The Deux-Sèvres Monthly October 2018 issue

Page 1

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

Welcome! to Issue 91 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine...

September has been a month of visitors, some planned, some not. Our friends were over from the UK and we were sitting around the breakfast table, I was frying eggs, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something pop out from behind a cupboard, run along the skirting board and disappear behind the fridge, I shrieked like a small child, as my hand tightened around the spatula. Just as I had recovered my composure the intruder popped out again, heading towards the open back door, but at the last minute diverted into the cupboard where we keep all the dog food. After a thorough search of the cupboard, breakfast was resumed. Ten minutes later a loud munching started coming from the direction of the cupboard... That evening as our invited guests were readying for bed two frelons, several moths and those things that look like eyebrows had to be ejected from their room. My friend, who has Hyacinth Bucket tendencies, was in a state of shock. All part and parcel of living in rural France. Photo: we had a wonderful excursion with our friends to the Oriental Park in Maulévrier.

à la prochaine Stephen & Anna

Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 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 Health, Beauty & Fitness Clubs & Associations Hobbies Our Furry Friends Home & Garden Communications Food & Drink Take a Break A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Motoring Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property

4 6 11 12 14 19 20 28 30 33 34 35 36 41 45

This Month’s Advertisers ABORDimmo Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating)

45 2 36 32 42 38

Andy Quick (Roofing & Renovation) 39 ARB French Property 47 Arbres et Abeilles (Plant Nursery) 23 Argo carpentry 36 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 35 Beaux Villages Immobilier 47 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 44 Blevins Franks Financial Management 43 Café Rendez Vous 6 Carry On Cinderella! (Reaction Theatre) 8 Centric Immobilier 47 Champs de Jaune (The Gîte Company) 23 Château Jarno - Plant Sale 6 Cherry Picker Hire 40 Chris Bassett Construction 39 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 38 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 38 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 37 Darren Lawrence 39 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 37 Discover Yoga 11 Down To Earth (Pool Design) 45 Firewood (Henri De Baulny) 23 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 35 Green and Tidy Gardening Services 23 Hallmark Electricité 38 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 Hiley Location - (Digger Hire and Ground Works) 40 HMJ Maintenance and Renovation Service 39 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 37 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 40 Jardin 360° (Garden maintenance) 23 Jeff’s Metalwork 36 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 Jon the Carpetman 22 KCR Service ( Alarms and Security systems) 38 Keith Banks Pool Services 45 La Bohème (Bar and Restaurant) 48 La Bohème Monthly Quiz 6 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 22 Leggett Immobilier 46 Le Regal’on (Bar and Restaurant) 32 LPV Technology (IT services) 29 Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction 39 Mark Wilson (French Classes and Translation Services) 9 Michael Glover (Plasterer, tiler, renderer) 39 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 36 ML Computers 29 Motor Parts Charente 35 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 23 Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) 11 Poitiers Biard Airport 2 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Property and Swimming Pool Maintenance - RJ Coulson 45 Restaurant des Canards 32 Rob Berry (Plasterer) 39 Robert Mann (Re-upholstery) 22 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 23 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 40 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 19 Simon the Tiler 37 Smart Moves - Removal company 35 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 39 Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) 38 Steve Shaw (Cartoonist) 29 Strictly Roofing 37 Stump Grinding Services (David Cropper) 22 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Sunny Sky Cars (Cars, Motorhomes and Vans wanted) 35 TheatriVasles Theatre Group 13 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 The Fixer - Rick Denton 41 The Hope Association 19 The Hope Association Three Day Book Fair 6 This Month’s Advertisers 3 UPVC Double Glazing (Haynes Carpentry) 36 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vienne Tree Services 22

© Anna and Stephen Shaw 2018. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anna and Stephen Shaw accept no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Anna and Stephen Shaw 2

Jaunasse, Louin, 79600 Tél: 05 49 64 21 98. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anna and Stephen Shaw. Crédits photos: Anna and Stephen Shaw, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: octobre 2018 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 839 041 282 00014 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 48 839 041 282

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 3

What’s On... 5 - HIGHWAY CODE REVISION EVENING in Oiron at the Salle Polyvalente. A chance to brush up on your Highway Code in French! 6-21 - FREE GOLF. A free two hour trial at Golf Bluegreen, Niort. To register tel: 05 49 04 64 48 7 - MUSIC WITH CASONADE AND HOMEMADE SUNDAY ROAST in Chef-Boutonne at the Restaurant des Canards, details on page 32. 7 - FÊTE DES PLANTES in the grounds of the Château, Bressuire. 100 exhibitors. 9am-7pm 3€ entry for adults 10 - QUIZ IN AID OF FURRY FRIENDS at La Bohème Bar and Restaurant, Mervent – details on page 6. 13 - LIVE MUSIC WITH RED DUST AND FULL FICTION 80s in L’Absie at the Café Rendez-Vous. Details on page 6. 13-14 - ASSOCIATION AZOUKAH PERFORM RÊVE D’ORIENTS in Le Tallud, see article on page 15. 14 - MUSHROOM FESTIVAL in Maison Pélebois, La Couarde from 8.30am-6pm. Guided picking, burlesque show, truffle exhibition, demonstrations, workshops, carousel, pony rides, refreshments. Local produce market: 14 - HARVEST TREK in Mauzé-Thouarsais. Two hiking circuits (10km and 14km) through the vineyards. Gourmet breaks will be offered on the courses. Departure from 8am-10am, Salle de la Fraternelle, Soulbrois, Mauzé-Thouarsais. 14 - FÊTE DES VINS ET DU TERROIR in La Foye-Monjault, 79360. Forty winemakers and producers from all over France, as well as a dozen local artisans. On-site catering. 10am-6pm, Salle Monacalis. Free entry. More information at: or tel: 06 78 25 07 80 or email: 19-21 - THE HOPE ASSOCIATION THREE DAY BOOK FAIR. See page 6 for more information. 19-22 - SALON DE L’HABITAT NIORT. Noron Exhibition Centre, 10am-7pm, 200 exhibitors. Prices: 5€ for two adults (under 14s free) and half price on Fridays and Mondays. Free parking. For more information: 20-21 - PLANT SALE in Cours, 79220 at Château du Pont Jarno, details on page 6. 20-21 FÊTE DES PLANTES in Prissé-la-Charrière. Nearly 100 French, Belgian and English exhibitors. 10am-6pm. 6€ entry. More information at: 25 - QUIZ NIGHT in Le Beugnon at A La Bonne Vie Restaurant, details on page 32. 26-27 - THEATRIVASLES PRESENT RELATIVELY SPEAKING. For more information see page 13. For tickets call: 05 49 05 67 41 or email: 27-28 - HALLOWEEN WEEKEND in Bussière-Galant at Elephant Haven, details on page 7. 28 - TROC’AUTOMNE (AUTUMN PLANT/SEED EXCHANGE) at La Forge Fleurie, 79290, Bouillé-Saint-Paul. Conference on pollination and soil preparation. More information at:

30-1 DECEMBER - EXHIBITION 14-18 POITOU-CHARENTES in Cerizay. An exhibition to evoke the life of Charentes and Poitevins during the Great War. Free entry. For more information go to: (poster on page 7). 30 - NATURE OUTING: THE MIGRATORY BIRDS OF OUR COUNTRYSIDE in Saint-Verge. Follow the migration of birds leaving the north: 30-4 NOVEMBER - MÉNIGOUTE INTERNATIONAL BIRDWATCHING FESTIVAL. This festival is one of the major world events in wildlife cinema. It offers the opportunity to present a new selection of films, mostly in French. Activities for the whole family over a period of six days.

contact ‘The DSM’

10 November - Women’s Voices From The Great War - Commemorative event presented by the Get Together History Group. Vasles Theatre 3pm. See page 10 for more information. 14 November - Le Tour de Finance. See page 42 for more information. 23-24 November - Carry On Cinderella! Reaction Theatre, Secondigny. or call 05 49 64 06 14 see page 8. 2 December - Terves English Christmas Market. For more information see page 7.

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

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: PAPATOM Reel Fish & Chips 3rd & 17th - Etusson: Salle de la Cantine 4th - La Coudre: Auberge de la source 5th - Genneton: Café de la Mairie 19th - St. Martin de Sanzay: Café de la Pompe Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

REGULAR EVENTS... 1ST & 3RD MONDAY OF THE MONTH AT 3PM Belote at Café des Sports, L’Absie. EVERY THURSDAY AT 7PM - Scottish Dancing at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. EVERY THURSDAY FROM 8PM - Quizwitch Quiz at le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle. 2.50€ p/p. Money raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. EVERY FRIDAY AM - Reaction Theatre’s Art Scene meet in Secondigny. Contact John for details Tel: 05 49 63 23 50. 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 EVERY OTHER THURSDAY AT 6.30PM - Franglais Group at Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds. 2nd Tuesday of Month AT 8PM - Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne. 2ND WEDS OF MONTH AT 4PM - Monthly quiz in aid of Furry Friends charity at La Bohème see page 32 for more info. 3RD WEDS of month AT 7.30PM - Team Quiz. At Le Clemenceau Bar, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, in aid of animal charities. 3RD WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM - Franglais Group at Pause! Café, L’Absie. 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. 1ST WEDS OF MONTH AT 2PM - 4PM - Coffee & Book afternoon at Funny Farm Cat Rescue, St Germain-de-Longue-Chaume. EVERY THURSDAY - Jean David Art Group at L’Absie. For times contact Jean on 06 52 93 33 60.

what’s COMING UP...

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: Last of month : Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil We will be closed from Mon 1 to Mon 9 Oct inclusive 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




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

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

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.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2018 7th October 31st October 1st November 11th November 25th December

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:

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




@The DSMagazine



YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine

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.

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.

INSTAGRAM: thedsm79



Markey’s pork ‘n’ pies Traditional British cooking

1st: 4th: 8th: 10th:

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

Sat: Fontenay-le-Comte (marché), Vendée and at Saint-Jean-d’Angély (marché intérieur), Charente-Maritime Sun: Aulnay (marché), Charente-Maritime

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Theil Rabier Aigre

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

OPEN mornings

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 5

Getting Out & About Chez Christie’s our Wonderful Ranges of Beautiful


are available from 2nd October, including:

RELATIONS & CHARITY PACKS plus Marvellous Mix & Match



Perfect for Christmas (or treating yourself!) New Temptations constantly coming in !


Cream Teas, Brownies, Cupcakes, Fruit Cake ENGLISH BOOKS from 0,50 €


FREE WiFi GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie Siret: 47876969800018

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 2018



Rêve d’Orients ou la danse orientale dans tous « ces Etats »…

Live musical David Cadiou Tout Public Adultes : 10 € sur réservation 12 € sur place - de 12 ans : 5 €


Sunday 2nd December


ou might be aware (or not) that this very popular Christmas market has new organisers, Julia and Kirkland Hay, from La Roche Parthenay Farm. "Terves Christmas indoor market has been our favourite Christmas market so we are very excited to take over the running of this extremely popular event, especially as the Salle des Fêtes is in the process of having a facelift, which includes an extension to the side. This is making it a much larger venue and we are looking forward to welcoming some new and additional stalls outside as well". There will be all the lovely Terves Christmas market traditions, fabulous artisan stalls, mulled wine, mince pies, teas and coffees, homemade cakes etc. plus some local school children singing, Father Christmas in his grotto and much more. The market is a charity event and we are going to continue donating the proceeds to local adult and children's charities, so we look forward to your continued support. The week before the market, on Saturday 24th November, we will be taking Father Christmas on a tour around Bressuire, Terves and finishing at SuperU in Moncoutant. He will be travelling in style on 'Harry' our vintage 1957 tractor, advertising the market.

If you are interested in having a stall at the market please contact Julia or Kirk: 05 49 64 44 05 or email:

Samedi 13 octobre 20h30 Dimanche 14 octobre 15h

Salle socio-culturelle/Le Tallud Résa : 06 73 41 18 93



e recently caught up with our British Gazelles to see how their project is progressing.

Sponsorship wise it’s been slow during the summer holiday period, although the girls have raised money towards their fund from doing a vide-grenier and organising a quiz night. With the title sponsor still proving elusive, Helen says “I think getting our funding in place will be harder than doing the actual rally!” They have launched a new initiative ‘Club 110’ to allow smaller businesses and individuals to get involved and get their name on the car. For just 110€ you can become a sponsor, and as they are a registered association, for businesses this is tax deductible. Contact the girls for more details: In August they went to the Dordogne to do their off road driving course with Paul Sinkinson from Xplorability, which was a steep learning curve, but they passed with flying colours. “We are reassured that Priscilla is absolutely the right vehicle for the job” says Haley, “she is so capable, and Paul has given us so much confidence in driving ‘hors piste’!” Haley and Helen have more events planned before the end of the year, and we will keep you posted. In the meantime check out their website

© Helen Tait-Wright/Chimera

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 7

Our Town Parthenay


by Maureen & John Hoyland

arlier this year we had some visitors over from the UK who had never been to Parthenay before! So we decided to do the touristy bit and show them the town.

