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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 69 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

It’s a packed issue this one...and with so many events to visit, you’ll be spoilt for choice! There are some Christmas markets listed, nice and early so you can get started with your shopping - so no excuses for leaving it until the last moment! Also we have a vast selection of local produce for you - some real gems right on our doorstep - and these items could also be great festive gifts. Plus, we welcome aboard our new contributor, Grant Thornton Chartered look out for some really useful advice from those who know the French system; La Deuxieme Chance help us plan and design our homes and we get up close and personal with Bradley Warden of Blevins Franks! And of course it’s this month that the Vendée Globe sets sail. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more regular updates as they happen....I’m going to enjoy following it! So - put the kettle on, try our puzzle page and enjoy your read. Mine’s a tea please, white with one sugar. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: Website:

à plus, Sarah

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

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

This Month’s Advertisers

Abattage Service (Slaughter House) ABORDimmo Accents Association (English langauge classes for Children) Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) Alan Pearce Plumbing & Heating Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) An English Nursery in France ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery Arbres et Abeilles Plant Nursery Argo Carpentry Assurances Maucourt (GAN)

4 6 12 14 16 18 22 23 24 28 29 33 34 36 41

31 45 9 23 2 37 32 38 44 39 21 47 19 21 38 23

Baking Lessons - Keith Springham 31 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 43 Blevins Franks Financial Management 42 Café Bonbon 29 Carlill-Strover Building 37 Château Ardilleux, Christmas Fayre 4 Château Pont Jarno Open Days 7 Cherry Picker Hire 37 Chris Bassett Construction 37 Chris Parsons (Heating, Electrical, Plumbing) 39 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey (Freelance Writer & Marketing Consultant) 41 CJ Electricité 39 Claranne’s Pantry - Marché de Noel 6 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 45 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 36 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 44 CYM Cards (Greeting cards and gifts) 8 Darren Lawrence 38 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 19 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 36 Deano’s Bar & Grill 32 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 16 Down to Earth Pool Design 45 Fresco Interiors 19 Ginger’s Kitchen (Catering) 31 45 Golf les Forges, Marché de Noel 7 Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants 43 Hallmark Electricité 39 Heather’s Pet Care Services 22 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HMJ Maintenance 36 Impact 79 (Windscreen Repairs) 23 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 36 Irving Location - Digger Hire 40 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 40 Jean David Art 15 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 40 Jeff’s Metalwork 38 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 23 John Snee (Groundworks) 40 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 19 La Maison des Miracles (Wellbeing centre) 17 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 29 Le Clemenceau Bar & Restaurant 8 Leggett Immobilier 46 L’Emporium, L’Absie 8 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 29 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 37 Mark Wilson Language Assistance 10 Michael Glover (Plasterer / Renderer / Tiler) 36 ML Computers 35 Motor Parts Charente 23 M.Page Landscaping 21 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 23 Needa Hand Services 19 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 16 Pause! Café L’Absie 8 Photo Creativity Film Transfers 35 Plan 170 (Professional building plans) 38 Polar Express (Frozen Food Supplier) 32 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Pure Heart Yoga Retreat 16 Restaurant des Canards 29 Rob Berry Plastering Services 38 Robert Lupton Electrician 39 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 34 Sarah Berry Online (Website Design) 35 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 40 Satellite TV 35 SCP Louis Cagniart & Christel Roy Notaires 47 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 22 Simon the Tiler 36 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 36 Steve Robin (Plumber) 39 Strictly Roofing 37 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 10 Terra Flore Landscape Gardening 21 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 23 Val Assist (Translation Services) 10 Vendée Glass Courses 15 Vendée Pools 45

© Sarah Berry 2016. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. 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 2016 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 03 515 249 738

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 3

What ’s On... 2nd November - 4th December - Migrations See article on P6 5th November - Guy Fawkes Night in Parthenay In aid of the RBL Poppy Appeal - at 54 Route de Beaulieu, La Cendriniere, 79200, Pompaire. 5th & 6th November - Ash Tree Marais Poitevin celebration The commune of Amuré hold their annual entertainment weekend around the Ash Tree, emblematic tree of the Marais Poitevin. Many activities for all ages: donkey rides, carousels, workshops photo exhibition, local produce & crafts, nature walks. Dinner & dance Saturday evening. Free admission on both days Dinner: booking at the Town Hall of Amuré 05 49 35 04 95 6th November - The Vendée Globe starts 6th November - Sunday Roast at Restaurant des Canards - see ad on P22 12th November - All Saints Vendée Autumn Bazaar 12th & 13th November - Marché de Noêl At Claranne’s Pantry - see advert on P6 12th & 13th November - Créations autour du Fil Needlepoint expo at Salle des sports, Moncoutant. 10am - 6pm. 13th November - Christmas Fayre At Bar Le Clemenceau - see advert on P6 19th November - Christmas Fayre At Château Ardilleux. Read more on opposite page…. 19th November - Grumpy’s “You’re not here to have fun” Quiz At St Gemme at 8pm. Email for more details 19th & 20th November - Cabaret Cabaret show organised by Comité des fêtes, Coulonges sur l’Autize. This year’s theme is Marriage. To reserve your tickets (10€ adults/ 5€ children) call 06 46 03 82 17. 19th & 20th November - Wine & Food Fayre in Sauze Vaussais Discover new products - Foie gras, charcuterie, oysters, cheeses and wines from different regions of France. At the Salle des Fêtes, meals served Saturday noon, Saturday evening and Sunday lunch. Plus craft stalls. 20th November - OPERA, Cosi Fan Tutte Live performance at Le Foyer cinema, Parthenay at 4.30pm. 20th November - Festive Food Fayre & Gifts At Pause! Café - see ad on P8 21st November - CSSG Race Night & Curry Supper At St Pardoux 79310. Please see the advert on opposite page. 24th November - Quiz Night at At La Bonne Vie See ad on P32 26th November - Curry Night At Bar Le Clemenceau - see ad on P8 26th November - American Grill Dinner At Café Bonbon - see ad on P22 26th & 27th November - Salon des Gourmands 7th edition of the Salon du Chocolat, wine and gastronomy to be held at the Bocapole. Many exhibitors throughout the weekend plus demonstrations on Saturday, fashion show and various demonstrations on Sunday. Saturday 10am-7pm - Sunday 10am-6 pm. Adults 3.50€; U16s free 27th November - Christmas Fundraising Sale At St Germain de Longue Chaume 10am-4pm in aid of rescued kittens 30th November - Book & Coffee Afternoon 45 rue du bois Baudron, 79100 Mauze Thouarsais 2pm-4pm

f FEATURED EVENT... See page 7 for further details on this Christmas Fayre at Ardilleux.

November’s CHRISTMAS MARKETS (Organised by the villages, usually held in the village halls. Other privately run Christmas Markets can be seen in the What’s On listing opposite)


Celebrating our 10th Year! 2nd & 16th Etusson 3rd La Coudre 4th La Chapelle Thireuil 18th St Martin de Sanzay Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

13th 19th 20th 20th 26th & 27th 26th & 27th 26th 26th 26th 26th 26th 26th & 27th 26th 26th & 27th 26th 27th 27th 27th 27th 27th 27th 27th 27th 27th 27th 27th

La Vendée Chippy Weds: 85110 St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: Closed until March 2017 Fri: 85390 Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st Sat of the month, 85120 Antigny Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

We are now collecting for this year’s Poppy Appeal

Ayron (86) Varenne (86) Parzec (16) Les-Lucs-sur-Boulogne (85) Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud, 79210 L’Houmeau (17) La Rochelle (17) Le Genétouze (85) St-Etienne-du-Bois (85) Magné (86) Sainte-Verge, 79100 Niort Parc des Expos (Pink Day) Cherveux, 79410 Moncontour (86) Chasseneuil-sur-Bonnieure (16) Saint-Sauvant (86) Port des Barques (17) Les Essarts (85) St-Germain-de-Lusignan (17) Moutiers -les-Mauxfaits (85) Saint-Vivien (17) Angliers (17) Damvix (85) La Pommeraie-sur-Sèvres (85) La Couronne (16) Longèves (85)

MR T’S FRITERIE Regular venues at:

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 Gourville 16170 St Jean d’Angély 17400 Cosed until

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74 2nd Nov - back to Aulnay on

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm

3rd November

...NOVEMBER 2016



Quizwitch Quiz - every Thursday pm At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle from 8pm. 2.50€ p/p. Monies raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. Annie Sloan Workshops - every Tuesday & Thursday am Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see Team Quiz - Third Wednesday of each month At Le Clemenceau Bar 7.30pm, in aid of animal charities. Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale - last Friday of each month Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96

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

1st Sunday at 10.30am: Chef Boutonne. Followed by tea & 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 & 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.

The Hope Association Shop 79 open every Tuesday 10am -4pm, see ad P22

Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71


3rd December - Reaction Theatre Christmas Cornucopia 3rd & 4th December - Chateau du Pont Jarno Open Days (see ad P7) 4th December - Marché de Noel at Golf les Forges (see ad P7) 4th December - Terves Christmas Market (see ad P7) 4th December - Christmas Dinner at Restaurant des Canards (see ad on P22) 9th December - Rock ‘n’ Roll Supper & Dance To be held at Hotel des Mines Faymoreau, in aid of Galia Dog & Cat Rescue. Limited tickets, 20€ available from Fresco Interiors in Vouvant or call 02 51 00 50 59. 9th December - TheatreVasles present David Tristram Double Bill 10th December - TheatreVasles Christmas Panto 10th December - Keynotes Choir Christmas Service 18th December - Christmas Brunch at Pause! Café (see ad P8) 25th December - Christmas Day lunch At Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron en Pareds 31st December - New Year’s Eve Disco & Buffet At Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron en Pareds. More info next month. 31st December - New Year’s Eve Dinner & Casino At Café Bonbon - see ad on P29

The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15 ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: www. The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.

Remaining National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days of 2016

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

Tuesday 1st November..............All Saint’s Day (Toussaint) Friday 11th November...............Armistice Day (Armistice) Sunday 25th December.............Christmas Day (Noël)


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

The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) Meet at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday at 11.00am. We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details



3rd: Chef Boutonne 7th: Limalonges 9th: Aigre 14th: Theil Rabier

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: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

GET CONNECTED! FACEBOOK: thedeuxsevresmonthly TWITTER: @TheDSMagazine PINTEREST: dsmmonthly

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 5

Getting Out & About

T’is the Season... For shoulder pads and a pantomime horse!

‘Migrations ’ Festival

2 November - 4th December 2016 nd

By Sue Fitzgerald

So far, in our short history, TheartreVasles has brought you a cricketing comedy, an avenging ghost, France’s first international Ten Minute Play Festival, restaurant theatre, Alan Bennet’s acclaimed ‘Talking Heads’ and plays performed outside in blistering heat at the Mad Hatter’s Summer Festival. This autumn we thought we’d bring you something different again, whilst at the same time listening to feedback over what you have particularly enjoyed so far. This December, we will be presenting a David Tristram (back by popular demand after the success of Ghost Writer) Double Bill. We have previously performed monologues, ten minute one act plays and full length plays so two short comedies is a new challenge for the group. Over the summer we have recruited new members so this format also gives us the perfect opportunity to show case some of our new acting talent. Our first offering is Tristram’s ‘Brenton Versus Brenton’. Set in the gloriously be-shoulder padded eighties, when you could fill a wardrobe with just five jackets, the play is an outrageous spoof of lust, greed, wealth and family feuds. Poking fun at the heyday of high finance and expense accounts, we follow tycoon Deke Brenton and the calamitous collapse of his company and family but will things work out in the end..? Our next performance is a seasonal offering - ‘Last Panto in Vasles’. This comedy follows a small amateur dramatics group (with dwindling numbers and an even more dwindling audience) preparing for their next production. “It’s a sex panto” Gordon, the director and self appointed leader of the group, announces...! What better way to get in the mood for Christmas than a singing cat and a pantomime horse?! Performances will take place on Friday 9th December at 8pm and Saturday 10th December at 3pm at the theatre in Vasles, 79340.

By Sally Pearson

On arriving in France nine years ago, we made two important decisions. The first was to only watch French TV, the second was to join several French associations. Watching French television did not provide a huge amount of entertainment, but was a great way to improve our language skills. Joining associations gave us a network of friends and helped to root us into the local community. Becoming part of ‘Arts Metiss’, first as members and then, in my case, as part of the committee has been a hugely enriching experience. Arts Metiss provides a platform for would-be and professional artists to develop their work and perform across the disciplines of theatre, sculpture, art and cinema. The brief is to develop cultural activities in a rural environment. For the last few years our energy has been focused on a two week Terre d’Automne Festival, aiming to brighten the evenings as they grow cold and dark. Exhibitions, conferences, films and theatre form the framework. This year’s Festival encompasses a wider remit, as we’ve joined forces with several other local associations under the umbrella of La Semaine de la Solidaritê Internationale, as well as linked with the Alimenterre Film Festival, to put on a series of events around the theme of ‘Migrations’. Many of these will be staged at l’Echiquier Arts Centre and Cinema in Pouzauges – easy to reach, comfortable and a great artistic space. We look forward to seeing you there!

