The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine October 2019 issue

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

Welcome! to Issue 102

of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine.

Just as we thought we had said farewell to the last of our visitors... I was doing some light hoeing in the vegetable patch when I heard a ‘chomping’ noise behind me. On looking round I saw a large creature on the compost heap munching on a decomposing courgette. Ascertaining it was a cat and not a rat, and that we don’t have a cat, I called Anna to come and have a look. Her motherly instincts kicked in and she beetled off to get some tuna for the emaciated puss, which it wolfed down. The following day I left for a week in the UK. On my return, the cat is still with us, is having two hearty meals a day, has its own food and water bowl, a fluffy cat bed and is called Fabergé. Having two children allergic to cats and not wanting Fabergé squirting his scent on our furniture, if he wants to stay, he will have to live in the outhouse. We have been a dog family for the past fourteen years and are not used to the ways of Br’er cat. Having lunch we heard a scrabbling at the back door and saw the cat appearing through the glass as, spiderman-like, he clambered up the fly screen. In bed that evening as we were nodding off there was a commotion at the window, the passion vine started shaking aggressively and two eyes appeared through the darkness. Fabergé is struggling to accept the concept of living outside. The cat is not the only one taking time to adjust. Our Labrador never used to leap on the table and lick the food when we weren’t looking or sink its claws into our legs as it scrambled onto our laps. The dog, on the whole, seemed to do what it was told. But, I’m sure, over time, we will get used to each others ways. Whether you have a cat on your lap or dog at your feet, we hope you enjoy our September issue of the magazine.

à la prochaine Stephen & Anna

Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 Email: Website:


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

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Adrian Butterfield (Handyman) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) All Seasons Cleaning Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) Arbes et Abeilles (Plant nursery) ARB French Property

4 6 12 14 17 18 24 25 26 27 28 30 32 37 38 41

41 32 2 35 20 39 36 21 43

Ark 79 (Animal Charity Association) Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) Bayleaf Books Beaux Villages Immobilier BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want Big 3 Day Book Fair (Hope association) Blevins Franks Financial Management Building & Renovation Services Cabinet Papin Immobilier Château L’Orangerie (Chambre d’hôtes) Cherry Picker Hire Chez Lou (Upholstery and Furniture) Chris Bassett Construction Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) Cindy Can Help (Translation services) CJ Electricité Clare Sweeney Cleaning Clean Sweep Chimney Services Cosmetic Contour Craft Fair and Farmers’ Market Darren Lawrence Discover Yoga ELG Translation Services Firewood Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) Green and Tidy (Gardening Services) Hallmark Electricité Helen Booth (deVere Group) Hiley Location (Groundworks) HMJ (Renovation service) Inter Décor (Tiles and Bathrooms) Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries Jeff’s Metalwork John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic Jon the Carpetman J.W.Services (General building work) Keith Banks Pool Services La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) Le Bon Co’ Thé - (Pâtisserie) Leggett Immobilier Le Regal’on (Bar and Restaurant) LPV Technology (IT services) Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction MD Project Management Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning and Services) Michael Glover (Plasterer, tiler, renderer)) Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) Mike Sweeney (Sports car and motorcycle specialist) ML Computers Motor Parts Charente Mushroom Festival Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) Pinnacle Garden Care Plombier 85 (Plumbing, Heating, Sanitation) Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) Restaurant des Canards R J Coulson Building Services Rob Berry (Plasterer) Robert Mann (Upholstery) Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) Saugé Vintage Tea Room Simon the Tiler Smart Moves - Removal company Steve Coupland (Property services) Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) Strictly Roofing Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) Sunny Sky Cars (Cars, Motorhomes and Vans wanted) The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre The Fixer - Rick Denton The Hope Association The Perfect Pig Company Tony Wigmore(IT services) Town Renovations Val Assist (Translation Services) Van For Sale - Ford Transit Vienne Tree Services Zena Sabestini (Translation service)

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© Anna and Stephen Shaw 2019. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anna and Stephen Shaw accept no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Anna and Stephen Shaw 2 Jaunasse, Louin, 79600 Tél: 05 49 64 21 98. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anna and Stephen Shaw. Crédits photos: Anna and Stephen Shaw, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: octobre 2019 - Tirage: 4500 exemplaires. Siret: 839 041 282 00014 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 48 839 041 282

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 3

What’s On... 5 - ANGLO/FRENCH QUIZ at the salle des fêtes, Cersay. Meal, quiz and entertainment 15€. Starts 7pm. Tel: 06 42 78 85 41. 5-6 - FÊTE ART ET PLANTES 2019 at Château Colbert, Maulévrier. 10am-7pm on Saturday and 10am-6pm on Sunday. Entry is 5€. 5-6 - EXHIBITION CITROËN in Cerizay. One hundred years of Citroën – old vehicles, enamelled plates, old posters etc. Held in the Salle Léo Lagrange on Saturday 12pm-7pm and Sunday 10am-6pm. Entry fee 2€. See poster on page 6 for more information. 6 - LA PARTHENAISIENNE 2019 in Parthenay. 5km walk departing at 10am from Parc des Sports L’Enjeu to raise money for Cancer. Register online via 6 - FÊTE DES PLANTES AND FARMYARD ANIMALS in Bressuire, (château grounds). Sixty exhibitors, organic products, workshops, children’s games and refreshments. From 8am-7pm, entry 3€. 7-12 - FESTIVAL ‘LE 4ÈME MUR’ NIORT. Street art festival with three artists painting open air ‘art galleries’, including English painter and cartoonist Will Barras. For more information go to 9-20 - FESTIVAL ECLATS DE VOIX. Various events in and around the communes of Bressuire exploring the many facets of the current vocal scene. For more information go to festivals/2019/07/26/programme-eclats-de-voix-2019-bientotligne See poster on page 6 for more information. 12 - AVF JOURNÉE DES NOUVEAUX ARRIVANTS. Newcomers to the area are invited to meet new friends through a guided visit around the town of Parthenay. Meet from 2pm at the Maison du Patrimoine, Parthenay. See the article on page 13. 13 - MUSHROOM FÊTE in La Couarde. Guided picking from 8.30am. All day exhibition and stands, local producers market, demonstrations, pony rides, carousel and refreshments. For further information go to ev/514854/52769/fete-des-champignons 12-13 - MUSICAL CELEBRATIONS IN MOUTIERS-SOUS-ARGENTON. Celebrating the tenth anniversary of the restored organ. A variety of concerts and musical styles including classical and a selection of music from the movies. See article on page 6 for more information. 12-13 - BOOK FAIR in Niort. For further information visit www. 13 - CONCERT AT THE OLD CHÂTEAU in Airvault. Ten organ winders will gather at the château from 3pm-5pm. Free entry. This is weather dependant and will be cancelled if it rains. Poster page 7. 18-20 - HOPE ASSOCIATION’S BIG 3 DAY BOOK FAIR in SauzéVaussais from 10am- 4pm. Thousands of English and French books, DVDs and CDs for all ages. Bric-a-brac, plants, fish and chips and much more. See poster on page 8.

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

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: Markey’s pork ‘n’ pies Traditional British cooking Sat: Fontenay-le-Comte (marché), Vendée and at Saint-Jean-d’Angély (marché intérieur), Charente-Maritime Sun: Aulnay (marché), Charente-Maritime Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

OPEN mornings

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

19-20 - MOTORCYCLE SALON AND COMPETITION at La Mothe Saint-Héray. Saturday - exhibition and competition at the Orangerie. Sunday - The historic climb 11th edition. Rare or exceptional vintage vehicles. For more information tel: 06 70 37 76 93. 19-20 - NATIONAL FINAL OF DOG DANCING in Bressuire. Around 130 competitors will present choreography with their dogs to their chosen music and theme. Free entry. Poster on page 7. 19-20 - AUTUMN FÊTE DES PLANTES in Plaine-d’Argenson. The 40th festival of plants and gardens at Domaine de Pere. More than 100 exhibitors from the world of gardens - botanists, nurserymen, horticulturists, designers etc. Visit 20 - HALF-MARATHON OF ‘LA COULÉE VERTE’. The 30th edition of this popular 8km race and handi sport. Sports activities for children, music, many prizes to be won including a car and two electric bikes! See the full programme on 24 - YESTERDAY (Film in English) in the Salle Belle Epine, La Châtaigneraie. Starting at 8pm. 24 - EARLY CANARD’S MAD FANCY DRESS QUIZ NIGHT at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on page 29 to make a reservation.

what’s COMING UP... 10 - November - CRAFT FAIR AND FARMERS’ MARKET in Le Retail. 9am-6pm. See poster on page 7 for more information. 23 - November - ALL SAINTS VENDÉE CHRISTMAS CRAFT FAIR in salle, Puy-de-Serre. Exquisite hand made crafts, cards, Christmas gifts, Christmas produce and soft furnishings. 11am-3pm. Free entry.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS: 15 17 18 12 113

SAMU (Medical Advice) Gendarmes (Police) Pompiers (Fire Service) European Emergency Drugs and Alcohol

La Vendée Chippy Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent NEW VENUE for Friday nights starting Fri 11 Oct Fri: ‘Bar...Miton’, 14 rue Jean Marie Mellisson, Antigny Sat: Last of month : Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil We will be closed from Weds 9 to Weds 16 Oct inclusive except Fri 11 Oct, our 1st night at Bar...Miton, Antigny Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

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

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Ballans 17160 La Chapelle 16140 St Jean d’Angély 17400 Les Essards-Saintes 17250

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm

...october 2019 LOCAL MARKETS



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

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2019

6th October 31st October 1st November 11th November 25th December

Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grands-Pères) Halloween All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël) (Dates in bold=Public holidays)

Don’t forget! Clocks go back an hour on

Sunday, 27 October

at 3:00 AM

TOP HAT QUIZ Nights 3: Chef Boutonne 7: Limalonges 9: Aigre 14: Theil Rabier Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

EVERY MON & WED 2PM-6PM Duplicate Bridge at Civray. Lessons available free. Contact Marian Green: 05 49 27 14 52 or email: EVERY TUES AT 5PM Belote at Café des Sports, L’Absie. EVERY TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Painting Workshops. Please see EVERY WEDs AT 2PM - 4PM - Charity shop, café and cats at the Funny Farm Cat Rescue, St Germain-de-Longue-Chaume. EVERY WEDS - Franglais Bressuire 8-10pm in term time at the Centre Socio-culturelle. EVERY THURS AT 7PM - Scottish Dancing at Café des Belles Fleurs. EVERY THURS FROM 8PM - Quizwitch Quiz at le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle. 2.50€. In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. EVERY THURS - Jean David Art Group at L’Absie. For times contact Jean on tel: 06 52 93 33 60. EVERY THURS - Franglais group in Montournais. Contact Penny Homewood 02 51 63 31 21 or EVERY FRI AM - Reaction Theatre’s Art Scene meet in Secondigny. Contact Jane Trescothick: EVERY FRI 6PM-7.30PM - Line Dancing at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. Contact: or 05 49 10 37 80. EVERY SUN 2PM-5PM - Chats de Châtillon Adoption/Visiting afternoon. All other times tel: 06 85 63 55 94 EVERY OTHER THURS AT 6.30PM - Franglais Group at Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds. 2nd Tues of Month AT 8PM - Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne. 3RD WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM Franglais Group at Café Pause!, L’Absie. Last FRI of month - Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale. Chez Sue and Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2pm-5pm) tel: 02 51 51 00 96.

CHURCH NOTICES... The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, holds English speaking services. The Filling Station - Poitou-Charentes. Local Christians of all denominations who meet for spiritual renewal and evangelism. www. or Carolyn Carter on 05 45 84 19 03. 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. The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship hold meetings throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. Contact Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) meets at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11.00am (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun).



Mon: Charroux Tues: Sauzé-Vaussais (main square) Weds: Chef Boutonne (near château) Thurs: Sauzé-Vaussais - Eve (main square) Fri: Ruffec (Baobab car park)

4 Fri: Genneton - Café de la Mairie 6.30 - 9pm 18 Fri: Genneton - Café de la Mairie 6.30 - 9pm Every Tuesday evening in October at Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes - L'Embuscade 5.30 - 8pm

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

Tel: 06 23 25 48 36

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 5

Getting Out & About Chez Christie’s

CHRISTMAS CARDS NOW IN ! GREAT GIFT IDEAS : Calendars, Diaries, Tapestry, Scarves, Mugs, Candles, Puzzles & So Much More ! DELICIOUS HOME-BAKING

Cream Teas, Cupcakes, Brownies, Rich Fruit Cake, Bread Pudding …

ENGLISH BOOKS from only 0,50 € INTERNET ACCESS & PRINTING Thousands of Books & Cards Online :


* Closed from Friday 25th October REOPENING FRIDAY 8TH NOVEMBER GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie

Siret: 47876969800018

Musical Celebrations in Moutiers-sous-Argenton


To celebrate the tenth anniversary of its new life in France, a musical festival will be held on 12 and 13 October 2019. PleinsJeux has carefully planned a musical programme which will include English organ music as well as other performance styles, in four distinct sequences.

