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

Welcome! to Issue 73 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

Hi everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed the mild, sunny days recently - it certainly does lift the spirits doesn’t it? And even better, suggests that spring is just around the corner! We have another busy issue for you this month; the events are starting to pop up again now after a quieter winter period, so take a look in the ‘What’s On’ and ‘Getting Out and About’ sections for things to do. In particular there are the brilliant Wine and Food Fairs, one of which offers ‘The DSM’ readers free entry! (See P.31). This month also marks our 6th Birthday...I’m not sure where that time has gone! but year on year the magazine is growing and becoming more and more popular with locals and holiday-makers alike. This is therefore a good time to THANK YOU all once again for your continued support. We can’t produce this publication without the confidence of paying advertisers, or create content without the helpful contributions you send us. Please keep up the good work! We’ve received a great response to last month’s Tour de Rêves announcement, and we continue to organise and prepare for this event. Our first update is included inside, and we will continue to keep you ‘up to speed’ as we progress each month. OK, time for me now to hit the ‘Send’ button, so enjoy the read and I hope to see you out and about very soon. PS. If you see us out training on the bikes - do give us a HOOT of encouragement!

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

à plus, Sarah

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

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

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Accents Association (English langauge skills for Children) Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) Anne Maugard (Singing Lessons)

4 6 10 12 15 16 18 19 23 26 28 29 30 35 36 40 44

44 8 29 2 36 33 41 37 17

ARB French Property 47 Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 20 Arbres et Abeilles (Plant Nursery) 22 Argo Carpentry 39 Assurances Maucourt (GAN) 45 Beau Jardin (Garden Care) 22 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 43 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 37 Blevins Franks Financial Management 42 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 44 Cherry Picker Hire 38 Chris Bassett Construction 36 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 37 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 44 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 39 Cottage Services (Garden Maintenance) 20 Creature Comforts ( Repairs and Renovations) 36 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 41 Darren Lawrence 39 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 20 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 39 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 18 Down to Earth Pool Design 44 Ecopower Europe  45 expat-radio 27 Fishing Lakes 17 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 29 Ginger’s Kitchen 32 Gites.co.uk 47 Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants 43 Hallmark Electricité 37 Heather’s Pet Care Services (Holidays for pets) 15 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 40 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 39 Irving Location - Digger Hire 38 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 38 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 38 Jeff’s Metalwork 36 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 29 John Snee (Groundworks) 38 Jon the Carpetman 20 Jordans Auto Services 29 Julian Dor-Vincent (Farrier) 15 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 20 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 32 La Vie en Yoga 18 Leggett Immobilier 46 L’Emporium, L’Absie 7 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 32 Le Tour de Finance 47 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 36 Mark Wilson (Language Assistance) 9 Martin O’Neil Wedding Photography 8 Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 20 Michael Page Landscaping 22 ML Computers 27 Motor Parts Charente 29 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 45 Naturalis Pools 45 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 22 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 18 Polar Express (Frozen Foods) 33 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 44 Restaurant des Canards 33 Rob Berry Plastering Services 39 Robert Lupton Electrician 37 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 27 Salon des Vins et Terroirs, Thouars 48 Salon du Vin et de la Gastronomie, Niort 31 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 38 Satellite TV 27 Segora International Writing Competitions 16 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 15 Simon the Tiler 39 Smart Moves (Transport Services) 29 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 37 Steve Robin (Plumber) 37 Strictly Roofing 36 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Susan Monnereau (Translation Services) 8 Terra Flore (Landscape Gardening) 22 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 29 This Month’s Advertisers 3 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vendée Glass Courses 17 Webservices.Dramatis 27 YesBays.info (Free ads website) 27

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 3

What’s On... EMOTIONAL FREEDOM DANCE WORKSHOP As advertised in February’s issue....held at Chanteloup Village salle, 3pm4pm. Workshop organised by Pamela Irving. Call 05 49 65 55 25 for details.

LIVE BALLET BROADCAST from the Royal Opera House in London: ‘D’Apres Virginia Woolf’ at 4.30pm. Showing at Cinema Le Foyer, Parthenay.

LADIES 7KM RUN at 4pm in Magné (79). Organised by Magné Sports. Registrations online at www.lacorridademagne.fr or at Decathlon in Niort on 3rd March, 4pm-7pm.

SALON DU VINS ET TERROIRS The 70th year of this huge wine and food fair at Orangerie du Château de Thouars. Opens each day at 10am. See the back page for details.



GRANDMOTHER’S DAY Fête des Grands-Mères. Treat your Grandma, Nonna, Oma, Avó today...


SALON DU VIN, DE LA BIERE & DU GRIGNOTAGE Open to the public, will appeal to foodies and wine lovers alike. More info at: www.salon-comptoir-pro.com



24 25 26

BIG, BIG, BOOKSALE & BAKESALE At the English language library in Angers, 10am - 6pm. Find more details on P.6


FUND-RAISER FOR KITTIES 10am - 4pm at Le Grand Beaupuits, 79200 St Germain de Longue Chaume on the D19. See details on P.15

BROCANTE /YARD SALE Lots of goodies for sale at Secondigny. Please see advert on P.20 for contact details.

SOLIDARITY CONCERT At Salle Bel Air, Moncoutant. Songs in English and French languages. See advert on P.7 for details.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY Celebrate in style at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. Irish food and live music, 16€ p/p. See advert on P.33 for more information.

CLOCKS GO FORWARD ...on the night of Saturday 25th/Sunday 26th.


ST. PATRICK’S DAY 4 COURSE IRISH LUNCH by Ginger’s Kitchen at Maisontiers. Contact Lynda at gingers.kitchen@orange.fr.


25 26


Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 www.reelfishandchips.net

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

COMING UP... 1st April - English Film Night Mister T’s Friterie will be serving Fish & Chips at Cinema Eden, St Jean d’Angely. See www.frying4u2nite.com for details. 2nd April – Craft Fayre in St Claud (16450) in aid of Association CATS. (see info onP.7) 5th April - Le Tour de Finance at Domaine de la Tuilerie, near Niort. 10am-2pm. (see advert on P.x) 6th April - Le Tour de Finance at Chateau de Maumont, Magnac-sur-Touvre. 10am-2pm. (see advert on P.x) 5th & 6th May - Theatrivasles’ next production 12th & 13th May - Reaction Theatre’s next production, in Secondigny 19th & 20th May - Reaction Theatre’s next production, in Foussais-Payre

5th March 17th March 16th April

Grandmothers’ Day (Grands-Mères) Saint Patrick’s Day Easter Sunday (Pâques)

28th May 4th June

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

18th June 21st June

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

1st October 31st October

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

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

14th July 15th August

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

Please see website for this month’s dates

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

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2017

SALON DU VIN ET DE LA GASTRONOMIE At the Parc des Expositions in Niort. Open 10am - 7pm. Organised by Lion’s Club Val de Sevre. Please see P.31 for more information.

Reel Fish & Chips


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

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

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

Dates in pink represent celebration days, not public holidays.

La Vendée Chippy Weds: St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: from 9th March find us at Bar ‘Chill-Out’, Mervent (formerly Au Fil de l’eau) Celebrate their opening night Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st of month : Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 www.lavendeechippy.com OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at:

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 Gourville 16170 St Jean d’Angély 17400 BACK 2 March @ Aulnay

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

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm



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

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

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


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

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


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

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). We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details www.escoval.org



2nd: 6th: 8th: 13th:

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

Chef Boutonne Limalonges Aigre Theil Rabier

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

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

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

GET CONNECTED! FACEBOOK: thedeuxsevresmonthly TWITTER: @The DSMagazine PINTEREST: dsmmonthly YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine

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

Getting Out & About “The library. The place to be”

Saturday, March 25th from 10 to 6 non-stop


the big, big booksale Twice a year the English-language Library sells books at €1.50. All proceeds go to the library, a recognized charity in France.

Special offers: 10 books for €13, Children’s books: €2 a piece, try out the yummy bake sale (€1 a piece) and enter our raffle to win a basketful of goodies! Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers 60 rue Boisnet, 49100 Angers www.ellia.org Email : info@ellia.org

“The library. The place to be”

Saturday, March 25th from 10 to 6 non-stop


the big, big booksale

Twice a year the English-language Library sells books at €1.50. All proceeds go to the library, a recognized charity in France.

books: €2 a Special offers: 10 books for €13, Children’s a piece) and piece, try out the yummy bake sale (€1 goodies! enter our raffle to win a basketful of Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers 60 rue Boisnet, 49100 Angers www.ellia.org Email : info@ellia.org


It’s the English-language Library in Angers’ fundraiser and BBBB (Big, Big Booksale and Bakesale). Twice a year the library, a recognised non-profit in France, holds a fundraiser and booksale.

The next sale will take place on Saturday March 25th, 10am-6pm.

This is the ultimate win-win situation: support community services while finding great books. Books are priced at 1.50€…choose from fiction, classics and a wide selection of non-fiction amongst hundreds and hundreds of books in English…definitely worth the drive from afar! Visitors can also take the opportunity to look around the library with over 27,000 books in English available to members. The library also offers a selection of ebooks allowing members to “borrow” remotely. Visitors will be welcomed with a free cup of good coffee or tea. By popular demand, the library will be offering a selection of home baking for sale... Victoria sponge cake and other goodies made by the more than 100 volunteers! Looking for books in English? Love libraries? Is a selection 27,000 (and growing) enough? However, the library offers books and much more…. how about the library’s luncheon club, walking club, Coffee House, films and pizza, and board games to mention only a couple of the myriad of activities? The English-language Library in Angers is hopping with ideas, events and, of course, the shelves are lined with books.

Quotes from volunteers: “We moved to Angers because we knew there was an Englishlanguage library. For the past 15 years, the library has provided a framework for our activities. It is amazingly vibrant and we are very grateful to the staff for their wonderful dedication”. Aline Montgomery. “I love the library because it has helped me get active and meet new people, despite being an extremely introverted expat. I enjoy knowing that I can help people expand their language skills while simultaneously finding new friends with whom I can practice my French!” Rheannan Watson. “The first door I pushed after having retired was the door of “the little library with a big attitude”. The idea was to read in English, chat in English, attend activities such as ‘books and tea’ or ‘garden club’ with English speakers and ... pastry chefs. But I had no idea that it would mean a lot more in my new life: meeting people from all over the world, listening to lectures on a variety of subjects, poetry readings, exhibitions, ‘Book sales’ and other various wonderful one-time events ... And once a year, attending ‘Word for Word’, that marvellous and unique theatre moment. Volunteering at the library seemed to be the way to be one of the ‘busy bees’ allowing the English Language Library in Angers to be what it is. And it is my pleasure.” Sylvie Proust “For me, there is more to the English Library than books. From its core, there are many arms leading to theatre, music, cinema, travels, endless talks around a cup of coffee... and above all a great friendship.” Gaëlle Delarboulas.

English-Language Library in Angers 60 rue Boisnet 49100 ANGERS Photo left: Staff at the English-language library, from left to right Mandy TorseyGuillet, Agnes Lhuer, Dominique Calonne, Phoebe MarshallRaimbeau and Marie France Roland.

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

The library’s website is full of information, please visit: www.ellia.org.

MAKE A DAY OF IT.... Thouars to Angers: 1h 17 mins Secondigny to Angers: 1h 52 mins

BOOK & COFFEE AFTERNOON 29th March, 2pm - 4pm at 45 rue du Bois Baudron 79100 Mauzé Thouarsais 2 Books 1€ All funds go to Helianthus Charity. Theresa and Steve Penney Email: stpenney@hotmail.com Tel: 05 49 66 03 73

Association CATS are holding another of their popular Craft Fayres on Sunday 2nd April at the Salle des Fêtes, 16450 Saint-Claud. There will be a wide range of professional craft stalls featuring crochet, embroidery, patchwork, handbags, paintings, ceramics, glass carving, jewellery and wood-carving. Sue’s Flower’s, Neal’s Yard Remedies and Phoenix Cards. There will be delicious home-made cakes, pies and tea & coffee. The tombola stall with its wonderful prizes will be back by popular demand, together with a superb mini-brocante. The Craft Fayre is being held to raise much needed funds for Association CATS. The association was formed in 2015 by unpaid volunteers with the sole aim of trapping, sterilising and ultimately releasing feral cats in order to help alleviate the enormous and increasing problem of the over-population of cats. As well as sterilisation, all cats are thoroughly examined by a vet and treated for any other health problems. As you can appreciate, hefty vet bills have to be paid for this wonderful work and items such as traps, cat food and medicines are regularly purchased. Why not go along and have a wonderful time; as well as supporting this deserving cause?

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 7

Keeping you updated...

The Tour Four © Megan Macdonald


e have been quite overwhelmed at the interest and enthusiasm we have received from you following our big announcement of the Tour de Rêves last month. Thank you.

