The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Magazine - May 2021 Issue

Page 1


English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas

Head for the garden

Make good use of all the bank holidays

It’s Tax Time

Lots of advice in Business & Finance

Also this month ...

A rugby school, a day of laughter WARP, woodburners and wine

More Anniversary Memories on p26/27

Issue 116, May 2021

Welcome to Issue 116


n envelope, containing a book we have been offered for review, turned up recently almost two months after it was posted from the UK. The envelope was very tattered and appeared to have been resealed twice by Customs and/or La Poste. Initially mumbling about Brexit impacting the post I was MUCH more impressed when I realised that the sender had used the post code 97450 instead of our ACTUAL post code of 79450. I checked. 97450 is a valid French post code but is for Saint-Louis on the island of La Reunion (off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean). Despite its long journey, the contents were undamaged. Here’s hoping that La Poste treat this month’s magazine with the same dedication for delivery. In this issue, amongst other things, you will find the final, for now, revisit of pages from 2011 and we have introduced a ‘Letters to the Editor” page after several suggestions from readers. Feel free to get in touch. Have a great May, a Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there and fingers crossed that some level of normality may soon return. Stay safe

n Tony & Lyn


Tel: Email: Website:

Contents Bulletin Board Letters to the Editor Technology La Vie En France A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Home and Garden Our Furry Friends HAPPY ANNIVERSARY Take a Break Food and Drink Book Club À La Carte Health, Beauty and Fitness Travel On The Road Clubs and Associations Building and Renovation Business and Finance Property

4 8 9 10 16 18 25 26 28 31 34 36 38 42 44 47 48 54 58

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

This Month’s Advertisers ABORDimmo Adrian Butterfield (Handyman) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) Alcoholics Anonymous Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) Arbes et Abeilles (Plant nursery) ARB French Property Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) Autentico (Paint specialists) Beaux Villages Immobilier Belle Fleur - Natural Insect Repellant & Moisturiser BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want Blevins Franks Financial Management BM Construction Cards et Cartes (Quality English & French greeting cards) Chateau Jarno Pépinière Cherry Picker Hire (Tony Moat) Chris Bassett Construction Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) Clean Sweep Chimney Services CLE (Charente Limousine Exchange) Darren Lawrence DPS Services (Gardener & Handyman) EFS France – Home Security Company Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) Glendee Property Services Hallmark Electricité Harrison Hair (Mobile Hairdresser) 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 Keith Banks Pool Services KJ Painting and decorating Leggett Immobilier 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 Mr Fix It (Garden Maintenance) 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) Shabby Shutters - Shutter repair and painting Simon the Tiler Smart Moves - Removals & Storage Smart Services (Home and Garden Services) Stephen Shaw Painter Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) Strictly Roofing Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) Sunny Sky Cars Suzie Withers (Translation Services) TheatriVasles The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre The Fixer - Rick Denton The French House Satellite TV The Trading Post (International Food & Drink) Tim Électricien 79 Val Assist (Translation Services) Vienne Tree Services Zena Sabestini (Translation Services)

59 50 2 50 47 57 51 22 59 57 20 59 38 54 56 50 5 22 52 51 51 49 47 50 21 49 52 45 51 49 38 52 50 50 52 53 21 45 48 59 53 58 9 53 50 49 48 45 9 21 57 53 38 45 2 59 2 53 21 9 21 51 53 45 20 53 51 48 13 45 13 47 45 13 49 33 49 13 20 13

© 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: mai 2021 - Tirage: 2500 exemplaires. Siret: 830 076 345 00016 ISSN: 2115-4848

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 3

Bulletin Board 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) source

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:

t yours PLUS a Fancy a takeaway? Ge ese places ... copy of The DSM at th

P I ES ING R K ‘INT’I S H CO O K O P S ’ EY BR t e and a M A RDKI T I O N A L Vendé ), é A h c ar TR omte (m rieur),