Sunday 13 October

Saturday 12 October

ince it was brought over from England and restored in 2007-2008, the beautiful English organ (dated 1899) installed in the parish church of Moutiers-sous-Argenton (Deux-Sèvres) by association Pleins-Jeux, has already provided magnificent musical events.

• •

4.30pm - English organ music (free entry). 6pm - Thirty musicians from the philharmonic orchestra of Bressuire’s music school will play a selection of film music (free entry). A drink will be served to all following this part of the concert. 7pm - a fish and chip supper will be available to all, at the price of 10€ per person (reservation only - tel: 05 49 74 14 98 or 05 49 65 75 95).

8.30pm - the programme will continue with Celtic music (entrance fee of 8€ per person): Irish music by five musicians from the Failte Musique group, from Fontainebleau. A piece of bombard and organ music by two Breton musicians from Sarzeau (Britanny).

by Jean-Paul Barbiche

2pm - Breton organ music and songs followed by traditional Irish music (entrance fee of 8€ per person). A drink will be served to all following this part of the concert. 5.15pm - Choir songs by the Ceridieze Ensemble from Cerizay (Deux-Sèvres) and the beautiful Mozart Requiem by a group of 50 choir singers (entrance fee 8€ per person). 7pm - A drink will be served to all.

The organ’s eight varieties of sounds will be introduced at each different part of the concert by Damien Serot (organist at Deauville and Vendôme).

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

Celebrating ten years of French residency - the beautiful English organ (dated 1899) installed in the parish church of Moutiers-sous-Argenton.

We post regular updates, things to do and promote special offers on our page, so why not pop over and say “Hello”! 6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019



Last month one of our readers received an email supposedly from Centre Des Finances Publiques informing them that they were due a ‘remboursement’ of 280€. They needed to fill out an attached ‘formulaire’ supplying their credit card and bank details to claim this sum within ten days. They were very suspicious so rang the Centre des Impôts at Fontenay-leComte. It was indeed a fraudulent email and they got the impression that they were not the first to query this. If you are not familiar with the French Tax system reimbursements are paid directly, they do not need to be applied for.


Simply register on our website:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 7

Letter from Blighty (September) Dear Frankie Autumn is here. The nights are drawing in, the mornings are colder, there’s an unwelcome nip in the wind, and some trees are showing the first signs of autumn colour. That said, those trusty harbingers of winter (wormcasts on the lawn and cobwebs etched with dew) have yet to appear. Politically, winter has already arrived. Parliament has been prorogued amidst unprecedented scenes of disorder. The PM insists that he is working hard to secure a deal with the EU (not much sign of that, though). At the same time, Parliament has bound him to eschew ‘no deal’, while he sticks to our leaving the EU on 31 October ‘no ifs, no buts’ and obeying the rule of law. So, something is going to have to give. Will the Prime Minister, assisted by Dominic Cummings (his latter day Thomas Cromwell), produce some amazing rabbit out of the hat at the last minute? Will the EU blink at one minute to midnight? Or are we after all destined, like Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, to jump off the cliff together at the end of October? Don’t ask me! Saturday brings us the Last Night of the Proms, arguably best listened to on the radio so that one avoids all that flag waving and the embarrassing sight of middle-aged men in silly costumes bobbing up and down to the Hornpipe. My scanning of the newspapers has produced the following miscellany: (a) Meng Meng, a giant panda at Berlin Zoo, produced twin cubs (a rarity). Important arrivals, given that the population of giant pandas worldwide is said to be as low as 1,860; (b) Ash Dykes, a Welshman aged 28, has walked the full 4,000 mile length of the Yangtze River and is claiming a world record. It took him a year and included two days stalked by wolves; (c) The Rev. Richard Coles became trapped in a friend’s spare room during the Edinburgh Festival when the door handle refused to work. He turned to social media for advice (in the middle of the night) and found the response ‘climb out of the window’ unhelpful as he was on the fourth floor. He finally managed to rouse his friend who released him but not before he had had to endure the indignity of having had to pee in an ornamental flower jug. Sorry, probably too much information; (d) Roy Hudd, who played an undertaker in Coronation Street, once received a letter from another undertaker who signed himself off, ‘Yours eventually’; (e) Bandanas are back in fashion. £2.25 on or £420 from Dior, or £3,470 for a sequinembelished silk one from Matches Fashion; (f) A portrait of Michael Gove which ‘can be seen from space’ has been drawn (by an anti-Brexit campaigning group called Led by Donkeys) on the sands on the North Yorkshire coast and bears one of his own quotes that ‘the UK didn’t vote to leave without a deal’. Deaths this month have included Lord Bell, self-styled favourite adman of Margaret Thatcher and coiner of the slogan ‘Labour isn’t working’ for the 1979 election. Reputed to use the ‘blink system’ when negotiating fees. When a client asked how much his fees would be, he would reply ‘£100,000’ and then, if they didn’t blink, he would add ‘a month’. Among the top ten jokes at the Edinburgh Fringe was, ‘To be or not be a horserider, that is equestrian’. Finally (Scots look away now), there has been a lively correspondence in the papers about the merits of the bagpipes. One reader offered the definition, ‘an ill wind that nobody blows good’. Another offered the tale of a busker playing the pipes in Covent Garden who was approached by a listener who promised the player £10 if he would stop playing. And, lastly, the unkindest cut of all, ‘A gentlman is a man who knows how to play the pipes – but doesn’t’. Sorry, must try harder next month. Yours Johnny

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

hope association helping animals in need

big 3 day book fair

18th, 19th & 20th october 2019 • 10 am - 4pm hope shop 79, 17 route de civray 79190 sauzé-vaussais

- please

note that we are open for books only from 2pm to 4pm on thursday 17th for people with restricted mobility

thousands of english & french books, dvds & cds for all ages • bric à brac • pre-loved clothes • animal welfare associations • artisan market stalls • Eddie’s cards • Mary’s plants • hope café & burger bar • Pois Chic • Mr T’s fish & chips & much more !

hope charity shops

hope 16 le four à chaux, la tulette 16500 ansac-sur-vienne hope 79 17 route de civray 79190 sauzé-vaussais hope 87 11 avenue de la paix 87120 eymoutiers

N°RNA W792002789

Signs of Autumn by Sue Burgess


he season of autumn La saison de l’automne starts on the day of the autumn equinox l’équinoxe d’automne, a day when the day and night are of equal length de durée équivalente. In 2019, the equinox was on 23 September in the Northern Hemisphere l’hémisphère nord. Autumn is the season of warm colours des couleurs chaudes when the trees have red, yellow and orange leaves les arbres se parent de rouge, de jaune et de orange. The weather is often quite mild. The painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec said “L’automne est le printemps de l’hiver”, autumn is the spring of winter. A popular saying says Bel automne vient plus souvent que beau printemps a beautiful autumn is a more common occurrence than a beautiful spring. Autumn is the ideal season for savouring mushrooms, les champignons, apples les pommes, grapes les raisins, pears les poires and hot chestnuts les marrons chauds. Another sign that autumn is here is the opening of the hunting season l’ouverture de la chasse. In Deux-Sèvres the general hunting season opened on 8 September l’ouverture générale and closes on 29 February fermeture générale 2020. There are different dates for specific species. Whatever your opinion about hunting la chasse, it is a way of life in rural France. The numbers of animals and birds (game) le gibier that can be hunted is controlled prélevement maximum autorisé PMA - for example in DeuxSèvres for this season, partridges les perdrix are limited to three per hunter for each hunting day. The dates for the opening and closing of the hunting season les dates de l’ouverture et de fermeture de la chasse are fixed by a by-law issued by the prefecture un arrêté préfectoral. Hunters must have a licence to hunt un permis de chasse and the test for this has been changed this year. Autumn is characterised by the grape harvest les vendanges and in the Gâtine area of the Deux-Sèvres by apple picking la récolte des pommes.

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: le sanglier ................................... wild boar l’écureuil (m) ...............................


le hérisson ................................... hedgehog l’oie sauvage ............................... wild goose le lapin ........................................ rabbit la lièvre ....................................... hare le renard....................................... fox la biche........................................


le champignon............................. mushroom les noix ....................................... nuts (general term but specifically walnuts) les noisettes................................


les chataignes.............................

chestnuts (wild)

les marrons................................. chestnuts (cultivated) la citrouille.................................. pumpkin The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 9

Dogs and Ducks

by Susie Kelly

Many of the animal welfare associations ARK support were there with their stalls offering advice and products, all raising money for their causes.

ARK79 held their first summer fête on 7 September, in the beautiful grounds of le Petit Moulin at Sainte-Soline, thanks to the generosity of owners Simon and Sara Clark. Perfect weather and numerous stalls and activities made it an ideal family day out, with something for everybody to enjoy.

When the 300 ducks took to the river, the excitement mounted, with gamblers and spectators lining the banks of the river urging their ducks towards the winning post. It seemed there would be a photo finish between two ducks, when a back runner took the race with a late run.

Visitors were greeted by a great display of vintage and classic cars and the beautiful plants of Sue Flay, while in the courtyard live music played all afternoon thanks to Route 66 (Naomi and Rob Smith and Marie Wise). The tables were crowded as people feasted on a variety of foods, washed down with a selection of wines, beers and ciders, and there was a constant queue at the vintage ice cream van thanks to Vintage Ice. The release of three kestrels by Marie Barbancye was one of the highlights of the afternoon. These were injured birds that had been cared for by Marie at Centres De Soins Deux-Sèvres and were now ready to return to the wild. Seeing them taken from their boxes and given the chance to fly was a truly moving moment. Without hesitation they launched themselves into the air, circled around and then landed close to each other on a nearby tree. En Route Association’s fun dog show was certainly that! In the straw bale race some flew over the bales, some took their time and others ran around the outside of the fences. When it came to the fastest sausage eater, the quality did not please all the entrants, a few of whom turned up their noses, explaining that they were used to a finer cuisine. All the events were accompanied by laughter and wagging tails, and the dogs evidently enjoyed themselves, whether or not they understood the rules of each game.

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

This first fête was a great success and will be a regular annual event for ARK79. While ARK79’s raison d’etre is to raise funds for animal associations, they also like to help humans when they can. The duck race raised a total of 1,265€, half of which was donated to North Deux-Sèvres Cancer. The rest of the money will be distributed, together with that collected at the shop, at the end of the month. ARK79 publishes a list each month on their Facebook page: groups/745837262417668/ showing which associations have received financial help, and the amount donated.

Photographs by Kirsty Withams

View from the Vendée by Karen Taylor


ver noticed how French culture and history pop up on almost every street corner in France? Whether it’s a town, village or hamlet, or indeed in the great capital itself, you’ll often see streets with names from times gone by. The three main themes seem to be local landmarks, French political figures and important dates in French history. Just look around you and you’re bound to find an example of at least one of these names in your area. We live on rue du Pont, so even without a GPS you’re sure to find our street! As to important political figures, the Vendée has long been associated with Napoléon, so it’s no surprise to find that Place Napoléon, with its statue of the man himself on horseback, is at the heart of La Roche-sur-Yon. Similarly, rue Clémenceau, the main shopping street in La Roche, celebrates the life of Georges Clémenceau; he was Prime Minister of France during WWI, and was one of the signatories on the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. After retiring from politics in 1920, he spent his retirement years writing his memoirs in a small house in Saint-Vincent-sur-Jard on the now aptly named rue Clémenceau. The house is open to the public, so you can while away a pleasant few hours visiting his former home and wandering through the natural gardens overlooking the ocean. As to important dates in French history, who hasn’t driven down a rue 11 novembre or 8 mai at some time in their travels? So what’s the name of your street? Are you in the top 10 of the most common street names in France? Not sure? - have a guess, then take a look at the list below.

French Engineering Marvel of the month: The Channel Tunnel (Le tunnel sous la Manche)


he Channel Tunnel has the longest undersea portion of any tunnel in the world (23.5 miles) and cost £4.65 billion (£12 billion today), 80% more than expected. Construction took six years (1988-1994). Origins - French engineer Albert Mathieu-Favier first proposed a tunnel under the Channel in 1802 - it included an artificial island halfway across for changing horses. Further proposals were considered by Napoléon III in 1856 and William Gladstone in 1865, while David Lloyd George suggested the idea at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Tunnelling - The average depth of the tunnel is 50m below the seabed. Eleven boring machines were used, each as long as two football pitches. One remains buried under the Channel, another sold on eBay for £39,999. Ten workers were killed during the tunnel’s construction. Break through - Englishman Graham Fagg and Frenchman Phillippe Cozette carried out the ceremonial break through on 1 December, 1990. They didn’t quite meet in the middle - the English side tunnelled the greater distance. Leaves on the line - Three fires have occurred (1996, 2006 and 2012) inside the tunnel that were significant enough for it to close and in 2009, five trains broke down, trapping 2,000 passengers for 16 hours. Just passing through: • The Olympic torch travelled through the tunnel in 2012 on its way to London, the host city. • In 2009, racing driver John Surtees, drove a Ginetta G50 EV electric sports car through the service tunnel and in 2014 Chris Froome cycled through. • The Queen and President Mitterrand officially opened the tunnel on 6 May, 1994. The royal party travelled from Waterloo to Calais at a sedate 80mph. The presidential party sped to the coast from Paris at 186mph. • An average of 60,000 passengers, along with 4,600 lorries, 140 coaches and 7,300 cars pass through the tunnel each day. Interesting facts: • The lining of the tunnel is designed to last for 120 years. • Goods worth £120 billion go through the tunnel each year. • More than two million cats and dogs have travelled through the tunnel since 2000.

