The Deux-Sevres Monthly Magazine September 2018 Issue

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

Welcome! to Issue 90 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine...

Last month Anna returned to the UK for a week so I was left, for the first time, in rural France, alone! The mind is a devious thing. The sounds in the night, the shadows in the corner of the room. I reverted to childhood, checking under beds and in cupboards to make sure no one was lurking; started having prolonged conversations with the dog - madness was just around the corner! Then Anna returned and normality resumed. Despite the lack of rain the vegetable garden has been in full flow this month so we have been ‘eating the rainbow’ as the vegetarians say. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays we have courgette soup, Tuedays, Thursdays and Saturdays squash soup and on Sundays we ring the changes and have squash and courgette soup. Apologies for the picture but we couldn’t resist. On the recommendation of one of our contributors (see page 13) we visited the amazing Château de Brézé, near Montreuil-Bellay. It was an amazing place and well worth a visit. Anyway, enough of my prattling, we hope you enjoy this month’s magazine.

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 Take a Break Our Furry Friends Home & Garden Communications Food & Drink A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Motoring Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property

4 6 11 12 14 18 19 20 28 30 33 34 36 41 44

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

45 2 37 42 39

ARB French Property 47 Arbres et Abeilles (Plant Nursery) 23 Argo carpentry 37 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 35 Beau Jardin -Garden Maintenance 22 Beaux Villages Immobilier 47 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 42 Blevins Franks Financial Management 43 Caravan Sale (Vanmaster Rapture) 35 Car Sale (Mercedes B200 Sport) 35 Centre Régional - Résistance and Liberté 8 Champs de Jaune (The Gîte Company) 44 Cherry Picker Hire 36 Chris Bassett Construction 40 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 39 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 39 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 38 Creature Comforts (Handyman & Gîte Services) 37 Darren Lawrence 40 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 38 Discover Yoga 11 Down To Earth (Pool Design) 45 European Heritage Days - Ensigné 6 Farrier (Julian Dor-Vincent) 22 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 45 Green and Tidy Gardening Services 22 Hallmark Electricité 39 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 Hiley Location - (Digger Hire and Ground Works) 36 HMJ Maintenance and Renovation Service 38 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 38 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 36 Jardin 360° (Garden maintenance) 22 Jeff’s Metalwork 37 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 Jon the Carpetman 23 KCR Service ( Alarms and Security systems) 39 Keith Banks Pool Services 45 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 23 La Germondière (France Fishing Gîtes) 48 Leggett Immobilier 46 Le Regal’on (Bar and Restaurant) 32 LPV Technology (IT services) 29 Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction 40 Mark Wilson (French Classes and Translation Services) 9 Michael Glover (Plasterer, tiler, renderer) 40 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 37 ML Computers 29 Monthly quiz at La Bohème 32 Motor Parts Charente 35 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 22 Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) 11 Pericaud Niort (Ford Dealership) 35 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) 40 Robert Mann (Re-upholstery) 23 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 22 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 36 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 19 Simon the Tiler 38 Smart Moves - Removal company 45 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 40 Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) 39 Steve Shaw (Cartoonist) 29 Strictly Roofing 38 Stump Grinding Services (David Cropper) 23 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 The Fixer - Rick Denton 41 The Hope Association Three Day Book Fair 7 UPVC Double Glazing (Haynes Carpentry) 37 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9 Vienne Tree Services 23

© 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: septembre 2018 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 839 041 282 00014 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 48 839 041 282

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 3

What’s On... 1 - THE GREAT DUCK RACE AND COUNTRY FAIR in Sainte-Soline 79120. 12noon to 6pm. See August issue page 6 for more info. 1-2 - 70 MONTGOLFIÈRES in Thouars. 10th hot air ballon meeting. 1 - AZAY EN FÊTE. Village fête in Azay-sur-Thouet from 5pm. Games for adults and children, local products, music and fireworks. 6 - LIVE MUSIC WITH DAVE CHASE in Chef-Boutonne at the Restaurant des Canards. For reservation details see page 32. 7 - STREET FESTIVAL in Bouillé-Saint-Paul. The closing event of the town’s summer festivals – a poetic stroll accompanied by fanfare and street artists. 8 - SEGORA PRESENTATION DAY in St André-sur-Sèvre. See page 17 for booking details. 8 - FÊTE DE LA GARE in Thouars. Musicians, cheerleaders, rides, Emmaüs village, picnic, vide-grenier. See page 6 for more info. 9 - GRAND VIDE-GRENIER in Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes. 15 - ODYSSEE NATURE FESTIVAL in Neuil-les-Aubiers. Events and entertainment on the themes of relaxation and pleasure, nature and environment, culture and Discover Body Nature®. More than 30 events including: discover biodiversity, bird watching, storytelling in nature, pedal carousel, carriage rides and sales of products. See page 6 for more info. or go to: 15-16 - EUROPEAN HERITAGE DAYS at The Château de La Commanderie d’Ensigné. Guided visits around numerous historical sites in the region, free. See page 6 for more info. or go to: www. 15-16 - FIL EN MELLE TEXTILE MARKET (textile recycling, spinning, lace, knitting etc). At the Salle Jacques Prévert from Saturday 2pm to 7pm and Sunday from 9am to 6pm. 16 - HISTORICAL LIME KILN VISIT in Benet (85). This historical monument of the Fours à Chaux is open once a year to visitors by reservation, free of charge. To reserve contact: samhope1@ or tel: 06 48 69 78 82. For the story behind the kilns see page 7. 16 - ‘CULTURELLE’ FLEA MARKET in Bressuire. CDs, books, comics, DVDs, posters, Hi-Fi instruments, group t-shirts etc. A bar all day and picnic lunch, some local associations stands, entertainment (games) and music. Salle Emmeraud 10am to 6pm. For more information see page 7. 16 - CLOSING GARDEN PARTY AT NOMBRIL DU MONDE. This is the last open day before the big hibernation, a gathering with apéritif and barbecue, a walk through the garden of this legendary village of Gâtine. From mid-day. 21-23 - VILLAGE FÊTE in Saint-Symphorien. 21-23 - SALON DE L’HABITAT in Thouars Exhibition on the main themes of the purchase, construction and renovation, furnishing and decoration, landscaping and renewable energies. In the orangerie of the Château. More information at:

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

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: PAPATOM Reel Fish & Chips 5th & 19th - Etusson: Salle de la Cantine 6th - La Coudre: Auberge de la source 7th - Genneton: Café de la Mairie 21st - St. Martin de Sanzay: Café de la Pompe Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

29-30 - VILLAGE DES ARTISANS in La Crèche. 60+ local professionals promoting their products and giving advice. Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-6pm, free entry, Salle de l’Hélianthe. 30 - PLANT FAIR in Celles-sur-Belle. Free entry, entertainment, an amateur beekeeper harvesting local honey, food available on site.

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... 7th - October - Fêtes des Plantes in Bressuire. For more information or go to: 7th - October - La Parthenaisienne 5km race (women only) and Endurance trail d’Argentonnay 23km running and 10km walking. For more information on marathons go to the address below. 13th-14th - October - Fête des Champignons, La Couarde 14th - October - Fête des vins et terroirs, La Foye-Monjault 19th-21st - October - The Hope Association Three Day Book Fair. See page 7 for more information. 20th-21st October - Fête des Plantes in Prissé-la-Charrière. For more information go to: 21st - October - Semi Marathon de Niort . For information on this and other races in our region go to: www.marathons/

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 Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

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

...september 2018 LOCAL MARKETS



Benet 85490 - and - La Châtaigneraie 85120 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Vouvant (Last one this year 10th September) 85120 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

3rd: 5th: 10th: 12th:

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 (Wed) 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, September 2018 | 5

Getting Out & About Chez Christie’s BEAUTIFUL GIFTS & CARDS

DELICIOUS HOME-BAKING Cream Teas, Brownies, Cupcakes, Fruit Cake


Find us on

GENÇAYTHURSDAY SUMMER FAIR ~ SAT 7 JULY CLOSED 27th SEPT. (pm only) GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie Siret: 47876969800018

The Château de La Commanderie d’Ensigné will be celebrating: European Heritage Days

On the 15th and 16th September 2018

Ensigné celebrates its heritage at the Château de la Commanderie The event runs from 10am to 6pm. There will be plenty of activities, events and entertainment for everyone: • Entertainers, jugglers and acrobats including Badin the Agile • Katua the Magician • The storytellers Anne and Géhan • The actors of Aulnay de Saintonge • The brigands and knights of Ensigné • The quadrille of the young squires of the Borderie • Live workshops on currency, chain mail, embroidery, stringing, herbalism, cooking, hygiene • Demonstrations on archery and sword fighting with the Troupe Tard-venus as well as the Guild of Aquitaine • A whole village of artists and craftsmen working in stone, wood, wicker and leather • There will be a gourmet market • Plants for sale • Pony rides and medieval games for young and old. Ensigné is located between Melle and Saint Jean d’Angély, the Commanderie of Ensigné is situated on the old pilgrim route, on the wooded walk of the forest of Aulnay, between Brioux (79) and Aulnay de Saintonge (17) Entry fee 4€ per adult, children free (up to 12 years) Guided tour + 1€ (English spoken) Tavern and Restaurant reservations possible tel: 06 60 65 81 58

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, September 2018

Les Fours à Chaux of Benet


by Sam Hope

hen we moved to France 16 years ago, quite unknown to us at the time, we settled into the refurbished offices of some historical 19th century lime kilns. We only discovered this later as we got to know the current owner of the kilns, the son of its last director. Over the past eight years we’ve helped, along with many French friends, in renovating the old kilns and clearing the grounds to open it up to the public.

On the 16th September, in celebration of the European Heritage days, the kilns will once again open to the public for the day, and for the first time guided tours will be available in English (on reservation). Visitors to the lime kilns of Benet start their journey at the quarry where the limestone was extracted, then travel along the paths taken many years ago by horse-drawn carts to the lime kilns themselves. The visit finishes at the packaging centre where it was put into sacks to be sent all over France. The site is peppered with photos taken when the kilns were still functioning, showing this jewel of France’s industrial heritage in action. This year visitors will be able to see the inside of the kilns, currently being renovated by volunteers. In addition to the tours, the outside area has been transformed into a stage for the day, for local singers and traditional dancing, as well as stalls and refreshments.

Access to the site via the D25 in Lesson (next to Benet, Vendée). Open from 10am to 6pm on the 16th September. Visits last about one hour. To reserve a spot on a guided tour, or for more information, call or text Sam Hope on: 06 48 69 78 82 or email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 7



©La Vallée

des Singes

2017 - iStock


ans !

la natu re nous fait gran dir rom agne (86 )

Congratulations... Lingoyé, an 11-year-old female bonobos, who on the night of 9th August gave birth to the seventh baby bonobo (yet to be named and the sex determined) at La Vallée Des Singes. The baby and mother are doing very well. Lingoyé is still tired, but very attentive and takes a lot of precautions with her baby, especially when moving.

Aubusson weaves Tolkien


he Aubusson weaves Tolkien project consists of weaving 14 illustrations, jointly selected by the Tolkien Estate and the Cité Internationale de la Tapisserie. Thirteen wall-hanging tapestries will be created. The fourteenth work is the Númenórean Carpet, which will be a woven piece covering around 130m2 in total. This will take months of meticulous work by artisanal tapestry workshops in Aubusson and the wider department. The first stage involves creating the full-scale cartoons (designs) of the tapestries, based on the original drawings of J.R.R. Tolkien, that will be used as guides by the weavers. Weaving this series of fourteen pieces based on the graphic works of J.R.R. Tolkien into Aubusson tapestries is a very innovative move in the present-day world of tapestry, as it links with the great narrative tapestries of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Then, they were created in reference to great literary texts (for example, The Odyssey by the poet Homer, or Rinaldo and Armida taken from Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso.) This direct link to literature was lost in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Proud mother, with baby in her lap. © La Vallée Des Singes

La Vallée des Singes, animal park located in the Vienne, is now open for the 2018 season and celebrates its 20th year!

