The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Magazine - February 2021 Issue

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English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas

Preparing for spring Garden winter maintenance New hobbies for a new year

Hügelkultur, Onions, Europeans, Filofaxes and Trips to the UK


Issue 113, February 2021

Welcome to Issue 113 of

This Month’s Advertisers

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine.


irst things first. A very happy new year to all of you and here’s hoping 2021 is a good deal easier on us than 2020 turned out to be.

Here in Wigmore Towers (no, it’s not really called that) we had a quiet Christmas. Sadly we were unable to visit family in the UK as we had planned but we are now ‘ZOOM’ experts and enjoyed the virtual time together, as surely many of you did. This year is the tenth anniversary year for The DSM. We will be including some celebratory elements in the coming months. Watch this space. Work is on-going on the creation of some more archives on the web site. The full set of ‘A to Z of the Communes’ articles will shortly be available and we plan to add archives of other sections as time allows. Finally, sincere apologies to all crossword fans, and especially to Mike Morris who sets the cryptic crossword. A moment of preChristmas madness set in and we published the wrong grid for the crossword. Cannot tell you how many times we have double checked it for this issue. As ever, your views about the magazine are most welcome especially if you have any ideas about how we might celebrate ten years. Please DO drop us an email. Stay safe

Tony & Lynne

Tel: 07 68 35 45 18 Email: Website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.f


What’s On ... Getting Out and About Technology A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Home and Garden À La Carte Health, Beauty and Fitness Our Furry Friends Take a Break La Vie En France On The Road À La Carte Hobbies Food and Drink Clubs and Associations Building and Renovation Business and Finance Property

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

4 6 8 10 12 18 20 21 22 24 28 31 32 34 36 37 42 46

ABORDimmo Adrian Butterfield (Handyman) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) ARB French Property Ark 79 Charity Shop Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) Autentico (Paint specialists) BEAUX VILLAGES IMMOBILIER BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want Blevins Franks Financial Management BM Construction Charente Assistance (Admin/Hand Holding) Cherry Picker Hire (Tony Moat) Chez Christie’s Tea Rooms Chris Bassett Construction Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) Clean Sweep Chimney Services Cosmetic Contour Darren Lawrence Deux-Chèvres (Handyman) EFS France – Home Security Company Escoval Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) Hallmark Electricité Hiley Location digger hire ,and groundworks HMJ (Renovation service) H & R Building Services Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries Jeff’s Metalwork Joanne Goodall - Cleaning, House-sitting, Odd Jobs John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic Jon - the carpetman KJ Painting and decorating Leggett Immobilier Le Regal’on (Bar and Restaurant) LPV Technology (IT services) Magic Renovations (Michael Glover) Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction Michael Moore (Electrician) Michel Barateau (Cabinet maker) Mike Sweeney - Motorsport Engineering ML Computers Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) Paul Starsmeare (Mechanic) Poitiers Biard Airport Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) RJC Pool Services Rob Berry (Plasterer) Robert Mann (Upholstery) Ross Hendry Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) Simon the Tiler Stephen Shaw Painter Steve Coupland (Plumbing and renovations) Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) Strictly Roofing Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) Sunny Sky Cars The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre The Fixer - Rick Denton The French House Satellite TV The Hope Association Tim Electricien 79 Val Assist (Translation Services) Vienne Tree Services Zena Sabestini(Translation Services)

47 37 2 37 45 38 47 21 45 15 47 42 44 37 25 39 7 38 38 38 20 37 38 40 32 4 29 40 39 37 37 39 41 47 29 15 40 46 34 8 41 37 40 41 29 8 45 38 20 29 2 47 2 41 15 8 15 41 40 38 38 41 25 29 29 25 25 21 40 25 15 25

© Anthony and Lynda Wigmore 2021. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anthony and Lynda Wigmore accept no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that any 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 Anthony and Lynda Wigmore 32 Rue Andre Gastel, 79450, Saint-Aubin-Le-Cloud Tél: 07 68 35 45 18. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anthony Wigmore. Crédits photos : Pixabay sauf mention contraire. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: fevrier 2021 - Tirage: 2500 exemplaires. Siret: 830 076 345 00016 ISSN: 2115-4848

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 3

print. as we go to g day-by-day n gi can make it an e ch w e curate as Things ar ac as s or altered ay d w here is al n cancelle n o ee b ati t o rm n e fo hav The in check events leaving the house. but PLEASE before

What’s On ...

The WHAT’S ON pages were what first drew us to become readers of The DSM (years ago) so we are acutely aware that these pages are important to both organisers and readers alike. Of course, in the current climate, this section is all but empty and when we have, over the last few months, advertised events they have largely had to be cancelled at short notice. For that reason you will see this section is missing the usual DIARY. We will reinstate it just as soon as circumstances allow. The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days

2021... Fri 1 January Sun 4 April Mon 5 April Sat 1 May Sat 8 May Thu 13 May Sun 23 May Mon 24 May Wed 14 July Sun 15 August Mon 1 November Thu 11 November Sat 25 December

New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an) Easter Sunday (Pâques) Easter Monday (Pâques) Labour Day (Fête du premier mai) VE 1945 (Fête du huitième mai) Ascension Day (Ascension) Whit Sunday (Pentecôte) Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte) Bastille Day (Fête nationale) Assumption Day (Assomption) All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël)

CHURCH NOTICES... The Filling Station - Poitou-Charentes. Local Christians of all denominations who meet for spiritual renewal and evangelism. www. or Carolyn Carter on 05 45 84 19 03. 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. The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship hold meetings throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. Contact 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). Eglise Vie Nouvelle Bilingual (French / English) weekly service based in Civray See Contact 05 49 87 33 69 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, normally holds Sunday services in English. Please see our website for current information:




Regular venues at:

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

• • • • • • • •

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

Aulnay de Saintonge 1747 Ballans 17160 Beauvais Sur Matha 17490 St Jean D’Angély 17400 La Chapelle 16140 Sainte Soline Ark 79 Events 79120 Sauzé-Vaussais Hope 79 Shop 79190 Private catering

FRYER TUCKS Saint Jouin de Marnes - Outside the Boulangerie 17:30 to 20:30 - every Tuesday evening EXCEPT DURING PERIOD OF 18:00 CURFEW when we we have changed our times to ..... Saint Jouin de Marnes - Outside the Boulangerie 12:00 to 14:30 - every Tuesday lunchtime

Tel: 06 23 25 48 36

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates

LOCAL MARKETS Mondays......... by Aidan Fairlie


appy New Year to all our friends and here’s hoping that 2021 will see a revival of Reaction Theatre’s normal activities for the mutual enjoyment of our members and audiences. It was while watching the wonderful carol service from King’s College, Cambridge, on Christmas Eve – even better this year with the addition of the King’s Singers and the superb young treble choristers – that I realised how much we missed rehearsing and performing the wealth of Christmas music. Perhaps some of the cold churches where we normally perform have not been missed as much! The committee has been meeting regularly (on zoom) to look at possible ways for Keynotes to attempt some sort of rehearsal, but all alternatives seem to lack social contact and the ability to work on the ensemble element of choral singing which we all enjoy. Social distancing is a real problem and singing continues to be one of the riskiest activities. However there are positive signs that, with the arrival of vaccines, we will be able to restart rehearsing soon. It would be great if we were able to undertake our Ile d’Oleron trip again this summer. The committee has been active during this time by making improvements to our website. Please visit us on to keep in touch, particularly if you are new to the area – we would love to extend our membership. Theatre, choral singing, Scottish Dancing and instrumental activity all come under our umbrella and all levels of experience and expertise are welcome. Aidan Fairlie

For more information visit or find us on Facebook

On This Day ... February


Wednesdays.... Thursdays........




Benet 85490 La Châtaigneraie (last Monday in month) 85120 Lencloître (1st Monday in month) 86140 Lezay 79120 Civray 86400 Coulonges-sur-l’Autize 79160 Thouars 79100 - and - Bressuire 79300 Vasles 79340 Parthenay 79200 - and - Celles-sur-Belle 79370 Ruffec 16700 Sauzé-Vaussais 79190 - and - Niort 79000 La Mothe St Héray 79800 Gençay 86160 Thouars 79100 - and - Melle 79500 Secondigny 79130 (pm)-and-St Aubin le Cloud (pm) Civray 86400 (small food market) Antigny 85120 (1st and 3rd Fridays - pm) La Mothe Saint-Héray 79800 (Place Clémenceau) Bressuire 79300 - and - Champdeniers 79220 Chef-Boutonne 79110 Airvault 79600 - and - Niort 79000 Saint Maixent-l’École 79400 Fontenay-le-Comte 85200 Ruffec 16700 Magné 79460 and Moncoutant 79320 Coulon 79510 - and - Neuville-de-Poitou 86170 Thénezay 79390 Saint-Varent 79330 Saint-Loup-Lamairé 79600

February 3rd 1966 Lunik 9 touches down on the Ocean of Storms accomplishing the first controlled landing on the moon. After a soft landing, the unmanned capsule deployed its antennas, and began transmitting photographs and television images back to Earth.

February 14th circa 270 Valentine, a holy priest in Rome in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. Wanting to maintain a strong army, the Emperor was finding it difficult to get soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that Roman men were unwilling to join the army because of their strong attachment to their wives and families. To alleviate the problem, all marriages and engagements were banned in Rome. Valentine, believing the decree to be unjust, and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

February 4th 1789 George Washington is unanimously elected the first president of the United States by all 69 presidential electors who cast their votes. John Adams of Massachusetts, who received 34 votes, was elected vice president.

February 16th 1923 Howard Carter enters the sealed burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian ruler King Tutankhamen, in Thebes, Egypt. The tomb is considered the best preserved, most intact, pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

February 6th 1952 King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dies in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham after a long illness. He is succeeded by his eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth, who was in Kenya at the time of her father’s death.

February 27th 1827

February 8th 1587 Mary, Queen of Scots, is beheaded at Fotheringhay Castle in England for her complicity in a plot to murder Queen Elizabeth I. She was Elizabeth’s first cousin once removed and had been incarcerated for the preceding 19 years. February 11th 1990 Nelson Mandela is released after 27 years of imprisonment.

New Orleans’ Mardi Gras tradition began in 1827 when a group of students, inspired by their experiences studying in Paris, staged their own Fat Tuesday festivities wearing costumes and masks. The celebration of Carnival, or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, marked the beginning of the Christian period of Lent. February 28th 1953 James Watson and Francis Crick, both from Cambridge University, announce that they have determined the doublehelix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes. Although DNA was initially discovered in 1869, the pair were the first to reveal the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 5

Getting Out and About International Day of .....

There is, even now, a Wartime Broadcasting Service of the BBC intended to broadcast either after a nuclear attack or if regular BBC facilities are destroyed by conventional war.

... Radio (13th February)

Responsibility for Britain’s international broadcasting voice falls to the BBC External Services, the most successful and envied of all international broadcasting operations. Launched on 19 December 1932, by the end of World War II it was the largest and most powerful international broadcasting system in the world and quickly built a reputation for reliability and accuracy. Until March 2014, it was funded by the UK government Foreign and Commonwealth Office, but is now funded from the television licence fee.

by Beryl Brennan


hat’s the first thing you do when you walk in the kitchen in a morning? Switch on the radio? Since wireless telegraphy was ‘discovered’ in the 1830’s, it has been a lifeline for millions of people around the world. In 1864 James Clerk Maxwell showed, in theoretical and mathematical terms, that electromagnetic waves could propagate through free space. In the early 1880’s David Edward Hughes performed the first experiment and in 1888 Heinrich Rudolf Hertz conclusively transmitted airborne electromagnetic waves. Working on this research, by the mid 1890’s Guglielmo Marconi had developed an apparatus for long distance radio communication, which by 1910 was called ‘radio’. Radio is a powerful medium and at global level it is still the most widely used medium. It reaches a far wider audience than television and with radio stations around the world offering a huge variety of programmes, it can keep even remote communities in touch with events outside their immediate sphere. Although still in its infancy, radio was used by the Army in WWI and in 1913 the first aircraft was fitted with a radio with a range of 2,000 yards. The American army developed a ‘horse-pack set’ which used a hand generator, designed to resemble a saddle and be strapped to the side of a horse. Radio transmitters helped governments deal with rationing, manpower allocation, home defence and evacuation of people in advance of air raids. As a result of this, during World War II radio was used to great effect by the Allied powers as part of the war effort and on 3 September 1939 radio listeners heard Neville Chamberlain announce Britain and France declare war on Germany after its invasion of Poland.

Originally based in Broadcasting House (BH), London, the Service moved to Bush House, broadcasting from there for over 70 years with 4 English language programmes and 40 foreign language sections. It relocated to BH again in 2012 with the Burmese Service being the first of the, now 28, foreign language sections to move back. Former British Colonies are served by a network of shortwave relay stations, sometimes used for emergency messages to British subjects abroad (e.g. prior to the invasion of Kuwait by Sadaam Hussein) and since 1980 satellites have made it possible for local stations to relay BBC programmes. Having worked in the BBC External Services, and knowing how vital many of the language sections are to local communities in more remote parts of the world, I was surprised that the first World Radio Day was only proclaimed in December 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO and adopted by the General Assembly in 2012. A seminar was held in London at the School of Oriental and African Studies to explore ways for radio stations in developed countries to assist those in the developing world. One way of doing this is for members of foreign radio stations to be seconded to External Services (now known as World Service) for training. We had several at our Manchester base including one guy from an African Service who collected a Uher (portable recorder) to cover the Sierra Leone Students Union meeting at Manchester University, only to disappear for several days! The Caribbean Service had its own reporter based in Manchester covering the Lancashire and Yorkshire county cricket series as several players were originally from the Islands. And we were frequently asked to interview (Sir) Matt Busby and George Best as the Russians were great fans! So who do you think make the best commentators, radio or TV? Personally I prefer listening to events such as Wimbledon on the radio as a detailed commentary can create wonderful pictures in the mind, whereas on TV one has to listen to sometimes inane comments just to fill the ‘silence’ broken only by the grunts of the players! This year’s World Radio Day theme is ‘Sports and Radio’. Radio stations around the world are encouraged to invite listeners to share thoughts on how communities have been built around sporting events both international and local. Another idea is to encourage family and friends to turn off the TV, confiscate their cell phones and listen only to the radio for a while to rediscover the variety of entertainment, news and information on radio alone.

