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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 63 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

Well, I thought April showers only happened in the UK! What a wet and chilly April we’ve had. Now it’s May and hopefully the DeuxSevres’ reputation of being one of France’s sunniest departments will be proved...I certainly hope so, everything’s growing so slowly! I love the sunshine and hope to get out and about visiting events this month (including Reel Fish and Chips’ first appearance in Secondigny ) We have another bumper edition for you this month with all of our regular columns, what’s going on to entertain you and much more. For those who like a bit of cultural history, check out our main feature on the magnificent Apocalypse and Bayeaux Tapestries just amazing! This month also brings with it the burden of the dreaded tax return, help and is available in this edition should you need it. We also have lots of other advice and information throughout as usual. I hope you have sun-filled May and enjoy the bank holidays! Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: Website:

à plus, Sarah

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

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

This Month’s Advertisers

Abattage Service (Slaughter House) ABORDimmo Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AgriPelle (Plant/Machinery Purchase & Hire) 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) ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery Argo Carpentry Assurances Maucourt (GAN) Atelier J.M. Toledo (Rug Repairs & Cleaning) Beaux Villages Immobilier

4 6 10 11 14 16 19 20 22 28 32 34 38 41 48 53

27 53 39 2 44 44 26 46 50 46 55 36 43 39 34 55

BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 52 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 47 Blevins Franks Financial Management 51 Brian Fox (Web Designer) 33 Building & Renovation Services 41 Café Bonbon 25 Camping Courte de Vallée 25 Caniclôture Hidden Fences 17 Carlill-Strover Building 41 Chat-eau Cattery 16 Château du Pont Jarno Pépinière (Garden Centre) 34 Cherry Picker Hire 44 Chris Parsons (Heating, Electrical, Plumbing) 46 Chriss Bassett Construction 41 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey (Freelance Writer & Marketing Consultant) 48 CJ Electricité 43 Claudie Harpin, Capi France 55 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 47 Creature Comforts (Home Repair Service) 18 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 50 Darren Lawrence 42 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 36 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 47 Deano’s Bar & Grill 25 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 20 Derek Marriott Plumbing and Heating 46 Down to Earth Pool Design 53 Finagaz (Gas tank suppliers and installers) 46 Franglais Deliveries 39 Fresco Interiors 35 Ginger’s Kitchen 24 Go Go Bike Hire 7 Hallmark Electronique 43 Haynes Carpentry (U.P.V.C Double Glazing) 42 Helen Booth, deVere France 49 Home2bchic (Interior Design Services) 34 House Sitters 79 17 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 47 Irving Location - Digger Hire 45 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 45 James Moon Construction 45 Jeff’s Metalwork 43 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 39 John Spray Maçonnerie 43 Julian Dor-Vincent (Farrier) 17 Keith Banks Pool Services 53 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 34 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 24 La Vendée Chippy 27 Leggett Immobilier 54 L’Emporium Shop, L’Absie 35 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 25 Lorraine Wallace (Health Coach in France) 20 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 41 ML Computers 33 Motor Parts Charente 39 M.Page Ladscaping 35 Mr Piano Man 12 MSS Construction 41 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 39 Needa Hand Services 36 Nicola Hancock - Agent Commerciale 53 O’Bistrot (Bar & Brasserie) 26 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 20 Paul Woods - Agent Commerciale 53 Plan 170 (Professional building plans) 41 Polar Express (Frozen Food Supplier) 24 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 53 Pure Heart Yoga Retreat 21 Quedubois (windows and doors) 42 Restaurant des Canards 26 Rob Berry Plastering Services 44 Robert Lupton Electrician 43 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 32 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 45 Satellite TV 33 Simon the Tiler 47 Simply Homes and Gardens 36 Smart Services (Home & Garden Services) 36 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 42 Steve Robin (Plumber) 47 Strictly Roofing 41 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 8 Tersannes Timber (Gates & Fencing) 36 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 39 Val Assist (Translation Services) 8 Your Local Gardener 36 Zumba Gold Classes 20

© Sarah Berry 2016. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock, GraphicStock et Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: mai 2016 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 3

What’s On...

WEEKLY EVENTS: Quizwitch Quiz - every Thursday pm At le Chaudron, 79320 Chatemerle 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 1st May - Fête des Plantes, Le Beugnon (79130) 7th May to 26th June - Commanderie des Antonins Le Patrimoine - an exhibition of photos of the heritage of village life in the Deux-Sèvres by Regis Bernet and Howard Needs. Also an exhibition on stone buildings of the middle ages. Saint Marc la Lande, Wednesday to Sunday 11am-7pm. 12th May - Pause! Café Trader’s Day At Pause! Café, L’Absie, 2pm-5pm. Books, jewellery, cushions, crafts etc plus new this month: seasonal plants and Naked Curry. 13-15th May - 3 day Hope Booksale At Clussaia la Pommeraie. See advert on P.16. 14th May - Garden Centre Open Day At Château du Pont Jarno, near Secondigny. 10am-4pm. See advert on P.34 for more details. 14th May - Grumpy’s “You’re Not Here to Have Fun” Quiz At St Gemme 8pm. Email for more details 17th May - Scottish Country Dancing in Secondigny 18th-29th May - f-STOP Photographic Exhibition In the Old Chapel, Vouvant See P.13 for more details. 20th May - A Taste of the Litfest Coffee morning with a taster of the St Clèmentin bilingual literary festival. At 10am-11am Bibliothèque Anglophone, 60 rue Boisnet 49100 Angers. 20th May - Avant Gout du Littfête Taster of the St Clémentin bilingual literary festival. From 5pm6pm at the bibliothèque, 14 Place de Saint-Melaine, 79250 Nueil-les-Aubiers. 20-29th May - Musiques en Gâtine. 20th May - UK Beer Promo At Café Bonbon, La Chapelle-aux-Lys. See advert on P.25 for details. 20th May - Canards Pub Quiz At Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.26 for info. 21st May - Phoenix Chorale Spring Concert In Taize-Aize at 5pm - followed by a vin d’honnour 21st May - Dinner & Disco in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres 3 course dinner with excellent vegetarian alternative, plus disco 20€. Raffle and Books for sale. 7pm start at Le Lion d’Or restaurant, St Hilaire de Voust. Contact Cheryl 05 49 74 24 69. See ad P.7 25th May - Book and Coffee Afternoon At 45 rue de Bois Baudron, 79100 Mauzé Thouarsais. 2-4pm 28th May - Indian Night At Café Bonbon, La Chapelle-aux-Lys at 7.30pm. See advert on P.25 28th & 29th May - Circuit Ouverture d’Ateliers d’Artistes Autize In Egray, see P.7 for more information.

What’s Coming Up... 3-5th June - Rendez-vous aux jardins 12th June - Pastyfest and Garden Fête In aid of Association Galia. See advert on P.7 18th & 19th June - Exhibition at Mouilleron Saint Germain To commemorate it’s 70+ dead in WW1 and the 150th Anniversary of the Fire Station, the small town of Mouilleron Saint Germain have organised a free exhibition. To have exhibits or postcards of WW1, or to participate in preparations for the event contact or 24th-26th June - St Clémentin Bilingual Literary Festival 25th-26th June - 11th Grand Prix Automobile Historique, Bressuire


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

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

May 2016 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, hold English speaking monthly services. 1st Sunday at 10.30am: At Chef Boutonne. Followed by tea & coffee. • 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay • 4th Sunday at 10.30am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea & coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch. A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website or contact us by email:

Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71 The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15 ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. 1st & 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd & 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: 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

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

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2016

COVER PHOTO The Hoopoe, Upupa epops is one of those wonderful birds that, if you’re lucky enough, you will get to see in the area. Notable for its distinctive ‘crown’ of feathers, it is a colourful bird and is the only surviving species in the Upupidae family.

Sunday 1st May Thursday 5th May Sunday 8th May

Labour Day (Fête du Travail) Ascension Day (Ascension) Victory in Europe Day (Fête de la Victoire)

Monday 16th May

Pentacost (Lundi de Pentecôte)

Thursday 14th July Monday 15th August

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

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

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

Sunday 15th May

Pentacost (Pentecôte)

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

Like the Latin name upupa, the English name is an onomatopoeic form which imitates the cry of the bird. And did you know that the hoopoe is the national bird of Israel?

Mother’s Day (Fête des Mères) Father’s Day (Fête des Pères) World Music Day (Fête de la Musique)

Sunday 2nd October Monday 31st October

Cover Photo taken by Dave Lowe, part of the Pommiers Photography Group.

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

Dates in blue represent celebration days, not public holidays.

Celebrating our 10th Year! Reel Fish & Chips

Mr T’s Friterie

Open 6.30-9pm


(See our website for venue details)

4th & 18th Etusson 5th La Coudre 6th La Chapelle Thireuil 20th La Fosse de Tigne 21st Massais 27th St Martin de Sanzay 28th Secondigny Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 -

With regular venues at: • • •

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

St Hilaire de Villefranche 17770

St Jean d’Angély 17400

Find Us at the Hope Book Sale: 13th, 14th & 15th May 10am - 4pm at Clussais-la-Pommeraie See for details or call 06 02 22 44 74

Open 6-8.30pm Fish 4 Chip + Authentic Indian meals

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: This month we are not at the,‘Le Marmiton’, 85120 Antigny Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 -

Top Hat Quiz & Curry

Mondays: Tuesdays: Wednesdays: Thursdays: Fridays:

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20 -

From 7pm PLEASE DON’T FORGET TO MENTION ‘THE DSM’ when responding to an article or advert...

Dates & Venues for MAY: 2nd: 5th: 9th: 11th:

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

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Theil Rabier Aigre

Thank You

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 - more info at

HOW ARE WE DOING? Do you enjoy reading ‘The DSM’? Would you like to see something new? How can we improve? Please send us your FEEDBACK to: or add a REVIEW on our Facebook page. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 5

Getting Out & About


In the afternoon you can stroll round the village of St Clémentin in the company of the ‘incomparable’ John Hudson on a poetry trail to appreciate the evolution of this archetypal French village.


A variety of local and regional authors present crime fiction, historical fiction, the story of Queen Isabella of Angouleme, and the 100 years’ war. We are delighted to welcome back Ian Mathie with his fascinating saga of life in an African village.


If circle dancing and story-telling take your fancy, then join the charming Chloé Martinez for a traditional French experience.


Finally why not complete the afternoon with a wine-tasting?

Musical Soirée at the Litfest: Saturday 25th June The organisers have been working really hard (honestly!) But we did manage a day off in Chinon, hosted by Les Amuse Bouches, who will perform songs by the ‘pop poets’ at the Musicale Soirée, Chez Didier on Saturday night 25th June. Booking essential.



Saturday morning at 11.15am special guest Lemn Sissay (MBE) reads from his poetry collections during a Q & A session with BBC presenter Roisin McAuley. Lemn Sissay is a lyrical genius, direct, fierce and funny - an inspirational ambassador who travels all over the world highlighting in particular the plight of those brought up in institutions. The exciting Monkseaton Morris Men (all the way from Whitley Bay) perform their world famous Rapper Sword Dance in the main square at lunchtime.

These are just some of the sessions you can attend on Saturday the 25th June. For more information, check out the full threeday programme on

Follow us...

Facebook: Stclementinlitfest and Twitter: @StClemlitfest

or Join the LitFest team!

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, May 2016

Circuit d’ouverture d’ateliers d’artistes Autize – Egray 2016 During the weekend of 28th & 29th May twenty artists (painters, photographers and sculptors) in 7 communes open their studios to the public. You can find them in St Pompain, Coulonges, Béceleuf, Puihardy, Ste Ouenne, Fenioux and Le Retail. All of the studios will be open from 10am - 12noon and 2pm-7pm. You will find leaflets with a map of the circuit, addresses of the artists and photos of their works in the mairies, bars and shops in the various communes. If you would like to meet the artists there is a vernissage, apéro concert at the restaurant ‘l’Edelweiss’ in Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. A glass of wine is offered and there will be a meal at 14€. Please reserve in advance for the meal (tel: 05 49 06 17 49). There is also an exhibition of a work of each artist at the Hall’Expo on the first floor of the bibliothèque in Coulonges-surl’Autize from 19th May to 30th June; open Tuesday and Saturday morning. The circuit is organised by the association Art’Musements in Béceleuf. The Présidente will send a leaflet by email on request, please email:

The Royal British Legion Bookstore (Parthenay) Now open Thousands of books (new and used) all priced at 1€ each Small selection of CD's, DVD's and vinyl records Tea & Coffee The Bookstore is located on the main D938 Saint Maixent road between Parthenay and Pompaire. Look for the red Poppy sign. Open Mondays and Thursdays 10am to 5pm Contact Alan Rowlands on 05 49 95 54 59 or by email: All proceeds go to the Poppy Appeal.