We look forward to seeing you there. TICKETS: Price: 10€ and are available from Dorothy on 05 49 05 67 41 or by emailing

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

For further information, contact Sally Pearson on 02 51 61 05 04 or email:

‘The DSM’ Office Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm

Bénéficier Resto du Coeur & SSAFA France

Christmas Fayre

Saturday 19th November Château Ardilleux, Ardilleux will play host to its first Christmas Fayre on Saturday 19th November. Owner Corinne Dingley is a member of ‘Oui Chef – Boutonne Business Networking Group’ and has created an opportunity for registered sellers in and around the Chef Boutonne area to sell their wares undercover within her premises. The Château is nestled in its own private parkland and is just minutes away from the main town of Chef Boutonne.


by June Searchfield

At the end of July I received a call from Julie at the Bar de La Poste in L’Absie. “We would like to organise some fundraising events for you during August - a Boules afternoon, and our usual quizzes and music nights“ she said. So a few days later I called in for a coffee to deliver the usual advertising materials and the collection boxes.

Visitors on the day will be able to peruse and purchase Christmas gifts from a number of local businesses and get a head start on their Christmas shopping. A range of refreshments will be available and Corinne and her team will be serving up mulled wine and mince pies. In the afternoon a school of performing arts will be sharing some festive cheer to entertain visitors. For more information please visit the Facebook event: Christmas Fayre / Marché de Noël

Then towards the end of August Julie called again to tell me they had decided to carry on until the end of September! On Tuesday 4th October we were invited to receive the monies which had been raised …........and......drum roll………………………. it was a fabulous 1003€ ! Many thanks to everyone involved and a special mention to Jacqui for the Boules Tournament. Once again Clive and Julie have been there for us and what an amazing amount donated. On behalf of all the team, Thank you so much. We are so humbled yet again by people’s generosity.

Cancer Support Deux-Sevres

SHARE YOUR EV ENTS ! Entries into the What’s On Listing (P.4) are free! (12€ for businesses) + we can add your event to our Facebook page....

Simply email us:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 7

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

By Golly!

by Tricia Goodgame, L’Emporium

Is the Golly a fond reminder of childhood or a racist stereotype?


or many of us of a certain age the Golliwog will always be associated with Robertson’s Jam – the original mascot of the popular brand.

But how did the Golliwog go from an innocent children’s hero to a symbol of bitter controversy? In 1895 creator, Florence Kate Upton, wrote a children’s book based on a black-faced rag doll she had found. She called the character Golliwog – a totally made-up name for the doll dressed in red trousers, white shirt and blue jacket. It became an instant success and she published 14 books of his adventures.

Above: Florence Kate Upton’s Golliwogg in formal minstrel attire in ‘The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg’ in 1895

Due to the popularity of the stories , toy companies across Europe produced an avalanche of Golliwog dolls, toys and badges. The German company Steiff’s original Golliwog dolls from 1908 now sell for more than £10,000.

Vintage Golliwog doll. © WikiCommons/Karen Arnold.

In 1910 the Golliwog was adopted by Robertson’s Jam as their mascot, and the smiling character appeared on their jam jar labels. In 1920 they began producing the enamel badges which could be claimed by collecting tokens from the jam jars, depicting Golliwogs playing sports and engaged in various activities, and these became sought after throughout the 20th Century (didn’t you have at least one?).

STUDENT ACCOMMODATION REQUIRED IN NEWCASTLE This year, the Nursing School of Niort has set up an Erasmus exchange between French and English students. Two students from our school will do their training course in a Newcastle Hospital from the 10th of April to the 16th of June 2017. European Funds are awarded for accommodation, but finding accommodation for 2 months is proving to be difficult. We are asking ‘The DSM’ readers who have knowledge of or have friends/family in the Newcastle area if they would be able to help us to find accommodation for our 2 students. Rooms in a house, studio flat or other - price to be negotiated. If you can help, please send an email to:

THANK YOU for reading!

The figure became part of everyday life and was included in numerous childrens books. It was some of these books that fell foul of the unpleasant racist stereotyping that has become contentious in recent times. Enid Blyton is seen as a major culprit in her portrayal of the naughty Golliwogs in the Noddy stories.


Meanwhile the word ‘Wog’ became known as a derogatory term for black people. Popularised in World War 2 by soldiers as a slur against North Africans, its meaning spread to include anyone with a dark skin. By 1983, although a study at the Bolton Institute supported the view that the term ‘Wog’ had a separate derivation and the Golliwog was not in origin a racist icon, The Greater London Council banned Robertson’s products from its jurisdiction, and after holding out for many years the company was forced to remove Golly in 2002. At the time of the change Robertson’s stated that they sold 45 million jars of jam and marmalade each year and they nearly all had a Golly on them.

Are you a bit of a Bookworm?

More than a century after the character was born, the way the name Golliwog is used is now controversial. If we use the more acceptable term Golly, separated from the negative derogatory associations, the Golly is still fondly thought of and remembered as a comforting friend to many of us.

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

We will be stocking a variety of Gollys, Dollys and Teddy bears at l’Emporium, L’Absie.... ideal for nostalgic Christmas Gifts!

Please send to us by email:

Reviews should be 150-200 words long. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 9

Around the world in a sailboat by Sue Burgess

The Vendée Globe round the world sail boat race starts from Les Sables d’Olonne on the 6th November. Today it is the only round the world sail boat race with just the Skipper on board, with no stops and no help la seule course à la voile autour du monde, en solitaire, sans escale et sans assistance. The race goes down the Atlantic l’Atlantique, crosses the Indian Ocean l’océan Indien and the Pacific le Pacifique then comes back up the Atlantic. Leaving Les Sables d’Olonne in the middle of the Autumn, crossing the Southern seas les mers du Sud during the Austral summer and then back to the Vendée. The boats of the Vendée Globe are all 18.28m long 60 feet pieds for 4.50m of water draught tirant d’eau. They are the most powerful single hulled sailing boats monocoques in the world, and can do more than 30 knots downwind 30 nœuds au portant. For new boats les nouveaux bateaux, a standard keel une quille standardisée, a choice between two masts deux mâts, and a limited number of ballasts un nombre d’appendices et des ballasts limités are imposed. The rest is up to the designers and shipbuilders. The Vendée Globe is a solo race une course en solitaire. No one other than the skipper is allowed on board à bord during the race. The exception being to save another competitor. It is a nonstop race sans escale. The only possible technical stop escale technique is to come back to Les Sables d’Olonne, during the first ten days of the race. The skippers can stop – for example to drop anchor mouiller in a creek une crique – but not to put their feet on solid ground mettre pied à terre beyond the limit of the foreshore l’estran. The Vendée Globe is a race without help sans assistance. During the Vendée Globe, the sailor is alone on board. The only help allowed is a penalising return to Les Sables d’Olonne after the departure. For the rest ot the race you have to rely on yourself compter que sur soi-même. If a skipper is ill or injured, they can contact the race doctor but they must treat themselves. It is forbidden to moor alongside another boat d’accoster un autre bateau. The sailors can contact the designer of the boat or their technical team to get information about the best way to do a repair le meilleur mode opératoire pour mener à bien une réparation. The Vendée Globe is an extreme race une course extrême! Vocabulary / Vocabulaire: faire de la voile

go sailing

le mât




le voile d’avant


le pont de côté


la coque


la bouée de sauvetage


le taquet


le rameur


la barre


le gréement


le gouverail



to navigate


to row



le vague


le gilet de sauvetage

life jacket



la fusée éclairante


la dérive


la rame



to capsize

la grand-voile


le vent


la bôme


les rapides




le pagaie


10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016


NOVEMBER and ‘Les Calendriers Des Mois Romane’

WARNING: Contains reference to animal slaughter by Howard Needs

ast month after covering the fattening of the village pigs on acorns, I promised the swine slaughter for November and it will come, but I ran into a small problem which needs to be explained. Originally, when I first conceived the idea of writing these articles, I had my own collection of photos in mind i.e. the painted church calendars. Here the November activity shown is very often the pig slaughter and that is what I saw before me. However, books and the internet show that November was differently represented in the manuscript calendars and so we find a continuation of the fattening of the pigs in the oak forests, and their slaughter, as well as some wine making activity and winter sowing. Also since I am using only church photos, the quality is poor because of the deterioration of paintings low down on the diaphragm arch as I have explained previously. Pig keeping in the high middle ages was a family activity with only a few animals per family, but it developed into a more commercially based enterprise in the 13th century and later, presumably to supply the growing towns. The pasturing and fattening of the pigs in the oak woods was an activity determined by the rights accorded to the local peasants, both in terms of the allowable use of the trees i.e. fallen acorns or acorns knocked down, or the time period of the pasturing. This latter was usually a limited period in late autumn but was sometimes extended if the acorn crop was good. As winter approached and the availability of food for the beasts reduced and they were brought in under cover, it was opportune to slaughter and preserve a part of the troupe. Swine, when all is said and done, are fertile animals and reproduce quickly and do eat a wide variety of food including all sorts of left overs from humans. Another small advantage to the late autumn slaughter was that the meat cooled quickly and thus preserved better. The age at slaughter varied, maybe two years old for most pigs, leaving the yearlings and some reproducers to over-winter. However, some beasts of three or more years are seen and these will have had a couple of litters before slaughter. In these preindustrial days it was usual to starve the beasts to empty their intestines before slaughter, but one also occasionally finds swine being fed acorns to keep them tranquil immediately before they are killed. The manner of slaughter varied somewhat from place to place and in the course of the years – only to be expected really. However in the middle ages – the Romanesque period that I try to keep to – a blow to the top of the head was the most common method.

the bristles and the hide scraped with a triangular metal scraper. Subsequently the carcass is placed in a trough of cold water to cool it ready for salting. Sometimes the bristles were burnt off using rye straw because this produces a clean flame without cinders which could scorch and partly cook the flesh. The blood was used in many dishes including one where it is mixed with flour and baked as a tart - maybe they made Klingon blood wine as well. The division of the carcass into its major portions preparatory to salting was done using knives or an axe but never a saw. The offal and other non-muscle material was used immediately and was probably the occasion for feasting because non-salted meat must have been rare. The head was considered to be a particular delicacy. Sometimes the meat was fully smoked giving a lacquered layer that contributed to the keeping properties. Partial smoking was sometimes used preparatory to salting but salting only was the preferred means of preservation. Salt was expensive and taxed heavily in those days and salting of meat required a lot of salt. The poorer peasant could only salt the best portions of the carcass and must have resorted to smoking for the rest. His better-off neighbours used a large communal trough big enough for half a carcass split longways to salt their year’s meat. I think that most people here in the Deux-Sèvres will have heard of the salt routes from the major production centres on Ré and elsewhere on the Vendée and Charente Maritime coast. The salting and preservation of carcasses was a very central and critical activity in the year calendar of the peasants, and indeed the majority of the population, but it was the peasants who could starve if this part of the food chain failed.

When killed or knocked unconscious (not that obvious in paintings), the beast is standing and the peasant with the mallet is in front giving a blow to the top of the head, whilst a second person is steadying the hind quarters of the animal.

Other November activities include the winter sowing and the end of the grape harvest, and of course other animals were involved in the years food supply but did not achieve the prominence that pigs had in the pictorial (pigtoral?) record.

Immediately after the blow, the blood is drained from the carcass, usually by the women, into metal pots for later use (a well bloodied pig will preserve better). One can find paintings where the women are kneeling down holding the container under the cut with their skirts tucked into their waist belts to keep them clean. After the first bleeding the carcass is hung to drain further – the better the draining the better the preservation for the winter. The next stage of preservation is removing the bristles from the hide of the carcass; the carcass is placed in a trough of hot water to soften

Photos: Top of page, Église St Martin,Lignières-de-Touraine, Indre-et-Loire. Bottom of page (left), Église St Martin NOVEMBER, Sablé-sur-Sarthe, Loir-et-Cher. (right), Église St Martin DECEMBER, Sablé-sur-Sarthe, Loir-et-Cher. © Howard Needs 2016.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 11

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

Alone in France?

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

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

Les Amis Solitaires

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

TTL Photography Group

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

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.

