The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine June 2019 Issue

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Welcome! to Issue 98 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine.

My watch broke recently so for the past few weeks I have been timeless. My daily routine has been dictated by two things, daylight and hunger. When the sun comes up so do I, when it starts getting dark, I’m ready for bed, similar to a bird, except I don’t start singing first thing. The second, my stomach. When I feel a mild hunger pang, I think ‘nearly lunch’ probably about 12.15, a more prolonged pang 12.30, ‘I’m starving’ one o’clock. The same applies for tea. When I was a teacher back in the UK, my whole working day was dictated by old father time. Up at at 6.30, in the car 7.25 (avoid the 7.30 rush), first lesson starts 8.45, etc. Maybe a couple of hours in the evening that were my own, but the rest tick tock. Since moving to France our whole routine has had to change, shops close for two hours in the middle of the day, eating later in the evening, post offices that are rarely open, no DIY shops open on a Sunday. The year is more prominantly divided in two – the long hot summer months, eating al fresco and trying to keep the flies off the salad and the cold winter where the log burner is king and a hot water bottle a necessity. I think the world would be a happier place if everyone’s watch broke. The world economy would probably collapse and a few television programmes missed, but the greater sense of freedom we experience would outweigh all that. Whatever you are up to this month, we hope you find time for a moment in the sun, a glass of something refreshing (maybe some bubbles) and an enjoyable read of our June issue. That’s all from me for now...I think it’s lunchtime.

à la prochaine Stephen & Anna

Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 Email: Website:

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

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Ace Language Services Adrian Butterfield (Handyman) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) All Seasons Cleaning Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group

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Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) ARB French Property Arbres et Abeilles (Plant Nursery) Ark 79 (Animal Charity Association) Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) Beaux Villages Immobilier BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want Blevins Franks Financial Management Building & Renovation Services Cabinet Papin Immobilier Café Rendez-Vous (Bar and Restaurant) Chat-eau (Luxurious Country Cattery) Cherry Picker Hire Chez Lou (Upholstery and Furniture) Chris Bassett Construction Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) CJ Electricité Clean Sweep Chimney Services Cosmetic Contour Darren Lawrence Discover Yoga Fête De La Music - Vouvant France Fishing Gîtes (La Germondière) Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) Green and Tidy (Gardening Services) Hallmark Electricité Helen Booth (deVere Group) Hiley Location (Groundworks) HMJ Maintenance and Renovation Service Inter Décor (Tiles and Bathrooms) Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries Jeff’s Metalwork John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic Jon the Carpetman Keith Banks Pool Services La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) Leggett Immobilier Le Lac (Restaurant and Bar) Le Regal’on (Bar and Restaurant) LPV Technology (IT services) Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction MD Project Management Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning and Services) Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) Mike Glover (Plasterer, Tiler, Renderer) ML Computers Motor Parts Charente Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) Pinnacle Garden Care Plombier 85 (Plumbing, Heating, Sanitation) Poitiers Biard Airport Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) Restaurant des Canards R J Coulson Building Services R J Coulson Pool Services Rob Berry (Plasterer) Robert Mann (Re-upholstery) Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) Satellite TV Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) Simon the Tiler Smart Moves - Removal company Smart Services (Home and Garden Services) Steve Coupland (Property Services) Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) Strictly Roofing Stump Grinding Services (David Cropper) Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) Sunny Sky Cars (Cars, Motorhomes and Vans wanted) The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre The Fixer - Rick Denton The Hope Association The Lush Lawn Company Town Renovations Val Assist (Translation Services) Vienne Tree Services Zena Sabestini (Translation Service)

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© Anna and Stephen Shaw 2019. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anna and Stephen Shaw accept no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Anna and Stephen Shaw 2

Jaunasse, Louin, 79600 Tél: 05 49 64 21 98. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anna and Stephen Shaw. Crédits photos: Anna and Stephen Shaw, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: juin 2019 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 839 041 282 00014 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 48 839 041 282

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 3

What’s On... VIDE GRENIERS: 9 - Granzay-Gript, Lezay, Pioussay 16 - Bressuire, Parthenay 23 - St. Maixent l’École, Argentonnay, Mauléon 30 - Louzy, St. Médard 1 - FEAST OF TRANSHUMANCE in the Marais poitevin. (FR) At Sansais, La Garette and Magné. 1-2 - ELEPHANT HAVEN INFORMATION WEEKEND. There are no elephants yet. Guided visits 10am-5pm. At 5 Rétabout, St. NicolasCourbefy, 87230 Bussière Galant. For more information email: 1-2 - FÊTE DES JARDINIERS at Château du Lude (72800). 1-10 - ART EXHIBITION UN VOYAGE ENTRE DEUX PAYSAGES. Stephen Lennon exhibits a selection of work as part of the Vouvant village de peintures. See page 13 for more information. 2 - NATURE OUTING in Melle (FR). Meet 2.30pm, parking l’Etang de Prérault, Périgné. Free. 4 - LIVE MUSIC WITH BENNETT & SEAGS at Restaurant de Canards, Chef-Boutonne. See page 31 for more information. 4-8 - TRADITIONAL TRANSHUMANCE from Vasles to Parthenay. For more information see page 7. 7 - EVENING FARMERS’ MARKET in St. André-sur-Sèvre. 7-9 - LAWN TRACTOR ENDURO in Thouars. 7-9 - RENDEZ-VOUS AUX JARDINS in Rochefort (17300). 8 - LIVE MUSIC WITH THE MOONSHINE CLUB, 50s to 90s rock and soul music at Café Rendez-Vous, L’Absie. See page 7. 8-9 - BANDA FIESTA in Nueil-les-Aubiers. (FR) Live music, food (on reservation) . For more info. contact 8-9 - FÊTE DES PLANTES ET DU JARDIN in Prissé-la-Charrière. 9 - RENDEZ-VOUS IN THE GARDENS OF NOMBRIL DU MONDE, Pougne-Hérisson. Theme ‘Animals in the Garden’. 4pm, free entry. 9 - VILLAGE FÊTE in St.-Romans-lès-Melle. 9 - VILLAGE FÊTE in the St. Médard quarter in Thouars 15 - MUSIC FESTIVAL outside the main square in St. Jouin-deMarnes. Starts at 7.30pm. Food and drink available. Free entry. For more information email: 15 - SALSA AU MARCHÉ at Chef-Boutonne market from 10.30am followed by Salsa class at 11am, free entry. For more info. contact Amanda Holmes on 06 02 35 90 53. 15 - NATURE OUTING. Dragonflies of the Sèvres Nantaise in St. André-sur-Sèvre. (FR). From the Place de la Marie at 2.30pm. 15-16 - OUVERTURE D’ATELIERS D’ARTISTES WEEKEND. See the article on page 13. 15-16 - HIGHLAND GAMES AMATEUR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP at the Château, Bressuire. See page 8 for more information. Tickets from 8€. 15-16 - THE MARAISTHON at Coulon. The first nature, international, non-elitist marathon in France.

contact ‘The DSM’ Call Anna Shaw on 05 49 64 21 98 Monday - Thursday: 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: PAPATOM Reel Fish & Chips 5 and 19 - Etusson: Salle de la Cantine (Wed) 7 and 21 - Genneton: Café de la Mairie (Fri) 14 and 29 - St. Martin de Sanzay: Café ‘Pompe 28 - Les Cerqueux-sous-Passavant (49310): Restaurant Fleur de sel (Fri) Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

16 - FÊTE DU PAIN in Beauvoir-sur-Niort. Artisan and farmers’ market, windmill visit, truffle digging and much more. 16 - OPENING OF MONCOUTANT PHOTOGRAPHIC FESTIVAL. Continues until 29 September. 150 XXL photos throughout the town and 120 in galleries (open daily from 3pm-7pm). www. 16 - OPEN GARDEN in La Boursaudière, Cheffois 85390, Vendée. 11.30pm-6pm. See page 15 for more information. 16 GOSPEL CONCERT at the church in Bressuire at 4.30pm. 21 - SUMMER SOLSTICE in Northern Hemisphere will be at 5.54pm. 21 - FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE across all of France. On this day musicians will invade streets and bars to celebrate all things musical. Charroux (86250) Throughout the village and in the streets. Beginning with a musical hike starting at 2pm. La Chapelle-St. Laurent - by the group Plein Feu, from 6pm at La Vallée Verte. Mauléon - musicians in the town streets from 6pm. Bressuire - in the town from 6pm. Chauray (events every evening from 17-22 June) 22 - FÊTE DE MUSIQUE VOUVANT. Three bands playing rock, pop and blues. The Vendée Chippy. Poster on page 6. 22 - FARMERS’ MARKET in Coutières from 6pm. 22 - SUMMER STRIDES RUNNING AND MUSIC FESTIVAL in Argenton L’Église. A day of sport and music. Dinner and music in the evening with fireworks at 11.30pm. 23 - FÊTES DE MUSIQUE PICNIC at Crézières (behind the Mairie) near Chef-Boutonne. Just turn up and play! For more info. contact Amanda Holmes on 06 02 35 90 53. 28 - FARMERS’ MARKET in Mauléon. With concert and fireworks from 6pm-11.30pm. 28-29 - FESTIVAL OF ART’SOSÉS. Representative of urban cultures and diversity – urban sports, street art, breakdance battles, creative workshops. 29 - GARDEN FÊTE AND QUIZ in aid of En Route. 29 Rue de la Forêt, La Guichardière, 79600. 11am onwards. 29-30 - BRESSUIRE 79 - GRAND PRIX AUTOMOBILE HISTORIQUE. For more information see page 6. 29-30 - FESTIVAL OF PAINTING AND SCULPTURE in St.Loup. Every Thursday until December ORGANIC FARM PRODUCE SALE in Boussais (l’Hôpiteau). 1.305pm. As part of the associations Social Assistance for Children, Rebonds and Equi’Sèvres, who help young people from broken families. *(FR) = French language

what’s COMING UP... 3 July - Korean Ensemble Omnes. 7pm in the Salle des Fêtes d’Azay-sur-Thouet. For more information Tel: 06 64 94 91 41 6 July - Concert with English Guitarist, Richard Durrant, at the Church in Javarzay. Contact Amanda Holmes on 06 02 35 90 53. 6 July - Jazz with Suzahn Fiering (USA) and BBQ on the terrace of Café Rendez-vous, L’Absie. More info. on page 7. 12-16 July - Art Exhibition - Valdelaume – Val de l’Art at the Salle de Fêtes, Pioussay (79110). For more info. see page 10.

La Vendée Chippy Weds not 12th: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: Last of month : Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil Weds 19 June - Fête de la musique, Pub Le St Vincent Sat 22 June - Fête de la musique, Vouvant Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at: • • • • •

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Ballans 17160 La Chapelle 16140 St Jean d’Angély 17400 Les Essards-Saintes 17250

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm

...June 2019 LOCAL MARKETS

REGULAR EVENTS... EVERY MON & WED 2PM-6PM Duplicate Bridge at Civray. Lessons available free. Contact Marian Green: 05 49 27 14 52 or email: EVERY TUES AT 5PM Belote at Café des Sports, L’Absie. EVERY TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Painting Workshops. Please see EVERY WEDs AT 2PM - 4PM - Coffee & Book Afternoon at Funny Farm Cat Rescue, St Germain-de-Longue-Chaume. EVERY WEDS - Franglais Bressuire 8-10pm in term time at the Centre Socio-culturelle. EVERY THURS AT 7PM - Scottish Dancing at Café des Belles Fleurs. EVERY THURS FROM 8PM - Quizwitch Quiz at le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle. 2.50€. In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. EVERY THURS - Jean David Art Group at L’Absie. For times contact Jean on tel: 06 52 93 33 60. EVERY THURS - Franglais group in Montournais. Contact Penny Homewood 02 51 63 31 21 or EVERY FRI AM - Reaction Theatre’s Art Scene meet in Secondigny. Contact John for details tel: 05 49 63 23 50. EVERY FRI 6PM-7.30PM - Line Dancing at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. Contact: or 05 49 10 37 80. EVERY SUN 2PM-5PM - Chats de Châtillon Adoption/Visiting afternoon. All other times tel: 06 85 63 55 94 EVERY OTHER THURS AT 6.30PM - Franglais Group at Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds. 2nd Tues of Month AT 8PM - Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne. 3RD WEDS of month AT 7.30PM - Team Quiz. At Le Clemenceau Bar, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, in aid of animal charities. 3RD WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM Franglais Group at Café Pause!, L’Absie. Last FRI of month - Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale. Chez Sue and Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2pm-5pm) tel: 02 51 51 00 96.


Benet 85490 La Châtaigneraie 85120 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Tuesdays......... Lezay 79120 Civray 86400 Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Vasles 79340 Wednesdays.... Parthenay 79200 - and - Celles-sur-Belle 79370 Ruffec 16700 Thursdays........ Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 - and - Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Gençay 86160 Friday............... Thouars 79100 - and - Melle 79500 Secondigny 79130 (pm)-and-St Aubin le Cloud (pm) Civray 86400 (small food market) Saturdays........ Bressuire 79300 - and - Champdeniers 79220 Chef-Boutonne 79110 Airvault 79600 - and - Niort 79000 Saint Maixent-l’École 79400 Fontenay-le-Comte 85200 Ruffec 16700 Magné 79460 and Moncoutant 79320 Sundays............ Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170 Thénezay 79390 Saint-Varent 79330 Saint-Loup-Lamairé 79600


The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2019 9th June 10th June 16th June 21st June 14th July 15th August 6th October 31st October 1st November 11th November 25th December

Pentecost (Pentecôte) Pentecost (Lundi de Pentecôte) Father’s Day (Fête des Pères) World Music Day (Fête de la Musique) Bastille Day (Fête Nationale) Assumption of Mary (Assomption) Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grands-Pères) Halloween All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël) (Dates in bold=Public holidays)

Emergency Numbers:

15 SAMU (Medical Advice) 12 European Emergency 17 Gendarmes (Police) 113 Drugs and Alcohol 18 Pompiers (Fire Service)

TOP HAT QUIZ Nights 3: 6: 10: 12:

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Theil Rabier Aigre

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, holds English speaking services. The Filling Station - Poitou-Charentes. Local Christians of all denominations who meet for spiritual renewal and evangelism. www. or Carolyn Carter on 05 45 84 19 03. ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre. We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St. Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship hold meetings throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. Contact Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) meets at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11.00am (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun).


Markey’s pork ‘n’ pies Traditional British cooking

Mon: Charroux Tues: Sauzé-Vaussais (main square) Weds: Chef Boutonne (near château) Thurs: Sauzé-Vaussais - Eve (main square) Fri: Ruffec (Baobab car park)

Sat: Fontenay-le-Comte (marché), Vendée and at Saint-Jean-d’Angély (marché intérieur), Charente-Maritime Sun: Aulnay (marché), Charente-Maritime

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

OPEN mornings

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 5

Getting Out & About Chez Christie’s BEAUTIFUL GIFTS & CARDS

Stunning Cards for all Occasions ! * DON’T FORGET FATHER’S DAY * SUNDAY 16th JUNE!

