (Plumber / Heating Engineer) 34 Blevins Franks Financial Management 38 Building & Renovation Services 35 Café Bonbon 6 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 41 Caniclôture Hidden Fences 16 Cherry Picker Hire 32 Chris Parsons (Heating/Electrical/Plumbing) 34 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 36 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 36 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 40 Cut 46 Hair Salon 20 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 25 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 36 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 20 Derek Marriott Plumbing and Heating 33 Down to Earth Pool Design 41 Duncan White - Agent Commerciale 42 Ecopower €pe (Solar Power) 36 Finagaz (Gas tank suppliers and installers) 33 Franglais Deliveries 31 Ginger’s Kitchen 29 Hallmark Electronique 36 Haynes Carpentry (U.P.V.C Double Glazing) 35 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 37 Irving Location - Digger Hire 32 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 32 James Moon Construction 32 Jeff’s Metalwork 37 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 31 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 24 Leggett Immobilier 42 L’Emporium Shop, L’Absie 6 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 35 ML Computers 19 Motor Parts Charente 31 M. Page Landscaping 25 Mr Piano Man 10 MSS Construction 35 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 31 Needa Hand Services 25 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 20 Paul Woods - Agent Commerciale 41 Photocreativity Film Transfers 19 Premier Autos 31 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 41 Restaurant des Canards 29 Rob Berry Plastering Services 37 Robert Lupton Electrician 36 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 18 Sarah Berry Online (Websites & Graphics) 19 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 32 Sarl PCEM (Plumbing, heating & Electricity) 33 Satellite TV 19 Simon the Tiler 37 Smart Services (Home & Garden Services) 25 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 37 Steve Robin (Plumber) 33 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 8 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 31 Val Assist (Translation Services) 8

© Sarah Berry 2016. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock, GraphicStock et Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: janvier 2016 - Tirage: 4500 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 3

What’s On...

Each Friday & Saturday - Freshly Baked Pizzas At Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys. See advert on P.6. 3rd January - 1st Stage of Dakar Rally See more on P30 or visit 6th January - Les Soldes d’Hiver (The Winter Sales) The start of the sales throughout France..... until 16th February. 8th January - Ask Amanda - Talk about your Financial Plans Will be at the English Library in Angers 10am-11am. 8th-11th January - Winter De-Stocking in Niort As part of the winter sales, more than 15,000 shoppers are expected to descend on the Parc Expo de Noron. For the 20th year, hundreds of traders sell thousands of destocked items over 4 days. Free entry. 15th-17th January - Foire au Vin Chaud In the town centre of Augé. 22rd January - Classical Music in Aiffres By the Poitou-Charentes orchestra ( 23rd January - ‘Early’ Burns Night At Restaurant des Canards. Reservations only - See advert on P.29. 23rd & 24th January - Poultry Fair in Niort At Parc des Expos de Noron. 24th January - Traditional Roast Lunch At Le Clemenceau. Reservations necessary - See advert on P6. 30th January - Curry Night At Le Clemenceau. Reservations necessary - See advert on P6.

What’s Coming Up... 6th February - Start of RBS 6-Nations Championships See for all fixtures and news 13th February - Love is in the Air At Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys. See advert on P.6. 5th March - CSSG AGM

January 2016 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, hold English speaking monthly services. 1st Sunday at 10.30am: At Chef Boutonne. Followed by tea & coffee. • 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay • 4th Sunday at 10.30am: 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 or contact us by email: •

Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71

The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15 ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2016 Friday 1st January

New Year’s Day (Jour de l’An)

Monday 28th March Sunday 1st May Thursday 5th May Sunday 8th May

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

Monday 16th May

Pentacost (Lundi de Pentecôte)

Thursday 14th July Monday 15th August

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

Tuesday 1st November Friday 11th November Sunday 25th December

All Saint’s Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël)

Wednesday 6th January Tuesday 2nd February Tuesday 9th February Sunday 14th February Thursday 3rd March Thursday 17th March Sunday 27th March

Sunday 15th May Sunday 29th May Sunday 19th June Tuesday 21st June

Sunday 2nd October Monday 31st October

Epiphany (Fête de la Galette) Chandeleur (Fête des Crêpes) Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) Valentine’s Day (Saint Valentin) Grandmother’s Day (Grands-mères) Saint Patrick’s Day Easter Sunday (Pâques)

1st & 3rd Sunday at 11am in The Barn near St Germain de Princay, Vendée and 2nd & 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, Deux-Sèvres 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: The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) Meet at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday at 11.00am. We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details

Pentacost (Pentecôte)

Mother’s Day (Fête des Mères) Father’s Day (Fête des Pères) World Music Day (Fête de la Musique) Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grand-pères) Halloween

Dates in blue represent celebration days, not public holidays.

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016


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

Eulogy Desmond Vine All at the ‘Rendez-Vous Christian fellowship’ were saddened by the passing of their much loved Secretary, Desmond Vine (Des). Des was a committed Christian, and former secretary of the All Saints Vendée Anglican Chaplaincy. He was a real Gentleman, full of wisdom, compassion and excited by his faith in Jesus, his Saviour. We all loved Des and rejoice in his life everlasting, and give thanks for the privilege of knowing and fellowshipping with him. We look forward to the day when we will meet again! Des leaves a wife, Elizabeth, and two sons Richard and Ian; our prayers are with them.

Missed an Issue?

Open 6-8.30pm

Don’t worry - you can view it online....

La Vendée Chippy We are closed for January but will be back every Wednesday night at ‘Auberge le St Vincent, St Vincent Sterlanges from Weds 17 February and every Friday evening at ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds from Fri 12 February.

Visit and go to Distribution>Magazine Archives.

Top Hat Quiz & Curry

Saturday 6 Feb find us at ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 -

From 7pm

Open 6 - 8pm

Fish 4 Chip + Authentic Indian meals

Dates & Venues for January: 7th: 11th: 13th: 18th:

Chef Boutonne Limalonges Aigre Theil Rabier

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 - more info at


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

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

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


Benet 85490 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Lezay 79120 Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Parthenay 79200 Celles-sur-Belle 79370 Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Thouars 79100 - and - Melle 79500 Bressuire 79300 - and - Champdeniers 79220 Chef-Boutonne 79110 Airvault 79600 - and - Niort 79000 Saint Maixent-l’École 79400 Fontenay-le-Comte 85200 Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170

Mr T’s Friterie

Open 6.30-9pm

CLOSED FOR JANUARY & FEBRUARY REOPENS 3RD MARCH 2016 See for details or call 06 02 22 44 74

Reel Fish & Chips

Open 6.30-9pm


(See our website for venue details)


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 5

Getting Out & About

Small Colour Advert

only 35€



from Aidez Association We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the help and support you have given us over the years. Our Christmas Market 2015 was, once again, a great success - and it was our last (as Aidez). We are handing over to the very competent team at CSSG who will continue. The Christmas Market for 2016 is already booked for the 4th December. After ten years of successfully raising money for local charities we are pleased that it will continue under the umbrella of CSSG. Committee of Aidez.

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

We post regular updates, things to do and promote special offers on our page, so why not pop over and say “Hello”!

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016



by Janet Greenwood

ince March 2014, I have been elected as a member of the local council (Conseil Municipal) in Le Busseau. Although under European directive 94/80 EC 20 January 1995 people of European origin were allowed to stand in municipal elections, 2014 was the first time that it actually occurred in practice in France. At the time of the election, I really thought I wouldn’t stand a chance of getting elected as there was only one British person registered to vote on the electoral roll. I reasoned that the French community would probably not want to vote for me. How wrong was I? At the moment we have 5 Brits who have registered to vote, but we clearly need to work on that! As ex-pats we are only currently eligible to vote in local commune elections and in the European elections. Therefore, National, Departmental and Regional elections are, for the moment, out of our reach. Although it seems that our British community has been a bit shy in getting involved with the electoral process - it is simple enough to register. You just need to go along to your local mairie to see the mayor’s secretary and ask to register (inscrire). You need to take your passport with you. You will need to fill in a form that will ask you some basic questions. Once completed, the forms will be sent to the prefecture to be added to the electoral role. A separate form (that asks you the very same questions) will need to be completed if you wish to register for voting in European elections. To be able to vote next year you have to be registered by the 31 December of this year. Admittedly, the next round of local (municipal) elections will not be until 2020, so in order to be eligible to vote you will need to be registered by 31 December 2019. As I write, we are currently in the middle of the Regional elections. You may be already aware that the French Government has introduced some changes to the way that local government is organised. It seems to be tending towards a re-centralisation of control, a move not seen here in France since the time of Napoleon. In the 1980’s it was de-centralisation that was the buzz word, but things are changing. Interestingly, the Government seems to persist in calling the move de-centralisation but the net effect of its actions is to take the power and control away from the departments and hand it over to the new regions.

The National Assembly and the Senat voted this year to adopt a re-organisation of regional boundaries in France. This is known as La Réforme Territoriale, which is supported by a series of new laws; ‘la loi de NOTre’ (Nouvelle organisation territoriale de la Republique). The French Government offer the following by way of an explanation for the reorganisation: “due to the speed and change caused by globalisation and the enlargement of the EU, modern France has changed profoundly. Over a 30 year period there are more than 10 million inhabitants in France and the old boundaries between town and country are increasingly receding with ¾ of the population now living in 20% of the land available”. For us in the Deux-Sèvres department, the reforms and reorganisation will mean that the Poitou-Charentes region is about to merge with the Aquitaine and Limousin regions. This fusion will start to materialise from 1st January 2016, though it will not be fully operational until January 2017. The regional elections that are currently taking place are for the election of new councillors to represent the new regions. For the moment, the new region will be imaginatively known as Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. Later on, it is expected that a new more appealing name for the new region will be debated and voted upon. The reorganisation and fusing of departments is affecting the whole of France. From the current 22 regions, 13 much larger regions will be created. Within each new region a Metropole or capital city has been appointed, which will have the responsibility for running the region, managing and funding its resources, including transport networks, and also university research and innovation resources. It will also be responsible for promoting the area on an international level. For the Deux-Sèvres department, Bordeaux will now be our ’metropole’. By reorganising the many departments and regions into fewer but much larger areas, the government is promising to improve the current confusion within the multiple levels of decision-making in Local Government. They say that this will lead to a public service that is easier to understand and access, and will lower public expenditure and better address the needs of its citizens. For the moment, at least, on a practical level things will not change a great deal for the majority of us ‘Deux -Sèvrians’. However, there are further changes in the pipeline which may well impact our lives later on. There will certainly be changes to our administrative systems on a more local level so keep your ears to the ground!

W ISE WORDS... NEW Y EAR RESOLUT IONS time for looking back and New Year’s Eve has long been the and more importantly, looking reflecting on the past, but also, forward to the future.