P.S. Perhaps the local dressmaker lived in our village in years gone by…. (see photo)

Karen runs a gîte business near the Vendée coast at:


Rue de l’Église 7,965 Place de l’Église 5,755 Grande Rue 3,943 Rue du Moulin 3,566 Place de la Mairie 3,430 Rue du Château 2,963 Rue des Écoles 2,779 Rue de la Gare 2,771 Rue de la Mairie 2,672 Rue Principale 2,452

© Wikimedia Commons/Mutzy

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 11

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

ARE THERE ANY CLASSICAL MUSICIANS OUT THERE? Parthenay based classical musician - flute ARCM (perf) clarinet, cello Grade VIII distinction and piano Grade VIII seeks other classical musicians - quartets, pianist etc. 05 49 64 17 40


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


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

French Lessons for English Speakers

Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), 4 Place Leopold Bergeon, 79150 Argenton-les-Vallées Classes: beginners or intermediate. Private lessons on demand. Contact: CLE (Charente Limousine Exchange). We organise trips exploring the region, lunches, quizzes and boules games for some light hearted fun. Forums on French tax and other relevant issues provide crucial membership support. President: Dave Brown 05 49 87 05 85 or THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:

The Jean David Art Group meets every Tuesday at Scillé (79), and Thursdays at Jean’s studio near Chef Boutonne (79). Classes cater for all media and all levels of students - beginners most welcome! For details, please visit www. or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.

Royal Air Forces Association Sud-Ouest France Le Perail, 17250 BEURLAY, France Tel: 0033 (0)5 46 95 38 89 Mobile: 0033 (0)6 89 90 55 82 Email:

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

Want to keep fit, have fun and make new friends? Join us at Vasles Netball Club (no experience necessary). We meet every Monday from 5.30-7pm at the Salle Omnisports in Vasles. For more information contact Lynn on 05 49 63 52 39 or mobile 0044 7527490241


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

Bi-lingual get-togethers in the Niort area.

Bi-lingual get-togethers throughout the year. A great opportunity to practice your language skills with French speakers in a social environment. Contact Helen Ace on 06 98 05 48 79

Combined Services Support Group (CSSG)

by Steve Marsden - Secretary CSSG

It’s been a very busy couple of months here at the CSSG. In August we had a tombola stall at Café Pause! L’Absie, at their one-year anniversary party. We made 188€ profit. I was also ‘auctioned off’, which raised 40€ (you’re not worth 40€ I hear you say, LOL!), in exchange for a couple of hours work, I was later put to good use on garden maintenance. On Sunday 8 September, there was a charity social event in Saint-Pardoux (tea and cakes were coming out of our ears). This raised over 200€, which I think you will all agree, is fantastic. A great time was had by all those who attended the event, so thank you for supporting us. A special thanks goes to John and Susan Blair for the use of their home and to all those who helped on the day. The CSSG also received a letter from BLESMA thanking us for the 500€ that they received in August. Who is BLESMA? The Limbless Veterans (formerly known as the British Limbless ExServicemen’s Association). This is a British charity that helps all serving and ex-servicemen and women who have lost limbs, or lost the use of limbs or eyes. They help to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. For those of you on Facebook who want to keep updated with what’s going on in the CSSG, I do advertise any events via the L’absie 30 minutes site and the Deux-Sèvres Network Facebook site which reaches out to over a 1000 Facebook users. Future 2019 events are as follows: • A Christmas Fair - 3 November at Fenioux (I know it’s early). • A CSSG tombola stall at Terves Christmas Fair - 1 December. • Also starting up are our winter board games’ afternoons. More details to follow, with dates. • The sponsored 10 mile walk was put on hold until November 2019, to allow people to get over the busy summer period and to have more training. If anyone is an ex-service person, or even if you are not but want to get involved helping raise money for both French and British services, please get in contact with me on cssgfrance@ or John Blair at We are always looking for new members. Ta ta for now.

CSDS LATEST NEWS by Carol Andrews - Secretary CSDS


t has been a busy few weeks at CSDS. In July the National president of Cancer Support France, Patricia Lockett and one of her colleagues Carol Quinlan (National Trainer) attended our meeting. We had a very informative day discussing projects, developments, data protection and confidentiality. We will be meeting up with them again later in the year.

New Arrivals’ Day Journée des Nouveaux Arrivants by Jane Henderson Saturday 12 October 2019

A local artist has kindly designed a new poster for us which we hope to have in doctors’ surgeries by the end of the year. When printed CSDS may ask for help in distribution, so please keep that in mind if you think you may be able to help. Thank you to the two families who made donations after the loss of loved ones. CSDS really appreciate their kindness at such a difficult time. We are also very grateful to Cheryl for keeping the regular quizzes going at Saint-Hilaire-de-Voust, and to Jacqui in L’Absie for all the fundraising she did in August pétanque, quiz evening and coffee morning (the cakes were delicious!). Also our thanks to Clare who closed Café Pause! so that she could help with the coffee morning. We understand Jacqui is hoping to make fundraising in August an annual event. The results of all your efforts have been amazing.

AVF, ‘Accueil des Villes Françaises’, is an association established throughout France dedicated to welcoming newcomers to an area, whether they are French nationals moving within France or foreigners moving from their country of origin to live in France. In August 2012 my husband and I moved to the Deux-Sèvres, south of Parthenay. At the beginning of September we joined the AVF hoping to meet new friends and discover new activities. We have not been disappointed. We have made new friends, both French and English, and have found ourselves involved in a variety of activities to keep us busy. The association was invaluable in helping us to integrate within the community and develop our language skills. Seven years further down the line we are still members of AVF with an established circle of friends, a busy social calendar and a marked improvement in our French language skills.

Vice-president Vinny Galloway (left) receiving a cheque for 800€ from Clare from Café Pause!, with Jacqui and Bernie (quizmaster), following the quiz night in L’Absie.

You can contact us on 06 40 77 27 35 or by visiting and following the link.

by John Blair

Keynotes Choir - We are busy practising for our many Christmas concerts - eight weeks to go! A tight schedule but if anyone can get us ready then Aidan Fairlie, our conductor, can! Out of Kilters - As with the choir we meet at Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux. Scottish dancing every Thursday evening at 7.30 - 9pm and Keynotes Choir every Friday afternoon 2 - 5pm. The Art Scene - The programme for October is as follows: • • • •

The AVF at their end of year picnic.

4 - Vronni Ward - the work of Emile Nolde 11 - Caroline Self - the style of Tamara Phillips 18 - Monique Carroll demonstating watercolours 25 - Painting your own subject

With all three clubs, no experience is required; assistance will be given and new members will be very welcome. Contact: for more information.

AVF offers a range of activities, run by the members of the association on a voluntary basis, and include a walking group, a French conversation group, an English/French exchange group, cards and scrabble evenings, craft activities, an art group, a singing workshop, a photographic competition, visits to gardens and restaurants and plenty of social events to mark the important dates in the French calendar e.g. Fêtes des Rois and Beaujolais Nouveau! The social evenings always include the sampling of local delicacies and the odd glass of wine! For the volunteers involved in the running of the association their motivation is first and foremost the enjoyment of meeting with others, wanting to work as part of a team and the wish to strengthen the bonds of friendship. October and November are, across France, the months for AVF to welcome newcomers to their new environment. We, the members of AVF in Parthenay, would like to invite anyone who has moved to the area within the last couple of years to come and meet us from 2pm on the afternoon of 12 October at the Maison du Patrimoine, 28 rue du Château, Parthenay; find out a bit about us and what we have to offer, enjoy a guided visit around the town of Parthenay and make some new friends. If you are interested and would like more details please get in touch. If you would like more details about AVF please email Jane Henderson at: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 13

Hobbies Back to basics - Part 2

by Alison Morton


ast month, we looked at publishing routes. This month, it’s down to some detail about choosing formats.

Some language around formats… Ebook does not equal self-publishing; all the big and small publishing houses make ebooks of their titles. Some publish the ebook version ahead of the printed book. Print on Demand (POD) does not equal self-publishing. Titles by best-selling authors will usually have an initial multi-thousand print run but may later become POD after the initial buzz lessens. Readers won’t recognise the difference except the POD version may be on better quality paper. Printed paperbacks do not signify traditional publishing. Many independent authors commission print runs as they are ultimately more economical per copy than POD after the first 500 copies. Ebooks vs. print books? Once a story is written and edited, a properly formatted ebook version can be produced relatively easily, then uploaded to a digital retail outlet within minutes. Stories in genres such as romance, crime and science fiction are sometimes only produced in this format at first. If the story sells well, then it may be produced in print format (after reformatting) either as a print run of a few hundred or thousand, or individually as print-on-demand. Limiting your book to one format cuts your potential audience as readers may have a strong preference for one format or other. ‘Hybrid’ readers may enjoy a physical book relaxing at home then switch to a Kindle while travelling, especially if they have cabin luggage only. Physical books take up space and are heavy. But a book chosen at an event and signed by an author is very special. The smell of fresh paper and the crisp pages all contained in a beautiful cover – heaven! So if you are going to events, giving talks or selling at fairs, then print versions will be needed. Ebooks can’t be loaned or shared (unless you have a super hacker teenage sprog) and the ereader will need charging now and again. While ebooks are usually cheaper than print books, I’ve noticed recently some large publishers are putting the ebook out initially at a higher price than the print book in order to encourage print book sales. But readers of ebooks live everywhere and you can easily sell your book worldwide online. Hardbacks are expensive to produce, and your buyers may not be willing to pay for them. You may want to produce a few hardbacks for friends and family, but I’d think very hard(!) if you were considering selling them. Traditional publishers often print a short run with special covers for collectors and for display during the initial six-week launch period. Audiobooks The fastest growing sector at present, they are usually produced as MP3s for digital download and sometimes as CDs. Traditional publishers now put out audio versions at the same time as other formats for titles they are sure will sell, but independent authors should reckon with spending around 2,000€ or negotiating a longterm profit share with the audio artist. Each format has its pros and cons. It’s worthwhile thinking these through before making any hard and fast decisions about the appropriate ones for your books.

Happy writing! Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon and in paper format at events. Her ninth book in the Roma Nova thriller series, NEXUS, came out in September. 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

YOUR Book Reviews Warm thanks go to Dennis Walby for sharing his book review with us.

If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

THE WAY BACK by Vincent Brome It is heartening that a book doesn’t have to be a ‘number one best seller’, to attract avid readers. My copy of The Way Back dates from the 1958 and was published by the Companion Book Club. It is a well worn and scruffy looking volume that would have even been thrown out by a charity shop. What inspired me to read it was Monty Halls’ TV programme about people who escaped over the Pyrenees during WWII. The book concerns this part of France and was a biography of Pat O’Leary, an extraordinary hero who could have stepped from the pages of a novel. Vincent Brome was an underrated biographer of the time and his account of double crosses, betrayal, but mostly bravery of ordinary people, makes for an exciting read. The account of ordinary people risking the passage over the Pyrenees in winter is chilling. Details of everyday people harbouring refugees, risking their lives for little reward other than compassion, is remarkable. There are also totally unscrupulous individuals who profited by the distress of others. I was hoping that the house we live in and the remarkable lady who owned it at one time, would feature somewhere. The house was on the ‘underground’ route from Paris, where Mary Magdeleine Davy was part of an organisation that rescued allied airmen and Jewish refugees. There must have been many such people and it would have been a surprise if I had found a mention. Vincent Brome’s style has prompted me to find other books he has written.