Now, as we all know you can get a bit complacent over the years (in our case 16), but having received the photos they took, it reminded us of the love we have for the place. We have been in contact with the town for over 25 years, coming over to see my adopted parents when on holiday. There are far too many photos to show here but we hope that they give a flavour of the town. As some of you may not know the town too well, come and have a look around, or do the same for you own location.

Bon voyage

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

One man and his (hunting) dog…


by Sue Burgess

ike it or hate it, hunting la chasse is an important part of French rural life. It is an old tradition and many people still hunt. King Louis XI had a hunting lodge at Missé near Thouars and the château at Oiron was also built for the same purpose. Even the Château de Chambord was originally used as a hunting lodge.

This year the wild game hunting season in Deux-Sèvres opened on 9th September and will close on 28th February 2019. For some species the periods of authorised hunting are shorter e.g. for partridges perdrix the season closes on 11th November. Hare hunting chasse au lièvre is also regulated in this way. Hunting for boar sanglier must be authorised by the prefecture. The Fédération des Chasseurs des Deux-Sèvres organises hunting in the Deux-Sèvres. Their website gives information about hunting and the different dates for the different species. They organise the hunting permits permis de chasse. This year organised mounted hunting (on horseback with packs of dogs) la chasse à corre, à cor et à cri is authorised until 31st March 2019. There are different regulations for hunting animals that are considered as a nuisance nuisible (for example coypu ragondin, foxes renards and magpies les pies). The number of animals that can be killed is fixed by the PMA (Prélèvement Maximum Autorisé) and differs for each type of animal. For example (2018/2019 season in 79): partridge - three per hunter per day of hunting, boar - seven per day. These numbers change from year to year. For instance as wild boar are responsible for damaging crops and causing car accidents, the number has been increased. In the villages around where I live, it has not been possible to legally hunt pheasants des faisans for the last few years to give the birds time to increase their numbers again. Hunting certain animals in the snow, when the ground is covered is forbidden. You will have seen signs marked ACCA (Association Communale de Chasse Agréée), this is the local town hunting association. You can apply for your land to be a réserve de chasse et faune - a part of the territory where hunting is not allowed. The ACCA must give over at least 10% of its territory to réserve de chasse. You can also apply to the prefecture for hunting to be forbidden on your land chasse interdite. Saint Hubert is the patron saint of hunters and is celebrated on 3rd November. There are masses messe de la St Hubert and churches are decorated with stuffed trophies and greenery. Hunting horn players are often present sonneurs de trompe de chasse, with their velvet jackets and hard hats. It was Louis XI (the one who had the hunting lodge in Missé) who decreed that Saint Hubert should be celebrated in a special way.

partridge/ young partridge

Le faisan/ la bécasse ..................

pheasant/ woodcock

La chasse à courre ......................

hunting on horseback

Un chevreuil/ un daim ................

roe deer/ fallow deer

Un cerf ......................................

red deer

Le gibier à plume.........................


La meute ....................................

pack of dogs

Chasse Interdite ..........................

no hunting

Take a Break - SOLUTION

Le perdrix/ le perdreau ...............

Easy Crossword: Across: 1. mobile 4. modest 8. belch 9. humerus 10. Loire 11. leisure 12. telephone 15. Bacardi 16. ether 17. vehicle 18. abate 19. dainty 20. feeble Down: 2. Oberon 3. incarceration 5. dressing table 6. square 7. Philippines 13. camera 14. dental

wild boar


Le sanglier .................................

Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. bantamweight 7. obscura 9. evade 10. null 11. thatcher 12. beside 14. parsee 17. democrat 19. peel 22. enjoy 23. hidalgo 24. predominated Down: 1. brown 2. nestles 3. abut 4. inertia 5. Heath 6. George 8. ache 12. bidden 13. decoyed 15. stemlet 16. bash 18. major 20. Lloyd 21. Eden

rabbit/ hare

An anchor. White. If all walls of the house are facing south, the house must be on the North Pole, so the bear is a polar bear. She fell off the bottom step! The hospital that you were born in. Silence. 666 + 66 + 6+ 6 + 6 = 750 There are three possible solutions for this: the father-son duo could be 51 and 15 years old, 42 and 24 years old or 60 and 06 years old. ‘A Paradox’

Le lapin/ le lièvre ........................

Q1: Q2: Q3: Q4: Q5: Q6: Q7: Q8:

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 9



he eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month is when we traditionally come together to Remember. In our own two minutes of silence, our minds will concentrate on the sacrifice of the millions who lost their lives in war, and then look inwards to personal memories that give the occasion that special meaning, as we remember the loss of those closer to us grandfathers, uncles, and cousins. In other words - family. Archie is the first to mention it, Helen and Jessie battle over it, and the Cartoonists throw in their tuppence for good measure! What’s all the fuss about? Women and war work! In the Get Together History Group’s dramatised commemorative event to be staged on Saturday 10th November in the Vasles Theatre at 3pm, we learn how women emerged from their homes to ‘do their bit’ on the Home Front. We hear what they and others have to say about it. In the September issue of The Deux-Sèvres Monthly we introduced young Archie, who thinks the world is topsy-turvy since the war began with girls driving buses and making munitions, rather than ensuring that there is cake and jam for his tea. Jessie and Helen give us the benefit of their strong opinions on whether the women “doing their bit” can be considered on the same terms as “men, doomed to be crucified each day, for us at home!” - whilst Helen castigates women who make such claims as merely “glory hunters”. But as Jessie makes clear, women did work and worked hard! She declares “there’s no job women can’t do”, and refers to “the girl who clips your ticket for the train”, and the “motor girl who drives a heavy van”. There are plenty of archival

Creature Corner This month’s creature:

by Steve Shaw

The Mole (La Taupe)

oles were known by various names in different languages; M such as mouldywarp (English), maulwürfe (German) and muldvarp (Danish). Here, the words mould/ maul/ muld/ mean

‘soil’ and warp/ würfe/ varp/ mean ‘throw’, thus giving the single meaning: the one who throws soil. Description Moles are brownish grey to black and they live in North America, Europe, Asia and even parts of Africa (there are no moles in Ireland). They have curved front paws and claws which they use as a shovel to create their long tunnels (able to dig up to 18 feet in one hour). They have polydactyl hands, which mean they have an extra thumb. Moles eyes are hard to find because they’re very small and covered in fur. They have short, yet powerful legs and extremely broad front teeth. They are very good swimmers. Behaviour These little animals paralyse worms and insects with poison in their saliva. They then store them in an underground room (there may be hundreds of earthworms stored for later consumption).

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

photographs of gangs of women mending the roads, navvying on building sites, working in mines and down on the farm. Jessie is right, “there’s no job a woman can’t do”. These characters, and many more, form part of our commemoration which, to avoid clashes with local remembrance ceremonies, will be staged on the 10th, rather than 11th. Thanks to the support and generosity of our sponsors, including the maire and all the staff at the mairie of Vasles, this presentation is free of charge, but as places are limited all seats must be booked in advance. To book your seat for Women’s Voices from the Great War, please email as soon as possible. We welcome you not only to this dramatised presentation but also extend a cordial invitation to join us afterward at the wreath laying ceremony at Vasles war memorial with our colleagues from the Union Nationale des Combatatants/Vasles/ Les Forge, to be followed by a reception and refreshments in the Salle, Place du 25 août, Vasles. Also in the Salle will be an Exhibition of art works by members of Art Scene, representative stands by the Royal British Legion and the Red Cross, and a display of Great War journals, posters, postcards, and trade and cigarette cards from both Britain and France.

Before consuming the earthworm they will squeeze out the dirt and soil from their bodies. One mole can eat over 50 pounds of worms in one year. They sleep for just four hours and for the rest of the time, they dig. Moles don’t hibernate, they work all year round to catch food. A mole can run backwards as fast as it can run forward and they can do a somersault to escape predators. Studies have found that moles possess high tolerance to carbon-dioxide in comparison to other mammals. They have special cells that help them to reuse oxygen and survive in areas with less, especially underground. Good things about moles Moles improve the fertility of soil because they aerate and mix the layers by constant digging. They also help in creating a drainage system for soil.

Health, Beauty & Fitness Small B/W Advert from 34€ per month

Pure Fitness

Tai Chi classes

Exercise for the body and mind. Age and physical abilities are no obstacle. Classes are held in Bressuire on Tuesday evenings and Breuil Barret on Friday afternoons. Call Terry on: 05 49 65 60 34 or go to:

Back To The Future


Exercise to music classes - every Wednesday 7.30pm-8.30pm Salle des Fêtes, Vernoux-en-Gâtine 79240 For more info contact

Everyday Yoga for Everyone The Beauty of Boundaries

orld Spine Day is on 16 October and to mark this, from 15th to 19th October, the chiropractors of the AFC (Association Française de Chiropraxier) are offering you, by appointment, a chiropractic appraisal. During these sessions, chiropractors will be able to give advice and recommend exercises. th


by Rebecca Novick

e often talk about boundaries in yoga. Boundaries, in this context, are not solid walls or barriers. They are permeable and pliable areas of intersection between our limits and our potential. When we explore our boundaries through each yoga pose, or asana, we find two seemingly opposing forces. There is a constrictive force, where we feel, “Ahhh that’s all the space I can close right now!” But we also find an expansive force where we feel, “Ahhh there’s a little more space here, let me see!” Actually these two forces—the constricting and the expansive—are always working in tandem and are both extremely important.

Seven out of ten people think that the best remedy for lower back pain is rest, while the preventative virtues of sport on health have been scientifically established. Chiropractic treatment for back and joint care, is particularly suitable for athletes (professionals or amateurs). It prevents injuries that may occur as a result of intense repetition of movement and effort. Also, it can relieve the pain of athletes and improve their performance. Chiropractors use a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, including manipulation of the spine. In addition to manual treatment, chiropractors are able to offer a package of care including self-help counselling, therapeutic exercises and lifestyle changes. Find your nearerst chriopractor at www. to make an appointment (or the Malodo app).

The constricting aspect of boundaries protects us by not pushing ourselves too hard, while the expansive helps us to test ourselves a bit more. It is simply saying, “This is all I am comfortable with right now”. Boundaries are essential in many aspects of our lives to help protect us from harm. The expansive aspect of a boundary only operates effectively when the constrictive or ‘safe’ aspect is also in play. Think jumping out of an aeroplane as the expansive and the parachute as the constrictive. Without the latter, the former would not be much fun! If we do not have healthy boundaries, we become indiscriminately porous, and so remain vulnerable to all kinds of potentially harmful influences. These can range from negative effects upon our health when we can’t set boundaries between our desires and something we know is bad for us, to emotional or even physical abuse, when we can’t set boundaries between ourselves and negative people in our lives. Of course, we are not always in a position to choose what comes our way, but with healthy boundaries in place, we can at least respond more discerningly to the influences around us. Whether we’re exploring the limits of a yoga pose or deciding the limits of a relationship, healthy boundaries will help us to more safely and enjoyably navigate our world.

Respect yourself, explore yourself. For details on yoga classes email: or follow Rebecca on The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 11

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


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email: THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch website:

The Jean David Art Group meets every Thursday, at L’Absie (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.

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


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.

French Lessons for English Speakers

Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), 4 Place Leopold Bergeon, 79150 Argenton-les-Vallées Classes: beginners or intermediate. Private lessons on demand. Contact:

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018


by Eric Edwards



s we approach our annual festival of remembrance, this year’s 100th anniversary of the Armistice has attracted more media attention than usual, but, as ever, the RBL will be amongst you continuing its work for ex-service personnel and their families and to raise funds for our cause. As in previous years, poppy boxes will be distributed around the region and a list of outlets will be published on our website by the end of October.