We really do want to make an impact as we cycle our way around the Deux-Sèvres and with your support we know we can make that happen. We have had a few offers of accommodation, but not all nights are sorted yet, and as the final route depends on where we stop each day, please do contact Sarah if you have something to offer, particularly in Coulon, Parthenay and Bressuire. We are also delighted that some of you are keen to join us on your bikes for parts of the tour. However, it is only fair to remind you that it is not a ‘supported ride’. You are free to join us at whatever point you like, but it is our pace we will be cycling at, we will have planned food and water stops for us and we will know where we are resting our tired heads at the end of each day. As we know them, we will make our plans available, but you will need to be responsible for your own needs. We are not experts at this type of event and as all money raised will be going direct to Rêves, we are keen to keep our personal costs as low as possible. You can find joining instructions on the DSM website and our terms and conditions will be sent out to all those interested in joining us. www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Sarah and Rob have been brave enough to get out on their bikes a few times this year, and I’ve no doubt the excitement of having new bikes has helped. Adrian is currently working away, without his bike, so I am using my time wisely. I’m a softie, so I’m not getting out and about in the wind and rain, but having positioned my indoor bike in front of the TV, I have at least reconnected with my pedals. On the Tour we will be in the saddle for about four hours a day, so my forty-five minute sessions may seem lacking, but I like the idea of little and often to build up my leg muscles following a lazy few months. If you are new to cycling, but want to join us, I would advise you to start soon, but be gentle with your legs, as we still have plenty of time. Once spring has arrived the four of us are looking forward to finding the time to get out and about together, practising cycling in a group as well as putting the finishing touches to our event planning, as there is still much to be decided. Every month I will let you know how we are getting on and hope to give you some top tips on cycle touring too.

You can also follow our planning and training via our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TourdeReves/

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

«Une passion qui donne des ailes» ‘A Passion that Gives Wings’ An exhibition of the history of aviation in Deux-Sèvres, including letters & postcards, uniforms, aviation equipment. Genuine enthusiasts will not be disappointed. Monday to Friday, from 8:30am to 5pm. Running until 31st May 2017. www.archives.deux-sevres.com

. Spring Forward.. Spring (le printemps) is here. The season of the rebirth of nature, the return of the migrating birds (oiseaux migrateurs), and time for hibernating animals (des animaux hibernants) to wake up. At the time of the Spring Equinoxe (l’équinoxe de Printemps), day and night are of equal duration. Whether we are in the town (en ville) or in the countryside (à la campagne), it’s the moment for opening the windows wide (ouvrir grand les fenêtres) and for listening to the birds singing (écouter chanter les oiseaux)! It’s also time to start spring cleaning (le grand nettoyage de printemps). Two or three little seasonal expressions (expressions de saison). Spring has come and we’ve put the clocks forward (Nous sommes passés au printemps, nous avons changé d´heure), and moreover, have you noticed that we talk about summer time (l’heure d´été) and winter time (l´heure d´hiver) when we in fact change our clocks and watches in spring and in autumn. Cast ne’er a clout till May is out, becomes (En avril ne te découvre pas d´un fil) in French. Spring is here but the temperatures are not that hot yet.

by Sue Burgess

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: fêter ses 80 printemps

to be 80 years old

au printemps

in the spring

avoir la main verte

to have green fingers

il faut cultiver son jardin

one must tend to their garden

on récolte ce que l’on sème What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. le printemps

Springtime, spring

printanier, printanière

Springtime, spring (relating to spring)

les légumes printaniers

spring vegetables

les vacances de printemps

spring break

un coquelet

spring chicken (young poultry)

ne plus être jeune

to be no spring chicken (slang- person)

l’agitation printanière

spring fever

One swallow does not make the summer, in English becomes (Une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps). Swallows (les hirondelles) having migrated to Africa during the winter, come back in March and April. But seeing just one does not mean that spring has arrived. The word for spring (le printemps) is also used to talk about the number of years that our age totals. My Grandfather celebrated his ninetieth birthday last month (mon grand-père a fêté ces 90 printemps le mois dernier). Yes, whatever time of year you were born, we speak of your ( ..... printemps). The English word ‘spring’ has other meanings and translations too. In the sense of ‘emerge’ it is translated by (jaillir). Water sprang from the fountain (de l’eau jaillissait de la fontaine). Perhaps more directly connected to the season of spring: to leap suddenly = sauter. The frog springs from the lily pad (la grenouille saute de la feuille de nénuphar). And, of course flowers appear = apparâitre. Flowers sprang from the trees (des fleurs sont apparues sur les arbres).

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 9

French Life The Vendée Globe... Up Close and Personal! by Helen Tait-Wright

Above and Middle: Winner, Armel Le Cléac’h arriving back at Les Sables d’Olonne. © Olivier Blanchet/DPPI/Vendée Globe


long with millions of other people around the world, I have been glued to the progress of the Vendée Globe since the competitors left Les Sables D’Olonne on 6th November 2016.

The updates couldn’t come soon enough. The battle between Armel Le Cléac’h and Alex Thomson, our British skipper, was nail biting. I held my breathe when Alex lost his foil - would his race be over? I marvelled at the stunning footage of the yachts battling through the Southern Ocean, taken from a French Naval helicopter. Alex’s video updates made me smile - he always put on a cheery face. Enda O’Coineen’s videos were a riot of silliness. Every retirement has me feeling the anguish of the skipper. The magnitude of the challenge all the sailors put themselves up for leaves me in awe. So, it was somewhat surreal to be back on the Pontoon at Les Sables d’Olonne on 19th January, waiting for Armel to bring his boat, Banque Populaire, back into the Marina after crossing the finish line in first place earlier in the day. It was sub zero and pitch black, except for the floodlights around the pontoon, and a laser light scanning the sky. On the big screen we could see Armel’s boat enter the harbour, but it was eerily silent on the pontoon, as more and more Press crowded down. Separated from the harbour entrance by the bulk of the dock warehouses we could only see the glow in the sky from the fireworks that we watched on the screen. Great flocks of seagulls whirled in the freezing night air, having been disturbed by the explosions. 

Then the flotilla of small boats started to come into the dock - many black RIB’s (rigid inflatable boats) with occupants dressed up for the cold - it was a bit like something from a James Bond movie. Eventually we saw the huge mast of Banque Populaire move in to our view. The pressure against the pontoon railings increased as more and more journalists arrived. Then finally we could see the whole boat, with Armel at the bow holding two red flares aloft. 10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

© Helen Tait-Wright

He glided silently in, under motor. It was difficult to equate the dramatic and brutal footage of the boat at sea with this graceful arrival. Then the noise started as everyone called out greetings and questions, and Armel, still in his drysuit, crouched at the side of the boat to respond. We knew that Alex would be arriving to claim his second place in the early morning of the 20th, so we slipped away before the Press conference to get home and thaw before a very early morning start. Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t do mornings! Especially when its really cold! So I hope Alex Thomson feels suitably honoured that we were back at Les Sables for 7.30am the next morning.  We watched Alex cross the finish line on the big screen in the relative warmth of the Press Centre, surrounded by his media team.  This was an eye-opening experience for sure, with calls being patched from the team out on the boat straight through to the BBC news desk, in order to catch the end of the live broadcast.  As the time came to head down onto the pontoon once more we put on our layers of clothing and headed out into the icy morning.  Initially I thought there would be less Press for Alex’s arrival, but about 5 minutes before Alex’s boat, Hugo Boss, came into our view, Armel arrived, and I think the media scrum was bigger than it had been the night before. At one point I actually had a TV camera resting on my head as they struggled to get a word with Armel who was standing right in front of me.  Then the mighty black beast that is Hugo Boss, arrived, just as silently as Armel had, although in the daylight it seemed less surreal.  No drysuit for Alex though, he does after all represent a classy menswear brand, so he was smartly dressed using the Union Jack as a scarf. 

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2020... For me there is also a much more personal reason for my interest in the Vendée Globe. My step-daughter, Hannah, is just launching her own bid to contest this race in 2020. Sailing with John Robertson and Stephen Thomas, Hannah has represented Great Britain at the last four Paralympic Games, picking up three World titles along the way in the Sonar class. 

Above: Armel Le Cléac’h with Alex Thomson. © Helen Tait-Wright

Smiling and happy, although visibly thinner than when he left 74 days before, Alex captivated the media scrum. He did make reference to his weight loss saying that the Vendée Globe is the worlds most expensive diet plan! It was quite an emotional moment seeing Alex safely home after his trials at sea, and a real privilege to have been there to witness it first hand. At the time of writing, 99 days after the start, there are still 9 competitors out at sea, highlighting the enormous challenge this race represents and equally what an amazing achievement it was for Armel to complete the course in 74 days  3 hours, 35 minutes and 46 seconds, with Alex close behind after over 25,000 miles of sailing in 74 days 19 hours, 35 minutes and 15 seconds, especially as he had a broken foil. 

© Helen Tait-Wright

But now that sailing is out of the Paralympics for 2020 Hannah has decided to turn her attention to this new challenge, setting up Chimera Racing as a platform for her ambitions. Hannah, who was born without a lower right arm, would be the first para sailor to take part in the race. “I remember watching Ellen McArthur finishing second in the Vendée Globe in 2001. She was young, she was a woman and she achieved this incredible result in a race that had seemed to be the preserve of older, male sailors up to that point, and so the Vendée has been in the back of my mind ever since. Only seven women have ever competed in the Vendée and a disabled sailor has never taken on the race before, so I’m setting myself a big goal.”  If we are successful, I imagine next time I am standing on the pontoon in Les Sables to welcome a sailor back will be a proper emotional overload!  We have a long way to go in the next 4 years, and achieving commercial backing is crucial, but we are also looking at launching a crowd-funding campaign, which we will bring you details of in due course, if you would like to get involved. 

Photos above courtesy of the British Sailing Team.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 11

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


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact www.theatrivasles.com, find us on Facebook or email: theatrivasles@gmail.com RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: rafasof@orange.fr or Tel Website Short URL: http://goo.gl/ut80T Acceuil des Villes Françaises A French association dedicated to welcoming newcomers, from across France & abroad, to their new environment; helping them to integrate, speak French and feel ‘at home’ through social www.avf.asso.fr events and activities. pjhenderson@orange.fr THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:


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

AL-ANON Support Group

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

Bridge Players Wanted

A small, friendly bridge group are looking for new players in the Parthenay area. We are friendly and informal and we are keen to welcome all levels of players. Contact Richard Knight via email richardknight@orange.fr or 05 49 69 18 65


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

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Freemasonry In France There are English-speaking lodges here in France. One such lodge, based in Cognac, meets six times a year. If interested in joining, please contact me. The first ever ‘Grand Lodge’ was founded in London on 24th June 1717. To celebrate this 300th anniversary, Lodge and Temple doors are open to the public thoughout France. Please take this opportunity to visit. Contact David Brieger: david.brieger@neuf.fr


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?

Les Amis Solitaires

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

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

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact Carol Andrews on 05 49 63 18 87 or visit www.cancersupportdeuxsevres.com CALLING ALL WALKING FOOTBALL PLAYERS

Interested in playing walking football around the Dampierre sur Boutonne area? We really need more players of any level (and age) to join us for fun, competition and above all, the health benefits! Call Ted Sellwood on or email bigtsellwood@gmail.com

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. Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Membership Secretary Michele Hansford for joining details. Email: michelemhansford@gmail.com Tel. 05 49 64 21 63


with a friendly group of French and English speakers. Each Wednesday at 7.30pm at the Salle des Fêtes, Veluché 79600. Call Christian for more details: 05 49 63 04 78

Alone in France?

We are a group of people living alone who meet on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 11am for coffee at the Pause! café in L’Absie. Our lunches are at different venues each month, a warm welcome awaits you. More details email saninb1@gmail.com or phone


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



eridien Green Association of St Coutant 79120 is now well into its season of activities for 2017 with an extremely interesting and helpful presentation in mid-February from a lawyer who is an expert on cross border issues. His presentation covered diverse areas such as inheritance, traffic offences and of course Brexit. There was a lively Q & A session after the presentation. This is an example of how Meridien Green carries out its aims for the closer integration of the inhabitants of St Coutant and the surrounding areas. More light-hearted events are in the pipeline with the annual exhibition of art and crafts on 1st May together with workshops and competitions for local children and their parents, vying for interest with the Vide-Grenier. Local musicians, refreshments and other delights are planned. For a full list of the Association’s activities visit the website: www.meridiengreen.eu The Association, which was founded 17 years ago, now has in excess of 70 members, French and English as well as several other nationalities thus bringing together an eclectic mix . Their language classes on Monday evenings (18.00 to 19.30) and Tuesday afternoons (14.30 to 16.00) are the cornerstone of the Association’s activities as being able to effectively communicate is essential to living in a community. On Monday evenings the courses, which alternate between French for the English one week and English for the French members the following week, cover grammar, reading and conversation skills. Being led by the members themselves, ensures a lively and good natured approach to the learning experience. The Tuesday courses are more directed at the English members with several classes of different levels from debutant upwards.