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

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: 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

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-patriot and French friends. Barry Leech 05 49 87 19 85

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. The Rainbow Association Charity Shop (previously The Hope Association Shop 87)

Raising Funds for animals in need Open every Wednesday plus the 1st Saturday of each month, 10am-5pm “Route 66”, Rue de la Liberation, 87320 Buissier Poitevine


Grumpy’s Celebrated ‘You’re Not Here to Have Fun Quiz Night’ is looking for new victims. For all details contact me by email: Next Quiz is Sat 19th November in Ste. Gemme


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email:


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

ThouarStMed’Arts - Association that aims to bring together people from the historic town of Thouars (Quartier Saint Médard) for a new development of artistic activity. Exhibitions, galleries, brocantes, creators, cultural events etc. Visit the website:

Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Membership Secretary Michele Hansford for joining details. Email: Tel. 05 49 64 21 63 THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:


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

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


by Eric Edwards


ovember sees Armistice Day observed here in France on the actual day when, throughout the country, ceremonies at memorials to the nation’s war dead will be held. Wherever there is a Commune with a memorial, people of all generations gather to see wreaths laid and respect paid to those who gave their lives for the freedom of this country. In the UK the observance is made on the nearest Sunday to November 11 when the very familiar and moving ceremony at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, London and thousands of other smaller gatherings nationwide will take place. This year, will you spare an hour on Friday 11 or Sunday 13 November to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our liberty? Would you like to wear a Poppy during this time of remembrance? RBL Poppies are now available at outlets throughout the Region; a list of locations is given on our web site at the bottom of the ‘Poppy Appeal’ page. In September’s issue of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ Magazine, our last article mentioned Bob Liddiard’s plan to participate in the London to Paris cycle ride in early September for the Poppy Appeal. The good news is that Bob completed the course and has raised a splendid 5,200€ towards this year’s Poppy Appeal. If you missed the opportunity to donate and would like to sponsor him in next year’s event, a new website for 2017 has already opened In addition to Bob’s sterling efforts, our bric-a-brac stall at the Linazay Brocante on Sunday 25 September raised a further 434.81€ towards our annual total. Another uniquely British tradition for November and fundraiser for the Poppy Appeal will be a Guy Fawkes Night on November 5 near Parthenay at 54 Route de Beaulieu, La Cendriniere, 79200, Pompaire. Full details on our web site on the “Parthenay Group” page. Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. including contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows. Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 54€ per annum will be requested. How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us:

by Kate Jouanneau


his month’s edition is a sad one for me. I started a new job, so have made the difficult decision of resigning as publicity officer for Reaction Theatre. It’s been a fun 18 months, but it is time to pass on the responsibilities to somebody with a bit more time. At the present my replacement has yet to be named, but I’m sure things will fall into place, as they always do. Karen Davies currently chairs the Script Reading Group and their brief is to select plays for the next production. This is not always an easy process. They often find a good play, but then have to think, “can we cast it? are the ages right? (there are not many plays just for ageing thespians like us!) can we find a director?” RT also has to consider the time of year for the play. With the elections in April the theatre won’t be available, so production has to move to May. This again causes problems, as not everyone is free - it takes a lot of commitment to be part of the play. Added to this is the making of costumes, set design and construction, and lighting and sound technicians to be sourced. The group had a meeting last month to discuss some particular ideas. If you would like to help in any way, then please respond to the notice that goes out asking for ‘bodies’. Theatre can only happen if we have the enthusiasm and support of not only our members, but the public as well. So, come on, get involved! The Art Scene are starting to look forward to Christmas. A variety of subjects are on the agenda including watercolours, how to cut and decorate mounts used to enhance photo frames and improving drawing skills. They have booked a table at the Terves Christmas fair, which supports both cancer and military charities, so why not go along and talk about joining the group and who knows, you might solve all your Christmas present needs at the same time. Check out RT’s website for December and early 2017’s programme. If you feel there is something missing, John is always keen to hear. Better still, if you’d like to present some of your own art or something ‘Crafty’ to the group, contact him at The ever-energetic Scottish dancers are meeting on the 7th and 21st November at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux, 7-9pm. There are no sessions in December, but members will be pleased to know they will start again in mid-January, though no dates have been set for 2017. For further details contact: And a quick heads up that this year’s annual Christmas Cornucopia has now been scheduled for the 3rd December at 8pm in Secondigny theatre and a choir service on the 10th at 8pm in Secondigny church. Tickets are available at I’ll tie this article up by saying a big Thank You to the committee and RT as a whole for all the fun and support. It’s been a blast. Farewell for now, Kate. If you have any further questions you can visit our website

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 13

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

The Power of Place


ast month I was in Dorchester for a few days’ writing retreat. The theory is that you concentrate on writing without distraction. But you also talk about writing and compare notes with other writers over meals, and even visit a few writing related places. The sitting muscles become cramped otherwise.

Dorchester is an old town. The area around the town was settled in prehistoric times, it became a Roman garrison and civilian town complete with an aqueduct to an amphitheatre, and developed later into an important commercial and political centre. It was the site of the “Bloody Assizes” presided over by Judge Jeffreys after the Monmouth Rebellion, and later the trial of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. For many years it was the home and inspiration of the author Thomas Hardy, whose novel The Mayor of Casterbridge uses a fictionalised version of Dorchester as its setting. In brief, a lot happened there. For writers, visiting a site in such a place, even ruins, can give a glimpse into past people’s lives. What you see are the same mosaics Romans walked on, spilt drinks on, admired nearly two thousand years ago. Max Gate, the atmospheric house Thomas Hardy designed himself in 1885, is where he wrote some of his most famous novels, including Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, as well as most of his poetry. Seeing his writing desk with its leather covered and brass studded chair in front of a large sectional window looking out onto trees can’t fail to convey the sense of his writing life. So how do you take best advantage of a ‘site visit’? Prepare well. Look up the directions, opening hours, car parking and refreshment possibilities. With all that sorted out, you can focus on the place itself. Give yourself time to walk round the whole site before you go in. What is the landscape that surrounds it? Open fields, woods, streets? Is it crowded or deserted? Are there roads and tracks that connect it, or signs of older paths and bridleways? And perhaps there’s a river, ponds, lakes or the sea. What does the site smell of, even in 2016? Sea, rotting vegetation, grass, stone, nothing? What


Above: Max Gate, designed by Thomas Hardy in 1885. Photo: Alison Morton 2016

do you see if you turn your back on the site? Rolling countryside, a stone built harbour, narrow lanes, castle ramparts? And would a Roman/medieval peasant/ Victorian poet/Second World War sailor have seen the same? Once inside your site, read all the notices. Most give you excellent information in digestible lumps. Look at everything carefully and individually and talk to any stewards or staff. Jot things down in a notebook and take photos. Touch the walls and objects (if you are allowed to). And don’t be hurried along. Whether you’re in a ruined castle, stately home, or in a First World War trench in France or Belgium, stop for a few moments and shut your eyes. Take a deep breath and imagine the people living at the time it was occupied. By now, you will be immersed in the atmosphere of the place. Yes, you have your notes and photos, but having seen evidence of the lives of people who lived there, you feel sympathy with and even a tie to them. Oh, and is that a Roman legionary or a Tudor lady I see just behind you? Alison will be at the Terves Marché de Noël on 4th December with her books. Do come and say hello!

by James Luxford

We have thrillers, comedies, and a double dose of Tom Hanks this month as we look at the best November has to offer!

INFERNO (9nd November)


Tom Hanks returns for a third time as the character he first played in ‘The Da Vinci Code’, Robert Langdon. This time he is on the tail of an international terrorist determined to wipe out half the world’s population, aided by a doctor (Felicity Jones) who holds the key to both his future and the world’s. A drab addition to quite a drab series, this is a fairly plodding mystery film which never quite gets going. The cast struggle against the dry plot, and while they are enough to make the film diverting there’s no mistaking this is another needless Hollywood sequel.

The British sit-com smash gets its own movie years on from the beginning of the series. There are cameos galore as we follow Patsy and Eddie (Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders) who go on the run after being accused of killing Kate Moss. The plot is fairly flimsy, but it’s a delight to see these characters on the big screen. There’s some very funny moments and while it may be for fans only, those fans are in for a real treat.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

(23rd November)

Jean David Art An internationally exhibited artist and experienced teacher, Jean currently holds a regular class on Mondays at Montalembert (79). Jean is now also holding a new Tuesday class at Fenioux (79). Both classes cater for all levels of experience, and beginners are most welcome. Jean teaches oil painting, drawing, water-colour and other mixed media. Model sessions for both portrait and life drawing are held regularly. Jean also undertakes commissions for bespoke work, including house and people portraits. For further details on times and venues for the classes, commissioning or buying a painting and for examples of Jean’s work, visit or call Jean directly on 06 52 93 33 60. Siret: 800 413 098 00016

LOCAL CINEMAS...... Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: Parthenay Cinema: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: and find others at

SULLY (30th November) Tom Hanks’ second entry this month is playing the title role of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the real life pilot who saved 155 lives by landing on the Hudson River in 2011. Directed by Clint Eastwood, this film examines what it means to be a hero, the scepticism of corporate America, and the pressures laid upon an ordinary man forced to do the extraordinary. While it is a touch sentimental, it is terrifically acted and the recreation of the event itself is just breathtaking. A sure-fire Oscar contender.

SAUSAGE PARTY (30th November) This is one animated movie that’s certainly not for kids! Seth Rogen and a whole host of comedy actors voice a group of grocery store foods that dream of life outside their store, only to be horrified when they find out what humans do to them. It’s hard to think of a more ‘R-Rated’ film this year, as every line is crossed in the pursuit of low-brow laughs. There is a very intelligent argument about religion and politics, but you may be too busy hiding behind your hands to notice! A great comedy for those who can stomach it. Release dates are nationwide in France.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 15

Health, Beauty & Fitness Bring on the Sunshine!


by Lorraine Wallace

adly, the long summer days are a distant memory and we’re entering the darker, colder winter months so I want to talk to you about the importance and role of Vitamin D…

Vitamin D, sometimes known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is a fatsoluble nutrient that plays a crucial role in our body, contributing to the wellness of physiological functions, meaning our cells, muscles and organs. It aids in the prevention of osteoporosis, many cancers, depression, diabetes and obesity.

Sources of Vitamin D

Most of us are aware that we get vitamin D via sunlight, hence it’s common name, but unfortunately very few individuals get enough exposure to give them adequate levels. If you do spend plenty of time outside, the level of absorption is also affected by pollution, use of sunscreen and buildings blocking the sunlight, particularly in built up cities. And of course, sun exposure has to be balanced to avoid over-exposure which could increase the risk of skin cancer. Arrgghh, too much, too little… so what do we need? Experts differ slightly on recommended exposure but as a general guide, for those with fair skin, just under 10 minutes per day will suffice and for those with darker skin around 25 minutes per day may be required to maintain sufficient levels. Aside from sunlight, vitamin D can be obtained through some foods. However, not many foods contain it naturally but some are fortified with it to boost levels. Natural sources include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines and eggs. Fortified sources include some brands of milk, yogurt, cheese, orange juice and cereal. Some people also swear by cod liver oil which contains high levels, but this also contains a lot of vitamin A, which may be toxic in large amounts, so care should be taken. Because of limited natural sources, it’s common for people to take a supplement to obtain sufficient levels throughout the winter, especially in northern areas with limited sunlight. If you are considering this, do check with your health professional that a supplement is necessary. A blood test can check your level and your doctor will likely prescribe supplements or an injection. Most experts agree that sunshine is the best option wherever possible and who doesn’t enjoy the feel of the sun on their face on a beautiful day? So, as winter approaches, don’t forget how important your outdoor time is for your health. It may be cold but if the sun is out, a 10 minute brisk walk or run to boost your exercise regime will serve you on both levels… so what are you waiting for… have you got your trainers on yet….? Email: ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77

Ian’s Orange Day - Update

by Caroline Self

Finally, the long awaited day arrived - Monday 10th October and the presentation to Professor Lara of La Ligue contre le Cancer. I was pleased to present a cheque for 1 800€ in total. The funds had been raised from raffle ticket sales, 1,000€ on the charity day 8th June and various other donations. So far this year 3 000€ has been raised so to all those involved please give yourself a nice large pat on the back.,

Above: The cheque presentation to Professor Lara.

Next year on 8th June, I hope to repeat the charity event, this time with a Garden Theme. I will once again supply free cream-teas and hold a raffle with a stall or two of plants to be sold and an auction, so please start collecting seeds and plants with the raffle in mind. More info to be supplied nearer the date. Once again, thank you all for your generosity.

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

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Ballet Barre The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 17

Home & Garden Photo © La Deuxième Chance 2016

Dreams and Schemes ème Chance by Sue Newell, La Deuxi

La Deuxième Chance Tel:05 49 27 12 62 ~

Does the thought of redesigning a room turn your legs to jelly and put your head in a spin? Then don’t worry help is at hand...


his month, having already encouraged you to declutter and think about what you would like in your room, we are going to consider planning, colour and decoration.


The planning of kitchens and bathrooms can prove quite daunting, so if you are thinking of purchasing, do ask if the company provide design and planning. Quite often, even if you are planning to install the kitchen yourself, you can benefit from instore designers. For this you will need to have accurate sizes of the room, if possible a floorplan showing windows and doors, electrical sockets and also plumbing and waste outlets. There are many online tools to help you create not only a basic floor plan but also your perfect design. Some online planning sites may charge you to use the software, others may ask you to sign up, normally for free, whereas some less complicated plans can be downloaded for free. If planning to buy from a specific manufacturer you can often draw your plan and send it directly to them ready for the collection of your units! But should you feel all this is beyond your capabilities, then a simple scaled sketch is all that is required, draw your units or items of furniture onto your plan – to scale of course! (Drawing items onto a separate sheet and cutting them out allows you to move them around). So, you have your plan – what next?


