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

Welcome! to Issue 67 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

Rentrée! Back to school, back to work and back to the routines! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Summer; full of visitors, days out, sunshine and BBQs. We’ve enjoyed taking some lazy days ourselves this year. It’s always good to recharge the batteries. And so, September. A busy month settling back into the family rhythm that is so familiar, plus of course all those Autumnal events. In this issue John Sherwin explains the grape harvest, Mick Austin talks about the magical moules of the area - we have some German flavours from Lynda, expert financial advice from Bradley, Amanda, Sue and Isabelle, marketing matters from Cindy, gardening tasks from Vanda, health tips from Lorraine, computer help from Ross......and so much more! You’d be daft to just look at the pictures! Enjoy the read, and I’ll catch up with you next month.

Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

à plus, Sarah

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents What’s On 4 Getting Out & About 6 Clubs & Associations 12 Hobbies 15 A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres 19 Health, Beauty & Fitness 20 Take a Break 22 Home & Garden 23 Where We Live26 Food & Drink 28 Our Furry Friends 34 Communications 36 Motoring 38 Building & Renovation 39 Business & Finance 45 Property 49

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo Accents Association Ace Language Services Ace Pneus (Tyre Fitting) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) Anne Dessens (Vocal Coaching and singing lessons) ARB French Property Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery Argo Carpentry Assurances Maucourt (GAN) Bayleaf Books (Books in English) BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want

49 9 8 38 2 44 28 47 42 9 51 25 39 38 9 46

Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 42 Blevins Franks Financial Management 48 Building & Decorating Services 39 Building & Renovation Services 39 Café Bonbon 32 Camping de Courte Vallée 32 Carlill-Strover Building 44 Centre Régional <Résistance & Liberté> 9 Château du Pont Jarno Pepinière 25 Cherry Picker Hire 44 Chris Parsons (Heating, Electrical, Plumbing) 42 Chriss Bassett Construction 44 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey (Freelance Writer & Marketing Consultant) 45 CJ Electricité 40 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 49 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 43 Creature Comforts (Home Repair Service) 39 C.T. Bois énergie (Firewood supplier) 23 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 47 CYM Cards (Greeting cards and gifts) 9 Darren Lawrence 40 David Cropper (Stump Grinding) 25 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 43 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 20 Down to Earth Pool Design 49 Equi Libre Immobilier Conseil 49 Franglais Deliveries 23 Fresco Interiors 23 Ginger’s Kitchen (Catering) 29 Gites.co.uk 49 Golf des Forges 16 Hallmark Electronique 40 Haynes Carpentry (U.P.V.C Double Glazing) 39 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 45 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 43 Irving Location - Digger Hire 41 Irving Location - Septic Tank Installation & Groundworks 41 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 41 Jeff’s Metalwork 39 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 38 John Snee (Groundworks) 41 John Spray Maçonnerie 40 Keith Banks Pool Services 49 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 23 La Maison des Miracles (Wellbeing centre) 21 La Petite Noisette Bar & Restaurant 32 La Vendée Chippy 28 Leggett Immobilier 50 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 32 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 44 Mark Wilson Language Assistance 8 Michael Glover (Plasterer / Renderer / Tiler) 43 ML Computers 37 Motor Parts Charente 38 M.Page Landscaping 25 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 38 Needa Hand Services 23 O’Bistrot (Bar & Brasserie) 29 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 20 Pause! Café L’Absie 9 Plan 170 (Professional building plans) 39 Polar Express (Frozen Food Supplier) 29 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 49 Pure Heart Yoga Retreat20 Restaurant des Canards 29 Rob Berry Plastering Services 40 Robert Lupton Electrician 40 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 36 Sarah Berry Online (Website Design) 37 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 41 Satellite TV 37 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 35 Simon the Tiler 43 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 43 Steve Robin (Plumber) 42 Strictly Roofing 44 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 8 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 38 This Month’s Advertisers 3 Val Assist (Translation Services) 8 Vendée Glass Courses 15 Yesbays.info (free-ads website) 37 Yoga Vendée 20

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 3

What’s On...

WEEKLY EVENTS: Quizwitch Quiz - every Thursday pm At le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle from 8pm. 2.50€ p/p. Monies raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. Annie Sloan Workshops - every Tuesday & Thursday am Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see www.ladeuxiemechance.com Team Quiz - Third Wednesday of each month At Le Clemenceau Bar 7.30pm, in aid of animal charities Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale - last Friday of each month Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel. 02 51 51 00 96 Throughout September: Final month of Moncoutant Photographic Festival, themed Faces of the World. Free and open to the public 3pm-7pm. www. moncoutant.fr 2nd September - Financial Surgery at Chez Tante, Pers 2nd, 3rd, 4th September - La Montgolfiade de Thouars Hot air balloon event with vide-grenier, entertainment and food. Free entry and parking. 4th September - Fun Dog Show, St Pardoux See more details on P.6. 4th September - RBL Garden Fête in Parthenay See P.13 for more information. 7th September - Financial Surgery at Chez Tante, Pers 9th September - All Saints Vendée Harvest Supper (see opposite) 11th September - Running & Mountain Bike Race Regional VTT organised by the ‘Friends of Fire Brigade Champdeniers’. From 9am at the Gym at Champdeniers. 16th September - All Saints Vendée walk for Alzheimer Research At Mouillerons-en-Pareds. If you would like to take part, please contact Polly Ward on 02 28 13 01 93. 17th & 18th September - European Days of Heritage Open days at the Medieval castle of Ensigné. See P.7 for further info. 17/18/19 September - Portes Ouvertes at Garden Centre Open day at Château Pont Jarno. 20% off all plants. See ad on P.25 18th September - Grand Braderie Giant vide grenier in L’Absie. All day, with entertainment. 18th September - Craft Fayre in St Claud (16) Association CATS at Salles des Fêtes 10am-4pm. See ad on P.7. 18th Sepetember - Photo Competition deadline Last chance to enter Association Cats’Calendar competition. See P.35. 19th September - CSSG Quiz in St Pardoux At 7pm in the Foyer Rural. 20th September - Financial Surgery at Pause! L’Absie 24th September - Grumpy’s “You’re not here to Have fun” Quiz At St Gemme at 8pm. Email roland.scott@wanadoo.fr for more details. 21st Sepetmber - Franglais at Bressuire New class starts. See details on P.14. 28th September - Book & Coffee Afternoon at Mauzé Thouarsais 2-4pm, 2 books for 1€. Find details on P.14. 29th September - 2nd October - Harvest Festival Pamproux 28th edition. www.pamproux.fr 30th September - All Saints Vendée Bring & Share Harvest Supper see opposite. 30th September - Meal and Quiz in Menigoute In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. Details from June Searchfield 05 49 64 59 96.

What’s Coming Up...

1st-4th October - Crossroads of Mouth & Gastronomy in Niort 2nd October - Autumn Fête at Cersay Vide-grenierandexhibitions,on-sitecatering,musicandentertainment. Organised by the Comité des Fêtes St Pierre à Champ, Cersay. 2nd October - Fête des Plantes at Bressuire See more details on P.6. 6th-9th October - Les Expressifs Streets Art Festival in Poitiers 8th - 16th October - Pomm’Expo in Secondigny 14th - 16th October - Hope’s 3 Day Book Sale 12th November - All Saints Vendée Autumn Bazaar

‘The DSM’ Office Opening Hours: Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm 4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

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

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

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

ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share` lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr The beginning of September brings the first Harvest celebration for All Saints Vendee (at Puy de Serre) - everyone is invited. • 9th September - Harvest Supper (contact Polly Ward on 0228130193) • 11th September - Harvest Service - Members of the congregation are invited to bring gifts to this service and offer them up during the first Hymn. • 30th September - a Bring and Share Harvest Supper at La Chapelle Palluau (contact Jo Collinson on 0251 558456 and she will advise on what contribution to bring)

The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcome you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. 1st & 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd & 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: www.therendezvous.fr

The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) Meet at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday at 11.00am. We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details www.escoval.org

COVER PHOTO Jim Hutchison was lucky enough to be present at the Château of Cherveux last year whilst a team of helpers gathered in the grapes. This month’s cover photograph shows owner, Anne Redien, during the harvesting. You can read more about the history of this château at: www.chateau-de-cherveux.com

Celebrating our 10th Year! Reel Fish & Chips September

(See our website for venue details)

4th Fun Dog Show, St Pardoux 7th & 21st Etusson 8th La Coudre 9th La Chapelle Thireuil 23rd St Martin de Sanzay Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 - www.reelfishandchips.net

Jim Hutchison is part of the Through the Lens Photography Group.

Open 6-8.30pm

La Vendée Chippy

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

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

Weds: Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, 85110 St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: Bar ‘Au Fil de l’eau’, 85200 Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, 85390 Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st Saturday of the month, Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, 85120 Antigny Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 - www.lavendeechippy.com

Top Hat Quiz & Curry

Dates & Venues for SEPTEMBER: 1st: Chef Boutonne 5th: Limalonges 12th: Theil Rabier 14th: Aigre Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 - more info at www.tophatquizzes.com

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

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

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

Dates in blue represent celebration days, not public holidays.

Mr T’s Friterie

Open 6.30-9pm

With regular venues at: • • •

Aulnay 17470 (from 6pm) • Beauvais-sur-Matha 17490 • Gourville 16170

St Hilaire de Villefranche 17770

St Jean d’Angély 17400

See www.frying4u2nite.com for details or call 06 02 22 44 74

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

From 7pm

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

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

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

Getting Out & About

D im a n


atuit : 3€ • Gr

19 h s

nts et ado

enfa pour les


Waggiest Tails...

E - 79 1 6 de 9h à BRESSUchIRe 2 Octobre 20


by Beryl Brennan

Your dog doesn’t need to have a posh pedigree, waltz away with cups for best dancing dog or win rosettes for the fastest agility dog - the 5th Fun Dog Show at St Pardoux has classes for all.



JARDIN ABANE ! VIDE-C ur de race co ess de ba animaux e s . n e t t & Vente d' desp

Fête des Plantes BRESSUIRE 2016 The increasingly popular Fêtes des Plants will be held for the sixth time at the Château in Bressuire on Sunday 2nd October, from 9am to 7pm. Entry is 3€ for adults and free for children.


There will be in the region of 60 plant stalls, including some specialist growers, plus a number of stands selling regional products, and garden decorations. The local poultry enthusiasts’ group will be exhibiting in excess of 200 poultry of many different breeds, some of which will be for sale. www


UIRE" NALES DE BRESS 80 73 19 05 "LES AUTOM - 06 ire@g mail.c om autom nales. bressu

The emphasis is on having fun with your dog, and if it happens to catch the eye of the judge as the most handsome male, best crossbreed or dog with the waggiest tail, then there’s a rosette and prize for your much loved hound. Experienced Judge Mme Lesley Oldham will be casting her eye over big dogs, small dogs, shy dogs, bouncy dogs all parading round the show ring, hoping to win prizes. Other attractions include a Pet-a-brac stall selling dog coats, collars, leads, dog toys, winter hats and much more. Have a Portrait photo of your dog taken by David, browse the art stall for gifts for Xmas. Food provided by Reel Fish ‘n Chips; coffee, tea and cakes on sale in the kitchen. In the event of rain, the show will be held undercover. Rosettes and Prizes kindly sponsored by‘Give Your Dog A Comb’ of Le Tallud. For further information visit: www.thisfrenchlife.com or find our event on Facebook Schedules and entry forms from Beryl on 05 49 69 86 16/email: banddbrennan@yahoo.co.uk

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

The local parks authority continues to maintain three different gardens in the Château grounds. They are a medieval garden with medicinal plants, a Renaissance garden and a contemporary garden. In the château building there will be a photography exhibition by Through the Lens Photography Group and a display of the work by children using various hand tools. Drinks and fast food will be available and an innovation this year is pony rides for the children. The Fête des Plantes is organised by Les Automnales de Bressuire in collaboration with the Rotary Club of Bressuire who will be selling apple juice as a fund raiser in support of the Rotary Worldwide Polio Eradication programme. For More information see www.fetedesplantes.net (Photo courtesy of www.fetedesplantes.net)

BRESSUIRE2 -O79ctobre 2016 de 9h à 19h D im a n c h e

• Gratuit pour

les enfants et



Entrée : 3€

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


w w w. f e




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

Rallying for Charity - Update Some readers may have followed the antics of the Dumbarton Doodahs last month as they embarked upon the Monte Carlo or Bust banger rally, driving a 23 year old Saab which cost 100€ from northern France to Monaco.

Congratulations to Ken Smith who won the ‘guess the mileage competition’ and took delivery of a hamper of British goodies and a bottle of French fizz.

Things got off to a shaky start, with an unscheduled pitstop in Secondigny and a garage had to be sought after a couple of hours. However, after a little attention the car, named Prudence, was purring along nicely and the following morning she lined up proudly on the starting grid in St Quentin, alongside 82 other motors. In addition to daily fancy dress themes, there were many challenges to complete and the team was tasked with photographing themselves doing some weird and wacky things! They were caught on camera on a sofa in Ikea, wearing France football shirts, catching and throwing eggs, leaping in the air with coffee shop staff and dressing up store mannequins in their own clothes!

A selection of photographs from the journey. Top left and right © Sally Coppack. Below © Monte Carlo or Bust team.

Other trials involved finding various random items such as a brochure for a new motorcycle, a gym membership application form from Switzerland, and a postcard of the Queen. On the third day, there was only one challenge - get to Monte Carlo. After three tiring but enjoyable days, clocking up 745 rally miles, the Dumbarton Doodahs crossed the line, finishing in third place overall. The team would like to thank Robert Bloch who helped source some of the parts for old Prudence, and John Gibbs for donating a brake pipe. A huge “merci” to everyone who supported and sponsored the Dumbarton Doodahs.