Masonry in Literature


Written by Shirley Brieger

eferences to Freemasonry in literature occur in many works of fiction. For instance, way back in the year 2BC in Rome, Titus tells a good friend that his wife Vipsanias joined a women’s masonic lodge called the ‘Good Goddess’. His friend comments, “That damned female masonic cult again. I hope it never spreads to our sex, Titus.” Oh, how wrong he was… (Reference taken from ‘Quadrantus Rex’ by Norbert Coulehan)

Norbert Coulehan was in good company - as Buchan, Capote, Eco, le Carre, Dan Brown, Tolstoy, and many more have all made references to masonry in their writing. Dan Brown, for instance, uses and manipulates the symbols of masonry to produce a best seller, but it actually has no real relevance to masonry as we understand it. His ideas about the Rosslyn Chapel and Rennes-le-Chateau are a mixture of fact and fiction. However, non-masons are all too ready to accept these references as the truth. In Leo Tolstoy’s novel ‘War and Peace’, Freemasonry is a thread that runs throughout the story. Count Pierre Bezukhov struggles with his understanding of masonry and this could be Tolstoy revealing his own struggle, as many people believe he actually based the character of Pierre on himself. This extract from the novel is particularly interesting; “He divided the Brothers he knew into four categories. In the first he put those who did not take an active part in the affairs of the lodges or in human affairs, but were exclusively occupied with the mystical science of the order: with questions of the threefold designation of God, the three primordial elements—sulphur, mercury, and salt—or the meaning of the square and all the various figures of the temple of Solomon. Pierre respected this class of Brothers to which the elder ones chiefly belonged, but he did not share their interests. His heart was not in the mystical aspect of Freemasonry. In the second category Pierre reckoned himself and others like him, seeking and vacillating, who had not yet found in Freemasonry a straight and comprehensible path, but hoped to do so. In the third category he included those Brothers (the majority) who saw nothing in Freemasonry but the external forms and ceremonies, and prized the strict performance of these forms without troubling about their purport or significance.

The winners of the 2016 Art competition showing off their prizes

The Art Group meets on Friday mornings bringing together the artistic members, working and helping each other with advice and encouragement.

Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines

Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. incl contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows.

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

Finally, to the fourth category. Also a great many Brothers belonged, particularly those who had lately joined. These, according to Pierre’s observations, were men who had no belief in anything, nor desire for anything, but joined Freemasonry merely to associate with the wealthy young Brothers who were influential through their connections or rank, and of whom there were very many in the Lodge.” References to Freemasonry in popular culture range from the vitriolic to the innocuous. Far more often they are merely misinformed allusions from which Freemasonry faces a far more insidious threat; that of being marginalised, trivialised, and fictionalised. Most of the references are harmless, simply pointing out that Freemasonry has played a role in our society. If any Mason would like more information about the Supreme Council, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, more commonly known as the Mother Supreme Council of the World, simply Google any of these titles to find a fascinating history of Masonry in the USA.

‘The DSM’ Office Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 13


by Eric Edwards


arch 2017 will see the tenth anniversary of the inauguration of our Branch here in the PoitouCharentes and we hope to have many special events this year to celebrate our success, so please keep an eye on our website. Our social programme is still in the process of discussion but once it is confirmed events will be published. The celebrations begin in March with a grand luncheon for members, invited guests and registered ‘Friends Of The Poppy’ and we hope to continue throughout the year with events open to the general public. All anniversaries are a time for reflection and as we look back over the last decade we have many people to thank for our continued success: to Sarah Berry for the regular support given by ‘The Deux-Sevres Monthly’ magazine, the thousands of people within the Region who have come to our events, those who have given donations to our Poppy Boxes, the proprietors of establishments who kindly place our boxes during the November Remembrance period and, of course, our members and committee for organising and participating in the production of fundraisers. Our annual contributions to The Poppy Appeal have increased year on year from our first effort of 620€ in 2007 to last year’s total of 15,049€; the grand total since we began is 87,556€. Our membership has been fairly constant at around 120 for many years and, in order to sustain or better our contributions to the Poppy Appeal, we need to recruit more members. There is now more information about joining our ranks on the Membership page of our website with PDF downloadable files containing an information sheet and membership application forms. There is also an option to become a ‘Friend Of The Poppy’; all is explained on the website. Once again, a huge thank you to all who have supported our cause over the years.



by John Blair

n May we will be performing ‘The Shakespeare Review’ in both Secondigny and Foussais-Payre...

What was your first response when you read that introduction - pleasure or dread? I never studied Shakespeare when I was at school and was, at the time, pleased that I hadn’t - but later in life I attended an outdoor Shakespeare comedy and became hooked. I have owned the movie, ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, for years and still find it very funny. ‘The Shakespeare Review’ is a fast paced selection of plays, comic novels and musicals, and gathers together some of the finest comic material inspired by Shakespeare. It was first preformed by the RSC at the Barbican Centre before moving to the West End where it received rave reviews. Our “official” publicity statement is as follows:- Reaction Theatre is pleased to announce that ‘The Shakespeare Review’, compiled by Christopher Luscombe and Malcolm McKee will be performed by a sparkling cast on the 12th and 13th May at the Petit Theatre Secondigny and on the 19th and 20th May at La Salle l’Avenir, Foussais-Payre. All performances start at 8pm. Bored by the Bard? Bewildered by Bill? Unable to thrill to the skill of his quill? If Shakespeare at school made you feel like a fool, Then ‘The Shakespeare Review’ is the medicine for you. There are songs, scenes and sketches for Kings, fools or witches, And jokes, jests and pranks that will have you in stitches; He wasn’t ‘averse’ to a bit of a joke. So come along groundlings and noble folks too, And join in the fun at ‘The Shakespeare Review’ ‘The Shakespeare Review’ is a sparkling and irreverent anthology of songs and sketches inspired by William Shakespeare. This romp through the works of the worlds best known playwright includes material by Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Alan Bennett and Victoria Woods and of course some guy called William Shakespeare! There will be more details in the April and May issues, and we hope to see you all in May. So, what else are the members up to?

Take a Break - SOLUTIONS Easy Crossword: Across: 1. sigms 3. tiber 7. trait 8. found 9. confrontation 10. streaking 13. lexicographer 14. snake 15. apart 16. lingo 17. mural Down: 1. sigma 2. grief stricken 4. blotting paper 5. random 11. fennel 12. petrol Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. nurse 2. trolley 8. inc 9. operation 10. ennui 11.meeters 13. emergency ward 16. chronic 18. stump 19. full cream 21. tie 22. skiwear 23. kyrie Down: 1. naivete 2. raconteur 3. eloping 4. thermo nuclear 5. ovate 6. lei 7. yanks 12. evaluator 16. cafes 17. nacre 20. loi

Well, what do you know?: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10) 11) 12)

Le MANS (Perry) (Patsy) FAGIN (Clive) EVERTON My DING -A- Ling (Jun Hui) DAVIS Cup (Joe, Fred or Steve) Frank THORNton (Willie) Tommy DOCHERTY (Ken) Michael WILLIAMS (Mark) (Jimmy) WHITE Hart Lane Gilbert O’SULLIVAN (Ronnie) A DOT Ball (Graham) (John) VIRGO

They are all professional SNOOKER (or billiards) players.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Keynotes Singers meet every Friday afternoon at 2pm at the Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. The Art Scene meet every Friday morning in Secondigny next to the SuperU petrol station. Scottish Dancing meet on a Monday evening at 7pm in Fenioux. All that for a membership fee of 12€ a year! Why not come and join us at any one or all of these activities? Send me an email for more information, or have a look at the website, everyone welcome. Best wishes, John If you have any further questions you can visit our website


Our Furry Friends

CHARLIE & CLEO A special home is needed for this beautiful, shy pair, Charlie & Cleo. These super siblings have such a strong bond they will need to be homed together. We are not sure what caused their terrible shyness. They came to us via a kind lady who rescued them along with their brother, who was the complete opposite! They have come such a long way since they first arrived back in October. Cleo is definitely the more confident of the two, and where she goes, Charlie follows! We are looking for someone special with experience of cats who is willing to give them the time and patience needed to build their confidence further. Cleo adores attention and we think she will be a real lap cat once she finds her forever home. Charlie is more reserved…. he has a look in his eyes showing he wants to let go, but he is not quite there yet - however, he is improving every day. We do believe he will become more affectionate as his confidence continues to grow. They will be fine in a home with other cats or cat-friendly dogs. If you think you can offer this gorgeous pair the calm home they need, please contact Caroline Archer on 05 55 27 10 25 or email carolinearcher74@gmail.com. Cleo and Charlie are chipped, fully-vaccinated and will be sterilised shortly.




25th March 10am - 4pm

SALE to Fund 7 Kitten Sterilisations Please come and join us for another sale. We have LOADS of NEW DONATIONS, so come and have a hot drink, piece of cake, kitten cuddles and browse the books, games, furniture, tools, kitchen items, plus much more. All donations gratefully received, please email me at: heather.rosemary33@ gmail.com. Venue: Le Grand Beaupuits 79200 St Germain de Longue Chaume on the D19. Looking forward to seeing you all


The Rainbow Association Charity Shop Raising Funds for animals in need

Open every Wednesday + the 1st Saturday of each month, 10am-5pm “Route 66”, Rue de la Liberation, 87320 Buissier-Poitevine The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 15

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

(Im)plausibility and Consistency


ow I’ve started telling people about my next alternative history thriller coming out in April, one person said, “Oh, you’re lucky, you can make it all up!” Er, no.

But how far can a storyteller stray? When we read a story, we need to feel the book’s world is plausible. Ideally, a writer builds a sequence of events that not only follows a credible path but which also guides readers to believe it could not possibly develop differently. And if there are two equally plausible choices at a critical point, so much the better! However fantastical, a story must connect in some way to the reader’s world. For instance, Boudicca the Iceni queen and Buffy the vampire slayer were both women fighters who defied enemies threatening their worlds, lost a significant other and passionately loved their families. Defiance, loss and love are things we can relate to however strange the setting. So how can writers give their stories plausibility even if the setting and/or characters are a tad weird? 1. Tell whoppers confidently Almost every story hinges upon implausibility – it’s a set-up, a problem the writer has purposefully created. Many TV crime stories feature a superintendent or chief inspector interviewing suspects and knocking on doors in the crime area. Ridiculous. Such hands-on work is carried on by the experts on the ground – the constables and sergeants. But we all accept it.

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Vronni Ward for this month’s review. If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email it to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton This is a compelling book about two dysfunctional families…the Pickles and the Lambs, that you just won’t forget. Hailed as “the Great Australian Novel”, it is set between WWII and the 1960s. Bathed in nostalgia it reminds us of our own past. It is a working class Forsythe Saga. The book skillfully draws you in and before long you connect with the land and the characters. You hate, love, despair, laugh, sing, grow old and die with them, feeling what they feel. The house is a constant, unifying the actions of the two families. It is a big book about humanity in a big country. Winton agreeably communes with nature and sees it as the life force that surrounds and drives the characters. The portrayal of disability in the Lambs’ son, Fish, is particularly poignant and polished. It starts off by being about ‘them’ and ‘us’… and ends by just being ‘us’. How satisfying. by V. Ward

How often is a film carried by a dismissed maverick scientist, a reformed drunk or grief-bound widower, coming back and saving the day? Ridiculous. The refresher courses and retraining would take weeks and months and security clearance forever. But we all accept it. Why? Because once we have swallowed the confident lie, we’ll follow the rest of the story as long as the writer keeps our trust. One way to do this is to infuse, but not flood, the story with corroborative detail so that it verifies and reinforces the original whopper. 2. Make your characters have normal reactions Human beings of all ages and cultures have similar emotional needs, hurts and joys. Often they’re expressed differently, sometimes in a peculiar way. But a romantic relationship, whether as painful as in The Remains of the Day or as instant as Colonel Brandon when he sees Marianne in Sense and Sensibility binds us into their stories. 3. Tie up loose ends No writer should leave possible loopholes or gaps for readers to wander into. When drafting, I mark up my script in blue font and in square brackets with notes such as [what happened to the doctor?]. That doesn’t mean every character needs to have their life story told but writers should try not to leave any obvious dangling bits.

Are you a bit of a Bookworm?

