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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 80 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

We did it! Not only did our fitness team (a.k.a Team Madness) complete the triathlon - but Rob, Jacqui, Adrian and I also completed our charity bike ride, Tour de Rêves. What a month it’s been! I’m actually still on a high from our achievements...our triathlon was a huge success; each of the team conquering their own individual challenges and all agreeing that we will do it all again next year! The event was held in a picturesque setting of the Château de Chantilly, near Paris, organised by the Castle Traithlon Series. It was well arranged, a really freindly atmosphere and fun...I can only urge anyone reading that if you want to try something in the future - do it! You certainly won’t regret it. You can read all about our cycle tour on Pages 10 and 11. Our resident French Village Diaries writer, Jacqui, has summarised our trip perfectly....all in all, a physically challenging week, but so much fun! Donations are still being accepted if you’d like to help Association Rêves realise the dreams for poorly children. Well, I’m worn out! so I’ll leave you now to enjoy your read in peace...

à plus, Sarah

Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: Website:

Emergency Numbers:

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

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

This Month’s Advertisers

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

4 6 13 14 16 18 19 20 22 24 28 32 34 35 41 45

45 7 19 2 38 31 43 37

ARB French Property 47 Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 20 Arbres et Abeilles (Plant Nursery) 20 Argo Carpentry 39 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 33 Attention To Detail (Painting and Decorating Service) 35 Bar de la Poste 8 Bayleaf Books (Books in English) 8 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 44 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 37 Blevins Franks Financial Management 42 Café Bonbon 6 Camping Les Prairies du Lac 47 Château du Pont Jarno Pépinière (Garden Centre) 7 Cherry Picker Hire 36 Chris Bassett Construction 38 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 37 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 39 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 45 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 40 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 43 Darren Lawrence 35 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 40 Domaine de l’enchantoir (Vineyard and wine tasting) 17 Down to Earth Pool Design 45 Ecopower Europe  45 Expat-radio 23 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 33 Hallmark Electricité 39 Haynes Carpentry (UPVC Double glazing) 35 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HMJ Maintenance 38 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 37 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 36 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 36 Jeff’s Metalwork 38 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 33 Jones’S (Supplier of British Foods) 30 Jon the Carpetman 20 Keith Banks (Pool Services) 45 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 20 La Germondière (Private fishing lakes and gîtes) 17 La Petite Noisette (Bar & Restaurant) 31 Leggett Immobilier 46 L’Emporium (many small traders under one roof) 7 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 31 Le Relais du Poitou Gourmand 30 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 38 Mark Wilson (Language Assistance) 12 Martin O’Neill Photography 8 Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 20 Michael Glover (Renderer, Plasterer, Tiler) 35 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 39 ML Computers 23 Motor Parts Charente 33 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 33 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 20 OD Rénovation (stonemasonry) 39 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 19 Photo Creativity (Digital Film Transfer) 23 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Restaurant des Canards 30 Rob Berry (Plasterboarding & Plastering) 35 Robert Lupton Electrician 39 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 22 Sarah Berry Online (Website design) 23 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 36 Satellite TV 23 S. C. Groundworks 36 Short Cuts (Mobile dog grooming) 13 Simon the Tiler 37 Smart Moves - Removal company 33 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 37 Steve Robin (Plumber) 37 Strictly Roofing 40 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 12 Susan4Translation 12 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 33 The Hope Association 3 Day Booksale 8 Val Assist (Translation Services) 12 Vendée Glass Courses 17

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 3

What’s On... 1 – AssocIation AZoukah perform

at Le Patronage Laïc. See article on P.19 of September’s issue. 1– Fête des Plantes at the Chateau in Bressuire. Around 100 exhibitors, giant pumpkin exhibition, poultry exhibition & sale, plus a sale of garden tools. 9am-7pm Entry 3€ for adults, children free. www. 1 – Vide Grenier in Prahecq 1 – Discover the Marais Poitevin by Bike The club ‘Cyclose de la Venise Verte’

invite bike riders to join them on the velo route in the Marshes of the Marais Poitevin. Their goal is to encourage the solitary riders of Coulon, Magné, Sansais, and the surrounding area to join their club. Road bike and helmet required, output between 20 and 25 km/h. (see advert on P.19) 1-15 - Festival éclats de voix in Bressuire. 4 – Charity Quiz Night and Special Menu at Bar de la Poste, L’Absie. Fun night for a good cause – reserve food to avoid disappointment. See ad on P.8 for contacts

5-6 - The Annie Sloan france roadshow at La Deuxieme Chance,

79120 Bois de Messé. Discover and buy chalk paints. See advert on P.20 5-8 - Festival des vendanges in Pamproux 7-8 – ça Marche – Ecofestival in Parthenay. Exhibitions, films, workshops, market and much more. www. 7-15 - Pomm’Expo Secondigny this year’s theme “The benefits of the apple fruit of love, health and energy” 8 – Book Fair Niort 10 am to 7 pm, book fair and children’s entertainment, free entrance and parking. 8 – Rando St AndrÉ-sur-Sevre 9 - Cookery demonstration by caroline self Raising monies for Ian’s

Orange Day. See more on P.19

13 - Astronomy Dinner at Café Bonbon,

La Chapelle aux Lys. See advert on P.6 for details. 13-15 – Hope 3 day book sale (see advert on P.8) 13-15 - MM Festival Classical music festival in Niort and Saint-Loup-sur-Thouet. See for more.

13-15 - Portes Ouvertes at Château du Pont Jarno Pépinière from 9am. 20% off all plant purchases. See advert on P.7 14 – Autumn Sale at the funny farm. Find details on P.7 14 – AVF ‘new arrivals’ day in Parthenay See P.6 14-15 – Segora 2017 competitions celebration. 12 - Financial seminar organised by deVere Group with some industry

experts covering many topics including Brexit, retirement planning, investment planning, wills, taxation concerns and more from 11am at Château du Rosnay 85320, followed by an informal wine tasting. Contact Helen if you’d like to attend: 07 71 71 28 79 15 – Fête des Champignons La Couarde Guided picking, meal (by

reservation), children’s entertainment, mushroom exhibition, food and refreshments.

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

15 - 8km and 21km running courses

along the riverside in Niort.

22 – Exhibition of Patchwork and Quilting in Taizé-Aize, Charente. From

10am-5pm, Free available - see P.7



22 – Autumn Festival in Romans Vide grenier, walks, local products, plants and crafts, exhibitions. 22 - Urban Trail Course in Parthenay

7.5km and 15km routes. See www. for info. 22 – Sunday Roast in L’Absie

At Bar de la Poste. Reservations required. See ad on P.8 for contact details.

25 - Autumn Seminar hosted by Blevins Franks at Vouillé. See advert on


25 - Autumn Seminar hosted by Blevins Franks at Niort. See advert on P.42 26 - Quiz night at A La Bonne Vie

Restaurant, Le Beugnon. See ad on P.30 26 - Halloween Quiz Night & fancy dress at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne from 7pm. See advert on P.30 27 OCT -1 Nov – Festival de Menigoute 28/29 - clocks go back 29 – Halloween at the Elephant Haven Find details on P.7

Dates in green = Public Holidays / Dates in orange = Celebration Days

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: Reel Fish & Chips 4th & 18th 6th 12th 13th


É tusson Genneton La Coudre St Martin de Sanzay

Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

COMING UP... 4th November - RBL bonfire night party with fireworks, hot food and drinks. Tickets on sale at the RBL Book Store at Parthenay (open Mondays and Thursdays 10am–5pm) or tel: 05 49 95 54 59. 18th November - Christmas Market organised by All Saints Vendée at St Hilaire de Voust. 20th & 21st November - Learning to Find the Natural You workshop with Pamela Irving. See advert on P.19 24th & 25th November - Theatrivasles’ 10 minute Play Festival. See more on P.15 25th November - Christmas Bazaar at Salles des Fetes, Savigne (86). 10am - 2.30pm Chaplaincy Poitou Charentes. More info next month.

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

La Vendée Chippy Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st of month : Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny Sat 28 Oct: Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

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

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

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm



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


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

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2017 1st October 31st October

1st November 11th November 25th December

Fête des Grand-pères Halloween

Toussaint Armistice Noël

Dates in orange represent celebration days, not public holidays.

1st Sunday at 10.30am: Parish church at St. Leger de la Martinière, Melle. Followed by tea and coffee. • 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay • 4th Sunday at 11am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea and coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch. A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website or contact us by email: office. Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71. The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15. ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share’ lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcomes you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. 1st and 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd and 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) meets at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11.00am (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun). We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details



2nd: 5th: 9th: 11th:

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

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Theil Rabier Aigre

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

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

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

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

Getting Out & About

by Jane Henderson

Saturday 14th October 2017: Journée des Nouveaux Arrivants


VF, ‘Accueil des Villes Françaises’, is an association established throughout France dedicated to welcoming newcomers to an area, whether they are French nationals moving within France or foreigners moving from their country of origin to live in France. 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. AVF offers a wide range of activities, run by the members of the association on a voluntary basis, and include a walking group, French conversation groups, English/French exchange groups, cards and scrabble evenings, craft activities, a singing workshop, a photographic competition, visits to gardens and plenty of social events to mark the important dates in the French calendar (e.g. Beaujolais nouveau!) 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.

Above: Members of AVF Parthenay © J. Henderson

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 14th, 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 email address is:

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

We post regular updates, things to do and promote special offers on our page, so why not pop over and say “Hello”! 6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017



hanks to a wonderful turn out in the Summer we raised over 500€ and were able to have five cats sterilised, plus we bought kitten milk and medication for the poorly ones. We have had many poorly kittens this year and are raising money to cover the large vet bills we currently have.  We have four kittens to sterilise and another five being fostered who will need sterilising soon too. We hope you can all come along and support us again. There will be 100s of newly donated books at 50c each, clothes, shoes, dvds, CDs, furniture, bedding and much more. We have had lots of new donations and we will have the usual drinks and home-make cakes. We are so grateful to everyone who helps and If anyone has any donations please contact us by email: heather.rosemary33@

Promote your event....

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 7




Small Colour advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

SHARE YOUR EVENTS ! Entries into the What’s On Listing (P.4) are free! (12€ for businesses) + your event is added to our busy Facebook page.... Simply email us:

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017



19th Century Living... an English Translation

by Katey Green



or those of you who are Europeans and concerned about Brexit, you may wish to start the paperwork for a carte de sejour UE in the hopes this may alleviate some problems further down the line.

There are 3 types of initial carte sejour EU available for those living in France for between 3 months and 5 years, for those who work, those who are retired or inactive, and students. They all bear the words ‘Citoyen UE/EEE/Suisse’. These last for 5 years (or until whatever happens with Brexit) and you can only get the documents by visiting your Prefecture, so check to see if yours does appointments or you need to wait in line. For all cards you need to provide the following: • a valid in-date passport • proof of residency by whatever means (EDF bill, Tax Fonciere/Habitation bills, Avis d’Impots documents etc) • 3 identity photos For salaried employees, you must also provide proof of your employment either through completing a déclaration d’engagement or an attestation d’emploi from your employer. If for some reason you are not currently working at the time of application, other justifications must be provided such as an incapacity to work document, a dismissal notice and obligatory registration at Pole Emploi or evidence of professional training. For self-employed people, you must also provide proof of registration with professional bodies, the Répertoire des Metiers or the Registre du Commerce et des Sociétés and evidence of self sustaining work. All relevant documentation pertaining to your activity should be provided, such as invoices, contracts, rental or leasing agreements, receipt and purchase ledgers, accounts, health cover, payment of cotisations etc. For non active people, you must provide evidence of health cover (for the first year your European health card is sufficient (EHIC), you must also have sufficient income to not be a burden on the State, with proof in the form of bank statements, pension documents, dividends etc. The amounts required depend on you being under 65 or over. The monthly income required for those under 65 ranges from 545,48€ for a single person without children, to 1 634€ for a single person with 4 children. A single person with 2 children requires 1 145,51€. For a couple without children you require 818,22€ to 1 527,35€ for a couple with 4 children. A couple with 2 children require 1 167,43€. The monthly income required for those over 65 years is 803,20€ for a single person and 1 246,97€ for a couple.


he French Country Housewife, just published by Prospect Books in London, is a translation into English of the first volume of the best-selling French manual of domestic economy of the 19th century, Maison rustique des dames written by Cora Millet-Robinet and going through a score of editions from its first appearance in 1845. Cora Millet-Robinet lived most of her adult life in the department of Vienne, in and around Poitiers and Châtellerault. She and her husband were tremendous supporters of agricultural reform and modern systems (often English) of farming. In addition, the promoted the revival of the silk industry in Poitou, planting thousands of mulberry trees and maintaining model silkworm faciilities in Poitiers and Loches.


