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

Welcome! to Issue 68 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

Here we are again, another month on and now into October. The year is whizzing past at a frightening pace! The “C” word, I’m afraid to say, is already mentioned inside so prepare yourselves!! And so with October comes the change of seasons...from the bright blues of Summer, to the rusty oranges of Autumn. In our beautiful region, this is the time to capture those breath-taking landscapes...cameras at the ready! This month writer, Mick Austin, covers the amazing solo yacht race that is the Vendée Globe. The skippers will set sail next month, so we thought we would give you the lowdown first. This year we’ll be following their progress and posting regular updates on our very popular Facebook page......so if you haven’t already “Liked” us, please do so and keep up to speed. Have a good month, and enjoy the read...and don’t forget to put the clocks back on the 29/30th!

à plus, Sarah Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents What’s On 4 Getting Out & About 6 Clubs & Associations 12 Hobbies 14 Our Furry Friends 16 Health, Beauty & Fitness 18 Home & Garden 20 Motoring 24 Where We Live26 Take a Break 30 Food & Drink 32 Communications 36 A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres 38 Building & Renovation 39 Business & Finance 44 Property 48

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) Alan Pearce Plumbing & Heating Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) An English Nursery in France ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery Arbres et Abeilles Plant Nursery Argo Carpentry Assurances Maucourt (GAN) BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want

49 25 2 39 33 41 47 41 21 51 21 23 40 25 46

Blevins Franks Financial Management 45 Building & Decorating Services 40 Café Bonbon 34 Camping de Courte Vallée 32 Capi France Property Agent 51 Carlill-Strover Building 39 Carole Winter (Music Teacher) 14 Chat-eau Cattery 17 Cherry Picker Hire 39 Chris Bassett Construction 39 Chris Parsons (Heating, Electrical, Plumbing) 41 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey (Freelance Writer & Marketing Consultant) 44 CJ Electricité 41 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 49 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 43 Creature Comforts (Home Repair Service) 40 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 47 CYM Cards (Greeting cards and gifts) 9 Darren Lawrence 40 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 21 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 43 Deano’s Bar & Grill 33 Dean Smalley Gardening & Cleaning Services 21 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 18 Down to Earth Pool Design 49 Franglais Deliveries 21 Fresco Interiors 21 Ginger’s Kitchen (Catering) 34 Gites.co.uk 49 Hallmark Electricité 41 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 44 Impact 79 (Windscreen Repairs) 25 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 43 Irving Location - Digger Hire 42 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 42 Jean David Art 9 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 42 Jeff’s Metalwork 40 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 25 John Snee (Groundworks) 42 Keith Banks Pool Services 49 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 20 La Maison des Miracles (Wellbeing centre) 19 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 32 Le Clemencea Bar & Restaurant 7 Leggett Immobilier 50 L’Emporium, L’Absie 9 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 32 Maison Associés Estate Agency 49 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 39 Mark Wilson Language Assistance 8 Michael Glover (Plasterer / Renderer / Tiler) 43 ML Computers 37 Motor Parts Charente 25 M.Page Landscaping 23 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 25 Needa Hand Services 21 O’Bistrot (Bar & Brasserie) 34 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 18 Plan 170 (Professional building plans) 40 Polar Express (Frozen Food Supplier) 33 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 49 Puppies For Sale 17 Restaurant des Canards 34 Rob Berry Plastering Services 40 Robert Lupton Electrician 41 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 36 Sarah Berry Online (Website Design) 37 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 42 Satellite TV 37 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 17 Simon the Tiler 43 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 43 Steve Robin (Plumber) 41 Strictly Roofing 39 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 8 Terra Flore Landscape Gardening 23 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 25 The Hope Association (Booksale) 16 Val Assist (Translation Services) 8 Vendée Glass Courses 14 Yesbays.info (free-ads website) 37

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 3

What’s On...

WEEKLY EVENTS: Quizwitch Quiz - every Thursday pm At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle from 8pm. 2.50€ p/p. Monies raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. Annie Sloan Workshops - every Tuesday & Thursday am Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see www.ladeuxiemechance.com Team Quiz - Third Wednesday of each month At Le Clemenceau Bar 7.30pm, in aid of animal charities. Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale - last Friday of each month Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96. Franglais in St Pardoux Starting on Wednesday 5th October in the salle, meeting every two weeks 8pm until 9.30pm. Come along and bring your French friends. Contact Sue Blair 05 49 63 23 50.

1st-4th October - Crossroads of Mouth & Gastronomy in Niort This event at the Parc des Expositions brings together all professionals in the catering trade, in two exhibition halls for 4 days of competitions, demonstrations and exhibitions. Free entry. 2nd October - Autumn Fête at Cersay Vide-grenierandexhibitions,on-sitecatering,musicandentertainment. Organised by the Comité des Fêtes St Pierre à Champ, Cersay. 2nd October - Fête des Plantes at Bressuire Château in Bressuire, 9am to 7pm. 3€ for adults, free for children. More than 60 stalls selling plants, regional products and garden decorations. Poultry exhibition and sale, photo exhibition by TTL. 2nd October - Vide Grenier at Fenioux At the Autocross site (off the D25) next to Pepinieres, Cedric Netier, La Girardiere 79160. For further info 06 15 71 28 50. 6th-9th October - Les Expressifs Streets Art Festival in Poitiers 4 days of discoveries, performances and exchanges of all kinds in the streets of Poitiers. 86 groups, collectives & companies, about 400 artists, 165 performances, 100 volunteers. www.lesexpressifs.com 7th October - Financial Drop-in Surgery With Amanda Johnson and Currencies Direct at Chez Tante Mabel, Pers. 10am-4pm. 8th - 16th October - Pomm’Expo in Secondigny 9th October - ‘Oktober Fest’ Sunday lunch Bavarian style menus cooked by Ginger’s Kitchen at la salle, Maisontiers. 12,50€ - 15€ per head for 4 courses. Selection of wines and beer available to purchase. 14th - 16th October - Hope’s 3 Day Book Sale See advert on P.16 for details. 15th October - AVF Welcome Day in Parthenay See article on P.6 for more information. 15th October - Discover the flavours of Thouars At Place Lavault, Thouars 10am - 7pm. Event organised by Club Agora Thouars. See advert om P.7 15th October - Phoenix Coffee & Card Afternoon in Moncoutant In aid of Breast Cancer Awareness month. 2pm-4pm at La Bodinière, 79320 Moncoutant. Tel. 05 49 65 04 09. 15th October - 3 course Chinese Dinner At Café Bonbon from 7pm. See advert on P.34. 16th October - Sunday Lunch At Le Clemenceau. See advert on P.7 for details. 18th October - Financial Drop-in Surgery With Amanda Johnson, Currencies Direct & Val Assist at Pause! Café, L’Absie. 10am-4pm. 21st October - Memory Lane Nostalgia Show Fun, musical evening including supper at Restaurant A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. See advert on P.33. 22nd October - Grumpy’s “You’re not here to Have fun” Quiz At St Gemme at 8pm. Email roland.scott@wanadoo.fr for more details. 23rd October - Opera ‘Norma’ Showing at Le Foyer cinema, Parthenay. See details on P.7 27th October-1st November - Menigoute Bird & Film Festival. 27th October - Halloween Quiz At Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. Fancy Dress optional. See advert on P.34. 29th October - Halloween Supper and Games At Café Bonbon from 7pm. Call 09 80 41 44 57.

What’s Coming Up...

6th November - The Vendée Globe starts 12th November - All Saints Vendée Autumn Bazaar 9th December - Rock n Roll Supper & Dance In aid of Galia Dog & Cat Rescue. Contact 02 51 00 50 59. 4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

October 2016 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, hold English speaking monthly services. •

1st Sunday at 10.30am: At St Leger de Martinière. Followed by tea & coffee. • 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay • 4th Sunday at 11am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea & coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch. A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website www.church-in-france.com or contact us by email: office.goodshepherd@orange.fr Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71

The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes www.thefillingstationfrance.com or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15

ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr Harvest celebrations continue: • 2nd October - Harvest Service at La Chapelle Palluau at 11am. Members are invited to bring gifts to be offered up during the first Hymn. This service marks the last to be celebrated by Rev. Caroline Sackley before leaving the parish.

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

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


Celebrating our 10th Year! Reel Fish & Chips


D U 2 7 O c T O b R E A U 1 ER N O V E M b R E 2 0 1 6


(See our website for venue details)

Advertisers... Did you know that we can give you extra publicity via Facebook? Send us your FB page!

5th & 19th 6th 7th 21st

Etusson La Coudre La Chapelle Thireuil St Martin de Sanzay

Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 - www.reelfishandchips.net








Open 6-8.30pm


La Vendée Chippy

LOCAL MARKETS Mondays.........

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

Weds: Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, 85110 St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: Bar ‘Au Fil de l’eau’, 85200 Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, 85390 Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st Saturday of the month, Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, 85120 Antigny

We will be closed from Saturday 15 to Tuesday 25 October Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 - www.lavendeechippy.com

Top Hat Quiz & Curry

Dates & Venues for OCTOBER: 3rd: Limalonges 6th: Chef Boutonne 10th: Theil Rabier 19th: Aigre Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 - more info at www.tophatquizzes.com

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

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

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

Dates in blue represent celebration days, not public holidays.

Mr T’s Friterie

Open 6.30-9pm

With regular venues at: • • • •

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) Find us at the Hope Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 3 Day Booksale Gourville 16170 14, 15 & 16th October St Jean d’Angély 17400 We will be closed from 17th October - 2nd Nov. Back to Aulnay on 3rd November See www.frying4u2nite.com for details or call 06 02 22 44 74

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2016 Sunday 2nd October Monday 31st October

From 7pm

Fish 4 Chip + Authentic Indian meals Mondays: Tuesdays: Wednesdays: Thursdays: Fridays:

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

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20 - www.mobilefishandchipsfrance.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 5

Getting Out & About BRESSUIRE2 -O79ctobre 2016 de 9h à 19h Entrée : 3€

• Gratuit pour

les enfants et



D im a n c h e

IN ANE JARD VIDE-CAB de race ! x de basse-cour au im an d' e nt t tion & Ve


w w w. f e




"LES AUTOMNALES DE BRESSUIRE" automnales.bressuire@gmail.com - 06 80 73 19 05

Opera - Ballet Season 2016/17 Le Foyer, Parthenay Following the success of last year’s broadcasts of live operaballet, Le Foyer cinema, Parthenay are pleased to announce another season of fabulous performances.

Journée des Nouveaux Arrivants

Monthly broadcasts will be shown from the Royal Opera House in London, from October 2016 to May 2017. The season starts with ‘Norma’, an Opera by Vincenzo Bellini, showing on Sunday 23rd October at 4.30pm.

AVF, 'Accueil 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.

Le Foyer have kept ticket prices to a minimum (12€) to encourage visitors to enjoy these cultural spectaculars.

On our arrival in the Deux-Sèvres, my husband and I became members of the Parthenay AVF and have found it invaluable in helping us to integrate in the community and develop our language skills.

Other big performances within the season include: The Tales of Hoffman, a ballet inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf and Madame Butterfly. Here are the dates for your diaries (all starting at 4.30pm) 23rd Oct: 20 Nov: 4th Dec: 18th Dec 29th Jan: 19th Feb: 19th Mar: 16th Apr: 14th May:


Norma Cosi Fan Tutte Anastasia Les Contes d’Hoffmann Casse-noisettes Le Trouvère D’apres Virgina Woolf La Belle au Bois Dormant Madame Butterly

More information on these events can be found at Norma http://cinema.foyer.cc-parthenay.fr orLe byTrouvère calling Cinema Le Foyer on 05 49 64 05 30 Opéra


• • • • • • • • •

Cosi Fan Tutte

dimanche 19 février 2017 – 16 heures 30



dimanche 23 octobre 2016 – 16 heures 30

D'après Virginia Woolf

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 dimanche 20 novembre 2016 – 16 heures 30

dimanche 19 mars 2017 – 16 heures 30

Saturday 15th October

AVF offers a wide range of activities, run by the members of the association on a voluntary basis, and include two walking groups, French conversation groups, English/French exchange groups, cards and scrabble evenings, craft activities, a photographic competition, visits to gardens and plenty of social events to mark the important dates in the French calendar. 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 October 15th, 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 some more details please get in touch. My name is Jane Henderson and my email address is: pjhenderson@orange.fr

We are now taking bookings for stalls If you have not already booked please E-Mail Terri .Laverick@outlook.com


by June Searchfield

Well what can I say apart from “WOW!” Back in July Sally, Brad, Sue and Ian, a.k.a the Dumbarton Doodahs, took part in the Monte Carlo or Bust Car Rally. They had already told CSDS that the sponsorship money from France would be donated to us. What a surprise when we were presented with the cheque …..a massive 1286€ which included 285€ from GT’s annual BBQ. I can only say a massive THANK YOU to you all ….. All of the team at CSDS are overwhelmed by your generosity. In addition we had a very happy Fun and Games afternoon at La Chapelle Thireuil. Helen and Jon Booth hosted the event for us in their beautiful garden and over 300€ was raised. Thank you both very much and welcome on board Helen - your first fund raising event ...the first of many!