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

Bilbo comes to the Huts of the Raft-Elves is the first Tolkien tapestry. © Cité internationale de la tapisserie

For more information go to:

C’est la Rentrée


by Sue Burgess

he kids don’t seem to have been on holiday long and there are already large colourful signs in the shops La Rentrée (back to school). The supermarket aisles are rearranged and several aisles are taken over by fournitures scolaires (school equipment). All over France, the three school zones go back to school on the same date after the long summer holidays. This year, the back to school date la date de la rentrée is Monday 3rd September. At some time during the holidays, families will have received the liste de fournitures (school supplies list) from the school – a long list of equipment that they need to provide for the new school year. L’allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS), the Back to School Allowance is given to families who have one or more children aged between 6 and 18 who are in full time education, if the family income is not above a certain limit. La rentrée brings with it the inevitable debate about the weight of children’s satchels le poids du cartable and the effects that can have on their health. An average satchel weighing 8.5 kilos, it’s not surprising that many now opt for satchels on wheels. There are always educational reforms at la rentrée réformes de l’éducation nationale – the biggest one this year being the reform of the Baccalaureate exam la réforme du Bac. Pupils moving into lycée (16-18, last three years of school), this year, will be the first to study for the new style exam with a common core syllabus un tronc common, options, and much more continuous assessment contrôle continue, rather than all the marks being given during the final exams les examens. Such reforms always bring about miscontent and we can probably expect strike action des grèves from some of the teachers’ unions les syndicats professionnels. The expression la rentrée is generally associated with everything (be it education, business or politics) getting going again after the slower lazy summer time. La Rentrée Littéraire (back to business for literature) is the name given to a publishing boom and the numerous new books that are published and put onto the market between August and November. Several literature prizes are voted between September and November, notably the Goncourt prize. La Rentrée Politique means it’s back to business for the government after the summer break. BONNE RENTRÉE A TOUS !

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary:


Un crayon à papier .....................


Un feutre de couleur ..................

felt tip pen

Un bâton de colle .....................

stick of glue

Un rouleau de ruban adhésif .....

roll of Sellotape

Une gomme .............................

eraser , rubber

Un cartable ..............................

school bag, satchel

Des feuillets mobiles perforés....

paper for a ring binder

Une serviette .............................


L’école maternelle ......................

infant school

L’école primaire .........................

primary School

Le collège ................................

11 – 15 secondary school

Le lycée

16 – 18 secondary school


Take a Break - SOLUTION

Un stylo à bille ...........................

Easy Crossword: Across: 1. discus 4. and 7 down. Tropic of Capricorn 8. smart 9. frantic 10. snout 11. agitate 12. afternoon 15. thermic 16. coach 17. pioneer 18. Miami 19. appear 20. patent Down: 2. immune 3. circumference 5. ornithologist 6. idiots 7. see 4 across 13. shrimp 14. acumen

exercise book cover


Un protège-cahier .....................

Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. osteo 4. plea 7. quite 8. motives 10. moa 11. alibi 12. pretext 14. design 16. reason 20. purpose 23. cause 25. cru 26. defence 27. steed 28. need 29. taste Down: 1. origins 2. teeming 3. OS maps 4. pathe 5. Envie 6. aqua 9. satan 13. tea 14. duped 15. imp 17. excuses 18. shuteye 19. recent 21. rifle 22. owned 24. ends

hard backed ring binder

Q1: They’re both in the middle of water! Q2: His horse is named Tuesday. Q3: Failed Parachute Q4: Pregnant. Q5: Answer: C Q6: ‘A play on words’

Un classeur rigide .......................

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 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. We remember the loss of those closer to us grandfathers and their brothers, uncles, and cousins. In other words - family. This year (the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the bloody 1914-1918 Great War), the Get Together History Group is proud to commemorate the event with a staged presentation at the modern theatre in Vasles. The performance will highlight the seldom heard voices of those who served on the Home Front, the mothers, sisters and loved ones.

Women's lives were changed forever as they emerged from their homes to do ‘their bit'. Undertaking work that none had ever imagined possible, and fulfilling traditional male roles in industry by taking up challenging 'war work'.

another character, is less of a passive sock knitter and more of a 'tell it as it really is' type; Edmund and Wilfred, as veterans, tell us just how it really was! These characters, and many more, form part of our commemoration on Saturday, 10th November 2018 commencing at 3pm, in the Vasles auditorium. In order to avoid clashes with local remembrance ceremonies, the History Group has decided to stage their commemoration event on the tenth day, rather than the eleventh. Thanks to the support and generosity of our sponsors, including the Mayor 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. Where not restricted by copyright, the text has been translated into French, and a French version of the programme is available on request. Details of how to book will be published in the October edition of The Deux-Sèvres Monthly. After the presentation we will be joining our colleagues, the Union Nationale des Combatatants/ Vasles/Les Forges, in a remembrance and wreath laying ceremony at the Vasles war memorial. This will 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 posters and associated propaganda.

How many of us have heard of the 'Canaries' for instance: no, not a football team, but a battalion of women working in the munition factories. The 'Canary' in our presentation is called Madeline, a yellow faced, green haired cockney working girl who is earning 'five quid a week' and tells us, with a shrug, that “We're all here today, mate/tomorrow, perhaps dead/if fate tumbles upon us/and blows up our shed”. We also hear from a stage-struck youngster called Archie, who sings us a familiar nursery rhyme, but with unfamiliar words; Jessie and Helen who have very different views on white feathers. Pauline,

Creature Corner This month’s creature:

by Steve Shaw

The Edible Dormouse (Loir Gris)

known as fat dormouse, sleeper, Spanish rat, squirrel Alsotailed-dormouse. Description: The edible dormouse is the largest dormouse species (25-34cm in length). Somewhat squirrel-like with short, thick fur and a long bushy tail. The soles of the feet have naked rough pads which make them excellent climbers, spending most of their lives in trees. The edible dormouse has a dark ring of fur around each eye, giving them a large appearance. Behaviour: This nocturnal creature hibernates for seven to eight months of the year in a burrow or cavity underground

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

The ‘Canaries’ - a battalion of women working in the munition factories (above). Examples of the propaganda posters aimed at women (left).

(sometimes as much as a metre below the surface), surviving on fat reserves. During hibernation the body temperature can drop to 3.7°C and they take 30 minutes to wake up. The creature has been known to enter homes (50 or more can live in the same building). You hear stories about them eating through electrical cables, being noisy both vocally (communicating through squeaks, chirps, whistles and squeals) and chasing each other around and playing with walnuts. Interesting facts: The edible dormouse was considered a great delicacy in Roman times, leading to its common name. Before a feast they were confined to earthenware pots to be fattened on acorns and chestnuts.

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


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

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:

Pure Fitness


Facebook group ‘British Cyclists in France (BCIF)’ is an online group for British cyclists to share information, events, ask advice and post photos etc. Why not join, make contacts and arrange rides with other local cyclists?

Exercise to music classes - every Wednesday 7pm-8pm Salle des Fêtes, L’Absie 79240 For more info contact

Everyday Yoga for Everyone

by Rebecca Novick

Somatic yoga for the neck and shoulders


omatic yoga sometimes just called ‘somatics’ blends the more traditional hatha yoga with a fluid, gradual movement therapy for mind-body integration. In somatic yoga, the focus is on reprogramming the body’s muscle memory through very slow and gentle movement. Somatic yoga can help to relieve chronic pain and chronic patterns of tension. The following sequence is very effective for loosening up the neck and strengthening the shoulder muscles. If you have trouble turning around in your car to look behind you when you reverse, this exercise is for you! • • •

• •

• •

Begin by lying flat on your stomach with your feet together. Place your hands either side of your chest with your elbows bent and your arms against your torso. Splay your fingers and make sure that your palms are completely flat and engaged with the ground. It is important to keep your elbows in, rather than pushing them outwards, to protect the neck muscles. Inhale gently through the nose and push your pelvis into the ground. This will lengthen the spine and protect your lower back as you go into the move. On the exhale, shift your weight a little onto the left hand and push upwards through the palm, turning the shoulder in the direction of the wall behind you, engaging all the shoulder muscles as well as the muscles of the upper arm. At the same time as you turn your shoulder, turn your head a little in the same direction. Stay here for up to five seconds and then return very slowly, sinking down, placing the left cheek on the ground and relaxing completely for another five seconds. This is one round.

• •

Repeat again on the left side. Then do two rounds on the right side, coming to rest on your right cheek. Make sure that you completely relax in between the rounds.

We are looking to start a regular yoga class in Vasles in September that will incorporate this gentle somatic approach, so please do send me an email if you are interested.

Respect yourself, explore yourself.

Somatic yoga sequence © Rebecca Novick

For details on yoga classes email: or follow Rebecca on The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 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:

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 WANT TO PLAY CRIBBAGE? Whether you are experienced, a novice, or want to learn how to play, everyone is welcome. We are a group of friendly players who meet the last Friday evening of every month in La Chapelle Thireuil. Contact Sally on 05 49 76 15 30

Acceuil des Villes Françaises A French association dedicated to welcoming newcomers, from across France & abroad, to their new environment; helping them to integrate, speak French and feel ‘at home’ through social events and activities.


Come and join us. Learn at your own pace within a mixed group of English and French speaking people, in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Every Thursday 8pm-9.30pm. Contact Penny 02 51 63 31 21 or Ray 02 51 61 28 69.


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

Franglais at Bressuire

Why not come and practise your French with a friendly and convivial group of French and English speakers? Each Wednesday evening (8-10pm) at the Centre Socio-Culturel in Bressuire. Phone Jan for further details 05 49 65 60 34. I’m Francis. I am 52 years old, French and have been learning English for a few years. I live in Aiffres (nr Niort). I would like to meet with English speaking people near me, to spend a couple of hours per week to speak in French or English. We could both improve our language skills this way. Contact me on or 06 85 92 58 33.

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

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. MERIDIEN GREEN ASSOCIATION We are a cross cultural association who aim for closer integration of the inhabitants of St Coutant 79120 and surrounding areas. Free weekly language classes on Monday evenings and Tuesday afternoons. For all our events visit

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:

AL-ANON Support Group

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

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

CLE (Charente Limousine Exchange) is a non-profit organisation for exchange of news, views and information. We work to protect member’s best interests, run social activities, events and clubs, helping members to make new ex-patriate and French friends. John Welch 05 49 87 90 33

Combined Services Support by John Blair Group (CSSG)

The CSSG or Combined Services Support Group was founded to support British service personnel who have been seriously injured in the line of duty. As we live in France this has been extended to include the Sapeurs Pompiers. The group is very small but we feel our objectives are worthy of our time and effort. If you would like to join us please contact: Recently we held a tombola at the craft fair in the Pause! Café in L’Absie and also had a music afternoon at our home in St.Pardoux. Our next music afternoon is on 8th September. We have a wide variety of music for your pleasure from classical music to pop and folk. All musicians and singers are giving their time free of charge for the charity. If you fancy coming along, send me an email on the above address. There will be an entry fee of 5€ but tea, coffee, scones and cake will be provided.

The Château under a Château A visit to the Château de Brézé, Val de Loire

A Panto from Reaction Theatre? by Tony Murdoch

With of over 30 years experience in the UK, Malcolm Daniels agreed to direct this venture. With his wife Sue, a very talented actress and set designer, he was a founder member of Brightlingsea Panto Group and served as Chairman, Director and general factotum since its creation in 1977. The club’s success enabled it to donate all its surplus profits each year to local youth groups and good causes. It still runs successfully to this day, playing to audiences of over 1000! With our more mature audiences in France, Malcolm decided to write his own script entitled ‘Carry on Cinderella’ (after obtaining copyright approval to do so). He has now produced a tailor-made script and assembled a cast and crew of over 35. The response from members of the group is testament to the popularity of this choice and rehearsals started in August. With the invaluable support of Christine Hester as Producer, and an enthusiastic and very talented cast and crew, the show will be a lot of fun to put together and even more so for our audiences. If you like a good laugh this is definitely not one to miss. The show opens at the end of November so look out for news of dates and ticket details.


Tony Murdoch, our leader, decided that the group should have a name so after some consideration we are now to be known as the ‘Out of Kilters’. Clever or what!

KEYNOTES and the Out of Kilters

In June both groups toured the Île d’Oléron performing in SaintGeorges and Saint-Denis on the Saturday then finishing at SaintPierre on a very hot Sunday afternoon. Led by Margaret Round the choir performed superbly with featured musical pieces by Linda and Aidan Fairlie, Ann Milton, Carol Winter and Nigel Pearce. The audiences were brilliant and we have been invited back next year.