This will be a collection point for your thoughts, ideas and colours. A simple wooden board, piece of card or even a large sheet of artist paper is all you need. Onto which you paint, glue and attach your samples. (I also have a book where I sketch ideas, stick scraps and generally store ideas. This can be good for the pre-planning stage). 1: BASE COLOUR - this will take up 70% of your room scheme, it will be the largest area of colour, either on the walls or as flooring. So ensure you place a generous sized sample of this colour onto your board. If it is to be flooring, attach a sample of the carpet or tiling, this will also help you to consider texture. 2: ACCENT COLOUR - no more than 10% of your entire scheme, your accent will be a dramatic contrast, but keeping in tone with your base colour. Try and add one “wow” factor – be it an accent colour on an entire wall, a large vase or a piece of painted furniture. 3: FABRICS and FURNISHINGS - the remaining 20% of your scheme will be taken up by fabrics and soft furnishings. You can mix and match textures and prints to add interest, perhaps again including your accent colour. 4: ACCESSORIES - You may already have items that you wish to include in your room. Accessories will bring your scheme to life, add ones that share your accent colour or co-ordinate with your base colour. Be careful when mixing patterns; choose prints or patterns that share a common colour, and avoid using large prints with small. When making your mood board it is often helpful to attach scraps of fabric and swatches of colour alongside photographs of your 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

accessories. Clippings from magazines giving the overall style you are looking to achieve can also be helpful. Try to avoid mixing styles as this can look messy. If you are choosing a particular style do some research to discover the colours, shapes and patterns that are appropriate.


Whether using pale blues for a cool fresh look, or introducing sunny yellows into your scheme you need to consider how the colour will react to the light in your room. For an accent wall I would suggest you paint an A3 piece of paper (or larger if possible) pin it to your wall and look at it at different times of the day (possibly even taking photographs to compare). Colours often change in appearance depending on light and the time of the day, as well as being affected by the colours in use around them. Try painting the inside of a large box – this will help you to visualise how your colour will change within a 3D space. Place the box in the centre of your room and again observe at different times of the day.


Always ask for a sample and pin this on your wall (as well as your mood board). Ensure you have the entire pattern repeat visible, or just buy one roll and you can then pin one entire drop – or if you decide against it – nothing wasted – you can use it to line drawers and cupboards or even create your own artwork by placing it into a frame. For kitchens where fabrics and furnishings may be sparse, (especially in France where external shutters often replace curtains), try adding blocks of colour to give interest. This can be done by painting selected cabinets, e.g. a central island or using different colours to paint the top and base units. But beware, don’t just use random colours or this could look messy; use your mood board to consider and choose colours to suit your scheme. Upcycle old units and transform out-dated kitchens by painting them. With the current trend of reusing, repurposing and upcycling, there are many paints readily available, each offering different finishes and durability. Research your products before buying, ask your dealer about different finishing products, about coverage and durability as well as suitability for your needs. Mixing and matching free standing pieces of furniture with fitted units, can add interest as well as practicality. Painting both in the same colour adds uniformity to the overall scheme. And finally… FURNITURE: Choose expensive items with care. Sofas are a major investment and something you may have to live with for years so consider colours and patterns carefully; are loose covers available? Back in the 70’s my sister furnished her house with dark oak Ercol in both her lounge and dining room - decades later it is still there, having had 3 new sets of covers. Classic shapes and solid furniture that has stood the test of time. With the changes of fabrics came colourful new accessories to add a whole new look to the rooms. So off you go - Have fun creating your mood board and your new room, but if you still feel a little wobbly, bring your ideas and swatches and join us for a morning on a “dreams and schemes” workshop.

Next month...we will look at de

coration - Christmas style!

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Useful French Vocabulary.... Home and Garden home................................... bedroom............................. kitchen................................ bathroom............................ lounge................................. decorate............................. to paint................................ wardobe............................. sliding door.......................... heating................................ rug........................................ soft furnishings..................... curtains................................ blind..................................... curtain pole......................... wallpaper............................ garden................................. flowers.................................. vegetable garden.............. parsnip................................. courgette............................ tomatoe.............................. to dig.................................... to weed............................... a weed.......................... a seed............................ to sow seeds.................. slug.................................

la maison la chambre la cuisine la salle de bains le salon la décorer à peindre la garde-robe la porte coulissante le chauffage le tapis l’ameublement le rideaux le store la tringle à rideaux le fond d’écran le jardin fleurs le jardin potager la panais la courgette la tomate à creuser désherber la mauvaise herbe la graine de semer des graines la limace

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 19


by Vanda Lawrence

Golden rain tree


bout eight years ago I took a very interesting seed pod from a tree in our friend’s garden and we now have a lovely Golden Rain Tree (Koelreuteria) growing in our garden. At the moment it is about 7 ft high but will eventually reach a height of 7 metres. So if you are looking for a small/mediumsized ornamental tree with year-round interest then this one is worth considering. In the spring it has lovely bright green leaves, followed by racemes of yellow flowers in summer. The flowers then set numerous puffy seed pods, the size of a ping-pong ball, which change colour as they ripen from cream to brown-black. These pods eventually burst open to reveal pea-sized seeds which themselves gradually turn black. Later, the leaves change colour giving a nice autumn display before dropping from the tree. Another interesting ornamental tree is one I found at the Fête des Plantes at Bressuire last month – Cornus kousa (Chinese dogwood). I’d never heard of it before but noticed the very attractive fruits, which looked to me like a cross between a raspberry and a strawberry. Apparently, this is another hardy, deciduous tree which will only grow to 8-10 metres high. It has tiny green flowers in early summer, surrounded by lovely white bracts which actually are mistaken for the flowers. These bracts gradually fade away to shades of pink as they age and then, in the autumn, the dark green leaves turn to a crimson/purple colour. Mature trees produce the rosy-pink fruits, which I believe can be used to make wine. This is the time to plant new trees while the soil is warm enough for new roots to settle before the frosts arrive. Dig the planting hole just slightly bigger and deeper than the pot the tree was bought in. Put peat in the base and around the edges, with gravel to aid drainage if you have heavy, clay soil. Add a stake to avoid windrock and, ideally, a piece of drainpipe should be inserted in the planting hole to enable watering directly to the roots during dry periods. The tree can then settle overwinter during the dormant period and in spring will start sending out new roots into the firm soil surrounding the planting hole. This will help the tree maintain good upright growth, even in windy weather. If you are troubled by rabbits gnawing at the bark of your trees, particularly young trees, make a collar of chicken wire to wrap around the bottom of the trunk, but remember to check this each year to make sure it is not restricting expansion of the trunk as the tree grows. Chinese dogwood fruit ©Wikimedia Commons/Velela

Something else I’ve learned of recently is the Obedient Plant – obviously named after me because I am so obedient Now, stop laughing, all those people who know me – you’ll give me a complex Seriously though, this plant could be very useful for flower arrangements because it’s possible to bend the individual flowers in any direction False Dragonhead©Wikim edia Commons/robin otta and they will stay wa in that position. The botanical name is Physostegia virginiana but is also known as False Dragonhead because it resembles the snapdragon flower. Flower colour ranges from white/pink/lilac, height and spread are about 2ft and they tolerate full sun or partial shade, but be aware that the plant rhizomes can spread quite aggressively (not that obedient then!). As winter approaches slippery paths can become a hazard so cut back any overhanging branches now to allow more air to circulate and also reduce the number of leaves falling onto the path. Brush regularly with a stiff broom to stop moss developing. Talking of fallen leaves – these can collect in the guttering so clear them out and wedge a ball of plastic netting into the top opening of the downpipe. This will act as a filter allowing the rain to run away but stopping the leaves from clogging the pipe or falling into the water butt. Also, while we’re in DIY mode, check fences and posts so that they can be repaired or replaced during these autumn months, while shrubs and perennials are dormant, thereby keeping damage to nearby plants to a minimum. In the potager, we can sow peas now to pick in Feb/March; carrots sown now will be ready to eat next April/May and shallots if planted now will be also be ready in April/May. Plant garlic now too, because it likes cold weather before growing away in the spring. If you are growing leeks, protect them with a layer of dead leaves to stop the soil freezing and make it easier to dig them up during icy weather. Brussel sprouts are ready to pick as the buttons firm up. As crops finish you can dig over the vacant areas and leave the soil to be broken down by winter frosts. Start planning next year’s garden, both ornamental and vegetable areas. It’s a good idea to take photographs of the garden at different times of the year to remind yourself just how big a particular shrub or perennial grows, and how much it impinges on its neighbour’s space. Also, can you remember exactly where you planted those daffodils/gladioli/dahlias? Take photos, then you won’t dig them up by mistake when you are working on the flower bed at different times of the year. In the vegetable garden it might help keep plant rotation organised so that you don’t plant the same thing in the same area for two years on the trot. In frosty weather remember to keep the birds’ water bowl defrosted for them and keep the seed feeder topped up. Also, if you are planning a bonfire, please check that there are no hedgehogs or other little critters sheltering within. Have a cosy November everyone. See you next month.

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

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


NEW Moon

1st Quarter

30th October 7th November

Full Moon

14th November

3rd Quarter

21st Novemer

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 21

Our Furry Friends CHRISTMAS FUNDRAISING SALE Thank you to everyone to came along to my last sale in aid of rescued kittens. We raised nearly 300€ which sterilised three kittens and paid vets bills for another four. Our next fundraiser is on

27th November, 10am-4pm at 79200 St Germain de Longue Chaume

Do come and join us, there will be mince pies, warm drinks, 100s of English and French books, clothes, furniture, household items, children’s books, toys, puzzles, games & much more. All money raised will go towards the sterilisation and care of our rescued kittens. All kittens will be looking for their forever homes. Please email:

Minoushka She was in danger for her life when Phoenix cat foster carer, Sophie, came to her aid. Cute and very cheeky, this little madam just loves watching the world around her. She is also very playful and comes for cuddles when she feels in the mood, which is quite often. She is used to cats, dogs and young children.   Minoushka will be vaccinated and chipped before adoption. Sophie’s details are as follows if you are interested in this lovely girl.  Tel: 05 53 73 91 13 / 07 78 21 13 55 Email: Dept Bergerac.

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 23

Where We Live...

A look at what makes France so special

Perfection on your plate...

One of the wonderful things about living in

this part of France is the food and drink. Fish, meat, cheese, bread, fruit, vegetables, booze... and chocolate! It’s got the lot. Here’s your DSM guide to our local produce. It’s not complete, because these things never are. Welcome to excellence on your doorstep. Fish

& Shellfish

With its 400km long Atlantic coastline, there’s quality fresh fish all year round. Supermarkets, markets, fishmongers and sometimes directly from the fishermen themselves. The closer you get to the coast, the more extensive – and sometimes bewildering – the choice. Sea bass, mackerel, sea bream, skate, sole, plaice, gurnard, cod, tuna, ling. The list goes on... For shellfish, try lobster (homard), shrimps (crevettes), crab (torteaux), spider crab (araignée), sea snails (escargots de mer), whelks (bulots) and winkles (bigorneaux). Scallops (Coquilles St Jacques) are also very popular. Oysters and mussels are extremely popular throughout France, especially in this region. Moules et frites is almost a national dish and available all year round.

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

Bouchot mussels, grown on poles, are the most common, while Marennes-Oléron oysters are considered among the best in the world. Quintessential mussel dishes from the region are éclade and mouclade. Éclade has the mussels cooked on an open fire over pine needles and eaten with bread and local butter. Mouclade has them cooked in white wine, butter, saffron and crème fraiche. Some recipes involve white wine and cream with onions, garlic and curry powder. Don’t forget river fish. Pike, eels (often fished for in the Marais Poitevin), trout, perch, carp and crayfish are plentiful. Oh, and frogs. Not exactly fish, but nice legs and often available at a fishmonger’s or in a supermarket. Salt from the Ile de Ré is known worldwide for its delicate taste of the sea. Today 60 producers harvest around 3000 tonnes per year in the traditional way. Across the island you can find shops selling local salt along with speciality products like salted caramels and salted caramel ice cream.

meat, game


Beef from locally raised Parthenaise cattle has a great taste and texture and is widely available. There are also plenty of Limousin cows munching away in the fields of Poitou-Charente. Quite rare is beef and veal produced from the Maraichine breed. I t came close to extinction in the 1980s but is back on the table, albeit on a small scale. A veal label to look out for is Signe Poitou-Charentes, which signifies the animal is from the area around Chalais. Pig production is widespread and it is said that the only thing from the animal that is not eaten in France is the squeak! Locally-made sausages can be found everywhere, as can various joints. An iconic Vendéen dish is Jambon de Vendée (ham) cut into thin slices, grilled and served with mogette beans. An English couple making their mark in the Deux-Sèvres are David and Lorraine Jones at the Perfect Pig Company, in Cours. Their rare breed pigs are slaughtered locally and sold at markets throughout

by Mick Austin

the year. They even do ‘pig days’ where you can sample life as a pig keeper! Website: Sheep raised on the salt marshes of north Vendée give succulent if expensive lamb and mutton with a characteristic salty flavour. Game is most commonly available in the winter months. Venison (chevreuil), wild boar (sanglier) and hare (lièvre) are often on menus, as are game birds like partridge (perdrix), pheasant (faisin), duck (canard) and pigeon (tourterelle). Chicken and duck are also popular throughout the region, nowhere more so than in Challans. One of the most famous chickens is the Noir de Challans. The region is also one of the five biggest foie gras producing areas in France, where production is 95% duck and 5% goose. You’ll also find plenty of rabbits. Registered breeders raise them in a traditional, non-intensive way on cereals and lucerne (alfalfa). Look for the Rex du Poitou label. Ostrich can also be found. Autruches Cognac at Salles d’Angles sells vacuum-packed fresh meat, terrines and rillettes. Website:


Saint-Maure de Touraine. Recognisable by the length of straw through the centre of this long, tube-shaped cheese (not always present in the factory-made version). Soft and creamy with a real goaty flavour. Bonde de Gâtine. Quality fermier raw cheese from the marshy area of Poitou. Slightly acidic and salty and melts in the mouth. Bougon. Factory-made in the Deux-Sèvres. Pale and creamy with a pleasant, mild flavour. Looks like a Camembert and is packaged in a thin wooden box. Capri Lezéen. Each of these fermier cheeses is wrapped in a chestnut leaf and packaged in a thin wooden box. The pale rind has a light blue mould and the distinctive flavour comes from the creamy inside. Chef-Boutonne. A young cheese with a mild flavour. Usually shaped like a flat-topped pyramid, but can also be found in round and square versions. Civray. From the same family as Chabichou, this soft fermier cheese is made on the plains around Civray. Its natural mould gives it a pleasant flavour. Available from spring to autumn.