FRENC H COUNT RY HOUSE WIFE the first volume of

Ma i s o n r u s t i q u e d e s d a m e s (1859)


Cora Millet-Robinet translated into english by tom jaine

Her masterwork is a wonderful guide to running a house and farm in the country as well as bringing up a family, building a library, and cooking three meals prospect books a day for a hungry husband as well as the odd dinner party. Many pages are devoted to stocking the store cupboard with everything from bottled fruit to biscuits and jams and all sorts of cured meats. Madame Millet-Robinet was an enthusiast for labour-saving machinery and her illustrations of early dough mixers, washing machines and such like are fascinating to behold (she would keep abreast of new developments for successive editions of her book). Tom Jaine has so far translated the first volume, concentrating on the household and the kitchen, leaving the second (on the garden and the farm) for later. It is a matchless window into a world we have lost, yet still inhabit.

The French Country Housewife is available from bookshops, and from the publisher at It costs £35.00

For students you need to provide evidence of your registration at university etc, proof of health cover and showing sufficient income to live on. Once all documentation is complete, you will receive a receipt and be notified once your card is ready to collect. If you are refused a card there is a procedure to appeal.

Are you a bit of a Bookworm?

Do you have a Question for Katey? Email:

If you should need assistance with this or any other type of French administration, have queries or need simple advice, contact me on: or via my Facebook page:

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

Siret n° 451 059 323 00019 R.C.S Angoulême

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.

Please send to us by email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 9

! it id d e W – s e v ê R e d Tour


by Jacqui Brown

s I write this, I’m still high on the adrenaline of having completed our six-day cycling adventure, although if I’m honest, my legs are a little stiff and my body is rather tired, but what a week it was.

Monday, Day One

We set off from Secondigny in the rain, to cheers and smiles from a crowd of friends, family and supporters, feeling more nervous than excited facing the longest day of the Tour; a 94km ride from the rolling hills of Secondigny to the undulating valleys of the Pay Mellois, but we weren’t alone. Throughout the day we had friends and family cycling with us, feeding us, cheering us along and cumulating with a vin d’honneur (in our honour) at the Mairie in Loubillé. Buoyed along by the support, we all felt that despite the distance cycled and the rain, day one really hadn’t been as bad as we’d imagined and we couldn’t wait to get started on day two.

could have done with the wind that evening, as trying to dry our freshly rinsed cycling clothes proved impossible. Even with a late night blast from the wall-mounted hairdryer in the ladies shower block, they were still as wet the following morning as they had been the night before. We could also have done with a reservation at the campsite restaurant, although we all decided the five kilometre round trip walk into town for dinner probably gave our legs a good post-cycle stretch out.

Wednesday, Day Three

Starting the Tour de Rêves with the Maire of Secondigny

Tuesday, Day Two

Leaving Loubillé in style, with coffee and croissants in the bar and a small cycling contingency escorting us the first few kilometres, we were looking forward to a day without hills that would take us west to the beautiful Marais Poitevin. Following a coffee stop kindly donated by the Auberge du Cheval Blanc in Brioux-sur-Boutonne, the weather soon turned damp and windy and it was four tired and soggy cyclists that fell on the plat du jour at the lunch stop in Beauvoirsur-Niort. Steak, garlic potatoes and blue cheese sauce never tasted so good and was probably my favourite meal of the week. A no hill day that should have been a breeze turned into a bit of a nightmare after our patisserie stop in Frontnay-Rohan-Rohan. Here we discovered the Frontnaysian, a local speciality that was a little like a thick buttery biscuit with a strawberry filling and was the perfect sugar boost to prepare us for the highway to hell; a four kilometre track of gravel with potholes, slightly uphill and cycling into a fierce wind. It was long and slow and exhausting, and necessitated an extended refreshment stop in Arçais while we summoned up the energy to discover what was waiting for us at Camping Le Venise Verte just outside Coulon. We

two, courtesy of Our accommodation for night Camping La Venise Verte

Wednesday was another day full of fun and inspiring cyclists who ensured we weren’t cycling alone; when the first five who joined us in Coulon had taken their leave, another four appeared to escort us into Parthenay. Thanks guys, you don’t know how much that meant to us, especially those who brought with them beer and homemade banana cake which really hit the spot. There are a lot of hills from Niort all the way to Parthenay and I know I was beginning to struggle. We even had a tandem in our little peloton for most of the day, ridden by retired friends Edouard and Patrick. Edouard was the eyes for his blind friend and kept up a running commentary of the scenery as we cycled along. We all agreed they were an amazing team and we were so glad they chose to spend their day with us.

Setting off Day three from Coulon with our guest riders

friends with us in the morning and for the last few kilometres it was nice to have the middle of the day and lunch as just us four. We reminisced back to the earlier days, laughed again at the funny bits, which mostly involved the toilet facilities we’d braved, and unanimously agreed it had been great fun, despite having rain on four days in a year when most of the Deux-Sèvres department has suffered from drought and water restrictions. Our arrival into Secondigny was rather emotional. Family, friends and even bouquets of flowers were waiting for us. We had done it; a sixday, 437km figure of eight around the Deux-Sèvres.

Thursday, Day Four

After a restful night in a gem of a chambre d’hôtes in the old part of Parthenay our legs had already carried us over half the distance and having conquered hills, head winds and rain I thought I was ready for anything. However, this morning turned out to be when I was feeling my most tired and it wasn’t really until after a good lunch in Airvault that I found a burst of energy. Thankfully we were a group of eight in the morning and five in the afternoon so my spirits were lifted by the fun conversations and laughter along the way. Our planned morning stop in Gourgé sadly coincided with a funeral so we weren’t able to get a coffee as planned, however the afternoon tea kindly provided by the Trompe Souris café in Luzay was just the sugar rush I needed to battle the terrain into Thouars. Waiting for us were Alison and Steve Morton, who not only offered us a meal and a bed for the night, but also opened a couple of bottles of bubbly to toast our efforts, as well as their 32nd wedding anniversary that we had gate crashed. The generosity and friendship we encountered during the week was quite something.

Enjoying the autumn colours...

Friday, Day Five

We left Thouars in the cloud, following the River Thouet and cycling underneath a railway viaduct designed by Gustave Eiffel, before leaving behind the Vélo Francette that we had been following since Wednesday morning in Coulon, some 150kms ago. We then picked up the Vélo-route La Vallée de l’Argenton that took us through Argenton l’Eglise to Argenton Les Vallées where the hills were a killer. By this point I was getting off to walk for the downhills as often as the uphills and seemed to be lagging behind the other three most of the time. It looked like our lunch stop in Massais was again unfortunately timed to coincide with a village funeral, but thankfully the cycle-friendly proprietors of Chez Fanny took pity on us and offered us a meal that ensured we reached the luxury of TLC Gîtes in Etusson without incident. Here Haley opened more bubbles to celebrate our last night together and fed us like kings.

Steep hills in Thouars!

Thank you once again to all of you who made our week so special. Huge thanks to the ladies of the NDSN Craft Group for sending us off with mascots for the journey and to Nigel Pearce, Valerie Patard and Sue Burgess for translation help during the organising of the event. If you cheered us along, joined us on the bikes, wrote encouraging words as you followed us online, gave us food, drinks or a bed for the night, sponsored us or donated to Rêves in our name, thank you for your support. It meant a lot to us as we cycled and it will mean a lot to the children, who thanks to your generosity will get to see their dreams come true.

Saturday, Day Six

Those of you who have been following our journey may have noted the accuracy of our timings, something route master and timekeeper Adrian was very proud of and strict with enforcing. It was therefore rather amusing that on Saturday morning he used his UK phone (set on UK time) as the alarm clock so he and I were late for breakfast, oops! This timing hiccup resulted in a caffeine free breakfast for me, which meant I was even slower than normal into Bressuire. As my morning coffee penetrated my veins we had a surprise visit from a journalist, which meant my tired brain having to think and speak in French, but at least our little adventure was getting some good publicity. It seemed strange to think our journey was almost over and although we had

Some may have accused us of merely cycling from one bar to another, the cheek of them. It was simply that stopping for action photos along the way wasn’t as easy as taking photos or selfies at our refreshment stops. Also I’m sure you will agree that with six full days in the saddle, where we burned off around 16,000 calories each, refuelling and refreshment were very necessary. Selfie taking however proved to be a challenge we hadn’t prepared for. Trying to fit in an appropriate background to showcase our destination plus our four heads wasn’t easy, mainly because one of us was considerably shorter than the other three. I’ll leave you to work out who that was, but I’d also like to add that I’m sure my short legs had to work harder than their long legs to get up the hills!

We will be keeping the donations page open until the 31st October, so it’s not too late to make a secure payment, direct to Rêves: Or alternatively, please make a cheque payable to ‘Association Rêves’ and send it to the magazine address. Sarah will be arranging a presentation when all monies have been collected. Heading for home in the rain

437km in 6 days......DONE!

Our sponsors:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 11



t is impossible to speak about the popularity of Hallowe’en in France dans l’Hexagone in general de manière générale, because the answers would be completely different according to the age of the people asked.

For children les enfants, the festival is quite successful in France, notably outside of Paris en province. Children get dressed up ils se déguisent and go knocking on doors asking for sweets aller frapper aux portes pour demander des bonbons. The reason for the success of Hallowe’en amongst children is perhaps partly because it is spoken about in state schools. State schools avoid talking about religious festivals as France is a nonreligious state un pays laïc.

For adults les adultes, the holiday doesn’t really seem to have taken off la fête ne semble pas prendre. It was quite popular during the 90s dans les années 1990 when it arrived in France. But Halloween’s popularity has diminished and not brought the commercial success hoped for. Hallowe’en la fête d’Halloween seems to the French to be very different from their culture. In fact that is not the case as Hallowe’en is really a European festival that was exported to the USA. Hallowe’en, a Celtic festival une fête celte. Hallowe’en is a really ancient festival that announced the beginning of winter le début de l’hiver and represented the moment when the supernatural world le monde surnaturel and our world met. Fantastic creatures les êtres fantastiques which could be positive and beneficial bénéfiques as well as evil maléfiques were attached to this belief. “All Hallow’s even” is literally la veille de tous les saints. The Celtic festivities included processions for the children des processions d’enfants, who carried lanterns made from cucurbits at the end of sticks des lanternes faites dans des cucurbitacées légères et portées au bout des bâtons. In the North of France, the procession des allumoirs takes place at the end of October. When Hallowe’en festivities came back from the USA to the continent they originated from, they were met with a lot of reticence. Quite possibly because they had become Americanised and were very commercial très commercial. Hallowe’en will probably continue in France but will be just for the children.

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: une socrière ..........................

a witch

un fantôme ...........................

a ghost

une araignée ......................... a spider un déguisement ..................... a fancy dress costume avoir la chair de poule ........... to have goose bumps une citrouille ......................... a pumpkin un balai ................................. a broomstick une chauve-souris .................. a bat un chat noir ........................... a black cat jeter un sort ........................... to cast a spell un loup-garou ........................ a werewolf une momie ............................ a mummy un squelette ........................... a skeleton 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

Our Furry Friends



Angele was spotted wandering in the streets of Bergerac by one of our fosterers who took her into Phoenix care. She was found to be ‘in the family way’ and a foster home was sought where she could comfortably have her babies. It was Ann, foster carer in Savignac de Duras, who welcomed this sweet girl into her home. Now her babies are grown she is looking for that special someone to give her a permanent loving home. She is adorable and I challenge you not to love her.