4. No ‘deus ex machina’ Don’t be tempted to let a character parachute in with the lifesaving solution if they haven’t appeared earlier in the story. This is poor technique and looks implausible. Ditto if you need a character with strange gifts or knowledge. A few lines of background carefully woven in will smooth their introduction. If a writer can make absurdities appear rational, readers will believe every word in the story and go on to buy the next book in the series. Alison has compiled the articles from this column into The 500 Word Writing Buddy, available on Amazon. Her fifth novel, INSURRECTIO, is now out. 16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

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

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.


by James Luxford

History lessons, homecoming and heroism make up this month’s movie offerings. T2 TRAINSPOTTING (1st March) Twenty years on from the British phenomenon, Ewan McGregor returns to the role that made his name. He plays Renton, the former drug addict returning to his Edinburgh home after two decades to find the same old faces, and problems. While not as mind-blowing as the bombastic original, director Danny Boyle weaves a tale of middle age regret and long-standing resentment. The grim realities of addiction and poverty are still explored, while the script is once again dripping with dark humour. Fans of the first film will be in absolute heaven. HIDDEN FIGURES (8th March) A contender at this year’s Academy Awards, this adaptation of a true story follows the real heroes of the famous NASA mission that sent the first American into space. A group of brilliant AfricanAmerican women (played by Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae and Taraji P. Henson) struggle against prejudice to do their part in creating history. Sincerely told, if a little sentimental in places, the strong cast is on dazzling form. A testament to how far we’ve come as a society, and a sobering reminder of how far we’ve yet to go. PATRIOT’S DAY (8th March) Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman and Kevin Bacon play men at various levels of law enforcement chasing the man behind the 2013 Boston Marathon Attacks. Feeling like a tribute more than an exploration of true events, the film unfolds in a powerfully crafted manner that does justice to the horrific events. It’s perhaps too early to portray the attacks in any other way, but while the ‘why’ isn’t looked into too deeply, the ‘how’ is portrayed with grace and respect by an all star cast. Much like the 2004 drama World Trade Center, this is a fitting monument to the courage of the people working that day. KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES? (22nd March) Zack Galifianakis and Isla Fisher get in over their head as a couple who discover their neighbours (Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot) are spies. Nice premise, shame about the movie! The script offers up very few laughs in a by-the-numbers comedy, barely scratching the surface of what the talented cast can do. As things roll to a painfully predictable ending, you wonder how so many stars were drawn in to what is a very sub-par comedy. Release dates are nationwide in France.

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

Contact ‘The DSM’ on 05 49 70 26 21 or: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: www.lefauteuilrouge.fr CineChef, Chef Boutonne: email: cine-chef@orange.fr L’échiquier at Pouzauges: www.echiquier-paysdepouzauges.fr Melle cinema: www.lemelies-melle.info Niort CGR cinema: www.cgrcinemas.fr/niort/# Niort Moulin du Roc: www.moulinduroc.asso.fr Parthenay Cinema: www.cinema.foyer.cc-parthenay.fr/foyer and find others at www.allocine.fr

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 17

Health, Beauty & Fitness Love the Skin You’re In! by Lorraine Wallace


hen we’re not content with our weight or body shape we tend to let our discontent control our level of happiness. Of course we all want the ‘perfect’ body but the fact is, it’s not that easy to look like models in magazines. We can’t Photoshop ourselves in real life for a start! I DO strongly encourage you to become the best version of yourself physically for health reasons BUT your happiness should not depend on the end result! How many times have you told yourself “I’ll be happy when I’m x weight”, or “when I can fit into that dress”. What if you can’t lose the weight due to a medical condition, or you break your leg and can’t exercise, or you’re thin and struggle to gain weight…? Does it mean that you don’t deserve to be happy until you reach your destination? Of course not! In fact, research shows that even if we reach our target weight or size, we’re still likely to be unhappy because we’ll still look for faults and will be constantly seeking to fix them. You’ve only got to read personal interviews with stunning celebrities to know that they have body issues too. I’m proof of this. When I was in my 20’s I had the ‘perfect’ body but I often hated it. I thought I was fat (size 8!!), in particular I hated my knees! I look back at photos now and realise it was nothing to do with my body, my body was great - what was wrong was internal. Here’s another scenario, you are super happy with your new found figure and weight BUT you’re so miserable because to maintain it you have to live a life of deprivation… no parties, no birthday cake, no day off from exercise…. What happens next? You fall off the wagon, it’s just too hard to not accept invitations, or not eat out or not go on holiday. So you start to eat like a real human being and the pounds slip back on and before you know it, you’re back to hating your body and the rollercoaster dieting continues. Some people think that if they love and accept their body as it is, it’s a sign of giving up on improving. This could not be further from the truth. Instead it’s a sign that you’re not prepared to engage in a battle with your own negative thoughts and emotions over your physical body. Instead you are focusing that energy where it is more constructive, to make the changes you desire. And do you know what, more often than not, when you do that inner work, your physical body begins to change all by itself!

If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.

Eckhart Tolle

So of course strive to improve your body if there’s room for improvement, but be kind to yourself. Be mindful of what it can already do. Learning to love your body at every stage of your journey is essential to achieve the happiness you desire. Your physical body does not define you. You are beautiful just the way you are!

www.lorrainewallace.com Email: lorraine@lorrainewallace.com ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Celebrating our 6th Birthday! Thank You for your support.

Finishing Touches... by Sue & Rik Newell, La Deuxième Chance


dding a finishing touch to your design can make the difference between mediocre and marvellous. So what sort of techniques might you use and how might you apply them? Here are just a few that we regularly cover in our workshops.


This can be done on your walls or furniture and as already shown in last month’s issue, even on your fabrics! Unlike the stencilling techniques of the 80’s, it does not have to be just a border around your wall. Be bold, choose a large design and create your own wallpaper effect. Overlap your stencil and mix colours, try adding more than one colour to your paint tray and allow the roller to blend the colours. Furniture can be given the same treatment. Perhaps paint the inside of a chest of drawers or bureau, where colours can blend with the outside or be an explosion of contrasting brightness. Annie Sloan calls this her “quiet and riot” a subtle colour on the outside and a riot of contrasting colour within.

Photos © La Deuxième Chance 2017


ng Decoupage is the art of cutti e and sticking! You don’t hav age oup dec cial spe buy to you paper, although you can iffrom wish. Images can be cut from wrapping paper, pictures your magazines or printed frompaper computer, use tissue your and even fabric to create also design. Paper napkins can, but work well for decoupagete the do remember to separa layers before use. or ways to apply your images There are many different require decoupage medium (glue) decoupage paper, but all willseal and protect the work. Images to apply them and also to in application, or simply cover your can be repeated, or single ps. Scraps can be of a similar colour item with roughly torn scra m, or can perhaps be linked to the or design to match your roo d. use of the item being covere to be a on box has been transformed This old wooden ammunititog hs. rap memory box to store pho add of images it is possible tousing res After using a repeat pattern figu led sea the r g ove interest and colour by paintin Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™.


You don’t need to be Monet or Picasso to add interest with some hand painting. By just laying the brush onto the furniture you can create beautiful patterns. This little piece has had a simple hand painted border to add interest. Patterns can also be added by printing. Corks, bottle caps, match-sticks, cardboard tubes and corrugated card can all be used to print patterns onto furniture or walls. It is best to plan your design before starting and a little practice on paper is also a good idea. Why not draw into the wet paint? For best results you will need two contrasting colours of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™. Paint your base colour. Once you are happy with and have practiced your design, paint your top coat and while still wet, use the end of your paint brush handle to draw your design and reveal the colour beneath. This you can then allow to dry before sealing with soft wax.


Applied over the top of your finished work, crackle glaze will give the appearance of old cracked paint. The glaze is a two part product which is applied then heated. Coloured wax can then be applied to accentuate the crackle.


Is an easy and effective way of transferring an image directly onto your piece of furniture. Print out the image, remembering that if you using lettering this will need to be reversed. The image canare then be applied to your furniture using decoupage medium befor e the backing paper is gently removed. And finally add a bit of glitz!


Metal leaf can be bought in books of gold, copper and can be applied to add a specialsilver, bronze or design, or why not cover a picture frame or ornattouch to your e mirror?

The extremely thin sheets are applied using gold size (a special glue) and a soft brush to push the leaf in place applied by smoothing with a brush or soft cloth. . The leaf is that do not come into contact with the size Any fragments can simply be brushed away. For a solid appearance you can repeat the process.

All of the above techniques can be used individually or why not combine some? Random stencilling can be given a cracked finish, whilst silver leaf looks wonderful if applied over textured paint and finished with black wax.

Have Fun!

All products available from: La Deuxième Chance, 7 Rue de la Croix Cholette, Le Bois de Messé 79120 . Tel: 05 49 27 12 62 or online at www.ladeuxiemechance.com/webstore The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 19

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017



Stinging nettles © Flickr/brewbooks

by Vanda Lawrence

fter a month of very changeable weather and temperatures let’s hope March will really be the beginning of Spring. The evenings are drawing out now and the clocks go forward for Daylight Saving Time at 1am on Sunday 26th March. So very soon we shall be able to enjoy our gardens in the evenings too – hallelujah! For the moment, if you haven’t already done so dig over the vegetable patch, incorporating manure and organic matter from the compost heap. Not only does this feed the soil gradually but it helps to keep it loose and aerated allowing good root development. If you have a large potager it might not always be possible to compost the whole area at one time so this next tip might be useful. It’s surprising how much goodness vegetables take out of the soil during each growing season and this is why crop rotation is so important. Some vegetables take more out of the soil than others (see list below) so the idea is, as part of the crop rotation, to spread your compost over only about one third of your potager, doing a different ‘third’ each year. Each year the part of the potager that takes the most greedy vegetables is fertilized. In the second year those vegetables with more moderate needs are grown there; then in the third year those veggies that will be happy in an infertile soil are grown. In year 4 you will be back to fertilizing the first ‘third’ again. VEGETABLES AND THEIR NEEDS Large requirement – 2 or 3 kg compost per sq metre Cucumbers, Eggplant, Gherkins, Potatoes, Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Sweetcorn, Tomatoes Moderate requirement – 1 kg compost per sq metre Beetroot, Carrots, Chicory, Parsnip Low requirement – no fertilization Beans, Garlic, Onions, Shallots While we’re talking about fertilization I might as well mention Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica). They are a pain (especially when they sting you!) but they can be useful too. You can make a nettle ‘tea’. No, not to drink, but to feed your vegetable plants. Nettles have good amounts of nitrogen, iron, magnesium and sulphur – all good for the potager. Fill a lidded bucket with chopped nettles (no roots or seeds). Add rainwater to this, (leaving a couple of inches at the top where foam will form as the plants begin to decompose) and put the lid on. Leave in a warm, sunny place and stir every couple of days. Prepare yourself though because it does become unpleasantly smelly. After about two weeks it will be ready to filter and use by mixing one part nettle ‘tea’ to ten parts water. Pour this solution directly onto the base of the plants so it goes straight down to the roots. The filtered dregs can be put onto the compost heap. Roses, annuals and perennial flowering plants will all benefit from a dose of this.

As for the rest of the garden if you have any compost left you can use it to top-dress pot grown shrubs ready for the new season. Now is the ideal time to re-pot if they are becoming pot-bound and I suggest doing it sooner rather than later so that the roots can be teased apart easily before re-potting. Finish off by giving them a good feed. Climbing roses, Lavatera, Buddleia and Perovskia can all be cut back now and herbs such as Tarragon, Chives and Sorrel can be divided if they are outgrowing their allotted space. Annual flowers can be sown in situ as Lavatera © Wikimedia Commons/ Magnus Ma the weather and nske soil warms – follow specific instructions on each individual packet. Sweet peas can be sown directly in front of trellis or framework if you didn’t sow them in pots in the autumn. Last month I mentioned home made ‘garlic drench’ which can be used as a slug treatment. I’ve now read that Elderberry leaves have an anti-fungal effect against rust, mildew and powdery mildew and repellent properties against insects such as aphids, flea beetles and moths, so could be very useful. Just soak 1kg of chopped elderberry leaves in 10 litres of water for 24 hours then boil for 30 minutes, cool and it’s ready to use. Apparently this mix will also deter rodents and moles. We all know what a mess moles can make of the lawn so it’s worth a try, but it has to be poured down the holes during dry weather – rain will dilute the mix making it useless. It’s also possible to put a handful of chopped Elderberry leaves down each hole where they will gradually mulch down and deter the moles. I need to mention weed-killers too. Herbicides are, I believe, gradually being banned, beginning with stopping their use within 5 meters of water sources, ditches, rain drains, wells and sinks, roads, pavements and footpaths. You will need to check with your own Mairie for full details for your own commune. We all know how necessary this is, in order to conserve our bees and insects. Now before I go, can I remind you, if you have dogs or cats, to be alert for the Pine Processionary Caterpillars which make white cotton-wool-like nests high up in pine trees. The hairs on their bodies cause extreme irritation to humans and animals alike. Towards the end of March the caterpillars leave the nest in a long, nose-totail line and this is when our pets could be at risk. Also, hedgehogs will be Pine Processionary Caterpillars coming out of hibernation as temperatures become milder so please keep your eyes open for them and be ready with some cat or dog food to help them along. Happy March everybody ….. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 21

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Where We Live... Rebuilding for the future by Mick Austin



Sadly, we’ve heard it all too often. Couple move to France to ‘live the dream’, employ rogue builder, end up with half-finished, shoddy workmanship at best and a downright dangerous home at worst. Months, even years, of trying to get things sorted, hard-earned cash down the drain, sleepless nights, tears, frustration and wondering if the whole sorry saga will ever end.


he tale sometimes ends with the couple splitting up. Sometimes they manage to stay together but give up on their dreams, pack their bags and head back ‘home.’ Others battle on, come through the other side – despite having lost a small fortune – and start afresh. Turning disaster into something positive. Changing direction in life and successfully relaunching themselves into a successful new business, albeit a fledgling one.

This story has the happier ending....