Following the success of our Guernica painting we have been asked to participate in the Get Together History Group’s exhibition for the commemoration of WWI, in November, so more about that later.



by Martin Hughes

hough not actually in the Deux-Sèvres the Château de Brézé is only 15 minutes drive north of our departmental boundary. On a beautiful and very warm midsummer's day my visit had been organised by the Get Together history group, one of an annual series of visits that the group has organised over the years. It included the services of a guide who was actually a scion of the family Colbert who own the château. How can one describe this unique château that has never fallen to an invader. Part above ground, part excavated into the ‘tufa’, the soft limestone that dominates the geology of the area, the château is surrounded by the deepest dry moat in Europe, some 15m deep. Dug out in the late 1400s the stone from the dry moat was used to build the château that one sees above ground. Above ground we were intrigued by the details that make for an interesting tour, only provided if you have a guide, with anecdotes not found in any guidebook. Of particular interest: • The early gas powered heater for the snooker table • The dining room table settings • The secret doorways permitting dalliances or was it visits to the guarderobe! • The paintings of the ancestors • The early bath towel dryer • The sumptuous cardinal's suite and an example of one of the earliest forms of German central heating radiators that looked like it could power a Messerschmitt. It is below ground though that the château reveals its unique heritage. Some 1.5km of tunnels and 'rooms' are accessible to the public though for anyone with a disability it could prove to be tricky. Rooms such as stables, guardrooms, the knights quarters, all under the château. Then in the exterior wall of the moat were all the domestic and other facilities that a château requires, such as wine presses, bakery, food stores and also a silk worm farm. All in all a highly recommended visit, preferably with a guide. For more information go to:

During this very hot summer our technical whizz kid, Dave West, has been working hard developing our new website and you can now find us at No more ‘fr’. Don’t know if this is anything to do with BREXIT or not! The Art Scene resumes in early September, followed by Keynotes and the Out of Kilters early October. For more information you can give me a call: 05 49 63 23 50

Best wishes, John

A silkworm farm (left) and the Get Together group (right) Photos: Martin Hughes

If you would like to find out more information about the Get Together group go to: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 13

Hobbies Paying for a review?


by Alison Morton

sk any writers’ group if you should pay for book reviews, and they will chorus ‘No!’. But is that always so?

Most retailers distinguish between two types: editorial reviews and customer reviews. Editorial reviews are supposed to be critical evaluations of a book by an industry expert and on Amazon are found under the book description. They are entirely under the control of the publisher and always positive. Customer reviews, with stars, are the comments we as readers post and scrutinised closely by Amazon. Apart from an advance reader copy of the book (ARC), any compensation (payment, gift card, etc.) offered to reviewers violates Amazon’s terms of service. They’ve always taken a dim view of fraudulent, incentivised, or otherwise biased customer reviews and recently have been heavy-handed in cracking down, sometimes with unfortunate side effects on innocent authors and reviewers. Reimbursing reviewers for the cost of the book also violates Amazon’s guidelines as it’s considered to be a manipulation of the ‘Verified Purchase’ tag. Again, this can lead to deletion of your reviews, or even termination of your Amazon account for fraud. The ethical dimension - But more important is the ethical side of paying to secure a review. Will it be unbiased, let alone honest? And will it give the reader a true idea of the quality of the book? Are there any acceptable review services? Reputable editorial review services such as Kirkus Reviews are well-established and widely recognized, although expensive. Relatively newer services are emerging to cater to indie authors and are slowly making a name for themselves. Good editorial review services ensure the genuine separation of the reviewer and the publisher. Paid editorial reviews from a reputable provider are permitted by Amazon when confined to the Editorial Reviews section of a book’s product page. ‘Matchmaker’ services publicise a book to a list of interested reviewers, so they’re closer to marketing services. As long as no compensation is offered to reviewers, and there are no expectations of a positive review, this does not violate Amazon’s rules. Sadly, the Amazon algorithm can’t always distinguish between honest services and dodgy ones. So even legitimate reviews from these services can attract unwelcome attention from Amazon’s screeners and lead to deletion. Intermediary schemes deliberately seek to get round the rules by putting a middleman between the buyer and the reviewer. They claim this doesn’t violate Amazon’s rules because no money is changing hands directly between the author and the reviewer. Hm. The fakers. At the far end of the review spectrum lie the truly shifty services, which make up fake reviews for a fee. They ‘guarantee’ a large number of five-star reviews within a short time. This is the short route to Amazon deleting your account. Some tips: • Ask any service provider how they recruit reviewers • Do they promise compensation, or reimbursement of costs? • What is the delivery time of a review? • Consult your gut feeling – is the price too high or too low? • Ask around – in your group, on social media Think hard before you consider purchasing reviews. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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, September 2018

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Alan Kean and Terry Hawker for sharing their book reviews with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

MAD GIRL by Bryony Gordon As a 12 year old Bryony went to bed a ‘normal’ happy-go-lucky child (working out which member of Take That she was going to marry), in the morning she felt like a completely different person. Mad Girl describes how OCD and depression consumed her totally, leading to alopecia, bulimia and then drug dependency later in life. Now a hugely successful columnist for the Telegraph, Bryony describes in a shockingly honest way how the bouts of OCD (she calls Jareth the Goblin King) impact on her life, how she manages to function while keeping her mental health issues to herself and then when she can no longer function, how she eventually opens up and shares with others what is going on inside her head. Although Bryony goes to hell and back (several times), she tells her story with great humour and it is this which makes it such an enjoyable read. Keeping silent has given her mental illnes a cachet it simply does not deserve, so here she shares her story with warmth, humour and jaw-dropping honesty. Bryony dedicates the book to ‘the one in four. The We’. by Alan Kean

THE MAN IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT by Sloan Wilson A recent book fair found me picking up this title, mainly through remembering the film starring Gregory Peck. The opening lines had me hooked, although thinking that 65 years on from publication, maybe there was nothing fresh to offer from a novel of that era. Not so. The main character, Tom Rath, is a former army captain having served as a parachutist in WWII. He faces financial pressure to fulfil the expectations of his wife and growing family to get on in life and free them from the mediocrity of their New York suburb. Seeking a better salary, Rath becomes an assistant to the president of a large broadcasting company, finding his employer expects total dedication to work. He then learns from a wartime colleague that he has a son from an affair in Italy, and that mother and son are desperately poor. Rath is a man of honesty and high principles. The subsequent inheritance of his grandmother’s rambling estate presents opportunities to help him face the challenges of conscience and responsibilities and where, I suggest, the lessons for today lie. I liked his mantra at any decision making time ‘Here goes nothing. It will be interetsing to see what happens’. In all, a very enjoyable read of life in fifties America. by Terry Hawker

Bees at the Little White House by Gloria Fisher

Experiences of a new Beekeeper... My Division


hen we last spoke I had just lost half my bees. They had decided to swarm on the very day I was going to divide them. So I had to wait until a new queen had asserted herself and the hive was busy again (which when the weather is good takes about a month).

I watched and waited until I felt the bees needed a ‘honey-super’ then I decided to split them. In England they close the front door of a new hive, transfer some bees with enough honey, eggs and larvae to keep them going until they make a new queen. This hive is left closed for 48 hours and then opened at dusk, and you have a new colony of bees. In France they close up the hive and move it right away for 48 hours. If I don’t have to move a hive with a few hundred bees in then why should I? Shutting and opening the door in 48 hours is so much easier. I opted for the English policy. It nearly went according to plan, I just didn’t manage to get enough bees in. To do this you must bang or shake the bees off the frame and into the new hive, not quite brave enough, must remember my bee-brush next time. I realised that there were too few bees to make the division viable, so decided to feed them on sugar water for a few weeks. The new colony was queen-less and it takes about a month to ensure that a new queen is doing her job of laying eggs. The worker bees then raise the young, so there had to be enough honey to support all this activity, as well as go out foraging for pollen. Talking about last year’s honey harvest, I have discovered a really easy way of cleaning all the old beeswax collected from your hive and making a nice large bar of beautiful clean wax. I have made, but not perfected, a solar oven. The idea is simple, you use the power of the sun through some glass to melt the wax on to mosquito netting to remove all the bits you don’t want and it’s done. Not quite that easy as my local bees thought this was a free source of wax and with a bit of honey added, a complete meal. The honey must be removed from the wax by soaking in cold water and leaving to dry (out of the bees’ way), before putting in the solar oven. I am still waiting for the wax to drain through but I am ever hopeful. A lump of cleaned beeswax.

Tai Chi Chuan

by Terry Ryan


or more than seven years there have been Tai Chi classes in Bressuire (Deux-Sèvres) and also in Breuil-Barret (Vendée) but do you know what Tai Chi Chuan is exactly ? Its correct name is actually Tai Ji Quan or Taiji for short. It was created in Northern China by General CHEN Wangting towards the end of the Ming dynasty as an effective martial art which utilises the philosophy of complimentary opposites: yin – yang. Today however, most people, including me, practise Taiji not for fighting, but to improve one’s physical and mental well-being. Age isn't an obstacle to practising Taiji, you can do it in your 80s. Nor is one’s physical abilities; the movements and energy demands can be modified to suit an individual’s capabilities. For us, Taiji is also not competitive ! It is composed of a sequence of choreographed movements that are, for the most part, carried out in a gentle and slow manner but one can optionally perform some of the movements more vigorously to aid the release of energy. To an observer, the elegant, gentle movements of Taiji can seem to require no effort, on the contrary nothing could be further from the truth. Your body and mind (including memory) are exercised when you practice Taiji. You can expect to improve your circulation, muscle tone, balance and stress levels etc. as a direct result of practising Taiji. However, the best way to answer the question "what is Taiji?" is to attend a few of our friendly classes (for free) and discover the answer yourself. No particular uniform is required, just loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear.

Taiji classes are held on Tuesday evenings in Bressuire (commencing 18th September) and on Friday afternoons in Breuil-Barret on 21st September.

Terry throwing some shapes

For more information: or contact Terry on: 05 49 65 60 34


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

If you would like to get in touch, please email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 15

Th e Japa ne se Eve nin g Ba g – Sew ing Project

by Nicola Chadwick

Step 2 - If you ar a fusible interfacine applying main bag fabric, th g to your now, shiny side en do this apply pressure to down and fuse. Sew the zip to the main bag fabric as show worry if your zip n, don’t too long, it can beis slightly down after sewi trimmed the zip gently into ng. Press position.

Step 3 - Now pin the bag straps to the zip ends, you can choose to make your own or use a pretty ribbon or trim. Make one small strap loop and one longer strap loop. I chose to make straps in the main bag fabric out of strips that I stitched and turned through then pressed. You can hand tack the bag straps into position.

This compact Japanese evening bag is perfect for those essentials you need to take with you on an evening out, and it takes very little fabric. I plan to make these bags as Christmas presents for my friends and family. I am sure they will all love them. For the Japaese evening bag you will need: Main bag fabric – fabric piece 55cm x 30cm Lining Fabric– fabric piece 55cm x 30cm A 10 inch Zip (25cm) Fusible interfacing if you want to make the bag a little stiffer and give it some body – 55cm x 30cm (optional) Matching thread

Step 4 - Sew the main bag in the same way you sewed the bag lining in step 1, sandwiching the strap loops as you sew. Give the bag a good press and turn it through.

ect and a more detailed As usual the free pattern for this projblog page, as this is a my on lable making guide are avai may well need the extra slightly more complex project, you instructions. of the fabric in the main Cut out 1 pattern piece on the fold fusing if you have chosen the bag fabric, the lining fabric and your pattern, but I love to to use it. You can use pins to secure weights! ern patt ed use these doughnut shap

Step 5 - The bag lining can now be slipped inside the main bag and handstitched neatly in place. Why not adding soexperiment with buttons, b me decorative ows, or de trims! corative

detailed ern and a as always att p ee fr nd The e can be fou making guid o at: www.m

h ing piece wit then – place the lin g d in an lin s e am th se start with ill the side Step 1 - let’sdes together) and sew e seam as shown, you w u yo d si si t If h e g. ig th Nicola win RST (r s. If you press gether for se t. the base seaminch’ the base seams toseams first to work it ou to pin the see how to ‘p good idea is plex project when we will are unsure, a Next Month…join me for a more com make my versatile ‘smock top’. 16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

Segora Presentation Day St André-sur Sèvre (79380)

One of this year’s winning entries...

by Jocelyn Simms

Saturday 8th September, Salle de Cloitre (next to the church).


e are delighted to announce the celebration of some of the winning entries in the 12th annual international Segora writing competitions. Some of the winning authors will be with us to read their work. We are delighted that the new owners of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ will present a rehearsed reading of the winning play for your entertainment. The poems and extracts of stories will be read during the afternoon. Our guest Mario Petrucci will give an interview with a Q and A session with the audience and read from his latest collections. Harriet Springbett will give her adjudication of the short stories. The afternoon events are free, starting at 2pm. There is a writer’s workshop at 10am facilitated by Mario Petrucci: places are limited - anyone interested please contact: or tel: 05 49 80 22 96

A different odyssey The raft ’s skin is a cradle of ancestors buried deep in the cells of children cut quick from home in hurried whispers and bundled wit h the hope that spills like a child’s storybook sun set painted red on a sea of siren isla nds. Tourists say the Aegean is green yet those who are drown ing know it’s black, and she who has rocked herself to sleep sucking stones in the hu ddled dark curses the sun’s sparkle for merrying the many drifting upturne d rafts. A new history is framed in sand by shoes and vests as pic tograms for dissertations on huma n souls and the Siren of Canosa’ s final call to star-eyed sailors racked with hope of home long lost in a sea of words. by Greta Ross ...more in the October issue of ‘The DSM’.