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

View from the Vendée by Karen Taylor

February 2021


t’s a bit of a guessing game now - when we receive a booking for guests at the gîte, we try to work out what kind of transport they’ll turn up in. As we are open all year round, we tend to attract families with young children in the summer, dog owners during the ‘shoulder’ months and business people in the low season. And each of them will have their chosen form of transport… The guessing game in July & August is usually quite easy - the more kids & animals booked into the gîte, the larger the hatchback. So when we received a booking from a couple for a week in August with no children and no dogs in tow, Game On! David put his money on a young couple turning up in a snazzy open-top sports car, whereas

fortnight; no take-aways or menus ouvriers for these young French workers! Another chap drives over from la Vienne on a regular basis to stay in the gîte, arriving on a Friday evening with an empty trailer, and leaving on a Monday morning complete with second-hand car. Apparently Luçon is a hot-bed of voitures d’occasion which he can do up & sell on for a profit in his home département - well, I never… And what about the toiletteuse (dog-grooming lady) in her fully fitted van, the Polish electricians whose camionette had undoubtedly seen better days, or the family touring in a campervan who wanted a bit of space & comfort for a week? Yes, life is full of surprises in the gîte business! Karen runs a gîte business on the Vendée coast. You can contact her on:


Christie’s To help you Keep Safe we’re continuing these Promos while stocks last: G R E A T F A CE M A S KS BU Y 4 - G ET 5 t h F REE HAND SANITISER SPRAYS BUY 1 - GET A FREE PIPETTE TO REFILL

I opted for a more mature duo in a reliable saloon car enjoying a leisurely drive through France. We were both wrong; a low, throaty rumble from the distance announced our mystery guests’ arrival… on a Harley Davidson! With a minimum of luggage, these early retirees were touring the west coast of France on their trusty steed - mid-life crisis perhaps? Talking of open-top sports cars, a couple plus dog booked in for an early summer stay last year. Madame turned up on her own in a smart, red Rav4 soft top, followed 10 minutes later by her husband & hound in a sturdy hatchback. The explanation? - Madame loves to drive her pride & joy along the coastal roads, but as she has no room for people plus luggage plus dog, her dutiful husband acts as baggage carrier! And what of our business guests? A company booked two of their technicians into the gîte for a two-week stay whilst they were working on a contract in Luçon. Not surprisingly they turned up in a large, white Citroën van. More surprisingly however were the two crates of food that they unloaded - enough supplies for the next

LOTS OF LOVELY GIFTS Tapestry, Scarves, Mugs, Jewellery, Books, Candles, Chocolates, Puzzles, Pens … G OR GE OU S C A R DS High Quality Beautiful English Ranges DELICIOUS HOME-BAKING Take Away Only until Tea Room can Reopen! Scones, Rich Fruit Cake, Brownies, Brioche Bread Pudding, Cupcakes …


WINTER HOURS: TUES-SAT: 10am - 12 noon : 3pm - 6pm more details on our Website & Facebook : GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie

Siret: 47876969800018

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 7

Technology Satellite TV - An Introduction

by Stuart Wallace


ell hello there! My name is Stuart from The French House Satellite TV. Soon to be new to the area, but not new to France. Been here since 2004. The editors have kindly let me write a column about the excruciatingly exciting world of satellite TV and all things vaguely associated with it. If the editors can tolerate me and don’t receive too many letters of complaint, I’d maybe like to use this column to talk about some of the most common satellite TV issues and how you can resolve them. I’ll also touch on subjects like ensuring all your equipment is connected in the best way and what to do to check for yourself before you call a professional. Interested? Maybe just a bit? Hmmm, OK, bear with me and we’ll see how it goes… Firstly, let’s go with the basics. For those without it, satellite TV is the method that most of us expats use to get their fix of UK TV. You can have it for pretty much any language TV you like, but for the most part, we install it for UK TV and for French. You can of course have French TV through a terrestrial aerial but sometimes it’s just not possible, or, you might want to take advantage of the huge amount of free European language satellite channels that can be obtained from one of the satellites that carries French TV (Astra 1). UK satellite TV comes from Astra 2, or Astra 28.2E as it is also known. The latter description identifies the location of the satellite in degrees east from due south. There are actually three satellites providing the UK channels, but they can be considered as one given their proximity to each other, 36,000km above the earth. Now you’re hooked aren’t you? So, what do you need? Well, a satellite dish is obvious. It needs a clear line of sight to the south-east (no obstructions) for most installations. On the end of the arm of the dish is an LNB (low noise block downconverter). This receives the signals that bounce off the dish. You’ll also need a piece of coaxial cable from the LNB to a satellite receiver (Freesat box, Sky box etc). Some TVs have a satellite tuner built-in and this does away with the need for a separate receiver box. So, why does the dish point to the south-east I (pretend to) hear you ask. Well, it’s because the satellites are located over the equator in what is known as the Clarke Belt, named after Arther C. Clarke (you know, 2001 A Space Odyssey etc). The orbit in which the satellites sit, travels at the same speed as the earth rotates. This is why your satellite dish can be fixed in position. So far, so good. It’s the installation that’s the tricky bit. That’s where firms like us (but not just us of course!) come into play. Not only do we have lots of ladders and big drills and stuff, we also have the clever equipment to ensure perfect alignment of your satellite dish. Some people do it themselves, but very few of those do it with a dedicated reception meter. As a result, the reception might be fine in good weather, but when it rains the picture will pixelate and the sound will stop and start. This is nearly always down to poor dish alignment. Unless it is of biblical proportions, you should not lose your satellite TV reception due to rain. 8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

So, that’s about all from me for this time. Thanks for giving this a read. The French House Satellite TV will be based in Dept 79 from early March and we’d be happy to assist you with all aspects of satellite TV, satellite internet and those other little TV niggles you might have. How to connect a sound bar perhaps? Maybe you can’t get Netflix to work on your TV? What even is a smart TV? However, until then, although we might not be able to get to you quite yet, please feel free to drop us a line if there’s anything you’d like to discuss. Satellite TV and internet related only though please. Medical questions are best directed to a health professional. Cheers, Stuart

Google changes rules on Free photo storage


n November 2020 Google announced that with effect from 1st June, 2021, they will no longer offer unlimited free photo storage. A move that will affect storage for other Google products including email.

This means that if you would like to take advantage of the offer to store all of your photos, free of charge forever (or until they decide to change the rules again), you will need to upload them before 1st June 2021. Anyone who registers an account with Google, such as a Gmail email account, is provided with 15GB of storage. This is yours to use as you want, it gives space in the “cloud” for most average users to store their email and documents etc. By using the Google Drive application it was originally possible to store your photos and videos here as well. Back on 28th May 2015 Google separated the storage of photos and videos from docs and emails and launched the Google Photos app and offered free storage of your photos and videos as long as they were, in the case of photos, less than 16 megapixels (they called it HD) videos of up to 1080p. This resolution was fine for sharing snaps, but for serious photographers this was not a good enough resolution so was really targeted at normal home users. The idea was that this was a separate storage and would not reduce the 15GB of space they allocate for each Google account and to quote its original announcements ... “When we say a lifetime of memories, we really mean it” and “With Google Photos you can now back up and store unlimited highquality photos and videos for free.”

Photos app on your Smart phone At the same time mobile telephone users with Google accounts also benefit from this service. If you setup your mobile correctly it will automatically back up any photos you took to the Google Photos space exclusively for you. This all changed last year with Google no longer automatically backing up images and videos from social media platforms in it’s photo app. Previously, the Google Photos app created a folder to store any media received through apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram. Google said the changes were to save internet resources as “people are sharing more photos and videos” during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photos and videos that have already been backed up from messaging apps are not affected and you can turn the feature back on if you wish to use it. Here is how :-

How to back up specific photos and videos: • Open the Google Photos app • Click on Library then “Photos on device,” tap View all • Tap the folder with content you want to back up

by Ross Hendry

• Select the photo or video you want to back up and then the option “Back up now” How to change your back-up settings for device folders: • Open the Google Photos app • Click on Library then “Photos on device,” tap View all • Tap the folder that you want to back up • At the top, enable Backup and sync. • Several apps such as WhatsApp have their own in-app option to disable auto-saving of media. To disable WhatsApp photos and video from saving to iPhone: • Open the WhatsApp app • Click on “Settings” then “Chats” • Disable the button that says “Save to Camera Roll”. So, just how many photos can you store on one Gigabyte (1GB)? Here is a guide - basically the higher the resolution the more storage required per photo.

Resolution Megapixels

File Size In (MB)

Images Per 1GB

5.5 MP



8 MP



10 MP



11 MP



12 MP



16.6 MP



18 MP



This is a golden opportunity for you to have a permanent backup managed and backed up for you on the internet, of the photos you own. If you miss this you will have to pay in the future or lose capacity for your other Google stored data, such as email on Gmail or backups on Google Drive. Personally, I like my phone storing the photos I take on it, to my Google Photo space, it just makes access to them so much easier from my other devices like my tablet, laptop and PCs. There are, of course, other offers to store your data on line, for example, Amazon permit registered customers to store up to 5GB of photos or videos in any resolution, but remember, if you take really high quality photos, say 25 Megapixels, you may only get around 150 on 5GB! You may store your photos on Google using the program (app) called Google Backup and Sync. All of their terms and conditions of storage are explained when before you sign up for the service. See more on this webpage - answer/6193313?co=GENIE.Platform%3DDesktop&hl=en#zippy=% 2Cwhat-you-need-to-back-up-photos-videos The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 9

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Saint-Martin-du-Fouilloux


aint-Martin-du-Fouilloux is a small commune which is part of the Communauté de communes “du Pays Ménigoutais”.

Fouilloux comes from the latin word for leaf.

The nearest towns and villages are Vausseroux, Saurais, La Chapelle-Bertrand, Vautebis and Reffannes. Niort, the nearest large town, is 39 kilometres away to the south-west.

The priory at St Martin depended on the abbey at St-Benoit de Quinçay.

At 272 metres above sea-level, the highest point of the Deux-Sèvres boasts an extraordinary view dominating the surrounding area. The 215 inhabitants of the village live at an average height of 204 metres above sea-level with a population density of 9 inhabitants per km² (the average in Deux-Sèvres is 62.3 inhabitants/km2). For those of you who like walking there is a 11km walk around Saint-Martin-du-Fouilloux. It is a marked out walk and you can find the details and the map here The name of the village has changed over the centuries. Sanctus Martinus du Fouilloux, in 1300. Sanctus Martinus dos Foyllous in 1310. Foyllosium, in 1318, St-Martin du Fouilloux in 1456.

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

by Sue Burgess

In 1567 St-Martin du Fouilhoux depended on the archpriest of Sanxay, on the castellany of MontreuilBonnin, and the seneschaussay of Poitiers. A small part of the parish depended on the castellany of Bailliage-Bâton, belonging to the barony of Parthenay. The original church dated from the beginning of the 14th century but in 1875 the Bishop of Poitiers noted the poverty and the poor state of repair of the church and the church was completely rebuilt. The old church had been built with its back towards le Terrier (the highest point), the new church was built at a 45°degree angle compared with the original church which means that the altar is not in the East as it is in most churches.

A voir / Must See The source of the river Auxance. Legend has it that the source appeared in a rock when St Martin asked a cow to put its horn in the rock. To reach the source you go through a small wooden gate and then down a slope. The source is just a trickle of water and then hardly more than a small stream when it crosses the road through the village. It is hard to believe that the water eventually flows into the river Loire. The river Auxance flows 61.6 km further on, into the Clan to the North of Poitiers, the Clan flows into the Vienne and the latter into the Loire.

Le Terrier The highest point of the Deux Sèvres area, situated at 272 metres above sea level. The site is particularly well placed for the transmission of radio and TV signals as you can guess from the number of aerials and pylons.

There are a lot of interesting information panels explaining the history and the geology of the area. On a clear day you have a view from the top of the Terrier towards Poitiers (40km), Tours (100km) and Saintes and La Rochelle. In the hamlet of Grand Fouilloux there are now only the remains of the manor of Jacques du Fouilloux (1519 – 1580), one of the squires of Charles IX, the guard of the royal hunts in Poitou and the author of a treaty about hunting which appeared in 1561. He was a great hunter and loved the countryside. Stories about him say that he loved to seduce shepherdesses. He also wrote quite a bit of poetry where he described the Gâtine and the Gâtinelles (the young girls of the Gâtine). Just outside Saint-Martin-du-Fouilloux is the village of Saint Chartres which dates from Roman times and was the site of a Roman fort along the D59 going towards Vasles. Saint-Martin-du-Fouilloux is the birthplace of the animated Nativity scene of Bressuire. Abbé Rochard, the parish priest was interested in mechanics and electricity. From Christmas 1950 he began to create animated figures using dolls that he found or was given and little motors that he made himself. In 1953 after more than 2000 hours of work per year, the nativity scene had 120 figures depicting people and animals and showing daily life in Palestine around the nativity of Bethlehem. The Nativity scene was presented in the church in Saint-Martin-du-Fouilloux every year until 1972 when the priest retired to Bressuire. Abbé Rochard has since passed away but the animated scene can still be seen. (La Crèche Animée de Bressuire).

During the Second world war there was a GEE transmitting station here used by the allies. This was a system of navigation using radio – the forerunner of the Loran system. The GEE system was invented by the British in 1941. During the war, the transmitting station consisted of a small barracks where the operators lived and slept whilst on duty. There is also a station that measures seismic activity just by the Terrier. It is capable of measuring seismic activity up to 2000km away. The signals it receives are transmitted by satellite to a central seismic activity centre in Paris. All photographs by Sue Burgess

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 11

Home and Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers


s I am writing this, I am looking out on a garden thick with a very heavy frost which will be whitening the grass for most of the day. This has by far been the coldest winter, at least in our location, for the last few years. The taller plants are looking like phantoms under their covering of fleece and I’m hoping I got to them in time to give them some protection at least. The puddles which were produced during the previous heavy rains have been freezing over and when I go out into the garden, my boots collect a thick layer of mud on their soles, which seems to spread up the legs of my gardening jeans with a will of its own! But the cold and wet don’t deter me from going outside. The fresh air is invigorating and after all, the birds must be fed. I can collect up fallen branches and trim off bits of dead foliage, collect up ‘stuff’ that has blown all around the garden after the latest strong wind, and just take stock of what will need doing when the weather warms up. We have so many bird visitors to the garden on a daily basis and Mistle thrushes have started to use the bird feeders now for the first time. I found a dead blue tit in one of the biggest seed feeders, I think it had sadly just frozen to death, we are quite exposed here. I haven’t seen the hedgehog family for a while and I’m sure they are hibernating in the nest under the hedge….hopefully they will survive. The spring bulbs are already beginning to push green tips through the earth and the hibiscus is showing tiny green leaf buds. I grew quite a few different clematis in pots last year and they were looking like pots of tangled knitting, so I just had to cut off the tangles….and now… green shoots are appearing on these too. The last of the hosta foliage has died off and become a wet, pappy mulch, so that’s been removed to stop the snails using it as a hiding place! The canna lilies have always been over wintered in their planting troughs outside, so I think they are hardened off sufficiently to survive these current frosts, but the fleece is there just in case. The hedychiums have been trimmed back and covered too. They produced very long lasting flowers last year and hopefully will do so again this year. The variegated variety didn’t flower at all, but then they were very young plants and I only divided them during the summer. The name of

this variety is ‘Tahitian Sunset’, so it should be interesting to see the colour when it does bloom. My dream of having a silver birch tree in the garden was fulfilled this week. I had been lucky enough to be given a substantial gift coupon for one of our well-known local pépinières….a perfect gift for a plantaholic! Although I received it in 2019, because of the Covid difficulties, I was able to spend parts of it on and off during last year. I ordered the tree, a multi-stemmed variety and collected it last week….only just getting it in the car, with some help I have to say! At the moment it is in a large pot, waiting for the garden to dry out a bit and for a spot to be chosen that will suit it best. This is just the latest addition to our garden which had no trees, shrubs or plants… except grass, when we arrived here. I’m looking forward to seeing it, flush with foliage in the spring. Now is the time to be searching for online plant suppliers and choosing new varieties of old favourites or to change the look of the garden completely by trying something different or new. We’ll have to wait and see what difference Brexit will have on availability from the UK, but it is an opportunity to try some European providers perhaps. I’m going to do a bit of research and see what I can find.