Masses of Quality Gifts for Family, Friends, The Home … or for You !

DELICIOUS HOME-BAKING Cream Teas, Cupcakes, Brownies, Carrot Cake, Rich Fruit Cake … FREE WIFI ENGLISH BOOKS from only 0,50 € INTERNET ACCESS & PRINTING


Thousands of Books available online Growing Range of Great Cards too ! Browse our listings on : AMAZON.CO.UK/SHOPS/CHRISTIESGENCAY GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie

Siret: 47876969800018

Grand Prix Automobile Historique

Bressuire 79 - 2019 I

t's that time of year again when the ground starts to shake and a distant rumble can be heard in the north of the region. The 14th Grand Prix Automobile Historique is about to roll into town.

Bressuire 79 (the festival of fumes) takes place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 June, when the town centre becomes a living automobile museum for two days with over a hundred vintage cars dating from the 1930s to 1970s. A racing circuit in the spirit of the 1950s Grand Prix challenges racers and their cars in a variety of classes and categories. Chicanes, hairpin bends and a lot of straw bales push man and machine to their limit. Saturday 29: Sunday 30: Free admission

2pm - 7pm and 9pm - 12 midnight 10am - 12 noon and 2.30pm - 6.30pm

For more information visit the website: or 6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

Back On The Road Grande Transhumance


n the 4-8 June there will be a traditional transhumance from Vasles to Parthenay. Involving 150 sheep and accompanying sheepdogs, horses, horse-drawn carriage and an expert team from Mouton Village and local sheep farms. It will take five days, stopping off at several villages on the way and finishing up in Parthenay on Saturday lunchtime. At most stopovers there will be a local producers’ market, a bar and food, plus music and various entertainments. • • • • • • • •

Vasles -Tuesday 4 June Saint-Martin-du-Fouilloux - Wednesday 5 June (morning) Saurais - Wednesday 5 June (afternoon) La Ferrière-en-Parthenay - Thursday 6 June (morning) Oroux - Thursday 6 June (afternoon) La Peyratte - Friday 7 June (morning) Châtillon-sur-Thouet - Friday 7 June (afternoon) Parthenay - Saturday 8 June (morning)

For more information:

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”! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 7

Generation Games

by Frédérick Mineur

View from the Vendée by Karen Taylor

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” - well, woman, in my case! I do love a bargain, and all over France the vide greniers season is well and truly under way.


cottish clans have been ‘gathering’ in the highlands to compete in games since the 11th century and it was reported that King Malcom III organised the first games to measure the strength and power of the clans. These highland games not only included hill running and heavy athletics such as stone throwing and the tossing of tree trunks but there has also always been musicians and dancers displaying their talents and representing their clans. As a result of the twinning of Bressuire with Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire, on the weekend of 15 and 16 June, the annual Highland Games Amateur World Championship will be taking place at Château de Bressuire. However, on Friday 14 June students of the region will get the opportunity to meet some of the athletes and compete with each other in some of the disciplines. This is the case for twenty or so students from 6th Venus College Louis Merle, Secondigny along with some pupils of Saint-Aubin Primary School (pictured).

Strangely enough, I was never a great fan of car boot sales in the UK, and used to run a mile at the thought of a jumble sale, yet mention the word ‘vide’ and ‘greniers’ in the same sentence and I’m there!! “Why?” I hear you ask (so does my husband, but that’s another story); two reasons, I guess: firstly, it’s French ‘trash’, so all the more interesting, especially as many French sellers love to give you chapter and verse about each article for sale, and secondly, because there is invariably food, drink and entertainment on offer as well. There seem to be two different types of sellers - those who are hoping to go home with a decent sum of money in their pocket, and those who really do want to just empty their attic. Some towns hold regular vide greniers, such as Fontenay-le-Comte (every 3rd Sunday of the month), whereas others incorporate them into an annual village gathering. I recently enjoyed a pleasant morning wandering among the stalls of Saint-Denis-du-Payré’s Fête de la Cigogne - in addition to the perennial food and drinks tent, there was an exhibition of local artists’ work, tours of the nearby nature reserve to observe the cigognes, and even promenades en calèche through the streets!

A few months ago these students knew nothing of the games and were initially quite incredulous when their English teacher, Sandrine Delhaye, told them about the event. They were also sceptical at first; however, after some research on the internet, they engaged with the idea of the games. In December they met a Scottish musician, Gavin Anderson, who came to the college to play his bagpipes and give a presentation on Scotland. To whet their appetite further, in April Martine Brunerie and Frank Pouchet, members of the Scottish Games Association in France, attended the college to give a flavour of the highland games. Martine, a former teacher at Supervielle College in Bressuire, is a Scottish dancing enthusiast (and judge at the games) and introduced the students to a few steps. Frank gave a demonstration on the shot put and tossing the caber, the flagship event of the Highland Games Championship. This was a much enjoyed afternoon and the students are now looking forward to the actual games in June. The programme will include the sack race, shot put, tug of war, hammer throwing, tossing the caber, Scottish and Irish dancing, and marching pipers and drummers. The students are already in contact with a participating Belgian athlete, Glenn Niji, so will be eager to follow his success at this years event.

The calèche at the Saint-Denis-du-Payré vide greniers.

So whether you’re looking for a bargain, enjoying a pleasant day out, or just lécher les vitrines (window shopping), there’s bound to be a vide greniers close to you this summer. P.S. And “yes”, in case you’re wondering, I did find a bargain at the St. Denis vide greniers - a dozen cute, little cake forks for just a couple of euros, perfect for tucking into the Victoria sponge that I bought at the English cake stall! A small selection of the many vide greniers in the Vendée this June: • Saturday 1 Le Champ-St-Père • Sunday 2 Chantonnay • Saturday 8 Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits • Sunday 9 Saint-Michel-en-l’Herm • Sunday 16 Chaillé-les-Marais • Sunday 23 Bournezeau • Sunday 30 Les Sables-d’Olonne Karen runs a gîte business near the Vendée coast at: 8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

A rose by any other name

by Sue Burgess


have the impression that my roses mes roses are particularly beautiful this year. I love the tight rosebuds boutons de rose. Perhaps one day I will be the proud owner of a beautiful rose garden une roseraie.

There are many different types of rose rose and rosebush rosier. The wild rose or dog rose is known as l’églantine, and some roses are probably not roses at all. The Rose of Sharon is a hibiscus, rose bay is laurier rose, and a rose tremière is a hollyhock. Climbing roses are rosiers grimpants and they fall into two categories remontant (they climb upwards) which flower continuously from May onwards, and non remontant which just flower once a year between mid-June and mid-July. Les rosiers anciens are old roses created before the 1920s and les roses anglaises English roses are varieties which have been created in England over recent years. Standard roses les rosiers tiges create a vertical effect whereas les roses pleureurs or weeping roses have trailing branches that fall back to the ground. Les roses miniatures miniature roses are perfect for pots and tubs des pots et des jardiniers. Rose as a colour refers to the colour pink, but roses come in all sorts of colours. From Ronsard to Shakespeare, many poets have considered roses to be the symbol of love. If roses are the most sold cut flower in the world la fleur coupée la plus vendue au monde particularly for Saint Valentine’s day, la Saint Valentin you need to understand their codes if you want to avoid misunderstandings. Roses rouges red roses are the symbol of passionate love l’amour passionnel. The white rose la rose blanche is an expression of sincerity and purety. Yellow roses les roses jaunes symbolise friendship l’amitié but beware, in love they can mean trahaison deceit. Pink roses les roses rose are a symbol of kindness and affection. Whichever you choose, the hybrid tea rose l’hybride rose-thé is supposed to be the most popular rose in the world la rose la plus populaire au monde.

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: à l’eau de rose ..........................

mushy, sentimental

ça sent pas la rose .....................

it’s not exactly sweet smelling

un carnet rose ...........................

a list of celebrities who have recently had babies

un éléphant rose ........................

a pink elephant hallucination

être frais comme une rose ......... to be as fit as a fiddle il n’y a pas de rose sans épine....... every rose has its thorn un roman à l’eau de rose .............

romance novel

la ville rose.................................. Toulouse rose bonbon................................ candy pink rose des sables ......................... chocolate cornflake cakes voir la vie en rose ........................ to see life through rose tinted glasses The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 9

Life through the Lens

Art Exhibition Valdelaume - Val de l’Art

ince 2017 the association Camera Natura has brought together amateurs and professionals with a passion for nature photography.



It organises outings to nature hotspots, exchanges ideas and knowledge on digital photography technique and encourages responsibility to nature through the use of photographic images. Camera Natura holds exhibitions and competitions around different natural themes. Workshops are organised to help raise technical proficiency as well as discussions on latest photographic trends. The association also publishes an annual magazine where work from the year is showcased (especially on local nature projects). If you would like more information, or to join Camera Natura email: or go to

by Angela Berry

t the beginning of this year four communes in the south of DeuxSèvres - Ardilleux, Bouin, Hanc and Pioussay - combined to form the new commune of Valdelaume. To mark the occasion an art exhibition was suggested, to showcase the work of artists living in the new commune. The call went out, expecting perhaps a dozen or so artists to respond. To our delight, some thirty artists, from talented amateurs to world-renowned professionals, all from within the commune, have agreed to exhibit their work. It ranges through paintings, sculptures, photography, jewellery, glass (blown and kiln-formed), furniture design, floral arrangements, pictureframing, gilding, and more. Visitors will have the opportunity to talk to some of the artists and perhaps take part in one or more of a range of creative workshops, watch small-screen film and listen to music of different genres. The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday 12 to Tuesday 16 July at the Salle de Fêtes, Pioussay (79110), between 10am - 12noon and 3pm - 7pm (5pm on Tuesday 16). Admission is free, all are welcome, and in the meantime you can also follow us on Facebook: www.facebook. com/Valdelaume-Val-de-lart La Petite Reine - bronze sculpture - Iandy Charpentier (top right) Bird of Paradise - perfume bottle in blown glass - Angela Berry (bottom left)

To the manner born


by Steve Shaw

t the end of the weekly shop, with all the provisions packed and paid for we always hear ‘bonne journée’ followed by a cheery ‘au revoir’ from the French cashier. We enthusiastically reciprocate and leave the shop knowing that everything is good with the world. And this seems to be the case across the board, whichever supermarket we're in, Hyper U, Leclerc, Carrefour or Lidl. In a British supermarket, you might receive a 'bye', 'see ya' or just a grunt as you manhandle your trolley out of the shop. And yet on the road the French become a different creature altogether. As you pull over to let the oncoming car pass, is there a wave, nod, lift of the finger in acknowledgement of your generous act? Nothing! They drive past as if you're not even there. 'Well, don't say thank you'. The British, on the other hand, when behind the wheel love to nod, wink, wave or flash the lights at any opportunity. If you are driving down a country lane in France and meet a vehicle, what are the chances of them pulling over and letting you pass. My experience is they will continue at the same speed, maybe even speed up slightly, in the middle of the road and you will be forced to swerve into a ditch to avoid them. When doing my utmost to stay within the speed limit on the lovely, spacious French roads someone will drive right up behind me and stay there, like a limpet, ever present in my rear view mirror. Even when the road goes into two lanes, 'they will not pass', but hover around my exhaust pipe making me feel uneasy. What happened to all that bonhomie in the Intermarché? Do the friendly cashiers of France become different creatures behind the wheel of a car or do they not live in my neck of the woods. But take them out of the car and they return to their friendly selves. When one enters a room of strangers a chorus of 'bonjour'

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

will be heard. A friend said they were sitting in a hospital waiting room when three pompiers arrived pushing some poor soul on a stretcher. Each proffered a 'bonjour' as they passed, even the person on the stretcher lifted their head and wheezed 'bonjour'. In the UK if you go around saying ‘hello’ to people you are thought to be mad. Even eye contact with other people can be seen as OTT. Which leads on to the French stare. I was told it's rude to stare, not so if you live in France. In France it is an art form. As you drive past, people will stop what they are doing and give you the most withering look. Even when you look in your rear view mirror they are still staring and will do so, until you round the bend. At first I thought it might be because I was driving a right hand drive vehicle, until I drove a left handed vehicle and the looks kept coming. The child in me wants to throw an exaggerated stare back, but I remind myself it is just a cultural thing. Returning to where I started a French supermarket. My wife and I were about to enter a supermarket and a French gentleman kindly stopped and held the door open. My wife slightly sped up, so the man wasn't kept waiting, missed her footing and ended up sprawling on the floor. Rather than helping my wife he continued holding the door. I helped her to her feet and picked her bag off the floor, then we quickly bustled into the supermarket so as not to keep the gentleman waiting, as we did so I gave him a nod and thank you. He stared back.

Why Don’t You?


by Martin and Sue Hulme

et the kids off TECH...a major project for many parents. Do something different. But what? Here are a few fun activities we did when our grandchildren came to stay. With the summer holidays just round the corner, it is essential to book ahead. Horseback riding can be for anyone, in any weather. Sarah Pugh is the patronne of the family run, bilingual, Les Ecuries du Saumort, near Secondigny. She offers teaching for the serious rider (working to pass Galop exams) and riding from the age of five. There are dressage and jumping competitions, picnic rides, Own a Pony days, bareback days, even sleepovers. The big accent is on FUN.



he 79’s Fishing Group started meeting just before Christmas at Simon and Julie Tee’s lake at their property at La Germondière, Secondigny. Our regular get-togethers take the form of friendly competitions. We are fully inclusive and count two lady members in our group; one recently scoring a first place and a second the following week, the other, a third. Our early fishing outings proved to be difficult during the cold winter months, but now that the weather is warming up, conditions are vastly improving and the fishing is getting much better. Several individual weights over 20 pounds are being recorded and in one recent match a member managed a weight of 45 pounds. We meet most Sundays and welcome new members to the group. You do not have to be an expert angler to partake as help and advice is willingly given.