The Mogette (or Mojette) is a white haricot bean grown in the black earth of the wet Marais Poitevin marshes. Part of the harvest is eaten fresh while the rest is dried on sticks (tourettes). Île de Ré potatoes are of such high quality they have been granted AOP status. Known for their slightly salty taste, there are two well-known varieties grown on the island – the Alcmaria and the Charlotte. Keep a lookout for Bonottes from the Île de Niormoutier. Said to be the Rolls Royce of potatoes. Carrots are everywhere, but sometimes it’s worth searching out something special. Grown by just a few producers in JarnacChampagne, in the Charente-Maritime, the juicy, crisp taste is down to the local soil. It’s known as ‘veritable miel souterrain’ (real underground honey). Look out for them in local markets. The choice of onions is wide as well, but look for one that’s a bit like a shallot. The Echalion du Poitou has a slightly less sharp taste than your usual shallot. It’s sometimes called Echalion Cuisse de Poulet du Poitou because its shape can resemble a chicken’s leg. Mushrooms are plentiful this time of year, with favourites like ceps, chanterelles and of course the good old field mushroom. Farci Poitevin is a traditional paté often known as the ‘green terrine.’ Spinach, sorrel, onions, leeks, swiss char, cabbage leaves and fromage frais are mixed together and placed in a terrine. Pork strips are sometimes also added.


Probably the most famous, it has a delicate and slightly sweet flavour with a little salt and acidity. Production can be fermier, coopérative or industriel, with fermier cheeses found all year round. There is another version, called Chabis.

& CHOCOLATE Cheese is revered throughout France and this region is no different, with a dizzying variety made from cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk by thousands of cheesemakers. The Deux-Sèvres is a main goat-breeding region of France so we are spoilt for choice as far as nanny goat milk is concerned. Here are a few of the many available: Chabichou du Poitou.

Clochette. Named after its shape, which is like a bell. A fermier cheese with a pleasant smell that comes from a combination of the mould and the cellar in which it is ripened. Couhé-Vérac. Made around the town of the same name. A fermier or artisanal cheese that blends the flavours of the leaf in which it is wrapped (plane or chestnut) with those of its mould. Jonchée. A speciality of Saintonge, between Angoulême and Cognac. A fresh cheese made from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk depending on the region that should be eaten soon after production as it goes off quickly. A small rush mat is rolled around the cheese. Often eaten as a dessert, sweetened with orange flower water, laurel water or coffee. A traditional cheese that sells mostly in local markets. La Taupiniêre. Fermier cheese invented by Gilles Jousseaume in 1973 at his farm in St Estêphe. Dome-shaped with a natural bluegrey mould with a rich flavour and a strong hazelnut aroma. La Mothe-Saint-Héray. Made in a variety of shapes and sizes in the town of the same name. Ripened between layers of vine or plane leaves and has a fairly pronounced flavour. Also called Fromage de la Mothe, Mothais, Mothais à la Feuille or Chêvre à la Feuille. Le Pougne Cendré. Sweet with a light goat taste, this is a rare pleasure that melts gently in the mouth. It is pebble-shaped and weighs about 200g. The inside is pale while the outside has a slightly bluish rind. Tomme de Vendée. The inside and rind of this large artisanal cheese from the Atlantic coast indicate that the methods of production are different from those of the AOC goat’s milk cheeses of the Loire Valley. The taste of salt is quite strong and the flavour is partly due to the maturation of six weeks. Echiré is only a small village in the Deux-Sèvres but it has an international reputation in the world of artisan butter making. Protected by an AOP label, it has a minimum of 84% butter fat and its fine, delicate hazelnut flavour is said to come from the grass of the region. Traditional production methods include churning the milk in wooden barrels. Echiré thick cream isn’t too bad either! Website: There are so many chocolate producers in this part of the world it would be impossible to list them all, but here are a couple in the Deux-Sèvres to whet your appetite. Chocolaterie Huvelin, based in Niort. A master chocolatier specialising in creations containing angelica. Website: Or make your choccy visit an educational one with a trip to the L’Ambassade du Cacao, in Coulon. A chocolate museum, angelica carving, workshops and, of course, tasting. Website:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 25



Brioche. One of the most famous desserts of the region. The Vendée version is quite different from those you might find elsewhere. The dough is enriched with butter and orange flower water before being plaited into a lozengeshaped loaf called a gâche.

apple/rhubarb or dried plum from the Coeur de Pom range from Les Jardins de l’Orbrie in Bressuire. Website: Market stalls will be full mainly of three types of nuts this time of year – the hazelnut (noisette) used to make a chocolate and hazelnut spread, the walnut (noix) on it’s own cracked for a Christmas treat or with pasta and blue cheese, and the sweet chestnut (châtaigne) often used to make marrons glacés sweets.



Préfou. A sort of grown-up garlic bread often enjoyed with an aperitif. A bakery in L’Orbrie called La Lutine has won awards for both its brioche and préfou. Website: la-lutine-boulangerie/ Or Les Fournées de la Vie in Aizenay. Website: Scofa. A creamy cake originally made by the Carmel of Bessines, near Niort. The name is made up from the initials of its ingredients: sugar, cream, flour and almonds. A secret recipe is said to be lovingly kept safe by cloistered nuns. Tourteau fromagé. Crab-shaped cakes that look as if they have been burned. Beneath the blackened domed crust the filling, made with fromage frais, is pale and moist. Local opinion is divided over whether to eat the blackened top or not. Available across the region. Broyé du Poitou. A large, flat, round shortbread biscuit made from eggs, flour and butter and originally baked in communal village ovens. Found here in bakeries and shops and also across the world thanks to firms like Poitiers-based Goulibeur. Website: Noix Charentaise. A choux bun, much like a profiterole. It is filled with cream, frozen and then coated with dark chocolate and topped with a nut. Galette Charentaise. A round, flat cake, a bit like shortbread but softer in texture. Good when you fancy something a little sweeter. Galette des Rois. Traditionally served to celebrate Epiphany, it’s a frangipane-filled puff pastry tart. Tucked away in one slice is a small china figure (or fève) and the winner of the favour is crowned king or queen for the day. Poitou-Charentes macarons. Very different from their Parisian cousins, they are smaller and chunkier with a soft, succulent almond centre. The Montmorillon version is made to a recipe handed down through five generations. Rannou Métivier is the only remaining macaron producer in the town, baking several variants including orange and pistachio. In Angoulême, La Biscuiterie Lolmède has been using the same recipe since 1889. Traditional favourites plus scented and fruited varieties, as well as cognac and raisin ones. Websites: macarons and


Who says home-made is best? If you’re ever on the Ile de Ré and visiting Ars, try a wide range of jams from Les Confitures du Clocher. They offer various ranges including Authentiques, Herbiers (infusions of plants), ReOTea (exotic fruits and rare teas), confits (onions, tomatoes, figs etc) and pâtes de fruit (red berries and orchard fruits). Website: New kids on the jelly block are Kirkland and Julia Hay, who run their Gelée de Gatine business from La Roche Parthenay farm, near L’Absie, in the Deux-Sèvres. Encouraged by the popularity of their jellies at local vide-greniers and fêtes they have now extended their range to include combinations like elderberry and chilli, apple and walnut, wild blackberry, damson and ginger. On Facebook or call 05 49 64 44 05. This area is the largest producer of honey in France, and the Deux-Sèvres in particular. There are loads of passionate producers around. Gué d’Alleré, near La Rochelle, has a 60-strong collection of different types and mixes. Website:




Melons have been cultivated here since the 16th Century. Most common is the Charentais canteloupe, which has a green-grey rind with a pink-orange flesh. Slightly less common but just as tasty is the Melon du Haut-Poitou. Secondigny, in the Deux-Sèvres, is known as the apple capital of France. Its 1000 hectares of orchards sees 45,000 tonnes of fruit harvested every year. A non-alcoholic sparkling apple juice (jus de pomme pétillant) is great on a hot day. The sky’s the limit for pressed fruit drinks. Try apple/grape/grapefruit juice or 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

Legend has it that back in the 16th Century a local winemaker accidentally poured some grape juice into a barrel of cognac. Going back to the barrel some years later he found a different but delicious alcoholic drink had developed and Pineau des Charentes was born. It’s available in red, rosé and white and is best served cold in a tulip-shaped glass. There is also a Pineau des Charentes vinegar, which can be found in speciality shops. Website:

Cognac, in Charente, is renowned for one thing – the manufacture of its famous spirit and its namesake, cognac. All cognacs are brandies but all brandies are not cognac! Cognac can now only be made in an area defined by official decree which was awarded an AOC label in 1936. Poitou-Charente’s fertile soil is ideal for growing barley and wheat, so it’s no surprise some of that goes into beer production. Microbreweries cater for people looking for authentic, quality products that are often quite similar to pale ales in the UK. One such brewery can be found in an old farmhouse in Neuville-de-Poitou in the form of the Bellefois Brasserie. The beers are named after important dates in the region. Website: Tête de Mule is an artisan beer from La Brasserie in Coulon. Unmistakeable bottles with a mule’s head emblem. Beers range from Blonde, Ambrée, Blanche and a new Triple. There’s even a lemonade! Visits and tasting all year. Website:



DID YOU KNOW ? When you last opened a tin of baked beans, tuna or petit pois did you even for a moment spare a thought for a Frenchman called Monsieur Appert? No? Not surprising, really. Nicolas Francois Appert was born on November 17, 1749, in Châlons-sur-Marne (now Châlons-en-Champagne). At the age of 30 he upped sticks and moved to Paris and became a chef and confectioner, delighting many of his customers with some amazing desserts and candies. Nicolas Appert.

In 1795, the French military were desperately searching for a way to preserve food for its armed forces. Something that was easily transportable and could keep a soldier’s rations edible for more than just a few days. So they launched a contest and offered a 12,000 francs prize to whoever could come up with the best solution. Appert was intrigued with the idea and spent the next 15 years experimenting. He found food like soups, vegetables, jams etc wouldn’t spoil if sealed in an air-tight glass container. The jars would be stoppered with a cork held in place with wire, sealed with wax and then immersed in boiling water for several hours. That was years before Louis Pasteur proved that boiling killed the bacteria responsible for the decomposition of food. Once he had perfected the idea he sent jars of vegetables and gravy to Napoleon’s army and when the emperor discovered just how fresh the food had been kept in the jars he declared Appert winner of the 12,000 francs prize. Appert used the money to open the world’s first food bottling factory, the House of Appert in Massy, near Paris. He later went on to develop a method of extracting acid-free gelatin, the prototype of the modern meat stock cube, and to perfect a type of steam sterilizer. He died in June 1841, aged 91. As a condition of his award, Appert made public his fantastic new method of preserving food in a book called ‘The Art of Preserving All Kinds of Animal and Vegetable Substances for Several Years’. Fortunately for the baked bean industry his inventions were much better than his book titles!

The Marais Poitevin is home to angelica, one of the world’s best known aromatic plants. It’s said to be a tonic, an anti-spasmodic, a purgative, a digestive and can also keep away the plague! Today it is made into liqueur, candied stalks, sculpted objects, cream, jam, sweets and chocolate. It’s used in recipes for Suze, Pernod, Chartreuse and Benedictine and also flavours vodka and gin. Website: Saffron has been grown in the area for hundreds of years due to the fertile soil and micro-climate. As it takes around 60,000 crocus flowers to make just half a kilo, it’s no wonder it’s reckoned to be the most expensive spice in the world. The label Signé Poitou Charentes signifies authenticity. Website:

On this month November 21, 1694: Francois-Marie Arouet, later known as Voltaire, is born in Paris to a treasury officer and his wife. Voltaire studied law but abandoned it to become a writer and had success with classic tragedies and poetry. His epic poem La Henriade, a satirical attack on politics and religion, infuriated the government and landed him in the Bastille for almost a year in 1717. November 21, 1783: French physician Jean-François Pilatre de Rozier and François Laurent (aka the Marquis d’Arlandes) make the first untethered hot-air balloon flight, flying 5.5 miles over Paris in around 25 minutes. Their cloth balloon was built by the French Montgolfier brothers, inventors of the world’s first successful hot-air balloons. November 30, 1886: The Folies Bergère in Paris introduces an elaborate review featuring women in sensational costumes. The Folies followed the Parisian taste for striptease and quickly gained a reputation for its spectacular nude shows.