Cancer Support Deux-Sevres


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

Simply email us: events@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 7


by Sue Burgess

L’automne (autumn) is coming and with it shorter, colder days. Autumn is the ideal season for transplanting transplanter trees les arbres and transplanting repiquer plants les plantes because the soil la terre is damp enough. Because the soil is still warm from the end of the summer the plants can adapt and grow new roots former de nouvelles racines. You can also plant bulbs planter des bulbes so that the flowers can germinate germer and come and colour colorer your garden in the spring. It’s time to cut perennials plantes vivaces, bushes and shrubs arbustes et buissons. It is a good idea to trim hedges tailler les haies one last time in the autumn so that they do not rot pourrir. Clear fallen leaves feuilles d’arbres tombées from the hedges. The lack of sun le manque de soleil means that the lawn la pelouse deteriorates dégrader. When the leaves fall lorsque les feuilles tombent they must be regularly raked from the lawn ratissées de la pelouse. Mow your grass tondez votre gazon for the last time at the beginning of November. • Flower beds les massifs fleuris, which have difficulty resisting frosts les gelées need covering with leaves les feuilles or twigs brindilles de bois. • Bring pot plants plantes en pot inside or put them in a sheltered place. When winter arrives, we can have a rest from garden chores nous reposer des tâches de jardinage. But not for long. Spring is around the corner. Vocabulary / Vocabulaire: le jardin


le jardin à la française

formal garden

le jardin paysan

cottage garden

le parterre


le jardin sur le toit roof

roof garden

le jardin d’eau

water garden



le potager

vegetable garden

le sable




la plante grimpante


la plante aquatique

water plant

le terreau


à feuilles persistantes


le déplantoir


la plante grasse




la plante en pot

potted plant

le tuyau d’arrosage





to mow (the lawn)

la plante vivace



to sow




to prune

les outils de jardin

garden tools


to mulch

la bêche



to landscape

le râteau




la brouette



to fertilise

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

‘The DSM’ Reader Feedback...

I’m always keen to grab the latest issue as soon as it appears (they soon go!). Its contents are often a talking point...friends often say “did you see such and such in ‘The Dsm’?” We love it!

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

Take a Break - SOLUTIONS Easy Crossword: Across: 1. laden 3. stoop 7. bias 9. read 10. farrier 11. miniscule 14. belfast 16. fear 17. each 18. lance 19. wager. Down: 1. libra 2. deaf 4. over 5. padre 6. stressful 8. saunter 9. repulse 12. awful 13. abhor 14. barn 15. tang Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. ziggy 2. rasta 9. llama 10. cling 12. spectra 16. erect 20. samosa 22. etched 26. jenga 28. arawaks 33. nimmo 34. koala 36. sidle 37. emend Down: 1. zulus 2. grace 3. yeast 4. reggae 5. raciest 6. shine 7. argot 13. peace 14. coo 15. ream 17. cheek 21. seacole 23. cow 25. marley 26. jones 27. named 29. ackee 30. awake 31. stand

Well, what do you know?: Connection - Fruit and Veg 1) PEEwit 2) The King’s sPEECH 3) Profesor PLUM 4) Sir Tim RICE (I know, it’s a pulse) 5) Halle BERRY 6) SWEDEish 7) Ariel SHARON 8) The Lady of SHALLOT 9) KIWI 10) “some Fava BEANS and a nice Chianti” 11) Jacques TATI 12) (and) NEAP

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 9

OCTOBER and ‘Les Calendriers Des Mois Romane’


his month the church calendars show a much broader scale of countryside work than other months. In my own collection we find :-

The fruit harvest – apple for the most part Sowing of the winter wheat Wild swine and acorns The finish of the wine harvest – usually treading the last grapes

The apple harvest It looks as if even in the middle ages there were several varieties of apples and that the late ripening varieties were harvested in October and November. These were the apples that could be kept over winter and were part of the winter reserves. Most of the family were involved in the harvesting and it took on the aspect of a social activity. The men shaking the trees or climbing to get at the upper branches, the women folk gathering the fallen apples in woven baskets and the children playing and occasionally helping. All not much different from these days in country households with an apple orchard, however the crop was much more important then, having the potential of saving a family from starvation and, as a fresh product, contributing to a healthy diet. The winter crops The winter sowing is more evident in the calendars than the spring sowing, possibly because there are a number of other “obligatory” activities that have to be shown in the spring. The crop found in paintings is a grain crop, probably winter wheat, and one supposes that root crops and winter cabbage would have already been sown. The wheat has to be sown so that it takes root before the winter frosts and sowing takes place later in Italy than in the cold north of France. The ground has to be prepared in advance of sowing by ploughing and then harrowing. However there were two methods of sowing, either directly into the furrows left by the plough and then harrowing or where the grain is dispersed onto the harrowed fields and then harrowed again. The former is a more rapid process but there is a risk of the grain being buried too deeply. Thus, apart from allowing reliable germination, the seed is also protected from birds (possibly a bigger problem then when bird habitats were still largely intact). The choice of method also depends on soil type. The church wall paintings do not show much detail but again if one looks at illuminated manuscripts then many show the sower either preceded by a plough or followed by a harrow; the sower is an older weather-beaten man - bearded and grey - dispersing the grain by hand and the man leading the horse a younger person. It is supposed that here it was necessary to show that the responsible work of actual sowing is carried out by someone with years of experience. Up to the 13th century the sower’s smock was used to hold the grain and was held by the left hand whilst the right hand was used to evenly distribute the seeds on the freshly opened soil; later a separate bandoleer of fabric looped over the left shoulder held the grain. Returning to “Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry (15th cent)”, the month October portrays the Palace of the Louvre with citizens walking under its walls and, on the other side of the river, presumably the Seine, there is a pastoral scene of a horse pulling a triangular wooden harrow and the sower walking lengthwise over a ploughed field, scatter sowing the grain. A few crows in one corner are eating grain and two bags are on the ground, one with personal possessions and the other containing grain. In the background one sees a scarecrow holding a bow and arrow and white objects, tags on sticks in the ground, are used to scare the birds off. Sometimes a youth was employed full time to scare the birds away during the germination period. The harrow employed in the middle ages was a triangular or rectangular frame with 20 – 30 wooden pegs and was weighed down by a large stone and pulled by a horse - horses rather than bullocks because they were lighter and thus compacted the ground less and could pull the light load faster than the lumbering 10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Photo taken at Église Saint-Martin, Lignières de Touraine, Indre et Loire. © Howard Needs

cattle. The horses had a collar and harness much as these days and this allowed a much more efficient use of horse power than the Romans who used a harness that half strangled the poor beast. It is surprising how a simple bit of technology like that can improve life – it was much the same with the invention of the stirrup which allows a better control of the horse (the ladies side saddle was a retrograde step). Acorns and pigs The most common portrayals of pigs or swine are a peasant driving them out into the forests to forage, the swineherd shaking trees to bringing acorns down, the collecting of acorns for direct use or storage and finally, in November, the slaughter of swine and salting of pork as food for the coming winter. In Roman times swine were portrayed in sacrificial scenes, but as the Roman Empire decayed the European world divided into east and west and entered the middle ages, evolving its own art forms. Swine became prominent in the calendars and manuscripts of the west, particularly Germany and France, whilst the Byzantine east portrayed more cattle. In our little western middle ages world, pork was preferred meat for the nobility, but less so for the peasant. The pig of the middle ages was quite different to the present day animal. Ears were upright and pointed forwards, a long snout reminiscent of that of the wild swine, long powerful body and a straight tail. Its weight was a third of the present day porker.

Sources include divers books including Perrine Mane, and internet

• • • •

by Howard Needs

The form of the swine as depicted changed over the centuries towards that of the present day pig as a reflection of the pressures of selection. In the same period the large forests diminished and this perhaps caused changes in the way swine were kept and fed and thus contributing to the changes in body form. Local races are also evident in the pictorial record, as is evidence of cross breeding with wild swine. The period of pasturing varies from place to place and depends on the agreements with the forest owner and how plentiful the acorns are – the end of September to end of November appear to be normal but could be extended considerably. The cost of pasturing is similarly varied, from being a right all the way to the herd being tithed. The number of swine in the early paintings was normally one or two but in later portrayals one often finds six or more. This being perhaps a reflection of the fact that towards the end of the middle ages the peasants kept swine not only for personal consumption but also for sale.

More about the slaughter next month...


for Les Dames de France

by Mick Austin

tember 2014 ‘The DSM’, issue 43, Sep

Above: Les Dames de France, winners of the Senior


emember Rebecca Blake? She’s the young girl from the Deux-Sèvres who is fast making a name for herself on the French sporting scene.

‘The DSM’ told her story back in September 2014 when, as a 15-yearold schoolgirl, she was a star performer for the France Ladies cricket team in an international tournament in Germany. Now, two years on and approaching her 18th birthday, she’s the youngest ever French team captain, has won all seven of her games in charge and has just led the team to victory in the Senior Ladies European Division Two championships. The team – also known as Les Dames de France – won all five of their games in Herning, Denmark, to lift the title for the first time. Two years ago, Rebecca was in the French team that finished third in the same competition, when it was held in Berlin, and was voted best emerging player under 21 years old. “Berlin 2014 was an amazing experience,” says Rebecca, “but the Denmark victory has definitely topped that. And I have trouble seeing how it can be topped in the future. I can only thank the French federation for entrusting me with the captaincy at such a young age. But none of our success would have happened if the whole team hadn’t performed as they did. “I feel extremely proud of what we have achieved and of my team, who have worked so hard to get us to where we are. They made my job a whole lot easier!” Things are moving fast for the young lady from the tiny village of Miremont, between Thouars and Bressuire. She’s now starting a three-year course in psychology at Southampton Solent University, with a view to becoming a sports psychologist. But will that be the end of her cricket career? Not a chance. She’s planning to play for the university ladies cricket team next summer and also for nearby Hursley Park CC, where eight of their first team also play for Hampshire Ladies. That’s going to be a real step up in class for her. “I’m looking forward to it because I will be playing against good players on a more regular basis, but I can assure you there are some really good players all around Europe. If I could eventually play country cricket in England it would be amazing.” Rebecca was the youngest ever to play for the national team when she made her debut for France against Jersey in 2011 and has been

Ladies European Division Two Championships

a regular ever since. But now perhaps there are choices to be made. Will her studies mean she can’t join her French team-mates at the wicket again? “I’m fully committed to the French national team and will make myself available for games, but for any other club games I just don’t know. It depends on how much cricket I can get in England.

Rebecca with the trophy

“During the winter I hope to do a coaching course and, once qualified, hope to bring that knowledge back to Les Dames de France. I’d love to continue as captain of the French side but I’m not taking anything for granted. Let’s be fair, the chances of me ever playing for England are remote and I’m very happy playing for France. I owe a lot to French cricket and I want to help develop the ladies game in France and in Europe.” Memories to savour on those dark winter nights studying in England? “There are so many,” says Rebecca. “The first time I captained the national side and went out for the toss of the coin I felt so proud. Then to score 50 not out and the team to win was fantastic. “The moment from the Denmark tournament that will stay with me for ever was when the French team ran on to the pitch after we had scored the winning run against Denmark to ensure first place. The emotions throughout the team were a mixture of tears, happiness, joy and disbelief at what we had done. That moment was proof of just how much everyone wanted it and how much we fought during that game.”

Photos courtesy of Sevil & Patrick. Mick Austin is an award-winning freelance journalist based in the Pays-de-laLoire. He has had his work published in several expat magazines and newspapers and has also written the Mayenne Tourist Board’s only English language brochure. He runs a gite business at www.gitefortwo.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 11

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

Woodturners/Woodworkers Amateur woodturners/woodworkers interested in joining our association “Faisons des Copeaux”. Any level of ability from debutant to experienced. Contact Roland 05 49 96 44 10, preferably evenings. RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: rafasof@orange.fr or Tel Website Short URL: http://goo.gl/ut80T


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. Contact www.justbrass79.fr or call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or Christian on 05 49 29 78 84.

Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

Thanks to the support of the Centre we meet every Wednesday 7.30pm-9pm, at 7 rue Anne Desrays, for conversation in English & French, for a mutual understanding of each other’s language and culture. Contact 05 49 66 35 11 or the Centre 05 49 66 76 40 email jpc.allorent@orange.fr or eugene_mc_cabe@hotmail.com


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact www.theatrivasles.com, find us on Facebook or email: theatrivasles@gmail.com Melleran Chanteurs – Amateur singing group meeting every Monday 6.45pm in Melleran Salle des Fetes. French & English members, singing in many languages. New voices always welcomed, particularly tenor and bass. For more information contact Maggie Geal 05 49 07 11 69 THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:


We are a netball team in Vasles (79340). We meet every Monday 5-6pm at the Salle Omnisports in Vasles for training with our qualified English coach. It’s fun and a great way to keep fit, so come along or contact: susan_beale@hotmail.com.

AL-ANON Support Group

We are a small group of footballers who meet on Thursday evenings at 7pm in L’Absie for an informal kick about in the park. New players of all ages and abilities always welcome. For details email: john.etherington@orange.fr

Each Tuesday evening (8.30pm-9.30pm) at the Centre SocioCulturel in Bressuire. Each Friday afternoon (3pm-4.30pm) at the Salle Communale in Le Breuil Barret. Simply turn up in loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear. Phone Terry on 05 49 65 60 34 or visit: www.chentaiji-fr.com


Come KNIT/CROCHET with us every Friday at 3.30pm in the Café des Sports, Chef-Boutonne. Beginners to Experts - all welcome. Contact us via Facebook (Girls that do knitting and crochet) or Melanie on 06 65 17 89 16. Bridge Players Wanted

A small, friendly bridge group are looking for new players in the Parthenay area. We are friendly and informal and we are keen to welcome all levels of players. Contact Richard Knight on via email richardknight@orange.fr or 05 49 69 18 65


We meet every third Tuesday of the month, 2.30pm with free tea/coffee and bscuits at Le Bon Vertoef, 28 Grand Rue, 79110 TILLOU. (Nr Chef Boutonne). Everyone welcome for garden talk! For further information contact Mike Curtis 05 46 33 66 17 (eves).

Craft Café Creatif

Do you enjoy knitting or sewing in the company of others? Join us in L’Absie for an enjoyable afternoon over a cup of tea and a piece of cake. For details contact Carole on email: carole.stocking@gmail.com 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Do you wish the Drinking Would Stop? Are you troubled by someone’s drinking? If so we can help. There is now an English-speaking Al-Anon meeting every Wednesday @ 2.30pm in the meeting room behind Civray Mairie. Just turn up or ring Angela on 05 49 87 79 09.