Brain Gym

Letter from Blighty (August)


iving the good life in France, it is easy to lose one’s sharpness. All that wine and cheese can dull the senses. So here are a few exercises to stimulate the old grey matter. Q1. Why is an island like the letter T?

Dear Frankie


A man rode in to town on Tuesday, and left two days later on Tuesday. How so?


There is a dead man in the middle of a field, nothing is around him and there are no footprints of any sort. There is an unopened package next to him. How did he die? HINT: As he approached the field he knew he was going to die.


What do you call a camel with three humps?


Francois and Colette each saved 3,000€ in 1989. In 1990 Francois saved 8 percent more than in 1989, and together he and Colette saved a total of 5,000€. Approximately what percent less did Colette save in 1990 than in 1989? A. 8% B. 25% C. 41% D. 59% E. 70% Can you work out the well known phrase or saying from the visual clue:



Answers on P.9


As you know, I`m a sunny optimist by nature but even I struggle to see the `light` amidst the current encircling gloom. Most immediately, it`s hot as hell here and tomorrow is forecast to be even hotter. But such discomfort is insignificant against the news of the appalling loss of life in the wild fires in Greece and the collapsed dam in Laos. Closer to home, the Government is in disarray over Brexit and the Cabinet are busy fighting each other instead of socking it to M.Barnier Esq. Perhaps Therese May can continue to cling on by her kitten heels. Oh, I nearly forgot. The trains are up the spout, social care for the elderly is in crisis and the prisons are at boiling point. And did I mention that half the country is in the grip of a record heatwave? But, as Leonard Cohen (or was it Rumi?) said, “There is a crack in all darkness through which the light can shine”, or words to that effect. Trump`s `peace settlement` with North Korea must qualify. The miraculous rescue of the Thai boys from their potentially watery grave is my top headline. What else? Parliament has broken up and we will be spared wall to wall talk about Brexit and political feuding for a spell. `Our boys done good` in the World Cup and a Welshman has won the Tour de France. But the best news of all is that, with all this hot weather (and not a drop of rain since the end of May), I haven’t had to mow the grass for weeks. And the ground is so hard that the badgers have stopped digging up my lawn. `Light`, indeed. Yours Johnny

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 17

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across: 1. Athletics field event (6) 4. & 7 down. Imaginary line south of the equator (6-2-9) 8. Showing mental alertness, resourcefulness and calculation (5) 9. Excessively agitated, distraught with fear or other violent emotion (7) 10. Informer (slang) (5) 11. Try to stir up public opinion (7) 12. The part of the day between lunch and evening (9) 15. Relating to or associated with heat (7) 16. A vehicle carrying many passengers (5) 17. One of the first colonists or settlers in a new territory (7)

18. A city and resort in south-eastern Florida (5) 19. Come into sight or view (6) 20. A document granting an inventory sole rights (6) Down: 2. To not be affected by a disease or infection (6) 3. The length of the closed curve of a circle (13) 5. Person who studies birds (13) 6. People of subnormal intelligence (6) 7. See 4 across 13. Edible decapod crustacean (6) 14. Shrewdness shown by keen insight (6) With thanks to Rob Berry

With thanks to M.Morris

Across 1. Nothing found before and after wrong set of bones. (5) 4. Guilty, perhaps, of pale imitation? (4) 7. Pack up drug, to a certain extent? (5) 8. Reasons for way of working replacing direction in Cornish resort? (7) 10. Bird no longer found in Eskimo areas? (3) 11. Boxer given dual role to prove he’s not responsible? (5) 12. Before messages were sent as an excuse? (7) 14. Plan to be signed off? (6) 16. Chris, perhaps, and his offspring show why it was done? (6) 20. Noise of cat cut short by stance adopted for a specific use? (7) 23. Something to fight for could be lost, just? (5) 25. Hectic rush to gather grape harvest? (3) 26. Justification of French pass on stolen goods? (7) 27. Detest time lost over mount? (5) 28. Report of pound shortage? (4) 29. Sample a little of polenta steak? (5)



porting references often crop up in cryptic crosswords, and cricket features prominently. I don’t know but I suspect that may be connected with the advanced ages of the setters?

For instance, a reference to side could mean On or Off; deliveries in the clue can point to overs being in the answer somewhere.

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

Down 1. Starts love rising, rising! (7) 2. Crowding to get me in performance? (7) 3. Turned over spam, so accurate depictions of our land produced? (1.1.4) 4. Loud speaker article broadcast organisation? (5) 5. Jealousy of French in struggle for English name? (5) 6. Clear blue water? (4) 9. Stan, a novelty! He’s doing a devil of a job! (5) 13. Beverage taken every afternoon originally? (3) 14. OU exchange leads to being fooled after having taken performance enhancing drug? (5) 15. A single politician can be a little devil! (3) 17. Upper class in excess disarray, made theirs as they left? (7) 18. Sleep in outbuilding with drug, covered by mangled form of agreement? (7) 19. Show tear over church of latter day? (6) 21. Weapon found, lifer moved. (5) 22. At the outset one was not exorcising devil possessed. (5) 24. Finishes sundries dropping the odds? (4)

Some neat clues I encountered recently anticipated a working knowledge of the game: Ex-cricketer’s nasty threat to cricket side. (8) Nasty in this case pointing to an anagram of threat (ATHERT), put with cricket side, ON, gave ATHERTON, the former England captain. Be like a bowler preparing run-up to succeed. (4, 4, 4) The answer was MAKE ONE’S MARK, with the double meaning of succeed and the action of a bowler marking out the length of his run-up. Move all the fielders to the onside? Get lost! (5,3) The answer CLEAR OFF, again with the double meaning of the cricket reference and go away.

Answers on P.9 and our website:

DSM Toughie Crossword

Our Furry Friends OUPS OUPS is an 8 year old labrador x who was found wandering and remains unclaimed. She has only just arrived so we are still learning about her, but our walkers say she walks well on the lead, is good with the other dogs and seems to be a typically happy and gentle labrador. We will update her appeal as we get to know her. OUPS will be spayed prior to adoption. She has been microchipped, vaccinated and has been treated for fleas, ticks and worms. A contribution will be requested to help towards her medical expenses. If you’re interested in adopting OUPS, please get in touch with us on our contact details below.

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


by Christine Gardener


hen our wonderful dog Molly died in 2013, we were without a dog for the first time in our married lives. My husband saw an article in ‘The DSM’ magazine about a blind dog needing a home, he told me he thought we ought to make enquiries.

Hope Shop 79 have MOVED! Now at 8 rue d’aunis, 79120 Saint Soline

I contacted Orfée. A wonderful lady called Siobhan, told me that that dog had happily been re-homed, but there were plenty more! She said that she was going to collect another dog the following day, from a vet in Rouillac who had been looking after a stray for the past five weeks. She planned to foster him herself, but offered to drop by on her way home to see what we thought of him.

Summer Abandonments

The following day Harry came into our lives - or Johnny as he was then. He was SO excited to be free and spent the first couple of hours bouncing around the garden with unconfined joy!


That night was of the worst we'd experienced since sleepless nights with babies. Harry cried so badly when we left him, that we took him to our bedroom. He crawled all over us both all night and never settled - neither did we. I really thought - What have we let ourselves in for?! That was the only time though. After that, and just one 'accident' indoors, he was absolutely fine. I think he just couldn't believe his luck in finally finding a home where he was loved.

Our fosterers need a break and this is often when they choose to take it, so foster homes are in short supply. This means the dogs we save must stay in the pounds. If the pounds become full, we normally use kennels to relieve the pressure but that is expensive.

He's now been joined by Sally, who we adopted last September. They're really good mates and great company for each other. I would urge anyone who's thinking of having a dog in their lives, to look at rescuing one of the thousands of unwanted ones before thinking of going to breeders.

by Christa Doody

ummer is the time we enjoy the long warm sunny days with friends and family, so adoptions at Association Orfée are few and far between. It is also the time when a huge number of families abandon their pets to go on holiday; either by giving them up to a shelter or abandoning them miles from home.

Every year we hope it will be different, that the education programmes run by organisations like 30 Millions d’Amis will slow down the number of abandonments, but each year seems to be worse than the one before. The good thing for people who are looking to adopt a dog, is that most of the animals looking for a home are doing it through no fault of their own, they are just victims of their owners actions. They are probably used to being part of a family, have some training, are clean in the house and sociable, so if you’re thinking about adopting a new family member, please get in touch.

When Harry met Sally

If you are interested in fostering or adopting a dog through Association Orfée Tel: 07 69 18 56 81 Or email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 19

Home & Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers


ith the soaring temperatures and drought like conditions persisting for part of August, tempered a little by a couple of heavy downpours of desperately needed rain, a lot of the action in the garden has been ‘damage limitation’. Much of the perennial foliage has been cut down almost to the ground, any spent flower stems completely removed and seeds spread or collected. Hopefully, with the cooler temperatures and more watering or rainfall, there will be new green growth which will appear this month and maybe even some late second flushes of flowers. I have treated the crocosmia in the same way as the bearded irises and the leaves have been shortened considerably, and all brown foliage removed. They have flowered fantastically well this year, but became very tall and rather crowded out smaller plants such as the penstemons which were soon flattened. Next spring I plan to move both crocosmia and irises to a bed of their own, against a really hot sunny wall where they should do very well and be

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

allowed to grow as tall as they like. The perennial geraniums had their ‘Chelsea chop’ in May, but are having another one now as the drought has made them very lax and untidy and they look better for the ‘haircut’! I have such a large number of potted garden plants, that watering is a very time consuming job. As I move from pot to pot (I don’t have a drip feed irrigation system as yet, but will definitely organize one in time for spring/summer next year), I take stock of each plant, remove dead or dying material, check for insect pests and any snails or slugs that might be lurking in a shady corner, give each a good feed and take cuttings as I go. Climate change really does seem to be having an effect, and our summers have definitely become hotter for longer, so storing rain water during the spring is even more important. As a result, changes will be needed. This means giving some of the plants more chance of surviving by moving them to another part of the garden. Plant more of them directly into the flower beds where the roots may be able to obtain water for themselves. More drastically, change the garden into a tropical ‘paradise’ with more winter protection for the less hardy species and fill any empty spaces with droughttolerant hardy perennials. For the autumn, the hostas will be moved to the bottom of the garden which has a little shade from a huge hazel tree and a bay which is large enough to be the local bird ‘hotel’! While dividing them I can remind myself of the named varieties I have, and think of the ones I’d like to have! New, green foliage is already appearing after their drastic scalping. I don’t like to give up on plants, especially if they have been ‘precious’ and enjoyed for a long time. So when two of the three lemon trees I have in pots ‘died’ after the heavy winter frosts, I thought I’d give them another chance. I’ve watered and fed them regularly and given them a talking to during these last four months and finally, new leaves are appearing. They are not pretty as yet, with the new foliage seeming to stick out of ‘dead’ wood, but I’m

thrilled that I’ve got them back. Asters, chrysanthemums, dahlias, heleniums and Japanese anemones will give lots of late colour in pots or flower beds along with the rudbeckias, that just seem to keep on going. Spring bulbs will be in the garden centres this month, the varieties on offer improve each year. There are also lots of websites that will deliver bulbs and plants here.