Take a Break - SOLUTIONs

Easy Crossword: Across: 1. badger 4. buckle 8. strop 9. Limoges 10. bleat 11. utopian 12. Swaziland 15. hairpin 16. abate 17. dubious 18. cairn 19. merger 20. rudder Down: 2. Attila 3. global warming 5. chopping board 6. leeway 7. illusionist 13. Canute 14. starve Toughie Crossword: Theme - detectives Across: 1. cracker 5. frost 8. mason 9. Barbary 10. Iona 11. ironside 14. nor 16. elves 17. ash 19. rosemary 20. scum 23. bulldog 25. morse 26. spade 27. sleuths Down: 1. campion 2. arson 3. king 4. rob 5. firmness 6. ocarina 7. thyme 12. rover 13. besmudge 15. rosella 18. hammers 19. rebus 21. carat 22. smee 24. gas Brain Gym: 1. The living room 2. He was too wrapped up in himself 3. They heard there was a cereal killer on the loose 4. It contains all of the letters in the alphabet 5. Ace of Diamonds, King of Hearts, Two of Spades 6. Pencil lead 7. You look in the mirror you see what you saw, you take the saw and you cut the table in half, two halves make a whole, and you climb out the hole 8. J (this is a sequential list of consonants) 9. a) no idea b) kiss and makeup THE FRANCOMETER 1. Train à Grande Vitesse 2. 324 metres 3. Parc Astérix 4. Lyon 5. May 1994 6. Édith Piaf 7. La Marseillaise 8. Spain, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Luxumbourg, Switzerland, Andorra, Belguim 9. Alfred Dreyfus 10. Louis XIV, known as the Sun King (Roi Soleil) 1643-1715 11. A motorway ringroad around Paris 12. The Millau Viaduct is the tallest bridge in the world 13. Last person to be executed in France by guillotine 14. The Sorbonne 15. Voltaire 0-5 points = “Ou...” 5-10 = “Ou la...” 10-15 = “Ou la la!”


Beekeeping Adventures

by Amanda and Kevin Baughen


s beekeepers in this part of France, late summer is one of the sweetest times of the year for us, mainly because we get to reap the benefits of all the hard work our bees have been doing. Yes, it’s time to harvest the honey... It’s one thing to check your hive and lick your lips at the sight of all the capped honey but quite another to get it out safely. In days gone by bees were kept in hives typically made out of straw, called skeps, but to extract the honey the hive was often destroyed and the bees were killed. These days we mostly use modular hives comprised of boxes containing frames and we encourage the bees to store their surplus honey in a small box (a ‘super’) above the main hive. We only take this surplus honey - after all, they’ve made it to feed them through the winter, not for us, so it would be unfair to deprive them of every last drop. At 13 Bees we use ‘clearer boards’, clever devices that are effectively one-way doors that we put between the super and the main hive when the honey is ready to be harvested. The bees that are in the super can only exit it and not re-enter so, 24 hours later, the super is empty of bees. We can then remove the honey frames without having to deal with possessive bees. This method of honey collection is relatively painless for all concerned as we’re not brushing bees off frames and getting stung in the process! To access the honey we have to slice off the wax cappings and then place the frames in a spinner. A few turns of the handle and the honey flies out of the cells, collecting in an amber pool at the bottom. The honey is then passed through a series of filters to remove any small pieces of wax. It’s important to pay attention at this stage as honey is unlike any other liquid in that it flows silently. This means that you won’t hear it splashing out onto the floor and you can end up with a very sticky mess if you’ve not kept an eye on it!

The Francometer How much of a Francophile are you? Wearing colourful trousers, carrying a baguette and shrugging a lot may convince some, but how much do you really know about l’Hexagone. Test yourself on all things French with our quick quiz. Maybe challenge a friend or loved one to see who knows more and will score higher on The Francometer? Q1.

What do the initials ‘TGV’ stand for?

Q2. Q3.

What is the height of the Eiffel Tower including the tip? (ten metres either way)

Q4. Q5.

Which city is furthest to the south Strasbourg, Lyon, Dijon or Rennes?


Miss Gassion was better know as?


What was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg?


Name the eight countries that border France?


Which artillery officer’s trial and conviction in 1894 on charges of treason became one of the most well known political dramas in modern French history?

Q10. Q11.

Who was the ‘Roi Soleil’?


Why is Millau, in southern France, in the Guinness Book of World Records?


Why did Hamida Djandoubi unfortunately become famous on 10 September 1977?


The University of Paris is better known by what name?


François-Marie Arouet is better known by which nom de plume?

Which themed amusement park in France is based on the stories by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny?

Which year did French President Mitterrand formally open the Channel Tunnel with Queen Elizabeth II?

In Paris, what is the Francilienne? 15



Answers on opposite page.

After a couple of days to allow any air bubbles to rise to the surface, the honey can be poured into jars ready to enjoy. If selling honey then there are a whole load of regulations around correct labelling, but if it’s for your own use, just eat it!

If you’re interested in keeping bees, for whatever reasons (honey, pollination, the environment), please visit our website or call us to find out more about the comprehensive beekeeping courses on offer. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 15

Patc hwor k an d Qu ilting My mum is a keen quilter, in fact she made me the quilt pictured, andI whilst I have always loved sewing,of have never ventured into the world g patchwork. In this article I am goin I to look at the basic techniques thatrk. believe you need to master patchwo You will need: • A rotary cutter or scissors. er • If you are using a rotary cutt . mat ng cutti a d nee will then you ntial - ‘fat quarters’ (see • Good quality quilting fabric is esse ic shops. You can even fabr t mos in below) are available l for the beginner. idea es, purchase ready-cut square piec are combining a you if ad, • Some good quality sewing thre stick to a light grey thread. to is bet safe a range of colours, decide to hand sew! • A sewing machine - unless you

by Nicola Chadwick

Stack the pieces, take them to the sewing machine and begin to sew. As with all sewing its more time consuming to keep getting up and down to collect individual pieces and you can become very confused. Let’s start with 16 squares - plan four columns and four rows to make it simple. Take the first two columns and place the two pieces right sides together, then from the top of the work, pile them together containing row one and two.

four - this way you can sit Repeat this for columns three and squares together without your all sew and at the machine getting up and down. the square pairs in each • Sew down the right-hand side of pile. row. • Put the pairs together to form each

1. Sew the columns

of fabric, normally cut to A fat quarter is a one-fourth yardthe advantage of being able you s give This measure 18” x 22”. s of fabric so you can mix to buy a small quantity of several typeall quilting measurements and match. I have come to realise that appear to be in inches.

2. Place in piles

5” square template with ¼ Cutting Out - I have created a 5” x this on my blog page at find can you and inch seam allowance simply cut squares to can you Or ance. the size and include a ¼ inch seam allow process then head to my If you prefer to watch the sewing /modelistecreative YouTube channel at

Firstly, you will need to master the technique of cutting out your fabric pieces. If you are using a rotary cutter then place your fabric on the cutting mat. Line the ruler up to where you want to cut and hold the ruler down with your non dominant hand. With your dominant hand roll the cutter along the edge of the ruler while pushing away from you, apply enough pressure to cut the fabric. Have a practice cutting some scrap pieces. If you are using scissors, make sure the squares are all the same size.

3. Sew the rows

Tip - stagger the seam allowance to avoid bulk so that you have one set of seam allowance laying to the right and the next to the left. Now take your piece to the iron and press - you can press open or flat. You have made your own individual piece of fabric!

them Once your fabric squares are cut out its time to sew or pieceme, as together. Quilters take a ¼ inch seam - that’s 6.35mm to te I can’t think in inches! Joking aside it is important to be accura your all piece to need will you as nce, with your seam allowa sections together.

My mum takes great care planning and I believe half the fun is matchin the position of each piece g the fabrics and creating a beautiful design, that is individual to you. Tip - once you have all your squares laid out, if you are crea ting a complex pattern, take a picture. 16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

Next month we will look at what we Nicola

can make with it.

Spotlight Tsiganes of Montreuil-Bellay


by Beryl Brennan

riving along the D347 from Montreuil-Bellay towards Loudun on your left are meadows in which cattle peacefully graze but which hide a deadly history for decades undocumented. It’s a history of suffering, famine, death - of whole families from young children to the elderly - generations lost. This was the internment camp of Montreuil-Bellay during WWII - for four years, for the Tsiganes - the nomads, street vendors, fairground workers.

Like Jews, whole gypsy families were interned - in January 1942 of the 453 interns, 77 were under six-years-old, 125 between 6-14 years, representing 44.5% of the intern population. Living conditions were dire, lack of basic supplies, people were hungry and cold. Winters were especially tough with one stove in each barrack but no fuel so people had to search for wood, burning even the pallets on which they slept. Hygiene was deplorable, no running water and only the clothes they arrived in which quickly wore to rags, as they had been forced to leave all their belongings in their trailers when they were arrested. Some work was provided by a Parisian company making camouflage nets and the interns were paid a small amount. Children were taught the basics of reading and writing by a couple of teachers from the Lorraine camp. Administration comprised a manager, bookkeeper, storekeeper, cook, nurse and a few nuns. Local doctors came to treat the sick. Then in September 1943 these administrators were arrested and deported to Germany. Many Tsiganes from northern France and Belgium were sent to Auschwitz and Birkenau where most of them died of starvation or illnesses following the pseudo-medical experiments of Doctor Mengele. Over 100 died in Montreuil-Bellay, mostly old or sick, and are buried in the town cemetery. Around 500,000 Tsiganes were exterminated during WWII.

By a law of 16 July 1912 all itinerant professions were required to carry an identity card. The head of the family had a notebook listing all the members of the group; children over the age of 13 had their own identity card. The notebooks and cards carried front and back profile photos, description of physical appearance, fingerprints of the ten digits and pages of visas on which stamps were affixed giving details of the arrival and departure from a locality. Caravans and trailers had a special licence plate and all these documents allowed the authorities to identify and control both the movements of the Tsiganes and also travelling workers and their families. Over the years, the term Tsiganes disappeared from administrative texts in favour of a single term - nomads.

On 4 and 10 July 1944 the camp was strafed by anglo-american forces, many internees escaped, were recaptured and locked in buildings.

After the outbreak of WWII, on 4 October 1939 the Germans ordered the internment of the Tsiganes and instructed departmental prefectures to apply this. On 6 April 1940 Albert Lebrun, Republique President, by law forbade the movement of Tsiganes for the duration of the war. On 29 April 1940 the Interior Minister specified certain places in several areas of departments where Tsiganes could camp, which had to be near a gendarmerie.

It has taken 70 years after the liberation of the last nomad internment camp for their suffering to be recognised, victims of a discriminatory regime, without silencing the faults of the State. The National Consultative Commission for the Gens du voyage continues to make an inventory of camps and interned people, and to write another page in the history of France.

Using forced labour of Spanish Republican soldiers who had fled their country, the camp at Montreuil-Bellay was built, 17 barracks and an underground cave converted into a jail, surrounded by barbed wire and watchtowers. In November 1941 it became a concentration camp administered by the Germans for the Tsiganes - whole families from a multitude of camps across the occupied zone. It was officially created to accommodate the 258 interns from Indre-et-Loire and in December a further 213 interns arrived from the Finistère camp. By August 1942 there were over 1000 people and by 1943 another 2000; everyone arrived by train and walked from Montreuil-Bellay station including young children. Over a quarter of the nomad population of France was interned at this camp.

On 16 January 1946, 172 Tsiganes were freed, 300 transferred to camps at Jargeau (Loiret) and 50 to Angoulême (Charente), the rest remained at Montreuil-Bellay until freed in March 1946. After which 800 German prisoners of war were housed there, guarded by a squadron of a regiment of Africans of the French army. In October 1946, cleared of barbed wire, barracks and watchtowers the site was returned to its owner, a pharmacist in MontreuilBellay.

The stone bases of barracks at Montreuil-Bellay are still evident as is the underground cave used as a prison - one cell for men, the other for women. The monument greeting the visitor at the entrance is created from bricks each bearing the surname of the internees. Behind this is a blue ceramic circle mirroring the clouds and sky above and symbolising the circle of life - freedom for the travellers. Carved around it is a phrase from a Tsigane poet ‘Freedom is the heart of men which keeps on beating and fighting despite the worst destiny’. As you drive by, spare a thought for the heartbreak and suffering of those therein interned during WWII.

Top left photo: The brick memorial - inside each brick are two surnames of internees. Bottom left photo: The mirror and sky memorial. Bottom right: The underground jail - no windows, inside are two cells, it was originally a wine cave!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 17

Home & Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers

‘October’s Party’ October gave a party; the leaves by hundreds came The Chestnuts, Oaks and Maples and leaves of every name. The sunshine spread a carpet, and everything was grand; Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band. The Chestnuts came in yellow, The Oaks in crimson dressed, The lovely Misses Maple in scarlet looked their best; All balanced to their partners, and gaily fluttered by; The sight was like a rainbow new fallen from the sky. George Cooper 1887


his is the month of definite colour changes in the garden. Almost gone are the bright, zingy scarlets, pinks and yellows of summer and instead we have rusts, maroons, deep reds, oranges and caramel. There will still be some of the late-summer perennials flowering, but the changing colour of the foliage all around, somehow mutes their shades. Autumn is a beautiful season, but one in which we gardeners can easily run out of time. The daylight fades faster, the mornings become darker and the temperature gradually changes and we need jackets or pullovers on when we work outside. Time is of the essence, with bulbs to be planted, shrubs to be moved, hedges to be laid and greenhouses to be made ready for protecting precious ‘specials’, so we have to be focussed and plan ahead. Although I love my flowers and all my plants, I like the opportunity to give everything a ‘good cut back’. I tackle trees, shrubs and perennials, then I can see how much space I actually have in the garden. Being able to see through to the other side of beds and borders, encourages me to have new ideas on what to put in those spaces. Also, in cutting back I know that everything will regrow with more vigour, get bigger, flower better and last longer. We are constantly being reminded of how good gardening is for our well-being and I’m inclined to agree with this. I always feel better if I have had a chance to spend some time outside. It does not all have to be hard work however. Just pottering, often results in getting more done than a planned four hour session….and so much more relaxing.