Tai Chi in Bressuire and Le Breuil Barret

Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay

French 4-part choir established over 30 years (with 2 English members) always looking for “new blood”! Excellent Musical Director. Come to a rehearsal and see for yourselves. Contact Keith for more info keithandcarol@orange.fr 05 49 69 14 89 2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club Come and join us for a bike ride, or just a cup of coffee and a chat, with bike-minded people. As the name suggests, wet meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site. www.2ndsundayclub.fr

Shamanic Drum circle for laughter and health.... held in Chanteloup Salle (near Bressuire - department 79) Wednesdays 3pm - 4.30pm Price 15€ To book your place or for more information please call Pam on 05 49 65 55 25 or email: irving.philip@wanadoo.fr

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

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

Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)

by Terri Laverick


i folks, it seems a while since I last wrote for ‘The DSM’ but we are still out and about raising money for our ex-service and serving personnel. We recently sent a cheque to SSAFA France and we are in the process of making a donation to the local Pompiers in Mazieres-en-Gatine. We’ve had a great summer and hope for an even better winter, but without you dipping into your pockets we can’t help those in need, so please come along to our events. You (and your money) will be more than welcome! We are holding a Race Night/Curry Supper on 21st November, in the Foyer Rural, St Pardoux. Not only will there be a chicken curry, a vegetarian curry and an alternative for those who prefer non-spicy food. The cost will be €5.00 per person and booking is essential so that we don’t have a queue and no food left. We can’t serve alcohol but you are welcome to bring your own. As usual we shall provide tea, coffee and fruit juice. The doors will open at 7.00pm and the first race will start at 7.30pm. If you’d like to join us please email me on combinedssg@gmail.com or telephone 05 49 64 07 24 and reserve your place. Our last race night was well received, so do come along and have some fun. We are now looking towards Christmas (sorry) and the Christmas Market in Terves on Sunday 4th December. We are organising the tables etc at the moment, so if you would like to join in the fun and sell your wares then please contact us on the email address above and reserve a space. The event is always well attended and everyone seems to have a great day out, especially after Mulled Wine and Mince Pies! Look out for the adverts. Since this article will not be written every month, please, each month have a look in the ‘What’s on’ section and we shall keep you up-to-date through the diary section. A full accounting of our doings will be scribed every couple of months for your perusal. Thank you so much for you ongoing support, we really do appreciate you, in fact we can’t do it without you!

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


by Kate Jouanneau

ith the month of October upon us, RT has started gearing up for it’s different winter programs.

The Art Scene have now returned to Secondigny in the room next to the library and meet every Friday morning at 10am. If you would like to come along and join us you would be very welcome. Go to the RT website and then open the ‘Art Scene’ page to see what we are doing each week. However you can always just come along and “do your own thing”. Sometimes we plan to paint at home, then something else needs doing and we never get started. But if you make the effort to go out you end up actually painting.  Having said we meet in Secondigny, we are moving back to the ‘Cafe des Belles Fleurs’ in Fenioux for one morning on the 14th October as it is the apple festival in Secondigny that week.  The apple festival will include an art exhibition by local artists which will feature wind and water mills this year. Should be good, why not come along to both events? Some of us do a mini art challenge at home each month. This month the subject to be painted is ‘Pub Signs’. The paintings have to be 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches with a quarter inch border. You have to do a painting for everyone who has agreed to participate and you get a painting from everyone else. Let me know if you would like to join in and I’ll pass your request on to Jane Trescothick our mini art organiser. For further information you can always get in touch with John Blair at johnblair@btopenworld.com Now that the Keynotes choir has begun again, meeting at ‘Les Belles Fleurs’ in Fenioux, Margaret Round has comprised a list of wonderful songs with the aim of presenting them at the Christmas Cornucopia in December. It’s a lot of fun preparing for this event as we know that our audiences love to have a singalong and a good laugh at the sketches put on by the group. This year promises to be no different from the last performances put on by RT, so be sure to book your tickets early so you can get good seats. The dates are still not set in stone, but I’ll keep you posted once things have been finalised. If you’d like to join the choir, whether you are an experienced singer or not, then please contact Margaret by email: keynotesdeuxsevres@gmail.com Friends and members of RT also meet on a social basis at ‘Café des Belles Fleurs’ in Fenioux for their Scottish dancing lessons with Tony and Maureen Murdoch at a revised time of 7-9pm. If you feel like giving this fun activity a try then feel free to email tonyandmaureen2@wanadoo.fr for more details. If you have any further questions you can visit our website www.reactiontheatre.fr or contact me directly.

Contact Kate Jouanneau on 06 77 51 55 16 Email: kscks9@hotmail.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 13

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

Violent Writing


rime, thriller and spy novel writers are familiar with this territory; sooner or later somebody is going to bash somebody else over the head, or a lot worse. Gritty contemporary and historical fiction and sci-fi are full of conflict. Even romantic or chicklit novels can have violent episodes. I write action thrillers with scenes set in a law enforcement or military environment. There are fights, interrogations, arrests, abductions, shooting and injuries, but I never descend to the ‘dripping body parts’ level. Readers want excitement, danger and thrills, to sit on the edge of their seats, their hearts pounding and nerves shredded. But you don’t want them skipping pages or being repelled or disgusted. So as a writer, how do you convey the first and avoid the second? It’s all about emotion and reaction – fear, terror, anger, determination. If your character is facing somebody about to blow her head off, she’ll experience those intense emotions, and in a split second. She won’t waste time wondering if the pistol is a Glock 17 or 30. Most of us have two responses to even the lightest unexpected violence: flail or freeze. Your body has a good chance of falling apart on you if you’ve never faced violence before. So it’s perfectly natural for characters to do the opposite of what is helpful in any given violent situation. That makes them real and relatable. Fights are usually dirty, rough and quick. Violence in books does take longer to describe but a ten-page fight is not only unrealistic, but also boring. Study the rhythm, the vocabulary, the timing of violence in the classic stories. Nobody is invulnerable. If they take a bullet in the arm, it hurts and impedes their ability to run away. Adrenaline rushes wear off, leaving your protagonist weak-kneed, dizzy, and drained. If you push her through an insane fight, you’ll have to show her crawling into bed for a solid twelve hours. Healing takes time. Cuts, bruises, split lips, black eyes and broken ribs will go through pain, soreness and itching and take days and weeks to heal. Of course, you can use this in your story where the protagonist is weakened and can’t square up to the opposition yet she still tries. Violence is traumatic. Consider whether your character has PTSD, depression, night sweats or a daily crisis of faith. Committing violence changes people irrevocably, as does being the victim of violence. Some of your audience is going to know more than you do so ask experts, police, use Google/Wikipedia, contact re-enactors if historical, do book research, or do the real thing in controlled circumstances. You’re unlikely to know what recoil feels like until you’ve shot a gun or two. As with well-written sex scenes, readers don’t notice well-written violence. The story pulls them through; they can’t put the book down. And that means that your violence should fit in with the plot, character arcs, and the reality of your world and not be gratuitous. The fight should make sense, be easy to follow, have tension, and be satisfying. Write in snatched phrases. No time for flowery sentences. Above all, keep violence in its place and it will be authentic. Alison has compiled the articles from this column into ‘The 5000 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her fifth novel, INSURRECTIO, is now out.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016


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

Segora International Writing Competitions 2016

Is Writing Good for you?

I asked Sally Pearson, short story writer and winner of last year’s Segora Vignette, this question. She replied by saying that although her garden was covered in weeds and dirty dishes piled up at an alarming rate she had no regrets at having become a committed writer. “Writing is enrichment. Writing enables you to learn about yourself and others at a whole new level. It stretches your imagination and prompts you to re-evaluate your life experiences.” We launched Segora writing competitions in 2007, starting with poetry and gradually branched out into short stories, vignettes (short fiction) and plays in 2015 - finally justifying the name of our website. This year we attracted entrants from 19 different countries. It’s easy to say the standard was high but you, dear readers, can check this out for yourselves. The 3 prize-winning poems and stories and 2 vignettes (1 in English and 1 in French) can be read and easily downloaded from our website. Our story winner, Fleur Smithwick, also won the competition in 2011 following which she decided to bin the day job and become a full-time writer. She has two novels published by Bantam and a third in the pipeline. The 2016 2nd and 3rd placed story writers live in France; all 3 have met at the St Clémentin bilingual Litfest and say they feel part of the Segora ‘family’ deriving encouragement, stimulation and support from participation in this event.

‘The Cetacean Mammal’ by Fleur Smithwick was chosen by our judge, Amanda Hodgkinson, author of ‘22, Britannia Road’ (Penguin, 2012). Here is an extract from the opening paragraph of the prize-winning story:

“What I said. I want to die.” Before he lost the use of his body, Stephen Charters was an active man; he had been a naval diver and at the time of his accident worked for the FBI, helping to recover cadavers from the depths of America’s lakes and rivers and sometimes from the sea. Stephen came off his motorbike on Pacific Coast Highway one warm October morning and found . . . Now read on! Enjoy also three finely crafted poems, and a vignette which may make you a little seasick. If you would like to discuss a writing workshop we have a wide variety of themed workshops which include inspiration from music, art, colour, textures, scents and memories. Everyone welcome from beginners to committed writers. Please contact Gordon and Jocelyn Simms by email jocelynsmms@gmail.com or phone 05 49 80 22 96.

2016 Results

Many thanks to all those who entered and to our judges. Full results and winning entries can be viewed on


• Fleur Smithwick

All our prize winning entrants were female with the exception of Seth Freeman, an exceptional playwright from California whose play ‘Ethel’ is a gem. (For copyright reasons the play cannot be read on the website but if there are any theatre groups looking for an original, humorous one-act play which portrays emotional family issues contact Gordon Simms: simms.gordon@orange. fr). Seth’s plays have been presented at festivals and theatres worldwide, and he recently created the U.S. TV series ‘Lincoln Heights’. Entering competitions is a great discipline because someone you don’t know is going to appraise your work. You must adhere to entry rules and most importantly meet the deadline – important disciplines for all aspiring writers. If you are fortunate to win or be commended you will receive insightful and uplifting feedback. If you don’t make the final cut then at least you can read the preferred pieces and decide whether you can learn something from them - or decide that this particular judge just wasn’t sitting on your street.

• •

Short Stories judged by Amanda Hod gkinson 1st Fleur Smithwick, Richmond, UK The Ceta cean Mammal 2nd Anne Woodford, Maine & Loire, France - Flight Path 3rd Harriet Springbett, Cognac, France Charente Maritime, France - Quark Soup

English Vignette judged by Ed Brig 1st Elizabeth Ottosson, Leeds, UK -gs Grace French Vignette judged by Ed Briggs 1st Thérèse Bésnard, Indre et Loire Cher Coulazou One-Act Plays judged by Gordon Sim 1st Seth Freeman, California, U.S.A. - ms Ethel Poetry judged by Roger Elkin • 1st Ruth Hanchett, Enfield, dlesex, UK - Endgame • 2nd Carolyn King, Isle of WigMid ht, UK rd • 3 Jane Lovell, Rugby, Warwick - Fall and Rise shire, UK - Blackbird Deadline for the next Segora competi tions will be June 15th 2017 Facebook page: www.facebook.com/S egoraPPP/

Are you a bit of a Bookworm?

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

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 15

Our Furry Friends “So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye, I leave and heave a sigh...”


by Nigel Franks, NALA

e at NALA have decided to stop our dealings with the public. One reason is that it’s just too stressful and aggravating. I won’t go into  details, even though you can’t beat a good rant every now and again, because I’ve only got limited space here. Another factor was that, ultimately, we personally were responsible for all the animals that NALA took on. Some proved to be unadoptable, so they became permanent residents with us: we now have sixteen cats of which only two were ours, the other fourteen are strays that came via NALA. That is enough and we don’t want to take the risk that we inherit anymore. In addition, a while ago, we concluded that we were spending a lot of time to save about 50 animals per year and could see no end in sight. For that reason, we had already turned our attention towards lobbying the  authorities in order to get them to pay more attention to informing the public and to enforcing the legislation. That’s what we shall continue doing via NALA until we have finished the current projects. In the meantime, through contacts with other associations for the  protection of animals, we’ve become aware of the more general and  widespread exploitation and abuse of animals: bullfighting, cock  fighting, hunting, intensive live stock farming, animal experimentation  etc. One result was that we became vegans which, per person, saves a couple of hundred animals from slaughter every year. That put into  perspective the relative amount of work that it took to save just one animal via NALA. So we decided to concentrate on changing attitudes and to that end we have set up a website at www.anti-speciesism.com. This is Antispeciesism. The purpose of this site is to give an introduction to anti-speciesism. We aim to provide a usable definition, identify the issues and provide tips and advice. A separate activity, independent of NALA, which will save more animals. We’ve already had some success: we pointed out to some anti-bullfighting campaigners that it was inconsistent to save bulls from bullfights whilst continuing to eat beef. Within short order they, a family of four, became vegans too: that’s another eight hundred animals saved per year.

Lulu Born around 25th May - a white, brown and black girl.

However, there are other human activities that pose an even greater threat to even more animals: those that contribute to climate change. In  the long term, there is little point in saving even hundreds of animals as entire species go extinct when their habitat disappears or their ecosystem is disrupted. Luckily there are many people out their better qualified than us who are already addressing this problem, so we’ll limit our engagement to just supporting them. However there are two exceptions to our policy of NALA no longer having dealings with the public: Taya and Isodore who are still looking for new homes. They are both about 3 years old. Tats is very social but lets you know when she doesn’t want any more attention, while Isodore is very reserved at first. More details are to be found on the NALA website: www.nosamislesanimaux.com

Lulu is a transformed kitten! When she first arrived she spent her time hiding under a cushion and wouldn’t even look at us but once her sister was adopted, we spent hours trying to coax her out of her shell... and look at her now! Lulu loves to be loved and purrs every time she is stroked and just loves playing with her fluffy mice! She found an old dusty walnut under the dresser and played football with it for hours. All she needs now is her forever home so she can continue to blossom and flourish. Lulu is still a little shy so needs a committed home where she will receive a tender and loving touch and will return it in bucket-loads!

Photo Left: Isodore, Right: Taya

I would like to finish by thanking everyone who has supported NALA over the last few years.

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Lulu is chipped and vaccinated and for more information please contact her foster mum Julie by email: oldclockhouse@ hotmail.com or call on 05 55 50 40 39. Lulu is waiting for you!