Now is the time to:

Cut deciduous hedges such as beech, hornbeam and hawthorn. Continue to remove the summer fruited canes from raspberries, loganberries and blackberries (these will look brown or grey). Leave the green canes, they will crop next year. Keep feeding and watering tomatoes that are still cropping and remove trusses which have not set fruit and any excess foliage. Plant new strawberry runners as soon as possible to allow good root development before the winter. Keep sowing winter radish, parsley, coriander and oriental salad leaves. Sow winter greens such as hardy lettuce and Chinese spinach. Harvest main crop potatoes. Keep leeks protected from leaf miner by using voile or mesh.

suckers from the base of Roses. Spray for rose black spot.

Put in place grease bands around fruit trees at the end of the month, to deter codling moth. Store onions and garlic which have dried completely, preferably in a net or a box where air can circulate around them. If you are growing carrots, make sure that mesh is in place to protect them from carrot fly damage. If there is an empty veg. plot, sow green manure in it, to dig in and enrich the soil in the spring. Once the tassels on sweet corn turn brown, the cobs should be harvested.

Plant new trees and shrubs and take stem cuttings from roses; either pot these up or plant them in a slit trench in the garden and forget about them (they take a few months to root). Take cuttings from pelargoniums, fuschias, penstemons, lavender, rosemary and salvias.

Scarify lawns, aerate using the prongs of a garden fork and remove moss. Seed over bare patches whilst the soil is still warm enough for germination to take place and give the whole lawn a good feed. Naturalise some bulbs by planting into the grass. Honey coloured toadstools at the base of trees may indicate Honey Fungus. Lift up a section of bark and if there is fungus underneath, treat with a fungicide or if it’s a bad infection, the tree may have to be felled.


Put netting over ponds to stop autumn leaves from falling in.

Enjoy whatever you do in the garden; it’s so good for you to be outside in the fresh air, good for your health and your soul! Settle into your garden seat and have a cuppa on me!

Hanging baskets and pots will still be flowering well, so continue deadheading to keep the display going and remember to feed regularly. Plant new hardy perennials and divide clumps of well established plants. Sow hardy annuals such as nigella, centaurea, poppies and limanthes and biennials such as foxgloves. Cyclamen can also be planted, preferably in a shady spot under trees or hedges. New plants of heleniums, helianthes and asters can be planted now to develop good root structure and provide autumn colour for next year. Choose spring bulbs as soon as available, so that the bulbs you buy will be fresh and in good condition. Tulips should be planted in November. Narcissus and daffodils can be planted in layers, but deeply in the pot. Water camellias and rhododendrons well as their spring buds are being formed now. Gather up any dead foliage from around the base of plants to prevent fungal disease and mould. Remove The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 21

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79380 La Forêt-sur-Sèvre

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 23

Where We Live...



Morbier (AOC)

Originally made by the cheesemakers of FrancheComté some two centuries ago and named after the small village in the region, Morbier is recognisable by its bulging sides and a horizontal black furrow through the middle. It was originally made by farmers from the leftover curds of gruyère and comté. If there weren’t enough curds left to make a whole cheese, those everresourceful farmers made one from a combination of two layers of cheese. The first layer came from the morning milk production and was then covered with a thin layer of ash to prevent a rind from forming and to keep insects away as it rested for the night at the bottom of a barrel. The top layer came from the evening milk production. Today, the black layer is a pretty tasteless vegetable product and purely decorative and the cheeses are often made from the milk from just one milking. Production is all year round and may be artisanal, fermier, coopérative or industriel and the cow’s milk can be either raw or pasteurised. The raw version uses milk exclusively from Montbéliarde or Simmentale cows. Morbier is fashioned into large wheels 30-40cm in diameter, 6-8cm high and weighing 5-9kg. Affinage (maturation) takes at least 30 days, but more usually two months. Morbier’s bark is worse than its bite. It can be one of the smellier cheeses, depending on its age, but it has a surprisingly mild flavour with a nutty aftertaste. It should have a thick, creamy texture. The centre, or pâte, is ivory to pale yellow in colour and the rind should be smooth and orange to brown in colour. Check the label to make sure your Morbier has been made in the Doubs or Jura regions of FrancheComté. Well suited to a cheese platter at the end of a meal, its subtle taste means you should try it before some of the stronger cheese varieties. It is often used in sandwiches, it melts well and it is excellent in salads. It goes well with local wines from the regions: light reds, dry whites and also with the Jura yellow wine, le vin Jaune de Jura.

© Wikimedia Commons/Arnaud25

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018


Life through the eyes of a child Pablo Picasso once said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” No one can predict how the children of today will grow up, but one lady in the Deux-Sèvres is, in her own small way, helping local youngsters get the best possible start towards perhaps becoming the next Monet or Matisse. Samantha Mordal studied art at college and university in England and then worked for Country Artists in Stratford-upon-Avon making wildlife figurines and sculptures for several years. She moved on to become a care worker and key worker with young adults with learning difficulties, but eventually had to stop work completely because of health problems. “My life wasn’t really going anywhere in the UK, so when the opportunity came to start a new life in France I felt I had nothing to lose,” says Samantha. “If I didn’t settle I knew I could always go back. I knew I had to come to France.” Fast-forward 15 years and Samantha has no doubts about having made the right choice. She “met the man of my dreams”, got married and has two young daughters, Alicia and Amelie. And now, all those years later, she has gone back to her first love and helps run the Association Jeunes Artistes (AJA). “Our goal with AJA is to get children to discover as many aspects of art and use as many mediums as possible. The kind of things we’ve used so far that they haven’t used at school include glue guns, not just for sticking things but creating art with; putty rubbers; palette knives for painting instead of brushes; cotton buds instead of brushes; canvas as well as paper, which they use at school; sculpture; welding and soldering (metal work); Modroc (bands of plaster); quilling; air-drying clay; and mosaics. Lessons at school are obviously more ‘restricted’, while at AJA the children are more free to express themselves. We do an ‘example’ before each lesson, but encourage their imagination, too.” In the 2016/17 academic year, a friend of Samantha’s formed the AJA in the old school canteen in Lorigné. Samantha helped out and both her children joined the classes. Early this year, the founder decided she no longer wanted to be part of the association so Samantha and a French

by Mick Austin

friend, Céline Broussard, a self-taught artist and sculptor, took it over and moved it to the newly built salle des fêtes in Bouin, near Chef-Boutonne, where Samantha lives. Another friend who lives in Bouin, Kath Rowlands, helps every week and a couple of the mums also stay when they can. “We get to use the salle des fêtes for free and get loads of support from the maire and the local villagers. The eight children we had in the last school year were all French, mine included as their father is French and they were born here. Five of the children are between seven and nine and we have two 11-year-olds and a 13-year-old. We are insured for a maximum of 12 children of ages between seven and 15. We decided any more than 12 and we wouldn’t be able to give them as much time and help. A small group is a good group.” Classes are held every Thursday evening in term time and the children are charged 3€ a week, which works out at under 100€ for the year. That money is used to buy materials like drawing boards, easels, canvas, paints, brushes, inks, pencils, charcoal and pastels. “The children get to use many mediums and styles and the outcome is so impressive. They are all starting to find their own style and all have so much imagination. “Our end-of-year exhibition was held at the Bouin salle des fêtes on 14thJuly, the same day as the village held its Bastille Day celebrations, and the feedback we had was amazing. Then we had the World Cup final the next day and watched France win while surrounded by the childrens’ art work!

“We had around 100 people visit the exhibition and all the comments were extremely positive – people were amazed the works were created by children so young. Hopefully, as we and the children gain in confidence and experience, our exhibitions will get bigger and better known. We are thinking about selling some pieces in the future, though that isn’t as easy as it might sound because the children want to keep everything they’ve done! We’ve had people say they will buy prints of work, so that’s something to think about for the future. We’ve made two sculptures and have had a lot of interest in them. For the moment we are keeping everything, but maybe in the future we might hold an auction to raise funds for the association.” Although the maire and villagers are behind the AJA project, fundraising plays a big part in keeping the association going. They’ve held a quiz night and meal in English and will be having a soirée with a meal towards the end of the year. They also recycle and make handmade greeting cards for all occasions – including Christmas and sell them to make extra money for materials. The AJA got themselves some welcome publicity in mid-December when they entered a tree decorating competition organised in the Marais Poitevin called Allée Enchantée. “This year’s theme was ‘fairyland’. We tried to keep all our handmade decorations either natural or recycled. There were two categories – adults and children – and we were obviously in the childrens’ section. Visitors to the two day show voted for the best tree. We did fantastically well to finish second to the school from

The ajaGallery v

The AJA’s exhibition of art in Bouin. Showing the wide range of mediums and styles explored by the students. Sam offered to have a mould taken of her face, in this lifelike reproduction (top middle)

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special the village where the competition was held. They had 130 children and we had eight!”

French. It’s hard not to learn when I’m surrounded by it every day. We’ve never had English TV either.”

So, some early successes for the AJA, but what about Samantha Mordal? What about the lady who 15 years ago had to give up work through ill health and felt her life was going nowhere?

Her French friends and neighbours have helped as well. “I’ve learned many French recipes and tried many local specialities and in exchange they have cooked with me and tasted English food with me. They now realise the English don’t just eat roast beef, fish and chips and jelly! And I love the fact my children aren’t fussy eaters. They will try anything, but turn their noses up at a McDonalds and would rather eat home-grown, home-cooked food. We’re definitely not vegetarians, taking advantage of generous friends and neighbours who hunt or fish, and the girls are very aware of where their food comes from – and not just the supermarket. Simple things like gathering eggs with our neighbours, who have chickens, ducks, quail and pigeons and an enormous weed-free vegetable garden, unlike ours.”

As a toddler she spent many happy summer holidays in France with her parents, who had always talked about making the move here. Finally, as her father was retiring, they made their minds up and asked Samantha if she would go with them. “I had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, which causes chronic pain inflammation in my joints, tendons and ligaments. I had regular cortisone injections and took medication for the inflammation and pain, so my life wasn’t really going anywhere in the UK and I jumped (not literally!!) at the chance of moving to France.” In 2002, they started looking at properties in the Limousin. Samantha’s father was a builder and was willing to renovate somewhere, but they couldn’t find anything. Later that year her parents came over to the Poitou Charentes without her and found the property they live in today – a house, lots of barns, gardens and a cottage they renovated. In April 2003, the three of them arrived in France and Samantha has not been back to the UK since. “Not long after getting here, I met my husband-to-be, Emmanuel, who is French. Alicia was born in 2005 and Amelie in 2006. Emmanuel and I were married in 2009 at our local mairie and afterwards celebrated in our garden with more than 100 friends and family. It was on the same day as my parents’ wedding anniversary.” Samantha’s children both started school in trés petit section at two years old and she got involved with association parents d’élèves, helping raise money for school outings etc. “The girls are bilingual and have both helped English children arriving at a new school in France to settle in. I speak English to them but they answer in French. They can speak English and do so to people who can’t speak French, but they have a strong French accent when they speak English. If you’ve ever watched the TV programme ‘Allo, ‘Allo! you’ll know what I mean! They are 13 and 11 now and both are at collège in Chef-Boutonne.” Samantha arrived here in 2003 with very basic French but admits to now being ‘fairly fluent’, having learned from friends, neighbours, her husband and her children and also by getting involved in school life etc. “I think I’ve had it easy as my family is

It might sound like the ideal existence for Samantha and her family. Living the dream, perhaps. But life has a way of sometimes hitting you where it hurts the most. “Sadly my mum died unexpectedly on 6th January this year and it was obviously an extremely difficult time for all of us. Just three days before she died, I had my achilles tendon operated on and was immobile for almost three months. But with the support and help of our friends and neighbours we gave mum a good send-off. Luckily we live next door to my parents and we are a close family. Knowing my mum and dad could see their grandchildren nearly every day since they were born makes me so happy. “Having had several operations in four different hospitals in the area, I can’t fault the healthcare in France. Having my children here, outpatient appointments, scans, MRIs, X-rays, emergency services and aftercare – all brilliant. Sad to say, much better than what I encountered in England. In fact I did this DSM My Story just a few days after being rushed into hospital for an emergency operation to remove my appendix. Again, something I’d much rather not have happened. But excellent treatment from everyone involved and, again, loads of help from friends and neighbours. “I feel more at home here than anywhere else I have ever been. I live in a small village where friends and neighbours are both welcoming and friendly. People help each other out. The village organises events throughout the year – meals, fêtes, discos – and every year we commemorate Remembrance Day, when we remember lives lost in wars, both English and French. It’s great to live in a community that comes together and welcomes with open arms all us English who have either made their life here or have a holiday home nearby.”