MR T’S F RITERIE Regular ven • Aulnay d ues at: eS •

-le-C inté ntenay ély (marché Sat: Fo ng ’A -d n me a e -Mariti Saint-J -Maritime arente h e C t n ), e é r Cha arch om ulnay (m -pies.c Sun: A ornings arkeys m m n . e w p O 5 ww

6 01 54

4 Tel: 05


FRYE R TU CK S gerie s - Outside the Boulan Saint Jouin de Marneevery Tuesday evening 30 20: to 30 17: W when IOD OF 18:00 CURFE EXCEPT DURING PER times to ..... our d gerie we have change s - Outside the Boulan Saint Jouin de Marneevery Tuesday lunchtime 30 14: to 00 12: LUDING INDIAN CURRY WEEKLY SPECIALS INC

Tel: 06 23 25 48 36 /pg/fryertucks1

onbon Café B hapelle-aux-Lys

La C 85120 45 5 - 18h y 17h1 a d r tu a iday S oon Fr re 12 n fo e b r ages, Orde h, Saus wns, Fis (V). a r P g Kin erts s, Dess om Currie mail,.c

5@g nbon8 .fr cafebo bon85 o afeb n .c w w w

Ballans 1 aintonge 1702 4 • Beauvais 7160 • St Jean D Sur Matha 1749 • La Chape ’Angély 17400 0 • Sainte So lle 16140 • Sauzé-Va line Ark 79 Even • Private caussais Hope 79 7ts 79120 9190 tering Te

l: 06 02 2 2 44 74 mrt.fisha ndchips@ www.fry m ing4u2nit

79130 Allonne Takeaways available Tuesday to Saturday 12h to 17.30h Fish & chips, pie & chips, kebab & chips, hamburger & chips, pizzas Order in advance

Christie’s Tea R ooms

with in a box ivre 79400 Sa l Afternoon Tea e Beer for nd na Traditio our Artisan Blo f a bottle o ookies 4 large c . only €20 e Cookie Bags ad Homem €18 0. 12 for for €6 - 6 for €1 Cakes or s e x o B e y Cupcak ble for Birthda ila Also ava asion cakes. cc o l ia c spe rder: enquire/o tact us to n o c se a Ple ateaude info@cThel:

Café Civray

86400 Civray Friday take away & delivery service Our full take out menu is here: www.le

Le Regal’on

Cam ping 796 d

enu We take orders by Wednesday for Friday pick up. All by Facebook messenger or em ail leca fecivray@gmail.c om

00 A e Co irvau urte Take lt away Vallé avail e able fish and o c n req h Mon uest) ips (othe - Sat r opt 16.30 ions Pleas - 18.0 e 0 your call on 0 order 6.30. 01.87 . .73 to place

86160 Gençay A selection of Ho me-Made Cakes to Take Away available every da y are: Scones, Rich Fruit Cake, Lemon Dr izzle Cupcakes plus one or more of ... Chocolate Brow nies / Brioche Br ead Pudding / Almond, Cherry & White Chocola te Cupcakes. Order in advanc e by phone: 05.49 .50 .61.94 or email: christie


4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

é de Saug Chateau s

Fl e Belles s e d é Caf ux


ay Saturd Fenio ing or dessert) n e v 79160 e / me t et lunchti 50 (Pla rs), Friday e. Menu 8€ llesfleu e m b ti lunch afedes il c @ ( k a r em ceboo tails See Fa o .com for de il .4 call 05 nioux@gma fe cafede