Many people think that 11th November 1918 was the end of WWI but, officially, the war did not end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles over seven months later on 28th June 1919, the provisions of which contributed greatly to the outbreak of war with Germany again in 1939. The final terms of the Treaty, mainly dictated by France, were harsh but could have been worse if the French requirement to completely dismember the recently formed German Empire had been implemented. To understand the French point of view it is necessary to review some of the consequences of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 -71. Otto von Bismarck succeeded in unifying the German states in this conflict against France and in the process formed the German Empire and took the Regions of Alsace and Lorraine from the French. This changed the balance of power within Europe mainly because a large proportion of the best iron ore was found in this area thus giving Germany an advantage in the arms race. Although France did not get the full force of retribution it demanded, the terms of Versailles were nevertheless debilitating to the German people and although Germany signed, it was under protest. Britain and the USA distanced themselves from France’s stance for fear of causing a pretext for a new war with Germany and the US Senate refused to ratify the Treaty. For five years the French and the Belgians tried rigorously to enforce the treaty leading in 1922 to their occupation of the Ruhr. In 1924, however, AngloAmerican financial pressure forced France to end the occupation. After France’s withdrawal from the Ruhr, Germany agreed to pay reparations under the Dawes and Young plans but the great depression of the late 20s and 30s lead to their cancellation in 1932. Throughout interwar years Germany suffered mass unemployment and hyperinflation, and the ineffective government of the Weimar Republic presented the opportunity for Hitler and his Nazi Party to rise to power until eventually Hitler was appointed Chancellor. The Reichstag Fire, undoubtedly caused by Nazi Party members, and ensuing Enabling Act of 1933 brought about a state of emergency and as democracy collapsed, the founding of a single-party Nazi state began. Gradually, Hitler overturned the territorial provisions of the Versailles Treaty with respect to Austria, Czechoslovakia and Memel whilst the western powers voiced little opposition. On 1st September 1939, Germany attacked Poland to alter that frontier and so began WWII. It is impossible to say whether a more liberal Versailles Treaty would have avoided a new war. Certainly after 1945 the British and American governments attempted to avoid many of the problems that had been raised by the treaty. After WWII, West Germany was integrated without renewing fears of German aggression and fundamental issues were deferred for so long that no formal peace treaty was ever written to end WWII.

a What h e r !

c r o c S


ere’s the news, we’re doing an Alan Aykbourn! When he first wrote this play 50 years ago, Mr Aykbourn was asked to write something that ‘would make people laugh when their seaside summer holidays were spoiled by the rain and they came into the theatre to get dry’. Well, after a record-breaking summer that, as I write, shows no signs of ending, here’s something to warm-up the inevitable creep towards Autumn. Alan Aykbourn’s Relatively Speaking is an absolute scream! The fast-paced dialogue and constantly moving storyline are mixed in with great comedy and unexpected twists. As an audience you will be able to see more of what’s going on than the hapless characters, which only serves to heighten the comedy and sense of inevitable disaster. As you can see by the photograph, the cast of four are hard at work learning their lines, the director is primed and plans are afoot for an unforgettable night of theatre. We hope you will join us on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th October at 8pm in the Theatre Maison du Village, VASLES, 79340. Tickets cost 10€ and are available on: 05 49 05 67 41 or emailing:

Don’t forget to book your table at Le Zinc just across the road from the Theatre. As usual there will be an early bird, theatregoer’s menu available from 6pm. Do reserve a table on: 05 49 69 94 92. TheatriVasles is an English language theatre group who have been producing quality theatre since 2014. This will be our 9th production. New members of our association are always welcome, be it just to support us and receive a free drink on performance nights or to lend a hand in one of the many important ways that get a show onto the stage. Get in touch for details, we’d love to hear from you. by Sue Fitzgerald

For more information visit or find us on Facebook

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 13




by Alison Morton

ot the ‘Oo-ar, me hearties’ type, more the modern day ones. Romantic as some of the films are – who doesn’t have a sneaking fondness for Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean or Geena Davis as Morgan Adams in Cutthroat Island – pirates in reality are not nice people. Classically, piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable items. Julius Caesar had a problem with them, the Caribbean was almost a no-go area where violence, rape and murder ruled. Today, armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenades, pirates use small motorboats to attack and board ships, especially cargo vessels and transport ships in the Indian Ocean and off the Somali coast. What has this to do with writing? ‘Piracy’ has been used for centuries as a synonym for acts of copyright infringement. In This Wonderfull Yeare 1603, Thomas Dekker urges readers to ‘Banish these Word-pirates, (you sacred mistresses of learning) into the gulfe of Barbarisme: doome them euerlastingly to liue among dunces:’ Copyright infringement is using work protected by copyright law without permission, infringing exclusive rights belonging to the copyright holder, such as the right to reproduce, distribute, display the protected work, or to make derivative works. The creator of the writing, i.e. you or me, is automatically the copyright holder. If you sell your rights to a traditional publisher, you still own the copyright, but have assigned the right to publish your work for a number of years. However, shifting public expectations, advances in digital technology, and the increasing reach of the Internet have led to widespread, anonymous infringement. This is piracy in the book world. Copyright-dependent industries (photography, writing, art, graphic design) are pressing for the expansion of copyright law to recognise and penalise, as indirect infringers, the service providers and software distributors who facilitate and even encourage individual acts of infringement by others. Publishers, including indies, are now introducing digital markers so book pirates can be identified and pursued through the courts. My books are regularly pirated and shared to all and sundry without my permission. Believe it or not, even book clubs do it! My teeth are nearly worn down with gnashing. Some, especially those who think they have a right to download creative work for free even tell me to my face(!) it’s spreading the news about my work. No, it’s theft Theft of my work that’s taken hundreds of hours to create and cost hundreds of pounds to edit, format, design, produce and market for a retail price of a cup of coffee. I reply by asking when they would clean my house or weed my garden for free. Or perhaps I could borrow their car free for the weekend? While big names earn big bucks, they represent a tiny percentage of authors. The median annual income of a professional author is £10,500, which is well below the UK minimum wage (Authors Licensing and Collecting Society survey). We all like something for free, but downloading a ‘free’, pirated book comes at the cost of depriving the creator of their income, their ability to buy food and pay their rent.

Happy writing!

Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her novella CARINA, is now out in paperback. 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Vronni Ward and Mia Shaw for sharing their book reviews with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE by John Irving It is a fairy tale for grown-ups, set in America. Win Berry is a dreamer, he meets the love of his life, Mary, and they raise a family whilst following his dream of owning and running a hotel. We see the story through the eyes of the middle child John, his relationship with his parents and siblings; the sad, happy, entertaining and quirky things that happen to them. Irving is a master at characterisation. He gives us insight into their personalities through their reactions, styles, comments, loves, hates, interactions and preferences, often wacky, but in a likeable way. His men are easily relatable, his women strong, heroic types. This book deals with wild love triangles, incest, love, violence, abuse, two bears, a Jewish performer named Freud, living in hotels, characters going blind, radicals, screwed-up taxidermy, dwarfs and lots of prostitutes. He can make you feel repulsed and sympathetic at the same time. Irving challenges the way you think about your moral attitudes in such a subtle way. Ultimately, this novel is about acceptance, and valuing the time you have on earth with those worthy of your love. If you enjoy novels that are different, a little wacky and over the top then The Hotel New Hampshire will be for you. By Vronni Ward.

SAPIENS - A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMANKIND by Yuval Noah Harari This is Israeli Historian Yuval Noah Harari’s bestselling epic, which recounts the evolution of Homo Sapiens and speculates as to what the future could hold for our species. Despite the informative nature of the book, the author maintains a highly readable quality in his writing; sometimes humorous, always thought-provoking. Harari breaks down the chronology of our existence into comprehensible chapters; The Cognitive Revolution, The Agricultural Revolution, The Unification of Humankind, and The Scientific Revolution. This telling of our history is candid with both its narration of Homo Sapiens’ hugely impressive feats, and its unnerving look at the damage our species has inflicted, and continues to inflict. Some of the particularly provocative sections in the book are those that discuss racism and sexism, and explore why these issues came to be. Another poignant theme is humankind’s treatment of animals, and some of Harari’s descriptions are enough to make one consider a life of veganism. While sociology, science and economics may not scream ‘pageturner’, Sapiens never strays into dry or unnecessarily wordy territory. Harari’s voice is evident throughout, and ensures for an exceedingly engaging read for anyone interested in our past and our future. by Mia Shaw


by James Luxford

This month’s offerings bring action, music, heartbreak, and a lot of movie magic! A STAR IS BORN (3rd October) The umpteenth remake of A Star Is Born is a very modern affair, directed by Bradley Cooper and starring Lady Gaga as a promising young singer plucked from obscurity by an industry veteran (Cooper again), and flung to stardom. While you would assume there is no new way to tell a story that has been told so often, the charm of Cooper and Gaga (incredible in her first lead film role) plus modern sensibilities makes the story feel much fresher, and more involving than it might have been. CRAZY RICH ASIANS (10th October) This glitzy, big budget romance, about a New York City woman (Constance Wu) who unwittingly falls for one of Singapore’s most eligible bachelors (Henry Golding), comes with a lot of hype ahead of its release. One of the first films to feature a predominantly Asian cast, the film is the latest step at a more diverse landscape in the American film industry. It also happens to be incredibly funny, vibrant and heart-warming, as our likable hero negotiates tradition and a disapproving potential in-law (the excellent Michelle Yeoh). It’s a touch predictable at times, but it’s also a classic Hollywood romance with a 21st century twist.



by Nicole Martin

Rêve d’Orients


he belly dance association Azoukah is performing in Le Tallud (Salle socioculturelle) in ‘Rêve d'Orients’ on 13th October at 8.30pm and 14th October at 3pm.

ou la danse orientale dans tous « ces Etats »…

Live musical David Cadiou

‘A young lady is looking out of the window. She is dreaming of what her life could be, could have been. She's thinking of evasion and freedom, far away from any contraints’.


Tout Public Adultes : 10 € sur réservation 12 € sur place - de 12 ans : 5 €

Samedi 13 octobre 20h30 Dimanche 14 octobre 15h

Salle socio-culturelle/Le Tallud Résa : 06 73 41 18 93

Should you be interested in belly dance, this show is for you! You'll be transported to different countries, from Spain to India and discover different styles of dance, in a colourful and happy atmosphere. Azoukah was started in England in 1994. It was created by Susan Scott Mitchell who then settled in Ruffec. Then, Azoukah came to Niort where it has provided lower, intermediate and advanced lessons. When Susan retired in 2010, Audrey and Nicole took over. The lessons are more suited for girls who already have some knowledge of dance or who are very motivated. The term ‘belly dance’ can be a bit misleading. Our choreography is based on many different styles of dance (baladi, sharki, shaabi etc.) and they also have different influences (Maghreb, Gypsy, Arabic/Andalusian music, Indian etc.). We create all our own choregraphy and perform in village festivals, retirement homes and for private parties.

CHRISTOPHER ROBIN (24th October) What happens when Winnie The Pooh’s best friend grows up and forgets him? That’s the question asked in this endlessly enjoyable adventure where Pooh and friends travel from One Hundred Acre Wood to Post-War London to remind Christopher (Ewan McGregor) what’s really important. Incredible CGI creations plus a touching message, make this an adaptation worthy of the honey obsessed bear’s storied legacy. It’s worth watching, if only for the sight of Tigger jumping around a London taxi! COLD WAR (24th October) A heart-breaking tale of love separated by history, set in 1950’s Poland and following the romance of musician Wiktor (Thomasz Kot) and singer Zula (Joanna Kulig). Aside from some darkly comic moments there is a distinctly sombre tone as our intrinsically connected lovers cling to each other despite the odds. However, every single frame of the film is a work of art in its own right, telling a tale of oppression and finding beauty in the bleakest of situations. Impeccably shot, directed and acted, it’s a film that will feel like an emotional gut punch but is unarguably one of 2018’s best.

Release dates are nationwide in France.

Lessons are on Thursdays, from 8.45pm to 10.30pm, at Le Centre Du Guesclin, in Niort. If you are interested in joining Azoukah or would like more information Tel: 07 87 69 95 60 or email:


look for screenings in ‘VO’ or ‘VOST’ Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: CineChef, Chef-Boutonne: email: Salle Belle Epine, La Châtaigneraie: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: Niort Moulin du Roc: Parthenay Cinema: and find others at The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 15

Th e Sm oc k ‘Hippy’ Sty le Top – Sew ing Project This ‘hippy’ style top is one of my go-to patterns, I make it in decorative fabrics for weddings and in light cotton fabrics for every day wear, I lengthen the hem to make it into a dress and I also change the sleeve length! It’s such a versatile garment that I thought I would share it here with you.

by Nicola Chadwick

Step 3 - Sew the main smock piece on the tabletop side seams and shoulders. Place the back and place the front smockwith the right side of the fabric facing up (RSU) (RSD). With RST sew the with the right side of the fabric facing down and neaten. Now is a gretwo side seams and the shoulder seams. Press can be easily made at thi at time to try your top on as any adjustments s point.

You can download your free pattern and detailed making guide at my blog page: Let’s Sew!

