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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 79 of

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine

Oh my....well, here we I write this, it’s nearing the end of August and the triathlon that Rob and I (and friends) have been training all year for is taking place in a few days time! I’m feeling excited and nervous and next month I’ll let you know how we got on! The big charity bike ride, Tour de Rêves, will start on Monday 4th. We are all feeling excited about the adventure that lies ahead, and very grateful for all the donations received to date. We will be cycling 425 km over 6 consecutive days enjoying the sights of our beautiful department. Taking to the saddle realy does give you the chance to soak up the natural beauty of the region and feel the warm sun on your backs. The hills here can be hard, but what goes up must come down, so there’s always some relief for the legs! We’d love to see some of you cheering us on or joining us during the tour...we will pass through many of the bigger towns in the department, stopping frequently for a pâtisserie, lunch or beer, so please do pop along and perhaps drop a Euro into the donation box. See pages 10 & 11 for our ETAs and the various stops, and our Facebook page for more ‘realtime’ information. Well that’s enough from me....enjoy your month and we’ll update you of our news next month.

à plus, Sarah

Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: Website:

Emergency Numbers:

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents What’s On4 Getting Out & About 6 Clubs & Associations 14 Hobbies 16 Health, Beauty & Fitness 20 Take a Break 22 Home & Garden 23 Where We Live26 Our Furry Friends 30 Food & Drink 32 A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres 36 Motoring 37 Communications 38 Building & Renovation 40 Business & Finance 45 Property 49

This Month’s Advertisers

ABORDimmo 49 Accents Association 9 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) 2 AKE Petit Travaux (Builder) 40 A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant & Auberge) 34 Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group 46 Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) 43 ARB French Property 51 Arbrecadabra Tree Surgery 23 Arbres et Abeilles (Plant nursery)24

Argo Carpentry 42 Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 37 Bar de la Poste 8 Bayleaf Books (Books in English) 8 Beau Jardin (Gardening Service) 24 BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want 47 Bill McEvoy (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 43 Blevins Franks Financial Management 48 Camping Les Prairies du Lace 51 Chat-eau (Cattery) 30 Château de la Commanderie, Ensigné6 Centre Régional ‘Résistance & Liberté’ 9 Cherry Picker Hire 44 Chris Bassett Construction 41 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 43 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 CJ Electricité 42 Clare Lane (Agent Commercial) 49 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 43 Creature Comforts (Handyman and Gite Services) 43 Currencies Direct - Sue Cook 46 Darren Lawrence 40 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 43 Deb Challacombe (Online counsellor) 20 Domaine de l’enchantoir (Vineyard and wine tasting) 35 Down to Earth Pool Design 49 Ecopower Europe  49 Expat-radio 39 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 37 Fresco Interiors 23 G & G Interior Design23 Hallmark Electricité 42 Haynes Carpentry (UPVC Double glazing) 41 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 46 HMJ Maintenance 43 Hope Book Sale 8 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 40 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 44 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation work) 44 Jeff’s Metalwork 41 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 37 Jones’S (Supplier of British Foods) 35 Jon the Carpetman 23 Keith Banks (Pool Services) 49 La Deuxième Chance (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint supplier) 23 La Germondière (France Fishing Gites) 52 Leggett Immobilier 50 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 35 Le Relais du Poitou Gourmand 34 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction 41 Mark Wilson (Language Assistance) 13 Martin O’Neill (Photography) 8 Me and Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 23 Michael Glover (Renderer, Plasterer, Tiler) 40 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 42 ML Computers 39 Motor Parts Charente 37 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 37 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 24 OD Rénovation (stonemasonry) 42 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology) 20 Polar Express (Frozen foods) 35 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 49 Restaurant des Canards 35 Rob Berry (Plasterboarding & Plastering) 41 Robert Lupton Electrician 42 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 38 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 24 Sarah Berry Online (Website design) 37 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 44 Satellite TV 39 S. C. Groundworks 44 Short Cuts (Mobile dog grooming) 30 Simon the Tiler 40 Smart Moves - Removal company 37 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 40 Steve Robin (Plumber) 43 Strictly Roofing 41 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 13 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 37 Val Assist (Translation Services) 13 Vendée Glass Courses 19 Vendée Web Design 39 (Free ads website) 39

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 3

What’s On... until 17th September - Le Nombril du Monde, various events at Pougne Hérrison 1-3 – La Montgolfiade de Thouars Hot air balloon event with music, fireworks, pony rides, demonstrations, walks. Free entry and parking. Programme and information can be found at www. 2 - live music & curry night at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.33 2 & 3 – Fête du Village and Vide Grenier Aigonnay 3 – Fun Dog Show at St Pardoux

See advert on P.6

3 – Marché des Producteurs in Pamplie Don’t forget to take a plate and

cutlery and enjoy buying and tasting food from your local producers, meat, cheese, wine, bread..... 3 – Vide Greniers and Local Market

St Vincent La Chatre

3 - Sunday roast at Bar de la Poste,

L’Absie. See advert on P.8 4-9 - Our Tour de Rêves Charity bike ride of the department of Deux-Sèvres, around 400 km over 6 days. Read more on P.10 6 - Charity Quiz night at Bar de la Poste, L’Absie. See advert on P.8 7 – Exultemus concert in Argentonnay. Read all about this choir on P.7 8 & 9 – Festival Ouaille Note? In Vasles - “the music festival for all those who have ears, enjoy the rhythms of Jamaican music and above all, make discoveries. Festive atmosphere guaranteed!” 9 – Association Galia Soirée in Charzais (85) 9th – CSSG Fishing/BBQ/Picnic in Secondigny - read more on P.15 10– Craft fayre and artisan market

Associations CATS in St Laurent de Ceris (16), 10am - 4pm. See advert on P.8

16 & 17 – European Heritage Days

Various events including one at the Château de la Commanderie in Ensigné (Read more on P.6), Exhibition of Church Wall Paintings at La Chapelle de la Poraire and Chateau d’Oroux. (Further details on P.7) 17 – Coffee Morning in aid of Parkinsons UK and the opportunity to buy Frenchic Paint at Bienvenue B&B L’Absie, 10.30am 1pm. Contact 17 – Grand Vide Grenier & Braderie

in L’Absie

18 – CSSG Race Night and Curry Supper

in St Pardoux. See more on P.15

20 – Opera Live Streaming The Magic

Flute at Le Fauteuil Rouge in Bressuire. Read more on P.19

20 Sept until 12 Oct – Le festival des Coréades, Classic Musical performances

throughout the Deux-Sèvres www. 22 - quiz night at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.33

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

22 & 23 – Spirituality Conference, Lecture and Meditation in La Rochelle.

Please see article on P.21

23 - Trail de la Vallée du Thouet

31st year of this running event. 3 trails to choose from, 9 km, 23 km and 33 km. More info on:


in La Chapelle Thireuil in aid of CSDS. See advert on P.20 24 – Vide Greniers and Entertainment in Argenton Les Vallées 26 - Positive Thinking Group at Le Régal’On, Allonne at 2.30pm. See P.21 28 - Quiz night at A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. Starting at 7pm. See advert on P.34 30 – CSSG Meeting at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. Read CSSG article for details.

1st October – Fête des Plantes Bressuire 1st-15th October - Festival éclats de voix in Bressuire. 5th-8th October - Festival des vendanges in Pamproux 7th-15th October - Pomm’Expo Secondigny 13th-15th October – Hope 3 day book sale 14th-15th October – Segora 2017 competitions celebration. See article on P.17 20/21st November - Learning to Find the Natural You workshop with Pamela Irving. See advert on P.20 27th October-1st November - Festival de Menigoute

24 – Tea, Coffee and Cake Afternoon

30 Sept & 1 Oct – AssocIation AZoukah perform at Le Patronage Laïc.

Please see article on P.19


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

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: Reel Fish & Chips 6th & 20th 7th 8th 15th


É tusson La Coudre Genneton St Martin de Sanzay

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

La Vendée Chippy

Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: NEW ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: 1st of month : Bar ‘Le Marmiton’, Antigny 23 Sept: Pourtes Ouvertes, St Maurice la Fougereuse Sat 23 Sept: Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 Tel: 06 04 14 23 94 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm FROM 6.30pm Closed 27-30 Sept

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

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

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

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm



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


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

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

1st November 11th November 25th December

Fête des Grand-pères Halloween

Toussaint Armistice Noël

Dates in orange represent celebration days, not public holidays.

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



4th: 6th: 11th: 13th:

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

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Theil Rabier Aigre

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

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

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

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

Getting Out & About

European Heritage Days (Journées Européennes DuthPatrimoine) Saturday 16th & Sunday 17 September Ensigné celebrates its heritage at the Château de la Commanderie Located between Melle and Saint Jean d’Angély, the Commanderie of Ensigné is situated on the old pilgrim route, leading through the forest to Aulnay de Saintonge. The event runs from 10 am to 6 pm. There will be plenty of activities, events and entertainment for everyone: • A camp of mercenaries simulating the early 15th century and its activities, daily life and also military demonstrations: the Troupe Tard-venus • Humour with Atelier Théâtre d’Aulnay • Tales with Mireille and Gean • Dancers and musicians • A whole village of craftsmen, traders and crafts of ancient arts • Games for parents and children • Pony rides for apprentice Knights There will also be on-site catering and a ‘tavern’. Entry fee is 4€ per adult, children free. Visit of the 12th century parts on request, 1€ (English spoken)

Have you LIKED us on Facebook?

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

Les Amis d'Oroux


vous invitent


Rêve d’Orients

Journées du

Patrimoine 16, 17 septembre 2017 14 h – 18 h


ou la danse orientale dans tous « ces Etats »…

EXPOSITION DE PHOTOS DE FRESQUES ROMANES Visites libres/guidées par Howard Needs

de Françoise Taudière


la voie  

Ne pas  


jeter sur  

Samedi  30  septembre  2017   20h30      Dimanche  1er  octobre  2017   15h                  Salle  du  Patronage  Laïque/Niort   Adultes  :  8€                                                                                                                                                                                    RéservaHons  :    05  49  79  46  55   De  5  à  12  ans  :  4€                                                                                                                                                                                                                  06  73  41  18  93  

Boissons chaudes et froides spécialités gourmandes Dans le cadre magnifique du Château d'Oroux, 79390 Oroux

by Kim Bartlett


let us rejoice! n a pub far, far away, in the northernmost corner of England, around two decades ago, an idea was born.....

Get a group of friends to holiday for a week in Orkney for the pleasure of singing together and, with time off for good behaviour, the chance to explore the treasures of the world famous Neolithic sites, and enjoy the local specialities and culture of this extraordinary group of islands shaped as much by their Scandinavian history as they have been by their modern British status. At the end of the week the friends would give a concert in St Magnus’ Cathedral and donate the proceeds to a charity nominated by the Cathedral. This simple format has hardly changed since their first tour in 1999, and in the years that followed, Exultemus has visited all six Celtic nations, including Brittany, via Italy and England. This year the group has come to Les Ripaudières, which is happily very close to Moutiers-sous-Argenton (79150) where they will give a concert on Thursday 7th September in the Église Saint Pierre at 8.30pm. Why not celebrate the Rentrée by coming to hear them? Their repertoire is a mix of sacred and secular, ranging from the Renaissance to modern day, with part songs, folk songs and all stations in between! Exultemus is most grateful to the Association ‘PleinJeux et ses orgues à tuyaux’, for help and collaboration in Exultemus in the drawing room of planning the concert. Caerynwch, Brithdir, Wales 2010 tour © Mrs H. Richards

Entry is free and all proceeds are in aid of the promotion of music in a rural setting.



uring the past few years I have written a number of articles for ‘The DSM ‘concerning church wall paintings and recently I have prepared two small exhibitions of photos illustrating two of the subjects I have written about.

One exhibition is already showing at la Chapelle de la Poraire (just outside Chiché) from July until 29th August but will also be there for les Journées Europeénnes du Patrimoine 16-17th September. The exhibition is a contextual support for the actual fresques that can be seen at La Poraire and covers the same theme, L’Art Macabre – Death and Hell, reflecting the best preserved paintings.

La Poraire was a priory dependent on the Abbey of Fontevraud and is thus associated with the Plantagenets and in particular, Aliénor of Aquitaine. It was founded early in the 12th century as a community of monks farming lands owned by the priory. It was sold by the state during the revolution in 1791 and became part of a farm and the chapel used as a barn. It remained so until the present owner undertook a restoration of the fabric of the building in 2013 when fresques were discovered high up on the walls. These fresques include a Procession of the Damned, the Adoration of the Three Kings, the Suicide of Herode and a Last Supper. Only the first is in good condition. The other exhibition is at the Château d’Oroux also during Les Journées Europeénnes du Patrimoine. The Château, situated in the village of Oroux, is itself meticulously restored and its gardens are extensive and are open for the Journées du Patrimoine. There are two exhibitions, one of paintings by Françoise Taudière and the other of photos from my collection of the working year calendars that can be found in some of the Romanesque Churches in France. The complete calendars from eight churches are on show with supporting written information.

Les Amis d'Oroux vous invitent

Journées du

Patrimoine 16, 17 septembre 2017 14 h – 18 h


par Howard Needs


de Françoise Taudièr


Boissons chaudes et froides spécialités gourmandes Dans le cadre magnifi que du Château d'Oroux ,

79390 Oroux

Both the Chapelle de Poiraire and the Château d’Oroux are open on 16th & 17th September, 2pm-6pm. Further information can be found on www.journeesdupatrimoine. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 7


CRAFT FAYRE 10 Septembre 2017 10-4pm

Marché Artisanal Salle Polyvalente, 16450 St Laurent de Ceris

TEA, COFFEE & CAKES Savoury dishes available from Pois Chic - Falafel et Saveurs du Monde



Association No. W163001178

For more information and to book a stall, please contact reservations/reseignements Association Cats:

Small Colour advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

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

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Do you want your child to be literally bilingual and have more opportunities and choices in life?? When young British families first move to France one of the most important issues is “will my child be able to pick up the French language?”. This is obviously a priority and if you really want your child to be literally fluent in both languages, the English language has to be worked at too. Once your child starts school in France and becomes immersed in the French language they soon lose their English literacy skills. Learning such skills in both English and French is the key to your child becoming truly bilingual. Visit for further information.