Katherine Alexander

when we were dealing with the roofer we had no idea what a real devis should look like and what, by law, it should contain. But, like many in our position, we were happy we could converse in the same language. He had worked in France for six years or more and appeared to talk the talk.” Fast-forward to April 18, 2016. The scaffolding was put up, work began... and so did the nightmare!

The first snag came when they found out a local farmer had rented the land tied to the property from the previous owner in exchange for firewood. Still green in the ways of rental agreements and how things work in France, they found out this was a big no-no and it took 12 months and several notaire’s letters to get the farmer to release their land back to them. “I guess, looking back, that should have been a small indication of things to come,” says Katherine.

“Six weeks later, we had a roof condemned by industry experts as unfit for purpose and it was going to take another 28 000€ to put right. This was on top of the devis of 26 000€ he had originally quoted,” says Katherine. “Insulation incorrectly installed and subsequently condemned. Velux windows with their flashings cut in half. Gaps in tiles that let water pour down the outside of the roof and into the insulation and house. A chimney stack which he had part-demolished on all four corners to accommodate flashing which he had made by joining more than 14 individual pieces together and sealed with mastic, which would not withstand the extremes of heat and cold here. The chimney subsequently collapsed of its own accord. There was crumbling and cracked cement, broken tiles, the list went on. By then we had paid 17 000€ in instalments to the roofer.

Typically excited about rebuilding their dream home, the couple started planning a new kitchen, bathroom, new downstairs floors, en-suite bedrooms etc, etc. But before any of that could begin, a leaking, uninsulated roof with a view of the stars had to be sorted.

“Incredibly, when the roof was subsequently stripped back to the rafters and completely re-tiled, we needed to buy an additional 550 tiles to properly cover an area of roof where he had incorrectly laid each tile with gaps.”

So began the hunt to find a roofer. “We felt we pretty much understood the process and what to look out for,” says Katherine. “We understood artisans needed to be registered and have a SIRET number. The person we chose had his own website and spent time discussing our needs. A devis (estimate) duly arrived in November 2015 for just over 26 000€ for a roof expanse of 247sqm. We later found out he was only insured to carry out work up to 160sqm.

At the beginning of June, Katherine and her partner received a demand from their roofer for the outstanding balance of 11 000€ – something they later found out was illegal as the job was incomplete. He maintained works were 98% complete while they, unsurprisingly, disagreed.

Katherine Alexander and her partner got the keys to their dream house near Parzac, in the Charente, in June 2015. It came with five barns and two hectares of land. “Typically French, run-down but not derelict,” remembers Katherine. “Heaps of space with potential and room enough for my three ponies.”

“He was unable to start work until April and it was during those four months, between November and April, that we found out just how little we knew. We started to receive really detailed devis from other artisans for other work on the house and realised that

Photos above: Inset, (BEFORE) roof as left by original roofer. Main image: (AFTER) roof completed by new tradesmen. © Katherine Alexander.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 23

...A look at what makes France so special Things moved on rather swiftly from that point and here Katherine gives a ‘timeline’ of events:

June 9: A meeting with the roofer. A detailed, itemised devis is requested, along with details of his decennial insurance (a mandatory construction insurance). Nothing arrives. June 12: Katherine stops the job and gives him notice to remove his scaffolding. Six weeks after he started the work.

June 15: A rep from the insulation manufactu rer arrives to make an initial report. June 16: A meeting with their insurers. They find out the roofer has a history of claims against him, where he failed to answer letters and refused all contact. ACTIS technical rep arrives and makes a damning report of the work done.

Bleu d’Auvergne (AOC) A classic blue cheese named after its place of origin in the Auvergne region of south-central France, it’s sometimes considered to be a cow’s milk version of the more famous Roquefort, which is made from ewe’s milk. Bleu d’Auvergne was developed in the mid-1850s by a French cheesemaker named Antoine Roussel, is made all year round from either raw or pasteurised milk and is available in both artisanal and industrial versions. As each Bleu takes much less milk to produce than Cantal – the other great cheese of the area – it was more suited to the smaller artisan farmer. The cheeses used to be brought down the mountainside twice weekly on donkeys or mules and sold to co-operative affineurs for ripening. It’s a semi-soft cheese that tends to be milder, creamier and less salty than a Roquefort and therefore often easier to eat for a blue cheese novice. The inside is sticky, moist and crumbly, with a creamy, pale ivory colour and plenty of dark blue veining throughout the body that comes from the Penicillium (roqueforti or glaucum) which is added. The cheese is ripened in cool cellars and regularly turned and pierced with steel needles to distribute the mould.

June 22: The roofer’s ladders are taken from the property without prior arrangement. June 24: Numerous requests for the roofer to remove his scaffolding are ignored. An email arrives from an avocat (lawyer) telling them the roofer wouldn’t remove the scaffolding because that would indicate he had agreed to finish the job. Three meetings are arranged in July and September with a conciliator de justice, one of which the roofer attends with his avocat. The meeting ends when the avocat realises there’s more to it than just outstanding payments and she refuses to carry on representing him. Scaffolding still not removed.

October 7: They get a call from the gendarmes with an accusation of theft of scaffolding.

Taking advice from an avocat themselves, a Hussier report (an official court paper should things ever go to court) is commissioned. The advice being that this allows the disputed work to be corrected. If that had not been sought, things would have been frozen legally. So, report in hand, repairs to the roof started and were completed on December 29, 2016. “In that time,” says Katherine, “I lost nine months of my working life getting my own business off the ground, thousands of Euros, stress and strain, and still to this day, the roofer refuses all contact with us and has ignored official requests to contact, both through the avocat dealing with our case and the insurance company our property is covered by.”

However, from desperation and despair comes some good news...

The are two different sizes of Bleu d’Auvergne. The larger has a diameter of 20cms with a height of 8-10cms and weight of 2-3kgs. The smaller size is 10cms in diameter, varies in height and weighs anything from 350g to a kilo. Although the cheeses are traditionally round, a rectangular version is produced for export and pre-pack sale. Maturation takes a minimum of four weeks from the date of production for cheeses weighing more than a kilo and two weeks for any below that.

Having set up business as an auto-entrepreneur at the beginning of January 2016, upcycling (or, as the French say, ‘re-looking’) everyday items into home décor, things came to a grinding halt with everything that was going on at home.

The cheese is often used in salad dressings, with chicory, nuts or raw mushrooms and its nutty flavour and beautiful melting quality also makes it a delicious seasoning on top of hot, fresh pasta. Add a glass or two of a full-bodied red or a Sauternes wine and you have an excellent meal.

“I’m now able to concentrate on my venture, Kate’s Emporium, which has been a passion and huge source of satisfaction for me,” says Katherine. “I’ve started to explore the world of French fêtes, where I can not only improve my French but also develop new ideas for household items and decorations that can be made from the mountain of wood I’ve ended up with. Entirely self-taught and enjoying new-found skills, I found myself producing art that I truly enjoyed. Not only that, but art that others appreciated and wanted to buy. It’s been brilliant.

Photo: Wikicommons/ Coyau

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

“Being left with a barn full of wasted new wood and raw materials, I felt inspired to find something positive and to take a new direction in my business life. A bit like a phoenix rising from the ashes,” says Katherine.

Photos: Items made using the left-over wood. Bottom left page, Daisy key wall hanging. Above left to right: rustic reclaimed breakfast tray, Wine O’clock timepiece-am/pm, Scrabble letter/Word Plaque- LOVE. © Katherine Alexander 2017.

On this month “I’ve had a few sales and I feel hopeful. I’m getting interest from France, the UK and beyond. I’ve even had website hits from the USA and Australia. Locally, I have both French and Englishspeaking customers. It’s been a good start and I envisage it growing even more in 2017, when I’ll be looking to sell on online sites such as Etsy, as well as through boutiques here in France and in the UK. “So, from those initially sown seeds of negativity, there has been positive growth. What was once seen as waste has been turned into plaques, coffee cup holders, door stops, wall hangings, flower holders and – my new addition – a 6ft wall ruler for measuring a child’s height!” And the house? More good news there. The roof’s finished and weather-proof and things are progressing well with everything else at Chez Alexander.

Wise words from Katherine...

“My advice to anyone wanting works completed is to get several quotes, make sure they are itemised, and that you have a copy of the insurance detailing what the person is insured to do. This will be on the Annexe Activities Declarées on the back of the Attestation d’Assurance de Responsabilite Decennale. l would also strongly advise getting at least two references from recent work (within the last three months) and don’t be shy to use this information and to visit previous clients. If we had done all that ourselves, l wouldn’t be telling you my story now.”

Katherine’s new business, Kate’s Emporium can be found online at: www.katesemporium.com This is the first of many articles featuring those in the region with interesting stories..... If you feel your French Adventure is worth sharing, please contact us.

March 21, 1804: After four years in the planning, Napoleon Bonaparte enacts a new legal framework for France, known as the ‘Napoleonic Code.’ It gives post-revolutionary France its first coherent set of laws concerning property, colonial affairs, the family and individual rights. March 31, 1889: The Eiffel Tower is dedicated in a ceremony presided over by its designer, Gustave Eiffel, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, plus a handful of other dignitaries and 200 construction workers. The Tower was finally opened to the public in May the same year. March 10, 1906: A devastating mine disaster kills more than 1000 workers at the Courrieres Colliery in northern France. An underground fire sparked a massive explosion that virtually destroyed a vast maze of tunnels. Several people on the surface were also killed in the blast. March 7, 1912: French aviator Henri Seimet takes three hours to make the first non-stop flight from Paris to London – to deliver a violin! March 16, 1978: One of the world’s worst supertanker disasters takes place off the Brittany coast when the Amoco Cadiz runs aground and breaks into two pieces, three miles off the coast of Portsall. Some 68 million gallons AMOCO CADIZ grounding and oil spill, Brittany, France of oil were spilt and, ultimately, 240 miles of coastline was affected. This was the first time images of oil-coated seabirds were seen by the world. March 24, 2015: A Germanwings Airbus A320, flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, crashes in the French Alps, killing all 149 people on board. Data recorders at the crash site suggest co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the plane.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 25

Communications Securing your Smart phone Photos for Free by Ross Hendry


ost of us now have mobile telephones that are really pocket computers capable of many other features. One of the most commonly used features are the on-board cameras and these have improved in leaps and bounds in recent years, being very capable and with exceedingly high resolutions. Thus we take many photographs and they fill our telephone’s limited storage quite quickly - so how can we reduce the storage problem? The answer is to secure the photos and give access to them on other computers or tablets. Apple, Google and Microsoft provide the means to do this. In this article I will concentrate on Android and Microsoft, as Apple automatically back up iPhone photos to iCloud. Both Google and Microsoft give registered users free cloud storage (Secure space on their web servers for you to store your files). In the case of Google, the volume is 15GB and for Microsoft it is 5GB. Once you have files stored in the “cloud” you are then able to access them from other devices such as your desktop, laptop PC, tablet computer, or indeed another smart phone. You can also save photos from your PC, so there is really no reason you should ever lose a photo again.

For Android Phones: how to save your Photos to Google Drive Google applications are provided by most Android telephone manufacturers. This is because Google actually own the Android operating system and their programs are designed to work with it, so storing your photos on Google Drive – (Google’s free space on the internet) is very easy. Indeed, to access applications from the Play store you need to have a Google account, so you probably will have access to Google photos (this was formerly known as Picasa) just by setting up your telephone.

How to save your device’s photos and videos to your Google Photos library back up & sync. This can include photos you take with your device’s camera and photos saved on your phone. What is ‘Back up & sync’? • A backup service: Your device’s photos and videos will save to your Google Photos library, including ones you capture in the future. • Privately stored: Photos and videos backed up from your device are private unless you decide to share them. • Syncing: Changes you make to photos and videos, like deleting or editing, will be reflected across all of your synced devices. Turn ‘Back up & sync’ on or off 1. Open the Google Photos app on your mobile device 2. At the top left, tap Menu . 3. Select Settings > Back up & sync. 4. At the top, switch it on or off.


Things to keep in mind about this setting: • Changing backup settings will affect all apps that use Back up & sync, such as Google Drive. • If you have Back up & sync on, deleting the Google Photos app from your device will not turn it off. To turn off Back up & sync, follow the instructions above. Optional: Check what’s backed up • At the bottom of the Google Photos app, tap Photos . • Photos and videos that are not backed up will have this icon . For Microsoft Windows Mobile telephones: how to save photos to OneDrive Everyone who has a Windows Live ID has a OneDrive cloud storage account. To set your Windows Phone images to automatically be backed up to your OneDrive account, here is what you do. • • •

Go to your Windows Phone Settings, scroll across to Applications Choose ‘photos+camera’ Scroll down the camera settings where you will find the option to Auto Upload and turn it on (still refers to SkyDrive)

The auto upload has a few options to consider that mainly deals with the quality of your back-up file. You can upload a good quality image (slightly downsized) over your wireless data plan or go for best quality that will require a Wi-Fi connection. The options are available for both video and photo uploads.