Step 4 - Apply the facing to the neckline. In order to neaten the neckline place the right side of the facing to the right side of the main smock. This is the only tricky part of the sewing process and it’s worth taking a little time here. If you are a beginner and not used to where seam allowance lies, then it’s worth marking the seam allowance onto the wrong side of the fabric, just at the V point with a fabric pen. Stitch around the neckline taking 1 cm seam allowance. You will need to clip into the neckline seam allowance to allow you to turn the facing inside the smock.

Step 1 - Prepare the back smock. Set down the two back smock top sections with right sides together (RST), stitch the Centre Back (CB) seams together from top to bottom. Make sure you back tack at the beginning and end of the seam to secure the stitches. You now have a whole back. Repeat this step for the back neck facing pieces. Neaten the seams with a zig-zag stitch to prevent fraying.

Step 5 - Insert the the Take sleeves. two sleeves, I have shortened mine, place them RST and sew the underarm seam from top to bottom. Neaten and press. Make sure you have a pair of sleeves! You need a left and a right; it’s a common mistake to make if your fabric has no definite right and wrong side, so check!

Pin the sleeves into each armhole with right sides of the fabric together (RST). Start with matching the underarm seam of the sleeve to the underarm seam of the main top. Match the notches and pin into position until you have travelled around the whole sleeve head. There will be a little ‘ease’ in the sleeve head, this can be ‘eased’ gently into the armhole, by gently compressing the fabric, or you can simply form a small tuck at the shoulder line. Neaten the seam edges together.

Step 6 – Sewing the hems. back The d hems at the sleeve and n a t fron e also the smock hem need ake the terfacing to th ll t w o N ma gs. le in to be finished. Press the ht fusib , test a s he facin epare t ply a light-weigh a hot dry iron. r hem P into position, 1 cm up. 2 ap ed wit Step Neaten with a zig-zag. Stitch ings and e fabric. Press the heat requir c fa k c e n up into position. Press to set ide of th o gauge er wrong s of fabric first t e shouldat. h t in place. in t p n and e fl amou ings RSTn so that they lig for a c fa k c e n e nd back sew - press op ly a bias bindin e front a p d Place th f the facing an e facing or ap If you find this project a little daunting, why not come and join me in one of seams o the hem of th my sewing workshops where you can learn to sew from absolute beginner or Neaten finish! improve your existing skills, I plan to run a couple of workshops coming perfect up to Christmas so just get in touch to reserve a place! Next month I plan to show you how to make this very handy bread basket… or if you would like to see me cover a specific project instead, just get in touch at: Nicola

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

An Ode to a Château The Good Life in France

Brain Gym


elax on the sofa and put your feet up after making yourself a brew and grabbing the biscuit tin. It’s time for your monthly mental workout. See how you get on...Anna struggled.


When you want to use me, you throw me away. When you’re done using me, you bring me in. What am I?


There is a house with four walls. All of the walls are facing south. A bear is circling the house. What colour is the bear?


A girl fell off of a 30-ft ladder, but she didn’t get hurt at all. How is this possible?

Q4. What is the building that you leave without ever having entered? Say my name and I am no more. What am I?


How can you add eight 6s together so that the total adds up to 750?


The ages of a father and son add up to 66. The father’s age is the son’s age reversed. How old could they be? (Three possible solutions)


Can you work out the well known phrase or saying from the visual clue:


Answers on P.9


Letter from Blighty (September) Dear Frankie Holidays are over. Schools are back. Trees are beginning to `turn` and conkers are falling. In the garden the summer flowers are straining to give one final burst of colour before the first frosts overtake them. And in the house, the season of capturing and returning to the outdoors, spiders which have climbed up the waste pipe and can’t get out of the bath has begun. Is it one madly obsessive spider which returns time and time again or a series of like-minded colleagues, I ask myself. In short, it is autumn.


by Martin Hughes

s our world about to end? Are idle hands about to be the order of the day? Is the doomsday clock an inch nearer armageddon? 'Fat little rocket man' and 'doltard' Donny 'short fingers' are poised over their consoles, sparring on twitter or TV, and Saint Theresa and motley crew are steering the good ship Brexit towards the iceberg. No, it's not those minor issues that concern us. More importantly Dick and Angel have worked more wonders and the unlikely couple's 'Escape to the Château' has ended for another season. It cheers us that the château roof will cost even more to repair than that of our own humble abode! That the old outbuildings are strong enough to take the hard knocks of van unloading and that Angel's mum and dad will soon have their own quarters after two years of dossing it. Once they have agreed the layout of the rooms in their stable conversion. No walrus moustache, no flaming red hair to lighten our screens. No bespoke van conversion to inspire us to convert a 2CV to our own chilled bar for use down by our local étang. No black boudoirs, surprisingly successful, to inspire our own creative conversions of large flowered wallpapered rooms. No more tips from French arborealists on how best to prune our lime trees with a 'number one'. We are bereft. Dick and Angel have again brought some light into our own escape to the hexagon and we pray that there is at least one more series to grace our screens. Just don't leave it too long please. We need another season to be able to face the 117th episode of the Kim and Donny show and the 'will they, won't they' in the dis-United Kingdom.

Efforts to end the `scallop war` are not yet successful. That said, I find it hard to get my head round the notion of French and English fishermen throwing stones at each other at sea! There was a great hoo-ha over the death of Aretha Franklin last month (give me Dusty Springfield or Leonard Cohen any day), but less so about that of Kofi Anan, the former DG of the UN and by all accounts a thoroughly `good egg`. On a lighter note, Chris Evans is moving from Radio 2 to Virgin Radio (I am managing to maintain my composure at such apparently earth-shattering news), and Alistair Cook made a century in his final Test match (against the Indians, whom we beat 4-1) before retiring from international cricket. Two final pieces of good news. First, a plastic-eating fungus discovered on a rubbish heap in Pakistan could be adapted to destroy plastic waste on land and sea. If true, that could be seriously good news. Second, lions in the Kruger National Park in South Africa have been causing mayhem among tourists by gnawing the tyres of their jeeps and making them explode. In contrast, visitors to Longleat Safari Park only have to put up with a few monkeys showing interest in their windscreen wipers and breaking the odd one off. Rule Britannia! Yours Johnny The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 17

Segora Presentation Day


he celebration of the Segora writing competition 2018 (organised by Gordon and Jocelyn Simms) took place in the Jardin de Cloître (right) in the beautiful village of Saint-André-surSèvre. The day included a writer’s workshop by the renowned poet Mario Petrucci who also judged the poetry section, read a selection of his own work followed by a Q & A. Several of the winning authors, some of whom had travelled from the UK, read their poems and vignettes. Stephen and Anna Shaw from The Deux-Sèvres Monthly gave a rehearsed reading of the winning one act play.

Mario Petrucci the judge, said about the poems submitted: “Judging competitions is a little like getting tipsy on miniatures. You sample bitter-sweet doses of just about everything. There were so many good poems in the Segora jostling for a final place... I was genuinely sad to let so many of them go. The three winners, though, had me returning to them again and again. I couldn’t leave them alone. I began to feel I wanted a full bottle of what these three writers had to offer. You should - of course - read the poems for yourself and decide if you agree; but you’ll immediately see, I hope, how important a poet’s intention and subject can be. As in Olympic diving, taking on a difficult subject in poetry is like attempting a ‘high tariff’ dive - it’s risky; but, if you pull it off, it’s impressive, memorable and important. The poems leave us challenged and moved, persuading us to be willing witnesses to important human wrongs. Poetry has few functions of greater value than this.” The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’s very own John Sherwin judged the Vignettes. Regarding the winning Vignette he said: “This vignette is a thrilling account of a brick wall. It has everything a vignette should have: sharp appreciation of a moment in time; precise use of language; unobtrusive alliteration; a quiet but insistent narrative flow; moments of reflection with an undercurrent of action. Having read it many times, I don’t have to go to the wall in question; I am there.”

rdinary Out of the O

f that smells o eroded banke sharp stink of an , h at p e th n th less sexy than tted place o dland. ere’s this ru h a sour note of decay, orld under cover of woo th ay d y er it Ev w w er iff th n o f hy o rt se badger; an easavour it, inhaling a sen of the hill on the flank millstone: fox. I secretly e, b ay m , n a re aw ll as p. The flit of s no wind. Sti es me look uitch of fir tree, but there’of some disused leat. ak m g in h et ch Som involuntary tw level, in sear below, or thend, water finding its own as parted rnight rain h ons – but ve the only sou o r o , ay d er sati this time yest scade of sen uniform ash by is flatter thanor I’m off my head on a ca ed ht d lig in e m th s, s ay, ramble Perhap a particular w arbed-wire b the greeneryistaking. Barred off by b there’s no m a doorway. ntly to itself, trees, there’s crumbling gee odd sapling l, al w ck ri b nd y, th as the Just a dead-e modesty of iv understand. it have escaped me? - a ooden uprights. Cheeks, othing u yo r, o o d n w ld No s u o e’ co tw er , w th rt o k–h s hea ough chaffinch pin m a mortar nostril. At it ertaker) would say, alth ut of their sails. o d o n fr n u g ke n as ti ta u s d le ro in b sp r (who dou air with the w local carpentergoyle-like about this p ssbeam, and ga r o rounded ed up the croey are French m m ja ey th ild, I assumed ow better – th and them. As a chobedient lamb. Now I kn paralysed into slavery d lle ca e w , ts ar an p e Jambs ee lik tr b d . Dea e silent I accepted th never dance the can-can ill w at th . gs le e e an entrance re yellow in th forced to fram is the same se e d si er th o e clearing on th ld be. e grass in the river isn’t where it shou Th . it ex an r e O th t u b , sk -du same almost ist of violets. rwhelming gr ve o an s e’ er Th ce n of Seix, Fran by Sue Kindo

Da Nang She waits at the edge, as a new day dawns, with fish to sell for a handful of coins from boats as they let slip their puppies of war. They’ll want more than this, for their dollars and dim es. A gathering swarm flies over the trees. Silver rain brings the Fal l, burning orange, in Spring. Ill formed are the hands that clap, in the womb, at the gentle rains that fall. A packet of nuts, small, shrivelled with pa in, a hand held out for a bundle of Dongg Will this do? Who are you, with your trinkets and cha rms? “Just a little boy, standing in the rain, The gentle rain that falls for years…” These are the hands, that clapped in the womb . You see what they did to the rain?

by David Pearson of Montournais, France

To read all the winning entries and find out more about the Segora International Writing Competition go to: 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

Our Furry Friends Adopt A Dog Month by Christa Doody


ctober is Adopt A Rescue Dog Month, the perfect time to remind everyone of the reasons you should Adopt, Don’t Shop. 1. You save a life. All our dogs have been lost or abandonned and are in need of a second chance. They are all unwanted and totally reliant on us for their future. You are giving them a new life in a loving home. 2. You help break the overpopulation cycle. Thousands of dogs are euthanized every year as there are simply not enough homes for the number of dogs born. Adopting from a refuge or association helps weaken the pet overpopulation cycle. 3. You help stop cruelty in puppy farms. Throughout France, commercial and backyard breeders produce thousands of dogs for sale in pet shops and online. The breeding dogs are repeatedly impregnated and spend their entire lives in cages without human companionship. These unfortunate dogs are often in intolerable conditions, forced to produce litter upon litter, and are destroyed or thrown out after they become unprofitable. Adopting a dog means you are not supporting such cruel practices. 4. You can see what you’re getting. Adult pets are awesome! Often they are already housetrained and have good manners. You won’t have to deal with the puppy phase which means less of that youthful energy such as biting, chewing, clawing, etc. You will be able to see the personality of the adult animal and won’t have to wait. 5. You get support from the refuge or association. There is a team of experienced dog lovers who can help you with any issues you have and who can guide you to get the best from your pet. 6. We can help match you to a suitable dog. Because we get to know our dogs, we can advise you on their breed and temperament traits to maximise the chances of you taking the right dog home for your situation. 7. You adopt a pet who has received good care. Our dogs are identified, vaccinated, neutered and come with a health certificate so you know you have a healthy dog, or are made aware of any problems you are likely to be dealing with. 8. You support a good cause and enable them to help more abandonned animals. When you adopt a pet, you support a notfor-profit organisation who ensures that their animals are spayed or neutered which further reduces the number of unwanted animals. 9. You pay less. Low adoption fees (which contribute towards the cost of identifying, vaccinating and neutering the dog) are much less than the cost of breed puppies sold for profit. 10. You encourage others to adopt animals. Your adopted pet is a living advert for adoption, which may in turn encourage others to do the same.

