The Deux-Sèvres Monthly May 2018

Page 1

Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:.................................................................................................. Postal Address:........................................................................................... ................................................................................................................... Postcode:..................................... Country:............................................. Tel:.............................................................................................................. Email:.......................................................................................................... Please make cheques payable to ANNA SHAW.

Welcome! to Issue 86 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres magazine...


After spending our first few weeks in France, tethered to a computer, it was fantastic to get out of the office for a few days, delivering the magazine in the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas. The clouds parted, the sun came out, momentarily, the ageinglabrador was made comfortable in the back of the van and off we went. It was a privilege seeing all the beautiful towns and villages in the area, as well as meeting so many diverse and interesting people. We felt happy that we had chosen this beautiful area to make our new home. But enough of all this sentimental stuff. April is now a distant soggy memory, the gardens are in full-flow and the early summer months are within reach. I (Stephen) have started a vegetable patch in the garden and if the speed the grass grows is anything to go by, we are in for a bumper crop. Although, far from being an expert in the garden I do like to ‘potter’, and seeing some of the vegetable patches in our area, dripping with produce, made me think ‘when in Rome’. I will keep you updated on my progress. We spent a wonderful evening last month, being entertained by the TheatriVasles’ performance of ‘Ladies Down Under’. The actors were fantastic, the scenery superb, it really was a lot of fun. So, thank you to all concerned and can’t wait for the next one. Whatever you are doing this month we hope you have an enjoyable one and the sun keeps shining.

prochaine Stephen & Anna

à la Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 Email: Website: 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 Clubs & Associations Our Furry Friends Hobbies Home & Garden Health, Beauty & Fitness Take a Break Communications A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Food & Drink Motoring Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Accents (Translation and Language Services) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie Restaurant & Auberge Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) ARB French Property Arbres et Abeilles Plant Nursery

4 6 12 15 16 18 22 23 28 30 31 34 36 41 45

45 9 2 36 32 43 38 47 18

Argo carpentry 39 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 35 Beau Jardin (Garden maintenance) 19 Beaux Villages Immobilier 47 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 42 Blevins Franks Financial Management 44 Café Des Sports 8 Caravan For Sale - Paul Cranswick 35 Car - Steve Marshall 35 Château du Pont Jarno 20 Cherry Picker Hire 37 Chris Bassett Construction 36 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 38 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey - Marketing and business 41 CJ Electricité 39 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 39 Creature Comforts (Handyman & Gite Services) 36 Darren Lawrence 40 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 39 Digger Hire 37 Down To Earth (Pool Design) 45 Ecopower Europe 38 Elliott Garden Services 19 English 29 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 35 Gîte Changeover and Music Tuition 20 Hallmark Electricité 39 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HMJ Maintenance and Renovation Service 38 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 40 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 37 Jardin 360° (Garden maintenance) 19 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation Work) 37 Jeff’s Metalwork 40 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 Jon the Carpetman 21 KCR Service (Alarms and Security systems) 21 Keith Banks Pool Services 45 La Bohème Mervent (Bar & Restaurant) 8 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 21 Leggett Immobilier 46 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 32 LPV Technology (IT services) 29 Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction 36 Me & Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 21 Michael Glover (Plasterer tiler, renderer) 40 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 39 ML Computers 29 Motor Parts Charente 35 M. Page Landscaping (Landscape Design & Construction) 20 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Naturalis Pools 45 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 20 OD Rénovation (stonemasonry) 39 Out of the Barn Creations 20 Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) 22 Poitiers Biard Airport 2 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Property and Swimming Pool Maintenance - RJ Coulson 40 Puy Rond Camping 18 Restaurant des Canards 32 Rob Berry (Plasterer) 36 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 20 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 37 Satellite TV 29 Segora International Writing Competition 9 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 15 Simon the Tiler 38 Simply Pools - Matthew Ferguson 45 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 38 Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) 38 Strictly Roofing 36 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Sue Cook-Currencies Direct-money markets 43 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 The Fixer - Rick Denton 41 The Hope Association 15 This Month’s Advertisers 3 U.P.V.C Double Glazing 40 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9

© Anna and Stephen Shaw 2018. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anna and Stephen Shaw accept no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/ or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Anna and

Stephen Shaw 2 Jaunasse, Louin, 79600 Tél: 05 49 64 21 98. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anna and Stephen Shaw. Crédits photos: Anna and Stephen Shaw, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: mai 2018 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: In process ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: In process

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 3

What’s On... 1 - FÊTE DES PLANTES - LE BEUGNON Three thousand visitors will descend on the pretty village of Le Beugnon to snap-up more than 2500 plants from 60+ exhibitors. Walks, talks, demonstrations, bar and local specialised food – plenty for everyone. From 9.30am-6pm. 1 - VIDE GRENIERS in Saint-Coutant and Saint-Verge. 1 - COLLECTOR’S FAIR in Sainte-Radegonde Stamps, postcards, coins, records, phonecards, perfumes. 6 - MARKETS & VIDE GRENIER in Le Retail, Mauze-Thouarsais, Chail, Louzy, Rom 6 - VIDE GRENIER in Vieux Mareuil In aid of ‘Twilight - La Maison de Retraite Pour Chiens’. For more info. see page 7. 12-13 - AMERICAN SHOW at Asnieres-en-Poitou. See page 6 for more info. 13 - OPERA MACBETH in Le Foyer, Cinema, Parthenay at 4.30pm. Tickets 10 -12€ For more info. 13 - FÊTE DE PAIN in La Chapelle-Pouilloux 18 - MUSICAL CONCERT in Cerizay Free concert - The musical tale of L’Ogre Philémon. Youth choir and musicians at 8.30pm. Salle de la Griotte. 18 - 20 - THE HOPE ASSOCIATION THREE DAY BOOKSALE at Clussais-La-Pommeraie. See page 15 for more info. 18 - 21 - FÊTE DE PENTECÖTE in Parthenay. 19 - 20 - CLASSIC VAL DE SEVRE RALLY The 13th edition of this historic rally will take place from the Jardin de la Brèche on Saturday at 1.15pm, vehicles will be on view from 10am. 20 - PLANT & FARMERS’ MARKET AND VIDE GRENIER in Ardilleux 20 - FÊTE DE L’ANGÉLIQUE in Bessines. The 14th edition of this event to introduce you to the angelica plantation. Local market, culinary workshop, local crafts, vintage cars, donkey rides and games for children. Free entry. 9am-7pm. 24 - DONATION DAY for the Resto du Coeur Charity, helping people in need. Donations of food (tins, jars, cartons etc.) and adult clothing will be gratefully received at the Pause! Café, L’Absie from 11am - 3pm. 26 - COFFEE MORNING in Thiré. Refreshments, books, vide grenier, jewellery, plants and lots more. Free entry. 15 rue de la Cure. 10am-12.30pm. 26 - FÊTE DE PAIN in Clessé. 27 - FÊTE DE PAIN in Saint-Amend-Sur-Sèvre. For more info. see page 7. 27 - FARMERS’ MARKET in Celles-Sur-Belle. But not just any farmers market…. The main event is a competition of hunting horns. Exhibitors, food, drinks. Admission 2€, under 12s Free.


1st & 3rd MONDAY OF THE MONTH AT 3PM Belote. At Càfe des Sports, L’Absie. 2nd & 4th TUESDAY AT 7.30PM - Quiz. At Càfe des Sports, L’Absie. EVERY THURSDAY AT 7PM - Scottish Dancing. At Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. EVERY THURSDAY FROM 8PM - Quizwitch Quiz. At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle. 2.50€ p/p. Money raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. EVERY FRIDAY AM - Reaction Theatre’s Art Scene meet in Secondigny. Contact John for details Tel. 05 49 63 23 50 EVERY TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Workshops. Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see EVERY OTHER THURSDAY AT 6.30PM - Franglais Group at Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds. 1ST WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM - Franglais Group at Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys. 2nd Tuesday of Month AT 8PM- Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne. 3RD WEDS of month AT 7.30PM - Team Quiz. At Le Clemenceau Bar, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, in aid of animal charities. 3RD WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM - Franglais Group at Pause! Café, L’Absie. Last FRIDAY of month - Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale. Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96 1ST WEDS OF MONTH AT 2PM - 4PM - Coffee & Book afternoon at Funny Farm Cat Rescue, St Germain-de-Longue-Chaume.

what’s COMING UP...

2nd-3rd June - Rendez-vous aux jardins – free entry to discover gardens in the area. For more info www.rendezvousauxjardins. 9th June - Championship of France Handicapped Athletics Clubs in Parthenay. Come cheer on the 250 athletes, at the French Interclub Athletics Team Championships. 9th - 10th June - Fête des Plantes - Prisse-la-Charriere. 16th & 21st June - Fêtes de la Musique. 22nd June - Marché d’été en musique - Champdeniers. For more info.: champdeniers-saint-denis(79220)/marche+d-ete+en+musique/13214 26th June - 1st July - Festival de Voulmentin invites you to the International Festival of Words and Music. For more info


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

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: PAPATOM Reel Fish & Chips 2nd & 16th - Etusson: Salle de la Cantine 3rd - La Coudre: Auberge de la source 4th - Genneton: Café de la Mairie 25th - Saint Martin de Sanzay: Café de la Pompe Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018




@The DSMagazine



YOU TUBE: T he Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine INSTAGRAM: thedsm79

La Vendée Chippy Weds: Pub Le St Vincent, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: La Bohème, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: Last of month : Bar Le Chaps, La Chapelle Thireuil We will be closed from Sat 12 to Tues 22 May inclusive Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

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

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 La Chapelle 16140 St Jean d’Angély 17400

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm



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


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

• • •

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: office. 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 are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share’ lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcomes you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2018 1st May 8th May 10th May 20th May 21st May 27th May 17th June 21st June 14th July 15th August 7th October 31st October 1st November 11th November 25th December

Labour Day (Fête du Travail) Victory in Europe Day (Fête de la Victoire) Ascension Day (Ascension) Pentecost (Pentecôte) Pentecost (Lundi de Pentecôte) Mother’s Day (Fête des Mères) Father’s Day (Fête des Pères) World Music Day (Fête de la Musique) National Day (Fête Nationale) Assumption of Mary (Assomption) Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grands-Pères) Halloween All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël) (Dates in bold=Public holidays)

TOP HAT QUIZ & CURRY 3rd: 7th: 9th: 14th:

Chef Boutonne Limalonges Aigre Theil Rabier

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

1st Sunday at 10.30am: Parish church at St. Leger de la Martinière, Melle. Followed by tea and coffee. 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay 4th Sunday at 11am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea and coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch.

1st and 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd and 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) meets at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11.00am (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun). We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details


Markey’s pork ‘n’ pies Traditional British cooking

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

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

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

OPEN mornings

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 5

Getting Out & About Festival de Voulmentin warmly invites you to the ‘International Festival of Words and Music ‘ 26th June - 1st July, in the village square, St. Clementin 79150 More next month!

Find us on




To celebrate our 7 birthday - we were giving away 7 pairs of tickets to visit La Vallée des Singes. The question was: How many gorilla babies have been born at the park? th

Saturday 26th May 2018 10.00h - 12.30h 15, rue de la Cure, THIRÉ Coffee, Tea, Refreshments Books, “Vide Grenier”, Tombola Jewellery, Cake Stall, Plants, Raffle. Everybody welcome.

Free entrance

Donations welcome in aid of All Saints Church Vendee

2017 - iStock Andriano_cz

ans !

The answer: 12 7 lucky winners have been drawn out of the hat and their tickets sent to them.

©La Vallée des Singes


la nature nous fait grandir

CONGRATULATIONS AND HAVE A GREAT DAY! THE FESTIVITIES OF THE 20th ANNIVERSARY To celebrate their 20th year, La Vallée des Singes are holding various events throughout the season:

Sunday, 3 June: PRIMATES RUN. From Thur, 12 JulY - Sun, 15 July:

PRIM’ARTS Festival

La Vallée des Singes, animal park located in the Vienne, is now open for the 2018 season and celebrates its 20th year!

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

We post regular updates, things to do and promote special offers on our page, so why not pop over and say “Hello”! 6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

romagne (86)

The Funny Farm Cat Rescue

Coffee & Book Afternoon 1st Wednesday of every month - 2pm - 4pm Come along and have a chat, freshly brewed coffee, change your books or just have a read and help the little kittens and cats we take in and care for. Le Grand Beaupuits, 79200 St Germain-de-Longue-Chaume

Email: Association number: W793001884

Vide Grenier in aid of

Sunday 6th May 9am - 4.30pm

La Charrue, 24340 VIEUX MAREUIL

Bargains galore! Stall holders welcome: 7,50€ a pitch – no need to book. Cake stall for Twilight (it would be wonderful if you could bake, bring along and help us raise funds) La Charrue will be doing wonderful food all day, including their famous bacon butties! On the day feel free to bring your: bric-a-brac, bedding, food or disinfectant for the dogs... and don’t forget your small change for the pot!