A tremendous 881€ has been raised for Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres plus 1,696€ for Cancer Research UK.

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

Simply email us: events@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 7

leisure activities by Sue Burgess

Summer is here. L’été est arrivé. Time for a day or two on the coast sur la côte / à la mer. It’s la Rentrée Back to School time, and time to sign on for clubs and activities des clubs et activités de loisirs. The three most popular sports in France are cycling le vélo, swimming la natation and walking la marche. These activities are appreciated by all generations because they are easy to adapt to different needs and possibilities. You don’t need to be a member of a cycling club posséder une licence de la Fédération Française de Cyclisme to go out for a bike ride une sortie en vélo! Very popular on TV, team sports les sports collectifs like football le football, rugby le rugby, basketball le basket and even handball le handball are mainly practised by youngsters. These team sports come after skiing le ski or fishing la pêche if you consider the number of people who practise them. According to l’INSEE (the National Institute of Economic Statistics), 15% of the population practise skiing and 10% play football. As far as outings les sorties and cultural visits les visites culturelles are concerned, the French favour the cinema le cinéma, visiting historical monuments la visite de monuments historiques and exhibitions les expositions.  Approximately 25% of the population go to the museum le musée at least once a year. Then there are concerts les concerts, outings to the theatre les sorties au théâtre and shows les spectacles. The circus Le cirque which has changed a lot over the last thirty years is not as popular as it was. The TV is still top of everyone’s list for leisure activities. The computer l’ordinateur comes second and the book le livre is in third place. The smartphone le smartphone is the main companion for the under 35 year olds. Listening to the radio Ecouter la radio is the first leisure activity for one French person in 4. Youngsters les jeunes prefer listening to music écouter la musique whereas older people prefer a newspaper un journal or a book. Internet l’internet is the invention which has had the most influence on daily leisure activities. The smartphone le smartphone or the tablet la tablette follow on closely. Digital photography la photographie numérique completes the table. Vocabulary / Vocabulaire:

l’escalade ................................................

rock/wall climbing

le tir à l’arc ..............................................


le patinage à glace .................................

ice skating

le roller ....................................................

roller blading

la course à pied (le footing) ...................


le ski nautique .........................................

water skiing

la natation ..............................................


la plongée sous-marine ..........................


la voile .....................................................


l’equitation ..............................................


la marche à pied .....................................


le cyclisme ...............................................


le cerf-volant ...........................................

kite flying

la danse classique ...................................


faire de la gymnastique/de la culture physique ..................................................

to exercise

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 9

THE ABBEY’S NEW ORGAN Celles-sur-Belle

The Abbaye Royale at Celles-sur-Belle has undergone a huge fundraising effort to replace their organ. Janet Hall, member of the association ‘Les Amis de l’ Orgue’, explains all.... Archives tell us that in the 17th century religious services held in the Abbey at Celles-sur-Belle were accompanied by the playing of an exceptional organ, under the Abbot of Louis II of la Rochefoucauld. In the 18th century, and to be more precise, in the church inventory of 1791, it is stated that this organ was in a very bad state and would totally disappear from the abbey church by 1798. Centuries later, there is a team of volunteers working together to design and build a new replacement organ. The new instrument has been constructed at Olivier Chevron’s workshop in the Indre region, and was transported to Celles-surBelles at the beginning of July 2016 by Transports Roy. It has four keyboards with over 3000 pipes and a 32 note pedal board. The longest pipes measure 16 feet. The mechanism of the keyboard is partly mechanical and partly electrical. The four keyboards bear rather mysterious names for neophytes: ‘Positif’, ‘Grand Orgue’, ‘Bombarde’ and ‘Recit expressif’. As for the pedal board, it works a keyboard mechanically, A scale model of the new organ. foot size permitting. It just remains for the hands and feet to work together!! The organ has a set of ‘chamades’ (trumpet pipes) laid horizontally above the console and when the organist employs the ‘chamades’, you really need your ear plugs in! The decorative metal work is currently being forged for its surrounds and on 6th November 2015 a dedicated workshop equipped especially for this purpose, situated not far from the Abbey, (kindly provided by the local council) was opened. The aim of the project is to complete the installation by the autumn of 2017 and an inauguration will follow.

Thank you for sending us your Brexit questions.....here’s our first: Brits receiving the State Pension (based on their working life NI contributions) have their healthcare in France covered under reciprocal agreements as EU citizens. We have a ‘carte vitale’ like any other French resident, pay the doctor, etc. and are reimbursed to the same extent by CPAM (65-70%). As with other French residents, we have to cover the remaining 30-35% by insurance or from our own resources. All perfectly fair. The UK government then reimburses CPAM for the social security portion.

My question is will the UK ensure that the French government continues to operate this mechanism after Brexit? Will this form part of the negotiations? The British Embassy Paris answers: “You are absolutely right that this is the kind of question that will need to be discussed during the negotiations. As the Prime Minister said in Paris last month, it will take time to make a full assessment of all of the issues at stake and then to conclude the negotiations themselves. But it’s clear that the safety, welfare and livelihoods of UK citizens overseas will continue to be a top priority for the Government. The Prime Minister and President Hollande also specifically addressed the question of British nationals in other European countries in their press conference. You can find the full transcript here: www.gov.uk/government/speeches/ pm-statement-in-paris-21-july-2016.” There is a lot more information available on the British Embassy’s website: www.gov.uk/guidance/ advice-for-british-nationals-travelling-and-living-in-europe However, if you are still unclear about anything, your questions may be directed to the British Embassy via ‘The DSM’.

(These questions cannot be noted by telephone).

The Forge

Fundraising efforts are in place, but we still need approximately 150 000€ from donations to complete this project. If you would like to know any more detailed information about the instrument, or would consider making a donation the please contact us. There are excellent tax incentives for donations (66%): for example, a 100€ donation would only cost you 34€. Photos © Les Amis de l’Orgue

The President of ‘Les Amis de l’ Orgue’, Pierre Archaimbault, Tel : 05 49 79 81 65 / 06 24 36 13 80 Or for musical details, Guillaume Deslandres: 06 16 36 13 88 Or if you prefer to speak in English, Janet Hall: 05 49 07 20 28.

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

Your BREXIT Questions Answered

If you would like to pose a question to the British Embassy in Paris, please send it in writing by email to: brexit@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr


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


SEPTEMBER and ‘Les Calendriers Des Mois Romane’


by Howard Needs

n September we return to the vineyards for the all important grape harvest. Wine growing was wide spread in the middle ages and was to be found not only in the south of Europe but it extended into England, and even to the southern parts of Norway. The calendars in the churches depict for the most part the grape harvest or the treading of the grapes but in manuscripts the preparatory work of cleaning and repairing the barrels is sometimes shown in August. The calendar at Sargé sur Braye for September shows a peasant sowing the winter grain and reverts to the grape harvest in October – the exception that proves the rule I suppose although I have never understood how. The manuscript illustrations, spread over two or three months, of the maintaining of the vines and barrels and the harvesting and processing of the grapes show just how important wine was in medieval culture. Vineyards were carefully enclosed, the vines were tended with care and the pruning and weeding took place regularly; surface roots were trimmed to encourage deep growth thus improving the availability of water. With this investment of time, material and fertile ground you might say that wine was almost as important as grain to the peasant – certainly wine was the most important drink for noble and peasant alike. Uncontaminated water was hard to come by and perhaps fermented drinks such as beer, cider and wine were seen as being safer. The specific tools of the peasant farmer for the grape harvest were limited to knives resembling small bill-hooks and the wickerwork hods and baskets for collection and transport of the grapes. The bigger investments were the wooden vats for treading the grapes, the press, which came into use later, and the barrels for fermentation and storage in an age when bottles were very scarce. The hillside vineyards produced the best wine, but the yield was lower than on the plateaux or the flat river valleys, where there was competition from grain crops for good ground. Some vineyards were located close to rivers, allowing access to easy transport of the heavy barrels. For the most part, production was local for local consumption due to bad roads and transport in general. Vineyards Leaving aside the question of ownership of ground, a peasant was allowed five years to create an enclosed vineyard and take the full harvest; after this period the crop was divided between the owner of the ground and the peasant. However, vineyards were not only enclosed formal plantations but could be on open terraced hillside, the vines could be planted next to trees in an orchard for support, could be part of a formal garden, supported by a trellis or pergola, or even mixed with grain crops. Harvesting and transport The church paintings show only the harvesting, transport and treading of the grapes; however, other aspects are found in manuscripts. The grapes were harvested using small knives or billhooks with one hand supporting the bunch and the other cutting with a slicing movement. The bunches of grapes were collected in wicker baskets and then transferred to hods or to vats in a wagon and were thus transported to the farm. You find men standing on stones to more easily pour the grapes from basket into hod. Whole families were involved and only in transport did women not participate. Treading and pressing The treading vat is the symbol of the grape harvest and one finds peasants filling the vats from their hods, treading the grapes – one, sometimes two to a vat – or tapping the wine and filling barrels. The hods were designed to be carried on the back with a harness, and had a high section close to the back of the carrier to protect the peasant’s shoulders and head from the grapes and juice. The vats often had cross bars to steady the “treader” in the slippery must. The wine from the vat was seen to be superior to wine from a screw press and the wine that trickled from the vat from the grapes under the pressure of their own weight was the very best. Thus a little game of economics came into play – the superior efficiency of the press against a lower price for the wine. This difference in quality seems to be an intricate interplay between

Taken at Église Sainte-Feyre, Saint Feyre, Creuse. Photo © Howard Needs

chemicals in the stem, pips, skin and pulp of the grape. The wines produced in the middle ages could only be kept for a year and were intended for near immediate consumption. Barrels The barrels resemble modern barrels but the staves are held by hoops made of split chestnut shoots rather than metal, as in modern cooperage practice, and 8 or 10 are used over the height of the barrel. Wine was tapped directly from the barrel from the filling points in the side of the barrel; however, from the 15th century onwards use of bottles became more general. Barrels were sometimes cylindrical but more often curved since this offered a smaller surface area for the absorption of oxygen in an unopened barrel and was easier to roll and direct. The barrels were mostly constructed and maintained by coopers although farmers and wine makers will have also have had their hand in the repair and cleaning of old barrels. The barrels were rolled from place to place and this caused wear on the wooden hoops which had to be regularly tightened or replaced. One of the windows in Chartres Cathedral shows many aspects of wine making including the wooden barrel hoop used in the past as the sign of a tavern. A manuscript illustration by a Flemish painter Simon Benning shows a scene in Bruges of a wine merchant sealing the sale of wine to another merchant. There are many barrels in the foreground and a large wooden crane in the background unloading a cargo of wine from a ship. A row of carved birds – cranes what else – decorates the crane. Sources include Perrine Mane, other books and of course the net.

More next month...

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 11

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

Alone in France?

We are a group of people living alone in the L’Absie area who meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 11am for coffee at the Pause! café in L’Absie. Our lunches are at different venues each month. A warm welcome awaits you. More details from Ros 09 67 49 21 44. Melleran Chanteurs – Amateur singing group meeting every Monday 6.45pm in Melleran Salle des Fetes. French & English members, singing in many languages. New voices always welcomed, particularly tenor and bass. For more information contact Maggie Geal 05 49 07 11 69

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

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 www.avf.asso.fr events and activities. pjhenderson@orange.fr


If you enjoy singing and would be interested in starting a close-harmony group near Chef-Boutonne, please get in touch! Email me, Christine for further information: chezloubigne@aol.com

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: thouarsaintmedarts79.asso-web.com


A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact www.theatrivasles.com, find us on Facebook or email: theatrivasles@gmail.com 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-patriot and French friends. Barry Leech 05 49 87 19 85 contact@cle-france.com www.cle-france.com THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGION LINAZAY, POITOU-CHARENTES BRANCH

Please visit the branch 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.


Grumpy’s Celebrated ‘You’re Not Here to Have Fun Quiz Night’ is looking for new victims. For all details contact me by email: roland.scott@wanadoo.fr. Next Quiz is Sat 24th September in Ste.Gemme


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

with a friendly group of French and English speakers. Each Wednesday at 7.30pm at the Salle des Fêtes, Veluché 79600.

The Phoenix Chorale An English speaking choir. We sing 3 or 4 concerts of seasonal and classical music, often including readings and poetry. Based near Charroux (86), we are always looking for new members. If interested, call 05 45 89 14 84 or 05 49 48 29 68.

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 francis.gaboriau@bbox.fr or 06 85 92 58 33.

TTL Photography Group

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

Les Amis Solitaires

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

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

Call Christian for more details: 05 49 63 04 78

Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Membership Secretary Michele Hansford for joining details. Email: michelemhansford@gmail.com Tel. 05 49 64 21 63

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

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



ach year in September, RBL’s London to Paris Cycle Ride takes place where individuals and teams ride a 460km route over 5 days to raise funds by sponsorship.