Rainbow Association

Helping to Raise funds for Animals in Need Our shop at “ROUTE 66”, AVENUE DE LA LIBERATION, BUSSIERE POITEVINE opened its doors under the banner of Rainbow Association on May 25th 2016.


We are a charity shop and our sole purpose is to raise funds for animals in need. Our shop is open every Wednesday and the 1st Saturday of each month, doors open from 10am to 5pm. We have a wonderful team of volunteers in our shop who work tirelessly to raise much needed funds. In the shop we sell pre-loved clothes, shoes, handbags, jewellery, books, bric a brac and much more. You can also visit Eddie’s card and craft shop where you will find a large variety of hand-made cards, craft items and metres of material for sale. We also have a delightful cafe which can seat more than 30 people comfortably where we offer a range of teas, coffees, soft drinks and especially our much loved home-baked products. Every penny raised goes to help animals in need. We have already made considerable donations to many Associations who foster and care for animals in need. Please visit our web site at:


We are in constant need of donations, so if you have any items in good condition please bring them to our shop. For larger items such as furniture etc. email: linda4rainbow@gmail.com

Want to volunteer? Then why not join our team, have fun whilst raising money for the animals in need.

Animal Association offering help to cats and dogs in need.

Always looking for help, volunteers and foster carers. Call 06 71 03 63 08 or email: Pasapattes79@hotmail.fr

Nos Amis Les Animaux 85480 (NALA 85480) Tel: 07 70 31 54 59 Email: nala85480@hotmail.com www.nosamislesanimaux.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 17

Health, Beauty & Fitness How to Eat Chocolate and Not Feel Guilty


by Lorraine Wallace

hocolate. I love it, love it, love it. If you’ve been avoiding it for fear of all the calories, read on…. I could become your new BFF today! It’s comforting, creamy, delicious and I eat it every day! Which begs the question…

Is chocolate good for you?

The answer is both yes and no. It has an array of nutritious content - fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, zinc & selenium. For this reason chocolate has been used for centuries to treat bronchitis, sexual malaise, fatigue, hangovers, anaemia, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, poor eyesight, and more. It also helps release that feelgood neurotransmitter, serotonin, in the brain. But, eat the wrong kind and you’ll get loads of sugar, empty calories, and other junk ingredients. Chocolate begins life as raw cacao (pronounced kah-kow) beans. Loaded with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and plant phenols, cacao is a powerful superfood. The more processed cacao becomes, however, (think commercially produced chocolate bars), the fewer healthy components remain.

Get the most out of your chocolate fix Don’t be afraid of the dark! The darker the chocolate, the more beneficial cacao it contains.

• • •

Know your percentages: the number on dark chocolate packaging refers to the percentage of cacao bean in chocolate. For maximum health benefit, look for dark chocolate that has 75% or more cacao. The higher the better. Go raw, organic, or as unprocessed as possible. Avoid processed bars such as Mars, Twix, Lion Bar and so on. Get into the habit of looking at the ingredients and the cacao or cocoa content. A high content is usually highlighted on the front of the packet. If it isn’t promoted it’s probably because it’s low. Don’t assume all dark is good. It’s a common misconception that all dark chocolate is good, but there are plenty with low cacao content. Eat in moderation. One to three chunks per day should be enough to satisfy your desire.

Like I said, I love chocolate and I don’t feel guilty eating it. Dark chocolate is an acquired taste though. For a long time I ate 85% chocolate - that was my limit, but now I eat 99% because my tastebuds have got used to it and I genuinely love it. For you, just consider what you usually have and if there’s room for improvement, take it up a notch and keep doing that over a period of months until you feel happy with what you’re eating. Remember, improvement is the name of the game! For an easy to make treat, using just 3 ingredients, have a look at this recipe: www.lorrainewallace.com/recipe/chocolate-caramel-slices/ (I also use raw cacao powder mixed with coconut oil for chocolate snacks and puddings but that’s for another time!) Now go and enjoy a little chocolate – guilt free!

www.lorrainewallace.com Email: lorraine@lorrainewallace.com ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016


Don’t forget!! It’s the time of the year where we GAIN an extra hour in bed....so be sure to change your clocks before hitting the hay on Saturday 29th October. The clocks will go back 1 hour at 2am Sunday morning. Did you know that eating a banana before bed aids a good night’s sleep? It’s a natural source of the sleep hormone, melatonin and essential amino acid, tryptophan.

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Zen Boutique The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 19

Home & Garden



by Sue Newell

ctober has arrived, there is a certain nip in the air, the mornings are darker, and the nights are drawing in, the perfect time to start planning those indoor projects.

Take time to appreciate what you have; having just returned from a short break, my first thought on arriving home was how much space we have! But sometimes space itself can be a problem.

Once you have sorted out what is to be kept you can move on and try to establish how and where it fits into your room design. There are certain rules that everyone should consider when planning rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens. Think of your “work triangle” just because you have a huge kitchen doesn’t mean you want to walk yards between the fridge, cooker and sink. Where are the doors, and how to make the best use of natural light? Drains or electrical sockets may sometimes seem to dictate what goes where, however it is worth spending time and possibly money at the planning stage to make sure you can have what you want where you want it. For bathrooms it is important to check the amount of space you need, not only for your sanitary ware but for movement around them. We do the daily ‘bath mat shuffle’ this involves stepping out of our beautiful slipper bath onto a bath mat, then

Rambling French buildings, often dark rooms with undefined purposes! Squares taken off here and there to provide bathrooms or toilets (leaving you sitting cross legged rather than having to face the embarrassment of heading for a loo located in the kitchen whilst your guests are still sharing after dinner stories!) So back to my opening thought,” time to start planning”. Starting out with a house that was listed as a ruin, we have been fortunate to make the space suit our needs, adapted for the way we have chosen to live. It helps to have studied interior design and we do have the added advantage of being able to pop across the courtyard and pick up a pot of paint, or two! However, with a little time and effort it is not difficult for you to create the home of your dreams and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Over the next few months I aim to guide you through a few projects, some tricks of the trade, and hopefully inspire you to become more creative, but this month we will start with basics. All too often having space means we fill it. Before you know where you are there is enough seating for a small church congregation, more tools than any builder could ever need, chain saws, ride on lawnmowers and a few spare cartwheels. All the china you hope will one day come back into fashion, or better still be worth a small fortune, is stacked precariously in cupboards, or worse, still displayed on dressers in continual need of washing. Clothes of varying sizes kept “just in case”. Cots and high chairs used only one week a year when the grand-children visit, duvets of every available tog rating and cupboards full of towels. Do you recognise any of this? So what can you do?

1. Decide on what needs to go into the room – and declutter. 2. Define the space - How will it be used? By whom? For what? Is it really that simple? Decide what you want and get rid of the rest!

To help you out, here are a few simple DON’Ts: 1. Don’t think you will get through the whole house or even one room in a day. Decluttering can be very emotive, many memories, be prepared for tears, and laughter. Factor in time to reflect and a few tea breaks. 2. Don’t give up. Complete the task. All too often items are placed in boxes, some destined for the charity shop, others the bin. Clothes for the clothing bank or a bag or two for a friend. Great, but then DO IT! Don’t pop them back in the cupboard and think you will take them next week – you won’t! 3. Don’t spend money on storage boxes until you have decided what is needing to be kept. All too often it is easy to be tempted to buy pretty boxes that once home do not fit the space they were intended for. 4. Don’t think once you have organised a space it will stay that way! Being organised takes effort and needs upkeep, set aside 10 minutes each day. Once you have a space that works for you make sure you keep it that way. You will soon realise if something is not quite right. Why struggle with it? Change it - if it’s hard work you will soon give up. 5. Don’t get upset if you really feel you can’t throw something out. Keep it. 6. Don’t fight with other occupants! Unless everyone is on board you will be constantly battling to stay neat and tidy, so allow your partner to have that drawer full of computer leads - just make sure it does not progress to more than one! 20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

shuffling to a point under our vaulted ceiling where one can dry without stooping! It is one of the little “quirks” that we have learned to live with, we always knew head height would be limited. Then comes the time to think about the furniture you have in a room. This is the fun part, upcycling, repurposing, bringing in pieces from other rooms. We presently have a dressing table in our kitchen, our bathroom basin sits on an old desk and an old wooden stepladder provides saucepan storage in the kitchen, whilst apple boxes form shelving in the utility room; there are no rules, it is simply a case of what works for you.

Next month we will look at how to bring a scheme together, where to look for ideas, how to create a mood board, and to consider colour and texture...until then, happy decluttering!

Photos © La Deuxième Chance 2016

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‘The DSM’ Office Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 21


by Vanda Lawrence

Hardwood cuttings from such shrubs as Forsythia, Spirea, Philadelphus and Tamarix can be taken any time from mid-autumn to early winter. These cuttings are taken from fully ripened/ hardened growth from the current season. If you are short of space in the greenhouse just pop the cuttings about 5-6” deep into the back of a border with a little compost and some sand to aid drainage. Why not sow some Sweet Peas in readiness for next year? Of course, you can sow seeds directly into the flower bed next spring, but if you sow them into pots in the greenhouse now the plants will have an extensive root system and more vigorous growth when they are planted out next year, with bigger flowers and a longer lasting display from early summer. If you are planning to move a large shrub start the ball rolling now by digging a trench all round the plant to cut the roots then fill this trench with leafmould. It will be easier to lift in the spring and the move will not be such a shock to the plant.

Dahlias © Wikimedia Commons/Vulkan


hat a summer we’ve had this year! As I write this in mid-September temperatures are still soaring through the roof so, if your garden is anything like mine, it’s not getting quite as much attention as usual because most of the time spent out there is with the watering can instead of the hoe! By the time you read this though it will be October, with lots of jobs to be done. Mainly it’s a case of cutting back and tidying the perennial bed, lifting and dividing plants if necessary; clearing summer bedding plants ready for winter/spring flowering pansies, polyanthus, wallflowers etc; planting spring flowering bulbs; scarifying, aerating and feeding established lawns and reseeding any bare patches. Try to leave one or two shrubs or plants with some protective foliage or some woody stems for beneficial bugs and insects to overwinter in, or maybe a corner with some shelter for a hedgehog to curl up in. Every little helps and, in turn, next year Mr Hedgehog will eat slugs and snails in your garden or one of the bugs will eat the aphids on your rose – “what goes round, comes round” as the saying goes. Use the compost from summer container displays to mulch around perennials and shrubs or dig it into the flower beds before planting up with spring flowers and bulbs. Add slow release bone meal fertiliser at this stage too to encourage strong growth when the weather warms up in the spring. Those empty containers can now be filled up again with cheery, colourful winter displays of heathers, cyclamen and winter pansies. Dahlias are still giving us a good show as I write this, but as soon as the top growth has been blackened by frost you can cut them down to about 6” and then lift carefully with a fork ready to store overwinter. Stand the tubers upside-down in a frost-free place to dry out then store crown-uppermost in boxes of very slightly damp peat. Keep crowns above the peat and dust with flowers of sulphur. Store in a frost-free shed or greenhouse for the winter. Clematis plants can be layered anytime between autumn and spring. Choose a vigorous, flexible stem which is long enough to reach the soil. Make a slanting cut on the underside of this stem, just below a node if possible. Dip this stem-cut into hormone rooting powder then bury into the soil or a small pot filled with compost. Hold in position with a piece of wire or a stone and water well. After about 6 months test for roots by pulling gently on the end of the stem. This procedure can be used for many other plants including Honeysuckle, Chaenomeles, Rhododendrons, Skimmia, Wisteria and Hydrangea. 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

If you have fruit trees, now is the time to put sticky grease bands around the base of the trunks to protect against wingless female winter moths climbing up from soil level to lay their eggs. As the evenings draw in and we spend less time in the garden it’s a good idea to start cleaning garden furniture before storing it away for the winter. Oil springs, hinges etc and treat wooden furniture with teak oil or similar to feed and protect the wood. As you use garden tools for the last time this season try to make time to sharpen, clean and oil as necessary, so they will be rustfree and ready to use next year. To clean & oil larger items such as forks, spades etc plunge them several times in and out of a bucket of sharp sand with a little oil mixed in – simple! Also, take this opportunity to give the greenhouse a good clear out to remove debris harbouring overwintering pets and disease; clean the glass too, to let in as much light as possible before moving in those plants you need to overwinter under cover. Those of us with garden ponds can potter in the late autumn sun clearing the marginals and most importantly cutting back the oxygenators. Also remove faded flowers from water lilies. If you had put barley straw in the pond to discourage algae now is the time to remove it, once it has turned black. I’m running out of space again, but I’ve mentioned ‘gardening by the moon’ and ‘Calendrier Lunaire’ to you all before and now my daughter has introduced me to a free app available on iPads or iPhones to study the stars. It’s amazing to hold the phone up to the sky and have it show you exactly where all the stars, planets and constellations are, so I recommend you have a look. Now I’ll finish off by reminding you to put the clocks back on Saturday night, 29th October – an extra hour in bed!! Yippeeeee ….

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 23

Motoring Car Glass


by Helen Tait-Wright

am sure that most people will have heard of Lalique, the renowned and mythical French glassmaker and jeweller.

René Lalique started his working life as a jeweller, and at the age of 25 opened his own workshop in Paris, gaining the reputation as one of the best jewellers of the Art Nouveau period. His desire to “create something that had never been seen before” earned him the accolade of “inventor of modern jewellery”. In 1907, he was invited to work alongside François Coty to design and produce attractive perfume bottles, and so René Lalique, Art Nouveau master jeweller, was to become an Art Deco master glassmaker. His techniques with glass gave rise to a style that was essentially expressed through the contrast between clear and frosted glass. I can hear you asking what this could possibly have to do with a piece for a Motoring column ... ? Well, recently I encountered a fabulous piece of Lalique glass in what was for me an unexpected place ..... on the bonnet of a car!