Are you a bit of a Bookworm? ARE YOU A BUSINESS BASED IN NORTH DEUX-SEVRES? 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:

Reviews should be 150-200 words long.

Readers are looking for tradespeople in this area... Please get in touch if you’d like to place an advert.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 9

! F F O e ’r e w d n a – s e v ê Tour de R

by Jacqui Brown


naively thought the toughest part of this challenge would be the cycling. Six full days in the saddle, meaning achy legs and tender bottoms forced back onto the bikes each morning, pedalling through the pain, will be hard work, but the organisation has been far harder than I expected. A year ago this crazy idea, was just that, an idea. In the last twelve months we have had to fit in planning meetings, coordinate sponsors and jerseys to ensure we look like a team, arrange accommodation and ensure our nutritional needs are met, send out press releases and social media updates to publicise the event, as well as find time for training rides, family life and work. It hasn’t quite sunk in that by the time you read this we will be out on our bikes and cycling around the DeuxSèvres, following the routes that Adrian has carefully planned and hoping there will be some friendly faces along the way to cheer us on. Whilst we have tried our best to plan for everything, there are so many things we can’t plan for, the weather being one of them. The time has now come to let go a little and go with the flow. I am hoping our hard work will pay off and despite the physical challenge we get to enjoy ourselves along the way. After all, part of the reason for getting out on our bikes is the ability to see the countryside of the Deux-Sèvres at a slower pace than in a car, to feel the sun on our backs (fingers crossed) and enjoy our beautiful corner of France.

Our sponsors:

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Day one will see us start in Secondigny, where the apple orchards

and rolling hills of the Gâtine will send us on our way. Lunch will be in the military town of St Maixent l’Ecole in the Haut Val de Sèvre with its wide boulevards and I know a few of you will be joining us here. The afternoon will take us into the Pays Mellois, through Melle, home to three impressive Romanesque churches and the silver mine of the French kings, and onto Loubillé, in the southern tip of the department where we shall rest after an 86 km day.

Day two should be mainly flat and hopefully fast as we skirt to the south west of Niort via Brioux-sur-Boutonne and Beauvoirsur-Niort to Coulon in the Marais Poitevin; a calm oasis of quiet waterways. Our beds for the night have been kindly offered by Camping Venise Verte situated on the banks of the Sèvre Niortais River, just outside Coulon. Day three and the Sèvre Niortais River will lead us from the

Marais Poitevin into Niort. Arriving this way, rather than by car, gives a spectacular view of the Donjon and church spires as well as a traffic-free route into the centre of town. Much of today will be on the Vélo Francette, a 600 km marked cycle way that takes you from La Rochelle to the ferry port in Caen, Normandy. We will cross the hilly Gâtine once more and arrive in the medieval town of Parthenay where for centuries pilgrims have stopped while following the route to Saint-Jacques de Compostelle. Here we will celebrate being halfway in terms of days and over halfway in distance travelled.

Day four and the terrain is about to become far more interesting, especially for Adrian and me as we boldly cycle in uncharted territory through the Vallée du Thouet to Thouars, with its 17th Century château perched on a rocky spur. Many thanks to the bar La Trompe Souris in Luzay who have offered us refreshments en route and to Alison Morton and family in Thouars who will be putting us up for the night.

Day five will be our shortest day and what I am imagining will also be our prettiest day as we follow the Vallée de l’Argenton cycle route from Argenton L’Eglise to Argenton les Vallées. TLC Gîtes and B&B have offered us accommodation for the night that looks stunning and I think will be just the relax we’ll all need having completed five days and 359 km on our bikes. We will also have crossed from Loubillé, one of the most southerly villages in Deux-Sèvres to Argenton-L’Eglise, one of the most northern.

Day six is the long roll home, although at only 65 km, it’s

actually one of our shortest days, although as we pass through the Bocage to Bressuire with its never flat horizons, it could be quite a challenge for tired legs. The finish line in Secondigny will be a welcome sight for all of us.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far in whatever way; donations to Rêves (in our name) - our main aim of this adventure, sharing our Facebook posts, sponsoring our jerseys, signing up to cycle with us, creating our team mascots, translating or offering us a meal or bed for the night. It’s you that have made the planning worthwhile, kept our spirits up when it’s all seemed too difficult and ensured we are all in the best of places to get on our bikes and cycle; for 425 km, over six days. Thank you. I’ll stop now as I’m beginning to feel rather emotional. You will be able to keep up-to-date with our progress each day via our Facebook page @TourdeReves - and we are hoping to be trackable via GPS, so there’ll be no excuse to miss us at important pâtisserie or beer stops! Track us, Follow us and Meet us!

Donations can be made securely, direct to Rêves via our donation page here Don’t forget, if you are interested in joining us, you can find instructions on ‘The DSM’ website. Our terms and conditions will be sent out to all those interested in taking part.

Who are Assoc iation Rêves ?


reated in 1994, the association Rêves works as a recognised National charity, carrying out the wishes of seriously ill children.

To date, nearly 5,000 children aged between 3 and 18 years have escaped their illnesses for a brief period and been given the chance to experience some exceptional moments realising their dreams ... You can help these children in the following ways: • By making a donation or joining the association • By sponsoring a dream: sponsoring a dream is to engage directly with a child • Becoming a volunteer: See the list of departmental delegations on our website • By engaging your company in an operation of solidarity or patronage Every year, with your help, between 250 and 300 children realise their dream. In most cases, the child is accompanied by one of his or her parents and is also supported by a mentoring volunteer. To continue to fulfil more wishes, Association Rêves need your support! Each dream is unique and corresponds to the personal desire of the child. Whether it’s meeting an idol, taking a trip, visiting an amusement park or even discovering a passion, the association makes every effort to ensure that he or she experiences a unique and priveleged moment they will never forget.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 11



by Katey Green



he French love their cure thermale, so much so they may be prescribed it as part of their medical treatment! Don’t quote me, but I believe many of the older generation see it almost as an annual holiday! You are permitted one cure thermale per condition per year at one of about 90 ‘stations thermales’ around France. Even if the benefits of these thermal cures may be called into question, the French health system still permits them. What is a cure thermale? It is essentially a prescribed break of 18 days (only interrupted for medical reasons) at what we would call a spa but in the medical sense rather than the relaxing, health spas we are used to. Run under medical supervision with doctors, dieticians, physiotherapists and others, treatments may involve mud baths, massage, thermal waters, vapour baths and gentle exercise. Treatments may be specific, general or complementary. You are prescribed a course of treatment by a doctor at the station who will examine you at the start, during and at the end of your stay. Typically treatments take place in the mornings for 6 out of 7 days and last 2 to 3 hours. The rest of the day is usually free for you to enjoy other activities. Thermal cures are only prescribed by your doctor or dental surgeon for a variety of chronic illnesses which can range from dental conditions to skin complaints such as eczema and psoriasis, to arthritis (being one of the main reasons for a visit) chronic rheumatism and tendonitis to breathing (asthma) and circulatory problems as per this list: • Respiratory (allergies, asthma) • Heart (hypertension, problems with arteries) • Urology problems (urinary infections, kidney problems) • Rheumatology (arthritis, joint pain) • Digestive or Metabolism problems (obesity, stomach or liver problems) • Gynaecological problems (hormones, pains) • Dermatology problems (psoriasis, eczema, burns and scars) • Circulatory problems • Neurological problems (Parkinson’s, motor co-ordination) • Psychosomatic (stress, sleep problems) • Mouth (periodontal disease, infections) You must complete a demand for ‘prise en charge’ (paid directly) to be sent to your health organisation such as CPAM, for those stations on their approved list. A health questionnaire is completed by your doctor and you provide proof of your income to see if you qualify for your transport and lodging to be covered under the permitted tariffs. If you benefit from CMU complémentaire the station must offer treatments within a ‘tarif conventionnel’. If approved, you receive documentation called ‘Prise en charge administrative de cure thermale et facturation’. One part is for the medical treatment by the medical staff at the spa covered at 70% of the standard tariff. One part is for the ‘spa’ treatments by the station covered at 65% . The last part is to cover your transport which is based on a 2nd class return rail ticket at 65% and lodging which is based on 65% of a fixed forfait of 150,01€ (being 97.50€). Check your top up insurance (assurance mutuelle) to see if it will cover some or all of the remainder. The income limit is 14,664.38 € for a single person, with an additional 7,332.19 € per family member.

If you should need assistance with this or any other type of French administration, have queries or need simple advice, contact me on: or via my Facebook page: Siret n° 451 059 323 00019 R.C.S Angoulême

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Hold out your arms: a tribute to

Helen Dunmore (1952-2017)


any people will be saddened to learn that Helen Dunmore, poet, novelist, and children’s author died on the 5th June. She had been diagnosed with incurable cancer whilst editing her latest book, ‘Birdcage Walk’, published in March. A haunting depiction of domestic violence, set in Helen’s native city of Bristol at the time of the French Revolution, it will have you on the edge of your seat. Frequently cited as one of the UK’s most gifted writers it was a hugely pleasing surprise when she agreed to come to the first Bilingual Litfest in 2012, staged in the tiny village of St Clémentin. This put Deux-Sèvres firmly on the literary map and other topflight writers were secured for the subsequent festivals held in 2014 and 2016. Graceful, eloquent and generous are the epithets that immediately spring to mind to describe Helen’s presence. She won the inaugural Orange prize in 1996 with a haunting tale, ‘A Spell of Winter’. At the festival ‘The Siege’, set in Leningrad in 1941 and described as a “Tolstoyan epic of love and war”, was the subject of her presentation. Its sequel, ‘The Betrayal’, a thrilling account of paranoia in Stalin’s Russia, was long-listed for the Booker. ‘The Greatcoat’, an unusual ghost-story, set near an abandoned airbase in Yorkshire, came out in paperback during Helen’s appearance in St Clémentin. The festival bookshop was the sole venue in France with copies for sale. ‘The Lie’ followed in 2014, a story recounting a soldier’s return to his native Cornwall after the First World War, with the horrors of trench warfare still clinging to him. ‘Exposure’ (2016) is set in London in 1960 with the Cold War at its height: who knows whether a friend, colleague or lover may in fact be a spy? One could describe Dunmore’s books as literary thrillers: themes often concern survival, suspicion, and manipulation encountered in the everyday lives of her characters. The writing is vivid, intense and lyrical. Dunmore’s heroines exhibit resilience and compassion (rather like Helen herself). Landscapes, cities, and places are richly evoked in these books which are hard to put down. If you take one to read in bed make sure you’ve locked all the doors and windows and closed the shutters before you begin - you could be in for a long and scary night. You certainly don’t want a power-cut. When she came to the festival in 2012 she was asked what was more important to her, the poetry or the novels? She picked up her latest poetry collection, ‘The Malarkey’, a slim volume compared to ‘The Siege’. Smiling, she spoke of the years it took to research and write ‘The Siege’ compared to the decades of writing and garnering the personal experiences that culminated in ‘The Malarkey’. The title poem from this collection won the National Poetry prize in 2010. Just before her death she wrote a final poem, ‘Hold out your arms’, which has been released by her family and can be read on the internet. A remarkable human being, an unforgettable author, she has left the world a rich legacy. It was a privilege to welcome her to St Clémentin where her sessions were conducted in English and French in the spirit of the bilingual litfest – to celebrate both languages and value cultural difference, so important in today’s increasingly divisive world. Jocelyn Simms:

Local Language le Parlanjhe! by Sue Burgess


o you have decided to live or spend your holidays in the DeuxSèvres ? The FLIP games festival in Parthenay, le nombril du monde at Pougne Hérisson, the countryside – all that and not far from Futuroscope, the Vendée coast and Puy du Fou. If you meet the locals les autochtones and you hear some strange expressions, it’s quite normal! There is a local dialect un patois in Deux-Sèvres known as Parlanjhe. If someone wants to mop the floor they are going to passer la sinse (passer la serpillière). Even in the depths of the countryside you may want to lock your door barrer la porte (fermer la porte à clé). If you go shopping you will need a bag une poche (un sac) to put your chocolatines (pains au chocolat). Before mopping the floor you can sweep up the crumbs with a brush and shovel un ramasse bourrier (petite pelle). The housework is never finished. We’re not out of the woods on a pas l’cul sorti des épines (on n’est pas sorti de l’auberge). Living in the countryside you will see lots of sheep or ewes des ouailles (des moutons/brebis) and a lot of crows des grolles (des corbeaux). A horse is un bourrin (un cheval).

The locals eat snails les lumas (les escargots) and white beans les mogettes (les haricots blancs). Le Mijet is bread soaked in wine and sugar. In summer strawberries can replace the bread. If you drink too much you may take the small back roads les routes à 4 grammes (les petites routes). Your neighbour may go to work early embaucher tôt (commencer son travail) and finish late débaucher tard (finir son travail). This afternoon is ç’tantot (cet après-midi).

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary: ENGLISH












kiss........................... bigher


mouth...................... goule








‘The DSM’ Feedback...

Fantastic magazine - I always look forward to the beginning of the month when the new edition is released - many thanks to the editors and contributors!

The children are draules, les drôles, (les enfants). Let’s hope they don’t play with their catapult leur tire-chaille (le lance-pierres).

