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

Welcome! to Issue 81 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

Another month gone, and another month closer to...dare I say it...Christmas! November is the month to start the festive preparations and with many Christmas markets already in the diary, (find them listed on page 4) it’s looking to be another busy month. As it is officially the start of the ‘silly’ season, our very own John Sherwin of French Wine Tours has set you a challenge - a wine quiz to see how much you have learnt in recent months! He’s offering a fabulous one-day wine tour for two people as the prize - closing date is 15th November, so what are you waiting for? Flick over to page 30 now! As I write this, we are still accepting donations towards the Tour de Rêves fundraiser, so we’ll give you the final total raised next month. BUT...I can tell you that our cycling and your donations will be making a young lad’s dream come true very soon when he will visit the Harry Potter Studios in London. I’ll keep you updated of this as soon as I know more. As always - huge thanks to our advertisers, contributors and you, the readers for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you.

à plus, Sarah

Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 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 Hobbies Our Furry Friends Health, Beauty & Fitness Take a Break Home & Garden Communications Where We Live Food & Drink A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Motoring Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Accents Association (English language skills for children) Actu’elle sty’IL (Sale of wigs, hair pieces and turbans) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating)

4 6 12 14 16 17 18 19 22 24 28 33 34 35 41 45

45 10 17 2 39 29 43 38

Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 21 Arbres et Abeilles (Plant Nursery) 21 Argo Carpentry 36 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 34 Attention To Detail (Painting and Decorating Service) 35 Bar de la Poste 8 Beau Jardin (Garden maintenance) 20 Beaux Villages (Estate Agent) 47 Bell Lingo (Teach English in France) 41 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 44 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 38 Blevins Franks Financial Management 42 Café Bonbon 6 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 47 Cherry Picker Hire 37 Chris Bassett Construction 39 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 38 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 40 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 45 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 35 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 43 Darren Lawrence 35 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 35 Down to Earth Pool Design 45 Easy English 79 (French lessons) 11 Ecopower Europe  45 Expat-radio 23 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 34 George White European Transport 34 Hallmark Electricité 40 Haynes Carpentry (UPVC Double glazing) 36 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HMJ Maintenance 39 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 38 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 37 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 37 Jeff’s Metalwork 39 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 34 Jon the Carpetman 19 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 19 La Petite Noisette (Bar & Restaurant) 29 Leggett Immobilier 46 L’Emporium (many small traders under one roof) 6 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 29 Le Relais du Poitou Gourmand 32 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 39 Mark Wilson (Language Assistance) 10 Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 19 Michael Glover (Renderer, Plasterer, Tiler) 35 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 36 ML Computers 23 Motor Parts Charente 34 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 34 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 19 OD Rénovation (stonemasonry) 39 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 17 Pause! Café 8 Polar Express (Frozen foods and groceries from UK) 32 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Restaurant des Canards 32 Rob Berry (Plasterboarding & Plastering) 35 Robert Lupton Electrician 40 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 22 Sarah Berry Online (Website design) 23 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 37 Satellite TV 23 S. C. Groundworks 37 SCP Louis Cagniart & Christel Roy Notaires 47 Short Cuts (Mobile dog grooming) 16 Simon the Tiler 38 Smart Moves - Removal company 34 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 38 Steve Robin (Plumber) 38 Strictly Roofing 35 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 10 Susan4Translation 11 TheatriVasles 10 minute play festival 8 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 34 Val Assist (Translation Services) 10 Vendée Glass Courses 15

© Sarah Berry 2017. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, 3 La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: novembre 2017 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 3

What’s On... 4 - RBL bonfire night party with fireworks hot food and drinks. Tickets on sale at the RBL Book Store at Parthenay (open Mondays and Thursdays 10am– 5pm) or tel: 05 49 95 54 59 5 – Vide Grenier St Pardoux 8 - Charity Quiz Night at Bar de la Poste, L’Absie. See ad on P.8 9 – Avalon Celtic Dance show in Aiffres 11 - Armistice Day 15 - Closing Date for John’s Wine Quiz.

See pages 30/31

16 - Beaujolais Nouveau! Sample the

new wine at Bar de la Poste, L’Absie. See advert on P.8 for details

16 - film Victoria & Abdul in English

(VO) at 8pm, Espace Cultural Belle Epine, La Châtaigneraie. Doors open 7.30pm, entry 5,50€ & 4,50€ 18 - Christmas Market organised by All Saints Vendée at St Hilaire de Voust. See advert on P.6 18 - CSSG Meeting at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux at 11am. Read more o P.13 18 & 19 – Wine and Gastronomy Fair

in 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais (Gym behind the collège Anne Frank) With around 50 exhibitors, it’s a perfect time to discover new products, buy Christmas gifts: Foie gras, charcuterie, oysters, cheeses, honey & wine. Free entry. Saturday 11am-7pm Sunday 10am-6pm. 18 & 19 – Poultry Exhibition Thouars 18 & 19 - christmas market in La


19 – Salon du Livre Loudun (86) 19 - christmas market in Ayron (86) 19 - Choeur des Mauges perform at

Moutiers-sous-Argenton church. Read more on P.6 19 - christmas market in Jardres (86) 19- Vide Grenier 79100Mauzé-Thouarsais


20 & 21 - Learning to Find the Natural You workshop with Pamela


24 & 26 - Craft and Needlework Expo at Parc des Expos, Saumur (49). 4€


24 & 25 - Theatrivasles’ 10 minute Play Festival. See more on P.8 25 & 26 - Pink Day Niort Huge Christmas

market at Parc des Expos, Niort. 10am 7pm. Free entry and free parking. Food available 25 - exhibition held in the Orangerie of the Chateau, (Poultry, waterfowl, rabbits, pigeons, birds of prey and aviary) 25 - christmas market in Chasseneuilsur-Bonnieure (16) 25 - Christmas Bazaar at Salles des Fetes, Savigne (86). 10am - 2.30pm Chaplaincy Poitou Charentes. See advert on P.7 25 - christmas market in Magné (85) 25 - christmas market in Mirebeau (86) 25 – Book Fair Thouars at la salle Jacques Prévert.

25 - christmas market, artisan expo & Farmer’s Market in the village

of Allonne. See advert on P.7 for details. 25 - christmas market in Saint-Hilaire -la-Palud 25 & 26 – Salon du Mariage La Rochelle Parc des Expositions 25 - 29 - christmas market in Poitiers (86) 26 - Festive Food Fayre & Gifts from 11am - 5pm at Pause! Café L’Absie. All your Christmas favourites plus gifts, jewellery, crafts etc. See advert on P.8 26 - christmas market in Saint Sauvant (86) 26 - christmas market in L’Aiguillonsur-Vie (85) 26 - christmas market in Chauray

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

COMING UP... 3rd December - Terves Christmas Market Organised by CSSG, 11am- 5pm. See ad on P.7 4th December - Art Expo in aid of Ian’s Orange Day. Read more on P.17 17th December - Christmas Down Under Lunch & Fair, at Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys. See ad on P.6 31st December - Scottish New Year’s Eve costume party at Café Bonbon A full list of December’s Christmas Markets coming next month!

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

Dates in green = Christmas Markets!

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: Reel Fish & Chips 1st & 15th  Étusson Genneton 3rd La Coudre 9th Café des Sports, L’Absie 10th St Martin de Sanzay 17th Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

Email: info@

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: 1st of month : Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny Sat 25 Nov: Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil 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 Mondays.........

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2017 1st November 11th November 25th December

TOP HAT QUIZ & CURRY 2nd: 6th: 8th: 13th:

Chef Boutonne Limalonges Aigre Theil Rabier

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

Toussaint Armistice Noël

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. 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. 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

FISH 4 CHIP & AUTHENTIC INDIAN MEALS Mon: Bar Tilleuls, Champniers Tues: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square) Weds: Chef Boutonne (near Chateau) Thurs: Sauzé-Vaussais - Eve (Main square) Fri: Mansle (car park of Simply Supermarket Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

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

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

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

Getting Out & About In aid of:

All Saints Vendée Eglise Anglicane Everyboby Welcome

MARCHÉ de NOEL Saturday 18th November 2017 10.00-16.00h L’Espace Beauchesne,

Rue Marie

St Hilaire du Voust Stalls include:

Cakes, Crafts,

Gifts, Side Shows, Books, Jewellery, Glass Wear, Tombola, Bran Tub, Toys, Draw for Christmas Hamper, Scarves and much more!

Refreshments and Lunches available

Choeur des Mauges

ssociation Pleins-Jeux is once again going to create the musical event of the season by inviting the choir ‘Choeur A des Mauges’ from Beaupreau (Maine-et-Loire) to perform in

Moutiers-sous-Argenton's church, on November 19th at 3pm, for a modest fee of 10€. The musical accompaniment will be played by Stephanie Villari on the superb 1899 English organ from Houghton Conquest (Central Bedfordshire) which was installed in 2006 by Nantes-based organ-builder Martin Renshaw. The choir (directed by Canadian born Katika Blardone) is well-known for its Spring festival - "Printemps des Orgues". They commonly host illustrious organ players and vocalists from France and abroad. Next year's guest, in June 2018, will be Rhoda Scott, for Berlioz's Te Deum. Pleins-Jeux's aim , under the dynamic chairmanship of Philippe Jolly, is to promote musical knowledge and practice in the rural area of Northern Deux-Sèvres. Their action brings them to work with schools of music and other educational institutions. For this coming concert of November 19th., they invite all music lovers and their friends to participate and enjoy works by A. Jehan, F.Poulenc, F. Liszt, M.A. Charpentier, and G. Faure.

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

MISSED AN ISSUE? Don’t worry - you can view them ALL online! Visit: www. and go to Distribution > Magazine Archives

Promote your event....

Size A colour (above) 50€ ttc includes: ad design,‘What’s On’ listing + coverage on Facebook

Working Together


Association Orfee and The Hope Association Earlier this year, the Hope Association started working with Association Orfee to help to promote their work, and to encourage people to adopt, foster or volunteer for them. Every Tuesday, Carol & Nick from Association Orfee go to the Hope Association Shop in Lezay with a dog looking for a new home. They spend the entire day at the shop, meeting visitors and shoppers, and answering questions, not just about the dog, but about the work that Orfee does and how people can help. The results have been fantastic! Just in June alone, out of 11 doggies visiting the shop, 9 were adopted. In fact, so far this year, almost 70% of the dogs who were brought to the shop have been adopted and settled into their new homes (16 out of 23 dogs).

Above: Carol and Nick, part of Association Orfee, bringing dogs to the Hope shop, Lezay

Above: A busy day at the Hope Association charity shop 79. © Your Image My Imagination



From the New Year (Tuesday 6th February) the Hope Shop 79 is moving from Lezay to Saint Soline (8 rue d’aunis, 79120 Saint Soline). The opening hours will remain the same.