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

thedeuxsevresmonthly The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 7


Vide-Greniers by Sue Burgess

«vide-greniers» is a car boot sale. It is a popular event during which private individuals «particuliers» display things that they don’t need any more or which are superflous «superflu» and sell them to visitors. The vendors «vendeurs» are often called «exposants». Different objects are proposed «vêtements» (clothes), «livres» (books), «vaisselle» (crockery), «jouets» (toys), «disques» (records), «meubles» (pieces of furniture). You can also find : • «vide-armoire» or «vide-dressing» a sale of clothes and clothing accessories. • «vide-maison» because it is held in a garage or a garden of a private house and not on a public highway or square. A «vide-maison» must be declared at the town hall «Mairie». • «vide-poussette» for children’s clothes and baby things. • «Vide-greniers» are different from «brocantes» because the latter are essentially stalls held by professionals. • There is a similar phenomena on internet which is commonly called a «vide-dressing». This is a site or platform where people can sell mainly clothing and accessories. In France the name «vide-greniers» comes from the fact that the sellers are supposed to sell things taken out of their attic «grenier». In Quebec you can find «ventes de garage» from the American garage sales. A «marché aux puces» (flea market) is an open air market which does not sell food stuffs. It is often held weekly. Like in Saint Ouen near Paris, it is often called “Les Puces”. «Les marché aux puces» are often frequented by collectors «des collectionneurs» and the objects are often very old and are worth more. Some flea markets are therefore closer to «les marchés aux antiquités» (antique markets) and sell things which are over a hundred years old and of higher value.

ht ht

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire: braderie ......................................... jumble sale,clearance sale foire aux puces .............................. flea market foire à tout..................................... hotchpotch troc................................................. exchange chiner.............................................

to bargain hunt

un chineur...................................... a bargain hunter un collectionneur .......................... collector une bourse d’échange.................... exchange faire du troc.................................... to barter marchander...................................

to drive a bargain

faire une affaire.............................. get a great deal/a bargain faire baisser le prix......................... beat down the price Quel est votre dernier prix?..........

What’s your best price?

Quelle est votre meilleure offre?..

What’s your best offer?

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

‘The DSM’ Advertiser Feedback...

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

bric-à-brac ..................................... white elephant

MAY and ‘Les Calendriers Des Mois Romane’


by Howard Needs

ooking through my collection of calendriers I find 14 of the month of May – more than most months probably due to the usual position of the painting high up on the arches thus avoiding destruction human or other wise - all depicting, with one possible exception, horses. Closer examination shows hunting birds and riders with branches or trees associated and there is of course an explanation for this. One root for the name May is from the Greek goddess Maia who identifies with the Roman goddess of fertility Bona Dea celebrated in May; another is the Latin maiores for elders or aristocrats. (June coming from iuniores or young people - juniors perhaps). If we take the Latin root then we find an explanation for the horsemen with falcons and sometimes in plate or chain armour depending on the period – they represent the nobility rather than the peasant as in the rest of the months.

Photo above : Église Notre-Dame, Vieux-Pouzauges, Vendée. © Howard Needs

Photo above left: Église Notre-Dame, Clairavaux, Creuse. Above right: Église Sainte-Feyre, Saint-Feyre, Creuse. © Howard Needs

If we seek further in manuscripts we find young men courting and using tree branches as symbol of love and by implication fertility. I have one, maybe, depicting this in my church calendriers. The north portal of the cathedral of Amiens with its sculptured zodiac and calendrier shows what I would describe as a noble figure sitting back surrounded by trees and branches – again a fertility figure. However if we return to falconry; this was an activity of the nobility introduced in the west of Europe by Germanic peoples in the II -IV cents. Falconry was an expensive activity and was a way of exhibiting wealth; it also formed part of the training of a young man, a squire on his road to knighthood – a chevalier. Usually a falcon was used for hunting water birds but not, curiously enough, in May which is a moulting period for the falcon and is also the nesting period for the prey and hunting was avoided in this period. However there were fertility celebrations in May in which the nobility traditionally took part showing off their expensive hunting birds and so the church calendriers show the falconers on horse back as the symbol for May being thus a fertility symbol.

My favourite May painting is in the church at Vieux-Pouzauges (photo above). Here, as everywhere, time, moisture and people have destroyed much but there is a beautiful series of paintings of the life of Anna and Joachim and their daughter Maria and there is also the remains of a calendrier of which May is the best preserved painting. At first sight seen in the dimness of the church it is a typical May painting with a knight in chain mail with a Norman pointy shield leading a horse. Examination of the photo shows also a young (we presume) woman holding a looking glass but, no falcon. The first time I saw this I had not noticed the looking glass and my imagination filled in a scene of a knight departing to war, perhaps the crusades, saying farewell to his lady love or perhaps to his wife who would be chatelaine of his castle and property during the years he would be away. And so I arrive at Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his two historical novels The White Company and Sir Nigel. Sir Nigel tells the tale of Nigel Loring a young nobleman who becomes the squire (and later after heroic deeds, Sir Nigel) of Sir John Chandos, famous in this region. Both Nigel and his wife to be, Lady Mary, were full of the notion of knight errantry and chivalric honour and he promised her three noble deeds before he should return to her and it is that parting that I had in mind when I first saw the month of May in Vieux Pouzauges. However later researching indicated that perhaps the lady and her mirror represented either lust or pride - one of the seven deadly sins - but I prefer my vision of the fond farewell. Whatever, the mirror remains a mystery and it certainly does not fit in with the traditional iconography of the church calendriers.

More next month...

CONTRIBUTIONS... We are always looking for new articles for consideration in future issues. Photo above left: Église Saint-Martin, Lignières-de-Touraine, Indre et Loire. Above right: Église Saint-Aigan, Brinay, Chere © Howard Needs

You can call Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 with any ideas, or send them on an email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthlyfr The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 9

Take a Break

DSM Toughie Crossword Across: 1. Familiar boots are fine, that is, given direction.... (7) 5. .... and directions needed to get block info farm buildings (5) 8. Gives a ball-park figure for times teas will be prepared (8) 9. Panic around vehicle transporter! (3) 10. Sport fish tossed around for teacher (5) 12. NH exchange, not done in good spirit, but was done in a rush (7) 13. Lobber sat them together oddly and attacker not detected (7,6) 15. Foe had a permutation to get out in front (5,2) 17. Heading south with Caesar’s fatal warning for teams (5) 19. Bread maker missing from underground line left the card game (3) 20. Great Nero, amazingly, was able to whip up power (9) 22. The lady with a record of wool producing facility (5) 23. “Mother and Child Reunion”, a favourite on the farm? (3,4)

Down: 1. Elegant and stylish (4) 2 Remove the outer cover of (6) 3. Arch of hairs on the forehead (7) 4. Make a claim against; blame for (6) 5. A light informal meal (5) 6. Cause to run off the tracks (6) 7. Climbing plant (8) 12. A hired worker (8) 14. Draw to; entice (7) 16. A long journey by ship (6) 18. Full of high-spirited delight (6) 19. Set off on 16 down (6) 20. Appeal or request earnestly (5) 23. What children play with (4)

Down: 1. Unsettled weather, without any hesitation, can produce a cereal (5) 2. Married to a pillar of society? (3) 3. Going on forever, timeless in fact, but uiltimately wrong (7) 4. A way to take stock on the farm, but not make a decision? (3,2,3,5) 5. Drug found in fish centres (5) 6. Journalist following leg on sports ground was able to get up again (9) 7. Foreign spy with rare adaptation of farm machinery (7) 13. Attack Dawson with a knife in the outbuildings? (7) 14. See ex-pupil over badly written verse (7) 16. Unearth retreating solder hiding

in short cake! (3,2)

18. Replacement given credit, but farmer needs to be clear this first (5) 21. Drink causes a hold-up on the golf course, we are told? (3)

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

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

1) Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill parts 1 & 2 were written and directed by who?

8) Which American singer/actor had a horse called Trigger and a dog called Bullet?

2) A league is usually equal to what distance?

9) Which annual sporting event takes place on the last Saturday in March or the first Saturday in April on the Thames between Putney and Mortlake?

3) Which town in North West England is home to the celebrated mint cake? 4) Which English comic actor starred in Porridge and Open All Hours? 5) Which English food company, originally based in Norwich, is most famous for its mustard? 6) Which Scottish poet wrote ‘To a Mouse’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’? 7)

Which English footballer, b.Gateshead 1967; began his professional career at Newcastle Utd 1985? He also played for Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio and Glasgow Rangers, made 57 appearances for England 1988 to 1998 and was BBC SPOTY in 1990.

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

10) In snooker, which ball is worth 3 points? 11) Which non-alcoholic drink has been associated with the Wimbledon Tennis Championship since 1928? 12) Which American cyclist won the Tour de France 7 times but was stripped of his titles for drug irregularities? Finally what connects your 12 answers, assuming you have 12 correct answers? Copyright RJS 2016

Answers on P.44 and our website:

DSM Easy Crossword Across: 8. Sweet yellow liquid (5) 9. Prevent from being seen (7) 10. Arctic deer (7) 11. Something believed to bring good luck (5) 12. Distinguished oneself (8) 13. A long narrow opening (4) 15. Small coastal inlet (4) 17. Worried and uneasy (8) 21. Steadfast in allegiance or duty (5) 22. A skilled performer of gymnastic feats (7) 24. Carve, cut or etch into a surface (7) 25. Hair style (5)

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

Plot Check


ithout plot and character your story would fall into a formless heap on the floor like a body without a skeleton. In some stories such as thrillers or crime, plot drives the story; in others, like romance, contemporary or literary fiction, it’s the personal and internal character development that predominates. But whatever genre your story fits or crosses, there are certain common elements that give your story appeal. 1. Hook Early on in the story there should be something that hooks the reader – a problem or quest that has many twists and turns. It doesn’t have to be as dramatic as a body discovered in the canal, but could be as simple as being forced to invite your estranged sister to stay, or whether to answer an unexpected letter. The main thing is to make the reader curious to know more. 2. Elemental Down in our Stone Age ‘lizard’ brains lurk deep emotional sensors that feed off stark questions – plenty/starvation, fear/joy, life/ death, sex/frustration, hunter/hunted. If you can tune into these basic animal drives, you will reach readers at the visceral level. 3. Turning points Stories have to move up and down or they become tedious. ‘He did this, then he did that’ is just describing one event after another and does not a gripping story make! Classically, these turning points are moments where bad goes to worse; but they can be triumphs or breakthroughs, even if it all turns sour afterwards. Their chief function is to introduce an event that disorientates the plot and sends it off in a different direction. Turning points move the story on, eliminating the dreaded saggy middle. 4. Coherence The plot should have a theme or idea that glues the whole story together so the reader feels that everything in your story flows. Sometimes the theme doesn’t emerge until you’ve finished the first draft. Typical themes are love conquers all, redemption, empowerment, good triumphs over bad. 5. Purpose What is the point of your book and how does the plot achieve that? Does your book illustrate an idea or have a message? Is it an examination of a human dilemma? Is it a story written to entertain? The purpose of your book will guide how the plot unfolds. My books are thrillers primarily written to entertain readers, but I’m also speculating about how a world run on egalitarian/feminist lines could work; my secondary purpose is to make readers think about this. 6. Change The best plots contain change and a sense of journey. The main character should learn something and change as a consequence and that change should be bound up in the plot. An easy measure of this is to ask what the main character loses and wins. Something has to go, be it a character, attachment or hindrance, and something should be gained such as understanding, a lost love or new love, the revelation of a secret, buried treasure, or just ease and contentment. So work out your plot, but keep these six points in mind and you will have a story which will ensure your reader keeps turning those pages.

YOUR Book Reviews

Huge thanks go to Patricia Mc Avoy and Beryl Brennan for this month’s great book reviews. If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email:

‘The Lost Boy’ by Camilla Lackberg When I feel like reading a good psychological thriller I will often turn to this writer. Set in Sweden, her novels are well written, have a consistently interesting story line and her characters are well rounded and believable. She can have the occasional cut out of cardboard type but that happens in real life too. A Lost Boy begins with a young mother and her son seeking refuge on a small island where she grew up. A place referred to by locals as Ghost Island because, some centuries earlier, a group of people mysteriously disappeared. A childhood sweetheart hears of her arrival, visits and spends the night. Later his body is found. Meanwhile another woman and her two children who have been relocated by a society which assists women escape from abusive relationships, is fearful and decides to leave their place of sanctuary. On mainland Sweden, a new luxurious hotel is opened. These two events are also connected to the murdered man. Though they knew little of him, all acquainted with him, regarded him fondly. When he is connected to a drug find, the situation changes. While the officer in charge wants to look no further, others wish to dig further. All is solved in the end but perhaps not as expected. A good read. by P. Mc Avoy

‘Me Before You’ by JoJo Moyes A story about love – a mother’s love for her son, friendship love, love of life – and about the choice to end that life. Injuries sustained as a result of a serious motor cycle accident take away Will’s desire to live. He plans to travel to Switzerland to end it but, after pressure from his mother, he agrees to put it on hold for 6 months. Enter Lou, determined to change his mind about exercising that right and to prove to him that life as a quadriplegic is worth living. Be prepared to laugh and shed tears as you follow Lou’s efforts to convince him.

by B.Brennan

Are you a bit of a Bookworm? If you are an avid reader and would like to share your book reviews with us, we would love to publish them! Please send to us by email:

Alison will be speaking at the St Clémentin Littfête 24-26 June - Do come and say hello. Reviews should be 150-200 words long.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 11

Did you know that advert costs include a free design Service?