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 13

Clubs & Associations ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are now a number of English-speaking meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in the South West of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership and A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

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

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

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

Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Roger: 05 55 76 22 65 or Nancy: 02 54 24 09 74. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€ or visit for details of English-speaking meetings. CLE (Charente Limousine Exchange) is a non-profit organisation for exchange of news, views and information. We work to protect member’s best interests, run social activities, events and clubs, helping members to make new ex-patriate and French friends. Barry Leech 05 49 87 19 85


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

Please visit the branch website:

The Jean David Art Group meets every Tuesday, 11am - 3pm at Fenioux (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60. MERIDIEN GREEN ASSOCIATION We are a cross cultural association who aim for closer integration of the inhabitants of St Coutant 79120 and surrounding areas. Free weekly language classes on Monday evenings and Tuesday afternoons. For all our events visit

RAFA provides direct, practical support, comradeship and friendship to all serving and former RAF personnel and their loved ones. Contact RAFA Sud-Ouest France email: or Tel Website Short URL:

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.

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

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

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.


If so, join a group of like-minded friendly modellers who meet on a monthly basis to visit members’ layouts and swap information. If you are interested please contact Gerry Riley for more information on 05 49 63 34 01.

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. TheatriVasles

A vibrant group based in Vasles (79340) offering quality theatre productions. New members always welcome. Contact, find us on Facebook or email:

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

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

Alone in France?

We are a group of people living alone who meet on the 1st & 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.


with a friendly group of French and English speakers. Each Wednesday at 7.30pm at the Salle des Fêtes, Veluché 79600. Call Christian for more details: 05 49 63 04 78

Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

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

Combined Services

Support Group (CSSG)


by John Blair


fter a very successful production of The Shakespeare Revue just about everyone involved is taking a well earned rest, except for the Script Reading Group members (SRG). They are actively reviewing possible plays for the future. It has been decided that there will not be a production in the Spring of 2018, thus giving the cast, director, producer and stage crew a well earned breather. The SRG are however considering the proposal of a pantomime for December 2018.

by Terri Laverick

ello everyone. If you haven’t booked a slot for our Fishing/ Picnic/BBQ on 9th September, you have until 3rd September to do so. We have the use of a BBQ, and the charcoal is ready and waiting for the off. If you don’t fish, just come along and join us for the picnic and enjoy the lakes and grounds. It’s being held at La Germondière, 79130 Secondigny. Everyone is welcome! Just bring yourselves, your food and a table and

Oh no they’re not! Oh yes they are! Just getting in a bit of practice. That does seem a long way off, but when you consider how long it takes to choose a play, get permission to perform it, choose a cast, cast rehearsals, technical rehearsals, stage design, technical set-up and all the many support activities, it’s amazing how time flies. The membership will not be idle during the next few months with the following groups involved in various other activities:Keynotes Will be starting their normal Friday afternoon rehearsals at the end of September and preparing to perform Christmas concerts in a number of local churches over the festive season. Watch this space for more details. The Art Scene In July some of our artists entered for the Magne art weekend, the weather was not great but it was a great experience for them. During the first week of August they held their first Art Exhibition in Vouvant. Nearly 20 members displayed their paintings and I think they can be proud of the wide variety of subjects and the general standard of the work on show. They actually sold a number of paintings and much to my surprise, I even sold one. Over 450 people came to view the exhibition. Some of our members produced some hand-painted bookmarks which were on sale for our chosen charity. Another of our members, Penny Brewer, held a photography exhibition in Vouvant during the month. You may have seen one of Penny’s many excellent photos on the front cover of ‘The DSM’ from time to time. Vouvant is a great village for art with a gallery on nearly every corner and in many private homes, and no matter when you visit there you will always find an exhibition of some kind. Scottish Dancing Have taken a short break for the summer but will be starting again in Fenioux in late September. They will be having a Ceilidh in October this year, so that should give me a chance to wear my new kilt!! So if you want a good laugh, come along and watch me or better still, join in the fun. Well that’s about it, though it seemed as if we weren’t doing anything, it turns out that we are quite busy after all! Thank you all for your support and may it continue for years to come. If you fancy taking part in any or all of our activities, please send me an email and I’ll pass it on to the appropriate organiser.

Best wishes,, John

chairs. We can sell you tea, coffee, fruit juice and cakes. Any alcohol you will have to provide yourself as we do not have a licence. The cost for a fishing pitch is €10 per person, only one rod is allowed and fish have to be returned to the lake. There are prizes for the most fish, and the largest fish caught on the day. To book a fishing pitch, please email me. On the 18th September we are holding our Race Night and Curry Supper at the Foyer Rural in St Pardoux. This is an evening when we do our utmost to relieve you of your cash. See, we are at least honest about our aims. Not only will we serve chicken or vegetarian curry, but also a non-spicy alternative. The price is €7.50 for supper, including tea, coffee and fruit juice. As always, please feel free to bring your own alcoholic drinks. To book, use the email address at the end of the article. I will need to hear from you (for catering purposes) before 10th September. If you come along and haven’t booked, we won’t be able to feed you. Diary note for members and any interested parties. The next meeting is on Saturday 30th September at the Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux at 11am. And, we are now taking bookings for tables at the Terves Christmas Market on 3rd December. If you would like a table, please email me ASAP. To contact me for details of any of the above, email me at If you would like to help at any of our events, you will be more than welcome.

contact Sarah Berry on 05 49 70 26 21 Monday - Thursday 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm Email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 15

Hobbies Seasonally Adjusted Writing


by Alison Morton

t is a truth universally acknowledged that selling your work isn’t always easy, but have you ever thought about writing a seasonal book? Christmas–themed novels sell like hotcakes and there’s a firm market for other periods of the year, such as summer. • • • •

Does your book feature, focus on or link to a particular calendar event or season? Is it an especially good read at a specific time of year? Does it connect to any particular national centenary, bicentenary or any other kind of landmark event coming up in the next year or two? Would it make a good present for Valentine’s Day, Christmas or Easter?

If none of your current work fits any of these, why not write a new book specifically so that you can take advantage of these opportunities? It will need some planning ahead if you’re thinking of a 60,000 -70,000 word novel; now is a perfect time to write a ‘beach read’ for 2018! Alternatively, and a quicker project, you could write a short story or memoir that can be published online on a variety of platforms (Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Smashwords) for a 99pence/cents ‘quick read’. Not only will you showcase your writing style and storytelling skills, but you can also take the opportunity to list all your other work, with links, at the end. A reader who has only risked pennies to buy your short story may be impressed enough to try one of your longer works. This is also an opportunity to add a chapter of one of your fulllength novels to that ‘quick read’ as a bonus/enticement, but don’t go overboard. Keep it to an absolute maximum of 30% of the length of the ‘quick read’ otherwise readers may feel the short story is just a marketing stunt that they’ve had to pay for and you may end up with some unwanted one-star reviews. If you start work this week on a story to publish in the run-up to Christmas, you’ll just about have time to edit, format and upload. Start thinking about your cover ideas now. Christmas is not the only seasonal opportunity You could base your story on Easter and the legends behind it, or reach back in time to the old festivals based on the solstices and equinoxes. Ghost stories at Halloween and love stories in midFebruary are firm favourites. And a crime story in mid-winter with plenty of rain, snow and disruption to normal life resonates well when we are enjoying a relatively mild and shorter winter in the Deux-Sèvres! Famous anniversaries, such as D-Day, the Battle of Trafalgar, the first election when women voted, or the signing of Magna Carta are good hooks, especially personal stories of ordinary people whose lives were affected by those events. Of course, interpreting and re-interpreting famous near-misses in history continue to fascinate. I wrote a short story as part of the 1066 Turned Upside Down anthology last year which is still selling well. Keep an eye on the media for forthcoming television series or the announcement of the next season of a well-loved series. These tend to be launched in the autumn, so you could start writing that blockbuster now that will tie in beautifully with September 2018.

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

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to Beryl Brennan and Vronni Ward again for this month’s reviews. If you’d like to share a book review with us, please email it to:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (Winner of a Pulitzer Prize) This book has been hailed as ‘brilliant’, ‘genius’, ‘dazzling’… well, with that build-up I just had to read it. And guess what, it is all of those things and more! Set in New York the story revolves around the life and times of two cousins. Josef Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has trained himself in Houdini type escapes, smuggles himself out of Prague in a coffin and into the bedroom of his cousin, Sam Clay. Together they invent The Escapist, a superhero “whose power would be that of impossible and perpetual escape”. Don’t let this comic book aspect put you off, as the book deals with so much more. Escape, however, is this novel’s preoccupation. While their superhero trounces Hitler in their pages, Josef obsessively tries to free his family from the Nazis and Sam, covertly gay in an era of bigotry, has his own bonds to slip. The friendship between Joe and Sam is a joy to read, one of the most moving accounts of companionship I’ve ever read. Some of Joe’s actions are questionable but because Sam always forgives him so do we; Sammy is a kind of moral touchstone. There are amazing adventures here, tales of danger and romance, tragedy and triumph, delivered with humour in beautifully written prose. by Vronni Ward

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell Henning Mankell, a Swedish crime writer, children’s author, dramatist and playwrite who died in 2015, famously created Wallander, a detective based in Ystad. In 2006 Mankell’s film production company negotiated with a British company to produce TV adaptations of the English translations of his books with Kenneth Branagh playing the role of Wallander, a part for which he won a Best Actor Award. The first showing on TV was in 2008, the final one in May 2016. Programmes were filmed in Sweden; the Dogs of Riga was also shot in Latvia of which Riga is the capital. This book begins with an anonymous phone call about a life raft complete with 2 well-dressed dead bodies washing up on a local beach. Further investigation leads Wallander to travel across the Baltic Sea into a world of shadowy surveillance figures, scarcely veiled threats and a world governed by a corrupt police force. We meet characters fighting for justice whilst living in fear of exposure and of losing their lives. The story with all its twists and turns grips the reader from the first page. by Beryl Brennan (Beryl runs the monthly Book Library for the Get Together Association)

The Moon and Hamid

by John Sherwin

International Writing Competitions:



by Jocelyn Simms egora, launched in Deux-Sèvres in 2007, continues to grow in size and stature and this year attracted entries from 18 countries.

Winning entries can be read on along with the adjudications and a synopsis of the winning play. This year a celebration will be held on the 14th & 15th October featuring readings, workshops and presentations. Please contact Jocelyn Simms by email: for details. Joint winners of the poetry section are John Baylis Post from Castletownbeare, Eire and Tiffany Krupa from La Jolla, California. Third place went to Alison Carter from Cockermouth, England. Short story winner, Richard Hooton is from Mossley, England. In second place is Stephen Frame from Thurso, Caithness, Scotland and third place goes to Frances Hurd from Havant, England. The winner of the one-act play is Edgar Chisholm from Bloomfield, USA. Over the last three years Gordon has received a number of entertaining plays by award-wining authors. Gordon is giving a play-writing workshop at the Charroux Literary Festival 24th and 25th August; for details go to

‘Look at the moon, Hamid.’ ‘It’s smiling, my brother. This is good?’ ‘They say so. Stay close and keep my hand.’


The two brothers sallied forth with many a ragamuffin in raggedy trousers and flailing turban as brethren. Though the sand sucked at their legs they were of good heart, for it is fine to be party to a pilgrimage. There were songs too which, sung by a thousand, were so cacophonous they made Hamid giggle. Each time they pitched camp, the same thing. ‘The grub’s not great, my brother,’ said Hamid. ‘Not so ungrateful. They’re helping us. Look at the moon.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Look at it pinched between my thumb and finger. Each night the space between will get smaller and when it’s all but gone we’ll be there.’ ‘Where’s there?’ When the moon brought the sea to them Hamid cried to see such a thing. When he sipped of it it tasted of his tears. ‘Don’t do that, Hamid.’ ‘Why?’ ‘You don’t know where it’s been. See here, how small the space now is?’ ‘It’s true, my brother, your fingers are almost touching. Not long then?’ ‘So they say.’ Hamid was proud to have a brother who knew so many theys.

Notable wine expert and regular contributor to The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, John Sherwin from L’Oie in the Vendée, is the winner of the Vignette prize for the second time. The winning piece can be seen opposite...

One night, surf sucking at their legs, they were scragged aboard a dinghy. No songs. Hamid pretended a grown-up scowl. More kept coming. Then more. Hamid ended on his brother’s lap, jammed between sodden bodies with sunken eyes. They breathed as little as possible.

Congratulations to all our finalists.

The dinghy went over. Hamid lost his brother’s grip, slid into the frothing, violent cold. Down, peacefully down. Then a hand palmed him to the surface.

Many thanks to AC Clarke, Emma Curtis, Gordon Simms and Ben Lawrence for their adjudications and please look out for details of our writing and cultural events in future issues of The DeuxSèvres Monthly.


‘Look at the moon, Hamid,’ the touch said, for there were no words between brothers, then or thereafter.

by Keith Bradley

Chorale Mélusine is a 4 part choir (Soprano, Alto, Tenor & Bass) established for over 30 years and based in Parthenay. Our repertoire is extremely varied from sacred music to African wedding songs! We have sung in Spanish, English, French, Italian and German to name a few and are currently rehearsing Steinberger’s ‘Stabat Mater’ and ‘Abendleid’ for future concerts. We rehearse on Tuesdays from 20.15 to 22.30 in the ‘Ecole de Musique’ which is within the Palais des Congrès in Parthenay (except for school holidays and the summer break). We are always looking for new members, especially tenors! Our Musical Director, Lucie Jamoneau, an accomplished soprano and flutist, has been with us for 10 years. She also directs several other choirs in the region and continues to challenge us with her choices of new music! If you interested, come along to a rehearsal and see what you think! If you would like any more details then please get in touch and I will be happy to answer any queries you may have.   Contact: 05 49 69 14 89 or by

Above: Chorale Melusine performin g in Parth


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 17

Oser l’Opéra

by James Luxford

Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: CineChef, Chef-Boutonne: email: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: Niort Moulin du Roc: Parthenay Cinema: and find others at

The new season also has delights for the family with works that are easily accessible to all; Carmen, with tunes that are instantly recognisable and the magical ballets of The Nutcracker, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s folk tale, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. • • •

Tickets are only 15€ a seat (or 8€ for <25s and 110€ for a block of 10 shows). Information on the new season can be found at uk/news/royal-opera-house-livecinema-season-201718 To receive alerts from Le Fauteuil Rouge, sign up to their weekly What’s On newsletter at

The first production to emerge from this box of delights is The Magic Flute on Wednesday 20th September at 8.15pm. I hope to see you there for a spellbinding evening. Bonnes séances!