Until the Christmas break, you can visit the charity shop at 19 rue de la Moinauderie, 79120 Lezay. It is open every Tuesday 10am4pm and the last Saturday of the month 10am-2pm. Feel free to pop in and say “Hello!”. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 7

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017


Taxe d’habitation is evolving and as part of the ‘projet loi de finance 2018’, many households will be exonerated from paying this tax starting in 2018. This exoneration is likely to be introduced over 3 years with a third being deducted each year until there is a complete exoneration. Income levels used to determine exoneration will be based on income for 2017. For a single person the revenu fiscal de référence (as seen on your Avis d’Impot) must be below 27 000€, for a couple 43 000€ and for a couple with two children it should be below 55 000€. To compensate those whose income is just over these thresholds, a dégrèvement of half that given to those exonerated will be given in 2018 (being around 15%).

Take a Break - SOLUTION

To receive a dégrèvement (reduction), then you must: • Be aged between 65 and 75 at the 1st January with income not exceeding 16 426€ for a couple or 10 708€ for a single person, you should receive a reduction of 100€. Conditions of cohabitation apply. • Have a low income where the amount of taxe foncière is greater than 50% of your household income, (but including other additions or abatements). You can ask for a reduction of the excess over 50%. This may be by completing a form or in writing to the Tax Office.

Easy Crossword:

Apart from various exonerations for renovations, newly constructed properties, businesses in ZRR (revitalised rural zones) or those who were exonerated in 2014 (through to 2016), due to losing the extra 0.5 tax part among other specific cases, there are certain people who receive an exoneration of the taxe foncière on their main residence as follows: • If you receive minimum pension and live alone or only with spouse, partner or people in your care (conditions de cohabitation). • If you receive invalidity supplementary allowance and your income does not exceed 16 426€ for a couple or 10 708€ for a single person. Conditions of cohabitation apply. • If you receive disability benefit and your income does not exceed 16 426€ for a couple or 10 708€ for a single person. Conditions of cohabitation apply. • If you are over 75 and your income does not exceed 16 426€ for a couple or 10 708€ for a single person. Conditions of cohabitation apply.

Across: 1. tepid 2. blind 7. scrap 8. tripe 9. heat resistant 10. eccentric 13. public servant 14. nixon 15. about 16. theft 17. queue Down: 1. tacked 2. practical joke 4. irretrievable 5. depend 11. quaint 12. injure Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. japan 4. assured 8. non profit 9. dud 10. irish 11. cahoots 13. atlantic ocean 15. andaman 16. black 18. ink 20. dress down 21. notices 22. nasty Down: 1. jinni 2. pencilled 3. north 4. affectionless 5. satchmo 6. red 7. dodgson 13. arabian 14. nomadic 16. bison 17. kinky 19. kit


axe foncière and taxe d’habitation are both forms of property tax paid to cover services supplied by the commune, department and region. Taxe foncière is paid by the owner of the property or land, may include rubbish collection services and in the event of a sale of the property, is divided pro rata between the seller and the buyer. Taxe d’habitation is paid by the person living in the property on the 1st January each year.


rench Holiday Cookery Camping Lite is an essential book for anyone camping or on a self-catering holiday in France. This book is packed with simple recipes; ideas and inspiration for meals; and an appendix of food translated into French. The recipes combine basic store cupboard essentials with food bought from the local market or supermarket. Each recipe has the ingredients translated into French to make it easier to buy produce. Recipes require no more than two rings to create delicious meals using ingredients readily available in France. The book is the brainchild of Liz Garnett who has spent over 20 years travelling regularly to France as well as two years living in Calais. “The book came about because I wanted to simplify the camping experience in France. This book combines basic store cupboard ingredients with fresh produce sourced at either the local market or local shops.”   As well as writing cookery books for holidaymakers to France, Liz is also a travel photographer specialising in France and a co-host on the Girls Do Coffee show on Expat Radio which is broadcast from France on Thursday mornings to an audience of over 63,000 listeners.   French Holiday Cookery - Camping Lite is published by Beechthorpe Press and is available from many popular online sites as well as local bookshops. An ebook will be published in early 2018.

8) JAMES Mason 9) NORMAN Bates 10) Ridley SCOTT 11) The COTTON Club 12) Jimmy GREAVE


French Holiday Cookery

The connection: they are all British motor-cycle manufacturers.

by Katey Green

Well, what do you know?: 1) Sir Walter RALEIGH 2) Pink PANTHER series 3) Harry ENFIELD 4) FAGIN 5) Kirk STEVENS 6) VINCENT van Gogh 7) Graham NORTON


Are you a bit of a Bookworm?

Do you have a Question for Katey? Email:

If you should need assistance with this or any other type of French administration, have queries or need simple advice, contact me on: or via my Facebook page: Siret n° 451 059 323 00019 R.C.S Angoulême

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

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 9

At the fireside au coin du feu by Sue Burgess


inter’s coming and the nights are drawing in la nuit tombe plus vite. A wood fire feu de bois in the open fireplace cheminée or foyer ouvert, a free standing wood burner stove le poèle à bois or a chimney insert un insert is a very homely thing. Logs les bûches can be bought in net bags filets in supermarkets or ordered. 1m3, a cubic metre, is un stère and a cord une corde is usually three stères here, although it can be between two and five cubic metres depending on the region. You may need fire-lighters allume-feu and you will certainly need kindling brindilles or petit bois. Matches les allumettes need to be on hand. Make sure the chimney has been swept il faut ramoner la cheminée. Today’s sweeps ramoneurs use a sort of mechanical vacuum aspirateur rather than the traditional chimney sweep’s brushes les hérissons. The ashes les cendres need to be cleaned from the hearth l’âtre, they can be spread around the garden dispersés dans le jardin. Scrumpled newspaper du journal froisé can be placed between the firedogs les chenets which help to draw tirer the fire because air can circulate underneath. Kindling petit bois is placed on top of the newspaper. Beech le hêtre and hornbeam le charme make good kindling because they have light bark and catch fire easily. A beech log une bûche de hêtre will bring warmth quickly. An oak log une bûche de chêne will burn for a longer time and produce more embers des braises. Whatever you choose, seasoned wood le bois sec is a must.

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: Accessoires pour foyer ................. fireside accessories pelle à braises or pelle à cendres . ash shovel tenailles et pincettes ...................


bac à cendres ..............................

ash bucket

tison ............................................ poker crémaillère .................................. rack and pinion used to suspend a cooking pot. The expression “prendre la crémaillère” is used nowadays to mean a house-warming. écran de cheminée or pare-feu .... fireguard un soufflet ................................... bellows 10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

The Soldier Rupert Brooke

IF I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is forever England. There shall be In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, A body of England’s, breathing English air, Washed by the rivers, blest by the suns of home. And think, this heart, all evil shed away, A pulse in the eternal mind, no less Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Wear your Poppy with pride... A list of locations within the Deux-Sèvres are shown below where you can find Poppy Boxes. A full list for the whole region can be found on the Poppy Appeal page of the RBL website:


Would you like to improve your French? If so then you are welcome to join our Franglais group held in Montournais. Teaching is carried out in a very friendly and relaxed atmosphere and you will be encouraged to be confident and able to communicate with other members of the group. We believe learning should be enjoyable, without the added pressures of a formal school environment. Learn at your own pace within a mixed group of English and French speaking people. Meetings are held each Thursday from 8pm until 9.30pm.

Golf club Les Forges 79340 The Lemon Tree Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 Mad Hatter’s Kitchen Caunay 79190 Le Petit Moulin Sainte-Soline 79120 Chez Tante Mabel Pers 79190 A La Bonne Vie Le Beugnon 79130 Le Théatre Café Parthenay 79200 Newsagents, L’éclerc Parthenay 79200 GAN Assurance Parthenay 79200 La Citadelle Restaurant Parthenay 79200 Maison St Jacques Chambre d’Hôtes Parthenay 79200 Pause! Café L’Absie 79240 Bar de la Poste L’Absie 79240 Café des Belles Fleurs Fenioux 79160 Cut 46 Hair Salon Fenioux 79160 Château du Chat Reffannes 79420

For details please contact:Penny Homewood 02 51 63 31 21/ Ray Beresford 02 51 61 28 69. Email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 11

Clubs & Associations ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are now a number of English-speaking meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in the South West of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership and A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Freemasonry In France There are English-speaking lodges here in France. One such lodge, based in Cognac, meets six times a year. If interested in joining, please contact David Brieger:

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 THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Roger: 05 55 76 22 65 or Nancy: 02 54 24 09 74. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€ or visit for details of English-speaking meetings.

Franglais at Bressuire

Why not come and practise your French with a friendly and convivial group of French and English speakers? Each Wednesday evening (8-10pm) at the Centre Socio-Culturel in Bressuire. Phone Jan for further details 05 49 65 60 34. Acceuil des Villes Françaises A French association dedicated to welcoming newcomers, from across France & abroad, to their new environment; helping them to integrate, speak French and feel ‘at home’ through social events and activities. 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

Please visit the branch website:


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email: 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 Tuesday, 11am - 3pm at Fenioux (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 Phoenix Chorale An English speaking choir. We sing 3 or 4 concerts of seasonal and classical music, often including readings and poetry. Based near Charroux (86), we are always looking for new members. If interested, call 05 45 89 14 84 or 05 49 48 29 68.



Feeling anxious, not sleeping, low self esteem, sad, teary, depressed? Don’t suffer alone. Positive Thinking Group is a self-help support group who meet 4th Tuesday afternoon each month, 2.30pm at Le Regal’On Allonne 79130. Contact

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

Bridge Players Wanted

A small, friendly bridge group are looking for new players in the Parthenay area. We are friendly and informal and we are keen to welcome all levels of players. Contact Richard Knight via email or 05 49 69 18 65 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 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. Barry Leech 05 49 87 19 85 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

A British style band, who meet each Tuesday at 8pm, at the Salle de la Cendille, Limalonges (just 1km from the N10). All levels welcome. Call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or visit our website

Alone in France?

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


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

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.

Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)


by John Blair

The Theatre Group After producing the very popular Shakespeare Revue the theatre group are having a short rest and we will not be producing a play in the spring of 2018. But not everyone is taking a rest are they? Sue and Malcolm Daniels are using their vast experience and talents in creating a Christmas Panto for December of 2018 and the members of the Script Reading Group, led by Tony Murdoch, are searching available scripts which fit the profiles of our actors and at the same time of our audience, so watch this space. Keynotes This year we are performing a number of Christmas Carol and Song concerts in local churches instead of performing our very popular Christmas Concucopia. Dates for your diary are as follows:• Saturday 2nd December 8pm Secondigny Church • Sunday 3rd December 3pm Vouvant Church • Sunday 10th December 3pm Amailloux Why not come along and join in and sing your favourite Christmas songs. The Art Scene During October we had the wonderful Caroline Self along to give us a great demonstration in drawing and painting pet portraits. Caroline donates all her earnings to the Ian’s Orange Day Cancer charity that she founded. On the 4th December Caroline is holding an Art Exhibition where you will be able to purchase some of her art and those of other artists who have kindly donated their work for the charity. Caroline’s famous crumpets and scones will also be on sale. Scottish Dancing We held our second Ceilidh during October in Fenioux. Ceilidh! Is that really how you spell it? Anyway it went very well with lots of dancing, singing, eating and drinking taking place. Sounds like a normal Scottish night out doesn’t it? Tony Murdoch, our leader, is organising another Ceilidh in conjunction with the Niort Rugby Club members so that should be a night to look forward to shouldn’t it?

by Terri Laverick

ello everyone. November has arrived again, and with it the planning for the annual Christmas Market at Terves on Sunday, 3rd December. If you have goodies to sell and would like to join in the fun, please contact us quickly, there are not many spaces left. Email us and we will get back to you promptly. It gets bigger and better every year, so do come along and join us on the day, maybe even ‘Guess the weight of the cake’, or win a prize on the tombola stall. We also have some amazing stall holders with lovely Christmas gifts to purchase, and lots of Christmas food available. Have a glass of Mulled wine and a mince pie, or fish and chips at lunch time. We will be there waiting to relieve you of the odd Euro or two. All monies raised from our events go to charities that support serving or ex-serving members of the armed forces. Remember, every little helps. Our last meeting in September was rather quiet as many of our members were away. It made for a quick meeting. Therefore, we shall hold our last meeting of 2017 (how scary is that) on Saturday 18th November. As usual, if you would like breakfast beforehand let me know and all will be arranged. Our meetings are held in the Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux at 11.00 am. As November is the month of Remembrance, some of us will be joining the people of Parthenay on the 11th November at the memorial in the Jardin Public. If you would like to join us, we would love to see you there. Please also remember that RBL Poppies are available at many local outlets. (listed on P.x) The CSSG Christmas Lunch will be held on Wednesday 20th December at La Petite Noisette in Vernoux-en-Gatine. Members and friends will be notified of the menu at a later date. If you would like to join us, it will be on first come basis as seating is limited. Just a quick note to say that our Fishing Picnic at La Germondiere and the Curry Supper and Race Night were both a huge success and will, hopefully, be repeated next year. If you would like to join us and help to raise funds for our ex-service community we would love to hear from you. Come along for a chat at Terves or simply email me at the above email address. Myself and the Committee and members of CSSG would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Our friends at TheatriVasles production by Sue Fitzgerald Preparations for the second TheatriVasles International Ten Minute Play Festival are well underway (eighteen plays in total). The Festival will take place on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November in Vasles 79340. Tickets are on sale now, 10€, available by emailing or by telephone on 05 49 05 67 41. Well this is my last article in the DSM for 2017 and I believe there will be no DSM in January 2018, so I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for all your support during 2017 and don’t forget if you fancy joining in any of our groups or activities just send me an email:

Best wishes, John

contact ‘The DSM’ Call Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm or Email: Visit: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 13

Hobbies Child’s Play -

or not


by Alison Morton

riting for children is hard. Whether it’s a first reader, middle grade or a teenage/ Young Adult (YA) coming of age story, you need a different approach from writing fiction for adults. We’ve all been children and remember a little of what excited or frightened us, what interests we had, what we read, what we yearned for. Yes, the books are different in style now, but children are still children even if they live in a more complex world. Focus on the story If a child asks you what your book is about, they’re not expecting a 15-minute exposition on the power of friendship or the magic of loyalty. They want to know what the story is – and they want it in the shortest, most interesting sentence possible. Is it an epic adventure story about a race to reach a new part of the world and the young heroine/hero doesn’t want to go? Or an eleven-year-old whose parents move to a new town and force her to go to a new school where she is bullied? Perhaps it’s an early reading book where a young antagonist has to overcome the ‘monsters’ in the dark. Whichever it is, every scene must build the story and ratchet the stakes ever higher. Themes and lessons are then woven into the book. The ideal reader Whether it’s your own children, grandchildren or an imagined child, draw up a mental picture of that ‘ideal’ reader. This is who you are writing for, rather than ’children’ in a general sense. Reading children’s books, reading with children, asking them about what they read and what’s important to them in their lives is vital research. Embrace impossible ideas Children love stories full of adventure, friendship, and humour. And epic. Don’t forget epic whether in the real world or a fantasy one. Finding a land in the grip of winter with a live faun, a lion


god as old as time and a witch who can turn living creatures into stone is fairly epic. However, C S Lewis’s world is full of emotion: friendship, jealousy, temptation, sacrifice, nobility, forgiveness and joy. Quickly in and out Like thriller writing, drop straight into the story and be direct. Children are often trying to work out what life is about and how to deal with it. Theirs is a complex world of imagination, confusion, and yearning. The trick is to write these complex ideas in simple but not simplistic terms. Most importantly, don’t dumb the language down. Your young readers will notice and the message won’t resonate with them. Dual audience Parents, teachers, friends and relatives buy children books. While it’s preferable to have a child or an animal as protagonist, i.e. someone who the child reader can relate to, an adult buying the book is often looking for lovely illustrations, clever text, or moral lessons delivered in an interesting and engaging way. Illustrations If you feel your illustrations are subpar or art just isn’t your thing, don’t be afraid to seek out an illustrator with whom you can collaborate. You want to do whatever it takes to make every page of your book work hard in support of your story. The world of children’s books is not for the faint-hearted, but is intensely rewarding.

Happy Writing!

Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into “The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her sixth novel, RETALIO is now out.

by James Luxford

We’ve got two classic tennis encounters this month as part of a line up of dramas that will be vying for awards come Oscar season!

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER (1st November) Either dark comedy or disturbing drama, depending on how you like your cinema, but Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow up to The Lobster is an unusual prospect. Colin Firth plays a heart surgeon whose life is thrown into chaos by the son of an ex-patient. The film’s refusal to follow any cinematic convention makes it an incredibly surreal experience, with the purposefully stilted dialogue making you look at emotional situations dispassionately. Still, the unique way in which it tells its story demands your attention. You’ll be thinking about it for weeks.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

MAUDIE (8th November) You may not have heard of Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, but the true story of her rise to national fame is a stunning one. Sally Hawkins is breathtaking as Lewis, painting from the small house she shares with her husband (Ethan Hawke), overcoming disability and her past to find happiness. With Hawke giving understated support, the film dives straight for your heartstrings and never lets go. A superbly acted drama about discovering your passion and being brave enough to follow it.

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Beryl Brennan for this month’s review. If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email it to:

The Soldier’s Wife by Joanne Trollope I haven’t read a Joanne Trollope book since The Village Affair was televised in 1995. But in a bag of books recently donated for the Get Together Library which I run, The Soldier’s Wife caught my eye. Thoughts of the Military Wives Choir came to mind, and how these women cope with their husbands away on duty tour. How do they cope on the return of their husbands, brothers, sons? What happens after the joyful reunions, hugs and tears? Everyone has to adjust; home life is somewhat different from the desert where life is on the line every day.

The DSM You Tube Channel is live and we are inviting you to send us your short videos promoting your businesses.

Does marrying a soldier always have to mean that one is not marrying a man but a regiment? What happens when the modern military wife no longer automatically follows the drum?

These will be added to our Channel and shared online.


Please email to:

A fascinating and thought provoking read. by Beryl Brennan

FILMS IN ENGLISH Look for screenings in ‘VO’ or ‘VOST’ Victoria and Abdul (VO) showing in La Châtaigneraie 16th November. See What’s On for details

We will upload to our You Tube Channel when content is approved.

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

BORG VS MCENROE (8th November)

BATTLE OF THE SEXES (22nd November)

One of the greatest matches in tennis history is chronicled, with Shia Labeouf perfectly cast in the role of John McEnroe, in the build up to his Wimbledon Men’s Final with the restrained Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason). What transpires is a somewhat lopsided account, focusing on the Gudnason’s magnificent portrayal, but not giving Labeouf the time to shine. While that still makes for an entertaining experience, you leave the cinema feeling you have seen the events of that period, but not the story behind it.

From one of the greatest matches in tennis to one of its most curious publicity stunts. Steve Carell and Oscar winner Emma Stone star in a movie about the arrogant tennis veteran Bobby Riggs (Carell), who challenges then-champion Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) to an inter-gender match after declaring he could beat any woman tennis player even years after he retired. Exploring machismo, celebrity and women’s rights, there’s a lot more than tennis going on in a story that feels right for this moment in time. Release dates are nationwide in France.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 15

Our Furry Friends

Eric & Zappa Born June 2017

Although Eric and Zappa are not related, they may as well be as Zappa has decided to care for poor Eric who was found in a sorry state in a car park. One of his back legs was broken and the other was badly infected and was being being pecked at by crows. Fast forward two months and his broken leg has healed and x-rays show that there is no more infection in the other leg but, due to bone and muscle damage, the leg may always be weak.  That doesn’t stop Eric though, he’s a brave little man and enjoys playing with Zappa, the more adventurous of the two, and holds his own with all the other cats. Zappa, as well as being an adventurer, is a loving affectionate boy, always purring and loves to pretend he’s a scarf draped around your neck and is particularly gentle around Eric.  Both these angels are vaccinated, chipped and have been treated for fleas and worms so, if you would like to meet them please contact foster carer Julie on 06 48 36 26 7 or e-mail her at bothcats are in 87150 Oradour sur Vayres.

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

Facebook: ecole-du-chat-libre-de-Poitiers 16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

Health, Beauty & Fitness

Ian’s Orange Day ART EXPO

by Caroline Self

There will be an Art Exhibition on Monday 4th Dec at 2pm at my home, Les Gibaudieres 85700 Montournais in aid of Ian’s Orange

Day 4 Cancer Research.

I would like to invite anyone who has a piece of art they would like to donate to join me, also any volunteers would also be welcome to serve teas and coffees and other home-baked goodies. Here are some few examples of the art on offer:

For any queries, or to donate your artwork, please contact me by email: or on 02 51 57 65 28.