Making time to look at the garden, observe what wildlife we share it with, just deadheading…..all very valuable and worthwhile activities, as is just sitting outside, breathing in the air, watching what is going on and relaxing for a change. The work can wait for another day, the worst that can happen is the bulbs get planted a bit later, but they’ll just flower later in the spring, so it doesn’t matter! Now is the time to: • Lift cannas and dahlias if they are growing in an exposed spot, or mulch the crowns well with bark or compost. Mine, which are growing in planting boxes, seem to survive well by being mulched, then covered in fleece. Cut any spent flowers off and remove dead or damaged foliage. • Once temperatures begin to fall, cover lemon or orange trees in pots with fleece and reduce watering. Look out for a sticky, woolly deposit on stems. This is scale insect infestation. The insect feeds on the sap which it sucks through the stems. Wipe off any signs of this with a dilute soap solution on a damp cloth. • Remove any less hardy container plants into sheltered positions to protect from wind or frost damage. • Select and order spring flowering bulbs and keep an eye out for them appearing in the supermarkets and garden centres. Plant them as soon as you have bought them to give the roots a chance to develop properly. Don’t plant tulip bulbs until November, this helps to avoid the chance of fire blight developing. • Sweet peas can be sown now and kept in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse. Don’t forget to use deep pots or root trainers as sweet peas have a long root run and need the space. • Lily bulbs can be planted in pots or in the flower borders now. If you have collected the bulbils which are produced in the leaf axils, they can be planted now as if they were seeds and they will germinate within a few weeks. Grow them on and plant them out next summer. • Cut back hardy herbaceous perennials to ground level. Lesser hardy plants can be pruned back less severely. • Large perennials can be divided now, either by chopping into parts with a spade or by using two garden forks, back to back and teasing the clumps apart. Replant each piece in beds or pots, mulch and water well, don’t let them dry out. • Hardy spring bedding can be planted outside now; these include wallflowers, primulas and forget-me-nots. • Plant up hanging baskets and containers, with winter flowering bedding, such as violas, pansies and polyanthus. Foliage plants such as heuchera, ophiopogon and bergenia, can be added to enhance the colourful display and their flowers are a bonus. • Collect ripe seeds once the seed pods have turned brown, store in paper envelopes or bags and put in a cool dry place or in the fridge. Tree seeds should be stored in the fridge and then planted out in spring as they need a period of cold dormancy before they will germinate. • Prune back hybrid tea, climbing and floribunda roses by a third to reduce the risk of root rock in the wind. • Pot on any summer cuttings into larger pots filled with good quality compost. Remove any dead leaves and check the roots. • Bag up any leaves that you have swept into piles. Pierce the sides

Trim hedges and they will stay looking good throughout the winter months (left photo © Wikimedia Commons/Hedwig Storch) Enjoy late flowering perennials such as asters and salvia (centre). Keep pond water free of autumnal flotsam and jetsam (right photo© Wikimedia Commons/Snty-tact Talk)

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

• • • • •

• •

• • •





of the bin bags to allow air in, and tie the tops securely. Leave in a protected place to become leaf mould which takes several months. This can then be used to enrich potting compost. Pick the last of autumn raspberries and cut down the fruited stems and mulch well. These stems will be grey in colour, stems that are green in colour will fruit next year, so don’t cut these down. Plant garlic cloves in prepared beds or pots and place in a sunny open site. Remove fallen leaves from the crowns of perennials to prevent rot setting in. Sow hardy annuals in a cool greenhouse or on a window sill so that they begin flowering a little earlier next year. Keep checking for rot and only water sparingly. Trees and hedges can be planted now and several varieties are available here in the supermarkets and garden centres. Good sized small trees that can be considered now include: cercis canadensis - small, pink flowers in spring and lovely red/purple foliage in the summer. Reaches about 5m. Cornus kousa - creamy flowers with brown centres in spring and red foliage in autumn. Reaches about 2.5m. Euonymus europaeus - green leaves that turn vivid shades of pink in autumn, accompanied by red fruits. Reaches 2.5m - 4.0m. Apply lawn feed, scarifying with a leaf rake as you go, to remove moss and thatch. Autumn is a good time to plant winter and spring flowering plants beneath trees. The tree canopy is gradually losing its leaves, allowing more light to reach the soil beneath. This gives roots more time to establish before the new tree foliage reappears in spring. Plants to include: ajuga reptans - quite invasive and you’ll never be without it once planted - pretty ground cover though and colourful foliage: bergenia (common name ‘elephants ears’) - it has large leaves which can turn pinkish red as they age and pretty pink flowers appear in spring, an easy plant to propagate: hellebores - lots of different varieties and flower colours, self seeds easily too: vinca (common name, periwinkle) - pretty blue flowers and excellent ground cover properties. Cyclamen hederifolium and cyclamen coum, naturalise well under the shade that a tree canopy provides. A good place to see these is the Oriental Garden at Maulévrier. Some ferns also grow well beneath trees especially if the ground is dry. Best ones to try include: dryopteris, asplenium and polystichum. Winter prune trees and shrubs, by cutting out dead, diseased or damaged material. Cut back flush with a main branch or to a strong healthy bud. Do this before the plant loses all of its leaves as it is easier then to identify dead and live wood. Lift and divide rhubarb. Replant divisions with two or three buds into soil that has been enriched with organic matter. Complete planting onion sets and plant out young cabbage plants. Clear old foliage from strawberries to prevent fungal disease.

• • • • • • •

Harvest all pumpkins and squashes and store in a dry place to ‘cure’. Take cuttings from gooseberry and currant bushes. Attach grease bands to trunks of fruit trees to deter codling moths. Divide chives, lemon balm and marjoram to make new plants. Harvest spring planted swedes. Pick mature chillies to dry in a cool place or to freeze, or to make into chilli jam. Lettuce seeds can still be sown, but under cover in a cold frame or greenhouse.

Whatever you do at this busy time in the garden, enjoy the limited daylight hours, spend time planning new things for next year and make time to just rest and relax….cuppa in hand of course!!


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 19

Small colour Advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 21

Where We Live...



Langres (AOC) The characteristic crater on the top of this cheese is no accident and neither is it the result of an unctuous, oozing cave-in. The cheese is only turned once to form the crater, called a fontaine, which is a 5mm deep well, or basin, into which Champagne or marc (spirit made from distilled wine pressings) can be poured. Tradition dictates pouring a little champers into the fontaine so when you cut it, it infuses into the centre, making a mix of flavours that melts in the mouth. A very pleasant way to eat the cheese and typical of many wine-producing areas in France.

Valérie Patard If you can't beat 'em... The French system. Just three little words, perhaps. But three words that can spell frustration, anger, even despair. Imagine having to deal with French bureaucracy and its seemingly compulsory mountain of paperwork every day... and enjoying it! © wikicommons/Myrabella

As the name suggests, this cow’s milk cheese – available in both raw and pasteurised versions from breeds including Simmental, Montbéliarde and Holstein – originates from the high plains of Langres, in the Haut-Marne, in the former region of Champagne-Ardenne. It first began to be talked about in the middle of the 18th century in a song composed by the Prior of the Dominicans of Langres. A century later, a book specialising in cheese processing described Langres cheese along with the bigger names like Maroilles and Livarot. Langres was originally intended for family consumption, occasionally being sold at local markets, but its taste soon had the word spreading as far afield as Paris and Geneva. Surrounded by a white penicillium candidum rind, the surface of the cheese can be supple, sticky, wet and shiny and has a pronounced smell, similar to Livarot but not quite as pungent. It tastes salty and a little spicy, but Langres is a milder cheese than its near neighbour and competition, Epoisses de Bourgogne. This all-year-round cheese is best enjoyed at the end of a meal and goes well with all the robust red wines, such as Burgundy wines (Mercurey, Nuits-SaintGeorges) or Médoc wines and, of course, Marc de Bourgogne or Marc de Champagne!

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019


o, make that loving it. Actually loving it! Valérie Patard is a French lady who gets a real buzz helping people get to grips with life in France. And she's rather good at it, as her clients – rapidly approaching 1000-strong – will testify. Some she sees on a regular basis, some perhaps only once a year, or even every four or five years. Whenever they need her to sort out a new problem. “Many clients ask me how can I possibly deal with this paperwork nightmare every day. But I love my work because every day I do something different and I meet lots of lovely people. Helping people sort out their problems is very important to me and seeing their gratitude when I manage to take their worries away is a wonderful feeling.” That's not to say Valérie doesn't suffer the same sort of problems we all do. “I have so many frustrating hours trying to contact French services and administrative bodies. They are closed for lunch or finish at 4pm. I have to organise my work according to their working hours.” Valérie, or Val, set up her business, Val Assist (, in 2006 and her clients come from all over France. They are mainly British families, both permanent residents and second-home owners and those either buying or selling a property. She also helps French companies needing to communicate in English, which often means liaising with French artisans and their British clients. “I originally set myself up as a translator, but I soon realised my services were also needed when people could not communicate properly because of the lack of a common language. Many situations can be resolved easily when both parties understand each other, but when each party speaks a different language it can quickly turn into a difficult situation to manage. If

by Mick Austin

there's a big argument I'm the face that takes it all, not the other person. But I don't mind that too much if I can find a way to sort out the problem between them. It's like being a mediator and an ombudsman. I help people through everything they have to deal with in French, from birth to death. That last bit is the only part of my work I don't like, but I have to be there for people at those difficult moments as well. “The funny thing is, people often think I am called Val Assist. They don't know my proper name!” Valérie has always been a ‘people person’. Born in Le Mans, in the Sarthe, she finished her studies in tourism in Luçon, in the Vendée and decided to stay there to live and work. She worked in the tourist office in La Tranche-sur-Mer, on the south Vendée coast, for a few months before joining a British company managing 60 holiday homes on a private estate with a pool. “None of the owners of the business could speak a word of French, so that's how I started to speak English six days a week. It was a dream come true for me because right from being a teenager I'd always wanted to speak English fluently.” She learnt a lot through managing a small French business with employees - she was in charge of ten cleaners every Saturday for changeovers - and, with clients coming from all parts of the UK, Valérie started to discover the many differing accents between English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish speakers. “In the 1990s we weren't using emails and the internet as much as now, so most of the villa booking enquiries came over the phone and brochures and booking forms went out via the post. In the beginning I had loads of problems getting the correct spelling for Welsh addresses! I learnt English at school from 12 to 20 years old, but the level they give you in French schools is not really sufficient to speak fluently when you leave. I learnt a lot more in the first 12 months of my first job than I did in all my school years.” The holiday homes business was definitely a full-time job for Valérie. She was doing all the secretarial work involved in managing inquiries and bookings and checking payments. Then she would welcome the guests on what she called the 'crazy Saturdays'. Up to 30 families leaving in the morning and the same number arriving just a few hours later. “I lived nearby so I was always on call in case of any problems, making sure they had everything they wanted, calling plumbers or electricians if needed. I learnt a lot about houses in that time, along with all the vocabulary involved in repairs, maintenance etc. Despite having cleaners, sometimes I had to muck in and help, to make sure we could hand over the keys to the new guests on time. Not an easy job. People on holiday would often not bother cleaning at all during their one or twoweeks stay.”

In the winter of 2000, Valérie found herself with time on her hands because there were no holiday-makers to look after and she was left taking bookings over the phone. Luckily for her, that was when her boss started organising French property exhibitions in the UK and her job evolved into meeting potential buyers in France, and to be their translator while they were house-hunting in the Vendée. “It was something completely new for me and I really enjoyed it. I had to arrange meetings with French estate agents and translate during the viewings. Then, if the client decided to buy a property, I would continue to help with all the legal translations with the notaires. I learnt it all appointment after appointment!” However, by February 2006, villa rental activity was in decline, but anyway, by then Valérie had had enough of working six or seven days a week from May until September every year, especially since she now had two young children, Candice and Nathan, who she was not seeing as much of as she would have liked. “I decided to carry on translating, but as a freelance. That was the start of Val Assist. With all the experience I had gained over the previous ten years, I didn't find it at all difficult to help people settle into their new French homes. The main thing was to be able to make a living. The first year it was a part-time job, but word spread quickly and my client base grew month on month, year on year. Having lived in the Vendée for so long I was settled here, but I decided to extend my business to also provide help for people in the Deux-Sèvres department. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly has been a big help in the development of Val Assist in the area and I'll always be grateful to Sarah Berry, the magazine's founder, for all her support at the beginning.” Valérie is married to French estate agent Romain Tirbois and they have four children between them, who have all left home now. That means she and her husband now have more time for themselves and they have started to help French and British people buying holiday homes in the Porto area of Portugal. “Porto is in a wonderful area, where we spend our spare time with lovely food and lovely people. It's only a couple of hours door-todoor by plane and that lets us enjoy our French life with our French businesses and also our Portuguese life. Perfect.”