I feel very lucky to be living here, with all the countryside around us, the fresh air to breathe and space to walk in. The space helps to protect us from Covid-19 and those of us with gardens are even more fortunate. The relentless news from around the world, and the seemingly desperate situation in the UK and in the USA and some of the other countries where levels of infection are rising again, can only make us appreciate what we have even more. Do take extra care of yourselves, keep the masks on, when the vaccine arrives have it, keep warm and cosy and enjoy your space! Happy New Year To You All.


Now is the time to: • Continue planting bare root hedging, trees and shrubs to get them established early in the growing season. • Buy a selection of seed potatoes……they are in the garden centres already and there are many varieties to choose from, including: Spunta, Charlotte, Amandine, Annabelle (firm flesh) Mona Lisa, Agata, Samba (creamy flesh) Ratte (waxy flesh) Desirée, Amyla (starchy), Artemis, Bintje, Caesar (floury flesh). ‘Chitting is the word used to describe when shoots appear. The shoots will become leaves. To chit the potatoes place them in egg boxes with the ‘eye’ uppermost. The ‘eyes’ are small indentations in the potato where the shoots will appear from. Leave the egg boxes in a light, but frost free place. 12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

He Knows No Winter He knows no winter, he who loves the soil, For, stormy days, when he is free from toil, He plans his summer crops, selects his seeds, From bright-paged catalogues for garden needs. When looking out upon frost silvered fields, He visualises the autumn’s golden yields He sees in snow and sleeting rain, Precious moisture, for his early grain. He hears spring heralds in the storms turmoil, He knows no winter he who loves the soil. Sudie Stuart Hager

• Prepare seed beds for sowing as long as the ground isn’t frozen, and cover with black plastic, polythene or fleece to warm the soil in advance of sowing. Broad beans can be sown directly outdoors, 5-8cms deep, or sown into pots of multi- purpose compost. Seeds to sow in the greenhouse/cold frame include Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, leeks, onions, lettuce and peas. If sown now, they will result in an earlier harvest. • Apply a good general fertiliser, such as blood, fish and bone to prepared beds. • Sort through any seeds you may have and look at the sowing month/season. Organise seeds by the month that they need to be sown in. It’ll save time later on.

• Protect emerging blossom from frost damage with fleece, on nectarine, peach and apricot trees. • Apply a layer of compost or rotted manure around asparagus, rhubarb and artichoke plants. • Prune wisteria and campsis by cutting back side shoots to two or three buds. Don’t leave it too late to do this as the plants may ‘bleed’ sap as it rises when the temperatures become warmer. • Cuttings taken from tender perennials last summer, can be potted on now into 9 cm. pots to allow further root development. • Bare root shrubs and roses may still be available in the garden centres…….if you buy any, plant them up as soon as possible.

• Check tools to see if they need cleaning, oiling or repairing. Make sure that any machinery is in working order, that any battery is fully charged and ready and servicing has been carried out.

• Late summer and autumn flowering clematis (usually called group 3 clematis) should be cut back to about 30cms above ground level.

• Weed any beds by digging out the roots of persistent weeds such as dandelions for example, and removing them completely.

• If the lawn in the garden has become waterlogged or algae has become a problem, spike the areas with a garden fork or use an aerator. Filling the holes with garden sand helps the water to drain away.

• Prune autumn fruiting raspberries by cutting all stems back to ground level. If summer fruiting canes have grown beyond their supports, trim back to one or two buds above the support structure.

• Mulch any shrubs, climbers, trees or hedges with good garden compost when they have been pruned. • The branches on some conifers can be splayed and damaged by high winds. Use flexible tree ties to bring the damaged branches back into line. I have a huge pencil pine, over 40feet tall and it has been ‘divided’ during the late autumn strong winds. I shall be tying it all back in, not only to regain its’ correct shape, but to stop it from splitting in two. • Plant up a spring pot for some welcome colour outside. Easy plants to use are, violas, winter pansies, primulas, polyanthus, anemone blanda and cyclamen. These can be under planted with small bulbs such as scilla, muscari, chinodoxa or miniature narcissi. Small evergreen plants are available now too and these can give extra height and interest. Continued overleaf .....

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 13

• Prune shrub roses, shortening all the stems by a third. • Trim back any remaining dead stems of perennials to allow new shoots to push through. Cut off any damaged leaves on evergreen perennials before new growth starts. Add the debris to the compost heap. • Start dahlia tubers into growth indoors in large pots of compost. The dried up old shoot stub should be uppermost. Don’t plant too deeply, then water in well. • Plant lily bulbs now in deep containers of gritty compost to allow growth to start. Oriental lilies produce roots from the bulb base so should be planted to a depth equal to the height of the bulb. Asiatic lilies make roots from the stems as well as the bulbs, so they should be planted to a depth three times their height. Continued .....

• Once the flowers have faded from winter flowering jasmine, prune the plant back, removing any dead and diseased wood. Tie in strong shoots to a good support structure and shorten all other side shoots to about 5cms from a main stem. • It is not too late to cut back hedges of beech, hawthorn or hornbeam, especially if they are overgrown. These can be reduced by as much as half in one cutting. • Continue to plant fruit trees as long as the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. • Lemon trees or shrubs can be trimmed back by removing overcrowded growth by two thirds and any branches that are much longer than the rest, can be cut back to encourage bushier growth. • Shrubs that can be pruned now include: Buddleia davidii, Fuchsia magellanica, Hydrangea paniculata, (other Hydrangeas should not be pruned as developing flower buds may be removed or damaged), Perovskia, Spiraea, Leycesteria formosa, Cornus. When pruning, prune to two buds above last year’s growth; pruning hard into older wood may delay flowering. Don’t prune Forsythia now, as it blooms in March or April and pruning will remove all the flowers. Always remove damaged, diseased or dead wood. Don’t prune during hard frosty weather as new buds may be exposed and be damaged or killed. Don’t prune any later than April as this could reduce flowering. Pruning encourages more vigorous growth and better flowering. • Cut back ornamental grasses before new growth begins. Trim them to within a few centimetres of the ground. Remove dead or damaged bamboo canes, cutting them back to ground level. • Trim winter flowering heathers as the flowers finish or they will become ‘leggy’ and untidy. • Deadhead winter pansies regularly to prevent them from going to seed. This will encourage a new flush of flowers. • Prune Viburnum and Mahonia once they have finished flowering. • Remove any leaves affected by ‘brown spot’ from hellebores to prevent the infection from spreading. • Prune blackcurrant, redcurrant and gooseberry bushes to maintain a good framework. • Shred or chop woody prunings before adding them to the compost heap as this will help them to rot down quicker. • There are lots of flowers that can be sown undercover now: antirrhinum, calendula, delphinium, echinacea, dahlia, French marigold, nicotiana, petunia, rudbeckia, sweet pea and verbena. 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

• Plant dormant lily-of the-valley crowns with their tops just poking above the ground. • Weed the surface of containers and top up with fresh compost. Add fine gravel or bark as a mulch to deter weed regrowth. • If you prefer not to use animal based fertiliser such as blood fish and bone, look out for seaweed based fertilisers instead or use your own garden compost. • Sweet pea seeds can be sown after soaking overnight. Use empty cardboard rolls from the kitchen as a ‘flower pot’ as the roots need lots of growing room. Root trainer pots are a good alternative buy. • Remove sucker growth from the base of young trees and roses. • It’s the last chance to plant bare root specimens. Trim the roots before planting. • If planting a new climber, make the hole at least 30 cm away from a fence or wall. Lean the plant in towards the wall and provide a support until established. • Cover strawberry plants with fleece to protect from frost. Use cloches over them if you want to encourage early flowering. • Remove dead foliage from alpines and mulch with fine gravel. • Start begonia tubers into growth in a greenhouse or coldframe. • Prune back overwintered pelargoniums. • Mow the grass on dry, mild days. • Apply a winter wash to the bark of fruit trees. This helps to get rid of pests and their eggs. Solutions can be bought in garden centres. Always wear gloves when using the wash. • Turn the compost heap. Make sure to add cardboard, straw or hay and dead leaves to the mix. This will add carbon to the compost. Cover the compost heap with an old piece of carpet to keep the heat in and decomposition will speed up.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 15


by Donna Palframan


’ve spent the last couple of months looking at the potager largely from afar - I’m a bit of a fair weather gardener, I’m afraid, and Normandie in the Winter quite often doesn’t entice the faint hearted into the garden. I don’t know about the Deux-Sèvres, but here, weather is an important topic of conversation, especially when it is raining, which is something it does a lot. The conversation usually ends with a shrug and “c’est la normandie…”, which of course, explains everything. I’ve kept on top of the weeding and enjoyed a continuous cropping of Winter crops - I’m pleased with all my brassicas this year and the swedes I did get (after they were ravaged by wildlife) were good, and I’ve had enough to freeze some. The leeks are a bit puny – they would sit well on a Michelin starred plate of food and be described as ‘baby’ but they are there and luckily I planted enough so when I need one leek, I can dig up three to make a decent sized leek. Preparations have and are being made for the new season. As the bales have their crops removed, they are being moved to other cages – second year straw is good for roots and the garlic I grew last year in second year straw did well. It did seem to dry out quickly though, so I’m going to combine it with some well rotted horse manure. I’m going to have more no dig beds as I’ve found straw bale gardening a bit limiting in succession sowing and planting, and volume. This is our second year of vegetarianism Hay from the sheep shed – how many people are mad enough to become vegetarian after living in France for 15 years? I’ve always had the leaning towards a plant based diet but my decree that we ate too much meat and we should reduce it, ended up with becoming vegetarian. The reason for this little digression into my diet is that I need to grow a variety of vegetables ( I’m throwing fruits under the heading) and a good volume. There is no way in this world I could grow enough potatoes as my partner eats a lot of potatoes, so I don’t bother with them. I have experimented but my enthusiasm is low, so they get neglected. So, more no dig beds. I am also going to split my tomatoes and do cherry varieties in second year straw, and indeterminates in a no dig bed. I wasn’t happy with the yield of the indeterminates last year so thought I’d grow them in the ground. I’ve also had a better yield of carrots in the no dig beds, so a lot of my roots will be in the ground. The crops I’ve found best suited to straw bale gardening are the squashes – courgettes do well, and I was happy with the other squashes I Hay from the sheep shed grew in straw, so they will be in straw again, but second year straw mixed with manure or compost. My experimental bed for this year will be a hügelkultur bed. The Internet is a dangerous thing…too many things to try! Anyway, what, you might ask, is hügelkultur? The literal translation is ‘hill culture’ and is a way to use up fallen trees, rotten branches and other vegetative and compostable waste and is similar to lasagna gardening but you end up with a mini hill, or not so mini, if the

Felix Approves

enthusiasm takes over. The mound will be nutrient dense and, a bonus in these very dry summers (even in Normandie!) we seem to have now, water-retentive. The decomposition where the wood turns to humus produces heat, so in theory, it will help to keep the soil warm and protect against frost in the colder months. The gales blew down a couple of very old apple trees – the branches and twigs of which form the bottom layer and will act as a sponge and a water reservoir. In an agglo shed used by the previous owner as a sheep shelter, was a thick layer of old hay, mixed with a bit of sheep poo. This made the next layer and on top of this, the plaques of solid sheep poo from the floor of the shed were layered on top. I wanted to leave this for as long as possible so the rain could saturate it. My next step is to clear the thick layer of poo from a second shelter (this one is much prettier and were stables for the horses) and layer this on top with chicken poo from our chickens and straw from their coop. You wouldn’t normally use fresh chicken poo but I think as it is under other layers, it will decompose and not be too strong. That will happen in a week or so to allow for another good soak of rain, the final layer will be some well rotted horse manure from Sergio, my manure man! You can, of course use most garden wastes for a hügel bed – grass clippings, leaves, vegetable peelings and trimmings. My bed runs from east to west, so it will have the southern side will be for squashes close to the bottom where there should be a good reservoir of water for them and further up the slope, more drought tolerant crops and herbs. On the cool side, I’ll put the crops that are shade tolerant, beetroot, radish and broccoli for starters, probably spinach too as I want to grow more and harvest it more regularly for the freezer. I’m trying collards this year and will grow some on the hügel bed and some in other beds to see which grow the best. I’ve never grown or eaten them but they are green, so I’m sure I’ll love them! A hügel bed will, of course, eventually rot down but should last five or six years before it needs to be rebuilt and will lose fertility after the first year or two but that is the time to change the crops grown on it to less nutrient needy crops like peas and beans. If I don’t get on with growing in this way, the bed can be changed to a no dig bed or made into an extension of my herb bed, which it will be anyway as my thyme self seeds everywhere and they are quite close. Off now to check out my seed stash and continue working on my sowing calendar! Post normandie rain - time to add more layers! All photographs by Donna Palframan

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

A New Year, A New Hobby?

by Kevin and Amanda Baughen


don’t think I’m alone in hoping that 2021 is going to be a lot better than the previous year, and one of the ways to boost optimism is to look forward, to have a new plan or project. Perhaps you’ve always wondered about keeping bees, so maybe this year is the time to take up this fascinating hobby. However, beekeeping isn’t like cross-stitch or woodwork, due to the fact that living creatures are involved, and consequently we believe as beekeepers that we have a responsibility to take care of them properly. One of the best ways to do this is to ensure that you are as prepared as you can be before you acquire your bees. This means equipping yourself with the items you need, as well as preparing the ideal home for the bees and learning the things you need to know. Luckily none of this is as onerous as it sounds, nor is it prohibitively expensive. It’s important to feel comfortable and safe when you are new to beekeeping (actually, this holds true for all level of beekeepers!) and being stung is no fun at any time. Even if you have docile and non-aggressive bees, you may still be stung on occasion, so it makes sense to wear protective clothing to reduce the chances of this occurring. At the very least you might want to protect your face with a veil, your hands with a good pair of gloves that also cover your wrists, and your feet and ankles with rubber boots. Bees tend to crawl up sleeves and trouser legs, so an all-in-one suit will help keep them out and also keep your other clothing clean. Protective jackets with hoods and veils are available, but if you opt for this instead of an all-in-one outfit, it’s important that the elastic around the bottom of the jacket is tight enough to prevent the bees from crawling up inside. Some more experienced beekeepers who keep stingless or extremely docile bees advocate ‘barehanded beekeeping’ in the belief that you will be less clumsy and therefore not upset the bees if you don’t have the impediment of thick gloves on your paws. It’s your choice but personally we wear leather gloves with disposable plastic gloves over the top – hygienic for the bees, safe for us! Apart from protective clothing, the two most important tools for the beekeeper are the smoker and the hive tool. The smoker is used to control the bees in a colony, and can be used to move them around when inspecting the hive. Bees react to smoke by going to the storage cells and gorging on honey, a response to their instinctive fear of fire as they prepare for flight to a new home. The theory is that a bee full of honey will find it difficult to bend her abdomen in order to sting. We use our smokers sparingly, just to move the bees out of the way of whatever we are doing (checking for queen cells, brood, etc). There is an art to lighting a smoker and keeping it lit and we encourage new beekeepers to buy a smoker before anything else and practise doing this; a well-lit smoker should burn slowly with a cool smoke, and will stay alight for the duration of your hive inspection. You really don’t want it going out just when you need it! The hive tool is an extremely useful piece of steel which can be used to prise boxes apart, lift frames and scrape unwanted brace comb and propolis from the top bars in a hive. So, you’re all dressed up, smoker and hive tool to hand – time to read some books and maybe attend a beekeeping course, then you’ll be ready to acquire your first colony of bees, a hive and know where to site it! If this sparks your interest, please contact us to find out about our taster sessions and more in-depth training courses to be held later this year. Amanda and Kevin Baughen, 13 Bees, Confolens www.13bees., 05 45 71 22 90.