Many of us use the New Year as a kick-start to the ‘New Me’ and make New Year’s Resolutions to start the ball rolling. We’ve all done fact the most common 10 New Year resolutions are: 1. Lose Weight and Get Fit 2. Quit Smoking 3. Learn Something New 4. Eat Healthier and Diet 5. Get Out of Debt and Save Money 6. Spend More Time with Family 7. Travel to New Places 8. Be Less Stressed 9. Volunteer 10. Drink Less

These are just ten, but the list is endless and most of us fall by the wayside sooner or later. Perhaps we should be more realistic and set achievable, specific goals. Instead of saying “I’m going to lose weight” why not opt instead for “I’m going to join a gym” or “I’m going to stop eating chocolate in the evenings”. The end result would probably be the same in the long run but you would have had the pleasure of going to the gym or had a square of chocolate at lunchtime instead of an evening and been able to burn off the calories during the afternoon. (No point in getting older if you don’t get craftier!!). Whatever you do though be happy & healthy in 2016.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 7

Look Before You Leap

by Sue Burgess

Une année bissextile (leap year) is a year with 366 (trois cent soixante-six) days and not 365. February (février) will have 29 (vingt-neuf) days. The term comes from the Latin bis-sextilis, which means deux fois (bis) sixième (sextus), that is to say twice (le sixième jour avant les calendes de mars) the sixth day before the Calends of March in the Roman calendar. Since the adjustment of the Gregorian calendar, (le calendrier grégorien) the year will be a leap year IF: • the year can be divided by 4 but not by 100 (si l’année est divisible par 4 et non divisible par 100) • the year can be divided by 400 (si l’année est divisible par 400). So, 2016 is a leap year, as was 2008 since it could be divided by 4. 1900 was not a leap year as it could be divided by 100 but 2000 WAS a leap year as it could be divided by 400. The habit of adding an extra day (journée intercalaire) in order to catch up the difference between the civil year (année civile) and the solar year (année solaire) goes back to the Romans. Julius Caesar (Jules César) instituted a 365 day year with an extra day every four years. This extra day was placed just before the 24th February (le vingt quatre février). Later on it was fixed at the 29th February. The Summer Olympics (les jeux olympiques d’été) are held every four years – each leap year. However, the Games also took place in 1900 when they were held in Paris.

Leap years (les années bissextiles) give rise to different proverbs and sayings: • •

• •

Quand février prend un jour, souvent des catastrophes il est lourd (when February is a day longer there are often a lot of disasters) N’aie nulle peur de l’année bissextile mais celle d’avant et celle d’après (Don’t be afraid of a leap year, but of the one that comes before it and the one that comes after) En année bissextile, garde du blé pour l’an qui suit (In a leap year keep wheat for the following year) L’année bissextile, soyez fin, semez du chanvre au lieu du lin (In a leap year, be smart, sow hemp instead of flax).

‘The DSM’ Advertiser Feedback...

We are pleased with the service and the advertisement - it has really helped bring in new custom.

In the French republican calendar (le calendrier républican français) the extra day was in the autumn at Revolution Day (jour de la révolution) generally the day after the 21st September.

Please note that also gives ‘cannabis’ as a translation for chanvre.

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire: a leap .............................................

un bond / un saut

to leap over something ................. sauter par dessus

to leap ............................................


to leap on the bandwagon ............ prendre le train en marche

a leap involving risk .......................

le grand saut

to leap to conclusions ................... tirer des conclusions

leap year ........................................

une année bissextile

to increase by leaps and bounds... augmenter de façon démésurée

to look before you leap ..................

regarder où on met ses pieds

to leap for joy ............................... bondir de joie

quantum leap .................................

un bond en avant

a leap in the dark .......................... un saut sans l’inconnu

leapfrog (game) ..............................


that’s one small step for a man c’est un petit pas pour un and a giant leap for mankind ........ homme, mais un bond de géant

to leap at the opportunity to do sauter sur l’occasion something ....................................... 8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

pour l’humanité

January and ‘Les Calendriers Des Mois Romane’


by Howard Needs

anuary as depicted in the medieval year calendars is a month of repose after the religious festival and the coming of the new year. However, in practice it was also the month of the repair of tools and buildings, and the preparation of the land for the crops of spring. It was also the commencement of the slow famine at the end of winter when the salted meat and the stored grain and fruits of autumn would be running out. We see this reflected in the calendars themselves with the three main themes for January. One is Janus, a Roman God, here substituting for a Christ figure found in earlier Roman calendars, which in its turn replaced Annus representing the year or year end in antiquity. Janus is represented as a young person with two or three faces; one facing over a shoulder to the past, the other the future and when present the third central face is a jolly character feasting with wine cup and food in his hands – the last joyous meal of winter perhaps. These Janus figures not only have three faces but also four arms and have nothing Christian at all in their representation. Again an instance of the Christian church adapting something pagan for its own ends. Sometimes a door is to be seen, a door into the future year with a young person opening it. Some of this symbolism can be found in Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’. In other churches we see a peasant sitting in front of a fire with his socks off hanging up to dry and his boots on the floor next to the fire. Multiple layers of clothing were necessary in the time of the Little Ice Age between 1300 and 1800 in Europe - leggings and high boots, mantle with hood and perhaps a wolf-fur outer cloak. All these can be seen in the churches with calendars. Another much less frequent representation is a peasant out in the fields wielding a hoe, breaking the soil up for the spring planting, or perhaps cleaning out drainage ditches, or digging out clay to improve soil or weather proof his cottage. The general impression gained from the country calendars is one of cold, discomfort and hard work. On the other hand the illustrated manuscripts, which were destined for church and nobility, showed another aspect altogether of comfort and relative luxury, rich clothes, food and drink. Nothing changes does it?

Photos by Howard Needs © 2016. Top Right: Janus three faces and four arms: Indre, Paulnay, Église Saint-Étienne. Above Left: Peasant warming feet and drying socks: Loir-et-Cher, Sage-sur-Braye, Église Saint-Martin. Above Right: Janus opening the door to the new year.Creuse, Clairavaux, Église de l’Assomption de la Vierge.

CONTRIBUTIONS... We are always looking for new articles for consideration in future issues. You can call Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 with any ideas, or send them on an email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthlyfr The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 9

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


Title, cover and description are the three essentials to complete your beautifully written and edited book. If you don’t nail these, few will pick it up or download it. This month, we’ll look at titles. Although there is no copyright on book titles in English, I wouldn’t publish one called Gone with the Wind or The Big Sleep. You could confuse, or worse, annoy potential readers. If going the traditional route, don’t be surprised if the publisher changes your (beloved) title to suit market conditions. With indie (self-)publishing, you can choose your own title, but think long and deep first.

Dos and Don’ts

Search on the internet for your title and check any unfortunate connotations e.g. porn, criminality, association with a dictator. Check titles that don’t appeal to you as a reader. Too short/long, too broad/generic, obscure, wrong for the genre, unintentionally comical? Broad titles like Love and Hope, Living my Life, or Making Choices sound amateurish because they don’t tell the reader what the story is about. Unless used for comic effect, over-long titles can look contrived. And your cover designer will curse you. The protagonist’s name can be a safe choice, e.g. Jane Eyre, Daniel Deronda, Madam Bovary and ‘enhanced’ names like Bridget Jones’ Diary or a character’s occupation e.g. The Time Traveller’s Wife work well. Other specific ideas include location names such as Cold Mountain or Mansfield Park and the inciting incident or main event The Hunger Games, Murder on the Orient Express. Themes worked for Jane Austen, e.g. Pride and Prejudice. Quotes from the Bible or Shakespeare and song titles are fertile areas, but don’t use a line from the song or you’ll have to pay! Sometimes a clever twist on a traditional rhyme says it all, e.g. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

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10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

Genre keywords

Romances will often have ‘love’, ‘lover’, ‘heart’, ‘kiss’, while thrillers will have ‘conspiracy’, ‘power’, ‘strike’, ‘code’, ‘sanction’; crime titles often use ‘murder’, ‘kill’, ‘vengeance’, ‘dead’ and ‘cold’. Historicals, depending on their period, could use use ‘sail’, ‘castle’, ‘knight’, ‘eagle’, the name of historic town/battle/ figure, ‘princess’/’queen’, ‘wolf’, ‘kingdom’, ‘realm’, ‘war’, a religious reference, foreign language name (e.g. INCEPTIO). With sci-fi you’ll often see ‘star’, ‘space’, ‘alien’, ‘empire’, ‘galaxy’, (something) world, e.g. Discworld. And in paranormal fiction, ‘blood’, ‘demon’, ‘vampire’, ‘moon’. And not least, fantasy often includes ‘lord’, ‘magic’, ‘quest’, ‘sword’, throne’ or ‘dragon’. But don’t be tempted by titles like The Quest of Sdkfadofkjalgh; this would be awkward to type in the search box online and impossible to ask for in the bookshop! Put a hook in the title that gets the reader asking who, what and why? Nevil Shute’s book titles are brilliant for this; Requiem for a Wren, A Town Like Alice. For non-fiction, a short first title grabs the reader’s attention, then a longer subtitle explains what makes the book different. Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith Military or civilians? The curious anomaly of the German Women’s Auxiliary Services during the Second World War And lastly, ask your fellow writers, your key reader audience, writing tutors, other authors. Believe me, all writers agonise over titles and many don’t finalise them until the book is written. Alison has compiled the articles from this column into The 500 Word Writing Buddy, available on Amazon. Her fourth novel, AURELIA, is out now


by James Luxford

A trio of powerful actresses underpin this month’s film choices, with all four of the movies below tipped for big things come award season. TANGERINE (Out Now) A rude, energetic LA story about two prostitutes tearing up The City of Angels on Christmas Eve in search of a promiscuous boyfriend. Filmed entirely on iPhones, this is independent filmmaking at its finest, with a sharp script and savvy performers making a vivid and memorable story that stands out as one of the most original pieces of cinema in the last 12 months. While it may not be one for the whole family, those who like their cinema with a little bit of edge will be in heaven. CAROL (13th January) Kate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in this 50s set drama, about a gay woman trapped in a loveless marriage (Blanchett) and her relationship with a young, naïve sales assistant (Mara). The film has emerged as an award favourite and it’s clear to see why, as director Todd Haynes’ film is nothing short of superb. The two lead performances are flawless and captivating, creating a love story that keeps you gripped from beginning to end that opens intelligent discussions about sexuality through the prism of our repressive past. LEGEND (20th January) Two Tom Hardys for the price of one! The acclaimed British actor plays both of the infamous Kray twins, who ruled London with violence and intimidation during the 1950’s and 60s. American director Brian Helgeland (‘L.A. Confidential’) creates a very stylised portrayal of an infamous period of London’s history, which one imagines is derived as much from rumour as it is from fact. Nevertheless Hardy is stunning in both roles, managing to produce two very different characters on the same screen. HE NAMED ME MALALA (27th January) Most documentaries have a story to tell, but few quite as unique as ‘He Named Me Malala’. Filmmaker Davis Guggenheim follows the journey of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who has persistently campaigned for better education for women despite violent attempts made on her life. While the subject is undoubtedly fascinating, the documentary wanders too regularly to do such an inspirational woman justice. However, despite this cinematic indiscipline, it is a film that will be captivating both for those familiar with her story, and those coming to it for the first time. Release dates are nationwide in France.

Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: Parthenay Cinema: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: and find others at

YOUR Book Reviews

Huge thanks go to regular reviewer, Dennis Walby for this month’s submissions. If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email:

‘Gentlemen and Players’ by Joanne Harris There is a little of everything here. I remember a bit of a fuss about a book called ‘Chocolat’ that the author, Joanne Harris, wrote in 1999. Reading is always a voyage of discovery and I think I may well read others by her in the future, despite the fact she is so popular. Begone foul snobbery. Reading should be fun. The ‘blurb’ on the cover may attract or have the opposite effect. But for anyone who has been a teacher, or even just been to school, the characters are so believable. Well, with one exception. It is very important to identify the method the author uses. It’s all told in the first person but by two different characters. The clue is the chess piece at the beginning of each chapter. A king and a pawn. In fact, the plot is somewhat like a chess game but pay attention or a reader could become confused. It would be like taking too long over a move in chess. It is very difficult to identify with either character, or perhaps best not to. The victim almost deserves it and the perpetrator has problems that almost excuses the actions. There is murder, so I suppose it comes into the genre of mystery thriller. Some of the mayhem, of course, comes from the other players who are deceived by a grand master. The characters rescue it from that because the reader knows who ‘done’ it and the development is intriguing. Well, the reader may think they know! The author disclaims any resemblance to characters she has known; believe it if you will.

‘Depths’ by Henning Mankell

2004 English translation 2006

For those who enjoy the lowering gloom of recent Swedish TV detective series, this could be the book for you. Set in Sweden at the beginning of the First World War, it is not about national conflict. It is about a personal conflict. It is necessary to say that it is very difficult to empathise with Lars, the leading character. In fact, he is quite an unpleasant person. A combination of the teasing first two chapters does incite some curiosity. Why has this woman escaped from an asylum in 1937? The remaining 204 chapters explain all. Some of the chapters are very short, thus the impression of an epic. The author has written several books, but this has to be his gloomiest. Full of ice floes and cold, it reflects the character perfectly. Various other characters drift by, like ships that pass in the night. Indistinct, yet an important part of the tale. If it is possible to travel into the freezing fog past about a dozen chapters, one is compelled to be swept along with the ebbing tide to the end. Read this wrapped in a cosy blanket, as it is rather chilling for the whole journey. But there is a faint glimmer of spring sunshine in a well-deserved completion of the voyage. An almost happy ending. by D.Walby

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 11

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


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or call Richard on 05 49 63 41 09.


If you enjoy singing and would be interested in starting a close-harmony group near Chef-Boutonne, please get in touch! Email me, Christine for further information:

Bilingual LitFest: 24-26 June 2016, Voulmentin 79150

We would welcome volunteers to distribute publicity, act as marshals, offer technical support, transport or accommodation. To join the team and register as a friend of the festival contact Howard Needs:

Shamanic Drum circle for laughter and health.... held in Chanteloup Salle (near Bressuire - dept. 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:

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: or Tel Website Short URL:

Fitness Class with James

A fun & lively Aerobic/fitness class run on a voluntary basis. Tuesday evenings 7-8pm at Salle de Fete in La Chapelle St Etienne. All ages, nationality & gender welcome. 15€ membership for the year which covers insurances & room. For further details please email James: THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:

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

Franglais at Bressuire

The Phoenix Chorale

We are a netball team in Vasles (79340). We meet every Monday 5-6pm 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:

An English speaking choir. We sing 3 or 4 concerts of seasonal and classical music, often including readings and poetry. Based near Charroux (86), we are always looking for new members. If interested, call 05 45 89 14 84 or 05 49 48 29 68.


Why not come and practise your French with a friendly and convivial group of French and English speakers? Each Wednesday evening (8-10pm) at the Centre Socio-Culturel in Bressuire. Phone Jan for further details 05 49 65 60 34.

Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

Grumpy’s Celebrated ‘Fun Quiz Night’ is looking for new victims. For all details contact me by email: Next Quiz is Sat 24th Oct in Ste.Gemme

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

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

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

Les Amis Solitaires

We are a group of people living alone in France. We meet up for coffee mornings from 11am, every 2nd & 4th Thursday at The Lemon Tree in Sauzé Vaussais. More details from Gwen on 05 49 87 91 79 or email:

AL-ANON Support Group

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

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

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.

Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)

by Terri Laverick

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all friends and members of CSSG. May you have a prosperous New Year and very loose pockets for us to relieve you of your cash in aid of our good causes! To be absolutely honest, although that is meant in a spirit of fun, we do really need your money this coming year. Therefore, later in the article I will list the activities that we have already in our diary for you to make notes on your calendar. I know I did this last month, but you will have your new calendars and diaries now. As of 1st January, CSSG and Aidez will become one entity. We will continue to aid the same charities as before, but will be running the Christmas Market in Terves with the help and experience of the committee of Aidez. The venue and support for the traders will remain the same as in previous years so no one should notice any difference. Your continued support will be most appreciated in this new (for us) venture. The summer Garden Party will be held in St Pardoux and hopefully will be supported by many more traders this year. The date for your diary: 10th July 2016 so please contact me if you would like your name on the list of stall holders: terri.laverick@ The Aidez Summer Fair and the CSSG Garden Party will be amalgamated this year, so if you normally have a stall at the Aidez event, come and join us, you will be more than welcome. A day of entertainment and fun is on the agenda. Reservation forms can be obtained from the above email address. I understand that it’s several months away, but how times flies. Dates for your diary: • 5th March; the CSSG AGM will be held at the Cafe des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux, breakfast is available before the meeting and there will also be a raffle. • 8th May; Jan Smith will be hosting a Clear Your Clutter for Charity Event in La-Ferriere-en-Parthenay, we shall be serving Tea, Coffee and Cakes. • 10th July; the Garden Party (see previous paragraph). • 4th December; Terves Christmas Market, hopefully no elections this year will cause panic amongst the Committee. Once again, may I wish all our members and friends, and you the reader, a VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR from all of us at CSSG. If you would like to join us or help at any of our events, please contact me at the above email address.

Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. including contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows. Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 45€ per annum will be requested. How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us:

by Kate Jouanneau

Well let me start off by saying “a very Happy New Year to you all” and if you’re anything like me, you’ll have made lots of very sensible resolutions (all of which will be promptly forgotton when I next go into a supermarket or am invited for apéritifs). Looking back over 2015, it was a really good year for Reaction Theatre. The Spring production of ‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ was a great success as usual, with a brilliant cast, crew and Sue Daniels surpassing herself with a fantastic set design that made the show a delight to watch – let’s hope she cooks up something equally as good for this year’s play. This Spring’s effort is in the pipeline, so watch this space for more details and feel free to get involved. Keynotes performed at several venues last year and were even mentioned in the local paper for their contribution to the tribute paid to Sir Winston Churchill in Parthenay. The annual Christmas Cornucopia held early last December was followed the next day by a carol service held in Secondigny church. Both were widely appreciated by French and English audiences, with very good turn-outs to both evenings (Margaret Round was seen to be very chuffed by it all, and some would even go so far as to say jolly). Don’t forget, the choir is always looking for new voices, so if you’d like a new activity for 2016, don’t hesitate to get in touch. With his ever-ready group of helpers, John Blair put together and organised numerous workshops for the Art Scene goers, making sure the group never lacked for interesting subject matter and special guest artists to enrich the lessons and techniques being taught. The group also had a mini exhibition at the end of December, which was a lovely way to end the year. If you’d like to join this friendly bunch you may like to see what John has planned for them until mid March on the Reaction Theatre website, and contact him for more information. 2015 saw us set up a Facebook page called Reaction Theatre Association. It is an open page that allows members and nonmembers alike to see what we have been getting up to. The difference between the RT website and the Facebook page is that you are able to leave comments and messages. So on the whole, it’s more interactive and we encourage you to be so. As usual, I’ll finish up by saying that if you have any questions don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’d love to have you join us to make this up-and-coming year just as successful as the last. Once again, here’s to a wonderful and productive 2016 - we look forward to seeing you throughout the year (and fingers crossed my resolutions last a bit longer this time around). For further questions on any of the information mentioned in my articles you can contact me directly or check out the Reaction Theatre website: or visit our Facebook page : Reaction Theatre Association.

u u

Contact Email:

Kate Jouanneau on 06 77 51 55 16

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 13

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

by Sue Burgess

still used for events today and in particular for the René Caillé festival and the annual Music Festival in June. The port The old port used to be the largest port in the Marais Poitevin.

MAUZÉ THOUARSAIS The inhabitants of Mauzé Thouarsais are known as the Mauzéens and Mauzéennes. The river Argenton runs along the borders of the commune for three kilometres. The town of Mauzé Thouarsais is situated 4 km West of Thouars and 22 km from Bressuire. The old port of Mauzé sur le Mignon. Photo: wikipedia Tux-Man

MAUZÉ SUR LE MIGNON Mauze’s latin name means ‘placed in the middle of the waters’. On the border of the Deux-Sèvres and Charente Maritime, at the southern edge of the Marais Poitevin, the town is crossed by the river Mignon and its canal. Mauzé sur le Mignon used to be the largest port of the Venise Verte. Mauzé was a wine growing town, ruined by phylloxera, then there was milling and a dairy. It was a cattle market town and important for the wood industry before the disappearance of the ROL factory. Today the economic activity of the town is varied. Mauzé sur le Mignon is home to the head office of Pierre Guérin Technologies – an equipment maker for the food and bio-chemical industries. There is also a factory producing decorative wood panels. There are 2 supermarkets and about 40 different commercial activities. In 1035 Guillaume-le-Bâtard, the first known lord, defended the château of Mauzé which was beseiged by Othon. During the wars between the English and the French, Porteclie, the lord of Mauzé and Marans, tried in vain to stop John Lackland, the King of England. John stayed in Mauzé in April and July 1215. In 1225 Louis VIII gave the château of Mauzé to Hugues De Lusignan who fortified it. Two round towers and a portion of the walls along the Bretagne still remain. The remparts were demolished in the 16th century to avoid huge taxes.