Letter From Blighty by Beryl Brennan

May 2021


ell, we finally made it. Wasn’t easy even for a good organizer like me. So much to think about. Some of you don’t like facebook but I got a lot of help from one of its pages – ‘Expats Returning to the UK’. Lots of people sharing their knowledge of what to do, who to contact, what’s required and so on. You post a question and receive some very helpful replies, links to websites and more. As we’d agreed to complete the farm sale in mid January after Brexit, the removal firm were talking about a ToR1 form – transfer of residence. Basically you have to declare what you’re taking back to the UK to confirm you’re not planning on selling it all, which would give HMRC the chance to slap VAT on the goods! Confusion reigned as to what was required so I had to complete an inventory of what we were taking back – numbering and labelling boxes. Phew, it went on forever; thank you Chrissie who came to help armed with pen and paper and a couple of friends who came with their with vans and trailers to deal with the decluttering and dechetterie runs. ‘You can’t leave anything behind, the French are very fussy’! We’d sent all our belongings to the UK in storage by the time we, 3 dogs and the caravan reached the Tunnel. We’d been very good making sure our Spanish rescue hounds had their European Passports up to date with vaccinations and worming treatment, the latter needing to be done within 48 hours before leaving French soil. We joined the queue at Pet Passport Control and duly handed the Passports over. Didn’t take long for Bracken and BeBe to pass muster. Then the delay started with Polar’s – frowns, telephone calls, photocopying - whatever could be wrong? We weren’t leaving him behind! Turned out one of the junior French vets at our practice had given him his rabies booster a year early, so had changed a date on the passport record. Trying not to panic, armed with 3 extra pieces of paper – you know, in France everything in triplicate! – to show at the ‘border’ to get him through, luckily it was only our passports they wanted to see. Next the Douane inspected inside the caravan looking for illegals - fingers crossed they didn’t discover the boxes of wine in the lockers! We got on an earlier train than we’d booked as there was hardly anyone at the Tunnel nor on the train. Effects of Brexit and virus restrictions. After a comfy half hour journey under La Manche, quick disembarkation at Folkstone and through the Dartford Tunnel – crossing fee pre-booked on line – we headed North. Orange lights were still showing on the dashboard but with the car running smoothly, we should make our rental before dark. Best sign off, that’s the telephone ringing. Will write again.

Cards et Cartes Quality English & French greeting cards at low prices. We can send cards to you or direct to your family and friends. See our website for designs: Siret No: 508 062 734 00019

tenary Javarzay Fair Bicen ers to participate

on ld ho l al st g tin vi at the We are in 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. om fr 26 ne Ju ay y, Saturd ir. During the da Fa e nn to ou B fhe t and traditional C ainment, food buffe rt te en et re st be ill there w y alongside ate this anniversar br le ce to nd ou gr ir meter. a fa to all. €1 per linear n pe O r. to bi hi ex you as an June 18th. Registration before mes) 0.53 (Amanda Hol Contact: fr e@chef-boutonne. or by email: mairi

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 5

International Day of .....

During lockdown, many Laughter Club members have used Zoom and Skype to do their exercises at home, often for free. If you can’t find a laughter club to join, here are a couple of suggestions to celebrate World Laughter Day. • Dance and clap around the garden chanting ‘ho ho, ha ha ha’. Never mind the neighbours, we can all go a little mad after being released from lockdown!

... World Laughter Day (2nd May)

by Beryl Brennan


e know how great we feel when we’ve had a really good laugh but it’s something that has been in very short supply since January 2020. Laughter doesn’t heal or solve anything but it does relieve stress and lift a dark feeling. Think how you feel when you’ve just watched a really funny show on TV, it creates a sense of well-being and brings a smile to one’s face. World Laughter Day was first celebrated in Los Angeles in 2005 and since then has spread to large cities around the world through Laughter Clubs, of which there are now about 5,000 worldwide. You might think it’s a place for watching a comedian spend a couple of hours telling jokes. Wrong. Club members actually practice Laughter Yoga and many clubs function on a daily basis, with members meeting in public parks whilst going for a morning walk. So what happens at the club meets? The aim is to use yoga to target stress, improve confidence and personal skills. In the UK there’s a Laughter Association with professionally trained therapists and coaches and some clubs use music and dance with yoga moves. Our health has suffered as a result of prolonged lockdowns so what are the benefits of having a good laugh? For starters, it releases endorphins which are natural painkillers and when released after laughing they can ease chronic pain as well as making you feel good. It also boosts T-cells in our immune system which help to fight off sickness. There’s no doubt a good laugh is a great cardio workout, especially if you can’t do other types of physical activity as it gets your heart pumping and burns off calories. You might find it hard to believe but it also works your abs, as the tummy muscles expand and contract when you’re laughing. Remember sometimes you get a pain from laughing too much? No need to go to the gym, have a good belly laugh and tone your stomach muscles! Laughter is an acknowledged de-stresser and last but not least, it lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