Beekeepers with their smoker

Do you have a business, hobby or interest that you think others might want to hear about? It’s not as daunting as it might seem to write for The DSM and we’ll help you all the way. Why not drop us a line at ... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 17

À La Carte Death and Hell – La Danse Macabre II

by Howard Needs


eslay-le-Grenet is home to a church with a wonderful display of wall paintings, three of which fall within the scope of this series of articles. They are the subject for this month.

The tale of the three living and the three dead In the choir, we see

Exterior of St Orien church at Meslay le Grenet (courtesy of Bertrand UTZINGER)

-“Scènes de la Passion” (Scenes from the passion)

Meslay-le-Grenet is situated some 15 kilometres west of Chartres. Its church is dedicated to two saints, Blaise and Orien, both of whom are accredited with the power of healing humans and animals. It thus became a place of pilgrimage, and in 1540, a second nave was added to the 12th century building to accommodate the influx of pilgrims.

-“Le Dit des Trois Morts et des Trois Vifs” (The tale of the three living and the three dead)

Around the south and west walls, we see

Masonry work undertaken in 1865 required slight changes in position of some elements of this painting. It is impossible

Entering the building, one is confronted by colour – not bright, modern colours, but the faded colours of old, the paintings dimly lit, with shadows on their edges. They date from the 15th century, so are not so old as some, but still painted in the style of the instructive paintings of earlier years, rather than of the church dogma dominating the later centuries. They are not true fresques, in the sense of being drawn and painted on wet plaster; however, they retain the spirit of earlier days. Also, despite being painted on dry plaster, which makes them less durable, they have survived thanks to whitewash covering applied in later, more enlightened years. It was in 1840 that the paintings were discovered under the whitewash. They were first restored in 1865–1867. Later, when they showed signs of increasing decay, a further restoration was undertaken. This was in 1942 (in the war years!). Five separate themes relating to death and hell are present in the church.

Pope, Emperor, Cardinal 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

The tale of the three living and the three dead

Cardinal, King, Patriarch, Constable

Constable, Arch-Bishop, Knight

Knight, Bisho

The tale of the death of a king

The tale of the women gossiping during the mass

to detail what is authentic and what is due to restoration. Noteworthy is a hermit standing between the living and the dead, rather than the usual cross. However, there is a cross behind the dead. A church in the distance completes the tableau.

As I was packing up my photo gear a lady came into the church, introduced herself, asked if she could help us and started to explain the paintings and history of the church. It was very interesting and sometimes I regret not recording conversations like that. I thought I recognized her name as a reference in a book I had read and asked her about it. She told us about the interest she and her husband had developed for the paintings and that this had taken them all over Europe and that eventually they had written a book about “La Danse Macabre” and the churches where it was to be found. She still had copies for sale and so I bought one – a thick comprehensive tome which she signed for me. A delightful visit.

-“Le Roi Mort” (The death of a king) The king lies on the ground enveloped in a shroud, crown discarded beside him. To his right is a reader and to his left, an angel. These figures are holding a roll between them. -“Le Dit des Femmes Bavardant à la Messe” (The tale of the women gossiping during the mass) This is an almost unique scene, showing three women talking whilst two devils menace them. One of devils is Titillus – who records the sins of the clergy and their parishioners – shown here holding a record of sins. The other devil is twisting the head of the left-most woman.

This article is part of an ongoing series on medieval wall paintings depicting Death and Hell. The three previous instalments appeared in the February, April, and September 2020 issues, which are available at

This wall painting of the dance rivals that in the Benedictine abbey of La Chaise-Dieu (Haute-Loire) in its completeness. It was entirely repainted in the 19th century, with a requirement that it should be in the original, primitive, style. Twenty persons are portrayed in their social order, from pope to infant and monk, each accompanied by a skeleton. There is a text that is quite legible in many places, but just as at La Chaise-Dieu, there is little or no background painting.

ishop, Squire

Abbot, Bailiff, Scholar, Burgess

Burgess, Priest, Doctor

Church Interior

Burgess, Priest, Doctor The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 19

Photos by Howard NEEDS, Bertrand UTZINGER and PIXABAY

“La Danse Macabre” (The Dance with Death)

Health, Beauty and Fitness Everyday Yoga for Everyone The Health DIYer: Lessons from an Onion

by Rebecca Novick


am lying in bed with my socks on. It is 32 degrees. There is a faint smell of onions. I can’t help smiling. This is the life of a health DIYer, I’m thinking. Yoga involves a gathering and coordination of our innermost resources. We coordinate movement of the body with the movement of the breath into a single energetic chariot, that harnesses to the horses of concentration, kindness, endurance, strength, adaptivity, and creativity, to name only a few. In this spirit, yoga practitioners often have a DIY approach to health, and I am no exception. We believe in the bounty of natural resources within and around us, in ancient healing wisdom traditions, and in the body’s natural abilities to heal. I was in India during the first lockdown in March 2020, and my AC had broken down. Temperatures were creeping up into the 40s during the day, and I was wilting. The heat had also done something very odd to my feet and ankles. My toes looked like fat baby carrots and my ankles had swollen almost to the width of my knees. It was intensely uncomfortable, like the skin was being stretched to its limit and the whole area had become stiff and immobile like a stuffed doll. Massage and elevation was making little difference, the aesthetic effect was far from flattering, apart from the fact that my shoes no longer fitted. I am experiencing a condition called heat edema. Heat causes blood vessels to expand which allows body fluids to drain into the extremities by gravity. I know that I can get a diuretic from the pharmacy, probably furosemide (sold as Lasix), that will help my body expel the excess fluid. But I will be running to the toilet every five minutes not to mention the other potential side effects such as muscle cramps, itching, rashes, dizziness and diarrhoea. Wasn’t there something else that I could do? Apparently, there was. Onions. I was intrigued to learn that onions contain several anti-inflammatory compounds such as quercetin (especially in its outer layers) and other bioflavonoids that can potentially help to treat asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, bruising and general swelling, among other conditions. Researchers have found that certain of these compounds are more potent than prednisone. The humble onion is still being studied for its health benefits, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of the efficacy of external applications such as onion poultices or simply chopping onions and wrapping them in clingfilm around injuries or tender or swollen areas. Since I didn’t have any clingfilm, I stuffed half a diced-up onion into my socks, which were now much tighter than before. Wearing compression socks helps to control edema and so I used the socks to hold the onion in place. By morning I was delighted to find that I had my ankles back again! All the swelling had gone and I could move freely again.

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20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

For the next three nights I did the same thing, to make sure that the swelling didn’t return. I found that putting the onion in the fridge for a few hours before chopping it provided even more inflammatory relief, and preserved the onion’s active properties for longer. The only side effect – a sudden craving for cheese and onion Walkers crisps. Respect yourself, explore yourself.

For more information email Rebecca at or follow her on

Our Furry Friends Tac & Toe Tac and Toe are 7 months old brothers. They have just arrived here and are now vaccinated, tested negative for Fiv snd FeLV and are micro chipped. They are booked in for neutering next week, so are ready for reservation. They are loving, playful happy little boys. If you are interested please email us or contact us via Facebook The Funny Farm Cat Rescue Le Grand Beaupuits, 79200, Saint-Germain-de-Longue-Chaume Association number W793001884.


hope association charity shops helping animals in need

café • bric à brac • books dvds & cds • clothes • furniture

hope 79 • sauzé-vaussais

17 route de civray 79190 sauzé-vaussais open every thursday & 1st sunday of each month, 10am - 4pm

@ • Good quality donations of clothes, books and bric-à-brac are always welcome • • N°RNA W792002789


Leila came to us with her kittens. She is sweet, loving and very gentle. She is sterilized, micro chipped, tested negative for Fiv and FeLV and vaccinated. If you are interested in adopting her please contact us at or via Facebook The Funny Farm Cat Rescue Le Grand Beaupuits, 79200, Saint-Germain-de-Longue-Chaume Association number W793001884.

Jessie, Dillon, Hattie & Woody

Bella is a 5 yr old gentle Anglo who was found in a terrible state a month ago. She has been recuperating and building her strength in her foster home. She has obviously been abused, but still loves people and as her personality comes out, she is becoming more affectionate. Bella also gets on well with other dogs, enjoys the car and is clean in the house. Please get in touch if you’re interested in giving her the home she deserves.

Since the beginning of 2021, that’s just two weeks, we have been asked to help with four old dogs who have been abandoned. The only way we can help with dogs like these is if we have either an emergency or lifetime fosterer available. If you’re interested in helping a gentle old dog, either by taking one in temporarily or giving one a happy life for the time they have left, En Route would love to talk to you. We will support you and pay for all of their medical costs. Please get in touch and help us help them En Route to a better life.

Visit the website:

Visit the website:

The Association En Route tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email:


The Association En Route tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email:


Meet Presto a fun-loving Labrador Braque who has so much love and affection to give but still has lots to learn. Presto is adorable, energetic, playful and at only 18 months old is an active young dog. His ideal home will continue with his education, give him love, and be patient to help him continue to blossom. A fenced garden to play in would suit him just fine. He gets along fine with nice females (males untested) but no cats, please! If you feel you could offer Presto that special home then we would love to hear from you.

MAHO nice griffon korthal around 3 years old is just going out of the pound. He is a very nice calm boy , who deserves a comfy home. If you think you could give MAHO a new home he is currently foster in department 49 near CHOLET. He is microchipped , vaccinated with rabbies and passport and neutered. If you would like more information on him , then please contact us on 09 77 48 71 43 or email:

The Assocation Orfée tel: 09 77 48 71 43 or by email:

The Assocation Orfée tel: 09 77 48 71 43 or by email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 21

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword Across 1. Roman Emperor (6) 4. Close at hand (6) 8. Use language, exchange words (5) 9. Pull a gun faster to beat someone in a gun fight (7) 10. An emblem that signifies your status (5) 11. Cereal made of oats with dried fruits, nuts and honey (7) 12. Not received with pleasure (9) 15. A thick soft cake cooked on a griddle (7) 16. Eight people considered as a unit (5) 17. The secret state police in Nazi Germany (7) 18. A software program that corrupts computers (5) 19. A way of doing something (6)

20. The air that is inhaled and exhaled in respiration (6) Down 2. Come into sight or view (6) 3. Bitter verbal quarrel often involving exchange of insults (8-5) 5. A calculator that performs simple arithmetic functions (6-7) 6. A small short-haired smoothcoated breed of hound (6) 7. The process of forming semisolid lumps in a liquid (11) 13. A slight wind (6) 14. Make a subtraction (6) With thanks to Rob Berry

DSM Toughie Crossword Clues Across 1. Lady able to provide breathing apparatus to forward to Paisley, for example? (7) 5. Wilde perhaps making a return to youthful beginnings? (5) 8. Choice to finish early when putting bovine in containers? (5) 9. A new way to reunite followers? (7) 10. Monster unwelcome score on church teaching? (4) 11. Come back to earth on a soft bed in the country? (8) 14. Parachutists’ drop area eventually found in the spring. (3) 16. Brian resolved to be a centre of sensation? (5) 17. If writer is missing Heather; he could be asleep? (3) 19. Regular publications reporting unconvincing information? (8) With thanks to M.Morris 20. Argument bound to ensue as Kent area is left off simple request. (4) 23. Union of more than 50 with offspring in perfect condition? No, quite the opposite. (7) 25. US general, formerly in Iraq, now to be located in Japan or Thailand? (5) 26. Appears when bishop lands on distance marker? (5) 27. One who normally brings joy has unfortunate relapse? (7)

Clues Down 1. Moon could be produced by BeeGee on intros to old, unused soundtracks? (7) 2. Amount of light cast on French gold temple site? (5) 3. Popular, very good man here this month................? (4) 4. ….....and not in Jan or Feb? (3) 5. Changing form of pairing after missing start following non-speaker being cut short? (8) 6. Natural cavity put in order for rifle? (7) 7. What you get if you invest every last dollar in capital? (5) 12. According to the radio, infamous twins are the latest thing? (5) 13. Is bloke’s organisation set to put up landmarks? (8) 15. Roman greeting student event at end of course: not very inspiring? (7) 18. Clandestine operator who likes his eggs cooked “A la foret”? (7) 19. “Empty” wagons actually carrying strong drink in the country? (5) 21. Behold! Last cuttings of grasshopper reed grass going to make cricket’s home? (5) 22. Yorkshire lass mainly famous for turning out her “tenant”? (4) 24. Pop out for a little bite? (3)

Q1. What has words, but never speaks? Q2. What can travel all around the world without leaving its corner? Q3. What has a thumb and four fingers, but is not a hand? Q4. What has to be broken before you can use it? Q5. What gets wetter while drying? Q6. A little girl goes to the store and buys one dozen eggs. As she is going home, all but three break. How many eggs are left unbroken?

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

Q7. What begins with an “e” and only contains one letter? Q8. What does man love more than life, hate more than death or mortal strife; that which contented men desire; the poor have, the rich require; the miser spends, the spendthrift saves, and all men carry to their graves?