E DEAthDLINt 17 Sep

Association No. W163001178




18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 Email your entries to: and please put CATS in the email header

The Judges decision will be final. Winners will be notified by Sept 30th. Photographs must be your own original work. Images must be provided in high resolution at a minimum of 300dpi.

FILMS IN ENGLISH.....look for screenings in ‘VO’ or ‘VOST’

Music is a universal language but opera subtitles help with the words and it’s a great way to improve your French vocabulary too. There are introductory pieces to camera from the likes of Darcy Bussell which help one to understand what’s going on; also, interviews with performers and conductors all help enrich the experience further.

and include a background story about your cat and your photo.

Release dates are nationwide in France.

Going to the opera and ballet is for anyone who feels emotions and is not afraid to open up - it really is good for the soul.

Email your entries to: and please put CATS in the email header

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY 3D (14th September) He’s back… in a third dimension! Yes, 3D may be cinema’s most overworked gimmick, but James Cameron oversaw the conversion process for his sci-fi classic, and early reports have been astounding. Whether you like wearing the silly glasses or not, the chance to see Arnold Schwarzenegger at his peak is a must for any movie fan, as he rewrites history alongside Linda Hamilton’s iconic Sarah Connor. Arguably one of the best blockbusters of all time, it’s aged remarkably well by combining a great plot and mind-blowing action.

The new season has been announced and it includes works to tempt even the most jaded palate and help introduce opera and ballet to those poor souls not yet enriched by such delights.

DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: 17th September 2017

AMERICAN MADE (13th September) Tom Cruise stars in the true story of Barry Seal, a TWA pilot who would eventually work for both the CIA and a Mexican drug cartel. Channelling themes from Goodfellas and Wolf of Wall Street, the film has a lot of funny moments and allows you to bask in the vicarious thrill of a man living the highest of stakes. It’s a shame then that Cruise never quite gives the character depth, coming off as charming but lacking the nuance to make the final half hour compelling.

Here’s a better idea, jump in the car, drive to Bressuire and get the best seat in the house streamed live to Le Fauteuil Rouge cinema and all for less than 20€, which includes a glass of something sparkly in the interval.


GIFTED (13 September) Chris Evans gets paternal in a heart-tugging drama about a single man (Evans) looking after his maths prodigy daughter, who goes to court to ensure she has a normal upbringing away from her grandmother, who wants to exploit her gift. An uneven, mushy film that gets by on charm, mainly from the hard working cast. Evans’ earnest demeanour makes him a great lead alongside the likeable McKenna Grace as his niece. Things go exactly how you imagine, but there may be a lump in your throat before the film’s close. th



IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD (6th September) A mesmerising animated drama from Japan. A young woman’s life and marriage unfold around the time of the end of the war, specifically in her town of Hiroshima, which would never be the same. Fantasy combines with brutal reality in an incredibly well-researched film that relies on beauty rather than shock-value. It is a reminder of the human cost of history, as events so often described in books are given a human perspective. Over two hours is long winded for an animation, but this beautiful story is worth it.

trip to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden! You’re invited! Just a flight to London, airport transfer, a ticket and then some dinner and a bed before the flight back the next day - just a few clicks on the internet and some damage to the debit card and it’s done. How much?!


We have old and new classics this month, as well as Hollywood’s biggest stars all looking to make you laugh, cry, and flock to the cinema!

by David Telfer


Association No. W163001178




by Nicole Martin

zoukah, a belly dance association based in Niort, is performing their show, ‘Rêve d’Orients’ at Le Patronage Laïc on 30th September 2017 at 8.30pm and 1st October at 3pm.

“A Young lady  is looking by the window. She is dreaming of what her life could be, could have been... She’s dreaming of evasion and freedom, far away from any constraints... “

Should you be interested in belly dancing, this show is for you! You’ll be  driven to  different  countries from Spain to India and you’ll discover different styles of dance, in a vibrant, colourful and happy atmosphere. Azoukah  was born in England in 1994;  it was created by Mrs Susan Scott Mitchell and  first  settled in Ruffec. Then, Azoukah came to Niort where Susan gave lessons (introductory, intermediate and advanced) until her retirement in 2010. After that, Audrey and Nicole took over. The course is more suitable for girls, who already have some knowledge of dance or who are really motivated to learn dance.

Guitars and Songs


by Mike Walters

hen I was a schoolboy in the 60s growing up in the North of England, like many others I was privileged to witness a true revolution in popular music. Thanks to pop radio and vinyl records, many of my generation were infused with a desire to want to become part of this new music revolution. Bob Dylan’s first protest song “Blowing in the Wind” struck a chord with me (no pun intended) as it made me realise there’s more to musical lyrics than ‘love’. And it being played on a simple acoustic guitar made it even more profound. I continued to like and appreciate all kinds of acoustic guitar-based music from then on. In 1971 I found myself in the Navy, together with a guy called Dave, who had a guitar. Obviously, I made friends with him and I persuaded him to show me a couple of chords. He did, and, joy on joy, he let me borrow his guitar. Armed with a burning desire to become the Navy’s answer to the next Dylan I mithered him all the time to show me more, and very quickly I overtook him and was totally hooked. On returning to Civvy Street, I met more talented people who willingly helped me progress further.

The term “belly dance” doesn’t really cover everything that we do, because our choreographies are based on different styles of dance (baladi, sharki, shaabi...) and have different influences (Maghreb, Gypsy, Arabic/Andalusian music, Indian...).  What is more, we  create all our own routines and perform in village festivals, retirement homes or for private parties.

Cut to the present and I’ve decided to form a club of beginners who can learn from the same imparted knowledge that I was lucky enough to benefit from. If you’ve never played a note in your life but have a desire to play tunes and songs that have haunted you for years, then let’s do it. I have some spare guitars to use but by all means feel free to bring your own and let’s have fun!

If you’re interested to know more, our classes are held on Thursday evenings, 8.45pm - 10.30pm at ‘le Centre Du Guesclin’, in Niort.

With a little enthusiasm, a desire to have a go and to have fun, we’ll create some music! The emphasis will be on learning to play as quickly as possible, so no theory and no boring practice routines!

Want to join me? Send me an email:

Well, what do you know?: 1) (Ginger) BAKER (Cream) 2) Aaron COPLAND (Stuart, The Police) 3) (Mick) FLEETWOOD (Mac) 4) (Phil) COLLINS (Genesis) 5) Helena BONHAM Carter (John, Led Zep) 6) Freddie STARR (Ringo, The Beatles)

7) WATT (Charlie, Rolling Stones) 8) TOMMY LEE Jones (Motley Crue) 9) NICKEL (Jost, a German session musician) 10) (Karen) CARPENTER 11) (Sandy) NELSON Mandela 12) Connection - they are all drummers.

Easy Crossword: Across: 2. dodge 7. steer 8. stood 9. pressure group 10. triathlon 13. festive season 14. spook 15. minus 16. reeks 17. ounce Down: 1. watery 2. treasure trove 4. deterioration 5. exodus 6. overstretch 11. deeper 12. volume Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. fruitfulness 7. rhubarb 9. china 10. onus 11. midnight 12. lolita 14. cowboy 17. graduate 19. pink 22. neath 23. panther 24. down by the sea Down: 1. fargo 2. unusual 3. trap 4. no can do 5. sting 8. blip 12. legend 13. toughen 15. blights 18. alamo 20. karma

Take a Break - SOLUTION

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 19

Health, Beauty & Fitness



Please  come  &  join  us  at  the  home  of  Helen  &  Jon  Booth  for  

an afternoon  of  Tea,  Coffee  and  homemade  cake  in  aid  of   Cancer  Support  Deux-­‐Sevres.  

Entrance fee  3€  for  a  drink,  a  cake  of  your  choice  and  a  rafFle   ticket.    


of the month

Additional Teas,  Coffees,  Soft  Drinks  and         Homemade  cakes  will  be  available  for  a  small  charge.        

September 24th  2017  from  2-­‐5pm   10  rue  de  la  Gendarmerie  79160,  La  Chapelle  Thireuil.    

For further  details  contact  :  05  49  64  59  96  or  07  71  71  28  79  

Ian’s Orange Day by Caroline Self

Thanks to everyone who came along to my ‘Ian’s Orange Day for Cancer Research’ on Election day in June, especially those who bought raffle tickets and my art and of course to everyone who donated items. Proceeds from this and from my cookery demonstrations have amounted to a fantastic amount, 1 250€. Penny Homewood and I managed to attend the offices of La Ligue Contre Le Cancer in Angers in July to hand over the cheque. The organisation has a new President, Professeur Jean-Pierre Benoît, who took over from recently retired Professor Lara. Unfortunately, on this occassion Professor Benoit was not available so we presented our cheque to Madame Pascale, POHU Coordinator. This was the first of this year’s donations. I’m very hopeful that the amount can be matched (or more) by Christmas 2017.


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

Sales of my art also fund Ian’s Orange Day, with all profits going to Cancer Research. You can view my art on my Facebook page ‘Self Pawtraits’ or via Instagram or Pinterest.

Pure Fitness Exercise to music classes - every Tuesday 7pm-8pm Salle des Fêtes, La Chapelle St Etienne 79240. For more info contact 20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Ligue Nationale Contre Le Cancer. Comité Départemental des Deux-Sèvres, 40 Avenue Charles de Gaulle, 79021 Niort. Tel: 05 49 06 96 60

CONFERENCE : LECTURE : MEDITATION 22nd & 23rd September 2017 with Brother John Martin Sahajananda organised by Sens & Reliance, La Rochelle

“A spirituality beyond Religions” is not against any religion, but considers them as belonging to the evolutionary process of human consciousness, a journey from the unconscious unity to the conscious unity. Laws and exterior authority are not needed anymore. People live by their inner light. “All the world’s major religions with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness promote inner values. But the reality of our world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. That is why I am convinced the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether. “ His Holiness Dalaï Lama

Conference Friday 22nd September 7.30pm 12€ Lecture & Meditation Saturday 23rd September 9.30am-5pm 20€ (please bring a snack for lunch) at Centre Jean Baptiste Souzy, 33 rue Alfred Kastler Les Minimes, La Rochelle. **English Translators NEEDED for the weekend** If you can help, please get in touch.

Walking Football


by Janet Hall

he Walking Football group, which started meeting in March, has now gradually grown in numbers over the weeks, regularly attracting 15-20 and on one occasion reaching a staggering 21 players! The game is played 5-a-side to ensure everyone has a chance to be involved, swapping over to take turns. It’s hosted by Aulnay Football Club on their synthetic pitch every Friday morning (come rain or shine), starting at 10.30am. Due to the popularity, the sessions have recently been extended to 1.5 hours to accommodate everyone. Earlier in the year the group was invited to take part in a tournament in Brittany in early September. English clubs will be crossing the Channel for a long weekend to take part, and a selected number of our players are gearing up in preparation to adapt to playing with a Futsal ball (made of foam and therefore lighter) and playing in a squad of 6 in accordance with F.A. rules. To recap briefly, the sport was set up in England to cater for players who needed a gentler version of the game, following injury or other health issues - a famous proponent being Fabrice Muamba, who went into cardiac arrest during an FA Cup game in 2012. Rules state that no running is allowed, the ball should be kept below head height and to define “walk”, at least one foot should be in contact with the ground at all times.

Brother John Martin Sahajananda is a Benedictine monk and director of the hinduchristian ashram of Shantivanam, South India. He is one of the closest disciples of Bede Griffith, who followed the French founders of Shantivanam, Jules Monchanain and Henri Le Saux. Every year he comes to Europe to teach a spirituality that goes beyond religion and brings aged Indian wisdom and the revolutionary message of Christ for the third millenium. For more information contact Marie 06 31 61 35 79 Email:


Find it difficult to sleep? Is your low morale and sadness becoming continuous? Often feel close to tears or anxious or worried/ irritable/ intolerant towards those around you?

Above: The Walking Football group, back row from left to right: Roger Salmon, Luigi Pellegrini, Aldo Keates, Roger Larkham, Ted Sellwood, Tony Elwell, Tony Hinsbey, Tim Eley, Dave Gregory, Pete Hall and Rob Hall; front row from left to right: Pete Meakins, Dave Stenning, Neil Ivemy, Peter Hodge and Paul Tucker.. © Mark Hall 2017.

Quite apart from the sporting aspect, the Friday meetings offer an outlet and a social side, the camaraderie is strong and members exchange a bit of friendly banter as well as encouragement, followed by the optional extra of a drink in the bar at Aulnay afterwards. Well established in England, the aim is not just to improve fitness and regular exercise, but to combat social isolation, which is not inconsiderable over here as an expatriate community.

If any of the above apply or you have no motivation and feel your life is no longer enjoyable, this new positive thinking group may be the group for you.

For details of the group, please contact Ted Selwood on: 05 46 32 18 51.

Come along and talk, share and let us together take positive steps forward. Our first meeting is an exploratory one, you are most welcome. Tuesday 26th September, 2.30pm at Le Regal’on (next to the church), Allonne between Secondigny/ Champdeniers/St Pardoux. See directions on their Facebook page.