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 gîte business at

Valérie with husband, Romain (left), life in Portugal (centre) and celebrating with their four children (right).

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 23

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres

by Sue Burgess

Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud, capital of the Wild Marshes


by Sue Burgess

he commune of St-Hilaire-la-Palud is situated in the heart of the Marais Poitevin.

The term La Palud comes from the Latin word palus which means marshes. The villages of la Rivière and Montfaucon were labelled as remarkable at the beginning of the 18th century, by the engineer and royal geographer, Claude Masse. They also brought a large river commerce to the area. The houses are double-sided with one side overlooking the river leading to the marshes and the other overlooking the farmed fields. As for the hamlet of La Névoire, the old buildings covering ovens and drying rooms are signs of the busy brick and tile making businesses that were part of the commune’s history for a long time. In the past, devoted to farming and craftsmen with wood, milk and tiles, Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud is today devoted to tourism with the Marais Poitevin Ornithological Park (a site of eight hectares presenting 350 birds from 70 different species, in their natural habitat). The commune has 15km of signposted pathways and over 100km of sailable waterways. The last weekend of July, the Conches and Rigoles Association organises the 24 hours of the flat rowing boat, an endurance race in traditional flat rowing boats. Outside the town hall on the square is a black locust (false accacia) tree which is listed as a Remarkable Tree of France. It has been lying in its sloping position in front of the town hall for over 100 years. No one has ever seen it standing up straight and yet everyone asks why it is leaning as it is. A sepia postcard of a photo taken in 1906, of the school group on the square, shows the tree lying at about 45°. No one knows how it got there. This type of tree is native to North America and the first ones were brought to France by Jean Robin (hence the French name Robinier).

• • •

The railway bridge at La Névoire which dates from the end of the 19th century. The tow path, which was renovated during the period when major works were carried out in the marshes. The leaning black locust tree.

La Rivière and Montfaucon Most of the houses date from the 2nd Empire, a period when the wet marshes were drained, trees were planted, the marshes were culitivated and split into parcels. The farms, which were called cabanes, were built between the street and the waterway. The rural architecture was linked to the local geology (limestone rocks from the hills, poplar carpentry, tiles called tiges de botte etc.). Under the low roof, the building was divided into two parts of roughly equal size, (living quarters and the farm made up of a stable, a hayloft and a hangar called a balet). The Marais Poitevin Bird Reserve This is a natural area which is spread over eight hectares. Waterways criss-cross their way through it. Seventy species of birds from the Marais Poitevin can be seen here (eider duck, heron, white crane, pied oystercatcher, etc.), as well as different domestic animals (donkey of Poitou, Mulassier cart horse, Marans hens, etc.). All along the pathways, there are information panels to help you recognise the different animals and birds. There is also information about the plants that grow in the marshes. Over 30 plants have been listed along with information about their medicinal and culinary uses or information about whether they are toxic or not. At the end of the visit, there is a film projected onto a large screen which takes you on a flight over the reserve. Since 2011, there has been a maze with amusing panels about the migration of a flycatcher bird called Momo - the panels were drawn by the comic strip artist Bloop.

À Voir / Must See: • The 19th century church dedicated to Saint Hilaire. • The château of Sazais which dates from the beginning of the 19th century. It is privately owned but a listed historical building. • The three communal ports.

The war memorial (left photo), the remarkable tree (centre) and the church at Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud (right photo) Photos by Sue Burgess

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... 24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

Take a Break Across: 1. Persuade through constant efforts (6) 4. A belt or strap fastener (6) 8. A piece of leather used to sharpen razors (5) 9. A city of southern France (7) 10. The sound of sheep or goats (5) 11. One seeking a perfect state (7) 12. A landlocked monarchy in south-east Africa (9) 15. Sharp bend in a road (7) 16. Make less active or intense (5) 17. Open to doubt or suspicion (7) 18. A mound of stones piled up to mark a path (5) 19. The combination of two or more commercial companies (6) 20. A boat’s steering mechanism (6)

Down: 2. The most successful barbarian invader of the Roman Empire and King of the Huns (6) 3. An increase in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere (6-7) 5. A wooden block on which meats and vegetables can be cut (8-5) 6. A permissible difference; allowing some freedom to move within limits (6) 7. Someone who performs magic tricks to amuse an audience (11) 13. King of England (994-1035) (6) 14. Deprive of food (6) With thanks to Rob Berry

DSM Toughie Crossword

Across: 1. Absolute beauty but pulled apart for fun during festivities? (7) 5. Result of cold front remaining over southern territory principally? (5) 8. Parent and offspring join up to become member of secret society? (5) 9. Bishop obtaining degree in large inlet on African coast formerly? (7) 10. Small island centre of pollution area? (4) 11. Derision poured out on one of those found here, despite handicap....? (8) 14. .....and not found in that condition originally? (3) 16. Large number precluded from searches for mythological beings? (5) 17. What remains when a hundred is withdrawn from money available? (3) 19. Ray Morse changing identity, to With thanks to M.Morris Clooney perhaps? (8) 20. Copper engaged in sexual perversion usually found on top?(4) 23. British perhaps, sadly boring in wetland environment? (7) 25. Many of really supportive European leaders put together a code? (5)

Brain Gym

Q1. Which room do ghosts avoid? Q2. Why didn’t the Egyptian mummy have any friends? Q3. On Halloween why did Snap, Crackle and Pop become scared? Q4. Gaze at this sentence for thirty seconds and then explain what makes it quite different from the average sentence. Q5. Three playing cards in a row. Can you name them with these clues? There is a two to the right of a king. A diamond will be found to the left of a spade. An ace is to the left of a heart. A heart is to the left of a spade. Now, identify all three cards.

Q6. Q7. Q8. Q9:

26. Garden tool bits removed reportedly? (5) 27. Detective exposing crooked hustles; some on display here? (7) Down: 1. Particle on outrageous pink or white flower? (7) 2. Deliberately started last of tea filter packs too often? (5) 3. Leader deducting normal score from placing of vehicles? (4) 4. Come across take-away in Cairo bazaar? (3) 5. Being company for untouchable TV cop shows strength? (8) 6. Having vehicle in 10 Across turned over for something to play? (7) 7. Your biblical setter works well with 19 Across? (5) 12. Six balls bowled side on to drifter? (5) 13. Being smug about democrat found in worker mess-up? (8) 15. Everything turned over after 19 Across trimmed tropical bird? (7) 18. Knocks radio amateur going on to French seas? (7) 19. Enigmatic puzzle concerning replacement turning up? (5) 21. Thanks returned for vehicle purity measure? (5) 22. Seem to be shaken about literary first mate? (4) 24. American wind held back in USA gale? (3)

I am taken from a mine, and shut up in a wooden case, from which I am never released, and yet I am used by almost everybody. You are in a room that is completely bricked in on all four sides, including the ceiling and floor. You have nothing but a mirror and a wooden table in the room with you. How do you get out? bcdfgh_? Can you work out the well known phrase or saying from the visual clues? b. a.



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 25

Answers on P.14 and our website:

DSM Easy Crossword

Health, Beauty & Fitness Everyday Yoga for Everyone by Rebecca Novick

The Philosophy of Hatha Yoga


first heard of Swami Veda Bharati during a yoga course in Rishikesh, India. Swami’s are a dime a dozen in Rishikesh, a place that has had spiritual seekers for hundreds of years. My fellow students would chatter excitedly about ‘this Swami ji or that Swami ji’ but none of it really perked my attention until our philosophy professor began to talk about his teacher, Swami Bharati who had passed away just the year before. Our philosophy professor was an impressive character in his own right, with a brilliant and open mind and when he spoke about his former teacher, his eyes glinted with such warmth and love, I was intrigued to learn more.

I discovered that Swami Bharati was quite the modern-day guru who earned several degrees from various western universities. He was also one of the first Indian meditators to be hooked up to brainscanning and bio-feedback machines by western scientists. When asked how it was possible that he was able to control his heart rate (considered an automatic function of the central nervous system) he famously replied, “It’s my body.”



At lunch, I visited a local bookstore and bought a copy of Swami Bharati’s Philosophy of Hatha Yoga. To this day I have not come across a book more illuminating on the core thought-systems that lie behind the physical dimension of yoga. The author presents Hatha Yoga in its natural context as a single branch within a more holistic set of practices that include purification, ethics, thoughttraining and meditation. Swami Bharati regarded every movement of the body as a dance. He describes the body as ‘the first means of the practice of virtue’ and this, he says, is the body’s true beauty - not the external appearance. However, since most of us identify with our bodies, he says, we begin the spiritual journey from this focus. The journey of Hatha Yoga for someone at the level of Swami Bharati is an exploration from the grosser external levels to the subtler internal through the continual application of self-observation and mindfulness. Without this orientation, yoga remains merely on the level of physical exercise. With this orientation it becomes a bridge from the body to the mind. In this context, he offers a piece of advice that I find myself returning to in my own practice whenever a challenge sets in - to perform the pose mentally first before performing it physically. ‘Master it as a thought process,’ he says, ‘and then you will know exactly what you are supposed to do with the body.’ It is quite remarkable what happens when I remember to do this. Imagining myself doing the pose first seems to grease the wheels of the bodily action, allowing me to enter the pose more easily and comfortably. It is through the insights of such masters as Swami Bharati that the yoga postures begin to become ‘a whole body language’, with a world of expression of their own.

Respect yourself, explore yourself. Classes held Fridays at 10:30am in central Parthenay For more information email: or follow Rebecca on 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

Our Furry Friends Happy Anni-fur-sary! Chats de Châtillon

by Judy and Alan Lewis


ur newly founded cat refuge Chats de Châtillon celebrates its first year. It has been a very mixed time of sadness when the abandoned and mistreated cats and kittens first arrive, and a time of great happiness when they are restored to good health, adopted and given such loving homes. It is very difficult also when there are so many phone calls everyday from concerned people who have come across animals needing help and we are unable to take them in because we have no available space. All we can do is support them where possible. At the moment we have many beautiful cats and kittens awaiting their forever homes. Our bigger boys and girls of one year plus are absolutely adorable cuddle muffins, and would be delighted to spend their days on your lap. They are all very gentle cats and have exceptional temperaments. Our kittens are just absolute heartbreakers. Seven of these little poppets were found abandoned in a box at only two-days-old with their umbilical cords still attached. We are thrilled that they have all survived. Our cats all live very happily in outdoor pens with insulated wooden cabins and each pen is well fitted out with lots of activities. They are surrounded by beautiful parkland and some love to walk out on a lead. However, as happy as they are it does not compensate for living in a kind home environment. If you have thought of adopting we would love to hear from you. As a new charity we are also urgently in need of responsible, reliable cat lovers who would like to assist in the daily maintenance of our enclosures and care routine. Perhaps you would like to spend two hours with us just once or twice a week? Either between 9am11am or 4pm-6pm. We are situated close to Parthenay. If you would prefer just to visit and spend time with them, cuddling and playing with our adorable cats and kittens then we would love to meet you. One hundred percent of donations goes to the running of the refuge. We hope that with your help our second year will be as successful as the first. Please visit our website: email us: or tel: 05 49 94 39 77/06 85 63 55 94


Marley has been waiting so long for someone to fall in love with him; could this cheeky chappie be your new best friend? He is funny, goofy, loyal, clever, trainable, intelligent and affectionate. Marley needs an understanding home, where he will be reassured, guided and above all loved - a well fenced garden for plenty of play and a canine friend would be an added bonus. He is neutered, microchipped, vaccinated against rabbies and wormed. Marley is currently staying in department 24 and is waiting for his special family.

The Assocation Orfée tel: 09 77 48 71 43 or by email:

hope association charity shops helping animals in need

café • bric à brac • books dvds & cds • clothes • furniture

hope 79 • sauzé-vaussais

17 route de civray 79190 sauzé-vaussais open every thursday & 1st sunday of each month, 10am - 4pm

@ • Good quality donations of clothes, books and bric-à-brac are always welcome • • N°RNA W792002789

Ralph Meet Ralph, he is a lovely, bright, playful black and white kitten who arrived with four other siblings. He has been tested negative for FeLV and FIV and is fully vaccinated and microchipped. He is a wonderful character and would make a lovely addition to someone’s home. We are open every Wednesday 2pm-4pm. Le Grand Beaupuits, 79200, Staint-Germain-de-Longue-Chaume Association number W793001884.