Alsa Alsa is a sweet old girl whose owner sadly passed away. Taken to the vets to be pts, lucky for her they contacted Orfée and she is now safe in her foster home. She is still full of life; a real busybody, enjoying exploring the garden, and affectionate, loving a good belly rub. She is ok with other dogs (and cats) – indifferent so would be fine in a multi dog home, but just as happy having the undivided attention of her family. She is clean in the house and good in the car. She had a nasty long term flea infection which resulted in her losing a lot of her fur from scratching. She no longer has fleas and her fur is now almost fully grown back. She is good on the lead, and with children.

Angele is an independent, self sufficient girl. She likes to spoon with you either by your tummy or behind your knees in bed early in the morning and is extremely attentive from then until you feed her! Thereafter she is happy to go off and amuse herself. She is fearless, she was seen pawing at a small snake! In the evening any little things that find their way into the house, like crickets and grasshoppers, she will happily bat around. She is definitely a huntress and if you have a mouse problem she will take care of it for you. If you’re home at sunset she enjoys you playing with her by swooshing a stick through grass, flipping fallen leaves for her to catch or encouraging her tree climbing practice. At night she comes in of her own accord for an evening snack, some stroking and a nice lie down! Angele has been sterilised, chipped and vaccinated. Email: Ann Major Stevenson Tel: 05 53 89 59 35 Mobile: 07 78 27 86 51 (Dept. 47 Savignac de Duras)

Alsa has been micro-chipped, is fully vaccinated including rabies, so she has a valid passport and she has been treated for worms, fleas and ticks. Due to her age she has not been spayed. A reasonable donation will be asked for to help towards her medical costs.

The Assocation Orfee Contact Caroline: 05 45 96 02 79 or by email: Visit the website: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 13

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

Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

Thanks to the support of the Centre we meet every Wednesday 7.30pm-9pm, at 7 rue Anne Desrays, for conversation in English & French, for a mutual understanding of each other’s language and culture. Contact 05 49 66 35 11 or the Centre 05 49 66 76 40 email or 2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club Come and join us for a bike ride, or just a cup of coffee and a chat, with bike-minded people. As the name suggests, we meet on the 2nd Sunday of every month. New members are always welcome. For more information, visit our web-site.

Les Amis Solitaires

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

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

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or visit THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email: RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: or Tel Website Short URL:

AL-ANON Support Group

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

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

Bridge Players Wanted

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

TTL Photography Group

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

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

Craft Café Creatif

Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay

ThouarStMed’Arts - Association that aims to bring together


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:

people from the historic town of Thouars (Quartier Saint Médard) for a new development of artistic activity. Exhibitions, galleries, brocantes, creators, cultural events etc. Visit the website:

Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Membership Secretary Michele Hansford for joining details. Email: Tel. 05 49 64 21 63 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

French 4-part choir established over 30 years (with 2 English members) always looking for “new blood”! Excellent Musical Director. Come to a rehearsal and see for yourselves. Contact Keith for more info 05 49 69 14 89 Meets every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of each month at Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. For when, where, how and why of practical gardening contact Janette by email: or call: 05 49 75 50 06. The Jean David Art Group meets every Tuesday, 11am - 3pm at Fenioux (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.

The Cutting Stage by Tim Fitzgerald


n recent months, TheatriVasles have been ruthless. Jokes have been laid bare, plots tested to destruction and credulity subjected to advanced interrogation techniques. Champions seemingly rose only to have their characters assassinated, their casting castigated or worse, their originality called into question. A list of over a hundred lovingly created pieces of 10-minute theatre have been narrowed down to less than twenty; the crème de la crème. Note - We are finalising the list of plays good enough to make it into the TheatriVasles Ten Minute a Play Festival. (Our own scriptwriters are getting a bit carried away with this month’s article so we have included these sensible ‘Notes’ to help). Then the final stage, a battle royale for those scripts on the knife edge of festival performance or oblivion. With members watching in judgement, these contenders gave of their best knowing but half of their number would survive. Note - Last Sunday afternoon, we held performances in front of our membership. We met up in the sunshine with a glass of wine so that anyone wishing to take part in the Festival could have a go at reading a play. We also got invaluable feedback on what made our audience laugh, the plays that they loved and the plays that they loved slightly less... Watch the drama unfold, scene by mighty scene as the winter nights draw in. Note – sigh!


by Eric Edwards



olin and I served in the same ship during the Falklands War of 1982; in the course of our subsequent careers we were both promoted a further two times. I, on one hand, served my time to pension until 2002 but Colin was discharged for disciplinary reasons in 1996 and lost most of his pension rights. His troubles began to manifest themselves after an injury sustained on a leadership course in 1986 although, hitherto, he had known that there had been a radical change in his personality since 1982. From the first instant his injury was treated with pain-killing drugs and despite continual reoccurrence of the problem over a sustained period and his insistence that he may have psychological problems, the same treatment was given. After several years he became immune to the prescribed drugs and began self-medicating, this in turn lead to the abuse of controlled substances and his eventual discharge from the Service. During the 14 years in which his world was deteriorating, Colin’s marriage broke down and he lost his home ending up as a single parent to two children in a Service Married Quarter. It should be noted that throughout this period and up until his discharge, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was not recognised by the Ministry of Defence. It wasn’t until 2003 that the High Court handed down judgement that veterans of conflicts prior to 1996 had legal claim for negligence against the MoD for failing to diagnose psychiatric stress in war veterans. Colin was seen by a civilian psychiatrist in 2004 and was immediately diagnosed as suffering from long term PTSD. Throughout his hardships, Colin has been assisted twice by the RBL and continues to hope for some recognition for the suffering he has endured as a direct result of his experiences. It is for Colin and thousands like him on whose behalf the RBL work. Every penny put into the Poppy Appeal boxes each November and every fundraising event you support goes to help those who have given too much in the defence of freedom. So, please, wear your Poppy with pride this coming November and give generously. A list of businesses where you may find a Poppy Appeal box throughout the Region will be published on our web site by the end of October. If you would like to support an event, there will be a bonfire night party with fireworks, hot food and drinks on Saturday 4th November, tickets will be on sale at the RBL Book Store at Parthenay (open Mondays and Thursdays 10am–5pm) or telephone 05 49 95 54 59 for further information.

Above: Members of the Theatrivasles group © Theatrivasles 2017

The festival will take place on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th November Tickets are priced at 10€ and are available from Dorothy on 05 49 05 67 41 or To get involved, please do contact us at – we’d love to hear from you.

Visit or find us on Facebook contact ‘The DSM’ Call Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm or Email: Visit: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 15


Luckily, revisions are not many now, but at every editing stage I see other things as I go through. I still check each sentence to see if I can find better words and word order to make it clearer or tighter; basically, add sparkle. When I think it’s finished, it’s off to the copy-editor. She not only checks my grammar and punctuation, but also continuity, cohesion, sometimes facts, but always the flow. Like any writer, I try to get my speech marks, line returns, hanging indents, spelling and typing completely right but the editor nails them all down. Then the copy-edited manuscript lands in my inbox and I read through and discuss any points with the editor that we haven’t covered. I transfer it to the Kindle (again!) and read through (again!). By this point, I am so fed up with it that I’m on the verge of consigning the characters to the pit of Tartarus and hurling myself in after them. When the galleys come back a few weeks later, formatted and set, I’ve calmed down enough to proofread them. Now this could be dangerous. But in the many years spent as a project manager and editor of translations I notched up at least a couple of million words in proofreading. I start at the last chapter and work back. I can only do an hour at a time because the concentration of reading each word in each line is intense. For my novels I follow the excellent Alison Baverstock’s methodology in The Naked Author. So, yes, editing is a process, but no, as without the creativity, you wouldn’t have a story.

Happy Editing!

Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into “The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her sixth novel, RETALIO is now out. 16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

I have always wanted to read an Ishiguro novel and this one attracted me because its central characters are two older people… Beatrice and Axl. They are on a quest to a neighbouring village to seek out their longlost son. The backdrop to their journey is a mythic Old England in which invading Saxons, having fought viciously with Britons, have since settled into an uneasy peace based on collective forgetfulness – an enforced amnesia that manifests, literally, as a mist (spread by the breath of a she-dragon, Querig) and robs the country, and our couple, of their memories of war, peace and love. Past horrors are buried rather than faced. These factors are as applicable to Ishiguro’s Old England as it is to postwar Europe, or today’s war-ravaged regions. Ishiguro teases out the tensions in his gathering party of questing characters on their ancient yellow brick road: the elderly couple, a courageous Saxon warrior, a boy who becomes the warrior’s apprentice and a geriatric Gawain (the legendary Arthurian knight) who initially appears King Lear-like, in woodland wilderness, with aching limbs and an ancient horse. Every journeyman strives for something different. At its core, The Buried Giant is a fantastical fable, an old-fashioned adventure story with thrills a-plenty. But scratch the surface and you get more. There are allusions to so many other classics: obviously, King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable, but also Orpheus and Dante’s Inferno (particularly in the character of Beatrice, the cherished soulmate), and certain childhood fables. We get an in-depth look at universal themes: memory and forgetfulness, love and aging, war and peace and what it takes to be a good and a loving person. If you find comfort in fables, give this book a shot. If you love deeply touching endings, give this book a shot. If you enjoy authors who take chances, give this book a shot. by Vronni Ward

Take a Break - SOLUTION

After the inevitable revisions and more polishing, the manuscript goes for its professional assessment with a multi-published writer and editor who has done this for the last five Roma Nova books. She takes no prisoners, but my goodness, she gets to the heart of things and piles on the advice.

“ For what good’s a memory’s returning from the mist if it’s only to push away another? Will you promise me, princess? Promise to keep what you feel for me this moment always in your heart, no matter what you see once the mist’s gone.” Axl to Beatrice.

Easy Crossword:

My critique partner has the instincts of a velociraptor on steroids and marks up the manuscript with humorous, direct and clear notes. A lot of them. I count it a triumph to receive a sheet back with no red pen marks. This relationship has taken years of trust building and is based on loving brutal honesty.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

Across: 1. vicar 2. major 7. krill 8. offal 9. disagreements 10. columnist 13. steadfastness 14. acrid 15. diced 16. yonks 17. abyss Down: 1. vermin 2. collaboration 4. jefferson city 5. reacts 11. sticky 12. ushers Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. order 2. bombast 8. education 9. tie 10. aches 11. gorgons 13. the sanitation 15. ensurer 16. peace 18. ink 20. aqueducts 21. egghead 22. layer Down: 1. opera 2. daughters 3. roads 4. bring him round 5. minerva 6. aft 7. treason 13. the wine 14. acreage 16. pedal 17. easer 19. keg

Next, I print the whole thing out. Lover of ebooks that I am, I know that I spot more little horrors on paper. One thing I particularly check is each character’s individual time line. Then, sick of the thing, I send the manuscript  to my critique partner and have another lie-in.

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

8) Steve MCQUEEN 9) Michael CRAWFORD 10) HARTFORD 11) Kirsty MCCOLL 12) Adam DALGLIESH


diting is a several stage process: self-edit (me), critique partner edit (free), structural edit (paid professional), copy edit (paid professional), proofread (me). I don’t put the manuscript aside for a few weeks. It’s not good enough to enter the fallow meadow; it needs a good scything first. After a well-deserved lie-in or even a day off, I gird up, send the draft to my Kindle and read it through. I ignore all the glitches, make no notes and plough on to the end. The objective at this stage is to ensure that my scribblings hang together as a story.

Warm thanks go to Vronni Ward again for this month’s review.

Connection: they are all Scottish International footballers.

by Alison Morton

YOUR Book Reviews

Well, what do you know?: 1) Norman Stanley FLETCHER 2) The LAW Society 3) JORDAN 4) Jim MORRISON 5) Douglas JARDINE 6) 50 Shades of GREY 7) Evis PRESLEY

Is Editing a Process?

Bees at the Little White House by Gloria Fisher

Experiences of a new Beekeeper... The Opening


t was now my turn to open up a hive for inspection and with all my group watching, I had to give it a go, after all, this was what it is all about.