Answers on P.42

Brain Gym

Survival Of The Fattest

by Stephen Shaw


s I write the ground is frozen, the pond iced-over and we’re about to start our seventh stere of wood, and it’s only the first day of 2021. My wife sold me the notion of moving to France by endless talk of the long, hot summers but nothing was mentioned about the long, cold winters. I’m not even sure the last five winters have been that cold. A friend of ours often tells of winters past, when ice formed on the inside of his windows. Being a sensitive soul I feel the cold more than my hardened, Scottish wife. When in the car there is a constant battle between us over the temperature control knob. She is always too hot, whereas I like to crank the dial up to ‘eleven’ and enjoy the blast of warm air. I often invent reasons to go on short excursions in the car; to the déchetterie or a supermarché, just so I can whack the car heater on and defrost. Our log burners can create a satisfactory level of heat in the room they are situated, but as you walk up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire at the end of the day, you can feel the temperature drop with every step. When we first moved into our granite house, there was no insulation and the external doors didn’t fit, for all intents and purposes we might as well have been living outside. In fact it is often less cold outside than in our granite ice box. Even though we now have insulation, ‘toasty’ is not a word I would use to describe our bedroom - but at least we won’t die of hyperthermia.


iding in plain sight, who me? Yep, whilst the battles rage we are all doing it – hiding that is. We are keeping our heads well down in Connecticut whilst awaiting all sorts of fallout, the consequences of possible splits in arctic vortexisessss (whatever the plural is), political mayhem, folk marching about celebrating something or not. Hiding from highly infectious bugs; hiding is BIG at the moment. Folk in the Queens district of New York reportedly being attacked and terrorised by a militant squirrel(s). Residents are hiding indoors, too scared to leave their homes unless heavily armed with pepper spray, yes, really. And, as of Twelfth Night it’s

Our bath was out of action recently so it was showers all the way. When exiting the cubicle, the wall of cold air that hits you is akin to jumping into a Scandinavian plunge pool. The thin jumpers I moved over here with have been exchanged for the thickest of wefts. I find ‘layering’ is the secret to survival. Thermal vest, T-shirt, shirt, jumper, booster jumper, gilet and woollen hat is my indoors outfit, add a thick thermal jacket, scarf and gloves and you’ve got my outdoor look, although I have been known to bring the outdoors inside on occasion. My restricted movement caused by all these garments is outweighed by the modicum of heat generated. Although we order copious amounts of logs from our woodman and see him every month*, I can often be found roaming the outhouses looking for things to burn, for that extra boost. Like in The Great Escape when any excess wood is removed to shore up the escape tunnels, anything I find in the barns which I don’t believe is structural will make it’s way into the log burner. So as everyone is constantly telling each other to “stay safe” these days, my signoff will be “stay warm”. * We have a theory that we get more wood if we order six loads of two steres, rather than twelve. We have no evidence or proof, it’s just a feeling.

official, too, BIGLY official, with the great and the good hiding under seats at their place of business, the seat of power, and for once very much hoping to be ignored and overlooked by potentially dangerous marauding ‘deranged’ human squirrels; the rampant Lords of Misrule. Did I mention that we live in interesting times? Can’t emphasise it enough! Enough indeed though! The poet Shelley, helpfully and hopefully asks the rhetorical question that ‘if winter comes can spring be far behind?’ We, the multitude of housebound or otherwise restricted peaceful domestic squirrels say ‘lets hear it for Spring’ and make it soon and welcoming without any more need to hide, vaccinate, pepper spray, whatever. We demand a Spring that enables us to once more get on our bikes, to visit our mates and for all the home schooled kids to board their yellow bus and go to school. Maskless. Until then, stay safe and well.

Expat The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 23


by Sue Burgess


ardi Gras» (Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday) was the last day Christians could eat «des mets gras» (fatty foods) before spending 40 days in prayer and abstaining from eating meat and rich, fatty foods, until Easter. This day announced the beginning of «Carême» (Lent). It marks the end of «la semaine des sept jours gras» (week of seven fat days), once called «jours charnels» (carnal days). This period precedes «le mercredi des Cendres» (Ash Wednesday). In 2021, Mardi Gras is the 16th February. The word «carnaval» comes from the Latin “carne levare” (to remove the meat). In France, mardi gras is celebrated in a number of ways, at home, in the family, in the local neighbourhood and when the children are not on holiday from school, at school. People dress up in costumes and fancy dress («on se déguise») for processions («défilés»). Pancakes («les crêpes») and doughnuts («les beignets») are made and eaten and in many parts of France, including the Deux-Sèvres, you can also find lots of other culinary specialities («les tourtisseaux», « les merveilles», «les oreillettes» - pastry specialities made from batter or flaky pastry). Pancakes especially are eaten on the 2nd February for Candlemas («Le Chandeleur») which in the Catholic church is the last festival of the Christmas period and in France is the traditional day for taking down the Christmas decorations («les decorations de Noël») In some parts of France, Mardi Gras is celebrated in a big way. In Dunkirk there is usually a carnaval which goes on for three days. Nice usually has its Carnaval de Nice, one of the largest carnivals in the world, which lasts a fortnight. The Carnaval of Nice can be traced back to 1294. The colourful parades («les défilés») take place day and night. On the Promenade des Anglais, the elegant “flower battles” («batailles des fleurs») are

part of the carnival and are not to be missed. On floats («les chars»), decorated with the most stunning floral compositions, extravagantly dressed characters throw out mimosas, gerberas, and lilies into the public … Sadly with the current pandemic there are unlikely to be any carnIval celebrations this year. Maybe next year. .

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire le roi

the king

la reine

the queen

une princesse

a princess

un géant

a giant

une sorcière

a witch

une licorne

a unicorn

un char

a carnival float

des serpentins


une fête foraine


des carnavaliers

maskers, people who go to the

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

un fanfare

marching band

des clowns


des artistes des rues

street artists

des jongleurs


des plumes


des déguisements


un masque


une perruque


Photos from Pixabay


The French House Satellite TV The French House Satellite TV is coming to the Deux-Sevres. Established 2005 in the Haute-Vienne, we will be relocating to dept 79 in March and will continue to offer the same services. This means we will cover a radius of up to 90 minutes from our postcode of 79240. Supply & installation of free-to-air satellite systems, including Freesat, as well as subscription satellite TV. French TV (both TNTSAT & Fransat) and other satellite TV services (but no terrestrial TV). We offer troubleshooting, part replacements, or maybe just a realignment of your satellite dish to ensure perfect reception. We can also install your own equipment. In addition, we can assist with internet connections via 4G & satellite including getting Netflix and Amazon Prime Video up and running. Please feel free to get in touch to discuss your requirements. Taking bookings now for March. We look forward to assisting you.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 25

Two Door’s Down

by Wendy York


n Scotland if you wanted to borrow a cup of sugar, always a good excuse to have a nosey and a good blether with your neighbours, you’d have to go no further than two doors down. I was born in a tenement and my safe delivery into this world was due to my mother instructing my father to go two doors down to use their neighbour’s telephone to call the midwife. Skipping a few decades and several countries, I find myself constantly going two doors down…this time however, to my neighbours who just happen to live in a château. For real! An exquisite example of Renaissance architecture with a unique alchemic gallery, formal gardens, a maze, a moat and a history intertwined with the French royal family before they lost their heads. Oh and ghosts, of whom more later. The château de Dampierre, like many others, has had a chequered history and has evolved throughout the centuries. The original château replaced a Plantagenet fortress held by the English around the year 995, it then relocated to the centre of the village and was built on top of the ruins of a Knights Templar priory. It was rebuilt in the 16th century by the de Clermont family, only to be demolished during the religious wars, rebuilt again only to be ransacked during the Revolution. Restored again, the château was damaged during WWII occupation and a century later it was severely damaged by fire.

This château has since risen from the ashes to take on a new lease of life, building on its heritage, marrying history with the present and planning for the future. The unique traditions of the building: alchemy, art exhibitions, literary salons, musical soirees are all bringing the château vividly into 21st century life. Last year the château entered confinement, yet another phase in its history and although closed over several months, work continued in the background to enable visits and events when its gates could open to the public. The last event of the year was Nuits des Châteaux, attended by over 500 visitors who were safely led by costumed guides around the candlelit château to be entertained by various spectacles of music, dancing, installation art, sword fighting and the chance to walk around the floodlit grounds. When looking for a property to buy in Charente, we happened to drive through Dampierre en route to another viewing. ‘Stop, pull over here, please’, I yelled to my husband. ‘Look, a galleried Renaissance château’. Seconds later we parked up in front of a house with three different ‘For Sale’ signs attached to the railings. ‘Remember, how you keep asking me what kind of house I want? Well, something like this’. ‘…And it’s two doors down from a château.’ Wendy York is the first British president of the ACDB - Amis du Château de Dampierre sur Boutonne

Forever European

by Owen Kitchener-McCartney


s the curtain finally closes on what has been four years of uncertainty surrounding what, in our house, is known as the ‘B’ word, we could be forgiven for thinking, as Brits, that this could be the end of our European adventure. Not so for my wife, Laura and I. Admittedly, in a bit of a rush at the end of 2020, which for several reasons, we can all agree, has been a complete horror-show of a year, we have MOVED to France. Well, by which I mean we’re very much in the process of all the needlessly complicated and ubiquitous paperwork. Nevertheless, we are slowly on the way to becoming French residents which, initially, we hadn’t planned to do for a few years yet. Because of the life we have chosen, giving up our careers in London for a slower pace of life, we are in the enviable position of being able to drop everything and uproot to France. Seasonal work in the UK, no children (or plans to have any) and being mortgage free on our house in France means we didn’t have to sacrifice much to come over here at the tail end of 2020 and make it our permanent home. It’s all very exciting but tinged, I feel, with a nagging sadness that this has all come about through blatant lies and deceit from sections of the UK government and media. The European Union was something I grew up with. It just... existed. I’ve never even questioned, or more to the point, appreciated the fact that, as a keen traveller, I was able to move through and explore so many fascinating places, all with their own culture, cuisine, landscapes and traditions. To have that freedom needlessly taken away is something that will hurt for some time. 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

Now though, is not the time to wallow in self-pity. We are the lucky ones. We have an opportunity to start a new life in France and we couldn’t be more excited. We’re both setting ourselves up with small businesses and will be giving a life here a really good go. All of this has been made so much easier by the utterly hospitable and welcoming locals. Everyone from our delightful neighbours who have looked after our garden to the staff in hardware shops who forgive our terrible French and do their utmost to help. The French must think we’re mad for leaving the EU. I’d quite like a t-shirt just displaying the words ‘I voted remain’. Nevertheless, we have felt nothing but welcome in this beautiful country as I’m sure most of the DSM readers have too. My wife and I will always consider ourselves to be European and thanks to this wonderful country and its people, we can continue to ‘remain’ forever, European.

Running your own Brocante Business


o you have tasted success by running your own brocante stall, the bug has well and truly bitten and you decide to become un(e) professionnel(le). The simplest method is to register as a microentrepreneur, (formerly autoentrepreneur). The website is Although the French government has attempted a number of changes since its inception, the scheme remains largely for two main categories of professional, namely a person who buys and sells objects and those who provide a service. The scheme has a built-in assumption that there will be a 70-30 split between expenses and profit, but all your costs and charges are based on turnover – unlike the UK system there is no method to offset expenses before being taxed on profit. So if you don’t average 30% profit you will still pay charges (cotisations) regardless. The current turnover threshold is €176,200 but T.V.A. is payable at €85,800. These figures are significantly less for service providers. For a couple contemplating setting up in business, it is advantageous to register separately otherwise one is deemed to be the employer and the other the employee. This caused some consternation when my wife and I registered as we each claimed to be the boss. In this way, your turnover threshold is effectively doubled and you split the declarations evenly in two. Registration on-line is relatively straightforward, there is a guide to help you create your business (creer mon autoenterprise). Beware of websites that offer to register your business for a fee as the official process is free. During the registration process you will be asked if you wish to pay an inclusive figure of 1% to cover income tax (impôt libératoire) in addition to your standard charge of 12.8%. Again, this figure is much higher for service, at 22%. You declare your turnover on-line, (Declarer et Payer) three monthly intervals have proved the most convenient time period (trimestrielle) and your charges are calculated automatically. These fees will be deducted by arrangement with a bank account. Should you not have made any sales over the period (possible over winter if you are a market based trader) you must still declare zero turnover. Zero declarations will only be permitted for two years before your status is withdrawn. An alternative to on-line registration is to visit your local CCI (Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie) who should be able to guide you through the process. You will be asked to produce the usual documents proving your identity and residence etc. Either method will provide you with a SIRET number which is the formal acknowledgment of your business. This will also allow you to obtain a Carte Vitale and access to health services. You will also receive a Carte Professionnelle which is your market trader’s licence. The fee for this is currently €30. It is advisable to carry your Carte Professionnelle and SIRET document when standing at brocantes. You may also be asked to provide evidence of Public Liability Insurance (Responsabilité Civile, tous Risques). Another expense but better safe than sorry as a claim could be very costly. Most insurance companies will quote for this policy. Some events are bookable in advance but you can


Philip turn up at others and be assigned a pitch by the Bailey person in charge (le placer). Don’t be surprised if your pitch isn’t in a perfect position, you’re a “casual” so it may take several visits before you’ll be treated more favourably. At one particular event I attended the casuals were asked to draw lots for their pitch and we all followed the placer in a Pied Piper fashion whilst he allocated pitches according to the number on our tickets. When some complained, he was less than polite in telling them what the alternative was. My pitch had an awesome view of the Loire river and a chateau although I still had to barrow my stock from the car park, over cobblestones and down a steep ramp normally used for launching boats. This is where a trolley of some sort comes in very handy.