At this year’s event from 1st to 5th September, one of our members, Bob Liddiard from St Brabant in the Haut Vienne, will be riding for his third consecutive year in an attempt to beat his 2015 record breaking individual fundraiser of 5,259.14€. Bob’s highest total afforded him the honour of wearing the yellow jersey on the final day and leading the field into Paris along the Champs Elysées to the reception at the l’Arc de Triomphe. In addition to the last three years, Bob has ridden twice before raising a total of 10,000€ for the Poppy Appeal and already this year he has raised 2,866.27€. If you would like to sponsor him you can donate securely on line at www.justgiving.com/pedalencore16. Full details of this event and photos of his arrival in Paris last year are given on our own website on ‘Fundraising Events’ and ‘Photo Albums’ (L2P) pages respectively. Our Parthenay Group will be holding a garden fête on Sunday 4th September, 2pm-7pm at 3 bis, Rte St Maixent, 19200 Pompaire where the Book Store is situated. Entry is free and there will be games, stalls and, for your entertainment, a classically trained musician will be performing. High cream tea will be served with a selection of sandwiches, home-made cakes and scones - all for 7.50€ per head available only by ticket on sale at the Book Store. All are welcome and the location will be signposted, GPS coordinates N46.6296 W000.2421. Full details of this event and the Guy Fawkes Night on 5 November are on the ‘Parthenay Group’ page of our website. Finally, The Rom Ceremonies will be held at the end of September; a full itinerary will be published on our web site when the Mairie at Rom makes details public. This event honours those men of B Squadron SAS who were captured and executed by the SS during Operation Bulbasket in July 1944 and are now buried in Rom cemetery. Anyone wishing to attend is most cordially invited. Google ‘Operation Bulbasket’ for this story of courage and sacrifice.

www.rblpoitou-charentes.fr Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines

Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. including contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows.


by Kate Jouanneau

fter a lovely summer chilaxing, Reaction Theatre is heading back to it’s usual activities. There are a few changes to some of the venues but, all in all things are what we’ve all been used to.

Keynotes will still be meeting at Café des Belles Fleurs in

Fenioux every Friday afternoon from the 30th September. Margaret Round has spent the summer putting together a song list that will be suitable for all the levels of singers within the choir. Her selection is based on the different shows organised for the rest of the year. One of the highlights of the Keynotes agenda is the annual Christmas Cornucopia. The dates have yet to be finalised, so watch this space for more details nearer the time. For other concerts Margaret will keep us informed as they are programmed. If you’re interested in joining the choir then you can contact Margaret via the Keynotes email keynotesdeuxsevres@gmail.com.

As for the Art Group, they be will using the Salle Henri Largeau in Secondigny as the lighting is better for them there. They will be meeting up again from the 2nd September. The programme for the future sessions will soon feature on the RT website and if you’d like to try your hand at any of the classes given then John Blair is the person to address johnblair@btopenworld.com. The Scottish dancing group will also be heading back to Café des Belles Fleurs for their lessons on the 12th September 7:30pm– 9:30pm. Future dates can be found on the RT website. Tony and Maureen Murdoch, who host these social get-togethers, are available for any questions you may have at tonyandmaureen2@ wanadoo.fr. Every year Reaction Theatre put on a spring play. The script review group has been short-listing some excellent plays that promise to be highly entertaining. When they are ready to reveal their choice I will let you all know so that you can decide if you’d like to audition. Having participated in numerous past productions, both on and off the stage, I can guarantee the fun that is had by all as the play unfolds, from the casting of the roles to the opening night. We also need volunteers behind the scenes, so even if you’re not comfortable in the spotlight you can still help out more discreetly. For any further enquiries concerning the different groups, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we look forward to meeting up again for the rest of 2016 and 2017. If you have any further questions you can visit our website www.reactiontheatre.fr or contact me directly.

Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 54€ per annum will be requested. How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 13


by Brian Preece

In 1979 the Rotary Clubs of the world united and launched a fund-raising initiative to eradicate polio through a global programme of education and vaccination.


by Sue Lennon

Hello, I’m Sue and I’ve not written here before.. in fact I am probably the ‘new girl’ as despite my husband owning a house here for 26 years, we’ve only managed to actually live here since April. Now, his French is pretty damn good. Mine? Errrm.. I’m ashamed to say that most of my schoolgirl French has been lost in the cobwebs at the back of my 50 year old mind. Over the years I’ve been guilty of hiding behind his superior ability and I guess it didn’t matter so much when we were just ‘en vacances’. However, I’m absolutely signed up to being as independent and integrated as possible now we are here tout le temps. So..I’d heard about this group that meets in Bressuire called Franglais, and knew that it would help, but I was nervous. What happens there? Would I be understood at all? Would I make a complete fool of myself? I’m ashamed that I speak so poorly… honestly.. my knickers were well knotted! Well, what a waste of angst. I have never met a nicer, kinder, more willing-to-learn and willing-to-help group of people ever before. Franglais is fun! In small mixed groups we are given a light hearted task or a word game or a sheet of statements to kick start a conversation and off we go. It works like this… The French people who attend come to practice and improve their English. The English speakers come to practice and improve their French and the side benefit is that we learn to understand each other, not just linguistically but also culturally. We make new friends and, even better than that, it’ll only cost you 18€ for the year for membership of the Centre Socio-Culturel, and you can join other activities there for free.

Now, 37 years later, there remain just two countries where polio induced paralysis remains a significant threat to the children; Pakistan and Afghanistan. The last case of such illness in the whole of Africa was in May 2014 in Nigeria and that continent is now regarded as being “free”; however the vaccination programme will need to continue for some time to ensure eradication. The Pakistan Taliban have been highly suspicious of the motives of the Eradication Scheme and have prevented access to the vaccination teams. However, the number of children denied treatment has been reduced from 250,000 to less than 50,000 in recent months. The latest Islamic Polio Advisory Council, which took place in July, confirmed that vaccination is in line with Islamic doctrine and it is hoped that this will help the vaccination teams gain easier access to the vulnerable populations. The target date for worldwide eradication is 2018 and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have promised to give $2.00 for every $1.00 raised by Rotary in order to support this work. Please buy some apple juice, being sold by the Rotary Club of Bressuire at the ‘Fetes des Plantes’ on 2nd October, in support of this very worthy cause.

Book & Coffee Afternoon... WEDNESDAY 28th SEPTEMBER 2.00 to 4.00 PM at

45 rue du Bois Baudron 79100 Mauzé Thouarsais Come along, meet new people, enjoy a coffe/tea and piece of cake and browse the many books we have for sale. All funds go to the Helianthus Charity.

2 Books for 1€

Coffee/Tea & piece of cake - 2€ Franglais Bressuire group session, June 2016. Proving that the British also really do have some good cheeses! Photo © Terry Ryan.

Now, no-one knows better than me how hard it can be to walk into a room full of people who already know each other. But, be not afraid! If it helps, one of us Brits could even meet you for a coffee before, so you don’t have to walk in alone. Oh, and of course even if English is your second language and you want to improve your French… I am sure that would work too. See you there?

Next session is on 21st September at the Centre SocioCulturel, Bressuire at 8pm. Need to talk it through first? Feel free to email me: soozielen@ gmail or call Jan on 05 49 65 60 34.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

We look forward to seeing you. Theresa and Steve Penney Email: stpenney@hotmail.com Tel: 05 49 66 03 73

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


Images, work and Copyright

ou’ve seen the most wonderful picture on Google Images. An online blog has the perfect photo for your book cover. Look at that graphic – wouldn’t that make your book event notice shine?


Unless you pay a licence or ask the owner’s permission to reproduce it, it’s theft. The least you could expect is a reprimand and a demand to cease using it; you could also receive a huge bill or be prosecuted in court. Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can use it. Only public domain and wide licences like Wikipedia’s Creative Commons Licence or Gnu can be safe; even then you may need to acknowledge the image originator or accept other conditions.

Get Creative with Lucille by Lucille Watkins

Are you looking for something new to do? Then perhaps I can interest you in a course in glass art. From October 2016, I will be offering courses in stained glass and fused glass. The course will cover cutting and assembling pieces of coloured glass into completed projects such as light catchers, domes for indoor plants, wind chimes, candle holders and so on. I will cover the various techniques for design and cutting, operating a kiln, and completion of an object using a mould. To assemble the finished article we use either lead, (as seen in church windows) which is useful for bigger projects, or copper foil for the smaller, more intricate designs. Fused glass is the process of heating glass in a kiln, to produce jewellery, coasters, bowls, plates, vases, wall art etc. Students can continue their new hobby at home for relatively little expense, and for those who want to take it further, I can show you how to incorporate glass paints, frit, stringers, photographs, and screen printing.

Copyright exists to protect the interests and income of the creator of an artistic work. I slog away on my 100,000 word novels for nearly a year. Average UK annual income for authors is £11,000* (Yes, it’s that low!) so somebody pinching or pirating my work represents a significant loss for me. A photographer or artist takes time and expense to set up or compose an image/video/graphic and then sell it, whether freelance or on commission. This extends to websites, brands, book covers, adverts. This is their livelihood. So if an artist, writer, filmmaker, etc. creates an original product, it’s their copyright and they own the right to sell it or distribute it on their own terms. As soon as you write your short story, poem or novel, it’s automatically copyrighted to you. European authorities, thanks to EU harmonisation, take more or less the same strict attitude about protecting the creator’s ‘droits d’auteur’. Some creatives handle the licensing of their own work, some use an agency and some distribute for free, but however published, the work’s copyright remains with the creator. A writer may give an agency exclusive representation authority to sell the rights to their work to a foreign publisher, or audio producer/retailer, but the copyright remains with the original author. Switching round, I buy images from image libraries, e.g. iStockphoto, but it’s only a licence to use and the licence can have restrictions. Sometimes I download from a free library; no fee, but the image is not mine. It’s still a form of licence. Sometimes you can contact a photo owner and ask permission to use their image, but you should always annotate it “By courtesy of XXX”. Even if a friend says, “Sure, lift it from my Facebook page”, it’s best to acknowledge it. The safest way is to take your own photos or use images that are over 150 years old and in the public domain.

Some examples of Lucille’s work. Photos © Lucille Watkins

Classes are offered in both English and French, but will not be mixed. The colour of glass when light shines through it is beautiful. So don’t worry if you think you can’t draw or paint, this form of art is forgiving. You have to be careful though, because you could become hooked as this is a fun and relaxed activity, where you can meet like-minded people. I acquired teaching qualifications and experience at Southampton University, albeit not in art at that stage. I learned those skills at art studios, including warm glass, over a number of years. The courses will be on offer at my studio at La Caillère, just twenty minutes drive from Chantonnay, St Hermine, Fontenay la Comte, La Châtaigneraie and easily accessed via the A87. Visit my website for further details or contact me via email: contact@vendeeglasscourses.com. (Advert can be seen below)


Do remember that anything you post on social media is open book. Once posted, and whatever your privacy settings, your photos are public and you can’t stop anybody taking a copy. So post low resolution versions which, if anybody lifts them, won’t be good enough for printing or PR purposes. Happy writing and stay legal! * Source: Society of Authors Alison has compiled the articles from this column into ‘The 5000 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her fifth novel, INSURRECTIO, is now out. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 15





ituated in beautiful Deux-Sèvres, you will experience the only golf course in this area with 27 holes, nestling in the quiet village of Les Forges which is 25 minutes from Parthenay and 40 minutes from Poitiers.

With the three courses of 9 holes we have the right course for beginners, or experienced golfers, whether you want to play 9, 18 or 27 holes. FREE LESSONS will take place during the month of September, by reservation only. Whether you are on your own, with your family or with a group of friends, you can come and discover the pleasure of golf. Details of how to reserve are shown below. Please do not hesitate to contact us for the days and times available. In the clubhouse, situated in the heart of the golf course, you will find bi-lingual staff and a restaurant with an outside terrace where you can take a coffee and watch the world go by. Reservations: Tuesdays from 2pm - 4pm Thursdays from 10 am to 12 am & 2pm - 4pm Friday from 4pm- 6pm Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 12 pm

Golf Des Forges, 79340 LES FORGES Tel : 05 49 69 91 77 Email: forges@bluegreen.com Images courtesy of Golf des Forges and www.forges.bluegreen.com

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 16


The World’s Sporting Debt to France by Brian Beard

ith the Olympic Games coming hot on the heels of Euro 2016 the sporting symmetry of France’s contribution to world sport came to the fore. The country of the Tricolour was responsible for the birth of the three top international sports events; the modern Olympic Games, the World Cup and the European Nations Championship, in chronological order. The founder of the modern Olympic Games was Baron Pierre de Coubertin. Born in Paris in 1863, into an aristocratic family, he studied Ancient Greece and developed the idea for the modern Olympics. Pierre, after visiting the famous Rugby School, became a staunch believer in Headmaster Thomas Arnold’s ‘character building of sport’ philosophy. His passion resulted in the first modern Olympiad, in Athens, 1896 and he became President of the International Olympic Committee in time for the second games, in his home city of Paris, in 1900. Jules Rimet was born in Eastern France in 1873 and in 1904 was one of the founders of FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association. Rimet became President in 1921 and immediately began the process to establish a World football tournament. However he was met by severe opposition from some amateur football associations, and, Pierre de Coubertin. Uruguay was chosen to host the inaugural World Cup, in 1930, in part because their Football Association agreed to pay some travel costs for the competing teams, of which there were only 13, all of them affiliated to FIFA. Rimet travelled by steamer to Uruguay with the four European nations; France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia, with the trophy in his hand luggage. Rimet was FIFA president until 1954 and died just two years later. Although the current World Cup is a new one the previous trophy was named the Jules Rimet Trophy in his honour. Henri Delaunay was born in Paris in 1883 and, as a contemporary of Jules Rimet, he helped establish the FIFA World Cup as deputy to Rimet from 1924 to 1928. The two proposed a European Football Championship as early as 1927 but the first tournament wasn`t held until 1960, three years after the death of the man whose names it bears. Originally known as the UEFA European Nations Cup it became the UEFA European Championship in 1968 and is these days known, colloquially as EURO, followed by the year in which it is staged. Brian Beard; Sports guy at Ex-pat Radio and longest serving football reporter at Sky Sports


by James Luxford

Hollywood may not have offered much in the way of classics this summer, but as we roll into the final third of 2016 the Oscar favourites begin to trickle in, and this month’s offerings prove the quality is on the rise! THE MECHANIC: RESURRECTION (31st August) Jason Statham returns, five years on from his first outing as Arthur Bishop, an assassin who gets more than he bargained for when he gets caught up with a shadowy international syndicate who kidnap the love of his life (Jessica Alba). This is entirely what you would expect from a Jason Statham film menacing bad guys, big action sequences and the odd clever one liner. Not clever enough, sadly, as the by-the-numbers formula wears dreadfully thin. HELL OR HIGH WATER (7th September) Westerns have been enjoying a renaissance of late, not with big budget studios but with smaller, independent films like The Hateful Eight, Bone Tomahawk and Slow West. This new entry follows two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) as they attempt to get away with a string of bank robberies to save the family farm. Jeff Bridges also stars in a gripping tale that makes the most of all the talent involved, and favours story development over mindless shooting. WAR DOGS (14th September) Miles Teller and Jonah Hill are superb as a pair of slackers who stumble into becoming one of the world’s largest arms dealers. Based on a true story, the film perfectly balances humour with an edge that makes the stakes particularly high in the final act. The on-form stars are joined by Bradley Cooper as the film’s antagonist, switching from utterly charming to unnervingly sinister very quickly. Overall, a hilarious comedy-drama that is well worth your time, and a fitting choice to close this month’s Deauville American Film Festival. WHERE TO INVADE NEXT? (14th September) A fascinating documentary from infamous film maker Michael Moore, who visits countries across the world (including France) to see what the United States can learn from their way of life. While the political commentary is, as expected, completely biased, it is a subtler presentation from Moore which raises his most thought-provoking argument for years. As he tackles the subjects of education, finance, schooling, nutrition and more, facets from various cultures come together to form an idea of what the world should be. With no small amount of humour, this may be one of the most optimistic cinematic ‘invasions’ ever! Release dates are nationwide in France.