For my nervous grandchildren it is the best part of French holidays, greeting the ponies and enjoying whatever Sarah has to offer. Hats and boots can be borrowed. Costs are from 11€ for the under tens, for an hour. A day is 20€ or 25€. Check out facebook: for photos and events, and contact: Ceramics are fun. Cover unglazed pottery with different glazes and, after firing, it will be a masterpiece. Linda of Ceramique de Linda (check facebook) runs regular ceramic sessions in Café Civray (just inside Vienne) and Café Tante Mabel in Pers (on D15 between Lezay and Sauzé-Vaussais). Or, get a group together (six to ten people) within 25km of Melle and Linda will come to you. A session is usually around two hours, including a piece of pottery, glazes, paintbrushes and Linda's help and encouragement. Also, a final firing and ready for collection in a week. Children from three years are welcome. The basic cost is 7€, rising for larger pieces, or if you paint several. Plates, mugs, bowls and money boxes all make excellent personalised gifts. Look up her facebook page or contact Linda on: What about clay modelling? A serious sculptor, Colin Underhay, has a studio in Fontenay-leComte ((just inside Vendée). He has regular classes and courses for adults, but is happy to organise workshops for children, to suit their ages. With grandchildren of six, ten and thirteen, we did a three hour session, making lions heads. Clay, tools, tuition and a final firing (collection in three weeks) for 25€ each. Colin is a brilliant teacher. After a brief ‘demo’ they were soon cutting and rolling clay. He kept the youngest one focused, and tactfully prevented a teenage ‘meltdown’ when her lion went wrong! The lions were all different, and the kids loved it. Check out www. and contact Colin on:

For further information contact John Remington: or Simon Tee:

Walking For Violet Y

ou may have seen in last month’s issue the article ‘Walking for Violet’ by Suzette Jeapes. Her husband, David, will be walking from Saint-Pardoux, France to Hastings, East Sussex over 30 days, to fundraise for their four-year-old granddaughter. Violet has cerebral palsy, and complex medical needs. She needs round-the-clock care, daily medication and equipment to walk, play and stand. As part of the fundraising effort, Suzette has recently been raffling hampers of UK goodies (chocolate and store cupboard products). They have proved to be very popular, particularly the chocolate hampers! So much so, that Suzette has created a Facebook page as there will be more hampers to come. For the chance to enter a raffle and possibly win some UK goodies, ‘like’ and ‘follow’ the Facebook page: ingforvioletcom-1278686985621979/ Various other events are being held in the area from bingo nights, to pamper days, fishing events, etc. If you would like to help by organising a fundraising event, contact Suzette and David via the website (below).

To receive updates, subscribe via the website: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 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.

79’s Fishing Group

Fishing group in Secondigny meet most Sundays. Quality mixed coarse fishing with plenty of roach, bream, tench and carp. If you are interested please contact John Remington on 05 49 94 25 29 or

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, Jim: 00 44 79 60 16 83 30 or Janet: 05 46 26 90 85. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€ or visit for details of English-speaking meetings. Royal Air Forces Association Sud-Ouest France Le Perail, 17250 BEURLAY, France Tel: 0033 (0)5 46 95 38 89 Mobile: 0033 (0)6 89 90 55 82 Email: The Jean David Art Group meets every Thursday, at L’Absie (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students - beginners most welcome! For details, please visit or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.


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

ThouarStMed’Arts - Association that aims to bring together people from the historic town of Thouars (Quartier Saint Médard) for a new development of artistic activity. Exhibitions, galleries, brocantes, creators, cultural events etc. Visit the website:

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Please contact the team on 06 40 77 27 35 or visit Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Julia Murray for details. Email: Tel. 05 49 07 70 69

French Lessons for English Speakers

Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), 4 Place Leopold Bergeon, 79150 Argenton-les-Vallées Classes: beginners or intermediate. Private lessons on demand. Contact:

Franglais at Bressuire

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. 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019


Les Amis Solitaires

Please visit the branch website:

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 07 58 46 or email: Melleran Chanteurs – Amateur singing group meeting every Monday 6.45pm in Melleran Salle des Fetes. French & English members, singing in many languages. New voices always welcomed, particularly tenor and bass. For more information contact Maggie Geal 05 49 07 11 69

Combined Services Support Group (CSSG) by Steve Marsden


ello, welcome to the CSSG monthly update. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Steve Marsden and I am the new secretary for the CSSG. I would like to thank John and Susan Blair who put my name forward for this privileged position. Hopefully, I will do the charity proud. I served with the British Army (Parachute Regiment) so am always eager to help any branches of the armed services in anyway I can. We would like to send out a big thankyou to everyone who attended our board games events in February and March in Saint-Pardoux, which was really well attended. This month we will be supporting BLESMA, The Limbless Veterans (formerly known as the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association). BLESMA, formed after WWI, helps all serving and ex-Service men and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. On Sunday 16 June we will be having our first fundraising music afternoon of the summer which will be held at Chambord, La Bourrichère, Saint-Pardoux, 79310 from 2.30pm to 5pm. In addition to the live music there will be drinks, cakes and a few stalls, including a plant sale. Come along and join the fun, all money raised will go to the CSSG charity.

In September I am hoping to complete a ten mile run/tab/ walk, carrying 35 pounds (along the lines of the Para’s 10 event which is held in the UK every year). All money raised will go to the CSSG so I will be out and about looking for sponsors and donations. The allotted time for completion of this race when I was in the regiment was one hour 50 minutes. However, I think I will be looking at a longer time than that. I’m hoping it will finish at a local café/pub so refreshments can be served afterwards. Anyone who wants to join me on this challenge can get in touch at Here’s hoping everyone has a great summer, and keeps on supporting the CSSG.

Artist offered prestigious exhibition

ack Art Att

Ouverture d'ateliers d'artistes weekend 2019



ollowing a feature in ‘The DSM’ magazine about their lives in France, Stephen Lennon was approached by Penny Peckmann an artist and member of the committee of Vouvant village de peintures to submit some work to show in their summer season this year. It came as a very pleasant surprise when they offered him a ten day solo show at the Nef Theodolin in Vouvant (85) from the 29 May until the 10 June. A great honour for Stephen as they only have two solo shows per year. The exhibition titled, Un Voyage Entre Deux Paysages will feature his paintings of Yorkshire and The Lake District alongside new work of the Poitou-Charentes where he has lived and worked for the last three years. Stephen’s impressionistic work is principally in acrylic on canvas or panels and is landscape based. Ranging from his modern contemporary style to the more abstract. His aim is to stimulate the viewer to engage with their own experience of the countryside, using the changing light and weather on the landscape. The opening night is Friday the 31 May Facebook: Stephen Lennon artist

A New Art Venue in Parthenay


by Rebecca Novick

arthenay is touted as Le Pays d’Art et d’histoire, however, there are not so many places where an artist can exhibit their work. To fill this void, in April this year, after some particularly passable Malbec, some friends and I launched Pause du Pelerin a revolving art exhibition in the heart of Parthenay. Every two months a new artist hosts a ‘vernissage’ where people come to view their work and mingle with fellow artists. The artwork is then displayed in the venue until the next vernissage.

by Barrie Hill

he sixth edition of Ouverture d'ateliers d'artistes Val de Gâtine is taking place over the weekend of 15 and 16 June 2019. It provides an opportunity to those interested in seeing where and how artists work; to visit several studios where local artists are producing ceramics, mosaics, paintings, pottery, sculptures and stained glass. Their studios will be open to welcome visitors from 2pm to 7pm on both days.

This year thirteen artists are taking part, living in the area between ChampdeniersSaint-Denis to the east and Ardin to the west. One can start for example in Le Retail with a ceramicist/sculptor and continue westwards to Fenioux (three painters and a sculptor), Puihardy (painter) and Chambron d'Ardin (stained glass/mosaics and a ceramics), before returning eastwards via Fougères de Béceleuf (painter/sculptor/ potter), and La Véquière (plasticine and pottery) finally arriving at Les Groseilliers to a potter. Leaflets can be found in local bars, shops and supermarkets giving all the information needed to plan your visits, including a map showing where the artists live, a photo of one of their works and a telephone number. A large eye will be visible to help you locate them. There will also be a ve r n i s s a ge /a p é ro / concert at Les Belles Fleurs, Place de l'Eglise, Fenioux on Saturday 15 June starting at 7.30pm animated by a jazz group. One or more works by each artist will also be on display there, 11 and 16 June. Photos: The studios of Anne-Mari Chouc in Fenioux (top left) and Marilys Saran in Le Retail (above), which will be open to visitors on the weekend of 15 and 16 June. Below: Some of the artwork being exhibited.

Until the end of June we are showcasing the work of South African artist, Stephanie Slabbert, entitled Qui Vivra Verra. From July through August we will be showing Les Directives - paintings by Roy Parsons, who permanently moved to Parthenay from Wales in 2018. “Any perceived object can, through art, become a ‘directive’, a pointer or invitation to create something within ourselves,” says Roy. Join us for his vernissage on Thursday 4 July 6-9pm.

The New Centre by Roy Parsons

For more information contact:

For more information Tel: 06 86 31 28 64 or

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 13

Hobbies Emotional punch


hen we write a story, we use practical and intellectual skills as well as exercise persistence and dedication so that by Alison Morton we craft something complete, coherent and flowing. But we should not let these elements take precedence over the guidance of our primal, instinctive, emotional gut feelings. A story can open a new world to readers; surprises, thrills, insights, deep feelings, fresh information, an off-world experience. And these book worlds can be brimming with characters whose habits, speech and lives are at once familiar and foreign to us. This experience can be an emotional one if the writer has done her/ his job well. How can you, as a writer, create emotionally resonant stories? In a way, it’s simple: you create stories with which you resonate. Listen to your body and mind and identify emotional rushes, connections and reactions. Not all readers will react to your story in the same way you do. Not everyone is emotionally stimulated by the same joys and tragedies in life that you are. But by drawing on what triggers your own emotions, by letting a story punch you in the gut, if you like, you become aware of what can trigger emotional responses in others. Think about the last time you sniffed when Elliott said goodbye to ET or Jack drowned in Titanic, or when you cried out ‘Yes!’ when Ben-Hur won his epic race. Key elements in emotional writing • Characters we care about and who act and react with feeling; they can be hero or villain, but they should seem real with backstory and motivation. • Dialogue that illustrates characters’ personalities as well as takes the story forward. • Shows the action in scenes, doesn’t just describe it, and points readers towards feelings rather than spelling out what they are. • Relationships between characters; love, hate, friendship, affection, anger, encouragement, resentment, admiration bring another layer of emotion as each character has to cope with these relationships, especially as they develop and change. • Space (not the outer kind!); characters may be forced to work with one another, or perhaps they are separated from each other. • The ultimate disaster which becomes even worse bringing fear, terror, but also showing characters’ unexpected strength, courage or failure. • Nuisances, frustrations, hinderances whether from other characters – superiors, strangers or friends and relations – or from the work environment, age, or financial conditions. Test your own writing • Have I allowed time for my characters to explore their feelings? • Have I shown emotions through dialogue, body language and the choices my characters make? • Do my characters react with emotions true to their personalities? • Have I created a strong enough conflict and/or drama worth being divided over? • Have I used specific details to create a picture so vivid and lifelike that my readers will react emotionally? • Have I raised the stakes high enough to force the character to make tough decisions? • Have I used strong, dynamic nouns and verbs? • Do the setting and environment invoke or reflect the characters’ emotions? • Do I feel upset, joyful, torn, comforted or triumphal along with my characters?

Happy writing! Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon and in paper format at events. 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Vronni Ward and Beryl Brennan for sharing their book reviews with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

MADAME DE POMPADOUR by Nancy Mitford I was drawn to this book because my Great Aunt Mary had been a companion to one of the Mitford sisters, which one I do not know. Mitford’s book is written in a conversational style, like having a natter over a cup of tea. It is ideal for dipping in and out. Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson (who at nine years old was told by a fortune teller that she would rule the heart of a king) despite being married with a young daughter, sees her future as the mistress of the King of France and sets about making herself the most influential woman at court. The Marquise de Pompadour comes alive, as Mitford delights in recreating the splendour and glitter of Versailles. She is portrayed as a kindly woman, who treated the Queen with respect, had a great love of family, a good sense of humour and was deeply in love with the King. We read of her passion for the theatre, power struggles in the court, war, politics and an attempt on the King’s life. Pompadour spends inordinate amounts of money on numerous houses that she buys and renovates using her preferred artisans including artists such as Boucher, who happens to be one of my favourite artists too! The King’s love for her was unparalleled - as her funeral cortege leaves the palace, and the King turns to go inside with tears streaming down his face, Mitford remarks: “After this a great dullness settled over the Château of Versailles.” by Vronni Ward

THE MIDWIFE’S CONFESSION by Diane Chamberlain How well do you know your best friend? Do you tell each other your secrets? How would you react to find after their death that you really didn’t know them at all, that they had secrets which they only told to their solicitor, who happened to be your husband? Your friend totally unexpectedly commits suicide and when clearing their house you find a letter which sets you off on a voyage of discovery about her. Her secrets are revealed and could help save the life of someone with a terminal illness. Diane Chamberlain was a psychotherapist prior to her writing career and in this story she explores the relationships between a mother and daughter, wife and husband and best friends. A thought provoking story which asks the question ‘how well do you know your best friend’? by Beryl Brennan


by Janet Greenwood

Beekeeping Adventures

by Amanda and Kevin Baughen


pring has definitely sprung; you can see the grass growing, everything is in colour, and the air is filled with the sound of birdsong and garden machinery. You may also hear the loud hum/ buzzing made by a swarm of bees off in search of a new home, as well as the lazy droning of bumble bees working their way over blossoms. Itchy eyes and constant sneezing are testament to the high pollen levels; what a good job honeybees don’t suffer from hay fever! Hopefully you’ll have noticed bees and other pollinating insects out and about, all of them busily foraging. Our hives are full to bursting at this time of the year; each colony has just the one queen and she lays all the eggs, up to 2,000 a day, so by the height of the season we expect to have around 80,000 bees in each hive. All those mouths need food, and you can help them find it by planting nectar-producing flowers, not cutting your grass too short to allow daisies etc. to grow, and by providing drinking water in shallow saucers. If you place a stick or stone in the water you can give the bees a safe place to land so they can drink without drowning. This also keeps them away from other sources of water such as swimming pools, not necessarily where you want to encounter bees. If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, please don’t be tempted to surround it with tubs of lavender – it may look pretty but you’ve essentially laid on food and water for all the neighbourhood Photo above: Provide the bees with a landing pad, so bees. they can drink without drowning. As well as collecting pollen, which is their protein, contains enzymes to keep them healthy and comes in a wide array of colours, bees gather nectar, carbohydrate, to provide energy. They consume some of the nectar straight away, but they also store it, injecting an enzyme to reduce its moisture content and capping it with wax to build their larder for the coming months. This is honey, and its flavour and consistency is entirely dependent upon the type of nectar that the bees have stored. The main aim of keeping bees for a lot of people is to obtain honey, but we have to bear in mind that when we harvest that honey we are essentially stealing the bees’ stores. No wonder they get a little grumpy when we do so - all that hard work and we just waltz in and pinch it! Next time we’ll share some honey-harvesting do’s and don’ts...


hank you to all ‘The DSM’ readers who supported my open garden day on 7 April 2019. We raised 187€ for French charities, had a great day and welcomed some lovely people into our spring garden. On 16 June we have a very interesting garden opening in Cheffois, Vendée. This is at La Boursaudière 85390 Cheffois and is the home of Cherry Burton and Jim Bryde. Designed and built by them, Cherry, an award winning designer and her landscaper partner Jim, the garden has year-round colour and interest with herbaceous plants and mixed shrubs, grasses and roses filling the borders which are constantly evolving. The garden is now six-years old. Stone walls have been built around two ponds, both with waterfalls, which are full of fish, frogs, Iris sibirica and Waterlilies. There is also the beginning of a small orchard (25 trees) and a vegetable garden. Plus a chicken run. A new edition is an archway made from a 5m long wooden ladder found in one of the barns. Open from 11.30am-6pm Opening your garden to visitors is a very worthwhile thing to do. Let’s face it, gardening is relatively hard work so why not share all that effort ( and pride!) with visitors? The social impact of welcoming relative strangers into your garden, chatting to them about your mutual passion for gardening and then having them leave later as new friends is huge. It helps enormously integrating into the French and British communities. OpenGardens/JardinsOuverts is always looking for new gardens to join our ranks. If you are thinking of opening your garden, please get in touch and we would be delighted to help you become involved. Janet Greenwood : 05 49 28 38 02 ( Deux-Sèvres) Jane Bailey: 02 51 87 50 96 (Vendée)

Photo: storage solutions - capping with wax to build their larder for the coming months.