Internationally Recognised Days for:


1st - World Asthma Day 2nd- World Play Your Ukulele Day 4th - Star Wars Day 5th - Revenge Of The Fifth Day 6th - No Diet Day 8th - No Socks Day 9th - Donate A Day’s Wages To Charity Day 10th - Stay Up All Night, Day 11th - Eat What You Want Day 13th - International Hummus Day 17th - World Baking Day 18th - Visit Your Relative Day 19th - World Fiddle Day 20th - Quiche Lorraine Day 24th - Escargot Day 25th - Wine Day 29th - Learn About Composting Day 30th - Senior Health and Fitness Day 31st - No Tobacco Day

FILMS IN ENGLISH.....look for screenings in ‘VO’ or ‘VOST’ Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: CineChef, Chef-Boutonne: email: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: Niort Moulin du Roc: Parthenay Cinema: and find others at

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 7

Three Mods: We will fight on the beaches. by Tony Barrett

Creature Corner



The Summer Of ‘64 Clacton, during Easter Bank Holiday in 1964, had been the coldest on record for over 100 years and a thoroughly dismal weekend. But now, as Whitsun approached, the weather had improved and the Mods were all waiting to find out which would be the next seaside town to be invaded. For one of the original Hasting’s Mods, Stu Barnes, the forthcoming weekend was to change his life in more ways than one and turn his world upside down. Bird’s Eye View Pamela Haswell was a Southend-on-Sea Mod known to her friends as ‘Razzle’, for longer than she could remember. She knew that the August Bank Holiday was on the horizon, and having her own scooter, would not miss this one, having missed Clacton and Margate. Harbouring a crush for one of her group, she hoped this weekend would give her the opportunity to finally get him to notice her.

Contact Tony :

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

lso goes by the name Coypu, Nutria or Beverrat and is the only member of the Myocastoridae family.

Description: A semi-aquatic, plant-eating rodent, a metre in length and the largest rodent in the world, exceeded only by the Capybara. It has a distinctive white patch on the muzzle, webbed hind feet and large bright orange incisors. A round scaly tail, short ears and small eyes situated high on the head, so it can see when swimming. The nipples of the female are also high on the flanks, to allow the young to feed when ‘mum’ is in the water. Origins: South American and introduced into Europe for its fur. The first attempt at Ragodin farming was in France in the 1880s. The fur farming was generally unsuccessful and they were released into the wild or escaped. Popularity: They live in burrows alongside water and can consume 25% of their body weight daily and can live for up to six years, although 80% don’t live longer than a year. They can give birth to as many as 13 offspring and become pregnant the day after. Considered pests in many areas for destroying aquatic vegetation, eroding river banks and displacing native animals. Ragodin facts: • Ragodin have valves in their mouth and nose that close automatically when the animal dives • They can swim underwater for upto five minutes • N o c t u r n a l animals, that are mostly active around midnight

Take a Break - SOLUTION

August ’64 Extended In 1964 gangs of Mods and Rockers fought battles on the very British beaches Winston Churchill had once sworn to defend. Clacton at Easter and Margate at Whitsun had seen the seaside towns invaded by the scooter and motorcycle youngsters. Now the August Bank Holiday was drawing near and Mods, like Steve in Southend on Sea, waited to find out which coastal town would be next.

by Steve Shaw

Easy Crossword: Across: 1. wobble 4. ordeal 8. spoon 9. earshot 10. Delhi 11. totally 12. architect 15. crayons 16. proxy 17. absolve 18. adieu 19. peseta 20. gyrate Down: 2. osprey 3. brotherly love 5. dispatch rider 6. Apollo 7. Westminster 13. treble 14. except

The events leading upto and including the August Bank Holiday weekend of 1964, The Second Battle of Hastings as seen through the eyes of three young Mods, whose stories although separate, all describe that eventful weekend, which will change their lives and bring them together. Originally available on Kindle, the stories are now combined in this paperback edition.

The Ragodin

Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. coach 4. lecture 8. nee 9. real deals 10. elite 11. nostril 13. teach an old dog 16. chaotic 18. ninja 19. all untrue 21. aim 22. science 23. tutor Down: 1. concept 2. americana 3. harlech 4. learning curve 5. codes 6. una 7. easel 12. redundant 14. longest 15. grammar 16. class 17. tenon 20. lei

ith the success of my three Kindle books on the subject of Mods and Rockers during 1964, I have now combined them into a paperback.

This month’s creature:

All In The Merry Month Of May by Sue Burgess


ayday La fête du 1er mai has two origins. The first goes back to the Middle Ages Moyen-Age. The plant, lily-of-the-valley le muguet which came from Japan arrived in Europe during this period. The flower was a symbol of spring le printemps and the Celts believed the flower brought good luck, un porte-bonheur. From the XVIth century, King Charles IX made things official by offering a sprig of lily-of-the-valley un brin de muguet to the ladies of his court aux dames de la Cour. Lily-of-the-Valley dances les bals du muguet existed for a long time. In the XIXth century dressmakers and fashion designers les couturiers offered three sprigs to their workers and seamstresses petites-mains! The lily-of-the-valley of the 1st May, only became associated with labour day la fête du travail in 1907. The demonstrators les manifestants wore it in their button-holes la boutonnière in commemoration of the workers’ movements in Chicago in 1886. Today the tradition la tradition continues. Lily-of-the-valley is sold everywhere on street corners à tous les coins de rue and many people offer it as a sign of friendship and good luck un gage d’amitié et de porte-bonheur. In the centre of France from the Limousin to the Valley of Aoste (Italy), it is traditional to plant a tree decorated with a French flag un arbre décoré d’un drapeau tricolore in front of the house of a newly elected councillor un nouvel élu. Where do these mais (May trees) come from ? From Freedom Trees des arbres de la liberté perhaps, but more likely from the idea of a tree which renews the pact between nature and mankind. In some parts of the South of France ribbons are tied to a tree and girls dance around the arbre de mai (Maypole). The month of May is punctuated by bank holidays des jours fériés - the first of May la Fête du Travail, Victory in Europe 1945 le huit mai Asension day l’Ascension. Whit Monday Pentecôte may also fall in May depending on the date of Easter. Mother’s day La Fête des Mères often falls on the last Sunday in May.

© wiki commons/Snyder

Vocabulary/Vocabulaire Le muget ...................................


Mi-mai ........................................ Mid May La mouche de mai........................ Mayfly L’arbre de mai ............................. Maypole La reine du 1er mai......................

May queen

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: Le printemps................................ Spring / Springtime (season) Printanier Printanière ..............

Spring / Springtime (adjective relating to Spring)

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 9



The Abbaye Royale at Celles-sur-Belle has undergone a huge effort to replace their organ. Janet Hall, member of the association ‘Les Amis de l’ Orgue’, gives us an update on the final stages...


Lt Tomos Stephens Memorial Cycle Challenge 2018

he community of Celles-sur-Belle is finally ready to welcome a new Organ in the Abbey church after more than 250 years! This project is finally coming to fruition after years of fundraising and hard work by the team of volunteers.

By the time this edition goes to press, the Benediction will have taken place on 22nd April with the Archbishop of Poitiers officiating. 6-700 people are expected to attend. This ceremony is designed to embrace the new instrument as an integral part of the life of the church. This will be closely followed by the Inauguration on the evening of Saturday 5th May, with a sound and light ensemble and the service projected onto screens for a wider audience to appreciate. Weather permitting; an element of the service will take place outdoors in the grounds. Booking is not required for the Benediction; places for the Inauguration will be at a premium and reserved for annual subscribers/members, and then depending on availability. At the AGM on 4th April, Guillaume Deslandres (Musical Director), outlined his hopes and aims – mainly to promote the organ as an instrument “for all” and not just reserved for a restricted elite audience but as part of a musical ensemble – working with choirs, soloists, quartets, trombones, saxophones, etc. The 13th May also marks the Jour de l’Orgue, a national day where organs of all shapes and sizes are played across the country. It’s always on the third Sunday of May. For Celles, it will be a 40 minute performance by Arnaud Maurin, a very gifted young organist. The show will be “kaleidoscopic “ !!!


n Sunday 10th June 2018 a team of cyclists representing the Royal British Legion, Poitou-Charentes Branch, will retrace the epic cycle ride undertaken by Lt Tomos Stephens of 1st SAS, Operation Bulbasket on the 10th June 1944, from their camp at Sazas near Montromillion to the railway marshalling yards at Chatellerault, a round trip of 120 km.

On the 7th June 1944, Stephens parachuted into Central France where he carried out several operations against vital enemy supply lines, before transferring to the Verrières area where he joined up with John Tonkin’s unit. On the 10th June information was received about enemy fuel being stored at Chatellerault railway marshalling yard. As a result of this information it was decided that Stephens, being a smallish, dark haired Welshman with a dapper moustache, be disguised as a local farmer and on an old French pushbike, should cycle from the camp at Sazas near Montromillion to the marshalling yard at Chatellerault, to gather information on the fuel store. Stephens completed the round trip of 120 km in a day, returning “saddle sore” but with vital information on the large supply of fuel stored at the yard. This information was passed to the Allies resulting in the fuel supply later being destroyed in an RAF bombing raid. Stephens continued with operations in the area up until the 3rd July, when the forest camp near Verrières was surrounded by over 400 German troops, and attacked by mortar and machine gun fire. In an attempt to escape, Stephens was wounded and dropped at the edge of the forest where he urged others to leave him and flee. Most of the SAS unit and Maquisards were captured, but Stephens was able to hide in a cornfield, only to be discovered the following day and brutally clubbed to death with a rifle butt. Stephens’ body was placed in a local family's vault at the cemetery in Verrières the same day. At dawn on the 7th July 1944, thirty other members of the unit together with an American Air Force Officer were executed in the forest of SaintSauvant near Rom. After the war, all their bodies were exhumed and re-buried in the village cemetery at Rom in Commonwealth War Graves. Memorials to the men of Operation Bulbasket have been erected in the forests at Verrières and Saint Sauvant, where memorial ceremonies take place each year.

All monies raised go to The Poppy Appeal The new Organ at Celles-sur-Belle © Les Amis de l’Orgue

For further details of any of the above, please visit the site: www.

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

For more information please contact Alan Rowlands: 05 49 95 54 59 or email: If you would like to take part in this ride, please contact either Alan Rowlands on the above number/email or Bob Liddiard:

Clear Your Clutter for Charity by Jan Le-Van Smith

An original ‘bring and buy’ idea, helped to raise money for Alzheimers and Orfée

music. Andrew, one of the support workers, and two of the visitors (a guitarist and drummer), sang and played well-known songs. Before long everyone was smiling, clapping and singing along, such a lovely sight.


ith the money raised for Alzheimers from last year’s ‘bring and buy’ sale, we purchased a year’s worth of tea, coffee, biscuits and other items used by Memory Cafés in the UK, also for a project called Singing for the Brain. I visited one of the Memory Café’s meetings to present them with your donation of tea-time goodies. The cafés are held around the Nottinghamshire area, in locations suitable for people with Alzheimers, and their carers (usually a family member) to meet. Professional help is on offer from Dementia Support Workers, along with light hearted fun and entertainment. Volunteers help by being sociable, making drinks, setting up and clearing away. The meetings, usually totalling 20 to 25 people, are designed to stimulate the brain and help bring back memories; most can remember what they did several years ago but struggle keeping track of day-to-day life. Entertainment on the day I visited included a quiz, written by one of the carers, a series of entertainments on a flower theme (including flower bingo), and highlight of the morning… live

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! by Stephen Shaw

May 1 has always been a significant day for me (and my twin brother), as it is our birthday. I associate it with an extra day off, presents and the World Snooker Championship. For others in the UK it is traditionally a time of maypoles, Morris dancing and trips to the garden centre. But having just moved to France, I thought I would delve into the traditions of May Day in this country, and what it means to the French. st

Although steeped in tradition, in France, similar to the UK, most people see it as a paid holiday or jour ferié, a time for relaxing with friends and family and enjoying the longer break. Unlike the UK though, if it falls on a weekend, the French don't get an extra day off. For others May Day or Labor Day, Fête du Travail is a day of action. Trade Unions and other bodies organise demonstrations to campaign for workers’ rights and other social issues. The French are known for their passionate protests and demonstrations, but this day of action originated in Chicago in 1886. On the 1st May 35,000 workers walked out of their jobs, leading to a national movement for an eight-hour working day. Three years later France established an 'International Workers' Day', with the same goals.

Photo left: (from left) Jo, Andrew (Dementia Support Members) and Jan with a fraction of the total donation. Above: Andrew, Terry and Al (playing the ‘beat box’), entertaining those with Alzheimers at a Memory Café meeting. © Jan Le-Van Smith

During the tea-break, after their performance, I explained the reason for my visit. Everyone was very appreciative and said a massive thankyou to all who donated. Providing these essential ‘luxuries’ means a saving of resources for the Alzheimers Society. The service these café-meetings provide is invaluable to all. They offer a change of scenery, social interaction with people in the same situation, a way to share their worries and fears with the professionals... and of course, to enjoy a good ‘cuppa' and dunk some tasty biscuits!! For more information about Memory Cafés contact:

In 1890, May Day protesters started adorning their lapels with a red triangle (the three sides representing the division of the ideal day in equal parts: work, leisure and sleep). The triangle has been replaced by a small bouquet and tied with a red ribbon. The May holiday can be traced back to pagan rituals. For the Celtic people, this day marked the changing of dark winter months to the return of the beaux jours, or the beautiful days of spring. In medieval France, it was a celebration of the season rather than ‘work’, as it was to become. It was named Fête de la Terre (Earth Day). A feast lasting three days would take place and people would ride mules adorned with ribbons through the villages. 'The tree of May' tradition involves young men, in some parts of France, cutting down a tree during the night (between the 30th April and 1st May) and then replanting it by the door of the woman they hoped to marry. Not surprisingly, this tradition is not so popular today.