‘The DSM’ Reader Feedback...

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

Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: www.lefauteuilrouge.fr Parthenay Cinema: www.cinema.foyer.cc-parthenay.fr/foyer Melle cinema: www.lemelies-melle.info Niort CGR cinema: www.cgrcinemas.fr/niort/# L’échiquier at Pouzauges: www.echiquier-paysdepouzauges.fr and find others at www.allocine.fr

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 17

Is Reading Good for Us? Ask a LitFester. . .

enthusiastic applause. Shamanic drumming and chanting proved so popular that local therapist, Pamela Irving, had to repeat the session.


trikes by air traffic control, fuel shortages, indifferent weather and, worst, the dreaded referendum on EU membership cast a pall over the beginning of the third bilingual LitFest. We worried that Lemn Sissay, along with other participants and delegates, would not make it to St Clémentin on time. Thankfully the three-day festival began and continued under a blue sky, travel problems dissipated and the referendum result was eclipsed by a superb programme. Feedback has been very positive: “Each day was excellent and packed with interesting choices of workshops and speakers.” Our principal guest Lemn Sissay, broadcaster, poet, musician and performer did not disappoint. During his interview with Roisin MacAuley (BBC presenter) there were two standing ovations and he ended by reading his latest poem The Listening Post, recalling the battle of the Somme. This poem was chosen as the finale for the commemoration service in Thiepval on the 1st July. After Lemn’s presentation the following comment was heard: “That didn’t just make my day, that made my life!” Novelist Patricia Duncker proved to be an excellent, informative and entertaining speaker presenting in both languages. She explained how being diagnosed with cancer at the age of thirtythree changed her life. Given three weeks to live, Patricia put her affairs in order and decided to end her days at her home in France. The local villagers told her there was no room in the cemetery. Happily this did not prove to be a problem because under the French health care system Patricia survived. Although she says ‘cancer is always there on your shoulder’ she has lived an inspirational life, becoming one of the UK’s finest novelists and a first-class tutor. The Monkseaton Morris Men, a colourful and dynamic team, brought much joy and humour to the event. Their world famous Rapper Sword Dance in which the tools used to clean the pit ponies are woven together to make an intricate cross, produced

Exhibition of paintings and photos © Howard Needs.

The retro exhibition of paintings by James Wood, alongside works by local artists and photographers, was much appreciated by the public. The associated haiku competition was won by Francis Carpentier from Angers. A study in The Independent newspaper reveals that people who read are likely to live at least two years longer than those who don’t. Researcher Guglielmo Wiber also details that readers tend to benefit from increased economic wellbeing and mostly enjoy sound mental health. The study concludes that books - like diamonds - are forever. Some new titles from festival authors include: Bogman, a crime novel by R.I. Olufsen, Tree Magic by Harriet Springbett, a charming story for young adults and Insurrectio, part of the Roma Nova series by Alison Morton. On the poetry scene a launch of the anthology Poems for a Liminal Age raised 170€ for Médecins Sans Frontières and for Lemn Sissay fans his new book Gold From The Stone was published in August whilst Lemn was headlining the Edinburgh festival. An excellent team of cheerful and resourceful volunteers manned the bookshop, the Copper Kettle and the Tombola, all of which contributed to our fundraising efforts. Special thanks are due to Karen Crossley for the magnificent festival cake on the theme of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The LitFest committee send a very warm thank you to all the festival volunteers and indeed to all those who attended. The LitFest is unique in Deux-Sèvres and is highly valued by author and storyteller Michel Cordeboeuf who says “Bravo à tous pour la qualité du festival qui grandit toujours. C'est un événement de vraie rencontre culturelle inter-pays avec toute la richesse à partager. Continuez ! Vive le festival et amitiés à tous les amis!”


The Monkseaton Morris Men. © TMMM

Popbacknextmonthtofindthe Resultstothisyear’sSegora InternationalWritingCompetition!

Patricia Duncker. © Julie Tee

Are you a bit of a Bookworm?

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

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres MOULINS Moulins is an old commune, associated with the commune of Mauléon. Moulins is in the North West of the Deux-Sèvres and borders the Vendée and Maine et Loire. The commune is mentioned for the first time in 1122 under the name of Mollendina. The commune is crossed by the Ouin, which flows into the Sèvre Nantaise near Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre. Several Neolithic sites have been discovered along the river Ouin, the biggest being at Roche Allon. Cut flints have been found at Puy Albert. Other remains dating from the Bronze age can be seen in Mauléon museum. The village of Moulins is situated between Cholet and Mauléon, 90 km from Niort. Moulins probably existed more than a thousand years ago. Roman remains have been found at la Barbinière, about 3 kilometres from the centre of the village. The parish church was ransacked several times at the end of the 16th century. It was burned down by General Boucret in 1794.



by Sue Burgess

ituated 14km East of Niort and 17km West of Melle, the commune of Mougon is part of the canton of Celles-surBelle. The commune is made up of three villages: the main town Mougon, then Triou to the South-East and Montaillon in the North-East. The commune has about 2000 habitants and is mainly residential. The locality is very old. It was a money workshop as early as the 10th Century. Mougon must have existed before the Middle Ages. According to local tradition, a sarcophagus and bones were discovered under the village hall and the war memorial. “Molgonensis” existed in the 11th century. At this time Mougon was an important site coveted by the Aulnay family and the Viscounts of Melle. Oral tradition says that there is a network of underground tunnels under the village centre and that there used to be a château. Mougon was popular with pilgrims because it is on the road from Nantes to Limoges. Different districts can be seen on the 1822 land registry. Grolleau, Poitiers, la Gasse, Biron, l’Houmeau, la Ballet, la Vieille Cour and les Baronneries still exist today. Others have disappeared - le Prieuré, la Brocherie, le Guignier, la Malaisée, la Robinière. Some new names have appeared - la Taudrie and la Grande Cour.

The commune gets its name from the presence of numerous mills around the edges of the commune. None of the mills are in working order today but the buildings themselves are still visible. The site of Pyrôme is accessed from Moulins even though the site belongs La Chapelle-Largeau, a neighbouring village. Pyrôme is a wooded site where a pile of white quartz rocks can be seen. The rocky formation is at the centre of a legend about farfadets (pixies) and a devil. On the eve of the Revolution, three water mills linked with three wind mills were working at la Sauzaie, at Morines and at Bénétreau (at the bridge over the river). In 1820, the mills stopped working. In 1876, two thirds of the population were poor: small holders or townsfolk. The district of la Boitauderie was known as the quartier des tisserands (weavers’ district). During the summer the men worked on the farm or as masons. In the winter they wove in the cellars below the houses. Some houses still have this architecture. In the summer the women took over the weaving and this was done in the damp cellars because the thread was more flexible there and less likely to break. The cloth was sent to Cholet for making hankerchieves, rags and towels.

Commune of Celles-sur-Belle. Photo: www.ville-celles-sur-belle.com

Mougon was the protestant capital in the Niort area but the original temple was destroyed in 1685. Saint-Jean-Baptiste Priory – The priory of Mougon depended on the Abbey of Montierneuf. The priory probably dated back to 1023-1031, when Cadelon and his son Guillaume, the Viscounts of Aulnay, obtained privileges from the Bishop of Poitiers. In September 1731, Frédéric de la Tour d’Auvergne, a priest in the diocese of Paris, took possession of the priory of Mougon, with all its riches and profits. Sold as a national belonging at the Revolution, the priory church changed hands three times between 1791 and 1798. It has since been destroyed. The Parish church belongs to the commune. In 1820 the people tried to raise money for the church which tradition has it, is a barn. The bell tower was built in 1822.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 19

Health, Beauty & Fitness Packed with Protein


by Lorraine Wallace

rotein is a highly debated subject! The most common source of protein is meat and so it is argued that animal protein is essential to maintain good health.

However, vegetarians and vegans will argue that you can obtain sufficient protein through alternative sources. Proteins are important for growth and repair. They are needed for the structure, function and regulation of our cells, tissues and organs. I’m vegetarian and choose to eat very little dairy due to associated risk factors, but whether you eat animal protein or not, it’s important to ensure that you are adequately nourishing yourself, so here’s a basic overview. Common protein sources: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Meat/Poultry Fish Eggs Beans, Legumes & Peas Mycoprotein (Quorn) Protein Bars/Powders/Spirulina Processed soy products Vegetables (particularly leafy greens) Buckwheat Dairy Nuts/Seeds Grains/Quinoa

Am I getting enough? Every body has unique needs. The best judge of that is YOU and how you feel. Age, health, physical activity, health goals and sustained injuries will all determine what’s right for you. It’s quite unusual for people to lack protein but common to have too much. Here are some indicators of having too much or too little: Too little protein Sugar/sweet cravings, feeling spaced out and jittery, fatigue, weight loss, loss of colour facially, feeling weak, anaemia, change in hair colour/texture and in more severe cases, skin inflammation and potbelly. Too much protein Low energy, constipation, dehydration, heavy feeling, weight gain, sweet cravings, body tightness, stiff joints, body odour, low calcium, halitosis. The body can become overly acidic resulting in a decline of kidney function and excessive animal proteins can increase the risk of heart disease. High/low protein diets High protein diets are commonly used for weight loss, generally in conjunction with cutting carbs. There is no disputing that this can lead to weight loss, however to do it intensively is not healthy for anything other than a short term measure. Cutting carbs completely removes one of the body’s natural and essential energy sources and the increased protein can lead to the complications detailed, even weight gain, the opposite of desired effect. A balance of both (with complex carbs) is sustainable and healthier. A low protein diet, usually in conjunction with increased carbs, is generally only medically recommended. It is highly effective for people with kidney or liver disease as it decreases the stress on the kidneys and liver or for conditions such as Tyrosinemia. If you have any of the symptoms above, have no medical conditions, and recognise that you eat too much or too little protein, try experimenting for a few weeks with gently increasing or decreasing your intake and increase the range of sources. Track the results. www.lorrainewallace.com Email: lorraine@lorrainewallace.com ~ Tel: 05 55 68 15 77 20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 21

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 8. African doglike mammal (5) 9. Meringue, fruit and whipped cream dessert (7) 10. A passage for water to flow through (7) 11. Basic unit of money in Tunisia (5) 12. A voluntary charitable gift (8) 13. Deep and prolonged unconsciousness (4) 15. Decorative fabric (4) 17. A literary introduction (8) 21. Saddle animal in desert regions (5) 22. Garment worn by divers (7) 24. Unscrupulous person who runs risks (7) 25. Plenty (5)

Down: 1. Elegant and stylish (4) 2. Get or find back (6) 3. Very wealthy or powerful businessman (7) 4. Greek God of Light (6) 5. Use cunning to escape or avoid (5) 6. 3rd largest island (6) 7. Horse drawn vehicle (8) 12. Something considered choice to eat (8) 14. An area of fairly level high ground (7) 16. Fighting; battle (6) 18. Replace electrical cables and fixings (6) 19. Annoyed and irritable (6) 20. Timepiece (5) 23. The plural of he, she or it (4)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Well, what do you know?

With thanks to M.Morris

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

1) Name the Australian snooker player, 14 times Australian Champion between 1964 and 1984. He won Pot black in 1972, ‘73 & ‘80.

8) Which part of a suit of armour protects the shin?

2) Which former Labour Foreign Secretary was one of the ‘Gang of Four’ who formed the Social Democratic Party?

10) Which company publishes the series of eponymous ‘Owners Workshop Manuals’?

3) Which British author wrote ‘The Wasp Factory’ and ‘Crow Road’?

11) Which Yorkshire born sculptor’s foundation is based at Hoglands, Perry Green, Hertfordshire?

4) The assassination of which Archduke helped to precipitate World War 1?

9) Who made the world’s first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight?

5) Which actor played Flash Harry in the St. Trinians films?

12) Name the actors who appeared in ‘Soldier, Soldier’ and had a British No.1 with a version of Unchained Melody.

6) Published in 1920 and introducing Hercule Poirot, what was Agatha Christie’s first book?

Finally, assuming you have 12 correct answers, what is the connection between those answers or parts thereof?