Note that from the new season (September ‘17), members will be invited to join US Aulnay for an annual subscription of 65€ and will be required to present a copy of a medical certificate.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 21

Take a Break Across: 1. Observe with attention (5) 3. Avoid or try to avoid (5) 7. To direct the cause of; guide (5) 8. Bend one’s back forward from the waist down (5) 9. A body of people who try actively to influence legislation (8-5) 10.  Endurance event comprising swimming, cycling and running (9) 13. Holiday time (7-6) 14. Frighten or scare (5) 15. Lacking or without (5) 16. Smells badly and offensively (5) 17. One sixteenth of a pound (5)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Down: 1. Overly diluted (6) 2. Valuables found in the ground, the owner of which is not known (8-5) 4. The process of changing to an inferior state (13) 5. The second book of the Old Testament (6) 6. Strain muscles abnormally (11) 11. To a greater depth (6) 12. Cubic capacity (6)

Across: 1. Bounty is a new US liner loaded with a variety of stuff (12) 7. Royal Horticultural Union principals given stinging comment for plant (7) 9. Being rich, I naturally supported my mate (5) 10. We have a duty to be working by ourselves (4) 11. Twelve possibly found around one down and titularly before 14 across (8) 12. In the biblical sense regard arousing tail of young temptress (6) 14. Conman hooligan is turned round after meeting milk producer (6) 17. Played a rag duet for one having a degree of success (8) 19. PW exchange bringing a tinge of embarrassment following suggestive gesture (4) 22. Firstly, never ever alter the headings given below in poetry (5) 23. Swing the camera round on nearly all there is to capture a big cat (7) 24. Under the boardwalk location disturbed when boys date together (4,2,3,3)

Down: 1. One of those here today; Thursday’s child has this to set out (5) 2. But nouns put all in regular fashion is not the norm (7) 3. Something to catch extra passengers carried (4) 4. It’s out of the question vallainous doctor is able to party (2,3,2) 5. Former police man involved in hoist in General Post Office (5) 6. Elmer is missing from film of rocket launcher? (6) 8. Making exceptional error in second rate cheek (4) 12. Stage before finish is awesome, people might say nowadays (6) 13. To make harder is not huge problem for organisers (7) 15. Spoils gained when PB substitution improves poor conditions (7) 16. On the summit of peak of the alps at first, but then descending (4) 18. Article on the French way of working is remembered by Americans (5) 20. Otherwise known as Royal Marines, organisation getting what they deserve (5) 21. Popular starters of curry house served in small measure (4)

Well, what do you know? 1) In service between 1801 and 1837, what was the first British made rifle used by the British Army? 2) Who wrote ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’? 3) Which English port is on the Wyre estuary and is the only English town with 3 lighthouses (2 still working)? 4) Which publishing company is responsible for the ‘Gem’ series of bilingual pocket dictionaries? 5) Which English actress played Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films?

With thanks to M.Morris

Monthly quiz by Roland Scott...... how many can you get? 8) Which American actor played ‘U.S. Marshalls’ Sam Gerard in the films ‘The Fugitive’ and ‘U.S. Marshalls”? 9) Which metallic element has the symbol Ni? 10) Who, in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through The Looking Glass’, accompanied the walrus in a walk along the beach? 11) Who was President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999? 12) And finally, as usual, what is the connection?

6) Who, according to a ‘Sun’ headline in March 1986, “... ate my hamster”? 7) What is the S.I. unit of power (named for a Scottish engineer)? Copyright RJS 2017

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Answers on P.15 and our website:

DSM Easy Crossword

Home & Garden Small colour Advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

MISSED AN ISSUE? Don’t worry - you can view them ALL online! Visit: www. and go to Distribution > Magazine Archives

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 23

Fête des Plantes


The Château, Bressuire, Sunday 1st October he very popular Fêtes des Plantes will be held for the seventh time at the Château in Bressuire on Sunday 1st October.

Opening Times: 9am to 7pm Entry: 3€ for adults; children free There will be in the region of 100 exhibitors including some specialist growers, plus a number of stands selling regional products and garden decorations. The event also boasts a giant pumpkin exhibition and a display of pumpkins carved by children. The local poultry enthusiasts’ group will be exhibiting in excess of 300 poultry of many different breeds; some of which will be for sale. 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 addition, you will find a “Vide cabane de jardin” – a sale of numerous old garden tools organised by the friends of EMMAÜS. In the Château itself there will be a display of handicrafts by children; a floral workshop by Terra Botanica and a photography exhibition ‘Commerces d’Autrefois de Bressuire’. Drinks and fast food will be available and 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 please visit :

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Love your


by Greenfingers


fter the extremes of temperature for the latter part of July, August has begun with some much needed rain and a cooler, more temperate feel to the outdoors. Certainly it has made for slightly more comfortable gardening and some light relief for us and the plants. The hostas have suffered badly from sun scorch, with paper dry leaves crumbling in the hand. They are very hardy and have recovered well, after damaged leaves being removed, new growth has been quick to appear. They are well worth a shady spot in anyone’s garden. The foliage alone is stunning, coming in various shades of green, cream and white; the bell-like flowers borne on long, slender stems are usually in shades of pink to lilac and some are beautifully perfumed too. They are easy to divide in the autumn just by splitting plants in two, making sure that each half has some root, then potting up or planting on….more plants for free! August is a good month for ‘cutting back’/ pruning or trimming hedges trees and shrubs. Wisteria will by now have put on lots of new green growth and there will be a lot of long, ‘whippy’ stems. Select new stems to tie in to your support framework and tie these stems in horizontally to promote flowering and restrict growth. Cut back quite hard the whippy stems to five or six leaves from thicker branches--this will encourage flower bud formation for next year. Most young birds have fledged now, so hedges, both evergreen and deciduous, can be safely trimmed. Make sure that the hedge is wider at the base than the top as this allows light to reach the bottom half and ensures healthy foliage right to the ground. Single flowering rambling roses can be cut back, shortening new shoots and removing one in three stems. Cut out older, thickened stems at the base allowing more air to circulate through the plant. Trim back to keep the rose in the shape you want. Remove spent flowers and stalks from lavender bushes and hedges, trimming off about 5cms of this year’s growth. Shorten fruit bearing branches of grape vines to two leaves beyond their fruit bunch and thin out congested bunches of fruit. Although there has been some rain, water and feed camellias regularly to ensure they don’t dry out. Any ericaceous feed is suitable—hydrangea food for example. Flower buds are developing at the tip of each shoot now and shortage of water

sown now should fulfil your culinary needs until spring and large clumps of chives can be divided. Place sacking or something similar, under melons and pumpkins to stop them rotting. Strawberry runners can be detached and planted up. Remove rotting plums from their branches…plums are cropping well this year and the fruits are so close together that brown rot is almost inevitable. Picking off those affected helps to keep it under control. Fig trees can be pruned back to maintain their shape by shortening the side shoots to five leaves from their base. Wear gloves when doing this as fig sap can be irritating to the skin. Hardy annual seeds can be sown directly outside now. They will germinate quickly in the summer warmth and form strong seedlings that should survive the winter…although if a hard frost is forecast at the beginning of the year, protect with garden fleece. The resulting plants will probably flower earlier than those sown in the spring. Try larkspur, poppies, poached egg plant, cornflowers, nigella and some grasses. Cuttings can be taken from hydrangeas now. Select a young leafy shoot below the flowers, about 1015 cms long, with a node (bump) near the base. Remove all leaves except for a pair at the top of the shoot. Cut the leaves in half to reduce water loss and dip the shoot into hormone rooting powder. Pot up and leave in a warm dry place. Remember to water regularly. Keep an eye out for vine weevil in potted garden plants. If a plant suddenly keels over and dies, even though it’s been watered and fed, knock it out of its pot and check for the small comma shaped white larvae. They have brown heads and feed on the roots of many potted plants. If you notice small semi-circular notches on the edges of leaves, it could be a sign that the adult weevils are around. These are about 1cm long, a dull black colour with paler brownish marks on their backs. A garden insecticide will deal with them effectively. If you’d rather not resort to chemical means, try picking them off leaves in the evenings when they are most active. There are lots of lovely gardens to visit in the area and the weather is (mostly) just right for a stroll to see what other gardeners are doing. The Parc Orientale at Maulevrier is lovely at any time can result in these dropping off next of the year and so peaceful…..and there is a tea shop! The pépinière at Château Pont Jarno near spring without opening. Champdeniers is beautiful, well maintained and Onions and garlic can be harvested full of tempting plants….another calm place to when the foliage dies back and spend an afternoon! should be stored in a cool dry place to dry out. Sweet corn will be ready Whatever you do in the garden, make when the kernels give out a milky liquid on being squeezed. Parsley time to stop and smell the roses! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 25

Where We Live...

Sainte-Maure de Touraine (AOC)

This is a classic goat’s cheese originating from the Loire region and has been made there in much the same way for more than a thousand years. It’s easily recognised by its long log shape, or buche, around 16-17cms in length, which has been copied throughout the world. Said to be the second most popular goat’s cheese in France, after Crottin de Chavignol, Sainte-Maure de Touraine is also quite unusual in that it has a piece of rye straw inserted through its centre after draining but before removing from the mold. This helps hold the delicate cheese together while unmolding and during its young life. It also provides a means to handle the cheese and helps aerate the cheese’s centre during maturation. These days the straw is laser-printed with the maker’s name for easy traceability! Protected since 1990 by its Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), Saint-Maure de Touraine is named after the small town of the same name in Indre-etLoire. It should not be confused with Sainte-Maure, which is also produced in Touraine but without meeting the strict AOC production criteria. Saint-Maure is the industrial counterpart of the high-quality, traditionally made Saint-Maure de Touraine. Their straw is not marked by the maker’s name, thus differentiating them from AOC cheeses. After the cheese has the straw inserted it is then covered with salted powdered charcoal and laid on a board to complete drainage. Maturation takes a minimum of ten days but usually two to four weeks and the cheese is turned every day in a well-ventilated, cool cellar with 90% humidity. After ten days or so the rind is pale yellow, doesn’t have any mould and the centre is still soft and has a sour smell. During the third week, a blue mould starts to form on the rind and the inside changes from being moist to a dry, smooth texture. After five or six weeks the surface of the cheese is dry and has shrunk slightly. The edible rind is a blue-grey colour and the inside is finely-textured, smooth and firm. Most of us are more familiar with fresh goat’s milk cheese logs that are soft and spreadable, but this is an aged cheese and is a bit harder and less spreadable because of that ageing. Sainte-Maure de Touraine production can be fermier, coopérative or artisanal with both pasteurised and raw goat’s milk and has a fat content of 45%. It’s a soft, creamy cheese with a full, goaty flavour. There’s a hint of salt and sourness and an aroma of walnut. It pairs perfectly with the wines of the region. 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017



Hazel Manuel

The write move! It may have been a mighty leap of faith to leave behind the cut and thrust of the business world for a quieter life as a full-time writer living in the tranquil Loire Valley, but it has worked rather well for Hazel Manuel.


K-born Hazel came to live in France four years ago, having fallen in love with a Frenchman she met in India while they were both doing volunteer work. They were both divorced and happily single, but their attraction was strong and, after two years travelling the world together, Hazel and Pierre set up home together. They now live their lives between an apartment in Paris and a farmhouse near Saumur, where Hazel writes full-time. Hazel’s route into writing was quite an unusual one, drawing on her love of travel as well as her experiences as CEO and MD of two UK education companies. She had spent many years climbing various corporate ladders and enjoyed the cut and thrust of the business world. “I loved the strategic aspect of running a company,” she says. “Not only in the sense of making money, but creating a business that has a positive impact – that does something good in the world.”

by Mick Austin

During her corporate years, Hazel questioned whether business could be a force for good in the world, or whether the profit motive would always, inevitably, compromise any social responsibility it espoused. “I feel strongly that if we want to offer our children and grandchildren a sustainable, healthy and egalitarian life, it’s imperative that we consider how we operate our businesses and the effects they have on our world.” As a woman in a predominantly male environment and culture, Hazel faced many challenges. “I had many excellent colleagues and mentors – male and female – but sexism, both overt and covert, is something I routinely had to deal with,” she says. As well as exploring the role of business as a force for good, Hazel’s latest novel, The Geranium Woman, explores the excitement and challenge of being a female business leader. The main character is a Parisian CEO of a corporate events company, who is facing stark choices: trying to build an ethically sound company, or appeasing shareholders interested only in profit. Her resolve is tested to the full, not least by one of her boardroom colleagues who has reason to see her fail. If that wasn’t enough, she has two lovers. One a dependable confidante, the other an exciting but commitment-shy Indian ‘fixer’. “There aren’t many novels written about the cut and thrust of the business world from a female perspective. I wanted to use my time in the corporate world to explore some of the challenges and high points that I experienced. Plus, it was fun giving my main character an exciting private life as well!”

