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


Welcome! to Issue 61 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine celebrating our 5th Birthday!

Hi everyone, Wow! 5 years! I remember the first DSM, which was published in March 2011 as if it were yesterday. 1000 copies of a black and white magazine of 20 pages, with a colour picture of a cow on it! All this so I could advertise my website work - I never thought it would take off as it has! Five years on and this magazine is bigger and better than ever - it’s become a community link, a source of information, help and advice, and thanks to the many contributors over the years, I think it’s a really good read! And it’s eagerly awaited by readers each month, some of whom I know have every issue! I must thank all those who have advertised over the years, a free magazine such as the DSM relies on the support of you Thank You. We now start our 6th year with a packed magazine - golf, champagne, WWII history, writing, food, health and beauty, rugby, clubs and associations, religion, life in France...... and so much more. If you have a contribution you’d like to see in print, are organizing an event or wish to advertise, we look forward to hearing from you. Spring is in the air and I hope you enjoy the Easter holiday, and don’t forget to put your clocks forward! 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 A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Hobbies Clubs & Associations Our Furry Friends Communications Food & Drink Going for Golf Health, Beauty & Fitness Home & Garden Motoring Take a Break Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) Agence Immobilier A.I.P AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant and Auberge) Alan Pearce Plumbing & Heating Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) Anne Dessens Vocal Coaching ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery

4 6 13 14 16 18 20 22 26 28 29 34 36 37 44 49

49 35 2 50 38 24 40 48 40 15 30 & 51 32

Argo Carpentry 42 Assurances Maucourt (GAN) 35 Bar Le Clemenceau 6 Beaux Villages Immobilier 51 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 46 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 40 Blevins Franks Financial Management 45 Brian Fox (Web Designer) 21 Building & Renovation Services 38 Café Bonbon 6 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 49 Caniclôture Hidden Fences 18 Carlill-Strover Building 38 Cherry Picker Hire 39 Chris Parsons (Heating, Electrical, Plumbing) 42 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey (Freelance Writer & Marketing Consultant) 44 CJ Electricité 37 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 37 Cosmetic Contour (Permanent Makeup) 28 Cottage Services (Garden Maintenance) 31 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 47 Darren Lawrence 38 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 31 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 37 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 28 Derek Marriott Plumbing and Heating 40 Down to Earth Pool Design 49 Duncan White - Agent Commerciale 50 Ecopower €pe (Solar Power) 37 Finagaz (Gas tank suppliers and installers) 40 Franglais Deliveries 35 Fresco Interiors 30 Ginger’s Kitchen 24 Hallmark Electronique 37 Haynes Carpentry (U.P.V.C Double Glazing 43 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 41 Irving Location - Digger Hire 39 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 39 James Moon Construction 39 Jb Plumbing 42 Jeff’s Metalwork 42 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 Julian Dor-Vincent (Farrier) 18 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 29 La Vendée Chippy 23 Le Comptoir du Tapissier (Upholstery & Hardware) 29 Leggett Immobilier 50 L’Emporium Shop, L’Absie 8 Le Tour de Finance 47 Lorraine Wallace (Health Coach in France) 28 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 38 ML Computers 21 Motor Parts Charente 35 Mr Piano Man 15 MSS Construction 38 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Needa Hand Services 31 Nicola Hancock - Agent Commerciale 49 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 28 Photo Creativity (Film transfer) 21 Polar Express (Frozen Food Supplier) 24 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 49 Quedubois (windows and doors) 43 Restaurant des Canards 23 Rob Berry Plastering Services 42 Robert Lupton Electrician 37 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 20 Salon des Vins et Terroirs 2016 52 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 39 Sarl PCEM (Plumbing, heating & Electricity) 41 Satellite TV 21 Simon the Tiler 41 Simply Homes & Gardens 30 Smart Services (Home & Garden Services) 31 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 41 Steve Enderby (Painter, Decorator, Carpenter) 41 Steve Robin (Plumber) 41 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 11 Tersannes Timber (Gates & Fencing) 31 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 Val Assist (Translation Services) 11 Your Local Gardener 32 Zumba Gold Classes 28

© Sarah Berry 2016. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock, GraphicStock et morgeufile.com. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: mars 2016 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: en cours

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 3


What’s On...

WEEKLY EVENTS: Quizwitch Quiz - every Thursday pm At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle from 8pm. 2,50€ p/p. Monies raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. Annie Sloan Workshops - every Tuesday & Thursday am Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see www.ladeuxiemechance.com for more info. 5th March - CSSG AGM at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux 5th March - Reaction Theatre Quiz Night Extraordinaire 7.30pm at Le Foyer, le petit théâtre, Secondigny 6th March - Live Jazz and Sunday lunch At Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.23 9th March - Le Tour de Finance in Poitiers See advert on P.47 for details. 10th March - Trader’s Day At Pause! Café, L’Absie. Books, new to you clothing, crafts, cushions and more! 2pm - 5pm. 10th March - Frenchic Paint Workshop At Bienvenue, L’Absie from 9.30am. Contact Dean on 05 49 64 06 36. 12th March - Soirée Lumas (Snails Party!) At Le Logis de la Foret, le Retail (79). Enjoy this French extravaganza with an apero and a 5 course meal (choice of casserole, snails or ham) for 16€ pp, music from Juliette and Daddy Mass. Reservations: 05 49 63 50 09. Details: 05 49 63 26 57. 12th March - Grumpy’s Celebrated Quiz Night At 8.00pm in Ste. Gemme. Please email roland.scott@wanadoo.fr for more details. 17th March - St Patrick’s Day Dinner at Le Clemenceau Mouilleron-en-Pareds. Reservations required. (see ad P.6). 17th March - Financial Seminar by Blevins Franks 18/19/20th March - Salon des Vins et Terroirs At Orangerie du Château, Thouars. Entry 3€. See Back page for info 19th March - 6 Nations Rugby - England v France Watch it on the big screen at La Chataigneraie. See details on P.7. Spaces are limited - win tickets! 21st March - CSSG Quiz At the Salle in St Pardoux. 26th March - Mexican Fiesta At Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys. See advert on P.6 30th March - Book and Coffee Afternoon At Mauzé Thouarsais, 2pm-4pm. See details on P.7

What’s Coming Up...

1st, 2nd & 3rd April - Special Open Days, Le Comptoir du Tapissier Workshop and shop open for visits. See page 29 for details. 2nd & 3rd April - Salon du Vin. At Parc des expositions, Niort. Usual entry: 3€, or see P.9 for a special DSM Reader’s discount. 4th-8th April - Radio Broadcasts from Thouars to London Demonstrations recreating events 75 years ago. See article on P.10. 8th April - Reaction Theatre performs ‘Quartet’ by Ronald Harwood. At Le petit Théâtre, Secondigny at 8pm. 9th April - Reaction Theatre performs ‘Quartet’ by Ronald Harwood. At Le petit Théâtre, Secondigny at 2.30pm. 9th April - Reaction Theatre performs ‘Quartet’ by Ronald Harwood. At Le petit Théâtre, Secondigny at 8pm. 11th-15th April - Radio Broadcasts from Thouars to London Demonstrations recreating events 75 years ago. See article on P.10. 18th April - CSSG Quiz 22nd & 23rd April - TheatriVasles performs ‘Ghost Writer’ A hilarious whodunnit performed by TheatriVasles at Salle du Théatre, 79340 Vasles. See info on P.8. 1st May - Fête des plantes, Le Beugnon (79) See blog for more info: www.lejardindessources.blogspot.fr

CONTACT

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

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

March 2016 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, hold English speaking monthly services. 1st Sunday at 10.30am: At Chef Boutonne. Followed by tea & coffee. • 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay • 4th Sunday at 10.30am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea & coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch. A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website 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, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. 1st & 3rd Sunday at 11am in The Barn near St Germain de Princay, Vendée and 2nd & 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire,  Deux-Sèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: www.therendezvous.fr The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) Meet at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday at 11.00am. We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details www.escoval.org

Top Hat Quiz & Curry

From 7pm

Dates & Venues for March: 3rd: 7th: 9th: 14th:

Chef Boutonne Limalonges Aigre Theil Rabier

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 - more info at www.tophatquizzes.com


The Congregations of ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE Lent and Easter Services During LENT there will be a number of Lent lunches held at various venues in the Vendée, please refer to the website for full details. • • • • •

Ash Wednesday: there will be an Ashing Service at Puy de Serre at 3pm. Mothering Sunday (6th March) there will be a Service at La Chapelle Palluau at 11am. Palm Sunday (20th March) there will be a service of Holy Communion at La Chapelle Palluau at 11am. Good Friday (25th March) there will be a service at La Chapelle Palluau at 11am and another service at Puy de Serre at 3pm. Easter Sunday (27th March) there will be a service of Holy Communion at Puy de Serre at 11am. We welcome both English and French speakers to all our events. For further details, please see our website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2016 Thursday 3rd March Thursday 17th March Sunday 27th March

Grandmother’s Day (Grands-mères) Saint Patrick’s Day Easter Sunday (Pâques)

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

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

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

Monday 16th May

Pentacost (Lundi de Pentecôte)

Thursdays........

Thursday 14th July Monday 15th August

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday 2nd October Monday 31st October

Pentacost (Pentecôte)

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

Dates in blue represent celebration days, not public holidays.

Open 6-8.30pm

Wednesdays....

Sundays............

La Vendée Chippy Weds: Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, 85110 St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: New venue Bar ‘Au Fil de l’eau’, 85200 Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, 85390 Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st Saturday of the month, Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, 85120 Antigny

Sat 12 - 80s night, Salle de la Chenaie, 85700 Montournais Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 - www.lavendeechippy.com

Fish 4 Chip + Authentic Indian meals Mondays: Tuesdays: Wednesdays: Thursdays: Fridays:

Bar Tilleuls, Champniers (near Civray) Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square) Chef Boutonne (near Chateau) Sauzé-Vaussais - Evening (Main square) Mansle (car park of Simply Supermarket)

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

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

Mr T’s Friterie

Open 6.30-9pm

Reopening 3rd March at AULNAY

With regular venues at: • • •

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) • Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 • Gourville 16170

St Hilaire de Villefranche 17770

St Jean d’Angély 17400

See www.frying4u2nite.com for details or call 06 02 22 44 74

Now in our 10th Year! Reel Fish & Chips March

(See our website for venue details)

2nd & 16th - Etusson 3rd - La Coudre 4th - La Chapelle Thireuil 18th - St Martin de Sanzay th 19 - Bressuire Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 - www.reelfishandchips.net

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 5


Getting Out & About

Recently he was elected chancellor of Manchester University, beating Peter Mandelson to the job. What does it mean for someone who has just one GCSE and two CSEs to be a university chancellor? “A university does not have the monopoly of learning, but it is a citadel where learning is celebrated.” Lemn’s intention is for as many care-leavers as possible to pursue education. At the University of Huddersfield there is a PhD scholarship in his name for care-leavers.

The Third Bilingual ‘Littfête’ St Clémentin June 24, 25, 26. Not to be missed! There is only one person on the planet called Lemn Sissay. He will be at the St Clémentin festival to perform on Saturday the 25th June. Official poet of the 2012 Olympics, playwright and broadcaster, he is in demand worldwide. He has a remarkable life story to tell...... He was adopted at birth and at the age of 12 was rejected by his adoptive family and put into the care system. He spent time in the ‘assessment centre,’ Wood End, now the subject of a police Lemn Sissay. © Greg Williams investigation. As a young man adrift in the world he discovered he was a poet and this gave him the courage to reinvent himself. “I was trying to translate the world, because I didn’t believe what I was being told. I investigated the world through my imagination.” At 18, he self-published his first poetry book, selling it door-to-door while running a gutter-cleaning business. When his ladders were stolen, he moved to Manchester and eventually found a publisher.

Our line-up also includes Patricia Duncker, an exceptional novelist whose cult-novel ‘Hallucinating Foucault’ is published in English and French. Patricia’s crime novel ‘The Strange Case of the Composer and his Judge’ was shortlisted for the CWA dagger award and is set in France. ‘Duncker out-Dan-Browns Dan Brown . . . thrilling.’ (Daily Telegraph). Firm favourites John Hudson, Ian Mathie and Roisin McAuley will be back amongst many and varied presenters. We will be introducing Gavin Bowd, translator of controversial French author Michel Houellebecq. The Monkseaton Morris Men will be performing several times during the three-day festival to present their world famous Rapper Sword Dance. Exhibitions of photography, paintings and sculpture will be on display in the Salle des Fetes, including photographs from the beautiful and informative Maison Paysannes et patrimoine de pays en Deux-Sèvres. We have great need of volunteers to help put on the festival. If you would like to get involved with distributing publicity, marshalling, manning our bookshop or tea-room please do get in touch via our website: www.stclementinlitfest.com. Facebook.com/Stclementinlitfest / Twitter @StClemlitfest or contact Jocelyn Simms: 05 49 80 22 96 for further information.

SHARE YOUR EV ENTS ! Entries into the What’s On Listing (P.4) are free! (10€ht for businesses) + we can add your event to our Facebook page....

Simply email us:

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

events@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr


The 6 Nations Rugby.... France V England by F. Cottreau

In November 2015, Paris was struck by the terrible attacks that shocked the French people. The world has shown signs of support for France. We will never forget Wembley Stadium in blue-white-red and the English people singing our National anthem, the ‘Marseillaise.’ This is why we will in turn sing ‘God Save The Queen’ at the rugby match between France and England on Saturday 19th March. Primarily an evening of joy and brotherhood that we would love to share. It will start with a picnic in the store lobby, as is the tradition in Twickenam, and will continue with the broadcast of the match on a big screen in the local salle. From 14th March, Super U La Châtaigneriae will offer a range of English products (candy, popcorn, beer), not to mention celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th! If you would like to enjoy the evening of Rugby arranged by Monsieur Cottreau at Super U, please visit the store between 29th February and 13th March and take part in a free game to win your tickets. (no purchase necessary). Be quick, ticket numbers are limited!