Soulbrois, Fontenay, La Capinière, Le Ruault, Villiers, Vibreuil, Juigny and La Gouraudière are all hamlets dependent on the commune of Mauzé Thouarsais. On Cassini’s map representing France between 1756 and 1789, the village is known as Mauzé. In the Middle Ages, the lands of Mauzé belonged to the Duchy of Thouars. Le fief du Boisbaudran (Bois Baudron and today’s Bourg) belonged to the Chambes (ou Jambes) family. Le fief de Sourdis (Ligron and Bas-Mauzé today) belonged to the Escoubleau family. The name of Mauzé-Thouarsais first appeared in 1492, when the Sire of Mauzé Etienne d’Escoubleau de Sourdis married Jeanne de Tusseau, the daughter of Guillaume, Lord of the Millanchère d’Azay-sur-Thouet. Until 1865, the village of Ligron was part of the commune of Mauzé-Thouarsais. But after a petition from the people of Ligron, the village was attached to Ste Radegonde in February 1865. Rigné has been attached to Mauzé-Thouarsais since the 1st January 1973. There are approximately 2062 inhabitants (1574 for Mauzé and 488 for Rigné). An important quarry owned by the company Roy extracting microgranite (pink) and microdiorite  (blue) is exploited at La Gouraudière. It supplies millions of tons of stones for road and railways. A VOIR / MUST SEE

Henri IV visited Mauzé at the age of 12 and then in 1587 and in 1588. On both occasions, he stayed for three days.

The wars of Religion did not spare Mauzé. In 1568, all the churches were destroyed, only Saint-Pierre church, which was set on fire, was rebuilt over a century later.

The little town was given a new lease of life during the 18th century because of the Route Royale (Royal Road) that crossed it. There were numerous inns and the wine and eaux-de-vie business made several families rich. At the revolution, Mauzé, which had been for a long time part of Aunis, became the main town of one of the cantons of the Deux-Sèvres. In 1842, the bust of René Caillie, the ‘vainqueur de Tombouctou (the victor of Timbuktu)’, was inaugurated and it was decided to celebrate his memory each year on the 4th Sunday of June. The railway line was opened in 1852 and the canal du Mignon was finished in 1880. Farming was completely changed by the destruction of the vines by phylloxera aphids. Flourmills replaced the old mills at Mauzé, at Petit-Jouet and Mallet. A dairy was built. The Fairs grew and the marketplace was enlarged to receive several thousand animals. Mauzé was the site of the last combat to completely liberate the Deux-Sèvres on the 6th September 1944. Today Mauzé is bordered on one side by the railway and on the other by the ring road. A VOIR / MUST SEE • St Pierre’s church is a romanesque building dating from 1080 • The bandstand/la kiosque à Musique The bandstand has become something of an icon. It stands in the town centre on the site of the ancient cattle market. It is 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

• • • • •

There are several ruined standing stones on the commune which prove that man has long lived in this area – the dolmens de ‘Saint Père’, ‘Champ de la Salle’ and ‘Pile Verte’. The old Benedictine Abbey Notre Dame de Chambon near La Capinière. The remains have been converted into housing. The abbey was one of the largest in the area and dates from 1212. The old château of the Bachelier wine press. Today’s manor house is all that is left of a medieval castle which was partly destroyed during the 16th century. The dukes of Thouars used to make their wine in this château which has been a listed building since 1933. The 19th century church with its modern style stained glass windows in the nave and old style windows in the choir and the transept. Rigné church with its modern stained glass windows. The church dates from the 15th century and was restored in 2005. It is dedicated to St Hilaire. The logis de Laudairie, in Ruault de Rigné. This mansion house used to belong to Ange Achille Charles de Brunet, count of Neuilly (1777-1863), and mayor of Rigné from 1820 to 1830. Juigny pond which spreads over 50 hectares. The Argenton river valley Between 1565 and the revolution, there was a pottery works at Rigné. The Thouars museum houses some of its blue and yellow pottery.

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

Our Furry Friends Photos: Brian Preece © 2016

by Brian Preece


Forgotten Panda by Brian Preece


robably everyone is aware of the Giant Panda and its endangered status as the result of frequent reports in the media about the love life of the pair at Edinburgh Zoo and through the design, by the late Peter Scott, of the Giant Panda as the emblem of the World Wildlife Fund. The future of the Giant Panda has been ensured by the use of artificial insemination in China. However, that has presented a problem in itself. There are now large numbers of cubs with an uncertain future due to the loss of their natural habitat and the absence of suitable places for their relocation. Fewer people are aware that the much smaller cousin of the Giant Panda, the Red Panda, is equally critically endangered as the result of the loss of habitat and fragmentation of populations. Although red pandas are omnivorous they rely principally on bamboo as the main constituent of their diet. Predominantly found in the Himalayas, the previously healthy populations have crashed in recent years and a viable zoo population may be the only way to ensure the red panda’s survival. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s many of the red pandas held in captivity had been caught in the wild and in 1985 there were only 160 specimens held around the world. Reports from those times indicated that wild-caught animals suffered high mortality in the first six months of their arrival in various zoological collections. In more recent years there has been a thriving population, approaching 1,000, of captive-bred animals living under modern husbandry conditions. Over the past thirty years there has been a changing pattern of disease problems in adult red pandas. In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s there were considerable problems in finding a suitable

diet for those red panda recently caught from the wild and this led to dental problems and loss of body condition. A better understanding of red panda biology has led to several diets being specially formulated to improve their need for a high fibre intake. In recent years both the reproductive and survival rates of red pandas have increased considerably and 20% of the records refer to animals that have survived beyond ten years of age. However, that has brought its own problems as more chronic conditions have become apparent, especially those associated with heart and kidney conditions as animals have become obese. It is difficult to manage body weight when food is provided and the animals do not need to forage for themselves. Instead they spend much of their time seeking privacy and safety in the height and foliage of trees where they spend many hours resting, sleeping and digesting their high fibre food. A recent meeting in China held in November 2015 had, as one of its main objectives, the need to raise the critically endangered status of the red panda to a wider audience. Within a reasonable distance of the Deux-Sèvres both the Bioparc at Doué la Fontaine and the Zoo de la Palmyre at Royan have red pandas. Brian Preece is a veterinary surgeon who has been receiving autopsy reports from around the world and researching the pathology of red pandas for the past 20 years. His most recent contribution to red panda conservation was a chapter on “Red Panda Pathology” in the book “Red Panda” in 2011. He is currently working on a report for the meeting in China and seeking collaboration with others in establishing a database on a similar subject. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 15

A New Hope?

by Nigel Franks, NALA

First let me wish you, on behalf of NALA, all the best for 2016. When we started with NALA, we were involved with saving and helping individual animals, but eventually realised that prevention is just as important. So we’ve been concentrating more and more on dealing with the authorities, trying to get them to enforce the existing legislation concerning animal welfare and the obligations of owners. We are also lobbying for the authorities to put more effort into informing the public of the benefits of sterilising their pets. It’s a bit of a struggle, as it’s clear that we are seen as a pain in the neck. In fact, in one meeting, we were told that if we demanded that the laws for animal welfare were applied more strictly then they would close down the animal shelters as they always have more animals than their official capacity. That made us wonder if that’s why many associations don’t make waves: perhaps they are afraid of such reprisals. In our opinion it’s a shame, as we believe that by solving the cause of the problem, in the long run it’s possible to alleviate more suffering. Many shelters concentrate only on the individual animals and don’t want to get involved in politics. Notwithstanding this difference of opinion, we have the utmost respect for the work that they do and urge you to support them. I know that a number of DSM readers are volunteers. Many thanks to you for the work that you do. Once you start to think of the wider picture, it’s difficult to know where to stop. We started to question our attitudes towards other animals, which led us to become vegetarians and then to adopt a vegan lifestyle. It also broadened our personal activism to include the environment - if that’s messed up then saving animals becomes moot. I’m writing this on the day after the COP21 climate change conference ended, with the publication of an agreed document. In my opinion, at a first glance, it’s a step in the right direction but a bit flimsy. I personally believe that everybody has to play their part and not just rely on solutions coming from above. Of course, for some things, like reducing the emissions from the production of electricity or encouraging the use of electric vehicles, national policies are needed. However, we can also make a big difference with our lifestyle choices. Agriculture is a big source of greenhouse gas emissions, especially raising livestock. Producing one kilo of beef can generate the same greenhouse gas emissions (about 20 kilos of CO2 equivalent) as using 8 litres of petrol.  Dairy products are nearly as bad. Other types of meat are less CO2 intensive. I have a suggestion for a New Year’s resolution that will make you healthier, wealthier and help combat climate change (no, it’s not to adopt a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle).  Spend 10% less on meat and dairy: instead of buying a kilo, just buy 900 grams, if buying prepacked, look for the smaller packs. You could also try dairy free alternatives to milk and yoghurt. Unfortunately France is way behind the UK in terms of meat and dairy substitutes: in the UK the major supermarkets have their own brand as well as the national brands. In France, you’ll be lucky to find more than a couple of soja burgers or soya yoghurts. Humans are not carnivores, but cats are, so we have no choice other than to feed them what they need. Such as Kitty and Kiara, kute, kuddly little karnivores looking for new homes. They had a difficult start in life, narrowly escaping starvation. They are now a healthy pair of little kittens about 6 months old who have been raised by a loving foster mum in a household with some other cats. More details can be found on our website:

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016


a 5 month old Spaniel x Pointer x Beagle puppy This little angel is Gatsby, a loving, affectionate and very playful little boy.  He loves his squeaky toys and chasing after rolling balls and he LOVES people.  He gets on well with other dogs and is learning all about ‘doggy etiquette’ from his foster carer’s Border Collie who is teaching him the rules of being a dog and keeping him in his place. It’s a joy to watch them play together!   He is being taught the basics, sit, stay, lie down etc and is a fast learner, although cautious when faced with new unknowns. He is very cuddly and loves to curl up on a lap if you are sitting on the floor.  Gatsby needs human contact and likes to stay close to people, he would need a fenced garden to run around in and play in safety.  Gatsby is chipped, vaccinated and wormed and will be neutered on adoption. If you’d like to adopt Gatsby, or would like more information, please contact his foster carer, Eleanor, on 09 60 17 24 68 - Association Orfée is delighted to announce a forthcoming event… The opening of their first Charity Shop Situated at 3 rue du Vivier, 79390 La Ferrière-en-Parthenay, our planned opening date is 6th April 2016.   We shall be selling good quality new and used clothes, jewellery,  animal related goods, CD’s, DVD’s, plants, bric-abrac, furniture and much, much more - in fact anything else you kindly donate for us to sell and raise funds. Of course before all this can happen, there is the small matter of converting what was previously the Book Barn, into a well stocked, warm, friendly and inviting shop. In a former life the barn was home to 5,000 books, host to Book Fayres, Fish and Chips, Clear Your Clutter sales … and several parties! To do the conversion we need to lay a new cement floor, erect something that is a bit more insulating than breeze blocks, find lots of shelves, rails, mirrors and display materials. Most of this is under control, but if you happen to know where any of these things can be found at a reasonable cost, feel free to contact us.   Once completed, the shop will be open April to October, on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 20th, 21st, & 22nd of each month (regardless of which days they happen to fall on) 11am to 6pm. Any offers of help would be welcomed.