To read our blog and find out more about our beekeeping experiences, please visit our website:

Photos above: The garden of designers Cherry Burton and Jim Bryde in Cheffois (85390)

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 15

The zoo at Doué-la-Fontaine by Howard Needs


e first went to the zoo at Doué-la-Fontaine seven years ago, and now take a season card each year. This has meant that we can follow the animals through the seasons and visit whenever we want, without too much expense. Each visit results in some good photos of most animals – the rhinos and hippos are less successful, due, doubtless, to their less-thanphotogenic qualities, and there is one monkey so reclusive that we have never seen it! We have learnt a lot about the objectives of the zoo and it has impressed upon us how wonderful ‘life’ is as a phenomenon and how precious the variety is in the biosphere. The zoo, now known as the Bioparc de Doué-la-Fontaine, was started in 1961 in a couple of disused limestone quarries. It expanded over the following years and in the late 1970s took on a role in the preservation of endangered species. In 2001, it launched its ‘nature projects’, which involve supporting 40 schemes around the world. Since then, it has had further expansion and improvement of the animal enclosures. The first thing to note is that these are captive animals and that their environment is restricted. The second is that many of them belong to endangered species. For example, there are just 6000 Indian tigers left in the world, and their natural environment is threatened. There are three of these tigers at Doué-la-Fontaine, well looked after and safe. A zoo can only preserve the physical creature, but not the entity of an operational herd, pack, or pride. Captive orangutans that are to be released in the Borneo forests have to be taught by human beings about the basics of life in the wild for them to have even a chance of survival. The zoo’s five giant Brazilian otters are joyous beasts. Their form is that of the European river and sea otters, but larger. They have a loud call, and large, sharp teeth - fish do not stand a chance. Their secluded living quarters means that sometimes during a visit they are just not visible, while at other times they may be lazing in an old canoe, three or four twisted together enjoying the sun. They are at their best when in the water. They slip in and chase each other underwater, coming up briefly for air, sometimes swimming on the surface, always fast and unpredictable. This makes for fine photos if you can time it right and keep the camera in focus. The vultures, in their new amphitheatre of 5000m2, with its nesting places and high view points also seem to have a comfortable and unrestricted life, particularly considering they are all rescue birds. Howard’s photos at Bioparc Doué-la-Fontaine are of: a snow leopard (top), a giant otter (bottom left) and giraffes (bottom right).

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

There are 20 to 40 at any one time, enabling them to congregate as they do in their natural environment. They nest, have young, and their food is presented in a natural form. But due to physical disability, they cannot soar on high as their bodies and their DNA demand. However, the next generation can and do when released, and that is what makes it so rewarding to see. Of the big cats, you will see lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs and two snow leopards. These last are a ‘must visit’ for us. Their old quarters were cramped, and the two of them were always sleeping in hollows in the quarry wall, at the back of the enclosure. I recollect only a couple of visits when they were active on the ground or high in the branches. The new enclosure (which is part of a new complex opened two years ago and includes the vultures and chamois), is much bigger, with more room to roam and climb – but still they don’t! So far, we have only seen them at the top of a rock column, always together, sometimes yawning and looking disinterestedly at the visitors and sometimes just unashamedly asleep. They are magnificent beasts, and you can marvel at the evolutionary processes that differentiated them from their close relatives, the tropical leopards, and their more distant feline cousins. The South American aviary is awesome. You walk to it through tunnels in the limestone, entering at the base of a disused quarry. It houses all sorts of birds, ranging from penguins to turkey vultures. The Adelaide penguins swim, feed and sun themselves in an apparently contented fashion. The parrots fly in flocks and sit on your arm making a lot of noise. Pink flamingoes and their young wade in the water together with ducks, while a turkey vulture eyes you from his perch. The enclosure is, of course, gauze covered, but is high enough to allow free and fast flight. Watching the birds fly is a must for me, if only to let me sit and rest, without feeling the need to take photos. Contentment is apparent, not just in the penguins but in all the animals. There is little of the aimless pacing to and fro of bored captive beasts seen in some zoos. We have found that the early season is the best time to visit. There is less vegetation to obscure the inhabitants, and although the beasts are coming out of an inactive period, they seem more lively than in the height of summer, when shade and cover seem important to them. Late afternoon is also a good time; just before closing time, when the majority of the visitors have left, they come out with a sigh of relief on their faces. It is then that the shyer animals also appear, including some you rarely see. The zoo is active in various parts of the world saving endangered species and educating the people who cohabit with the animals. When it comes to education in the zoo there is plenty of information around the enclosures. This zoo is well managed, clean, and properly maintained, with ongoing improvements in the living conditions of the animals and in the visitors amenities. During the last week in April we were at the zoo again and visited the as-yet-unfinished new quarters for the lions and leopards. A magnificent, recently quarried-out area with room for the beasts to walk and climb. Looking at the material used, we calculated that this must be a huge investment, primarily for the comfort of the animals. Visitors will benefit as well, but in this zoo, the animals are the priority. As it should be.

Makin g a fa br ic ba g These are such versatile bags, they can be used as book bags, special gift bags, they are ideal for keeping your lingerie in, using as travel bags to keep your clothing perfect inside your suitcase, or even putting your dirty washing in. All you need is a piece of cotton fabric and a tie cord, this could be elastic or ribbon, it’s your choice. You can download the template on my blog page: To create your own template, simply of the finished bag you require, add draw a rectangle the size 2cm seam allowance to the side and base and 3cm seam allowance to the top edge. Let’s start sewing Step 1 - Sew the side seam (it may be worth marking this with pins or a chalk pen). Sew a seam 2cm wide - first sew down 3cm and then leave a gap of 1.5cm, then continue to sew the rest of the seam. Make sure you back tack at the beginning and end of each stage to make the seam strong.

Now iron the seam flat. Press the seam allowance in by 1cm and fold under so that the raw edges of the fabric are enclosed. Stitch on the fold line to hold the seam allowance down.

by Nicola Chadwick

Trim back the seam allowance by half, turn the bag so that the wrong side is facing out and press flat. Stitch down the seam line again, from the wrong side this time, taking 1cm seam allowance. You have created a strong and secure seam with no raw edges showing! Step 3 - Again we will make a French seam at the base of the bag. Before you sew this, it is worth checking that you are sewing the bottom of the bag, as you need the 1.5cm gap you left at the TOP of the bag for the tie cord. Repeat the steps as you did for the side seam. First take a 1cm seam allowance on the right side then trim away half the seam allowance, turn to the wrong side and press neatly. Take 1cm seam allowance to complete the seam. Step 4 - The top of the bag. Take the bag to the iron and press the edge down by 1.5cm, then fold over again by another 1.5cm and press. The 1.5cm gap you left should be on the right side of the bag, perfectly aligned. Stitch the seam in place. If you like, you can do a row of decorative stitches just below the very top edge of the bag.

Take a safety pin and thread your tie cord through the channel, into the gap and around and out at the other side – make sure you thread in the direction that the inside seam is travelling otherwise you may find your pin gets caught in the fold of the seam inside the channel.

Step 2 - The other side seam. Here we are going to make a French seam! Place the bag with the right sides of the fabric to the outside, I know this appears to be wrong, but for a French seam this is perfectly correct! Stitch down the seam taking a 1cm seam allowance.

Now you know how to make a beautiful fabric bag, why not make different sizes! As always you can download your free template project from my blog page at: and ask any questions you may have.



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 17

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres

by Sue Burgess




Sainte-Gemme is a small commune that is part of the Communauté de communes du Saint Varentais. The neighbouring towns and villages are Pierrefitte, Coulonges-Thouarsais, Geay, Luché-Thouarsais and Glénay. The closest large town is Saumur (49) which is 43km away as the crow flies.

he history of the commune has been marked by numerous personalities; by the natural environment and by the richness of its natural heritage which shows the old stones of the historical buildings at their best.

Founded in 1109 by the lords of Lusignan, the village developed under the shadow of its 12th century church and its renaissance château which was built by Louis de Saint-Gelais from 1530 onwards. The circular temple is unique in the area. The Sèvre valley with its open prairies, dry valleys, and rolling wooded areas offers a natural shelter for a good way of life. Close to Niort, in the greater Niort area, and close to the Gâtine, the commune is popular for its proximity both to town and countryside. A VOIR / MUST SEE • The 12th century church is a classified historical monument and has a flamboyant Gothic style facade. After having almost been abandoned as a ruin and threatened with demolition, it was restored thanks to public funds at the beginning of the 20th century. A lintel still has traces of the former coat of arms of the Saint-Gelais (an ugly monkey). • A small privately owned château is also a listed historical monument. • The commune is home to an old protestant temple, the only round one in the region. It is a historical monument. There is a biblical inscription on the facade from the Gospel according to Saint John Some famous people who have links with the commune: • Octavien de Saint Gelais or Octovien, known as Lévesque of Angoulême (a French poet - 1468-1502) • Mellin de Saint-Gelais (French poet - 1487-1558), the nephew of Octavien. • Guy Chabot, Lord of Saint-Gelais, author of Coup de Jarnac (1514-1584). • Adrien Lechevalier, Prince of Saint-Gelais : “Tout est possible à qui rêve, ose, travaille et n’abandonne jamais” (Everything is possible for he who dreams, dares, works and never gives up).

by Sue Burgess

The river La Joyette runs nearby and flows into the Thouaret. History According to a local legend, a knight returning from the Holy Land, collapsed with exhaustion at Sainte-Gemme and was looked after by a hermit called Guillaume. When he recovered, he made a vow to erect a chapel here. The Chapelle Saint-Guillaume is a small building with a single nave. Only the side walls of the ruined nave are still standing along with the western facade with its 12th century sculpted door. There are traces of wall paintings showing Christ in all his glory surrounded by symbolic animals and the Virgin feeding the baby on a background of roses. The chapel is privately owned. The village church, dedicated to Sainte Gemme is still in use today. The first written reference to the church only appeared at the beginning of the 14th century. The church belonged to the deanery of Bressuire and the Dean of Bressuire was responsible for nominating the curate. From 1317 the parish became part of the diocese of Maillezais. Sainte Gemme is a saint with a legendary life. Her father wanted her to marry a pagan and when she refused he beat her to death. The story is supposed to have taken place in the Saintonge region where there is another commune called Sainte-Gemme. There are however 14 communes named Sainte-Gemme all over France. After the revolution the new parish church was only erected in 1840.

N.B. The coat of arms (above left) shows part of the heraldry of the noble family of Saint Gelais-Lusignan.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 1. Whisky (6) 4. Close to (6) 8. Hairy growth on the face and neck (5) 9. Young rabbit (7) 10. Type of winter sportsman (5) 11. English cheese (7) 12. Direct and open speech or expression (9) 15. Italian sports car manufacturer (7) 16. Content (5) 17. Having the shape of a ball (7) 18. Be in accord (5) 19. Jumpsuit worn to relax or sleep in (6) 20. Soak up, incorporate (6)

Down: 2. Offensively bold (6) 3. 75% shown as a fraction (5-8) 5. Scottish cattle breed (8-5) 6. Rule made by local authority (6) 7. Son of Edward III who defeated the French at Crécy and Poitiers in the Hundred Years’ War (1330-1376) (5-6) 13. Any instrument used in fighting or hunting (6) 14. Come into view (6)

With thanks to Rob Berry

DSM Toughie Crossword

Brain Gym Q1: Q2: Q3: Q4: Q5: Q6:

What is black when you buy it, red when you use it, and grey when you throw it away? There are two monkeys on a tree and one jumps off. Why does the other monkey jump too? Word scramble. Fhoustll (lazy) A hole is dug two by three metres wide and four metres deep. How much soil is in the hole? What is next in the sequence: 1, 11, 21, 1211, 111221, 312211, 13112221...? What eight letter word can have a letter taken away and it still makes a word. Take another letter away and it still makes a word. Keep on doing that until you have one letter left. What is the word?

Q7: Q8: Q9:

Down 1. Pick me up some Brighton ice cream. (5) 2. Cleaning lady heading for Riviera location to get seduced? (7) 3. To be active, but not in the right way, is very bad. (4) 4. Whistle blower with foremost of lawyers endorsing clemency gets time to think? (7) 5. Bandit chasing vehicle for reject? (5) 6. Used to be about first sightings of large round underwater mammal? (6) 8. Get greater than a thousand for FA in right wing context? (4) 12. Outer edge turned up period of illusion? (6) 13. Find out once more about tragic king with unknown factor? (7) 15. Vital result when wine producer spooks learner? (7) 16. Come to the aid of after LP revolution from Dire Straits? (4) 18. In charge on French wine product? (5) 20. Written attempt published among sage’s sayings? (5) 21. Making seaweed soup out of silver and essence of starch? (4)

A doctor and a bus driver are both in love with the same woman, an attractive girl named Sarah. The bus driver had to go on a long bus trip that would last a week. Before he left, he gave Sarah seven apples. Why? Mr and Mrs Lafayette have six daughters and each daughter has one brother. How many people are in the Lafayette family? Can you work out the well known phrase or saying from the visual clues? b. a.



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 19

Answers on P.45 and our website:

Across 1. I tricked Tote organisation into giving me a travel pass? (6, 2, 4) 7. Getting closer after NH exchange event affects court session? (7) 9. ‘Holy’ threat made by leaders of faith and truth worshippers arm? (5) 10. Arrive with yours truly on business. (4) 11. Get other form of unity? (8) 12. Contemporary forces department to get ration limits on drug? (6) 14. Keeps time in beats? (6) 17. First person taken out of musical after vicar made a gun? (8) 19. Obscure result of force being taken away from beak? (4) 22. Hemp plant found in Michigan jail raid. (5) 23. Child’s horse found in pastries; subject of infant’s rhyme? (7) 24. Aunt Tracy all in a tizz! Was With thanks to M.Morris meant to behave as if nothing was wrong. (3, 9)

Home & Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers

‘And since all this loveliness cannot be Heaven, Then I know it must be June.’ Abba Woolson

slope. I have a good stock of hostas and some epimediums, which the French call the ‘Elf flower’ because they resemble the up-turned hat of an elf. The foliage varies between pale and dark green/bronze and pink, yellow, orange and red flowers. These are easily hidden by the leaves, so it’s a good idea to cut some of the foliage to give access to insects for pollen and to be able to see the flowers more easily. We have a lot of self-seeded foxgloves and these will be divided up and replanted in the designated area. The potted Solomon’s seal has put on a lot of growth, so it’s big enough now to divide. Other shade loving plants include tiarella, brunnera and corydalis. Some of the perennial geraniums are suitable for shade too, these incude: Geranium oxonianum, Geranium ‘Patricia’, Geranium himalayense, Geranium phaeum, and Geranium Rozanne - this one was the plant of the century a couple of years ago. They are easy to grow, flower well, just need to be cut back in May and that’s it!