7) Which organisation is responsible for horse racing over fences, hurdles and ditches in the UK, Ireland and France? 22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

Copyright RJS 2016

Answers on P.35 and our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Across: Down: 1. Measures, mixing glue with sea so 1. Young girl taking time keeps going rough it turns over the tables (7) (5) 5. Measure taxi the French put on a TV 2. Article on revolutionary political channel (5) leader exposes a measure of 8. Prove a sun undergoing change of power (3) state is a stellar explosion (9) 3. A pure gathering is included in lift 9. In former times poetically where a (7) cockney might be? (3) 4. Star host hit go order, needed to 10. Jesus hid a container for his raw fish hit the target (5,8) (5) 5. I’m involved with old detective to 12. Orangeman going off at one? (7) get measure of the terrain (5) 13. They can be led but will not 6. Tower attendant worker exploit necessarily imbibe (6,2,5) presented to the queen (9) 15. Measure case of plastic and elastic 7. Seat you would be happy to have producing a certain amount of light for Dire Straits? (7) (7) 11. Plain green site is redeveloped (9) 17. Whip-round for artist gets his weight 13. Given new form, teacher gets in gold measure (5) measure of the plot (7) 19. Obscure measure of a certain time 14. Sounds like sorting the wood from seen in retrospect (3) the trees only gets a tree after all? 20. He started it! Stirring up gross rage! (4,3) (9) 17. Steer clear of Cameron 22. Crude tiler held back the chosen few backtracking over energy (5) (5) 18. Short but quite probably not sweet 23. Ate lamb disgustingly but is not (5) beyond reform (7) 21. Employer turned over and belittled; it makes me weep! (3)

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HOW TO... Lesley Sutherland of La Couronne (selling English Paints at English Prices) this month gives us the lowdown on the SANDTEX masonry paints. To calculate how much masonry paint you will need simply multiply the height of the area to be painted by the width to get a square meterage, then deduct the area for doors and windows. Sandtex Masonry paints come in two finishes – Fine Textured and Ultra Smooth. It’s best to use Fine Textured for highly exposed areas and Ultra Smooth for the rest. Ultra smooth masonry paint covers between 8 and 12 sq meters per litre depending on your surface. Fine textured covers 3 to 6.5 sq meters per litre. Two coats should be applied for an even coverage. Apply to corners and edges first using a normal small paintbrush to give you better control. Larger areas can then be covered using a large brush or roller; medium pile for slightly textured surfaces, long pile for highly textured. Brickwork not being painted can be protected using Sandtex Brickwork Waterproofer and Protector.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 23

Grape vine © Wikimedia Commons/betofamed


S is m

ikimedia elons © W



s/Neal Zirl


urely not! - Yes, it’s September again and Autumn is upon us. Holidays are over, family and other visitors have returned to their own homes and the children have started back to school. So, for us gardeners it’s time to knuckle down and catch up in the garden – no excuses!

Let’s start in the vegetable garden. Aubergines, cauliflowers, broad beans, green beans, peas, courgettes, sweetcorn and parsnips are all ready to pick. Share them with friends and neighbours if you have too many, or chop and freeze ready to use during the winter. Potatoes can be lifted and stored too – somewhere cool and dry, 5-8 degrees centigrade is ideal. As crops are picked you can remove the plants, dig over the soil and fertilize ready for over-wintering and Spring planting. Check the discarded plants for disease before you throw them on to the compost heap - any signs of disease and it is more sensible to burn the plants or take them to the déchetterie rather than inadvertently return the disease to your soil. Melons will be mature now. Place a piece of wood or a flat stone underneath to protect from the damp soil and turn regularly so the sun can ripen them from all angles. Pumpkins & squash can be dealt with in the same way. Any which haven’t ripened by the end of this month should be picked and stored indoors to finish off. Pears, apples and plums are also ripening. Pick when ready and store carefully in cool, dry conditions. They will usually keep for about 2 months. It goes without saying though, for all the fruit/ veg that you store, check regularly because it only needs one tiny, undetected blemish to spoil the whole container. Grape vines will have been loving the hot, sunny weather we’ve had because they need lots of sun to ripen the fruit. It helps at this stage to remove leaves close to the fruit bunches to let sun and air in. Thin the grapes out too this month – if bunches are growing too close together the air cannot circulate and they will get mildew and rot. Remove surplus and diseased grapes – use small pointed scissors for easy access.

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

In the flower garden and shrubbery this is the time to plant new perennials, while the soil is still warm – their new root systems will develop quicker in warm soil; and if your established perennials are outgrowing their space now is the time to lift and divide, for the same reason. Continue to feed dahlias fortnightly with liquid fertiliser to produce good blooms and build up strong tubers for subsequent years.

by Vanda Lawrence


Planting a new shr

If you are planting new potgrown shrubs remember to soak the root-ball in a bucket of water first, until no air bubbles come to the surface. Dig the planting hole and fill this with water too, allowing it all to drain away. Then you can place the plant in the hole, fill with soil, firm gently and water well with a watering can. Plants need to take on as much water as possible to tide them over while they settle in their new situation. Rake fallen leaves off lawns as soon as possible, especially in wet weather. Aerate, scarify and apply sharp sand to aid drainage. Reseed any worn patches and prepare areas to be turfed or seeded for a new lawn. My husband has started giving the fish in our pond an extra scoop of food each day. They will always eat as much as you care to give them, but a little extra now will help them through the winter. Also, if you have trees near your pond it’s a good idea to cover the pond with netting before the leaves start dropping; it will save time and trouble in the long run. I’ve spoken before about using edible flowers in recipes or to decorate and garnish meals, but medicinal plants are another interesting aspect of gardening. I have only just realised that Arnica, (aka Leopard’s bane or Wolfbane), is the same Asteracea family as lovely Tournesol sunflowers. Both roots and flowers Leopard’s bane © Wikimedia Com are used for tincture mons Zeynel Cebeci or gel as a topical external treatment for bruises, sprains and chilblains. Chamomile is a little daisy-like flower which is excellent as a herbal tea to reduce stress and encourage restful sleep. Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a favourite in the perennial border with so many varieties to choose from, but the leaf can be used to reduce indigestion, flatulence, anxiety, depression, insect bites, skin infections, throat and mouth infections. Fenugreek seeds freshen bad breath, help poor digestion, relieve painful menstruation, lower blood cholesterol. Stinging nettle leaf tea is good for asthma, hay fever, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, anaemia and PMS symptoms. I might have sown the seed (sorry for the pun) for some overwinter research if there is anyone out there with a little problem which could be helped by home grown herbal remedies. It’s worth a thought … Bye for now …


NEW Moon

1st Quarter

1st September 9th September

Full Moon

16th September

3rd Quarter

23rd September

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 25

Where We Live...

Époisses de Bourgogne (AOC)

A look at what makes France so special

Delicious moules frites. © Wikicommons/Archangel12

Thought to date back to the 1500s, it was probably first made by Cistercian monks in the Burgundy village of Époisses. It quickly became popular and was later to gain a big fan in the form of Napoléon, who is said to have been quite partial to it with a glass or two of Chambertin wine.

Magical Mussels, from stake to plate...

Its popularity continued up to the beginning of the 20th Century, but production had almost died out by the end of World War Two and it wasn’t until 1956 that two farmers from Époisses, Robert and Simone Berthaut, revived it. Their farm in Bourgogne, Fromagerie Berthaut, currently makes all the fermier Époisses but there are also artisanal fromageries.

There you are, in your favourite restaurant, with a huge bowl of succulent mussels simmering in a tasty sauce. Alongside is a pile of crispy chips and a basket of crusty bread. As you sit and watch the world go by, do you ever wonder how such a tasty treat made it on to your plate?

It’s a smooth, pungent, washed-rind raw cow’s milk cheese, with an aroma of marc (a spirit made from distilled wine pressings). It has a rich, orange-red rind which is washed in either white wine or marc – a job which was at one time allocated to orphans or other children dependent on public welfare. It is washed up to three times a week with gradually increasing quantities of marc. The fine-textured pâte (everything inside the rind) melts in the mouth, with a mixture of salt, sweet, metallic and milky flavours. Maturation takes place in specified areas and lasts for at least four weeks, during which time the interior changes from smooth and creamy to a thick, gooey, spoonable texture. While the aroma can be quite smelly and a little off-putting, a well made fermier or artisan cheese, perfectly aged, will have a well rounded, balanced and complex flavour. Granted Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status in 1991, the cheese must meet three main regulations: The coagulation of the milk for a period of 16 hours must be caused mainly by lactic acid. The curd should be roughly cut and must not be broken. And, after drainage, the cheese must be salted with dry salt. Shaped like a Camembert, Époisses is packaged in small, round wooden boxes in several sizes. The large is usually 16-19cm in diameter, 3-4.5cm high and weighs 7001100g, while the smaller version is 9.5-11.5cm x 3-4.5cm and weighs 250-350g. Fat content is 50% minimum and production is all year round. Brands to look out for include Berthaut, Gaugry or Germain. It goes well with Trappist beer and white wines like Pouilly-Fuissé or a Sauternes. And, of course, a Marc de Bourgogne! Photo above: wikicommons/Coyau

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016


egend has it that the organised harvesting of mussels is down to an Irish sailor shipwrecked off the Charente coast in 1235. Sole survivor of the disaster, Patrick Walton stretched out nets at low tide to catch fish. He noticed that mussels attached themselves to the wooden stakes on which his nets were stretched and that they grew more rapidly than those on the rocks on the shoreline; possibly due to the increased flow of nutrients getting to the mussels via the tides. He also had the idea to plant his stakes in a line to harvest the mussels and so the first ‘bouchot’ was born. Since then, mussel farming has developed throughout the species’ range, namely the entire European coastal area. It began on the Atlantic coast with Mr Walton and the blue mussel (Mytilus edulis), followed by the Spanish Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean with the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis), which is reared as far as the Black Sea. Different rearing techniques – bouchot culture, on-bottom culture and longline and suspended cultures (see opposite) – were perfected at the end of the 19th Century, when mussel farming was developed to provide a source of low-cost protein. The rest, as they say, is history. The French mussel industry produces around 60,000 tonnes a year, with the moules de bouchot accounting for some 50,000 tonnes. Normandy is the main producing area, followed by Brittany, Charente-Maritime and the Mediterranean. But that production represents only around half of France’s yearly consumption, leading to large imports from other parts of Europe. Whichever production method is used, mussels are always farmed in areas rich in plankton. Mussels feed naturally on these micro-organisms by constantly filtering the sea water. From March to October, depending on the latitude, the mussel produces larvae that are carried by currents. In less than 72 hours, the larvae fatten and, since they can no longer float, try to attach themselves to various supports. Unlike oysters, they don’t attach themselves directly to the support but use a byssal thread or ‘beard’. The most common means of collecting this larvae, or spat, is on a rope placed at a location chosen in terms of currents and availability of plankton. Between May and July, these ropes are collected and transferred to mussel farms.

by Mick Austin

Rearing until harvest takes around a year and four main methods are used in European coastal areas: On stakes, or bouchots. Rows of wooden stakes are driven into intertidal ground. Three to five metres of collecting rope or tubing filled with spat are wrapped around the stakes and attached. A net is then placed Mussels growing on stakes over the whole structure to keep the mussels from falling off as they fatten up. They are harvested by manual or mechanical scraping to detach each clump of mussels from its wooden support. Harvesting begins as soon as the mussels reach the 40mm marketable length. Generally there are one or two rows of stakes spaced 25m apart, but the length of the rows and the number of stakes used depends on the regulations in each area. One stake of 4-7m long can produce between 25 and 60kg live weight of mussels per rearing cycle! On ropes. Mainly in Spain and the Mediterranean. The mussels are attached to ropes suspended vertically in the water from a fixed or floating structure. This method is suitable for seas with weak tides, like the Mediterranean Sea, but has been introduced into the Atlantic Ocean. The mussels are harvested by raising the ropes Mussels growing on ropes out of the water and removing the clumps. On trestles. Mussels are grown in some areas by using the same technique as for oysters, in mesh bags on trestles set up on intertidal ground, or directly on the ground. On plots or by spreading. Generally used in the Netherlands. The spats are spread over plots in shallow water, generally in bays or sheltered areas, and they attach to the ground. They are harvested by dredging. Moules frites under threat. Your bowl of moules frites – the French equivalent of fish and chips – could become a rare treat as France’s main producing region, the Atlantic coast, has been threatened by the mysterious mass deaths of the mighty mollusc. The crisis started last November and production in key growing areas plummeted by around 90%, forcing restaurants to import mussels from other European countries including Spain, the Netherlands and Ireland. Scientists suspect the mussels are being ravaged by the bacterium Vibrio splendidus but can’t explain why so many of the shellfish are dying. Many shellfish producers blame pollution or a rise in water temperature. It’s the second time in two years that French mussels have been under such serious threat. In 2014, French producers dumped hundred of tonnes of dead mussels outside the Préfecture in La Rochelle, demanding government action. This time the authorities were quick to promise help, with cash, grants and interest-free loans to help clean up and re-stock mussel farms.

Amazing mussel facts and to Mussels feed entirely on planktonlitres of do this they can filter up to 65 water per day. n. They • Their size varies with the seaso are largest and fleshiest in October and smallest in March. contains • Ounce for ounce, mussel meat less more protein than beef stock, much fat, many more mineral nutrients and a quarter of the calories. , which • Its arch enemy is the dog whelk bores a hole through its shell and sucks out the soft parts. sive they • The byssal threads are so adhetists have can even cling to Teflon. Scien el-ba sed been trying to develop a muss adhesive for use in eye surgery. beauty • Mussels are beneficial to the chitin, industry. The shellfish contains uriser s which can be used to produce moist and haircare products.