We would be delighted to help you find the perfect companion for your family, you can contact us on: Tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or at


Monzon is a 6 year old Retriever x. He’s been with us for a long time because he’s big and needs to be the only pet. But what he lacks in manners with other animals, he makes up for in love with people, large and small. With our volunteers, he is the soppiest, cuddliest dog and they love him, but what he would love is his very own humans. He behaved beautifully in foster with a very young family so if one dog is enough for you, please come and meet him. Monzon has been neutered, microchipped, is fully vaccinated and has been treated for fleas, ticks and worms. An adoption fee of 150€ will be asked for to help towards his medical costs. If you would like more information please contact us on:

The Assocation Orfée tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email: Visit the website:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 19

Home & Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers


ctober is the month when changes in the garden and weather are less subtle. The temperatures are expectedly and regularly cooler, the potagers are still providing a useful bounty and flower beds remain colourful with asters, dahlias, rudbeckias and late flowering clematis. The trees are adding to the technicolour show, with their leaves changing to vibrant oranges, reds and yellows. We have to make the most of each sunny, warm day and the light that is gradually slipping away, leaving fewer hours for us to work outside. The garden is looking tired and there is a sense of running out of time to get everything done. Looking out onto the garden with its huge patches of bare earth where there once was grass, I’m dreaming of heavy showers of wonderfully cooling, refreshing and renewing rain! Living in the Vendée, October tends to be wall to wall rainfall and after this summer, it will be so welcome. The flower beds at the bottom of the long slope down to the end of our plot, are looking dishevelled, overgrown with weeds and completely neglected; the trees and shrubs are holding their own and I know with a bit of rescue work, I’ll be able to restore everything… eventually! It is the area of the garden which I have worked on least this year. The focus has had to be on the plants in pots - feeding, deadheading and watering, watering, watering! I think, that this summer was the longest continuous period without rain in fourteen years. Although we have all lost some plants during this time, we also know that with the new season, everything will change - bulbs will be planted, cuttings taken, new beds prepared and the balance will be restored.

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

I haven’t missed cutting the grass, although I quite enjoy it when I am plodding along behind the mower, finding bare patches after the drought. It somehow reveals areas that need a rethink, a bit of remodelling perhaps or a complete dig-over and start again! Autumn is a good time to do this, when temperatures are cooler and new stock is in the garden centres. Spring bulbs have been available in the supermarkets for a while, although varieties are limited, and hedging plants, fruit trees and perennials are often a good buy too, as long as purchased when the stock is fresh! Bulbs planted now in pots or in the ground are so worthwhile and make a lovely show in the spring when we need some colour. When using pots, I plant in layers with tulips at the base, topped over with a layer of compost, daffodils/narcissi, similarly covered and then crocus or grape hyacinths. The top layer tends to flower first, then the second and last of all the tulips……the show lasts quite a long time! The garden does bring surprises even after the stress that it has suffered. The clematis, and I have several different varieties in pots, has been flowering superbly. The clematis recta (white with a beautiful scent), will continue to flower until the end of November and it looks great clambering through the pink rose ‘Great Expectations’. The pear tree produced an abundant crop, the campsis has had its best year ever and the cannas flowered well into September. I made a new, small flower bed around the stump of an old nectarine tree and I’ve used it as a ‘bed-in-waiting,’ just popping plants in that are destined for elsewhere. After I had dug it over, I noticed a plant growing, which I certainly hadn’t put in that particular spot, so I left it to see what it would become. The leaves now that they have appeared, are greatly indented, with thick stems born on a significant main stem, are as big as dinner plates. The leaves reminded me of a plant I knew from my student days, but I had never seen it here before. Now the plant is as tall as I am, the flowers are white, not unlike a petunia in form, with a lovely cobalt blue centre. It has fruit which resemble conkers with prickly cases. It is a thorn apple, quite statuesque, but very poisonous. Apparently, its seeds can lie dormant in the soil for a long period but then suddenly germinate if the earth is disturbed. It will have to go, as it takes up a lot of space and I’m not keen to keep a plant that might be dangerous to wildlife or me!

Now is the time to:

Lift dahlia tubers if temperatures become very low. Store where they can be protected from frost. Cannas can also be lifted and stored in a similar way. If they have been hardened off in the garden over time, leave them in and protect the crowns with an extra layer of mulch. Continue dividing and replanting herbaceous perennials, such as bergenia, phlox and hardy geraniums, mulching as you go. Prune back

Plant spring bulbs now and reap the rewards next year (left). The poisonous thorn apple (middle). Lift your cannas to protect from frost (right).

hybrid tea and floribunda roses by a third to reduce wind rock which can give rise to root damage; check their supports at the same time and replace if necessary. Move hardy evergreens such as mahonia, rhododendron and osmanthus whilst the soil is still warm. Continue to collect ripe seeds once they have turned brown, put into labelled envelopes in an airtight container and store in the fridge. Pot on cuttings into larger pots and place in a sheltered spot. Plant new trees, hardy shrubs and new perennials. Sweet pea seeds can be sown now, preferably in deep pots as they like a long root run. The roots will be better developed than seeds sown in the spring and they will flower a little earlier. They can be left to grow in a cold frame or cold greenhouse. Any spent annuals/bedding plants can be lifted from pots or beds to make room for bulbs and new stock. If you have pelargoniums that you love, lift them from their outdoor containers and replant them as houseplants, bringing them indoors away from the winter weather to come. Remove old foliage from hostas as it reduces the risk of crown rot and robs slugs and snails of places to hide over winter. Some hardy annuals including larkspur, cornflower and poached egg plant can still be sown outdoors in a sheltered corner. Allow some ivy to flower as it’s a good source of nectar and berries for wildlife. Hardwood cuttings can be taken from roses, cornus, forsythia and philadelphus once their leaves have fallen. Cut long stems removing most of the foliage except a bit at the top and plant deeply around the edge of flower pots. Rose cuttings can be planted in trenches at the end of a flower bed. Hardwood cuttings take longer to root, so once planted, put them somewhere sheltered and forget about them. Take cuttings from herbs to over winter. Rosemary, lemon balm and sage can all be propagated from semi-ripe cuttings. Horseradish and mint can be increased by root division, lemon grass and ginger can be divided, but must be protected from the cold.

Apply autumn feed to grassed areas, spiking spots that become waterlogged to encourage drainage and prevent moss from growing. Sow broad beans later this month and finish sowing onion sets and shallots. Garlic should be planted now, shallowly on heavy soils and deeply on light soils. Plant out spring cabbage, netting plants to protect from pigeons. Cut down asparagus stems as they yellow and mulch the crowns with well rotted manure. Harvest any pumpkins or squashes that remain on their vines and leave to ‘cure’ in a cool dry place. Cover ponds with netting to keep out fallen leaves. Collect dead leaves, put into large plastic bags, water, tie up the tops, prick holes in the sacks and leave for leafmould to form.

Warm jackets and wellie boots at the ready, a hot cuppa in your hand, the garden is waiting! Enjoy everything you do in the garden this month!


Cover your ponds with netting to prevent leaves falling in.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 21

79380 La Forêt-sur-Sèvre Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:...................................................................................... Postal Address:.............................................................................. ....................................................................................................... Postcode:............................Country:............................................. Tel:.................................................................................................. Email:............................................................................................. Please make cheques payable to ANNA SHAW.

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 23

Where We Live...


Reblochon de Savoie/Reblochon (AOC) This is a magnificent cheese from the mountains of Haute-Savoie, in particular the Aravis Massif around Thônes. Thirteenth century stories tell of herdsmen who carried out an incomplete milking of the Abondance, Montbéliard and Tarine cows in order to save money as the landowners would tax them according to the amount of milk their herds produced. The name derives from the verb reblocher, a dialect word meaning ‘to pinch a cow’s udder again’ or second milking. But in this case it refers not to the second milking of the day but to the particularly rich milk left in the cow towards the end of a milking. This would often be ‘appropriated’ by the herdsmen. It would be left in the cow until the farm bosses had left after checking the milk yield and then used to make their own cheese... namely Reblochon! This unpasteurised cheese has a fine, velvety rind varying in colour from orange/yellow to pink with a close-textured inside which is moist, smooth, supple and ivory in colour. The flavour is mild, fruity and delicious, with an intense nutty aftertaste, but it can get rather bitter as it ages. Production may be fermier, coopérative or industriel. Raw and whole milk is rinsed at the latest 24 hours after the last milking until a curd forms. It is then moulded and lightly pressed for around 90 minutes. After coming out of the moulds the cheeses are cured, dried for four days and washed before maturing in humid cellars for at least two weeks, but usually three to four. During that time they develop an edible light beige crust and buttery dough. Reblochon is distinctively packaged, wrapped in paper and having a thin spruce disc on at least one side in order to regulate the moisture. It’s the musthave of the cheeseboard. Take it out of the fridge two hours before serving to enjoy the best of its aromas. It can be used as a snack, in a salad or as an apéritif and is also unctuous when melted over baked potatoes. It is also a classic ingredient in one of the Alps’ best-loved dishes, the Tartiflette, a gratin made from potatoes, ham, onions and cream. Its delicate and subtle flavours go well with a glass of local Savoie wine.


Life’s never dull in the real French France!


tarting a new life in a foreign land is a major upheaval for anyone. For many the result is a dream fulfilled, but for others adapting to a new lifestyle can be more difficult than they had expected. In Karen and David Taylor’s case it has turned out to be, quite literally, a Smart move...

When the couple first moved to France, at the end of 2009, it was on a two-year contract for automotive test engineer David on the new electric Smart car at the company’s factory in the Alsace region. Eight years on, they’re still in France, living and working in the Vendée and loving the lifestyle. “We rented a house near Strasbourg, close to the car factory,” says Karen. “It’s a fascinating part of the country and well worth a visit, with its colombage architecture, hearty cuisine and easy access to the Black Forest. But its Germanic influence tends to dominate the region and made us crave for what we consider the real French France – the west.”

© Wikimedia Commons/Myrabella CC BY-SA

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

They had no desire to return to the hustle and bustle of the UK, providing they could find work to finance remaining in France. So, at the end of the

by Mick Austin

two-year contract, they headed west to a part of the country they were very familiar with, having spent many a summer holidaying on the coast with their children. They arrived in the Vendée in the winter of 2011, without work, but from the proceeds of their house sale in the UK they bought two houses about 30 minutes drive from the coast, near Moutiers-les-Mauxfaits – one to rent out long-term and the other to renovate. “As an upper-school teacher in the UK, my obvious line of work in France was as a prof in a lycée,” says Karen, “but, contrary to my expectations, all my attempts to secure a position in a French school were unsuccessful. I’ve subsequently discovered that this is not at all unusual! So, armed with my TEFL qualification (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) I joined a language agency teaching business English to professional adults. Et violà, financial security assured. Except that, having left his UK company when we moved to the Vendée, David was now unemployed. “Fortunately, thanks to the Deux-Sèvres Monthly (yes, really!) David discovered Leggett Immobilier, contacted their HR department and became the company’s sole agent in the Vendée. I’m pleased to say that, four years on, he now has a team of eight agents around him so he no longer has to drive the length and breadth of the département to visit clients.” Karen and David had a head start over many newcomers to France in that she arrived with A level French and David went to evening classes in the UK before taking up his job in Strasbourg. “Living and working in France is a great incentive to improve your language skills,” says David. But life in France is not just about work for the Taylors, far from it. “Ever since settling in the Vendée we’ve made every effort to join clubs and societies to help us feel part of everyday French life,” says Karen. “I’m now a member of the local tennis and dog training clubs, attend a regular fitness class and have joined a Franglais Association, all of which have had the added bonus of improving my French.” For his part, David’s in his element restoring his three (yes, three!) Citroën 2CV cars in his barn at home. Earlier this year he joined the local 2CV club which organises regular balades through the highways and byways (mostly byways) of the Vendée. “Suffice it

to say that I’m now fluent in 2CV speak,” he jokes. “The clubs and societies we’ve joined are almost exclusively French, with the not-unexpected exception of David’s cricket club,” says Karen. “But they are working hard to convert the French! “The activity we both really love here is taking part in the many marches gourmandes that are open to anyone and everyone. They combine a ten or 12km walk through the beautiful French countryside, with regular stops to enjoy local food and drink. What’s not to like? Register in advance, pay the princely sum of 13€ and join in the fun with hundreds of others!” Now both settled in their respective professions and with a sometimes hectic social life, you might be forgiven for thinking the Taylors would be happy to maintain the status quo. But no. After many years of teaching, first in the UK and then in France, Karen was beginning to look for another challenge. “Last year, thanks to David’s work as an immobilier, he spotted a rather tired-looking little bungalow just eight kilometres from the Vendée coast, in Saint-Michel-en-l’Herm, which had recently gone on the market. There was huge potential for this small but sound maison de plain-pied to become a holiday gîte (www. ). So it was that, in the spring of 2017, I slid seamlessly from teaching into tourism almost overnight. “Well, not exactly seamlessly! Running a gîte may seem straightforward from the outside, but as a tourism novice I had a lot to learn – not least how to attract new clients. Having bought the bungalow in March, we quickly painted the outside walls and shutters so that we could place our first advert in April, planning to open for business in June. As we had advertised in both France and the UK, we were fully expecting to welcome both nationalities to our gîte, but all our bookings that first summer came from vacanciers already living in France and on the lookout for a lastminute break. It would appear that most British holidaymakers had already booked their summer getaways months earlier to be sure of flights and ferry crossings. This turned out to be one of the many differences that we were to discover between holidaymakers on either side of the Channel.” As a newcomer to the industry, Karen says she is always open to new ideas from family, friends and departing guests.