FITNESS CLUBS: Line Dancing Want some gentle exercise? Want to keep your mind active? Come along and try out our line dance classes held at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux every Friday evening 6pm-7.30pm. Beginners welcome. For more info contact


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

Pure Fitness Exercise to music classes - every Wednesday 7pm8pm at the Salle des Fêtes, L’Absie 79240 For more info email:

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:

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:


Facebook group ‘British Cyclists in France (BCIF)’ is an online group for British cyclists to share information, events, ask advice and post photos etc. Why not join, make contacts and arrange rides with other local cyclists? The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 17

Take a Break Across: 1. Moderately warm; lukewarm (5) 3. Unable to see (5) 7. Worthless material that is to be disposed of (5) 8. Nonsensical talk or writing (5) 9. Able to remain unaffected by high temperatures (4-9) 10. A person with an unusual or odd personality (9) 13. Someone who holds a government position (6-7) 14. 37th US President (5) 15.  Imprecise but fairly close to correct (5) 16. The act of stealing (5) 17. A line of people waiting for something (5)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Down: 1.  Sewn together loosely with large stitches (6) 2. A prank or trick played on a person (9-4) 4. Impossible to recover, recoup or overcome (13) 5. Have faith; count upon (6) 6. A tennis return that beats an opponent who has approached the net (7-4) 11. Strange in an interesting or pleasing way (6) 12. Cause bodily harm to (6)

Theme for this month: SEAs

Across: 1. Originally just a province and now a country (5) 4. Very confident that you have everything covered? (7) 8. Not including lecturer in retraction, so gains nothing (3-6) 9. Without Pete, was a bit of a damp squib? (3) 10. To be fair, is happy to swallow this whiskey (5) 11. In this part of the organisation (7) 13. I can’t arrange a clean to incorporate the largest body here today (8,5) 15. ...... as well as person for this one in the east (7) 16. Many being aboard to promote jet (5) 18. Used to write to American company it is reported? (3) 20. Getting agitated, sends word; “Certainly don’t get all dolled up!” (5,4) 21. Spots involuntary contraction in broken nose (7) 22. Horrible place to keep pigs in the States? (5)

Down: 1. Starting job in new notional invocation of spirit of Islam (5) 2. Decline LP arrangement as it’s only in the planning stage? (9) 3. Bridge team in a body to the east of Great Britain (5) 4. No love lost when one’s facts file is rewritten (13) 5. Famous trumpeter wouldn’t stand for church way of doing things (7) 6. Wine with body; found in neither Asia nor Africa (3) 7. Devour or drink, get smaller or not, originally introducing Alice (7) 12. Tears spilled over poor treatment of those at the end of the line (9) 13. One of those famous nights when brain gets scrambled by teetotallers! (7) 14. French name given to a branch of detectives, going in reverse, but travelling (7) 16. The rib is one good part of this plains dweller (5) 17. 18 found within the borders of Kerry, certainly not straight! (5) 19. A thousand given knowledge of computer equipment (3)

Well, what do you know? 1) Who is credited with introducing the potato and tobacco to England? 2) A Shot In The Dark is the second film in which popular series from the 1960s and 70s? 3) Which English comedian created the characters Stavros the Greek and the plasterer, Loads-a-money? 4) In Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, who is the leader of the pickpocket gang? 5) Which Canadian snooker player scored the third televised maximum 147 break in 1984? 6) Which artist painted “Starry Night”, “Irises” and “Sunflowers” and sold only one painting during his life? 7) Which Irish TV and radio presenter took over the shows formerly presented by Jonathan Ross on Radio and TV? 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

With thanks to M.Morris

Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get? 8) Which English actor played the male leading character in Stanley Kubrick’s film “Lolita”? 9) What is the name of the character played by Anthony Perkins in Hitchcock’s film “Psycho”? 10) Which English fim director was responsible for Blade Runner, Alien and The Martian? 11) Duke Ellington’s orchestra was resident band at which Harlem night club from Dec. 1927 to June 1931? 12) Which English footballer holds the record for the number of hat- tricks (6) for England and is Spurs’ highest ever goal scorer (266)? And, as usual, what connects your 12 answers, assuming you have 12 and they are all correct? Copyright RJS 2017

Answers on P.9 and our website:

DSM Easy Crossword

Home & Garden

Small colour Advert from 35,17â&#x201A;Ź ttc per month

PLEASE NOTE: THERE WILL BE NO JANUARY 2018 ISSUE If you have New Year offers or events to promote, please be sure to send us the information in time for the December issue, deadline: 15th November. Businesses and events advertised in the December issue will benefit from the standard Facebook coverage during January. Online advertising will run as usual during January.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 19

Love your


by Greenfingers


ovember here is very definitely autumn; windscreens covered in condensation every day, that smell in the air that is so typical of the season…dampness, smokey, even without a bonfire….fallen leaves clinging to the grass, bedraggled flower beds and limited daylight…fewer precious hours to spend outside. However, it is not a season without colour and we can enhance this by planting up pots with perennials, and preparing tulips ready for a spring display. This alone is enough to lift our spirits. It is not too late to plant trees, shrubs and roses, as long as the ground isn’t frosted or waterlogged. Prepare to plant by digging a square hole as deep as the rootball, but three times its width. Current thinking suggests that most new roots grow in the top 30 cms of soil and a square hole gives them more chance to spread sideways rather than down. Sprinkle the bottom of the hole with some mycorrhizal fungi powder to encourage new root formation. It is now more widely available in our garden centres. Water well. If you are planting bare root varieties of any plant always soak the roots well in a bucket of water before putting it into the ground. Some trees to consider could include the Japanese acers which have beautiful foliage at this time of year and have such a graceful elegant habit. They can remain quite small and should suit any garden…acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ only grows to 4 metres in height. The common Hawthorn, crataegus monogyna, needs no pruning, has lovely white insect attracting blossom in May and beautiful red berries which feed the birds in autumn and grows to about 7 metres. If you have room for a larger tree, Sorbus, the Rowan, has flaming red foliage and orange-red berries at this time of the year; Crab apples often stay on the branches until December and Birches have attractive barks and catkins in the spring. Many Cornus varieties have red branches and are as beautiful with their leaves as they are without them. The Japanese gardens at

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

Maulevrier have a wonderful collection of acers and cornus and are well worth a look. Cotoneaster, eleagnus, berberis, photinia, pittosporum and ilex are all readily available here for planting as a hedge or single specimen plants. All have interesting foliage or flowers/berries. Planting up troughs or pots with autumn/winter flowering perennials is easy and even the supermarkets carry lots of varieties to choose from. Pansies and violas come into their own now and their colours are so cheering. They are low maintenance, just deadhead regularly, they can withstand severe frosts and often self seed. Planted in a pot, around a skimmia or a phormium, with a bit of ivy ‘poked’ in for good measure, gives a display that will last right through until spring. Other good combinations are cyclamen, heucheras, Japanese blood grass and sedums; heathers look good planted with evergreen grasses like carex. Pots don’t need feeding until spring when new growth begins. Tulip planting can be carried out now…if you find some left on a shelf towards the end of December, pop them in the ground straight away and they’ll flower, but just a bit later than the others. Planting in November reduces the risk of ‘Tulip Fire Blight’ a fungal disease which spots the leaves, distorts the flowers and kills the bulbs. Tulips need good drainage and plenty of sunlight, whether in the garden or pots, so mix some grit in with the compost when planting. Plant deeply…about 15 cms, this encourages longer, stronger stems. I prefer to plant in layers…the later flowering bulbs at the bottom of the pot and a different colour nearer to the top. Tulips come in the most amazing varieties and forms now, there are so many to choose from. If you can’t find any that you like in the garden centres, try online, or ‘Baumaux’ an online French source that has a very good and extensive catalogue and a reliable postal delivery service. Tulips produce smaller bulbils on the side of the original bulb when they have finished flowering. If the bulbs



are left in the ground year after year, the plants’ energy goes into making the bulbils bigger and the resulting flowers are smaller and may not run true to type. Lift the bulbs as soon as flowering has finished, allow the foliage to die back and when the bulb has completely dried out, choose the best and replant next year. There are some fantastic winter flowering climbers that bring colour and perfume into the garden too. Try honeysuckle ‘Winter Beauty’, it flowers and scents from the end of November until March. Clematis ‘Cirrhosa Jingle Bells’ flowers from October until February and has very attractive seedheads. I have one and it grows to the top of an old nectarine tree and looks stunning in full bloom. Winter flowering jasmine is very reliable too. Two shrubs, Sarcococca box and Daphne odorata, both have small flowers with beautiful fragrance.

Now is the time to: Honeysuckle Winter Beauty ©flickr/MeganHansen

Sorbus Aucuparia


Cornus sanguinea

Acer Palmatum Osakazuki ©commons/PolGrandmont

Mulch tender perennials in flower beds to protect the crowns • Rake up fallen leaves and bag pierced dustbin bags to make leaf up in mould • Stand pots on bricks to help with dra prevent waterlogging and to pro inage, tect from frost • Net any greens still in the veg. protect against hungry pigeons patch to • Remove and dispose of any dea around the bases of roses and oth d leaves er plants to prevent the spread of fungal dise ases • Move any trees or shrubs whi lst the earth still retains some warmth • Leave seedheads and orname ntal heads in the flower beds….they look grass in the winter and provide the bird good s with food • Sow broad beans and gar lic. overwintering carrots with straw Protect • Take root cuttings from pere nnia as oriental poppies, Phlox, Verb ls such ascum, Dicentra, and Eryngium

Whatever you do, make time to put on an old jacket and get outside into the fresh air. Ten unplanned minutes of pottering often achieves more than a planned two hours!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 21

Communications Preventative Maintenance for Android Tablets & Phones

by Ross Hendry

memory managers and optimisers. Not all of these programs are necessary; for example, Android devices manage their background tasks and processes automatically so the memory taken to have a task killer running may be counterproductive. If possible, learn how to do the tasks the utility programs do by using the device’s own software. Keep your Programs and Applications up to date The manufacturer of your device will issue updates to the Android system. Ensure that you use them as these are designed to keep your device running at its optimum and keep it secure. Please do check that the updates installed do not re-install unwanted apps that you may have already deleted; if so remove them again.


Remove Bloatware Although Android is an open operating system the bigger manufacturers tweak it for their own devices. This often means installing applications that you will never use. Remove them if you are able to and make sure you disable automatic updates as these may actually re-install the app. This is often quite difficult so check with your manufacturer to see exactly what you are able to remove.

Reboot your Device regularly Many of us do not actually turn our devices off; we simply go to a form of standby. Actually switch the device off, to do this press and hold the power button and select Power Off and confirm the action. This forces the device to reload all of its systems and clear its memory so it will run more efficiently thereafter.

Look After the Battery Keeping your device’s battery fully charged will help the device run better for longer. If possible switch off the power to your device before charging it - it will charge more efficiently, with less damage to the battery than charging it whilst it is on and running. Try to charge the device before it is fully discharged - I try not to let mine get below 15%. Keeping you device cool whilst operating and charging the battery will help increase the battery life.

here are many manufacturers of telephones and tablets that run the Android operating system. In order to keep them working at optimum efficiency you can perform regular maintenance to prevent and resolve problems. Here are several ways to help keep you device running well.