In the late Twenties, Lalique added 29 bonnet mascot designs to his range, which were produced to grace the sleek cars of Hispano Suiza, Isotta Fraschini, Bugatti, Bentley, etc. Back in the 1920s and '30s, it was not the famous badges of these revered cars which the powerful and rich of France wanted to display. Instead, they were more interested in getting their hands on one of Lalique’s stunning glass car mascots. All were made from high quality glass, and provision was made for them to be illuminated by special metal mounts.   The first Lalique mascot was commissioned by the Citroen company in 1925, the '5 horses', for the model 5CV. This is the only Lalique mascot that was designed for a specific car.  The mascots were made mostly in clear glass, satin finish, frosted finish, varying degrees of tinting of amethyst and pink hues, and in a variety of colours: purple, blue, amber, brown topaz, grey, and also in opalescent glass ranging from deep blue to milky white opalescence.  The rarest production mascot is certainly the Fox with only a few known examples surviving.  The most famous and largest is the 'Spirit of the Wind', which epitomises Art Deco styling, and was used in the 1928 Paris Motor Salon, mounted on a Minerva. At 10 inches long it would grace the bonnet of even the largest limousine of the day. It was this design that I saw on the bonnet of a wonderful old Bentley at Le Mans Classic.

‘Spirit of the Wind’, photo © Helen Tait-Wright

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

The most infamous mascot is certainly the Eagle's head, only because it was often fitted to Nazi officers' staff cars. The popularity of the car mascots was such that Lalique commissioned the Breves Gallery in Knightsbridge to supply them to British customers, and their name was placed on the side of the mounting.  Priced from 2 pounds twelve and sixpence, for a mounted Victoire or 'Spirit of the Wind', Breves had the world rights to market Lalique mascots. Breves also made the illuminated mounts for the mascots. The beauty of interior illumination was further enhanced by an assortment of coloured filters available at extra charge in blue, red, green, mauve, white and amber. These were made in thick plastic, but of course over the years most warped then were consumed by heat generated by the bulb inside the mount. For those wishing the ultimate in lighting spectacle, the Breves mount could be fitted with a separate purpose built dynamo, sending various intensities of light through the mascot as the car gathered speed - thus producing undoubtedly the most spectacular adornment to a car bonnet that could ever have been devised.  Most of Lalique’s well-heeled customers only brought their glass treasures out for special occasions, like a Concours d’Elegance car show.  “One" simply did not run errands — or send one’s servants to do so — with such fragile works of art mounted to the hood of one’s car! The actual numbers of bonnet mascots produced are unknown, with, unfortunately, no records existing at the present day Lalique factory.  Over the past decade, many have turned up at auctions or in antique shops and are now eagerly sought after by glass and decorative art collectors worldwide, plus car enthusiasts wishing to own a part of motoring history. Today a “Spirit of the Wind” is worth around £16,000, which is probably why the one I saw was closely monitored.  Now that would be a nice little Vide Grenier find!  Helen Tait-Wright Email: helen@stodel.org

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 25

Where We Live...

A look at what makes France so special

Pouligny-Saint-Pierre (AOC) It’s nicknamed the Pyramid, or the Eiffel Tower, and a quick look at its conical shape tells you why. Legend has it that it started off having a pointy top, like a real pyramid, but Napoleon thought it a painful reminder of his unsuccessful Egypt campaign. So out came his sword and off went the head of the cheese. A good story, no doubt, but no cheese-maker was ever going to try and balance the forms (moulds) on that little point when draining the cheeses, was he? It’s a traditionally produced, natural rind, old cheese – one of the first AOC designations in France, in 1972 – and made exclusively from unpasteurised goats milk. It comes from the Indre department and its name is derived from the commune in the Brenne national park where it was first made in the 18th Century. Manufacture is typical of great Loire Valley goat’s cheeses. The coagulating milk is placed whole into moulds with holes to drain the whey. It is then dried in a well-ventilated cellar with an affinage (maturation) of at least two weeks, although best examples are left for up to five. It has a 6cm square base and is 8-9cm high and weighs a minimum of 250g. The dry matter (the residue after all the water in the cheese has gone) is 90g minimum per cheese and fat content is a minimum 45%. Both fermier (farmhouse) and industriel (dairy) production is used, with the fermier bearing a green label and industriel a red one. Its region of production is fairly small, taking in just 22 communes. Production is all year round for industriel cheeses and spring to autumn for fermier. When young, the rind is soft and ivory-coloured, but as it dries out the wrinkles deepen and grey, white and blue coloured moulds appear. As it ages, the rind becomes more complex, with a reddish-orange, giving a superb contrast to the firm, pure white, slightly grainy pâte (interior). When fully mature the dense and crumbly pâte intensifies in flavour, becoming delicately fruity with an earthy nuttiness. It can smell rather like goat’s milk and straw. On tasting, there’s a sourness that spreads through the mouth, followed by a salty taste and then sweetness. Pouligny-Saint-Pierre goes well with wines from the same region, such as Reuilly or Sancerre.

Photo above: © Wikicommons/ Coyau

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

The new Hugo Boss IMOCA skippered by Alex Thomson © Mark Lloyd/HUGO BOSS/VENDÉE GLOBE


t’s the world’s toughest sailing event, bar none. It comes round every four years and this year’s eighth epic starts from Les Sables d’Olonne, on the Vendée coast, on Sunday, November 6, at 1.02pm.

The route illustrates the straightforward idea behind an event that has become known as the Everest of the seas. You sail around the world from west to east via three major capes: Cape of Good Hope (South Africa), Cape Leeuwin (Australia) and Cape Horn (South America). First there is a long trek south down the Atlantic from the start, with the infamous Bay of Biscay and its south-westerly storms waiting almost immediately. Then it’s off to Madeira and the Canaries, the Cape Verde islands and the Doldrums, where the nightmare of violent thunderstorms, torrential rain and erratic winds can face the yachtsmen. Once over the Equator they can pick up the winds that will take them downwind east towards the Cape of Good Hope and the Indian Ocean. Winner of the first Vendée Globe, Titouan Lamazou, nicknamed this huge wilderness between the Cape of Good Hope and Tasmania ‘The Shadowy Zone’. The southern ocean, with its low light, violent winds, dangerous seas, is a cold, wet environment where the sailors find themselves totally alone. In front of them, several thousand miles during which they have to make a compromise between the shortest route (the furthest south) and the race’s ice exclusion zone. Then it’s the Pacific, the world’s biggest ocean. Once they cross the International dateline, the return journey begins. To reach Cape Horn takes around 20 days

by Mick Austin

The Everest of the seas The concept of the Vendée Globe yacht race is simple and easy to understand. You have to sail around the world. Man or woman. Alone. Without stopping. Without assistance.

How it all began

The event is still the only non-stop, solo, round the world race without assistance. It was created in the spirit of the Golden Globe, which in 1968 was the first non-stop solo round the world race via the three capes. Of the nine who set sail, only one made it back to Falmouth on April 6, 1969. British sailor Robin Knox-Johnson thus became the first sailor to sail alone around the world without stopping. but even getting there has its dangers with the ever-present icebergs. Although the radars can spot big ones they can’t see the ‘growlers’. They are small blocks of drifting ice, sometimes less than a metre above the surface but weighing up to 30 or 40 tonnes. The permanent risk of hitting one of those all adds to the fatigue. Rounding Cape Horn marks the way out, but many previous Vendée Globe sailors have been forced out of the race in the South Atlantic. Just when they think they’ve got away with it all, violent gales can strike off the Argentinian coast. Then there are the Doldrums to get through again. But gradually they start to count the miles to the finish back in Les Sables d’Olonne. Back to civilisation, back to a warm bed, back to a hero’s welcome... It’s difficult to explain just what it is about the Vendée Globe round the world yacht race that makes it so special. Perhaps Irish entry Enda O’Coineen has the answer: “Four thousand people have climbed Everest,nearly500havebeenintospace,under100havecompletedthe Vendée Globe. It is the ultimate in ocean racing. Sailing alone over 90 days, 25,000 miles non-stop around the world. It takes the competitor to the extreme edge of human endurance. To finish is to win.”

Twenty years later, French sailor Philippe Jeantot, twice winner of the BOC Challenge race (solo round the world with stopovers), came up with the idea of a non-stop race. The Globe Challenge was born, later to become the Vendée Globe. In November 1989, 13 sailors set off in the first edition, which would last more than three months. Just seven made it back to Les Sables d’Olonne. The winner was Frenchman Titouan Lamazou, in 109 days. Philippe Jeantot was fourth. Since then, the first seven editions of the race have seen 138 sailors line up at the start, with just 71 managing to cross the finishing line. That figure alone serves to show the magnitude of this truly global event, where sailors face icecold conditions and icebergs, mountainous waves, erratic winds and violent thunderstorms. It’s a supreme mental and physical challenge. A superhuman level of endurance and skill is needed to keep the high-performance yachts sailing hard and fast 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Just one small failure can end a race. Just one small mistake can mean the end of a life. It has been won by some of the greatest names in sailing, but only one person has won it twice: Frenchman Michel Desjoyeaux in 2000/01 and 2008/9. The race record is held by another Frenchman, François Gabart, in 2012/13 in a time of 78 days, two hours and 16 minutes.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 27


Englishman Alex Thompson

Irishman Enda O’Coineen

Frenchman Armel Le Cleac’h. AMERICA









PA C I F I C O C E A N Cape ape Horn





Photos: Top left: © Hugo Boss Sailing Team/ VENDÉE GLOBE, middle: © Neil O’Hagan/ Team Ireland/VENDÉE GLOBE, right: © Vincent Curutchet/BPCE/VENDÉE GLOBE Left: © Olivier Bourbon/M&M/VENDÉE GLOBE

Armel Le Cleac’h (Banque Populaire) training off Port-la-Forêt.

The rules are clear

170° 160° 150° 140° 1 30° 120° 110° 100° 90 °

The men at the helm

Solo: One man or one woman, a boat and the world. No-one apart from the skipper is allowed aboard the boat during the race. An exception is, of course, when a fellow competitor is rescued. (Example here if needed).

As ‘The DSM’ went to press there were 30 sailors registered for the race. To complete the sailing part of the process they need to qualify at sea before October 1 and their boat needs a certificate confirming it meets race rules by September 30.

Non-stop: The only stop allowed involves returning to Les Sables d’Olonne within ten days of the start. That’s exactly what Michel Desjoyeaux did in 2008/9. He set off again 40 hours after the start and still went on to win the race!

A French sailor has won every race so far, but this year there’s an Englishman, an Irishman, a Spaniard, a Hungarian, an American, a Swiss, a Japanese, a Dutchman and a New Zealander all hoping to end that run of success.

Without assistance: The only assistance allowed is if the sailor returns to Les Sables d’Olonne just after the start (see above), when, of course, they would lose a lot of time. The sailors have to find their own way around, carry out any repairs from damage – which is very likely to happen – and look after themselves if they are injured or ill. Then they can get advice from the race doctor. As for technical assistance? Nope. They can’t go alongside another boat or allow a third party aboard. They can consult their technical team for information on how to carry out a repair, but it’s up to them to do the work with whatever means they have on board.

Forty-two-year-old Englishman Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss boat) is making his fourth attempt at the race. His best finish was in 2012/13 when he was third and he will be one of the favourites this time. He had a major scare in a double-handed transatlantic race last November when he had to abandon his new boat at sea following damage. His team managed to recover it and it should be 100% ready for November 6.

The boats: They are all 18.28m (60ft) long with a draught of 5.50m (14.75ft) and are the most powerful monohulls in the world skippered by a solo sailor, exceeding 30 knots (34mph) downwind. The rules impose a standardised keel, a choice between two masts – a traditional one or a wing mast. The skippers are allowed to take nine sails on board instead of 13 previously so they can adapt their ‘engine’ to sea and wind conditions. Big news this year is that the latest generation of boats is equipped with foils to lift the boat’s hull to reduce drag and increase performance. This year’s event will be the first round the world race for these new machines, but the older boats in the race are at present more reliable and will still be in with a good chance of lifting the trophy.

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Making his Vendée Globe debut will be the first Irishman to take part in the race, a 60-year-old from Galway, Enda O’Coineen (Kilcullen Team Ireland). A colourful character, in his youth he crossed the Atlantic on an inflatable boat just to prove to his boss that it could be done. He has also been President of the International Federation of Irish Pubs! It could be third time lucky for Frenchman Armel Le Cleac’h (Banque Populaire VIII). Not yet 40, yet runner-up in the last two Vendée Globe races. In 2008/9, on his first attempt, he made it onto the podium behind Michel Desjoyeaux. In 2012/13 he was just three hours 17 minutes behind François Gabart after 78 days of racing!




DID YOU KNOW ? In large French towns roads are often given the name of famous people. But who are they? What did they do to deserve such an honour? Here are just a few of the more frequently found names.

N 60°


Les Sables d’Olonne




40° 30°













Cape of Good Hope




Cape Leeuwin The lim it

limit of the exclusion zone

of th e A n ta rct

40° i c e x c l u s i o n zo n e is m



ely an indic ati

on. T h e p re c i s e d eta i l s w i l l b e s u p p l i e d i n S e p te mber 20 16




A N T A R C T I C A 0°










100° 110° 120° 130° 1 40° 150° 160° 170° 18 0°


Création : designe.fr / © Photos : DPPI/Vendée Globe

60° S

Ship-shape shorts ■ T he Vendée Globe ‘village’ is open every day from October 15, 10am-8pm, right up to the start of the race on November 6, when it will be open from 8am-8pm. There will be late night shows on October 15, 22, 29 and November 5. Entry is free. Unrestricted access to the pontoons, exhibition areas and trade stands. More than a million people are expected to attend! ■ S wiss skipper Alan Roura (La Fabrique) will be the youngest competitor in the history of the race, at 23. ■ F emale British skippers have done well in the past. Ellen MacArthur (Kingfisher) finished runner-up in 2000/01 while Samantha Davies (Roxy) was fourth in 2008/9.