DID YOU KNOW ? The sign for the well-known Paris metro station Montparnasse-Bienvenüe doesn’t actually have anything to do with welcoming you to the station. The station was named after Fulgence Bienvenüe (note the unusual diaeresis over the u), a Breton engineer and creator of the Paris metro. Born in 1852 the 13th child of a notary from Uzel, he came up with the crazy idea of building, as he put it, “a metropolitan railway to facilitate travel within Paris.” While Bienvenüe, who lost his left Bienvenüe didn’t invent the arm in a construction accioutside the entrance underground railway – that had dent, to Monceau station. already been built in London – he was the driving force behind the Parisian project and for 35 years presided over its development. The aim was to open the metro in time for the 1900 Universal Exhibition, so the streets of Paris were ripped up, much to the disgruntlement of many residents, and opposition was widespread. By April 1900 it was almost complete, but the exhibition opened without it because an omnibus strike sparked fears that too many people would try to use the metro. Line One was finally opened to the public on July 19, carrying anonymous passengers alongside a few journalists. The metro quickly became popular with Parisians and the pugnacious Bienvenüe continued his project, overcoming setbacks, failures and catastrophes such as the 1903 fire at Couronnes, which killed 84 people. The later construction of Line Four under the Seine was hailed as a great feat of engineering. Bienvenüe died in August 1936, aged 84, and is buried at the Père Lachaise cemetery in eastern Paris. Preoccupied by the funeral of famous aviator Louis Blériot the previous day, newspapers devoted just a few lines to Bienvenüe’s death, yet this man revolutionised the everyday life of Parisians.

On this month

September 1, 1715: King Louis XIV, the Sun King, dies four days short of his 77th birthday. He had ruled since he was four and had transformed the monarchy. He ushered in a golden age of art and literature, presided over the dazzling court at Versailles and established France as the dominant power on the Continent. September 14, 1927: Famed ballet dancer Isadora Duncan is killed in a freak accident in Nice when her enormously-long scarf gets tangled in the rear wheels of the sports car in which she was travelling. The scarf wound itself round the car’s axle, tightened around her neck and dragged her onto the cobbled street and strangled her. She died instantly. September 15, 1916: Tanks are first used in combat during the Allied offensive at the Battle of the Somme in World War One. There had originally been 50 but the 30-ton machines couldn’t cope with the churned-up ground and 14 either broke down or got stuck. Regardless of that, a new era of warfare had begun. September 28, 1066: The Norman Conquest of England begins as Duke William of Normandy lands at Pevensey. William the Conqueror defeats King Harold at the Battle of Hastings and claims the ultimate prize, the throne of England. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 27

Food & Drink Surprising Changes


by Jacqueline Brown

e have recently celebrated another anniversary of living the French village dream. Twelve years ago we arrived with two cats and a toddler; we’ve sadly lost the cats, but gained a dog, lost the toddler, gained a teenager, and ducks, chickens, rabbits and a goose have come and gone over the years, adding to the patchwork of our village life.

On the anniversary day itself we opened a Crémant de Limoux for our aperos in the garden, followed by a home grown, home cooked meal with a twelve-year-old Bordeaux red. It was both a low-key celebration and extravagant at the same time, as our day-today wine isn’t usually that good. So many things have changed in our life in the last twelve years; here are some that I have found the most surprising. Writing As an accountant in my previous life it was numbers not words that I specialised in, so writing a blog, which in turn led to becoming a regular contributor for this magazine and reviewing books for authors and publishers has been very exciting, especially when it has led to meeting famous names. This year my writing, reviewing and cycling skills were combined when we were sent off to explore other regions of France on our bikes and write about our experiences. I still can’t believe it. Exercise and Health Before France, I was an overweight adult who shied away from sport, so owning a road bike and being able to cycle up to 100kms in a day is certainly a new skill I could never have imagined. Our orchard and potager has led to a passion for cooking basic food from scratch, using seasonal produce, from our garden where possible. This is much healthier and combined with the exercise has led to the fulfilment of a lifelong goal, to lose weight and keep it off. Thank you France. Local Politics As someone who has never been interested in politics, becoming a local councillor is probably one of the most surprising things to happen in the last twelve years, but becoming a valued member of our local community has been very rewarding. Being part of a team organising social events is great fun and has helped my French. I was always aiming towards ‘coffee shop comprehension’; being able to understand the conversations going on around me whilst sitting in a bar drinking coffee and although I still have a lot to learn, I’ve reached my goal. My confidence has also grown in twelve years. I could never have imagined standing in front of a class of French teenagers teaching them English or feeling confident enough about who I am to talk openly about my epilepsy, something I’ve had, but tried to hide, most of my life. Some of these things may have happened if I’d taken a different path, but none of these (except learning French and wanting to lose weight) were even a glimmer of an idea before moving here. I can only wonder at what the next twelve years will bring.

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

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 29

Put Ye in the Sickle For the Harvest is Ripe

by John Sherwin

A busy harvest. Photo © Shutterstock


make no apologies for kicking off with a quote from the Old Testament (Joel 3-13, if you were wondering) as this time of year, harvest time, has always struck me as more than a bit biblical: the sowing having been reaped, the bounties of Nature, the sheer fruition of everything. My dictionary tells me that ‘fruition’ not only means ‘the bearing of fruit’ but also ‘the realisation of aims or hopes’. How true this is for the grapegrower/winemaker. But let’s start our journey to harvest at a much bleaker time of year when those hopes start to stir, looking over vine stumps in a frostbleached vineyard – ‘the soil of contemplation’ as Meister Eckhart, a 14th century philosopher would have it. “Tch, more like the soil of bloody hard work if yer arsks me,” said Toutlemonde, a winemaker of my acquaintance. “Prithee, Toot, why sayest thee so?” (Verily, I had learnt the lingo from a pre-comprehensive school textbook.) He exhaled garlic which reverberated in the confines of his 2CV and poured out our second piquette of the day: it was 7am. “You’re a fine lad and one day, oi feel it in me bones, you’ll end up writin’ for an important magazine.” He chuckled in an Ambridge way, though I doubt he was a regular listener. “But for now you don’t know yer eudemis1 from yer elbow. Oi’ll explain.” And this is roughly how it went. Pruning starts the cycle of work in the vineyard, the first frosts of winter having caused the last leaves to fall leaving the vine bare. This pruning is not of the Sunday afternoon, snip-here-snipthere variety, it is back-breaking, finger-numbing labour which is essential to the crop to come. The aim is to control the number of buds which can burst thus delimiting the number of bunches per vine and therefore the eventual yield. It also keeps the vines to a uniform size and shape making all other vineyard work easier (i.e. less difficult). The vine is a lazy plant and will sprawl and luxuriate à la Homer Simpson if not secateur-whipped. There are various methods, but the aim is always the same. Ploughing and spraying are done in late winter/early spring, hopefully before ‘budbreak’ sometime in March. This is the start of the vine’s productive cycle with the first signs of green in the vineyard as young leaves push through (break) the bud scales. Marvellous, you might think. Super – Nature cracking on. So it is, 30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

but it is also the time of year when the winemaker casts more than a normally squinty eye at the weather report. Late frost or hail can cause havoc, as indeed they did this year throughout France. The 2016 vintage is expected to be about 20% down from last year in terms of quantity: quality is another matter. Flowering occurs between six and thirteen weeks after budbreak, depending on the climate and grape variety. This is a critical period as the number of flowers give the upper limit for the number of berries. Cold, wet and windy weather at this time is not what we want as it has a deleterious effect (Toot used a meatier phrase) on flowering and thus on ‘fruit set’. This occurs immediately after flowering and marks the transition from flower to grape berry. Not all flowers are born equal, and on average only about 30% of them become berries. Toot shifted in his seat which made a drawn-out squeak. His eyes had that faraway look which I had always put down to his prebreakfast ‘tastings’, but no, this was different. “Now we’re comin’ to it, lad, now we’re comin’ to it,” his hands gripping the steering wheel so hard I thought it would crumple. “Véraison,” he said stressing every syllable. “Gosh,” I said, “we useth the selfsame word in English. Without the accent…” “Is that roight?” he said, with a withering look. “When véraison starts,” he continued, “the berries are ‘ard and green and no bigger than boils on yer backsoide. This is when the magic ‘appens, when the skins change colour – that’s véraison, see – from green (that’d be yer chlorodiddly) to red-black or yeller-green dependin’ on yer grape.” “Chlorophyll,” I said. “S’what oi said. And the grapes swell o’course and fill up with sugar. Not loike yer boils, eh?” He cackled, a little unpleasantly I thought, but no matter, I was learning. Vendange verte or green harvest or crop thinning might or might not be carried out at this time. Veraison will reveal which bunches are slow in ripening. These are not no-hopers by any means but, so the theory goes, if you lop off the laggards this will give the remaining bunches a better leaf to fruit ratio and thus quicker, better ripening fruit. This ‘harvest’ can only effectively be done by

© Wikimedia/AndyMelton

Vines at budbreak..


The start of véraison...

and ready to harvest.

Any photos not showing a credit are public domain.

hand which means expense. (If you want the gruesome details, the ‘useless’ bunches are cut off and left to mulch back into the ground.) Not only is this an expense in itself, but it also of course reduces the number of bottles you can produce – i.e. you have to be big enough to take that hit to even consider doing it. Now, being a Brit, I always support the underdog and I say give the weedy bunches a fair chance. Indeed, viticultural expert Dr Richard Smart believes that ‘thinning may bring more psychological [i.e. a feelgood factor for the wine-maker] than physiological benefit and that thinning is best done on the day of harvest’. Toot agrees. Be that as it may, we segue nicely into the harvest itself. At this point, timing is the most critical factor. At points during this article I have mentioned weather conditions, and it is indeed the overall weather pattern of the year that dictates when harvest begins. The aim is to ensure a crop of healthy grapes with optimum levels of sugar and acidity, bearing in mind that in the final few frenetic weeks, as sugar content rises, acidity decreases – a balancing act worthy of the Great Fandango himself. The modern grapegrower has science on his side, with laboratory analysis of grapes available to those who can afford it. Lower down the technical scale, a handheld refractometer can be used in the vineyard to assess the level of sugar in a grape. Then again, the good old suck-it-andsee approach can work just as well if you’re a seasoned, canny operator – take grapes from different parts of the vineyard as you walk through, eat them and….well, you get the idea. Do you harvest by hand or by machine? This is not an issue that raises its head every year; it is much more of a strategic (almost philosophical) matter that will have been addressed at some point in the past, and one which, by and large, you have to stick to. Naturally, some prime plots can be picked by hand, others mechanically. Those winemakers who place a premium on quality go for handpicking as even the best machines can’t distinguish bugs and leaves from berries nor rotten fruit from ripe. Quite apart from the ‘big picture’, there are other more practical matters to consider. Whereas for most of the year the work in the vineyard can be done by a handful of workers, come harvest time you will be looking at a short-term team of thirty? fifty? – depends on how many hectares. All of these will need feeding and watering at least twice if not three times a day, and we’re not talking about

© David Brennan

A grapevine ready to be harvested.

a sandwich and a twiglet – tasty carbohydrates and vino are the order of the day. If you’re the missus of a modern day winemaker that wee catering job comes down to you. Is it any surprise that more young wine-makers are listening to the gripes of their other halves and opting for mechanical picking just to keep domestic peace? I kid you not. “See how bloody difficult it is now?” Toot said. “Forsooth, I doest,” I said. “And will ye not get out a bit more, put the grammar books away and meet someone of yer own age?” “Verily. Sorry, I mean yup. Do you know the works of Emile Zola, Toot?” “Can’t say as oi do. He from the next village?” “No, he was a great novelist, and he wrote this in ‘The Earth’.” “It was early October and the wine harvest was about to begin; a splendid week of feasting when quarrelsome families usually became reconciled over jugs of new wine. For a whole week the village of Rognes would reek of grapes; people ate so many that women lifted their skirts and men dropped their trousers under every hedge and lovers stained with grape juice greedily exchanged kisses among the vines. In the end, there were lots of drunken men and pregnant girls.” “Sounds about roight,” Toot said, “so wot are ye waitin’ for?” But that’s an entirely different story.

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or www.french-wine-tours.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 31

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Useful French Vocab....Food & Drink Meat agneau (m) – lamb brochette (f) – skewered meat canard (m) – duck charcuterie (f) – assortment of cured and dried meats dinde (f) – turkey escargot (m) - snail jambon (m) – ham lapin (m) – rabbit poulet (m) – chicken porc (m) – pork saucisse/saucisson (f) - sausage tranche (f) – a slice veau (m) – veal viande (f) – meat volaille (f) – poultry

DRINKS Avec des glaçons – with ice/on the rocks bière (f) – beer bière blonde (f) – lager beer bière brune (f) – dark beer boisson (f) – a drink bouteille de vin (f) – bottle of wine café (m) – coffee carafe (f) – decanter carafe d’eau (f) – jug of water chocolat chaud (m) – hot chocolate cidre (m) – cider décaféiné (m) – decafinated coffee demi (m) – a glass of beer eau (f) – water glaçon (m) – ice cube limonade (f) – lemonade panaché (m) – shandy pichet de vin (m) – small jug of wine Ordering steak: pression (m) – a draught beer • Bleu – very very rare sirop (m) – squash/syrup • Saignant – Meaning bloody. Very rare, thé (m) – tea but cooked slightly longer than bleu. vin (m) – wine • À point – rare vin blanc (m) – white wine • Bien cuit – ‘well cooked’, may still have vin rouge (m) – red wine some pinkness in the middle jus (m) - juice • Très bien cuit – totally cooked through Boire – to drink

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

Ice cream flavours glace (f) – ice cream café (m) – coffee fraise (f) - strawberry framboise (f) – raspberry noix de coco (f) - coconut pistache (f) – pistachio vanille (f) – vanilla Accompaniments ketchup (m) – tomato sauce mayonnaise (f) - mayonnaise moutarde (f) – mustard poivre (m) – pepper sel (m) – salt vinaigre (m) – vinegar

A German Focus September seems a good month to pass on some recipes with a German Beer Festival feel, so “Oompah, Oompah” let’s go. by Lynda Gee



/ Eckhard


German Style Savoury Potatoes (Bratkartoffeln)

Onion Tart Serves 4 as a starter Ingredients: Shortcrust pastry to line a 15-18cm flan dish 300g yellow onions 50g unsalted butter 1 good heaped soup-spoon of flour 1 teaspoon of brown sugar 20cl double cream 2 eggs 25g finely grated Gruyère cheese Salt, pepper and ground nutmeg.