FILMS IN ENGLISH There are cinemas in our department which show films in their original language. Marked as ‘VO’ (version originale), these films can be seen at a selection of locations. Use the websites here to check your local cinema for screenings.



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

Plenty of laughs and tension in this month’s picks, which will offer an entertaining alternative to the noise of blockbuster season!


CRIMINAL (4th May)

A hit comedy from the UK loosely based on the story of Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards (Taron Egerton), who became the unlikely star of the 1988 Olympics having qualified for the ski jumping events despite next to no training. Hugh Jackman plays his American coach in a movie that takes liberties with the truth but has a whole lot of heart, mainly thanks to a witty script and chemistry between the two leads. If you love feel-good comedies like ‘Cool Runnings’, you’ll love this!

Kevin Costner gets gritty in this thriller, playing a death row convict given the memories and knowledge of a dead CIA agent (Ryan Reynolds) in order to stop a terrorist organisation. Despite an excellent cast that includes Gal Gadot, Gary Oldman and Tommy Lee Jones, this is an absolutely disastrous mess of cliches, flawed dialogue and a story that gets progressively more ludicrous. It’s been a long time since Costner was the international star we knew him as, and from the look of his latest role it will be a while before he is again!

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

Visual Arts Exhibition in Vouvantby Helen Tait-Wright

From 18th May the f-Stop Photographic Group will be hosting an exhibition in Vouvant. Group members Martin Fowler, Patricia Goode, Nicola Payne, David Saxton and Helen Tait Wright will present individual displays of their work under the generic theme ‘My World’, which will result in a varied and interesting collection of photographs and presentation styles for visitors to enjoy. Individual themes include wood, coastal textures and Moroccan colours. The group will also present a small selection of work from the late William A Foster, a prolific photographer and printmaker who used many specialised photographic techniques to produce his work. These include Gum Bichromatic, Fresson, Kallitype and Palladium printing. The exhibition will take you on a journey through some of these techniques using images from one shoot. He was also a great product, fashion and portrait photographer who worked extensively in London in the late 60s and early 70s and examples of this aspect of his work will also be shown. Joining the group are Sebastien Momot, a pastel artist who specialises in portraiture and Yves Airaud, a sculptor and member of Arts-Métiss in Saint-Mesmin.

Photo top: ‘Trees’ by Martin Fowler © M. Fowler 2016; Pastel portrait left by Sebastien Momot. © S. Momot 2016

Sebastien started working in pastel in 2009 and finds the infinite range of colours that he can achieve produces portraits full of expression and emotion.

18th - 29th May 2016 Free Entry Email:

Exposition d’Arts Visuels will be held in the old chapel adjacent to the church in the centre of Vouvant

EYE IN THE SKY (11th May)

SISTERS (11th May)

Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman (in his final onscreen role) star in a war drama surrounding a modern day military drone attack. Those in charge of the mission face an awful dilemma when a child enters the area the Colonel in charge (Mirren) is planning to bomb. Taking the perspective of those who make the decisions during warfare, this is an unusually complex drama that asks questions both of its characters and its audience. As you would expect, Mirren is superb in the lead and it’s a fitting farewell for as talented a star as Rickman.

Two of comedy’s biggest stars, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, team up in this comedy about a straight laced divorcee (Poehler) who clashes with her wild sister (Tina Fey) when confronted with the prospect of clearing out their childhood home. A predictable comedy is given a likeable spin thanks to the sheer energy of the two stars, who are hilarious together on-screen and throw all their energy into the action. While far from either of their finest moments, it’s a comedy that will keep you chuckling until the credits roll! Release dates are nationwide in France.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 13

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

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:

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. RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: or Tel 05 46 95 38 39 Website Short URL:

The Phoenix Chorale

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


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

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:

Les Amis Solitaires

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


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email: Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Membership Secretary Michele Hansford for joining details. Email: Tel. 05 49 64 21 63. THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:

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

Franglais at Bressuire

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.


Grumpy’s Celebrated ‘You’re Not Here to Have Fun Quiz Night’ is looking for new victims. For all details contact me by email: Next Quiz is Sat 14th May in Ste.Gemme

Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay

AL-ANON Support Group

TTL Photography Group

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.

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

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).


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:

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

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.

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or visit

Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)


by Terri Laverick

hat can I say? May is here again. I’ve just, in the last hour, got home from a holiday in the Netherlands and realised that I had to get typing very quickly to meet this month’s deadline. So here goes....

This month’s quiz is being held on the 16th, in the Salle Allauna in the centre of St Pardoux. We commence the inquisition around 7pm, it depends if everyone is ready or not. There are prizes for winners, losers and also we have a children’s quiz prepared if necessary. We have questions for everyone, even I can answer some of them - mind you, I do have the answers! Please do join us. On the 8th May, Victory in Europe Day, members of CSSG meet in the Cafe du Theatre in Parthenay at about 10.30am for a coffee before joining the people of the town for their service of Remembrance. This is held at 11am in the Jardin Public. If you would like to join us, please do - we also have a drink afterwards (sometimes to warm us through if it’s a cool day). The CSSG Summer Fair/Market is looming ever closer. We still have a few vacancies for traders or anyone else who would like to join us with crafts etc to sell, contact details are at the end of the article. Remember the date for your diary - 10th July at Chambord, St Pardoux (3+1, Keynotes Choir and Reel Fish & Chips will be there). I’ve not been doing my rain dance recently, but I hope it will be a warm and sunny day so that you can come along and have some fun and spend lots of money. Remember, it’s all in aid of Charity.


by Kate Jouanneau

uartet’ by Ron Harwood was Reaction Theatre’s Spring production, showed last month and as usual, was really well received by our audience.

The characters that made up the cast were hilarious and allowed us a funny and witty insight into life after fame and fortune had gone south. The rich performance was cleverly put together by Margaret Round, who pulled out all the stops to make the spectators feel welcome at Beecham House - not only on the stage, but also by dressing the downstairs foyer of the theatre (and the front of house team) as a retirement home, along with mementos from the characters’ past that were sprinkled around for all to admire. For all those involved from the portrait artists, scenery painters and the Art Scene group, the cast and crew who rallied together to create a brilliant set, costumes and atmosphere, to the KeyNotes choir who kindly sang the fitting songs that went down splendidly for those who stayed behind after the show had finished; it was a fulfilling experience to be repeated. If you too found the shows a success and want to get involved in any of the three groups that made this production so enjoyable, then don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d love to have you on board. Even after all this hard work, Keynotes are already working to expand their repertoire with a variety of songs in both French and English and covering several different genres, from beautiful hymns to jazzy Broadway musicals. They will be performing at a number of venues this year, but you can catch them next on 10th July at the annual C.S.S.G. Summer Garden Party at Sue and John Blair’s, in Saint Pardoux. It’s a jolly affair and is an event we all enjoy participating in. Don’t forget to note it in your diaries.

Our next meeting is at 11am on 21st May, in the Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux. If you would like breakfast beforehand, please contact Joy who will be pleased to book you in. If you would like to join us, or help in any way, please contact me by email: or by telephone on 05 49 64 07 24.

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

The Art Scene is back in full swing too with a number of workshops organised. They will be studying famous artists and having craft courses this month that promise to be very enriching. They are also very lucky to have the guest artist Sylvia Chard visiting on 13th May to discuss and show the group how to draw or paint pets. If you’re interested in attending then further details can be found on the RT website or by contacting John Blair on email: As I mentioned in last month’s article, it was evident following a Burns’ Night in Le Beugnon in January that there was enthusiasm for some Scottish Country Dancing as a means of fun, as well as good exercise. So far, 32 energetic souls have put their names down. We are meeting in the foyer beneath the Petit Théâtre in Secondigny on Tuesday 17th May at 7.45 pm until 9.30 pm and will then plan other sessions depending on the survival rate. No experience is necessary... just be ready to have a go. If other members and friends of members want to train up for a ceilidh, email or call Tony on: or 05 49 64 06 14 For further views and news visit and don’t forget everyone is welcome to join.

Contact Kate Jouanneau on 06 77 51 55 16 Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 15

Our Furry Friends by Joyce Roberts

Calling Cat Lovers who are Looking for Luxury


’ve created a set of four enormous suites to spoil your cats, filled with everything that makes a cat happy: •

• • • • • •

Plenty of space and areas to explore in each room measuring over 10 metres square Sofas, a bed, a suitcase, a bed suspended from the beams, climbing units, a cat-sized tent and even trees up to the ceiling! A range of sleeping areas and look out perches from the beams above Toys, scratching posts, a rope bridge crossing the entire room Comfy chairs for lap time and crystal bowls for fresh water and meals A safe environment for only fully vaccinated cats Most importantly, plenty of love and affection lavished on your pets Total peace and solitude in the leafy countryside, far from traffic.

Contact me to arrange a viewing of my new luxurious set of 4 spacious suites, or to learn how to renovate old buildings in France. You may even want to come and spend the night at my B&B next door, to make a trip to the ferry easier. If you give me enough notice, I can check with my cats’ owners to get their permission for you to spend some time enjoying supervised interaction with my furry friends, as part of your tour, followed by homemade cake and tea or coffee.

“ Wonderful home from home for our spoilt cat. Joyce has created rooms designed for cats with soft furnishings for relaxing times and cat-friendly climbing features. Rufus really enjoyed the high places. The most impressive cat accommodation I have seen.

Call or text 06 44 10 20 34 ~ Email: 2 La Mariettere, 79240 Scillé


a 10 year old Border Collie Abandoned at the SPA when his owner moved house, Harry was so miserable that we couldn’t leave him there. He was taken into foster where he regained his joie de vivre and was soon adopted. Regretfully the new owners have decided that Harry cannot stay as their garden is not secure. A lively boy who, despite his age, loves and needs his daily walks. He would be great company for healthy, energetic owners who would engage his active mind and body. A fenced garden is a must. His thick coat will withstand all weathers but he will need regular grooming as well as the occasional bath. Harry is non-dominant, playful, would love the company of another dog and he is 100% with cats. Calm, quiet, gentle and sweet-natured, he loves cuddles, doesn’t bark much and can be left alone in the house without problems. Perfect out on walks, always obedient and brilliant off lead. Already chipped, neutered and vaccinated, Harry is the perfect, all round family dog! If you would like to meet him please contact his carer. Simonie – 07 81 40 17 40 or

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

We are Not from Another Planet, We are From the Future


by Marit de Haan, NALA

ow and why I became a vegan... Some people can’t understand nor accept that we won’t have animal products in our house. So let me explain. 

When I was little we lived happily in Belgium in a somewhat cosmopolitan environment. Every summer we went to the north of the Netherlands on holiday. We loved it there. There was an enormous contrast between the big city and the countryside. My grandfather and his wife had a dairy farm with Friesian cows, ancestors of the black and white Prim ‘Holstein that you can see around here in France.

Above left: me with a goat in my arms right: my little brother in front of a newly born calf

The birth of a calf was a great moment, an unforgettable experience, but on the other hand could also end up in a total nightmare. If it was a small male calf, the merchant came to take it away. I still remember it very well, being very, very angry with my parents, my grandfather and especially with the merchant. But “that’s how it is”, no explanation given. At that time (the 60s) this was totally normal. No questions asked. It’s only an animal. My big brother became a vegetarian when he was 15. We didn’t really understand why and we even made jokes about it. As for my husband and I, we became vegetarian a lot later, as a matter of fact only once we came to live in France. We were warmly welcomed by our neighbours and were invited to see their farms from the inside with chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits, quail, cows. Although they were all very proud of the care that they took of their animals, it was clear that they cared about the health of the animals only so far as it affected their production. It was clear from the smell of ammonia and the mess inside a chicken shed that the welfare of the animals wasn’t a consideration. Our turning point came when we rescued two little chicks from a broiler farm. So we stopped eating poultry. After that, it all went very fast. Because when you don’t eat poultry, how could you continue eating pigs and cows? We became aware of the concept of   Speciesism, which means that we were discriminating  against all farm animals but in the meantime helping, saving, adoring our beloved pet animals.  So after that, pigs and finally all meat was kept off our plate and now even fish, dairy products and eggs (except for the eggs of our chickens and geese, because what a shame it would be to throw them away - please note that we have them because we like having them, they are our pets, we don’t have them for their eggs).  I still wear my leather coat, which I bought now almost 20 years ago, yes, but new shoes are vegan. Veganism is not a religion nor a fashion, it is a lifestyle, an awareness that what we do to animals is wrong. I felt this when I was little, and I feel it very strongly now. A couple of days ago we went to visit a friend of ours who rescued some dairy calves, two males of course, waste products from the dairy industry. But how adorable they were!  We can live very well without hurting animals, so why won’t we? On the facebook page of Nala I regularly share images that might shock some people. But it is necessary to show them. I feel it is my duty to show them. I congratulate all those associations, not only in France but all over the world, that ensure that the world sees what goes on behind those walls. Thanks for reading this very personal note and please think about it! Go vegan! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 17

by Marlene Furey


Creature Comforts reature Comforts offers a home maintenance service and is a novel concept in the Deux-Sèvres, founded solely for the purpose of funding an animal rescue, FUREY’S FURRY FRIENDS.