• Watch a couple of comedy DVDs or get out the old photo albums – laugh at the old fashion styles or remember happy times. Then you can always extend World Laughter Day and celebrate International Chicken Dance Day on 14 May. Yes, it’s official, the day when you can have some fun and dance like a chicken! At some time we’ve all danced to The Chicken Song, so now you have an excuse. Tuck your hands into your armpits, flap your arms madly, cluck or squawk like a chicken and strut around the room, before dissolving into a fit of giggles! Its origin lies in a song called ‘Der Ententanz’ composed in the 1950s by a Swiss accordion player, Werner Thomas. No one outside Switzerland had heard it until, in the 1970s, Dutch music producer Louis Julien van Rijmenant heard the composer performing it in an hotel. Called ‘The Duck Dance’ it became the B-side of a single released by a band called De Electronica’s but was flipped over when the A-side composition wasn’t being played by radio stations. It was a big hit, stayed in the Dutch charts for nearly a year and since then it’s been recorded in 140 versions with over 40 million records published over its lifetime. In 1981 the US discovered it and because of a lack of duck costumes, they settled for chicken costumes instead! It gets new lyrics added all the time; yes, there are lyrics, and it gets sung at Oktoberfest, weddings or any celebration where there’s a band and music – even in the school playground. In July 2010 at Mandan, North Dakota, a new World Record was established for the longest Chicken Dance during the annual Independence Day parade. It covered 24 city blocks and was 1,627 miles long! Now that’s got to be worth a good laugh! Forgotten how to do it? Click on this link. Laughter Club on Zoom

On This Day ... May May 3 2007 Just before her fourth birthday, Madeleine McCann of Rothley, England, vanishes during a family vacation at a resort in southern Portugal. McCann’s disappearance prompted an international search; however, she has never been found. May 5 1961 Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. becomes the first American astronaut to travel into space. as the Freedom 7 space capsule is launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The suborbital flight lasted 15 minutes and reached a height of 116 miles into the atmosphere. May 6 1994 In a ceremony presided over by England’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand, a rail tunnel under the English Channel was officially opened, connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time since the Ice Age. May 8 1945 Cities in Great Britain, USA and those in formerly occupied Western Europe, celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Street parties took place across Britain, thousands crowded into New York’s Times Square and crowds of people dashed through the Arc de Triomphe waving the Allied flags; all rejoicing as German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms.

May 11 1812 Spencer Perceval, prime minister of Britain, is shot to death by deranged businessman John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. Bellingham, who was inflamed by his failure to obtain government compensation for war debts incurred in Russia, gave himself up immediately. May 18 1980 At 8:32 a.m. PDT, Mount St. Helens, a volcanic peak in southwestern Washington, suffers a massive eruption, killing 57 people and devastating some 210 square miles of wilderness. May 25 1977 The “Star Wars” phenomenon opens with an intergalactic bang as the first of George Lucas’ blockbuster Star Wars movies hits American cinemas. It received seven Oscars and grossed close to $800 million worldwide. May 30 1431 Joan of Arc, the peasant girl who became the saviour of France, is burned at the stake for heresy. 19-year-old Joan was killed at the Place du Vieux-Marche in Rouen in, then English-controlled Normandy. In 1920, Joan of Arc, one of the great heroes of French history, was recognized as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic Church. Her feast day is May 30. May 31 1859 The famous tower clock known as Big Ben, located at the top of the 320-foot-high Elizabeth Tower, rings out over the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London. The name “Big Ben” originally just applied to the bell but later came to refer to the clock itself.