Alan Roura. © Christophe Breschi/ VENDÉE GLOBE

■ This year’s race will have its own Web TV broadcasting 24 hours a day with three live daily broadcasts and two weekly shows. Last time nine million unique users looked at the Globe website during the race and 285 million pages were viewed, 500,000 players joined in with the Vendée Globe Virtual Game and 85 hours of TV were watched. ■ F ollow this year’s race on the official website at: www.vendeeglobe.org or ‘Like’ the DSM’s Facebook page (facebook.com/thedeuxsevresmonthly) to see regular updates in your feed.

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

Henri Rousseau (1844-1910): Nicknamed ‘Le Douanier’ (the customs officer), he was a tax collector in Paris. He was also a forerunner of the Naïve or Primitive school of painters. Ridiculed during his life, he came to be recognised as a self-taught genius whose works are of the highest artistic quality. Ambroise Paré (1517-1590): Aroused the wrath of traditionalists by the boldness of his methods in the treatment of wounds. He was the first to practice the ligature of arteries during amputations and was regarded by some medical historians as the father of surgery and modern forensic pathology. Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929): Journalist, physician and statesman, he was French Prime Minister twice in the early 1900s. He was the senior French representative at the postWorld War One Treaty of Versailles and was completely in tune with what the French people wanted – the destruction of Germany. English Prime Minister David Lloyd George, however, wanted a lesser punishment. Not for nothing was Clemenceau known as ‘The Tiger’.

Georges Clemenceau in 1917

as Priminister of France. Maréchal Foch (1851-1929): One of the most common of street names. Ferdinand Foch led the French Ninth Army to victory at the Battle of the Marne in 1914 and became Allied Commander-in-Chief on the Western Front during World War One. On November 11, 1918 he accepted the German request for an armistice. He also had a hybrid French red wine grape variety named after him!

On this month October 28, 1886: The Statue of Liberty, designed by French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi is presented by France to the USA to mark the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Delays meant it was actually inaugurated more than ten years after the centenary. October 15, 1917: World War One spy Mata Hari, a Dutch exotic dancer and mistress, is executed by a French firing squad at Vincennes Barracks, just outside Paris. She had been a spy for France but was found guilty of being a double agent and also spying for the Germans. October 11, 2008: An airfield at Istres, near Marseilles, is the venue as Belgian Luc Costermanssetsanewworldspeedrecord for blind drivers: 192mph! He borrows a LamborghiniGallardoandisaccompanied by a car-load of sophisticated navigational equipment and a human co-pilot giving directions from the passenger seat. October22,2012:CyclistLanceArmstrong is formally stripped of the seven Tour de France titles he won from 1999 to 2005. He is banned for life from competitive cycling after being charged with systematically using illicit performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions, as well as demanding that some of his Tour teammates dope in order to help him win races.

The Statue of Liberty

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 29

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 1. Filled with a great quantity (5) 3. Carry oneself with head and shoulders bent forward (5) 7. An unfair preference for one thing over another (4) 9. Interpret something that is written (4) 10. A person who shoes horses (7) 11. Very small (9) 14. The capital of Northern Ireland (7) 16. Be afraid or scared of (4) 17. Every one considered individually (4) 18. Long pointed weapon (5) 19. The money risked on a gamble (5)

Down: 1. The 7th sign of the zodiac (7) 2. Hard of hearing (4) 4. Finished (4) 5. A military chaplain (5) 6. Extremely irritating to the nerves (9) 8. Walk leisurely and with no apparent aim (7) 9. Force or drive back (7) 12. Exceptionally bad or displeasing (5) 13. Find repugnant (5) 14. Farm building (4) 15. A tart spicy quality (4)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

27. Antipodean outlaw seen about before lunch is identified (5) 29. Pressure taken off board after account of traditional island dish (5) 30. Is found to be conscious after the funeral? (5) 31. Anomalous location of seating? (5)

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

1) The Northern Lapwing or Green Plover is also known as what? 2) Which film, starring Colin Firth, won 4 Oscars in 2011? 3) In the board game CLUEDO, what is the name of the academic?

8) Alfred Lord Tennyson “Sir Lancelot and Queen Guinevere”, “Galahad” and which other ballad poem based on Arthurian legend? 9) What is the national bird of New Zealand?

4) Which lyricist’s works include Blondel, Tycoon and Heathcliff?

10) In ‘Silence of the Lambs’, what accompaniment did Hannibal Lecter claim to have had with the census taker’s liver?

5) Who played the “Bond Girl’ JINX in Die Another Day?

11) Which French comedian created “Mr Hulot”?

6) What nationality was the first Miss World (1951)?

12) Which tide occurs when the sun and the moon are at 90 degrees to each other? Finally, assuming you have 12 correct answers, what is the connection between those answers or parts thereof?

7) Who was Irsrael’s Defence Minister from 1981 to 1983 and P.M. 2001 to 2006? 30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Copyright RJS 2016

Answers on P.9 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Across: 36. Coming a cropper, slide into a 1. PZ transaction generates stardust nervous walk (5) from my little bank (5) 37. Edit article men draw up as 5. A star is reborn for a follower of conveyance (5) religious belief (5) 8. Hasten emancipation involving a Down: bottom-up operation (5) 9. All a man can do to rope in a woolly 1. We hear the animal sanctuary toilets are originally from Natal? (5) mammal (5) 10. The kind of film that brings people 2,26. Singer from Spanish Town presenting Tom with virtue? (5,5) together? (5) 3. One way to get a rise? Yes, at first 11. Old git in a go-faster car? (1,1,1) must be flexible (5) 12. Carpets relaid to show ranges of 4. A medley of garage with note missing colours (7) 16. Upright installed the wrong way round to be replaced by English music (6) 5. Bigot on drug proves to be the in refurbishment ceremony (5) most risqué (7) 18. Bow dweller has parts of feet in 6. Replenish in exact quantities to traditional dish ....? (4) 20. ..... as twice put out about a second give that sparkle (5) 7. “Roman has his garment on upside of Indian side order (6) 22. Deeply impressed, went to collect down” in the local jargon (5) 13. The calm after the queen’s and missing female (6) 24. Heroine depicted running away in before offering pipe time (5) 14. Court is something to do with Bill? (3) Hammer film(4) 15. It is said that twenty choirs make a 26. German agreement over English lot of sheets (4) table game (5) 17. Rhetoric he eked out was 28. Wars, aka clashes, bringing out disguising insolence (5) original island dwellers (7) 32. Irish police back down when faced 19. King Edward? (4) 21. Nurse from the island combining with snappy dog (3) 33. TV cleric appeared in well known, solace and energy (7) 23. Cringe at first, but when the queen immortal production (5) goes, milk it! (3) 34. Knock-out in the mode of sleepy 25. Mary, with the French ghost turning marsupial (5) 35. Glee I am able to handle on seeing up in carol, and a legend! (6) my lord and master! (5) 26. See 2 down

Food & Drink

A Sorciere Theme!

by Lynda Gee

Creamy Mushroom Sauce • 60g unsalted butter • 8 -12 small fresh mushrooms • 30cl double cream • ½ glass of white wine y and chives • 1 generous pinch of both finely chopped parsle salt and er • A grinding of dried garlic, black pepp these in the Wash and finely slice the mushrooms, then toss butter until the Melt ed. cover y evenl fairly until herbs ed chopp a non-stick Using s. room mush herby the add and gently foaming r, lightly butte the in d coate until ng’ spatula keep them ‘movi cooked and unbroken then pour over the white wine.


or October's recipes I thought I would use a play on words with a Sorciere theme! Starting with an interesting light Hallowe’en cocktail, then three different sauces ideal to serve with gammon ham or Jambon Fumé.

Cocktail Chauvre souris

Into a flute glass pour a dessertspoon of liquorice sirop (available from most super markets here) and top with a chille d, sparkling dry or medium white wine. Refreshingly different, both taste and colour wise.

For each of the following recipes allow a slice of gammon or jambon fumé (more readily available here) for each person. Quantities are for 4 people.

Sauce Diable

A honey and mustard sauce based on the French Palette a

Diable. • 60 g unsalted butter • 30cl double cream • ½ glass of white wine • 1 soup spoon of mustard (strength according to person al taste, I use Dijon) • 1 soup spoon of liquid honey Firstly melt the butter on a gentle heat, add the honey and when gently bubbling (boil and trouble) stir in the mustard. When well mixed, gradually add the cream, and continue stirringall are until just at boiling point. This can be used just as a pouring sauce over grilled ham but I find the following method gives the best results. Place the slices of jambon fumé in a shallow oven dish, lightly dot with butter and put into a pre-heated Wik imedia Comfor oven monsabout 180˚ / RLogie 3-4 minutes. Take out of the oven and turn over before coating with the sauce. Return to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, until the sauce is golden and bubbling. Serve with garden peas with baby white onions, and any potato of choice.

Continue as before until the wine is then bubbling, gradually add the cream. Simmer on a low heat for around 7-8 minutes, gently stirring from time to time. Again delicious with gammon used in the same way as the diable sauce or, instead of gammon, use chicken or turkey escalopes.

Sauce Fashion R atatouille

• 1 small courgette • 1 onion • ½ each of a red an d green pepper • 1 small aubergine • 3 - 4 small or me dium tomatoes • 20 cl tomato puree • ½ glass of red wi ne • pinch of dried mi xed herbs (Preferably Provence) Herbes de • freshly ground bla ck pepper, olive oil to cook. Wash, top and tail the courgette and bergi peppers.Dice all the ne, de-seed the se and the onion au tomatoes. and roughly chop the In a saucepan heat Put on one side anda little olive oil and firstly cook the courg ette. and onion. Return toin turn do this with the aubergine, pepp the ers pa n wi th a little the tomatoes. When these are all heatedmore olive oil and add ing add the mixed he thr ou gh and sim wine and after a co rbs and black pepper. Stir and add themerred le of minutes the tom are bubbling nicely up the sauce is ready to ato puree. When all use. Likewise, nice with mmon and a little ric tions cooked in the ga oven during preparati e or with chicken poron. Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full athome catering service. See advert on P.34.

Tel: 06 23 00 72 04 ~ Email: gingers.kitchen@orange.fr

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 31

Birthday Challenge by Jacqueline Brown


eptember is an exciting month as it’s my birthday month and is also handily placed at the end of summer, when the weather is usually still good, but not too hot and following a season of cycling I’m at my fittest. It is the perfect time of year for a physical challenge, a bit of proof that I may be another year older, but I’m not that old, yet. This year I turned 45 and decided a 100km circuit, to be completed in a day, would be the perfect challenge. I envisioned quiet back roads, small villages, coffee stops, patisseries and most importantly not many hills. My husband, the route planner, seemed to think a challenge without hill climbs and sweeping descents wasn’t a real challenge. The first fifty kilometres were fast, relatively easy and included beautiful riverside scenery, a coffee with a pain au chocolat and lots of pretty villages.

The sun was out, but the shade from the oak forests kept us cool. The gradient increased after lunch for the next twenty kilometres, and I was tired, but happy when I made it to the afternoon beer and patisserie stop. The last thirty kilometres, with temperatures over 35˚C were hard and I was slow, but I didn’t give up and am proud to say I achieved my goal. It was a great way to say goodbye to another summer. I am always on the look out for an interesting or different event to attend and now that the summer outdoor eating fêtes are over for the year, the choices of what’s on can be a bit more limited. However, I didn’t have to look too far to find one that certainly ticked the ‘different’ list and was more interesting than I expected; a porte ouverte (open door) at our village station d’epuration (sewage works). We have been on mains drainage since 2004, but the first system that was installed wasn’t really able to cope and this resulted in a lengthy legal battle to determine what was wrong, who was at fault and importantly, who would pay for the necessary work. It seems no one on the expert team who designed the original system took into account that first thing in the morning all the toilets and most of the showers would be used at the same time. I am delighted to report the new system that has been up and running for a while, seems to have no problem with toilet flushing at any time of the day. This is obviously cause for celebration and so a guided visit was proposed, followed, of course by an aperitif and nibbles in the salle des fêtes. Our new system makes use of two large reed beds that filter the wastewater, which flows from one to the other before arriving as clean water into a pond. I feel proud to live in a village that is not only self-sufficient in its waste management, uses eco-friendly reed filtering and knows how to hold an apero too.

www.frenchvillagediaries.com Email: frenchvillagediaries@gmail.com

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 33

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34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Wot I Did on my Holidays


ell, it is la rentrée when all the charming kiddiwinks get out from underfoot and go back to school where they belong. I don’t know about you, but in my youth the first thing we were asked to do was to write about what we’d been up to over the summer months. It was, I suppose, because the teachers couldn’t think of any better assignment, and as I can’t think of anything better to write about, I’ll go with the flow and tell you what I was doing for a week or so in Provence. I met my clients (for this is nothing more than a blatant advert for French Wine Tours) at Marseille airport. Bill and his wife Chris were charming and, for Americans, surprisingly lightly packed. A propos of nothing in particular, I later discovered that one of Bill’s ancestors was the inventor of Coca-Cola. But no, sadly, he hadn’t been bequeathed shares. As we headed north-east to Aix-en-Provence where B and C had hired an apartment, (avoiding the usual drive-by gangland trouble as FWT is connected in these parts as in all wineproducing areas: they call me ‘Mad Dog’, and yes, I do go out in the midday sun) the Mediterranean sun shone bright in a cerulean sky and my Mercedes Hubris hummed a happy tune. Ah, Aix. The town that nurtured Cézanne and his good mate Zola. And made insanely narrow streets. I’d forgotten quite how narrow as the Hubris nurdled through with a centimetre to spare on either side – or so it seemed to your intrepid driver. B and C were no doubt wondering why oh why they had left the yawning boulevards of Portland, Oregon. We got there eventually of course – FWT always does – and unloaded their bags. A local came up with one of those sad/concerned/I’m-glad-I’m-not-you expressions that make you, in a politically correct and caring way, want to reach for a brick. Apparently, me and Merc had gone where no man should have gone. But that’s the pioneering, FWT way! I backed out with aplomb – which is French for really slowly and really carefully – and fled the scene. This trip was to be a mixture of history, culture, and wine. B and C had specified this at the outset, and FWT, with its unique tailor-made approach, delivered the goods. It so happened that this particular Sunday was the once-a-year festival in Aix of the calisson, a lozengeshaped cookie of almond paste, dried fruit and icing. We saw them being blessed, we tasted, we bought, all along the Cours Mirabeau, a semi-pedestrianised boulevard overloomed by plane trees in the very heart of Aix. Jolly good they were too – a mouthful of Christmas in September.