In 2014, after years of rescue work in the U.S., Marlene and James Furey retired to their home in the Deux-Sèvres. Soon realising that living on retirement income and trying to fund the rescue themselves was limiting, they decided to set up Creature Comforts. James retired young from the Royal Navy after 26 years and worked in the maintenance field of an exclusive urbanisation on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Capable and conscientious, he can undertake most home repair, renovation, redecoration and garden maintenance work. Marlene is the main organiser and driving force behind the endeavour having owned a successful commercial cleaning company in the U.S. for 13 years, and enjoys stenciling and redecorating. Together they make the perfect team to get your household jobs done. If you are looking for a reliable home repair service, please consider giving Creature Comforts the opportunity to work for you and help them to continue to save animals in need.

Animal Association offering help to cats and dogs in need.

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

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

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

Contact James or Marlene on 05 49 36 19 18

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres


by Sue Burgess

elleran is a rural commune situated between ChefBoutonne and Sauzé-Vaussais. There are 528 inhabitants in the commune which is crossed by the Greenwich meridian.

The name of Melleran comes from ‘miel’ (honey) - ‘mel’ in Latin. Honey was collected in the large chestnut trees which used to grow on the commune in Gallic-Roman times. Notre Dame de Melleran church was built during the 12th century and became a listed historical monument in 1913. The church overlooks a huge square, sheltered by lime trees and horse chestnut trees, which was the place where mule and donkey fairs were held. Melleran mule and donkey fairs were well known. The château was built in the 16th century – it was later destroyed and the stones were used to pave the pathways. The only part of the château that remains today is a vaulted cellar. There was also a pond which was used as drinking water for the animals. It was filled in during the 1970s and turned into an open area with lots of trees. A voir / Must See •

 otre Dame of Melleran church. The 12th century church N underwent numerous alterations during the Gothic period. Today three ribbed vaults cover the unique nave. The crests of families who probably paid for the different restorations decorate the keystones of the vaults. In the choir, there is an impressive altarpiece. The main entrance is situated in the South side. It is a Romanesque side door. The western facade which usually houses the main entrance to a church, has no opening. The central span under the bell tower is another Romanesque part of the church. This bell tower of the church of Melleran is one of the most unusual bell towers of the area. There are about 1 000 species of trees and shrubs and botanical roses.

MÉNIGOUTE Ménigoute is a rural commune with about 900 inhabitants. The closeness of the Atlantic, just 80km away, gives a temperate climate which favours biodiversity and a rich flora and fauna. The local landscapes are shaped by valleys and small rivers which have their sources on the heights of the Poitevine Gatine. It is thought that the name of Ménigoute is formed from two words. ‘Mensil’ which means ‘villa’ and ‘Gothorum’ which means ‘The Goths’. In 1300 Ménigoute was called Manygouste, then Manigouste in 1324. The name developed and became Manigoute or Manigouste in 1328. By 1474 the spelling had changed to Magnigouste and to Magnigoste in 1492. Today’s spelling dates from the end of the 18th century. Ménigoute is well-known for the Festival International du Film Ornithologique (International Ornithological Film Festival). It is the biggest ornithological film festival in France and is held every year during All Saint’s week. The first festival was held in 1985 and the 2016 edition will be held from 27th October to 1st November. A voir / Must See •

La Chapelle Boucard and the chateau. La Chapelle Jean Boucard is one of the last remaining jewels of the Gothic period in this area! It’s construction probably dates from before 1525. Until 1854 it was used as a courtroom.

La Croix Hosannière. It was erected in the 14th century in the middle of the old cemetery behind the church. It was the meeting place for the Palm Sunday Procession and was listed as a historical monument in 1883.

Bois Pouvreau. Bois Pouvreau is a natural site. It extends over 25 hectares of which 11 hectares of water are for fishing. This magnificent site offers a playground, a boules pitch, mini-golf, a bar and restaurant and a natural camp site. There are jetties for fishermen and picnic areas are available for walkers.

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

Melleran Church © WikiCommons/Poitivin


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 19

Health, Beauty & Fitness

by Lorraine Wallace


Sleep and Weight Gain!

ow is sleep related to weight? The quick answer is that our body needs energy to function so when we are lacking sleep but still need to be alert… to work, drive, play with children…, our body is screaming at us to fuel it in the quickest form possible - sugar. This is what has us reaching for the chocolate, cakes and biscuits. A lack of sleep and relaxation can seriously mess up your metabolism over time so if you find you’re battling with your weight you may need to consider whether lack of sleep is playing a part…

DONT FORGET! Deadline:

Here are some tips for getting a good night’s sleep: • • • • • •

• • • • • • • •

Having a regular sleep schedule - Explore sleep cycles and check out to help you establish your optimum time for falling asleep and waking. Use your bed for sleeping and … ahem, romantic activities only - It creates an association with relaxation and rest, so don’t use your bed to work on your finances. Make your bedroom a place of peace - Don’t use your bedroom as a dumping ground. Keep it organised and tidy. Device downtime - Switch off phones, tv’s, tablets etc for at least an hour before bed. Clear your mind - Keep a notepad by your bed and write down anything on your mind to free you from the pressure of ‘remembering’. The next morning take a look at your notes. Dim those lights - Reduce lighting or use blue lighting when getting ready for bed. Blue lights help the brain reset for sleep and increases melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles. Stretch - A couple of minutes of stretching will help relax your physical body. Keep warm - Some people find they sleep better with a hot water bottle warming their core. Read a book - Reading tends to make the eyes heavy and sleepy but pick something that isn’t going to keep you hooked! Relaxation techniques - Consider guided imagery, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, a bath… anything that is calm, quiet and gentle that works for you. Cut out caffeine - Lots of people cannot sleep after caffeine close to bedtime, so switch to decaffeinated coffee or tea or even better, try herbal. Supplements - Consider herbal and other supplements such as passion flower, valerian root extract, melatonin and magnesium. Acupressure mat - Not only do they help with sleep, but can be used to relieve tension, tiredness and aches. Grounding mat - Designed to protect from electromagnetic frequencies (EMF’s) such as radios and mobile phones that can impair sleep.

Some people do find that once their sleep is under control and their body is no longer in a state of exhaustion and stress, their weight naturally drops, so test it for yourself and keep a note of how different you feel on days when you’re feeling alert and refreshed. FB: Email: ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77 20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

of the month


by June Searchfield


lifelong love of all things French and a desire for a change in the pace of life in Brisbane Australia, Maria has travelled to the beautiful village of Le Beugnon to establish Pure Heart Yoga Retreat.

Pure Heart Yoga Retreat is an intimate boutique space offering 5 day retreats that embrace yoga, meditation, mindfulness and wellbeing. Pure Heart also offers regular yoga classes for the benefit of the local communities of Deux-Sèvres to experience and enjoy. A gentle yet dynamic style of Hatha Yoga is practiced. This style of yoga is both energising, and revitalising while assisting in improving your health and overall fitness. Pure Heart Yoga Retreat caters to small groups, to ensure your individual needs are met as you are guided through a practice of yoga and meditation which will ease physical and emotional tension, nourish the body and bring calm and peace to the body mind.   

Since taking on the President’s role in CSDS, each year my team and I have a discussion to decide where and to whom we can donate funds. This year we decided to give to Cancer Research locally, in particular to research into Brain Tumours. On Thursday 17th March 2016 at the amphitheatre IFSI (Instituts de Formation en Soins Infirmiers) CHU Niort, we were invited by La Ligue Contre Le Cancer 79 to the public presentation of cheques for researchers in Le Grand Ouest. I was asked to present a cheque for 15,000€ on behalf of la Ligue and Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres, our contribution was 5000€. The cheque was presented to Professor Valérie Coronas of Neuro sciences, responsible for research into Brain Tumours/Gliomas and the subject of Neural Stem Cells. La Ligue interview each candidate’s applications and the successful researchers are invited to do a presentation of their individual research and the cheque is then presented to them. After the presentations, the bureau had an opportunity to speak with Valérie Coronas and explain who we were and what we did as a support group. Anyone interested in attending next years presentation can contact either June Searchfield or Denise Langford.

Pure Heart is open for Yoga Classes: Tuesday & Wednesday evening 6 – 7.30pm Wednesday & Saturday 7.30 – 9am. Pure Heart Yoga Retreat is located in a 300 year old farmhouse where Maria has created a beautifully peaceful yoga studio space guaranteed to make you feel relaxed and welcome as you enjoy each 1 ½ hour yoga class. All equipment is supplied for you so that you may enjoy this lovely yoga flow practice finishing with a guided relaxation. You will leave each session feeling blissful and at peace. Early bird specials for 2016 are available for the 5 day Retreat. Check out the complete itinerary and full deatils on the website: and you can follow us on Facebook:

Call Maria Hayes on 07 71 66 45 58 or send an email:

Above: The CSDS team with Professor Valérie Coronas. Right: CSDS President, June Searchfield, presenting the cheque to Professor Coronas.

Cancer Support Deux-Sevres

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 21

Food & Drink It’s the Terroir, stupid


ou remember Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, don’t you? Of course you do. The first time I saw young Bill was in a seedy motel in Santa Fe, New Mexico at about that time. I hasten to add he was on TV as opposed to emerging from the shower cubicle, cigar in hand. I must say he looked the part, and spoke fluently and intelligently. It all went downhill of course, but that’s la vie. His campaign slogan was ‘It’s the economy, stupid’, a typically direct American way of saying “I think it behoves one always to bear in mind the underlying fundamentals of the argument you are trying to put forward”. Or something like that. Well, the slogan helped him get to where he wanted to be, so I make no apologies for nicking and tweaking it. What really prompted this article was a trip I took recently with two American clients to whom it came as a complete shock that different soils and different places would produce different styles and qualities of wine – that is to say, they were blissfully unaware of the influence of terroir, much discussed, revered in France, sometimes maligned elsewhere, often misunderstood. In the brave New World, making wine is “easy”: you plant vines, you harvest grapes, and you manipulate the result to get what you want. If you let the crazy idea of terroir get in the way you’re a commie or a halfwit. I’m not italicising terroir, marking it as a foreign infiltrator – the word has wheedled its way sufficiently into the mainstream of Anglophone wine vocabulary to stand up for itself. Think mulligatawny (from Tamil). Or shampoo (from Hindu). It doesn’t help that there is no one-word translation. Depending on your point of view this can be either infuriating, or it adds to the mystique, the allure. But it’s surely not too difficult to get your head around one (foreign) word expressing a combination of factors, is it? (If your answer is “yes”, turn page now.) A certain M. Laville1 lists the following components of terroir:

• • • • •

all Climate, specifically temperature and rainf Sunlight energy per unit of land surface area

Relief (i.e. altitude, slope and aspect) ristics The soil’s physical and chemical characte Hydrology (ie how soil and water interact)

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

by John Sherwin

Let’s look briefly at each component and its significance.

Temperature influences the rate of vine growth, starting in the

spring when mean air temperature reaches 10°C, and its continuing growth and development up to about 25°C. For rainfall the trick is getting enough at the right time. Enough to promote growth in the early part of the cycle, then to avoid water stress during ripening. Not, thank you very much, close to harvest, when berries can swell and split leading to oxidised juice, not to mention providing a breeding ground for all manner of fungal diseases. Sunlight is the ultimate energy source, the energy that combines carbon dioxide from the air with water from the soil to make sugar in the grapes – and we all know what happens to that.