Now is the time to: •


May was the month of storms, lush growth everywhere, gentle pastel colours of the spring bulbs and early perennials, and gardening in between showers, never quite getting jobs finished.

t last, the first month that we gardeners can really say “It’s summer!” The danger of frost has gone, the skies will be more blue than grey and we’ll feel the warmth on our skin when we’re out in the garden - no coats or wooly hats needed!

June has the light, the longer hours and the rewards of previous efforts. Our earlier plantings and sowings are showing results and new growth is apparent all around. I have a friend who started her first potager just weeks ago. There are lettuces, beetroot, potatoes, radishes and onions. The delight on her face when the seeds started to sprout and the first radish was big enough to pick and eat, was just joyous! She has started something she won’t want, or be able, to give up! The hedychiums have put on a tremendous amount of growth and I must split them, as they are pushing their pot completely out of shape. The two lemon trees are each doing their own thing, one with lovely, green, new foliage, the other looking just like a stick someone has pushed into the ground. A bit of TLC needed on that one I think! The rose ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ has responded very well to an earlier hard prune and has strong new growth and an abundance of buds - such a gorgeous fragrance. I’m hoping ‘she’ will eventually cover the arch under which I planted her. I split the cornflowers in February and now have three large clumps all flowering well in such a clear strong blue! The camassia are flowering at last. Small pyramids of blue flowers in their first year which will increase in size year on year. The bulbs themselves are quite large, as big as a large allium bulb. Not the cheapest bulbs, but well worth the money. Having lost nearly all my fuchsias last year, I have started another collection. I’ll take cuttings to ensure against losing any of them again. The Fuchsia ‘Riccartonii’ is very hardy and survives frosts, snow and ‘human’ traffic constantly brushing against it. I’ll keep my eyes open for unusual varieties at this summers’ plant fairs. I am going to try to start the shade bed at the bottom of the garden

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

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Fill any gaps in the borders with brightly coloured annuals such as tagetes, cosmos, osteospermum. Sow early flowering spring bedding plants: bellis (daisy), erysimum (wallflower) which has a fantastic scent when it’s in bloom, violas, and primulas. Weed borders regularly, either by hand pulling or using a hoe. Remove bindweed and ground elder using a trowel rather than a hoe as small pieces of root left behind will quickly develop. Spray ferns with water to stop them from drying out during hot weather. Regularly feed pot grown fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants with a liquid fertiliser, as nutrients quickly deplete from the compost. Mulching with fresh compost helps to feed the plants. Prune spring flowering shrubs such as deutzia, philadelphus, weigela and kolkwitzia. Philadelphus produces flowers on new growth, so pruning now will give maximum time to develop. Deadhead lupins and delphiniums to encourage a second flowering. Remove faded flowers and seed pods from rhododendrons, and any unopened buds in case they are harbouring disease. Plant new grasses such as pennisetum and panicum to give them a chance to establish before winter. Cut back oriental poppies and pulmonarias to ground level to encourage new leaf growth. Grass mowings will probably be added to the compost heap, so in order to prevent it from becoming a soggy mass, mix in straw, cardboard or newspaper and turn regularly. Divide bearded irises after flowering, replanting sections of the rhizome with at least two fan shaped leaf sections attached. Irises don’t like to sit in the wet and prefer free draining shallow soil which allows the rhizome to ‘bake’ in the sun. Protect hostas and delphiniums from slugs and snails using copper tape around pots, coffee dregs spread around the base of the plant, egg shells, gravel, bark etc. I have already seen the red lily beetle so be vigilant. Remove blanket weed from ponds using a long stick and twisting it around. Leave the weed on the ground at the side of the pond for 24 hours to allow wildlife to return to the water. Lily ‘bulbs’ are made up of scales which are easy to pick off. Pop them into a plastic bag with a little compost or vermiculite, seal the bag and leave in a warm place (about 21°C) for six weeks, by which time, small bulbils will have appeared. Plant these up

• • •

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individually. In mature lilies, bulbils are produced in the leaf axils where the leaf meets the stem. The bulbils can be picked off and treated in the same way. A cheap way to increase your stock. Prune ornamental cherry trees after the blossom has faded. Don’t make too many cuts as they don’t heal well and can allow disease to enter the tree. Remove finished flower heads of euphorbias, pruning the stems to ground level. Wear gloves to protect hands from the irritating sap. Deadhead roses and remove any diseased leaves or suckers. If the spent flowers remain on the plant they will produce rosehips and flowering will stop completely. Feed roses by sprinkling granular feed around the base of the plant and forking it gently in. Other shrubs to deadhead now include: camellia, buddleia, lavatera, lilac, magnolia, peonies and choisya. Water and feed hanging baskets regularly. If the temperatures become really hot, take the baskets down, water them and leave them in the shade until it becomes cooler. Trim back hardy geraniums and alchemilla mollis to ground level as they tend to flop at this time of year, and a second flowering will happen. Prune evergreen clematis armandii. This is a clematis which can easily get out of hand. The shoots that are produced after pruning provide the flowers for next year. Water sweet peas well and tie in new growth. Trimming off some of the excess tendrils as you go. Hellebore seeds don’t store well, so collect them from plants now and sow directly onto the surface of moist compost in pots or trays. Water well and leave in a sheltered spot to germinate. Take cuttings from penstemons. Choose a non flowering shoot and cut it from the parent plant just above a leave node. Remove the lower leaves and pinch out the top. Insert the cuttings around the edge of a pot filled with potting compost and cover the surface with a mulch of grit or perlite. Water well and leave in a warm, light place. Roots will form within just a few weeks. Plant out leeks when they are the thickness of a pencil. Keep watering and earthing up potatoes to prevent tubers from going green, being inedible, and allowing more tubers to form. Keep feeding tomato plants with a high potash fertiliser. Remove side shoots from cordon tomatoes and lower leaves from the stems. Cordon tomatoes have one long, upright main stem. They need staking as the trusses become quite heavy as they develop. Plant out courgettes, squash and cucumbers, giving support for the developing fruit and protection from contact with the soil or they may be affected by rot. Transplant outside, sweetcorn and aubergines. Sweetcorn flowers are wind pollinated, so to ensure a crop, allow plenty of space between plants. Sow quick growing crops such as radishes, lettuces and spring onions between brassicas. Pinch out tips of new growth on fig trees at the end of the month, once shoots have made five leaves. Thin out fruit on plum, apple and pear trees to improve the size and quality of remaining fruit.

Fêtes des Plantes dates for the diary: Château du Lude (72800)

1, 2 June

Pompaire, Niort (79200)

2 June

Rochefort, Charente Maritime (17300)

7, 8, 9 June

Prissé-la-Charrière (79360) Damvix (85420)

16 June

8, 9 June

Whatever you do in your garden, enjoy it to the full and reap the rewards of the benefits it’s bringing you……. good health, physical fitness, peace of mind, and time to enjoy a good cuppa in the fresh air!


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 21

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

79380 La Forêt-sur-Sèvre

Small colour Advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 23

Where We Live...


Jan Gracie Mulcahy


Trappe d’Échourgnac This pasteurised cow’s milk cheese is produced in two versions at the Abbey Notre Dame de Bonne Espérance (Our Lady of Good Hope), near Échourgnac, in the Dordogne. There’s a traditional recipe, le nature – based on Port Salut and only available from the monastery store – and a newer version of the same cheese which is washed with a walnut liqueur. The abbey was founded in the heart of the Double forest in 1852 by Trappist monks from the abbey of Port-du-Salut, in the Mayenne department, who brought the Port Salut cheese recipe with them. As they established their new monastery, known as the Abbey of La Trappe, the monks created a cheesemaking facility and bought milk from local farms. They also worked to improve milk quality. Using that milk, the monks produced Échourgnac (really Port Salut!) until 1910, when production ceased for several years. In 1923, however, the abbey was taken over by Cistercian nuns who continued the cheesemaking tradition and, in 1999, they introduced their walnut liqueur-washed variation. The liqueur is sourced from nearby Périgord, an area famous for its nut groves and home to a distillery producing the well-known ‘liqueur de noix.’ The newer version of Échourgnac proved so popular that in 2004 the nuns decided to share the recipe with the monks at the Abbey of Timadeuc, in Brittany, in order to meet demand. There the cheese is called le Timanoix. The Échourgnac cheese factory belongs to the group of monastic cheese dairies whose products carry the label Monastic. The rind of the mature Trappe d’Échourgnac is slightly moist and bounces under finger pressure. The flavour is balanced and mild. Maturation takes two months in the abbey’s stone vault cellars and then a further month at the cheese shop. The cheeses typically weigh 270-300g, although there are bigger ones at a hefty 2kg. Production is artisanal and all year round. The appearance of the walnut liqueur-washed cheese can be quite different – more like the colour of walnut-stained wood. The texture can be a little rubbery, but the taste more than makes up for that. It’s like a piece of walnut cake, but rubbery and salty rather than sweet and doughy. The Trappe d’Échourgnac goes well with cold cuts or just drizzled with a sweet white Monbazillac wine or even a dark red Cahors.

© wikicommons/Coyau

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

Gone, but never forgotten Love, marriage and death are usually experienced over many years. When they are experienced within the time frame of a month, the shock causes repercussions that reverberate for a lifetime.


t was May 1, 1960. Twenty-three-year-old Jan Gracie Mulcahy was on honeymoon and returning to Sydney from Tasmania with her new husband, violinist Eamon O'Carroll, in the Holden sedan loaned to them by her parents for the trip. The weather was foul and there was a head-on collision with a huge semi-trailer (articulated lorry) that left driver Eamon dead while Jan, who was sitting beside him, miraculously survived. Jan returned to her office job two weeks after the accident and was well supported by her fellow workers, parents and close friends. However, her left hand had been badly injured in the accident so, as a professional double bass player, she was unable to return to musical engagements for three months. “When I returned to the Sydney Conservatorium, I had to meet up with musicians who were close to Eamon and it was just so painful. I soon decided to finish my double bass studies in London and, for better or worse, had my passport issued in my maiden name.” Three weeks before Christmas 1960, she left the heat of Sydney and boarded a ship to England, arriving in Southampton in mid-January 1961. “In London, I met up with two Australian friends who advised me to buy my very first tweed overcoat. My second expensive purchase – which used up all my savings – was an English double bass recommended by my teacher, which cost me £200. It came with a canvas case and lugging it around in my stilettos in tube stations and on escalators was quite a challenge. But I was a tough Aussie and had been trained at an early age to take on adult responsibilities in my family during the Second World War.” As the first-born child in August 1936 and with two younger brothers, Jan had found it quite natural to play boys’ games and to be the leader in most activities. At six she was the first to get a bicycle to ride the two miles to school and she found it very liberating, in spite of the falls she sometimes had on the rutted gravel road. “In January 1944, my mother spent six weeks in hospital after the birth of my youngest brother. She had suffered medical neglect and a nervous breakdown, so I had to take on many adult responsibilities. We lived in a remote area of Sydney on a farm, with the nearest school and general store two miles away. There were no bus services, no phones, no postal services or

by Mick Austin

deliveries of any kind and no electricity, gas or hot water. The roads were unsealed and never graded and had ruts like canyons. We had a Scottish neighbour, Nan Gavin, who had six children aged six to 16 and the older kids helped us fight bush fires, wade across creeks when bridges were down and taught us to swim in the river. During the school holidays the bush was our playground.” Jan's father had a sand dredging business and worked for the government in essential services. He was away all day and came home at night, hungry and tired, to supervise her with the domestic chores. “I had always been afraid of my father’s criticism and was a bundle of nerves trying to please and failing. The last straw for him was when I set fire to a frying pan and the mantlepiece over our fuel stove. My maternal grandmother was summoned and I was packed off at the end of the school holidays to live with her in her inner-city suburban house. “The separation from my family was a mixed blessing because Grandma was very deaf, a strict woman who winced every time she opened her purse. But she had a piano and agreed to pay for my weekly music lessons from a local teacher. My father visited me once in August, but refused to take me home until the school term ended. Grandma complained about the money he owed her, they had a terrible row and he ran away. “I remember it being a sunny afternoon in November when I arrived home from school to the usual lockout. Every Friday without fail I was unable to get into the house as my Grandma would lock the door before going away for the day. On that occasion I managed to break into the house, but it was all too much and, like my father before me, I also ran away. “I left a note 'Gone home to mummy. Janet.' and walked to the station. I caught three trains, walked from the railway station to the farm and arrived home to a hero’s welcome and the best meal I had eaten in almost a year. Leaving home and travelling alone at the age of nine was a good practice run for my leaving Australia at 23!” When she turned 17 in 1954, Jan began further piano studies at Sydney Conservatorium of Music while working as a book-keeping machine operator in a city office to support her music studies. In December 1955 she was awarded a scholarship to learn double bass. “Within six months I joined the Conservatorium Students Orchestra in the cramped pit rehearsing Verdi’s opera La Forza del Destino. It was there I met my future husband, Eamon O’Carroll, who oscillated between violin and viola. Our horizons widened and in 1957 we performed in the Australian Youth Orchestra at the Sydney Town Hall and the following year in Melbourne with Daniel Barenboim, aged just 16 and playing a fantastic performance of Grieg’s Piano Concerto. “Eamon was two years my junior, Irish Catholic and often played the fool to get attention. He loved the Goon Show and

was full of madcap behaviour. But as we got to know one another better he had enormous empathy and allowed me to share my sadness when my Auntie Lois died after a two-year battle with breast cancer. She was my mother’s older sister and only 50 when she passed away in November 1959. I felt it unjust that she should die when her life was about to improve, but Eamon’s wise words consoled me: 'She lived long enough to get her kids through school and that was her mission.' ” In December 1959, Eamon and Jan got engaged and planned to marry just after Easter. Jan had taken Catholic instruction from her local priest and that coincided with their wedding day – Friday April 22, 1960 – in the Catholic Church. “All our families and friends were there and the wedding was a bit of a hoot because the ceremony included the Catholic Mass, which confounded the non-Catholics. Eamon said they all behaved as if they were on a see-saw – when the Catholics stood up, the others sat down!” The couple had taken out a lease on half a house in a Sydney innercity suburb and moved in on their wedding night. Jan's parents loaned them a car for their honeymoon and the newly-weds set off for Tasmania, staying overnight near the Victorian border. They had planned the road trip to give Eamon driving experience as he had only passed his test a few months before, so they shared the driving. “In Hobart we met up with friends and visited Port Arthur, the historic gaol for convicts, a grim place which we found rather depressing after hearing the guide’s commentary. He told us the aborigines who lived in Tasmania wore animal skins during winter and Eamon commented that they weren't stupid. We were shivering as we toured Hobart in our light clothing and woollen jumpers.” May 1, 1960. It was the last day of their trip and heavy rain greeted them for the rough ferry crossing back to Melbourne. As they queued to get off the ferry, a teenager Eamon had been talking to asked if he could hitch a lift back to Sydney with them. “I didn’t think it was a good idea because he was heavily built and would slow us down. But Eamon persuaded me and, against my better judgement, I agreed. We set off from Melbourne in torrential rain with this monosyllabic kid and his big rucksack he used as a pillow on our back seat. “Eamon drove first while I constantly wiped the fogged-up windscreen. The car had no seatbelts, demisters or heating so we were shivering with the cold and visibility was poor. We stopped every two hours for food, toilet breaks, petrol and to change drivers. The hitch-hiker never said a word, but his presence interfered with our ability to communicate and most of the time we were silent. Left photo: Eamon and Jan celebrating their engagement in December 1959 Middle: Jan and her mother at a swimming pool party in 1960 Right: Eamon and Jan at the church on 22 April 1960

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 25

...A look at what makes France so special “Eamon’s funeral was held in Sydney later in the week, but I was still in hospital and finding it very painful to cry. The local priest prayed with me while the funeral was taking place and it was very consoling.” Jan's parents picked her up from the hospital a week after the crash. It was a while before she was strong enough to visit the house she and Eamon had leased, but she didn't want to stay there on her own so went back to live with her parents. “I had hoped I might be pregnant, which would make some sense of my survival. But that dream was soon dashed and I cried bitterly over it, alone in my bed with nightmares, searching for Eamon, calling out to him.