On 1st May 1561, France's King Charles IX was given a muguet flower, or 'lily-of-the-valley', as a symbol of good luck. He liked it so much, he decided to offer them to the ladies of the court each year. Today, flowers are sold in bouquets around France and people offer them to family and friends for good luck.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 11

Clubs & Associations ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are now a number of English-speaking meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in the South West of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership and A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Jim: 00 44 79 60 16 83 30 or Janet: 05 46 26 90 85. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€ or visit for details of English-speaking meetings.

Craft Café Creatif

Do you enjoy knitting or sewing in the company of others? Join us in L’Absie for an enjoyable afternoon over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. For details contact Carole on email:

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.


Come and join us. Learn at your own pace within a mixed group of English and French speaking people, in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Every Thursday 8pm-9.30pm. Contact Penny 02 51 63 31 21 or Ray 02 51 61 28 69.

Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay

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 05 49 69 14 89

TTL Photography Group

Local photography group on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border. New members always welcome, all levels of expertise and knowledge. We meet every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 1pm at Pause! L’Absie (79240). Feel free to pop in and join us.

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


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email: CLE (Charente Limousine Exchange) is a non-profit organisation for exchange of news, views and information. We work to protect member’s best interests, run social activities, events and clubs, helping members to make new ex-patriate and French friends. John Welch 05 49 87 90 33 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

WANT TO PLAY CRIBBAGE? Whether you are experienced, a novice, or want to learn how to play, everyone is welcome. We are a group of friendly players who meet the last Friday evening of every month in La Chapelle Thireuil. Contact Sally on 05 49 76 15 30

AL-ANON Support Group

Do you wish the Drinking Would Stop? Are you troubled by someone’s drinking? If so we can help. There is now an English-speaking Al-Anon meeting every Wednesday @ 2.30pm in the meeting room behind Civray Mairie. Just turn up or ring Angela on 05 49 87 79 09. 2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club Come and join us for a bike ride, or just a cup of coffee and a chat, with bike-minded people. As the name suggests, we meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site.

Amateur woodturners/woodworkers interested in joining our association ‘Faisons des Copeaux’. Any level of ability from debutant to experienced. We meet Wednesdays & Thursdays, 2-5pm, every 2 weeks. Contact Roland 05 49 96 44 10, preferably evenings.

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 Julia Murray for joining details. Email: Tel: 05 49 07 70 69 Melleran Chanteurs – Amateur singing group meeting every Monday 6.45pm in Melleran Salle des Fetes. French & English members, singing in many languages. New voices always welcomed, particularly tenor and bass. For more information contact Maggie Geal 05 49 07 11 69

Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

Thanks to the support of the Centre we meet every Wednesday 7.30pm-9pm, at 7 rue Anne Desrays, for conversation in English & French, for a mutual understanding of each other’s language and culture. Contact 05 49 66 35 11 or the Centre 05 49 66 76 40 email or RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: or Tel Website Short URL: The Jean David Art Group meets every Friday, 1.30pm - 4.30pm at L’Absie (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60. THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:

MERIDIEN GREEN ASSOCIATION We are a cross cultural association who aim for closer integration of the inhabitants of St Coutant 79120 and surrounding areas. Free weekly language classes on Monday evenings and Tuesday afternoons. For all our events visit

Combined Services Support by Terri Laverick Group (CSSG)


his bi-monthly article has nearly caught me out again. I’d not realised time had flown past so quickly, and here I am, sitting by the window and looking out at grey, watery skies and wondering if we shall ever see real sunshine again.

The Theatre Group

by John Blair

Our next production is not until November but our Director, Malcolm Daniels and Producer, Christine Hester are already working hard. To add to his heavy workload, I have asked him to provide regular feedback on their progress. Malcolm says, “The 2018 winter production for the Reaction Theatre will be a pantomime aimed at an adult audience but suitable for children. To this end, we have decided to write our own script, tailored to this particular audience. Based on Cinderella, it will be called Carry On Cinderella. As a matter of courtesy, we have asked the owner to the rights of the iconic Carry On films for permission to use this title. He has agreed verbally and we are currently awaiting written consent. Having received the blessing of the Reaction Theatre committee, the show has been cast. The response and enthusiasm for this new venture has been amazing and we have a full-team of onstage and off-stage personnel, who are all eager to get started. We shall have a series of read-throughs during the summer months and the show will be performed at the end of November at Le Petit Theatre, Secondigny. It’s going to be a really fun event for the cast, crew and hopefully you, our very supportive audience.”

Since our last article, CSSG have had their Annual General Meeting, it was held on 3rd March at the Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux. The attendance was high and prior to the meeting several of us enjoyed a tasty British style breakfast. We now have a new enthusiastic committee who are full of ideas, and will be contacting members shortly. There are several events in the pipeline; in the summer an afternoon of music and entertainment is planned. If you would like any further information about this, please contact our Chairman, Mr John Blair, and he will be pleased to give you details. Keep an eye on the What’s On section of ‘The DSM’ for future events, and do come along and support us. As many of you are aware, CSSG was set up to raise money for ex-service men and women who need our help. We have, over the years, managed to help various service charities, both here in France and in the UK. Namely: SAFFA France, RAFA, Combat Stress, Army of Angels and the Ghurkha Welfare Trust. We have also donated to the local Pompieres and Resto du Coeur. The money we raise goes directly to the charities, we do not give to individuals. If you would like to join us, we are a friendly bunch of people, who enjoy holding events and raising money, and we would love to have more people join us. Contact us via johnblair@ and you will be most welcome. Remember, your money goes to those in most need.

Malcolm Daniels – Director. “Thanks Malcolm, we’ll look forward to the show and future updates from you on the productions progress.”


In the March issue of ‘The DSM’, I told you that in May, we would be singing at the inauguration of a monument to the WWII resistance fighters, in L’Absie. Unfortunately, it has been postponed until 2019. I will remind you nearer the time! We are, however, singing and dancing on the 23rd & 24th June on the Ile d’Oleron, as previously mentioned. Reaction Theatre members were asked to submit ideas for the choir’s new tee-shirts and I am pleased to announce that my design was chosen- what an honour!

Scottish Dancing Group

Tony Murdoch is getting us fit to perform in public - well he’s trying! I think I’ve lost a few pounds with all this exercise. It’s fun when we make a mistake (which is often at the moment), particularly when it’s Tony himself! However, with all his efforts and our determination, I’m sure we’ll be spot on by June.

The Art Scene

The new owners of ‘The DSM’, Anna and Stephen Shaw came to see us in April to find out about our reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica painting. This impressive artwork is made up of 15 individual canvases and can be seen on page 17 of this issue. We wish them every success with ‘The DSM’ for years to come.

Best wishes, John

Full details of all our groups and their activities can be seen on our website or call 05 49 63 23 50

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 13

My Grandmother

by Regine Noiret

Lesley Ritchie has lived in France for the past 10 years and for most of that time, has been running an English conversation class in her area (Cherveux on Wednesdays and Germond on Thursdays). One of the participants, Regine, submitted this story. Regine is in her seventies and has only studied English at school. I think you will agree, she has quite a gift. y grandmother was an amazing women, very modern in her period. She was very brave and was afraid of nothing. M She lived through difficult times during two wars and she lost everything in her house every time. But she always said: “the most important thing is that nobody is dead”.

She was a refugee with four children during the first world war and also during the second, living in the same village with one of her daughters, my mother and me (who was three years old). Later, I often lived in her home because it was difficult for my parents to find something to eat in town. My grandparents lived in the country. They had rabbits, hens (and eggs), potatoes and many vegetables in the garden. I was a real princess for my grandmother. She loved me more than everyone and I was very happy close to her, because she was always laughing about everything. My grandfather was very kind but very serious. He had been a chief of police with a lot of responsibility and was often worried. My grandmother told me many things about her youth. How she met her husband, how she lived, had children and how she lost two babies (she kept some of their blonde hairs in a small box).

When Reality Becomes Fiction by Ann Haley

author Ann Haley (aka GM Haley) visited the SouthWest of France on holiday many times over the years with Ehernglish family, staying in various gîtes, auberges and chambres d’hôtes. With her love of mystery/detective novels and a dream of escaping her life as a teacher in England, she finally combined the two into a series of stories.

She says: “My books fall into the ‘cozy mystery’ genre. For the uninitiated, cozy mysteries usually involve a female amateur sleuth who is intelligent and intuitive. Murders, without the grizzly details, take place in a small setting and the stories include entertaining and often quirky secondary characters.” “In my books, Catherine, the sleuth and narrator, runs a chambres d’hôtes with her husband Karl. Disturbing incidents, including m u r d e r ,

She did many funny things with me; she was often singing old songs or reciting poems or stories. She was also able to catch a goose by the neck and make it turn quickly around when it attacked me...or to catch a bird of prey in her apron when it was attacking her chickens !!! Later, when my grandfather died, she was never laughing anymore. When I had my first daughter, we went to show her. When the car stopped in front of the house, she took the baby from my arms, bringing her like a treasure, and ran away to her home without looking at or speaking to us. When she died a few years later, I was very sad. Now, sometimes, when I look at myself in the mirror, I believe I see my grandmother and that makes me very happy and very proud...

Above: Regine’s grandmother. © Regine Noiret

occur in the vicinity of the rural hamlet in which they live. Catherine usually finds herself in the midst of the action and is frequently inclined to sift through clues in order to supply the local Police Inspector, who she deems to be rather hapless, with vital insight.” Ann has received many positive reviews regarding her novels. Some emailed to her directly and some on amazon websites. As a thankyou for taking the time to submit reviews, she is offering those readers the chance to have their character (real or imaginary) included, as a secondary character, in one of her books. Readers can email Ann at: with their character and a preference for being on the side of the protagonist or antagonist. Ann added: “I am currently drafting the fourth book in the series ‘Grief in the Gâtine’, so some of the suggested characters could easily find their way into the next story. And who knows? Some may have such useful attributes that they find themselves becoming more of a permanent feature.”

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

Our Furry Friends


Hope Shop 79 have MOVED! Now at 8 rue d’aunis, 79120 Saint Soline


Born 19th January 2017 - Male Pointer/Setter

Milo was found with an injured leg, but we have been assured by the vet that this will disappear with time. He loves people. Calm and clean indoors. Loves his walks, has good recall and is comfortable in a car. If you would like further details or to see Milo, please contact his foster carers, Shirley and Dan Thomas: 05 65 37 00 65, or by email: Milo is in Salviac 46340.

This stunning little lady is currently in the pound in dept 79 South. Unidentified and unclaimed she is now available for adoption. We estimate her age to be about one year old. She is small, weighing just 12kg and similar in stature to a stocky Whippet / Greyhound. ZUMBA is an energetic, playful, friendly girl who loves people and playmates. She’s quite excitable after being in the pound for a few weeks, but is quickly learning good manners. ZUMBA has been spayed, micro-chipped, primary vaccinated and treated for worms, fleas and ticks.. An adoption fee will be asked for to help towards her medical costs. If you would like more information then please contact Caroline on 05 45 96 02 79, or email OrfeeInEnglish3@gmail. com. cross. ​

The Assocation Orfee Contact Caroline: 05 45 96 02 79 or by email: Visit the website:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 15

Hobbies The Power Of Small Wins


by Alison Morton

taying motivated is one of the most difficult challenges when you’re a writer. Leaving aside distractions from the internet down to mowing the lawn, the supermarket shopping or ‘urgent’ emails, motivation can also plummet when you check the clock or calendar and realise you haven’t written that blogpost/poem/article you promised or hit today’s word count. Our goals are ‘big wins’ involving rewards or money such as getting a piece accepted, hitting the ‘send’ button for a submission or seeing our words in print or in an ebook. And holding a finished print book is exhilarating after months of slog! Progress vs. productivity Big wins are important and should be celebrated (mine usually involve bubbling liquid!) but accumulated ‘small wins’ along the way actively help increase your productivity. To start with, let’s rechristen ‘productivity’ as ‘progress’. ‘Productivity’ sounds as if you’re working in a factory or a sales office; ‘progress’ indicates making positive steps towards an end goal. Even though you set yourself a daily word count goal, the pressure is off when you don’t make it if you call the words you actually wrote ‘progress.’ My daily word goal is 1,000, but I’ve had a back problem recently and for a week I could only manage 220-550 a day. I could have fallen into despair and self-castigation at my lack of productivity. But despite hardly being able to type at a desk, after seven days my manuscript had an additional 2,800 words towards the end goal – a ‘small win’ and visible progress. This kept me engaged with my story and happy with myself when I was able to resume my usual work hours. Counting it Noting down what you have achieved each day and how you did it is a powerful way of recording your progress. Some writers jot it down in a daily journal, some write the number of words/ sentences/pages on a calendar, others keep a time grid in a separate file of what’s happened in the scenes they wrote with the date they wrote it, or even blog, tweet or post on Facebook about it. Choose your method, but do note these things down. You’ll be astounded when you go back and read it. Three benefits 1. Taking time to recognise and review your progress will show you how to work better; what time of day, under what conditions, how can you organise your days to include writing time and thinking time, and allot other times for emails, calls and social media. 2. You’ll keep the momentum going, even if it’s just a few lines. Your notes will show you what you were thinking when you wrote the previous day’s words, and also how you wanted to take the story forward. You may well change that when you get down to writing, but the notes put you back ‘in the zone’. 3. You’ll generate your own feedback. When you make a regular practice of noting what progress you made and analysing what may have stopped you writing that day, you accumulate feedback about your work from your own history. You can use that to gain perspective and adjust or make new plans for the next day’s progress.