Altitude effects climate and therefore the ability of grapes

to ripen. Temperature falls by about 0.6°C per 100m step up in altitude, i.e. the higher you go the more difficult it is to get your grapes full of nice sugar as opposed to puckering acids. Hill slopes have ‘thermal zones’ – cold, night air, being denser than normal air, flows down the slope to the flatlands and is replaced by warmer air, particularly useful for increasing ripening potential and avoiding frost. The way a slope faces, i.e. its aspect, affects the amount of sunlight it receives. South-facing is best, getting sun for most of the day, but the most important consequences are felt at night when heat retained by the soil is reradiated to the vines. In addition, warm soil = warm roots, and warm roots are happy roots. Many large books have been written about the soil component, but I’ll keep it short and snappy. The best soil for a vine is a) quite deep to deep, b) light textured, often gravelly at the surface, c) well drained, d) has enough, but not too much organic matter, e) is relatively infertile (too rich a soil encourages vegetation over berries and does not prompt the roots to delve deep for water, picking up interesting natural chemicals on the way thus adding to the complexity of the end product). So there you go. If you happen to own a hectare or so of such land, please don’t build a house on it but take a deep breath and plant some vines. I fondly recall my old friend Bill saying to me, between puffs on his stogie: “you know, Jarn, the best wine is made in the vineyard. Know what I’m sayin’?” 1 Laville, P., ‘Le Terroir, un concept indispensable à l’élaboration et à la protection des appellations d’origine comme à la gestion des vignobles : le cas de la France’, Bulletin de l’O.I.V., (1990). Pretty damned impressive, huh?

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


A simple, light and refreshing starter for the warm

er months.

Ingredients (for 4 people) 250g cherry tomatoes 250g Feta cheese Olive Oil

white wine vinegar Fresh chives or basil, finely chopped

Cut the tomatoes in halves and dice the feta chees e. Divide between four small salad bowls and dribb le over the olive oil and a then a good white wine vinegar. About a soup spoon of each is a good guideline. Season to personal taste with freshly ground black pepper and the chopped chives or basil. Delicious with fresh crusty baguette to mop up the oil and vinegar.

Italian Flavours

by Lynda Gee


ITALIAN CHICKEN CASSEROLE Ingredients 4 Large chicken thighs 4 - 6 medium to large tomatoes 180g (approx.) of thick tomato puree 2 medium onions n peppers 200g approx. of mixed red, yellow and gree 1 fennel bulb chicken stock cube 25cl red wine (oregano, basil, garlic, soup spoon of mixed Italian style herbs black pepper) olive oil. ovenproof dish and Heat a shallow layer of olive oil in a deep or twice. once ing turn ons lightly brown the chicken porti slice the onions s, piece 6 or 4 into Meanwhile cut each tomato the fennel. Layer the chop y, finel ers pepp the and ly thick quite the red wine and return vegetables over the chicken pour over e. sauc the aring to the oven whilst prep boiling water and the Mix the chicken stock cube with 50cl ofPour the sauce over the well. ding tomato puree and herbs, blen (If you feel that chicken and vegetables and cover the dish. or during cooking stage this a little more liquid is required at - tastier than extra water!) wine red of glass extra an then add C, for 1 to 1½ hours or Cook in a pre-heated moderate oven, 180˚ ugh. thro ed cook and er tend is until the chicken s or twirls.

Best served with buttered pasta tubes, shell

For 4 individual servings. Ingredients 4 double chocolate cookies 1 cup of strong black coffee sachet of chocolate mousse mix plus ½ litre of milk 150 - 200 gram tub of mascarpone cheese 20cl double cream dessert spoon icing sugar 4 coffee spoons amaretto liquer grated or flaked chocolate. Make up the chocolate mousse sachet mix usually the milk usually ½ litre. Prepare a cup of strong black coffee. Whisk the mascarpone, double cream and icing sugar together. Place a chocolate cookie in the base of each dessert dish and spoon over each, 1 of the spoon fulls of amareto,divide enough of the coffee between them, to moisten well but not drown the cookie. Divide the chocolate mousse between the four and, when it has cooled and set a little, put the cream mix on top of this. Chill and just before serving finish each with a sprinkling of flaked chocolate.

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:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 23

La Petite Noisette Opens its Doors!

by Hazel Morris

How exciting! Our new bar is open and we are so pleased with how it looks. Lighter and airier than when it was previously opened. Fully replumbed, thank you Chris Parsons; rewired and painted, thank you Ross and Lesley Sutherland. We have beautiful newly plastered walls, along with some very eyecatching artwork with thanks to James and Jenny Harris. We now have a place that is warm and comfortable in which people will feel relaxed and be able to drop in for a coffee or draught beer, including Guiness that we have on tap. The work has been completed on our new kitchen, equipment installed and everything in order. We cannot wait to start serving our food and hope we will have something to entice everyone from simple, fresh flavours to more complicated palates. All home created by Richard and where possible using local, seasonal ingredients. Richard has been a chef for over twenty years, holding senior positions in several prestigious establishments, achieving acclaim. I previously owned a bar in the UK and we have a combined twelve years in the industry in France. Richard is passionate about producing a high quality, flavoursome menu, using quality ingredients that won’t break the bank. If you have a dietary concern, would like vegetarian options or just a plate to share with a bottle of wine, please drop in and see us. We are sure we will have something to suit most tastes. At present we are closed Monday and Tuesday - our opening hours may change due to seasonal demand, but please keep an eye on ‘The DSM’, our Facebook page and soon to arrive, our website for any changes. We look forward to giving you a warm welcome at ‘La Petite Noisette’.

Facebook: lapetitenoisette79

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 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.

Small B/W Advert only 32€ ht

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 25

Greek Pasta Picnic Salad This light pasta salad is perfect for those Bank Holiday picnics... Ingredients: • Cooked Pasta • Cherry Tomatoes (halved) • Sliced cucumber • Red Onion, chopped • 1tsp lemon juice • 10ml Olive Oil • A pinch of dried Oregano • Cooked Chicken, diced • Crumbled Feta Cheese Method:Put the pasta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and red onion into a large bowl and gently stir to combine. Mix the lemon juice and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl until the salt dissolves. Add the olive oil and dried oregano, then stir until blended. Pour over the pasta mixture and fold in. Add the chicken, feta and olives and toss gently to mix. Cool for two hours before serving.

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

Exciting Times!


by Jacqueline Brown

here is a real sense of excitement in our house this week. It is the school holidays and there has been springcleaning, lawn mowing, general tidying indoors and out and even the dog has been showered.

I’m not generally known for my housekeeping but as our first visitors of the year are due any minute now, it has been all hands on deck to make the place ship shape. Adrian’s parents have volunteered to take charge for a week and we will be leaving them with the teenager, who I hope will find their company more exciting than ours and actually leave his room occasionally, the dog, who will be delighted to see them and the birds, who much like the teenager are only bothered about someone being there to feed them. We are escaping on holiday! France is always listed in the top five most visited holiday destinations, so where do you go for your holidays if you already live here? For us the answer is simple, somewhere else in France. This time we are heading north to explore the back roads and villages of a region of France that is new to us. We are not straying too far from Deux-Sèvres and our first day will be a drive from the southern tip of the department straight up to the north. Last time we did this the apple orchards of the Gâtine were heaving with fruit ripe enough to pick. This time I’m hoping we might be lucky enough to see the first hints of pink apple blossom. When we get to La Sarthe, I’m looking forward to sampling new regional delights as well as the challenge of our first cycling holiday, all 420 challenging kilometres of it. This is also the first holiday where we will have to carry our luggage with us in panniers, so packing has had to be kept to a minimum. We each have one cycle outfit to wear, one spare and a change of clothes for the evenings, plus a few other essentials. Limited luggage means being brave and not packing too much emergency food. I rarely leave the house without dark chocolate and if I’m going out for the day I’m likely to have enough snacks to put together a mini picnic. One thing that I’m not prepared to leave without is some of our walnuts. Nothing quite revives at the end of a day on the bike like walnuts and a cold beer served on a sunny terrace. So we spent an evening in the sunshine this week, pre-shelling and packing a kilo of walnuts ready for recovery aperos. Wherever I go in France, the local food is always top of my list and this time I have no worries about eating too much as good food will be the fuel that propels me along. However, when I discovered andouillette sausage is a big thing in La Sarthe, I’m now having nightmares about being served smelly sausage every night.

La Vendée Chippy Poisson et frites à l’anglaise

Traditional British Fish & Chips ues following ven e th at ly k ee Find us w m from 6 -8.30p

nt, e le St Vince rg e b u A s: d la e W nt Ster nges 85110 St Vince Fil de l’eau, enue at Au ve v w e N : rs u h T er nt age, 85200 M La Pl


au, Le Clemencece au,

26 rue Clemen -en-Pareds eron 85390 Mouill

month urday of every at S t rs fi e u th d s at On & August) fin (except May


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

ions r private funct fo le b la ai av We are also Email: tel: 06 23 49 15 11 / 02 44 39 16 73 Numero de Siret: 791 118 540 00016

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 27

Where We Live...

A look at what makes France so special

See the Apocalyp


Along with Stilton and Gorgonzola, this is one of the greatest blue cheeses in the world. And with more than three million per year being cured at Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, in the Aveyron, it is France’s second most popular cheese after Comté. Roquefort’s birthplace lies in the Combalou mountains where, in prehistoric times, seismic shifts led to a series of caves. Vertical faults and fissures in the caves, known as fleurines, are up to 100 metres high and provide natural ventilation. The caves serve as an immense storage area that maintains a constant temperature of 9°C and humidity of 95%. The blue mould found only in these caves is called Penicillum roqueforti and it lives in the soil and ferments the cheese. In 1411, Charles VI granted the people of Roquefort the monopoly of ripening the cheese in their caves, as they had done for hundreds of years. In 1925 they were awarded an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée), but imitations were soon to follow. Some 60% of Roquefort is made by one company, the Société des Caves et des Producteurs Réunis, but many Roquefort aficionados hunt out an alternative producers like Carles, Vieux Berger, Gabriel Coulet, Combes, Le Vieux Berger and Vernières Frères. Authentic Roquefort will always be wrapped in foil with a red sheep emblem. Made from the unpasteurised milk of Lacaune sheep, it has an affinage (maturation) of between four and nine months. It has virtually no rind and melts in the mouth to leave a flavour of mould and salt which, when mature, can be very strong. Damp and crumbly, it is best eaten after a meal but goes equally as well with pasta or salad. Try it with a robust red wine like Châteauneuf-du-Pape or a dessert wine like Sauternes. Photo above: © WikiCommons/Digitalyeti

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

Apocalypse Tapestry. © WikiCommons/KimonBerlin

he tapestry is an illustration of the Apocalypse based on the visions of St John, from the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. The text, written at the end of the 1st Century, tells of the prophetic visions of St John and the struggle between good and evil.


corpse rather than as a living person, which was a more common portrayal in France at that time.

The Apocalypse was a popular theme in medieval Europe and the appeal of good against evil (illustrated by battles between angels and demons) went down well. Dragons, burning cities, death and destruction all add to the stunning visual experience. An interesting aspect of the tapestry is its portrayal of the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse (Death) as a rotting

The tapestry presents three series of seven plagues. First comes the opening of the seven seals in the Book of Revelation, where each broken seal corresponds to a plague. The first plague is the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Then, when the seven trumpets sound, the natural elements rage (the second piece). The series of plagues is completed in the fifth

Commissioned in 1375 by Louis I, Duke of Anjou and brother of King Charles V, it took seven years to make, which was pretty quick for a work of this size. It is made entirely of wool and originally comprised six tapestries, The tapestry also illustrates the each measuring 23 metres long and historical, political and social context six metres high. It is now around 100 of 14th Century France at the time of metres long and 4.5 metres high. the 100 Years War between France and England – a period of famine and Each piece starts with a major figure, followed by two rows of seven scenes plague. between a strip of sky and a strip of Few tapestries survived from that earth, with its main colours being period, but the oldest existing one – blues and reds. In the gallery where the Apocalypse of St John – is housed the tapestry is displayed, each panel is in a purpose-built hall in the Château surrounded by a white frame and the d’Angers, in the town of the same scenes run from left to right, starting at the top. name.

by Mick Austin

se Now!