Samantha and Emmanuel at their wedding in 2009, with her mother and father who were celebrating their wedding anniversary on the same day. Samantha with daughters Amelie and Alicia in 2007 (right).

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

Join in the fun AJA have a few places left for the next school year. Anyone interested can contact them through their ‘atelier jeunes artistes’ page on Facebook. They would also like to hear from any artists who can spare a couple of hours to take a session with the youngsters.

The aja Gallery

On this month


September 11, 1792: The French Blue diamond – also known as the Blue Diamond of the Crown and later to become known as the Hope Diamond – is stolen along with other French crown jewels from a royal storehouse in Paris during the French Revolution. The diamond was set into a pendant and at the time was owned by King Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette. They met their end on the guillotine and the diamond disappeared until some 20 years later, when a suspiciously similar, albeit smaller, gem popped up in 1812 in the possession of a © Wikimedia Commons/David Bjorger London merchant. September 11, 1951: American Florence Chadwick becomes the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways, setting a record time on each occasion. In August 1950, she swam the 21 miles from Wissant to Dover in a little over 13 hours. A year later she entered the water at Dover and battled dense fog, headwinds and fumes from an accompanying motorboat to eventually crawl ashore near Sangatte in 16 hours 22 minutes. September 26, 1973: A French Concorde makes its first nonstop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time. It took just three hours and 32 minutes to fly from Washington to Orly airport, in Paris, cutting the previous record for a transatlantic airline journey in half. The pilots, Jean Franchi and Gilbert Defer, flew the plane at an average speed of 954mph (1535kph) and touched down 13 minutes ahead of schedule. September 6, 1980: French long-distance runner Chantal Langlacé sets a women’s 100k world record (7h 27m 22s) in Amiens, France. That achievement was in addition to her two previous world marathon records, in 1974 (Neuf-Brisach, 2h 46m 24s) and in 1977 (Oiartzun, Spain, 2h 35m 16s). September 6, 1989: French law enforcement officials admit they have a computer problem: 41,000 Parisians had received letters over the previous weekend accusing them of murder, extortion, prostitution, drug-trafficking and other felonious pursuits. There was some good news for the accused, however, as they were asked only to pay minor fines for the major crimes of between 75€ and 200€! Officials finally admitted that the recipients of the notices were, in fact, guilty of unpaid parking and traffic fines. Revised invoices were mailed out, along with letters of apology.

A variety of the students’ work exhibited including the AJA’s totem pole sculpture modelled from the students’ own faces (second row down, right). Also, their entry into the tree-decorating competition Allée Enchantée in the Marais Poitevin (third row down, left and bottom).

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 27

Communications Improve the WiFi signal in and around your home - part 2 by Ross Hendry External buildings


xtending your WiFi to other buildings around your property is not too complex, the optimum way would of course be to run an Ethernet cable from your router (LiveBox/Neufbox/etc.) to the building/s and connect this to an internal hub/switch for network cables or WiFi access point. So, if you are in the planning stages and have to run services underground to the building, I strongly recommend you incorporate this solution. Cabling is more secure and obviously cheaper if you are already committed to running other cables or pipes to the destination building/s underground. The maximum length of this cable should not exceed 100m (328 feet). However, most of us already have power in our outbuildings and so need another less expensive solution than digging trenches. If you are lucky enough to have the same phase of electricity powering the target building, you could try using the power-line solution mentioned in last month’s article, instead of the WiFi bridge. Using a ‘wireless bridge’ between the buildings. The concept is quite simple, you place a device called a Wireless Access Point (WAP) see picture right, on the outside of the building you already have the internet service in. Connecting this to your existing router via WiFi or preferably by cable, this WAP (the source) should be on the side of the building facing the other building/s where you wish to have internet access. On the destination building/s you place another WiFi Access Point, which is preferably in line of sight with the source WAP. You may then take a cable from this to another router or Ethernet hub/switch in the building and this distributes the internet services to your building. Clearly, this solution is a little more complex to set-up than a simple WiFi service but should not be beyond the capabilities of more confident PC users. The secret is to take it one stage at a time, until you have the internet available where you need it. You must, of course, keep the service secure so I would recommend setting up the same type of security as you have on your WiFi, demanding that any device connected to your WiFi has a security code to gain access. When I set-up this type of network, I disable the security until I have the connections working. Then I set-up the security and test it to make sure no one can access the network without having the code. The cost? The smallest and most powerful WAP costs around 100€ each, and generally it is best to have two of these. These devices can give a range of up to 183 metres (600 feet) outdoors and are able to provide very fast connections, in both 2.4 and 5Ghz WiFi bands. On the receiving end you may need to use a cable from the WAP to another router or cable switch/hub in the building, so you should

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

budget around 25-50€ for this device plus around the same if you wish to provide a cabled network in the building. Alternatively, it may be sensible to use the power line system as described in last month’s article to distribute the internet around the target building. Installation of this type of network extension is usually possible in a few hours depending on the complexity of fitting the devices to the outside of the buildings, and the level of cabling in the destination building/s. When providing a service such as this I survey the property checking the topography of the site, then a detailed quotation may be produced. I believe this to be a perfect solution for those of you that have gîtes and wish to provide internet access to your guests. More and more visitors are demanding that they have an internet connection and those gîtes without internet are getting less rentals. If you require this type of WiFi extension contact the technician that looks after your PC needs, I am sure that they will be able to help you. As ever if you need any further information please send me an email ( and I will be pleased to advise you.

A Wireless Access Point (WAP)

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, September 2018 | 29


Food & Drink Fancy Food without the Fuss

by Doreen Fitch

have lived in Deux-Sèvres for over twenty years and love to cook with local and seasonal produce wherever possible (feel free to substitute); taking traditional recipes and making them easy to follow and enjoy. I hope you like this month’s selection.

Summer Bouillabaisse



A classic light French fish stew, ideal for summer, and quick to make.

Method: Either spray large non-stick frying pan or heat olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, carrots, celery, leek and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the tomato puree and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the orange peel, saffron, stock, bay leaves and thyme, turn the heat to high and leave to bubble away for 15-20 minutes. Add the mixed seafood and bring back to the boil. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until piping hot. Stir in the crabmeat and lemon juice, season to taste, garnish with parsley and thyme sprigs. Ladle into wide bowl and serve hot with fresh chunky bread and butter.

Ingredients: 1 steak of preference i.e. entrecôte, rump, sirloin 1 butterfly chicken breast 50g Rochefort blue 50g walnuts 400g Île de Ré or charlotte potatoes ½ mango cubed 10 cherry tomatoes halved mixed salad leaves 2 spring onions finely chopped



Method: Cook potatoes in salted water, drain and leave to cool. When cool, cut into bite-sized chunks. Fry chicken breast in lightly oiled frying pan until cooked. Set aside on a warm plate and season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan, lightly oil the steak on both sides and cook on medium heat to your preference. Set aside on a warm plate. Now the quick and easy bit! Arrange mixed leaves on a large platter, scatter over spring onion, tomatoes, mango and potato. Slice the seasoned chicken and steak and arrange on the top. Crumble the cheese and scatter over along with the walnuts. Shake over a dressing of your choice and tuck in; of course, you will need bread to clean up with!

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018



Ingredients: 4 skinless and boneless cod fillets 8 rashers of bacon 250g rinsed puy lentils 4 beetroots peeled and cubed 2 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed 80g baby spinach salt and freshly ground pepper 1 tbsp olive oil For the dressing: 1 crushed garlic clove 3tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp mustard powder 4 roughly chopped spring onions 200ml cooled vegetable stock 4 tbsp fat-free natural fromage frais pinch of sweetener (optional) small handful of fresh chives roughly chopped plus some finely chopped for garnish

Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil 1 onion thinly sliced 1 large fennel bulb thinly sliced 2 carrots peeled then small diced 2 celery sticks diced 1 leek sliced 6 garlic cloves finely sliced 4 tbsp tomato puree 1 strip of orange peel pinch of saffron 800ml vegetable stock 2 bay leaves 4 sprigs fresh thyme plus extra for garnish 700g white crab meat or small tin in brine drained juice of ½ lemon salt & freshly ground black pepper small handful finely chopped parsley or dill to garnish

Meat Feast Sharing Salad

Puy Lentil Salad topped with Wrapped Cod in Bacon

Method: Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6/Fan 180°C. Place the sweet potato and beetroot in a roasting tin, add the olive oil and season to taste. Roast for 25-30 minutes on the bottom shelf, tossing occasionally until soft. Set to one side. Meanwhile, season the fish fillets and wrap each in two slices of bacon. Put in a non-stick roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes on the top shelf or until cooked through. Put the lentils in a saucepan with enough water to cover by 6-8cm. Heat on high and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are tender. Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blitz until fairly smooth. Drain the lentils and transfer to a serving dish. Add two thirds of the dressing and stir. Scatter with the beetroot, sweet potato and spinach and top with the fish. Sprinkle with chives and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Quick & Easy Chocolate Mousse with Crème Fraiche and Raspberries



Ingredients: 150g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) broken into chunks 20g unsweetened cocoa powder 20ml warm water 1 free-range egg yolk 4 free-range egg whites 20g caster sugar Method: Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. While the chocolate is melting, mix the cocoa powder with the warm water and then the egg yolk. Add this to the melted chocolate, and set aside. Whip the egg whites to soft peaks, add the caster sugar, then whip to stiff peaks. Mix a third of the egg white into the chocolate, gently fold in the remainder. Split the mix into 4 ramekins and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. Top with raspberries and crème fraiche to serve.

The Grape and the Gatherer by John Sherwin


e took one good smell of her hair then turned to lay back on the earth, his eyes to the moon. “Be harvestin’ soon,” he muttered.

“Say wha’?” She was never sure if he was mumbling to himself or to her in a secret, confidential way. She hoped it was the latter, but he could have enunciated a little more clearly. After all, they were in the middle of a vineyard at the dead of night with no one around to hear. She shuffled closer daring to drape one of her legs over one of his, hoping it wouldn’t disturb his profound thoughts. “Be harvestin’ soon,” he enunciated a little more clearly. “That’s nice, Bo-bo.” She was relieved.

“Bit like a rugger field then? Hmm, I see. We never liked squishes and squashes either.” His eyes lost their focus; or at least were focussed elsewhere. “That’s exactly so!” Florence said, her passion for the vine rendering her oblivious to the twinges of time that were tweaking Boris. “You see, if you pick by hand you can make, oh I don’t know, how can I put it? a pre-selection. Don’t you see? Skilled pickers use their eyes and brain, not just their hands.” “Gonads! You can’t believe, I mean really, really, you can’t believe, as Churchill once said, that, that, that, you know, that, you know, that as Euripides once said, grape-picking … yes…yes.” Bo-bo was doing his best to make a point but … well … yes! That’s it! Knew it was there somewhere. …. “that grape–picking is some kind of art? Or science. One of those…”

“Nothing nice about it, Flo, bloody hard work.” He wished he had a fag and lighter to hand but their clothes had been shed over a hectare and he was damned if he was going to traipse around in the nuddy for a gasper.

“Moving right along,” Florence said, with a diffident sideway shift of her upper limbs. “The real thing, don’t you see? Soil to vine to grape to hand. As real as a slaughterhouse or some dame fixing her hair.” Involuntarily she tweaked back an errant strand from her forehead.


“I say! Friend of yours, sweetie, this dame?” Boris’s brow sweated at Florence.