Serves 4

Ingredients: 800g-1kg of small waxy potato es 2 small/medium onions 100g of chopped smoked bac on (lardons) Salt and ground black pepper Oil to cook

pastry and Line the well greased flan dish with shortcrust tes. minu 7 or 6 d bake blind for aroun the butter Slice the onions into rings about ½ cm thick. Melt onions the add pan, frying small a in sugar with the brown ned softe and t and cook until translucen Sprinkle over the flour and mix in well.

Peel and part cook the pot es in lightly salted boiling wat for around 15 minutes. Alloato er into slices about ½ cm thick.w to cool enough to be able to cut Meanwhile, cut and chop the onions. Use enough oil to cover the in the oven at around 225˚C.bottom of a roasting tin and heat When very hot place the oni potatoes and lardons in the ons, to cook for around 30 minuteoven dish and return to the oven s, stirring from time to time.

Arrange the onions in the pastry base. eggs, stir in the In a bowl whisk together the cream and and pepper. grated cheese and season to taste with salt with ground Pour the mix over the onions and lightly sprinkle nutmeg (not essential). ˚C. (th. 7) Bake for 20 minutes in the oven preheated to 210 wine. white dry a and salad Serve with a green

Wikimedia Commons / Takeaway

Crispy Roast Pork Hock 1 pork shank (jarret de porc arrière) of around 1kg in weight, salted butter. The night before cooking, scour the skin of the pork shank in diamonds, or lines, down through the fatty layer and leave to soak overnight in cold water. This helps the skin to crisp and crackle. Take the pork out from soaking and remove the excess water, then rub a little salted butter over the skin and into the cuts.

Wikimedia Commons

Place into a lightly oiled or greased roasting tin and cook in a hot oven 240 - 250˚C for 1-1.5hrs, until the outside is crisped and the meat thoroughly cooked through. / RLogie

Lynda is better known as ‘Ginger’s Kitchen’ and provides a full at-home catering service. See advert on P.29.

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

(If you have a small upright chicken rotisserie this works very well for cooking the pork and makes less mess of your oven!) Serve with the German style potatoes (and cooked cabbage if you like.) Dry white wine or beer to accompany. Prost!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 33

Our Furry Friends A Spotlight from the Heavens...

by Nigel Franks, NALA

I’ve got one of those fitness bands, you know what I mean. It counts the number of steps that you take during a day and nags you every now and again to get up and wander around for a bit. It sets a target of the number of paces every day. If you achieve the target it goes up slightly, if you don’t it goes down. I actually quite like it - it gets me out and about in the fresh air. I have a 9km circuit that I do regularly and that’s a big chunk of my target. The other day I spent too much time in the morning and afternoon not moving around, so instead of being able to complete my target with 9km I needed to do over 10km. Luckily there’s a loop that’s about 800m long that can be added to my usual walk, although I haven’t been down it for yonks. So after my basic circuit, I took the loop which is a path shaded by trees, nice and cool and just what I needed with the day’s blazing sun. In one place there was a small gap in the foliage of the trees that allowed the sun’s rays to penetrate and create a roughly circular bright spot about six or seven inches across. Slap bang in the middle of this patch of sunlight was a curled up hedgehog no bigger than the palm of my hand. “That’s not good” I thought. Seeing a hedgehog in daytime is unusual and normally means something is amiss. In addition, a hedgehog “sunbathing” is probably suffering from hypothermia. I looked more closely. He didn’t respond to a gentle prod and seemed to be breathing too rapidly and shallowly. Definitely not a good sign. So I took off my tee-shirt, wrapped him in it and took him home. Once home I weighed him: 272 grams, which is a bit light. I then put him in a cage with a hot water bottle and gave him a dose of Stronghold for kittens to kill his fleas and other parasites. I also put some cat food in the cage and left him alone. After a while I came back and noticed that he had crawled onto the hot water bottle. A few hours later when I came to renew the hot water he was a bit more lively and was exploring the cage, but he hadn’t eaten. The next morning his food was still untouched and he was sneezing and coughing, so we contacted the vet and made an appointment. Wearing massive, thick leather gauntlets, the vet extracted Spikey from his little box and tried to examine him. He was not too thrilled at the prospect so curled up tightly. Eventually he opened up enough for her to see that there was something wrong with one of his eyes, so she decided to knock Above: Spikey being looked over by the vet. him out with gas in Photo © Marit de Haan. order to examine him freely. Once he was unconscious, we were able to see that his left eye had been pushed out of its socket and had shrivelled up. This may have been caused by a glancing blow from a bicycle. No matter what the cause, his eye had to be removed and the wound stitched up. So while the vet wielded the needle and thread, I held the tube supplying the gas and Marit took some photos. After a shot of antibiotics, an analgesic and a whiff of oxygen to wake him up we took Spikey home and put him back in his cage with some fresh food and water. We were still a bit concerned because he hadn’t eaten for so long. Much to our delight, after lounging around on his heated water bed most of the afternoon, Spikey woke up in the evening full of beans. He wandered around the cage and even did some pull ups on the bars before eventually stumbling across the cat food. This he attacked with much gusto, enabling us to heave a huge sigh of relief. It looks like he’s on the mend!


Animal Association offering help to cats and dogs in need.

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

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

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

Misty, Lady, Princess and Lucky

These four little darlings may look alike but they all have their own personalities. Misty and Lady were rescued from a farm so they are both fine with chickens, adult cats and calm dogs. While Misty is playful, talkative and affectionate with a very loud purr, her sister Lady is very shy but purrs like crazy when she is cuddled. The girls are very close and it would be lovely, if possible, to find them a home together. They were born around the 20th May and are being fostered in 87500 Ladignac. Princess and Lucky are yet another pair of beautiful black girls with very different characters. Lucky is very sweet natured, loves playing and being outside whereas Princess is very calm and affectionate and LOVES attention, hence her name. They were born around the 4th May and are being fostered in 24480.

Photo competition Deadline 18th September 2016 Association CATS was formed to raise funds for sterilising feral cats in and around the Charente with the aim of releasing them back to their own area. The Association is producing a double page 2017 calendar and is running a competition, asking for your best cat photographs. The winning photographs will be featured in the calendar. Orders are now being taken for the calendars, 10€ each. All profits will go to ‘Association Cats’. To submit your photograph to the competition, please send by email to: mooncatmedia@gmail.com marking the subject header “CATS” and including a short story about your cat. To contact the Association please email: kitty16450@gmail.com or find them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/688879534547355/

Please find it in your hearts to help these darling little girls to find their forever homes. All are either vaccinated and chipped or will be before leaving Pheonix care. For Misty & Lady please contact Annabel on 07 87 42 60 15 or email: annabeljuliathomasina@yahoo.co.uk  For Princess & Lucky please contac Patricia on 05 53 57 53 04 or email: stephen@bottomley1109.freeserve.co.uk


Take a Break - SOLUTIONS Easy Crossword: Across: 8.hyena 9.pavlova 10. channel 11. dinar 12. donation 13. coma 15. lace 17. prologue 21. camel 22. wetsuit 24. chancer 25. ample. Down: 1. chic 2. regain 3. magnate 4. apollo 5. evade 6. borneo 7. carriage 12. delicacy 14. plateau 16. combat 18. rewire 19. grumpy 23. they Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. leagues 5. cable 8. supernova 9. ere 10. sushi 12. tangent 13. horses to water 15. candela 17. carat 19. are 20. aggressor 22. elite 23. tamable Down: 1. lasts 2. amp 3.upraise 4. shoot straight 5. chain 6. beefeater 7. ejector 13. hectare 14. wychelm 16. evade 18. terse 21. sob

Well, what do you know?: They are all England International Footballers 1) Eddie CHARLTON 2) David OWEN 3) Iain BANKS 4) Franz FERDINAND 5) George COLE 6) The Mysterious Affair at STYLES 7) National HUNT 8) GREAVES 9)Wilbur and Orville WRIGHT 10) HAYNES 11) Henry MOORE 12) ROBSON Green and Jerome Flynn The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 35

Communications Probably the Most Important Program or App you Use is Your Internet Browser, so Which One is Best ? by Ross Hendry Chrome and will be quite familiar to those of you who use Chrome. I fully intend to use the new version to see how good it is, especially on my laptops and portable devices.


For pure security and privacy there are many browsers, depending whether it is security or privacy you seek. For Privacy the Epic browser is derived from Chromium and essentially cuts out every feature to ensure maximum privacy. Cookies and trackers are eliminated after each session and all searches are redirected via the firm’s own servers. This means they cannot link your searches to your IP address. It comes with top quality built-in advert blocking too. This one is well worth a look if privacy is very important to you.


What the statistics say

Apple’s browser is fast and efficient and quite secure, and there is a version that works on Windows. However, Apple removed all its windows download links in 2013 so you will have to search hard on the web if you want to try it. Funny, because in the past it was downloaded to PCs with iTunes updates - that is why those who have Ipads or Iphones have this on their Windows PCs.

This is a difficult question because each of the top browsers is pretty good. An easier question to answer is, which browser is the most used/popular? In this case it is Google Chrome used by over 50% of UK web surfers according to StatCounter. Their nearest rivals are Apple’s Safari (12%) and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (10% although this is being replaced by Edge in Windows 10). These figures are based upon the final quarter of 2015. WC3Schools believe that Internet Explorer is second with 24% but it still puts Chrome a long way in front of the rest. W3Schools put Chrome top with 71.4%, 2nd Firefox – 16.9%, 3rd Internet Explorer – 5.7%, 4th Safari – 3.6%, 5th Opera – 1.2%.

I think it is worth briefly mentioning Chromium. This is an open source project that forms the core of Google Chrome, because it is completely open-source. (Definition of OpenSource: an adjective denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified.)

It is quite remarkable that Google Chrome has such a dominant position because when you get a new PC the browser supplied by Microsoft for Windows was Internet Explorer until Windows 10 where they provide Microsoft Edge, their latest browser. This means that users have actively sought Google Chrome as an alternative or chosen it from the “Browser Choice” screens when loading Windows 7 and 8.

Many companies use it, but it is unfortunately also associated with many infections and confuses some users looking for Google Chrome into downloading it often with bad results. The Chromium OS open-source is the basis for Google Chrome and both were originally created by Google and released to the market for all to benefit from in around 2008.

Google Chrome

For general all-round use where you want to synchronise your PC Android Telephone and/or Tablet and Mac device such as a MacBook or IPad, Google Chrome is the leader by far. However, it is not very resource efficient, so if you do not have a lot of RAM you should choose another. There are many to choose from.

Mozilla’s Firefox

Next in Popularity for the PC is Mozilla’s Firefox. Chosen by many IT Professionals Firefox is quick and secure but probably not as easy to use as Google’s Chrome, but far faster than Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer & Edge by Microsoft

Microsoft are retiring Internet Explorer which has been quite slow and in the early days very insecure. After much work it was almost as secure as Chrome and Firefox but always considerably slower. It comes with all versions of Windows currently available, but for Windows 10 Microsoft have their new browser, Edge. This has a fresh new look and is fast, secure and according to Microsoft, very efficient especially in power usage terms. Don’t worry - if you don’t like it they have included Internet Explorer as well.


Probably one of the most underrated Browsers is Opera based upon Chromium. The recent release boasts to be the best for portable use, being some 49% more efficient on battery use. It looks like a slightly re-vamped Google 36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

Chromium the source program

In my experience Google Chrome is the quickest with the best search results and most of my customers use this or Mozilla’s Firefox. The next most popular is Internet Explorer. I should mention that I do use other browsers. For example if a website does not seem to display properly in Google Chrome, I will try others. Finally, you can have as many Browsers on your PC or device as you like: one for speed, one for battery efficiency, one for security, etc., just do not run them all at once or your PC/Device will slow right down.

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

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

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


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Building & Renovation

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 41

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 43

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

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

Business & Finance Marketing Matters Small B/W Advert

by Cindy Mobey

Time to Review your Business Goals

only 32€ ht


his is the time of year that I take another look at my business plan to see how my business is standing up to the goals I set at the beginning of the year. I aim to check my goals every quarter; it doesn’t always work out that way, but it’s a good habit to get into. Taking another look at your goals can help you plan the rest of the year and it makes you feel really good when you can tick something off the list! And it’s good to take a step back and look at your business with a fresh pair of eyes every few months.

What has worked well?

You may have achieved all your goals already – if you have, it’s time to set some more challenging goals, something a little harder to get to.

Excellent Opportunity! Read on...

Of course, when you achieve any of your goals, you should feel proud of yourself and it’s always good to celebrate the wins, whether they are big or small. I find that celebrating the little things is highly motivational and spurs me on to want to achieve more. If your business involves sales, then you may find that you have achieved a certain level, but would like to go further – brainstorm ideas to help you get more sales – would an end of year campaign help? Now is the time to think about setting a competition or challenge to customers to encourage them to buy more with you. Customers always like an incentive and competitions are popular, particularly if there’s a good prize. Alternatively you could set a challenge. For example, invite your customers to introduce five new people who buy a product from you by Christmas… in return they get a voucher for 20% off if they spend 100€. Some of the big stores do this in the UK and it works very well for them.