Letters to the Editor Dear Sir or Madam I am writing to you today . . . . . .


his section has been suggested by a number of people over the last few months so I thought I’d give it a go. Of course, it requires you, the readers, to write to us with your views and thoughts ... Emails to Letters to 32 Rue Andre Gastel, 79450 ST AUBIN LE CLOUD

Dear Editor I was delighted to read in the April 2021 magazine about collecting Brooke Bond cards: I too have fond memories of finding lovely new cards when opening the tea packet. For me it was birds and birds’ eggs (back then at age 9 or 10 I was so proud of my collection of birds’ eggs). Even today I can’t open a new packet of tea without being immediately transported to those moments, and to the idyllic country life I led in Arundel, Sussex. Mike Morris

------------------------------------------------------------------------------Dear Editor

Dear Editor Re the April 2020 issue article on bubble cars. I had one! 1971, and I was at college in London. Two good friends, Martin and Paul, both had cars, old bangers yes, cars nonetheless. My 21st birthday was approaching and while I was home on a break from college, my dad mentioned he had seen an advert in the local paper - Issetta car for sale £32. Was I interested in having it for my birthday present? So over to an old shed at a house just outside of Portsmouth we went and there it was. I couldn’t drive then, only had a paper, provisional license so dad drove it back. Now, he was 6 feet 1 tall, with legs about 9 feet long, so getting in was fun. You see, you get in the front of the car - the whole front of the car opens up. We got home, just. Language was bit close to the mark, gears made a few weird noises, but we got home. I loved this car, had to have reverse gear cloaked off as I only had a provisional license, but who cared. Well I did actually. If you parked too close to anything in front of you, you couldn’t get out of the car. Remember, the whole car front opened up and it was the only door. I had to ask someone to push me and the car back a bit so I could get out. My pride and joy lasted about two months. I was on my way to Salisbury to visit a friend. While waiting behind a car that was turning right, someone hit me from behind. The engine came through the seat, missed me by inches and the car body collapsed around me. Last seen, my car was parked on a garage forecourt near Salisbury and was sold for £10 scrap. But I can honestly say I owned a BMW car. BMW made the Issetta car so eat your heart out Martin and Paul!!

Monday, 12 April 2021. We were saddened to learn today of the death of Shirley Williams, Baroness Williams of Crosby. In 2018, here in a far off corner of France, we were organising a modest theatrical production to commemorate the end of the second World War which included some of the writings of Vera Brittain, the mother of Shirley Williams. Lady Williams wrote a very gracious and encouraging note of support for our efforts and although she was unable to be present herself owing to previous engagements in what was a busy time of such commemorations, she did hope to visit us some time and we looked forward to welcoming her. This piece of art was specially commissioned for the commemoration play. The artist was Anthea Libby. Gaynor Mickelborough

Lynne, my sister, bought me another one. Jeff Bishop, Walsall UK

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Technology Satellite TV - Freesat


ello and welcome to May’s ramblings. It’s good that you came back again. I’m talking specifically to you, Doris, of course. Thank you. I’m well aware that nobody else bothered. Still, an audience of one is still an audience and so I’ll milk this for all it’s worth. Think of me as the Lib Dems. You may also notice that I’ve changed my photo above. This is because it was pointed out to me that the previous one may have made me look like a, and I quote, ‘nutter’. Tough crowd. However, you can thank Debbie for getting me to change it. Or not. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

by Stuart Wallace

information about all things satellite TV and such like. I’ll also add some photos of installations (with permission of course) so you can see just how exciting my life is. Yeah, OK, I know... So, that’s it for this month. We look forward to helping you if we can, even if it’s just a question by email. Please see the advert for contact details. Until next time. Stuart runs The French House Satellite TV Other contact details in his advert in the Buildings & Renovations section of the magazine