Happy writing! Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her novella CARINA, is now out in paperback.

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Stuart Patrick and Derek Pyper for sharing their book reviews with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

Munich by Robert Harris This book describes the days in 1938 when the British and French leaders tried to placate Hitler and avoid another great European war, when the horrors of 191418 were still so fresh. The words ‘Munich’ and ‘appeasement’ recall events that are nowadays universally condemned. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is seen as the architect of appeasement, exemplified by his ‘peace in our time’ speech on his return from his final trip to Germany. A young German diplomat and anti-Nazi tries to warn Chamberlain that whatever Hitler says, he wants war, and the ostensible object of the peace talks is the annexation of the German-speaking area of Czechoslovakia. Harris creates truly spell-binding narrative, as readers of his 2016 book ‘Conclave’, on the election of a new Pope, will know. He describes the settings and events so well, because he has been there and done extensive research. The author has an outstanding talent for creating atmosphere. He is a master of the historical novel. by Stuart Patrick

New York by Edward Rutherford This novel follows the fortunes and misfortunes of the Master family from the birth of this exciting city to the tragedy of 9/11. More than 300 years ago Manhattan was home to the Iroquoian and Algonquian Indians before the Dutch purchased it for a song. In 1664, the English renamed the colony New York after the Duke of York (later James II and VII). At this point the Master family become prominent importers and are heavily involved in the slave trade. Naturally, they are very wealthy and everything seems rosy in the garden until the War of Independence causes a rift in the family. It was a difficult decision for some – loyalty to the English Crown, or support a breakaway. This saga takes us on a journey involving the Civil War, New York gangs, and the Ellis Island immigrants. It’s a long novel because there is a wealth of information about an important area in American history. At the beginning of the book there are four very informative maps showing the development of New York over the centuries. Don’t let the 1016 pages deter you. This gripping yarn will hold your attention throughout and you’ll wish it was longer. If you have any personal experience of the Big Apple this is the book for you. by Derek Pyper

Bees at the Little White House by Gloria Fisher

Experiences of a new Beekeeper... My Honey Harvest Or How Not To Do It


s I sit here, looking out of the window at the snow (experiencing weather we have not seen for years), it’s difficult to remember the balmy days of October.

In my last article, I told you how you are supposed to harvest your honey, what follows is how not to! I started with all my equipment in the wheelbarrow and took it down to the field. I had my smoker, a plastic box (to put the full Supers in), and my recent memory of how to do this job. I lit the smoker and set off towards the hive, fully geared up, of course. I smoked the entranceway and took off the roof. The inner lid was next and there they were, all the frames full of delicious honey. I didn’t have a bee brush (it’s a long soft brush to move the bees from the frame gently), so ever the inventor I used a leaf. It worked, and I gently moved the bees from the frame, back into the hive. This first frame I put in the plastic box and carried on. I finished the top Super and went on to the next one. First mistake. When there was not enough honey in the frame, I left it in, all the rest I took out. So, now I was left with a half-full Super and the honey in my plastic box. Feeling very pleased with myself, I went back home to sort out the frames. What I should have done, was to take all the frames out, rather than leaving just a few frames in the Super. I know that now.

Art Scene’ – fun, laughter and art thrown in.

by Jean Evley


e meet every Friday 10am to 12.30pm. Sessions are lively and fun. The workshops are often guided (in pencil, watercolours, acrylics, oils etc.) by a guest artist or by some of our own members who are always willing to share their knowledge and experience. Last year we visited Château du Pont Jarno for an afternoon of open-air painting, and this is booked again for August. We also had our first exhibition (60 paintings), in Vouvant. Over the coming months we are looking at liquid acrylics, cityscapes, street-art and not forgetting our monthly ‘mini-art’ challenge. Members are also free to do their own thing. We recently rose to a challenge and reproduced Picasso’s 1937 Guernica, which depicts the horrors of the Spanish Civil War. The finished piece comprises 15 individual canvases joined together, making a painting 2m x 1.5m.

We are looking for venues to display this for us. On the 25th June to 1st July we are exhibiting it at the LitFest Festival de Voulmentin in St Clementin.

Once home, I had the small problem of dealing with bees that had followed me…stealing their honey. I don’t have an uncapping knife or a spinner, so I ‘forked’ the full frames to release the honey and left them in the sunshine (indoors), to drain into the plastic box. I was left with some frames with a bit of honey in, but not enough to worry about draining it. I thought that I would put these half-used frames back in the hive, so the bees did not have an empty space. As I had only just finished the removal of the honey, I thought that I would just pop the half-empty fames back in the hive. I didn’t even bother smoking them. Big mistake! Had I thought about it, I would have realised that having just stolen their honey, they would not be pleased with more interference in their home. They didn’t understand that I was only trying to help them by replacing the frames. I opened the hive and replaced one frame before the bees took offence and came out to meet me. They managed to get in my bee suit and stung me through my jeans. I tried to replace the rest, but it was impossible. I was covered with very angry bees getting in and stinging me wherever they could. I ran to the field next to mine, trying to get rid of the bees still stinging me everywhere. Quite a frightening experience I can tell you. Eventually they went away, but I was quite shaken. Totally my own fault and a valuable lesson learnt. After some time I contacted my bee friend and he came to help me put the hive back together. I did end up with four jars of the tastiest honey ever.

A reproduction of Picasso’s Guernica. Painted by ‘Art Scene’, which is part of ‘Reaction Theatre’ group.

Picasso’s Guernica


Vronni Ward

This painting resonates throughout time. Just turn on the TV, see those images of Syria, think Guernica. Picasso painted this huge canvas in 1937, as a reminder of the horrors of war for innocent people, and as a political statement. It is one of his most famous works. The Nazi’s had indiscriminately bombed this small Basque town in Northern Spain. The canvas conveys violence and chaos. His use of blues, blacks and whites intensifies the drama and bleakness. The bull and the horse are central to Spanish culture; the bull could mean the onslaught of Fascism and the horse the people of Guernica. The open palm of the soldier is a stigma, like that of Christ, a martyr. The light bulb signifies the torturers light, in a closed cell. The art group were keen to recreate this painting as a collaborative project, led by me. It brought everyone together for a common goal. It was fun trying to fit all the pieces together! We now need a permanent home for the piece. If you know anywhere (restaurants, libraries etc.) please contact us.

If you would like to get in touch, please email:

If you are interested in joining the ‘Art Scene’ or would like to display our Guernica, please or

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 17

Home & Garden

Love your M


by Greenfingers

ay is the month when there is a real surge of growth and plant development in the garden. The hours of daylight are longer and temperatures higher, ensuring seed germination. All your treasured cuttings can be planted out and the voile, hopefully, can finally be put away until next year. The hedgerows are full of cow parsley, with its lacy tops and insects much more in evidence. The colours blue and mauve are taking precedence over the yellow of all the daffs and narcissus, and irises and alliums are taking centre stage, with the tulips adding to the riot of colour. Spring is well under way and it’s difficult to come in from the garden when there is much to do and conditions are right for doing it.

Now is the time to:

Prune clematis montana, armandii and alpina when flowering has finished and if it has become too big for its allotted space. Tie stems in to supporting wires or trellis. Cuttings can be taken

Forget-me-nots: prone to mildew and fungus © wiki commons/Rude

too, and should root easily now (making sure you include a node and trim off excess foliage). Daffodils that have flowered poorly this year can be lifted and divided, replanting the larger ones in soil that has been improved with good compost. Once

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

tulips have finished flowering, trim back the flower stems to their bases, leaving the foliage to die back naturally. If cannas and dahlias have been over-wintered in pots, they can be planted out now, give them a feed and trim off any damaged leaves. Divide primulas and bergenia and trim back aubretia and arabis once the flowers have faded. Forget-me-nots can be cleared, as they will have dropped seed and will regrow next year (left to their own devices they can take over and are prone to powdery mildew and fungus, which can be spread through to other plants). Use thin tree prunings and twigs as plant supports before they are really needed as they will be well hidden by foliage and flower growth. There is quite a good selection of shaped, metal, plant supports available in local garden centres now, and bamboo is a cheap alternative. Plant up hanging baskets and keep well watered, feed and deadhead the flowers regularly. It’s a good idea to include water retaining granules in the compost when preparing the baskets; I think there has been a hosepipe ban every year since I’ve been here, so anything that will help with hanging basket ‘management’ is a positive move. Deadhead azaleas and rhododendrons and trim back ornamental quince (chaenomeles) to help improve flowering next year. Tie perennials with heavy blooms such as delphiniums, paeonies, and phlox to supports. Sweet peas should also be provided with support now. Tie in Vine Weevil loosely to twiggy supports, © wiki commons/AJCann deadheading regularly. Trimming off the top leaf growth helps to thicken the growth below, encouraging more blooms and stronger plants. It’s important to keep an eye open for pests which appear along with all the new growth and flowers and although I have mentioned the most common before, it’s worth mentioning them again. Vine weevil (particularly on fuchsias), can be spotted by the notches that appear on leaf edges. If you do find them, water with a specific vine weevil killer, as the larvae, which live in the soil, feed on the roots and can completely destroy a plant. Similarly, Asiatic lilies often suffer attacks from the red lily beetle. They are easy to spot on the stems as they are bright red and black. Again, it’s the larvae on the leaves that do the most damage. Viburnum beetle Lily beetle © wiki commons/Sven Grand larvae can damage the foliage

of both evergreen and deciduous varieties.

Viburnum Beetle © wiki commons/Hectonichus

Annual and biennial seeds can be sown now, where you want them to grow. At the end of the month, many perennials can be given the ‘Chelsea Chop’ which will encourage them to flower again. Hardy geraniums particularly benefit from this.

Mulch strawberries with straw or bark to keep the fruit clean, off the soil and hopefully, deter pests. Feed tomatoes, aubergines and peppers with high potash fertiliser. Sow sweet corn and provide supports for cucumbers, melons and squashes. Swede, parsnip, cauliflower, main-crop carrots and beetroot can all be sown now. Harvest radishes and young lettuce leaves and re-sow. Examine gooseberry plants for gooseberry sawfly which can devastate a crop. Pinch out the tips of broad beans and continue to earth up potato plants. Keep harvesting rhubarb to encourage new stems to form. Ventilate and dampen down the floors of greenhouses, watching for red spider mite on any plants you are keeping inside. I have seen a lot of Japanese knotweed growing locally. If you find that you have it in your garden, it is important to get rid of it, as it is very invasive. The primary leaves are spearhead shaped

and usually a bronzy colour. The stems are straight and cane-like and the flowers are white. It is a prohibited plant in the UK because of its invasive properties; it can lift paving slabs and break through tarmac. Japanese Knotweed © wiki commons/Ancatdudh43

A wonderfully busy month! Whatever job you are doing, remember: gardening is good for you, keeps you fit, is environmentally friendly and could help you live longer! Don’t forget to stand back though, look, and appreciate what you have done.

Red Spider Mite © wiki commons/Charles Lam



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 19

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

Small colour Advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 21

Health, Beauty & Fitness Fitness Clubs: We are a netball team in Vasles (79340). We meet every Monday 6-7pm 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:

Pure Fitness

Exercise to music classes - every Tuesday 7pm-8pm Salle des Fêtes, L’Absie 79240 For more info contact

Tai Chi in Bressuire and Le Breuil Barret

Each Tuesday evening (7pm-9pm) at the Centre SocioCulturel in Bressuire. Each Friday afternoon (3pm-4.30pm) at the Salle Communale in Le Breuil Barret. Simply turn up in loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear. Phone Terry on 05 49 65 60 34 or visit:



by June Searchfield

ollowing on from June’s report in the March edition of ‘The DSM’, I am pleased to write that our Training Days on the 15th and 17th March were very successful. Thanks to the input from a variety of speakers we were able to expand our understanding of important topics and gain new information related to supporting people affected by cancer.