The nice thing about Google Photos is that you may store all of your photos free of charge and NOT reduce your 15GB of free storage space if you use High Quality. You can choose between 2 storage sizes to back up your photos and videos to your Google Photos library. Google back this up regularly for you so you will always have your photographs, even if you lose your PC, phone or tablet – just do not forget your password! High quality • • • •

Unlimited free storage. Regular cameras: Recommended for phones or point-andshoot cameras that are 16 megapixels (MP) or less. Uses: Good for typical printing and sharing. Size: Saves high-quality photos and videos while reducing size.

Original • • • •

Limited free storage: Uses storage in your Google account, regardless of photo or video size. DSLR cameras: Recommended if you take photos with a DSLR camera and want to maintain the exact original quality. Uses: Recommended for printing large banners or to store original files. Size: Stores your photos and videos exactly as you captured them.

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Once you turn on the auto upload feature, your images and videos will be sent to your OneDrive account and be accessible from other devices as well as backed up regularly by Microsoft. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert directly opoosite).

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 27

Take a Break Across: 1. 18th letter of the Greek alphabet (5) 3. River that flows through Rome (5) 7. Characteristic feature or quality (5) 8. Made a discovery (5) 9. A face off with another person (13) 10. Running naked in a public place (9) 13. A person who writes or compiles a dictionary (13) 14. Limbless reptile (5) 15. Not together (5) 16. Unfamiliar language; jargon (5) 17. Large painting on a wall (5)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Down: 1. Emotion of great sadness (6) 2. Heart broken due to loss (5,8) 4. Soft absorbent produce used to soak up surplus ink (8,5) 5. Lacking any definite plan, order or purpose (6) 6. Light informal conversation (4,7) 11. Aromatic bulbous stem base eaten cooked or raw in salads (6) 12. Fuel used in internal combustion engines (6)

Across: 1. Given appropriate directions, train workers land a shark (5) 4. Being off yours, you’re mad keeping most of an eye on bridge dweller (7) 8. Limited American said to be writing stuff (3) 9. Company not needed in working together on medical intervention (9) 10. Children, nuisance to some but really just concealing their boredom (5) 11. They are getting together to record consumption, or so we are told? (7) 13. Creed many grew to appreciate in crisis room (9,4) 16. Top general holding shattered horn in extremely serious condition (7) 18. Truncated tree a platform for political campaigner? (5) 19. If troubled, call me and fur will be arranged in specification of issue on the farm (4,5) 21. Reports of a South East Asian bond? (3) 22. Worn out on the hills and confused, we take a risk stupidly (3,4) 23. Musky Riesling dressing for part of service (5)

Down: 1. To put it briefly, I have neat arrangement for simplicity (7) 2. Building near court is one with a story to tell (9) 3. Escaping together after initial SE swing applied to rising (7) 4. Hurt? Come learn about how to describe an extremely hot reaction (13) 5. No VAT exemption involving anything egg-shaped (5) 6. Garland of flowers presented when false news is rewritten (3) 7. Jerks coming from stateside? (5) 12. Judge unexpected value of changing rota for building work (9) 14. Hairy beast taking in sham representation of middle-eastern garment (7) 15. Lessen deep confusion over unknown disappearing in fast time (7) 16. Creationists and Flat Earth Society leaders getting trogether in bars ..... (5) 17. .... Pearl’s mother surrounded by Montana creationists? (5) 20. Oil spill leading to change in French law (3)

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

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

1) Which town in Northern France is the venue for an annual 24 hour endurance sports car race?

8) Which English actor was married to Dame Judy Dench from 1971 until his death in 2001?

2) In Oliver Twist, who is the leader of the gang of pickpockets who provides shelter for Oliver when he runs away to London?

9) Which stadium in London is home to Tottenham Hotspur?

3) Who play their home matches at Goodison Park? 4) What is the title of Chuck Berry’s only U.K. No. 1 record? 5) Which International men’s team tennis competition was founded in 1900 and has been won 32 time by the U.S.A.? 6) Who played Captain Peacock in the T.V. series ‘Are You Being Served’?

10) Which Irish singer/songwriter had U.K. hits with ‘Alone Again Naturally’ and ‘Claire’? 11) A ball that scores no runs is marked as what in a Cricket scorebook? 12) Which astrological sign runs from approx. 22nd August to 21st September? And finally, what is the connection?

7) Who was manager of Man. Utd. F.C. from 1972 to 1977? Copyright RJS 2017 28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Answers on P.14 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

DSM Easy Crossword


FIND the CHEAPEST FUEL prices in your area. This government run website provides comparative petrol and diesel prices in all areas of France. Just simply select your department from the map, and voil... www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 29

Food & Drink

Brussels Sprout and Baby Potato Brochettes with mustard

Recipes for March

For 4 people you will need: • 12 Brussels sprouts • 12 tiny potatoes (try grenaille here) • ½ a finely chopped onion • 2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil • 4 coffee spoons of wholegrain mustard • small glass of white wine • salt and pepper Pre cook the Brussels sprouts and potatoes nicely tender, not too soft and ‘mushy’! Drain and let themuntil cool, then arrange alternately on 4 kebab sticks.
 Finely chop the onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepp er.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, Mix the mustard with the white wine, and to the olive oil in the pan. Heat through and then colour theadd veget able kebabs in the pan.

by Lynda Gee

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

For 4 people you will need: • 800g potatoes • 5 - 6 coffee spoons olive oil • 2 finely chopped garlic cloves (or ground dried garlic) • 40 cl milk • 25cl double cream • finely chopped fresh parsley • coarse sea salt • salt and pepper to taste

once reading Here’s a variation on the Chicken Kiev afterany garlic in it! have fact in t didn’ recipe al origin that the

Chicken Fillets with Herb and Pepper Butter • 1 Chicken fillet per person • unsalted butter • ground mixed pepper corns • few leaves of fresh parsley, chives and sage • little lemon juice • salt to taste fold over.
Cut Slit each chicken fillet to make a pocket or easy tothe pocket or inside place and one each for r butte of a slice ous grinding onto half the opened chicken fillet.
Put a gener kle with a sprin and r butte the of of the peppers over the top and lemon). little salt to taste (I use a salt mixed with ginger scissors is best) Then cut the fresh herbs fairly small (with er. Squirt a little pepp the of top the over these kle sprin and one.
 each lemon juice over with either Close the chicken over the filling and close . (I find string n kitche with d close tie wooden pick sticks or this works better.)
 hold them close Place in an oven dish small enough to eated 200˚C oven together, cover with foil and bake in a pre-his tender, cooked en chick the Until tes. minu 20 d for aroun through but not dry.

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Peel the potatoes and cut into large cubes. Boil these for about 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in a heavy based casserole and cook the potatoes on a high heat for 5 minutes, turning all the time. Stir in a good pinch of coarse salt then cover and place in the oven pre heated to 180˚C for around 35 to 40 minutes taking care not to let them burn.
 Heat the milk and cream together. Finely chop the garlic and parsley and add this to the liquid.
Mash the cooked potatoes roughly with a fork, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and mix with the heated milk, cream, garlic and parsley to a soft but not’sloppy’ texture.
Replace the uncovered casserole in the oven until golden.

Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full at-home catering service. You can see her advert on P.32.

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



by Paul Woods

n 1973 a group of friends created: The Lions Club Val de Sevre according to the goals of the Lions Club International, with the Code: “FREEDOM AND UNDERSTANDING OF OTHERS ARE THE SAFETY OF OUR NATION” and its motto “WE SERVE”.

For 43 years the successive Presidents have applied these principles for success and the honour of the club; this is how we have helped many people in need. In 2007 we created the Wine Fair and Gastronomy whose profits are distributed to a different charity each year. This show, by its reputation, has become renowned regionally because we host exhibitors from all over France. This year there will be 104 Exhibitors, wine producers, champagne producers, various food stands and chocolaterie. The salon du Vin is be held at the Niort Parc des expositions on the 25th and 26th of March. Entry is 1€ (free entry ticket attached) plus 2€ for a tasting glass (to take home as a souvenir) and which you can use for it’s true purpose whilst enjoying your visit. Taste and buy (if you wish) as many wines as you feel inclined. Come along and enjoy the ambiance and pleasure of one of the great industries of France. Lions have a dynamic history, it was founded in 1917 in America and now has 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members worldwide. Best known for fighting blindness, the lions help numerous other charities and local causes, making them the world’s largest service club organization. Lions members help with whatever is needed in their local community and contribute to volunteer efforts around the world.

The Val de Sevre Lions Club meets on the 3rd Friday of each month in Niort. At present there are 20 members who all have great fun organizing the wine fair and other events throughout the year. Wives and partners are also involved as much as they want to be. Visit the Lions Club Stand at the Salon du Vin for more information The Salon du Vin is great to organise and attend and we hope to see you there enjoying great wines and produce. This year the profits will go to La Protection Civile 79. Why not make a day of it and take lunch in the on-site restaurant.

For more information go to www.salonviniort.fr Or contact Paul Woods on 06 09 68 02 50

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 31



by Jacqueline Brown

auliflower has never been on the list of my favourite vegetables, but as my parents only ever used to boil it to within an inch of it’s life (yuk) or cover it in a cheese sauce, which is delicious but not too healthy for regular consumption, I’ve never been inspired. However, I have had a change of heart and it has become the new big thing for me.

There have been a lot of reports in the UK press about shortages of salads and certain vegetables in the supermarkets recently. The winter weather, even in the warmer climates of southern Europe has meant that growing what are naturally summer crops, despite their recent year-round availability, has proved difficult. I’m happier to buy seasonal and since the arrival of the fruit and vegetable man to our village every Thursday morning I tend to buy what looks good from his stall, and surprise, surprise that tends to be seasonal. The leeks have been regulars for me all winter, but his cauliflowers have now begun to grab my attention. White, firm, very fresh and not too expensive; a total contrast to his peppers that now look a little sad and come with a price tag I’m not excited by. I’ve been indulging in the cauliflowers and haven’t been disappointed. My favourite way to eat cauliflower, and I hope you don’t think I’m too strange, is to crunch it raw. If I am going to cook it, added almost last minute to a spicy curry always works well, but I’ve been doing a bit of research and what seems to be popular is blending raw cauliflower into a crumb-like texture and using it as a rice or couscous substitute. I was sceptical, but it worked and seasoned well, it was delicious. When I’m fuelling myself for a bike ride, real carbs are most definitely what I need, but at this time of year a cauliflower carb-substitute is just perfect. I’m not a big fan of waste, so I use the stalks in a soup and the outer leaves were looked upon as a delicacy by my chooks. My birds are used to spending their days wandering in the orchard; scratching and foraging, eating grass and insects, and producing eggs with rich dark yolks. With the threat of avian flu, the current advice is to keep domestic bird flocks safely away from wild birds, and mine are not happy. As they don’t live in a run with small enough netting to prevent wild birds joining them, they have been shut in our barn. As well as vocally abusing me every time I feed them, they have shown their displeasure by stopping my egg supply. I wasn’t too surprised about this, especially as they often lay less in winter, but then I heard from friends whose closed-up birds are still laying. I feel cheated and despite giving them extra green treats, I’ve had nothing. If they don’t start producing soon, all I’m prepared to say is chicken-stock soup. www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: frenchvillagediaries@gmail.com 32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Magazines printed 11 months of the year, February to December.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 33

Stripped-Down Wine All you need to know about CHABLIS

by John Sherwin


es Dry white from 100% Chardonnay grap ity eral min y flint and ity acid h Fres Matches oysters, fish, white meat ounding Produced from 5,300 hectares surr the town of Chablis in NE France36 million = • Average annual production Fren ch wine bottles (0.6% of total h 30% production); 68% exported, of whic to UK d Cru (2% of • Four grades of quality: Gran ), Chablis (14% Cru ier Prem production), (60%), Petit Chablis (18%) Burgundy but • Administratively part of mpa gne both Cha hern sout to er clos type soil of s term in and y geographicall

• • • •

And if you want to know more…

History Romans introduced the vine, medieval monasteries developed this existing viticulture – voilà, several hundred years in a sentence. Cut to the 19th century when Chablis was on a roll, supplying the thirsty metropolis of Paris via the Serein river (which is indeed serene, meandering through the town of Chablis itself) which flows into the Yonne and thence to the Seine. But bad luck comes in three’s: two devastating vineyard diseases then, worst of all, the expansion of the French railway network. This brought cheap wine from the south and well and truly elbowed Chablis out from its most lucrative market. Cue the sound of disgruntled grape growers grubbing up vines in favour of other crops. It was only in the mid-20th century that vineyards started to come back into favour, due mainly to the development of effective frost protection methods.