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

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

Email: Tel:  Mary - 05 49 50 69 41 There will be more news of our progress to come, our Orfee Shop website will be operational soon so keep a look out for us... 3 months to do lots of work so better get on!   Jan Smith The Assocation Orfee In English Contact Caroline: Tel: 05 45 96 02 79 Email: Visit the website:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 17

Communications What is a VPN and Should You Use One? by Ross Hendry

Why Do I Need a VPN?

The internet is a network of connected computers that uses the internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link billions of devices worldwide. Essentially it is a network of networks, made up of millions of academic, business, consumer, government and public computers and other devices. These are all connected using all manner of Cable, Electronic, Optical and Wireless networking technologies to provide an extensive range of information resources and services, such as electronic mail, telephony and peer-to-peer networks for file sharing, cloud storage and of course inter-linked hypertext pages and applications you know as the World Wide Web. The Internet is simply the biggest public network of computers and by its nature has to be accessible to all, so unless you take precautions your information could fall into the wrong hands. Furthermore, the internet is policed by everyone! whether it is your Internet Service Provider (ISP) i.e. Orange, SFR etc., or the GCHQ, the CIA and many more organisations. You are also spied on by just about everyone on the internet at some level, although most are quite innocent just trying to improve your internet experience and trying to make it more relevant for you each time you search for something. But of course, there are criminals out there also trying to get information on you - to steal your identity or your hard earned money, and these are not just sad individuals but organised crime syndicates. Each time you go online you expose yourself to these potential threats. Of course we all use anti-virus and anti-spyware to try to stop our PCs from getting infected (and these can and do protect us from most programs seeking to steal our information or use our PC for their illegal activities) but we still have to send highly sensitive information across the internet where it could be intercepted. This is where a VPN can provide a solution ............

What is a VPN ?

The abbreviation VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Essentially a VPN creates a private network on the public network that is the internet. This means that when you use a VPN your information is encrypted, enabling you to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if your devices were directly connected to your own private network. Many companies have their own VPNs so that their data is kept secure. VPNs allow employees to securely access the corporate intranet while travelling away from their offices. For example, you have offices in Bristol, Manchester and London. In the past you would have needed an expensive private system of cabling these offices together, now you can use the internet and secure your data by using a VPN to provide a secure tunnel through the internet between each office. Students use VPNs to connect to their University and or school to submit and receive assignments and other information. VPN Technology is also used by individual internet users to secure their wireless transactions, to circumvent geo-restrictions and censorship and to connect to proxy servers for the purpose of protecting personal identity and location. I use mine to get information securely from my network at home, when I am working away from home.

Why should you use a VPN?

Simply to enhance your security and access resources on a network you are not physically connected to. What you use the VPN for is a different story. Employees and Students have to connect to their school or company to access the network resources when they are at home or travelling. In this case the VPN and instructions on use are provided by their organisation. Downloading. Many people download information from the internet, some legal and some not so! If you do this using torrents or some other sharing technology, the only way to keep it private is to use a VPN. 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

The Traveller. Whether you travel for business or pleasure you will probably connect to the internet in a cafe, hotel or other public place such as a station or airport; there are millions of free Wifi connections available worldwide but if you value your privacy and security use a VPN. The Researcher. You do a lot of research and do not want to alert the competition - use a VPN. This will keep your internet address private. You live in another country. Sometimes it is necessary to order goods or information from your home country. Because your internet address is prefixed with your country code you may be prevented from accessing the information you want as it is officially only available in your home country. Using a VPN you may fool the site into thinking you are in your home country. Censorship. Many countries censor content on the internet, you can get around this using a VPN to simulate that you are accessing the internet from another country that does not have the censored content.

What Does it Cost?

The provision of VPN services has become less and less expensive and it is possible to find services for as little as £3 to £5 per month for each device. I have recently found a service that will provide VPN services for up to five devices for life (100 years in fact) for around £75. An offer I could not resist, the devices can be changed as you upgrade your hardware, as long as there are only 5 devices registered at any one time.

Why do I choose to use one?

Quite simply I travel considerably, mainly for business, and need my privacy and security - not only for my information but for that of my family, friends and customers. I also need to know that if I purchase online at one of these free Wifi spots that my financial data remains secure. Occasionally, I need to get info from my network at home, so I ensure that my VPN is on and I get a completely secure connection with my home and the computers I have connected to my network. It’s very handy to check the progress of work I have left running, or to get the report a customer needs. Next month I shall suggest what to look for when getting a VPN, how to choose the right one for your needs and recommend some service providers. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (See advert below).

HAPPY NEW YEAR Let’s get organised for 2016 Manage your emails: Unsubscribe. If it is no longer of interest to you, follow the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. Flag it. If it is irrelevant and you didn’t ask for it - it’s spam/junk. All email systems come with a facility for you to flag mail as spam or junk. Use your ‘delete’ button. Once you’ve read it, if no further action is needed, delete it immediately. Filter. Set up filters so that mail from certain recipients goes straight into it’s relevant folder for you to read/action later. Print. Something of interest to read later? Print it, then delete it. These tips are provided by Julie Tee, Freelance Administrator.

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

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

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

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or

Passport Advice

0044 208 082 4729

SHARE YOUR EV ENTS ! Entries into the What’s On Listing (P.4) are free!

(Businesses pay 10€, unless previously advertising)

+ We can add your event to our Facebook Please email all the details to:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 19

Health, Beauty & Fitness Healthy Eating

by Sarah Berry

As another New Year arrives, it’s time for those resolutions to show their faces again! Usually they will include to eat more healthily, go on a diet, do more exercise....all those things you KNOW you should be doing, but the things that don’t always seem to reach the priority list. Healthy Eating is one of those things on the list that doesn’t have to be too difficult to continue throughout the year. If you are prepared to make some changes to your diet in January, and you start to feel better as a result – you will find that keeping it going won’t be so hard. A balanced diet is the key. The NHS Goodfood website ( suggests an ‘Eatwell Plate’, which highlights the different food groups and how much of them we are supposed to eat as part of a healthy, balanced diet. They suggest these proportions should be achieved, where possible, during the course of a day (not necessarily each meal). Their ideal daily proportions are : Fruit & vegetables Bread, rice, pasta, potatoes etc Milk and dairy foods Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-diary proteins Food and drinks high in fat and/or sugar

33% 33% 13% 13% 8%

Eating a balanced diet is also about getting the energy levels right for you individually. If you have a very active job, you will find that your daily requirements will differ to someone who sits behind a desk. In general, if you take in more calories than your body requires for it’s daily function, you will gain extra pounds. The suggested calorie intake for an adult male is 2500 Kcal and 2000 Kcal for a female. If you take some time this month to scrutinise your calorie intake, you may realise you are eating more than your daily requirement and that simply could be the reason for any weight gain. If you want to lose some weight, try to reduce your calorie intake to just below the recommended allowance. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and cutting out sugary foods and drinks may help. Don’t deprive yourself a treat from time to time my Mum always says, “A little of what you fancy does you good”! Here’s to a healthy and happy 2016! Always consult your healthcare professional before undertaking radical dietry changes.

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres would like to say a massive “Thank You” to the Pommeraie Players for their very generous donation of 800€ raised from their theatrical performances in 2015. Without the generous support and kindness of groups such as the Pommeraie Players we would not be able to assist clients and their relatives during the difficult times experienced after diagnosis of Cancer. Thank you... June Searchfield, President

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

Above: Presentation to June Searchfield, President of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres, by members of the Pommeraie Players.

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across: 8. Twilled cloth used in military uniforms (5) 9. A person trained to compete in sports (7) 10. Follows through; carries out a plan without deviation (7) 11. A written form of a musical composition (5) 12. Squeeze together (8) 13. A collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn (4) 15. Verbally indicate pain or displeasure (4) 17. About average; acceptable (8) 21. Plant with spikes of purplish-blue flowers (5) 22. A thin straight surgical knife (7) 24. Object driven into the ground to hold ropes supporting canvas structures (4,3) 25. Talk pompously (5)

Down: 1. Green pods used in soups and stews (4) 2 Violent and needless disturbance (6) 3. A room where books are kept (7) 4. A state in mid-western United States (6) 5. Go after with the intent to catch (5) 6. A hat made of felt with a creased crown (6) 7. Any liquid suitable for drinking (8) 12. Finish; bring to a conclusion (8) 14. An imaginary line around the world (7) 16. Fix to; attach (6) 18. A measured portion of medicine taken at any one time (6) 19. Come into view (6) 20. Attack in speech or writing (5) 23. Vegetable related to onions (4)

DSM Toughie Crossword Across: 1. Off the radar en route to a football stadium? (4,2,6) 7. Outrageous late time for the soldiers (7) 9. I am berating the resin coating (5) 10. Having dress back to front is a handicap (4) 11. Hasty scrawl of writer about pound sent back (8) 12. Asserts post is delivered damaged (6) 14. Right over left makes cross for previously celestial bodies (6) 17. Ire generated about wrong ethos of speculative ideas (8) 19. Lives out east in tenders (4) 22. Cheek of beginner venturing an opinion! (5) 23. Forcing broken grid containing French wine (7) 24. Rich lettings can be made from prepared insides (12)

Down: 1. Duck! There’s an ogre behind the vehicle! (5) 2. Ideas, never particles! (7) 3. Rite rising to another level (4) 4. One could be standing if suitably impressed (7) 5. Not available before shilling given to muslim official (5) 6. Newcomers in the party? (6) 8. Everyone left by minor road dropping away from the seafront (4) 12. I am not with the sick person getting my right to title (6) 13. Split under rocky hill giving rise to flood (7) 15. Isn’t a good example of how it might be used? (7)

16. Heavy metal we are told is ahead of the rest? (4) 18. Not too near the sun is the environment for a planet (5) 20. Wise men turn up when fathers go missing from excerpts from the bible (5) 21. Philosopher often to be found by the river? (4)

Well, what do you know? 1) According to the legend of Pocahontas, what was the name of the Englishman she is supposed to have saved (and later married)? 2) Which is the second largest town in the Isle of Man? 3) Which American ‘voice’ actor provided voices for, among others, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Barney Rubble?

With thanks to M.Morris

Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get? 7) Who, in 1967, was manager of the first British football club to win the European Cup? 8) Which British car manufacturing group produced Hillman Humber, Singer Sunbeam and Talbot vehicles? 9) Which British actress starred in the musical film ‘The King and I’? 10) Which character in ‘Red Dwarf’ is played by Chris Barrie?

4) Which English snooker player has been ‘losing World Championship finalist’ 6 times?

11) Which stage and film musical features the songs ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘I’d do Anything’ and ‘As Long as He Needs Me’?