On Thursday, we welcomed two lovely representatives from L’Estuaire. This is a French palliative care team who support people at the end of life. Fabienne and Simone spoke excellent English and we learned that these Volunteers will visit an ill client at the hospital or at home. They link with Cancer Support DeuxSèvres and together will try to meet the needs of the patient and also of their family. We also had input from Irene Knowles, from the Chaplaincy, who told us how she aims to provide help in the ‘celebration’ of a person’s life. We gained information on the role of the Funeral Directors and details about the paperwork involved at this sad time. On Saturday, we had invited Sue Lennon to help us with the training. Sue is a former cancer nurse specialist and trainer with MacMillan Cancer Support in England. We found her presentation extremely professional as well as informative. She also provided opportunities for us to work in collaboration with each other and subsequently developed our team building skills. We all had a shared picnic lunch together and, as well as taking in some serious stuff, we did have fun.Thank you to all concerned.

Everyday Yoga for Everyone by Rebecca Novick

Warrior II Pose – Virabhadrasana II


n Hindu mythology, the great warrior Virabhadra, has a thousand heads, legs, eyes, and a thousand arms, each wielding a weapon. Needless to say, he is quite the adversary. On the one side, he represents the ego that rises against us again and again to cause us to suffer—to get angry, disappointed and sad. On the other, he represents external challenges that come to face us in our lives. In truth, the two operate in unison, with external events triggering certain responses in our ego mind. The warrior poses tune our bodies to a position of strength, alertness, stability, stamina and confidence with which to face our challenges. At the body level, Warrior II strengthens the legs and stretches the ankles. It opens up the groin, chest, and shoulders and encourages a strong alignment of the core and back muscles. It takes a lot of energy to maintain the warrior poses, so go easy on yourself, especially at first. Strength and stamina are built gradually, over time. Stand with your feet about 3ft apart with heels in alignment. Turn your right foot to 90 degrees and your left foot to about 45 degrees. You can widen your stance for more stability. Raise both arms, and gaze softly over the top of your right hand. Relax the shoulders. Sink your torso down (not forward), bending the right leg as deep as you can comfortably go, ensuring that your right knee does not fall inwards or outwards. Ideally, you should be able to just see your right toe when you look down, with your right shin perpendicular to the floor. Ground your back foot, particularly the big toe and the outer heel into the floor, making the back leg strong and stable. Stay in this position for four or five breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Another association with which we are working closely is La Ligue. They are celebrating their 100th year this year, and have asked us to join in with their forthcoming activities at La Mothe Saint-Heray (79). On 7th and 8th July they are holding a Relais pour la vie, (Race for Life). Money raised in this event goes towards research. If you are interested in walking or running and would like to enter a team, please get in touch. If you would like to become a Volunteer with our organisation, please get in touch through the website or speak to one of our members. New members are always welcome.

Cancer Support Deux-Sevres

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

The Warrior II pose © Rebecca Novick

Respect yourself, explore yourself. For details on yoga classes email: or follow Rebecca on

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 1. Walk unsteadily. (6) 4. A severe or trying experience. (6) 8. Cutlery item. (5) 9. The range within which a voice can be heard. (7) 10. A city in North-Central India. (5) 11. To the full or entire extent. (9) 12. Someone who creates building plans. (9) 15. Wax coloured sticks used for writing and drawing. (7) 16. A person authorised to act for another. (5) 17. Grant remission of a sin to; pardon. (5) 18. A farewell remark. (5) 19. Formerly the basic unit of money in Spain. (6)

20. Revolve quickly and repeatedly around one’s own axis. (6) Down: 2. Large harmless hawk that feeds on fish. (6) 3. A kindly or lenient attitude towards people. (9-4) 5. A messenger who carries military mail, usually on a motorcycle. (8-5) 6. Greek god of light and son of Zeus. (6) 7. A borough of Greater London on the Thames. (11) 13. Increase threefold. (6) 14. Not including; other than. (6)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Answers on P.8 and our website:

With thanks to M.Morris

Across: 1. RC conversion needed to catch a leader of men, not a fish! (5) 4. Carpet and the rest disturbed in trap. (7) 8. Initially called but overturned in police enquiry. (3) 9. Genuine articles found as all deer are put together and sorted out. (4, 5) 10. The Spanish have that special ingredient and the energy to be the chosen people. (5) 11. Leaders of number of street traders rioting in London granted passage. (7) 13. This is something new, tricks can’t be used to do this. (5, 2, 3, 3) 16. In a mess, highest officer keeping nothing in headgear. (7) 18. Turning turtle perhaps in the Raj ninety years ago? (5) 19. Initial response to allegations? “Gave everything to international organisation.” Regret will follow after time. (3, 6) 21. Target instigators of anti- immigration movement. (3) 22. Subject put in charge in elaborate scene. (7)


• • • •


ast month I explained about some of the more common abbreviations that may form part of an answer and that are indicated cryptically in the clue. To continue that theme, I could also have mentioned the use of OT or NT (Old and New Testament) if the clue contains any reference to books, texts etc. •

American city or even sometimes just In America usually points to NY or LA coming in somewhere. LV (for Las Vegas) is not normally an option, as LV (for luncheon voucher) is often

23. One can learn a lot from disembowelling trout. (5) Down: 1. Worry having no navy. Replacing with exercises could be an idea? (7) 2. A main care; to be treated to a collection of stuff from USA. (9) 3. Clear round, keeping within limits of hellish Welsh castle. (7) 4. Run race given start of least confusion, indicating rate of progress? (8, 5) 5. Pay on arrival to get directions for formulae. (5) 6. A Stubbs, for example, found in a badly run art gallery. (3) 7. Small mammal losing head but getting support. (5) 12. Communist and German worker no longer needed. (9) 14. Not the least information encrypted in lost container. (7) 15. Push-over supporting little weight in school. (7) 16. Select group? (5) 17. Number working in joint? (5) 20. Setter given the French garland of flowers. (3)

indicated by a reference to a meal ticket or similar in the clue. Perhaps the most commonly used abbreviation is T for time, but beware, little or short time could equally mean SEC or MO! Any reference to direction or directions usually implies one or more of NSEW being in the answer, or conversely, being left out of an answer if loss or lack of direction forms part of the clue. Physical exercise(s) or physical activity being employed in the clue often gives you PT or PE as part of the answer. Military references are often used, as in CO for commanding officer or CIC for commander in chief or more loosely IC for in charge. Other abbreviations for actual ranks (RSM, SGT, CPL, etc.) being more difficult to fit into an answer, are less common, but the use of one letter can crop up; for example M for major, C for captain and so on.

There are many more conventionally used abbreviations; you may find some of the above examples helpful in this month’s crossword.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 23

Where We Live...



Maroilles (AOC) Another fine cheese invented by those versatile monks of yesteryear. Square in shape and made from cow’s milk, it’s one of the most famous cheeses of northern France and the only AOC origin labelled one in the Nord-Pas de Calais region. It is said to have been invented in the 10th century by monks in the Abbey of Maroilles, in the Avenois. Traditionally, the farmers in the villages surrounding the abbey were asked to convert their cow’s milk into young squares of Maroilles cheese every 24th June, the day of St. Jean Baptiste. On the following 1st October, the feast day of St Remi, the villagers would donate the aged cheeses to the abbey and the monks would distribute them to the Champagne grape harvesters for lunch and dinner. The 1st October is still known as Maroilles Day in the region. In making Maroilles (pronounced mar wahl and also sometimes called Marolles), the curd is shaped and salted before being removed from its hoop. Young squares rest for ten days in a ventilated area, where they begin to develop a light blue-ish surface. They are then moved to ageing cellars, called haloirs, and are regularly turned and brushed for several weeks until the rind changes from yellow, to orange and finally its distinctive red. This is due to the introduction of Brevibacterium linens bacteria, which also helps give the cheese its unique taste. If eaten young, the cheese is still chalky in the centre and has a bitter rind. After four months maturing, the centre has a lovely golden colour with a rich, oily, soft texture and a meaty, salty and nutty taste that can sometimes remind you of smokey bacon. It has a powerful, pungent aroma suggestive of fermenting fruit, so it might be best not to take it home on public transport! Luckily for cheese lovers, the taste is nothing like the aroma. A favourite of many a French king, including Philip II, Louis IX, Charles VI and Francis I, it appears today in all kinds of dishes, like the traditional classic Flamiche au Maroilles tart. It can also be found in a sauce for chicken with cream, beer, onions and butter. A strong-tasting, fully-aged Maroilles makes a great endof-meal cheese. However, its robust, full-bodied flavour needs a big red wine with fruit and tannins, like a Beaune or a Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe, or a brown ale or cider and something crunchy like wholemeal or walnut crackers. © wikicommons/Coyau

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

Owen Duggan

I’ve seen the light! Ever had one of those lightbulb moments? It’s defined as a moment of sudden realisation, enlightenment or inspiration. It came to Owen Duggan one day – quite literally, as it happens.


t started some six years ago when Owen, then 27, free and single, moved to France to help his father (also called Owen) renovate an old barn and turn it into a home in a small hamlet near Melle, in the Deux-Sèvres. “When we’d finished the renovation I was left looking for some lighting to finish things off in the house,” says Owen. “I had plenty of choice from the usual DIY stores, Ikea etc., but I couldn’t find anything I really liked. Something that was just...different. That’s when it came to me. Why not make my own lights? I’d had some previous experience working with electrics and electronics and had spent many years actually selling lights for an electrical wholesaler. Those skills would definitely help.” Owen began with the bedrooms, searching out old, unusual pieces at local vide-greniers, such as lanterns, and transforming them into something new-looking and practical. “After I’d done the first few I was so happy with the results I actually took photos of them and showed them to people. They all agreed on how nice and unusual they were and that they’d never seen anything like them before. So I put those first few

by Mick Austin

lights up for sale on the popular ‘hand-made’ website ‘Etsy’ and things took off from there. “I made more and more and progressed into actually making the lights from scratch out of new and reclaimed wood and other more unusual materials like kettles and wine bottles.” Owen set up his lighting business, Unique Lighting Company (www. in 2014, along with his ‘Etsy shop’ ( shop/Uniquelightingco). “I knew I could create the products, no problem, but I quickly realised there was so much more involved – paperwork, tax, cotisations etc. It was all a bit daunting at first, but I had some great help from my French neighbours and friends and that made everything so much easier. “Once I had made a product, my next task was to take a decent picture of it for the website and that can be a bit tricky sometimes with a light, especially if it’s a large ceiling pendant light or something similar. “I still remember the first sale I ever made. I was so excited when I saw the email on my phone. I quickly realised my next issue was packing it up and posting it – the order had come from the USA. Since then a huge part of my sales have come from America. They really seem to like the unusual, unique items over there. I’ve since posted hundreds of lights to just about every corner of the globe, including Australia, Dubai, Hawaii and even to a tree house in Jamaica! That was a custom pendant light made from wooden logs. I’ve also worked on vintage lanterns for a Los Angeles-based ghost touring company, that takes small groups of people on organised tours around haunted and abandoned areas. I’ve even made a bespoke lamp for Pinewood film studios in the UK.” Owen has a small workshop on the side of his father’s house, so his morning commute has gone from hours of sitting in London traffic, to now just walking across the garden. “I absolutely love it. It’s like a creative part of me has been released and I have literally hundreds of exciting ideas and designs bouncing around inside my head, just waiting to be put into practice. “Although all my designs are my own to start with, a large part of my business now is also from customers requesting totally bespoke and customised pieces, which can be anything from large, gold, wooden chandeliers to huge rustic beams made into lights using old wine bottles. I’ve also worked on lights made from old copper kettles, rusty funnels and even a wooden clog!” It’s all a long way from the youngster who left school at 16 to work in TLC electrical wholesalers. “Although I really enjoyed it, I did eventually get bored so I left to be more hands-on with electrics and started working and training with electrical systems such as security and automation systems and also some work with fibre-optics. The work varied from day to day and I learned loads of different skills. “I moved into a flat above a pub in Croydon, South London, and even began doing weekend shifts behind the bar, which was great fun, but I never seemed to have any spare time to myself. I came to visit my dad here in the Deux-Sèvres, which I really enjoyed. I thought to myself that France could possibly be a new life for me, so I decided to give it a go. I went back to England, loaded up my car and was on the next ferry back to France. “We’d had many family holidays all over France, so I knew how nice the country was and I had a smattering of the language, but I’d never considered living and working here before. But I’ve no regrets at all about moving here, I think I’d find it extremely difficult to go back to live and work in the UK now. “Now I spend any spare time I have walking my Siberian Husky, Jenson, around our local village. I’ve got to know pretty well everyone who lives here and there’s rarely a day goes by without having a quick chat with one of the neighbours – and that often leads to plenty of soirées and apéros! “I’ve been accepted so well into the small French commune here, from the women in our little post office asking why I’m constantly sending large parcels around Right: a selecton of Owen’s creations. © Owen Duggan

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special the world, to the local bar owner asking me to make all the lights for his business. Once the locals knew we were here to stay permanently they really couldn’t have been more helpful and welcoming. Now they often pop into my workshop to say hello and see what my latest project is.” The Unique Lighting Company has consistently grown over the past four years, so much so there have been times – especially over the last six months or so - when Owen has struggled to fulfil orders and deadlines. “But nothing a few late nights and weekends haven’t been able to solve. If I do get the odd quiet period, it’s a great time to come up with new designs and ideas – which I absolutely love doing.” Owen has some exciting plans for his business. He’s still at his father’s house, commuting to his workshop next door, but is now on the lookout for additional workshop space and perhaps a small shop and showroom as well. “I want to create more with metal as well as with wood and I have also Left: Owen and Jenson, his Siberian Husky, taking some time-out. Below: Owen in his workshop, transforming the old and unusual into something contemporary, as seen inset. © Owen Duggan