Climate and soil Frost has always been the bugbear of Chablis. Why on earth would you plant a vineyard when yearly you run the risk of losing a large proportion of your crop to this climatological terror? Frosts here can strike any time between March and May when the vine is a-buddin’ and a-shootin’ and is at its most vulnerable. In the early 1960’s someone had the bright idea of lighting oil-fired braziers in the vineyards to ward off Monsieur Jack. You would think that, what with fire having been around a long time, this technique might have been applied sooner, but… oh well, never mind. This labour-intensive and cumbersome method has now been largely superseded by spraying the vines with water whenever the temperature drops to zero, enveloping the shoots with ice which never goes below that point. Pretty neat, but capital-intensive. Oh to be a grape grower. Not to mention hailstones the size of golf balls, for which there is to date no known remedy. It’s still a perilous existence for Chablis winemakers but their grip on the precipice holds good, despite being made with crossed fingers. Soil here is key to the nature of the wine. Chablis lies on one edge of the geological feature known as the Paris Basin; think of a saucer, with the same limestone that made the white cliffs of Dover famous at the other side of the rim. Mix this with some clay, as the earth shifting in its sleep has conveniently done for us, and you have the perfect medium to produce those classic flinty whites. Not forgetting zillions of mini oyster shells from a million or so years ago (who’s counting?) to add that certain something. You’ll hear the words ‘Kimmeridgian’ and ‘Portlandian’ 34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

bandied around. These are different strata of limestone named after villages on the south coast of England – the other side of the rim. Kimmeridgian good, Portlandian the lesser cousin. Kimmeridgian soil nurtures all the grand crus vineyard plots, of which there are seven on a contiguous SW-facing slope NE of the town, almost all of the 40 premiers crus and most of the Chablis grade. Petit Chablis comes from Portlandian soil at the foot of the slopes.

Wine characteristics

The grands crus are gold with green tints. On the nose there is clear minerality with typical ‘gunflint’ aromas. Also lime blossom, dried fruit, honey and almond. On the palate, a perfect balance between acidity and richness with a lively dryness. Will keep 10 to 15 years. Serve at 12 to 14°C. The biggest grand cru plot, and arguably the best quality is ‘Les Clos’. Full-bodied, big minerality, complex fruit, yet charming and approachable. Should keep for over 15 years. The premiers crus are pale gold. Mineral and floral, these can be a little ‘closed’ when young and therefore need aeration in the glass and a little patience – don’t glug. Will keep 5 to 10 years. Serve at 10 to 11°C. Look out for ‘Fourchaume’, the largest of the right bank premiers crus. Feminine and elegant, floral nose. If you’re unfamiliar with Chablis then the Chablis grade is probably your best introduction. Quite clear or greeny gold, the nose has typical minerality with varying notes of green apple, lemon, mushroom, undergrowth, mint, acacia – even liquorice. Good with asparagus which is often difficult to match. Drink within 2 to 3 years of vintage. Serve at 10 to 11°C. Petit Chablis is straw coloured with green hints. White flowers on the nose (hawthorn, acacia), citrus notes and – guess what? – minerality. Drink young at 10 to 11°C. Although the lowest of the four grades, petit Chablis shouldn’t be looked down on: it can provide the ideal ‘entry’ point for the nascent Chablis connoisseur. It all depends on the right producer.

Some reliable producers Domaine Billaud-Simon; Domaine Vincent Dauvissat; Domaine Laroche; Domaine Raveneau; Domaine William Fèvre. The cooperative, La Chablisienne, is also an excellent source of all grades at competitive prices. Not an exhaustive list, of course: the fun lies in doing your own research. John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres by Sue Burgess

Chateaux and Stately homes The national Journées du Patrimoine festival, which is held every year in September, is the opportunity for people to visit these privately owned buildings.


A voir / Must see • The chateau of Puy Louet used to be called Piloët The château is situated on the Cholet road, almost at the highest point of the commune. The house dates from the 15th century, and was still lived in until recently. There was a large house, outbuildings and a chapel. • Chateau of Caphar The name Caphar means ‘village’ in Hebrew. The house dominates the Scie valley. It is a long building with three corner towers. There is written evidence that the château existed in 1510. From the North, entrance to the château was through a large porch which has today disappeared. • Cervaux or Serveau The château, situated on the Argenton-les-Vallées road, dominates a small valley called ‘La Vallée du Serf’. This could well explain the origin of the name. The 28 towers and 2 moats suggest it was a fortress in the Middle Ages. • Le chateau des Dorides The chateau des Dorides is situated near to the Roman bridge at the entrance to Voultegon, on the left bank of the river Argent near the old Roman encampment and not far from the old Roman roads from Nantes to Poitiers. • Le château de la Gallière The château, which is situated near the road to Saint Pierre des Echaubrognes, used to be surrounded by moats which have now been filled in. The porch remains and there is a drawbridge. • Le Fresne-Chabot The manor house of Fresne is documented as being in existence in 1239. At the beginning there was a rectangular house with two towers. The property was surrounded by walls. One of the towers disappeared in the 19th century and was converted into outbuildings. A new dwelling was built opposite the old manor house so that all the buildings are arranged around a huge courtyard. • La Bodinière The 16th century manorhouse is surrounded by a park. • Tournelay Built during the period of the Restauration (1820), the facade of the chateau of Tournelay, with its alternating brick and stone, reminds us of other château dating from the period of Louis XIII. It is surrounded by a magnificent park. The domain was ecologist before its time as it was supposed to be self sufficient. There is an eolien that assures the water supply and a sundial. The park can usually be visited in the summer and during Heritage weekend. The stable buildings are remarkable. The domain is a listed historical building. • La Favrière La Favrière dates back to 1315, according to archives found in the chateau of la Durbellière in Saint-Aubin de Baubigné. The renaissance gallery was built in 1570. The château is still being restored. • La Sainte Famille The park of this château is open to the public. All the other château and stately homes on the commune are private properties. • Le Bois du Moulin-aux-Chèvres Halfway between Bressuire and Mauléon, le Bois du Moulinaux-Chèvres is home to a way of the cross pathway, with the names of people who have made an important impression in the history of France.


The commune of Noizé became part of the commune of Oiron in 1973 and will therefore be included in the section about Oiron.

The commune is situated on a plateau formed of granite with layers of clay on top. It belongs to the ‘bocage bressuirais’, and in a wider geographical sense to the ‘bocage vendéen’, with narrow strips of land and a dense network of hedgerows. The hedges are made up of bushes and are often up to a metre wide. Elderberry, hawthorn, blackberries, gorse and furze are commonplace. The commune of Nueil-Les-Aubiers was created in March 2001 from the fusion between Nueil-sur-Argent and Les Aubiers. It is therefore difficult to talk about the history of Nueil-les-Aubiers and more coherent to talk about the history of Les Aubiers and the history of Nueil-sur-Argent.


The first written references mention “Niolo” (which means damp country) and date from 1123. The name has changed throughout the centuries. Niolo became Niolium in 1300, Nyueil in 1479, Neueil-soubs-Les Aubiers in 1551, Nueil-sous-les-Aubiers and finally Nueil-sur-Argent from March 1964. Situated on a hillock at the bottom of the Argent river valley, the village developed around the Roman road which linked Poitiers to Nantes. The parish church with its three naves, dedicated to Saint-Hilaire dates from the 12th century and was enlarged in the 15th century. The church was altered after the revolution and today’s bell tower dates from 1863 and the choir from 1880. (Picture Wikipedia/Razoky) Under the leadership of Henri de la ROCHEJAQUELEIN, the Vendéens fought twice, in 1793, against the Republican troops of General WESTERMANN in the “bois des chèvres”. The Memorial of Bois des Chèvres is the starting point for a little ramble along which can be seen the names of people who have left their mark on French history.


In 1123 Aubiers was Alberii then Les Aubers in 1278, and Les Aubiers after 1546. The term ‘aubiers’ described a variety of small poplar tree. The village developed close to the important Roman road Poitiers to Nantes, which corresponds to today’s “chemin de Chausseraie”. The history of the name of the commune indicates that the commune has been inhabited since the times of ancient strongholds. Thus the “Champs carrés” and the “Châteliers” make reference to the presence of Roman encampments. In the same way the place called “Caphar” would indicate the presence of a Jewish colony during the Roman era. The church of Les Aubiers is dedicated to Saint-Melaine, a Breton monk who became the bishop of Rennes. The church was burnt down by the republicans in 1795, and then rebuilt between 1865 and 1868. The 51 metre spire was built in 1886. The town centre was set fire to and destroyed by the soldiers of General Grignon on the 14th March 1794. Only a few buildings remain from before the revolution. The library is one of them and it is said to be the oldest building in Les Aubiers. There is a statue of Joan of Arc in the town centre. The commune is characterised by the two town centres and by the numerous hamlets with their many chateaux, stately demeures and manors. Many of them date from medieval times.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 35

Building & Renovation

The roof, the whole roof, and nothing but the roof Malcolm has been working in the roofing industry for over 40 years. His experience has been sought after in America and Germany, where his roofing skills have been called upon in the construction of stately and unusual homes. In the UK he has re-slated many English Heritage buildings, churches and some of the UK’s finest properties. Since moving to France with his family, Malcolm has been very busy responding to anything from an emergency leak to replacing entire roofs. For a free estimation please call: 06 32 19 50 53 / 05 49 07 67 04.

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017


OF THE MONTH The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 37

Small B/W Advert from 34€ per month

Small B/W advert only 40€ttc

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 39

Business & Finance Marketing Matters by Cindy Mobey

Grow Your Customer Base


ith all this talk of Brexit and what’s going to happen to all EU citizens, I have to admit to it being hard to continue to focus on my business. But the fact is I’m here and as far as I’m concerned, here to stay. So for the time being, I’m going to continue building my business as best I can and wait to find out what the ultimate decision will be for us expats. With this in mind, let’s have a look at how we can get some more customers…

Collect email addresses. It’s a great idea to take your customers’ email addresses when they buy or contact you. You can use these addresses to let them know of special offers or to send them your newsletter. But, please note that the data protection act states that you need to have written permission from customers expressly saying that they agree to be contacted via email or to receive a newsletter, (they agree to opt-in), so please ensure you get this.


Research suggests that people don’t like to part with their email address unless they are going to get something in return. A monthly or bi-monthly newsletter is a great way to let your customers know about your business, what’s new and any offers you have running. A newsletter needs to be of value to your customers, so include… • Relevant information about your business and what you can do for them – people are interested in what value you or your products can add to their lives • Details of special offers or new products • Valuable, unique content that customers can’t get anywhere else. The more valuable your emails are, the more people will sign up Develop a calendar for your newsletter, planning specific activities that run throughout the year, for example, something around Valentine’s day, Easter, Christmas, Halloween etc. It’s also important to promote your newsletter everywhere; on your website; put it on the bottom of your email signature or on invoices and receipts; include details in any order you send to customers and if you speak to a customer on the phone, ask if they’d like to receive regular updates from you about your products.

Events. If you go to an event, or have a stall at a market, there are

ways to attract new customers… • Have slips of paper where people can give you their email address – include a statement saying they agree to opt-in to your newsletter and maybe have a fishbowl or something similar where they can ‘post’ their slips • Give away small samples in exchange for an email address so you can let them know about your products and future promotions • Include your business card and a flyer with every purchase, which gives details of your website and newsletter • If you’re at a tradeshow, you might want to run a short presentation on a laptop giving details of your business and what you can offer customers ‘How to…’ leaflets on your website and/or video on YouTube • Produce ‘How to…’ leaflets or articles on your website. People love a freebie – promote on your social media sites • Produce short, instructional and informational videos on YouTube and a link to it from social media, website and blogs If you have any other ideas, please let me know…I’d love to hear from you. Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: cindymobey@outlook.com

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

ONLINE NETWORKING Online groups and forums have fast become the main support networks for many individuals and businesses. In particular for us Expats, such networks can be a comfort when we are dealing with new and challenging systems. Each month we’ll highlight an online group or Forum that we feel deserves a mention. This month I’ll start with a Facebook Group that I’m a part of and which helps me with day-to-day challenges of running my businesses... Introducing Ladies in Business in France (LIBIF)

Ladies in Business in France by Micala Wilkins

Ladies in Business in France was created by Natasha Wright of Bike Hire Direct in November 2013. The group supports, helps and educates ladies who are either thinking of setting up a business here in France and those who actively run their own businesses. A lot of information exists within France about the various aspects of setting up and running a business, but for many the language is a big barrier or as we find out on many occasions, what goes on in the North of France is totally different to what goes on in the South. When questions or concerns are shared, members tell their own experiences and knowledge so that others can take what they need from replies and move on in their business. The group has grown tremendously over the last 3 years and is quite often the first port of call for members especially for topics that affect everyone such as CFE and bank accounts. It’s great watching how businesses have developed and flourished despite the challenges faced. While the group is a closed one, plenty of activity takes place within the virtual walls of the group with regular online events such as Facebook Friday and daily themed threads that give members an opportunity to showcase their businesses and share their goals and frustrations. If you are living in France and thinking about starting a business or have been in business and would like the support of a wider group, please visit: www.facebook.com/groups/LadiesInBusinessInFrance/

Ask Amanda

“Is there anywhere I can find out more information on what aspects of Financial Services I should be concentrating on as an expatriate living in France, without incurring a consultation or preliminary report/recommendations fee?”