Photo main: Signed copies of Hazel’s first book, Kanyakumari; top left: Hazel launching her latest novel, The Geranium Woman’ in the Montparnasse Tower in Paris. © Hazel Manuel

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 27

...A look at what makes France so special

nt to me to “It is importa sues and is explore the modern life t a th s n o ti s e u q ns of identity, raises. Questio ideas and equality, the that inform assumptions live our lives the ways we tories and the underpin my s ve them.” li characters that

Hazel moved from corporate high-flyer into full-time writing when her first novel Kanyakumari, which is set in India, won the 2013 Cinnamon Press Debut Novel award and she was offered a publishing contract. Since then she has written four novels, most of which explore and express the deeper aspects of what it means to be living and striving in our modern world. “On the surface, my novels are all very different,” she says. “But they all feature modern women: interesting and complex women who are sometimes uncertain, who can feel vulnerable, who struggle, but who are nonetheless creating spaces in which they can fully express their strength as women.” Hazel’s books, while following themes of uncertainty, loss, obsession, power, change and fear, and of questioning life and the self, contain a message of hope and empowerment. “It is important to me to explore the issues and questions that modern life raises. Questions of identity, equality, the ideas and assumptions that inform the ways we live our lives underpin my stories and the characters that live them.” Since Hazel became a full-time writer, her books have received international attention. She has given talks and taken part in literary panel discussions, including at the Goa Arts and Literary Festival in India, the London Welsh Literature Festival and Zestfest in the UK. She has given interviews about her work on BBC Radio Wales, World Radio Paris and Expat Radio France, and has delivered workshops and author talks at writing retreats, festivals and bookshops in France, the UK and in India. Hazel has been writer in residence for Your Writeful Place in France and the UK and at the Sivananda Ashram in Southern India, one of India’s top yoga centres, where she was commissioned to write a book about Ashram life. These days Hazel has very little time to miss that corporate business life. In Paris she runs a literary salon for aspiring writers, called Paris Writers’ Working Lunches. And it does what it says on the tin in that they are working lunches that go on all afternoon! “A group of writers meets at my apartment when I’m in town to discuss all things writerly and to critique one anothers work.” She also runs writers retreats, called Words and Wine, at her farmhouse. “The retreats are five-day residential stays. They are fully catered and involve workshops, advice, time to write and feedback sessions. Plus wine tasting! “It suits me to be in Paris because of the vibrant literary culture. It really is the place to be for a writer and I organise and attend lots 28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Photos top left: Hazel giving a talk at Goa International Literary Festival, India; top right: Writers’ retreat dinner; above: Hazel reading from The Geranium Woman at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Kerala, India; right: Hazel’s farmhouse in the Loire Valley. © Hazel Manuel

of writing events. I have the farmhouse in the Loire so I can write in peace and seclusion and run my writers’ retreats. It’s the perfect combination.” As if all that doesn’t keep her busy enough, Hazel is currently again writer in residence for Your Writeful Place (an organisation running residential writing retreats in luxury houses in different countries next one will be February 2018 in southern India) where she runs their writing workshops. Oh, and she is also the host of the radio show Writers Salon on Expat Radio France. Hazel plans to continue to develop her farmhouse as a retreat for writers to work, to develop their craft and to meet other writers. And she has more novels to write herself. Her next book, Undressing Stone, will be published by Cinnamon Press early in

by Mick Austin

On this month September 3, 1911: French aviator Roland Garros breaks the world record for altitude in an aeroplane, reaching 4960 metres. Throughout the world, Roland Garros is synonymous with tennis, but few people know the home of the French Open was named after a legendary aviator who pioneered fighter combat during World War One.

September 12, 1940: Four teenagers follow their dog down a narrow entrance into a cavern near Montignac and discover a collection of prehistoric cave paintings. The 15,000 to 17,000 year-old Lascaux paintings, consisting mostly of animal representations, are among the finest examples of art from the Upper Palaeolithic period. The Lascaux grotto was opened to the public in 1948 but was closed in 1963 because artificial lights had faded the vivid colours of the paintings and caused algae to grow over some of them. A replica of the cave was opened nearby in 1983. September 20, 1946: The first annual Cannes Film Festival opens at the resort city of Cannes on the French Riviera, seven years after its original debut was cancelled after the outbreak of World War Two. In the 1950s, the Festival International du Film de Cannes came to be regarded as the most prestigious film festival in the world. More than 30,000 people now attend the festival, around 100 times the number of film devotees who showed up for the first one in 1946. September 10, 1977: Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant convicted of murder, becomes the last person executed by guillotine. The execution was carried out at Baumetes Prison, in Marseille. 2018. “This one is set between rural France and south Wales and it’s about an introverted fifty-something woman with a secret, and her obsession with an enigmatic sculptor. A mysterious tale with an unexpected twist!”

If you’d like to know more about Hazel and her work, visit her website at:

This is one of a series of articles featuring those in the region with interesting stories..... If you feel your French Adventure is worth sharing, please contact us.

September 22, 1985: French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius appears on television to admit French foreign intelligence agents had blown up the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior in Aukland harbour, New Zealand, to prevent it interfering with French nuclear tests in the South Pacific. He said: “Agents of the DGSE sank this boat. They acted on orders.”

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 29

Our Furry Friends

fresko Fresko’s story is a sad one. Although not mistreated, he has always lived outside so hasn’t known much in the way of affection and may need time to adjust to a home environment. He is in kennels and our walkers are seeing a sprightly chap who, although reluctant to leave the security of his kennel, is happy once he is out, trotting along comfortably, sniffing as he goes. We would love for Fresko to find a calm retirement home with someone who will give him time and space. He is 10 years old and weighs about 20 kgs.

The Assocation Orfee Contact Caroline: 05 45 96 02 79 or by email: Visit the website:

TWINKLE & DAPPLE born 24 april 2017 (approx)

Meet the most adorable set of tortoiseshell twins. Twinkle is a loving affectionate kitten who will meow loudly for cuddles but if they are not forthcoming she will happily settle down to sleep entwined with the dog. Dapple is the more adventurous of the two, she likes exploring but is very happy to snuggle with you for cuddles too. Though we would love for them to find a home together, they can be homed separately. Both girls will be vaccinated, chipped and de-parasited before homing.  If you are interested in either one of these beautiful girls please contact their foster carer, Sophie Nicol. Email: ~ Tel: 05 53 73 91 13 Mobile: 07 78 21 13 55 (Dept. 24 Bergerac) ECOLE DU CHAT LIBRE DE POITIERS 1 Place de Fontevrault 86000 POITIERS (answerphone)

Facebook: ecole-du-chat-libre-de-Poitiers

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

The Story of Twilight


any people, especially those in the expat community of south-west France, have heard of Twilight – the retirement home for dogs in the Dordogne. Maybe you’ve seen the Twilight stall at the Hope Book Sale in Clussais la Pommeraie, or perhaps you follow Twilight on Facebook or Twitter. But, have you ever asked yourself … “What made a retired English teacher and his psychologist wife open the doors of their Dordogne home to thirty old, sick or disabled dogs?” Now the answer is at hand. You can read all about Mike and Leeanne Whitley, an incredible couple, who have dedicated the last nine years to rescuing over three hundred dogs in need. Twilight has published its very own biography: Paws Before Bedtime. Find out how and why Leeanne and Mike set up Twilight, learn about the ups and downs of daily life with over thirty dogs, and be amazed by the special dogs’ stories. Discover the magic of Twilight – the retirement home for dogs, where the old, sick, lame and unwanted spend their final years, months or days in an oasis of love and tranquillity. The book has been put together at minimal cost to Twilight, with the exception of printing, 100% of profit goes to the dogs. At 20€ posted to any destination in France, you are supporting a fantastic cause, and you’ll have a lovely 260 page colour paper book to treasure. Paws Before Bedtime reviewer Susan Keefe comments: “This book is one every animal lover should own, it is humbling, inspiring, and just simply wonderful … So please buy this book, for yourself, your friends, for birthdays, Christmas, by doing so you will not only be supporting Twilight, you will also have the privilege of allowing wonderful characters in it, both canine and human to enter your soul and enrich your life.”

You can bu y now usingPaws Before Bedtim cash and fu PayPal, cheque or e ll details website: are on the www.twilig htc or please mail: twiligh tdogsboo k@

Ever Thought of Being a Foster Family? (for our 4 legged friends)

As I’m sure you are all aware, there is a huge problem with abandoned and unwanted dogs in our area. There are many reasons for this; non sterilisation, mistreatment and neglect, break up of homes…the list goes on. Here at Association Galia, we rescue dogs from euthanasia at the pound. We are always full despite the many kind people who step forward to help by adopting these dogs and we are always grateful for any help that is offered. If you wish to help but cannot commit to adoption, there are many other ways to make a difference to the lives of these dogs. Firstly, there is the option of being a foster family. In this situation, you take care of a dog in your home but on a temporary basis until their future adoptants come forward. During this time, the dog lives with you as part of the family. The veterinary fees are taken care of by Galia. You supply the food and of course the love. This is an extremely rewarding role where you save not one life but two; the dog that you take from the refuge and the dog that takes their place. If you are unable to take a dog into your home, you could consider sponsoring one of our dogs or making a donation. This would be incredibly helpful in going towards the cost of veterinary treatment or specialised alimentation and would make an enormous difference to the lives of the older dogs, or dogs with ongoing medical conditions. If you prefer a more hands-on approach and you have time to give, then you could become a volunteer at the refuge. There are dogs to be walked and cleaned, and generally needing care, love and attention. If you would like to become a foster family for one of our dogs or if you are able to help us out in any other way, please contact Sue or Carolyn by email: Here are two dogs currently with us and looking for their forever home:



6 year old Male Pointer X Spaniel

2 year old Female Dutch Shepherd

Tino is a lovely big dog, gets on with everyone. All of his friends are gone and he’s wondering when it will be his turn.

Dawa was rescued from euthanasia. This gentle girl needs reassuring that there are kind people out there.

Tino & Dawa, as well as many other dogs and cats can be found on our website

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 31

Food & Drink Stripped-Down Wine All you need to know about THE RHÔNE Part TWO: the southern rhÔn

by John Sherwin


380 Almost 95% of all Rhône wines (roughly sector. hern sout the from e com les) million bott Montélimar • Large, widespread area between spread are s yard vine the As . non Avig and terroir far and wide, there is no influence on h). from the Rhone river (unlike in the nort there are a • But, given the size of the area, mates, and o-cli micr s, multitude of soil type present wine-making styles. All wine types are e. inat but reds dom l red • Most wines are blends: principa rvèdre and mou h, syra , ache gren are es grap sanne cinsault; for whites, marsanne, rous early and grenache blanc. Generally good, great drinking, but the best can be aged with advantage. ucer of plonk • Used to be ‘famed’ as a prime prod 20 years or past the for ake, mist no – but make ; prices so quality has improved immeasurably too. up t crep y itabl inev have

RASTEAU This appellation only allows the production of red wine. The dry variety is produced from a high percentage of mourvèdre. These are popular and pleasant. The area’s real claim to fame is the sweet, fortified, And if you want to know more… red wine, Vin Doux Naturel Rasteau, made from grenache. Not your everyday run of the mill wine, but a go-to if you’re looking ChÂteauneuf-du-pape for something to pair with chocolate desserts. Producers of note: The most famous of the southern Rhône appellations. 95% reds Cave des Vignerons de Rasteau, Domaine des Coteaux des Travers. with Grenache the most important grape, but with additions of syrah and mourvèdre as the producer sees fit. Wines are fruity yet BEAUMES DE VENISE chewy, meaty, herby (Provençal lavender, rosemary and thyme). This area makes basic reds from grenache and syrah. They’re OK A large range of styles here, with the more traditional makers but I find them a little coarse and basic, particularly when compared preferring old oak, the young turks new oak – which is by way to the production of some of the other villages above. The jewel in of saying tread carefully, not all CduP is made equal. Suggested the crown here is Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, a sweet, fortified food pairings: venison, moussaka, lamb stew, roast duck, munster white wine made exclusively from muscat grapes. With aromas cheese. Reliable producers: Chateau de Beaucastel, Chapoutier, of orange, honey, and passion fruit, this can go equally well with Guigal, Jaboulet, Maison Ogier. savoury foie gras or strawberries for dessert. Producers of note: Domaine de Durban, Balma Venetia (the coopérative).


A massive wine region, the second largest appellation after Bordeaux. The ‘villages’ part of the appellation is of a higher quality, vines being planted on superior terroirs. 90% reds principally from grenache, 7% rosés, 3% whites. These can be some of the best value for money wines anywhere – honest to goodness, early drinking. Unfortunately, some hark back to the bad old days of plonk; by the law of averages there are bound to be some lazy or inept wine makers given the size of the region. Find one, or a few, that you like and stick with them. Suggested food pairings: pizza and black olives, roast chicken, chicken tikka masala, veal cutlets, goats’ cheese. Reliable producers: Guigal, Maison Ogier, Famille Perrin, Vidal-Fleury.


One of the prettiest one-horse villages with expansive views and charming restaurants/wine bars with laid back outside seating. 99% reds from grenache, the wines are a rustic, beefy fore-armed version of Châteauneuf (of which it is a near neighbour). Suggested food pairings: beef stroganoff, cassoulet, wild boar. Producers of note: Pierre Amadieu, Arnoux et Fils, Guigal, Famille Perrin.


At the far southern end of the Rhone, Lirac is almost on the border with Languedoc-Roussillon. 80% reds (blends, but predominantly grenache), 10% rosés, 10% whites. Good wines at fair prices. Try reds with duck breasts, guinea fowl or ostrich. Producers of note: Domaine de la Mordorée, Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine.


A unique appellation in the southern Rhône, devoted 100% to rosé wines. Made from the same red grapes as used elsewhere in the region, these are some of the finest rosés you will find anywhere. Fruity and refreshing for sure, as all rosés should be, but also with a raciness and complexity. If you were ever a rosé-denier, at least give one of these a try. And if you go with tapas, charcuterie, grilled tuna or shrimp, or a salad niçoise, you will become a rosé- convert or your money back. (OK, the mag’s free, but you know what I mean.) Producers of note: Domaine de la Mordorée, Domaine Lafond RocEpine, Prieuré de Montézargues. Why not explore this fascinating region? Contact French Wine Tours.


Due south of Gigondas, again predominantly reds from grenache, mourvèdre, syrah and cinsault. If you’re looking for a rustic, burly, powerful red, there are still great bargains to be had here. Suggested food pairings: steak, lamb, duck. Producers of note: Pierre Amadieu, Arnoux et Fils, Clos des Cazaux, Domaine Chamfort. 32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

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

The Frugal French Pantry Fantastic food on a budget...


by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

fter a summer of barbecues and salads are you looking for something different? Do you love Asian food and miss the Chinese or Indian takeaway? Here’s a selection of some of my easy and frugal favourites from the website that you can make at home.

Prawn & Squid Noodle Bowl

Tandoori Chicken Bake

For this quick and healthy dish I often use tinned prawns or buy cooked ones reduced! Make it all go further by adding more veg and noodles. Frozen veg works too. Leave out the seafood and use leftover chicken instead.

Chicken thighs are so much cheaper and tastier for this dish with the marinade, cooking and serving from one dish. Serve it with salad and rice to fill everyone up.