David manages to fit any maintenance work on the gîte around bookings (left) Their welcoming holiday home (right)

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special “One of the suggestions I’d heard time and time again was ‘Find yourself a USP (unique selling point), then advertise it’. My lightbulb moment (see DSM May edition) came when we were booking our own holiday in Jersey last year. We’d decided to travel with our two dogs, so were searching for a dog-friendly holiday home. Of course! With a good-sized garden, all-round fencing and a secure gate, our very own gîte would be ideal for dog owners wanting to holiday with their canine companions. And so our USP was born!”

as enjoying a busy social life, I’m still teaching on a contract basis, David’s still working for Leggett Immobilier and we’re still learning the tricks of the tourism trade. There’s never a dull moment in our life in France!”

The Taylors welcome a maximum of two dogs to their gîte at no extra cost, but they’ve had a couple of crossed lines with their French guests in the past. “On one occasion I was asked ‘Ca va pour rester avec mes chihuahuas?’. ‘Bien sûr, I replied, ‘pas de soucis’. So on the appointed day, at the appointed hour, Madame arrived with her five – yes, five – chihuahuas! Well, they’re only small, I thought! Dog owners always arrive extremely well equipped for their canine companions. I sometimes wonder how they’ve found room for their own luggage.” As they moved through their second summer season, Karen started to feel more and more confident about their new venture. “We’ve discovered that many dog owners, French and British alike, enjoy holidaying out of the high season, so last autumn we decided to stay open all the year round. It’s a bit of a challenge trying to fit maintenance work around bookings, but where there’s a will...” The Taylors’ Smart move appears to have paid off then? “As well

Karen with the St Hermine ladies’ tennis team (top right). Enjoying a semi-nocturne marche gourmande with fellow walkers (right)

David proudly shows off his 3 2CVs - Pepper (with the peppermint stripe), Dizzy (named after her former UK registration number) and Racy (for obvious reasons!)

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

On this month October 4, 1582: The Gregorian Calendar takes effect in Catholic countries as Pope Gregory XIII issues a decree stating the day following Thursday, October 4, 1582, would be Friday, October 15, 1582, correcting a ten-day error accumulated by the Julian Calendar. Britain and the American colonies adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. October 22, 1797: The first parachute jump of note is made by André-Jacques Garnerin from a hydrogen balloon 3200 feet above Paris. Leonardo da Vinci conceived the idea of the parachute in his writings and Frenchman Louis-Sebastien Lenormand fashioned a kind of parachute out of two umbrellas and jumped from a tree in 1783. But Garnerin was the first to design and test parachutes capable of slowing a man’s fall from high altitude. He attached his parachute to a hydrogen balloon and rose to 3200 feet before clambering into the basket and severing the parachute from the balloon. As he had failed to include an air vent at the top of the prototype chute, he oscillated wildly as he fell. He landed shaken but unhurt half a mile from the balloon’s take-off site. In 1799, Garnerin’s wife, Jeanne-Genevieve, became the first female parachutist. In 1802, Garnerin made a spectacular jump from 8000 feet during an exhibition in England. He died in a balloon accident in 1823 while preparing to test a new parachute. October 21, 1805: The Battle of Trafalgar takes place off the coast of Spain between the British Royal Navy and the combined French and Spanish fleets. The victorious British ended the threat of Napoleon’s invasion of England. It was to be British naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson’s last and greatest victory as he was mortally wounded aboard his ship, Victory. In five hours of fighting, the British devastated the enemy fleet, destroying 19 ships. No British ships were lost but 1500 British seamen were killed or wounded. Nelson was given a state funeral in St Paul’s Cathedral and a column was erected in his memory in the newlynamed Trafalgar Square. October 4, 1943: The Island of Corsica becomes the first French territory in Europe freed from Nazi control as Free French troops liberate the city of Bastia.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?


by Steve Shaw

s I stuck my head out of the front door on the first Sunday of September there was not a cloud in the sky or a breath of wind, perfect. We leapt in the car and headed north towards Thouars. I had spotted some of them the previous day as I was doing my rounds delivering the magazine, nearly driving into a ditch at one point, I was so mesmerised. As we drove over the brow of a hill on the D938 we saw them, only one or two at first, then as we rounded a corner, there they were, in the distance. Having lived in Lincolnshire before moving to France we had regularly seen the occasional hot air balloon maybe two or three (if we were lucky), drifting past majestically, but this was incredible, 50 to 60 of them rising into the clear blue sky, like upside down Christmas tree baubles, all participating in La Mongolfiade de Thouars. Not being one for heights, the thought of drifting hundreds of feet in the air supported only by a small wicker basket fills me with dread, and I would not personally get into one having had a funny turn on the pirate ship at the funfair. But the sight of a hot air balloon is a special thing. Part of the magic is suddenly spotting them without warning, unlike the jets which fly over with their terrifying roar, leaving you in no doubt as to their arrival, the balloon creeps up on you, unannounced. Like storm chasers we headed towards them, for a closer look. As we got nearer we were having a heated debate as to whether you can steer a hot air balloon, or whether you just have to go where you are blown. I said that I didn’t think they jettison bags of sand anymore to gain altitude as they used to in films. We didn’t see anything or anyone being jettisoned. We pulled over in a field, got out of the car and there they were, of all shapes, sizes and colours...just above us, we could see the people in the baskets and hear the Darth Vader noise as they turned on their burners. A kangaroo drifted past at one point, a bird, a spooky jesters head, one shaped like a duck was having trouble gaining height, but most of them were classic inverted teardrops. Getting back in our car we joined a convoy of vehicles winding their way through the country lanes, following the balloons’ path towards Thouars. One of the balloons landed in a field not far from us, I’m not sure if they had ‘engine trouble’ or were stopping off for more sandwiches, but I was amazed at the size of the basket, it was not much bigger than our laundry basket and had three or four people squeezed into it. After doing what they had to do the balloon ascended once more to join the others. People had come out of their houses and were all looking skyward, there will have been a few stiff necks on the Monday morning, but it was a Sunday morning to remember.

October 23, 1983: Terrorists drive a truck loaded with TNT into the US and French headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, exploding it and killing 241 US marines and 58 French paratroopers.

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

Touch down! Four people in a very small basket

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 27

Communications How to beat Microsoft Windows 10 Account Login Problems


icrosoft Windows 10 has had several very large updates in the past 12 months. These have caused some users problems when logging into their computers. A simple way to help, when this problem occurs, is to have an alternative user set-up, using a local account. This may enable you to get into your PC to resolve the issue. Another solution is to create a password reset disk, whilst not strictly a disk, this permits you to access your PC in the event that you forget your password. However, you must do this in anticipation of a problem; you cannot do this after you have forgotten your password or are unable to use it for some reason. Signing in using your Microsoft Account gives you access to more of Windows 10 features, such as Cortana and OneDrive, and the ability to download apps from the Microsoft store. But it is not necessary if you do not need these features. You simply need to login with what is known as a Local Account. How to set-up a local account in Windows 10 1. From the Start menu, navigate to Settings. 2. Select Accounts. 3. In the left menu, select Family and other users. 4. Click Add someone else to this PC. 5. Choose whether to create a Microsoft account or a local account. To create a local account: a. At the bottom, click I don’t have this person’s sign-in information. b. Click Add a user without a Microsoft account. c. Enter a username and, if desired, a password and create three security questions and answers. Make the account an Administrative one d. Once the account has been created left click it and click change account type. e. Once the Change Account Type dialogue box opens. f. Select Administrator from the drop down menu and click OK. In the event you cannot log into your normal Microsoft Account, you may choose the Admin Account and login to this to access and resolve your login issue. How to create and use a password reset disk A password reset disk is a file you create on a USB memory stick or an SD card, that when plugged into your Windows PC will allow you to reset your password right on the lock screen. The best part about the password reset disk is that you only have to create it once, and it will work indefinitely. How to create a password reset disk on Windows 10

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

by Ross Hendry

1. Plug in your USB memory stick or insert your SD card into your PC. 2. Press Windows key + S on your keyboard to reveal the search bar. 3. Type in Password Reset Disk. 4. Click on Create a password reset disk. 5. Click on Next. 6. Click on the dropdown menu. 7. Click on the device that you want the password reset disk to be created on. 8. Type your local account password. This is your current password to logon to your PC account. 9. Click Next. 10. Click Next once the progress bar reaches 100%. 11. Click Finish. Don’t lose this USB memory stick or SD card, because anyone who has it can get into your account easily. Put it in a safe place, label it clearly and date it, and remember where you stashed it! How to use your password reset disk on Windows 10 So, you’ve forgotten your password, and the password hint you provided yourself with isn’t working. Before you start, make sure you have your SD card or USB memory stick inserted into your PC. 1. Click Reset password. 2. Click Next. 3. Click on the dropdown menu. 4. Click on the device your password reset disk is located on. 5. Click Next. 6. Type in a new password. 7. Type in the new password again. 8. Type in a password hint. 9. Click Finish. You have now reset the Windows Login Password and can log into your account with the new password you just created. I strongly recommend that you create the password reset disk as soon as you get your PC and store it somewhere safe. It is also advisable to create a Local Admin Account so that you have an alternative way to logon to your PC to resolve problems; mine is simply called Ross Admin as the word Administrator cannot be used. Remember to create a ‘strong’ new password; try using the howsecureismypassword internet page to test your new password, the longer it takes to crack the better! Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 43 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

Useful English Language Numbers... Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

Elizabeth Finn Care (Grants and advice if in Financial need)

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or

Passport Advice

0044 300 222 0000

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 29



o now that most of the summer visitors have gone, time to settle back into normal daily life – maybe wander down to the local pâtisserie and sample something new? Have you ever browsed the counter and wondered at some of the names?


We’ll start with the Oranais. This could be referred to as an abricotine, croissant aux abricots or even a lunette aux abricots (apricot spectacles), as it contains two apricot halves in either brioche pastry or feuilleté (flaky) and set in crème pâtissière (confectioner’s custard). It’s Algerian in origin and named after the town of Oran.

Not dissimilar is the Religieuse (literally meaning: nun). Also made with choux pastry and usually crammed with chocolate or coffee confectioner’s cream. It was invented around 1856 by a Neapolitan ice cream maker called Frascati, who ran a famous Parisian café. This French pastry is made of two choux pastry cases, one larger than the other, filled with crème pâtissière, most commonly chocolate or mocha. Each case is covered in a ganache of the same flavor as the filling, and then joined and decorated with piped buttercream frosting. And lastly for now, before your taste buds go into over-drive Le Jésuite. This is shaped in a triangular fashion (like the Jesuit’s hat) and made with flaky pastry stuffed with frangipane cream and covered in icing sugar and nuts as you will see in the photo.

Most of us have heard of a Paris-Brest. The shape is meant to resemble a bicycle wheel (see picture below), this consists of choux pastry filled with crème praline and decorated with flaked almonds.

Paris-Brest (left)

Religieuse (right)

The round pastry, in the form of a wheel, was created in 1910 by Louis Durand, pâtissier of Maisons-Laffitte, at the request of Pierre Giffard, to commemorate the ParisBrest bicycle race he had initiated in 1891. It became popular with riders on the cycle race, partly because of its energizing high calorie value, and is now found in pâtisseries all over France.

Le Jésuite

The photos were taken at La Tourenne patisserie in Saint-Léger-de-laMartinière on the outskirts of Melle, during an outing for the French group led by Janet Hall. There is always a pleasant way to learn French !

A Jesuite priest with his inspirational hat.

101 things to do with a courgette Number 78 - Courgette Dip Great as an apéritif or party food. Ingredients • 3 mediul sized courgettes • 1 garlic clove, crushed • 1 tbsp tahini • juice of ½ lemon • 1 tbsp Greek yogurt • handful of chopped mint • ½ tsp olive oil • salt and pepper Method 1. Wrap the whole courgettes in foil, then put in the oven and roast for 20 mins (220°C/200°C fan/gas 7) or until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. 2. Put the courgettes in a food processor, with the garlic and blitz until it is a fluffy texture. Add the tahini, lemon juice and season, then blitz again. Put into a bowl, then stir through the yogurt and a sprinkling of the mint. Drizzle with olive oil and scatter the remaining mint to serve.