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

November 1, 1993: The Maastricht Treaty comes into effect, formally establishing the European Union. The agreement called for a strengthened European parliament, the creation of a central European bank and common foreign and security policies. The treaty also laid the groundwork for the establishment of a single European currency, to be known as the Euro.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 27

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 8. Far beyond the norm (5) 9. A component of an automobile (3-4) 10. At top speed (4-3) 11. Projectile fired from a bow (5) 12. Land locked area of water between Europe and Asia (5-3) 13. An imperfection (4) 15. Surrealist 20th Century Spanish painter (4) 17. Meat or fish stir-fried with vegetables (4-4) 21. The superlative of ‘little’ (5) 22. Very brave (7) 24. An eight sided shape (7) 25. A synthetic fabric (5)

Down: 1. Polish and make shiny (4) 2. Capital of Canada (6) 3. Portable rocket launcher (7) 4. An adge tool for cutting grass (6) 5. Informal term for money (5) 6. Cylindrical container that holds liquids (6) 7. Hide aboard a ship to get free transportation (4-4) 12. Feeling of ill will arousing active hostility (3-5) 14. Rich and superior in quality (7) 16. Rough shelter where roof has only one slope (4-2) 18. Capital of Cuba (6) 19. Lacking in power, means, skill or know-how (6) 20. A section of a journey or course (5) 23. A river in northern England (4)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

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

1) Which American singer was also known as The Man in Black? 2) Which children’s toy was named for U.S. president Theodore Rossevelt?

8) Which film, starring Robert de Niro, tells the story of boxer Jake la Motta? 9) Which character was played by John Alderton in TV’s Please Sir?

3) Which singing duo recorded the original version of the song ‘I Got You Babe’?

10) Founded in 1991 by John Bird and Gordon Ruddick, which weekly newspaper is sold by homeless people?

4) Malcolm Sinclair is President of which British Trade Union? Former presidents include Felix Aylmer and Nigel Davenport.

11) In architecture, what is found between the top of a column and the load placed upon it?

5) Which BBC Radio 2 presenter is the sister of Keith Chegwin? 6) Sebastien Ogler is the current World Champion in which sport?

12) Which British film launched the acting careers of Jason Statham and footballer Vinnie Jones?

7) What is the baking term for any fat, solid at room temperature, used to make crumbly pastry?

Finally, assuming you have 12 correct answers (or even if you don’t), what is the connection between those answers or parts thereof?

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

Copyright RJS 2016

Answers on P.32 and our website:

Across: Down: 1,8.Arranging mint-hard cover for any 1. Limb broken when colliding with slips in position (5,3) unexpected rut upset the farm cart 4. A coin is thrown in Mediterranean (7) city (7) 2. Virtue was destroyed once 8. See 1 across. between pub and church (9) 9. Those following on only got a slang 3. In that year a very long time ago, version (9) there was a ball, but nothing 10. Told the story of foreign noble in bed happened (3) (9) 4. Dark period character guarding time 12. Moheem Ali recovered to contain his keeper for security officer (13) anger (3) 5. Young Welsh singer working in 13. Cereal clogger in rain; change in order US police organisation north of the needed (4,5,4) border (9) 15. Following good indication of the 6. Wrong doing exposed in previous pavilion, it’s said he never touched it! inspection cover-up (3) (3) 7. Being found in drink causes 16. Coming out with after being in, now division (5) we’re going in! (9) 11. Luke doing wrong? He was only 17. Nameless Oz character in planet’s human after all (9) autumnal festival (9) 12. Badly ill? I had a tiny upset, at first 20. Round fifty, for example (3) anyway (9) 21. Rather old-fashioned greeting upset 14. Pre-occupied about planning a a blonde (3,4) long-term get-together? (7) 22. Sundry additions to score can hide 15. LB reversal gets pretty mindless the spirit of the wood (5) girl out of inactivity (5) 18. Hindi restaurant concealing turn over of take-away (3) 19. Not happy about draw with South Africa (3)

Food & Drink Homeboy


by John Sherwin

f you’re more or less of my vintage, you might remember a TV series called ‘Man in a Suitcase’. I don’t honestly recall a single thing about it apart from the title, which intrigued me. Living in a small village in the heart of the Staffordshire countryside with only streams and woods and fields to play in (yes, you only know what you had when it’s gone), the idea of scooting here, there and everywhere on great adventures with only a valise to keep you company really excited me. Of course, I was always home in time for tea, but you get the idea, the principle of the thing. I’ve had my fair share of globetrotting and enjoyed it very much, and over these past few months I’ve had, it seems, more than my allotment of France-trotting. If it wasn’t Toulouse it was Marseille, if not Paris, Lyon. And so on. This is all well and good, but before you cry out “dahling, fit me into your suitcase, it sounds fab!” consider the attractions of home. You know where things are. You know how long it takes for the hot water to arrive at the showerhead from the cistern and by just how much to adjust the tap for the temperature you want. You, and only you, get to decide to keep that spider’s web in the corner just to see what happens. And of course, you have your nearest and dearest close at hand. Don’t get me wrong. This is no ‘woe is me’ tale. My French trips have entailed tasting great wines with their makers and in the places where they saw the light of day. As Colette said in ‘The Lucky Hour of Great Wines’, “it is profitable both to the mind and to the body to taste wine in its home, in the country which gave it all it possesses. What surprises has not a carefully thought out pilgrimage in store for you!”. You said it, Col. While all this far-flung wining (and dining – a man has to eat) has its attractions, it can all too easily make you forgetful of all the bounties on your doorstep. Just a few days ago I had the pleasure of escorting three delightful people round three vineyards near Mareuil-sur-Lay, very much in my backyard. It was great not to have to rely on a GPS but to tootle along roads I know so well. And of course to visit winemakers I have come to know and respect. Macquigneau, where I introduced my new-found friends to the négrette grape variety, only grown in the Vendée and in Fronton near Toulouse. Chateau de Rosnay, a rather grand contrast, with its array of Vendée classic blends. Lunch at my usual, the Relais in the centre of Mareuil, where my booking is always transcribed as ‘Jhon’ – if it were ever otherwise I would weep for lost innocence. Then on to Mourat – not the in-town boutique but the state of the art winery a few kilometres out. A thoroughly enjoyable day, and I got to sleep in my own bed at the end of it all. Does the wine really taste different if you taste it at its source? I suppose there’s a kind of penumbra of influence, and there’s no doubting the effect of having the winemaker present. But whenever I ask myself this question I’m put in mind of a quote from the great American wine merchant, Kermit Lynch (not a name to forget). Talking of Cassis wine, which many claim does not travel well, he says “…of course Cassis tastes better at Cassis! Debussy sounds better after a walk through the foggy, puddled streets of late-night Paris. You are in the midst of the atmosphere that created it. The wine is not different; the music is not different. You are.” Ah well, off to Reims tomorrow for a wine tourism conference where my colleague and I have 47 meetings in two days. Now where’s that suitcase…?

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 29

Tastes of Autumn by Lynda of Ginger's Kitchen

Pommes de Terre Boulanger

(Quicker than the original recipe because I use part cooked potatoes.) Ingredients: • Allow 2 medium potatoes per person and boil these until just softening (you can use any left over cold potatoes) • 1 medium to large onion • chicken stock cube • freshly ground black pepper • couple of bay leaves Allow the potatoes to cool so that you can cut about ¾ cm thick slices, peel, halve and finely slice the onion. Layer the potato and onion in an oven proof dish, dot with a little butter, grind over the pepper, add the bay leaves and cover with the prepared chicken stock. Bake in the oven at 180 - 200˚for around 35 minutes or at around 140/50˚ for 1 - 1 ½ hours if you prefer. Keep a check on the liquid level so the potatoes don’t dry out. These are tasty and go well with the pork chops. I don’t add salt because of having used pre-cooked potatoes and because stock cubes generally contain some, but that’s a personal choice.

Herby Baked Pork Ingredients for 4: e fat • 4 good sized pork chops - with som ts crus out with d brea • 3-4 slices of stale er butt of b kno ll • sma • 1 onion • teaspoon of dried mixed herbs • a few fresh sage leaves • salt and pepper bowl, finely chop the onion Roughly crumble the bread into awith the dried herbs, scissor and add to the bread together and butter, Pour over per pep and salt es, leav chopped sage le’ consistency. adab ‘spre soft a to mix boiling water and heat your oven to around Whilst preparing the topping predish with a little butter oven flat a 200˚. Place the pork into , until just coloured. utes and seal in the oven for a few min y topping mix. Return herb the Take out the pork and coat with 30 minutes, until the 25 her furt a for cook and to the oven the topping just and ugh thro ed cook hly pork is thoroug starting to crisp.

Pear Belle Helene Palmiers

A very simple (cheats!) version of the dessert Pear Belle Helene, which can be quickly prepared from your store cupboard / fridge. Ingredients: • Packet of chocolate coated Palmier biscuits • ½ fresh pear per person or tinned pear halves, well drained • chilled chocolate cream dessert • whipped cream • cocoa powder Place either a peeled, cored and sliced pear half if using fresh, or a well drained tinned pear half onto each palmier biscuit, chocolate side up. Cover with a generous helping of the chocolate dessert, top with a swirl of whipped cream (or REALLY cheat with a squirt from a tin!) and sprinkle with sieved cocoa powder. These look nice, taste good and are excellent in an emergency, or when planned! Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full athome catering service. See advert on P.34.

Tel: 06 23 00 72 04 ~ Email:

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

Buying Local


by Jacqueline Brown

uying locally, something I try to do where possible has just got a lot easier as a fruit and vegetable seller has started setting up his stall in our village every Thursday morning. Coincidently this happens to be the same day the mussel and oyster lady from Ile de Ré stops in the village, so we almost have our own market day, which is not bad for a village of less than 400 inhabitants. The ability to buy my fruit and vegetables on foot means saving money on fuel, and buying from a market stall means less packaging to throw away than if I bought from a supermarket. His prices are reasonable and like me, he too sources much of his produce from local growers. It was good to see the village square looking lively, even on a chilly morning, and I enjoyed the very French feel it gave me; carrying my basket over my arm and discussing recipe suggestions with him and my friends in the village. His service was excellent and I do hope he gets enough customers to continue to visit. Our local butcher, ‘Boucherie des Saveurs’ in Chef Boutonne has recently celebrated it’s first year under new ownership with a Portes Ouvertes, or open door event. When I see these advertised it always makes me smile, surely a company selling to the public should have open doors anyway? However, it is nice to have a bit of a do and lay on something extra to say thank you to the regular customers and hopefully attract new ones into your ‘open doors’ too. The butcher held his on a Saturday morning, which is market day and one of his busiest days of the week. There was music provided by a duet of singers accompanied by a wind-up street organ, drinks were served and beef was sizzling on an outdoor grill, cooked by the local farmer who raises the beef that is sold. It was delicious. However it was so busy I couldn’t ask the question I wanted to ask the butcher: what makes his homemade Boudin Noir Chef Boutonnais different from plain boudin noir (black pudding)? I returned on a quieter day, although I still had to wait behind three other customers, and got the answer to my question. Boudin Noir Chef Boutonnais uses local walnuts, goat cheese and honey to give it a unique flavour. The small pieces of walnut add texture and the combination of the three flavours, that are often used together in salads, compliment each other without being too overpowering. It really is quite different. It is also not the only homemade product that is sold, as all the sausages, terrines, pâtés, quiches and savoury pastries are made on the premises. I can especially recommend the pâté Basque that is full of flavour and texture, with just enough heat from the Piment d’Espelette to give a warm glow without too much fire. In my opinion there is not much that can beat locally produced food that is served with a smile. Email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 31

Take a Break - SOLUTIONS Easy Crossword: Across: 8. ultra 9. car part 10. flat out 11. arrow 12. black sea 13. flaw 15. dali 17. chop suey 21. least 22. valiant 24. octagon 25. nylon. Down: 1. buff 2. ottawa 3. bazooka 4. scythe 5. bread 6. barrel 7. stow away 12. bad blood 16. leanto 18. havana 19.

unable 20. stage 23. tyne Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. third 4. nicosia 8. man 9. tagalongs 10. recounted 12. ire 13. long grain rice 15. bye 16. declaring 17. martinmas 20. leg 21. old bean 22. dryad Down: 1. tumbril 2. innocence 3. dot 4. night watchman 5. caledonia 6. sin

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

7. aisle 11. ungodlike 12. initially 14. engaged 15. bimbo 18. rid 19. sad Well, what do you know?: Connection - they are all Stock Market terms. 1) Johnny CASH 2) Teddy BEAR 3) Sonny and CHER (share) 4) EQUITY

5) Janice LONG 6) RALLY Driving 7) SHORTening 8) Raging BULL 9) Mr. Bernard HEDGEs 10) The Big ISSUE 11) A CAPITAL12) Lock STOCK and Two Smoking Barrels. 12) (and) NEAP

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres nanteuil


by Sue Burgess

he name Nanteuil is a typical Gallic toponym as it is based on two words nanto (valley) and ialo (clearing or field). Nantialo as it was called, is therefore the clearing in the valley. The town was built in a previously forested area which had been cleared so that it would be possible to cultivate the land. In Celtic origins nant means spring or stream and the ending euil means valley. Nanteuil is at the Eastern end of the Sèvre valley, at the edge of Saint Maixent.