If a particular brocante proves profitable then persevere and become a regular. There is usually a camaraderie between brocanteurs and you can glean valuable information this way, bearing in mind there are always the “doom and gloom” merchants who consider all customers to have short arms and deep pockets. Smiling and chatting about your stock and not being too pushy will usually turn into sales. As a rough guide, a profitable event would be indicated by takings of ten times the cost of your stand. However, there is nothing worse than seeing the same stock on a stand every time so think about being able to change the stock on display at regular intervals. If the outdoor life and regular packing and unpacking does not appeal then you may consider on-line selling. There is obviously a world famous auction site but you need to be a seasoned operator to make this a success and there are numerous expenses to consider. A lesser known alternative would be the American based Etsy, not an auction site but an on-line shop. You still have to list your wares complete with photos but a listing is cheap and lasts four months or until the item is sold. You have a world-wide audience who pay for goods immediately and who even pay for delivery if you so desire. Payments and fees are linked directly into your bank account and your level of involvement can be adjusted accordingly. Bear in mind that there is also stiff competition so you may need to make your goods stand out from the crowd by conducting thorough research. It does take time to pack your sales up carefully and take them to the Post Office but you soon learn how to recycle materials and become very knowledgeable of French overseas postage rates! Marble clock garnitures may well cost more to post than their sale value. However, it is always fascinating to receive enquiries from far flung shores, the Far East including China and Japan is a vast market. Bon Courage! Next time I will look at the current trends in the world of antiques and collectibles. Philip has been a fully registered dealer (brocanteur) in France for ten years, standing at Brocante markets as well as selling on-line. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 27

On The Road THE PONY GALLOPS ON ... by Helen Tait-Wright

I am going to take you back in time ….. First It’s 1964. I am not yet even a twinkle in my parent’s eyes, Radio Caroline hits the airwaves for the first time, Beatlemania rules, Mary Quant has just launched the mini skirt onto the UK fashion scene and in France the “Space Look” is all the rage with sequinned trouser suits, goggles and white boots. Meanwhile, over the pond, it’s April 17th and Ford reveals its new model, the Mustang, at the New York World’s Fair. From day one, the Mustang fired up peoples imagination. The design concept was to draw “a car that the ladies would love that the men would love just as much”. The long hood, sloped cabin, and aggressive look were the strong points in the car’s design. Today, the Mustang is a pillar of American automotive lore, and the car that brought sporting dash and styling, at a price almost anyone could afford. Probably the most famous “Pony” car. Pony car isn’t a term we are familiar with, but in America it is a car classification for affordable, compact, highly styled coupes or convertibles or with a “sporty” or performance-oriented image. To achieve the affordability angle, the Mustang needed to share much of it’s engineering with an existing Ford product, and that was the Ford Falcon, which it was built alongside. However, the proportions of the Mustang were entirely different. Its cockpit was pushed further back on the chassis, resulting in a longer bonnet and shorter rear, and the roof and bonnet lines were lower. That sleek shape, detailed with such iconic touches as the running horse in the grille, the side scallops along the flanks and the taillights divided into three sections, made the Mustang a car people were instantly passionate about. Initially the Mustang was offered as a notchback coupe or a convertible, but by 1965 a 2+2 Fastback joined the model lineup. An astonishing 559,451 Mustangs were sold in the ’65 model year. If the Mustang wasn’t already confirmed as the coolest car on the block, the GT Fastback 390 that Steve McQueen drove in “Bullitt” cemented that title. It became almost inevitable that the Mustangs would progress into racing, but for that it was necessary to produce a two seater. Enter our old friend Caroll Shelby. Shelby saw the potential of the Mustang to slay the Corvettes and he took 100 examples to his workshops for transformation into the first performance versions. Shelby’s conversions are today considered some of the most desirable Mustangs ever built. 28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

Over the following few years Ford modified the Mustang to answer the growing competition in their market sector and the car became bigger and more powerful, but by 1973 safety and emission laws required a radical re-think. In 1974 a lighter and more nimble car was launched, and to cut a long story short, Ford continued to use the Mustang name on a succession of quite ugly cars (in my opinion) until 2005 when the modern Mustang was launched, mercifully with styling based on the original 60’s model. Since 2005 the Mustang has stayed, in looks at least, broadly the same, albeit with inevitable facelifts, but the power output goes up and up. Traditionally the Mustang model was only available in America, but in 2016 the Mustang came across the pond. As well as being in right-hand drive for the first time, the sixth generation featured another first with an independant rear suspension and finessed the retro-modern styling first introduced by the fifth generation Mustang. And, after a bit over five decades in production, Ford sold its ten millionth Mustang. For 2021 Ford are due to release two new Mustang variants. The limited edition, sexy looking and evocatively named “Mach 1” will be the new benchmark of Mustang performance with a 5 litre V8 and technology straight from the racing track, putting it firmly in the muscle car category. At the other end of the scale they are also set to launch an all electric version, the Mach E. I know that electric is supposed to be the future but for me a Mustang just shouldn’t be electric however thankfully for Ford not everyone agrees! After a period of lack lustre sales, Ford hope the Mustang brand will add some “cool” to their new all electric SUV, aimed at taking the Ford lineup into the future. Which of the new Mustangs would float your boat? Would you grab the muscle car or the EV?

Servicing Vans, Cars, 4x4’s, Motorhomes

Control Technique Repairs & Welding

CONTACT Paul: 06 36 13 90 77 Based in Le Busseau

Air Conditioning Recharging & Repair

Siret No: 85409585800015

Towbars Supplied, Wired & Fitted

Sports Car & Motorcycle Specialist Restoration

Engine Building

Specialist Vehicle Diagnostics (For All Makes) Fault Code Reading/Clearing Component Testing & Repair Key Programming Dealer Diagnostic & Programming Equipment for Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda.


Expert Advice

Project Management Telephone: +33 (0)624 59 51 67 Email:


Siren 838987717

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 29

Gazelles Update with Helen Tait-Wright and Sue Alemann

Now, if you remember our update in the December issue, we should have had January training in Morocco, but that has been delayed to early February, so probably while you are reading this we will be in the Sahara perfecting our techniques ahead of the rally itself! We also have our mandatory navigation course to attend in Avignon on the weekend of the 20/21 February, so it is a busy training month.

February 2021 Update.


ello Everyone, and Happy New Year from Sue and myself!

We hope you all had a lovely festive break and are ready for whatever 2021 may bring. Our first piece of news is to report on our online charity auction. We are delighted to tell you that the auction went very well, and with the sales and a few donations we just exceeded our target of raising 2000 Euros for our humanitarian cause, the Rural Learning Centre in Talataste, Morocco. This small school in a remote Berber village in the Atlas mountains is funded entirely by donations and not only educates the village children but also provides extra curricular activities and a program of basic education for the women in the community who did not have access to learning when they were younger. The school is one of many rural centres in Morocco that aim to provide resources that allow the communities to better themselves through education and we are very proud to support them.

from Nice on 13th March.

As for the rally itself, we will get a definitive answer as to the dates that it will run in 2021 on 20th January, so just too late for the DSM copy deadline, but at this stage we are working towards the planned dates with our departure

Priscilla has received her new “shoes”, the All Terrain tyres from our partners at Giti, and is excited to have the first set of these tyres in Europe. We are putting them through their paces ahead of the event, and we are impressed with their performance. We still have an awful lot of preparation to do before our departure. Making many, many, checklists so that we don’t miss anything; ensuring Priscilla is on top form; branding her; double checking all the technical verification rules as well as organising travel; packing; donations for the Coeur de Gazelles and much more! Never a dull moment in the life of a Gazelle! Be sure to follow us on our social media channels by searching @gitigazelles.

FIND the CHEAPEST FUEL prices in your area. This government run website provides comparative petrol and diesel prices in all areas of France. Just simply select your department from the map, and voilà!

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

À La Carte The Gender Agenda Is this the end of gender?

by Gary Shacklady


have always been curious about linguistic structure, which certainly played a part in my studying of German to GCSE level and French to A-Level. It enabled me to get by in Barcelona without much knowledge of Spanish nor Catalan and with my friends speaking English slowly and loudly in the conventional British way (and one speaking Portuguese similarly); help Austrians to use my phrasebook in Thailand; and tell off an angry French tourist who was shouting at a sales assistant in Rome. As a teacher, I have taught many children for whom English is an additional language. Increasingly, I am having to adapt my teaching to suit the needs of children whose mother tongue is different from mine. Sometimes, I can use my knowledge of languages, often families of languages such as the Romance languages (commonly those with a Latin base: French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, and the dialects thereof). At other times, I have no starting point whatsoever. For example, I recently had a Turkish boy start in my class. Other than ‘taksi’ (yes, ‘taxi’), I had no Turkish vocabulary. Fortunately, he was literate in Turkish and we successfully used a translator on his desk for him to understand, read and write English … until we hit a block. Gender. He. She. Turkish is a gender-free language. Some will say English is, too. French has masculine and feminine for its nouns (le/la; un/une); German adds neuter (too complicated with nominative, accusative, genitive and dative to give examples). English just has ‘the’ or ‘a/ an’. But here is not where the problem lies. It’s the he/she/it which confused him. Turkish has just ‘o’ for ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘it’, nothing gender-specific. Even then, this pronoun is often not used, being a part of the verb conjugation. Conversely, in English, we decide whether someone is male or female (we most commonly do this without checking), then we use a pronoun to define this, every time we mention that person. Why? Is it relevant? Do the contents of their underwear always prove important to our discussion about that person? No. For the vast majority of anyone’s day, our actions could be performed by either sex. The only difference between me and any of my female colleagues during the school day is that I might stand up to pee at some point. So what’s the difference? Why do we need to add the information about my gender when talking about me? I’m a teacher, just like my colleagues, but I’m the male teacher and for some reason that needs mentioning. I can’t work out why.

Firstly, defining others is largely based on assumptions. If we see someone with short hair, wearing a suit and tie, we are likely to assume that person is male. Likewise, if we see someone in a dress, wearing make-up and carrying a handbag, we assume they are female. We don’t ask. We certainly don’t check for proof. Yes, often the signs are more obvious – an Adam’s apple, for example, but not always. This middle-ground, where it isn’t always obvious whether a person is male or female is referred to as androgyny, perhaps a combination of the male and female characteristics. There are a few things to address here: who decided which characteristics were male and which were female? Who decided upon the dress code for the different sexes? And, if there are answers to those questions, why are we still upholding those rules? Are genders just barriers? We often hear about gender inequality, and most sports separate according to their sex (in some cases, banning those who have transitioned from one to the other). Awards go to the best male and the best female. Well, what can celebrated musician Sam Smith win? Sam identifies as non-binary – neither male nor female. So is Sam excluded from these awards? They (Sam’s preferred pronoun) have won many awards in the past. Androgyny is becoming more common, not just with people who identify as LGBT+. I predict it will become more common, as attitudes towards gender become more relaxed. When we meet people, we will not immediately know if they are male or female. Will that be a problem? What if we find them attractive or even fall in love with them before we find out? Will it matter? This isn’t about me but I have many genderless aspects to my life. For instance, there are no male staff toilets in most primary schools so I have to use the accessible toilet, which is unisex. I have no problem with this. Some people might feel that children need a balance of adult males and adult females around them as they grow up but I have seen many children develop well with only a single mother. In fact, I have seen some grow up just fine with a pair of mothers. If we no longer had genders, or even if we began attaching less importance to them, we could rid ourselves of gender inequality, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, transgender issues, anxieties surrounding sexuality, toxic masculinity (the reason why 75% of suicides are male?), chauvinism and even aspects of feminism. To me, that sounds like a list of things to be rid of. But none of this helps that Turkish boy to learn English.

My discussion here is not about whether men or women are better than the other. More, my discussion is about why that is even considered. I have a young child. I am bombarded with adverts for seemingly gender-specific toys and clothing. Again: why? If children need their genitals to play with the toys, the toys probably aren’t for children.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 31

Hobbies Writing tics


YOUR Book Reviews

by Alison Morton

e’re not talking check marks or nasty bloodsuckers both of which are spelt ‘tick’, but ‘idiosyncratic and habitual features of a person’s behaviour’, in this case in their writing.

Originally, ‘tic’ meant, and still means, twitching of a facial muscle. This dates from 1822, a short form of tic douloureux ’severe facial neuralgia,’ from French tic ’a twitching disease of horses’ or possibly Italian ticchio ’whim, caprice, ridiculous habit’. We all have them, especially in the first drafts of our work, or in Facebook or blog posts and emails. But if we’re sharpening up our work for others to read, we need to be aware of them and cut them from our writing. This doesn’t touch on style but on things that weaken or muddle writing or are just plain wrong. Weakeners Very, really, quite, somewhat, rather – some of my favourites! In the first draft of any of my novels, I write these all the time when I’m in full flow getting the story down as fast as possible. The characters are going at full pelt and I sometimes struggle to keep up with them. On the first self-edit, I red-pen 99% of them. Okay, 95%. But having learnt from kindly editors that including these is one of my tics, I’m now aware of it, and that’s halfway to stopping it. Closely connected are weakening verbs such as manage to, try to, thinking about doing. Take them out of your sentence and see if it works just as well without them. You may be surprised… Repeat, repeat, repeat Multiple use of same word in the same sentence. Sometimes this technique can be used for emphasis, but use it sparingly. To my horror, I once found four examples of ‘look’ in one sentence in a first draft. The two sentences that resulted after rejigging the original one were much more powerful and precise. Some nitty-gritty You can find these even in the work of multiple published writers. ‘Jane tell me what you think.’ Even the computer spellchecker doesn’t like it. Of course, there should be a comma after ‘Jane’ which would give ‘Jane, tell me what you think.’ If poor Jane falls in the middle of a piece of dialogue, she’s entitled to a comma each side: ‘If you’re going to do that, Jane, you’d better get an early night.’ Let’s mention the apostrophe. I hear groans, but it’s the most frequent tic I see, especially for plurals. Plurals do NOT have apostrophes. Apostrophes denote possession or belonging. Not ‘tomato’s’ for more than one but ‘tomatoes’. If we’re referring to the skin that belongs to the tomato, then it’s ‘the tomato’s skin’. And if there are more than one subject the apostrophe goes after the plural. Not ‘Resident’s Parking’ (Is there truly only one resident in a large block of flats?) but ‘Residents’ Parking’. And those pesky dates… Although English changes all the time, the correct form isn’t ‘the 1960’s’, but ‘the 1960s’. When you write about something that belongs to the 1960s then it could be ‘1960s’ music revolution’. Keeping writing tics under your control isn’t always easy, but the more you clamp down on them, the better you get at stopping the little brutes.

Thanks this month to Jacqueline Brown for sharing reviews with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

The Chalet

by Catherine Cooper


y local author selection for this month is The Chalet, a crime thriller set in a luxury chalet in the French Alps, by Nouvelle Aquitaine based author, Catherine Cooper. In the late 1990’s, two brothers and their girlfriends are on a ski holiday together. There is tension and rivalry between the brothers and following an afternoon of off-piste skiing, only one brother returns to the chalet. The events from this holiday change the lives of those involved forever. Some move on, seemingly putting the tragedy to the back of their minds, some never stop looking over their shoulder and some are ruined, completely. In another chalet, twenty years later, two couples become snowed in while events spiral out of control around them. They are all very different characters, some I warmed to, some I did not, but they all do their best to hide their pasts and their real reasons for being where they are just now. The mixture of timelines, different stories and emotionally charged situations, cleverly woven throughout the book, kept me guessing as to who was linked back to the fated family ski holiday, and what part they had played in the tragedy. Some of the topics covered were brutal, but there was humour too, especially for those (like me) who have given skiing a try but were never born to be naturals. I loved following Louisa’s first days on the slopes with her boyfriend, as it brought back so many memories of my first skiing trip, coincidently, also in the late 1990’s. This very quickly became a book that was difficult to put down as I did my best to second guess who was guilty, while waiting for the plot to fall into place. I loved it more than I was expecting and now that winter has arrived, I can recommend you cosy yourself up in your favourite reading corner and while away your time, virtually snowed in at a luxury chalet in the French Alps.

Looking for an English speaking business in France? Find one on

Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available as an ebook and paperback. Her new thriller, ‘Double Identity’ is now out. 32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

An Unusual Hobby


YOUR Book Reviews

by Steve Morton

’m sure there are many people who do photography, play golf, draw or write, but what about some of the less common ways of spending leisure time?