I smoked the front of the hive and very carefully lifted off the roof, then inserted the tool in between the inner roof and the brood box and smoked in the gap. Then, I lifted off the inner, there were bees in the roof and I gently lowered them to the floor. I could see the amount of bees and the insides of a busy hive, there were plenty and they weren’t too pleased at having their home opened! I then unstuck the first frame so I could take it out and look at it. The idea is to find eggs, which look like grains of rice; larvae, they look like little worms and sealed brood, which means that the larvae are covered waiting to hatch. As I took out the first full frame I was surprised at how heavy it was, full of all of the above. We didn’t find the Queen, but the fact that the frame was full of the right things meant she was there and doing well. The first frame was put on the ground and I went on to the next, replacing it in the space made by the removal of the first. This method continues throughout the hive, and when finished I returned the frames to their original places, finally replacing the roof. I now felt much happier about opening up my own hive. I must admit that this first time was not a full inspection of all the frames as my smoker refused to light properly and when you are geared up in a suit and gloves it’s very difficult to relight a smoker. (N.B. ensure the smoker is ok before starting!) I also learnt that bees are not so keen on brand new frames, my hive was expanding to such a degree that I thought they needed a super. I added the new one, looking a week later to find it was unused, but the brood box was getting full to bursting point and the bees were not happy. I asked a member of the Bee school who speaks English and he said that the bees prefer a used one. I brought a new/old super, which is a used frame reworked with new foundation. I added this by alternating a new frame with an old one.  The bees now seemed happier, busy but contented. By just observing the bees at work you learn to judge the mood of the bees. If any of you would like to get in touch with me, my email is

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 17

Take a Break Across: 1. Parish priest (5) 3. Army officer’s rank (5) 7.  Major source of food for baleen whales (5) 8. The trimmings of a butchered animal often considered inedible by humans (5) 9. Arguments; a conflict of people’s opinions (13) 10.  A journalist who writes editorials (9) 13. Loyalty in the face of trouble and difficulty (13) 14. Strong and sharp, harsh and corrosive (5) 15. Cut into cubes (5) 16. A very long time; ages (informal) (5) 17. A bottomless gulf or pit (5)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Down: 1. Small animal or insect pests (6) 2. The act of cooperating traitorously with the enemy (13) 4. Capital of the state of Missouri (9-4) 5. Shows a response to something (6) 6. Not permitting the passage of fluid through the pores (11) 11.  Covered with an adhesive material (6) 12.  People employed to take others to their seats (6)

Across: 1. Arrangement it transpired Roman authorities had held back; one aspect in twenty of governance (5) 4. Brag about degree of over the top vocal performance (7) 8. Exceptional action due for learning one element in twenty (9) 9. Manage to get a draw, taking it easy at first (3) 10. Some minor pains coming after mad chase (5) 11. DG involved in change of gay, Scottish dance for mythological sisters (7) 13. To deal with the waste, one in twenty of this nation ate hotchpotch (3,10) 15. He guarantees to be certain in English result (7) 16. Quiet exercise for expert coming in last of twenty (5) 18. Having certain knowledge about material for writing (3) 20. Strangely cute and deranged squad building things the (Roman) occupying force “have one for us”? (9) 21. Encourage him to give publicity to TV brain? (7) 22. How to describe chicken, really well cooked, but with only one leg? (5)

Down: 1. Tommy Cooper Academy holding dramatic musical event (5) 2. Seeing the girls put the guards in complete disarray! (9) 3. Drives headless chicks; one in twenty, “it goes without saying”. (5) 4. Dumb Ron hiring organisation to help the man recover (5,3,5) 5. Pit worker going to London museum to see wise goddess (7) 6. Foremost of all foreign travellers to go to back of ship (3) 7. Rat one’s delivered up for crime against the state (7) 12. Holy Cigar! What a mess! That’s what you get for putting a privileged few in charge! (9) 13. I joined, then we prepared refreshment for one in twenty (3,4) 14. Grow older addition to mixed race in farmer’s fields (7) 16. Friend getting schooling in how to ride a bike? (5) 17. Final left right movement for facilitator, formerly just a supporter (5) 19. Use potassium, for example, to make a kind of beer (3)

Well, what do you know? 1) Name the character played by Ronnie Barker in ‘Porridge’. 2) Which organisation is the professional body which organises and supports solicitors?

With thanks to M.Morris

Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get? 8) Which actor played the title role in the 1968 film ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’?

3) Amman is the capital of which country?

9) Which British actor’s film and stage credits include lead roles in Hello Dolly, Billy (Billy Liar), Barnum and Phantom of the Opera?

4) Who was the lead singer of the group ‘The Doors’?

10) What is the state capital of US state Connecticut?

5) Who was Captain of the England cricket team during the notorious “bodyline” series in Australia 1932-33? 6) What is the title of the first volume of the trilogy written by EL James? 7) Which American singer’s first record was ‘My Happiness’, recorded as a birthday present for his mother?

11) Which female singer recorded ‘Fairytale of New York’ with Shane McGowan and the Pogues? 12) Which fictional detective, created by PD James, was played on TV by Roy Marsden (ITV) and Martin Shaw (BBC)? And finally, as usual, what is the connection? Copyright RJS 2017

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

Answers on P.16 and our website:

DSM Easy Crossword

Health, Beauty & Fitness

Ian’s Orange Day COOKERY DEMONST RAT IONS Free Cookery Demos at Les Gibaudieres, 85700 Montournais at the home of Caroline Self. To be held at 2pm on the 2nd Monday of each month from October through to March. Recipes to be covered this year are:• • • •

Crumpets (of course!) Bara Brith or Welsh tea bread (a sugar and fat-free recipe) Welsh drop scones Home made pasta.

There is space for 6 people at a time and as usual goodies can be eaten at the time with either tea or coffee or taken home with you. If participants wish to donate something, Ian’s Orange Day Charity Box will be on hand. Last winter Caroline raised 300€ with donations from 6 cookery days. Any queries or requests to host a weekend demo, please contact Caroline BY EMAIL: caroline.self@

FITNESS CLUBS: Pure Fitness Exercise to music classes - every Tuesday 7pm-8pm Salle des Fêtes, La Chapelle St Etienne 79240. For more info contact The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 19

Home & Garden

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

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

• Prune Wisteria and climbin g/ra

mbling roses. • Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs. Choose fully hardened growth from this rooting powder or gel and pla season, dip in hormone of the border with a little grit nt 5-6” deep at the back or sand in the hole to aid drainage.


by Vanda Lawrence


id I blink? Is it really October again already? I hope you have all had a lovely summer, especially if you were lucky enough to have family visiting. But now it’s time to settle down, take stock and start crossing the jobs off the list – so here we go!

-flowering ing and replant with spring • Remove summer bedd gets too cold. Do not manure these courage plants before the soil because you will only en beds or borders though will be damaged by cold winds w-acting new tender growth which to add bone-meal, a slo and frosts. It is better will be able to make use of once fertiliser which the plants ing. growth begins again in Spr • Plant Spring bulbs. sary and perennials where neces • Lift and divide hardy ls from frost. For your information protect tender perenniadiness: here is a list of plant har but will not lives for several years i) Tender perennial – withstand frosts. of 0 ⁰C or t withstand temperatures ii) Half-hardy – canno below. need at least +5 ⁰C. iii) Frost tender – plants to -15 ⁰C. vive temperatures down iv) Frost hardy – can sur frost. Cut growth is blackened by • Lift Dahlias when top then stand tubers upside-down in a them down to about 6” t. Later you can store them crownfrost free place to dry ou ts in slightly damp peat. Leave the uppermost with their rooand dust with flowers of sulphur. crowns above the peat and check frequently. Should they Store in a frost-free shed them into a bucket of tepid water look shrivelled just drop up again. overnight to plump them still warm. If shrubs while the soil is • Plant new trees and nt with special soil requirements the you have chosen a pla be useful: following soil tests might lf a cup of o a container and add ha i) Scoop some soil int or fizzes the soil is alkaline. vinegar - if it bubbles mix with half get a fresh soil sample, ii) If nothing happens add half a cup of baking soda. If this a cup of water and soil is acidic. bubbles or fizzes then the d sulphur or amend an alkaline soil ad iii) Should you need to ke an acidic soil more alkaline just add pine needles; to ma some wood-ash or lime.

• Shrubs and climbers such as be layered now. Choose a flexClematis, Skimmia etc can reach the soil. Make a slantingible stem long enough to this stem, dust with rooting pow cut on the underside of soil, securing with a piece of wir der or gel and bury in the e or heavy stone. Test for roots in 6 months or so.

• Scarify the lawn, aerate and Reseed any bare or worn pat feed with autumn fertiliser. ches. • Plant rhubarb crowns now . • Lift tomato plants before the frosts; also cut down pea and bean plants for the compos of these plants into the soil bec t heap, but dig the roots fertiliser, putting nitrogen bac ause they act as a natural k into the soil. • Plant onions, shallots and garlic. • Dig over any empty spaces roughly adding compost as in the vegetable garden, down overwinter ready for Spryou go. This will break sprinkle Epsom salts (aka sulp ing planting. You can also soil to boost magnesium and hate de magnesium) on the sulphur content. • Remove faded water-lily flow and cut back any oxygenato ers from the garden pond r plants which have made too much growth. Keep removin from nearby trees and remem g dead leaves as they fall from ice in frosty weather to allober to keep an area free fish will benefit but local wild w gases to escape – your life will also be glad of a spot to drink from.

Well, I think we can safely say we won’t have time to be bored this month! Don’t forget that the clocks go back on 29th October .... yes, we shall get an extra hour in bed .... yippeeeee!

And now, before I go, I must say WELL DONE to Sarah, Rob, Jacqui & Adrian and all the others who joined them for the Tour de Reves charity cycle trip. You are all AMAZING. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 21

Communications How to protect your PC - Preventative Maintenance by Ross Hendry


think of personal computers, including tablets, as precision instruments - a complex set of components that work together with even more complex software. I entrust my important documents, photographs and other information to this device, so it is important to me that is runs efficiently and reliably. To ensure that this is the case I try to prevent problems rather than cure them - Preventative Maintenance or PM. This is a simple plan of measures to take at regular intervals that will help keep our PCs running at their best. Some are run daily, others weekly and others less frequently.

Preventative Maintenance Check List

Still got a ball type mouse? If so take out the ball and wrap it in sticky tape this should remove all of the grease and dust, check the rollers inside the “ball hole” clean off any dust/fluff that has stuck to the rollers. You might want to check your mouse mat is clean as well and clean it if not

Annually: • Check for new Hardware Drivers and any Firmware updates and install them (remember to back up first) • Check for unused programs and data and uninstall/remove them • Update any password changes in your personal library • With the PC turned off, open the PC case and check all Fans for dust and noise, clean them carefully, check heat sinks and do the same. Any holes that allow air to circulate should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent blockages. Ensure that the PC is not over heating, most BIOS settings have a temperature section, check that the CPU etc is running in the correct temperature range Think of these measures as protecting your investment in the PC itself, but more importantly you are protecting your data and ensuring that it is safe. It is a known fact that PCs are easily replaced, your data is not. I consider my PCs to be just like my car, and I would always practice Preventative Maintenance to feel safe in it. I check tyres, water and oil weekly, brakes monthly, I replace windscreen wipers and filters regularly and have a professional service every 6 months. This way I know that I am safe and that my passengers and other road users are too.

Daily: • Check for Virus and Spyware definitions - install them and run a daily scan of your PC. Most AV programs do this automatically, just check that yours is set to do so • Check for and run Windows optional updates (if they are relevant) and other software updates, such as Adobe Reader and Java • Back-up important data you have created, even more important with Windows 10 as we have no control over when Microsoft install the updates and if these cause problems

Many of the daily and weekly tasks may be automated. The time taken to perform these simple items is well invested when you think what time you will lose if you have to replace your PC or try to reinstate the data you have lost, if you have a good current backup. If you do automate these tasks please ensure you remove any backup drive from the system immediately the backup is completed. Finally and most importantly, mark on your calendar/ diary when you do your PM, so you know how long it is between them/when the next is due.