by John Sherwin

I’m not going to go through the whole week blow by blow in an anoraky way, but boy, we had a blast. As you would expect from a FWT tailor-made tour. We took in Nimes, one of those small cities cum big towns that sprawl at the outskirts and then suddenly you’re in the old centre where the Coliseum is supposed to be but you can’t see it. You ask a local and, with a brick-reaching gesture, points you round the end of the block. And there, suddenly, in all its 2000 year glory, is one of the finest monuments of ancient Roman rule. Superbly restored, this is a mini replica of the Rome version itself – well, when I say ‘mini’ it can seat 15,000 or so. What’s more, it regularly does host concerts and bullfights. So yes, it is a real living and breathing ancient artefact. You can complain all you like about French bureaucracy, but when they get it right they get it right big-time. The Pont du Gard was another breathtaker. Of a similar vintage to the Nimes Coliseum, it was built to conduit water from Uzès to the city of Nimes. So much masonry, so much labour (and no doubt loss of life) to provide life-giving H2O to the toga-wearing elite and the baying hoards. Makes you think, though, dunnit? Well, in fact it makes your jaw drop as you walk up to it and along it and touch the very stones that were somehow, god only knows how, hauled into place and positioned with such enduring accuracy. So where’s the wine in all this? For one, in Beaumes-de-Venise in the southern Rhone, where we toured the Cave Coopérative with my mate Georges. He was just back from harvesting but was more than happy to walk us through the humongous vats and chat with the grape-growers as they delivered cartload after cartload of fresh, bulbous grapes. And then down on the coast in the enclaves of Bandol and Cassis – views and atmosphere to die for, and the wines were not half bad either. I leave you with a quote from Kermit Lynch, the great American wine connoisseur. “Cassis is one of the wines that people claim will not travel well. But then of course Cassis tastes better at Cassis! Debussy sounds better after a walk through the foggy, puddled streets of latenight Paris. You are in the midst of the atmosphere that created it. The wine is not different; the music is not different. You are.” John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com

Cours Mireabeau, Aix-en-Provence. © WikiCommons/Andrea Schaffer

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 35

Communications Two Record Months of High Temperatures.. How Does it Affect Your PC? by Ross Hendry

So what can we do to combat these problems? One of the most effective things is to review where you use your PC and where it is situated. For example if it is a desktop or tower type of PC, is there at least a couple of inches (50mm) all around the case to allow the air to flow freely? Is there good ventilation in the room to allow the warm air to escape? Is it in a cool part of the house? I have an attic room that gets exceedingly hot in the summer, far too hot to use as an office, so I use a much cooler room in the house. This Summer, in my usually cool room, I could not get rid of the heat quickly enough and I found it unpleasant to work in without air-conditioning. Not only that but the fans of the three PCs being worked were very noisy as they were all running so fast.


hat a year we have had so far weather wise. Especially the last couple of months - in our area records were broken for peak temperatures around 19th July and then again late August. Recorded ambient temperatures were over 40˚C. Whilst it is great for our visitors and gardens, it can affect your PCs (both laptops and desktops) and may even affect your Tablet and smart phone. The electricity used to power your computer is what causes the problem. As you know most PCs have cooling features built in, usually in the form of fans connected to heat sinks that draw the heat away from the processors by blowing cool air over the heat sinks. Better quality PCs will have automatic cut-off features built in that will shut down the PC in the event that it gets too hot to protect its self. Usually the most we notice of this is a rather noisy fan or feeling some exceptionally hot air being ejected by the PC or laptop. This is because we operate our PCs in an environment that is comfortable for us to work in, and our PC’s heat regulation systems are designed to work in this type of temperature, a range of 18°C (64 °F) to 21 °C (70 °F) is probably ideal with a maximum comfortable room temperature at 24 °C (75 °F). This year we saw ambient temperatures soar to well over 35°C (95 °F), this is when Heat sink. © WikiCommons/Hustvedt our PC starts to suffer and you will notice the cooling fans are running much faster to attempt to bring the PCs operating temperature within range. Recently, I have had several telephone calls from clients saying that their PCs were doing “funny things” such as running very slow when surfing the web (lots of pages open at the same time - especially using Internet Explorer and Google Chrome) to shutting themselves off for no apparent reason. It is usually slightly older PCs and Laptops that suffer more as they run at slightly higher temperatures than the more modern ones which are designed to use less power to achieve the same speeds and results. They have also had time to accumulate more dust to slow down the cooling process.

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

The dust on the laptop CPU heat sink after three years of use. © WikiCommons/ Audriusa

Laptops famously get very hot when used on your lap! They need the same consideration: room around them to dissipate the heat generated, so please do not use one directly on your lap! Use a tray such as a tea tray, or better still buy a purpose designed laptop tray with cooling built in, they start at around £10.00 if you buy online. Whatever you do, ensure that the air can flow all around the laptop, and that the hot air ejected from it does not get immediately fed back into the machine. This will just make the fans work even harder and will eventually result in the laptop switching itself off or worse, overheating and damaging vital components. Whichever type of PC you use it is essential that you keep the airflow running efficiently, so make sure that you give the fans and air grills a good clean at least once a year (more frequently if you use your PC in a very dusty environment or you have pets). PCs suck in air almost all of the time they are running and that will include anything that can float in the air, especially pet hair. This is very good at blocking the airways by itself as well as by collecting dust. With a PC you can remove the side to clean it and remove the dust etc., with a laptop it is not so easy. For these it is worth investing in a spray can of clean air known as an Air Duster. This may be used to clear the air paths and should also be used to keep the dust from the keyboard as this is where much of the heat in the laptop escapes and is designed to vent off the heat. Finally, think about when and where you use your PC when it is very hot. I have noticed that the hottest part of the day this summer was between around 4 pm and 7 pm. If you know your PC does not like the heat do not use it at this time. In the same way if you have a laptop move to the coolest room in the house to use it, I am sure it will be more pleasant for you as well.

Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. In-expensive Computer Help & Support for Expats 02 51 51 50 06 ~ rs.hendry@gmail.com www.seowise.co.uk

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

A professional and attractive publication which is a good read and has lots of useful information, relevant to where we live. We have had more business contact from our ad in ‘The DSM’ than our other advertising, so it obviously works!

Listen LIVE at www.ex-patradio.fr The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 37

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Moutiers-sous-Argenton

by Sue Burgess

Moutiers-sous-Argenton is an old commune of Deux-Sèvres. On the 1st January 2016 it became a member of the new commune of Argentonnay. The commune is spread over an area of 36 km2 and includes numerous villages like Migaudon, Vrillé and Mirémont. The inhabitants of Moutiers-sous-Argenton are known as the Moutierais and the Moutieraises. The name «Moutiers» being derived from an old word for monastery (see Moutierssous-Chantemerle), we can only assume that there has been a priory or monastery here in the past. The site of Grifférus is situated on the banks of the Argenton river. Its name probably came from «gris ferreux» (ferrous grey). The heart of the site is noticeable for a steep sided valley with a remarkable panorama from the top of the granite rocks and for the rare species of flora and fauna that can be found there. The site is recognised for rock climbing and canoeing.

MOUTIERS-SOUS-CHANTEMERLE Moutiers-sous-Chantemerle is part of the group of communes forming ‘Terres de Sèvres’. The 616 inhabitants of the village of Moutiers-sous-Chantemerle live on a total surface area of 26 km2. There are about 600 inhabitants. The commune’s name, Moutiers, comes from a priory of Benedictine monks (monasterium gives «moutier», an old form of «monastère»). During the Roman era, the priory depended on the large Clunisian priory at Loge-Fougereuse. The oratory of the priory La Couldre was too small and so the church of Saint-Maurice was built. The parish priest was nominated, until the revolution, by the Clunisian Prior of Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine. The chatellany of Chantemerle (Canta Merula), mentioned in texts dating from 1150, was found on the parish. The name of Moutiers-sous-Chantemerle can be found from the 18th century. History mixes with legend to tell the story of Saint Maurice who was the leader of the Thebean legion, recruited in upper Egypt. In Agaune en Valais (Switzerland), he refused to make sacrifices to the pagan gods and so the Emperor Maximilien had them killed. Pescalis is an iternational fishing site at the edge of the Sèvre Nantaise river which can be found on the commune. An open air music festival «Les Festiv’été Musicales» used to be held every year in Moutiers-sous-Chantemerle between 1997 and 2012. The tower of Puy Cadoré, on the road from Chantemerle to Moncoutant, is round on one side and triangular on the other. The doorway which was quite high up above the moat, led to the ground floor where there was a well and a washhouse. The other floors with square windows both had appartments. The smaller one is in the angle of the tower above the machicolation. In the 16th century, the Lord of Picadore, leading a band of adventurists who ransacked the area, tried to buy back favours by allegiance with the Lord of Bressuire and then the Lord of Parthenay. Legend says that the tower was a fortress and observatory built by the Lord of Picadore to ensure his own defence as he had no friends.

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

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Building & Renovation

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 39

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

DONT FORGET! Deadline:

of the month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 41

Small B/W advert only 32€

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

Your magazine fills a need and it informs people of what is happening. The French and British enjoy reading it so keep up the very good work!

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 43

Business & Finance Marketing Matters Excellent by Cindy Mobey


Which Social Media Platform?


his month I thought I’d take a look at some of the specific Social Media platforms. We’ve all heard people referring to Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, but do you know which ones would be useful for you when marketing your small business here in France? There are so many Social Media platforms to choose from – how do you know which one will be right for you? The most popular, according to a report by eBizMBA Rank in September 2016, is Facebook, which is hardly surprising as it is very user friendly. The report gives the top 15 platforms, but I’m going to look at the top 6 most popular sites.

Facebook. The top of the pile with an estimated 1.1 billion unique monthly visitors. Facebook is a social networking site that enables people to connect with friends and family, sharing photos, videos and status updates/messages. It can be used for fun or for business. It is estimated that over 1 million small businesses use Facebook and is very popular with small business owners in France. YouTube. After Google, YouTube is the largest search

engine with an estimated 1 billion unique monthly visitors. It’s where most people go to watch or share video content. It covers every single subject you can think of from popular music videos and films to Joe Bloggs down the street falling off his skateboard! Anyone can post personal videos or share content.

Twitter. With 310 million unique monthly visitors, Twitter is a real-time public network, where you often see breaking news first! Twitter limits its users to 140 characters per post, but businesses still use it to interact with clients and pass on information. LinkedIn. This is a social networking site for professionals. With 255 million unique monthly visitors, LinkedIn members post a profile of themselves, very much like an extended CV. Users can promote themselves and their businesses, connect with other businesses and even apply for jobs or ask for work. Pinterest. This is a fairly new concept, but with 250 million unique monthly visitors, it is fast becoming popular. It’s an image-based visual platform that allows its visitors to create digital bulletin boards where businesses can pin their content. As more than half of its members are women, it’s a great place that businesses whose target audience is largely female should think about being a part of. Google Plus +. Google Plus or Google+ is an interest based social media platform with 120 million unique monthly visitors. You can post photos and status updates on your profile or you can post to specific communities or groups. Specific communities are set up for different subjects so you can post blogs to specific themes. There’s multi-person messaging, text and video chat called Hangouts and you can run events. It’s a very versatile platform. As you can see, they are a varied bunch, but all are designed to help people interact with others and share information, photos, videos and messages. If you have a small business, they are a great way to get your brand name, products and services out there. Which is your favourite? Email me and let me know which one you like best and why. Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: cindymobey@outlook.com See advert opposite

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

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Investing in Uncertain Times... Remember, it’s

Time in the Markets, not Timing the Market that Counts by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks


hree months since the UK’s Brexit referendum, we are still some way away from knowing when and how it will happen. This is affecting some expatriates’ investment decisions as they wait to see what happens instead of putting their capital to good use. Waiting can be a risky approach. After the initial shock reaction, markets have so far proved quite resilient to Brexit. To protect your savings from inflation for financial security through retirement, it is generally better to be invested for the long-term rather than wait for a ‘right time’ to invest or trying to time the markets. Trying to time when to buy and sell investments has plenty of risks – but the biggest one may be the risk of missing out. To illustrate this point, a hypothetical £10,000 investment in the FTSE All-Share index for the 10 year period to 31 December 2015 would have earned a profit of £7,197 if invested the whole time. If the five best days were missed, the profit would be £1,831. Missing the 10 and 30 best days would have resulted in losses of £607 loss and £5,269 respectively. (Source: Russell Investments) Short-term declines or uncertainty should not detract from the long-term potential of stockmarket investing. Looking at the FTSE All-Share index from 1996 to 2015, although there were average intra-year declines of 15.7%, annual returns were positive for 15 out of the 20 years. A hypothetical lump sum

semina rs

investment of £100,000 at the start of 1996, with dividends reinvested, would have been worth £367,525 at the end of 2015. (Source: Russell Investments) If Brexit is making you cautious, you could consider spreading the timing of your investment over a period using the ‘pound cost averaging’ approach. Currency concerns Note that you do not have to invest in Euros, even if you are investing in an EU investment arrangement. You need an investment structure that has a multi-currency facility, to allow you to change currency later if you wish and give flexibility in how you take withdrawals. It is important though to ensure that your portfolio is built around your risk profile, and with strategic asset allocation and diversification to reduce risk and meet your objectives. Take specialist advice and build a good relationship with your financial adviser so they understand your needs and guide you through the Brexit years and into the future. These views are put forward for consideration purposes only as the suitability of any investment is dependent on individual circumstances; take individual personalised advice. The value of investments can fall as well as rise. Past performance should not be seen as an indication of future performance.