Book & Coffee/Tea Afternoons... at

45 rue du Bois Baudron 79100, Mauze Thouarsais We have just completed the 4th year of our monthly book and coffee/tea events which, again, has been a great success.    In 2015 we donated a total of 1,200€ to The Helianthus Association animal charity based in the Mayenne, all thanks to the generosity of everyone who came to our book mornings.  In addition we donated over  300€ to Macmillan Cancer Research charity when we took part in the world’s biggest coffee morning last September.  This year we will still hold our books sales on a Wednesday but have changed the time to the afternoon.....2.00pm to 4.00pm.  Dates for your diaries: WEDNESDAY 30 MARCH 2016    2.00 pm to 4.00 pm  WEDNESDAY 27 APRIL 2016       2.00 pm to 4.00 pm  WEDNESDAY 25 MAY 2016         2.00 pm to 4.00 pm    We look forward to seeing you....

Theresa and Steve Penney Email: stpenney@hotmail.com Tel: 05 49 66 03 73

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 7


Get into the Spirit with TheatriVasles

W

by Steve Marshall

hat a wet, windy and miserable winter. I don’t know about you, but I will be glad when the lengthening days bring rather more sun and warmth and a lot less rain.

I am pleased to see that TheatriVasles are doing their share to brighten up the Spring with their latest production. In 2015 they presented the wonderfully funny ‘Outside Edge’ and France’s first 10 Minute Play Festival. The audiences for the 10 Minute Play Festival made it clear that humour was what they wanted to see. So for Spring 2016, TheatriVasles are staging the uproarious comedy, ‘Ghost Writer’ by David Tristram, the ‘UK’s most popular comedy playwright’. The play revolves around Edward, a young playwright, whose wife died a year previously. This doesn’t make the play depressing – you just cannot have a ghost story without a ghost and that means someone must be dead. Edward is living in the attic of a friend’s house as he cannot bear to return to the home he shared with his wife Ruby. His friend, Alex, is trying to get him involved with Glenda to distract him from his melancholy. And then Ruby appears. Ruby comes back as a spirit to get her living husband to help her work out who murdered her. So we have a comedy, a ghost story and a whodunit, all rolled into one! And to identify the murderer we have a play within the play, performed by a collection of actors playing actors. The professional and personal rivalries of the characters and their intertwined relationships, emotional and physical, are exposed as the play unfolds. And watch out for the wig! If you want to know whodunit, you will have to come to a performance.

DON’T MISS IT! ‘Ghost Writer’ is being performed at Le Maison du Village Theatre in Vasles at 8pm on Friday and Saturday, 22nd and 23rd April. Tickets (10€) are available from theatrivaslestickets@gmail. com and 05 49 05 67 41. You can keep up with what is happening by looking up TheatriVasles on Facebook and visiting their website www.theatrivasles.com.

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


10th SALON du VIN et de la GASTRONOMIE

T

LIONS CLUB VAL DE SÈVRE

he Lions Club has been in existence for over 40 years and continues to serve the local community in a variety of ways, including supporting various charities and distributing 100s Christmas food parcels to needy families in Niort and the surrounding area. I am honoured, as the only English club member, to be President for this 10th anniversary year of the Wine Fair and the chosen charity is Cancer Research, something which affects so many people during their lives. The Wine Fair profits are distributed to a different charity each year. This show, by its reputation, has become renowned regionally because we host national exhibitors from all over France. This year there will be 97 exhibitors, wine producers, champagne producers, various foods stands and chocolatiers. The salon du Vin will be held at the Niort Parc des expositions on the 2nd and 3rd April. Entry is 3€, which includes 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, founded in 1917 in America, now with 46,000 clubs and 1.35 million members worldwide. Best known for fighting blindness, the Lions help numerous other charities

SPECIAL READER’S DISCOUNT! The Lions Club Val de Sèvre have very kindly offered a discount to you lucky readers.....Simply cut out the green ticket below (or copy the page) and take it with you. Enjoy your visit! and local causes, making them the worlds largest service club organisation. Lions members help with whatever is needed in their local community and contribute to volunteer efforts around the world. The Val de Sèvre Lions Club meets on the 3rd Friday of each month in Niort. At present there are 22 members who all enjoy organising the wine fair and other events throughout the year. Wives and partners are also involved as much as they want to be. The Salon du Vin is great fun to organise and attend and we hope to see you all there to enjoy great wines and produce. Why not make a day of it and take lunch in the onsite restaurant? For more information go to www.salonviniort.fr or contact President, Paul Woods, on 05 49 76 03 42.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 9


Bletchley Park

A BRIEF HISTORY In early summer 1940, Gilbert Renault (also known as Raymond, Rémy, Roulier), joined London as the Chief of Free France and, with the consul of France in Madrid, Jacques Pigeonneau, created an Intelligence sector.

The Pianists...

T

Clandestine Radio Broadcasts with London

his Spring, the Regional Centre ‘Strength & Freedom’, associated with many partners, will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first underground link between London and the Deux-Sèvres that was established by the first intelligence network of Free France: The Confrérie Notre Dame network. The aim is to recreate the orse Code link between Bletchley Park (UK) and Thouars hospital (Duex-Sèvres) that took place 75 years earlier. In order to achieve this two transmitters/receivers have been constructed. Two ‘PARASET 1941’ type transceivers have been built and the reconstruction was long and complicated as the original components and parts are rare (lamps, quartz, connectors...). These parts were sourced and purchased in Norway, USA, Canada and England. For some parts such as the VFO (antenna tuner) and the chassis, it has been necessary to machine them in a local workshop with precision mechanics and painting. It is hoped that both young and adult audiences will enjoy discovering the history of Free France, the role played by the Allies in the liberation of France and the importance of intelligence in the fight against Nazism and the 3rd Reich. On this occasion, the public will be able to discover: • The importance of encoding and decoding messages transmitted • Technical issues with clandestine links • The “morse” technic

The BCRA (Free France) and the Intelligence Service (UK) entrusted him with the task of creating a vast intelligence network extending throughout the Atlantic. In late August 1940, Gilbert Renault returned to France via Spain. In the autumn of that year he created several information centres in the region of Bordeaux and Brittany and awaited the reception of the first two transceivers, Cyrano and Romeo, that Free France would send to France. Romeo was sent in January 1941 and Cyrano in mid March 1941. Damaged on arrival, both had to be repaired before they could become operational. The network C.N.D, at the end of 1941, had 6 transceivers (Free France had a total of 12 units). From spring 1941, Thouars became a hub of information ‘Confrèrie Notre-Dame’. The aim for the intelligence teams were to: • Inform London about the movements of German troops from Brest to Biarritz • Distribute radio equipment to different teams • Coordinate the territory to make the most effective action of the intelligence network. Gilbert Renault invented the ‘Spider’s Web’ that connected the teams together. Everything was run by local staff. In 1941, Rémy extended its operations to the whole of the occupied area and made its base in Nantes, a centralised location where mail was to be typed and encoded before shipment to London by air or sea. The network grew very fast. By March 1942, the network had 19 regional agencies, and by the summer of 1943, nearly 2,000 agents. Until late 1942, the network information Confrérie NotreDame was the only solid organisation on which the BCRA could rely. The Intelligence Service highlighted the quality of actions carried out by this network.

Demonstration programs will take place in the weeks of 4th to 8th April 2016 and 11th to 15th April. The first broadcasts will be held at the old Anne Desrays hospital and the second from the Regional Centre ‘Strength & Freedom.’

Between late 1940 to mid November 1943, the intelligence network Confrérie Notre Dame managed:

For public participation in broadcasting to discover clandestine routes between London and France between 1940 and 1944, the Regional Centre ‘Strength & Freedom’ propose:

• •

• •

Guided tours of the permanent exhibition at the Centre Visits to the site of resistance located in Tourtenay (little village near Thouars) where 16 transceivers and the radio technician Robert Delattre were parachuted from August to November 1941 for the network CND.

THE REGIONAL CENTRE ‘RESISTANCE & FREEDOM’

The Association Regional Centre ‘Strength & Freedom’ aims to develop cultural, educational and scientific project to contribute at the development of citizenship by relying on the history of the Second World War and more specifically on the Resistance and the values defended during this period. This educational organisation is recognised by the Ministry of Education and the centre receives a diverse audience including more than 4500 students per year.

With thanks to Jean-Claude Giraud of the Regional Centre “Resistance & Freedom”, and Expat respresentative of the ‘Conservatoire de la Résistance de Thouars 79’, Will Rowe BEM.

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

to send 70 letters to the BCRA of Free France through its radio communications, air and sea. to send and receive nearly 3000 messages to transmit vital information on the German military presence and troop movements. to transmit important information to the British to sink the Bismarck on 27 May, 1941, and to immobilise the battleship Scharnhorst in the harbour of Brest in July 1941, and more. to send the Allies construction plans of the German submarine.

Alongside information transmissions, the network Confrérie Notre Dame also organised air operations to receive parachuted equipment by the RAF and to convey people secretely between England and France. To find out more about this exhibition, please contact: Regional Centre ‘Strength & Freedom’ Rond-point du 19 mars 1962 Les anciennes Ecuries du château 79100 Thouars. Tel: 05 49 66 42 99 www.crrl.fr


Happy Birthday to you!

T

by Sue Burgess

he Deux-Sèvres Monthly celebrates it’s fifth birthday with this issue. «Joyeux anniversaire» (Happy Birthday). The different customs that we observe today for birthdays have a long history. Their origins are linked to magic and religion. Ancient practices consisted of offering congratulations «adresser des félicitations» and giving presents, «offrir des cadeaux». Lighted candles, «des bougies allumées» were supposed to protect the person who was celebrating his birthday from demons. In most Anglo-Saxon countries, but also in others, it is common practice to sing the traditional ‘Happy Birthday to You’. «Joyeux Anniversaire» is sung in France to the same tune but you can also sing the more traditional «Bon anniversaire, nos vœux les plus sincères.» In France it also used to be traditional to wish someone «Bonne Fête» on his Saint’s day on the calendar. This custom seems to be dying out somewhat – perhaps because it is no longer compulsory to choose a child’s name from the names on the calendar.

Sometimes you forget the date of a birthday. So you can ask when someone’s birthday is. When is David’s birthday? «C’est quand, l’anniversaire de David?». Or, when is your birthday ? «Quand est ton anniversaire?» Or, to be even more precise – when were you born? «Quelle est ta date de naissance ?» «Quand es-tu né ?» And, of course, if you miss the actual date you can always send belated birthday wishes «Joyeux anniversaire en retard» or «meilleurs vœux en retard».

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If the easiest way to wish someone a Happy Birthday in French is to say «Joyeux Anniversaire», (Happy Birthday). Other ways do exist, another simple way is just to say «bon anniversaire» (good birthday). You can also say «Passe une merveilleuse journée» (have a great day). «Meilleurs voeux» means best wishes and «Félicitations» is congratulations. If you want to say something a bit longer you can say «je te souhaite plein de bonheur» - I wish you lots of happiness. «Que tu puisses être heureux encore de nombreuses années» would be the equivalent of many happy returns. «Que tous tes vœux se réalisent» (may all your wishes come true).

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire: le cadeau d’anniversaire ........

Birthday present

la carte d’anniversaire ...........

Birthday card

le gâteau d’anniversaire ........

Birthday cake

le goûter d’anniversaire ........

children’s birthday party

souhaiter un bon anniversaire to wish someone a Happy à quelqu’un ............................ Birthday to celebrate your 40th ...........

fêter ses quarante balais *

to blow out your 40 candles.... souffler ses quarante bougies * * you can change the numbers The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 11


march and ‘Les Calendriers Des Mois Romane’ by Howard Needs

M

arch is the month for the preparation of the medieval vineyards for the growing months and this reflected in the majority of the wall paintings that I have found in churches or in books. September is also a month which shows viticulture in the form of pressing the grapes, showing the importance of grape growing in the medieval world. The pruning of the vines is well represented, showing peasants with bill hooks in their hands trimming the live shoots and cutting dead wood out. Their tools show some differences and these are not individual preferences but are tools for different purposes. A bill hook with a slight curve is used to make a surgically clean, slant cut, trimming the length of a growing shoot; a bill hook with a 90 degree curve to it is for cutting live shoots at the stem of the vine, some bill hooks have a rectangular extension with a cutting edge on the back of the blade which was used to cut or hack dead wood away.

Église Saint-Étienne, Paulnay, Indre

Wild vines produce small fruits and are productive only every two or three years – it is the tending, treatment of the ground and the spring pruning that results in a yearly harvest of usable grapes.