5) Despite being one of the first 1950s rock ‘n’ roll stars, he had his only UK number 1 hit in 1972 with ‘My Ding-a-Ling’; who is he?

12) Who was the last Governor of Hong Kong when it was returned to China on 30th June 1997?

6) Which British businessman and politician gave his name to the country now known as Zimbabwe?

And finally, assuming you have 12 correct answers, what is the connection between those 12 answers or parts thereof? Copyright RJS 2014 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 21

Answers on our website:

201 5. . . W


hat do you remember of the events that shaped 2015? Here’s your opportunity to find out with the DSM’s 2015 Quiz. Good luck! Answers can be found on The DSM website:

1 2


ntry won both On 8-11 January, which cou 5 World Team the men’s and women’s 201 Cup in Table Tennis?


beat Qatar On 1 February, which country Handball n’s to win the 2015 World Me Championship?


3 4 5



7 8

Alpine Skiing Which country won the 2015 IPC k place on too World Championships which 1-10 March? ing Chinese Who won the Formula One rac Grand Prix on 12 April? n the 2015 On 2 May, which team wo Final? Cup European Rugby Champions the 2015 FIFA In June, which country hosted Women’s World Cup? Which golfer won the 2015 U.S.


won the 2015 In road bicycle racing, who Tour de France?


won the 2015 In September, which country All-Africa Games?

o m? 10 Wh Rugby World Cup winning tea

d 2015 captained the New Zealan


On New Year’s Day, which country joined the Euro zone? On 7 January, masked gunmen stormed the offices of which Fre nch satirical weekly magazine, killing 12 peop le? On 7 April, which country wa an earthquake measuring s devastated by 7.9 on the Richter scale?

Which European country legalised same-sex 4 ma rriage in an historic vo


6 7 8 9

te on 22 May?

On 26 June, in which co untry did a gunman kill 38 tourists at a beach resort? On 5 July, 61% of voters from which country voted “No” in a refere ndum on proposed budget cuts by creditors in return for loans which the country need ed? In July, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft became the first ever mis sio close flyby of which distan n to perform a t planet? On 14 August, in which country did the U.S. Embassy reopen after 54 years of being closed? On 17 September, in wh ich American state did multiple massive wil d fires destroy over 280,000 acres?

On 24 September, a stamp 10 Mu ede killed over 700 slim pilgrims travelling to which

holy city? Following a warming of relations, on 4 November, the leaders of which two Cold War rival countries met for the first time in 66 years?


eball World Which team won the 2015 Bas tested in con y Series? World Series! It’s onl the U.S.!!



years without In November, following 79 at Britain beat victory, which country did Gre to win the tennis Davis Cup?

12 Which country is home to the Carteret Islands

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

whose inhabitants, due to rising seas levels, where forced in Decemb er to abandon their homeland becoming the first official climate change refugees?




On 8 February, which British singer won four awards at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards? Which British actor won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in the film ‘The Theory of Everything’?


Following a 15 year break, which iconic TV show hosted by Chris Evans returned to Channel 4?


On 10 May, ‘The Graham Norton Show’ won which award at the 61st British Academy Television Awards?


6 7 8 9

On 23 May, which country won the 60th Eurovision Song Contest?




6 7

On 4 August, which screen puppets announced the end of their relationship on Twitter?


In October, who became the first Jamaican to win the Man Booker Prize for his novel, ‘A Brief History of Seven Kings’? Following its release on 23 October, whose single ‘Hello’ became the first song with more than a million downloads (1.1m) in its first week?

December, which celebrity won the 11 In show ‘I’m a Celebrity..... Get Me Out

TV of


On 26 January, who became the first female bishop of the Church of England? On 5 March, which movie star crash-landed his 1942 Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR aeroplane in California? On 25 March, which King of England (14521485) was reburied at Leicester Cathedral after being discovered under a car park in the city in 2012?

On 23 April, who became the first African4 Ame

On 29 May, which film directed by Colin Treverrow premiered in Paris, later becoming the first film to make 500 million U.S. dollars in its opening weekend.

is the name of the 24th James Bond film 10 What that premiered in London on 26 October?





rican woman to be appointed as U.S. Attorney General?

Which member of the Royal Family was born on 2 May? On 11 May, whose painting ‘The Women of Algiers (Version ‘0’)’ was sold for 179.3 million U.S. dollars at Christies in New York? On 15 June, which American real estate mogul launched his campaign to become the next American President? Which ex Coronation Street star married Mark Wright on 17 July? In August, which English author revealed that he worked for MI6 for more than 20 years?

On 14 September, who ousted Tony Abbott 10 to become Australia’s Prime Minister and leader of the ruling Liberal Party?

11 On

17 November, which American actor confirmed that he is HIV-positive?

12 Name

the former British Army Air Corps officer and current European Space Agency astronaut, who visited the International Space Station on 15 December?

Which singer closed the show in the 2015 Royal Variety Performance?

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 23

Home & Garden DONT FORGET! Deadline:

of the month


Paint Furniture with Frenchic Furniture Paint This month Dean Smalley, distributor of the Frenchic Furniture Paint ranges, shares his transformation secrets with us below... Once you have decided what you are going to paint, sugarsoap it, to get rid of any grease.   If you find woodworm holes don’t be alarmed; these can be treated. I always have a tin of spray that I buy from the DIY shop which has a little nozzel to get right down the holes, you can put wood filler in the holes to fill them and then lightly sand back.   You will need a brush for painting, I used to buy cheap ones but since using Frenchic Brushes, I have been converted. The better the brush the less hairs that fall out and it gives a better finish, these are well worth buying. I have a wax brush and two different sizes of paint brushes,  which I wash out after every time I use them.   So, you are now ready to paint. The next decision is what colour? There are a choice of 35 colours in the Frenchic range (and 5 more being released shortly). Once you have decided on the colour you can get painting. Some colours will cover in one go, it depends on what you are painting and what paint effect you want.   After painting, seal with a coat of wax and then buff up for a shine. If you are using the lazy range of paints the wax is included in the Paint mix, so you can Paint and go.   In the photo above, you can see the transformation. One old, tired chair and a plain lamp base - both painted, the chair recovered and voila - transformed. Contact Dean on: 05 49 64 06 36 Email:

HOW ARE WE DOING? Do you enjoy reading ‘The DSM’? Would you like to see something new? How can we improve? Please send us your FEEDBACK to: or add a REVIEW on our Facebook page. 24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

DÉCHETTERIES Within the area of the SMC79 (Haut-val-de-Sevre and Sud-Gatine), there’s been a change of opening hours of déchetteries since May 2015. Please visit their website for details:

For waste disposal outside of this area, there’s an alternative website

ASK about our special packages for New Advertisers! Call Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 or visit our website: to find out more!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 25


by Vanda Lawrence


can’t believe this is the beginning of my fifth year writing this piece for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly. Your amateur gardener has surprised herself, and what a lot she has learned during this time too – long may it continue.

Now that apple and pear trees are dormant they can be pruned back to keep them in good shape and encourage fruiting. Before you start though, make sure the secateurs/loppers/pruning saw have all been sharpened – there’s nothing worse than getting half way through a job then having to give up because the tools have failed.

Now, down to the nittygritty and jobs to do this month:


y hedg ing. Du ring frost

ru bs and Plant new trees,soshil is not workab le you ca n safely d   spells when the with stra w under an

-free shed store them in a sfrotostprotect them. arou nd the root and bushes us fertilizer to trees  App ly nitrogeno areas. grow n in grassy r va ca nt areas ta ble plot and othe ge ve e th er ov frosts. ig D by  d  be weathere so that the so il ca n nhouse or es in pots in the gree to ta po rly ea t lan P  .  y ea rly crop cold-fra me for a reall co mpost or crow ns with stra w,with a box or pot b ar ub rh ct te ro P   cover ea ch pla nt leaf-mould, then rly growth. ea e to encourag sow seeds nhouse you ca n lvi ee gr ed at he a ve ha Sa as or  If you ring bedding sucheyasneed to be at of su mm er flowefo next year. Th Begonias ready r about 18˚c ke su re begonia tu bers toarma d an a hli da tting ed ge or e st If they  Check ng or drying out. fo en th , ile wh a r they are not rottiem in tepid water too dry, drop th oring again. st dry off before ca rding ed fruit and veg, dis or st ct pe ins to ue  Contin co mpost bin. suspect items to the send rden equip ment and ga d an rs we mo n  Check law en ing if necessary. for serv icing/sha rp structures, s and other woodeen eptib le to sc su  Check pergolaes , wh ich ar ies /t ak st ing lud inc s or heavy snow. da mage by high wind wooden ier days start treating  On wa rm er, dres etc with preservative. fu rn itu re, fenc for the seeds and fat-basllsare not me so y bu to r be em wl  Rem su re their water bo birds; also to ma ke em pty or frozen.

Start off by removing crossing, rubbing, dead, weak or diseased branches. The next step is to shorten last year’s growth on each main branch by about one third. Cut at a bud facing in the right direction to keep a good shape – just as we do when pruning roses. For reference, fruit trees produce two types of buds – fruit buds and growth buds. Fruit buds are round and plump with a fluffy, downy surface, whilst growth buds are smaller, slender and pointed, to be found in a leaf axil. You can leave some young side shoots which will develop fruit buds in the second year. Other side shoots which might be too crowded or crossing can be removed, as can those which are very long or growing towards the centre of the tree. Lastly, keep a weather-eye on outdoor tubs. We all know that some tubs may be susceptible to frost damage, needing protection with bubble-wrap or similar, and of course tender plant foliage will need protection with fleece, but the soil can also freeze solid during harsh spells. This means the plant’s roots cannot absorb moisture and the plant actually dies of drought if the soil is frozen for too long. Also, make sure tubs are raised slightly off the ground so that water can drain away to avoid water-logged roots. Conversely, if you have a tub beneath overhanging eaves, don’t forget that rain will not reach it to keep the roots damp, so you will have to get the watering can out! And now, I’ll leave you to relax in the warm with your garden catalogues while you decide what plants and seeds to order.

Contact Vanda... email: 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

Happy New Year everyone!

Food & Drink Moon-Message in a Bottle “Gall of goat, and slips of yew Slivered in the moon’s eclipse”


t only just occurred to me, and of course I rushed to share my insight with you, that Macbeth’s three witches could have been the first biodynamic winemakers. Toil and trouble? You bet, the winemaker has ‘em in spades. But gosh, and by the pricking of my thumbs, I’m getting ahead of myself.