Book your place now by phone, email or from our website

Brexit - Facts not Myths. Living in France, or thinking of living in France? How will Brexit affect your:

▪ Tax planning ▪ Estate planning

▪ Pensions ▪ Investments ▪ Currency options

Sem01 - fr

There will be uncertainties, but there are also opportunities. Now is the time to take action and ensure your affairs are set up for France, not the UK. Reserve your seminar place today. Thur 3 Nov | Inter-Hotel Saint James BOUFFÉRÉ Fri 4 Nov | Domaine du Griffier NIORT

book your seat now

Registration at 10am for a 10.30am start, ending 12 noon.


05 49 75 07 24

Blevins Franks Group is represented in France by the following companies: Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited (BFFM) and Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF). BFFM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided overseas, via the Insurance Mediation Directive from Malta, the regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, register number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissement Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on www.orias.fr). BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465.







w w w. b l e v i n s f r a n k s . c o m The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 45

Social Charges: How to Claim it Back


SG CRDS (French social charges) is for sure the most unpopular tax in France, not just for British people but also for French - Yes, even worse than VAT. We call it the weed, because like weeds, it grows everywhere and you can’t get rid of it! However, The French government got condemned in February 2015 by the European Court of Justice for taking social charges from people who are benefiting from another health system than the French one. Therefore, the French government has agreed to reimburse those people and I am pleased to say that all the people I have helped to make a claim have got some money back.

What is csg crds?

What is CSG CRDS: La “Contribution Sociale Généralisée et la Contribution pour le Remboursement de la Dette Sociale” was created in 1991 to help finance the French health system (which is in debt). In 1991, the percentage of tax was 1.1%. Successive governments (and there have been a few) have increased this tax so now it is up to 15.5%. This tax is taken from revenues from rental income, pension, salaries, capital gain, interests, etc and the percentage of the tax can differ depending on what revenue is taxed. Finally there is also a discount and exemption depending on your total income.

european court of justice ruling

The ruling came after a non-resident (I actually think it was French) complained of being taxed social charges on the interest of an Assurance Vie (savings account) he had kept in France while he was living and working abroad in Belgium. He was therefore contributing to two health systems. The one in Belgium where he worked and lived via his salary contribution and the one in France via social charges. The European Court of Justice agreed with him by saying that the CSG CRDS was a tax financing the French health system and therefore it is wrong to pay twice for something you only get once.

who can claim social charges back?

First and foremost, non French residents (but European citizens) who have revenues in France from rented properties, investment, etc. or who have been charged Social charges on the capital gained on the sale of a holiday property (you can get the social charges back not the capital gain tax). But more importantly, French residents of European nationality who are in receipt of an S1 and have been charged social charges. Many of you are in receipt of your state pension (old age pension) and you are in the French health system via an S1 form which was sent to you by your government health department (Newcastle for the British). That means that any expenses with the French health system is covered by your S1; meaning reimbursed to the French health system by the country who issued the S1. So, if you have been taxed social charges on any revenues, you can claim it back your claim can go back 3 years.

by Isabelle Want

365511 Extraite de l’alinéa 3 :  “Ne peuvent être assujetties à des contributions relevant du champ d’application du règlement n° 1408/71 les personnes qui résident en France mais qui ne relèvent pas du régime français de sécurité sociale “ Nous n’aurions pas du être assujettis à ces contributions car nous sommes couverts par le régime social Britannique via une S1. Au vu de tout ce qui précède, il vous est demandé le dégrèvement des prélèvements sociaux litigieux, et la restitution de la somme de XXX € assortie des intérêts moratoires. Dans l’attente de votre réponse positive, veuillez recevoir mes salutations les plus sincères. » If you did not keep a copy of your S1, phone CPAM or Newcastle and they will send you a copy. Note that if you are married, the French tax office will want to see both S1 forms.


On the 1st of January 2016 the French government has changed the allocation of the social charges which means that they can tax social charges again! (Yes, they can do that and they have). So even though you can get the past one back (last 3 years), it won’t stop the French government taxing you again in the future. However, I read in “Le Monde” newspaper that someone is already challenging the French government on this change so it’s probably not the end of this story. Keep your fingers crossed.


I feel terrible writing this article - On one hand I don’t particularly like the French tax office (that’s an understatement) but on the other I really like my country. I feel a bit like a traitor telling you all how to get money back from my government and I hope I won’t get a tax audit if the French tax office realises why they start getting all those same letters claiming social charges back. So, in the meantime, 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… And remember to check out our website www.bh-assurances. fr for all my previous articles (“practical information” on the English site). You can also follow us on Facebook: ‘Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Thierry Hatesse’.

So in plain English, if you are a UK pensioner who got charged social charges on UK investment in the last 3 years, you can get it back.

No Orias: 07004255


Quite easily really, just write a letter to your tax office together with a copy of your S1 and copies of your “Avis d’imposition” (tax bill) showing the social charges taken. Send the letter by registered mail and make sure you keep a copy of everything. As I am very nice and I know that many of you are not bilingual, here is an example of the letter you should write to get social charges taken from interest on investment back:

« Madame, Monsieur, Nous venons par la présente demander le remboursement des contributions sociales que nous avons payées sur nos revenus de placement pour les années 2015, 2014 et 2013 (voir photocopies). En effet, en accord avec la décision du Conseil d’État N° 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec Contact Isabelle Want: Tel: 05 45 31 01 61 Mob: 06 17 30 39 11 Email: isabelle.want@bh-assurances.fr Visit our website: www.bh-assurances.fr

Ask Amanda

Regular Money Transfers by Sue Cook

“I have a long-term relationship with a UK regulated financial adviser, why should I speak to a French regulated one?”

Q: I currently receive my UK pension into a UK bank account and want to transfer that across to France on a regular basis. What’s the best way for me to go about getting that setup? Will my bank be able to help me?

Many of us have banking and financial service relationships from the UK and whilst you may feel a financial review now you are resident in France isn’t urgent or important, the benefits can be enormous.

When retiring to or purchasing a second home in France, most expats will, at some point or another, need to make international money transfers. Aside from the funds for the initial property purchase, one of the main reasons for moving money from the UK to France is the ongoing transfer of a UK pension. Whether you want to send a lump sum annuity from a UK account or simply make regular ongoing transfers from your monthly payments, transferring this money to your French account shouldn’t be complicated, but there are a few pitfalls to watch-out for.

A full financial review can be free and you should always ask what costs are applicable to any consultation you arrange. Some of the benefits include:

Capital Gains Tax – Certain tax efficient savings and investments recognised by HMRC would not qualify under French taxation, leaving you with a tax bill on the gain element. Inheritance Tax – UK inheritance tax planning is very different to that in France and even though you can opt to have your UK will recognised in France, tax on your estate will be based on French tax rates and laws.

Compliance with the French tax system – Knowing how and when to declare your investments and savings can avoid financial penalties for non-disclosure.

It is very important to remember that whilst your UK financial adviser has been of great service whilst you were resident in Great Britain, if they are not trained and regulated in the country you now live the French authorities will still expect your financial affairs to fully comply to French laws and this may mean you are presented with an extra tax bill for any non-compliance. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below & I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. With Care, You Prosper. Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lausanne, Paris, Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Mallorca, Rome. «The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 «Société de Courtage d’assurances» R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - www.orias.fr «Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Fin

Amanda Johnson of The Spectrum IFA Group 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 Email: amanda.johnson@spectrum-ifa.com

Making ongoing transfers should be as easy to set-up as a one-off transfer; there is no need to spend hours on the phone or online, every month arranging the transfer of your money from one country to another. Although various financial institutions such as traditional banks and currency specialists offer international money transfer services, you should be aware of the differences in the service provided when it comes to regular payments. Where your traditional bank would charge you excessive fees and often poor exchange rates every time you transfer, currency experts guarantee very low or no fees at all and highly competitive rates. If you are transferring your pension every month, this could represent a significant amount of money saved over time. When most of the banks make regular overseas transfers a tedious and complicated task, currency specialists can offer regular transfer services which are fast, simple, fee-free and adapted to your needs. They’ll help you set up a Direct Debit to ensure transfers are done automatically and at the best possible exchange rate. You can even choose to fix the amount (in Sterling) you’re sending from your UK account or the amount (in Euro) that arrives in your French bank account. Additionally, some providers will also give you the possibility to fix the exchange rate in advance for your transfers. This means you’re able to transfer for a set-period of time at a pre-selected exchange rate and avoid the fluctuating nature of currency exchange rates. With the flexibility of the services and the guidance provided by currency experts, you will be able to make the most of your money when transferring your pension. Speak to a specialist today to set up your regular transfers, and start saving on those unnecessary fees and poor exchange rates. Sue Cook, Currencies Direct 05 55 03 66 69 or 06 89 99 28 89 Email: sue.c@currenciesdirect.com

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 47


Property Sellers: 5 Tips to Get your French Property Sold

by David Hennessey, founder of ESREA France

By following these 5 top tips, you can maximise the saleability of your French property...

1 ... Know the Questions

You may recall that when you were shopping for a French home there were certain questions you always had in mind. Think back, chances are you have the same questions that most buyers will have about your home. They, like you, want to know: is the home bright? Orientation is important to brightness so have a compass handy to show the location of the sun.  Is the home energy efficient? Know the DPE energy efficiency of your home and be able to explain simple upgrades, if needed. Other potential questions are: Will there be any new construction nearby (positive or negative)? Make sure you verify with the town hall before sharing any details.  Is the electricity up to date? The condition of the electrical system is an important question for a buyer so make sure you have the diagnostic reports handy to share the condition. 

2 ... Know the Answers

As you respond to likely questions from buyers (examples are covered in tip number one) it is a really good idea for you to have an idea of the cost to make any needed repairs. Ask for at least two quotes from trades people and share these with the potential buyer. Don’t make any suggestions of costs. Let the local trade people’s estimates speak for themselves.

3 ... Make your Home Bigger

As we live in our homes over time most of us tend to collect items and store them inside our living areas. Perhaps, you collect books, antique French furniture or you like to have lots of lamps around your home. Regardless of what it is these items fill up a home and make it appear smaller than it is to the buyer. Remove extra items and do not store them in the garage or storage locker that is part of your home. This will give the impression your home is not big enough to take these items. Instead rent a separate storage locker or use a friend’s garage. Make the home less cluttered and easier to move about in thereby enhancing the buyer’s visit. 48 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

4 ... Depersonalise

When you prepare your French property for visits by potential buyers you need to make sure the buyer can visualise themselves in your home. Many French properties I have visited are placed on the market in the same condition as the way the owners always live, so there are family photos, personal toys and other items that distract from creating the feeling that the buyer needs to have of ‘seeing’ themselves in the home. You need to depersonalise your home so nothing takes the buyer off their focus of looking at the features and benefits of your home. For example, if you have a big family photo on a wall in the living room, that one item may be what the buyer remembers instead of the fact that the living room has lots of space to sit and entertain family and friends. 

5 ... Know the Competition

All owners will think their French property is unique, however, buyers visit a lot of properties and they may have seen properties that they consider similar to yours, so when you place your property on the market make sure you know the competition for your home in the local area. Know the prices of these competing properties in case a buyers says “Oh! We visited a home just like yours two streets over and it is 20,000€ less expensive”. If you have seen that competing property and you can say “that is because it has no swimming pool and no covered parking”, you help to show the value of your home and help keep the positive features of your home in the buyer’s mind. In addition, when you see your competition you will also know the condition of the other French properties buyer’s can choose from and you may realise your property is over or under priced.  ESREA France is a network of English speaking French real estate agents. We encourage you to maximise the sale price of your French real estate by using the above tips and improve your chances even more by using more of the 50 tips we offer in our French real estate seller’s guide.

Visit ESREA France to Find English speaking French real estate agents and French real estate information in English. www.englishspeakingrealestateagentsfrance.com

Don’t forget our deadline!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016 | 49

Food Glorious Food...


by Joanna Leggett

hank goodness we live where food is really appreciated! After all, as they say, the French live to eat (rather than eating to live!)

Have you ever thought about owning your own restaurant? Or, perhaps if you’re looking for a new venture, how about making a selection from our à la carte menu of restaurants currently for sale in the Deux-Sèvres?

in tourist season. Naturally there’s a professional kitchen and everything required to support this lucrative business. Above is the owner’s accommodation – a comfortable three bedroom apartment – outside are pretty gardens, parking and outbuildings. This is in a great location around 22 kms from Niort heading towards the sea – La Rochelle and the glamorous Ile de Ré are around 50 kms. On the market for 376 500€.

For entrée, there’s a thriving business in the heart of a pretty village between Secondigny and Coulongessur-l’Autize? The Hotel des Voyageurs (Leggett reference 55947, photo left) is fully renovated, offering a large bar with restaurant as well as great outside dining in its courtyard topped off by commercial kitchens and a function room. The owner’s accommodation has three bedrooms and two bathrooms – there’s room upstairs to create B&B rooms or even a separate apartment or gîte, plus there’s rental income from the attached shop – currently a hairdresser! A snip at 152 000€!

Last, but by no means least, how about the Chef’s Special – a well established Logis 3* hotel and restaurant in the heart of the Deux-Sèvres countryside (Reference 63902, photo left). Here an ancient water mill near Cholet has been transformed to provide eight ensuite bedrooms (with regular clientele) and restaurant with 60-80 covers. There is of course a professional kitchen, office, staff cloak room and everything else needed. This is a very successful business set in lovely grounds – the stream which feeds the watermill even has an island and all is surrounded by mature trees. The chance to be up-and-running for Day One could prove irresistible at 561 800€! Bon Appetit!

Today’s plat du jour could be the most beautifully situated restaurant in the heart of the Marais Poitevin (reference 57832, photo top right). Located right by the river, this is a well known venue offering a variety of hospitality – there’s the vibrant bar, inside dining with 60 covers, a very pretty conservatory for up to 40 more plus an outside terrace with more seating! It’s also a flourishing takeaway – and a great year round business thanks to local clientèle boosted

Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents. com/poitou-charentes-property

50 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2016

Leggett Immobilier www.frenchestateagents.com

Profile for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

'The DSM' October 2016  

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

'The DSM' October 2016  

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

Profile for thedsm