The vineyards were not so orderly as nowadays – the vines were more or less randomly placed and although you cannot see support posts in my photos they were there as evidenced by similar, but more detailed illustrations in the illustrated manuscripts of old. Not only did the vines themselves need preparation but the ground also. This activity can be seen with heavy duty digging hoes and spades being used, depending on the ground type and how closely they were working to the vine. The spade’s blades were a combination of wood and metal reinforcement and with no foot shoulder – the spade had to be slammed into the ground explaining perhaps the use of the very heavy hoes as well. Not only were weeds cleared, but the surface roots were cut away to encourage growth in the depth and thus to survive drought in the summer. These paintings show the body position and the way of holding and cutting the shoots. Although it is the men who are doing the work of pruning and trimming, the cut branches are carried off by the women as evidenced by manuscripts. Looking at the photos you can see these activities, the tools used and something of the clothing of the times. Boots, no trousers, leggings, a smock over the top, a pointy hood that extends over the shoulders and sometimes a second hat on top of the hood. Colours were sombre but that is probably due to cost and availability of pigments rather than the actual colours of the garments, which in manuscripts are much richer, including blues, reds and greens.

artin, Indre Église Saint-Martin, Pouligny-Saint-M

A vineyard was sometimes, perhaps usually, enclosed. A peasant would contract with a land owner to enclose an area and plant and tend vines to maturity and then the vineyard would be divided 50/50 for further use – each party being so compensated for his contribution.

In general, in the course of time from the 11th century, which sees the start of the calendars in the churches, up to the 15th century where there is more pictorial information in books and manuscripts, there is a gradual change in the techniques used. Viticulture declined somewhat and cereal crops became more important with horses and towns being the new consumers.

CONTRIBUTIONS... We are always looking for new articles for consideration in future issues. You can call Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 with any ideas, or send them on an email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthlyfr 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

Église de l’Assomp tion de Notre Da me, Claireavaux, Creuse

Photos: © Howa Source partial - Pe rd Needs 2016. rrine Mane 2006


A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres MAZIÈRES-SUR-BÉRONNE

M

by Sue Burgess

azières- sur-Béronne is a small commune which is part of the ‘Canton de Melle’ community of communes. There are 395 inhabitants. The neighbouring communes are Saint-Romans-lès-Melle, Saint-Martin-lès-Melle, Paizayle-Tort, Melle and Saint Génard. The name of the commune comes from the word ‘Maceria’ which designated villages surrounded by dry stone walls. A voir / Must see

• L’archiprêtré The oldest building of the commune was the residence of the Archpriest of Petit Mazières. The origin of this building is an ancient Gallic-Roman villa (Villa Macériolas). The church of Charzay was destroyed so that a house could be built. The church was on the road from Poitiers to Saintes and was a stopping point on the road for St Jacques de Compostella. The residence, l’archiprêtré, was the presbytery of the Archpriests of Melle. They were in charge of the 200 churches and chapels of the Melle area of which Mazières is the geographical centre. The house that remains today still has the form of a Gallic-Roman villa with an inner and outer courtyard, aqueduct, water mill and pigeon loft. There are 600 metres of dry stone walls surrounding 6 gardens (former cemeteries dating from before Charlemagne with a yew tree that is a thousand years old). The cemeteries were transformed into a park in 1780 by the vicar Pressac de Chagnaye. It is usually possible to visit the Archiprêtré if you contact the owner. • Water Mills The 1832 land register of 1832 shows the presence of 5 water mills along the Berlande: Canteau, Charzay, la Tour, Chantemerle and le Chatelier. On the Béronne the mills of le Grand Siaume, les Vallées, Turzay, Bertrand, and Grand Chatelier were mentioned and then, after the two rivers merge, Gennebrie mill. So at one time there were 11 mills on the lands of the commune. The census of 1882 stipulated that 8 mills were still working at that time. To these mills we must add the private mill at the residence of the Archpriest – a small mill with limited functions. All of these mills had water wheels. At Charzay, the highest point of the commune, the remains of a windmill can be seen. It belonged to the same person as the water mill at Charzay and was used when there was not enough water. The wheel at the Moulin de Gennebrie has been restored and is in working order.

Lavoir de la Cure. Photo:Wikimedia©Gwllam

There are also several wash-houses on the commune. From local tourist offices and the local internet site, you can purchase a brochure detailing different walks from the Church of Saint-Romans. Passing the Archiprêtré and the wash-houses along the meanders of the Berlande and the Béronne and finishing at the Moulin de Gennebrie. There are several different walks of different lengths and each walk is clearly signposted.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 13


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

Writing your book blurb

Y

ou’ve been enticed to pick up a book by its cover so you turn it over and read the back cover (or ‘product description’ if looking online). You react in one of three ways: ‘not for me’, an undisputed ‘yes’ or ‘what on earth is this about?’

Reactions one and two depend on your personal taste and interest, but the third one shouldn’t happen. It could be that the book deals with a complex concept or an abstruse academic subject; if you haven’t had your head-clearing coffee that morning you may need to read the blurb again. Sometimes all there is on the back of a paperback are endorsements and praise with nothing about the story. Even if it’s by an author I love, I still want to have an idea of the story. I find it arrogant of the publisher to think I must be guided in my purchases exclusively by what newspapers and magazines think. What should go on the back cover? • The ‘blurb’, i.e. the few sentences giving a taster of what the book is about. • The book title and author name (optional, but recommended) • Endorsements from critics, magazines, newspapers, credible people • Barcode and price panel showing the ISBN (required for selling through the book trade) • the publisher and the cover designer’s names • Author photo (optional)

What makes a good back cover blurb? Shape: In the two Roma Nova covers below, SUCCESSIO has a blocked shape for the text, while AURELIA’S cover is centred. The second has a more contemporary look, although less space for words. Content: Brief details about the main character(s), plot and stakes or purpose of the story. It’s a task involving much sweat and cursing to squeeze the crux of your story into a few sentences, but you’re a writer and you should know what your book is about. Strip everything non-essential out and be as ruthless as Darth Vader but don’t give away the story ending! Length: Do not exceed 150 words (Okay, 160 words). ‘Less is more’ is never truer than on a blurb. Fifty words is even better, if you can do it. Teaser: You must pique the interest of potential buyers of your book to make them want more. Use a sentence with high stakes and bags of emotional pull. Will X save the world as well as find true love? Can Detective Y stop the serial killer? Will the children find their lost parents? It doesn’t have to be a question, but it must entice. Design and Placement: Avoid words over awkward parts of the design. For SUCCESSIO, I should have shortened the blurb so it stayed in the main colour blue part, something I did achieve for AURELIA. Avoid frames if you can; they can look amateurish. Fonts: Make sure you have a strong contrast to the cover’s background colour. Keep to the same font and colour used on the front cover. This will give your book a unified feel and look more professional. And if your book is non-fiction, this back cover (right) from Norman Davies’ Vanished Kingdoms is an excellent example to follow. Happy book blurbing! Alison has compiled the articles from this column into The 500 Word Writing Buddy, available on Amazon. Her fourth novel, AURELIA, is out now

MOVIES

by James Luxford

A trio of powerful actresses underpin this month’s film choices, with all four of the movies below tipped for big things come award season.

CONCUSSION (2nd March)

BROOKLYN (9th March)

Will Smith plays whistle-blower in this emotive drama about the doctor who discovered a new concussion-related condition suffered by NFL players, which threatens to tear apart the fabric of the game and become the biggest scandal in sporting history. A timely film that explores the way big business and sport can be powerful forces in the public consciousness. What lets things down is a disappointing safe direction and central performance from Smith, once again playing the squeaky clean moral centre of the story. An engaging story, but one that should have delved so much deeper.

Multi-Oscar nominated story of a young girl from 1950’s Ireland (Saoirse Ronan) who emigrates to a new life in Brooklyn, only to find herself torn between two loves on either side of the Atlantic. A stunning romantic drama, ‘Brooklyn’ feels like a classic, sweeping epic straight from the golden era of Hollywood. Ronan is utterly enchanting in the lead, with a quietly powerful performance that makes her fascinating to watch. Oscar winner Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters add class and depth to a story that will stand out amongst the best films you’ll see all year.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


Anne Dessens Vocal Coaching and Singing Lessons. Beginners, itermediate and advance - rock, blues, jazz, folk and pop (French and English)

a Improve your singing voice, sing with better control and gain and build your vocal range. a Learn to have more vocal control and freedom, remove vocal cracks, breaks, or shakiness. a Increase your vocal range so that you can sing higher notes with ease and less strain. a Develop better breathing techniques a Build confidence and eliminate stage fright a Improve Vocal Tone - learn a variety of techniques to get the best tone out of your voice a Increase Your Vocal Range - develop your vocal muscles and range a Improved Vocal Power - learn simple tips and techniques that will allow you to sing with a a

more power and confidence, improve pitch issues, create better tone and have more control while singing. More Precise Vocal Agility - develop more precise vocal agility Develop Your Mixed Voice - sing higher notes with more power, have better vocal tone, sing with less strain and smooth out the transitions in your voice while you sing.

Want to get started? Contact Anne on 06 61 43 92 03 for more information.

Small B/W Advert

only 32€ ht

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

THE LADY IN THE VAN (16th March)

KUNG FU PANDA 3 (30th March)

Playwright Alan Bennett’s autobiographical story of his friendship with an eccentric old lady (Dame Maggie Smith) who lives in a van in his driveway for 15 years. Biting, bittersweet and terrifically funny, the tale of unlikely lives becoming intertwined is made powerful thanks to an unforgettable performance from Smith, who mixes the sharp wit that made her a fan favourite in ‘Downton Abbey’ and combines it with a heartbreaking vulnerability. How it was ignored by Oscar is anybody’s guess!

Can it really be eight years since we first encountered Po, the bumbling but well-meaning star of 2008’s ‘Kung Fu Panda’? This third part finds our high kicking hero becoming the master as he trains a town full of young pandas to defend themselves against an evil force. Most animated characters run out of steam after number 2 (and, to be honest, ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ wasn’t all we hoped), but this third film gets a surprising new burst of life thanks to a well told story and some dark twists. Release dates are nationwide in France.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 15


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.aafrancesud-ouest.com for details of English-speaking meetings.

TheatriVasles

A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340). Next production is Ghost Writer by David Tristram, a hilarious whodunnit. Performances on 22nd & 23rd April 2016. Contact: Theatrivasles on Facebook, email theatrivaslestickets@ gmail.com or www.theatrivasles.com 2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club Come and join us for a bike ride, or just a cup of coffee and a chat, with bike-minded people. As the name suggests, wet meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site. www.2ndsundayclub.fr

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.

Bilingual LittFest: 24-26 June 2016, Voulmentin 79150

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

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

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 05.46.95.38.39 Website Short URL:

CAPELLA GROUP

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

THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:

www.rblpoitou-charentes.fr

TTL Photography Group

Local photography group on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border. New members always welcome, all levels of expertise and knowledge. Contact us via the website to find out about our meetings (in Pause, L’Absie). www.ttlphotographygroup.net

The Phoenix Chorale

Les Amis Solitaires

CALLING ALL QUIZZERS!

Franglais at Bressuire

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.

Grumpy’s Celebrated ‘Fun Quiz Night’ is looking for new victims. For all details contact me by email: roland.scott@wanadoo.fr. Next Quiz is 12 March in Ste.Gemme

COME and PRACTICE your FRENCH

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

We are a netball team in Vasles (79340). We meet every Monday 5-6pm at the Salle Omnisports in Vasles for training with our qualified English coach. It’s fun and a great way to keep fit, so come along or contact: susan_beale@hotmail.com.

Alone in France?

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

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

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: gwanshep@gmail.com

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

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


Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)

M

by Terri Laverick

arch is here again and our Annual General Meeting is on the 5th, in the Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux, preceded by breakfast for those of us who like to get there early. 10am for breakfast and 11am for the meeting. If you would like to join us you will be more than welcome. Please notify the Café beforehand if you want breakfast. I am extremely pleased to announce that we have received a cheque for the sum of 519€ from Aidez. This is the second time that Aidez has donated money to our causes and it is very much appreciated. On to other news: The ‘Clear Your Clutter for Charity’ event in La -Ferrier-en-Parthenay has been cancelled - we will therefore not be selling tea, coffee and cakes; so ladies, please put away your recipe books for a while, at least until the Summer Market/ Fair on 10th July! We are still looking for stalls, games and anything else you can think of to make this the event of the summer. We should like a mixture of Commercial Stalls and non-profit making enterprises, to make it as interesting as possible. As usual, it will be held in St Pardoux. Please get in touch with me if you can help, contact details are at the end of this article. I have been practicing my Rain Dance, I thought if I have perfected it in plenty of time we would (possibly) be guaranteed good weather. Our monthly quizzes are going well, the dates for the next few months are: 21st March, 18th April, 16th May, 27th June, 25th July, 22nd August and 19th September. You will note that these are Mondays. We commence at 19.00hrs (7pm). Tea, coffee and cakes are available, and if you prefer a little something stronger you are more than welcome to bring it along. Everyone seems to have a great deal of fun, and the competition between the competitors is something to behold.

Contact me at terri.laverick@outlook.com or by telephone on: 05 49 64 07 24 if you would like more information about CSSG, or if you would like to reserve a space at the Summer Market/ Fair.

by Kate Jouanneau

B

ack in early February, Reaction Theatre had its AGM. Malcolm Daniels said his goodbyes to the committee and Tony Murdoch was then elected to make up the numbers. The new committee then elected a new chairperson. I now officially welcome Tony as our new Chairman and look forward to working with him. Next month being April means Reaction Theatre’s spring production is coming up! Everyone is working hard and rehearsals for ‘Quartet’, by Ronald Harwood, are coming along nicely. (This amateur production of ‘Quartet’ is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD.)