Close Unused Apps Unlike desktop and laptop PCs, tablets and smartphones do not have much processing power, although they can multitask they do slow down when running too many apps or there are too many open. Take the time to close apps when you have finished using them. Clear the Browser Cache Surfing the web leads to an accumulation of data in the device’s active memory, eventually this will lead to the slowing down of the whole process of surfing the web. Indeed, many users do not know how to close pages in their browsers and simply open another with each search they do, combining this with the build up of data in the browser cache is like surfing the web through treacle. Learn to close a webpage when you have finished and clear the browser cache. So using the browser settings click to “clear the cache” and confirm the choice. Delete Cookies The more you surf the web, the more cookies you are likely to accumulate. This will eventually slow down the whole experience making pages slow to load and update. Deleting the cookies regularly will free up some memory and keep your web surfing fast. Open the browser, select Menu, More Options choose settings and clear all cookie data, then confirm the action. Delete Applications We all try apps especially the free ones. Make a habit of deleting unused applications, you may do this by opening Settings then select Applications, then Manage Applications, then Downloaded Apps then Uninstall. Make Space We all accumulate photos and files on our devices. Once they have been backed up so that you may retrieve them as you need to, delete them or certainly the ones you do not use often. If your device does not have a file manager, you may get one from the app store. Use this to manage the files you retain and clear off those you no longer need. This is really important especially if you do not have much storage to begin with as lack of space will certainly slow you device and may prevent you updating the device’s operating system. Reduce the amount of Utility apps Utility apps are the type of apps that help you get more from your battery, help stop things running like Task Killers and others like 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

Factory reset your device For devices that have really become so slow that you cannot effectively use them, back up any data that you wish to keep and use the built-in factory reset option. You may restore your device to the factory settings by opening up the ‘Menu’, then clicking on ‘Settings’, then clicking on ‘Privacy’, and then clicking ‘Factory Data Reset’. Select the option to ‘Reset Device’, and confirm to have the device erase everything that has been added to it. This will only erase the information that has been added to the device by the user. The device’s operating system will still be intact and ready to use, however it should make the device as fast as it was when it was new. There are many versions of the Android operating system, and they vary considerably. Please check your version in the device’s settings and if you are unsure how to perform a maintenance task, ask Google using the version number of your system. After all, Google are responsible for the writing and distribution of the Android operating system, they should know how! Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 23

Where We Live... Nurses Health Service!

Abondance (AOC)

This medium-sized, raw cow’s milk mountain cheese comes from the Haute-Savoie region of the RhôneAlps, on the Swiss border just south of Lake Geneva. For centuries, the deep golden cheese has been made in mountain chalets exclusively from unpasteurised mild from three breeds of cow – Abondance, Montbéliard and Tarine – which, as part of its 1990 AOC designation, must not be fed any silage or other fermented fodder. The hand-crafted, wheel-shaped cheeses are made using traditional methods and it takes 100 litres of milk from cattle grazing on mountain pastures to produce a single 9.5kg Abondance. Whole cheeses range from 38-43cms in diameter, 7-8cms in height and can weigh anything from 7-12kgs. The curds are pressed into a wooden hoop mould lined with gauze. A rope can be tightened to adjust the width of the cheese, which expands above and below the hoop to give the Abondance its typical concave edges. At this stage a blue casein label is slipped onto the side of each cheese – an oval blue one for fermier cheeses and a square blue one for all other versions. When the cheese comes out of its mould it is left for a day to let the inside cool without drying the crust. It’s then soaked in brine for 12 hours to speed up the formation of the crust, improve its appearance and reduce the risk of mould and then allowed to dry naturally for 24 hours. Maturation takes place over 90-100 days in a well-ventilated cellar at 12˚C and 95% humidity. On alternate days, the surface of the cheese is rubbed with salt and wiped with a cloth soaked in morge (brine enriched with scrapings from old cheese). That helps build up the cheese’s strong crust, which should be removed before eating. It also helps preserve these large cheeses. Abondance has a strong smell of nutty vegetation (similar to Beaufort) and an intense fruity, buttery and hazelnut flavour followed by a lingering aftertaste. The ivory-yellow inside is firm but supple, with a creamy and velvety texture. It can be eaten on its own or added to salads and goes well with local Savoie white wines or a Chablis or with light and fruity reds like Beaujolais. Photo: © WikiCommons/Frédérique Voisin-Demery

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017



Sue & Stephen Lennon


urham-born Sue was a Macmillan nurse in the UK, spending 27 years caring for people with cancer and, more recently, supporting those who suffer prostate, bladder, kidney and testiclular cancers.

“I had a blessed career which saw massive changes in the funding, treatments and timely delivery of high quality care. I was also a counsellor, coach and psychosexual therapist working with people who have suffered sexual consequences of cancer or cancer treatment. I ran a small freelance business combining those skills, running workshops for healthcare staff, speaking at conferences and generally trying to improve that aspect of cancer recovery. My week was pretty full! “Having myself been ‘stressed in the NHS’ it has been a little dream of mine to run a retreat here for nurses who could do with a bit of time out – somewhere to rest, recover, review life. I admit I didn’t think it would ever be real. Well, not in the way it has evolved anyway. My husband, Stephen, had owned half of our house for 27 years and soon after we moved full-time to France, in May 2016, we had the opportunity to buy the other half. We jumped at the chance and spent six months renovating it. “Now we have the ‘west wing’, as we jokingly call it, with a large en-suite bedroom and an extra sitting room we didn’t expect to have, so in July this year

by Mick Austin

Looking for a peaceful week away in glorious French countryside? Just chilling out and enjoy summer days exploring. Well, if you want to stay with the Lennons on a particular week you might be disappointed – but in the nicest possible way. Priority goes to those in the nursing profession.

Photos: the comfortable accommodation offered to nurses © Sue Lennon

think it will be something they remember if ever they ‘hit the wall’. NHS nurses are having a hard time. They don’t want to let patients down. They are striving to maintain standards despite financial and staffing pressures and are feeling the impact themselves, both physically and emotionally. I fully expect to have a busy springtime as ‘winter pressures’ take an additional toll on my colleagues. I launched, a petite retreat for frazzled nurses in need. The idea is that nursing staff can come at a price affordable for most – on their own or with their partner – to do whatever they need to do. Take a holiday, talk/don’t talk, have some counselling or coaching if they want it, use the French countryside as a vehicle for reflection and generally just pause a while.” The offer is that any nurse can stay Chez Lennons for a five-day break (Monday to Friday) at a ‘nurses only’ half-price rate of 150€. But why is it only nurses qualify for the reduced rate? Sue explains on their website: “Because what nurses do for a living is not ‘normal.’ You see things that others do not see. You do things others would never do. You make difficult decisions, deal with people at their most vulnerable. You manage physical and emotional pain... you absorb distress and sometime you hurt, too.” Sue knew she would be unlikely to have many visitors this summer as nurses would have already committed to their holidays or they would have to work round colleagues. “We’re trying to build awareness for next year, really,” she says, “mainly through social media. We’re asking anyone who has a nurse in the family to share our website or Facebook page and ask nurses to share and spread the word.” As The DSM went to press, the Lennons were yet to welcome their first guest from the NHS, but they perhaps have a slightly different outlook on bookings than most gîte owners. “Just about every nurse I speak to is super enthusiastic about the idea,” says Sue. “I

“If I can help one nurse to stay well, to reflect, to download, to figure out how to better manage life and work and make a positive change, then Metime will be considered successful. I don’t think I would measure success by the number of bookings. In fact, wouldn’t it be awfully sad if demand was so high?” Sue and Stephen moved to their home on the edge of Nantilly, a little village near Chiché, in the Deux-Sèvres, from Pateley Bridge, in the North Yorkshire Dales. It followed their own annus horiblis in 2013/14, which involved a quick succession of close family deaths and the subsequent stress of sorting everything out. “Anyone who has been there will know how exhausting that is,” says Sue. “Afterwards, when the dust had settled, it prompted us to review life and basically to get on and live it. Our dream was always to come here full-time one day and then, suddenly, it seemed like the right time. “Stephen spent six months or so renovating the house while I’ve been knocking the garden into shape with a large potager and a mini ‘chilli farm’ where I choose three different varieties each year and always have plenty left to give away. None of this was part of the plan when we were considering our move, but being able to buy the rest of the house has offered us a terrific opportunity. Having Metime has given us the chance to have something good come out of our bad year. Working with people with life-threatening illness focuses the mind on how precious life is. I want to help and helping nurses cope is something I hope I can do well.” The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special

Stephen – a proud Lancastrian despite the fact he has lived most of his life in Yorkshire – has been a full time professional artist for more than 30 years ( concentrating on the landscape and the play of light on the northern hills and dales of England. “Born and bred in Burnley, the Pennine Hills and Pendle in particular were always tantalisingly in view,” he says. “But a youth club trip to the Lake District when I was 15 was a major life event. We had arrived in the dark and on emerging from the tent at first light I was greeted by the Borrowdale fells in all their glory. It was an aweinspiring sight, especially for a boy who had never seen anything bigger than the distant Pendle Hill. The sound of the water rolling down the fellside, the smell of the earth, the high crags against the watercolour sky...”

Stephen exhibited his landscape paintings at many galleries in Yorkshire and across the UK and continues to supply the Headrow Gallery in Leeds and Chantry House Gallery in Ripley, where he had a three-week solo exhibition last year. “It was a great success,” he says. “Having had a relationship with the gallery over many years we were more than happy with sales and I continue to keep both galleries supplied. I’m now working on new pieces for the Christmas 2017 mixed exhibition at Chantry House and also building up stocks for next year. There are some French landscapes coming, too.” He had his first exhibition of watercolours in France at La Ch’mi, near St Mesmin, in July and August this year and enjoyed a vernissage (preview) that was very different from any in the UK. “It ended in a jazz concert, which was something of a coincidence as we met through music,” says Sue. “Stephen played jazz guitar, I played saxophone and music has been a strong thread throughout our relationship and more recently here in France. We have managed to inveigle our way into a couple of groups/orchestres, which has not only been a wonderful opportunity to expand our repertoire for playing and dancing, but also an interesting way to improve our French. Music people are the same the world over: Supportive, friendly and kind. They are our ‘tribe’, no matter the nationality.” Since the couple have been in France there’s been plenty of work and just a little play, which included an 850km bike ride from their home in the Deux-Sèvres to Irun, just over the Spanish border, in May 2017. That completed a ‘wrong way round’ marathon trek for the couple. “We did it in three blocks working round hospital holidays initially,” says Sue. “That, of course, put time pressure on the rides. First was Harrogate to the Deux-Sèvres in eight days in 2014, then in 2016 we did John o’ Groats to Harrogate, mainly because we were moving here straight after and I felt we’d be unlikely to go back to complete the full length of the UK once we’d actually relocated. Then we did the ride to the Spanish border this year.

Photos top: Paintings by Stephen, left: Ingleborough Disappearing and right: Up the Dale; Above: Stephen in his studio. Photos © Stephen Lennon 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

“The idea is to draw a line on the map that joins up to rides we’ve already done. We like the EuroVelo routes and hope to either cross Spain and pick up the Mediterranean route or maybe ride EV6 along

by Mick Austin

On this month November 19, 1703: ‘The man in the iron mask’, a mysterious prisoner held in the Bastille on the orders of King Louis XIV, dies. It was recorded that a man in his 50s was buried at the Saint-Paul Cemetery in Paris and his belongings and clothes were burned at dawn. It was said that the walls of his cell were even scraped and whitewashed. Rumours became legend after Alexandre Dumas wrote his famous tale and his true identity remains a subject of speculation.

the Loire, pick up the Danube and head for Budapest. But that’s all still to be decided and, of course, we want to be here for any nurses in need! “Improving our French together has been a giggle with the help of Franglais in Bressuire and a delightful French teacher, as well as our music buddies. Working and playing together is important, as is time apart doing things independently and I have to thank the netball team at Vasles and Team Madness, our breakaway triathlon team, for that. Cheers, ladies.” There’s plenty for the Lennons to look forward to in France. “I will continue to speak internationally through the conference season as this allows me to offer a subsidy for Metime to keep it at an affordable price,” says Sue. “I’m also picking up my path to a PhD in Healthcare Ethics and Law, just to keep me out of mischief in the winter months. And Stephen is reacquainting himself with an artist’s size paint brush after all that renovation! “Of course, things haven’t always been rosy here – that’s not real life. There have been two particular lows. The first was the outcome of the Brexit vote, just a month after we arrived, and the ongoing sense of uncertainty it has brought to the expat community. The second was in dealing with the relocation of my freelance business, the RSI and trying to get our healthcare sorted. That has been very stressful, complicated, bureaucratic and frustrating, but I think we are getting there at last. My advice for fellow immigrants? Get help!”