Things had never been easy for Boris and Florence. There was an age difference for starters. Boris had said on first meeting her, “saywotdowehavehereyoulittlebeauty,” before inviting her for a port and lemon and a foxtrot. All had gone well until, over the turbot, Florence had opined that grapes should be picked by hand. There was some harrumphing and clutching of serviette. Boris hadn’t been in the Diplomatic Service for almost half a century without picking up a trick or two. “What the bloody hell do you know about it? And you can’t foxtrot. But I’d appreciate your thoughts. Yes, definitely. Super. Thank you.” Florence, when fully clothed, was afraid of no man. She took a sip of water. “A bunch of grapes, like a soldier hoping for the best but near the end of his life, needs care and attention. If you treat it too brusquely it will bruise and bleed, risking premature oxidation. This will lead inexorably …” “Inexorably!” Boris flustered through a kerchief. He did the little boy thing when others used long words which he felt were his monopoly: so cute. “ … inexorably to death. You see, the grape must be treated with the utmost respect. The nearer the vat room is to the vineyard the better. That way you avoid too many squishes and squashes.” Boris quietened down and ruminated. He was feeling his age.

“It’s a quote, dummy,” she said, fondly, though she didn’t quite understand why. The fondness that is. This flummoxed him. He didn’t like being flummoxed, but hey-ho. He parried, going techno. “Get the machines in! They do the job just as well as students or ruddy miscreants from countries whose names I can’t pronounce. Available 24/7, don’t need to be fed and watered, just fuel and a little lubrication from time to time.” He leered disturbingly. “The way they work,” warming to his theme, “that is to say, what they use, is the horizontal slapper,” clearing his throat and cracking a few knuckles. “Fibreglass rods. Dislodge fruit. Bish-bash.” He essayed a couple of Bruce Lee slashes as fat with a life of its own slathered to and fro above his cinched belt. “Job done.” Florence sighed. It had been different in the Crimea. They’d made wine for centuries there. They knew that hand-made was wellmade. Sometimes they’d even go out picking by lamplight. True. * Candide, the vineyard owner, was out at first light. It was almost time. Any day now. The sun couldn’t pack much more sugar in them thar grapes. He brushed their plumpness with a soft, gnarled hand. My lovelies! As he shuffled along (he was no longer young), he came across a swatch of black silk, a lighter and a packet of cigarettes. Nothing surprised him anymore (he was no longer young). “Each to his own,” he said, “cultivate your own way.”

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 31

Time To Celebrate


by Jacqueline Brown

efore Ed flies the nest and moves on to independent living and university life in Poitiers, we tried to pack in some family days out over the summer. A reconnaissance mission to Poitiers, was good fun but exhausting. We walked the streets, browsed the shops and climbed high for a panoramic view, so we could familiarise ourselves with the town centre a bit better. We have found boulangeries, bars, a launderette and supermarket, plus the bottle bank, all within an easy walk from his apartment, so the essentials are now covered. Letting go will be tough, but easier if I feel he is prepared. A cinema trip to Mamma Mia Here We Go Again certainly buoyed my spirits, even if Ed did pull out at the last minute. Honestly, the kid has no taste. Chef-Boutonne is my cinema experience of choice. From the tear-off coloured paper tickets you are given when you arrive, to the lack of any food or drink items for sale, to the steeply raked seats; I have found nothing better. There are no sticky floor patches where something was spilled in a previous showing, there is almost no crunching, slurping or rustling (except for the odd packet of sweets brought in from home) and certainly no nasty smells of popcorn or nachos to spoil my viewing experience. By scheduling many showings at nine o’clock in the evening, the cinema is often sparsely filled too. It is heaven. Mamma Mia 2, in English, was more crowded than most films I’ve watched there recently, and definitely worth seeing. It was sad in places, but with lots of humour too and moved seamlessly between the decades with a good mix of favourite ABBA numbers from the last film, and others I’d not heard for many years. I left in a happy bubble of ABBAness. Back at home and Ed has been busy in my kitchen. This is good but also proved to be a challenge for me as I’ve discovered I am quite a control freak when it comes to my kitchen. I guess I took being a stay at home Mum very seriously, and while my culinary skills have come on leaps and bounds in the last 17 years, Adrian and Ed’s have not. I admit it, I have spoiled them! From slicing an onion (and not being reduced to a snivelling mess), to coping with the multi-tasking of sautéing them, whilst chopping the rest of the vegetables; to getting the timings right on cooking pasta, there have been many new skills for him to master, all while keeping up to date with the messages arriving on his mobile. But I think we have cracked it. I would obviously be happier if I too was moving to Poitiers with him, for the first few weeks at least (he isn’t keen), I am now feeling reassured that he won’t starve to death before the Christmas holidays, but I sure am going to miss him. Email:

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

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

by Sue Burgess


he commune of Rom is situated in the Canton of Lezay 50km from Niort. Rom is part of the Pays Mellois. The commune, which is spread over 54km2, is crossed by the river Dive du Sud, a small river that flows into the Clain at Voulon in the Vienne (86). The northern part of the commune is covered by the forest SaintSauvant. There are 911 inhabitants who are known as les Romains and les Romaines. The economy is based on agriculture: cereals (wheat, corn), oleaginous crops (rapeseed and sunflowers), and animal farming (goats, cattle, pigs).

The ancient town of Rauranum vicus on the lands of the Pictons, is spread over about 40 hectares to the south of today’s village. The site has been known about for centuries and the first written evidence of archaeological remains dates from 1840. However the first large scale digs were not carried out until the end of the 19th century. More recently, searches, digs and aerial photos have meant that more has been discovered about the site. Several temples, thermal baths, villas, workshops and shops (forges, butchers, stables) have been discovered as well as over 60 inscriptions in latin. It is thought that the site was built here because there was water (the river Dive du Sud), for daily use and also because this was the intersection of different Roman roads. The settlement would have been a day’s journey from Limonum (Poitiers). The Roman road linking Poitiers to Saintes is the most important but there were also roads going east and south. The settlement certainly offered a stopover point for travellers. The settlement was occupied from the 1st to the 4th century AD before being moved a little further north so that the town was found, from the 5th century to the Middle Ages, at the place where today’s village stands. Less is known about the town during the Middle Ages. At that period the town was called Rodom. An archpriest was attached to the town and a vast necropolis with a number of Merovingian sarcophagus has been discovered around the church. In 1944 a commando group of English parachutists was dropped not far from the commune of Rom. They were captured and shot in the forest of Saint-Sauvant. In the village cemetery there is a commemorative plaque and military graves. Every year at the time of the commemoration there is a parachute jump over the village. A VOIR / MUST SEE The Second World War graves in the cemetery On the 7th July 1944, 30 English parachutists from the 1st SAS under the command of Captain Tonkin and an American, were all shot, out of sight, in the forest of Saint-Sauvant, 4km from Vaugeton. Hunters found their bodies in three ditches in December 1944. Pictures of the military cemetery can be found on internet: Google cimetière militaire rom 79 and at present the link is the second site in the list.

In the 12th century, the church of Roomo belonged to the Benedictine abbey at Nouaillé, but from 1278 on, it is listed as Saint-Liphard de Rom, and comes under the the nomination of the bishop of Poitiers. Saint-Liphard was a hermit monk who worked on the layout of the marshes at Meung-sur-Loire. Today the patron saint of the church is Saint Paulin, in memory of the small eclesiastical college of Saint-Paulin which was situated in Rom between 1856 and 1900, in the outbuildngs of the presbytery. Saint Paulin (353-431) was bishop of Nole, then Naples. Rom church was the seat of an archpriest, which 17 parishes depended upon. Today half of them are situated in the Vienne department. This proves the importance of the Romanesque church and shows how wide its influence was. Today the church has a simple cross shape. It is oriented west-east with a central nave and two side aisles. There is a short transept with a choir at its centre. It is a neo-Gothic 19th century church. Nothing remains of the old Romanesque church except for some column tops. Pierre-Théophile Segrétain was in charge of the restoration work in 1851. Some parts like the west and north walls and the south side aisle were completely rebuilt. The restoration of the bell tower on the central cupola was abandonned and a Neogothic bell tower was built by Bontemps, in 1869. The church is home to two recumbent statues, which were found under the parvis in front of the church. They were first used as lintels for doors in a stables and remained there for nearly 80 years. Following a partnership between the association of les Amis de Rauranum and Rom town council, an agreement was made with the town council of Couhé and the statues were brought back to Rom in 2012. Rauranum Museum The museum displays the findings from digs carried out on the ancient site of the Gallo-Roman town of Rauranum. The exhibits are presented for everyone to enjoy and offer a real journey back through time. Opening times 18th February to 30th June: Wednesday - Saturday and Sunday 2pm-6pm 1st July to 31st August: Tuesday to Friday 10am-12noon and 2pm6pm (closed Mondays). Weekends from 2pm-6pm 1st September to 4th November: Wednesday - Saturday and Sunday 2pm-6pm

Gallo-Roman sites Remains of stables and other sites with digs taking place. The church Rom church is situated at a crossroads on the famous Roman road linking Poitiers to Saintes. Rom has a very rich Gallo-Roman history. The village was mentioned on Peutinger’s map showing the roads in the 4th century. The village was then known as Raurana. The museum of Rauranum is in the ancient presbytery.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 33



by Helen Tait-Wright

o paraphrase Monty Python, “what have the Swedes ever done for us?”

Well, there are some surprising things to come out of Sweden, not least the zip fastener, dynamite, ultrasonic imaging, the tetra pak and the phone handset. And ABBA. Who could forget ABBA?! But this is a motoring column I hear you cry! Yes, and some of the great race and rally drivers are Swedish too; Ronnie Peterson, Stefan Johansson, Per Ekland ….. But I am not here to tell you about any of that, but about Saab, a Swedish car manufacturer that has now disappeared from the motoring scene. The one thing that people tend to know about Saab is that it was originally an aircraft manufacturer: Svenska ­Aeroplan Aktiebolaget, and indeed the marque Saab conjures up an image of an aeroplane more readily than a car for me, as my memories of the Viggen fighter jet performing at airshows are more vivid than those of their cars. To be totally honest I had forgotten about the cars until one of our readers started talking about Saabs while we were at the Grand Prix Historique de Bressuire - so this article is just for you Ian ! Thinking about it, when I was a teenager, a family friend owned a Saab. I think it may have been their 99 model, but I can’t be sure. The thing I remember most about the car was the curved windscreen, which was quite a novelty. Founded in 1937 to build planes for the coming war, Saab only turned its attention to cars in 1944 when it was wondering what to do in peacetime. What this means is that Saab cars are meticulously engineered, just like their aircraft; one of the many qualities their owners love. When you are in the ‘pilot seat’ of a Saab, the aircraft heritage is clear to see. In an ergonomically designed interior, every single button on the dash is pointed very clearly at the driver and you have a ‘night panel’ display which dims everything in the gauge cluster except the speedometer. They certainly are different and quirky! Here are some random Saab facts for you: • Did you know that the Saab 750 Gran Tourismo was the first car in history that had factory fitted seat belts in 1958. • The ignition key is set in the floor between the seats which

• • •

allowed the transmission to be locked rather than the steering column. Oh and you can't remove the key unless the car is in reverse. The 1972 models had two unique innovations: an electricallyheated driving seat and self-repairing bumpers (up to 8km/h). The bumpers were made from Aramid reinforced fiberglass and had the ability to resume their original shape after impact. The Saab 9000 in 1987, became the first front wheel drive in history that had ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) brakes. Saabs have lead crystal headlight lenses that seem to be a centimetre thick. They will not scratch and are almost impossible to break. Saab popularised the distributor-less ignition system. Instead of a distributor and cables, there is a ‘cassette’ that plugs into the spark plugs.

These days Saabs are edging towards classic status and the last ‘true’ Saab the 900, built between 1978 and 1993 is no exception (after this Saab became part of the GM group). This generation, or ‘Classic’ as it’s often referred to, was based on the Saab 99 chassis and is of the most interest to investors today. It came with a range of engine options and the Turbo model was the pick of the bunch. This is a car with distinctive and recognisable looks that is bound to turn heads, and offers enthusiasts an affordable, charming car that can be used all year round. Of course the 900 has its own fair share of the uniquely Saab quirks. It could be said that this car kick-started the turbo revolution. It was one of the first to bolt a turbo-charger to an otherwise everyday, luxurious family car, and the results show for themselves. Many manufacturers then followed suit, and there were various copycat versions inspired by this innovative model in subsequent years. The transmission is in the oil pan. The engine is oriented fore-andaft, like a rear-wheel drive car, not side-to-side like a non-Saab front-wheel drive. You can change the clutch without dropping either the engine or the transmission - it’s under a cover that sits behind the radiator. The end of the engine with the belts on it is facing the passenger compartment. The 900 was the first massproduced car with a pollen filter for cabin air, and was also the first to introduce asbestos-free brakes. If you want to grab yourself something truely different, start looking for your Saab 900 now before the prices take off! James Bond did ;-)

Contact Helen:

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 35

Building & Renovation

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 37

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

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 39

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.