Margaret Round, who is directing, has brought together four of the troop’s habitual actors for this show to bring to life these vibrant characters. Set in a retirement home, this comedy tells the story of three former opera singers and a fading star who soon joins the establishment. They attempt to bring together a production of their own but have setbacks along the way. You can imagine that ‘artists’ being difficile à vivre often rub each other up the wrong way, providing us with the odd strong and colourful word - much to our delight. This is a real team effort from the whole RT association, bringing together people from different groups. The usual production team is busily putting together the set, costumes and the whole layout of the play. John Blair, as producer, has got the Art Scene to help with some of the finer art work needed for the scenery. I can’t wait to see the whole set design by Sue Daniels and her team put up. Many hands make light work, so if you’d like to get involved in any way, do let Margaret, John or Sue know and I know they can find something for you to do. The show will be performed in the 150 seat Le Petit Théâtre in Secondigny on the following dates : • Friday 8th April at 8pm • Saturday 9th April at 2:30pm • Saturday 9th April at 8pm Tickets are 10€ for adults and 5€ for children under 16. For reservations call Maureen: 05 49 64 06 14 or email: reaction. tickets@yahoo.fr Remember to book in advance and see the advert on P.7.

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

info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Reaction Theatre is also putting on a Quiz Night Extraordinaire on 5th March at 7:30pm in the Foyer of the Le Petit Théâtre in Secondigny. A quiz with a difference, including video and musical clips plus several other surprises, all guaranteed to get your brains working. Teams of 3-5 players to be emailed to ralph.bramley@hotmail.com. A small fee of 1€/person is requested to help fund prizes. We always look forward to seeing you at these social events and for any other details you can always contact me or another member. Information can be found on the RT website www.reactiontheatre.fr and new members, as usual, are always welcome. u u

Contact Email:

Kate Jouanneau on 06 77 51 55 16 kscks9@hotmail.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 17


Our Furry Friends To the Heart via the Stomach

O

by Nigel Franks, NALA

ur 4-year mission to seek out the statistics relating to the number of strays in the Vendée has only had limited success. We asked for the figures from all towns in the Vendée from 2002 onwards and the only year for which we have nearly complete figures is 2013. One animal pound is particularly stubborn and has steadfastly refused to supply us with any details at all. However, we have been able to piece together their record from other sources and it shows that they have the worst record for the number of animals put down, especially cats and kittens. Which brings me to the story of Taya. Last December a cat appeared in a lady’s garden and demanded to be let into the house. The lady didn’t want to allow her into the house but did give her some food. After a month of this cat hanging around outside, she decided to contact the town hall who gave her the phone number of NALA and also the animal pound. We don’t know why they gave her our number, as we are not allowed to deal with stray animals directly: they should go to the animal pound. However, some of the authorities claim that once you’ve fed a stray animal, you become its owner and it’s no longer their responsibility, so maybe they were hoping that we would take the cat as it had an “owner”. In any case the lady left a message on the NALA mobile phone which was in the hands of a volunteer, who was at work. Once the volunteer left work and listened to the message, she informed us and we got in touch with the lady to ask for more details. We were disappointed but not really surprised that she had already contacted the pound and the cat had already been collected. When we told our volunteer what had happened, she was upset, knowing that the animal pound concerned has a very high rate of animals being put down. As she was prepared to be a foster family for this cat we decided that, as an exception, we would see if we could have the cat after its statutory stay in the animal pound via the intermediary of an animal shelter, Galia. Galia was amenable and arranged with the animal pound to take the cat. However, for some unknown reason, instead of spending the minimum 8 working days in the animal pound, the cat was kept for over 3 weeks before being delivered to Galia. During that time the pound had discovered that the cat had an id chip and was called Taya. They claimed that they couldn’t get in contact with the owners. The lady who had first discovered Taya told us that she was a very sweet and sociable cat, so when we arrived at Galia to pick her up, we were surprised to be told that she was a bit of a handful. She seemed quite sociable in the car on the way home allowing us to stroke her through the bars of the transport box. Once home we let her out in our “quarantine” room where she quickly wolfed down a 100g tray of cat paté. However, she then became quite grumpy and lashed out whilst we were opening a second tray. Taya made this one disappear in next to no time and then another and another until she had polished off five trays. For the next couple of days, she just ate and ate and ate. It was pretty clear that she hadn’t been fed adequately whilst in the animal pound. We were starting to have doubts about the wisdom of giving her to the volunteer to foster as Taya was extremely bad tempered and we were starting to worry that she was too agressive to be adopted. Then, one day Taya seemed to have a personality transplant and became as good as gold and as sweet as anything. She must have finally caught up her lack of food. Taya is now with the foster family waiting to be adopted. Her operating manual is quite simple: make sure that she’s well fed or beware!!! Taya with volunteer, Alex. www.nosamislesanimaux.com

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

LOST CAT

SECONDIGNNYD79130

FOU

For anyone who finds a lost cat, please contact your Mairie and register it on this website: www.chat-perdu.org

You can post lost and found cats here - for all over France. It’s a very popular site and reunites many owners with their lost cats.


Luna

a 7 year old mixed breed (probably Boxer x) - 53cm tall to her withers

Luna was emaciated, neglected, frightened and had the most enormous mammary tumour when she decided to seek help by jumping into the car of Angela Halliwell, who has saved Lunas life! Once she was fit enough her tumour was removed and she was sterilised at the same time. The biopsy showed a mild cancer and, as it cannot be certain that it has been contained, there is a slight chance it could come back. It’s impossible to say what her life expectancy is, but there is a strong chance of at least a few more good years. Luna is intelligent (obviously), beautiful, courageous and, against all odds, soft, gentle and loving too. She loves cuddles and will be a loyal and loving friend. She can be a little nervous around new people or situations and still cowers at a raised voice or sudden movement. She struggles to deal with excitement and is also, understandably, a little possessive around food. However, she is improving all the time and is now learning how to play! Luna pulls a little on the lead but that is probably because she has not been on one before. She is good in the car and obedient, her recall in the garden is excellent. She appears to be okay with cats, sensible children and adult dogs (at least males) and is vaccinated and microchipped. Luna will be a Phoenix “Sanctuary” dog. This means that although her new owners will be expected to pay for normal expenses, food, flea/tick/worming treatments, vaccinations, all other veterinary expenses will be paid for by Phoenix. Luna has been through enough misery to last a lifetime! What she needs now is that special family willing to work with her rehabilitation to give her the happy, loving future she so truly deserves. She is already learning that humans CAN be trusted and for every ounce of love you show her she will pay you back a thousandfold! If you are interested, please contact Angela in 09 82 12 29 92/ angelahalliwell@btinternet.com. For more photos and Lunas page you can go to For the love of Luna on Facebook. www.phoenixasso.com

Regretfully, after months of planning, the opening of the first Orfée Shop has had to be postponed. Unforeseen difficulties mean that a new location needs to be found to house this exciting venture.

Animal Association offering help to cats and dogs in need. Always looking for help, volunteers and foster carers. Call 06 71 03 63 08 or email: Pasapattes79@hotmail.fr ECOLE DU CHAT LIBRE DE POITIERS 1 Place de Fontevrault 86000 POITIERS 05.49.01.39.25 (answerphone) Ecoleduchat.poitiers.free.fr

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

ecoleduchatpoitiers.forumactif.org

Everyone at Orfée is very disappointed but hopefully a new home for the shop can be established soon, thus enabling plans for a new opening date to be announced before too long. If anyone knows of any premises that may be suitable, please feel free to contact Mary on: orfeeshop@gmail.com Thanks to everyone who has shown such enthusiastic support for this venture. Meanwhile the Orfée Online Shop will continue to operate as normal and has lots of lovely bargains on offer - so please take a look   www.orfeeshop.wix.com/orfeeshop

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 19


Communications Contactless Payments - or has ‘Cash’ had its Chips and Pin? by Ross Hendry To find out exactly where contactless cards are already accepted in your area, visit American Express® Contactless, MasterCard® PayPass™ or Visa payWave.

How to Use a Contactless Card or Device

The retailer will enter the amount into a terminal, after verifying the amount, you check to see the terminal will accept contactless payment. If you accept the amount you simply touch your card/device on the terminal and ..a beep or green light shows your payment is being processed. For extra security, you will occasionally be asked to insert your card and enter your PIN or sign. Your payment is approved -- this should show on the terminal/ vending/ticket machine.

F

riends and I enjoyed a great lunch in a restaurant a few weeks ago. We were quite taken aback when, as we stood in the queue holding the credit card in hand, chatting and waiting to pay, the waiter simply entered the amount and proceeded to hand over the receipt. We weren’t invited to either enter the card into the machine or enter a pin number!

For contactless  payments for £30 and under, a receipt will not automatically be printed for you. However, you can always ask for a receipt, and the retailer must give you one if you ask, For contactless payments over £30, the retailer must always print a receipt for you.

On querying the transaction he was told that he just needed to be near the till/card machine and it could ‘take’ the money. Do I need to worry? How do we know that we have not been standing too close to a till/Card machine at the wrong time?!

If you are paying at an unattended terminal, like at a vending machine, the process is slightly different. To make a payment, simply select the goods you wish to purchase and when the amount is shown, touch your contactless card or device against the terminal. You will not be provided with a receipt but you can see this transaction on your card statement. 

The technology is known as contactless payments. It uses nearfield communication to locate the payment terminal, usually by touch, although I believe that being within 10cm is enough.

UK banks have issued 54million cards that can support contactless payments, with only one bank permitting you to opt-out of the new technology so far, the others have differing rules.

Contactless is a fast, easy and secure way to pay for purchases costing £30 (25€ in France) and under. Contactless payments are becoming increasingly common on a range of devices including:

The uptake in the UK is rising fast, with Tesco, and the London Underground helping with this. The rates of use are three times greater that over the same period in 2015. I can see the attraction and goodness knows that some days the loose change your pockets or purse can weigh as much as your shopping!

• • • • •

Pre-paid, debit, charge and credit cards Stickers Key fobs Wearable devices, such as watches and wristbands Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets

You can tell if you have a contactless card if you see the contactless indicator on the front or back of your card. (see photo above). Contactless devices, apart from cards, will not necessarily have a contactless indicator on them, and may require you to activate them. For example, you may have a payment app on your smart phone, which requires you to activate it through a pass code or your fingerprint. You are also be able to make contactless payments for over £30 if you have a device that supports this. You will need to verify yourself on your device before you can make this type of payment. For example, if you have a smart phone you may be able to verify yourself through a pass code or your fingerprint on your payment app, and then make a purchase for over £30. The first one of these I have seen is ApplePay, however I have yet to notice the contactless symbol here in France, even at the restaurant mentioned above!

Where Can We use Contactless?

Contactless payments are now accepted in a wide range of shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants. They are also accepted in many unattended environments like at vending machines. A retailer which accepts contactless payments will display the contactless symbol at the terminal. (as shown top of right hand column) 20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

Finally, what information could anyone get if they could electronically read your contactless card’s information? The answer is only what you are able to see printed on the outside of your card, the expiry date and card number. My guess is that in a couple of years time we will all be using contactless payments and we will wonder how we did without it! Can you imagine or indeed remember life without a mobile telephone or Personal Computer? It is getting more difficult to isn’t it? Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (See advert below).


No Mouse-Control?

Try these keyboard shortcuts To copy and paste without using a mouse: Place cursor at first letter to copy from, Press Shift key, keep it held down and use right arrow key to move right, letter by letter, until all text is selected. Press Ctrl and C together to copy OR Ctrl and X to cut the text. Place cursor at position to paste to and Press Ctrl and V. (To select paragraphs .... whilst holding down Shift, use the down and right arrow keys in turn to navigate around area OR Hold down the Shift and Ctrl keys at the same time, use the right arrow key to move along word by word.). These tips are provided by Julie Tee, Freelance Administrator. www.need-office-help.com

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

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

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

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or www.afif.asso.fr

Passport Advice

0044 300 222 0000

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 21


Food & Drink

Easter

by Lynda Gee

W

hen we came to France in 1994 I had a recipe for a traditional Poitou ‘Torte au Paques’ from which I later created a ‘Poitou Easter Quiche’.

Poitou Easter Quiche

-crust 1 roll of ‘pate brisée’ or sufficient homemade short dish flan 24cm a line to pastry 3 hard-boiled eggs 2 raw eggs 150 g cooked chicken filet approx 40 g of grated or finely chopped ham 25 g butter 1 tablespoon flour 25 cl milk salt and pepper to taste packet (easier) or Line a well-greased flan dish with either bake blind in a prehomemade short crust pastry (better) and heated 200˚C oven for around 8 minutes. chicken into Cut the three hard boiled eggs in half and thely cooled flan slight the in ge arran and slices ized small bite-s case. a saucepan and Meanwhile prepare a roux. Melt the butter ainlittle of the milk, heat, off then, g, add the flour gently stirrin are smoothly stirring all the time until the butter and flour of the milk, incorporated. Return to the heat and add the rest ning. thicke and point g boilin t abou stirring until just the grated ham Pour in the 2 raw, lightly beaten eggs and add d black pepgroun ly fresh with taste and mix well. Season to ed chives per and a little salt (a pinch of mixed herbs or chopp . wish) you if nice are also return to the Pour the mix over the eggs and chicken and ned (golden) brow lightly until or tes minu 20 d oven for aroun and risen. salad greens This is best served cold with nice mixed young and a chilled white wine.

Simple Flamed Bananas (serves 4)

(Based on a flambée recipe which is usually prepared and served at the table by a very adapt waiter, this simplified version makes it possible to prepare for friends and family as a rich ending to a good meal!) 2 bananas 1 handful of raisins soaked in dark (ambre) rum with a teaspoon of brown sugar, (preferably soaked a minimum of 3 hours before or better still, the day before) 4 teaspoons of extra rum 4 small flat oven proof dishes like ‘Crème brulée’ dishes.

Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full at-home catering service. (See advert on P.24)

Tel: 06 23 00 72 04 ~ Email: gingers.kitchen@orange.fr 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

Slice the bananas into rings and arrange in the dishes in a single layer, divide the pre-soaked raisins between the four and place over the fruit. Heat in a moderate oven for around 10 minutes, then when you are ready, take the dishes to the table, spoon over the extra rum, ignite immediately and serve.


Massaging Cows... by Jacqueline Brown

I

f I said, think of soft lighting, your choice of beds, a massage area and somewhere to dine, I bet your local dairy farm barn isn’t what first comes to mind. However, I’ve had a guided tour around one of the village dairy farms where the pampered beasts have their every need catered to.

I may have been born in London, but I have rural Irish roots and farming is a part of my heritage. I spent summers on Irish mountainsides where the sheep grazed and wandered, seemingly unsupervised, while my Uncle cut peat turfs for burning on the Aga, which warmed the house as well as keeping a kettle at the perfect temperature for a pot of tea. Just down the road his brother owned a dairy farm, where the cows were marched into the milking parlour morning and evening. Standing on two raised walkways with a central sunken area for the farmer, they were hooked up to the milking machine while they slowly munched away as they were milked. It seems things have changed. The farm in our village has an almost identical parlour, but it is dark, dusty and disused. His cows take themselves to be milked as and when they feel the need. The barn is big and despite the large number of cows, it had a very calm atmosphere. There were different areas including feed troughs, stalls piled high with bedding, a waiting area for those ready to be milked and my favourite bit, the massage machine. Oh yes, a cow with an itch need only wander up to the massage brush, lean in and it leaps into action, spinning and scratching the length of her back. I’m sure I saw one smile, although she wasn’t too keen on being watched. The most surprising thing was the robotic milking machine that is in use twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. The cows wait patiently and file in one by one to the single robot that milks every cow all by itself. The cows wear a data device around their neck, so the machine instantly recognises who has arrived for milking. The suckers automatically attach to each teat, as Robofarmer knows the exact measurements of every cow and once attached milking begins. The sucker then falls away once the teat has been milked and the machine sprays the underside of the cow before cleaning the suckers. The data device measures exactly how much milk each teat produces, when the cow was last milked, what she eats as she is being milked and her activity levels when not being milked. This makes it easy for the farmer to see if there is a potential health problem. Also as a cows movement changes when she comes into heat, Robofarmer can tell which ones are ready for mating, although as this is modern farming, there is no bull, just a long glove and a syringe. It was a fascinating visit and I learned a lot.

La Vendée Chippy Poisson et frites à l’anglaise

Traditional British Fish & Chips venues the following at ly k ee w s u Find m from 6 -8.30p

nt, e le St Vince nges la er Weds: Aube0rg St nt 8511 St Vince l’eau, e at Au Fil de u n e v w e N : nt Thurs 85200 Merve La Plage,

Fri:

au, Le Clemencece au,

26 rue Clemen -en-Pareds eron 85390 Mouill

ery month aturday of ev On the first S August) find us at (except

Sat:

Le Marmiton,arie Melisson, 85120 14 Rue Jean-M Antigny

functions ble for private la ai av so al e We ar u u

www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: frenchvillagediaries@gmail.com

enquiries@lavendeechippy.com tel: 06 23 49 15 11 / 02 44 39 16 73

www.lavendeechippy.com Numero de Siret: 791 118 540 00016

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 23


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This is our favourite magazine and when in the UK it is a fight to see who gets to read it first! When in France we get an extra copy from Super U Moncoutant, so peace reigns...

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


Don’t Be a Champagne Charlie

A

little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so the saying goes. Now, this doesn’t apply as much to the world of wine as it does to, say, neurosurgery (yup, pretty sure I should cut that bit out) or national defence (that button marked ‘Armageddon’? Perfectly safe.) But it strikes me, whenever I take otherwise smart people around vineyards, that they don’t always know as much as I assume they know. So here’s my quick lazy-but-smart guide to Champagne.

The drink champagne (small ‘c’) must be made in the Champagne region. The vineyards cover 33,500ha, producing about 350,000,000 bottles. You’d think that was enough to be going on with, but there are still shysters here and there in the world who put bubbles in the bottle and ‘Champagne’ on the label. They don’t get away with it for long as the champenois have very effective lawyers. It is, however, OK to include méthode traditionnelle on the label. This tells you that the effervescent stuff in the bottle was made in exactly the same way as they do it in Reims or Epernay. How do they do it? First you make a still white wine. The only grape varieties allowed are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and the harvest must, by law, be done by hand in order that the grapes are as undamaged as possible and that the darkskinned Pinots do not leach their colour. Small pressing centres are spread throughout the vineyards to ensure the grapes travel as little as possible. This must (ie the juice and its gubbins) is taken to the cellar and vinified normally. At the cusp of winter and spring, the tricky, some might say magical, procedure takes place. The head winemaker and his nose use not only this year’s still wine but the previous year’s reserve (and maybe the one before that) in a combination which replicates the ‘house style’. That is, if you’re a fan of non-vintage Moet you get the same taste year in year out, and likewise for other producers. Why do I say this is ‘magical’? Well, bear in mind Mister Nose is blending still wine, before bubbles and before ageing. How on earth does he get from here to there so unerringly? The fact that he (or she) probably runs an Audi or one of the larger Peugeot, and we all know what that means, shouldn’t detract from this feat. A ‘vintage’ champagne, that is one with a year on the label, is made from the harvest of one (exceptional) year only; otherwise the process below is the same.

by John Sherwin

Now, add bubbles. Alcoholic fermentation turns the sugars in grape juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This gas escapes when you make still wine: champagne producers lock it in. So, yeast and sugar are added to the still wine to provoke a second fermentation, this time in a closed bottle. The gas, having nowhere else to go, dissolves into the liquid, biding its time… And now time is key. The bottles are laid on their side to ruminate in cool dark cellars where nothing is heard but the swish of a spider’s web. Minimum times are set by law at one year for nonvintage and three for vintage, but the great majority of producers comfortably exceed these minima for the simple reason that the longer the champagne stays on its lees (the dead yeast cells) the more complex it becomes. After this period, the lees have to be extracted from the bottle in order to leave a clean wine. There was a time when everyone thought this couldn’t be done without losing most of the baby with the bathwater and so, with a Gallic shrug, put up with cloudy champagne. But the redoubtable Mme Clicquot invented the riddling process whereby bottles are gradually moved from the near-horizontal to the near-vertical, concentrating the lees in the neck. The neck is placed in an ice bath where the lees freeze, the metal stopper is removed and the frozen pellet of lees is ejected by the pressure in the bottle. Voilà, clear wine. At the same time as this ‘disgorgement’ takes place, a dose of cane sugar dissolved in wine is added and the bottle is corked. The amount of sugar added dictates the style of the champagne, from 0 to 6 g/l for Extra-brut to 32 to 50 g/l for Demi-sec. (In the old days, not only was champagne cloudy but it was also extremely sweet, way over 50 g/l: dentists swore by it.) So there you have it, how to make champagne in a nutshell. It only remains for me to reveal the identity of the original Champagne Charlie. Step forward Charles Heidsieck who introduced champagne to the USA in the 1850s and whose flamboyant marketing earned him the moniker. But I leave the last word to the great Lily Bollinger who managed the eponymous company from 1941 to 1971 – “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.” u u

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 25


GOLF

©Michael Beaufoy

Going for

by Helen Tait-Wright

I will readily admit to knowing practically nothing about Golf, so to be asked to write an article on it was pushing me out of my comfort zone. I searched back in the depths of my memory for what I remembered from the past when we used to deliver vegetables from our farm to the Club House of a Golf course in Suffolk, and the things that stuck in my memory were shoes with tassles on, checked trousers and Pringle jumpers, as well as chatter involving Birdies and Eagles. So, research was necessary!

T

he modern game of golf is generally considered to be a Scottish invention. A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, one of the oldest Scottish golf organisations, said “Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland.” This is however a contested view, as some scholars argue that this game of putting a small ball in a hole in the ground using golf clubs was also played in 17th-century Netherlands and that this predates the game in Scotland. Anyway, the oldest surviving rules of golf were written in 1744 for the Company of Gentlemen Golfers, later renamed The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers, and Scottish soldiers, expatriates and immigrants are accredited with taking the game to British colonies and elsewhere during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The Club at Pau in south western France, founded in 1856, is recognised as being the oldest club in continental Europe. But despite there being good Golfing facilities in France, it would seem that the game is not as popular here as it might be, and so initiatives are in place to get more people to try their hand with the clubs. 26 26 || The The Deux-Sèvres Deux-Sèvres Monthly, Monthly, March March 2016 2016

Bressuire Golf Club © Bressuire Golf Club


Participating in the initiatives is a brand new Club currently being constructed right here in our region, just to the north of Bressuire, and Stewart Cronin has recently been appointed as their golf pro after several years teaching at Les Forges Golf Club near Vasles. Currently they have a driving range and 5 holes open on “le grande parcours” with another 4 holes opening at beginning of June. The Maire of Bressuire, Jean-Michel Bernier, has pledged that the cost to play golf at Bressuire will be kept low so everyone will be able to participate. The Club currently has 160 members and their goal is for membership to reach 200, or more, by the end of this year Golf Club du Bocage Bressuirais aims to be fully open with a full 18 hole course and Club House by September 2016, but to attract members they will be holding a “Portes Ouvertes” on the 26th, 27th and 28th March to encourage people to come along and give the game of golf a try. I spoke to Stewart to find out more. The free lessons on the Open Days are open to all; men, women and children, and the Club hopes to attract an even mix of French and English people, eager to learn in a fun and relaxed event. I asked Stewart more about the game and what it has to offer. Stewart said that one of the beauties of Golf is that it is accessible to all age groups, from 4 to 84, and so can be something that the whole family can enjoy and participate in. Added to that, the health benefits are easy to see when I learned that a round on the full course takes around 4 hours and involves walking 8 - 10 km in the fresh air. There is a myth that you have to be rich and old to play golf, but Stewart assures me that this is not the case, and with the support of the Maire he wants to encourage more youngsters to take up the game, which is starting to grow in popularity. The game itself requires a lot of skill, and Stewart loves teaching beginners the basics. On the Portes Ouvertes days, you can try your The Marie of Bressuire hand at hitting and putting techniques, and then has pledged that the cost if you wish to progress, you can take up a special offer under the “Go for Golf” initiative, which will to play golf at Bressuire give you some basic lessons costing just 59 Euros will be kept low so for 4 hours. Golf is a game played mainly against yourself and everyone will be able to the complexities of the course, and each hole has participate a “Par” rating, which indicates how many strokes an expert golfer is expected to need to complete an individual hole. It turns out the Birdies and Eagles I remember didn’t actually refer to the wildlife on the course, but how well the Golfer had done in relation to the Par, with the Birdie referring to one stroke under Par, and the Eagle two under Par. There are also Bogeys, which are one over Par! All news to me! With memories of the distinctive (and slightly bad taste) clothing fresh in my mind, I asked about what sartorial attire is expected of players in 2016, and Stewart assures me that trainers, jeans and a T shirt will be just fine! As a beginner you can save the Pringles sweaters for later, but it does seem that golf clothing is big business once again, with the Stewart Cronin © retro 70‘s fashions emblazoned on my mind making a comeback Bressuire Golf Clu b in 2016 for the serious, fashion-concious golfers. Tartan trousers feature heavily in the current Ian Poulter golf clothing collection, Tee Off! presumably as a nod to the games Scottish heritage. Portes Ouvertes at Golf du Bocage Bressuirais: Another golfing phenomenon is the “Caddie”. Saturday 26th March, 2pm - 6pm Sunday 27th March, 10am - 12pm and 2pm - 4pm Nothing like a tea caddy, the caddie it seems is the person who Monday 28th March, 10am - 12pm and 2pm - 4pm. carries a player’s bag and clubs, and gives advice and moral Call for details on: 05 49 80 69 18 support. A good caddy is aware of the challenges and obstacles of the golf course being played, along with the best strategy in playing Other clubs in the region include: it. Stewart tells me that in the Professional Golf world, caddies are Golf du Mazières-en-Gâtine, 79310 Mazières-en-Gâtine extremely well paid and cites Steve Williams who used to caddy for Golf du Thouarsais,79102 Thouars Tiger Woods, who was the highest paid sportsman in New Zealand. Golf Club de Niort, 79000 Niort If you understand the technicalities but can’t do it yourself, this Golf de Cholet, 49300 Cholet could be the golf role for you! Golf de la Domangère, 85310 Nesmy Well, I have found this little exploratiion in to the world of golf Golf de Saumur, 49400 Saumur interesting and I hope you have too, and that some of you will be Centre Golfique des Chalons, 86021 Poitiers inspired to go along to the Club in Bressuire or one near you to (Participation in the ‘Tous au Golf’ initiative not confirmed). find out more!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 27


Health, Beauty & Fitness Simply Health by Lorraine Wallace Hello DSM readers and thank you Sarah for giving me this opportunity to write a regular column.....I’m Lorraine, a certified Holistic Health Coach, on a mission to spread good health and happiness throughout the land!