The Weather Vane On the municipal workshops the weather vane, which was installed in 2000, represents a scene of daily life that has now disappeared. A spring coming out of a rock runs through a valley where a shepherd and his dog are patiently waiting for the sheep to drink. With the background of a sunset on Mont Alaric the weather vane reminds us how much the life of the village is connected to the springs of water.

There are a number of springs in the valley and so there is a rich patrimony of fountains, springs and wash-houses. The 1577 inhabitants of Nanteuil are the Nanteuillais.

Mont Alaric Alaric II, king of the Wisigoths, was decapitated by Clovis, the king of the Francs after a bloody battle at Vouillé near Poitiers in 507. Legend has it that the distraught soldiers built a tomb which was worthy of their sovereign, by covering the body of their dead leader with earth and thus creating a mound. In reality mont Alaric is merely a hillock which was deplaced by erosion after the disappearance of the former lake of Vauclair.

At Fief de la Salle, a fragment of a marble table was found in 1886. It is now in the museum in Niort... [SA]BAZ[IO] [MAR]MORE [PER]ACTA[M] [IM]AGINEM [PRAEP] OSITVS E[X]VOTO POSVI[T] which has been translated by Jacques Jarry as The intendant, following an order, built this marble picture for Sabazius. This is the only reference to the oriental god Sabazius, sometimes considered to be Bacchus and sometimes Jupiter, in Deux-Sèvres. The only other toponym which makes reference to an oriental cult is at Marnes where the inscription madronas is a reference to the goddess. The coat of arms The three golden keys with the ring pointing downwards represent the coat of arms of the knights of la Frapinière. The coat of arms has been the official coat of arms of the commune since 1994. A VOIR / MUST SEE Saint Gaudent Church The old church which was built in the 12th century stood behind the Town Hall on an adjoining plot of land which is now privately owned. During the wars of religion the church was partly destroyed and the nave of Notre Dame church was rebuilt in 1656. Some remains, (door surrounds for example) can still be seen in the walls of the outbuildings of this property. Close by, there was a priory dedicated to St Gaudent and in 1744 the prior of the Royal Abbey of St Eloi de Noyon enjoyed the profits from it. Today’s church was built in 1840. Restoration began in 1994. There is a very colourful stained glass window dedicated to St Gaudent and St Louis. Saint Gaudent Saint Gaudentius in latin, the patron saint of the church of Nanteuil, was born in Brescia in Italy on Lake Garda. The church consecrated to St Gaudent honours the doctrine and humility of his writings. In the transept, one of the two side chapels is dedicated to Notre Dame.


The Sun Dial This monument symbolises the passage to the year 2000. It harbours a message for future generations. The sundial weighs half a tonne. 2 stylised letter Ms indicate the year 2000 in Roman numerals. The pedestal represents the 20th century from which the 21st century is emerging. The two horizontal lines represent the two great wars of the 20th century. The motto - the Latin words SOL (the sun) SOLUM (the ground) and SOLUM (only), become a succession of homographs which could translate as Au Seul Soleil de la Terre (to the only Sun of the Earth).

Cabane de Vigne La cabane de vigne at Picoreille on the small C road going towards Puits d’Enfer has been restored and was inaugurated in 2009. Le Pont de Pallu/Pallu Bridge At the place where the communes of Nanteuil and Saint Martin de Saint-Maixent meet, this 50m long footbridge made of flat stones which are between 2 and 3 metres long and about 1.5m wide does not have a handrail. It crosses the Sèvre Niortaise river. It used to be the only way to the numerous mills and was a bridge on the old mule track from La Rochelle to central France. It was used for the transport of flour from this area and then on the return journey for salt. Heavily deteriorated by flooding, the footbridge has had to be renovated. Le Terrain des Sapins/The Fir Tree Field At the entrance to the village between the N11 and the D737, this huge piece of land is like a lung of fresh air with its trees and pedestrian paths. It is also Nanteuil’s showcase because of the way the town’s logo has been set off. There are more than 32 different types of plants and trees. An access from the old Roman road means that pedestrians can walk along the sandy pathways. La Fontaine des Roches Inaugurated on Heritage Weekend in 2005, the Spring, la Source des Roches, emerges from a fault in the chalk plateau of the Grues de la Berlière. The spring probably gets its name from the rocky mass on the hillside. This place used to be a stopping point for carriages so that they could get the water which was necessary for the rest of their journey. The rectangular basin was built in the mid 20th century and was a precious resource for the local people before the arrival of the drinking water network. The two basins have a total capacity of 3000 litres. The water is exceptionally clear and joins the stream at Magnerolles, upstream from the village of Pallu.

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

The Monument of the Tour de France The small stone monument is to be found at the Frangeon crossroads, opposite Mont Alaric, in a backdrop of greenery. It represents the historical aspect of the 90th Tour de France. Nanteuil was the last commune crossed in a stage of the Tour which went from Bordeaux to Saint Maixent-L’Ecole on the 25th July 2003.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 33

Communications Do I need a French PC to write in French? by Ross Hendry

You simply select the one you want and click ‘Insert’. I like to put all of the special characters I want to use at the top of the document before I start, then I may simply copy and paste them where I think I need them. No Cost option 3 - Change the language in Microsoft Word to French You can type your document using MS Word, type in French without the accents, then change the language in Word to French and check the spelling of the document. Word will underline all incorrect spelling in red. Then, if you right-click a word in red, the Word program offers you correct versions of the word with accents, however you have to choose the right word from the list of suggestions.


iving where we do, we all need to correspond with someone in French via our computers, and many think that getting a French computer will aid in this. Of course it will, but only if you are fluent or have a very comprehensive vocabulary.

No cost option 4 - Use an on-screen keyboard First you need to load the French keyboard (see the instructions below ‘How to select the right keyboard layout ..’), and give it priority, then -

In my experience, for most of us who are not fluent, there are less traumatic ways to get the same result. You may well have excellent conversational French, but is your technical French to the same standard? Using your English PC, here are five methods you may try that are usually available on every Windows and Apple PC. Four of these are no cost options, and of course you may buy a French Keyboard for your PC. So let us explore the options .. .. No cost option 1 - Alt plus keyboard entry as you type It is quite easy to write in French in Microsoft Word and WordPad for example, by using special key combinations to achieve the result. You type your text as normal, until it comes to a letter which contains one of the accented characters, you then press and hold the Alt key and enter a number (see the table below) using the Number Pad, and when you release the Alt key your character appears with the accent. Please note : this does not work with the number keys at the top, you must use the number pad to the right of the letter keys. If you have a small laptop you may not have the Number Pad, so you will not be able to use this method unless you connect an external keyboard or number pad to a USB socket. You can purchase a USB Number Pad from as little as 6€ and a keyboard from 10€ from online stores. à â ä æ ç « »

Alt plus .. 133 131 132 145 135 174 175

À Â Ä Æ Ç î ï

Alt plus .. 192 194 142 146 128 140 139

é è ê ë

Alt plus .. 130 138 136 137

ô œ ù û ü

Alt plus .. 147 0156 151 150 129

Î 0206 Ï 0207

No cost option 2 - Insert Symbol by selection If you are using Microsoft Word, you have a facility for inserting symbols into your text. From the insert tab, select ‘Symbol’, then ‘More symbols’. Then you are presented with a dialogue box where you may choose from hundreds of symbols and special characters.

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016


Alt plus 0212 0140 0217 0219 154

Open On-Screen Keyboard by clicking the Start button, clicking All Programs, clicking Accessories, clicking Ease of Access, then clicking  On-Screen Keyboard. This option will offer you suggestions for each word, as you type each letter, these well may speed up the entry of your French text. Get a French, USB Keyboard Most PCs and Apple PCs will support an additional keyboard, connected to a USB socket. So you can have a “qwerty” keyboard for English and an “azerty” one for French. To use this method you will have to make some simple changes to your PCs configuration, here is how to do it: How to select the right keyboard layout in Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8: • Open the Control Panel • Click on ‘Change keyboards or ‘other input methods’ under ‘Clock, Language, and Region’ • Click on ‘Change keyboards’ • Select the language and layout (UK extended, French, etc) you want to use • Choose the language you want to use in the taskbar as you need to In Windows 7, 8 and 10 : • Press the Windows key and letter U simultaneously to open the Ease of Access Centre and choose Start On-Screen Keyboard. • Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing.

In-expensive Computer Help & Support for Expats 02 51 51 50 06 ~

Listen LIVE at The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 35

Building & Renovation

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 37

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

BREXIT – Light at the end of the tunnel... There has been a lot of doom and gloom postBrexit, so maybe the time has come to look for some money saving tips? Fear not...the bright sparks at Hallmark Electricité have had a lightbulb moment. Why not think about swapping all your light bulbs to LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes)? It could save you a small fortune! Our own household conducted a study recently and it reaped rewards of over 450€ on our electricity bill, just from this. By using LEDs you could also save over 90% on your lighting bill. For a limited time (11th November to 11th December) we are offering a Special Deal on LED’s, subject to availability. Just give us a call to find out what your household can save! 05 49 07 20 28 ~ 06 71 05 91 70

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of the month The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 39


40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

Loads of new clients this year, and nearly all of them down to my advert in your publication...thanks DSM!

Small B/W advert only

‘The DSM’ Advertiser Feedback...

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

Get more Likes on your Facebook Page


ne of the first things I did when I started my own business, after building a website, was to set up a business Facebook page. However, like many people, I then didn’t do much with it as I was busy concentrating on getting my business up and running….not realising that I was actually missing a trick with Facebook and that it could be a good source of business if I used it correctly. Mine is still a work in progress, but here are some simple tips I’ve picked up along the way and am still in the process of implementing!

Small B/W Advert

only 32€ ht

Info Pages

Make sure that all the information is filled in – ensure you have added a contact email address and telephone number, and a website address if you have one. It’s important that the profile picture is of you, not your dog or cat! People can feel more engaged if they know what you look like and it makes you appear more approachable. Also have a cover image – this could be a brand photo or maybe some of your products. Finally, complete the description… tell people what you do, make it chatty and inviting but to the point… don’t waffle.

Link to your Facebook Page

Linking to your Facebook page gets your business in front of potential customers. If you have a website or blog, put a link to your Facebook page, with a ‘like’ button. Join Facebook groups that are relevant to what you do and add a link to your Facebook page there. Put your Facebook address on your business card or on flyers and on any promotional literature that you send out. If you put an ad in a local paper or magazine, ensure you put your Facebook address there too.

Invite people to like you

Invite your friends and family to like your business page and ask them to tell their friends about you and what you do.

Post regularly

Some say you should post once a day and others say three times a week is enough. Whatever you decide to do, be consistent... this is easy to say and I know I’ve fallen by the wayside a few times, so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t manage it, however the more times you post, the more engagement you will get. Images seem to help with engagement, so always use a quality image – if you can, use your own from photos. If you use images from the internet, make sure you don’t breach copyright. Use different kinds of posts: information about your products; new product launches; photos or video of someone using your product or service; inspirational or funny quotes; photos of your work station or how you make what you do; hints and tips; ask a question or post a photo and ask people to post a caption. I hope that this brief article will help you with your Facebook engagement – if you have any other ideas, please let me know. Photo courtesy of Master isolated images

Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: See advert opposite The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 41

integrating with the locals. I particularly enjoy this area of France, we are ideally placed in the Gâtine hills, just an hour’s drive to the coast and with the beautiful Loire valley only 90 minutes away.

Is there anything you miss about the UK?

Obviously I don’t see as much of my friends and family as I would like. I have a grown-up daughter who lives in Harrogate and although she visits a couple of times a year, it would be nice to see more of her. On a less personal level, the things I miss most are a good curry and a typically English pub.

Away from work, what are your interests?

I enjoy gardening, cooking and walking the dogs. Summer evenings and weekends are mostly spent in the summer kitchen, cooking and dining al fresco. My “signature dish” is paella and I enjoy inviting friends and neighbours around to share a huge pan of food! I am a member of the Get Together Group and regularly attend their history group lectures in Menigoute and I try to take part in the monthly walks and lunches whenever work commitments allow. I love travelling, particularly to the Far East, and will be heading to north east Thailand early next year where Sally and I are getting married.


‘The DSM’ Interviews Brad Warden...




his month Brad Warden celebrates the 7th anniversary of the opening of the Niort office of Blevins Franks. We caught up with him recently to find out more about the man behind the regular financial features.

What originally brought you to France?

I had been working in the financial services industry for over 20 years in Yorkshire, when I was approached by a former colleague who worked for Blevins Franks, who told me that they were looking for someone to open up an office in the Poitou-Charentes region. I knew that the company were well established and had an excellent reputation in Europe, and I had always dreamed of living in France, so the opportunity was too good to miss.

Do you have a home here?