Weekly: • Run Disk Clean-up • Run Scan Disk to check the drive for errors and mark any bad sectors • Physically clean your PC, screen and keyboard and mouse and of course your printer and scanner

I provide an annual check for my customers, it normally takes around an hour and I give them peace of mind that their PC is running well and advise them of any problems that may occur and take the necessary remedial action. Why not see if your PC support company/person does the same? I am sure that it is worth the cost of an hour or so a year to have peace of mind, after all, it is far less than an annual service on your car!

Monthly: • Back-up your operating system and settings • Change your password for critical applications, such as on-line banking and update changes to your personal library • Clean your input devices - Optical Drives collect dust so get a drive cleaner if you have a slot type drive

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 23

Where We Live...



Karolyn Chauvigné

The rollercoaster of life... Boulette d’Avesnes

It would be difficult to mistake this cheese for anything else. Its cone shape, brick-red colour and pronounced smell makes it really stand out from the crowd. It’s volcanic in both shape and flavour! This little-known cheese gets its name from the village in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, near the Belgian border, where it originated. It was mentioned for the first time in the writings of the Abbey of Maroilles around 1760. It’s nickname is ‘suppositoire du diable’ (the devil’s suppository) and legend has it the miners who once populated the region would rest it on wooden boards above their windows to dry it out and make an already powerful taste even stronger. There are two versions of this particular cheese, using either raw or pasteurised milk from either Holstein or Flamande cows. The authentic fermier version is made by heating buttermilk (the residual milk remaining after the manufacture of butter) and draining and seasoning the resulting solids with herbs and spices including parsley, pepper, tarragon and cloves. The mixture is then kneaded to a smooth paste, handmoulded into small balls (hence the name) or cones which are around 6-8cms at the base and 10cms tall and weighing between 200 and 300g depending upon the producer. After being shaped, it is dyed with annatto (a natural colouring) or covered with paprika. Both fermier and industriel cheeses have bright red rinds, which are natural in the case of farmhouse cheeses but often tinted in factory-made products. Maturation takes at least three months in humid, brick-built cellars with paved terracotta floors, during which time the cheeses are regularly washed, usually with beer. The industriel version is ripened in the same way, but unripened Maroilles curds are used as a base rather than buttermilk solids. You’ll need to hang on to your hat when you take a bite of Boulette d’Avesnes as there’s a serious blast of both heat and smokiness. Spicy, peppery and pungent with quite a persistent aftertaste of tarragon. The inside can be of a doughy consistency, but also creamy and smooth. When eaten young it’s delicious after a meal with just some bread and a glass of Beaujolais or a good pint of hoppy ale. It marries well with confit of mirabelles or a drizzle of honey. It’s also excellent in a crusty sandwich.

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

The happiness of being with someone you love, but the sorrow that comes with a parting of the ways. The joys of having children, but the utter devastation of losing one. Then the chance of a new life with a loving husband and family. Such are the ups and downs of life. Karolyn Chauvigné has had her share of both the wonderful times and the downright horrendous.


” was 19 and working as a receptionist in a hotel in Oxfordshire when I met my future husband, a Frenchman called Henri who was an assistant manager at the same hotel. Our first child, Mathieu, came along and soon after that we followed our hotel manager to Brighton to work for a group of three hotels.” But it didn’t take long for them to realise that both of them working in the hotel trade with a young son to take care of would be tough - “Child-minders were very difficult to find from 6am and sometimes we didn’t finish work until after midnight” – so Karolyn quit the hotel trade to work first as a legal secretary and then as an insurance underwriter. “In 1993, we decided to move to France. We needed a change and I’d loved the family holidays we’d had in the Maine et Loire. My husband had a big, welcoming family and the whole atmosphere just seemed so much more relaxed in France than in England. All the same, it was a huge decision to make. I knew I’d not be able to find something in my previous occupations as my French, both spoken and written, wasn’t good enough. However, unlike many others moving here, at least I had a husband who was French and who would be able to find work quite easily.” Karolyn and Henri moved in temporarily with his family while the job-searching began. He found a waiter’s job in a little restaurant in Fontevraud l’Abbaye and that enabled them to rent a small home close to his work. “Mathieu started school and that tugged really hard on the heart-strings. On the very first day I remember the teacher trying to prise him out of my arms. I cried all day and couldn’t wait until the evening when I could go and get him back!” Henri worked long hours at the restaurant – often from 9am until at least midnight six days a week – and he and Karolyn would only see each other for some three hours every afternoon. She began to feel isolated, with no means of transport and baby No2 on the way. “William was born in Saumur at the end of 1994 and after that Henri decided to train as a car mechanic. A drastic change from pristine and booted to overalls and greasy hands, but the hours would be perfect. In early 1995, we moved to Nantes for his year-long course. It meant we could live together as a family and it would avoid me going crazy at home alone for six days a week.

by Mick Austin

Above: Karolyn and Pascal on their wedding day in 2009. “Henri passed his course with flying colours but he just couldn’t find any work here. By 1997, I had decided everything had become too much, with neither of us able to find work. We were drifting apart and I felt the only thing to do was to go back to England. I convinced my husband he would find work there and he did.” The family moved back to live in Brighton, where Henri worked as a motor mechanic and Karolyn as a legal secretary. But life in the UK was not to last long. “Three years later we gave France another go. We bought a little renovation project at Cersay, deep in the Deux-Sèvres countryside. My husband found work as a builder for an English friend’s father and the children started school and soon made lots of friends, as did Henri and I. On our first day at school I met a lovely English lady who had three children, all similar ages to mine. We became best friends and we still are today. She was a breath of fresh air for me and things began to look so much more positive for our lives in France than they did before.” In 2002, Karolyn’s father and his wife decided to buy a little holiday home nearby so they could be close to Karolyn and his grandchildren. “That was so amazing for me. I got to see my dad more and my children were also delighted to have grandad on hand more often. I helped my parents buy their house and translated for

them at the notaire’s office as, by that time, my French was coming on in leaps and bounds. I felt this was a job I could do!” After the house completion, Karolyn decided to grab her CV and visit every estate agent she could in Saumur. “The first one I went into told me to go away, do a project and come back in a week. That’s exactly what I did. They didn’t even have internet, so you can imagine my project was long – the dossier was more than an inch thick. I went back, the boss opened the dossier, looked at the first ten or so pages, turned to me and asked when could I start!” The following years were good for Karolyn and her family. She made plenty of sales with the agency and Henri was busy as well. “He learned so much in those first few years. I had so many customers wanting building work doing he decided to go it alone and set up his own business.” In 2005, however, life was to change again. “Things got bad between my husband and I and were getting worse and the inevitable happened. We’d gone through so much together, but we really weren’t in a good place emotionally. We separated and sold the family home. I decided my life would continue to be in France as I couldn’t bear the thought of taking the children back to the UK as they would miss their father so much.”

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special

Photos left: Karolyn and Pascal at their bar (above); right: Karolyn’s sons William, Mathieu and Léo and below right: Karolyn with Mathieu in 2012.

Karolyn bought a small town house to renovate in Doué-laFontaine and carried on with her work as an estate agent. Things were OK and the children were able to see their father almost every weekend.

lives went on. Things changed, of course. Mathieu wasn’t with us, so I wasn’t able to share precious time with him, but my children needed me and more than ever we needed to be together as a family.”

“My primary thoughts were that I had to stay strong for my children. I must be happy and plod along, although things were very hard both financially and emotionally. But after a year or so I started getting out and about much more and began to make quite a few new friends.”

Karolyn and Pascal found a house for sale nearby, but they no longer had an income so banks refused to lend them part of the money to buy it. Luckily, the owners agreed to rent them the house for a year to give them time to buy it. Karolyn got a job in a DIY shop for 11 months - “It was hard work, as I’d never done anything like it before, but I had the advantage of having renovated my previous house back in the ‘90s” - while Pascal went back to teaching. “He’s in his element. He’s a full-time sports teacher for secondary and college-age students. We both went from working more than 80 hours a week to around 35. We didn’t know ourselves!”

Life began to get a little better for Karolyn and some friends introduced her to a French schoolteacher called Pascal. In 2007, Karolyn had her third son, Léo. She and Pascal finished the renovation on her house in Doué-la-Fontaine and they bought a bar near Pascal’s home town of Vihiers, which had always been a dream of his. “After three years running the bar, things were going really well. We were very much in love and enjoyed working together. Strangely enough, being together 24/7 and having a job with long hours of hard work really cemented our relationship. William and Léo lived with us at the bar and Mathieu, who was then 22 years old, left home to live with his girlfriend. Soon after that they had their first child, my beautiful little first grand-daughter.” Then, on January 28, 2013. Karolyn’s world came crashing down. “There was a knock at the door and standing there was Mathieu’s godfather, who was my first husband’s brother, and our local gendarme. He told me that my eldest son had been knocked down and killed early that morning by a local man who was driving to work and failed to stop at a junction. I was never going to see my talented, beautiful, loving right-hand man, my son Mathieu, ever again... It was destroying then and still is now. “We all tried every day to keep things as normal as possible. But this is the thing. The job was great until something happens that changes you instantly. We sold the bar to a French couple and our 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

William found a job as a bilingual customer services advisor and Léo started at his new school in September 2013, where he instantly made loads of new friends. Karolyn and Pascal spent a few months enjoying their evenings in the comfort of their own home – something they’d dreamed about for ages after working such long hours at their bar – and began to socialise and make many new friends. “After a year, once we’d sorted out our mortgage and bought our house, I was offered a job with Currencies Direct as a regional co-ordinator. In my estate agent days I’d always referred my clients to them and I’m still with them today. I now also work as a representative for a holiday rental company called Novasol and my job is to take on holiday homes and also look after property owners. I get to meet new people all the time, which is something I love. My work is extremely varied so there’s never a dull moment. “Life has been a scary rollercoaster, but I love France and can’t imagine myself being anywhere else. I even dream in French now!”

by Mick Austin

On this month October 16, 1793: MarieAntoinette (pictured right) is sent to the guillotine just nine months after the execution of her husband, the former King Louis XVI. At a time of economic turmoil in France, she lived extravagantly and once allegedly responded to news that the French peasantry had no bread to eat by saying: “Let them eat cake.” October 1, 1856: Revue de Paris publishes the first part of Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert. The novel was published in instalments from this day until December 15. The novel, about the romantic illusions of a country doctor’s wife and her adulterous liaisons, scandalised French traditionalists and Flaubert was put on trial for obscenity in 1857. He was acquitted and the book became a popular success. Madame Bovary took Flaubert five years to write. He died in 1880, aged 58. October 24, 1921: In the French town of Chalons-sur-Marne, an American officer selects the body of the first ‘Unknown Soldier’ to be honoured among the approximately 77,000 US servicemen killed on the Western Front in World War One. The casket travelled to Le Havre and was put on board a ship bound for the United States. The Unknown Soldier was buried with full military honours at Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington DC.

(Photo below)

October 5, 1930: The British airship R101 crashes on a hill near Beauvais, France. The impact was gentle and survivable, but the airship was filled with hydrogen and the resultant fire killed 46 passengers and crew. Eight men escaped from the wreck but two more crew members later died of their injuries.

Life has be e rollercoast n a scary er, bu France and t I love can’t imagine m yself being anywhere else.