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

November 11, 1918: On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, World War One ends. At 5am, in a railway car in the Forest of Compiegne, the Armistice is signed to end what was known as the ‘war to end all wars.’ The war left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded. In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation or exposure. November 9, 1970: One of the greatest figures in the history of France, General Charles de Gaulle, dies at his home of a heart attack. He was 79. The President, Georges Pompidou, says France has been widowed by his death. De Gaulle’s wishes for a simple ceremony in his home village were respected but so many French citizens made their way to Colombey-les-DeuxEglises that the village’s normal population of around 400 swelled to more than 50,000. November 14, 1994: The first paying passengers travel by Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel. The tunnel is 31.5 miles (50.45km) long, with 23.5 miles (37.9km) of it under the English Channel. November 3, 1997: Thousands of lorries are at a standstill as angry truckers blockade French ports in a dispute over pay and conditions. Strikers say they are only targeting freight and allowing ordinary motorists through. The strike followed identical action in 1996 when they caused havoc on Europe’s entire road transport system. The French drivers ended their action after five days when the country’s biggest transport union signed a deal with employers.

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, November 2017 | 27

Food & Drink

The Frugal French Pantry Fantastic food on a budget...


by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

ith the price of meat and fish high it makes sense to eat the vegetables in season at the shops and markets or the remnants of the veggie patch. Vegetable soups are so easy and cost very little to make. Serve them with a sandwich or bread to make an easy meal and as these soups are lump-free they are perfect for fussy eaters too.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic

Curried Pumpkin Soup

Tarragon & Mushroom Soup

Leek & Potato Soup

This recipe is perfect for using up the last tomatoes of the season and roasting them with garlic makes a deliciously sweet and rich soup.

This delicious soup is great for using home grown pumpkins as you can freeze leftover puree for another day.

Chestnut mushrooms, onions, garlic and tarragon make a delicious soup in under 15 minutes, perfect for entertaining.

A classic flavour combination for this fat free soup that will be new on the blog this month. This really is so easy and makes a filling and tasty soup.

Ingredients for 4:

Ingredients for 4:

Ingredients for 4:

Ingredients for 6:

• • • • • • • •

1 kg tomatoes 1 onion chopped 1 bulb of garlic olive oil 500 ml vegetable stock 25 g butter 25 g flour seasoning

Instructions: 1.

2. 3.





Halve the tomatoes and place in a roasting pan with a drizzle of olive oil and seasoning. Put a whole bulb of garlic in a separate dish. Roast the tomatoes and garlic for about an hour at 170˚C. Remove the skins from the tomatoes with a spoon and fork and mash the skins through a sieve to retain any remaining juice. In a large saucepan melt the butter and soften the onion for a few minutes before adding the flour for a minute, stirring. Gradually add the flour until the mixture thickens then pour in the tomatoes and squeeze out the garlic from the skin. Use a stick blender until the mixture is smooth then reheat and check the seasoning. Add a splash of milk to make a creamier soup.

• • • • • • • • • • • •

450 g pumpkin puree (1 tin) or see instructions 1 tbsp tamarind paste (optional) 2 tbsp ground cumin 2 tbsp ground coriander 2 tsp sugar 100 ml coconut milk 2 tbsp dessicated coconut 750 ml vegetable stock 2 onions, roughly chopped 1 tbsp oil 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander seasoning

Instructions: 1.

2. 3.






Heat the oil in a large saucepan and soften the onions over a low heat for about 5 minutes. Increase the heat and add the ground spices, stirring for 1 minute. Blitz the onions with a little of the stock and return to the pan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, check the seasoning and serve garnished with extra coriander and coconut milk. To make your own pumpkin puree cut the pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy bits. Place cut side down on a roasting tray and cook at 180˚C for 40 minutes or until tender. When cool enough to handle scrape the flesh from the skin and blend or process until smooth. Freeze in batches.

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

• • • • • • •

1 tbsp oil 700 g chestnut mushrooms 2 medium onions chopped 2 cloves garlic chopped 1 Ltr vegetable stock 1 tsp ground black pepper 2 tbsp fresh tarragon

Optional Garnish • 2 tbsp cream • 1 slice bread cubed and fried crisp • 4 mushrooms sliced and fried

Instructions: 1.




Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the garlic and onion on a low heat until softened. Add the mushrooms and stir constantly until soft. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer with the pepper. Add salt if necessary. Blitz the soup until smooth then return to the pan with the tarragon and bring to a simmer. Serve with a swirl of cream, a few fried mushrooms and croutons if liked.

500 g peeled and cubed potatoes. 500 g trimmed and sliced leeks using as much green as possible for colour 1.5 litres of vegetable stock Seasoning

• • •

Instructions: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Place the leeks, stock and potatoes in a large saucepan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 40-50 minutes until tender. Leave to cool slightly and blend or mash until smooth. This soup is delicious for a frugal dinner party starter so crumble in some blue cheese or serve with Parmesan crisps.

Amanda lives in La Chapelle St Etienne and is the writer behind the food blog where she posts new recipes weekly.

The Perfect Sunday...


by Jacqueline Brown

would like to begin by thanking every one of you who I’ve bumped into since the end of the ‘Tour de Rêves’ for your kind comments, and to reassure you all that I have indeed recovered, and my legs (and other bits) really weren’t as sore as I was expecting. This was obviously down to our strict training regime, oh and the wonders of bottom butter. If you are a cyclist you will know what I’m talking about, if you are not, well let’s just say it has no similarity to any butter you use to bake a cake with, but is indispensible for a day on the bike! I’ve certainly not been sedentary since our return, in fact while some might expect a bit of rest and recuperation, others (husband Adrian included) seemed to think the best way to get over six days on the bike was to keep on pedalling. I did get a bit of a rest, thanks to some wild and windy weather, but it wasn’t long before Adrian was plotting me a route for a 100km-in-a-day challenge. This is something I’ve accomplished for the last two years, around my birthday, but thought I’d got away with this year. On a perfect Sunday, when the sky was blue, there was no wind or rain and the temperature was neither too hot, nor too cold, we set off following the Boutonne river from Chef Boutonne to St Jean D’Angeley, via Dampierre-sur-Boutonne, and it’s pretty château. It was a fabulous feeling to be back on the bike, another opportunity to wear the Tour de Rêves jersey, and indulge in pain aux raisins and an afternoon beer in the sun. We were even treated to an aerial display by the first of the migrating cranes making their way south for the winter, a sure sign that the temperatures will be dropping soon. Although I’m in no hurry for the weather to change, thanks to a bumper crop of peaches this summer, and a full diary, all I had time to do was peel, chop and batch them for the freezer. They are still there waiting for a chilly, damp day when I will warm the kitchen up with the steamy bubbling of my curried peach chutney. It goes really well with my winter cheese board as well as making great Christmas gifts. Life in the village is as busy as ever and having read an article in the local paper informing us that language cafés have become all the rage, despite never being one to follow trends, I thought why not. We have the café, we have plenty of English speakers who want to improve their French and it seems we also have a handful of brave French villagers who are keen to try out a few words in English, along with helping us with our conversational French. It is the perfect combination and Café Linguis’tic at L’Entre’pôtes, Loubillé, is now where you will find me every Thursday from 14h30. Email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 29


Your Starter for Ten, Fingers on Buzzers...... and Win 172€

hen I ran the idea of a quiz by our beloved Sarah – she was cycling as usual at the time so it wasn’t easy to keep up, much less make my point – she nodded and smiled. Changing gears, she sped away but not without leaving her decision floating in the wind. “Go for it, Johnny boy.” Or it could have been “Are you havin’ a larf”? I’d been working on my lip-reading but her sudden velocity so distorted her facial muscles that frankly it could have been “I’ll see you in Timbuktoo”. Here’s hoping it was my first impression. This is a round-the-country quiz, and yes, there really is a prize to be won.



1. 2.

Paris? C: ly vineyard in Where is the onsse B: Bois de Boulogne na ar tp on M A: : the Tuileries. Montmartre D some of of Paris’ pitted of which t en em dg ‘Ju those The 1976 wines against the best French other country?C: Argentina D: China. A: USA B: Italy



Which of these grape variety com binations can be used in the production of champagne A: chenin & sauvignon blanc B: char ? C: pinot noir & pinot meunier D: non donnay & chenin e of the above. What makes the bubbles? A: aeration B: injection of CO2 C: seconda ry fermentation D: malolactic fermentation.


What did Veuve (widow) Clicquot inve nt? A: vintage champagne B: riddling C: twe rking D: ageing on lees.


Outside whose premises would you find a statue of Dom Perignon? A: Taittinger B: Mumm C: Moet et Cha ndon D: Mercier. What, roughly, is the pressure with in a champagne bottle? A: same as a normal bottle B: that of of three times a car tyre D: that of fivea car tyre C: that times a car tyre.





Burgundy reds are almost all made from a mix of which grapes? A: cabernet franc & pinot noir B: petit verdot & pinot noir C: cabernet sauvignon & malbec D: none of the above.


How many white grape varieties are authorised in Burgundy? A: 1 B: 2 C: 3 D: 4.


A ‘Kir’ is a cocktail of white burgundy and cassis; after whom (or what) is it named? A: Emperor Charlemagne B: a kind of dog C: a mayor of Dijon D: a Moroccan potentate.


The most expensive burgundy is made by whom? A: Romanée-Conti B: Chateau Meursault C: Henri Jayet D: Louis Latour.


The town of Beaune is known as the capital of Burgundy; what’s its population? A: 5000 B: 10000 C: 15000 D: 25000.

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017



Which river joins the Rhone in Lyon? A: Rhine B: Saone C: Loire D: Cher.


their Which producer was the first to use braille on label? A: Guigal B: Jaboulet C: Chapoutier D: Ogier.


(red) In Cote Rotie, the only grape varieties are Syrah es bottl many how ge avera on e) ; and Viognier (whit of white are produced each year? A: 5000 B: 50000 C: 500000 D: none.


d in How many grape varieties are authorise Chateauneuf du Pape? A: 3 B: 7 C: 13 D: 14.


couple The vineyard owned by which famous ? 2013 in ’ produced ‘the best rosé in the world lina A: George and Amal Clooney B: Brad Pitt and Ange Laura Jolie C: Philip and Theresa May D: Jeremy and Corbyn. in Who described white Hermitage as ‘the first wine ? mate tion’, the world without a single excep son A: Thomas Jefferson (3rd US President) B: Jeff Thom Vice(Aussie cricketer) C: Hubert Humphrey (38th US President) D: Barry Humphries (Aussie satirist).