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

On this month May 18, 1804: Napoleon Bonaparte becomes Emperor of France, snatching the crown from the hands of Pope Pius VII during the pope’s actual coronation ceremony and then crowning himself. May 7, 1954: In north-west Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh’s Viet Minh forces defeat the French at Dien Bien Phu, a French stronghold besieged by the Vietnamese communists for 57 days. The defeat signalled the end of French colonial influence in Indochina and cleared the way for the division of Vietnam along the 17th parallel. May 30, 1990: The French Government bans imports of British beef and live cattle because of fears over BSE, or mad cow disease. A few days later, Germany and Italy also banned all British beef, but after fierce negotiations in Brussels the bans were lifted in return for tough health controls on British beef exports. The BSE crisis reached a peak in 1996 when the British government acknowledged a link between BSE and CJD, the human form of the degenerative disease. A week later there was a worldwide ban on all British beef exports. This was lifted in 1999 by all countries except Germany and France. Germany lifted its ban in 2000 and France in 2002, after the EC threatened it with huge fines. May 15, 1994: Masked police commandos freed six girls with their nursery teacher and shot dead an armed man, ending a two-day hostage crisis at a Paris nursery school. They burst into the booby-trapped classroom while the gunman was asleep and shot him three times through the head with guns fitted with silencers. The gunman – later identified as a 42-yearold Algerian-born French citizen – had 16 sticks of dynamite strapped to his body. The teacher, Laurence Dreyfus (30) was hailed a national hero for keeping the children calm throughout the ordeal and she was later awarded France’s highest civilian award for bravery, the Legion of Honour.

Before and after pictures of the old barn Owen, and his father, Owen, renovated in a small hamlet near Melle, in the Deux-Sèvres. © Owen Duggan

recently discovered ‘smart lighting’ which allows you to control lights from a mobile device to create endless scenes and moods in the home. I’m a big movie fan and love having all my lights at home change colour according to what I’m watching on the TV. I love this immersive technology and am really excited about incorporating it into my own hand-made lights.”

May 6, 1994: In a ceremony presided over by England’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand, a rail tunnel under the English Channel is officially opened, connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age. As the world’s longest undersea tunnel, the Chunnel runs under water for 23 miles, with an average depth of 150ft below the sea bed.

Needless to say, Owen has still yet to make some lights for his own bedroom!

Do you, or someone you know, have an interesting story to share? We’d love to know more... please feel free to contact us with a brief outline of the French Adventure.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 27

Communications Using and Organising your Favourites and/or Bookmarks

by Ross Hendry


avourites or Bookmarks permit you to save the pages you visit whilst searching the web, so that you may view them again easily. Creating a Favourite or Bookmark could not be easier. The problem is, that after a year or two this list of favourites gets quite long and then finding what you want becomes almost a search in itself! Turn on the Bookmarks or Favourites Bar I will show you how to organise your favourite pages and retrieve them using Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge. The first thing to do is ensure the Favourite or Bookmark list is visible on your browser. In both Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge the list is known as a bar, so in Chrome you have a Bookmarks bar and in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer, a Favourites bar; in both cases they are located below the Address bar and/or below the Tool bar/ menu at the top of the Browser Page. The quick way to display or hide this list/ bar, is to use the key combination Ctrl+shift+D in Chrome and Edge. How to save a Favourite page as a Bookmark or Favourites bar Adding a page to your bookmarks or favourites could not be easier, once you have navigated to the page you want to save simply left click the star icon in the search bar. When in use the Bookmarks/Favourites bar is very handy, it gives you text and an Icon to identify the page/s you have saved. However, the text these pages often suggest to mark the page can be very long and descriptive, so instead of fitting 10-20 favourite pages on the bar you get 5-10. I like to use only the icon provided if possible, if not I edit the text suggested by right clicking on it and choosing rename. Here is an example for the weather forecast site I like – suggested text is:

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

‘PREVISIONS METEO FRANCE - Site Officiel de Météo-France - Prévisions gratuites à 15 jours sur la France et à 10 jours sur le monde’ They also use this icon and as I recognise it, I am quite happy to use it instead of 24 words as above. This gives me the space to store far more marked pages on the Bookmarks bar. This is what I actually use – ‘Local Weather - Breuil-Barret - Weather Météo-France’ How to access even more pages quickly Because I am constantly on the internet researching or looking for stuff, I need to record where I have been. Even just using icons would not give me a suitable number of pages that I need to access quickly. Therefore, I build a little directory system using folders. I still use text for these Bookmarks and Favourites rather than icons only, both Chrome and Edge give you the ability to manage and edit the Bookmark/Favourite text, you may access them as follows: •

Chrome – Click on the Chrome Menu (three dots or lines) on the top right-hand corner of your screen, just below the ‘X’ to close the window, then left-click Bookmarks on the menu displayed, from here you may chose to do all manner of admin tasks to the bookmarks.

Edge - Click on the Edge (three dots) on the top right-hand corner of your screen, just below the ‘X’ to close the window. Then left-click Favourites on the menu displayed; from here you may chose to do all kinds of admin. tasks to the favourites, such as adding a new folder, rename existing sites and folders, delete/sort folders and websites.

Organising your Bookmarks/Favourites will enable you to remember more sites and access these marked sites to add or delete. Keeping them tidy will save you considerable time whilst surfing the web. For detailed information on managing and bookmarking visited websites, check out these links: • Microsoft Edge: • Google Chrome: bookmarking-in-chrome?playlist=Chrome Useful link managing Bookmarks/Favourites in Safari, Firefox and Opera: • Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 43 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

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

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

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

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or

Passport Advice

0044 300 222 0000

Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:...................................................................................... Postal Address:.............................................................................. ....................................................................................................... Postcode:............................Country:............................................. Tel:.................................................................................................. Email:............................................................................................. Please make cheques payable to ANNA SHAW.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 29

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres pouffonds (pouffonds St Génard)

by Sue Burgess


ouffonds is situated close to Melle. The commune has about 350 inhabitants and is crossed by the river Béronne.

A secondary Roman road linked Melle to the main Saintes – Poitiers road through Rom and Brioux. Pouffonds was situated close by. The name of the village appears in several documents dating from the last part of the 10th century.


The Church of Saint Maclou is listed at the end of the 13th century, in the list of parishes drawn up by Gautier, the bishop of Limoges. The original parts of the church probably date from the 12th century. Entrance to the church is through the stone ballet (porch) which still has its old stone benches. The door probably dates from the end of the 13th century. The furnishings date from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Only the octagonal baptismal fonts are older. The six polychromic statues in moulded plaster are of no great artistic value but are a witness to the devotion and generosity of the parishoners of the time. The statues are of Saint Antoine of Padoua, Saint Radegonde, Saint Theresa of Lisieux, Saint Bernadette, Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Joseph as a child. The stained glass window by the Guérithault brothers dates from 1870 and shows the Bishop Maclou.



riairies is a small commune with just over 100 inhabitants who are known as the Priairais and Priairaises. Situated close to Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon, Priaires is part of the Niort agglomeration.

prin deyrançon


n 1402, Dey-Rançon was the largest commune of the département. At that time the commune was composed of several hamlets, (Prin, le Petit-Breuil, la Grange…) and farms. After the Revolution, the two main villages were joined together to form Deyrançon with over 1000 inhabitants. But throughout the 19th century, there was a strong rivalry between the inhabitants of the peat marshes and the wine growing plains. It was impossible to govern in the town hall and Petit-Breuil became the head of the commune in 1856. In order to put an end to the quarelling, the Prinois demanded the building of a school and townhall at Dey. In 1903, Deyrançon was divided into Prin-Deyrançon and Le Petit Breuil-Deyrançon. The church and the cemetery of Notre-

Dame de Dey were shared and made up the border between the two new communes. In 1971, the project to annex Petit-Breuil to Mauzé-sur-le-Mignon became a reality. Until the first world war, the Quarantaine, a famous wild strawberry cultivated around the peat bogs of Prin, were picked by the women and then sent for 10 centimes the basket, by rail, to the restaurants of Paris. This peaceful little town situated between Niort and La Rochelle with its 12 km of streams, invites you for long walks over the plains. The visit of the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame de Dey reminds us of the religious fervour of those who cultivated the fields.


• • •

Notre-Dame de Dey church dating from the 17th century (with some Romanesque parts), its cemetery and fortified walls. The wash-houses. The alkaline peat bogs of Prin. The five trees that are classified as remarkable trees of the Deux-Sèvres (thornless honeylocust, common yew, Provencal hackberry at Notre-Dame de Dey and two plane trees at the logis de Grange - private).

Notre-Dame de Dey church The toponym Deyrançon, from the latin Dei (God) and prelatin Rançon (rock), means the rock of God. Joined to the southern part of the village by a bridge, the church of NotreDame de Dey, standing on its own on the plain, at the bottom of a slight dip, surrounded by its cemetery, is fortified with thick walls and towers with arrow slits. This is probably because it used to serve as a stopping place for pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela. It has been renovated by a group of young Europeans. The Romanesque church, destroyed by fire several times, has been reconstructed. The western facade dates from the 17th century. Inside, three column tops tell stories (Daniel sitting with lions licking his feet, lions’ paws on the prophet’s head and the woman being bitten by snakes and devils), baptismal fonts (large oval dish completed by a small stoup for holy water), tomb stones of the family of the lords of Prin Deyrançon, a large wooden cross, and a stone memorial for those members of the communes of PrinDeyrançon and Petit-Breuil, who were killed in the Great War. Remains of the hamlet, that has now disappeared, can be seen in the park (town hall, school and farm buildings).

Notre Dame de Dey ©

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... 30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

Food & Drink

The Frugal French Pantry T

Fantastic food on a budget...

by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

his month it really is a Frugal French Pantry! Here’s my version of some French classics with a frugal twist.

Potatoes Gratin Dauphinoise with Bacon Everyone loves this classic and this version could be a main meal with not a drop of cream in sight. Ingredients for 4-6 servings: • 900 g potatoes peeled and finely sliced • 100 g grated cheese preferably Gruyere • 300 ml milk • 200 g smoked bacon lardons • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg • seasoning • 3 tsp cornflour • 2 cloves crushed garlic • 25 g butter Instructions: 1. Put the sliced potatoes in boiling water for about 2 minutes until lightly cooked then drain. 2. Fry the lardons in their own fat and set aside. 3. Combine the cornflour with a little of the milk or water then mix with the milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until thickened then remove from the heat. 4. Grease a shallow oven proof dish and add half of the potatoes in a layer. 5. Season and add half of the nutmeg, cheese and butter and all of the lardons. 6. Add the remaining potatoes, nutmeg, butter and seasoning before covering in foil. 7. Bake at 180C for about 40 minutes until tender. 8. Sprinkle over the cheese and place under a medium grill until bubbling.

Buckwheat Galettes

Ham and Cheese Palmiers

Pain Perdu

If you can make pancakes, try these savoury galettes for an easy meal at any time.

Have you seen the price of frozen prepared snacks? Make these melt-in-the-mouth palmiers instead.

Do you have a crowd to feed? Get a loaf of brioche and make this delicious dessert for next to nothing.

Ingredients for 4 servings: • 220 g buckwheat flour • 50 ml cold water • 1 tsp salt • 4 slices ham • 4 eggs • butter • oil • 4 tbsp grated cheese • seasoning

Ingredients for 24 pieces: • 230 g pack rectangular butter puff pastry • 70 g Emmenthal cheese finely grated • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs • seasoning • 4 slices thin cooked ham

Ingredients for 4 servings: • 4 slices of brioche • 2 eggs beaten • 2 tbsp milk • 2 tbsp sugar • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1 tsp cinnamon • 1 tbsp butter

Instructions: 1. Cut the puff pastry in half lengthways and sprinkle with the cheese, pressing in lightly. 2. Cover the whole pastry area with the ham. 3. Take the two short sides and bring to the middle, pinching to seal. 4. Sprinkle with cheese and bring the short sides to the middle again. 5. Wrap in grease proof paper and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. 6. Preheat the oven to 230C and slice the ham and cheese palmiers into half centimetre slices. 7. Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of herbs and bake for 10-15 minutes until puffed and golden. 8. Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving still warm.

Instructions: 1. Combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in a shallow container. 2. Heat the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. 3. Dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture on both sides. 4. Fry in batches of two for a few minutes each side until golden. 5. Serve with fruit and ice cream.

Instructions: 1. Mix the flour and salt together and gradually mix in the flour until the batter is smooth. 2. Heat oil in a frying pan and pour out excess. Add a cup of the mixture to the pan and turn over when the pancake bubbles up. Set the pancake aside and cook the remaining 3. 3. In a different pan heat oil and fry the eggs. 4. Place a slice of ham on each galette with a tbsp of cheese 5. Heat a knob of butter then add the galette for a few minutes until it turns golden. 6. Flip the sides into the centre, transfer to a plate and top with a fried egg to serve.