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

October 6, 1945: Former French premier and Vichy collaborator Pierre Laval tries – and fails – to kill himself on the day he is to be executed for treason. He had been sentenced to death by firing squad but swallowed cyanide hours before the firing squad came for him. A doctor saved his life, just in time for Laval to be executed nine days later.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 27

Food & Drink Satan’s Whiskers and the Mule’s Hind Leg


f you’ve been taking this marvellous magazine over the past few months, you will know that I have been writing a series of articles with the generic title ‘Stripped-Down Wine’. These were an attempt to give you, gentle reader, the lowdown, the all-youneed-to-know, about various French wine regions. Having had a strict Calvinist/Boy Scout upbringing, I felt it was my duty, nay responsibility, to share what meagre knowledge I had gleaned (and could actually remember) on my journeys through the vineyards of this pleasant land. Well, I feel my plan might have ganged aft agley; I mean like well agley. Whenever the DSM was mentioned in mixed company, friends would avert their gaze from mine and talk of quiches and jams, of old cars, of amdram – anything but the best wines of Condrieu. I began to feel like the Woody Allen character in ‘Stardust Memories’ when Martians tell him ‘We like your movies, particularly the early, funny ones’. So let’s talk about cocktails. I don’t mean the ‘Sex on the Beach’ type (aka ‘Canoodling by the Sewage Outlet’ depending on your holiday resort) but the real classics. The best known, at least by those of a certain age, is the Dry Martini. This is an odd misnomer as the principal ingredient is gin; in fact it’s probably safer to order a ‘Dry Gin Martini’, at least to differentiate it from the Vodka Martini. The Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930 has 2 parts dry gin to 1 part French vermouth, shaken (Bond. James Bond). The ‘shaken’ part of course means shaken with ice cubes or shaved ice. You could just as well start with gin and vermouth from the fridge, but the residual water from the ice tones down a little the alcohol hit. The proportion of gin to vermouth changed over the years: in the later ‘30s 3 to 1, in the ‘40s 4 to 1 – and onwards and upwards. At 15 to 1 it became a ‘Montgomery’ after the Field Marshall who only attacked when he had great numerical superiority. Churchill is said to have simply poured out his gin and bowed in the direction of France, home of vermouth. In any event, garnish with a twist of lemon peel, or one or three olives (never two – make up your own story). With a cocktail onion instead it becomes a ‘Gibson’.

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

by John Sherwin

Turning our eyes eastwards, we encounter the ‘Singapore Sling’ (initially called the ‘Gin Sling’). This was invented sometime in the 1900s by a Chinese bartender working in the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The original (correct?) form is simplicity itself, as all good cocktails should be: 1 part lemon juice, 1 part dry gin, 2 parts cherry brandy, shaken then filled with a little soda water and a lump of ice. There are umpteen other recipes – for example, 4 parts gin, 1 part Bénédictine, 1 part cherry brandy, some lemon juice and Angostura bitters, filled with soda water. But that would be a Straits Sling. The only other things I know about the Raffles Hotel are that it was where the last tiger in Singapore was shot (under the billiards table), and where, irony of ironies, I once had the flabbiest apology for a Singapore Sling ever made on the planet. If you were wondering about the title to this piece, it was of course there to grab your attention. However – is there no end to my cunning? – it also refers to two, classic gin-based cocktails. A ‘Satan’s Whiskers’ is 2 parts each of Italian Vermouth, French Vermouth, Gin, and orange juice, 1 part Grand Marnier. This is ‘straight’. If you want the same thing ‘curled’ substitute Orange Curaçao for the Grand Marnier. Both shaken. The ‘Mule’s Hind Leg’ is 1 part each of gin, Bénédictine, applejack, maple syrup, and apricot brandy. Shaken. And if you take too many of the above you might end with a ‘Brain Haemorrhage’. Get some peach schnapps into a shot glass; slowly pour in Baileys so it forms a ‘brain’ suspended in the schnapps; dribble in grenadine over the back of a spoon; as the volume of grenadine increases the ‘brain’ explodes. Isn’t it great to be having fun again?

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or

The Frugal French Pantry D

Fantastic food on a budget...

o you miss a proper British pie? As the nights draw in and the weather is cooler there’s nothing better than a pie which is filling and warming. This month I’m bringing you my selection of frugal pies where you can add extra vegetables to make the meat go further. Don’t forget there are detailed instructions and more pies on the website too.

Chicken & Leek Pie

Glam Cottage Pie This family favourite is jazzed up with red wine and a mustard mash so it’s perfect for frugal entertaining.

Melt in the mouth double crust pastry pie will keep everyone satisfied. Fabulous for left overs or use less chicken and add mushrooms and potatoes instead.

Ingredients for 6: •

600 g chicken breast/ thighs • 200 g smoked bacon lardons • 2 leeks washed and finely sliced • 500 ml chicken stock Pastry: • 350 g plain flour • 1/2 tsp salt • 200 g butter or combination of butter and lard • 1 beaten egg • beaten egg to seal and glaze pie Sauce: • 30 g plain flour • 30 g butter • retained stock + milk to 500 ml

Ingredients for 4: Instructions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6. 7.


Rub fat into the flour and salt then add egg and water if needed to make dough. Divide into 2 portions of 1/3 and 2/3 then refrigerate wrapped in cling film for 30 minutes. Poach the chicken in the stock for 15 mins and retain the stock for the sauce. Shred the chicken. In a large pan fry the bacon in its own fat with the leeks until soft then add in the chicken. In a saucepan add 500 ml of retained stock topped up with milk with the flour and butter. Heat and whisk continuously until thickened and season to taste. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and allow to cool. Rollout the larger piece of dough to line a pie dish and add the meat mixture before topping with the remaining dough and sealing the edges with the beaten egg. Glaze the pie top with egg and cook for about 30 mins at 190˚C until golden.

Chicken & Bacon Ring

• •

Filling: • 250 g cooked and shredded chicken • 200 g pack of smoked lardons. • 2 shallots, chopped • 1/2 red pepper, chopped • 1/2 green pepper, chopped • 100 g grated cheese such as cheddar • seasoning • zest of a lemon • 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

500 g pack of lean mince 2 medium onions, chopped 2 carrots, quartered and diced • 2 sticks of celery, diced • 6 mushrooms, sliced and diced • 1 tbsp plain flour • 200 ml red wine (or more stock) • 450 ml beef stock • 1 bay leaf • 1 tbsp dried herbs such as thyme • 1 tbsp tomato purée • 1 tbsp of Balsamic vinegar • 1 tbsp vegetable oil Mash: • 8-10 med potatoes, peeled and chunked • 1 tbsp butter • 2 tbsp crème fraîche • 1-2 tbsp wholegrain mustard • 50 g strong cheddar, plus extra

Instructions: 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7.

Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes until tender. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the veg until soft. Set veg aside. Dry fry the mince, add the wine and reduce. Stir in the flour for 1 minute. Add beef stock, tomato purée, Balsamic, herbs and seasoning. Simmer for 20 mins until thickened. Drain the potatoes and mash in the remaining ingredients. Top the mince with the mash and add some extra grated cheese. Bake at 200˚C for 15 mins until golden.

Steak & Kidney Pie

Ingredients for 4-6: •

Ingredients for 8:

2 x 240 g packs of croissant dough beaten egg to glaze sesame seeds to garnish

• • •

Make this dish more economical by increasing the mushrooms and kidney.

This dish is perfect for a gathering and using leftover chicken. Readymade puff pastry works well too. •

by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

• •

Instructions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


Dry fry the lardons with the onion and drain. Combine all the filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Divide a packet of croissant dough into 6 and arrange in a ring with points outwards. Arrange the other croissant pieces on the inside. Spoon the filling into the ring and plait the pastry, tucking the ends of the dough underneath. Cook at 200˚C for about 30 mins until golden.

• • • • • • •

750 g Bourguignon beef, cubed 500 g pig kidney, chopped 250 g or 8 mushrooms, chopped 2 large onions, chopped 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp plain flour 500 ml beef stock seasoning 1 tsp dried thyme oil to fry

For the pastry: • 185 g plain flour • 1 tsp salt • 90 g butter • shredded suet or lard • beaten egg to glaze

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

Instructions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9.

Fry the onions for a few minutes to soften then add mushrooms. Transfer to a casserole dish. Increase the heat and brown the beef with seasoning in batches. Transfer to casserole. Add the kidney for 1 min and sprinkle in flour, stock and Balsamic. Bring to the boil stirring then add to the casserole. Cover & cook for 4 hours on Gas 3. Put in a pie dish and leave to cool. In a food processor pulse the pastry ingredients together, add cold water and pulse until it forms a dough then cover in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll out to cover the dish and decorate. Add a few slits to the top and glaze with beaten egg. Cook at 180˚C for 30 mins.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 29

The Bars of the Deux-Sèvres


by Jacqueline Brown

year of planning and training, six days of challenging cycling, plus a lot of fun and laughter and The Tour de Rêves is over. One of the things I will remember is how social an event it became, something I hadn’t been expecting. From the start, the local communities we visited, as well as family, friends and neighbours made the effort to cheer us off or welcome us in. We were sent off by the Maire of Secondigny (in the rain), cheered into Loubillé (in the rain), and then toasted with a vin d’honneur by our Maire that evening. All week we received enormous support online and in person, and were even presented with flowers from the Mairie in Secondigny at our arrival on Saturday afternoon (in the rain again). It was definitely the people along the way who made this event something special, thank you. Last month I wrote about the unexpected reopening of our village bar (who kindly sent us off in style on Day Two), and I now feel experienced enough to discuss my opinion on the village bars of the Deux-Sèvres. Throughout the Tour we used back roads and cycle paths, avoiding busy roads and traffic where possible, arriving in small villages with bars for morning coffees, lunches and afternoon beer stops. Some we had booked or found in advance as hungry cyclists are not happy cyclists, but many we just crossed our fingers and hoped would be open. I’m pleased to say it was a success and we ate well every day. There wasn’t always much choice, just a simple plat du jour or menu, but it was always tasty, good value and enough to keep us going. I’m therefore happy to report that village bars in the Deux-Sèvres seem to be alive and well, and long may this continue. Six full days of cycling was a first for all of us, and despite the fun really was quite a physical challenge, so would I do it again? You bet, but next time I’d get our route master extraordinaire to add in more pâtisserie stops. I had quite a shock when I realised I’d only been granted one pâtisserie stop in the entire six days, which seemed rather mean, even if the petite frontenaysienne in Frontnay-RohanRohan was a delicious discovery. However, I then realised we were treated to homemade banana cake on Wednesday, which boosted my flagging energy as well as being delicious and nutty, and this coming from a non-banana person is praise indeed. On Thursday the Trompe Souris café, an enchanted little place hidden among rock pools on the Thouet River in Luzay, served us an array of sweet delights that included chocolate cake, pineapple upside down cake and tiramisu; an afternoon refuelling stop that exceeded all our expectations. I guess I wasn’t quite as hard done by as I first thought, although I’m sure there are more local patisserie delights just waiting for me to discover on my next cycling adventure.

Enjoying the local pâtisserie in Frontenay-Rohan-Rohan © A. Brown

Delicious delights at the Trompe Souris Café © A.Brown Email:

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

Serves 2

Fish Pie

by John Sowersby

Ingredients: • I roll of puff pastry (approx 250g/8oz) • 250g/8oz mixed fish (we use smoked Haddock,

• • • • • •

or river cobbler, Salmon and white fish, but you can use what you want and you can add prawns although add the prawns when filling the pie if you wish)

150ml/7 floz milk 28g/1 oz flour 28g/1 oz margarine Dried parsley 1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard Milk for glazing

Method: • Cover the fish in a saucepan with milk, and cook over a low heat until its flaking and cooked through • Drain the milk into a jug and set enough aside (150ml/7oz) for later • Flake the fish into a bowl and set aside • Make a roux sauce by melting the margarine in a sauce pan and adding the flour until it is cooked through. Add the reserved milk a bit at a time until it’s all absorbed then add the 1-2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard. • Stir until mixed then add all the fish and continue stirring.

• •

• Leave to cool. • Once the mixture has cooled, unroll the puff pastry and fold diagonally to form a square. Cut off excess pastry and save for the goats cheese tartlet shown last month! • Then spoon the mixture into the centre of the pastry, spreading into a square • Now brush all edges of the pastry square with milk and bring 2 corners in towards the centre and nip the edges together. • Repeat with the opposite corners drawing them into the centre nipping all the pastry edges together until you have a finished parcel Glaze all over with milk and place in the centre of a preheated oven 220˚C or 440 ˚F and cook for approx 30-40 minutes or until it is nicely risen and golden Dont worry if it opens up as you will be cutting it into portions anyway!

We serve with baby carrots, garden peas and new potatoes and a nice white wine, chilled of course!