Pirate Pirate is a typical, fun-loving, lively puppy who was found wandering and unclaimed. He’ll need a special home as Dalmations require lots of stimulation to keep them happy. So, if you think you can offer him what he needs please get in touch. Pirate is currently in foster in the south of department 79.

The Association En Route tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email: Visit the website: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 27

Food & Drink A Shortish Version of the Really, Really Long History of French Wine


Part 2 - Dark Ages, Enlightenment, Revolution – by John Sherwin All the Fun of the Fair!

t the end of Part 1, and here I’m looking severely over my pince-nez to those of you at the back of the class who perhaps - far be it from me to judge - were not paying sufficient attention, we left France around the year 1000 embracing the whole fermented grape juice thing. Begone beer, erstwhile tipple of choice, wine was now top dog both domestically but also un petit peu as an export commodity. Rather than list a whole bunch of meaningless dates, I’ll ignore detail and give you broad brush strokes, particularly focusing on the influence of the Brits, the Dutch, and the Catholic church. (It’s interesting to note that the quintessential French product, wine, and its worldwide influence and importance, came about largely due to a sorta-kinda process of colonisation. No need to share this with your French friends, just be quietly smug.) So, to the Brits. In 1152 (OK, I know what I said, but this is a meaningful date) the future Henry II of England married Eleanor of Acquitaine. She, bless her for all time, brought with her a dowry of most of south-west France, including of course Bordeaux. When Henry’s son John inherited the throne he introduced a measure which would have repercussions throughout the centuries – he exempted Bordeaux merchants from export tax. This made Bordeaux wine the cheapest in London. Combined with its quality, this made claret (as the lightish coloured red wine of the day was known) the favoured drink in GB for 300 years. Then there was the small inconvenience of the Hundred Years’ War after which Acquitaine reverted to French rule, but the love affair with Bordeaux and its wines continued. The Dutch, in their sneaky pretend-I’m-not-here way, had a great influence on French wine development in the 16th and 17th centuries. For one thing they had a significant merchant fleet which traded French wine into the Baltic states, but perhaps more importantly they prompted developments in wine styles and technology. Voyages from Bordeaux to Holland and the Baltic states were long and the wines not stable enough to avoid spoilage. To counteract this, the Dutch introduced sulphur to the wines. For the squeamish this might sound a bit iffy, but sulphur is a natural preservative. And it’s not lead, which had been used since Roman times as a sweetener and preservative. Now, lead is definitely not good for you, as many a sufferer from ‘Poitou colic’ would have told you – a more lethal form of Delhi belly. But for me their most important contribution was the creation of the Médoc in the early 17th century. This area of land between Bordeaux city and the Atlantic, abutting the Gironde estuary, had been mostly marshland with a few corn fields here and there. The Dutch were skilled hydro-engineers (you had to be if most of your country was below sea level) and they, as I said, and I use the word again, created the terroir of the Médoc, the famed Left Bank, home to the likes of Lafite, Latour, Margaux etc. etc. All down to the ancestors of a kid who put his thumb in a dyke. Makes you think, dunnit?

I covered the beginnings of the church’s influence in part 1. This continued over the centuries. I was going to say ‘continued apace’, but apace is hardly the word. Monastic life (for it was the monasteries where the great influence lay) is slow, quiet, methodical, thoughtful – just what is needed to observe, record and act upon the interaction of soil weather and vine over time. Over a long time. The Benedictines were the first order to acquire lots of vineyards. In the 13th century they owned large swathes of vineyards in Burgundy (including what is now Romanée-Conti), the Loire, Bordeaux, the Rhône and Champagne. The Cistercians, not to be outdone (in a brotherly, caring way, I’m sure) had the walled Clos de Vougeot along with other plots in Burgundy and it was they, from their meticulous note-keeping and observations, who discovered that wines from plot A on this side of a hill or that side of a stream were superior to wines from plot B just a few metres away. Voilà, the birth of the most important, bedrock philosophy behind French winemaking – terroir. And let us not forget the election of Pope Clement V in 1305 and his removal of the papacy from Rome to Avignon. I mean, who could forget that? Still blows me away. The birth of Châteauneufdu-Pape (the Pope’s new castle), though Clement hailed from Bordeaux and owned the vineyard that is today known as Château Pape Clement. The French Revolution, how can I put this, revolutionised vineyard ownership. The church’s holdings were confiscated and sold off to the highest bidder, and so led to the secularisation of winemaking, the kind of wine world we see today. But wait, not so fast! There are still twists and turns to be revealed in the third and final instalment next month.

Wine type of the month I have never been a huge fan of sparkling wine. Just gets right up my nose, ya know? So I’m going to surprise myself by giving you a little push in the direction of Champagne. Normally, if I ever feel the urge for CO2 in my wine, I go for the pétillants or mousseux or crémants of the Loire, or Burgundy, or Alsace. Reasonably priced, they give you lotsa bubbles for your buck. But even I have to admit that if there’s a really special occasion, a bottle with the word Champagne on the label is de rigueur. My spin on the whole thing, and the only way I can justify this to myself, is to advise you to avoid the big names. These guys make millions of bottles a year. Ever thought where they get the grapes from? They buy them in from thousands of small vineyard owners in the Champagne region and blend to produce the ‘house style’, i.e. the same thing year in year out. There is, though, a growing movement in the Champagne region of grower-producers, dedicated, passionate winemakers who farm their own vineyards and make their own wine. They care. Look for the letters RM on the label. They’ll be small and hard to find, but they have to be there somewhere by law. Récoltant-Manipulant = grower producer. The monks would be proud.

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or 28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

Autumn Harvests by Jacqueline Brown


he Autumn harvests are one of my favourite things about growing our own produce. From windfall apples to sweet pears, walnuts to ripe tomatoes and squash of all shapes and colours, I love the bounty this time of year gives me. While it is true that autumn signals the end of the summer holiday family time, with Ed back at university and Adrian back at work, I honestly couldn’t be happier in my solitude than when I’m stacking my freezer and store cupboard with homemade goodies for winter. One day it is the sweet scent of cinnamon sugar that fills the kitchen, as windfall apple slices are dried in the oven, and then the next day it is the pungent aroma of vinegar and spices bubbling on the hob as a chutney or relish comes to life. I think I could probably peel, core and slice apples in my sleep, although when I mentioned this to Adrian the look of fear on his face at the potential damage I could do whilst unconscious with a knife, maybe it’s best if I don’t actually try. I am very much a recycled jars kind of person, preferring to sterilise and use what I have rather than buy new, but this year I’m beginning to panic about running out. The quantity of tomato and chilli jam, sweet courgette relish, tomato pasta sauce and mincemeat I have made this last month is staggering. Having gratefully accepted gifts of huge courgettes from Ed’s girlfriend’s parents, it seemed only natural to offer a jar of my relish in return. This gesture seems to have earned me the nickname of ‘Courgette’ from her family, and let me tell you, it’s not the first time I have been christened this! Seasoned growers and geese raisers, I’m sure I could learn a lot from her parents. The next wave of produce that will be ready to pick in our potager are the butternut squash. Not yet as popular with the French as some of the other squash varieties, I will have to enquire if they have tried growing them in their potager. If not, I feel a seed swap coming on. This time last year I was sad that Ed was preparing to leave home for independent living at university and as the academic year progressed, his visits home became less frequent and my nest felt very empty. Thankfully, he was more than happy to spend most of the summer back with us, and the added bonus for me was that his girlfriend was often with us too. I always imagined that as he got older, his major milestones would become less significant, but I think I was wrong. We are now one step closer to hanging up our taxi caps as he has his own wheels. He just needs a bit more practice before taking his test and then I can start my new life of chauffeur-driven luxury, in the back of a Fiat Panda. Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 29

Motoring DRIVE THE WORLD, before it’s too late ….


ome of you may already know about the Last Overland Expedition, which is happening as I write, but if you do not, I think it is worth sharing as the story behind it is very inspirational. If you know me, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that it involves a Land Rover, but that’s not really the important thing. The important thing is the spirit of adventure, the pushing of boundaries, the determination to succeed, and showing that age is no barrier. To understand what is happening now, we must first go back to 1955 when what is generally known as the ‘First Overland Expedition’ took place. Two teams of three young men, from Oxford and Cambridge Universities, took two Series 1 Land Rovers on a 16,000 mile journey from London to Singapore, passing through 21 countries on the way.

by Helen Tait-Wright

The ‘Cambridge’ car was sold and eventually lost when it ran off the road in a subsequent expedition to the Middle East; or at least, it has not been rediscovered to date! The ‘Oxford’ car was loaned to a British Ornithologists’ Union expedition to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. Following completion of this expedition, the Land Rover was left with a local support worker on the island, and he continued to use the vehicle for many years, before replacing it with a later 88” and continuing to utilise ‘Oxford’ for parts. Eventually, he retired and took both vehicles back to his home on the island of Saint Helena – further south in the Atlantic. To all extents and purposes, this vehicle was also lost. However, one intrepid Land Rover nut, Adam Bennett, made it his quest to find Oxford, and in 2017 he succeeded in locating and purchasing the remains of Oxford and the car to which it had donated parts, and return them to his workshop in the UK for restoration. This amazing car lives again thanks to Adam’s determination and passion, passed its MOT at the first attempt, and was even awarded its original registration of SNX 891 back by the DVLA. To achieve this, Adam had called on the knowledge base of one Tim Slessor, and another chance encounter at the 75th Anniversary of Land Rover event with a young film maker, Alex Bescoby made the idea of recreating the original expedition, but in reverse, with Oxford, a reality. Tim, now at the age of 87, has been central to this, and his philosophy of ‘it’s now or never’ has pushed the new team forward.

‘Fording the Mesai river from Tahkyilek, Burma, to Thailand. Bridge destroyed by bombing in war. Frontier is closed because of Kuomintang’. © First Overland

In 1955 this was a mammoth undertaking, crossing countries where there weren’t even proper roads, and pushing themselves and their cars to the limits. The Series 1s were essentially straight off the production line, with small modifications including a ‘safari roof’ (to keep cool in the days and reduce condensation at night), spotlights, front mounted winches and extra fuel tanks, and would prove the durability and off-road prowess of the Land Rovers. The trip was a true ‘world first’, capturing the imagination of an international audience thanks to three films commissioned by David Attenborough, who was at that time a young BBC producer. Apart from the English Channel and the Bosphorus, and some necessary river crossings along the way, the team of six and their trusted Land Rover Station Wagons completed the long journey to Singapore overland, becoming the first ever to do so. The full story of the expedition can be discovered in the book detailing the journey, First Overland by Tim Slessor, one of the original team members. The book is still on sale today and is widely regarded as one of the finest travel books ever written. After the trip, the cars, which had been loaned to the teams by Land Rover themselves, were returned to the factory, but the story doesn’t end there.

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

Alex Bescoby and Tim Slessor. ©Last Overland.

On 25 August this year, the ‘Last Overland Expedition’ left Singapore. Sadly however, Tim was unable to leave with them having been taken ill on the eve of departure, but he is hoping to be able to join the convoy at a later point in the trip. His grandson, Nat, has however been with the convoy from the start. I find his spirit and determination massively inspiring, and the trip will be testament to that, and also to the simple rugged strength of the original Land Rover, now 64 years old. Priscilla and I will be going to meet up with the convoy as they cross Europe on the final leg of their journey to London, and I fervently hope that by then Tim will be with them. It will be an encounter stacked with emotion, and the expedition has cemented my own plans to do an overland trip next year, in Priscilla of course! You can find out more about the progress of The Last Overland on

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 31

Building & Renovation



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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 33


Location de mini-pelle Travaux Publics Installer and supplier of micro-stations. Micro-station and installation starting from 6000 Euros All Types of Groundworks Undertaken

Covering Bressuire and Surrounding Areas

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019



1 Day 130€, 2 Days 220€, 7 Days 700€ 12 Mtr Cherry Picker 110€ per day Laser Level 30€ per day Wacker Plate 60kg 20€ per day 3 inch petrol water pump 30€ per day Concrete Breaker Digger Attachment Available Digger & Driver Available Phone FR: 06 10 43 96 16 UK : 07753822265 Email : Siret : 840 226 666 00013

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 35

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

Communications Ways to recover your forgotten passwords using Windows software by Ross Hendry


n light of my recent article on ensuring that you record your important login IDs and passwords, several people have contacted me to say that they neglected to write down or lost their password but that Windows always remembered it. Here are two ways you can reveal a masked password (one that displays as dots or asterisks, etc.).