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Number 79 - Courgette and Chorizo Gnocchi This easy gnocchi recipe takes minutes to prepare uses courgettes and spicy chorizo to produce a satisfying plate of ‘gnosh-i’. Ingredients • Olive oil • 120g (4oz) chorizo, sliced • 1 clove garlic, crushed • 2 courgettes, grated • 500g gnocchi • Basil leaves, to serve • Freshly grated parmesan, to serve Method 1. Heat 1tsp oil in a large frying pan and add the chorizo slices (cook for 2-3 mins). Add the garlic and courgettes and cook for a further 2-3 mins, stirring. 2. Meanwhile, cook the gnocchi in a large saucepan of boiling water for 1-2 mins, or until they rise to the top. Drain and transfer to the pan containing the courgettes. 3. Mix, season, then drizzle with olive oil and serve topped with basil leaves and a generous sprinkling of Parmesan.

Old Wood, New Shoots by John Sherwin


t’s autumn and one of my old friends is dying. It came on quite quickly. One moment, it seemed, she had the urge to push on, put out new feelers; the next a sad and continuing desiccation. OK, all things come to an end, I’m not stoopid, but this is poignant, personal. I’ve known her since I arrived at my place in the Vendée twenty years ago. She was always around, gnarled and twisted even back then, but coming into her own with the seasons as the old do. She perked up in spring then really went wild in summer. It was fun, like watching your grandma get up to dance at a party when you can only dare look through fingers because this is going to be sooo embarrassing, but no – she could do it, she could really do it, waltzing in the wind with the wisdom and rhythm of age, even poking her head in my bedroom window, saucy mare. She was past production age so she never gave me any grapes, but I didn’t mind. Now her limbs snap, sap all gone. Snap here, snap there, I’ve been trying to locate some evidence of tension, torque, life - but find none. I’m going to have to cut her down and use her for firewood, winter’s coming. * So, as a form of valediction, let’s consider the life and times of the average vine. The first tricky question, as ever, is “where do vines come from, Daddy?”. I suggest you look your interlocutor straight in the eyes and, with a confident smile, reply, “why, from the vine nursery of course”. The biggest wine nurserymen in the world are based in our very own Vendée. The Mercier family have been supplying young vines since 1890. It was in that year that Anatole Mercier, the great-grandfather of the current clan, set sail from La Rochelle to make his fortune in South America. The sea was so bad the ship turned back and Anatole, with a ‘sod this for a game of dominoes’, decided he preferred dry land – to the eternal benefit of the French Exchequer and the local economy. A glance at the map of the countries they supply makes the extent of the British Empire look like so many dribbles of ink. But I digress. Leaving aside the not inconsiderable matters of vineyard site selection and design, and choice of vine variety, let’s assume you have planted your 29cm vinelet from Mercier. What now? You wait. It will be at least three years before the vine produces grapes which are worth turning into wine. In that time you will need to prune and trellis the youngster because it can’t support itself (sound familiar?). As the vine becomes established you will observe the following stages in the annual cycle. Budbreak (débourrement). This signals the start of the new growing season after winter dormancy and occurs when the average air temperature hits about 10°C – in these parts sometime in March. This really is a visible sign of spring as small green shoots emerge from vine

buds. It’s also the start of about eight months labour in the vineyard, training the vine and protecting it from pests and disease. Flowering (floraison). This could easily be missed by the uninterested as vine flowers are small, green and unattractive, but it is a vital part of the lead up to harvest and is therefore watched with beady eyes by the winemaker. Lots of healthy flowers mean lots of grapes. Fruit set or Berry set (nouaison). This marks the transition from flower to grape and occurs immediately after flowering. Not all flowers are equal, and normally only about 30% turn into grapes: those that don’t ‘set’ fall from the bunch. This stage pretty much determines your eventual yield. Veraison (véraison). This is a stepping stone to the final berry. Before veraison the berries are hard, green and about half their final size. If you were of a jokey disposition you might consider this the stage of adolescence – the berries are acidic and not at all appealing (again, sound familiar?). But when veraison kicks in skin colour changes – from plain old green to red-black or yellow-green depending on grape variety, and acidity decreases as sugar and volume increase. Harvest (vendange). You might think this would be the jolliest period in the cycle, and to a great extent you would be right. But carefree it ain’t. The vinegrower/winemaker still has to keep his thinking cap firmly in place. Timing is crucial. You want the optimal balance of sugars (which are increasing) and acids (which are decreasing). If you pick too early the wine will be too acidic and ‘green’ or herbaceous. If you wait too long you risk Nature intervening in a less than helpful way: humid weather can lead to rot and heavy rainfall dilutes the grape juice and makes vineyard access difficult. Leaf fall (défeuillaison). The end of the road, the end of the cycle. But before leaf fall finishes and all that’s left are fields of skeletal calligraphy, the vine still has a treat to offer up. And that is the amazing palette of shades of decay – yellows, browns, coppers, golds and an infinity of variations and nuances. The vine is going out with a show, tipping its hat and telling us this ain’t goodbye, shweetheart, just au revoir. * Which brings me back full circle to my friend, my vine-against-the-wall. Since starting this piece I have taken most of her down. Can’t bring myself to cut her off at ground level. In fact the trunk looks sculptural in a Zen garden way. At Folie des Plantes, the huge garden show in Nantes, I was nosing around the bonsai section when, away from the decades old miniature trees, I saw a shy little vine planted in a shallow six by four inch pottery tray. “It’s not a tree, you know,” the man said as he took my money. “I know,” I said. “I know exactly what she is.” John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 31



by Jacqueline Brown

s if my sense of loss at Ed leaving for university isn’t enough, I have sad news. My trusty yoghurt maker, bought in Lakeland Plastics, Windsor, December 2006, has died. Despite my general disorganisation, making homemade, natural, live yoghurt has been a weekly ritual for me for over ten years and I am feeling its loss, especially as I can’t find a similar replacement here in France. I could swap to the individual pot system that is popular here, but I have got so used to making it in a litre pot, I am reluctant to change.

to count) years, ends its days. Originally, items were boxed up to sell at vide-greniers, but that only ever happened once before we lost interest. Thankfully, our hoarding meant we found some useful bits for Ed and then in that odd first week post move, when the house was quiet, and spurred on by my new-found organisational skills, we loaded up the cars. One boot full for the dechetterie, two trips to the recycling point in the village (no one, not even me, has a need for that many empty jam jars) and one boot full of boxes of books, toys and kitchen bits for the HOPE shop in St.Soline and we were done.

My organisation skills are something that have been severely tested these last few weeks. I have lost count of the number of online dossiers we have needed to fill in for Ed’s new uni life; from setting up the online banking account app, to a CAF (Caisse d’Allocations Familiales) account in his name, then his university email account, which had to be done before setting up the top-up card for meals on campus, and then updating his Carte Vitale and medical insurance attestation, the proof of which was needed to complete the CAF account. You have no idea how much I dislike official forms, online or on paper and if I never see another one, it will be too soon. Oh, but wait, I’ve now sorted all the paperwork (going back over 100 years) to register my birth on the Irish foreign births registration system, the first step to getting Irish nationality in a bid to retain my EU citizenship post Brexit. The next step is to fill in, you guessed it, a huge online form...

It felt great to have such a huge clear-out, but what felt even better was that sitting on a shelf in HOPE, just waiting for me to find it, was an identical yoghurt maker to mine, that works, and all for the bargain price of 2€. Thank you HOPE. We have homemade yoghurt once more and an added bonus, I also treated myself to a new dress and scarf, well our visit was just days before my birthday.

Part of the process of packing up Ed and all his worldly belongings led us into the back kitchen, or general dumping ground, where anything that has been cleared out of house in the last (too many

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 Email:

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across: Down: 1. Type of 12 across (6) 2. King of the fairies (6) 4. Humble in spirit or manner (6) 3. The state of being imprisoned 8. Expel gas from the stomach (5) (13) 5. Article of bedroom furniture 9. Bone extending from the (8-5) shoulder to the elbow (7) 6. Rectangle with four equal sides 10. The longest French river (5) (6) 11. Time available for ease or 7. An archipelago in the south- relaxation (7) western Pacific (11) 12. Communication device (9) 13. Equipment for taking 15. Type of rum, brand name (7) 16. Former inhalation anaesthetic photographs (6) and highly inflammable liquid 14. Of or relating to the teeth (6) (5) 17. A conveyance that transports people or objects (7) 18. Become less in amount or intensity (5) 19. Delicately beautiful (6) 20. Lacking strength (6) With thanks to Rob Berry

With thanks to M.Morris

Across 1. We might overturn ban at assembly with class of fighters. (12) 7. Ex-pupil cut off lock of hair framed by sepia edging taking camera in dark room. (7) 9. Avoid first lady keeping a lid on publicity. (5) 10. NB. Changeover could make papal decree absolutely meaningless. (4) 11. Not this dear French man working on the roof? (8) 12. Next to worker embracing James, for example? (6) 14. Bishop’s responsibility is on normal level for religious type. (6) 17. Trump’s original comrade changes political stance; he opposes republican! (8) 19. Sounds like the bell is ringing for one of several you may spot here today? (4) 22. Profit from headless chicken finding love within the restrictions of jealousy. (5) 23. Spanish gentleman concealed dubious objective. (7) 24. Printed a dome shape that was better than the rest? (12)


Down 1. Cook lightly; start by rinsing off with nutmeg. (5) 2. Snuggles up with chocolate for company? (7) 3. Handed over brass to join. (4) 4. Train that is brought to a standstill. (7) 5. Appropriately could formerly be found in the House of Commons? (5) 6. American exclamation of admiration about little outfit for royal infant. (6) 8. Long for penny off cheap product? (4) 12. Told of sign given to hammer wielder going to study? (6) 13. Modest in action but misled? (7) 15. Small trunk? Let it stand around: non-union carrier! (7) 16. Big party for comical street kids? (4) 18. Very important mother facing choice on first of June. (5) 20. Arriving before 6 to make a celebrated premier? (5) 21. Garden paradise turning up in mundane development. (4)

Globetrotting Michael loses heart, suffering? (4) This refers to Michael Palin, losing his middle letter, L, to leave PAIN ie. suffering. Shakespeare fans would perhaps appreciate the following clue; Herb Lear’s middle daughter’s concealed in middle of food. (7) The middle of food is OO; those two letters are concealing the name of King Lear’s middle daughter, REGAN, giving us OREGANO.


have mentioned before the use of limits, boundaries etc. when the initial and final letters of a word in the clue are to be found in the answer; an example of this can be found in the crossword above. Equally, it can be the middle letters that are used or discarded and this can be indicated by the words middle or centre for instance. A good, simple example of this is:

On a different tack, an indication that the letter O may be in the answer can be given in many ways; nothing, circle are just two examples. The following clue uses the sporting reference of love in tennis as the o. Poor person given shelter and love by leader of temple. (4, 3) Shelter is HAVEN, love is O, leader of temple is the letter T. Put them together and we find HAVE NOT, or poor person.

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Answers on P.9 and our website:

DSM Toughie Crossword

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

by Sue Burgess


omans is part of the Arc en Sèvre communauté de communes. The inhabitants of the commune of Romans are known as les Romanais and les Romanaises. The 718 inhabitants of the village live on a total surface area of 11km2 and the population density is 65 inhabitants per km2. Between 1999 and today, the population has increased from 523 to 718. The neighbouring communes are Prailles, SainteNéomaye, Souvigné, Saint-Martin-de-Saint-Maixent and Aigonnay. Niort is 19km to the west. In 1099 the village was called Rumancio. This became Romanz in local language. A VOIR / MUST SEE St Symphorien Church In 1099 the Bishop of Poitiers, Pierre II, gave the church of Romans to the abbey at Saint Maixent. This donation was confirmed by Pope Pascal II in 1110. The church became a priory of the abbey and remained so until the revolution. The priest was nominated by the abbot. The church is dedicated to St Symphorien, a 3rd century martyr. The original romanesque church was sold by the state in 1798 for 4600 francs, as they considered it to be public property. It is today used for storage but the doorway and some of the sculptures on the corniche can still be seen. In the middle of the 19th century, it was decided to build a parish church. Because there was not enough money, the project for the transept was abandoned and the tower was only finished in 1873. Having been badly built, the church was repaired and rebuilt in 1881. It has 12 blue and gold painted crosses on the north and south walls dating from its consecration. There are six statues in the church. The way of the cross was donated to the parish in 1863, and consists of lithographies that have been coloured by hand.