Yes, there is. Our upcoming annual ‘Le Tour de Finance’ events are an ideal place for you to hear a number of industry experts, from some of the leading financial companies operating within Europe, talk about changes in the financial landscape and ask questions directly of them. Our ‘Le Tour de Finance’ will this year be including events in Niort and Magnac-sur-Touvre and we will be covering a wide range of topics including:

a a a a a 5th




Pensions & QROPS Currency Exchange Your French Will Tax Efficient Investing, Estate Planning

at Domaine de la Tuilerie 98 route de la Rochelle 79000, Niort Bessines www.restaurant-la-tuilerie.com at Chateau de Maumont  4 rue Aristide Briand 16600, Magnac-sur-Touvre www.chateaudemaumont.fr

Both events start at 10.00am and end at 2.00pm with a FREE BUFFET LUNCH included. (See advert on P.47 for details) Pre-booking is required for both seminars... Please email me to secure your place or register via our website: www.letourdefinance.com

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

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

Be Prepared

by Sue Cook

Whether you’ve been living in France for some time, or are just now thinking of settling down here, you’re likely to find the need to make International money transfers at some stage. How can you assess your best route to do this, and what options are available on the market right now? When it comes to transferring money overseas, making the right decision starts by asking the right questions. Indeed, preparation is essential and by assessing your personal requirements, you will be in the best position to later discuss them with a currency specialist. One of the first things to ask yourself is the reason for transferring funds; are you buying a property, paying bills, sending a pension or simply sending funds to friends or relatives? Once you have determined the reason, think about the frequency at which you will need to transfer; will it be a one-off transfer or regular payments? Planning is fundamental so don’t forget to ask yourself when you will need the funds; do you require the currency for a specific time of the year or do you have some flexibility as to when you can receive the funds? Finally, it is important that you consider any other specific criteria relating to personal circumstances that could impact your transfer requirements. Taking the time to answer the above questions will help you be fully aware of your requirements. The next step will then be for you to consider your options, which start with the choice of the service provider. The solution may appear simple - you’ll just use your bank, right? In truth, it could actually cost you a lot more money to take that route, as traditional high-street banks often offer poor exchange rates and tend to charge commissions. Whereas alternatively, currency transfer specialists provide a tailored service and highly competitive rates. Once you have chosen your service provider, you will have to decide the type of transfer that you will go for. This is where the initial assessment and the guidance provided by the currency experts will help you to find the service most adapted to your needs, as well as the right time to transfer. And, your options don’t stop there, as you will often have the possibility to choose your transfer method, such as by phone, online or via a dedicated mobile transfer app. In short, making the most of your money when transferring overseas can simply be achieved by being prepared, staying aware of your options and obtaining expert guidance to ensure you choose the right options. You can get more information at Le Tour de Finance which is coming to the area in April. See the advert for more details or go to www.ltdf.eu

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 41

It’s The Differences...


ast month I talked about the problems a lady encountered after she had made the wrong decision about what to do with her late husband’s pension. Although that case was eventually resolved favourably, it highlighted how dangerous it can be to assume that things are taxed in France the same way as they are in the UK. Although people generally understand that investments such as ISAs and Premium Bonds are taxed differently outside the UK, pensions are quite often overlooked. People assume that because pensions exist here in France, the same rules apply. Whilst income from pensions is, broadly speaking, taxed much the same as in the UK, in that it is added to your other income and taxed at your scale rates, there are some big differences. The most important is the treatment of death benefits. In the UK, taxation of payments to a beneficiary from a pension fund depends upon the age at which the pension holder died. If it was before 75, then either the income or the whole fund may be taken tax-free within two years of the death. If it was after 75, then any UK tax paid on income can be reclaimed through the France/ UK tax agreement. Lump sums, however, would be liable to a tax charge at the beneficiary’s marginal rate of tax. For non-residents, this would be at the emergency tax rate up to 45%. Importantly, this is not reclaimable and applies regardless of who the beneficiary is, including the spouse. In France, the treatment is simple; income would be taxed as income and the lump sum would be taxed under succession tax. This is not an issue if being left to the spouse, but if left to someone else, then it would be taxed at the normal succession tax rates – between 20% and 60%.

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

A recent conversation with a client highlighted some of these issues. Mrs D is in her late 60s and her husband has just turned 70. She had a pension fund of £300,000 which she had been taking income from. They have no children and plan to leave everything to nephews and nieces. This raised the prospect that if Mrs D died and the lump sum was paid to her husband, it would not be taxed, but when he subsequently died, the relatives would lose 55% of the fund. Equally, if she left the fund to the relatives on her death, the same tax would be due. These were serious concerns for her. After taking advice, she decided to take the whole pension fund as a lump sum immediately. In France, she was only liable to pay tax at 7.5% on this amount as she was covered by an S1 from the UK. The money was then invested in her assurance-vie. This meant that she was still able to take the income she needed – in fact, she paid less tax on the income as a result. As she was aged under 70 when she invested, on her death, the nephews and nieces will receive the whole fund free of succession tax – a saving equivalent to £165,000. This is just one example. Each case is different and this course of action may not be suitable for everyone. However, it highlights the importance of fully investigating all your pension options to ensure that your planning is as tax-efficient as possible. All advice received from Blevins Franks is personalised and provided in writing. This article, however, should not be construed as providing any personalised advice. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.

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


05 49 75 07 24


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


42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017



by Isabelle Want

K...as if filling in the French income tax form was not hard enough, you now must do it online! The French Government passed a law in 2016 stating that by 2020 everybody will do it online and they are gradually enforcing

You are then asked to enter your email address and you will receive an email with a link to click on to create your password. The link is only valid for a few days so don’t wait to create your password.

In 2016, if your revenue fiscal de reference was over 40,000€ on your ‘Avis d’imposition 2014’, then you will have had to do it online already. Failure to do so resulted in a 15€ fine!

Once you have done that, the only thing you need is your numéro fiscal (your tax reference) and your password and you can access your personal tax portal which allows you to fill in your income tax form online but also check your taxe fonciere, taxe d’habitation and make payments (monthly, yearly, etc).


Those who do not have access to internet are exempt. Now for 2017, if your revenue fiscal de reference was over 28,000€ on your ‘Avis d’imposition 2015’, then you too must now submit it online.

Bon courage! And it’s best not to wait until the last minute before trying!

And in 2018, it will go down again to 15,000€.

And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subjects such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top-up health insurance, etc.

If it is your first time filling in a French income tax form, then you cannot do it online as you won’t be able to get your access codes. What is the website of the tax office? www.impots.gouv.fr Where do I click?: On ‘Votre espace particulier’ in blue on the right top hand side on the web page. You then enter your access code in ‘Creation de mon espace particulier’. You can find your access code on your ‘Avis d’imposition 2016’. That is the document you received at the end of August 2016 telling you how much income tax you had to pay. You will need 3 reference numbers: 1. The numéro fiscal (your tax reference number) 2. the numéro de déclarant en ligne (your web reference number) 3. and your revenue fiscal de reference (that’s the amount of revenue declared the previous year).

Remember to check out our website www.bh-assurances.fr for more information.

Isabelle Want: BH Assurances, Ruffec 05 45 31 01 61 or 06 71 30 39 11 Email: isabelle.want@bh-assurances.fr

Impatriates in France: What’s in the pipeline?


f we refer to the current status of impatriates working in France, Article 155 B of the French Tax Code enables seconded employees, new employees and directors assimilated to employees, who are seconded to France by a foreign related company or hired directly abroad by a French company to work in France, to benefit from an income tax exemption. Conditions apply but allowances related to their impatriation (e.g. their expat allowances, COLA, housing allowance…) and on workdays spent out of France may be exempt from tax. Assignees may opt for exemption from income tax: • on remuneration elements related to their assignment (expat allowances) and remuneration related to workdays spent out of France within the total limit of 50% of their total salary including allowances or; • on the total amount of allowances related to their assignment and the exemption of remuneration related to workdays spent out of France which is capped to 20% of the taxable remuneration. Besides, for persons hired directly abroad (new employees), it is possible to opt for a fixed exemption of up to 30% of their salary. In addition, impatriates can benefit from a 50% exemption on their foreign-source passive income. Indeed, proceeds from shares (dividends and capital gains), interest, copyrights and royalties received from a debtor established in a country with which France has entered into a double tax treaty including a mutual assistance clause, are exempt from income tax on up to 50% of their amount. However, this passive income shall remain subject to additional social contributions (CSG, CRDS at a 15.5% rate) on a reduced basis. New changes will lead the French impatriate tax regime being more generous.

by Adam Nicol, Office Director Tours Office.

For the moment, new impatriates benefit from this exemption until 31 December of the 5th year following the start date of their functions. Changes state that the tax advantages applicable to new impatriates based on Article 155 B of the French Tax Code would be extended until 31 December of the 8th year following the start date of their functions. This new regime would apply to new impatriates having started their functions as from 6 July 2016.

Besides, companies would also benefit from an exemption of payroll tax (taxe sur les salaires) on these impatriation allowances paid as from 1 January 2017. If the 30% fixed exemption applies, this exemption of payroll tax would apply to 30% their income. New changes would also allow for eligible employees and executives to change job functions or employer within the same French group. The tax reliefs will still expire on 31 December following the fifth anniversary of their arrival in France. The change of role would not extend the timeframe for tax relief for an individual currently in France. Revised provisions may have an impact on impatriates coming to France shortly. Both employers and employees should review the current position and changes that may apply. If you should need any advice on conducting your business in France in English or on your tax position as an individual, Grant Thornton is a leading financial and business advisor in France with national coverage and an office based locally in Tours. We focus on understanding what is important to our clients to help them change, grow and evolve. For any advice why not get in touch? Grant Thornton - French Chartered Accountants 02 47 60 56 56 Email: adam.nicol@fr.gt.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 43

No Orias: 07004255

How to get the Tax Office website Access Codes


44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017

Facebook included... All adverts are now shared on our busy FB page at no extra cost - itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all part of The DSM service. www.facebook.com/thedeuxsevresmonthly The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2017 | 45

Heaven is a Garden...


Also close to Sauzé-Vaussais, within walking distance of amenities, is a 1972 built home offering no less than 7 bedrooms (photo left, Leggett ref: 65206) and parkland gardens complete with large fenced, heated swimming pool!

by Joanna Leggett

id this year’s early cold snap make you dream about summer

evenings sitting in your own lovely sunny garden or did your mind drift towards orchards full of blossom promising luscious autumn bounty?

Perhaps your dream is simply to create your own beautiful garden – a space to create lasting memories for (as anyone who loves gardens knows) pottering around outside is balm for the soul and great exercise too! We’ve cherry picked some of the best currently for sale in the DeuxSèvres to whet your appetite and tempt you out into the garden and a new home! Just 4 kms from the lively town of Sauzé-Vaussais, the most charming of stone houses sits in the loveliest gardens, (photo left, Leggett ref: 69991) on the market for 249 999€). The landscaped grounds are filled with mature fruit trees (a riot of spring blossom) with a box hedged garden and well kept lawns. There’s a vegetable parterre and ample space for a pool, watering is not a problem – the patio is built over a rain water collector! The impeccably restored house retains its character with modern day comfort – two bedrooms, two bathrooms, lofty flexible mezzanine space and a balcony off the master will tempt. Downstairs are the bright kitchen and cosy spacious sitting room. This property is double glazed, centrally heated and comes complete with a number of outside buildings!

This most generous of family homes comes with large modern kitchen, separate dining and large sitting rooms. The conservatory has sliding front and roof panels - the perfect place to eat or simply sit and enjoy beautiful surroundings. On the lower level there are two garages, the boiler room and other useful space. Recently reduced in price to 299 980€. But if it’s a water you crave, then a property close to Montravers (photo right, Leggett ref: 71725) must be a dream come true. Surrounded by mature gardens this charming home even has its own lake complete with ‘duck house’ island connected to the ‘mainland’ by a pretty bridge. The house is split over two levels with kitchen/ dining and living rooms and three of the four bedrooms and a verandah built to take in views over surrounding countryside on the upper level; on the lower are a garage, workshop, another bedroom with its own small kitchen and utilities. A snip at 164 160€. Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents.com/poitou-charentes-property



Ref: 72347 Recently reduced 4 bed farmhouse with outbuildings and 5.8 acres located between Parthenay & Bressuire. AMAILLOUX €135,000

Ref: 71938 Attractive 3 bed / 1 bath stone cottage set in 1.5 acres and on the edge of a village. 4kms to Sauzé Vaussais. PLIBOUX €162,000

Buying or selling?

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 72229 Lovely 2 bedroom hamlet cottage with enclosed garden - ideal holiday home or investment property. MONTCOUTANT €84,700

Ref: 72467 Characterful 5 bed / 4 bath property, in over 2 acres of land, with swimming pool and various outbuildings. ASSAIS LES JUMEAUX €339,200

Ref: 72482 This substantial 4 bedroom house with lots of character overlooks a the garden, a lake and pretty countryside. FENIOUX €147,000

Ref: 72157 A renovation project for someone wanting a hamlet house with veranda and a barn. New roof and wells. BRIOUX SUR BOUTONNE €51,000

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

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

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine MARCH 2017  

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine MARCH 2017  

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

Profile for thedsm