Amanda lives in La Chapelle St Etienne and is the writer behind the food blog where she posts new recipes weekly. Photo credit © Amanda Wren-Grimwood

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 31

French Lunch Hours


by Jacqueline Brown

do hope the weather in May shows us at least a glimmer of that famous microclimate we thought we were moving to, as I’m sure I’m not the only one who is fed up with the April downpours. The blossom in the orchard seems to be late this year, and although I’ve had no worries about needing to water the seedlings for the potager, I am concerned with the rate in which they are growing. They, like I, are in desperate need of some warmth and sunshine. I am pinning my hopes on May, the month of public holidays. For the first time in my fourteen years in France I am excited by the four public holidays in May. Now I am working (22 hours a week at the library in Chef-Boutonne), I will benefit from a total of 22 hours off (paid), from the public holidays in May alone. Hopefully the weather will be kind to me and these hours will be spent in the garden, tackling the weeds that have taken hold over winter. I have reached that point in the year when my freezers are empty as most of last year’s produce has been finished up, and this year’s harvests still seem a long way off. I am really enjoying my work as a librarian, spending my days surrounded by books. As well as meeting and chatting to people, I have discovered some unexpected benefits of the job, which I am hoping will prove quite healthy. The first is no snacking, and I’m quite amazed at myself being able to work four and a half hours in the afternoons without needing to make a cup of tea or reaching for a biscuit. Maybe feasting my eyes and stuffing my senses with books is all I need to sustain myself. I am also drinking more water during the day than I used to at home. Add to that the couple of kilometres (my iPhone tells me) I walk during the day at work and I’m hoping to see my winter excess weight falling off soon. I have also discovered the delight of the long French lunch break and at first wondered what I would do with my two and half hours off in the middle of the day, as it doesn’t take me that long to eat a salad or a sandwich. However, I soon got used to it and now feel like a proper domestic goddess; working until seven o’clock in the evening and producing a tasty meal, even if the credit should be given to the slow cooker who has been working away in my absence. Talking of domestic goddesses, I’ve also rediscovered the Victoria Sandwich. Ed needed something British for an afternoon tea his English teacher organised at lycée, but before I was happy to take one in, I had a practice bake. The moist sponge, sweet strawberry jam and simple dusting of icing sugar certainly hit the spot and looks set to become a favourite, so much for the healthier diet! Email:

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

by John Sherwin Well I’ll Be Hornswoggled! The Bordeaux En Primeur Bandwagon


few weeks ago towards the start of April, I was in Bordeaux. I’d decided to stroll along the river front, the sun having shown signs of clocking in for once. Early morning, the time when the sky is edging from the hazy grey of dawn to the promise of blue and then real blue; the time between the binmens’ clatter and the salarymen’s polluting cars. I took a left and headed up to the Grand Hotel for a pee (go straight after the revolving doors then down the stairs by the orangerie – be dressed nicely and smile at the concierge), picking up a copy of Sud Ouest, the local rag, on the way out. They let you do that kind of thing at the Grand, very obliging. Ah, the best things in life really are free, I reflected. At Place du Parlement I sat by the fountain and riffled through the paper. My eyes weren’t deceiving me, the météo page confirmed the weather was blooming in a preordained way. Good to have things official, in black and white. My riffling was cut short when I landed on an article entitled ‘Oui, acheter en primeur est intéressant’ (‘Yes, buying wine futures is worth considering’). I felt metaphorical clouds looming. The article was accompanied by a photo of a well-dressed chap reclining on a load of wine boxes looking smug enough to have just enjoyed a free pee at the Grand (though I didn’t recognise him). Bugbears are renowned to appear at the most inopportune moments. I frowned at a passing child causing its lower lip to tremble. The juxtaposition of the dude’s glib grin and the child’s muttering mandible brought it all back to me: the time when I had been innocently unaware of the grown-up world of buying wine futures. Let me address the whole shebang in unwavering detail. After WWII even the best Bordeaux châteaux were short of cash, under-invested being the prettier, technical term. Their markets were limited to Western Europe, at least those bits of it that felt inclined to buy. For once in their lives they knew how the rest of us lived – they needed money to pay the bills. Step up the Bordeaux merchants, the négociants, who offered to buy wine before bottling and – ker-ching- pay in advance. The châteaux had much needed cash flow and the merchants had wine on the cheap which they could sell on at a nice profit. Scroll on to the 1970s when the world market for Bordeaux wine had begun to grow, fuelled by the expansion of the wine press (no

pun). The merchants continued to secure large stocks from the best châteaux and the châteaux themselves, having paid the gas and ‘leccy, were able to invest in new winemaking facilities and improve vineyard management. 1982 was the whizzbang vintage for the en primeur system. A case of 1982 Château Latour bought in 1983 at £250 a case would set you back £9,000 in 2007, an increase of over 3500%. Imagine the eyes rolling and the tongues drooling. Imagine if you were a kid and all those gobstoppers and quivering gobbets of Turkish Delight strolled out from behind the shop window, and into your hands for a penny a pound. That was how it was to be a wine futures buyer back then. Before I bring matters up to date, let’s take a look at how the system works in practice. Grapes are harvested and winemaking starts in Sept./Oct. of Year one; wines put into barrels in Dec of Year one; April of Year two the great and the good of the wine world gather in Bordeaux to taste samples and pontificate on the quality of the wine; May of Year two the châteaux announce their prices based on the critics’ views; second half of Year two négociants start to pay châteaux; spring of Year three wine is bottled; second half of Year three wine is delivered to négociants and eventually the final client. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noted that the gathering of the Wise Men in April is the critical point. There’s not a corner of Bordeaux where you won’t find them sniffing, gargling, spitting – or even drinking. And what are they drinking? Wine from barrels which is a good year away from being bottled. A good year of development – or not. Can you tell if a soufflé is going to rise by looking at it after five minutes? This is the system’s Achilles heel attached to its feet of clay. The fundamental question négociants and château owners are asking themselves is ‘how much can we get away with?’ Was the vintage perceived to be good? What are the critics saying (and did we give them enough foie gras at the tasting)? Are the Chinese back in the market? And what was last year’s price again? How much is a new Mercedes? And enfin, how much can we get away with? I’m not saying run for the hills- the new Mercedes CSL gets from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds so it wouldn’t be much of a fair chase – just don’t get caught up in the game. There’s plenty of other good wine out there, and at a fair price to boot. And Bordeaux doesn’t have a monopoly on pretty April days.

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 33 ©wiki commons/Berndt Fernow

Motoring Girls On The Grid


here has been a lot of talk in recent months about equality between the sexes, about attitudes towards and opportunities for women, and about women excelling in traditionally male dominated fields.

Living in rural France you quickly realise that the male population generally find independent, motivated and practical women a mystery, and I have always had to have a wry smile about the French male attitude to women when it comes to cars. When I arrived here in 2005, I came with my Jaguar XK8 and a Land Rover Defender, neither of which are deemed to be suitable cars for women (as I quickly found out) and I doubt very much that my current car selection conforms either! As I have been a petrolhead all my life I am certainly not taking any notice of that, but it does make for some amusing encounters with the locals. Motorsport is one area that is currently male dominated the world over, although one of the most successful and prominent female drivers in recent times is Michelle Mouton, the French rally legend. However, the significant influence had by women on motor racing, especially in the formative years of the sport, has been largely forgotten and even swept under the rug in some instances. Against enormous odds, these ladies proved that ‘girls can do stuff’ and challenged the social conventions to be allowed to get into a car and race shoulder-to-shoulder with the men. Arguably the greatest female driver of those early years was Kay Petre. Canadian born Kay was petite (just 4’ 10”) and glamorous, but had a steely determination to win, and was one of the outstanding racing drivers on the British scene in the 1930’s, although she is a relatively obscure figure in racing history now. Kay came to England in her twenties and married aviator Henry Petre, who bought her her first racing car in 1932. Her racing career began with a third and a second place in her first two races. In 1933, Kay purchased her first ‘proper’ racing car, a 2-litre Bugatti. She used it to good effect in the regular handicap races at Brooklands, quickly adjusting to the handling and the increased speed. Many of her racing successes came in Rileys and between 1934 and 1936 Kay was a regular at all the big British races. During 1935 Kay was one of an all-girl team at Brooklands along with Eileen Ellison and Mrs Tolhurst.

Kay Petre poses with her Delage - May 1935 Inset: Kay behind the wheel.

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

by Helen Tait-Wright

Kay famously contested the Women’s Outer Circuit Record at Brooklands, trading the title with French racer Gwenda Stewart. Although she narrowly missed the record for the fastest speed at Brooklands for a lady driver (by around 1 mph), an abiding image is of this tiny lady lapping the circuit in a big 10.5 litre V12 Delage at almost 135 mph. It is a sign of how hazardous this was in those days, that the BARC officials would not let the cars race together, timing them on separate runs. They then decreed that this sort of thing must never happen again. . . As well as circuit racing, Kay drove in rallies and was an accomplished hillclimb driver, claiming the Ladies’ Record at Shelsley Walsh twice. Fellow driver Sidney ‘Sammy’ Davis said of Kay “A distinctly decorative appearance and turnout disguised a toughness, and tenacity, that was as unexpected as it was magnificent. If she had orders to hold a certain speed, or drive so many hours, all creation could not have stopped her doing it, whether a large car at 130 mph or a small one at 90 mph was involved. This had been most noticable in two Monte Carlo Rallies where she had been one of the crew, for on each occasion she lasted through the three days and four nights of driving without turning a hair.” In 1937 Kay was signed for the official Austin works team. She was driving for the team at Brooklands in September 1937 when her career was ended by a terrible accident. During practice for the 500 Kilometre race, Reg Parnell misjudged an overtaking move, lost speed, slid down the banking and hit her Austin Seven from behind. She crashed badly and was seriously injured. She never raced competitively again. After the accident Kay turned to journalism, becoming a motoring correspondant, and in the early Fifties Petre was employed by Austin as a ‘colour consultant’ to suggest colours and combinations for the new A40/A50 Cambridge. Later in life she also designed fabric patterns for the interior of the Mini. She died in 1994, at the age of 91. Today, women are still fighting for their place in the motorsport world ….. Contact Helen:

ARE YOU A BUSINESS BASED IN NORTH DEUX-SEVRES? Readers are looking for tradespeople in this area... Please get in touch if you’d like to place an advert. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 35

Building & Renovation

The roof, the whole roof, and nothing but the roof Malcolm has been working in the roofing industry for over 40 years. His experience has been sought after in America and Germany, where his roofing skills have been called upon in the construction of stately and unusual homes. In the UK he has re-slated many English Heritage buildings, churches and some of the UK’s finest properties. Since moving to France with his family, Malcolm has been very busy responding to anything from an emergency leak to replacing entire roofs. For a free estimation please call: 06 35 11 27 31 or send an email

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

Small B/W Advert from 34€ per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 37



38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 39

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

if we can exceed their expectation, this goes for any products sold too. The best way to measure how happy our customers are is to do a survey. This can be done over the phone, by email, in person or via an app. •

It provides us with information in order to create a better customer experience. It’s so hard to get new customers, but by making sure that we give the best experience, we can keep existing customers coming back and they will refer us to their friends and family.

Obtaining feedback opens a regular channel of communication with customers, so if there are any problems, they can be picked up early and dealt with promptly.

Acting on the feedback we get, be it good or bad, builds trust and proves we listen to what our customers are telling us. This can also help with decisions on where to take the business next or new products to be developed.

When feedback includes a great compliment, ask the customer if you can use their comments as a testimonial. If someone is happy with what is provided, they will be pleased to help.

by Cindy Mobey


Why you should ask your customers for feedback

always work on the age-old saying, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”, so I do ask my customers for feedback.

It’s important to know if I am giving them a good service, but not just that, I also want to know if I can improve and whether they have any suggestions for future services. However, it is so lovely when a positive comment comes out of the blue, or I get a call from a new customer with a recommendation from a previous one. Of course, the ‘feel-good’ factor that we all get when receiving feedback is great, but feedback serves other purposes too. Informal customer feedback is unprompted, so basically feedback that you haven’t asked for. It can be either positive or negative. It’s mainly given to us from our customers, but can be given by anyone. Formal customer feedback is used a lot in marketing and generally describes the process of gaining a customer’s opinion about our business, services, products etc. We don’t have much control over informal customer feedback, but formal feedback is something we can all take charge of and encourage. Let’s look at some of the reasons why it’s such a crucial element to all businesses… Measuring customer satisfaction - it’s crucial that our customers are happy with the service we provide and it’s great

As customer feedback is such an important part of our businesses, it’s really important that we do it ourselves. It’s a personal request and needs to come from us, not from someone unconnected to us. So, it’s one area I would never think of outsourcing. The views and opinions of our customers give us valuable insight into what they think about our business, services and products. It gives us the chance to interact with our customers, shows them we listen to their ideas and criticisms and act on them. Most importantly of all, it helps to create a trusted relationship that ultimately will exceed their expectations, and keep them coming back for more!