We’d love to know your family’s favourite recipe.... Please email us and we’ll happily share it here. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 31

Motoring Elec tric Cars ... already charged in history!


ith the recent announcement by both French and UK governments that the sale of new cars powered by petrol or diesel will be banned by 2040, the electric car industry has been thrust into the spotlight.

It is certain that the technology involved in making electric cars viable has advanced massively in the last few years, but there are still questions about whether the current electricity infrastructure is currently man enough to support them, and the long term reliability and environmental impact of the batteries themselves both in terms of manufacture and disposal. Although this is regarded as new technology, the history of the electric car actually started in 1828  when a Hungarian who invented an early type of electric motor created a small model car powered by this new motor. Then in 1834, Professor Sibrandus Stratingh from the Netherlands and his assistant Christopher Becker created a small-scale electrical car, powered by non-rechargeable primary cells. While a patent for the use of rails as conductors of electric current was granted in England in 1840, leading to a railway revolution including the electrification of the London Underground, it was French physicist Gaston Planté who invented the rechargeable lead - acid battery in 1859 which allowed electricity to be stored onboard a vehicle.  Such batteries were manufactured industrially in the early 1880’s and in 1884 Thomas Parker built the first production electric car in London using his own specially designed high-capacity rechargeable batteries. Parker was interested in fuel efficiency and reducing the effects of smoke and pollution in London, concerns still current 133 years later.  France and the UK were the first nations to support the widespread development of electric vehicles and Parker’s car was manufactured by the Electric Construction Company who had a virtual monopoly on the British electric car market in the 1890s.  Electric battery-powered taxis became available at the end of the 19th century and they were introduced to the streets of London in 1897. They were soon nicknamed “Hummingbirds” due to the idiosyncratic humming noise they made. Due to limitations including the lack of transistor-based electric technology, the top speed of these early electric vehicles was limited to about 15/20  mph. Despite this slow speed, they had a number of advantages over their early-1900s competitors. They did not have the vibration, smell, and noise associated with internal combustion engines. They also did not require gear changes, or manual effort to start like the hydrocarbon cars which featured a hand crank to start the engine. Electric cars found popularity among well-heeled customers who used them as city cars where their limited range proved to be less of a disadvantage.

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

by Helen Tait-Wright

An electric vehicle held the vehicular land speed record until around 1900. Widespread acceptance of electric cars was initially hampered by a lack of power infrastructure and in order to overcome this and their limited operating range, an exchangeable battery service was first proposed as early as 1896. However, by 1912, many homes were wired for electricity, enabling a surge in the popularity of the cars. After enjoying success at the beginning of the 20th century, the electric car began to lose its position in the automobile market. A number of developments contributed to this situation. By the 1920s an improved road infrastructure required vehicles with a greater range than that offered by electric cars. Also, worldwide discoveries of large petroleum reserves led to the wide availability of affordable fuel, making fossil fuel powered cars cheaper to operate over long distances. Finally, mass production techniques brought the price of hydrocarbon fuelled cars down while the cost of an electric car remained high. Most electric car makers stopped production at some point in the 1910s, although electric vehicles became popular for certain applications where their limited range did not pose major problems, notably milk floats in the UK. On 31 July 1971, an electric car received the unique distinction of becoming the first manned vehicle to drive on the Moon; that car was the Lunar Rover, which was first deployed during the Apollo 15 mission. The energy crises of the 1970s and 1980s brought about renewed interest in the perceived independence electric cars had from the fluctuations of the hydrocarbon energy market and major car manufacturers have been experimenting with electric cars ever since.  However, it took Tesla Motors to really grab the modern day electric car headlines with their Roadster, which was first delivered to customers in 2008. This was the catalyst that ignited the current interest in electric cars, and was the first highway legal production all-electric car to use lithium-ion battery cells, and the first production all-electric car to travel more than 200 miles (320 km) per charge. As of December 2016, the world’s two best selling all-electric cars in history are the Nissan Leaf, with more than 250,000 global sales, and the Tesla Model S, with over 158,000 units delivered.  There are big technological leaps to be made in the next 23 years for electric cars to become fully mainstream; it will be an interesting story to follow! Photo: Tesla Model S (front) and Nissan Leaf (back) © WikiCommons/ Norsk Elbilforening

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 33

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres

by Sue Burgess

La Petite boissiÈre

• La Forge à Fer - the Forge In 1645 Charles II had a 19 foot causeway built across the Thouet and had a forge built. The forge was ideally situated near the forest for its coal and near La Ferrière for its iron rocks. In 1660 the causeway was raised to a height of 7 metres and the power of the forge was increased. Over 20 000 cubic metres of wood were used to produce coal. However, because of the lack of wood, the forge only worked three or four months a year.

The nearest towns to La Petite Boissière are Mauléon, Combrand, La Pommeraie-sur-Sèvre and Montravers.

The debit of the Thouet meant that the iron working forge could only be used for about 8 months of the year. The 50 - 80 tonnes of iron produced were used for the manufacturing of agricultural machinery.

La Petite Boissière is a rural commune with 670 inhabitants situated in the North of the Deux-Sèvres and the inhabitants are known as les Pivardais and les Pivardaises. There is a legend about the origin of this name – the legend tells of a vision of the virgin Mary in a stone cross, pilgrimages and processions to the cross and a nest of baby woodpeckers that appeared in the cross.


The commune of La Peyratte is situated to the East of the Gatine, in a region of hedgerows with damp valleys and hills. The town of la Peyratte is situated 10 km from Parthenay and 11 km from Thenezay. There are 1200 inhabitants in La Peyratte who are known as les Peyrattais and les Peyrattaises. A voir / Must see • Notre-Dame church The precise date of the construction of Notre-Dame church is not known but the church certainly dates from the 12th century around 1100. A document dating from 1140 speaks about the keys of the church being handed over to the Prior and so we can suppose that the building was finished by that date. The church is the work of the monks of Talmont who came to La Peyratte to establish a priory. The priory church had wooden stalls in the choir separated from the rest of the church by iron gates and these were removed in 1974. The church is a long rectangular construction with two side chapels that were built later than the nave. The bell tower is almost flat and square and although built to house four bells, there are only three at the present time. The altar was listed in 1979. It was restored in the 1990s and we think it dates from the 17th century and was probably originally built for the Church at St Martin de Ré but never delivered there. It is 4 metres wide and 3 metres high and made in solid oak, painted walnut and decorated with gold. It is decorated with the Franciscan arms.

A first forge master’s house was built at the end of the 17th century and then another in 1770. The forge became state property after the revolution. It was requisitioned during the Vendée wars to produce iron bullets and canon balls for the troops of Parthenay and Bressuire. The forge continued until the 1860s when the iron benches for the church were made. After that a flour mill was installed and that worked until 1920. The town of La Peyratte bought the mill in 1920 and it was sold to an industrialist from Limoges in 1942 and there has been a restaurant in the premises since then. • La Croix Hosannière La Croix Hosannière was built in the 12th century and is also the work of the monks of Talmont. At 12 metres high it is one of the tallest croix hosannière in the Deux-Sèvres. It is built in granite with a cross in a circle at the top which makes it different from the lanternes des morts that exist in the cemeteries of Poitou-Charentes. • Le Belvedère des Roches About 1.5 km outside the town of La Peyratte the quarry covers 80 hectares. 1.3 million tonnes of stone are extracted each year. A belvedere has been built so that visitors can see the quarry. • La Balade des Autruches One of the two Ostrich farms of Deux-Sèvres is found at La Peyratte. The farm produces and sells ostrich meat, eggs, feathers and leather. Photo left: The altar at Notre-Dame church and below: La Forge à Fer at La Peyratte © S. Burgess.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... 34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

Building & Renovation An Eye for Detail... My Grandfather was a master decorator and at the age of 13, I started working alongside him, learning the ropes, then began my trade when I reached 16 years old. Old fashioned values of honesty, integrity, professionalism, punctuality and attention to detail were instilled in me at this early age and have remained with me. At the age of 19, I was very ambitious and wanted to try another trade - so joined the Police Service where those values served me particularly well. After 30 years in service, I retired having reached the rank of Detective Chief Inspector and knew that I wanted to return to my paint brushes and had the honour of working extensively on a private estate country house and many other domestic projects. Having made the move to live permanently in Vernoux-en-Gâtine, DeuxSèvres in February 2016, I have now registered to work as a Painter and Decorator and offer an old fashioned values' service. With an eye for detail, domestic internal and external painting is my speciality.

Feel free to contact me on 06 82 81 78 56 for a no obligation quote.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 35

Small B/W Advert from 34€ per month

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017


OF THE MONTH The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 37

ARE YOU A BUSINESS BASED IN NORTH DEUX-SEVRES? Readers are looking for tradespeople in this area... Please get in touch if you’d like to place an advert.

The DSM takes time to check that advertisers are registered with a Siret number. However, the system doesn’t allow us to verify all activities that one is registered for under that Siret number, so please consider this when asking a tradesman to do work for you. Any registered worker should happily confirm the trade/s that they can undertake. It is also advised to check references thoroughly before going ahead with any works.

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 39

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

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

Christmas Planning for your Small Business


hristmas is often the busiest time of year for the small business, so it’s crucial that plans are in place to ensure it is also the most successful time of year too. With big shopping centres and department stores with their huge, fancy decorations, blasting out those Christmas tunes and bargains around every corner, it’s not only daunting for the small business, it’s also a challenge to stand out in the crowd, but here are a few ideas that might help…

First things first. Go back to last year and see what worked well and what didn’t. What were your best sellers and why? Then you can start to plan for this year. It’s important to have enough stock for demand, but you don’t want to overdo it so you have loads of ‘Christmassy’ things left over. Yes, you can have a January sale of course, but it’s better to get full price at Christmas. Another great tip is to make sure that you have enough cash – now is the time to chase anyone who has not yet paid you and make sure that all your invoices are up to date and monies banked.

The deVere Group will be holding a SEMINAR with some industry experts covering many topics including Brexit, retirement planning, investment planning, wills, taxation concerns, currency movement, portfolio selection and the future investment horizon. 12th October from 11am at Château du Rosnay 85320, followed by an informal wine tasting. Numbers are limited so please contact Helen (advert above) if you’d like to attend.

If you are a craft business or sell at Christmas markets, you need to make sure you have your spot booked – look on Facebook and in local papers for dates of local Christmas Fayres...sometimes pubs host them in the lead up to Christmas – get yourself organised so you are at as many of them as you can. Own premises? If you own premises and Christmas is notoriously busy, now is the time to think about hiring temporary staff – the earlier you get it sorted means less hassle later. Help your customers get into the Christmas spirit by decorating your premises, especially if you have a shop window. A well-dressed window will pull customers in. Website/Online presence. If you have a website, give it a Christmas makeover. SEO is very important all year, but at Christmas, people will be searching for Christmas gifts, so now is the time to make sure that your website has those important Christmas words and phrases included, so they are picked up by search engines. It is a good idea to create a specific landing page just for Christmas – you can always point to other pages from there. And so important to make sure your website is mobilefriendly as more and more people use mobiles to find things they want online. Shout it from the rooftops! Finally, advertise your business in local papers, free papers, put some flyers out in places where people regularly go this time of year – hairdressers, shops etc. Have a good stock of business cards to give out. Use social media to advertise what you are doing, where you will be if you do markets, show pictures of your products, let customers know about your holiday opening times. Finally why not have a special offer? Buy one, get one half price; offer to gift-wrap items for presents or maybe give a money off voucher for their next purchase. If you sell online, think about giving free delivery if people spend a certain amount. It all helps make your business stand out at this festive time of year! Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 41

Exchange of Information - Are you Fulfilling your Tax Obligations?


arlier this year I wrote an article about Automatic Exchange of Information; where financial institutions in one country are providing details of clients who live in other countries to the relevant authorities. The information is provided automatically and includes your name, date of birth, addresses and amounts of capital held and income produced.