Ingredients for 4: •

Ingredients for 4: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

100g prawns cooked/ raw 100 g squid rings/slices 250 g egg noodles 1 red pepper sliced 1 red onion sliced 3 cm ginger finely chopped 2 cloves garlic chopped 1 red chilli chopped 2 florets broccolli chopped 2 tbsp fresh coriander chopped 1 lemon grass stalk chopped seasoning 1 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp oil 1 tbsp sesame seeds handful mangetout or sugarsnap

• •


1. Put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. 2. In a large pan or wok heat the oil over a medium to high heat then add in the onions for a couple of minutes stirring constantly. 3. Add the garlic, chilli, ginger and lemon grass and fry for 1 minute. 4. Tip in the rest of the vegetables and stir for a few minutes. 5. If the prawns are raw fry them for a minute with the squid in a separate pan then add to the wok with the drained noodles. 6. Combine the noodles well with some coriander and the sesame oil, transfer to a serving dish and scatter on some sesame seeds to serve.

Vietnamese Caramelised Pork For this dish I use cheaper shoulder steaks or belly slices but it’s great for leftover roast meat too.

Ingredients for 4: • • • • • •

500g pork 1 tbsp minced ginger 75g brown sugar 1 tbsp fish sauce 1 onion, finely sliced 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce 200 ml water 1 tbsp oil

2. Fry the onions over a medium heat until very soft then add the ginger for 1 • minute. • 3. Add the sugar, water, fish sauce, chilli sauce and stir Instructions: until dissolved and leave 1. Cut the pork into 2cm to reduce for a couple of chunks and brown in a minutes. large pan before transfer4. Return the pork to the pan ring to a plate. to cook through. Amanda lives in La Chapelle St Etienne and is the writer behind the food blog where she posts new recipes weekly.

• • • • • • • •

8 skinned chicken thighs 2 medium onions, sliced 250g yoghurt/creme fraiche Instructions: 4 cloves garlic, 1. Prepare the marinade by mixing crushed yoghurt, spice, garlic, ginger, 1 thumb sized piece turmeric, lemon and seasoning in ginger, finely chopped an oven proof dish. 2 tbsp tandoori spice 2. Slash the thighs 3 times and add mix to the marinade. 1 tsp turmeric 3. Marinate overnight or a few hours juice 1/2 a lemon then cook at 180 C for 40 minutes. 1 tsp salt 4. Garnish with the coriander and 1/2 tsp pepper some sliced fried onions if liked. 1 tbsp chopped coriander

Coconut and Cardamom Chicken This is an easy aromatic dish. I find that often turkey is cheaper or use boned chicken thighs. If you can get powdered coconut it is cheaper than the milk too.

Ingredients for 6: • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 kg chicken breast cubed 3 onions sliced 6 garlic cloves chopped 5 cm ginger chopped 200 ml water 1 tin coconut milk 1 tsp chilli powder 1 tsp turmeric 8 cardamom pods lightly crushed 1 tsp ground cardamom 1 tsp salt 1 tbsp ground coriander 1 tbsp oil


1. Heat the oil over medium heat and fry the onions in a large pan until translucent. 2. Add the ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for a minute before adding the spices and salt and cook for a further minute. 3. Fry the chicken with the onion mixture until sealed and then add the coconut milk and water. 4. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 33

Village Life


by Jacqueline Brown

s I write this we are celebrating our 13th anniversary of living in France, it’s August and the rain is pouring down outside, much like it did in 2004 when we arrived. A lot has changed in our lives in the last thirteen years and that is also true of life in the village. When we first arrived an evening treat was to walk down to the village bar, usually with 3-year-old Ed pedalling along on his tractor, and enjoy a drink on their terrace while Ed let off steam in the park. Within the year the British owners called time and sold it to a young British family, who stayed a few years before selling it on to Mr Catastrophe. This wasn’t his real name, but every time you went in and enquired as to how things were going, he raised his short arms above his short head and declared it to be a “catastrophe”. He didn’t stay long and neither did the last French family who tried to make a success of it many years ago. Despite our previous Maire doing all he could to get someone to take it over, it remained empty and neglected until an independent printer moved into the premises. Sadly, even that enterprise was doomed to fail and I never thought the time would come when we had a village bar once again. I was wrong. This summer, following months of hard work and perseverance, Jean-Marc and Catherine, a French couple who moved to Loubillé a year ago, opened the doors once more. In the short time they have lived in the village they have done their best to join in with village life, becoming members of various associations and proved themselves as jovial hosts by organising social events in the salle des fêtes, with good food and fun entertainment. JeanMarc, an ironman in his spare time, even runs our weekly keep fit class on his one day off from cooking in the bar. I truly believe their involvement in the village will help with the success of the bar in the long term and if they can’t make a go of it, no one can. L’Entre’pôtes (meaning between mates) is open as a bar from Tuesday to Saturday, 08h30 to 19h30 and Sunday until 12h30 (closed Mondays), serving food at lunchtimes. The menu of the day will cost you 13,50€ for two courses and 15€ for three courses and a croque monsieur or hot dog with chips is 6€. They also hold regular Saturday evening buffet suppers that are good fun and very good value. They are planning to open a small épicerie in the autumn, but as their priority was to get the bar open for the summer, don’t be alarmed if it looks a little unfinished from the outside for the moment.

The Tour de Rêves will be setting off from the bar (located next to the church in Loubillé 79110) at 09h30 on Tuesday 5th September. Copies of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ can be found on the table by the door. Email:

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Ginger Flapjack

by Terry Laverick

Ingredients: • 200g butter • 200g light or dark brown sugar • 2 tbsp mild flavoured honey • 350g porridge oats • 100g of either, crystallised ginger or stem ginger (we prefer the stem ginger)

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

I find DSM very useful in planning my trips to Deux-Sèvres and things to do on holiday where I visit 3 to 4 times a year but more in general as it keeps me in touch with the area, whats on and a feel for every day life in the region.

Method: • Preheat the oven to 160˚C (fan) or 180˚ (standard) • Chop the ginger into currant sized pieces. • Put butter, sugar and honey into metal saucepan and heat gently. • Add the porridge oats and ginger and mix together well. (If we are using the stem ginger, we occasionally replace some of the honey with the liquid from the stem ginger jar.) • Put into lined 22cm square baking tin and squash down, so that the mixture combines into a sticky mass. • Bake for up to 35 mins, we find that 28 to 30 mins gives us a lovely chewy texture! Tip: If you want a bigger “ginger hit”, you could also add a little dried ginger to the mix, but only ¼ tsp. Perhaps this will become one of your family favourites. It’s most definitely one of ours.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 35

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres

by Sue Burgess


Perigné’s wash-house is situated on the right as you leave the village and head for Prahecq. It is fed by the waters of the Belle and inside you’ll find two large beams supporting the tile covered roof.

Pas-de-Jeu is a commune of the North of Deux-Sèvres situated between Thouars and Loudun, on the border of the Vienne department (86).


The name Pas-de-Jeu goes back to the Roman occupation of the area. Passus Jovis or passage of Jupiter; meaning, passage over the river Dive, a tributary of the Thouet. The name of the inhabtants, les Jovinais and les Jovinaises, would tend to support that story. Others see a relation with a cockerel. Passage (pas) du coq (jau or jeu, jeau in local dialect). The old church of Pas-de-Jeu was completely destroyed in 1973. It was already in ruins in 1878 when the building that replaced it was consecrated. The original church could have dated back to Roman times and had been altered several times. A bell tower rose from the junction of the rectangular nave and the choir. Today’s church is dedicated to Saint Hilaire.


The closest communes to Pers are Vanzay, Sainte Soline, Clussais la Pommeraie and Saint Coutant. Pers is part of the Communauté de communes Coeur du Poitou and is in the canton of Melle. It is a small commune of about 100 inhabitants. The commune has a Romanesque church and there is a lanterne des morts (lantern of the dead) – a stone monument, dating from the 12th century, in the cemetery where some medieval tombstones and monuments can also be found. Notre Dame church is remarkable because of its small size. In the Middle Ages, the church depended on the Augustine abbey of SaintSéverin-sur-Boutonne. Seen from the outside, the church is simple – a rectangular nave with a wall in stone blocks. The corniche of the facade is decorated with sculptures representing human or animal heads. There is a small bell dating from 1723.

Perigné is a small commune in Val-de-Boutonne. The village was inhabited in prehistoric and then Gallic-Roman times. There used to be a standing stone at Pierre-Levée and Gallic-Roman remains including a temple, Roman baths and a theatre have been found at Mazerolles. There is a Gallic-Roman cemetery at la Boucharderie. The village was situated on the boundary line between the Catholic areas to the south-west and Protestant areas to the north-east, and the church was burnt during the wars of religion. St Martin’s church dating from the 10th century, was rebuilt and restored in the 17th century. Photo: The cemetry at Pers © PamelaJayne Photography 2017

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

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


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 37

Communications How Secure are your Passwords? Uncrackable Passwords?

There is no such thing as an uncrackable password, in time every one is beatable. This is the key to being safe, making your password or passphrase so difficult, anyone who is trying to crack it gives up because it will simply take too long or too many resources. It is two years since I wrote on this subject, and in that time I have spent countless hours researching the whole issue of passwords. After all, they are our only protection in the digital age we live in until our biometrics, (fingerprints, retinal scans, heartbeat or facial recognition) can be simply used to secure our data, finances and thoughts.

Two Step Verification

Wherever possible I advise the use of two-step password security,. Typical examples of this are when you log on to an account from any new device, say a new tablet or mobile phone or someone else’s PC, you get a code sent to your personal (usually mobile) telephone that you are asked to enter by the log in application. Although my bank does not use this method each time I log in to my accounts, they do require it for me to set up a new payment recipient or when logging on with a new device for the first time.

Test your own passwords

It is possible to test the strength of a pass word/phrase online; go to and give it a try. This simple page enables you to experiment with passwords and passphrases and see exactly how difficult it is to crack. The result is expressed in time to crack; I firmly believe that any password/phrase that may be cracked in less than 100 years is not worth using. Let us have a look at some examples. We are always told to use at least 8 characters using both numbers and letters using the password tester... Example 1: 01/08/2017 time to crack 3 hours – now add a couple of letters such as AD and the time to crack is now 600 years. Example 2: TG 680 GW – A car registration number - time to crack 2 months, simply add a UK postcode to this such as W1A 7VW and the time to crack is over 17 trillion years. In the first example above, simply by increasing the number of characters by two made the difference between hours to crack and centuries (from 10 to 12 char). Example two was even more surprising going from 9 characters to 16 characters from months to over trillions of years. Clearly the longer the password or phrase the more difficult it is to crack.

What to avoid using as your password

Do not use: ◊ proper names especially those of your friends, work colleagues and or family or pets ◊ important dates in your life or those mentioned above ◊ other numbers/words easily associated with your/yours i.e. phone number, car registration ◊ NI number, account or club membership numbers ◊ the same password/phrase twice

Password Manager Software

On the face of it these look like excellent solutions. They work by having one exceptionally long and thus difficult to crack password for the Password Manager Software itself, and this in turn generates a different password for each of your logins. They are stored in a secure ‘vault’ and you do not need to know what these are or remember them as the PMS will insert them for you as required once setup. They work across all of your devices if you set them up accordingly. However, recent scrutiny of these systems has shown them all to have issues of one kind or another, so which do you choose? Personally I do not like the concept of a third party application being responsible for my security to this degree. For me the 38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

by Ross Hendry

issue is trust and none of the companies offering the service have demonstrated their trustworthiness to me.

Easy to remember and secure

During my research it was clear that it is much easier to remember a few words than a complex password and a few words can provide the password lengths that make your password very difficult to crack. The strongest passwords were shown to consist of five random words; these consistently take millennia to crack. You may generate 7 random words using a book and a pencil, open 7 pages at random and with your eyes closed use the pencil to select one word per page and write them down, once you have 7 words, choose the shortest five words. Now set about remembering them by using a rhyme or acronym or such. Finally you have a password/phrase that is very difficult to crack. By being consistent you can use this plus a few characters to be your password/s for every log in you have, for example: My password/phrase is 20 characters long using 5 random words: logwartrivalbikedoll

Finally putting it all together

For all financial, government, business and email sites I will use a suffix to the password/phrase separated by a special character or space, for example: Gov for government sites, so Driving Licence would GovDL, or taxation GovTX or National Insurance GovNI, LBplc for Lloyds bank, CCBC for Barclaycard, Mastercard would be CCMC and so on. So a very difficult password for the DVLA would be logwartrivalbikedoll/GovDL The result is a password that is very unlikely to be cracked. How long is a nonillion year? For sites that are less sensitive the same core password this time prefixed, so for Amazon – AMA; for Facebook – FB; for Argos – ARG. Once again the prefix may use a space or special character to join to the main password/phrase. If the site insists that you have a number in the password, then use a number instead of a space between password/phrase and prefix or suffix. You will have to comply with the rules of the site/program when you create the password/phrase so if they demand that you use upper and lowercase letters then work these in to your unique passphrase. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

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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.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 39

Building & Renovation

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 41

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 43

Small B/W Advert from 34€ per month

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

very now and again, we all get complaints from our customers. In the UK, I dealt with customer complaints for a while. Most of my colleagues couldn’t think of a worse job, but I actually enjoyed it. The customers I spoke to largely just wanted answers, wanted someone to take ownership of what had gone wrong and sort it out. I always felt that talking to a customer about a complaint or problem gave me the perfect opportunity to turn things around. Take responsibility The most important thing is to take responsibility for the complaint. Take the time to find out exactly what has happened. Once they have explained, repeat what they have just said, so they know that, not only have you been listening, but you understand their issue. Apologise for the mistake, even if it’s not your fault, and tell them that you will look into it and get back to them within a specified amount of time, for example, in two hours. Keep your promise It’s crucial to keep your promise, so make sure you ring back within that two hours, whether you have a solution or not. If you do, great, and they will be very grateful. If the solution will take longer, be honest and let them know when you will be able to do something about it and that you will ring them again with an update in, say, 24 hours. If there is not a solution, again be honest and tell them and offer them some form of compensation. Show genuine concern Always keep calm and be genuinely concerned for your customer and their situation. Reassure them that you will take care of whatever the problem is. Show them that you’re on their side and that you value their custom and their opinion. Dealing with Mr/Mrs Angry There are times when, no matter how calm you are and however much you try to help, you have a customer who just wants to shout and rant. LET THEM! In the UK, I was taught to ‘play puppy dog’! This simply meant be quiet and wait. Don’t try to defend yourself, just listen. Let the customer have his/her say…it will make them feel better. Eventually, they will realise that you’re not arguing with them…and you’ll either hear, “Are you still there?” or, “Are you listening to me?” This is your chance to turn the customer around…keep calm, say that you would like to try and help to resolve their problem; repeat their complaint back to them and ask if you’ve understood correctly. Then you can carry on with taking responsibility, showing concern, keeping your promise and finding a solution or offering compensation. Nine times out of ten, you can turn them around and they will compliment you on the way you’ve dealt with them and you won’t lose your customer. If you have any other ways of dealing with complaints, I’d love to hear from you. Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email:

‘The DSM’ Feedback...