La Ronde In a by-law issued from the prefecture, the communes of La Ronde, Montigny and Saint-Marsault were associated with the commune of La Forêt-sur-Sèvre in 1973. Today the commune is part of the agglomération du Bocage Bressuirais. The commune of La Ronde was awarded two flowers in 2017 by the national council of flower decorated towns and villages.

Rorthais Situated in the North-West of the Deux-Sèvres, near the departments of Maine-et-Loire and Vendée, Rorthais is an ancient commune associated with the commune of Mauléon. A noble family bears the name of the commune. The lords of Rorthais were the guardians of the town. The Rorthais family (who had their title bestowed on them under Saint Louis) had the Château de la Durbelière built on the site of an older building, at Saint-Aubin-de-Baubigné (a commune now associated with Mauléon), between 1440 and 1460. The tower and the outer wall with its corner turrets still stand. The château was altered and changed at the beginning of the 17th century. The moat was added and the entrance porch built. The date 1631, and the coat of arms of Renée de Rorthais and her husband, Pierre de Meulles, are still visible. The former servants’ quarters which is 80m long and closed the courtyard, has now become farm buildings. The Château de la Durbelière was given, through marriage, to the Vergier de la Rochejaquelein family in 1769. Henri de la Rochejaquelein was born there in August 1772. It was in the courtyard of the castle that the young man who had become general of the royal catholic army (after the death of the Marquis of Lescure), pronounced his famous words on the 13th April 1793 “Si j’avance, suivez-moi, si je recule, tuez-moi, si je meurs, vengezmoi” (If I go ahead, follow me, if I retreat kill me, if I die, avenge me). During the fighting between 1793 and 1794, the Château de la Durbelière was set on fire five times by the republican troops of General Westermann. The ruins of la Durbelière, surrounded by ponds and trees, still belong to the descendants of La Rochejaquelein. The commune of Rorthais developed in the domains of industry and aeronautics. Its industrial zone attracted highly skilled businesses like Heuliez Bus, Go Plast and Unibat. There is an airstrip where fighter jets can land. This airstrip is also a training centre for prestigious schools of the department, for example Saint Joseph’s high school.

The outer wall of Château de la Durbelière. © Wikimedia Commons/Fvr

Augustin de Hargues d’Estivau was born sometime between 1762 and 1770. He was the son of the farmer of la Jobtière, a noble house on the commune of La Ronde. Well educated and well off he joined the Vendéen armies in the summer of 1792 and took part in the rebellion of Bressuire. After the failure of this rebellion, he took refuge with relatives in the Anjou region, the Cesbron

family. He was arrested and then freed by the rebels in 1793. When he returned to La Châtaigneraie in August 1793 he took over command. He was captured during a battle and taken to Rennes where he was guillotined in December 1793.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... 34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 35

Building & Renovation

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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

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OF THE MONTH 38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018

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Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

Get your small business noticed

Online presence. We live in a technological world and today’s small businesses need to be visible online. A website is important to show everything you do, sell or offer. Social Media is a must – set up a business Facebook profile and link to your website. You might also want to use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn or one of the many other sites. Whichever you choose, make sure that you fully set up your profile with a photo so people know who you are (with contact details) and a bit of blurb about what you do.

Business cards, flyers and brochures. Depending on your business, you may choose to have flyers or brochures as there are people who still like to have a hard copy with information. Certainly, if you are a beautician, masseuse or hairdresser, it’s handy to have a flyer with your services and price list that people can take away. And ALWAYS carry your business card with you – it’s amazing how many times you get into conversation with complete strangers when you’re out, even having a coffee in a local café can bring business your way. If you have a business card, you instantly give that person your contact details.

Join groups both on social networking sites and in your local area, where you meet lots of different people. As you get to know them, you can refer customers to them and vice versa. You might also find, for example, that you can team up with someone who compliments your business, you might do wedding make-up and meet someone who does hair. Add their website link to yours and ask them to reciprocate. You may team up to offer a complete package for weddings.

Keep in touch! Once you have regular customers, keep in touch with them, you might send them a birthday message on Facebook, or a card at Christmas. If you get great feedback, thank your customer and ask if you can use it for promotional purposes and share it on your website or on social media. A thank you goes a long way with customers, so don’t forget to thank them for buying your products or services, if they use you a few times; a thank you card is a nice idea. It makes your customer feel valued and they will come back for more.


ast month, my column talked about having the right mindset, marketing your business and having the right strategies in place. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been putting my thinking head on to try and pull together a list of ways to get your small business noticed. There is no one-stop shop when it comes to marketing, you need to have a variety of marketing strategies, so that if one doesn’t work so well, there will be another that does. The dictionary definition of a marketing strategy is ‘a plan of action designed to promote and sell a product or service’, which is absolutely spot on! Here are just a few strategies that should be at the top of the list: •

Identify your target market. Take a look at your current customers. Who are they? What type of person buys your products or uses your services? Why do they buy or want what you offer? Then you can look at particular groups of people who fall into those categories. Part of identifying your target market is also knowing where they live. How old are they? What they do for a living and how much they earn? Finally, where are they most likely to try and look for what they want to buy or for a service they need? Who are they likely to ask for a referral? What do you do best? Why did you decide to do what you do? Did you see a gap in the market and think ‘I can fill that’ or have you expanded a hobby or a skill you already had? Whatever it is you do, what is the one thing that you would consider to be your best product or service and why? Does that one thing solve a particular problem? For example, if you are a plumber, your customers aren’t interested in plumbing, but if they have a leaky pipe, they need a plumber…you solve a problem. What makes your business unique? Is there something you do that others don’t?

Growing a business isn’t easy, but with the right strategies and attitude, anything is possible. Please feel free to contact me if you’d like more information. Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email:


Simply register on our website:

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Ask Amanda


any of you have been asking about our next Le Tour de Finance event, specifically when and where it will take place. Well, we now have a confirmed date and venue:

Where - Château Gratien Meyer, Route de Monstsoreau, Saumur 49400 ( ) When - Wednesday 14th November, 2018 The event starts at 10am with welcome coffees and ends at 1.30pm after a free buffet lunch. It will offer practical guidance on a range of topics including tax efficient investments, pension transfers, estate planning, currency exchange and much more. And we will of course consider Brexit and its relevance to financial planning. Le Tour de Finance events give those either living in France, or in the process of moving here, a great opportunity to speak directly with industry experts who are not usually available in such open forums. Register for this free event or request further information by sending an email with your full contact details to seminars@ltdf. eu or register online at, or call +33(0)1 44 83 64 64.

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by Amanda Johnson

Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our events, or speak to me directly, please call or email me and I will be glad to help. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations. Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 E-mail: The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

Can you afford the cost of living longer? L

ife expectancy is the highest it has ever been. Today, Britons aged 65 can expect to live for another twenty years on average – five years longer than in 1989. Not only are people living longer, many are enjoying a lifestyle that is more active (and arguably more expensive) than previous generations. So how can you make sure your money lasts as long as you do?

Getting value for money Many retirees favour low-risk, ‘safer’ investments like bank deposits in later years. But with potentially 30 years or more to fund in retirement, this is often a false economy. While the cost of living generally increases over time, interest rates within Europe have been lingering at or near zero – which means many people with bank savings are actually earning a negative real rate of return. In times like this, savers need to look further afield for returns that can keep up with the cost of living. Expatriates also need to consider exchange rate risk. If you take pension income in pounds while spending euros in your daily life, you may find your money does not go as far as before. With both currencies vulnerable to Brexit uncertainty, it is more important than ever to have a well-diversified portfolio with a mix of assets, like equities, bonds and property as well as cash. You should also spread investments across countries, regions and market sectors to minimise overexposure in any one area. The key is to find the

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

right balance of risk and return for your peace of mind whilst making sure your savings and investments are structured as tax-efficiently as possible for your situation.

Pensions to last a lifetime Unless you have a ‘final salary’ pension that provides a generous fixed income for the rest of your life, outliving your savings is often a real risk. You could transfer UK pension funds to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS) or reinvest a lump sum in Frenchcompliant arrangements to unlock tax advantages and provide more flexible access, such as the ability to choose the currency of withdrawals. Before making any decisions, however, it is essential to take regulated, personalised advice to avoid pension scams and establish the best approach for your particular objectives and circumstances. Good financial planning can help put you on track to afford the lifestyle you want for as long as you need. This is one of the areas we will explore in our upcoming seminar, so book your place now to find out how you can best protect your wealth and secure a long and comfortable retirement in France. This article should not be construed as providing any personalised investment advice. You should take advice for your circumstances.

Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Navigating the minefield of financial planning in France. To protect your wealth for you and your family you have to review your finances when you move to France. Our seminar will discuss the key issues of becoming resident; taxation implications and effective tax planning; French succession tax and law and estate planning solutions; maximising your pensions; suitable investment strategies and Brexit.


Thur 25 Oct Domaine Du Griffier NIORT (79) Registration 10 for 10.30am start, until 12 noon book your seat now

05 49 75 07 24 Online booking available from our website


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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 43

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


etting onto the French health system can be a bit complicated and stressful but so important. I have met some of you that are still not affiliated to the French health system and think 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:


The French health system is composed of three entities: CPAM (employees or pensioners), RSI (self-employed) or MSA (agricultural jobs). There are 3 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 and 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 or 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 three 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 and marriage certificates, proof of address and residency for at least three 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 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 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 2018

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 five 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 ages (more than three months) and you may feel that 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 a receipt to keep a trace of the document given to them (otherwise they will ask 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 Europeenes et Internationnales de Sécurité Sociale) so that they will 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 can hear you say “But Brexit?”. Non-Europeans are entitled to be on the French health system as long as they have authorization 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 for all my previous articles (‘practical information’) and register to receive our monthly Newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook @Allianz Jaques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterps.

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: Visit our website:



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018 | 45

Season of Mellow Fruitfulness

by Joanna Leggett


ith some apologies to Keats – the autumn is definitely a season to savour especially when you can live in La Gâtine!

This beautiful part of the Deux-Sèvres is characterised by its hills, streams and the small rivers which criss-cross its valleys – the perfect place for fishermen to find their spot to parlay the waters in the hope of catching supper! With its dense network of hedges edging small fields, this highly fertile land is ideal for growing apples. Harvests are often a little later here in this part of France, allowing the sun to ripen the so aptly named Golden Delicious and other varieties to perfection. And, although so well connected and easily accessed, this remains a peaceful, unspoilt part of the magical Deux-Sèvres. So first to tempt your appetite this month is this gorgeous Maison de Maitre property in Boussais (Leggett ref: 80003, photo left). Set midway between Bressuire and Thouars, this beautifully renovated home just gleams in the autumn sunshine. With four bedrooms, three bathrooms, spacious traditional kitchen, dining and living rooms it’s the perfect family home. The mature garden is set to the front and there’s also a covered terrace and garages. Recently reduced to 172,800€ it offers exceptional value for its next lucky owner! Charm abounds in our next property this month. This time in Taizon (Leggett ref: 77145, photo top right). The river Thouet runs through

this little village just 2.5kms east of the larger town of Argenton l’Eglise. It just oozes character with its beams and vine clad exterior. In all there are three bedrooms (one downstairs), an enormous sitting room and kitchen. It’s set within a gated community of three houses, so security would never be an issue here. It too has recently been reduced to a snip at 99,000€. And now, as they say, for something completely different. A great former farmhouse (Leggett ref: 73650, photo left) with milking parlour attached – though the cows are now long gone! In Allonne, yet with no close neighbours, on a peaceful lane, this recently renovated three bedroom property has masses of potential and it is immaculate. In keeping with local tradition, all living is on the ground floor. Two enormous loft spaces are ripe for conversion, not just to store apples. Secondigny is just 3kms away for everything you’ll need day to day. But wait - there’s more, with an open fronted barn and separate garage set within an acre of groundsyou could grow your own apples here! It’s on the market for 147,000€

Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at


ALLOINAY €82,500 Ref: 91767 2 bed house and outbuildings set around a courtyard garden.

Buying or selling?

ARGENTON LES VALLEES €350,000 Ref: 90440 Lovely old 5 bed village priory with indoor pool and garage.

10% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

MARNES €234,972 Ref: 91973 A rare and special 4 bed home built over picturesque waterways.

MAIRE LEVESCAULT €119,900 Ref: 91839 3 bed / 2 bath property with original features and mature garden.

PAIZAY LE CHAPT €162,000 Ref: 92085 Attractive, 3 bed / 2 bath farmhouse, in a lovely rural setting.

STE VERGE €115,000 Ref: 92068 7kms from Thouars is this partly renovated character home.

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

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

9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

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

Starting a new life in France? Want a new career? Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents. Call us for more info 00 800 2534 4388 or email: +33 05 53 60 84 88 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, October 2018