The notion of biodynamic agriculture began in 1924 when philosopher Rudolf Steiner gave a series of eight lectures in response to a request by a group of German and Polish farmers who had noted degraded soil conditions and a deterioration in the health and quality of crops and livestock due to the use of chemical fertilisers. Steiner’s proposals amounted to one of the first sustainable agriculture movements, treating soil fertility, plant growth, and livestock care as ecologically interrelated. (Phew, let me lie down for a sec.) Given the historical background, this was iconoclastic to say the least: chemical treatments as provided by the white heat of science were increasing yields, particularly in fields ravaged by war, so why should the honest peasantry go back to 19th century methods when the widespread use of these magic potions concocted by important men in white coats made life so much easier and more productive for them? Well, with the benefit of that other scientific development called ‘hindsight’, we know that you don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

by John Sherwin

To differentiate, organic wine is made from grapes grown in accordance with principles of organic farming, excluding the use of artificial chemical fertilisers, pesticides, fungicides and herbicides. This ‘purity’ does not necessarily extend to the winemaking process where sulphites may be added to stabilise and add longevity to the wine. Finally, so-called ‘natural wine’ is a very hazy category. Ostensibly, these are wines made from grapes grown organically and with no additives in the wine-making process. However, some winemakers add small amounts of sulphur, naughty boys, which makes them more organic than natural. And to top it off, there is no legally agreed definition of ‘natural wine’ and no organisation to certify it or police its production. All a bit confusing I know, but I think it’s important to support the guys who are going about their business in a way that is friendly to the environment, even if it does involve:

“Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog.” u u

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or

If Steiner had stuck to his organic-, ecological-, and sustainableguns and left it at that then his biodynamic approach might have been more accepted more quickly. But no. No, no, no. Rudolf went several strides further, banging on about the spiritual and the mystic, the cosmic forces in the soil, the use of an astrological sowing and planting calendar based on the phases of the moon: agronomy as ‘spiritual science’. To take a couple of examples: ground quartz is buried in cow horns over the summer, dug up, stirred in water and sprayed over the vines at daybreak; or, bury yarrow flowers sheathed in a stag’s bladder, dig up and insert in compost. There’s a load more along the same lines. I do realise I’m sailing a little close to the wind, verging on making a mockery of the all-too-easily mocked. What I do know is that the biodynamic winemakers I’m acquainted with are not wildeyed loons but artisans dedicated to the long-term wellbeing of that portion of our good earth temporarily under their care and stewardship. In so doing, they craft (I choose the word carefully) wines that do not rely on manmade chemicals but give the purest sense of terroir. Some of the more well-known proponents in France are Domaine Leroy in Burgundy, Chateau de la Roche aux Moines in the Loire, Chapoutier in the Rhone, and Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Alsace. Whether they’re ‘better’ than nonbiodynamic wines is, to my mind, beside the point. They are brimful of respect for nature – and for you and your health. Real biodynamic French wine bottles will have certification labels from Biodivin and/or Demeter. For a list of the 400-odd biodynamic wine producers worldwide go to biodynamic_producers.htm.

Photo: Vineyards of Aldsace.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 27

© flickr/Liz West

There is a winter history behind the creation of this recipe. Whilst living in Britanny I had invited around a dozen people for my birthday in January for a traditional French tartiflette supper. All of us having already been snowed in for over a week complicated things ! I had no ham, bacon or lardons available and could not get to a supermarket. However, I did have plenty of various types of sausages in my freezer and so decided to improvise - this was the result, which went down well with the locals with many jokes of "oh well she's English, we make tartiflette, Lynda makes sausiflette!"


(for 4 - 6 people) 1.5 - 2 kg firm waxy potatoes A selection of sausages (eg. Toulouse, chipolatas aux herbes, natural sausage meat, smoked, thick slices of garlic or cervelas - or plain old English bangers if you have them!) allowing some of each for everyone 1 small 500g reblochon or tartiflette cheese (or cheddar works well) 1 cup of double cream

Recipes with a Twist by Lynda Gee

Cream of Cauliflower Soup

derful soup of chef This recipe was inspired by thel won in Kork, near Kehl ch Hirs Hote The from gast Arbo Gerhard mpt at recreating atte my is it h oug Alth any. am Rhine in Germ same!) it still the tly exac not is it es his recipe, (and he agre . soup y tast ety, velv works well to produce a rich 2-2.5 litres water e stock cube 1 chicken and one herb or vegetabl er iflow caul a half good cup of double cream butter flour freshly ground black pepper r and bring to the boil. Dissolve the stock cubes in the wate er into small pieces. In Wash trim and break the cauliflow butter (I usually melt a in e thes cook ly a separate pan light cauliflower when it the add and good table spoon of butter starts to bubble.) keep stirring. Sprinkle with flour from a sifter and water and bring back the When evenly coated add this to l the cauliflower is very unti er simm and r cove , to the boil well cooked. ce the cauliflower to a Using a hand 'plunge' mixer* redu h!) producing a quite muc too sh puree (trying not to spla thick liquid. nd black pepper. Stir in Season to taste, I use freshly grou m. the crea then gradually sprinkle in If you feel it needs to be thickertime . the all ing stirr r more sieved flou m or a little grated crea of l swir a extr an with Serve very hot cheese. dise or put through a *OR separate the cauliflower and liqui her works in case mas to pota a g vegetable sieve, even usin continue as per and d liqui of a power cut! Then return to the the recipe.

If using French sausages such as Toulouse and chipolatas, I always follow a tip from a French chef I worked with and boil them first for around 10 minutes - with a good splash of white wine and a bay leaf or pinch of mixed herbs added to the water. Peel and chop the potatoes into good sized chunks and boil until just tender. ln the meantime pre-heat the oven to around 200 degrees. Arrange the selection of sausages in an oven dish starting with larger and, or, pre boiled ones, and bake these for around 5 minutes. Add any smaller ones or, cooked types like garlic or cervelas, and cook for another 5 minutes. Prepare the cheese by splitting in half and then cutting in half again to arrive with 4 semi circles. Take the sausages out of the oven and cover with the potatoes and arrange the cheese over the top, crust side up. Pour over the cream, season with freshly ground black pepper and a light sprinkling of ground nutmeg and return to the oven. Cook for around 20 minutes until light golden brown and bubbly. Delicious with plenty of fresh crusty bread, a green salad and a nice red wine.

Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full at-home catering service. (See advert on P.29)

Tel: 06 23 00 72 04 ~ Email: 28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

This Little Piggy... by Jacqueline Brown

This month I’ve been brave and tried some new pork products at a pig feast held in our village salle des fêtes. While this event is an annual one, I’m ashamed to say it wasn’t one we had been to before as it often clashes with school holidays or at a busy time of year for Adrian’s work, but this year we made it and I even got a peek behind the scenes, hoping to learn from the experienced family cooks. The smell of cooking pork hung heavy in the air over the village for the two days before the event and the steamy kitchen was full of bubbling pots, one of which looked like fatty skin, but I was assured it was a local delicacy once made. I watched the mixing process for the fromage du tête (pig’s head cheese or brawn) where the head meat is mixed with herbs and vegetables before being set in a gelatinous pork stock, and was invited back on the Friday afternoon to help with the boudin noir sausage making. Unfortunately I couldn’t fit it in around my gallivanting off to do the airport run and the school run. It’s an exciting life I lead! Maybe next year I will take them up on the offer, although I’m not too sure how my appetite may be affected by seeing and smelling a huge pot of congealed blood. There were many first tastes for me and I was surprised not only by what I tried but more so by what I enjoyed, as I was a very fussy eater before moving to France. The pig’s head cheese was certainly a first (and was OK) as was the boudin noir, a black pudding type of blood sausage that I thought was delicious. Also on the cold buffet starter were homemade paté and rillettes that I could have eaten more of. I had never heard of gigouri before, the local speciality made using cooked skin, belly fat, seasoning and blood, but I found it quite greasy and not really my thing. I have since been told that served with potatoes as a hot dish it is much tastier. The main course was roast pork, studded with garlic and served with beans, then there was cheese and to top it off a tasty homemade apple tart.

They may not be quite the same, but I’m glad there are still people in the village who keep these preserving traditions alive.

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While the names, tastes and textures of many of the dishes were new to me, my elderly French neighbour talks very fondly of these dishes that her mother, grandmother and aunts would make during her childhood. A pig was bought, raised and killed by the family group, before the preserving began with everyone working together and slow cooking the dishes over the open fires. She laments that the rillettes and boudin noir are just not the same these days, even when bought at her preferred charcuterie stand at the market.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 29


All You Need is LOEB


by Helen Tait-Wright

uriously, the French public seem largely unaware of one of their great sporting heros, Sebastien Loeb.

I have no explanation for this, particularly in light of the fact that they all seem to remember Michelle Mouton, but then again she was a woman, and perhaps that explains it. So who is Sebastien Loeb anyway? Only the most successful driver in World Rally Championship history, having won 78 WRC events and the world championship a record nine times in a row. He also holds several other WRC records, including most wins, most podium finishes and most points. Loeb is French born and bred, and will be forever synonymous with Citroën. You really can’t get more French than that!

Originally a gymnast, Loeb switched to rallying in 1995 and won the Junior World Rally Championship in 2001. Signed by the Citroën factory team for the 2002 season, he and co-driver Daniel Elena took their maiden WRC win that same year at the German rally. After finishing runner-up to Petter Solberg by one point in 2003, Loeb took his first driver’s title in 2004. Continuing with Citroën, he went on to take a record ninth consecutive world title in 2012. Loeb is a tarmac expert, having won all but three WRC rallies on that surface since 2005. But it is not all about rallying. In 2006, he finished second in the 24 Heures de Mans, and he has won the race of Champions 3 times.  Loeb was named the French Sportsman of the Year in 2007 and 2009, and made knight of the Legion of Honour (Légion d’honneur) in 2009. He has also been contesting the World Touring Car Championship for Citroën, and has notched up 6 race wins.

Is he abandoning motorsport and French motor manufacturers? No! He has been confirmed as a Peugeot Sport driver for 2016, and he will begin his programme with his maiden Dakar outing. The Dakar Rally is of course the successor to the infamous Paris Dakar, but these days, although it keeps the legendary name, it is an extreme endurance Rally Raid that for the last 8 years has taken place in South America. For 2016, the rally is set in Argentina and Bolivia, and the cars leave Buenos Aires on 3rd January for a mammoth 2 week competition.  I hope they have all checked their number plates to avoid any Top Gear-esque issues!! The Dakar is not like the rallies Loeb has contested before. It is a Rally Raid. The terrain that the competitors traverse is much tougher and the vehicles used are true off-road vehicles rather than the modified on-road vehicles used in rallies.  Most of the competitive special sections are off-road, crossing dunes, mud, camel grass, rocks, and broad, flat areas of desert covered with wind-swept sand and little or no vegetative cover. A real challenge for a tarmac rally specialist !  The distances of each stage covered vary from short distances up to 800–900 kilometres (500–560 mi) per day. The original Paris - Dakar started in 1978 and as the name suggests, covered the 10,000km trip from Paris to the Senegalese capital of Dakar. By 1981 it had started to attract famous names from motorsport, and by 1987 most of the major motorsport manufacturers were fielding factory teams.  By the mid 90’s the start town had moved to Granada in Spain, and in 1997 the rally ran exclusively in Africa for the first time. The mid-2000s saw the Dakar Rally reach the height of its popularity, with various start towns in Spain and Portugal, but the 2008 event, due to depart from Lisbon, was cancelled on January 4th amid fears of terrorist attacks, causing serious doubts over the future of the rally.