Death, destruction, earthquakes, floods and dragons galore. No, it’s not the promotional blurb for a Hollywood blockbuster, but gory scenes from the magnificent Apocalypse Tapestry. piece, when seven angels pour vials over the Earth. The third piece shows the story of the two witnesses and that of the woman escaping from Satan, who is represented by a dragon accompanied by two acolytes. The fourth piece shows Satan tempting mankind. His elimination, the destruction of Babylon and the arrival of the Heavenly Jerusalem on earth (symbolising Paradise) are portrayed on the fifth and sixth pieces, illustrating the happy ending to St John’s Revelations. The tapestry has been through many trials and tribulations during its 600-plus years. After more than a century in the possession of the dukes of Anjou, it was bequeathed to Angers Cathedral in 1480 by the last Duke of Anjou, King René. By the end of the 18th Century, the tapestry was regarded as being rather oldfashioned and there are varying accounts of what happened to it after that. Its sheer size was said to be a problem so it was trimmed to fit the cathedral’s walls. It then went up for sale but when there were no takers it was dumped in an old storeroom. During the French Revolution many such works were lost, either through neglect or sometimes being burned to recover any gold and silver

threads. Luckily for us, the Apocalypse Tapestry survived, apparently to be cut up and used variously as rugs and horse harness covers, to cover holes in the cathedral’s walls and even to protect orange trees from frost! In the mid-19th Century, however, its true value was appreciated once more and in the 1840s the Bishop of Angers bought the remaining tapestry fragments and returned them to the cathedral, where work began on restoration. It was finally moved to the neighbouring château in 1954. So finally a happy ending. Following a series of catastrophes afflicting humanity, Christ finally emerges triumphant. The Apocalypse of St John has been interpreted in many ways over the centuries. You may well have your own ideas by the end of your visit…

Photo Top Right: Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. Right: The Beast of the Sea © WikiCommons/KimonBerlin

MORE INFORMATION Château d’Angers, 2 promenade du Bout du Monde 49100 Angers. Tel: 02 41 86 48 77. Email: Opening times: 2 May –4 September: Open daily 9.30am -6.30pm. 5 September – 31 December: Open daily 10am - 5.30pm. Closed 1 May, 1 & 11th November, 25 December. Last entrance 45 minutes before closing. Prices: Full price €8,50, reduced price €6,50. Free admission: Visitors under 18 (with family and excluding school groups); 18-25 (citizens of the European Union and non-European regularly resident in France); Disabled visitors and their guest or helper; Unemployed individuals. Audio guide (available in five languages, including English): €4,50, couple (two guides) €6, disabled and under 18s €3.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 29

A Date Never to be Forgotten 1066.

A date that changed the course of British history and the one conflict you can be sure almost every British student and adult alike can recount, along with the two main protagonists. It was, of course, the Battle of Hastings. The last time any foreign power was to conquer England. And probably the greatest source of information on that battle that survives today sits in a 70-metre long glass case in a town in northern France: the Bayeux Tapestry. While the average English person might claim to know quite a lot about 1066, that knowledge is not often based on historical fact. Most of their information comes from

Fouras © WikiCommons/PatrickDespoix

For a start, it’s not a tapestry! It is actually an embroidery made with at least eight coloured wools. It contains hundreds of images divided into 58 scenes, each describing a particular event, and is joined into a linear sequence allowing you to ‘read’ the entire story from Even today, 950 years after the battle, the first scene to last. tapestry is still alive with controversy, myth, lies, spies and even an occasional bit of The tapestry seems to look at this piece pornography! Probably the most important of history from a Norman perspective, pictorial image of the 11th Century, it’s a attempting to justify the invasion launched priceless work of enormous skill, unique by William the Conqueror to claim what he in the world, and a vital piece of historical believed was rightfully his – the throne of England. Harold’s image is that of a doubleevidence of a key time in Britain’s past. dealer, following his about-turn on a previous But that does not, however, mean its version promise to help William succeed Edward as of events is a totally accurate one… England’s monarch. the tapestry, a colourful depiction of how William the Conqueror and his Norman army invaded England, defeated King Harold and claimed the ultimate prize: the throne of England.

Fort Louvois. © Aeroclub Perigueux

Scene 57 of the Bayeaux Tapestry: The death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. © Wikicommons/Myrabelle

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

DID YOU KNOW ? A Frenchman is set to become the youngest European in space. Thomas Pesquet, 38, from Rouen, has been chosen for a long-duration mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Is this Harold? The main event, the battle, is there in all its grisly detail. Dead and wounded, dismembered bodies – both Norman and English – are everywhere. The tapestry comes into its own here with its feeling of movement. Horses galloping, archers letting fly and swords and spears everywhere you look. But one of the most striking images – and probably the most famous – is the one showing King Harold dying with an arrow through his eye. We all know he died that way, don’t we? But is it true? The inscription reads ‘hic harold rex interfectus est’ with the name Harold written above a soldier with an arrow in his eye. But the words interfectus est (has been killed) appear to refer to a second soldier being hacked down by a mounted Norman swordsman. Which of the two figures was meant to be King Harold? We will never know.

Pesquet, the tenth French astronaut to head into space, is scheduled to join the ISS in November 2016 as a flight engineer and return six months later, in May 2017. He was in the European Space Agency’s 2009 astronaut group Thomas Pesquet training that included the UK’s Tim Peake, who is at the NASA Johnson Space Center currently circling Earth on the ISS. An avid private pilot in his spare time, Pesquet was selected in 2004 for Air France’s flight training programme. He went on to become a commercial pilot for the airline, where he started flying the Airbus A320 in 2006. Having logged more than 2300 flight hours on commercial airliners, he became an instructor on the A320. He was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009. To help ready him for a space mission he received technical and operational training in Europe, Russia and the USA – on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, on the US and Russian spacesuits and on Space Station systems. He will meet up for Expedition 50 with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson and Russian cosmonauts Andrei Borisenko, Sergei Ryzhikov and Oleg Novitsky. Whitson is one of NASA’s most experienced astronauts, having already completed two missions totalling 192 days in space and completing six spacewalks lasting more than 39 hours. Follow Pesquet’s progress via:

On this month 1815 until he finished runnerup to the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. His cause of death has long been debated. It was originally thought to be from stomach cancer, but rumours spread of possible arsenic poisoning.

MORE INFORMATION Tapisserie de Bayeux, Centre Guillaume le Conquérant, 13bis Rue de Nesmond, 14400 Bayeux. Tel: 02 31 51 25 50 Email: Opening times and prices are available on the website. Audio guides (available in 14 languages) are included in the entry price.

Next month: Great gardens for you to enjoy, Le Mans at the double and… more lovely cheese!

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

Jeanne d’Arc at the Siege of Orléans

May 8, 1429: A French army led by Jeanne d’Arc (or Joan of Arc) breaks the English siege of Orléans during the 100 Years War. For six months the English appeared to be winning, but the siege collapsed just nine days after Joan’s arrival. May 5, 1821: Napoleon Bonaparte dies in exile on the island of Saint Helena, aged 51. He was twice emperor of France, from 1804-1814 and then again for three months in

May 15, 1889: The Eiffel Tower is opened to the public, even though the lifts were not yet working properly. The tower was an instant success and almost 30,000 visitors made the 1710-step climb to the top before the lifts entered service 11 days later. By the end of the Exposition Universelle (world fair) in October there had been 1,896,987 visitors. May 7, 1945: German Chief of Staff General Alfred Jodl meets with his Allied counterparts at 2.30am in a small schoolhouse in Reims. Ten minutes later he signs an unconditional surrender and the war in Europe is over.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 31



What is a SMART TV and Could you Benefit from One in France?

mart TV is a name given to Televisions by the likes of Samsung and LG, that will permit and support a connection to the internet. It is a convergence of many technologies, namely those of Television, Personal Computing and the Internet. Most modern digital TVs are capable of becoming connected to the internet simply by using inexpensive add-ons. But does it make your TV smart? The idea of connecting your TV to the internet is a good one for many reasons - just to get a much larger screen on which to view the www is very worthwhile, add then if you are able to browse the internet and play content you find, so much the better. This feature also permits you to view photos and videos you have taken with your digital camera, tablet or mobile telephone or have stored on your PC. However, life is never that simple. Most of the TV manufacturers see smart TVs as a way of taking more money from you, so they have devised many ways of doing this. For example, by restricting where you are able to get the content you may want to view, to pay sites. For example, many Smart TVs do not have a fully functioning internet browser and so you cannot view the whole of the www, or may not be able to play much of the content you find. The software supplied on these TVs is not normally of the best quality and in my experience is not updated regularly. Until this happens regularly your ability to take advantage of the content offered will gradually be restricted. You do not have to connect a Smart TV to the internet just to watch broadcast TV, either terrestrial or satellite. When you do connect to the internet there can be many benefits depending on what your manufacturer has included in your Smart TV - most will include You Tube, many will permit you to link to LoveFilm and Netflix or one of the other streaming pay sites. There could also be problems with the more sophisticated ones, for example, Samsung have a voice command feature you may use to control the smart TV and search for content. This feature records everything you say, and maintains it and passes it to a third party, presumably to process your request. Here is what the Samsung small print says “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” Frightening! If I cannot talk about private matters in my own home then where can I? I would rather not have a service that can record my private conversations and store them goodness knows where! You should also be aware that having a Smart TV without a suitable internet service is like a chocolate fireguard, pretty useless. You need a minimum internet download speed of at least 2Mbps, preferably 8 to 10 Mbps to guarantee that you can provide the smart content to your TV without is stuttering or buffering, basically not getting the information fast enough to display a consistent uninterrupted stream of video. Any TV can become smart, and there are many ways to make them so, from as little as £15.00.

Set Top Boxes

The least expensive is the set top box, such as Google’s Chromecast (£30, Amazon Fire TV stick £35, Now TV HD Smart TV Box £20, Apple TV £59 and the Roku Streaming stick £30; to name some of the more popular ones.) These devices usually have a WiFi connection that connects to your home WiFi and therefore your PCs as well as 32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

by Ross Hendry

your TV and a remote control (some are even controllable from a Smart phone app).

Games Consoles

The three main game console manufacturers namely Sony, Microsoft and Wii all offer media streaming and video on demand applications, Microsoft’s new Xbox One even has built-in TV guides and that pesky voice control option (is it recording everything you say?). Netflix have observed that at times the Play Station 3 is the most popular device used to access their service.

Smart Blu-ray Players

Sony and others have made smart Blu-ray players that have a streaming interface that will permit connection to the www and thus smart functionality.

Your PC or Laptop or Tablet

This is my preference. This gives me total control over the interface to watch what I can. I use a streaming box to connect my TV to my home network (my Wifi) and thus I can display anything I can get on my PC with my TV. Many people have purchased or built a home theatre PC (these were small silent PCs designed to sit under the TV and were controlled by a wireless keyboard and mouse). The latest in this line of technology is a full blown PC about the size of a small mobile telephone. These plug into an HDMI socket on your TV and connect wirelessly to your WiFi router and to a wireless Keyboard and/or mouse. They effectively turn your TV into a PC, they also support an SD card slot and USB interface. You may get Windows 10 and Android versions from as little as £76 for the PC, the wireless keyboard and mouse will be around £25 to £50. Finally, is it worth having a Smart TV in France? Because of the restriction of not being able to play BBC iplayer, or indeed the other UK channels due to the geographic restrictions on broadcasting, one could argue that it is a bit of a waste of time, however, if you use a PC type “Smart Interface” then these restrictions may be avoided by using a VPN, but it should be noted that this is illegal. I have not yet found a Smart TV that enables you to set it up to avoid the geo broadcast restrictions. Smart TVs will improve and as the content available on the internet increases they will become more usable. But at present they are not too smart and easily improved upon. The restrictions on content due to living in France alone, make it worth waiting until things improve on that front before investing in Smart telly. 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).

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Home & Garden HOW TO... paint furniture with frenchic furniture paint This month I have painted with this season’s colours. I had this console table in my cellar for a while - it was a solid piece of shiny, brown wood furniture and I was not sure what to do with it. So, I just sugar soaped it to remove any dust and grime. I didn’t prime it and the paint went on very well. After painting in ‘Nougat’ I distressed parts of the table with sand paper, then applied a coat of clear wax and buffed it up with a soft cloth to finish. The drawers I painted in ‘Heavenly Blue’. The two hearts on the bottom shelf were painted in ‘Ballerina’, a lovely soft pink. The tray is painted in ‘Nougat’ and then just one stencil painted in ‘Wedgewood green’ in the middle of the tray. The candle sticks are re-vamped table legs, painted in ‘Wedgewood Green’, and then I mixed ‘Copper’ Frensheen with finishing liquid and painted the grooves that were already there. ‘Copper’ is also a popular colour this year. The mirror I painted in one coat and then dry brushed another colour on top. Dry brushing is literally taking off most of the paint off your brush using kitchen roll, and then, using your dry brush, paint on a second coat. It works especially well on textured pieces as the paint sticks well. I then added silver Frensheen to a clear wax and brushed over the mirror frame. Next time I will be painting with Black and White paint to show you how to achive different paint effects. For more information about the Frenchic Furniture paint ranges, email:, or pop along to L’Emporium shop in L’Absie.

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34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

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Rendez-vous aux jardins

Rendez-vous aux jardins is a national event, organised by the Ministry of Culture and Communication in close cooperation with the CPJF. This event takes place every year on the first weekend of June. In all regions of France, parks and gardens, private and public, open their doors for 3 days.