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


Simply register on our website:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 41

Income Tax Forms 2018!


h no! It is that time of the year again when you have to fill in your income tax form. It’s all in French and there are lots of pages and boxes to fill in! And they may have changed it again!

then you write the amount on line 233, then again on line 237 and 242. Then you report the amount in line 2TR, page 3, section 2 of the 2042. 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 and 4BK, section 4 of the 2042. If revenues from rental are 15 000€, you have to fill in the 2044 form. In section 6, you put the revenue from government pension (military, police, NHS 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.

Well, worry not, help is at hand. I will try to explain it to you and make it simple. I will only cover the most common revenues so for more technical information, contact me directly. 1. Changes: Actually none!! So good news. 2. Important dates: • You have to declare your revenue for the year 2017 (January 1st to 31st December). However, the tax office accepts that you use the revenue corresponding to the UK tax year. • You can complete the forms online (only if it is NOT the first time) from the 12th April until the 22nd May (Charente, Charente Maritime) or until the 5th June (Vienne, Haute Vienne and The Deux-Sèvres). If you complete a paper form, you have until the 17th 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. • Note that from January 2019, the French government has decided to collect the tax differently! You will be taxed each month according to your previous year’s tax rate (written on your tax bill form called Avis d’imposition). Then, when you fill in your income tax form for the year 2019, they either reimburse you if they have charged you too much or ask you for more money if they have not charged you enough! This means that they want your RIB (French bank details) so send it alongside the forms. 3. 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 completed on other forms. But there are different versions of the 2042: •

• •

2042K: This is the one most of you should use as you can report revenue from abroad and you can’t on the 2042SK. Check or fill in the information on page 1 (name, address, etc). On page 2, check or fill in the information asked for as they can give you allowances or discount (invalidity, number of children living with you, etc). 2042RICI: This is the form on which you report things that give you tax credits such as employing a gardener or cleaner, giving to charity, having kids at college, lycee, etc or doing some work on your house related to saving energy and ecology. 2042C Pro: 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 (if your worldwide assets are worth more than 1.3 million euro). It’s complicated so contact me. This is also the form used to declare revenues from Gîtes or chambre d’hôtes. 2044: This is the form to complete if your rental income is more than to 15 000€ per year. 2047: This is the purple form (used to be pink) on which you enter your revenue from abroad: enter all your pension revenues (even those from civil service that are taxed in the UK) on page 1, section 1 in the box called Pensions, retraites, rentes. Be careful, you must now tick the box stating if the pension is public (civil servant, etc) or Privé (private and state pension). So if you have both, tick both. You then have to report pensions to the pension section on the 2042, page 3, section 1, line 1AM (or 1BM for declarant 2) for pensions taxed in France (state pension and private pensions) and line 1AL (or 1BL for declarant 2) for pensions taxed in the UK (teachers, civil servant, military, NHS, etc). 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! So you have to fill them in at the bottom of page 2 in the box 230 ‘intérêts’. Enter the country of origin,

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018

by Isabelle Want

• • •

3916: if you have a bank account outside France, then you have to declare it on this form (section1 and 4). One form per account. Or if you have a lot, on a piece of blank A4 paper. Don’t forget to date and sign the forms! The exchange rate for 2017 is 1.14 (that is the average of last year). You can get another rate from your local tax office, use theirs if it is lower than 1.14! Note that when you ask the official Paris tax office, they tell you to use the rate from the Banque de France on the day you got paid! Or use the average of the year. If your pension has been directly transferred to your French bank account, just add up all the figures of last year.

4. Help: A complete guide on how to fill in your tax form online is on our web site: If you are one of my customers, you are entitled to free help in our offices: • Ruffec on Friday the 4th May (all day apart from 12-2pm, my lunch) • Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure on Tuesday the 15th of May (2-5pm) If you are not one of my customers (well, you should be!), I will be offering free help at: • Lemon Tree in Sauze Vaussais on Friday the 12th May from 10.30am to 12pm •

I will also be present at the CLE seminar in Confolens on Thursday 11th May (10am), check their web site for details:

Make sure you have all the figures ready and the relevant forms (you can get them from your local tax office) when you come to see me. And remember to check out our web site en for all my previous articles (‘practical information’) and register to receive our monthly newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook: ‘Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Thierry Hatesse’ And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subjects such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc.

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: Visit our website:

Cutting the Cost of Transferring Funds by Sue Cook

Q> “I will soon be selling my house

in France and would like to fix an exchange rate ahead of transferring the proceeds back to the UK. However, can you please tell me what happens if the buyer cannot get a mortgage and pulls out of the sale? Am I tied to the transfer contract?”

A> Forward contracts allow you to fix an exchange rate up to a year ahead of needing to make a currency transfer. They are one of the specialist transfer options offered by leading currency providers like Currencies Direct. Using a forward contract to secure the current exchange rate for a future transfer will ensure you know exactly how much you’ll receive for your property sale. It will also protect your funds from adverse movements in the currency market during the sale process. If the buyer pulls out of your property sale, or if there are unforeseen delays, you do have the option of prolonging the date of completion on a forward contract. When booking a forward contract, your currency provider will ask for a 10% deposit. You only need to add to it if the market moves 5% higher (than the rate you’ve booked) over the duration of the contract. This is known as a margin call. There are some risks to rolling forward the date of completion on the forward contract because (in the worst case scenario that the sale falls through completely) you may not find another buyer for a very long time. However, there are no penalties if you fail to complete on the forward contract. If reversing the contract incurs a loss due to movement in the exchange rate, we’ll deduct that loss from your deposit and return the balance to you. If there’s a profit due to market movements we’ll return your full deposit to you along with any profit made. It might sound a little complicated, but if you register with a leading currency provider, their transfer specialists will be able to talk you through the process and make it all very simple!

Ask Amanda


by Amanda Johnson

hat choices do I have with my frozen UK work pensions, now I am living in France?

This is a question often asked of me by those who have moved to France but have not yet reached UK state pension age. Being French resident, rather than UK, provides flexibity with how you handle your pension arrangements. One option would be to review your UK company pensions to determine whether you would benefit from a QROPS (Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme). These schemes are not suitable for everyone, so it is vital to take advice only from a fully regulated company qualified to offer pension advice. A QROPS, if appropriate for you, can provide benefits such as: • • • • • • •

An increased initial lump sum Greater control over how your pension is invested Flexibity over the amount and timing of benefits Removal of uncertainty regarding ‘underfunded schemes’ The ability to leave the investment to your partner or dependents, in the event of death An option to take income in Euros Reduction in ties to UK assets

Please remember, however, that a scheme such as this will have another layer of charges compared to your company pension, which is why a full evaluation by a qualified financial adviser is essential, to establish suitability for your individual circumstances. 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 our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations. The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 43

Think beyond residency when preparing for Brexit


rexit has encouraged many Britons to bring forward their plans to move to France. I have received many enquiries from people eager to secure French residency before the December 2020 transition deadline.

The emphasis is usually on getting into the French system quickly. However, without careful advance planning, there can be financial pitfalls. It has never been more important to take expert crossborder advice to ensure your financial affairs are suitable for your new life in France. There can be tax benefits in both jurisdictions, so speak to an adviser who fully understands both UK and French systems to benefit from the most tax-efficient solution for your individual circumstances. Understanding when to liquidate your UK assets is a key part of your financial planning for France. For example: • Pension lump sums are tax-free in the UK but liable for tax in France. However, if you cash-in your entire pension, under certain conditions tax rates are more favourable in France. • UK investment products like ISAs are tax-efficient in the UK but taxable in France. If you cash-in these investments as a French resident, capital gains tax can also apply. • If you sell your main home when in the UK, it escapes French tax, but after a year of living in France, it will be taxed as a second home. Selling a second home in the UK always attracts UK capital gains tax, but can be tax-free in France if owned for 30+ years.

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

Another important consideration when becoming French resident is succession planning, as rules and taxation differ greatly from the UK. Unlike Britain, inheritance tax rates depend on the deceased’s relationship with the beneficiary – reaching as high as 60% for stepchildren and non-relatives. Financial planning should be a key part of your strategy to become French resident – taking advice at an early stage can significantly reduce your tax bill. A cross-border specialist can advise on liquidating UK financial assets to maximise tax savings and on tax-efficient investment structures that also provide succession tax benefits. When starting a new life in France, the possibility of returning to the UK might seem remote; however, in reality this happens often. The pull of grandchildren, bereavement or illness can all be reasons for returning. A cross-border specialist can help you plan your return, ensuring that your investments make a tax-efficient exit from France and are structured in the most suitable way for the UK. Although the countdown has begun for those wishing to obtain French residency, remember to take time to ensure your finances are in the best possible position for the transition. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Think you’ll stay in France forever? Forever is a long time to predict… Even if you love living in France, you may still find that you and/or your spouse return to the UK in your later years. If so, it is essential to put strategic tax and financial planning in place. Blevins Franks are here to help you with your move if it does happen at any point. We are in a unique position, with advisers and resources in both countries and 40 years’ experience helping clients move from one country to the other.

Talk to the people who know

05 49 75 07 24


I N T E R N AT I O N A L T A X A DV I C E • I N V E S T M E N T S • E S T AT E P L A N N I N G • P E N S I O N S 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, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissements Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA).

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018


QUALITY SWIMMING POOLS AT UNBEATABLE PRICES Our NATURALIS range of swimming pools are constructed from reinforced concrete and high density powder coated steel posts. They can be installed either partially or fully in-ground and come with a ten year guarantee.




Far superior to timber pool kits and a match for any in-ground pool kits these pools are perfect for the budget conscious customer with an eye for quality. They are easy to install so can be done by a competent DIY person with a detailed English installation manual. Or, if you prefer, we can supply an experienced team to do the installation for you in your area. With kit prices starting from just €5490 there is no reason why you can not enjoy the luxury of a swimming pool at your home without huge expense. Come and see the quality for yourself, call us to arrange a site visit because we know from experience that once you have seen this pool, you will want one.

Telephone - 06 31 17 25 60 email - The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018 | 45

Where enchantment scores by Joanna Leggett at every door

generous living rooms off a large entrance hall, upstairs to three lovely bedrooms, while on the second floor is the spacious music room. Outside are a beautiful terrace and easily maintained mature garden. On the market for 199 800€.


alfway between Melle and Saint Maixent l’Ecole, in southern Deux-Sèvres, sits the charming little town of La Mothe St Héray. It owes its somewhat whimsical name to the unification of two eponymous towns back in the 15th century. Wending its way along the bank of the Sèvre river it boasts a number of mills, bridges and even washhouses! Rich beautiful countryside abounds - harvested for millenia. The proof is in five tumulus – Neolithic barrows - found near here; the oldest, estimated to have been built in 4800 BC, believed to be one of the oldest prehistoric remains in Atlantic France! Back to today – this pretty town has somewhat more modern and beautiful buildings – its classic Gothic church, built in the 15th century, bears the coats of arms of local nobility. Water mills have been a constant since the 11th century and the Moulin l’Abbé has now become the museum. The Orangery is another major landmark reached by taking ‘the path of secret gardens’ along the river. Designed by Cardinal Richelieu’s master mason – the reception room served as venue for a ball hosted by Napoleon’s brother-in-law, Prince Murat, in 1805 as he left France to become King of Naples!

La Mothe is a great location and should you want to benefit from tourism, a six bedroom house already being run as B&B (Leggett ref: 68309, photo right) is for sale at 183 600€. Its unusual layout includes a separate apartment or studio. Very private, in a great town location, the extensive gardens feature a small meandering stream with bridges and ponds to explore!

Today La Mothe St Héray is a bustling town with restaurants, bars, shops, doctors and dentist. The weekly market, held on a Thursday, features local produce including a Truffle Market in December! Within walking distance of this is a charming three bedroom house (Leggett ref: 54183, photo top right) once part of a convent. At the end of a quiet street, it sits in a charming courtyard garden. Inside are

A spacious townhouse (Leggett ref: 70585, left) located adjacent to the town centre is our final choice. With access from two streets, it boasts extensive living rooms, four bedrooms and a large attic area ripe for renovation. Outside there’s an outbuilding and mature garden with fruit trees – a steal at 152 600€.

Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at


Ref: 85273 5 bed / 2 bath barn conversion in rolling countryside. Outbuildings. NOIRTERRE €189,000

Buying or selling?

Ref: 86029 5 km from Sauzé Vaussais renovation project with work started. LORIGNE €51,000

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 85157 4 bedroom house with landscaped courtyard, garage and garden. CHANTELOUP €194,400

Ref: 76583 Detached, 4 bed old farmhouse with potential to be a smallholding. VOUHE €98,560

Ref: 85975 Edge of village, 4 bed / 2 bath house only 4 kms from Chef Boutonne. CHEF BOUTONNE €162,000

Ref: 85971 South-facing 3 bedroom Maison de Maître with a house to renovate. ST JOUIN DE MARNES €114,450

10% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

8% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: D

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: D

8% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

13% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: F

Starting a new life in France? Want a new career? Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents. Call us for more info 00 800 2534 4388 or email: +33 05 53 60 84 88 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2018