Top photo: ABC TV performance by Charles Gray String Orchestra, 23 August 1959 (photo by Douglas Trengove) Below: Jan practising in London 1962 (photo by Glenys Morrissey)

“The two-lane highway had no overtaking lanes at that time and the surface tar was starting to break up into huge ruts. Enormous semitrailers heading towards Melbourne thundered past every five minutes, swamping the windscreen and causing the car to shake violently. The light was fading, Eamon was driving and at 5.30pm he switched on the headlights. “At 6pm, three miles from the town of Jugiong, we collided headon with a southbound semi-trailer that was overtaking a brokendown semi-trailer. There was no way Eamon could avoid the collision. We had a rock wall on our left and on the other side of the road there was a sheer drop hundreds of feet to a valley floor below. “Two died in that accident. My young husband and the hitch-hiker.” Jan was unconscious until early the next morning, when she woke up in Yass District Hospital to be told Eamon had died instantly in the crash. Her head was bandaged and it covered her damaged left eye. She ached all over and was unable to move her bandaged left hand, where her thumb joint was broken. She had X-rays of her spine and chest, which showed a cracked sternum. “It made breathing difficult, my neck was out of joint and my head was aching fit to kill. Some of those injuries bugged me for years and it took ages to find doctors or therapists who could help me regain my former self-confidence and good health. “The families rallied around and some visited me that first day after the crash. My brother, Chris, and his wife, Dawn, said my mum had been with them on the journey from Sydney to the crash site but had become hysterical when she saw the devastation. She ran around collecting petrol-soaked garments and stuffing them into the boot of their car until Chris had to pull her away. But she refused to leave the crash scene and eventually hitch-hiked back to Sydney on her own. I was grateful Chris had come to the hospital, but felt guilty and upset that my mother had spun out mentally because of the shock.

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

“One of the repercussions from the accident was experiencing annual grief symptoms, which were like re-living the severe depression and physical symptoms. These came on sometimes at Easter, but always around the date of Eamon’s death, on May 1. I would spend three days in bed, vomiting, with spinal pain and excruciating migraine headaches. Eventually I began the task of completing my emotional healing with professional help.” Part of that rehabilitation included leaving Australia at the end of 1960 to finish her musical studies in London. “During the two years I was in London, my menstrual cycle stopped and I was diagnosed with amenorrhea and post-traumatic stress as a result of the crash. I stacked on five stones more than my usual weight and my clothes went from size 12 to 16. Some of it was due to a stodgy diet, but I was always active - running for trains and bass-playing is very hard work. After I returned to Australia in December 1962, my menstrual cycle resumed and I lost the weight without dieting. I'm still a slim size 12. Recovering from the loss of Eamon took Jan a long time. “I suffered from survivor's guilt. That nasty voice whispering: 'Why him and not me?' And I ran away and didn’t allow myself to feel like a widow. I couldn't deal with male loss or rejection. It took a long time for me to return to the scene of the crash and say goodbye to Eamon. But in 1999 I went back to Jugiong and found there was a bypass round that treacherous section of the highway.” Soon after Jan returned to Sydney, in December 1962, she met Englishman Peter Gracie, who was working for GEC as an electrical engineer. “We were immediately attracted because of my knowledge of London and music. He played the flute and later on the recorder and we married in 1963. Joseph was born in 1965 and Emily 14 months later, in March 1966. They are both healthy and successful individuals and I'm very proud of them.” Jan's marriage to Peter didn't last, however. “It wasn't his fault. I just hadn't done all the emotional work after losing Eamon. We divorced in 1973 after being together for 11 years. “I've been married three times. My third husband, Larry Mulcahy, was a student of tenor trombone in the Sydney Conservatorium Orchestra during my time there. But we were both busy marrying other people. We met up again in May 1995 and had a coffee, which then became a two-hour lunch. He had been widowed for a year and was lonely and I had been out of a relationship for several years, so we clicked and married in September 1995. “We visited England and France three times and often flew to Sydney from our home in Lismore, New South Wales, for our culture injections! Larry was very generous and encouraged me as I gave yoga classes, went to literary workshops and regular poetry meetings and readings at the Byron Writers Festival. Even after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he was always supporting me. But the last year was terribly hard and he was so brave. He

was in hospital for three weeks before he passed away in January 2009.” While Jan lived in England in the early 1960s, she visited Paris on three occasions and was “seduced by its beauty, culture and wellmannered people.” Some 40 years later she again visited France – this time with her daughter, Emily – and fell in love again. But this time it was with the Deux-Sèvres. “With a dear cousin living here, I decided in 2016 to sell up in Australia and move to France permanently. I love my house in Thouars. My garden, my friends both English and French. Although the language can be a struggle, my friends help out. I attend Franglais classes and love sharing stories with them. I have a mountain of tales to tell! “After Larry's death I swore I would never get emotionally involved again. But a few months ago I was lugging a large bucket of broken bricks to the dechetterie in Thouars and was assisted by a kind Englishman who ticks all my boxes on the boyfriend list! I'm 83 in August and he is 65. We read our poetry to one another, cook scrumptious meals and never run out of stories as we have both had amazing life experiences. We also laugh a lot!” As Jan tells her story – especially about her first marriage – and thinks about those past experiences, she's only too aware it is just after Easter and coincides with the date of Eamon's death. “There are no negative symptoms. There is just a feeling of love, peacefulness and completion.”


On this month

by Steve Shaw

June 2, 1740: Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) was born in Paris. French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher and author, whose acts of extreme cruelty and violence resulted in the term sadism being created from his name to describe gratification in inflicting pain. He was incarcerated for 32 years of his life (ten of which were in the Bastille). June 18, 1815: On the fields near Waterloo in central Belgium, 72,000 French troops, led by Napoleon, suffered a crushing military defeat from a combined Allied army of 113,000 British, Dutch, Belgian, and Prussian troops. Thus ended 23 years of warfare between France and the other powers of Europe. Napoleon was then sent into exile on the island of St. Helena off the coast of Africa. On May 5, 1821, the former vain-glorious emperor died alone on the tiny island, abandoned by everyone. June 5, 1832: In the Tuileries garden, Paris, the young writer Victor Hugo was strolling by the river when he heard gunshots coming from the working-class district of Les Halles. Hugo went to investigate. For 15 minutes he hid behind a pillar and watched as the King’s soldiers fired on republican rebels. At last the battle moved away, giving Hugo the chance to make his escape. It was a moment that stayed with him for the rest of his life. Some 13 years later, he began work on a novel set in Paris during those tumultuous June days: Les Misérables.

Victor Hugo. © wikicommons/ Étienne Carjet

June 11, 1910: Undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau (19101997) was born in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France. In 1943, he helped invent the first underwater breathing apparatus, called the Aqualung. He is best known for his Emmy Award winning television series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. June 3, 1937: The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Warfield Simpson in Monts, France. Following the wedding, the couple lived in France and had minimal contact with the British Royal family. June 6, 1944: D-Day. The largest amphibious landing in history, began in the early-morning hours as Allied forces landed in Normandy. Operation Overlord took months of planning and involved 1,527,000 soldiers in 47 Allied divisions along with 4,400 ships and landing craft, and 11,000 aircraft. By the end of the day 150,000 Allied soldiers and their accompanying vehicles had landed with 15,000 killed and wounded. Orchestral first Jan Gracie Mulcahy was a professional double bass player for 25 years and worked with the Australian Opera and Ballet Company and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and was the first woman to play double bass (for two years from 1975 to 1976) in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. She teaches and writes poetry and short stories and has published her family history Other Than English and the memoir of her music career, Running in Stilettos with a Double Bass.

June 7, 1946: Eensie Weensie Spider by Yola De Meglioi was copyright registered. Altogether now... June 5, 1984: The safety cap for a medicine bottle is patented by Ronald Kay.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 27

Communications Support for Windows 7 is ending ‘All good things must come to an end, even Windows 7. After 14 January, 2020, Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7. But you can keep the good times rolling by moving to Windows 10.’ ‘Windows 7 support lifecycle - Microsoft made a commitment to provide ten years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on 22 October, 2009. When this ten year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. After 14 January 2020 technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update, that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 (sometime before January 2020) to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.’


he above two articles were published on 16 April 2019 by Microsoft. This means potential trouble for Windows 7 users from 14 January 2020 because the last security update will be sent out before 14 March 2020. However, this is only for non-enterprise licenced copies of the operating system. Support is available for $200 a year per enterprise (business) licence. Therefore, non-business users will not be permitted to have the most important security updates.

Top ten most popular operating systems According to for the year ending April 2019, Windows 7 had 39.02% of the operating system market, with Windows 10 taking 39.00%; Windows 8.1 - 4.68%; Mac OS X 10.13 - 3.92%; Windows XP - 3.57%; Mac OS X 10.14 - 2.75%; Linux 1.51%; Mac OS X 10.12 - 1.37%; Windows 8 - 0.93% and MAC OS X 10.11 had 0.88%. Even though users could claim a free copy of the Windows 10 operating system when launched on 29 July 2015, nearly four years later almost half of their users have not converted to the new OS. They must be quite disappointed. So why should you move to the latest operating system? Because the newest one is faster, safer, more reliable; probably the most important reason is Windows 7 doesn’t support the latest Intel and AMD processors. And when extended support for Windows 7 ends next March, there will be no more security updates. The good news is you may still get Windows 10 for free although it gets harder after the first year. To qualify you must have a legitimate Windows Licence for Windows 7, 8 or 8.1. If you would like to upgrade to Windows 10 please see the information on the following websites:

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

by Ross Hendry all-the-ways-you-can-still-get-windows-10-for-free/ windows-10-free-download-upgrade-2949184 There are, of course, other sites with information on this issue, just google search ‘how do I get Windows 10 for free?’ Alternatively contact your IT support person, I am sure they will be able to help you. If you need any further information please send me an email and I will try to help. I also strongly recommend that if your PC came with Windows 7 on it when new, it is probably worth considering getting a new PC as this will come with Windows 10. It is then a relatively simple task to migrate the data from your old PC and load the latest versions of the programs you use. You will be pleasantly surprised how friendly Windows 10 is and after a few weeks will wonder why you did not do it sooner! Good luck if you take on the upgrade yourself and please do not hesitate to call or email me if you have problems. I do not charge for telephone or online internet support for the first hour, generally if the issue needs longer to resolve, I will need to visit you. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 44 years experience in communications, computer technology and direct marketing. (see advert below).

14 Jan uar y 2020




Letter from Blighty (May)

Dear Frankie


aster (warm and sunny) and the May bank Holiday (grey and cold) are now behind us. So, too, are the local Council elections, from which both Tories and Labour emerged with bloodied noses, while the LibDems, Greens and other smaller parties emerged beaming broadly. And, just to keep us all in election trim, in a fortnight’s time we face European elections which everyone had hoped would not be necessary, particularly as they carry a price tag of some £120 million, apparently. To counter much bad news in the papers (continued tension in Venezuela, unrest in the Middle East, natural disasters in India and Mozambique), spring teeters on the brink of summer. Blossom has given way to a thousand shades of fresh green leaves, birds are busy nesting, potatoes need earthing up and it’s time to break out the dahlia tubers once again. It’s heart-warming to see how a sixteen-year old Swedish school girl, Greta Thunberg, has been able to galvanise world opinion on the seriousness of climate change, even if it brought Oxford Circus to a standstill for a week. And I’m proud of my granddaughter Flo, aged 14, who (with the active support of her parents and the tacit support of her teachers) has twice left school in order to demonstrate concern about climate change. Less dramatic news items which caught my attention in the last month include Jeff Bezos’ wife, Mackenzie, settling for a mere $36 billion by way of a divorce settlement. HS2 has bought John Bishop, the comedian’s, house in Cheshire for £6.8 million. The famously faked images of the Cottingley Fairies sold for £50,000 at auction. Salisbury has been named the best place to live in

the UK. In the last decade airports have reduced the number of lost luggage to a mere 25 million items. The ninth annual Boring Conference was held recently in the Conway Hall in London. Attended by some 400 people it discussed such issues as ‘car park roofs’, ‘the advance of the hand drier’, and ‘the life and times of Budgens supermarkets’. On the sporting front, the football season is reaching a climax with Manchester City and Liverool competing for the title down to the wire. Lionel Messi scored his 600th goal for Barcelona in their first leg win over Liverpool, but this was overtaken by Liverpool who came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Barcelona at Anfield by 4-0 in the second leg. Extraordinary. Ruby Walsh, aged 39, retired from the saddle with 2,757 winners to his name. Recent deaths have included Tommy Smith (aged 74) who made 638 appearances for Liverpool, won the FA cup in 1965 and was said to have been ‘quarried not born’. Les Reed (aged 83) wrote hit songs for Tom Jones, including ‘It’s not unusual’. Peter Mayhew (aged 74) who captured imaginations as Chewbacca in Star Wars (personal confession, I have never seen any of the Star Wars saga). Lord Toby Jug (aged 53), founder of the Eccentric Party, whose policies included five-day weekends and two day weeks; sleeping policemen should be replaced by members of the House of Lords; and obesity should be tackled by putting strong glue in lip balm. Oddly, he never won an election. Want a joke to finish with? A somewhat patronising English foreman on a London building site who asks an Irish labourer, “Now, Paddy do you know the difference between a joist and a girder?” “I do, Sorr”, replies Paddy, “Joist is the autor of Ulysses and Girder is the autor of Faust”. Boom, boom. Yours Johnny