One of my unusual interests is Filofax organisers. Back in the mid 1980s, I bought one and used it for 5 to 6 years. I was one of the suited YUPPIEs! I later put it aside and used a string of different electronic gadgets to organise myself during the 1990s as that was the natural progression of things then. However, in 2005 I started a new job and wasn’t allowed to bring personal electronic devices into the office, so I went back to using a Filofax. In the fifteen years since I’d last used one, the Internet had come along so I could find out more about Filofax in the 1990s and early 2000s In 2008, I accidentally came across a site called Philofaxy ( and I started to post comments there. In 2009, I was invited to become a contributor; it was the start of an unusual second career, writing about all different aspects of Filofax and other brands of ring-bound organisers! Since becoming a blogger on Philofaxy my ‘collection’ of organisers has grown considerably. I have different brands and all the different sizes of organisers. People have donated several and I’ve received quite a few from companies after seeing my reviews. Now, they send me advance samples to review ahead of launch! I bring in my interest in photography when I write the reviews and with my engineering background, I try to keep them as objective as possible. Over the last 10 years, we’ve built up a 12,000-strong community of Filofax users on the website and on Facebook. People enjoy sharing details about how they plan their time and use their organisers. The subject of digital planning versus paper planning is something I’m often asked about. My quick response is that you don’t need instructions for paper; it’s intuitive and often quicker – open your organiser, take out your pen and you are ready to go… In collaboration with another reader, I’ve developed a wide range of diary inserts that people can download and print to use in their own organiser. Especially handy when the year changes! Whenever I visit London, I organise a meet-up with other Filofax fans and readers of the blog. These get-togethers have been very popular over the years; sadly none could take place in 2020. I’m also one of a team of organisers behind PlannerCon Europe that hosted over 500 delegates in 2019; they travelled from all over Europe and the world. It was a fun weekend, but fairly exhausting! Maintaining close contacts with a number of manufacturers of leather organisers has not only been enjoyable for me but has helped them with their marketing as well as smoothing the path for the customers to get what they want. Despite being retired, I find I’m using my Filofax to organise my daily routines even more than when I was working for a salary. Of course, I have fewer appointments now (especially so in 2020!) but more things to remember to do each day.

(continued) If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

My French Platter

by Annemarie Rawson


his is a gritty and very readable memoir of how a couple from New Zealand found a way to make living in France a reality. Annemarie and her husband Steve take up an offer of employment to be the housekeepers and event coordinators for a holiday home and art studio in south west France. Thinking they’d found their dream job, they rented out their home, said their goodbyes and moved to the other side of the world. There was something about the tone Annemarie uses from the start that hinted at the dream not being all they’d thought it would be and I couldn’t wait for the drama to play out. They arrived in time to get the place ready for the tourist season, but there was more to do than the photos they’d been shown suggested. Having cleaned and scrubbed at the filth they found when they arrived, the next challenge was learning to work with the agent and owners to ensure the smooth running of the holiday let and artist retreat. Their lives took on a new routine of long days for a minimal financial reward, cramming in cleaning, housekeeping, cooking, front of house, gardening, animal care, pool maintenance, customer service and airport runs. They loved the area, the property and met many interesting and lovely people, both locally and the visitors to the Mas de Lavande. Most were quick to praise the welcome and service but fulfilling the never-ending and constantly changing demands of the owner proved to be almost impossible. This is an honest and emotional account of the beginning of their French dream. I admired their energy, enthusiasm and strength of character, and the way they obviously worked well together as a team. Annemarie’s descriptions of the area, the food (recipes are included as a bonus) and the challenges they faced kept me turning the pages and willing them to succeed. Maybe they were a bit naïve at the beginning, but they did at least do more than just dream of a life in France and that always has to be commended.

Read a book or watched a film worth telling others about? Send us your thoughts and we’ll do the rest.

Keep safe. Steve Morton (aka MrPhilofaxy) The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021| 33

Food and Drink My 100th Contribution


by Jacqueline Brown

appy New Year. Here’s to good health, happiness and hope for the new year. This month celebrates my one hundredth contribution to The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, almost nine years of monthly musings from me to you. Thank you for reading and I hope you have enjoyed at least some of them.

Offering takeaways during lockdown? Let us know and we’ll do our best to advertise your service on our Facebook page. Drop us a line at ...

S a u gé V i n t a ge T e a R o o m Château de Saugé One of our secret Saugé recipes especially for the Deux Sevres magazine readers. Sultana Scones Enjoy a Sultana Scone with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream – which do you put on first ?

Ingredients: 225g SR Flour 50g Butter 25g Sugar 50g Sultanas 1 Egg 100ml Milk Pinch salt

Preheat oven to 200 degrees C Lay parchment paper onto a oven tray. Mix Flour and Salt and rub in Butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add into mixture the Sugar and Sultanas. Whisk together the egg and milk and add to mixture leaving a little to brush the tops of the scones. Once combined roll out to 1.5 inch thickness – using a cookie cutter cut your scones and place on the baking tray, brush with the egg/milk mixture and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake at 200 degrees C for around 10 minutes or until light brown in colour. Leave to cool on a wire rack, once cool add your Jam and Clotted Cream, pour a cup of Tea and sit back and enjoy. Also available to order. Donna @ Saugé Vintage Tearoom

Château de Saugé 2 Saugé 79400 Saivres inf o@ cha t ea u d e sa u g e. com

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

When I wrote my first piece, Ed was only eleven, I was in my early forties (rather than rapidly hurtling towards the big five-o) and I’d only recently become the proud owner of my first road bike, a 1980’s, vintage Mercier in a beautiful powder blue. So much has changed since then, some things for the better, some, I could have done without. 2021 will be a year of many changes. Learning to live with the virus, the vaccination programme and the changes brought upon us now our EU citizenship has gone. We made France our home over sixteen years ago and with the exception of last year (for obvious reasons) have always made at least two family trips to the UK, by car, each year. We use the same route, stop in the same places and usually eat the same picnic each time. The journey up to Calais it will be a homemade quiche, homemade cake, coffee, chocolate and fruit, that is packed into our cool bag. The journey back home has its own ritual. An Asda shop, where Adrian’s eyes would light up at Scotch eggs, Cornish pasties and pork pies. There is always some multi-buy deal on offer, so at least two packs would go in the trolley as snacks to keep him fuelled on the drive. We’d also buy a pack of finest British sausages that I would cook at Mum and Dad’s the night before. The dog by my feet, her nose in the air, watching closely as I carefully sliced the cold, cooked sausages and made up sandwiches in soft, white rolls, with chutney or mustard and sliced Cheddar cheese. Mum would make us her famous (in our family) fruit cake, from the recipe my Nan gave her, and my slice is always the one with the most glacé cherries in it. When it is safe and sensible to make the journey again, even the simplicity of our picnic will have to change. Individuals are not able to bring any meat or dairy produce into the EU from outside, so no pasties, pork pies, Scotch eggs or sausage and cheese sandwiches. I’m not even sure Mum’s fruit cake would be allowed as I don’t know how I’d prove it is made with Stork margarine, not butter. At least I’ve got plenty of time to come up with a new picnic plan as it doesn’t look like we’ll be travelling anytime soon. What we will be doing is continuing to make the most of our family time at home together. Enjoying Ed’s company, as university lectures remain online for now, and helping him plan for the next phase in his future, and the changes that will bring for all of us. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Email:

A Meal Without Cheese is Like a Beautiful Woman With One Eye


o said Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in his great book ‘The Physiology of Taste’ published in 1825. He also observed that ‘the pleasures of the table belong to all times and all ages… they go hand in hand with all our other pleasures, outlast them, and remain to console us for their loss’. In other words, in these Covid-riddled times when normal pleasures are restricted or forbidden, we can still eat and drink well. Think of it as a good way to get your own back. Living in France, we are fortunate to have a goodly supply of the best wines and cheeses on the planet. These are simple foodstuffs, as old as the hills and fields and vineyards they come from, but they can reach the heights of true gastronomy if matched judiciously. There’s an old saying in the sommelier game that the customer is always right. If you want a good tip, this is true; but objectively it is not always the case. To take one example, red wine is often taken with camembert. This results in a bitter, acrid taste: not the fault of the wine nor the cheese, but of bad matching – the tannins in red wine do not sit well with the fatty milk proteins in the cheese. You can confirm this with your friendly local biochemist, but in the meantime, here are some matches that will never let you down.

by John Sherwin

the gap. It is in fact the most popular cheese amongst the French, being consumed by some 40% of the population. Again, a balance of sweet and salty, this time with a nutty tang. A local chardonnay from the Jura is an obvious starting point for the younger cheeses, but a Beaujolais would do just as well. For 36 months-plus think more of a fino sherry. Perhaps the best known cheese with a washed rind is Munster. This Alsatian cheese has a very pungent smell and the soft, smooth consistency of melting chocolate. The locals eat it with cumin – indeed, you can buy Munster already flavoured with that spice. In this spiced version, a local gewürztraminer would be called for. However, for a straightforward, ripe Munster there’s nothing better than a strong, hoppy, lager. The bitterness goes well with the heady flavour and the effervescence mutes the richness. The king of Burgundy cheeses is Epoisses, similar in stickiness and runniness to Munster. Forget the ever-so-famous local reds which are too feminine, but opt for an acidic white aligoté or a flinty Chablis. Reblochon, from the mountains of Savoie, is milder with a delicate nutty aftertaste. Best match – wouldn’t you know it – is with a local (white) Savoie wine from the jacquère grape.

Let’s get camembert out of the way first. It’s so often the case that local wine goes well with local dishes, except there’s little or no wine made ‘oop north’ in camembert country. Enter the humble apple and its magic transformation into cider. The notes of mature fruit and hay, but most importantly the effervescence, match the fatty cheese perfectly. For the same reasons, a champagne (or sparkling wine) will also go well. The above observations also apply to brie.

Roquefort is one of the three greatest blue cheeses in the world (along with Stilton and Gorgonzola). The very strong flavour of salt and mould needs something in contrast, and the knee jerk reaction is to reach for the port. And why not? A classic combo and rightly so, the sweetness and strength of the port going head to head with the acrid mould. The same effect can be had with a sauternes or a banyuls.

Cheeses made from goats’ milk are often looked down on – or just plain overlooked. This is a shame. There are refined, delicate flavours to be had here, mixtures of sweetness, saltiness and acidity. A fine example is the crottin de Chavignol. For the boys flipping bogies at the back of the classroom, ‘crottin’ means horse poo, presumably a reference to its shape. I include this information at no extra charge so you can liven up the conversation at your first post-Covid dinner party, at which you should serve this lovely cheese with a Sancerre, preferably a Sancerre de Chavignol. Crisp and dry and slightly grassy. Closer to home is the Chabichou de Poitou, Poitou being the most important goat-breeding region in France. This would also go well with a Sancerre, but a chenin from Savennières might be better. I’m allowing the possibility of a red at this point – a simple, unoaked cabernet franc from the central Loire, a saumur-champigny for example. There aren’t many hard cheeses in the French repertoire, but Comté, matured from 12 to 36 months (and beyond) goes a long way in filling

Finally, if you’re down in Basque country try and pick up some local sheep’s milk cheeses, most of which are sold and eaten in the region and don’t get too far beyond. Recommended is Ossau-Iraty, if for no other reason than I get to mention the fine wines of Irouléguy with which it is a perfect match. Stock up on the wines too as they also are rarely seen outside the area. Someone once said that cheese was milk’s attempt at immortality. I suppose the same could be said of wine that tries to fulfil the grape’s bid for a place in forever-land. Whatever you believe, don’t forget the pleasure that the here and now brings. Oh, and it’s cheese before pudding. And Turkish coffee. Some recommendations based in part on the views of Olivier Poussier, Best Sommelier in the World, in La Revue du Vin de France no. 642, 2020.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021| 35

Clubs and Associations

check with re that you su en e as le P you are association r o b u cl any tting off. t BEFORE se si vi to g in n plan

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36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

Building and Renovation

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 37

HANDYMAN A handyman service based in north Deux-Sèvres.

Gardening: cut, trim, strim and manage. Indoor: painting, decorating and cleaning. General: pool and house cleaning, keyholding, caretaking and gîte turnarounds. ...and more. Email: facebook: /deuxchevreshandyman Tel: 07 82 74 48 72 (Also WhatsApp) Siret: Jense 881.149.124.00011


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40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

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Strictly Roofing - Malcolm Cooke

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 41



by Isabelle Want

s you know, British people who want to apply to be residents in France must prove that they are on the French health system or that they have health insurance EQUIVALENT to the French health system+ top up. Good news for 2021, we now have it via our insurance broker called April. The insurance is called Travel cover.

- Contraception, vaccines and anti-malarial treatments on prescription Up to €100 per year

1. What it is: It is a medical cover for anybody staying outside their home country for more than 15 days whatever his or her nationality or country of residence. So it is not only for British people staying in France permanently but even for British people on holiday in France for less than 12 Months.

4. The cost: It depends on how long you want it for and your age.

2. How long for: Anytime between 15 days and 12 Months. Note that you decide on the period. You can only extend the period once and it has to be accepted. It might not be accepted if you have made too many claims. The policy can be cancelled after a minimum of 3 Months with proof that you are accepted onto the French health system. 3. The cover: - Transport by ambulance (if hospitalisation is covered by APRIL International), Hospital room and board (including the daily charge in France) Medical and surgical fees Examinations, diagnostic tests and drugs Medical treatments and procedures: 100% of actual costs. Prior agreement is required for all medical care costing more than €2,000 and referral to the most suitable hospital (based on the medical condition and the costs charged by the facilities) - Hospitalisation for the treatment of mental or nervous disorders: 80% of actual costs, up to 30 days per year - Private room Up to €50 per day - Consultations, treatments and procedures carried out by general practitioners or specialists, Laboratory tests and examinations, x-rays and pharmacy items. Care provided by nurses and physiotherapists: 100% of actual cost - Emergency dental treatment Up to €400 per year - Dentures (following a reported accident) Up to €600 per year - Other prostheses (following a reported accident) - Vision care. Lenses and frames or contact lenses (following a reported accident) Up to €500 per year

- Medical transport 100% of actual cost - Maximum cover is 200 000 euros.

e.g. for Someone born in 1976 for a stay in France for 6 Months, it’s 786€. For someone born in 1965 for 3 Months cover in France is 513€, 1020€ for 6 Months. For someone born in 1955, it is 1503€ for 6 Months. Note that it is an extra 18€ per month if you want to pay monthly and there is a health questionnaire so acceptance or price quoted might depend on the answers of the questionnaire. To do a quote I simply need your full name, occupation , birthdate and address in France. Note that the cover is for a determined period (up to 12 Months) and the cover can be stopped with proof that you are on the French health system (attestation de droit). No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

Email: Visit our website:

TAKE A BREAK - SOLUTIONS - P.22 Easy Crossword: Across: 1. caesar 4. nearby 8. speak 9. outdraw 10. badge 11. granola 12. unwelcome 15. crumpet 16. octet 17. gestapo 18. virus 19. method 20. breath Down: 2. appear 3. slanging match 5. adding machine 6. beagle 7. coagulation 13. breeze 14. deduct

Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. Gillian 5. Marty 8. boxes 9. retinue 10. ogre 11. scotland 14. spar 16. brain 17. kip 19. weeklies 20. plea 23. liaison 25. north 26. seems 27. pleaser Down: 1. gibbous 2. luxor 3. inst 4. nor 5. mutating 6. ransack 7. yield 12. craze 13. obelisks 15. average 18. poacher 19. wales 21. lords 22. anne 24. nip

Brain Gym: Q1. A book Q2. A stamp Q3. A glove Q4. An egg Q5. A towel Q6. Three Q7. An envelope Q8. Nothing

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

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

The Social Network

by Lynne Wigmore

ebruary 4th sees Facebook turn 17 years old. Now one of the Ffixture biggest companies in the world, it has become an everyday in millions of lives the world over, but what is the story of this phenomenon?