DONT FORGET! Deadline:

I’m kicking off this month with Superfoods. It’s the buzzword right now. We’re all talking about them but what does this mean and are you going to die if you don’t eat all of them every single day? Superfoods are well, super, because they are the most nutritionally dense foods known to man. They are bursting with high levels of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients (nutrients from plant foods), essential fats, anti-oxidants etc., etc. All the ingredients needed to keep our bodies functioning at optimum levels. But let’s get this straight, there isn’t an official list you need to tick off as you eat and no, you won’t die if you don’t eat them all. HOWEVER, if you eat a range, regularly, you’ll certainly be doing yourself a big favour. Unless you have a specific health issue that you wish to resolve, it’s not necessary for you to worry about what each food offers, just aim to incorporate some into your every day eating. I find it incredibly frustrating that the media makes it all so confusing. If we ate every food item we’re told will save us from heart disease or cancer, we’d be more stuffed than our favourite teddy bear! This is what overwhelms people. Yes, the science is there, superfoods really do protect against serious health risks, but we can’t eat all of them, all of the time.

So what foods are SUPER?

Avocados, blueberries, broccoli, raspberries, lentils, almonds, chia seeds, salmon, kidney beans, goji berries, kale, oats, quinoa, green tea, spinach, ginger, garlic…. There are more as whole foods naturally contain so many goodies, but these are a few of the more readily available ones. My top tips for incorporating superfoods into your diet: 1. Start where you are with what is available. Some of you will be new to healthy eating, others, old hands. Simply strive to improve and keep improving. 2. ‘Eat a rainbow’. Get a variety of coloured fruits and veg into your diet - the general rule is that different colours offer different health benefits. 3. Be inventive. Make smoothies to include things such as chia seeds, spinach, avocado, ginger. Sprinkle nuts and seeds on salads. 4. When cooking, see if you can ‘health it up’ eg. an oats and seeds crumble mix instead of breadcrumbs on apple crumble. 5. Don’t get caught up in the science. Dig deeper if you have a health concern otherwise keep it simple. Don’t let the confusion stop you from even trying. Until next month, enjoy those superfoods! www.lorrainewallace.com Email: lorraine@lorrainewallace.com ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

of the month


Home & Garden

F

Annie Sloan Decorative Techniques Workshops

or many, attending an Annie Sloan Workshop is the beginning of a new, enjoyable and sometimes profitable hobby. Do you ever look at a piece of painted furniture and think “Wow, how did they do that?”

Our workshops are designed to help you easily achieve those effects. As an official Annie Sloan Stockist we have been trained by Annie Sloan personally to run accredited workshops, teaching all the various decorative techniques that can be achieved. They are hugely informative and enjoyable. At La Deuxième Chance we offer a range of workshops which are suitable for both novices and those with a bit more experience. Our workshops start at 45€ per person. We limit spaces to a maximum of 4 people so that you get the best teacher time. During our introductory workshop you will learn all the basic techniques you need to get going. Ask questions and experience using the paint and wax on a sample board which is yours to keep. This will prepare you for future projects and our other workshops. All materials and refreshments included. Some of the techniques covered include 2-colour distressing, 1-colour aged look, textured paint,  and finishing with clear and dark waxes. We will also show how to use Craqueleure to create cracks, how to do a colour wash and how to dry brush.

DRESS YOUR HOME FOR SPRING The new 2016 collection of fabrics including Designers Guild, Christian Lacroix, Jane Churchill, Colefax and Fowler have now arrived at Le Comptoir du Tapissier in Fontenay le Comte. These collections announce that spring has arrived, offering bright, cheerful colours to dress your chairs and interiors. Le Comptoir du Tapissier offer a wealth of experience and know-how, providing an outstanding service for the restoration of chairs, contemporary styling and made-to-measure curtains, blinds, cushions and bedspreads. All upholstery and hardware are available for sale.

SPECIAL OPENING: As part of the ‘Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art’, the workshop and store will be open for visits on Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd April. Further information about this event can be found at: www.journeesdesmetiersdart.fr

In our follow-on workshops we cover the use of Decoupage, Gilding, Image transfer, Craqueleure, Stencilling (with a twist), Colour theory & mixing along with painting and dying fabric using Chalk Paint™. Sue Newell is a trained colour expert, having studied interior design, she has a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer you. Should you wish to join us on a workshop give us a call on 05 49 27 12 62 or visit our website: www.ladeuxiemechance.com

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 29


HOW TO... Authorised Stockists of

Autentico Chalk Paint

paint furniture with frenchic furniture paint

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Also a wide range of coloured waxes Individual painted furniture Stencils for sale or hire Stockists of Amadeus Tableware Wide range of hand-made craftwork 9 Rue du Duc d’Aquitaine, 85120 Vouvant T: 02 51 50 77 41 E: info@frescointeriors.fr W: www.frescointeriors.fr/en Open Wednesday - Sunday, 11am - 6pm

BEFORE

AFTER

This month, to demonstrate how to use Frenchic Furniture Paint, I have have taken several different objects with different finishes to show you what can be achieved... The mirror was white gloss and very tatty looking. I washed it and all the other pieces with sugar soap, and gave the gloss a quick rub with a fine sandpaper, then painted it and gave it another sand to distress it slightly to bring the white through the darker colour Plum pudding and then a buff up, as the lazy range of paints has the wax already mixed in. Both of the candlesticks and the photo frame just needed a wash and then were painted directly onto the wood. A coat of wax was applied afterwards and then a buff up. The TV cabinet was shiny pine and a bit battered, so a wash down, a couple of coats of paint, and then some wax and a buff was enough to transform it. I changed the drawer handles luckily I still had some of the same paint colour left to tie it all in. I have been busy painting dark furniture in particular this month. I painted a bed and a wardrobe in one of the bedrooms, and it has totally transformed the room. Next time I will be using ‘this season’s’ pastel colours and distressing it so you can see what can be achieved with your tired pieces of furniture. For more information about the Frenchic Furniture paint ranges, Email: deansmalley@hotmail.com, or pop along to L’Emporium in L’Absie.

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


‘The DSM’ Advertiser Feedback...

Advertising with The DSM was a great way to launch and boost our business. Incredibly friendly, professional and helpful service.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 31


Your Local Gardener provides a quality gardening and Open Gardens/Jardins Ouverts (OG/JO) encourages owners to open their garden to members of the public who pay an annual subscription (10€) which entitles them to visit as many of the gardens as they wish throughout the year. A large proportion of funds raised are donated to French charities, the rest is retained for the running of the association. OG/JO (like the UK’s National Garden Scheme) was initiated because there was no charity based garden scheme in France, which is a great shame – it is a lovely way to pass a day, viewing beautiful gardens in the knowledge that you are also contributing to worthy causes.

maintenance service throughout the year. They specialise in providing a reliable, regular, mowing service - ideal for those who prefer to spend time relaxing in their gardens.

If you have a holiday-home, are a gîte owner, or selling your property, a tidy garden can improve first impressions - and Your Local Gardener can help with that too. The covered area extends to the Vienne and Deux-Sèvres borders - approximately 40km from Ruffec and Civray. Contact Your Local Gardener today with your requirements. See advert below, or call 05 45 29 59 47.

A trial in 2013 with 4 gardens raised 300€ and just 2 years later, 75 gardens in 13 départements took part and raised over 13,000€. Some of this came from annual subscriptions but additional income came from the sale of refreshments and/or plants. The main beneficiary is, and will remain, A Chacun son Everest, which organises activities for children with cancer and we made a donation of 5,250€ to them in 2015. Due to the unexpected rise in income last year, we also made 4 other donations totalling 2,500€. In 2016 we hope to have 150 gardens, raise 25,000€ and we expect the scheme will spread to other départements and to become national within 5 years. As OG/JO expands, we have recruited volunteers to find gardens locally and we now have over 40 coordinators across France, who spend upwards of a couple of hours a month helping us. If this idea appeals to you, we would love to hear from you - see contact details below. Or how about opening your garden? The pleasure of doing so is enormous and visitors are hugely appreciative. Many participating gardeners who were initially worried, have found the whole experience to be enjoyable and rewarding: the pleasure of meeting new friends, watching entranced visitors and receiving plaudits for your roses/pond/lawn care cannot be understated. We simply ask that your garden has at least 30 minutes of interest and, even if it doesn’t, you may be able to team up with a neighbour. If this is of interest, please get in touch; we will be delighted to hear from you. Finally, if you can do neither of the above, you can enjoy OG/JO by being a visitor. An annual card costs 10€ (11€ via our website). The only additional cost is for refreshments, should you so decide. OG/JO is enjoyable for everyone and the fact that you are helping raise money for charitable concerns makes it even more satisfying.

ht ht www.opengardens.eu Coordinators for the Deux-Sèvres: Micala Wilkins: micalawilkins@yahoo.co.uk Janet Greenwood: Janetlmusgrave@aol.com Or: Mick Moat: mick@opengardens.eu 05 55 63 43 12 32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


THE AMATEUR GARDENER

by Vanda Lawrence

I’ve mentioned slugs and snails but another noticeable pest at this time of the year are moles. They eat insect grubs and earthworms and their tunnel-runs, visible just beneath the surface of the soil (or more noticeably in the lawn) are their feeding tunnels. The other runs are deeper, uniting the feeding tunnels and it is the soil excavated from these deep tunnels which appear as unsightly surface mounds. Underground the runs can cause damage to plant roots. In the lawn you can try burying garlic cloves in the tunnels to deter them – they don’t like the smell. Alternatively, pour in castor oil – they don’t like the smell and it gives them an upset stomach which also encourages them to move on. You can also buy smelly granules or sonic mole deterrents.

Mole

In the flower and vegetable gardens the following ideas might help:

A

t last! Spring flowers are showing themselves in the garden and hedgerows, longer days, improved temperatures … what a lift for the spirits. Now it becomes a pleasure to work in the garden again, instead of just working through the ‘to do’ list. Have you ever thought about growing your own Asparagus? Definitely not for the faint-hearted but worth the trouble when you consider that, once established, asparagus plants will produce tender, tasty spears for up to twenty years! Before planting it is critical that your new asparagus bed is completely free of perennial weeds and grasses because asparagus roots are quite near the surface and can be easily damaged by digging or hoeing to remove weeds later in the season. Plant asparagus crowns in March. Dig a trench 12” wide x 8” deep. Work in well-rotted manure to the bottom of the trench then cover with a 2” layer of the excavated soil plus some organic fertilizer. Next, make a 4” ridge of soil down the centre of the trench and place the crowns on top of this ridge, about 12-18” apart, draping the roots evenly down the sides of the ridge. Replace the rest of the soil leaving the bud tips just visible. Leave 18” between rows and stagger plants between adjacent rows. Water well and mulch with shredded leaves, straw or other weed-free organic matter. Pests include slugs and snails so be vigilant and keep them at bay with salt, gravel, crushed egg-shells or ash from a coal fire. Do not harvest for the first 2 years, but in the third year harvest spears from mid-April for 4-6 weeks. From then on you can harvest for 6-8 weeks from mid-April. Pick too much and plants will not be able to develop a strong root system and energy reserves for the next season. To harvest, simply cut individual spears with a sharp knife 1” below the soil surface when the spears are about 5-7” high. Harvest every two or three days for the best quality spears.

• Bulbs such as Daffodil, Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) or Fritillaria imperialis ‘Lutea’ – the scent of this bulb resembles that of a fox, so no wonder moles don’t like them. • Allium family – garlic, onions, leeks, chives, shallots, ornamental flowering onions. • Euphorbia lathyris aka ‘mole plant’. This is a biennial growing up to 1.5m tall, but be aware that all parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause skin irritation on handling. • Castor oil plant, (Ricinus communis) but take care because the seeds are poisonous. I’m running out of space now but can’t go before reminding you to start chitting your potatoes. Choose earlies if you only have a small vegetable plot so you can plant salads after the potatoes have been lifted. Second earlies take about 16 weeks to mature so you will be cropping from late June to early August. Maincrop are ready about 20 weeks after planting ie July-October. They take up most space in the garden but tend to be the best varieties for storage. If you have dogs or cats please be aware of the dangers of 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-to-tail line and this is when our pets could be at risk. Lastly, I’ll remind you that the clocks go forward on Saturday night 26th/Sunday morning 27th March at 1am. I know, I know … we lose an hour in bed but what joy to have lighter evenings again. Happy March everyone. Asparagus

Once harvesting has ended in late spring/early summer allow the spears to develop naturally. They will reach 4-6 ft high with lacy green foliage. These fronds will turn yellow in the autumn, when you can cut them down to about an inch above ground level. Remove this cut growth from the area in order to help keep pests such as the asparagus beetle from overwintering in the bed. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 33


Motoring A History of Willys

W

by Helen Tait-Wright

ith the last Defender rolling off the production line a few weeks ago (a tragic day) I thought this month we would look at the car that spawned the Defender, the legendary Willys Jeep, and their entwined history.

The Jeep originated in America. Before the USA joined World War Two, they recognised the need for a 4-wheel drive cross country vehicle. The Army contacted the automobile manufacturers in July 1940, and, given the urgency of the project, gave them 22 days to submit a bid, 49 days to submit their first prototype and 75 days for completion of 70 test vehicles. Initially, only two companies made a bid: American Bantam Car Company and Willys Overland Motors, although Ford joined in later. 

As an interesting aside, American Bantam had it’s roots in the UK with Herbert Austin, the creator of the Austin 7, who licenced his car to be made in the US. The Americanised  Austin 7, made in Butler, Pennsylvania, sold well for a brief time, but the Depression and resistance to tiny cars brought the American Austin into bankruptcy in 1934.  An American Austin salesman, Roy Evans, then bought the company, renaming it American Bantam. Bantam won the bid and built a prototype, but did not have the production capacity to fulfill the Army order, and so Willys and Ford were also asked to build prototypes for testing.  With the US Army under such pressure, each company was awarded a production run of 1,500 units for field testing.  By July 1941, the War Department wanted to standardise and select a single manufacturer to supply them with the next order for 16,000 vehicles. 