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 29

Food & Drink There Might Grow Rosés Which Sing

by John Sherwin


K, the title is a quote from Stephen King and the ‘rosé’ is really a ‘rose’. But I have to have a title to start, to give me a push. Maybe a little pun, at least something to get your attention. I could have gone with ‘what a lovely thing a rosé is’ from Conan Doyle but that would have been way too bland. My favourite, but too long to look funky, is ‘An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rosé smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup’ from H.L. Mencken. (The rosé/rose thing applies throughout, as if you didn’t know. And I got to get the quote in anyway – pretty slick, huh?) No, I’ll stick with Steve, a very fine author and renowned rosé drinker1. It’s a little ironic that I’m writing about this quintessential summer drink while a gale is blowing and rain is knocking on my windows, but it is my duty to think ahead and uplift the bosoms of my clientele. So here’s hoping that you’re reading this on 21 June, the start of summer, with a glass of something rosé and a song in your heart. (See what I did? I should really stop while I’m ahead, but that would leave Anna with vacant space and a headache and we don’t want that.) A few rosé basics to start. Rosé wine is not a mix of red and white wine, except for rosé champagne where such a combination is the normal way of making pink bubbles. There are two basic methods, but the key thing to keep in mind is that colour (and other good things) comes from the grape skin. There has to be sustained contact between juice and skin. But not too sustained. Kind of a teasing sustained. This is called maceration. You keep the contact just long enough to get the colour and flavour you need, take the liquid off the skins and ferment. And we are of course talking red grape varieties – you can’t get blood from a white grape, as it were. Probably the most commonly used is Grenache. It’s no coincidence that most French plantings of Grenache are in the sunny south of the country, particularly in the southern Rhône, but also east into Provence and west to the great swathe of LanguedocRoussillon. Maybe it’s just me but whenever I see a rosé I can’t help thinking of Anthony Perkins in Psycho. He’s confused, right? Does he want the girl? Does he want to be his mum? Does he need to go to Mr Bricolage for a new shower curtain? So rosé has a similar identity crisis. There is no ‘official’ colour code; wines can range from having the faintest hint of some-kind-of-colour-maybe to what an objective observer might take for a pale red wine if he hadn’t read the label. They can be sweet or dry or anywhere in between and that’s why choosing a rosé at random can be a hit or miss affair – unless you know the producer and/or area of production already. Or unless you read the following. Tavel in the southern Rhône is one of France’s few all-rosé appellations. Tavel rosé was esteemed by Louis XIV, Balzac, and the Provençal poet Mistral (who gave his name to the wind which whips down the Rhône valley). It’s always bone dry, but the mixture of Grenache and Cinsault (another rosé fave) manage to give it a hint of background sweetness –

definitely a Perkins rosé. Should be drunk young and chilled. It’s always an interesting and refreshing rosé with good concentration of flavours. It can also be a tad overpriced, with some producers trading on history. Having said that, my favourite and trusted Tavel producer is Domaine de la Mordorée (the name means ‘woodcock’). This is a family enterprise created in 1986 by Francis Delorme and his son Christophe. Christophe’s philosophy was based on a love of terroir and working closely with Nature and over 30 years of hard work and passion he achieved his goal of producing great quality wines while maintaining a completely natural approach. I’m afraid I use the past tense accurately: Christophe died in 2015 at the age of 52. But the philosophy runs deep and continues to this day, with wife Madeleine, daughter Ambre, and the team which Christophe trained making marvellous wines. They manage 50 hectares over eight communes, producing Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lirac, Côtes-du -Rhône, Condrieu, and of course our focus, Tavel. They make two Tavel rosés. Cuvée La Dame Rousse is from 40 year-old vines on nine hectares, 60% Grenache, 10% Cinsault with bits and bobs of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Clairette and Bourboulenc. Grapes are picked by hand and go through a cold maceration for 36 to 48 hours. A very fruity wine – strawberry, cherry, pink grapefruit, mandarin, and rose notes. Will go nicely with fish, white meat, shellfish, and certain spicey, exotic cuisines. Cuvee Reine des Bois is from three hectares and on the face of it is a similar grape mix and wine-making process. However, the difference in terroir means that this rosé is more ethereal, elegant, and long in the mouth. Complex aromas of flowers and white fruits with raspberry, pomegranate and strawberry, and a hint of mint. These are wines which retail for around 15€ to 20€ which at first sight might seem a lot for ‘just’ a rosé, but I assure you that in no other colour of wine does going mid-range pay more dividends. Happy barbecuing, and enjoy my new book, ‘Fifty Shades of Pink’, lounging by the pool.

1 I don’t know, but neither do you. So as a dealer in fiction, Steve would approve.

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or 30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

The patisserie’s revenge


aving recently returned from a week away, cycling the 350kms from Bordeaux to Toulouse, I have a warning to all of you considering taking up cycling for the health benefits.

Whilst on holiday, it is not unusual for us to indulge in a daily patisserie treat, in fact it is something we look forward to. Finding a different patisserie and sampling regional specialities sums up our enjoyment of being in holiday mode. This year I was safe in the knowledge that as it was just my little legs that were powering me, my bike, and around 8kg of luggage, for an average of 65km each day, the calories consumed would be balanced out by energy expended. Some days we seemed to do nothing but cycle into the wind, which meant I really was putting in the effort, but also resulted in an afternoon energy dip. This, coupled with the excitement of arriving at our new destination and finding an open boulangerie, meant the treats on offer were often too good to resist. From fruity tartes with apple or pear and almond fillings, to sweet and buttery palmiers, to moist chocolate brownies, to huge jam filled biscuits, to flaky filo pockets concealing a Nutella centre, to the most enormous pain au chocolat from Toulouse called patte d’ours (bears foot and they really are big and bearlike) I merrily munched them all without a moment of guilt. Sadly, somewhere along the line I must have messed up my scientific data/research as every day on the tour my cycle clothes seemed to feel a little tighter and my reflection in the mirror looked

by Jacqueline Brown

a little more snug. The results by the end of the week were shocking and it was no surprise to return home and find the scales showing a few more kilos than what they’d told me before we left. The patisseries it seems have suddenly begun to take their revenge and I’m not happy. I’d like to say that once I returned home, my normal routine and good habits also returned, and the scales became my friend again. To some extent this is true, but why do kilos go on quicker than they come off? However, we are shortly heading off to the Basque region for a mini-break, and taking the bikes once more, so I fear history may repeat itself. There will be mountains to climb, which will result in energy dips, and that will invariably lead to sweet temptation. I can’t forget that the Basque region is home to one of my alltime favourites, the Gâteau Basque. This is a shortbread-type cake sandwiched with a layer of either cherry jam (my personal preference) or crème patissière (not as nice, but I’d never turn it down if that was the only option available) and very moreish. All positive thoughts to resist temptation would be welcome. My obvious conclusion, from this extensive research, has to be that long-distance cycling is not effective as a weight loss exercise, especially when combined with a daily patisserie. Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 31



fter my 2400km drive back to France in Priscilla, following the rally, I think it is fair to say I am not shy of a long stint behind the wheel! In fact I really enjoy it.

I have always found driving a pleasure, so I find the concept of a driverless car a bit strange to say the least. But that seems to be the way technology is going. Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, seems to be leading the way in this new world and although there are many teething problems to overcome, the word on Mr Musk’s street is that fully driverless cars could be a reality as early as next year. Driverless technology is currently split into five levels of automation, ranging from level one (such as braking assistance) all the way up to level five (full automation without human input). Currently, only vehicles up to level two (where the car can actually take over some aspects of driving, using systems such as automatic emergency braking and lane-keep assist) are allowed to legally drive on the UK’s roads, ensuring that drivers remain in control of their vehicles at all times. However, the UK is currently pushing for ‘genuine driverless’ cars to be on the roads by 2021, and France is already open to the testing of such cars on the public roads this year. So how does it work? A fully self-driving car uses numerous sensors and cameras to continuously scan the area around it, detecting hazards like vehicles, pedestrians, traffic lights, and road markings and then braking, accelerating or steering accordingly. Its computer brain has the ability to ‘learn’ and make decisions based on experience, rather than following a pre-programmed set of commands - essential for dealing with changing traffic conditions or unmapped roads. It may also share information with other driverless cars to prevent accidents and ease congestion. Statistically driverless cars, despite some well publicised crashes, remain safer than conventional cars, not suffering from driver fatigue or distractions for example, but one of the main concerns is security, as like any computer system, they would be open to hackers; the prospect of having your car taken over remotely by someone else is pretty scary. I can’t see the pleasure in any of that personally, so I reckon I will be staying in the ‘dark ages’ and driving myself! Bon route!

by Helen Tait-Wright

Coeur de Gazelles


s most of you know, one of my primary reasons for wanting to do the Rallye des Gazelles in particular was to support the humanitarian action of the rally charity Coeur de Gazelles. It was a privilege to be able to go and see them at work and interact with some of the people they helped during the rally, and during this edition the charity carried out 8343 medical interventions amongst the local desert populations, thanks to the support of the Gazelles. You probably also know that the country of Morocco and its people are very close to my heart, particularly a beautiful little family in Marrakech. They don't have much by our standards, in common with the majority of people in Morocco, yet they would give you everything. This makes me feel very humble.

English. This blows me away.

She is an intelligent young girl with an enquiring mind and on our visit to Marrakech, after the rally, I really appreciated how important education will be not only to her future but to also change the lives of so many children in Morocco. So I have been in touch with a fellow former Gazelle who is a trustee of The British Moroccan Society, who support educational projects in Morocco. They fully fund one of them in the Atlas mountains at Talataste (90mins from Marrakech on the way to Ouarzazate). It costs about £6000 to run per year, including two salaries for the two part-time teachers. Halima teaches four/five year olds in the morning and Khaled helps school children with their homework in the afternoon. It’s a small centre but it caters for about 60 children in total. They are currently raising additional funds to build a guest room with shower in Talataste to accommodate volunteer teachers who could spend time both in the learning centre and in the public school itself. I will be running the Afternoon Tea event on 28 July to raise funds for this, and then visiting the learning centre itself in October. In 2020 my plan is to participate in the small scale rally that the BMS also run to support their charitable work. This is not high profile like the Gazelles, but it will be a real pleasure to return to Morocco with Priscilla and I hope it will be of real help to the funds for their project!

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

My beautiful little friend Fatima Azzarah is not yet three and yet thanks to an old ipad I sent the family, she can access the CeeBeebies website and is learning

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 33

Health, Beauty & Fitness DON’T FORGET OUR DEADLINE!

OF THE MONTH PSYCHIC MEDIUM Training and working with the soul spirit in different aspects of connecting to the other side. For more information contact Lisa at: or 07 70 20 25 83

Want to keep fit, have fun and make new friends? Join us at Vasles Netball Club (no experience necessary). We meet every Monday from 5.307pm at the Salle Omnisports in Vasles. For more information: Top Sporting Events in June 2019 1 Football 7-7 July Football 9 F1

UEFA Champions League Final FIFA Women’s World Cup Canadian Grand Prix

CYCLISTS IN FRANCE - Facebook group ‘British Cyclists in France (BCIF)’ is an online group for British cyclists to share information, events, ask advice and post photos etc. Why not join, make contacts and arrange rides with other local cyclists? WEST LINE DANCERS 79 - PARTHENAY

Come and have fun whilst exercising body and mind. Line Dancing at our warm and friendly club. Many styles of dance and music - Country, Celtic, Line etc. All levels welcome. English and bilingual instructors. Ring Mark & Anita Wilson 05 49 95 28 73 / 06 86 98 94 63

13-16 15-16 15-13 July 23

Golf Motor Racing Football F1

US Open 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans Africa Cup of Nations French Grand Prix

Everyday Yoga for Everyone by Rebecca Novick

Yoga and Pain Management


t is exciting to see that yoga is now being studied by academic researchers in controlled conditions that are providing replicable scientific results. In 2015, a team of Harvard researchers followed the results of an 8-week (once a week) mind-body relaxation program that included yoga and meditation. They found that, even with such a relatively short program, the participants used 43% fewer medical services than they did the previous year, which led to substantial savings on their medical expenses. A University of Utah study looked specifically into how yoga effects responses to pain. It has been known for some time that people who have poorly regulated stress responses are more sensitive to pain, and recent studies have shown a significant correlation between the practice of yoga and stress regulation. The researchers then asked the question, ‘Could yoga also affect our experience of pain?’ The answer appears to be ‘yes’. Yoga practitioners were shown to have higher pain tolerance and lowest pain-related brain activity than non-practitioner healthy individuals when exposed to varying levels of thumbnail pressure. Don’t worry, we don’t test this finding in class!

Respect yourself, explore yourself. For details on yoga classes email: or follow Rebecca on 34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

Our Furry Friends

HOPE ASSOCIATION helping animals in need


cafe • bric à brac • books • DVDs & CDs • clothes • furniture

17 Route de Civray 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais

Open every Thursday & 1st Sunday of each month, from 10am to 4 pm • Good quality donations of clothes, books and bric-à-brac are always welcome •


Meg, a 10 year old Beauceron x Labrador, is smart and eager to please. She loves being with people and would be happiest in a home where she’s the only dog, or possibly with a male as she’s a little fussy around other females.She’s about the size of a small Labrador, fit and healthy, well behaved, clean in the house and loves chasing rabbits. Meg is available for adoption and is currently in foster in dept. 16.

The Association En Route tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email: Visit the website:


Can you help Idrak get out of kennels and back into a loving forever home? A superb five and a half-year-old Malinois Crusader, affectionate and eager to please. He is OK with other dogs but not cats. It’s very sad to see Idrak in kennels having been a much wanted and loved companion to his mistress who is now hospitalised. Idrak is castrated, vaccinated with a passport, dewormed and treated for ticks and fleas. Currently in dept. 86 near Poitiers.