In 2003, Harvard sophomore Mark Zuckerberg creates a web site called Facemash, sharing the link around campus. Using student photos (without permission) to make a “hot or not” game. The website allows visitors to compare two female student pictures side by side and decide who is more attractive. Unsurprisingly many are unhappy with his work and the game is eventually shut down. A “face book” is a student directory featuring photos and basic information. Prior to 2004 there were no universal online face books at Harvard, with only paper sheets distributed and private online directories. On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin, launch under the name of “The Facebook”. It has a profile where you can upload a photo, share your interests, and connect with other people. Initially membership is open only to people with a Harvard email address, within the first month 50% of Harvard students have signed up. A month later it opens to other Ivy league universities. Sep 2004 sees the introduction of “The Wall”, an area of a user’s profile where friends and fans can post public messages. Three months later, on December 1st, the company announces that it has over 1 million active users. A year later, Facebook expands beyond college campuses for the first time and opens to high school students. Sep 2006 Facebook turns down a $1 billion acquisition offer from Yahoo. Zuckerberg reportedly believes Yahoo undervalued the company’s potential. The platform opens to everyone over 13 with a valid email address. Facebook has now gone fully global. The rate of membership growth is taking off with over 12m at the end of the year. Oct 2007 Microsoft purchases a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. This investment values the company at $15 billion. A month later the company launches its Beacon ad program, which tracks a Facebook user’s behaviour on third party sites. The product turns into a public relations disaster because of user privacy concerns. Dec 2010 Protests in Tunisia trigger the Arab Spring uprising spreading to neighbouring countries over the next few weeks and months. Credited as one of the catalysts for a youth revolution in the Middle East, the event shows just how powerful a tool Facebook can be for the purposes of political organizing. By now membership is over 350m. In 2012 the company acquires Instagram for $1 billion. This will later be seen as one of Facebook’s most important and defensive moves, helping to fend off Snapchat’s growing influence. 2014 sees Facebook purchase WhatsApp for $19 billion in a bid to dominate the latest limb of social media: messaging apps. May 2018 Facebook raises $16 billion in a public offering, making it the largest technology IPO at the time. The first day of trading is plagued by problems on the NASDAQ; it starts late and encounters glitches. Facebook loses a quarter of its stock value by the end of the same month. The IPO was declared a “fiasco” by the Wall Street Journal. By June 6 investors have collectively lost $40bn. Over 40 lawsuits relating to the IPO are then filed. Overall, not the smoothest of IPOs. But of course. Facebook carries on. By October, the platform sees its 1 billionth registered user. By the close of deal, the actual price hits $22 billion thanks to the rising value of Facebook’s shares. During 2018, details emerge about Cambridge Analytica, a firm that worked on the Trump 2016 campaign, having gained access to information on more than 87 million Facebook users. The firm used quiz tools to get information about users’ personalities and influence their voting behaviour. June 2020, several major companies announce they will pause advertising on Facebook in support of the Stop Hate for Profit campaign which claimed the company was not doing enough to remove hateful content from their site. Nov 2020, after the US election, Facebook tweaks the news feed to quantify the trustworthiness and quality of a news source. With this, Facebook hope to reduce election-related misinformation and hate speech without hurting the company’s bottom line. Facebook has drawn criticism both for selling and for failing to adequately protect its users’ data as well as accusations that it allows false news and fake accounts to proliferate but it continues to dominate the social media market, generating by far the most advertising revenue and maintaining over half of the total market share.

Face to Facebook

Smart Ways to Build Your Business Online Part 3

by Ingmar


t’s the start of a new year and, although the weather is nice, now is a good opportunity to stay warm inside and do some work on your facebook business page. Since I started these articles we have remained in various stages of lockdown which has resulted in more people going online to buy, sell, communicate and even book their take-aways from restaurants. As such, it gives us more incentive to make sure we are getting on the screens of as many customers as possible. Objectivity is the key to successful posting and you need to step outside your box and look from the outside or, if you can, ask someone you trust to give you honest feedback. It is also advisable to keep seeding your page so that it looks inviting and engaging when visitors do stop by. It is always better to have images, videos, information and details for people to scroll through the first time and to bring them in to your page. Think like a customer. Not doing this is one of the most common mistakes made by businesses online. You started your business because, hopefully, you have experience and skill in your chosen field. Your customers are coming to you because they don’t have them. An example of this would be a restaurant that posts a menu to order from that includes a pizza with a very specific name, but does not say what the toppings of that pizza are. As a result, it won’t get ordered and you have lost an opportunity. When you are posting about a special, unique or innovative product or service you need to elaborate why it is any, or all, of those things. Seems logical enough, but you need to be objective. Being engaged is better than being liked. When we talk about successful facebook pages we often talk about the number of ‘likes’ it has, but we should be talking about the engagement it has. To put it into context, you can have 2,000 people in Bangladesh liking your building business in Chef Boutonne, but the one person in the village down the road asking you to renovate their house is more important than all of them. You encourage engagement by involving your audience and them commenting, sharing, tagging and, yes, liking your page. Engagement does not come from selling, it comes from informing and entertaining your visitors. Focus on your audience, not your friends. Your friends and family already know what you do, your customers don’t. Using in-jokes or content involving them will alienate new visitors so you need to try and understand their wants and needs. Facebook gives you a tool to use, Page Insights, that will give you real feedback on which posts are connecting and help you write future ones. If you run a business that focusses on organic produce, your audience will probably be interested in bees returning to your surroundings as spring arrives. If it has a nice photo of a lavender bush in your garden with bees merrily buzzing around it, it would push the narrative. If you do a lot of emailing as part of your business, include a link to your facebook page in your signature as even your suppliers or stockists may share it; after all, your success is their success. • One ‘share’ from your page can extend to seven potential new clients • ‘Stuff Dutch People Like’ is a great example of a page that works very hard to make you laugh and learn whilst they sell in the background. Their engagement numbers show 1,000s of shares and likes on their posts. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 43

Strategic financial planning for a secure future


new year is the perfect prompt to review your financial planning to ensure it is on the right path. It’s even more important this year as we navigate a post-Brexit world, so if you haven’t reviewed your affairs yet, it’s a good idea to do so now. One key reason to review your wealth management is to ensure it’s up to date - consider whether any tax rules or financial regulations, or personal circumstances, have changed. But an effective review needs to go beyond that. Many people only consider segments of their finances at a time. For truly effective planning, however, you need to consider the various aspects together. For example, how you hold your investments can make a difference to your tax liabilities and how you can leave them to your heirs. Here are three key areas to consider. French residency and taxation The fact that you are resident in France has a significant impact on your financial and tax planning. Ensure you know where you are resident for tax purposes. The French and UK residency rules, and the double tax treaty, are more complex than first meets the eye. Regardless of how effective your tax planning in the UK was, you pretty much need to start afresh in France. What was tax efficient in the UK is unlikely to be so here. Explore the compliant opportunities available to establish what would work for you as a French resident.

by Catrina Ogilvie, Blevins Franks

Estate planning The way you own assets could make a difference to how you can distribute them and what tax your beneficiaries pay, so consider this early. You need to understand the French succession tax rules to be able to plan around them. Succession law in France protects children over spouses which can have unwelcome consequences unless you plan ahead. Financial structuring for life in France Perhaps the key rule for financial planning is that it must be specifically structured around your personal circumstances – lifestyle and future plans, family situation, income requirements, objectives, time horizon and risk tolerance. If you don’t have a strategic financial plan in place for France, you may need to take a fresh look at your investments and consider if they are suitable for you today. And are you holding them in the most tax-efficient way for France? Every family is different. Your financial planning must be carefully designed for you. The various aspects should work cohesively together to create an overall wealth management plan that provides long-term financial security and achieves your wishes for your heirs. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

A new year. A new era. Now that the UK has fully left the EU, it is more important than ever to ensure your tax and estate planning, investments and pensions are compliant and suitable as a fiscal resident in France. We specialise in strategic financial planning from a holistic perspective, to give UK nationals peace of mind about your long-term financial security. Your local Blevins Franks advisers are regulated, authorised and have the experience and knowledge to advise on all aspects of wealth management in post-Brexit France.

Talk to the people who know

05 49 75 07 24


I N T E R N AT I O N A L T A X A DV I C E • I N V E S T M E N T S • E S T AT E P L A N N I N G • P E N S I O N S Blevins Franks Group is represented in France by the following companies: Blevins Franks Wealth Management Limited (BFWML) and Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF). BFWML is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority, registered number C 92917. Authorised to conduct investment services under the Investment Services Act and authorised to carry out insurance intermediary activities under the Insurance Distribution Act. Where advice is provided outside of Malta via the Insurance Distribution Directive or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, the applicable regulatory system differs in some respects from that of Malta. BFWML also provides taxation advice; its tax advisers are fully qualified tax specialists. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as ‘Conseil en Investissements Financiers’ and ‘Courtiers d’Assurance’ Category B (register can be consulted on Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: 1 rue Pablo Neruda, 33140 Villenave d’Ornon – RCS BX 498 800 465 APE 6622Z. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier and L512-6 and 512-7 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA). Blevins Franks Trustees Limited is authorised and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority for the administration of retirement schemes. This promotion has been approved and issued by BFWML.

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson


i Amanda, I have recently moved to France and your name is often mentioned on social media posts about financial advice. What services do The Spectrum IFA Group offer? Having lived in France since 2006, after 20 years working within financial services in the UK, I have been fortunate to be able to help many people during my 11 years at The Spectrum IFA Group. Whether I have helped them personally or been able to put in contact with others who can assist the expatriate community in France, their recommendations on social media are greatly appreciated and a testament to our commitment to customer service. The Spectrum IFA Group is a group of financial services companies, incorporated and regulated in France, as well as other jurisdictions where we operate. Our expertise covers a wide range of services those now living in France require for financial peace of mind. These services include Retirement and Pension Planning including QROPS, Life Assurance, Efficient Investing (using Insurance wrappers), Succession and Inheritance Tax Planning, investment portfolio reviews and Currency Exchange.


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

DÉCHETTERIES Up to date information about opening hours, restrictions, etc for your local déchetterie? Visit the website for details For waste disposal outside of the Deux-Sèvres there’s an alternative website

Amanda Johnson Tel: 05 49 98 97 46

Wi t h C a r e , Yo u P r o s p e r TSG Insurance Ser vices S.A.R.L. • Siège Social: 34 Bd des Italiens, 75009 Paris • R.C.S. Paris B 447 609 108 (2003B04384) « Société de Cour tage d’assurances » « Intermédiaire en opération de Banque et Ser vices de Paiement » Numéro d’immatriculation 07 025 332 – « Conseiller en investissements financiers », référencé sous le numéro E002440 par ANACOFI-CIF, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers »

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 45

Property WHEN WORKING FROM HOME BECOMES A PLEASURE! ast year wxas the first time we worked from home and it gave Lspace us time to reflect on the way we want our future! We need the to live, to exercise outside and work – a new plan for living! There are essential prerequisites to working from home – dedicated space and a good chair are essentials, good light and a nice view would be a bonus! Most important are good wifi, local amenities close-by and easy access to the TGV and airports for later on this year! Hopefully! St Maixent l’École provides all you need. Just 60 kms from the coast and airport at La Rochelle, it’s well served by TGV links to Bordeaux and Paris as well as autoroutes. Well known for its military college, this charming town has cobbled streets, medieval houses and ancient abbey as well as all modern amenities needed to live comfortably and work remotely. There’s even a red telephone box – not for calls to the UK but marking the town’s twinning with Horsham, Surrey! We’ve three great properties with all the space you need for work and perhaps provide new income streams, with plenty of room outside. Five minutes from St Maixent in Souvigné (Leggett ref: 117485) this stunning home awaits its next owners. It has everything from six ensuite bedrooms, with two more ensuite bedrooms in its annexe, to generous living spaces. Beautifully renovated, it was previously operated very successfully as a chambre d’hôte (income stream potential?) this wonderful family home has plenty of room for your office – outside in the walled garden there’s a lovely swimming pool, hangar and even an old chapel! €315,650.

by Joanna Leggett

Parts of this historic home (108617) date back to the 16th century! Situated in the protected historic quarter of St Maixent it’s just 15 minutes’ walk from the TGV station. This could, with some new decor, provide great work/life balance – there are 8 bedrooms spread over two wings -

live in one wing and go to work in the other! It’s all set in a walled garden with plenty of parking and an orangery – with two entrances on two streets it would make an ideal business location - €250,000. In the country near Vausseroux (and again with high speed internet) there’s a more modern country house (40167) with great views out over surrounding farmland. There’s plenty of living space and three bedrooms in the main house which is surrounded by a good size garden. Behind the garage is an external staircase leading to a potential two bedroom apartment which could provide income or office space! In need of redecoration and finishing it’s just been reduced to €99,000! They say it’s all about location, location, and St Maixent might prove the ideal location for your new life/work balance! Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at


La Boissière-en-Gâtine

€36,600 HAI

Ref. 118765 - Renovation project - Opportunity to create a lovely property or two. DPE N/A - agency fees to be paid by the seller


€110,000 HAI

LOCAL KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN TRUST Buying or selling a property? Contact us now!


€150,420 HAI


€229,141 HAI


€848,000 HAI

Ref. 118704 - Stunning 6 bedroom mansion with indoor swimming-pool complex and outbuildings. DPE N/A - agency fees to be paid by the seller


€256,800 HAI

Ref. 118679 - Traditional 3 bedroom property at

Ref. 118782 - Detached, 3bedroom stone house

Ref. 118502 - Impressive detached 3 bedroom

Ref. 118531 - Stunning 8 bedroom home with

the end of a quiet lane in popular village.

with garages and beautiful garden, in quiet location.

modern house with garage, near Bressuire.

courtyard, wine cellar and two apartments.

DPE D - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE D - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE A - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE D - agency fees included: 7% TTC to be paid by the buyer

+33 (0)5 53 56 88 48 - -

Buying or Selling Our clients are ready atoproperty buy NOW ? Contact us for a FREE Valuation and Marketing Advice 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021

WORK WITH US BECOME A SALES CONSULTANT If you are a people-person, Join t h we can help you develop e BVI t e am! a successful career.



VSA1350 PARTHENAY 205 725€ fai

Spacious 4 bedroom house with basement. Ground of 4000m². Rural location Net price 95 150 agents fees 4800€

Character property in the historic quarter. 200m² habitable. Super condition Net Price 195 000€ Agents fees 5.5%

Contact: for a confidential chat

Beaux Villages IMMOBILIER

05 56 71 36 59

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, February 2021 | 47