The public can meet owners and gardeners, and attend proposed activities: workshops, exhibitions, concerts etc. This year the 14th edition of Rendez-vous aux Jardins will take place from 3 to 5 June 2016. Visit for more information.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 35

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y favourite spring flowers are yellow ones – is this because I am so desperate to see the sun after the dark winter days? Who knows, but the daffodils and other spring bulbs have been much appreciated. As the flowers die, deadhead them and give a foliar feed every couple of weeks until the leaves have turned yellow and died back. This goodness will be absorbed into the bulbs to give us yet another wonderful display next year. Another favourite yellow flower is Forsythia. This will need cutting back after flowering to help keep a good shape and make room for nearby summer perennials to make growth. By the way, while you are working in the flower beds take the opportunity to stake and tie-back where necessary while there is still room to move. As the year progresses and plants get bigger it gets very difficult to do properly. Talking of Forsythia, if yours is in hedge form please check before you start cutting back to make sure there are no birds nesting there. If you have some little lodgers you will have to delay until after the babies have fledged. Of course, the same applies to all hedges or shrubs due a haircut.

In the potager you will be able to continue sowing and planting your chosen vegetables, but keep an eye on the weather forecasts so you can protect tender plants and seedlings from any late frosts. The same applies in flower beds and shrubberies – sow and plant out summer bedding but hold back the half-hardy bedding plants until all risk of frost has passed. Earth up your potatoes as necessary and keep hoeing, hoeing, hoeing so that weeds don’t get the chance to establish. Also be alert for the Colorado beetle (Doryphore) which can damage your potato plants. They also attack tomatoes, aubergines and pepper plants too.

Colorado Beetle, Doryphore


by Vanda Lawrence

In the pond you will notice blanket weed starting up again. Find a rough stick to twirl in the water amongst the weed to collect it up, rather like candyfloss. Leave it on the side of the pond for 24 hrs so that any little creatures trapped amongst it will be able to return safely to the water. If you haven’t sown your peas yet, do it now. To speed up germination soak the seeds in warm water overnight and discard any which are floating after this – they will not germinate. Sow Pumpkin (Potiron) seeds this month or buy ready grown plants from the garden centre. When the plant has developed 3-5 leaves pinch out the end of the stem, leaving only 3 leaves. Next month you will be able to cut back the side shoots which will have appeared to 5 or 6 leaves. Pumpkin plants grow rapidly and need plenty of water. A fellow-gardener recently asked if I could put a few French/English words on here for easy reference, so here goes:

... ... ... ... ..boutu res cuttings.. ... ... ... ... ... s semis ... ... ... ... fonte de da mp ing off.. ... ... ... res ... ... ... ... engrais folia folia r fertilizer... ... ... ... ... ... ... .germ er germ inate... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. g reffage grafting.. ... ... ... ... ... de sol ... ... ... ... couvertu re ... grou nd cover.. ... ... le uil fe le ... ... ... ... .mou leaf mould... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..paillis ... ... ... mu lch... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... élaguer prune/lop/cut ba ck ... ... ... ... .terreau potting so il.. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .hormone rooting hormone.. ... d’enra cinem ent e ... ... ... ... ..systémiqu system ic. ... ... ... ... ... usages mu ltiples à ise er... ... ... . engra liz rti fe se po ur ltip mu ig. ... ... ... ... scion young shoot or tw herbes ... ... ... ... ... ma uvaises weeds.. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .g ra ppes clusters.. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..Pep inière Nu rsery. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .Azote Nitrogen. ... ... ... ... ... m ... ... ... ... ..Mag nésiu Mag nesiu m. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..Fer Iron. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .Potasse ... ... Potash... ... ... ... ... Lastly, I’m back to the French Calendrier Lunaire and Japanese Knotweed. Apparently, according to this publication, this terribly invasive plant will disappear more easily if you cut them down in the morning of 6th or 7th May …. watch this space! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 37

Motoring Getting Back to My Rootes


nce upon a time a stylish structural engineer from the great metropolis of Norwich met a handsome farmer from Suffolk and they swanned around the East Anglian countryside in a fancy car, being in love.

Over time she designed a house on the farm for them to live in, they got married and became my parents, lucky things, at which point, obviously, the fairy tale is complete !! :-) Unfortunately, my arrival curtailed the swanning around in fancy cars. The car in question was my Dad’s prized 1959 Humber Super Snipe, 476 DBJ.

Humber itself is an old name from British car manufacturing history. It started life in 1868 to manufacture bicycles.  From an interest in motor vehicles and motorcycles beginning in 1896, the motor division became much more important than the cycle division and the cycle trade marks were sold to Raleigh in 1932.  The motorcycles were withdrawn from sale during the depression of the 1930s and Humber also became a dormant  marque for automobiles. However in 1928 the Rootes brothers had acquired a controlling interest in Humber and in 1932 began to make Humber the holding company for vehicle manufacturing members of what became their Rootes Group. By 1960 annual production was around 200,000 vehicles. The range focused on luxury models, such as the Humber Super Snipe, Imperial and Pullman models. Being a choice of businessmen and officialdom alike, Humbers gained a reputation for build quality and beautifully appointed interiors, being trimmed out at the famous Thrupp and Maberley coach builders.  In October 1958, the Super Snipe was introduced and first presented to the public at the opening of the ‘Paris Salon de l’Automobile’. The new car was based on the unitised chassis and body of the four-cylinder Humber Hawk, but with a new 2.6 litre, 2,651 cc, sixcylinder overhead-valve engine based on an Armstrong Siddeley design, producing 112 bhp at 5000 rpm. This engine was matched to a three-speed manual transmission with optional Laycock de Normanville overdrive on second and top gears, or Borg Warner DG automatic transmission. Power steering was available as an option. The new car was small on the outside, but large on the inside, with the appearance of a reduced size 1955 Chevrolet 4-door sedan. After 12 months the Series II was announced  and with its engine enlarged to 3 litres, 2,965 cc and a new Zenith carburettor fitted, the engine’s output was increased to 129 bhp at 4800 rpm. 

Helen’s parents in front of their 1959 Humber Super Snipe, 476 DBJ.

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by Helen Tait-Wright

A Series II with overdrive and power steering was tested by The Motor in 1960 and had a top speed of 94.7 mph (152.4 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 16.5 seconds. This was the model Dad had, which used to belong to one of the Directors of Rootes.  A fuel consumption of 24.6 miles per imperial gallon was also recorded, which, along with ferrous oxide, had a lot to do with why my appearance on the scene meant the end of my Dad’s Humber ownership! The Super Snipe went through various designs, though all had a “transatlantic” influence. They offered disc brakes and automatic transmission at a time when these fitments were rare. During World War II, several armoured cars were produced under the Humber name, along with heavy-duty staff cars. Later versions of the Super Snipe included an estate version, of which both Chris Evans and Jools Holland own examples.  A rather amusing 1960 review of the Super Snipe notes that (read this with a posh Mr Cholmondley-Warner / BBC accent for full effect) “A full horn-ring sounds a “ Col. Trumpington “ warning of approach. The suspension gives a very comfortable, slightly lively ride and only mild tremors penetrate to the body structure. Road noise is absent, the car is mechanically silent save for very faint transmission sounds, and wind noise is negligible except for a hiss past the quarter-windows. The imposing kerbside appearance of the modern Humber Super Snipe, with ruggedness being suggested by the substantial bumpers, wide grille and big wheels, is matched by particularly well-thought-out and comprehensive interior equipment. In brief, this Humber is a sensibly and luxuriouslyequipped 100-m.p.h. Saloon. It will presumably be driven mostly by bigboned businessmen in bowler hats, who will appreciate its top-gear ability to reach 80 m.p.h. very quickly indeed. An excellent instruction book is issued with the car.”  So there you have it!  A reasonably priced classic these days if you can find one that hasn’t rusted away, and part of my history! Helen Tait-Wright Email:


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 39

Dacia Duster, From Failure to Success.


uring the repressive reign of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, Dacia was set up to produce a national car for a country with little heavy industry at the time.

With a lot of technical help from the French, it was soon manufacturing inferior versions of the Renault 8 and then Renault 12 under licence. These were, for the most part, abysmally made, and the quirky Renault 12 design, ham fistedly face-lifted, lingered years beyond its natural lifespan. The Dacia badge was occasionally also appended to the products of a related company, ARO, makers of utilitarian four-wheel-drives. Dacia and ARO worked together on a new “recreational” 4X4 launched in 1979 as the ARO 10, exported under various names including the Dacia Duster, and featuring Romanian-built Renault engines. In true communist style the Duster – despite looking reasonably modern for its day – was shoddily put together and soon acquired a fairly bad reputation in western export markets, where an extremely low price was its only real attraction.

Given the average longevity of these cars, it seems unlikely there will be many examples of the old Dacia Duster around to embarrass customers who sign up to buy the shiny new version. The fact is you buy a new Duster and you’ll find a good looking compact SUV with a spacious interior, for not much money. It’s cheaper than a Ford Fiesta, and the diminutive Smart car. It’ll only cost marginally more than Fiat’s asking price for the cheapest Panda. The cheapest Skoda Yeti featuring an engine of identical power to that of the entry level Duster costs notably more. Dacia is owned by Renault and shares many of the manufacturer’s parts as well as the new Nissan 1.5 litre diesel engine. Earlier this year I brought the latest 2015 Dacia Duster model and it has far exceeded my expectations and coming from me that is a compliment indeed.

Power came from the 1.4 litre Renault engine offering dreadful performance in such a big vehicle, and it was primarily front wheel drive. The rear axle could only be temporarily engaged by means of a special clutch. Although it was aimed at the leisure market rather than serious off-road work, it was inevitably compared to its much more rugged and indestructible Russian rival, the Lada Niva, and found badly wanting. During this era, luckless Romania was groaning under the malign influence of Ceausescu, whose regime increasingly plumbed new depths, even for Eastern Europe. His allpervasive secret police snooped into every aspect of citizens’ lives, and basic commodities like foodstuffs and electricity were often unavailable. It’s hardly surprising, in such circumstances, the workers on the production line had little interest in the quality of the vehicles they churned out, which they had virtually no prospect of owning personally anyway. To avoid the atrocious build quality issues of the Romanian product, the vehicle’s Italian importers even decided to start assembling it themselves, but their version of the Duster was not a great success either. It was said that it’s best off road capabilities were on a patch of wet grass! In true eastern European style, though, the model lingered on with ARO badges long after Ceausescu and his regime had been toppled. The French, in particular, continued to buy it in small numbers until well into the 21st century, helped by the belated introduction of a version called the ARO Spartana, which was intended to be a fun car in the spirit of models like the Mini-Moke.

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

by Tony Barrett

Tony Barrett Email:

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 41

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Take a Break - SOLUTIONS Easy Crossword: Across: 8. honey 9. conceal 10. caribou 11. charm 12. employee 13. slit 15. cove 17. restless 21. loyal 22. acrobat 24. engrave 25. curly. Down: 1. chic 2. unwrap 3. eyebrow 4. accuse 5. snack 6. derail 7. clematis 12. excelled 14.attract 16. voyage 18. elated 19. embark 20. plead 23. toys Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. wellies 5. barns 8. estimates 9. car 10. tutor 12. nastily 13. stealth bomber 15. ahead of 17. sides 19. loo 20. generator 22. sheep 23. ewe lamb. Down: 1. wheat 2. lot 3. immortal 4. sit on the fence 5. bases 6. reclimbed 7. sprayer 11. therefore 13. stables 14. observe 16. dig up 18. scrub 21. tea

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Well, what do you know?: 1) Quentin TARANTino (Chris, Who Wants to be a Millionaire) 2) 3 MILES (Michael, Take Your Pick) 3) KENDAL (Kenneth, Treasure Hunt) 4) Ronnie BARKER (Sue, Question of Sport) 5) COLMANs (David, Q of S) 6) Robert BURNS (Gordon, Krypton Factor) 7) Paul GASCOIGNE (Bamber, University Challenge) 8) Roy ROGERS (Ted, 3-2-1) 9) The Boat RACE (Steve, My Music) 10) GREEN (Hughie, Double your Money) 11) ROBINSONS (Robert, Call my Bluff. Anne, Weakest Link) 12) Lance ARMSTRONG (Alexander, Pointless The connection - they are all quiz/game show hosts

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 47

Business & Finance Marketing Matters by Cindy Mobey


Get Organised! If, like me, you work from home, you’ll understand the frustrations of trying to fit too much into your day. So here are a few tips on how to get organised to make the most of your time. •

Write a ‘to do’ list – include everything you need to do. It is so satisfying to tick off the items on your list.

Prioritise – put a deadline against each item, then you can prioritise in order of importance and urgency.

If you have a huge job to do, cut it into bite-size chunks. This makes it seem more achievable.

Set your working hours. How many do you want to work? What time do you want to start and finish? I have chickens to feed etc. so I don’t start work until 10am. You may be an early bird or you may work better later in the day. It’s whatever best suits you.

Try not to multi-task too much. I find it easier to try and complete one job before going onto the next. As a writer, I try and do one piece of work in one go, including the research. Then save it and come back to review it the following day. I find I can focus more in the morning, so I tend to do anything complicated first thing and then do some of the easier tasks in the afternoon. Find out what works for you.