If the main red grape variety in the Loire is Cabernet Franc, what is the main white variety? A: chenin B: chardonnay C: sauvignon blanc D: grenache blanc.


How many départements does the Loire river cross or form the boundary of? A: 10 B: 11 C: 12 D: 13.

21. 22.


A Bordeaux many double barrel contains 225 li one barrel? magnums could you tres. How make from A: 300 B: 75 C: 150 D: 22 5. 24. Which is the most widely plan variety? ted grape A: caberne t sa u vi gn o C: merlot D: n petit verdot B: cabernet franc 25. What would you do if offered a Château d’Y A: pay and mquem 2012 for around bottle of C: check the ake a quick getaway B100€? : wine’s colou r D: call the negotiate cops. 26. Why did the greater Bordeaux re to England fr gi A: marriage om the 12th to 15th ce on belong B: divorce C: n invasion D: tr turies? eaty.



‘Sur lie’, as in Muscadet sur lie, means ‘on the lees’; what are lees? A: grape skins B: oak shavings C: dead yeast D: a chemical additive.


HOW TO ENTER Answers, not on a postcard, but by email to me at listing the question number and answer letter, eg. 3A. Closing Date: 15 November.

If there is a tie, I will devise a devilish tie-breaker, for there can be only one winner of …. a one day Vendée wine tour for two, chauffeur driven, lunch included, three vineyard visits, to the value of 172€! Date to be mutually agreed. Yes, this is officially the start of the crazy season.

The Coteaux du Layon area is famous for which type of wine? A: sparkling B: fruity reds C: dry whites D: sweet.

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 31

We’d love to know your family’s favourite recipe.... Please email us and we’ll happily share it here.


32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

by Sue Burgess

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres




pread over an area of 15,95 km², the commune of Pierrefitte is home to 343 inhabitants.

The commune of Pioussay can be found in the canton of Chef-Boutonne.

Pierrefitte has changed its name twice during the history of the commune: from Pierre Fite in 1793 to Pierrefitte in 1801. The origin of the commune’s name is latin. Petra ficta which is the ‘stone fixed in the ground’ that is to say a dolmen or standing stone. There used to be a standing stone not far from where the church is now.

The inhabitants of Pioussay are the Pioussayens and the Pioussayennes. The origin of the name Pioussay could be Poziciacus (1108) or Poinçay (1390).

There are about a dozen communes in France with the name of Pierrefitte. Pierrefitte is surrounded by the communes of Geay, Glénay and Sainte-Gemme. A voir / Must see • The church of Saint Porchaire At the beginning of the 12th century Saint Porchaire church depended on the chapter of Saint Pierre de Thouars. The curate of the parish was nominated by the chapter of Thouars until the Revolution. After 1317 the church became part of the diocese of Maillezais and then in the 17th century part of the diocese of La Rochelle.

The church is fairly simple architecturally speaking. It has known some difficult periods in its history particularly during the Hundred Years War when it was fortified. The remains of a watchtower on the western facade are a witness to this. During the Wars of Religion important changes were made to the building. The main altar is made of stone. A second very simple altar is dedicated to Mary. There used to be a third altar dedicated to Joseph but it disappeared when the font was placed in this part of the church – under an arch under the bell tower. The stained glass window in the west facade is dedicated to St Vincent de Paul in memory of the priests of the parish who served the church in the 17th century. The window in the north wall represents Théophane Vénard the young missionary from St Loup sur Thouet who was martyred in Tonkin in 1861. These two windows date from the 19th century. The other stained glass dates from 1947 and is the work of Fournier and sons from Tours. All Saints Chapel Some distance away, in a walled area which used to be the cemetery, you can see a simple chapel. It is rectangular with a wide gothic bay on the east side. This is the Chapelle de Tous les Saints (All Saints Chapel) which was founded in 1391 as provided for in the terms of the will of Perceval of Couloigne, the senechal of Poitou, who died in 1374. During the restoration works the first altar with the inscription IHS (Jhesus) was found. Against the wall at the end of the church on the left is a small bell dating from 1738 which comes from the chapel of Saint Marguerite at the Château of Bournizeau and which was thrown into the château moat during the Revolution. The people of the seven communes around Pierrefitte used to come to the Chapel to celebrate St Marc’s day on the 25th April.

The château at Bournizeau Currently an exclusive B & B / Guest House.

The château chapel and the bell were blessed on the 12th and 13th May 1721. The chapel had to be restored after it was destroyed by the protestant supporters of Calvin during the Wars of Religion. The priest who blessed tha chapel and the bell was of Irish origin and had been sent to Pierrefitte to combat the protestants. The bell can now been seen in All Saints Chapel (see above).

In the 1700s the château belonged to the Berthe de Bournizeau family.

Above: Pioussay © Commune website:

In the olden days Pioussay was ruled over by the Angoumois region like Hanc and Bouin. Pioussay was dependent on the seigneury or fiefdom of Empuré (Charente), on the marquis of Ruffec and was administered by Angoulême. It was in the parish of Bouin and the diocese of Poitiers. This old parish of the Angoulême area was attached to the department of the Deux-Sèvres during the Revolution. The population of Pioussay is 327 but there are four people who have holiday homes here so the «permanent» population is 323 people. A voir / Must see • Saint-Martin Church The first written reference to Pioussay is found in the maps of the abbey of Saint-Maixent in 1108 under the name of Poziciacus (Medieval latin).

The church is of Romanesque and Gothic style and used to depend on the abbey of St Severin near Aulnay in the old dicoese of Poitiers.

The building is composed of a Romanesque nave with a choir and a Gothic chapel. The west facade has two bells and there is a gable end surmounted by a cross. It is a bell tower wall which is vertical and flat and placed on top of the building to hold the bells. There is a tower with stairs and the arched doorway to the church appears to be off-centre.

Château de Jouhé at Jouhé in Pioussay The château at Jouhé is privately owned. It dates from the 15th and 17th centuries and is a listed historical monument. It is built in two parts which are joined by a 20th century drawbridge.

The château was built on the site of an older dwelling. The vaulted cellars have walls which are 6 metres thick. The château was given to the Turpin family by the lord of Ruffec.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 33


34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 35

25th November 2017 9am - 6pm


+ Come and sample English and French produce at our FARMERS’ MARKET A French/English interpreter available CHRISTMAS MARKET*


Open Day at 7 rue du Thouet, 79130 ALLONNE

Anyone wishing to come along and exhibit, please call 06 63 41 50 65

Snacks and hot/cold drinks available in the Bar-Restaurant LE REGAL’ON Village centre, Place de l’Église, ALLONNE

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

Helpful French Vocabulary

Building and Renovation

bath ...une baignoire beam ...une poutre boiler ...une chaudière Building ...maçonnerie carpentry ...charpentrie ceiling ...le plafond cement ...le ciment chimney ...une cheminée cement mixer bétonnière Decorating ...decoration door ...une porte drill ...une perceuse electrical socket prise filler ...l’enduit floorboard ...une planche foundations ...fondations framework ...une charpente grinder ...une affuteuse heating ...chauffage hinge ...une charnière Ironmongery...quincaillerie key clé leak ...une fuite light bulb ...une ampoule light switch...l’interrupteur lighting ...l’éclairage

lock ...une serrure metalwork ...Ferronnerie nail ...un clou oak ...le chêne paint peinture patio ...une terrasse plasterboard...une plaque de plâtre Plumbing ...plomberie power cut ...une coupure rag ...un chiffon roller ...un rouleau roofer ...un couvreur tile (s) ...le(s) carreau(x) tile adhesive ...le ciment colle to drain ...vider to polish ...polir to sand ...poncer trowel ...une truelle saw ...une scie staircase ...l’escalier stone pierre varnish ...le vernis wallpaper ...le papier peint water meter...un compteur d’eau wheelbarrow ...une brouette wood ...le bois

Small B/W Advert from 34€ per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 37



38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 39

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

Marketing Trends for the Small Business


very year, there’s more and more for us with a small business to think about. The last 5 years has seen a surge in the use of the internet and in particular the mobile phone. Everyone is online these days. I know that if I want to buy something, the first place I go is the internet. With this in mind, I’ve done some research on what is trending in 2017 and will continue into 2018 for marketing your small business. Mobile phone - As more and more people rely on their mobiles for everything, from ordering fast food, the supermarket shop, to clothes and shoes, it makes sense to make sure that your small business is online and easy to find. Most website visits are from a mobile and there are more searches being conducted on a mobile than anything else. Unfortunately, research shows that there are many businesses out there that do not yet have an online presence, and do not think to include mobile phone marketing into their marketing plans. There are several ways to optimise a website for the mobile user – this is a good thing to focus on for 2018.

Facebook ads - Facebook ads reach more than 1 billion viewers every month, so as a small business, you can’t afford not to try this out. You can use a Facebook ad to target your audience by age, demographic and gender. It’s not ridiculously expensive and has proved to be very worthwhile – definitely worth thinking about. Outsourcing work - Doing everything yourself when you own a small business makes sense at the beginning, but as your business starts to grow, you have less time and it is always the marketing and advertising that suffers. Ultimately, this can lead to a decline in the focus of your business and a decline in sales. Small businesses are starting to understand that it’s important to have a good marketing strategy and have someone that knows what they are doing to get the right messages out to potential customers. This often involves paying someone else, an expert in that field, to do it for you. Not only does this give you more time to concentrate on your products and services, but also means you have someone focusing 100% on marketing your business. And finally, people still love to hear a real-life story, so writing about how you have helped someone by solving a problem they had, is a great way to show that you care and value your customers. This promotes trust and loyalty to your brand and shows your business to be one that cares about its customers. Please see my blog to find out more about what’s trending and likely to be popular in the marketing arena in 2018…. cindymobey.

Content Marketing - Search engine optimisation (SEO) continues to be important in order to ensure your business ranks highly in search engines, so it is easier for customers to find you. Content marketing is more important than ever - the Google search engine looks for new and original content for their ranking, so it’s vital to keep your website up to date, ensure that blogs are posted regularly with fresh and engaging articles. Video advertising - You will have noticed how much more video you now see on your social media sites, especially on Facebook and Instagram. To ensure you keep up with all the latest marketing methods, it’s a good idea to incorporate video into your future marketing strategies, using Facebook ads or You Tube to help you. This might be something you get an expert in to help you with.

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

FREE ENTRY TO OUR ONLINE BUSINESS DIRECTORY Simply email your business name, contact details and siret number to:

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

On both a personal and business level, I find the magazine helpful and interesting. I have often used the adverts to source businesses for my clients. The general articles are diverse and I always look forward to the monthly delivery!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 41

What Tax will you Pay on your Savings and Investments Next Year?