I picked up a copy of the magazine prior to our moving and was extremely impressed with all the invaluable information it contained. Have been an avid reader ever since. Keep up the excellent work!


Turn a Complaint into a Compliment


BUSINESS agio (m) - bank charge assurance (f) - insurance assurance-vie (f) - life insurance assuré - insured s’assurer - verb - to take out insurance bancaire - banking banque (f) - bank bénéfice (m) - a profit cash-flow (m) - cashflow chiffres de ventes - sales figures compte de pertes et profits - profit and loss account dépôt (m) - deposit impôt (m) - tax frais généraux (mpl) - overheads gérer - to manage perte (f) - a loss prélèvement (m) - direct debit prêt personnel (m) - personal loan prévision des ventes - sales forecast publicité (f) - advertising récrimination (f) - a complaint reçu (m) - receipt rejeter un chèque - verb - to bounce a cheque relevé de compte (m) - bank statement solde (f) - account balance taxe foncière (f) - property tax taxe habitation (f) - habitation tax

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 45

I’m hoping to purchase a property in France in the next six months. What are prices like in the nation generally and what impact could exchange rate movement have on my purchase?


by Sue Cook

he world of foreign exchange can be quite confusing when you don’t know where to start – but the worst place to start is with your bank!

Expertise While many people go to banks for their international money transfer requirements, they’re likely to wind up paying a lot more – both on the exchange rate and in fees and commissions. Luckily, there is another way. Foreign exchange specialists (like Currencies Direct) deal only in international payments and transfers – unlike a bank, which doesn’t provide a dedicated service. This is because we have a specific focus. Currencies Direct can offer you a better service and expert dealers who are more knowledgeable than banks are when it comes to navigating exchange rate fluctuations and timing currency money transfers and international payments. Safe and secure Foreign exchange companies are regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA regulates all foreign exchange brokers to make sure the business is operating correctly and taking the right safety precautions with client money. It’s important to buy currency only from FCA authorised and regulated foreign exchange brokers, like Currencies Direct. Products that work for you Rates can change in the blink of an eye – that holiday home by the sea that you haggled over for weeks could suddenly cost a lot more than you expected! But a specialist can make sure that you’re not caught out. For example, a forward contract is a “buy now, pay later approach” where you agree on the exchange rate in advance. Even if the rate moves against you later on, you’ll be able to take advantage of the fixed rate that you agreed on when you booked your trade. Forward contracts offer you more stability and make it easier for you to work out how much currency you’ll have once you’ve transferred your funds. Unfortunately, banks often don’t offer this option, except to larger clients who are transacting millions in foreign exchange every year. Since 1996, we’ve been helping people to make their dreams of moving overseas or buying a holiday home abroad a reality. To find out more about what we can do for you, visit our website or give us a call. Our friendly experts will be happy to help. Let’s talk currency.

46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Car Insurance


by Isabelle Want

et’s face it, we cannot do without it as most of us live in the countryside and buses are sparse! So make sure you fully understand how it works in France. Yes, it is different to the UK. To start with, we drive on the correct side of the road!

1. Who is insured: This is the main difference to the UK. In France, it is the car that is insured so everybody can drive it, as long as they have a valid driving licence and have authorisation to drive it. But note that if someone else drives your car and crashes it, it is your no claim discount that is affected and not theirs and on some policies, there is an additional excess on top of the one you already have. If it is a young driver (less than 3 years experience) that drives your car and crashes it, the excess is much higher. It is a legal obligation to have a motor vehicle insured even if you don’t use it. If someone steals it and kills someone with it, you are responsible, so you must insure it for at least public liability. You and your car are covered if you are hit by an uninsured driver. Insurance companies have a special money pot for that. Car insurance also automatically covers trailers up to a certain weight (750kg with Allianz). Caravans and trailers above 750kg must have their own number plates and insurances (and registration paperwork). Finally, your car insurance in France does not cover you to drive someone else’s car in the UK! Your car however is insured everywhere in Europe (list of countries on the back of your green paper). 2. No Claim discount/Bonus malus: In France, you need to have 13 years without a claim to be entitled 50% discount. 50% is the maximum discount offered. If you had 50% bonus for more than 3 years, you keep your maximum discount after an accident that is your fault (a little thank you for being so good for so long!). We accept no-claims certificates from the UK. We also have protected bonus schemes. You need to have been at 50% for 3 years and it is transferred if you change your insurance company. 3. Excess/Franchise: Like most insurances, you can choose what excess you have. If the accident is not your fault and the culprit (third party) is identified, you have no excess to pay. If your car is stolen, you have an excess. The excess can be different depending on the claim (always check your contract).

one you want). If the repair takes less than 2 days, the insurance pays the hotel, otherwise, the insurance pays to take you home or where you were going with your car. The insurance then pays for you to pick up your car (only one person) once it is repaired. 7. Replacement vehicle: You can have this option added to your contract. With Allianz, it’s about 6€ more per month. There is a limit on the length of time for the replacement and it depends if it is breakdown, theft or accident. 8. Claims/Sinistres: In case of an accident, make sure that you fill in an agreed statement of facts on motor vehicle accident (Constat in French). Make sure you always have one in the car and don’t sign it if you disagree with it. There is an emergency helpline (they speak English) for breakdown, accident, etc. but also make sure you carry the number with you even if you are not using your car as it includes repatriation and health cover abroad. The number is written on your green paperwork proof of insurance. Compensation for death or injury is decided by the French code of law and the amount is calculated in accordance to the level of importance of injuries or grief. E.g.: the death of a father of 5 children will be better compensated than the one of a 100 years old without any family. Note that you will not get any compensation for death or injury or for the car if you took the vehicle without permission of the owner, or if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the accident. And you will have to pay for the compensation and damages you have caused to others! So, don’t drink and drive! 9. UK number plates: It is standard practice to have 3 months to change your UK number plate to French plate. Allianz offer this also, but we can be lenient when there is a good reason. However, note that if you travel to the UK in a car on UK plate with French insurance, you may be penalised as our system is not recognised in the UK by the Automatic Recognition Plate System. 10. Premiums: These are calculated by taking lots of different facts into account (probably why it is done by computer): the model of the car, price of replacement bits, horse power, the date it was first on the road, nationwide statistic of theft, what option you chose (third party, fully comprehensive, replacement car, excess, etc.). You can reduce the premium if you do less than 9000 or 7000km per year.

Don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subject such as Funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc…

4. Fully comprehensive/Third party: Fully comprehensive is the same as in the UK: you and the car are insured whether it is your fault or not. Third party means that your car is not covered for an accident (only public liability) if it is your fault and it has different levels of cover. Some include glass breakage, theft and fire, some don’t. Check your contract. 5. Glass breakage/Bris de glace: The excess is less for glass breakage and it covers windscreens, windows and headlights but does NOT include wing-mirrors and backlights. 6. Breakdown cover/Assistance 0km ou 25km: You can have breakdown cover from 0km (your front door - home start) or from 25km. For the recovery, the car is taken to the closest garage (not the

No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: Visit our website:

Facebook included... All adverts are now shared on our busy FB page at no extra cost - it’s all part of The DSM service. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 47

No Tax between Spouses upon Death? Not Always


by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

few months ago I discussed a case that highlighted the importance of using a financial adviser who fully understands the French tax system. In that example, a client had been misadvised by her UK adviser, who was unaware that her late husband’s pension would be liable for French taxation.

lose around 40% – £160,000 in this instance. If Mrs C had died first and the money passed directly to children, then the UK charge would still apply. If the children were UK resident, this would be at their marginal rate, but succession tax would also be applied in France at 20%, or even 60% if they were step-children. If the children were resident elsewhere, then they would be taxed at the emergency rate along with succession tax. So as you can see, the total impact on the fund being inherited can be incredibly high.

This case also illustrated how there is sometimes good justification in taking pension benefits as a lump sum to reinvest in an assurance-vie, particularly before age 70.

In this case, a simple solution was to transfer the pension fund to a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). The transfer itself created no immediate tax charge, and death after age 75 does not trigger the tax charge on the fund. Although succession tax cannot be avoided, in all other respects, the QROPS can provide the same benefits as the UK pension in terms of accessibility.

A more recent case highlights another reason why taking qualified guidance is essential where pensions are involved.

However, transferring to a QROPS is not a suitable option for everyone. As with all advice on pensions, it is important to take independent, qualified, professional advice to ensure that your retirement planning is tailored to your individual needs and circumstances.

Mr C was aged 72 with a pension fund of about £400,000, but wanted more flexible access than the pension structure allowed. I looked at how the pension lump sum would be taxed in France if he died after the age of 75. The UK rules are that, whoever takes the lump sum, tax is charged based on the recipient’s marginal rate of tax. Where the beneficiary is non-UK resident – in this case his wife – the emergency tax rate applies. However, this tax cannot be claimed back as it is not, in effect, a tax of income but a charge on the pension fund.

Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice.

As a result, even though the money was being paid to the widow and would not be liable to succession tax in France, she would still

The Blevins Franks Autumn Seminars Brexit, Macron, Healthcare, Pensions, Inheritance Planning, Timing, Tax, Markets… What to consider in moving to, staying in or leaving France.


Wed 25 Oct VOUILLÉ Thur 26 Oct NIORT

Registration 10 for 10.30am start, until 12 noon

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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, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissements Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: Parc Innolin, 3 Rue du Golf, CS 60073, 33701 Mérignac – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA).

48 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017


‘The DSM’ Feedback...

I’ve found that by advertising regularly in the DSM, people tend to remember my name and what I do; far better than leaflet drops. It’s also the only form of advertising that I need to do now.

Small B/W Advert from 34€ ttc

per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017 | 49

Living with Style

by Joanna Leggett


n any town or village there will be one or two properties which stand out - built in a more classic symmetrical style they are Maisons de Maître. This month we’ve picked out three of the very best currently on the market here in the Deux-Sèvres!

Charm abounds at our first offering in the small village of Taizon where an ancient bridge crosses the river Thouet not far from Argenton l’Église and the lively market town of Thouars. Close to the river you approach this lovely stone house (Leggett ref: 67589, photo left) down a long tree-lined driveway through lovely gardens. Inside you’ll be seduced by pretty rooms and enchanting wooden staircase – to one side there’s the kitchen diner with glazed doors to gardens and on the other a simply charming sitting room. On the first floor are two bedrooms and on the second a further bedroom, dressing and playroom - for sale at 167 400€. There’s a sense of grandeur about our next property close to the centre of the bustling market town of Chef Boutonne. Beautifully presented, with light airy accommodation, the main house has 6 bedrooms (ref: 62137, photo right). The ground floor is set to tempt – the great kitchen has no less than 5 sets

of arched French doors leading outside, while the living room has beautiful wooden floors and grand fireplace. Bedrooms are arranged over the two upper floors. And wait here, there truly is more – as well as a large walled garden with luscious rose beds and variety of fruit trees, there’s a one bedroom gîte! In excellent condition within walking distance of schools, shops and everything else you might need it’s on the market in this prime location for 383 250€. South of Thouars in the village of Assais les Jumeaux, our final offering sits bathed in sunshine, surrounded by magnificent gardens, waiting for new owners. This pretty pink rendered home (Legget ref: 67317, photo below) also boasts 6 bedrooms and is another classic 3 storey home with symmetrical layout. To one side on the ground floor are the kitchen, bathroom and office, while on the other is a grand sitting room. On the first floor are two enormous bedrooms and upstairs again are four more generously sized bedrooms. With two separate gated entrances, the terrace area along the front of the house provides wonderful views over the garden. There’s also a garage/workshop and log store - 267 500€. These homes all offer fantastic value for money in beautiful locations – tempting you to become ‘to the manor born’?

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



Ref: 78332 18thC château situated between Sauze Vaussais and Ruffec. 2Ha. MONTALEMBERT €461,100

Buying or selling?

6% agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

Ref: 78714 Newly renovated 3 bed / 2 bath riverside longère with outbuildings. LOUBILLE €194,400

Ref: 78402 3 bed / 2 bath bungalow with 24m² garage, garden and hot tub. MELLERAN €189,000

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

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: C

Ref: 78790 30kms from Poitiers is this cute, edge of village renovation project. MESSE €119,900 9% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: F

Ref: 78719 Split level, 4 bed / 2 bath village home. Central heating and garage. LA FORET SUR SEVRE €109,000 9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

Ref: 78153 Make your mark on this cute 3 bed / 2 bath cottage near Moncoutant. LA FORET SUR SEVRE €93,500 10% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: D

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

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

50 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, September 2017

Profile for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, September '17  

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, September '17  

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

Profile for thedsm