Yes, I live in La Chapelle Thireuil in Deux Sèvres with my fiancée Sally and our rescued pets. We have two setter/collie crosses Benjamin and Billie who were adopted from the charity Phoenix Association, and a cat named Baxter who we found abandoned in the forest as an 8 week old kitten. One thing I was very keen to do was to separate work from home and my first priority on arriving in France was finding an office. I enjoy the discipline of commuting to work every day and feel that having a permanent base creates a more professional image.

I am always up for a challenge and recently Sally and I took part in the Monte Carlo or Bust Banger Rally as one half of the Dumbarton Doodahs team. Some readers may have followed our exploits in ‘The DSM’. We successfully completed the journey in a car which had cost us €100, having lots of laughs and raising money for charity along the way. We are hoping to plan another adventure for next year, although ideas are just in the planning stages at the moment.

Do you have any tips for people thinking of moving to France? I think preparation is key. I meet quite a number of people who have “drifted” into their life in France, without planning ahead. Some people put off sorting out their finances, tax affairs and wills and this can potentially be quite risky.

If I am speaking to someone before they buy a place in France, I often suggest that they rent a property initially. What may be a delightful retreat for a couple of weeks in the summer can be a different proposition in the midst of a French winter! I also encourage people to think ahead as to whether the property will be suitable in later years. I have met a number of retirees who have taken on a large house with land which they have found too much to manage as they have grown older. Similarly, an isolated property can be peaceful and picturesque, but as people become less mobile, they tend to need amenities such as a supermarket, and doctor or pharmacy close by.

What about your plans for the future?

We have the wedding next year to look forward to. After that, it will be business as usual. Our plan is to remain in France permanently and although there may be some hurdles and more red tape following the Brexit decision, there will probably be more British people looking for help and advice which is the most satisfying part of my job.

What do you enjoy most about living in Deux-Sèvres?

I love the relaxed way of life and the lack of materialism. Obviously the summer weather is a huge plus, however I have yet to experience the micro-climate of mild winters which we were promised when we moved here! I like the sense of community spirit in our local village and enjoy taking part in social events and

Photo: Brad with fiancée, Sally and their dogs, Benjamin and Billie. © Sally Coppack 2016

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Going Back to the UK?


by Isabelle Want

ell, I guess not everybody is happy in France. Some of you may wish to go back to the UK or leave for sunnier countries like Spain - so this month, I will advise you on some things that you need to do.

Tax. You must inform your local tax office by a simple letter with your new address in the UK on it and the exact date of departure from France.

French health system. You must write to them (CPAM, MSA or RAM, etc.) informing them that you are no longer living in France and send them the carte vitale back. Obviously, it is best to do this once you have left France in case you have an accident on the way back! health top up insurance. You can ask CPAM to send you a letter stating that you are no longer on the French health system and that is sufficient to cancel any top up insurance. With Allianz, a proof of address in the UK or proof that you are covered by the NHS is enough to cancel your top up, but it really depends on who you are insured with. house insurance. If you have sold your house in France, the certificate of sale given to you by the Notaire on the date of the signing of the deeds is what insurance companies need to cancel your house insurance cover. You will then be reimbursed any cotisations taken from the date of the signing. If you haven’t sold the house and are keeping it as a holiday house, just write to your insurance company to inform them that it is now a holiday home (the premium is cheaper for holiday homes). You may want to amend the amount of the content covered as well. car insurance. Proof of car insurance in the UK is enough to cancel your car insurance contract in France. If you have sold the car, then the insurance company needs the sale certificate (certificate de cession). Insurance companies cannot cancel car insurance contracts

just because you tell them to - they are obliged by law to make sure the car is insured as it is a French law obligation. self-employed with rsi. If you decide to stop your activity prior to departure, you must write to the Centre des Formalités des enterprises (Your local CFE) to inform them of the date of the “cessation d’activité” (the exact date you wish to stop your business). They will then inform RSI who will in turn send you a letter with a final bill. professional insurances. The letter from RSI or CFE stating the ‘cessation d’activité’ is what your insurance company needs to cancel your professional insurance. bank accounts. Best to keep them open for at least 2 months after you leave, especially if you paid most things by Direct Debit. Direct debits cannot be stopped straight away (it takes one month) and the reimbursement will usually be made by direct debit. So keep your French account open until you are sure everything is sorted. conclusion. I’m not sure I am going to sell many insurances or investments by telling you how to leave us, but I always feel that my job is to accompany my customers all the way! So you can be sure if you join us that we won’t let you down even if France has disappointed you. And remember to check out our web site where you can now subscribe to our newsletter showing each new monthly article. You can also follow us on Facebook: ‘Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Thierry Hatesse’. No Orias: 07004255

Isabelle Want: BH Assurances, Ruffec 05 45 31 01 61 or 06 71 30 39 11 Email:

Permanent Establishment in France?


e all know that conducting business in France can be complicated. Manoeuvring through legislation can prove to be a tough job and become terrifying for any foreign individuals looking to do business over here.

For that reason, a few too many Brits still do business in France through a UK company whilst only having limited or no trading activities in the UK. Is this really how things should be carried out? A permanent establishment is where a company has a presence in a country through which trade is carried out. It is generally defined as a fixed place of business, usually a building, an office, a shop or even a non-independent agent of the non-resident company that regularly concludes contracts on its behalf. A permanent establishment, whilst being part of a legal entity based in the UK should still register with the French Company Register. To do so, you will be required to provide a copy of the UK company’s articles, a registration certificate from the UK and proof of identity for the person empowered to act on behalf of the company. Registration can be completed by filing an M0 form.

by Adam Nicol, Office Director Tours Office.

Should authorities here demonstrate that you are regularly trading in France through a permanent establishment, you may run the risk of being asked to reproduce company tax returns for previous years to allow for recovery of any tax liability that should arise. Although the French tax system is commonly reputed to be onerous, some company-friendly tax measures do exist, one of those being a tax rate of 15% for profits of up to 38 120 euros for small companies. You may find that tax pressure on your company isn’t much higher than in the UK but any changes will need a wide scope review including national insurance cover. If you should need any advice on conducting your business in France in English, Grant Thornton is a leading financial and business advisor in France with national coverage and an office based locally in Tours. We focus on understanding what is important to our clients to help them change, grow and evolve. For any advice on your business in France why not get in touch?

Member countries for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have agreed that profits made by a permanent establishment are to be taxed as if the permanent establishment was an independent going concern in the country it is trading in. But what does all that mean? Essentially, although you may feel that by having a company in the UK and doing business in France you’re tax compliant having provided and filed a set of financial statements and produced a company tax return in the UK, you may not be.

Grant Thornton - French Chartered Accountants 02 47 60 56 56 Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 43

Preparing for Future Transfers

Ask Amanda

“There has been widespread media attention on Underfunded Pension Schemes this year. What does this mean and what are the implications for those on defined pension schemes?”

A number of companies offer, or have offered, Defined Pension Schemes to employees. In a Defined Pension Scheme an employer promises to pay a specific benefit to employees upon retirement. Where a company expects to pay out more in total pension benefits than it currently has in its pension fund it has a deficit that will need additional funds to meet its pension obligations. An Underfunded Pension Scheme today, with your retirement due in the future, is not necessarily a cause for undue concern. However, understanding how companies you may have worked for and may be expecting future pension incomes from are preparing for your retirement is certainly a prudent exercise and I am happy to provide you with a letter template you can use to send to your historic employers regarding this. If you find the deficit in your company scheme is not improving, expatriates do have options to move those pensions into a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) and we have seen instances where the company in question will actually offer an enhanced sum to leave the scheme. This is because reducing the number of people due future benefits can also reduce the company’s pension scheme deficit. If your company pension scheme was not a defined benefits scheme it is still worth reviewing recent annual statements with a financial adviser to ensure you have adequate provisions for your retirements, whilst you are still working and able to make changes should you foresee a risk of a shortfall. QROPS are not right for everyone and it is important that you take advice from a regulated company with a strong track record of customer service in France.  Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. With Care, You Prosper. Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lausanne, Paris, Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Mallorca, Rome. «The Spectrum IFA Group  » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 «Société de Courtage d’assurances» R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - «Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Fin

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

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

by Sue Cook

This is a question I was asked recently and I thought I would share it as it may be relevant to a number of you...

Q: I expect to receive some inheritance from the UK that I would like to transfer to France where I am now living. What can I do to prepare my transfer and avoid losing money if Sterling drops against the Euro? This is an increasingly common question for many expats who have made the move from the UK to France, leaving behind older loved ones. Indeed, the requirement to move money to or from the UK for a wide array of reasons, from property purchase to ongoing pensions transfers, is a question that’s regularly raised by readers. Whatever the reason for your international transfer, you always want to ensure you make the most of your money. Currency markets are constantly moving, so being prepared and aware of the various transfer services available could make a big difference to the amount of money that arrives into your destination currency account. If you are about to receive an inheritance, you may not be aware of all details such as the exact amount or a clear timeline for your transfer. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t start preparing and considering your options. Currency transfer specialists offer a wide range of services to match all of your requirements; here are just some that could suit your needs:

Forward Contract

The GBP to EUR exchange rate has fluctuated a lot in recent months. Frustratingly, you may see the rates reach a point where you would like to proceed, but do not have the funds in place to make the transfer. With a forward contract, you can decide to lock the rate and transfer at a later date; this means you could benefit from your chosen rate whenever you receive your inheritance (potentially weeks or months in the future).

Rate Alert

If you are unsure of the amount you will have to transfer or don’t want to commit to a Forward Contract, keeping an eye on the markets will be key. By setting up a Rate Alert, you tell the currency specialists your desired rate and currency, and they will notify you when the market has reached your chosen rate. At that point, you can choose to proceed if you wish, or simply revise your alert to a newly chosen rate. Whatever your reason for a currency transfer, ensuring that you choose the right provider, service and time is essential. Speak to a currency specialist for expert guidance on the markets and products best suited to your needs.

Sue Cook, Currencies Direct 05 55 03 66 69 or 06 89 99 28 89 Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016 | 45

Turning Back Time...


by Joanna Leggett

tone-clad walls and towers, wooden ceiling beams, marble fireplaces with grand staircases – just some of the many incredible features which can be found in historic French homes!

For many, the dream is to live in a medieval castle or perhaps an 18th century château. Though it might seem to be unaffordable, here in Deux-Sèvres it is still possible to buy an historic property for a very reasonable price! Whimsy is the word for an imposing 15th century squareset tower for sale (Leggett reference 68875, photo left). Not far from Chef Boutonne, it was once the stair tower (now the final remnants) of the ancient castle of Gournay. Architecturally, the octagonal base has moulded cantilevers giving the tower its distinctive shape on the upper storeys. Each of the four floors is a separate apartment comprising two bedrooms, bathroom, living and kitchen. Though it needs renovating, set within a sunny acre of grounds, this historic tower would make an amazing family home or perhaps B&B! On the market for 224 700€. Argenton-les-Vallée is a lovely small village in northern DeuxSèvres. Set in the ruins of its medieval château, overlooking the valley, is a beautiful 19th century manor house (ref: 46949, photo top right), together with two ancient chapels, three small cottages and other outbuildings, all surrounded by original ramparts and gated entrance. And what scope there is here! The seven

bedroomed manor is well maintained, but could benefit from some modernisation. Many original features include marble fireplaces, oak flooring and grandeur yet intrinsically it’s very liveable. Five acres of gardens and grounds slope down to the river and there’s potential – from family home to chambre d’hôte or gîtes. For sale at 495 000€. But if you would prefer something already restored to its full glory just oozing character from every exposed stone to bespoke joinery with original staircases, then a stunning logis in Assais les Jumeaux (ref: 35650, photo left) is currently for sale for 348 740€. Set within two acres with mature trees and garden, outbuildings and heated swimming pool, this five bedroom, four bathroom property is already a wonderful family home with guest accommodation – again ideal for B&B and gîte! This is a truly stunning property – its stone façade is punctuated with two towers; in one there’s a beautiful stone spiral staircase curving up to the balcony room - a place where dreams come true! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents. com/poitou-charentes-property

Leggett Immobilier



Ref: 67210 Just a short walk from the village is this well presented 3 bedroom bungalow with neat garden and garage. SAUZE VAUSSAIS €93,500

Ref: 66688 Lovely old 3 bedroom farmhouse in a small hamlet, 35kms from Niort. Attached barns, garden and stream. LE BUSSEAU €162,410

Buying or selling?

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 68877 Historical and impressive 15thC village centre property with many original features, 1 acre and outbuildings. GOURNAY €205,200

Ref: 68073 Spacious 4 bed / 2 bath Charentaise house with a cottage to refurbish, large garden and a workshop. BRIOUX SUR BOUTONNE €267,500

Ref: 68802 Create your dream home spacious 3 bedroom town house in need of renovation with garden & outbuilding. MONCOUTANT €48,000

Ref: 69372 Stunning family home in a discreet position complete with 37m of river frontage, jetty and a swimming pool. THOUARS €440,960

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

Tel:05 53 60 84 88 or 0800 900 324 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016

Profile for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres (79) and surrounding area.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, November 2016  

English language magazine for the French department of Deux-Sèvres (79) and surrounding area.

Profile for thedsm