Willys won the contract mostly due to its more powerful engine, which soldiers raved about, and its lower cost and silhouette. The design features in the Bantam and Ford entries which represented an improvement over Willys’s design were then incorporated into the Willys car. It can be argued that no other vehicle of the US Army war effort in WW2 is as iconic as the Willys Jeep, which was produced in the hundreds of thousands and proved to be one of the most reliable and versatile vehicles of the war. It was popular all over the world and was still used after the war making it one of the most sucessful military vehicles ever. The Willys is credited with modernising warfare, thus inspiring General Dwight D. Eisenhower to conclude that “America could not have won World War II without it.” Reporter Ernie Pyle summed up the Willys functionality as “It did everything. It went everywhere. Was as faithful as a dog, as strong as a mule, as agile as a goat.” One such Willys Jeep ended up in the hands of Maurice Wilks of Anglesey, Engineering Director of Rover, whose brother Spencer was Rover’s managing director.  As the ex-military Jeep started to fail and parts became difficult to find, Maurice, who owned land on the island, wanted a replacement vehicle that could double as a light tractor and offroader. Inspired by the Willys that he owned, Maurice made the first design sketch in the sand on the beach at Red Wharf Bay. He christened it the ‘Land Rover’ and he showed the proposal to his brother. The project was approved in 1947 and a prototype was soon built using components from the Willys Jeep. To counter the shortage of steel in post-war Britain, the Wilks brothers opted to clad the Land Rover in aluminium alloy, which was in plentiful supply and had the added benefit of being lightweight and resistant to corrosion. Production proper began at Solihull in the summer of 1948. The original model was powered by a 1595cc engine that drove a permanent four-wheel drive transmission with low ratio gearing to increase off-road capability - a hallmark of every Land Rover to come. In 1949, the British Army ordered its first Land Rovers, quickly realising that the car could fulfil many roles, just as the Willys had done for the US Army. The British Armed Forces eventually adopted Land Rovers in many different forms as their standard four-wheel drive vehicle. Today Willys Jeeps are still very popular, and prices have risen in the last few years. Although there are still many restoration projects around, people generally want road-worthy vehicles. They can go to £20,000 or more for a perfect example. Until recently, the French Hotchkiss Jeeps were a lot cheaper, but now there seems to be hardly any difference in prices. But for men of a “certain age”, the genuine WW2 article will always have a unique appeal. u u

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

Helen Tait-Wright Email: helen@stodel.org


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 35


Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across: 8. Devoid of intelligence (5) 9. Slow moving mass of ice (7) 10. Enter uninvited (7) 11. Capital of Japan (5) 12. A spread made of capers, black olives and anchovies (8) 13. Soft creamy white cheese (4) 15. Lacking sensation (4) 17. Without mercy or pity (8) 21. A small cut (5) 22. Intense feelings of suffering (7) 24. Represent fictitiously (7) 25. Unconscious rest (5)

Down: 1. Nocturnal flightless bird of New Zealand (4) 2 Portable computer (6) 3. Not fake or counterfeit (7) 4. Consented to (6) 5. A spicy Indian dish (5) 6. Small mackerel (6) 7. The superior of a group of nuns (8) 12. Hand shears for cutting sheet metal (8) 14. Be very fond of (7) 16. Talk indistinctly (6) 18. Not neat (6) 19. One more than ten (6) 20. The head of a tribe or clan (5) 23. Write by means of 2 down (4)

DSM Toughie Crossword Across: 1. Disciples of those coming along after over the top behaviour? (4,9) 8. One of 20, 22 that we hear is the way to do things? (5) 9. Moans in discomfort in another form of 20, 22 (7) 10. It is said we are grateful for a sailor (3) 11. Breathe at irregular rate of essential pulse? (9) 13. Getting there on foot, knocking final thousand of wardrobe, say (4,2) 14. Form of 20, 22, friend with Biggles, for example (6) 17. Are chores done in a certain way for a sprinter? (9) 19. If put before, up’s the way to improve 17’s performance? (3) 20 & 22. Places to rest your legs in France for example? Could be rather grand! (7,5) 23. One way to clear the house ended in ghosts displacement? (4,3,4,2)

Down: 1. Pawn carts and come together to mingle at lyrical venue for 17 across? (8,5) 2. Sort of mixed origin ideal for 23 across? (7) 3. Immediately have hydrogen additionally under stronghold? (9) 4. A and E transplant; lower back situation coming from clumsy movement (6) 5. Take possession of what was won before the turmoil (3) 6. Parallel idea having to miss out a letter (5) 7. He’s stolen sign for arrangement of what musical vicar may do? (4,3,6) 12. Takes a hike for seeing an outrageous lot starve? (7,2) 15. Hounds a German chap with notes (7) 16. No grey needed to be mixed for structure to stop erosion (6)

18. Religious establishment vessel used to hold milk (5) 21. Small drink, suitable for a little person? (3)

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

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

Answers on our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

1) Name the character created by Thomas Hughes in ‘Tom Brown’s School Days’ and given a new career in a series of books by George MacDonald Frazer.

8) Which structure, built by William the Conqueror, was also used as a prison from 1100 until 1952 when the Kray brothers were accommodated?

2) Which conflict’s first and last battles were Edgehill and Haseby?

9) Where are the following people buried: Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and William Wilberforce?

3) By what title is Arthur Welleseley, P.M. 1828 to 1830, better known?

10) What was Lord Haw-Haw’s Real identity?

4) Which famous historical Englishman was mayor of Plymouth in 1581 and the second captain to circumnavigate the globe 1577 to 1580? (Ferdinand Magellan was the first).

11) Who was the king of Scotland from 1306 to 1329? He defeated Edward II and the English at Bannockburn?

5) Which English author’s first names were John Ronald Reuel?

There is a connection between these 12 answers, assuming you have 12 correct answers, but it is very very obscure. Well done to anyone who spots it.

6) What structure would have featured in a Bartizan, Merlon, Omelette and a Postern? 7) During which conflict was the Charge of the Light Brigade? 36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

12) During which conflict was the Battle of Rorkes Drift?

Copyright RJS 2016


Building & Renovation

ht ht

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 37


Carlill-Strover Building is a small familyrun artisan business, established in France for over 12 years. Before moving to France, David & Helen lived and worked in the Yorkshire Dales, where David gained his experience. Covering all aspects of building work from small repair works to complete renovations, stone work, roofing, concreting and pointing. Fully Qualified, Insured and References are available Departments covered 79, 86, 16 For further information or a free Devis contact David on 05 49 27 56 72 or email: csbconstruction79@gmail.com

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 39


HOW ARE WE DOING? Do you enjoy reading ‘The DSM’? Would you like to see something new? How can we improve? Please send us your FEEDBACK to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr or add a REVIEW on our Facebook page. 40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


Small B/W Advert Only 32â&#x201A;Ź

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 41


42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


HAYNES CARPENTRY supplying

QUALITY DOUBLE GLAZING

If you are considering installing new UPVC windows and doors in the near future, I am availble to help you in making the right choice. I have been supplying and installing products from the same, top quality UK manufacturer for more than 20 years. These windows are made specifically for the French market in so far as they open in or out, as desired. All windows are supplied with the tilt and turn feature and toughened glass for added security and peace of mind. Full reinforcement and trickle vents allow for ventilation at all times. Triple glazing can also be specified. All products are available in a variety of colours as well as the usual wood grain finishes. Also available are top of the range composite doors which add that extra quality appearance to any entrance.

Siret: 538 009 333 0013

All enquiries welcome. Please contact Keith Haynes for more information (see advert below) Tel: 05 49 63 97 80 ~ Mobile: 07 80 06 26 45 ~ Email: blade200057@yahoo.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 43


Business & Finance Marketing Matters

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by Cindy Mobey

elcome to Marketing Matters. I am really excited to be a part of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ and I hope you find my column useful. If there is anything you’d like me to talk about in future issues, please feel free to email me.

Whether you’ve just started your business, or have been going for a while, planning and organisation at the beginning of the year is a key factor to success. Plan your business goals so you know what you want to achieve. For example, one of my goals for this year is to keep my website updated. Having a plan forces you to look at what works well for you and what doesn’t, and to look at what you need to do next.

Know Your Customers

We all know that customers are really important – without them you don’t have a business, so do you know what your customers want? Look at your competitors… why are they successful? Look at the price, quality and customer service they offer. Why will potential customers choose your products or services over your competitors? What do your customers like about your products? What do they currently buy from you? Why do they buy from you and do they give you repeat business? If you’re not sure, you could conduct a short survey and ask them…and give them an incentive to reply, such as 10% off any order over 20€. Everyone likes something for nothing, so an incentive to answer a few questions is very appealing and, if you do the survey on Facebook, or on your website, it could bring new customers.

Provide Great Service

If you treat your customers well and always provide what you say you will, your customers will be satisfied. Go beyond being good, go that extra mile and you will delight them. Every single interaction you have with your customers, be it face to face, on your website or via social media, feeds into their overall impression or experience in dealing with your business. So do everything you can to make sure that all those interactions are good ones. If they have a positive experience, they are more likely to share that experience with friends and family and recommend you…and word of mouth is one of the best ways to get new business.

PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO MENTION ‘THE DSM’ when responding to an article or advert... Thank You

The Personal Touch

Finally, always be warm, friendly and enthusiastic. Get to know your customers wherever you can - make helpful suggestions and show a genuine interest in what they do and what they want from you. I find it so frustrating when I ring a company and get that dreaded, “Press 1 for ….. 2 for ….” Most of the time I hang up. But when I get someone I can talk to, the experience is so much better. So think about what you would like if you were buying from you! Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Providing the personal touch and taking a genuine interest in your customers fosters a sense of loyalty and can help you find out what motivates them. Remember…happy customers will share their experiences! Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: cindymobey@outlook.com 44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

Small B/W Advert

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Tax Planning for 2016

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

W

hen did you last review your tax planning? There have been a number of French tax reforms over recent years and it is important to ensure your arrangements are up-todate, and designed to take advantage of tax planning opportunities in French regime.

Income Tax

Income tax rates for 2016 (payable on 2015 income) remain the same as last year, though the income tax bands for each rate have increased slightly. Last year saw the removal of the 5.5% income tax band. This presents tax planning opportunities for investors because of the difference in France between income and taxable income. Income tax is payable on earnings, pensions, rental and investment income. There can be more tax efficient ways of holding investment assets.

Social Charges

In February 2015 the European Court of Justice ruled that France could not apply social charges on people subject to social security in another EU/EEA member state. So non-residents should not be liable on French real estate income and residents who hold EU Form S1 were exempt on unearned and investment income. Refunds are available for charges paid in recent years.

semina rs

That was good news, but it did not last. The French government amended its social security law in such a way that it can again apply social charges on those people who were temporarily exempt. So everyone needs to pay 15.5% social charges on investment income. The combined tax rates with income tax can reach 60.5%, but there are compliant, tax efficient arrangements that can help you lower this tax liability, sometimes significantly.

Wealth Tax

Wealth tax remains a concern for wealthier residents. You are liable if your taxable worldwide assets are above €1.3 million, with tax payable on assets over €800,000. If you are affected seek advice on how to lower this liability.

Succession Tax

There are no key changes to succession tax this year, but estate planning was brought into the spotlight by ‘Brussels IV’, the 2015 EU succession regulation. If you opt for UK succession law to leave assets freely, some heirs could face tax rates of up to 60%. You should consider your estate planning as a whole – tax mitigation, succession law, probate, how to control who to leave assets to, and when and how. This is a complex area and you must take specialist advice. It is important to understand how French taxation impacts you personally, and establish tax planning solutions based on your objectives and family circumstances. Seek personalised advice. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.

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

“Estate planning in France worries me. How can I ensure the right money goes to the right hands at the right time?” Talk to the people who know. Succession tax can be high in France and its forced heirship laws are very restrictive. The European Certificate of Succession comes with pitfalls; there are other options but care must be taken. Our seminars examine all the estate planning issues you need to be aware of and advise on how you can have control and certainty. They also cover recent tax and pension changes affecting UK nationals in France. book your seat now

Thur 17 Mar | Domaine du Griffier GRANZAY-GRIPT (near Niort)

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coffee at 10am for a 10.30am start, ending 12 noon

05 49 75 07 24

niort@blevinsfranks.com

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.

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w w w. b l e v i n s f r a n k s . c o m The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 45


Health Insurance - Top-up Health

M

by Isabelle Want

y husband always says “There are two things I want to make sure I understand when I am in a foreign country: Health and Money”! So this month I shall explain about the French health system and the top-up insurance aspect. It can be the most expensive insurance you take out, so let’s make sure you fully understand it.

Your top-up is automatically linked to your carte vitale number so when the French health system pays you back, the top up insurance is told and tops it up automatically. For certain things (like hospital stay and medicine), the French health system and the top up pays in advance for you.

It is important to note that the law changed on 01/01/2016, which means that French residents of any nationality can be on the French health system automatically, as long as they live here permanently.

The ‘Couverture Maladie Universel Complementaire’ and ‘Aide Complementaire Santé’ are financial aids for people of low revenue, in order to access a top-up health insurance. A couple who earn less than 12,967€ in 2015 are entitled to CMU-C and a couple who earn less than 17,505€ are allowed ACS. CMU means that you are covered 100% by the French Health System instead of 70% average and that surgeons, hospitals etc. do not apply a surcharge to you. ACS is the French Health System paying towards the top-up insurance but you have no choice on the guarantees - it has to be an ACS top-up contract. They send you a cheque that you then give to your insurer to lower your premium (the amount depends on your age). There is a simulator on Ameli website to find out if you are entitled to CMU-C or ACS.