Part of his relative obscurity is the fact that Citroën seemingly failed to notice it had one of the best all-round racing drivers in a generation on its payroll, and it was really only with the launch of the WTCC challenge that they belatedly capitalised on the Loeb effect.

Subsequent events have run in South America.

But Loeb has recently announced the end of his 15 year partnership with Citroën.

Happy raiding Sebastien!

I am hoping to take part in a Rally Raid event event myself in 2017, so will be watching Loeb’s progress with interest, if it gets any press coverage!! For anyone else interested, the official website is

Helen Tait-Wright Email:


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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 37

Business & Finance Is your Tax and Wealth Management in Shape for 2016?


o you have a considered, strategic tax and wealth management plan? Is it up to date with the latest developments in France and internationally that affect you? If not, make a New Year resolution to review your tax planning, investments and pensions. Are they ready for 2016 and designed to preserve your wealth over the long-term and meet your objectives?

Savings and investments

Many people have built up a portfolio of shares and funds over the years, without much consideration to how they work together or whether they suit your aims. Consider the principles for successful investing below.

Your appetite for risk – Obtain a clear and objective assessment of

your appetite for risk, or your portfolio will not be suitable for you.

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

profile and objectives, and your personal circumstances may have changed.

Tax planning

Your investments and wealth should be placed in the most suitable arrangement to limit your tax liabilities. Take advice from someone well-versed in the nuances of French taxation, or your investment returns could be slashed by taxes that could have been avoided or mitigated. It is important to ensure your tax planning is up-to-date and designed to take advantage of tax planning opportunities in France.

Estate planning

Should you opt for UK or French succession law to apply to your estate, under the new EU succession law? You need to consider all the potential consequences to make the most suitable choice for your heirs. Plan to reduce French succession tax for your heirs, as well as UK inheritance tax if you have assets in the UK, and to avoid probate where possible.

Matching your risk profile to the optimum portfolio - Every set of investments can be forecast to display a given amplitude of risk. The key is ensuring your investment portfolio matches your attitude to risk.

UK Pensions

Diversification - Ensure your investments are suitably diversified, so you are not over-exposed to any asset type, country, sector or stock. A ‘multi-manager’ approach provides further diversification.

Whether it is investments, pension or tax planning, seek specialist advice to ensure you do what works best for your personal situation. Use an adviser who can guide you on all these aspects and provide holistic solutions. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!

Review – Review your portfolio around once a year to re-balance it. It can shift away from the one designed to match your risk

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

You need to understand all the new rules and the options they provide you, and the tax implications in France, to establish the best way forward for your personal situation.

Terrorism and Insurance

by Isabelle Want


k, this is an article I wish I did not have to write about but in the wake of the events of last November in Paris, I have had a few questions from customers about it so let’s answer them. I think it is important to talk about it from an insurance point of view and to reassure you all that in the unfortunate circumstances of being affected by terrorism, you would always have the full support of your insurance company and the French government. 1. A few statistics: In 2015, the Institute for Economics and Peace published their “global terrorism index” in which they estimated the cost of terrorism for 2014 to be around 49.5 billion euros, 60% increase on 2013! I did not have the numbers for 2015 at the time of writing this article but to offer a perspective on these numbers, note that the cost of criminal activities and murder is 32 times higher! With 1.700 Billion dollars cost.

2. What cost (from an insurance point of view): The loss of life and injuries is what comes first and this is what costs the most. But there is also the cost of damages to properties, injuries, loss of business, clean-up operations, loss of jobs, loss on tourism, etc.… As an example, the September 11, 2001 attack cost an estimated 31.7 billion dollars to insurance companies. 3. FGTI: Insurance companies are not the only ones who pay the bill for this type of claim. In France, the FGTI (Fond de Garantie des Victimes des actes de terrorisme et d’autres Infractions) was created in 1986 following a wave of terrorism attacks on shopping centres in Paris. The aim of this government institution is to help financially the victims and the families of the victims of terrorism. This institution evaluates the loss (financial, emotional and physical) for the victims and their family. They managed a budget of around 1.2 billion euros which is provisioned by insurance companies by a way of an obligatory contribution of 3.30€ on every insurance contract. Indeed, the first month of your car, house, health, etc. insurance contract, there is an additional 3.30€ which is for this institution and the compensation to the victims of terrorism and their family. You can get compensation from FGTI If you are non-French and a victim on French territory or if you are a French citizen victim abroad.

Following the 13/11/2015 events, Allianz has opened a 24 hour helpline for their customers affected by this attack with a dedicated team helping them psychologically but also logistically with their paperwork for the claims. I venture that most insurance companies in France have done the same. Conclusion: To sum up, yes, you are covered. But no financial compensation will ever make the victims forget the horror that they went through. I will take the opportunity of this article to thank you all (British and other nationalities) for all your messages of sympathy. My thoughts, like yours I am sure, go to all the victims and their families. But life must go on so I will try to do a more cheerful article next month (maybe on tax).

Note that from 01/01/2016, the 3.30€ has increased to 4.30€.

4. Cover by insurance company: Your car, property and business is covered for damages resulting from a terrorist attack. It is called “garantie attentats” in French. But your car is not covered if you are the person who caused the terrorist explosion!! Et puis quoi encore (dream on!).

Don’t hesitate either to contact me for any other subjects such as inheritance law, tax, savings, funeral cover or quote on any insurances. And check out our website for my previous articles on the ‘Practical Pages’ of the English site.

N° Orias 07004255

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

Email: ~ Visit our website: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 39

Q & As

by Sue Cook

This month, I share some of the questions I am regularly asked. “We have a gite and take bookings in two currencies via two accounts (UK for Sterling and France for Euros). We tend to keep a set level in the UK account as we only use it for spending money there. The rest we just send over to France. Could we be doing something different?” You could save a significant amount if you set up regular payments with a currency specialist, instead of with your bank. Currency specialists don’t usually charge fees and offer much better rates of exchange than the banks do. Your specialist will also be able to help you save even more on your transfers. For example, in exchange for a small deposit you can use a forward contract to secure a favourable rate for up to a year. Currencies Direct also offers a Rate Alert service, which means that they watch the markets for you and ask if you’d like to trade when the rates move in your favour. “Why do we get charged for moving money between accounts in the Eurozone? We thought it was all one single market now.” The Single European Payments Area (SEPA) is the EU’s paymentintegration initiative to simplify bank transfers denominated in euros. SEPA payments will not attract a charge and will be credited the next working day once they’re sent. If you’re being charged fees for transfers within Europe, you should talk to your provider to ensure your transfers are sent through SEPA. “Why do currencies change in value?” This is a complex question, and a detailed answer would include, among other things, international trade and industry, government debt, political stability, the impact of natural disasters, wars, and civil unrest. However, one of the biggest drivers of currency markets at the moment are the policies of central banks. Where they’ve embarked on aggressive easing (such as QE), we’re seeing the currency devalue. This is definitely an area to watch in the next 12 months, as the US and the UK both look to lift interest rates after a prolonged period of low interest rates. At the same time, the European Central Bank is looking to add more stimulus – so we can expect lots of volatility ahead! “Where does the actual currency swap occur: in France or in Britain? Does it make a difference?” At Currencies Direct, the currency exchange takes place with the Treasury team in the UK. Funds are always placed in a customersegregated account, and the volumes are simply moved between accounts based on the exchange rate it’s been booked at. If you’re thinking of moving abroad or need more information about currency products visit

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

Ask Amanda

“I am planning to review my Finances in 2016, where can I get in touch with you?” Many people take the New Year as a good time to look ahead and plan things they wish to do during the coming 12 months. Reviewing your finances is one of areas where a little attention now can save you a lot of time and money going forward. Here are a few things to consider: • • • •

Have your circumstances changed since you last reviewed your finances? Are you aware how changes in private pensions and historic social charges applied to your UK pension will affect you? Has anyone explained how you can now use a UK will instead of having to rely solely on your French one? Has it been some time since you last looked at your financial position?

Maybe you are approaching retirement, looking to protect your family from inheritance tax, or reducing the hours you work and therefore placing more emphasis on maximising the return from your savings and investments? If you would like to talk to me about your financial plans I will be at The English Library, 60 rue Boisnet, Angers 49100 on the following dates: • Friday 8th January 10.00 am - 11.00 am • Friday 12th February 10.00 am - 11.00 am Alternatively you can contact me on the contact details below and I will be happy to chat to you. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

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

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


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016 | 41

Time for Something Completely Different? by Joanna Leggett

New Year and its resolutions … time to reflect, review your life and lifestyle .. perhaps it’s time for a new direction, new challenge even a new business? Secondigny is a charming little town, not far from Parthenay. Close to the source of the river Thouet, the river winds its way around the most beautiful countryside. If you’ve ever considered owning your own bar and restaurant, here’s a highly affordable opportunity near by. Well situated, the Hotel des Voyageurs (Leggett reference 55947, photo left) has been totally renovated. There’s a large bar with dining area, commercial kitchens plus separate three bedroom owner’s accommodation! Outside dining (perfect for summer) plus additional rooms offer potential for additional income - bed and breakfast or even a gîte complete with its own entrance! The first floor function room is let to craft groups and for private functions and the adjoining hairdresser also pays rent! With a Class 4 licence, you could become the social hub of this pretty and historic village – on the market for a very reasonable 162,000€. But if your dream is to have your own boutique 4 Star venue, then a 13 bedroom boutique hotel might be just the ticket!

St Maixent l’Ecole is known throughout France for the French Army training school and its TGV mainline station. It’s a busy town of some 6,000 inhabitants, with all the usual amenities one could demand – and a steady stream of clientèle! Set on the edge of this historic market town, the hotel is long and low, stone clad and very prettily situated in a tranquil location (Leggett reference 51469, photo above). There’s a delightful outside dining terrace and swimming pool overlooking the river Sèvres. Well known for its high standards for both cuisine and accommodation, the restaurant itself is charming, with beamed ceiling, large open fireplace and windows overlooking the garden and offers 34 covers. There’s a fully equipped commercial kitchen, utilities and wine store! The 13 rooms are all ensuite and include three suites – one romantically set in the tower with its construction date of 1691 set in stone above the door! The ground floor suite can be used as a small meeting or conference room. But wait there’s more, the wooded hillside set behind the hotel offers timber for firewood as well as a secluded space to while away the afternoon. On the market for € 954,000. 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

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Leggett Immobilier

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres (79) and the surrounding areas.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, January 2016  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres (79) and the surrounding areas.