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks


he draft French budget for 2018, which was presented to Parliament in late September, included the promised tax reforms. Here is a summary of the reforms affecting investment assets. Please note that they still need to be debated by Parliament and so may change before they are approved at the end of the year.

Flat tax on investment income Investment income is currently taxed at the scale rates of income tax, but from 1st January 2018 it will become liable to one fixed rate of 30%. This 30% rate includes both income tax and social charges. It will only apply to investment policies over 150 000€ (per person, so 300 000€ for a joint policy). Lower income households can continue to opt for the progressive income tax rates. Assurance-vie The new system will apply to all assurance-vie policies set up on or after 27th September 2017, but the 30% flat rate system will not start to be applied to withdrawals until 1st January 2018. If your assurance-vie policy was set up before 27th September, the old fixed rate system is still available, as is the ability to elect to use the scaled tax system. Policies held for more than eight years will continue to benefit from the 4 600€ Prélévement Libératoire allowance.

Your assurance-vie policy will no longer be subject to wealth tax (see below). There are no changes to the succession tax treatment of assurance-vie. Wealth tax From 1st January 2018, wealth tax will be abolished and a new real estate tax will be applicable. Savings and investments will be exempt. If you own or are thinking of buying investment property, it may be worth considering moving the funds into capital investments instead. The current threshold of 1 300 000€ will stay in place; the wealth tax scaled rates will apply to property, and main homes will still enjoy the 30% abatement. The 75% limit will also continue to apply. There have since been reports that the new wealth tax may be extended to include precious metals and luxury yachts and cars. Social charges Social charge for all forms of income are increasing by 1.7%, as follows: - Employment/self-employment income from 8% to 9.7% - Pension income from 7.4% to 9.1% - Investment income (including rental income) from to 15.5% 17.2% Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss how these reforms affect you personally. The tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

Major tax reforms in France. How do they affect you? 2018 will see the introduction of some interesting tax cuts for investment assets and income, including assurance-vie policies.

Talk to the people who know

05 49 75 07 24

Find out how you can make the most of these tax reforms. Blevins Franks specialises in reducing tax on invested capital, pensions, wealth and inheritance.







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).

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017



I’m planning to start dividing my time between the UK and my holiday home in France. What’s the best way to go about transferring money to France to cover general living costs?


by Sue Cook

f you want a quick, convenient and cost-effective way of moving money to and from France, you may want to look into opening an online currency transfer account.

With an online account you can access live exchange rates, make currency transfers 24/7, monitor the status of transfers and view your transaction history in just a couple of clicks.

Ask Amanda

I am worried about the Brexit negotiations and my French Health cover. What might happen in the event of a hard Brexit?


have been asked this question several times and whilst no one knows yet what is going to happen, I think it’s a good idea to see how Non-Europeans, such as Australians, Americans or Canadians obtain entry into the French Healthcare system. After all, whilst I cannot guarantee it, I think it is highly unlikely any post-Brexit agreements will be tougher than these nations must adhere to.

If you want to buy currency now for use at a later date you can do that too, and you have the option of sending money to more than one payee at a time.

In January 2016, France changed how you could obtain your health cover and thus has made things much clearer, there are three ways:

You’ll also benefit from bank-beating exchange rates and won’t have to pay transfer fees – meaning you’ll make significant savings over the course of the year.

1. You are either employed or self-employed in France and pay your annual social charges. 2. You can prove that you can support yourself financially and France has a minimum annual income level of 10 000€ for a single person or 15 000€ as a couple. This income would be subject to social charges. 3. You are in receipt of your Government State Pension and this country pays your healthcare costs via a reciprocal agreement.

Another major plus point of an online account is being able to set up Rate Alerts. Monitoring the currency markets and finding out what’s going on with exchange rates can be time consuming, but with a Rate Alert you simply choose what exchange rate you’d like to achieve and you’ll be notified by email and SMS as soon as the market moves to that level. There’s no obligation to make a currency transfer once your rate is achieved, but with a Rate Alert in place you’ll never miss out on a positive market movement and can move your money at the opportune time. You can even set up more than one Rate Alert at a time. An online account gives you complete freedom and the flexibility to make currency transfers on your terms as and when you need to, so it will help make moving money to and from France a breeze!

Obviously the last one is the one that is causing the most concern with many expatriates, because this has not been agreed at the moment. If we look at number two however, this could provide the way forward in the event of delays. It is worth noting that if your income is at the minimum levels mentioned above, you may be exempt from social charges. I hope that puts your mind at rest. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. 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, November 2017 | 43

How to get Access to French Healthcare System and Why you Must have a Top-up Health Insurance by Isabelle Want Continued from october issue...


The French Health system only pays an average of 70% of the cost of your medical expenses (e.g. visit to GP 70%, medicine 65%, hospital 80%). To see the complete listing go to (CPAM website). If you are affected by a long term disease (or life threatening condition) the French Health System covers you 100%. You can find a list of those conditions on the above website. Please note that the 100% cover is only applicable for the treatment related to that disease or conditions. Unfortunately the Forfait journalier (food in hospital) which is around 18€ per day is never paid by the French Health system (topup insurance pays for it). Finally, 100% does not mean much because it is 100% of the price set by the French Health System. Unfortunately, Consultants, Surgeons, private hospitals etc. are allowed to apply a surcharge (and most of them do). For example, the French Health System‘s set price for a hip replacement is 1 000€ (not the actual figure, just an example) then you only get reimbursed 800€ (80%) but perhaps 1 000€ is not enough for this particular Consultant, so he can charge 3 000€. Therefore, you would be 2 200€ (instead of just 200€) out of pocket!


The example above is why people take out a top-up health insurance. If you have an accident and have to call the ambulance, you will have to pay 30% of the cost of the ambulance (1 400€ by road, around 4 000€ for air lift). So, you should at least have what we call the ‘hospital cover top-up’ which would cover ambulances and any hospitalisation, and costs half the price of the full top-up which covers GP, medicine etc. With the normal top-up insurance, you will find different cover going from 100% to 400% or even Frais Reel (whatever it costs). Your insurance will never pay you more than what you actually paid. If you are covered 400% and were only surcharged 250%, you will not get extra money. This insurance can include other advantages such as an individual room, TV, help with cleaning or to look after your animals in case of hospitalisation, etc. There is no health questionnaire to take out this insurance and you can change insurers once a year on the anniversary date of your contract (2 months before the renewal date or within 20 days from receiving your renewal notice). Your top-up is automatically linked to your carte vitale number so when the French health system pays you back, the top-up insurance is told and tops it up automatically. For certain things (like hospital stay and medicine), the French health system and the top-up pay in advance for you.


Most top-up health insurance offer covers based on levels (level 1 to 6 for example) which means that if you want the best hospital cover, you will also pay for the best dental and optical cover. With

Allianz, you can pick and choose what you want, which makes it cheaper! This is quite good, especially for British people who usually go and buy their glasses in the UK as it is much cheaper than in France. So, you can have the best cover for hospital and nothing for glasses. Feel free to contact me for a free quote. You will be surprised to know that we are usually much cheaper than all those specialised British Expat health insurances - and we can do the cancellation for you, so don’t hesitate to contact me. Finally, self-employed people have an automatic 15% discount. This is the website of the French Health System. Yes, it is in French but it is full of useful information. You can use the simulator to find out if you are entitled to CMU and ACS (people on low income can get free top-up or help to pay for their top-up). You can download your reimbursement and you can ask for your attestation de droits (proof of cover). This document is often asked for by insurers to give you access to top up health insurance. If you don’t speak any French at all, there is an English speaking phone line created by the French health system to answer all your questions: 08 11 36 36 46.


Feel free to contact me if you would like information on any of the above or to get a free quote for top-up health insurance. I can also help with the forms.

And remember to check out our website fr/en for all my previous articles (“practical information”) and register to receive our monthly Newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook @Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterps.

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:

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I’ve found that by advertising regularly in the DSM, people tend to remember my name and what I do; far better than leaflet drops. It’s also the only form of advertising that I need to do now.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017 | 45

Time for a dash of Christmas Spirit!


by Joanna Leggett

hristmas creeps up with a rush! As days shorten, nights cool and the smell of wood smoke pervade the air, it’s time to start planning for the festival which brightens the shortest days of winter - my favourite time of the year!

What could be better than visiting your local Christmas market? Better still when you just close the front door and walk from your new home? There’s nothing like wandering around ancient streets looking at pretty stalls eyeing up must-have purchases, naturally with vin chaud to assist your judgement (Memo to Self: just one!) The most delicious thing about these markets is how social they are – meeting friends and neighbours, collecting bises as you walk and get in the festive mood - remember Père Noël is chosen for his bonhomie! A short detour off the A10, about 10 kms from St Maixent l’École, is the vibrant town of La Mothe Saint-Héray. Markets are held here each Thursday, but in midDecember, its Christmas market includes a truffle walk... yum! Here a fantastic Maison de Maître (Leggett ref: 68309, photo left) is on the market for 183 600€. Set within a walled garden, complete with luscious garden and small stream, is a colourful 6 bedroom home – the ideal B&B. Stroll to the market as this house is perfectly located. Highly flexible accommodation includes a separate apartment – great income!

St Loup Lamairé on the river Thouet – founded in the 11th century, was once known for weaving – today better known for goat’s cheese. The Christmas market spreads out along the main street into the salle des fêtes. Just outside town is our next offering – a stunning home with lots of land (Leggett ref: 79943, photo right). This house has 4 bedrooms, one gîte already, another ready to renovate and a third with planning permission! Masses of living space and a lovely garden – this pretty home oozes potential - 315 650€. But when it comes to ‘serious’ fun look no further than Niort – Les Halles are open each day except Monday and in December the Christmas market sets up in small chalets along the Place de la Breche with many specialités de Noël on offer. Just 10 minutes from the town centre we’ve a super 18th century, impeccably renovated townhouse (Leggett ref: 65315, photo above) for sale at 288 900€ – with lots of space, lovely kitchen and dining room, fantastic stone staircase. Although it’s Christmas, just wait until spring when luxuriant gardens burst into bloom – enough to warm the cockles of your heart! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at



Ref: 80473 4 bed house and a 1 bed gîte, seperate gardens, barns and a pool. LORIGNE €214,000

Buying or selling?

7% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 80677 Detached stone cottage with large garden. Close to bar, shops etc. MENIGOUTE €104,500

Ref: 80869 Beautifully renovated 3 bed property plus small house to renovate. ST JOUIN DE MARNES €119,900

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: F

9% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: D

Ref: 81070 Traditional 3 bed farmhouse with workshops and large garden. CHEY €130,800 9% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: D

Ref: 80748 Lovely 3 bed semi-detached farmhouse with beautiful garden. COURLAY €146,060 9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Ref: 80900 Pretty 2 bed house with barn and garden. Close to all amenities. MAIRE LEVESCAULT €56,000 12% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Starting a new life in France? Want a new career?

Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents, so if you are looking for a job in France, drop us a line. 00 800 2534 4388 +33 05 53 60 84 88

46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017

Profile for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017  

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2017  

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

Profile for thedsm