You may have received forms from banks and other providers asking for your tax identification numbers to make the reporting easier. I am frequently asked what to do about these requests and my advice is to always to ensure you fully declare everything, even where accounts have a UK address. There is a lot of online forum discussion on this subject, and it is quite concerning that some people advocate ignoring the requests or giving false information. Under ‘The International Tax Compliance (Client Notification) Regulations’ which were issued in the UK, financial advisers must now issue clients with a document from HMRC explaining the requirement to declare all non-UK investments and ensure their tax affairs are complete. It states: “From 2016, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is getting an unprecedented amount of information about people’s overseas accounts, structures, trusts, and investments from more than 100 jurisdictions worldwide, thanks to agreements to increase global tax transparency. This gives HMRC unprecedented levels of information to check that, as in most cases, the right tax has been paid.”

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

I came across a case recently that highlights this. Mr S lived in France for several years but never fully declared himself resident. For general spending in France he used his UK bank cards. He used a UK address for his accounts and submitted annual UK tax returns. In his view, he wasn’t avoiding tax, but electing not to pay it in France. He contacted me for help after his bank approached him. It advised that due to the nature of his transactions they strongly suspected he lived in France. They asked for his French address and tax identification number, stressing that failure to produce the information would result in further investigations. This is just one example of how the financial world is working towards transparency. It is essential that your affairs are accurately declared and reported. Perhaps the starkest warning comes from HMRC themselves whose advice reads: “Come to us before we come for you.” It has never been more important to confirm your financial affairs are in order. With the right advice and planning, there are ways of ensuring your investments are not only tax compliant in France, but also tax efficient. This is one of the topics I’m discussing at our Blevins Franks Autumn Seminars. Please see our advertisement below for details of your local seminar.

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42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017


I’m planning to sell my French property next year and will need to send the money back to the UK. What’s likely to happen with the EUR/GBP exchange rate in 2018?

by Sue Cook

fter the tumultuous year of exchange rate volatility seen in 2016, it was hoped by some that the situation might be slightly calmer this year. However, the fallout from Brexit, central bank speculation and geopolitical tensions have been inspiring plenty of movement in 2017. The EUR/GBP exchange rate began the year trading in the region of £0.85, but leapt to highs of £0.92 over the summer. This 7 cent surge was great news for anyone needing to buy pounds, but can the euro climb further still? If you’re selling your French property in 2018 you’ll be wanting the rate to keep strengthening – and there are a couple of reasons why it might. Economic data from the Eurozone has been fairly solid so far this year, leading to an increase in the number of people pushing for the European Central Bank (ECB) to start tightening monetary policy. If the central bank does start winding down its expansive quantitative easing programme over the next few months, the euro is likely to surge in response. EUR/GBP could also gain before the end of the year if the US Federal Reserve fails to deliver on its promise to increase interest rates for a third time in 2017. With President Trump’s plans to ‘make America great again’ failing to get off the ground and US inflation not picking up as much as forecast, the Fed may well reconsider raising borrowing costs. Such an action would broadly weaken the US dollar, driving the euro higher in the process. Of course, there’s also no escaping the shadow of Brexit, and if the UK’s EU exit negotiations hit stumbling blocks, the pound’s poor performance is likely to continue. All in all, it appears fairly safe to assume that the EUR/GBP exchange rate will keep strengthening. However, we can’t completely discount the pound bouncing back in 2018. If Brexit negotiations progress positively, optimism in the UK’s long-term economic outlook will improve and give the pound a boost.

Ask Amanda

How often should I review my Financial situation? This is a good question. Whilst there are no hard and fast rules as to when is a good time for a financial review, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if the time is right now. Have my circumstances changed since I last spoke to a financial adviser? These could include a change in health, new jobs, reduction in income, bereavement or simply a change in personal goals since you last reviewed your finances. Have any recent articles or programmes caused you concern? The internet provides us with a wealth of information, through news programmes and social media which is sometimes difficult to decipher. Do you know how any investments you have are performing? Financial performance on different investments is based on many factors and knowing how your money is invested can ensure that it matches your outlook. How much tax are you paying on your investment? To encourage people to invest, the French government allow for certain tax efficient investments which can reduce your annual tax bill. When did I last review my finances or speak to an independent financial adviser? If not in the last year or so, now may be the time to check that you are making the most of many straightforward investment and tax planning opportunities that are often overlooked.

Additionally, the Bank of England (BoE) might start increasing interest rates. Slowing UK inflation scuppered the odds of the BoE adjusting borrowing costs in the short term, but the central bank’s policy setting committee remains divided on the issue. If the number of policymakers voting for an immediate adjustment rises, so will the pound. There’s quite a lot on the horizon with the potential to move the EUR/GBP exchange rate over the year ahead, so you may want to talk through your transfer options with a currency specialist. One option you may wish to consider is a forward contract – which allows you to fix an exchange rate for up to a year. You may also want to subscribe to receive regular market updates, so you always know what the EUR/GBP exchange rate is up to!

Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 43

How to get Access to French Healthcare System and Why you Must have a top up Health Insurance


etting into the French health system can be complicated and stressful but it is important. I have met some people who are still not affiliated to the French health system and think that an EHIC card is sufficient, but the EHIC card is for holidays, not if you are a permanent resident in France. Although not easy, the process is worth it as the French health system is one of the best in the world. So here is how to do it.

How to get into the French Health System

The French health system is composed of three entities: CPAM (employees or pensioners), RSI (self-employed) or MSA (agricultural jobs). There are three ways to access the French health system: via the S1, via working in France, or by simply living in France permanently. a. You are in receipt of a state pension. You can phone Newcastle (Department for Health and Pensions) and ask for an S1 form which automatically entitles you to be on the French health system. Once received, take it to your local CPAM office, together with your birth & marriage certificates, copy of passport, proof of residency (recent utility bill, copy of rental agreement or deeds of the house) and a RIB (French bank details). CPAM, which stands for Caisse Primaire d’Assurance Maladie (is the equivalent to NHS), will ask you to fill in a form. You will get a letter from them one month later with your social security number which means you are on the system. Your carte vitale comes another month after that. b. Your spouse is still working in the UK. You need to phone Newcastle and ask for an S1 for you (that your spouse can get as he/she works in the UK) and you will be covered by the French health system under the S1 of your spouse. c. You are working in France. Employees have nothing to do and will be on the system automatically. Your employer and URSSAF (Institution that deals with stamps for employees) will do everything for you. If you are self-employed it will be automatic as well. You will be under the RSI or MSA system and you will be asked to choose an institution to deal with your health (RAM, Radiance, URMPI, etc). One month after that you get your social security number and another month later your carte vitale (like a credit card but for health cover). d. You are early retirees. You can apply to be on the French health system once you have been in France for 3 months. Make your application at the main CPAM office, you need to complete the application Form 735 Demande d’affiliation au régime général sur critère de résidence and Form 710 Questionnaire “recherche de droits” Ressortissants Européens Inactifs. Print them off, complete them, and include all the necessary documentation (copy of passport, birth & marriage certificates, proof of address and residency for at least 3 months, RIB, etc.) The more the better! You will be required to provide information on your income/resources and will be charged a contribution for your affiliation (same as if you were working). You will also need a letter from Newcastle stating that you are not entitled to an S1. Your application will be transferred to a CPAM office in Nimes but still has to go through your local office. Be aware that some of the civil servants of CPAM are not always aware that you are entitled to apply. You must insist nicely, and point out clearly that you are making your application on the following legal basis: i. You are an EU national and are a permanent resident as a matter of fact in France. You should refer to Article 1(j) of Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 that defines ‘residence’ as a place where a person resides. 44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

by Isabelle Want

ii. Article 4 of the Regulation also guarantees equality of treatment, stating: Unless otherwise provided for by this Regulation, persons to whom this Regulation applies shall enjoy the same benefits and be subject to the same obligations under the legislation of any Member State as the nationals thereof. iii. You benefit from the guarantee of equal treatment in Article 4 of Regulation (EU) No 883/2004, which means you should be admitted to the health system on the same terms as French nationals. iv. It is discrimination to require you to be resident in France for 5 years before you can access the health system, or to require you to have private health insurance. These obligations are not applied to French nationals and are therefore discriminatory.

Usually, if you go to the main office of your department, they know the law. Note that this process takes more than 3 months and you may feel like you want to give up, but don’t as everybody I know who has applied has been accepted. Make sure you take note of dates and people you meet, keep copies of everything you give them and ask them to sign receipt to keep a trace of the documents given to them (otherwise they will ask you twice for some of them).

e. You are living in France but working for a UK company. You will be on the French health system but your company will have to register with CLEISS (Centre des Liasons Europeennes et Internationnales de Sécurité Sociale) so that they pay your social charges into the French system and not the UK one. To do this, write to CLEISS, 11 rue de la Tour des Dames 75436 Paris cedex 9. Yes, I hear you say “But Brexit?”. Non-Europeans are entitled to be on the French health system as long as they have authorisation to stay in France. (If you have a Visa or carte de sejour, the forms are simpler). Plus, as nobody knows what will happen with Brexit, don’t panic yet!

Next month, I will cover How the French Health System works... Until then, feel free to contact me if you would like any information on the above or to get a free quote for top up health insurance. And remember to check out our website en for all my previous articles (“practical information”) and register to receive our monthly Newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook @Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterps.

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017 | 45

Good Things Come.... to those that Bait!


by Joanna Leggett

o they say... and for any good angler there’s nothing like it – time spent rod in hand, contemplating the dance of light on the water and bringing home the catch of the day!

So we’ve reeled in three choice properties which blend lifestyle with location – and the all important opportunity to be beside your own ‘patch’ of water! First ‘catch of the day’ is in Moutiers-sous-Chantemerle in the northern bocage area of Deux-Sèvres where two cottages (Leggett ref: 75103, photo left) are on the market for just 109 999€. The larger 3 bedroom property has kitchen/dining, sitting room with doors to the terrace, upstairs bedrooms include a Master with dressing room! The smaller cottage also has a fitted kitchen, large living, bedroom and shower. But it’s outside where this property really comes into its own – set within 2 hectares, there are 2 lakes, fields and woodland. Just 6 kms from Moncoutant, and the Pescalis fishing centre – what more could you fish for? For bird lovers and anglers .. next in our net is a charming old longère in the small village of Loubillé (there’s a shop, restaurant and bakery) just 8 km from Chef Boutonne. This time we’ve caught a charming, newly renovated old longère (Leggett ref: 78714, photo top right) set in under half an acre with mature trees bordered by a little river with small private island! Downstairs are the kitchen and two

reception rooms with charentaise fireplaces, upstairs are 3 bedrooms and office – light and space abounds. Outside there’s a garage, space for a pool and nature – the present owners like to fish for trout and we spotted a kingfisher when we arrived! All in a quiet, private setting for sale at 194 400€. But perhaps you’d like an outstanding river view? For the best in these what about a simply stunning riverside town house in Niort (Leggett ref: 66912, photo left). Approached through electric gates up a curved drive into the double garage (there’s even room to install a lift to the upper level!) this home has beautiful living accommodation with all 4 bedrooms having patio doors opening outside. The charmingly tiled cook’s kitchen has a separate back kitchen with stairs leading down to the garage and purpose built wine cellar. This house was built with magnificent river views in mind and offers all the peace of the countryside with convenience of town living! You’ll be waiting on the fantastic deck with baited breath for lunch to swim past! 397 500€! Don’t let these be the ones that got away! Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at



Ref: 80003 Handsome 4 bed / 3 bath hamlet property an hour from Poitiers. BOUSSAIS €199,800

Buying or selling?

8% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: C

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 79943 Renovated 4 bed house with 1 bed gîte plus another house to do up. ST LOUP LAMAIRE €315,600

Ref: 79874 Characterful, 2 bed hamlet house with garden and 20m² outbuilding. GLENAY €74,800

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

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

Ref: 79141 Lovely, bright 2 bed semi with many features, open barn & garden. SAUZE VAUSSAIS €183,600 8% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: N/A

Ref: 79614 3 bed/ 1 bath edge of village home only 30mins drive from Niort. ST LAURE €134,070 9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Ref: 79757 Cute 3 bed cottage with a large barn and a maisonette to renovate. MESSE €136,250 9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

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

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

46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2017

Profile for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, October 2017  

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, October 2017  

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

Profile for thedsm