What isn’t working so well?

Is there anything that just isn’t working for you? Sometimes there is no answer other than to bin it for now… or put the goal on the back burner for next year. But before you do that, is there another approach you could take to achieve what you want? You may simply have been a little over-ambitious. If this is the case, could you break down that goal into smaller, bite-sized chunks? The goal will take longer to achieve, but giving yourself a little flexibility will help make the long term aim much more attainable. Sometimes a goal can’t be achieved because of other influences. For example, if you decide you’d like to learn more about a particular subject, your goal might be to go on a specific course. But if your business is very busy and other family commitments get in the way of actually getting on the course, it won’t be achieved. This doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it just means you may have to postpone that particular goal… maybe for a few months, maybe for a year. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Finally, if you do decide to change or set new goals for the rest of the year, make sure that you aren’t setting yourself an impossible task. Good luck with your reviews – let me know how you get on! Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email: cindymobey@outlook.com See advert opposite

Images courtesy of Stuart Miles and David Castillo Domenici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 45

Reducing your Income Tax Legally


ike me and 50 million French residents, you will have received your French income tax bill in August and may be wondering how you could reduce this figure without reducing your income, of course!

Well did you know that finding ways to reduce your income tax is one of the France’s favourite past-times! And the French government even uses that as a tool to encourage investment and to improve the French economic and social system. There are more than fifty ways to reduce your income tax. I will only give you a brief summary here, but don’t hesitate to contact me directly for more detailed information.

Deduction d’impôts

The deduction of tax is when you actually reduce the income that you declare and therefore reduce your tax. So instead of declaring 20,000 of income you declare 18,000€. a. PERP and Madelin contracts (for self-employed) are reduction d’impôts: PERP is a pension contract and whatever amount you put in it per year is deducted from your income. So if you earn 20,000€ and put 2,000€ in a PERP, you are only taxed on 18,000€. Madelin is the same for the self-employed so the amount they put in their pension funds (but also towards life insurance and health top up) is added to the charges/cost they declare and therefore reduce their income. Not possible for auto entrepreneur as they don’t declare charges. b. Old people: Another deduction of tax could be taking care of an elderly person at your house (other than your parents). This person must be over 75 years old and earning less than 9,600€. You can deduct the cost (food, housing, etc) up to 3,403€. c. Bénévoles: If you do some work for a registered charity or association as a volunteer, then you can get the cost of your expenses (petrol, food, etc) deducted from your yearly income. Those costs must not be reimbursed by the association or charity and must be declared by them on their annual report.

Reduction d’impôts

There are loads of reductions possible and this is when the French government says you can reduce your tax bill by a certain percentage. a. Children at school: Yes, if you have a child in college, you can reduce your income tax by 61€, in Lycée, by 153€ and 183€ for University. This amount is per child. b. Giving to charity or associations: You can reduce your income tax by 75% (limited at 529€) if you give to French registered charity (food, housing, medical, etc) or by 66% (limited at 20% of your income tax) if you give to political parties, associations, educational, public interest, art charity, etc.

f. SOFICA: This is an investment in Cinema! Yes, the French government wants private investors to help the art cinema sector so you can reduce your income tax by 30% of the amount you invest. Highly risky of course but your investment has to be -30% for you to lose. But some years, it’s good - it depends if one of the films is successful or not. It is blocked for 5 years.

Credit d’impôts

This one means that not only can you reduce your income tax but if the reduction is more than your total tax, the French government can also give you some money. a. Ecological work in your main residence: If you do some work in your house in relation to ecology (solar panels, wind mills, energy efficient, etc) you can get a tax credit of up to 25% of the amount spent. The work has to be done by professionals and includes wood burner, insulation, double glazing, solar panels, etc. Best to look it up on form 2042-QE (you can download it from the internet). b. Home services: If you pay someone to do your garden, cleaning, ironing, IT, handy work at your house and you are employed or self-employed, you can get a tax credit of 50% of the amount you pay per year. c. Nursery: You can get a tax credit of 50% of the cost if you leave your children at a nursery or with a registered nanny (parents don’t count). Those are only a few examples of some ways to reduce your income tax (and wealth tax) and you would be amazed to what length and what risk some French people go to do so. But please be careful as some of those investments can be risky and not available for a while. So make sure you contact me if you want any further information. And remember to check out our website www.bh-assurances. fr for all my previous articles (“practical information” on the English site). You can also follow us on Facebook: ‘Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Thierry Hatesse’. And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subjects such as Funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc…

c. Home services: If you pay someone to do your garden, cleaning, ironing, IT, handy work at your house and you are retired, you can reduce your income tax by 50% of the amount you pay per year. d. FCPI: This is an investment in helping the creation of small and medium companies in innovating sectors. This investment can be made with me (Allianz). This is a reduction of 18% of the amount you invest and 45% for the ISF (wealth tax). The money is blocked for 5 to 7 years. e. Property investment “Loi Pinel”: Investment in rented property that gives you a reduction of 18% over 9 years, so 2% per year so if you invest 20,000€, you reduce your income tax by 400€ per year over 9 years. This can be done with Allianz so contact me. It is blocked for 13 years. You can buy using a mortgage and deduct the interest from your income as well. 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

by Isabelle Want

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: isabelle.want@bh-assurances.fr Visit our website: www.bh-assurances.fr

Ask Amanda

“I have a couple of Financial Questions, where can I catch up with you in September?”

Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. With Care, You Prosper. Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Lausanne, Paris, Cote d’Azur, Barcelona, Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Madrid, Mallorca, Rome. «The Spectrum IFA Group » is a registered trademark, exclusive rights to use in France granted to TSG Insurance Services S.A.R.L. Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 «Société de Courtage d’assurances» R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 - www.orias.fr «Conseiller en investissements financiers, référence sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Fin

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

Now the Summer holidays are behind many of us and those with children have successfully negotiated the rentrée, our thoughts turn towards other matters. If you have any financial questions, which may have arisen over the summer, why not catch up for a chat at one of my financial surgeries during September and October? Pause Café in L’Absie, 79240 • Tuesday 20th September • Tuesday 18th October Chez Tante Mabel, Fondemoulin, Pers 79190 • Friday 2nd September • Friday 7th September At my L’Absie surgery I will be accompanied by Val Assist and Currencies Direct so please feel free to drop in and ask any questions that you have. Whilst at my Pers surgery, Currencies Direct will be with me too. Alternatively give me a call or drop me an email on my numbers below and I will be happy to help.

A Market Update

by Sue Cook

This month, I thought I would share a recent government survey showing the changing house prices in the Deux-Sèvres. From the table below you can see that in 2007 the average house price was €111,700 and this dropped in 2014 to €94,000. What makes it really interesting is the exchange rate and how this makes a big difference to the price in sterling. Although house prices dropped, due to the fluctuating exchange rate the actual price of a house in sterling has changed very little with a drop of just over £1,000. This gives some hope to those wishing to sell up and return to the UK but also for new purchasers as they can still get a bargain in the Deux-Sèvres and come and live in this beautiful part of France.

Average House Price €

















Exchange Rate









Price in £









The Brexit vote, contrary to some predictions, has not stopped people wanting to move to France and we have seen many deals go through and new offers put on property since the vote. Obviously the exchange rate has dropped and we wait to see what it will do in the future, but the British love of France does not seem to have diminished. Now more than ever it is important to speak to the experts who keep abreast of the currency markets and will be able to keep you informed of market movements which could affect the exchange rate in the future. Let’s talk currency - www.currenciesdirect.com

Sue Cook, Currencies Direct 05 55 03 66 69 or 06 89 99 28 89 Email: sue.c@currenciesdirect.com The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 47

Weather the Sterling Storm with Flexible Investments

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks


ne casualty from Britain’s decision to leave the EU has been the British pound. Since the Brexit vote, sterling has hit a 31-year low against the US dollar and dropped as much as 15 cents against the euro. While it has since recovered, the pound remains unstable.

With Brexit likely to disrupt currencies and markets for a while, this is a good time to revisit your options. As a British expatriate in France, you can find opportunities to protect yourself from the uncertainty ahead.

Should your savings be in Sterling or Euros?

There is no simple answer, but generally you should have both, and more besides. As always, diversification is the key to managing risk. It is common for expatriates to keep savings and investments in British pounds. However, if you are living in France and spending euros daily, it can be much more expensive to take your income in sterling. This is especially true now that the fortunes of pounds and euros are tied so closely with unpredictable Brexit developments. You can limit exchange currency risk with investment structures that allow flexibility to hold money in more than one currency and convert when it suits you. You could, say, invest in sterling now and switch to euros later when the exchange rate improves. Or you could hold savings in several currencies for different purposes – euros for spending in France and sterling for UK spending and your legacy to heirs.

semina rs

The path to currency flexibility

You could get currency flexibility through an ‘assurance-vie’. This is a specialised form of life assurance that allows French residents to hold a range of investments in a highly tax-efficient package. However, not all products offer currency flexibility. There are many different types of assurance-vie options based in various jurisdictions, not just France. As these variations can make a huge difference to the advantages they offer, you should seek expert advice. An assurance-vie issued in Luxemburg, for example, would enjoy French tax benefits afforded to EU countries. But as a foreign asset, it may avoid certain domestic liabilities, like wealth tax (for up to five years). And if it offers currency flexibility, you are not tied to keeping your investments in euros, even if the assurance-vie itself is from an EU country. To establish the most suitable option for you, it is essential to get professional guidance, ideally through an adviser with in-depth knowledge of the complex French tax regime. They can help you take advantage of available opportunities and minimise risk – currency-related or otherwise – with a well-diversified portfolio tailor-made for you and your individual circumstances.

This article should not be construed as providing any personalised investment advice. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website www.blevinsfranks.com

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

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

▪ Tax planning ▪ Estate planning

▪ Pensions ▪ Investments ▪ Currency options

Sem01 - fr

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

book your seat now

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


05 49 75 07 24

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






48 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016


w w w. b l e v i n s f r a n k s . c o m


Don’t forget our deadline!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016 | 49

When Only a Town House Will Do... by Joanna Leggett


rance, and Deux-Sèvres in particular, has many fascinating places to live. But when it comes down to it, while many fancy the rural idyll, in practice it’s a boon living in a pretty town, neither too large nor small, with conveniences on your doorstep! With children, accessibility to schools is key – and if the town you choose is pretty, has street markets, festivals and a long, fascinating history, what could be better? Just add a home with all the conveniences of townhouse living in a great location! Parthenay has a long history with lovely medieval houses. It was created, according to legend, by the fairy Melusine’s wand! We think she sprinkled her magic over a lovely modern townhouse currently for sale (Leggett reference 67083, photo above) in a very quiet district of this lovely medieval town. Immaculately presented, you enter the property through gates into its large courtyard. A light-filled hall opens on to living and dining rooms, fully fitted kitchen and study. Three large bedrooms await upstairs (master ensuite). Outside is the beautiful garden, large swimming pool and a cottage with fitness room. On the market for 381,600€! In Thouars you could send your children to middle school housed in its ancient château! This is another charming historic town where a grand townhouse awaits its next owners (Legget reference 67396, photo top right). In a quiet road, next to the market square, ancient and modern combine in this great property with internal courtyard.

Well proportioned rooms are light filled, most look into the garden – with five bedrooms (each ensuite) the options are endless. There’s even a limestone vaulted wine cellar! And there’s attached commercial space which opens onto the road next to the market – you could open a shop, gallery or incorporate it into the house! A steal at the asking price of 224,700€. But if it’s the convenience of town living with luscious gardens look no further than Niort (Leggett reference 66426, photo left). Entering this impressive townhouse from its courtyard, most of its rooms have original parquet flooring. Large rooms feature throughout, with space aplenty in the living areas on the ground floor, while upstairs are three bedrooms with further room in the loft – the house will win you and the garden seduce! Opposite the house you enter the front garden by crossing a little bridge over a stream while at the bottom – through some gates – is the river Sèvre Niortaise. The back garden is terraced with panoramic views! If rose clad arches in a divine garden with a simply great house are for you – look no further – for sale at 299,600€. Leggett Immobilier is one of the leading estate agents in France. You can access all our local property listings at www.frenchestateagents. com/poitou-charentes-property

Leggett Immobilier www.frenchestateagents.com



Ref: 66320 3kms from St Maxient l’Ecole is this sweet 3 bed / 2 bath cottage with mature garden, garage and workshop. ST MARTIN €160,500

Ref: 32908 Well presented 5 bedroom hamlet home with barn, outbuildings and large garden near Sauzé Vaussais. MELLERAN €185,000

Buying or selling?

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 66462 Station house offering 2 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, lounge, heating, barn, cellar, garage, well and garden. CHEF BOUTONNE €127,530

Ref: 67258 Attractive 4 bed / 1 bath modern bungalow in a rural but not isolated location. 2 garages, utility & cellar. BOUILLE ST PAUL €141,700

Ref: 67349 Character farmhouse and 1-bed gîte set in beautiful grounds bordering a river. Boat house & workshop. MISSE €418,700

Ref: 64479 Private 6 bed / 4 bath modern family home surrounded by mature gardens. Just 5mins drive from town. ST LOUP LAMAIRE €429,300

Looking for a new career? Join our winning team. To find out about becoming a sales agent contact max79@leggett.fr

Tel:05 53 60 84 88 or 0800 900 324 www.leggettfrance.com 50 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016  

English Language Magazine for the Deux-Sévres and surrounding areas.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2016  

English Language Magazine for the Deux-Sévres and surrounding areas.

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