The Assocation Orfée tel: 09 77 48 71 43 or by email: Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ 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 ANNA SHAW.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 35

Building & Renovation

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019


Location de mini-pelle Travaux Publics Installer and supplier of micro-stations. Micro-station and installation starting from 6000 Euros All Types of Groundworks Undertaken

Covering Bressuire and Surrounding Areas



1 Day 130€, 2 Days 220€, 7 Days 700€ 12 Mtr Cherry Picker 110€ per day Laser Level 30€ per day Wacker Plate 60kg 20€ per day 3 inch petrol water pump 30€ per day Concrete Breaker Digger Attachment Available Digger & Driver Available Phone FR: 06 10 43 96 16 UK : 07753822265 Email : Siret : 840 226 666 00013

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 37

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 39

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

Business & Finance


Simply register on our website:

Marketing Matters

• • • •

by Cindy Mobey


How to attract ‘likes’ to your Facebook page

t is estimated that there are 40 million people on Facebook, many of them small businesses who use it to promote their brand and connect with their customers. So, why is it hard to attract ‘likes’ to your page? I’d like to take you through some ideas that don’t cost any money. Are your posts interesting? One of the most common reasons why people don’t like certain pages is because they find the posts boring or uninteresting. It’s important to know your audience and who you are aiming your marketing at. Businesses have different target audiences, so you need to know what floats their boat. Images/Video • Make images a regular feature of your posts - captivating and relevant pictures can increase engagement. • As well as photos and images, sharing a few suitable videos has become increasingly popular. • Facebook ‘Live’, where you record yourself talking to your Facebook followers, is a great way to engage with them and gives you the chance to show them the real you! Personal stuff People like to see the face behind a name, so make sure you use a good profile picture. Also post some personal stuff on your business page, such as a few photos of your holiday/pet or talk about your favourite things or hobbies. An occasional personal post helps give you the human aspect and people are more likely to engage with you and your brand.

Use relevant keywords when you complete the ‘About’ section on your Facebook page. Include as much information as you can, including a link to your website if you have one. If someone sends you a private message, reply promptly. Put a link to your Facebook page on your email signature, website, business cards, marketing information and any other social media you have, such as Twitter, Instagram etc. If you write a blog, reference your Facebook page.

Competitions, Discounts, Offers, Incentives • Competitions are also a great way to entice people in. Make liking your page a competition entry requirement. And when you announce the result, do it on Facebook ‘Live’. • Offer an exclusive discount to those who ‘like’ you. • When you promote new products or services, offer a special discount to the first 5-10 customers. • If a customer refers someone to you give them a 10% discount off their next order or a free gift. • Give loyalty cards to your customers. Above all, try and post regularly, so your name keeps popping up on your followers pages - their friends may see your name a few times and decide to take a look at your page. Use a variety of posts There are loads of different kinds of posts to keep your followers engaged, for example, promoting your blog post, inspirational quotes, top tip, video, competition and photos of your products, as well as a few personal posts. Give some of these ideas a go and see how you get on!

Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 41

Epargne Handicap - Special Disability Assurance Vie Contract

by Isabelle Want


ven though this contract was created more than 30 years ago, it is still relatively unknown. But for anybody who has been confronted with disability, it is very important to discover its benefits.

1. Why? Because being handicapped has a cost and preparing the financial future of a disabled person is important. The government created a law in 1987 (article 26-l de la loi 871061 du 30 décembre 1987) to help parents of handicapped children or disabled people themselves to prepare their financial future by giving a tax advantage. 2. What is it? Epargne Handicap is an Assurance Vie savings account which gives the beneficiary, and the person who set it up, tax advantages. This policy gives a 25% tax reduction of the amount you invest in this fund per year (limited to 1 525€ plus 300€ per child under your care). So, a tax reduction of 381.25€ per year, minimum. The contract must have been in place for six years (for the amount that received a tax advantage at least). This contract can then be cashed in or transferred into an annuity or pension withdrawal. It entitles the disabled person to accumulate some capital either by putting in one lump sum or by contributing in monthly, quarterly or yearly instalments. Those payments can be made either by the disabled person or by their close family members. 3. Who for? This policy is for children or adults whose handicap affects their ability, now or in the future, to work in anyway. The disability can be either physical or mental, but they must be a French resident. If the person is working but has a lower wage due to their handicap, they are eligible. The policy must be under the name of the person with the disability, but payments can be made by family members.

4. How does it work? Like any other Assurance vie saving account, but also with the other tax advantages linked to inheritance allowance (tax free up to 152 500€ per beneficiary) and income tax benefits after eight years. The minimum amount to start a policy is 5 000€, but then you can make monthly regular payment of 50€ (minimum) or none at all. It can be invested in shares/bonds or fully secured, or both. Conclusion: Ok, I know it is not much of an advantage (381€ per year) compared to the difficulties faced by being or having a disabled child. But, one must make the most of what we get in life and every contribution, as little as it may be, can help. Feel free to contact me for any further information. And remember to check out our website en for all my previous articles (‘practical information’) and register to receive our monthly Newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook: Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterpt Don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subject such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc. No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: Visit our website:

5th June - Château de Nieuil Restaurant La Grange Aux Oies

Assurance Vie rules have changed, how do I find out more? How will BREXIT impact my UK pension, do I have options?

16270 NIEUIL

Tél :

Come and join us for informed advice on financial planning opportunities ahead of Brexit and to meet other like-minded expats in your area. Please join us on

5th June Château de Nieuil - 6th June La Chartreuse du Bignac The events start at 10.00am and ends at 1.30pm after a free buffet lunch.

6th June - La Chartreuse du Bignac

Register online for these free events on For the 5th call +33(0)5 49 98 97 46 / email For the 6th call +33(0)5 47 77 07 16 / email

With Care, You Prosper

Lieu-dit Le Bignac

24520 SAINT NEXANS +33 (0) 5 53 22 12 80

The Spectrum IFA Group is a founder member of the Federation of European Independent Financial Advisers. • TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. • Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris • R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) « Société de Courtage d’assurances » « Intermédiaire en opération de Banque et Services de Paiement » Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – « Conseiller en investissements financiers », référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

What are your UK pension options in France today? P

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

ensions are often the key to long-term financial security, so take care to review your options.

‘Defined contribution’ or ‘money purchase’ pensions - From age 55, members of these schemes can usually: • Take the whole fund as cash - 25% will be tax-free in the UK. • Make cash withdrawals - a quarter is free of UK tax each time. Take regular income through ‘flexible drawdown’, leaving the remainder invested. Take a regular income for life through an ‘annuity’.

• •

Expatriates can transfer UK pensions to an EU-based Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) tax-free. QROPS advantages include more estate planning flexibility and freedom to take income in euros or sterling. Beware that QROPS’ benefits can vary significantly and a 25% UK tax charge applies to transfers outside the EU/EEA - and may extend to EU/EEA transfers post-Brexit. So if you are considering transferring, take specialist advice. ‘Defined benefit’ or ‘final salary’ pensions - Here, your employer guarantees a proportion of your salary for the whole of retirement. While you cannot usually withdraw cash, you can transfer funds to a defined contribution scheme or QROPS. Traditionally, this has been considered less beneficial than a pension for life. However, some providers have been offering higher than usual ‘transfer values’. Sensibly reinvested, a one-off sum could potentially provide a retirement income that exceeds

the original annual payment, but it is crucial to fully understand the consequences before giving up lifetime benefits. Taxation - While 25% of cash withdrawals can be taken tax-free in the UK, French residents attract French income tax from 14% to 45%. However, it is possible to limit French tax to a fixed rate of just 7.5% if you take the entire fund in one lump sum. Pension income and lump sums are also generally subject to French social charges of 9.1%, unless you hold EU Form S1 or have not joined the French healthcare system. The exception is UK government service pensions, which remain taxable in the UK only (although the income is included when calculating your French final tax rate). Making your pensions last - If you choose to take pension benefits as cash, make sure you have a reliable plan to fund your long-term future that suits your personal situation and goals. To avoid pension scams, check that any company you are dealing with is regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Your adviser should take account of your needs, objectives, personal circumstances and risk appetite to find the best solution for you and your family. Take steps to explore your options now - before Brexit potentially changes the landscape - to establish your best approach for a prosperous retirement in France. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Thinking of moving your pension out of the UK? Is it risky to wait? Many British expatriates in Spain benefit from transferring their UK pensions into a QROPS without a UK tax charge – but time may be running out. The UK already imposes a 25% ‘overseas transfer charge’ on EU residents who transfer to QROPS outside the EU or EEA. After Brexit it could start charging transfers within the EU too.

Talk to the people who know

05 49 75 07 24

You should always take regulated advice to establish if a QROPS is suitable for you, but do so now, rather than risk losing 25% of your pension if the rules change.


I N T E R N AT ION A L TA X A DV IC E • I N V E S T M E N T S • E S TAT E PL A N N I NG • PE NSIONS Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided outside the UK, via the Insurance Distribution Directive or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, the applicable regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks Trustees Limited is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority for the administration of trusts and companies. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as ‘Conseil en Investissements Financiers’ and ‘Courtiers d’Assurance’ Category B (register can be consulted on Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: 1 rue Pablo Neruda, 33140 Villenave d’Ornon – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA). Blevins Franks Tax Limited provides taxation advice; its advisers are fully qualified tax specialists. This promotion has been approved and issued by BFFM. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 43


About Town

• •

own Renovations, based between Bressuire and Thouars in the north of the Deux-Sèvres, has been established in France since 2012. We have 30 years experience in the building trade in the UK and France, and we previously had a limited company in the UK registered as Cambs Builders Limited based in Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

• •


Cambs Builders carried out work for companies as well as private clients and have undertaken insurance work for Aviva, DirectLine, Lloyds and several loss adjusters. We have also fitted bathrooms and kitchens for Jewsons, Wickes and Howdens. Town Renovations can carry out your renovation project from beginning to end which is an advantage for you, the client, as it means that you do not have to manage the different trades yourself. We can complete the following: • • • • •

Flooring: we can install different types of flooring as well as having industrial sanders to sand down your existing floor and treat it afterwards. Stud Walling, Dry-Lining and Insulation: to ceilings and walls, including vaulted ceilings. Interior and Exterior Painting using quality paints Kitchen and Bathroom Installations: can be supplied and fitted or fitted only. We can also create an en-suite in your bedroom. Tiling: Floors and walls using ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles.

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

• • • • •

Electrical Installations and Complete Rewires Plumbing and Heating Installations including pompe à chaleurs Doors and Windows including Velux supplied and fitted Repointing of Exterior Stonework whether it's a whole house or simply a garden wall. All types of roofing Decking either composite or wooden supplied and fitted Gravel Driveways: different stones can be supplied and placed on top of weed membrane Power Washing: walls or patios with an industrial hot power washer Fencing: wood, chain link and panels supplied and erected

A no obligation free quotation is offered. Please feel free to visit our Facebook page: Town Renovations to see some of our work.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019| 45 Take a Break - SOLUTIONs

Easy Crossword: Across: 1. Scotch 4. nearby 8. beard 9. leveret 10. skier 11. cheddar 12. outspoken 15. Ferrari 16. happy 17. spheric 18. agree 19. onesie 20. absorb Down: 2. cheeky 3. three quarters 5. Aberdeen Angus 6. byelaw 7. Black Prince 13. weapon 14. appear Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. ticket to ride 7. nearing 9. fatwa 10. come 11. together 12. modern 14. stocks 17. revolver 19. Jude 22. ganja 23. piggies 24. act naturally Down: 1. tonic 2. charmed 3. evil 4. reflect 5. ditch 6. walrus 8. grow 12. mirage 13. relearn 15. crucial 16. help 18. vinic 20. essay 21. agar Brain Gym: Q1: Charcoal. Q2: Monkey see monkey do. Q3: slothful Q4: There is no soil in the hole. Q5: 1113213211 Q6: starting, staring, string, sting, sing, sin, in, I.

Q7: Q8: Q9:

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Nine. a) Put a sock in it b) Emergency stop

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 300 222 0000

Useful English Language Numbers... OF THE MONTH DON’T FORGET OUR DEADLINE!

OPENING NEW DOORS by Joanna Leggett


riting about property here in the Deux-Sèvres, it’s not often we showcase three modern properties any one of which could be featured on the ‘Grand Designs’ TV programme. While older properties definitely have their attractions, there’s nothing like putting the key into the door of a perfectly constructed modern home built to make the very best of the sun’s orientation and surrounding views. And when the property comes with all mod cons built into its fabric - it could be completely irresistible.

Bressuire is known for its château, retro Grand Prix and hugely popular World Highland Games (well where else would you hold them?). In a quiet residential area, close to shops, schools and restaurants, is this expansive newly built home (Leggett ref: 95251, photo left). Everything has been thought of - there’s towngas underfloor heating (warm toes in winter!) electric shutters, an automatic garage door and a rain collection system with underground tanks! Inside, generous living spaces open to the south-west facing garden - doors slide back fully into the walls for true indoor/outdoor flow, then there’s a large covered terrace perfect for outside dining. Currently there are two bedrooms, but architect’s plans for two more, in the large easily convertible attic, come with the property. Flexible modern living for 267,500€. Light, volume and space are just three adjectives which spring to mind when you arrive at this super home in L’Absie (Leggett ref:

97359, photo right)! Built in 2007 specifically to maximise the views over beautiful countryside. Inside there are great living spaces, the vast lounge/dining room has exposed beams and doors opening to the terrace, stairs lead up to a mezzanine landing office and two of the five bedrooms. This warm, comfortable home with geo-thermal underfloor heating - all wrapped up in 8171m² of land (around two acres) is also for sale at €267,500. And finally, a hole in one for a golfer, is this lovely single storey home (Leggett ref: 97851, photo left) built last year close to the superb Château des Forges 27 hole golf resort (open all yearround). This beautifully designed two bedroom, two bathroom home could make the ideal permanent home or holiday rental. Light floods into living areas with two sets of French doors, the kitchen is fully fitted and there’s a super outside covered terrace. Set in generously landscaped gardens (complete with irrigation system, outside lights, electricity sockets) there’s also an elegant timber framed carport built to match the house. Close to hand is a large communal swimming pool, tennis courts, forest walks; it’s not far from the ancient little town of Vasles and 30kms from Poitiers airport - it’s irresistibly priced too - 139,520€. Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at



€235,400 HAI

Ref 99719NHA79 House with 16ha of land, outbuildings and a swimming pool. Ideal for horses. DPE E - agency fees included : 7 % TTC to be paid by the buyer


€56,000 HAI

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST Buying or selling a property? Contact us now!


€109,000 HAI


€294,250 HAI


€199,800 HAI

Ref 99944EVI79 Lovely family home of 4 bedrooms & 3 bathrooms. Garden & pretty terrace. DPE N/A - agency fees to be paid by the seller


€88,000 HAI

ref 99820ABO79 Great potential to update this

Ref 99796DCO79 5-bed stone house to reno-

Ref 99890JDY79 Detached stone character house

Ref 99538DCO79 2-bed house with garage,

two bedroom stone house in a peaceful village.

vate with huge potential. Garage, barn and garden.

with 5 beds and gite on a quiet lane. Ideal B&B.

workshop, garden and parkland and meadow.

DPE E - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE E - agency fees included : 9 % TTC to be paid by the buyer

DPE C - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE N/A - agency fees included : 10 % TTC to be paid by the buyer

Be a part of our award winning team If becoming an independent property sales agent interests you, contact Head of Recruitment Lorraine Deuré:

05 53 60 82 77 -

+33 (0)5 53 56 88 48 - - 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2019

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