Revealing your Wi-Fi password on your Microsoft Windows PC The Wi-Fi password, is called many things: Network security key, Wireless key, WPA key, WPA2 Key, WEP key, and Clé de sécurité for us in France. It is often on the bottom of the Wi-Fi router (Livebox, or Neuf Box) or on the newer models via the info. button on the front of the router. If it is not available then try the instructions below:

For other passwords use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox You may use the features of the Chrome or Firefox browsers to help you. This works on all password boxes within the browser. Here is how to unmask a password hidden by dots or asterisks: 1. Highlight the ‘masked’ password. 2. Right click on the mask (dots or asterisks) from the menu, choose Inspect elements. 3. Look for the ‘password’ input code; double left click on the ‘password’ text. 4. Replace it with the word ‘text’. The masked password is then revealed. Please remember it is illegal to use this to reveal other people’s passwords without their permission so use this information responsibly. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 44 years experience in communications, computer technology and direct marketing. (see advert below).

The user interface may be different for other versions of Windows, but the idea is the same. Find your Wireless WEP and WPA network password for Windows 10. 1. 2. 3. 4.

Go to Settings and left click Network and Internet. Left click Change adapter options from the Status window. Choose the Wi-Fi network and double left click it. On the Wi-Fi Status dialogue box, left click the Wireless properties button under the General tab. 5. Left click the Security tab. 6. Here you will see the password is masked with dots and labelled Network security key. 7. Simply left click in the Show characters and the masked password is revealed in the Network security box.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 37



ell, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had British people asking me how to cancel insurance in France (not from my customers of course, as nobody wants to leave BH assurances!).

Note also that in France, insurance contracts are renewed automatically!! I know, IN BRITAIN, you just phone them and tell them you want to cancel and that’s it! But surprise, surprise, YOU ARE IN FRANCE and we like paperwork! So, here is an explanation on how to cancel your insurances. 1. Anniversary date/Date d’échéance: The important thing to find out about your insurance contract is the date d’échéance which is the anniversary date of your contract. Be careful, as sometimes, some companies will automatically put 1 January as an anniversary date, so it is not always the date when you took out the contract originally. You should find this date on the original contract you signed or on the renewal notice you receive once a year. Normally, when you take out any insurance, it is for one year minimum (there are exceptions - see 4). So, you need to see it through until the anniversary date. Before the Loi Hamon, the only way you could cancel was by sending a registered letter two months prior to the anniversary date, saying you wish to stop the insurance on its next anniversary (in two months!). Be careful, with some companies’ health top-up insurance, it can even be three months! The other way is called LOI CHATEL and with this method you have 20 days from receiving the renewal notice to send a registered letter saying you wish to stop the insurance. Do note that some companies actually send the renewal notice at the last minute, even sometimes after the actual renewal date so you think it is too late! But it is the date on the envelope (post office stamp) that counts and not the date on the letter so always keep the envelope when you choose this method. Loi Chatel does not work for professional insurances such as public liability or decennale insurance, or even with some health top-up. However, it always works for cars and houses.

by Isabelle Want

stop a car insurance contract before its anniversary date. If the car stops working, proof from the garage or mechanic will suffice (it does with us). If you move back to the UK, we need proof of insurance from the UK. If you sell your house, you can cancel the house insurance with the paperwork given to you by the notaire on the day of the sale. For the health top-up, it can be terminated if you move abroad and therefore stop being covered by the French system. In this case, they can issue you with a letter saying as much. Otherwise, some proof from the UK showing that you are covered under a UK insurance should be enough. You can cancel professional insurance with proof from RSI or MSA saying you have closed the business. Otherwise you can only cancel with two months’ notice prior to the anniversary date. Basically, when there is nothing to be insured and you can prove it, the insurance can be stopped. Conclusion: Hopefully now you should all be willing to switch your insurances to ME and BH Assurances (your favourite insurance broker in the region) especially when you know that I take care of all the cancellations for you. So, if you are happy with my quotes, I will do it all for you. So, there is no excuse waiting for the anniversary date to get cheaper/better insurance! Contact me. And remember to check out our website en for all my previous articles (‘practical information’) and register to receive our monthly Newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook: Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterpt Don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subjects such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top-up health insurance, etc.

2. LOI HAMON: Since January 2015, you can cancel your car and house insurance anytime you want as long as you have had the contract at least one year. This new law does not work for top-up health insurance or any professional insurances (however, from December 2020, it will also be the case for top-up health insurance). 3. How to cancel using loi Hamon: i. House insurance as an owner - You simply have to notify your insurer with a letter and the cancellation will be effective one month and three days after receiving the letter (email is possible if you can be identified properly with it). ii. Car and house (as a tenant) insurance - The cancellation must be done by your new insurer (hopefully ME!). Because car insurance and house insurance for tenants are a legal obligation, the French government decided not to trust people! Therefore, to make sure that they are still insured, the cancellation can only be made by their new insurer. 4. Exceptions: Obviously, there are exceptions which allow you to stop your insurance without using the methods above. If you sell your car, you can cancel the insurance by showing your certificate of sale (Certificat de cession de véhicule can be downloaded from the internet) and the insurance will stop from the date on the proof of sale. If you sell the car abroad, always get a proof of sale of some sort. Without paperwork, it is illegal for an insurance company to

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: Visit our website:

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson


i Amanda, can I ask, what is your experience for offering financial advice in France? Thank you, this is a great question. Whether you are looking for a builder, plumber, solicitor, notaire or financial adviser, it is always a good idea to understand their experience and qualifications in their field of expertise. As I achieve my ten year working anniversary with The Spectrum IFA Group in October of this year, I can look back, not only on this milestone, but also reflect on the time spent as a fully regulated financial adviser in the United Kingdom. In the 25 years, since first qualifying as a financial adviser, I have been helping people with their financial affairs, I can honestly say that I have never been happier in the career I have chosen. To know that you are helping people safeguard their savings and plan for a stable retirement provides tremendous personal satisfaction. That so many of my customers have become more than just clients over the years, is testimony to the close bond we share. I look forward to many more years doing what I love.

Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our roadshow events or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations. Amanda Johnson Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 E-mail:

The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 39

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

What to look out for to protect your pensions W hile Britons have more freedom than ever in accessing retirement benefits, pension scams have become increasingly common - and sophisticated. Make sure you know how to spot the warning signs and protect your pension benefits without missing out on suitable opportunities.

How common are pension scams? The Pension Scams Industry Group found around one in eight pension transfers in 2018 was potentially fraudulent - putting approximately £4 billion of UK pension funds at risk. There can be significant advantages in transferring UK pensions especially if you are resident abroad - but it is crucial to take extreme care and seek regulated, personalised advice before taking any action. What are the warning signs? Many scams start with an unsolicited call or text, but you could also be contacted in person, online or by mail. Telltale signs include: • Offers to access your pension before the age of 55. • Unusually high and/or guaranteed returns. • Time-limited offers and cash incentives. • Exotic investment opportunities - recent examples include plantations, storage pods and biofuels. Remember: no investment is guaranteed, and once you have signed over your pension, it is too late. You could not only lose your funds, but potentially face a UK tax bill of 55% (plus penalty fees) for breaking the rules. Also, note that many unregulated companies offer pension services. Whether they aim to defraud you or not, these are unprotected

investments that provide no compensation if things go wrong. Four key ways to protect yourself: 1. Beware of anyone you don’t know contacting you out of the blue for a pension review. 2. Thoroughly research who you are dealing with before changing your pension arrangements. Check the ScamSmart website – - to confirm if an adviser is regulated or on any warning lists. 3. Never sign anything under pressure and without fully understanding what you are getting into. 4. Take regulated professional advice. Even with authorised advisers, check for quality. Make sure they will carry out a high level of due diligence and communicate clearly about your range of options - and the associated risks - while being transparent about costs. They should take account of your particular needs, objectives, personal circumstances and risk appetite to find a solution that is right for your retirement needs. For expatriates, it will be beneficial to talk to an adviser with experience of the tax rules in both the UK and France to take advantage of locally compliant, tax-efficient opportunities. It can only take a moment to lose a lifetime of savings, but with careful planning and quality, expert advice, you can both protect and make the most of what you have. This article should not be construed as providing any personalised investment advice. You should take advice for your circumstances. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

With so many options for your UK pension funds, what are the best solutions for expatriates living in France? Deciding what to do with your pensions is one of the most important financial decisions you make. Take regulated advice to understand how all the options and opportunities affect you and the tax implications in France.

Talk to the people who know

With our pension, tax and investment expertise, Blevins Franks provides bespoke advice based on your situation and aims. We get to know your unique situation before reviewing how the pension options would work for you, from a tax and financial security point of view.

05 49 75 07 24


I N T E R N A T I O N A L T A X A D V I C E • I N V E S T M E N T S • E S T AT E P L A N N I N G • P E N S I O N S Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided outside the UK, via the Insurance Distribution Directive or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, the applicable regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks Trustees Limited is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority for the administration of trusts and companies. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as ‘Conseil en Investissements Financiers’ and ‘Courtiers d’Assurance’ Category B (register can be consulted on Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: 1 rue Pablo Neruda, 33140 Villenave d’Ornon – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA). Blevins Franks Tax Limited provides taxation advice; its advisers are fully qualified tax specialists. This promotion has been approved and issued by BFFM.

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OF THE MONTH The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019| 41



by Joanna Leggett

ctober brings with it bounty, the sun is lower and golden in the sky, it is time to harvest!

Perhaps, there’s nowhere better, real estate wise, to do this than in the charming town of Chef Boutonne in the heart of DeuxSèvres. This lovely little town has it all: charm and character with all the amenities you need, sitting within rich agricultural heartland although, these days, its prosperity is fostered by the services sector and tourism! At its heart is the ancient lavoir, fed by a spring, the source of the river Boutonne - hence the town’s name - Chef Boutonne! The Château de Javarzay, with tiled conical towers sitting on a rocky spur overlooking the river, was once an aristocratic home. Its last noble owner having defended Louis XVI at his trial - well that didn’t turn out well! Today the château belongs to the commune and its grounds provide a lovely park for local inhabitants with views over the river and countryside. Within walking distance of the town centre, we’ve listed a property which could be a great investment, holiday or family home (Leggett reference 92598). The ground floor with large glass frontage was previously used as commercial premises, it could still be a shop, perhaps your studio or converted into more living space. However, space is something you’ll not be short of in this Tardis-like property with three bedrooms and spacious living - there’s also a charming courtyard. Currently on the market for 103,400€ it has new electrics and plumbing!

Offering even more space, and lovely swimming pool, is our next property which has been completely renovated (ref. 99594) and is also very well located in this busy market town. With six bedrooms, you’ll have room and enough to share! More than generous living spaces include the lounge with three sets of doors opening into the large garden. There’s also an attached garage with stairs to a large loft. As it’s autumn you’ll want to be cosy and this home benefits from central heating, heat pump and open fireplaces! It’s for sale at 205,200€. Last, but by no means least, is this spacious, light and airy former magistrate’s house (ref. 103451) with beautiful interiors and lovely garden. You’ll be had at ‘hello’ when you enter double doors into its gracious hallway with lots of original features (as you’ll find throughout). There’s an elegant salon with marble fireplace, enviable dining room and fabulous kitchen with flagstone floors and granite surfaces. Up the beautiful staircase are four spacious bedrooms. Also a large one bedroom annexe for visitors (or income!). Outside in the pretty garden there is a garage, workshop and barn. Immaculately presented and maintained, it is of course centrally heated! Recently reduced to 395,001€. Rich pickings indeed in a much sought after location – what bounty! Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at



€199,800 HAI

Ref. 104708NHA79 - Stunning 4-bedroom house with additional outbuildings, and large garden. DPE C - agency fees to be paid by the seller


€119,900 HAI

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST Buying or selling a property? Contact us now!


€205,200 HAI


€226,840 HAI


€167,400 HAI

Ref. 104640TLO79 - Pretty 3 bedroom Maison de Maitre with double garage and large garden. DPE D - agency fees to be paid by the seller


€178,200 HAI

Ref. 104297NHA79 - 3-bedroom farmhouse in

Ref. - 104047DCO79 - 3-bedroom house with

Ref. 77752EVI79 - Beautiful 4-bedroom stone

Ref. 103017ABO79 - Pretty 3 bedroom farm–

quiet hamlet with land, outbuildings and small lake.

studio, stone house, outbuildings, garden and pool.

house with swimming poom, garage, workshop.

house with original features and large garden.

DPE D - agency fees included : 9 % TTC to be paid by the buyer

DPE N/A - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE C - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE G - agency fees included : 8 % TTC to be paid by the buyer

Be a part of our award winning team If becoming an independent property sales agent interests you, contact Head of Recruitment Lorraine Deuré:

05 53 60 82 77 -

+33 (0)5 53 56 88 48 - - Deux Sevres Oct 2019 ad.indd 1

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2019

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