Distractions – no matter how hard you try, you will always get distractions or interruptions. For me, the worst distraction is Facebook and email! If I hear the familiar ‘ping’ of a new message, I’m all over it like a rash! So I logout completely and put the telephone on answerphone. I incorporate breaks into my day…and that’s when I check email, Facebook and telephone messages.

Try to review your workload once a month. Look at your ‘to do’ lists – what have you achieved? What went well and what didn’t? What still needs to be done? Is there something you keep putting off doing? Do you need to outsource that particular piece to someone else who is more of an expert than you are? Reviewing your work helps you to see what you find easy and what needs more concentration, which helps prioritise more effectively.

If you work from home and have any more ideas on how to organise your day, I’d love to hear from you. Until next time…..

Image courtesy of iosphere, at

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Ask Amanda

“How can I prevent a lot of hassle with my French investments if I have to return to the UK?”

Many of us living in France plan for our lifestyle choice to be a permanent one. However, for those who are undecided about their long term residency or those faced with upheavals which lead them to leave France, how you have arranged your finances can have a big effect on the the time and costs you will incur moving your affairs to another country. Whilst living in France it is important to ensure that your money is working for you in the most tax efficient way, yet it is just as important to ask the question “What happens if I leave France?” At The Spectrum IFA Group, portability is one of the key considerations when advising how expatriates should invest their money or how they should take any UK private pensions. None of us has a crystal ball so when taking financial advice or reviewing your existing arrangements it is worth asking your financial adviser “How easy would it be to move my financial affairs to another country and what would this cost?”

Where Does the Actual Currency Swap Occur: in France or in Britain? Does it make a difference? by Sue Cook

This is a question which could lead to a multitude of potentially confusing, some might suggest fascinating, but all would surely agree long (!) explanations. We won’t hit you with the varying different manners in which money is transferred around the world, there aren’t sufficient column inches available to us in this article to even begin! But in its simplest format in a typical foreign exchange transaction, a party purchases some quantity of one currency by paying with some quantity of another currency. The modern foreign exchange market began forming during the 1970s after three decades of government restrictions on foreign exchange transactions. The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world’s major industrial states after World War II.   The actual exchange of currency from one denomination to another will typically take place in the country where the exchange is originated, facilitated by the transferring party arranging for the sum required to be deposited with a transferring partner (typically a specialist service provider such as Currencies Direct). They in turn will arrange for the exchange to take place in the country of deposit with a treasury support facility.

A little forward planning now, could save you time and money in the future. It could also provide peace of mind that if your move was forced on you through illness or bereavement, changing your finances will not cause you additional headaches or cost you unnecessarily at what will already be a stressful time. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. With Care, You Prosper. Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lausanne, Paris, Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Mallorca, Rome. «The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 «Société de Courtage d’assurances» R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - «Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Fin

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

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It’s doesn’t exclusively have to take place in this way, but does allow for good control of funds being moved at the pre-agreed rate by the transferring party. From the customer’s point of view, the actual geographic location of the exchange is immaterial as long as an agreed rate for the transfer from one currency to another is in place at the point where the deal is placed. At Currencies Direct, the currency exchange takes place with the Treasury team in the UK. Funds are always placed in a customersegregated account, and the volumes are simply moved between accounts based on the exchange rate it’s been booked at. We’ve been operating such transfers for our clients for the past 20-years, and we’d be delighted to discuss how we can help you too. Let’s talk currency -

Looking After Your Pension by Looking Out for Scams

by Bradley Warden, Partner


oday, more than ever, there is a range of choice when it comes to what you can do with your pension. An unwelcome side-effect of this freedom is an increasing number of pension scams.

One of the options open to British expatriates is to transfer their UK pension into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). For many people this is a suitable way to bring their pension with them. However, it is by no means a ‘one size fits all’ solution. It is also an area where scammers look to defraud people out of their pension savings. It is crucial to look at all your options and seek regulated, personalised advice. The UK’s Citizens Advice found that two in five scams start with a cold call, estimating that 11 million people have received unsolicited calls or texts about pension services. Tell-tale signs of scams include offering a free pension review, early access or unusually high and guaranteed returns. Generally, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and once you transfer your pension, it’s too late. Besides losing your pension savings you could face a tax bill and penalty fees. Many unregulated companies offer QROPS services. While they may not necessarily be scams, these are unprotected investments that risk losing your pension savings, whether they aim to defraud you or not. Remember, with unregulated companies there is no recourse when things go wrong.

You can protect yourself by thoroughly researching anyone that approaches you about your pension. A Google search can tell you whether they are regulated and bring up reviews on consumer websites. Look for a regulated adviser who will carry out a high level of due diligence when recommending options tailored for you. In any case, be careful not to sign anything under pressure. Ideally the advisory firm should outline your full range of options, not only QROPS, to establish what the best pension solution is for your particular circumstances. If you decide that a QROPS is right for you, you need specialist guidance to navigate the complex tax and jurisdiction issues. Whether you are UK resident or an expatriate, your adviser should be authorised and regulated for pension business by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. And as with any investment, make sure that the underlying funds in your scheme are suitable for you, your risk profile and objectives. It can only take a moment to lose a lifetime of savings but with careful planning and professional advice you can both protect and make the most of what you have. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website Russell Investments Limited is the source of some of the data; opinions expressed are those of Russell Investments and Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited. These views are put forward for consideration purposes only as the suitability of any investment is dependent on individual circumstances. The value of investments can fall as well as rise as can the income arising from them. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance.

‘‘I wasn’t sure whether or not a QROPS would be right for me. Now I understand all my options.” Talk to the people who know. Living in France does not necessarily mean you should transfer your UK pension into a QROPS. With the new UK pension regime, it is crucial you consider all your options and how they affect you.

contact us now on

05 49 75 07 24

Please contact us for personalised advice.

PWK037-fr 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 BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465.






UNITED KINGDOM The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 51

Income Tax Forms


by Isabelle Want

h no! Time to fill in your income tax form again. It’s all in French and there are lots of boxes to fill in on lots of pages!

In section 4, you enter the revenues from house rental abroad. Then report on section 6 to get the tax credit (because it is taxed in the UK) and report on line 4BE, section 4 of the 2042.

Well, worry not - I will try to make it simple (my boss Thierry is laughing….simple....income tax….bonne chance!!). I will only cover the most common revenues so for more technical information, contact me directly.

In section 6, you put the revenue from government pension (military, police, NHS, civil servant, etc) and rental income from property in the UK (those will always be taxed in the UK whether you are French resident or not). Then you report the amount in line 8TK, page 4, section 8 of the 2042.

It would be advantageous for you to have last month’s DSM to hand for the areas I have not covered again here (it’s also available online at

3916: You have a bank account outside France, then you have to declare it on that form (section 1 and 4). One form per account. Don’t forget to date and sign the forms.

1. Who and When?

The exchange rate for 2015 is 1.37 (that is the average of last year)

Refer to last month’s article to find out who has to fill in French Income Tax Forms and what dates the tax return relates to. You can start filling the forms online (NOT if it is your first time) from the 13th April and until 24th May (Charente, Charente Maritime) or until 7th June (Vienne, Haute Vienne and Deux-Sèvres). You will start receiving the paper forms from 13th April and you have until 18th May to hand it in or send it by post. The result (the bill!) is called Avis d’ imposition and is sent to you from mid-August. You have until 15th September 2016 to pay it. Note that if you have to pay more than 342€ of income tax and have not chosen the monthly payment, then the tax office will ask you to pay next year’s income tax partly in advance (accomptes provisionnels).

2. What Forms and How do you Fill them In?

The 2042 is the blue form that everybody has to fill in and it is on this form that you report what you have filled in on other forms. But there are different versions of the 2042: 2042SK: Is the simplest version usually used by employed people. 2042K: Is the one that most of you should use as you can report revenue from abroad (you can’t on 2042SK). Check or fill in the information on page 1. On page 2, check or fill in the information asked for as this may give you allowances or discount (invalidity, number of children living with you, etc). Check or fill in page 4 (for tax reduction) and section 7 if you have children who go to school. If you give to charity, you also get a tax discount. 2042C: If you are self-employed in France, this is where you fill in your professional revenue. This is also the form you use if you have to pay the wealth tax (worldwide assets worth more than 1.3 million €). It’s complicated so contact me. This is also the form used to declare revenues from Gites or chambre d’hôtes. 2042QE: This is the form to fill in to claim taxes back when you have had work carried out on your property, by a registered tradesman, that is related to energy saving e.g. Insulation, solar panels, etc.

If your pension has been directly transferred to your French bank account, just add up all the figures of last year. Or you can look up what the exchange rate was on the day you got paid your pension into your UK account.

3. Social Charges

If you are of retirement age from within the European Union and in receipt of the S1, the social charges are not applied to your pension income. Investment income was not exempt in the past but I do know that some of you were successful in claiming this back. As such, it’s a grey area for me and I have no answers on whether or not you’ll be taxed on it. Note that annuities are seen as investment income, so it is a calculation to make whether you should declare annuities as annuities (and get an income tax discount) or as a pension income (and not pay social charges if it is taken). You do not pay social charges on rental income from the UK.

4. Help

If you are one of my customers, you are entitled to free help in our offices: • Ruffec on Tuesday the 10h May (2-5pm) • La Rochefoucauld on Thursday the 12th May (2-5pm) If you can’t make either of those, phone us to make an appointment. If you are not one of my customers (perhaps you should be), I will be offering free help at The Lemon Tree in Sauzé Vaussais on Wednesday the 11th May from 10am to 12pm. Make sure you have all the figures ready when you come to see me. I apologise in advance if I am a little grumpy - you would be too if you had an entire month filling in tax forms! I will also be present at the CLE seminar in Confolens on the 4th May (10am), check their website for details: 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 for my previous articles on the ‘Practical Pages’ of the English site.

2047: This is the purple form (used to be pink) on which you enter your revenue from abroad: Enter your pension revenues (even those that are taxed in the UK) on page 1, section 1 in the box called ‘Pensions, retraites, rentes’ and the annuities on the box called ‘rente viagères à titre onéreux’. You then have to report pensions to the pension section on the 2042 (page 3, section 1). Annuities are taxed differently in France so you have to enter the amount in the age bracket when you first started drawing it out. In section 2 on page 2 is where you put the interest you earned on savings in the UK. And yes, ISAs and Premium bonds are taxable in France as you are French resident. Fill in the bottom of page 2 in the box 220 “interest”. Enter the country of origin, then you write the amount on line 222, then again on line 228 and 230. Then you report the amount in line 2TR, page 3, section 2 of the 2042. 52 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

N° Orias 07004255

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


Don’t forget our deadline!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016 | 53

Time to Branch Out?

by Joanna Leggett

Our part of France is simply ideal – wonderful country, beautiful villages and not far from the coast – we’ve got it all. Add easy access from UK by road, rail or air and the climate with copious sunshine - no wonder it’s so attractive to visitors! Is it time for you to branch out? To find a new home with income potential to help support your lifestyle? If so, have you ever considered running a B&B? Villiers le Plaine is in the ideal location – just 12km from Niort and 30km from the Marais Poitevin – here there’s a colourful, stylish house for sale, complete with roomy 3 bedroom gîte. It earns its keep as two of the six bedrooms are on a separate floor for B&B. Generous accommodation includes a lounge with two fireplaces and heaps of space for your own family. Then there’s the heated indoor swimming pool and further potential to expand into various outbuildings. On the market at 371 000€ (Leggett ref: 51794, photo above left) – an irresistible combination! Closer to the coast in Les Lucs sur Boulogne is an impressive stone Maison de Maître with 8 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms (Leggett ref: 49095, photo opposite) (four for B&B!). Set in the prettiest walled garden, this property offers a variety of options for its next owners. High ceilings and large windows (double glazed naturally)

54 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2016

make a very light and airy home – but perhaps the biggest drawcard is the 100 metre walk into the village to bars, restaurants and shops. As it’s just 2.5 hours from the ferry at St Malo with Cherbourg and Le Havre an easy 4 hour drive then it could prove ideal – for sale at 355 100€. Standing in its own walled gardens awash with pink hydrangeas in summer, in the little town of Vouleme is another impressive Maison de Maître currently run from May to September as luxury chambres d’hôtes. Elegance abounds with high ceilings and light bright spacious charming ensuite guest rooms – truly the type of place where people dream of staying (ref: 45208, photo above) or indeed just living! It even has a fitted pantry and cellar ready for your wine and all those preserves you’ve always wanted to make – and potential to expand! Recently reduced to 291 500€. To my mind, the best thing about running a B&B is the genuine reason why you cannot put up ‘friends’ seeking a free holiday – you’ll always be fully booked! 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

Leggett Immobilier

'The Deux-Sèvres Monthly' magazine May 2016  

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

'The Deux-Sèvres Monthly' magazine May 2016  

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