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

Change your marketing mindset to achieve more Do any of these mindsets strike a chord with you? If they do, you are one step closer to marketing success – once you have identified what is holding you back, you are ready to think about a new mindset approach: •

by Cindy Mobey


Is your mindset holding you back?

came across an article online the other day about a slimming club. It gave the most amazing stories about people who had lost a lot of weight by changing the way they think about food. Then it occurred to me that this mindset could apply to marketing. We’re all guilty of thinking that the hill is impossible to climb and that, in itself, puts obstacles in our way. After some research, I found there are some negative marketing mindsets which are quite common – these are definitely amongst the comments I’ve heard when talking to people with small businesses: •

Marketing is mysterious and unpredictable! Lots of people feel that marketing is just something they can’t get their heads around. It’s something you either can or can’t do and it’s too hard to do it effectively. Marketing doesn’t work for my business! Most of the time, it’s not that it doesn’t work, it’s just that you may have the wrong approach or you’ve tried so many different things and had little success. This is a hard one, because it will feel that no matter what you do, nothing seems to work. I’m rubbish at marketing! I’ve heard this loads of times from customers who come to me for help. The truth is that everyone can learn and improve by developing new techniques, sometimes very simple ones. There are very few small businesses that start out as great marketers. They learn over time what works best for them and how to improve results.

No matter what kind of business you have, be it a shop, builder, hairdresser, craft, you need to realise that as a business owner, you are constantly looking for new customers and trying to attract them, so you are already in the marketing business. You are a marketer! Secondly, it’s important to believe that you can become more effective at marketing your business. You can learn how to do this, it’s not an impossible feat. It’s about being positive. I remember when I worked at a big insurance company in the UK, in the Marketing and Communications department, I wanted to go for a promotion. In a meeting with my boss, she told me that if I wanted to go further and get my next grade, I needed to act like I already had that grade. So, I looked at the criteria and started learning to do some of the things that were required and acting like I was doing the job. After a relatively short time, I was promoted – my behaviours had changed and, instead of sitting there wishing I was the next grade up, I worked and thought as if I was already there. Applying this to small businesses, by learning the right marketing behaviours and practicing them, over time you will become more successful at marketing. The most important point is that marketing your business is key to growing your business. As you become more efficient and effective a marketer, your business will naturally grow.

A good start is to write down what your current mindset is regarding marketing and then look at what you can do to improve your mindset and change your current behaviours. If you need help with your marketing strategy, please feel free to contact me, I’ll be happy to help you.

Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email:


Simply register on our website:

Helen Booth DipPFS, EFA

Senion Financial Adviser Email: Mobile: +33 (0) 771712879

deVere France can advise you on ways to help safeguard and increase your wealth, as well as helping with HMRC-recognised pension transfers to a Qualifies Recognised Overseas Pensions scheme (QROPS) to give you potentially more flexibility in your pension plans.

Dénomination sociale: deVere France S.a.r.l, RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registre avec ANACOFI-CIF (Association Nationale des Conseils Financiers). Nombre enregistré: E008176, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers. Courtier d'assurances ou de réassurance, Catégorie B, inscrit à l'Organisme pour le Registre des Intermédiaires en Assurance (ORIAS) numéro enregistré 12064640. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances. Registered name: deVere France S.a.r.l, registered company number RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registered with ANACOFI-CIF (National Association of Financial Advisers). Registered number: E008176, association approved by the Financial Markets Authority. Insurance and re-insurance brokers, Category B, registered with the Organisation for the Registration of Assurance Intermediaries (ORIAS). Registered number 12064640. Financial and Professional Liability Insurance Guarantee conforms to article L 541-3 of the Monetary and Fiscal Code and L 512-6 and 512-7 of the Assurance Code. 6XKWSX • V1.0/120418

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 41

Allianz Retraite4Life


y now most of you know about the savings account called Assurance Vie which is an investment with tax advantage (revenues and inheritance tax), but did you know that with us there are different sorts of Assurance Vie depending on what you expect from your money. This article will present you with one very innovative Assurance Vie from Allianz which is looking to guarantee you with a regular income for the rest of your life. a) Criteria for subscribing: Available to any French resident of 50 to 75 years old who have a minimum of 30 000€, to a maximum of 500 000€ to invest. b)How does it work? This investment guarantees you an income for life hence the name Retraite4Life meaning Pension for Life! This income depends on how old you are when you start the investment. Between 60 and 63, it is 2.25% of the amount you invest, between 64 and 70 it is 2.80% and after 71 years old, it is 3.25% but this amount is re-evaluated once a year on the anniversary date of the contract and it can never come down, only up! E.g. if you invest 100 000€ at 65 you will get 2 800€ per year of income (payments can be made yearly, quarterly or monthly). After one year, your investment may have gone up to 120 000€ so your new income is now 3 360€ per year. If the year after the investment is €90 000, your income will still be 3 360€. Even if you have no money left (case of a crash!) you will always get the highest revenue you reached. The income can start from the age of 60, meaning you can invest the money at 50 years old but can only start receiving the income at the age of 60. Even if you don’t receive the income, it is re-evaluated every year if your capital grows. c) How the money is invested? The money is invested on one fund: Allianz Strategy 50. Noted five stars by Morningstar (Independent investment research). Allianz Strategy 50 has made +9.76% in 2017, and +62.62% in the last six years. Of course, performances of the past are no guarantees for the future! d) Fees: Entry fee is 4.5% negotiable. Usually above 100 000€, I take 0%. Management fee per year is 0.99%+ or between 0.84% and 3.18% for the income guarantees (depends on your age and when you start the income).

by Isabelle Want

e) Withdrawals: Partial and total are possible at any time. Without fees. Note that if you do a partial withdrawal, it will reduce your guaranteed income by the same %. So, if you cash in 10 000€ and that represents 10% of your capital, your guaranteed income is reduced by 10%. f) Adding money to it: Not possible. You can open another one with 30 000€ though! Conclusion: With interest rates being at their lowest ever, it is imperative to look at alternative investments that would bring more income without risking everything. Especially if the inflation goes above the % of interest you get. If this happens, you actually lose money without realising it! Allianz has a solvability ratio that is one of the best on the market at 174% for Allianz France and 200% for Allianz Group, so don’t hesitate to contact me for any further information regarding our very large range of investments. And remember to check out our website en for all my previous articles (‘practical information’) and register to receive our monthly newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook: Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterpt And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quotes on subjects such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top-up health insurance, etc.

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: Visit our website:

Ask Amanda


by Amanda Johnson

s summer draws to an end I hope you have made as many lovely memories with friends and family as I have. Autumn is often a time when we take stock of what we have and identify what we need. Whether it is planning for year-end festivities (not allowed to mention the C word this early in the year), getting everything at home and in the garden ship-shape, or arranging a trip away, this planning helps smooth the bumps in the road ahead. The same is often true of your finances with autumn or winter being a good time to review your current needs and plans. An opportunity to check that your investments are on course to meet your objectives, working as tax efficiently as possible and fully aligned with your attitude to risk. Don’t forget to check out the Tour de Finance website to register for our autumn event: Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help. We do not charge for our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations. Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 Email:

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018

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.

A Break From The Norm


y work as a financial adviser is not always just about tax, pension planning and investments. I like to get involved in events and fundraising in the local area, and over the years I have enjoyed supporting a number of initiatives. Attending the theatre is one of the things I missed about the UK when I first moved to France. However, I soon discovered there are several amateur theatre companies in the Deux-Sèvres region.

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

The ladies are taking part in the Rallye des Gazelles 2019, embarking on an epic journey across the Moroccan Sahara. The rally is the only all women event of its kind in the world and is 100% off-road. Team Chimera are placing their trust in a Landrover Defender 110 to complete the challenge. The Landy, now named Priscilla, has been specially wrapped in a large vinyl graphic and the bodywork looks stunning. You may have seen Priscilla at local events recently, if not keep your eyes peeled over the coming months. With around six months to go to the start of the rally, Helen and Haley are racing to obtain fundraising and sponsorship. If you would like to become a sponsor, or make a donation to this adventurous pair of petrol heads, check out their Facebook page @ChimeraRDG2019

Blevins Franks Niort are currently sponsoring three local theatre groups, Reaction Theatre, TheatriVasles and Pommeraie Players. I have Team Chimera and their trusty Landrover Priscilla. Chimera © Helen Tait Wright met some very talented and enthusiastic people through my involvement with the groups who all work hard to put on some fantastic plays, shows and pantomimes. It is always a pleasure to attend the performances. Volunteers are often required, not just onstage, but also behind the scenes, so if you fancy getting involved, I am sure they would be delighted to hear from you. Remember to watch for details of their forthcoming productions in ‘The DSM’. From local theatre to …. the Moroccan Sahara! I am delighted to be one of the sponsors for an incredible challenge you may have already read about in this magazine. Blevins Franks have sponsored the Chimera Racing team whose members are Helen Tait-Wright and Haley Bennett.

TheatriVasles’ production of Ladies Day © Steve Marshall

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, September 2018 | 43


44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2018 | 45

It’s time to splash out!


by Joanna Leggett

here’s no doubt having close access to water and a myriad of water sports is essential in hot weather! It keeps children happy, anglers content and is there anything better than swimming in a wide expanse of water? This summer’s canicule underlined its need. Sometimes a swimming pool is not enough and visiting one of the lovely lakes in this part of the world just somehow seems to cool you down. And if the nearest lake in question is within walking distance of your new home – well ….!

traditional village location offers the potential to become your ideal family home. Again, it’s very pretty with large, light airy rooms and a total of four bedrooms. On the ground floor the library has doors to the garden, a fully fitted kitchen, dining/living room plus another sitting room with parquet floor. Outside the landscaped gardens are mature and there’s also a large garage and barn. All in a great location just ready to be wrapped up for 278,200€.

The Mervent-Vouvant forest offers a plethora of water and other sporting activities readily on offer. On its edge in Mervent, a pretty cottage (Leggett ref: 88812JDY85, photo left) offers the perfect holiday retreat. Literally as pretty as a picture with freshly rendered exterior and green shutters it’s set in a generous, easily maintained garden. With two bedrooms, accommodation is all on one floor. There’s a large sitting/dining room with woodburner and separate kitchen. Best of all, it’s within walking distance of the lake! On the market for a snip at 82,500€!

Our final lake is Les Gours – here the beach is patrolled during July and August, a boon for swimmers. Close by in Aigre – home to the famed Gautier Cognac distillery – is our final offering this month. A beautifully renovated maison de maître (Leggett ref:91511PBE16, photo right). This lovely home is set in over an hectare of its own park like gardens offering pretty views over surrounding countryside. The house itself has open plan living, a fully fitted kitchen and four bedrooms. On the the second floor there’s a studio. Outside, leap into the fantastic pool on those days when you don’t want to venture forth. All mod. cons. are provided with solar heated water, central heating and even air conditioning! A great buy at 232,000€.

Around Saint-Maixent l’École there’s a choice of lakes, this time we’re suggesting becoming regulars at the Lac du Lambon which even boasts pedaloes and canoes. And in Souvigné, 5kms south of Saint-Maixent (with its great transport links), an imposing Maison Bourgeoise (Leggett ref: 72930PW79, photo top right) set in a

Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at


BRIOUX S/ BOUTONNE €41,000 Ref: 91417 Character 4 bed village house requiring modernisation.

Buying or selling?

LEZAY €130,800 Ref: 91286 Beautifully character home, finished to a high standard with views.

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: E

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

COULON €267,500 Ref: 91146 Attractive family home in quiet and well cared for development.

ASSAIS LES JUMEAUX €144,970 Ref: 91443 Charming restored cottage with separate self-contained gîte.

BRIE €147,150 Ref: 91026 Attractive, renovated riverside farmhouse, in a lovely rural setting.

LE BUSSEAU €194,400 Ref: 91379 Detached 4 bed farmhouse with garden in a quiet spot with views.

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

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

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

8% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

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

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