1. How to Get in the French Health System

First of all, the French health system is composed of 3 entities: CPAM (for employees or pensioners), RSI (for self-employed persons) or MSA (for agricultural jobs). There are 3 ways to access the French health system: via the S1 (a document given to you by your native country when you get your state pension), by working in France (as an employee or self-employed) or by simply living in France permanently. YES, the law has changed on 1st January, with the PROTECTION UNIVERSELLE MALADIE, which means that anybody who is living in France permanently is accepted onto the French health system. And, believe it or not, it is a simple form to fill in (just one page). CPAM will also want a birth certificate, copy of passport (plus marriage certificate if the name on the passport is different from name on birth certificate), proof of residency (utility bill less than 3 months old, copy of rental agreement or deeds of the house, letter from your Maire saying you are resident, etc.) and a RIB (French bank details). This could be a very good news if the UK decide to leave the EU because that means you can be on the French health system on only the criteria of residency (in case the UK would not want to give you S1 anymore). YES, non-Europeans are entitled to it as long as they have authorisation to stay in France (carte de séjour). I can’t imagine France wanting all the British people to leave. All the builders merchants would go bust and I would be out of business!

2. How the French Health System Works

The French Health system only pays an average of 70% of the cost of your medical expenses (i.e. visit to GP 70%, medicine 65%, hospital 80%). Note that if you are affected by a long term disease or life threatening condition the French Health System covers you 100% (only applicable for the treatment related to that disease or condition). To see the more information and lists of conditions go to www.ameli.fr. Unfortunately, the ‘Forfait journalier’ (bed and food in hospital) which is around 18€ per day, is not paid by the French Health system (top-up health insurance pays for it). Please understand that 100% does not necessarily mean 100% of the bill, it is 100% of the price set by the French Health System. Unfortunately, consultants, surgeons, private hospitals etc. are allowed to apply a surcharge - and most of them do. Example: the French Health System have set the price for a hip replacement at 1000€ (not the actual figure, this is just an example). You get reimbursed 800€ (80%) - leaving you 200€ short (this is where your top-up health insurance would come in). But say this particular surgeon likes to play golf every weekend (said as a joke!) and 1000€ is not enough for him, so he can charge 3000€. In this case, you would be 2200€ out of pocket (instead of just the 200€). This is why when you look at top-up health insurance you will find different cover ranging from 100% to 400% or even ‘Frais Reel’ (whatever it costs). Obviously, your insurance will never pay you more than what you actually paid. So, if you are covered 400% and were only surcharged 250%, you will not get extra money (the 150% left). This insurance can include other advantages such as individual room, TV, help with cleaning or to look after your animals in case of hospitalisation, and so on. There is no health questionnaire to take out top-up health insurance and you can change insurers just like any other insurances: 2 months before the renewal date or within 20 days from receiving your renewal notice (make sure you keep the envelope). 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

3. What is CMU-C and ACS

4. Allianz Composio

Most top-up health insurances offer covers based on levels (level 1 to 6 for example) which means that if you want the best hospital cover, you will also pay for the best dental and optical cover. With Allianz, you can pick and choose what you want - which makes it cheaper! This is quite good for some British customers, who I know go and buy their glasses in the UK as it is much cheaper than in France. So, you can have the best cover for hospital and nothing for glasses. Feel free to contact me for a free quote. You will be surprised to know that we are usually much cheaper than all those specialised ‘British expat health insurances’. And, we can do the cancellation for you. We also do ACS contracts.

5. www.ameli.fr This is the website of the French Health System. Yes, it is in French but it is full of useful information. You can use the simulator to find out if you are entitled to CMU and ACS. You can download your reimbursement and you can ask for your attestation de droits (proof of cover). This document is often asked by insurers to give you access to top-up health insurance. If you don’t speak any French at all, there is an Englishspeaking phone line created by the French health system to answer all your questions: 08 11 36 36 46. Feel free to contact me if you require further information on any of the above or to get a free quote for top-up health insurance. Don’t hesitate either to contact me for any other subjects such as funeral cover, inheritance law, car, house, professional and top up health insurance. And check out our website www.bh-assurances.fr for my previous articles on the ‘Practical Pages’ of the English site. N° Orias 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec Contact Isabelle Want: Tel: 05 45 31 01 61 Mob: 06 17 30 39 11 Email: isabelle.want@bh-assurances.fr Visit our website: www.bh-assurance.fr


Market Headlines

by Sue Cook

As I am writing this, David Cameron is in Brussels speaking to the EU Parliament ahead of the EU summit later this week. If he gets what he asked for, a referendum could be called for June this year leading to a time of uncertainty for UK ex-pats living in Europe. How this will affect the markets is anyone’s guess but highlights the fact that it pays to have a good relationship with your dealer if you are needing to transfer money over the coming months. Although dealers are not allowed to advise, they do watch the markets constantly and have a good idea of what will affect the markets and to what extent.

Poor Growth Figures for Japan Official government statistics for Japan released poor growth figures on Monday, showing that the Japanese economy for the last quarter of 2015 contracted 0.4% against quarter 3. Japan has struggled with inflation issues for nearly 20 years, largely depending on domestic consumption as Export figures are notoriously low. The Bank of Japan are doing all they can to weaken the JPY in the hope it will spark mass exportation of local products.

Here are just some of the headlines brought to our attention today by Lee Chappell, one of our corporate dealers.

Draghi Hints at Expansion of Quantitative Easing

Mario Draghi hinted at an expansion of the quantitative easing programme in March. This currently stands at €60bn of assets being purchased each month by the ECB. The Eurozone has seen weaker manufacturing numbers, economic uncertainty, frail equity Bank prices and lower Commodity prices. This has led to Mario Draghi stating that he “Would not hesitate to act”.

US Economy Stagnating?

The Sales Manager Index Survey suggests that the US economy is now stagnating. February’s figures of 50.8 were lower than January’s 51.1. This is a lot closer to the 50 mark than investors would like. This data would appear to back up Janet Yellen’s last speech, where she suggested that interest rates will now be left unchanged for the foreseeable future.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 47


Ask Amanda

“Looking ahead, what can we expect from the current volatility in the stock markets, reduced oil prices and the fear of Brexit?

These are questions I see circulating a lot on social media at the moment and can cause concern without some background information explaining the economic and political situation. We have just returned from our annual Spectrum Conference. This year 30 advisers headed to the stunningly beautiful city of Venice. My colleague Peter Brook, from the Cote d’Azure, has produced the following datasheet and I thought it worth sharing: With two days set aside for the discussion of global markets and other financial changes and issues, our conference was very well timed. From the start of 2016, stock markets had fallen between 8 and 15% and Brent Crude Oil was down 20%. So could we come back from this conference with a view on whether this highly volatile trend was to continue and was this really the end of the world? Well... yes we could. We are very fortunate to be part of a company large enough to access the resources from some of the biggest and best names in our business and they all presented fairly similar views on where we are and where we might be going, and they can all be summarised by looking at 3 main trends and a few smaller issues: OIL, CHINA, INTEREST RATES and then EMPLOYMENT and BREXIT... so with enormous thanks to companies like Blackrock, Henderson Global Investors, Jupiter, Kames Capital, Rathbones and Tilney Bestinvest, let’s try and look at how these might affect us all. • If you believe that there is a global recession around the corner... then sell everything and stay in cash! – We don’t! • Is this like 2008? NO, but we could talk ourselves into it! The Global Macro scene is not that bad. • Markets will now move to looking at ‘growth’ rather than being ‘policy’ led like from 2009 to 2015. (E.g. Quantitive Easing ‘QE’ etc.) • GDP growth is at its strongest since 2010. • Divergence is increasing around the world (i.e. end of QE in US, but increase of QE in Europe).

THE MAIN ISSUES:

China: The bulk of the slowdown is now behind us, in fact China have been doing exactly what we, as the developed world, have been asking them to do for the last few years... i.e. devaluing their currency and switching to a new ‘consumption based economy’ – this all makes good economic sense BUT their communication has been poor and the ‘fiddling’ in their stock markets has not been appreciated. The economic growth rate is stabilising and as the ‘new’ tech lead, consumer economy becomes greater therefore slowdown in the ‘old’ commodity heavy manufacturing economy will matter less to the overall rate. 4 – 6% GDP growth per year is realistic for the foreseeable future... it’s still a very good growth rate, especially for the biggest economy in the world. When China was growing at 12%, it was 1/5th of the size it is now... the relative amount of GDP in real terms is significantly greater now than it was then... the headline rate, might be just that... a headline in a newspaper but the over-reaction to the inevitable slowdown has been pronounced. OIL: massive sell off through 2015... Not due to a drop in demand but due to oversupply... The break-even cost of extraction has dropped from $110 per barrel in 2011 to $34 per barrel now, so the US can afford lower prices for longer. Some countries must keep production high just to maintain some revenues; they can’t afford to stop, even at these low prices. ... This is becoming a ‘who blinks first’ situation and is all about power and geopolitics rather than normal market influences.

48 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016

Low oil prices can help consumption-lead economies (New china, US, Europe etc). INTEREST RATES: Not this year’s problem as rate changes don’t affect the economy for 12 to 24 months. The market is pricing in for at least two more US rate rises.... there is now less consensus opinion on whether this is now correct. Policy on rates is diverging across the world, US and UK increase, EU stable but with lots of QE and EM likely to decrease. The best environment for equity market growth is when rates are rising AND growth is rising BUT rising interest rates can mean more stock market volatility as well.

Other Issues:

EMPLOYMENT: conditions are right for wage growth, especially in the US, where unemployment has fallen faster than expected. If wage growth comes through then individuals tend to spend rather than save (unlike companies) and this can lead to price inflation and further growth. BREXIT: don’t believe the hype... if UK votes to leave the EU then there will still be 2 years of protracted negotiations as to how they leave. There are major concerns for the Finance Industry which is one of the UK’s biggest industries and cross border regulation AFTER leaving the EU could have very deep effects. SOFT BREXIT or a HARD BREXIT: both lead to different scenarios playing out. Likely to be greater volatility in UK markets and GBP in the run up to the referendum but no specific trend either way. OVERALL STRATEGY: CONCENSUS from the experts: 1. Still preference for allocation to EQUITIES 2. Probably add in more ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS or ABSOLUTE RETURN STRATEGIES over more in bonds. 3. EMERGING MARKETS not ready – JUST YET!!! 4. GOLD could be a good small hedge 5. USD to remain strong So overall, as a member of the Spectrum Fund committee, an investor myself and an adviser to my clients, I feel that the world isn’t over and it isn’t 2008 again. There are good shoots of growth in many markets and even with the ‘slow down’ in China they are still the major engine for growth across the world. Many companies (and this is after all what we are interested in as investors) are healthy still (especially in Europe) and look to be reasonable value. 2016 is going to be volatile but we will make it through and there could be some surprises along the way. Peter Brooke

You can ask us any questions you have, either via “Ask Amanda” or by attending our March, Le Tour de Finance roadshow in Poitiers. 9th March 2016 at Chateau Le Clos de la Ribaudiere. 10 Rue du Champ de Foire 86360, Chasseneuil du Poitou The event starts at 10.00am and ends at 2.00pm (see advert on P.47) Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. With Care, You Prosper. Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lausanne, Paris, Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Mallorca, Rome. «The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 «Société de Courtage d’assurances» R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - www.orias.fr «Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Fin

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


Property

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016 | 49


Where Once Pilgrims Trod.....

by Joanna Leggett

B

ack in the Middle Ages, Deux-Sèvres was very much ‘on’ the beaten track as pilgrims walked to Compostela following the route of St James. Indeed, English ‘tourism’ started back as early as 1092; a century later it became highly organised, continuing until the Black Death and other world shattering events made such travel inadvisable! As penance, or to gain ‘credit’ for heaven, pilgrims followed various routes down to the Spanish Border. Two linked at Poitiers, where pilgrims from Mont Saint Michel joined those from the northerly route. Back then Santiago de Compostela in Galicia was rich in scallops and to wear the shell showed you’d made the pilgrimage; the routes were marked by scallop signs which you can still find – for instance carved along the walls of medieval alleyways in Melle.

In Coulonges-surl’Autize, a remarkable renovated historic priory (Leggett: 38110, photo left) provides the most amazing business opportunity very much on today’s tourist track. Boasting 18 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, back in the 12th and 13th centuries it played host to many pilgrims! A prize winning renovation saw the restoration of original stone buildings retaining features such as an outside staircase to the 12th century arched cellar where an underground passage entrance can still be seen! The main accommodation has four bedrooms, in addition there are four rental units, B&B rooms and a restaurant. Set in 20 hectares it’s on the market for 1,155,000€. The Knights Templar were also very active here. Mazières-enGâtine is a beautiful hamlet set in the countryside where one of their stone buildings still stands some 800 years or so later. Here we have a pretty four bedroom traditional Poitevin longère (Ref: 57939) in good condition with pond, garden, land and garage for sale for an exceptional 147,150€. But for a real bargain how about part of a former Convent (Ref: 44817, photo left) in the lovely town of La Mothe St Héray – immaculate on the inside its waiting for someone to move in – and it’s on the market for just 61,000€!

Each of these properties provide modern day comfort – a far cry from days gone by! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents. com/poitou-charentes-property

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Leggett Immobilier www.frenchestateagents.com

50 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, March 2016


'The Deux-Sèvres Monthly' magazine March 2016  

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

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