Did you know that Freesat offers a channel called ‘SportyStuffTV’? No? Me neither until recently. According to Freesat, the channel ‘highlights sports from around the world that may not normally get coverage’. Read into that what you will. If your Freesat box hasn’t picked it up, do a ‘Freesat scan’ to get the latest channel list. To clarify, services like Netflix and Amazon Prime are great but they will not give you ‘broadcast’ TV services like BBC & ITV. They are primarily used for movies, box set series and documentaries. Thousands of them. However, just because your TV is smart and has a big white and red Netflix button on the remote, it does not mean you can watch Bake Off. A ‘smart’ TV allows you to connect to the internet. Some may have a satellite tuner built-in (meaning you don’t need a separate box) but this is not what makes a TV ‘smart’. In fact, in order to turn any TV into a smart TV, all you need is something like a Google Chromecast, Apple TV or Amazon Firestick, an HDMI socket and an internet connection. I’m often asked how you can get both UK and French TV from a single satellite dish (full disclosure, it’s happened twice). Well, it’s by having two LNBs fitted to the dish. One for Astra 1 (for French TV) and one for Astra 2 (for UK TV). Not every dish can do this though. It depends on the clamp that holds the LNB on the end of the arm. All the dishes we supply can be used for both services. Then, if you want to get both services with only one set-top box, you need a DiSEqC switch. Ah, now you’re interested aren’t you? Well maybe not, but even so, you do need a DiSEqC switch. This acronym stands for Digital Satellite Equipment Control. Essentially, the DiSEqC switch chooses the correct LNB based on the instruction given to the set-top box from the remote control. If you want BBC2, the switch will choose the LNB for Astra 2. If you want France 3, it’ll choose the LNB for Astra 1. Not all receivers/set-top boxes can receive all these different channels though. For example, your Freesat box or Sky box can only receive services from Astra 2. They cannot be used with a DiSEqC switch or drive a motorised dish to scan the sky. Likewise, not all TNTSAT boxes which get French TV from Astra 1 can pick up other satellites. If you’re not sure what you have or what you need then please feel free to ask. By the way, it is called an LNB (Low Noise Block Downconvertor). Not an LMB (though that is close enough), not a transponder and not a transceiver. That said, that last one does sound cool. An LNB is the bit on the end of the arm of your satellite dish that the cable connects to. OK, a little bit of self promotion, but it would be great if you could give The French House Satellite TV a ‘like’ on Facebook (@FrenchHouseSatelliteTv). I’ll use the page to put tips and The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 9

La Vie En France All in the Merry Month of May


ayday «La fête du 1er mai» has two origins. The first goes back to the Middle Ages «Moyen-Age». The plant, lily of the valley «le muguet» which came from Japan arrived in Europe during this period. The flower was a symbol of spring «le printemps» and the Celts believed the flower brought good luck, and that it was «un porte-bonheur».


rom the 16th century, King Charles IX made things official by offering a sprig of lily of the valley «un brin de muguet» to the ladies of his court «aux dames de la Cour». Lily of the Valley dances «les bals du muguet» existed for a long time. In the 19th century, dressmakers and fashion designers «les couturiers» offered three sprigs to their workers and seamstresses «petitesmains» ! The lily of the valley of the 1st May only became associated with labour day «la fête du travail» in 1907. The demonstrators «les manifestants» wore it in their button-holes «la boutonnière» in commemoration of the workers’ movements in Chicago in 1886. Today the tradition «la tradition» continues. Lily of the valley is sold everywhere on street corners «à tous les coins de rue» and many people offer it as a sign of friendship and good luck «un gage d’amitié et de porte-bonheur». In the centre of France from the Limousin to the Valley of Aoste (Italy), it is traditional to plant a tree decorated with a French flag «un arbre décoré d’un drapeau tricolore» in front of the house of a newly elected councillor «un nouvel élu». Where do these «mais» (May trees) come from? From Freedom Trees «des arbres de la liberté» perhaps, but more likely from the

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

by Sue Burgess

idea that a tree renews the pact between nature and mankind. In some parts of the South of France ribbons are tied to a tree and girls dance around the «arbre de mai» (Maypole). The month of May is punctuated by bank holidays «des jours fériés» - the first of May «la Fête du Travail», Victory in Europe 1945 «le huit mai» Ascension day «l’Ascension». This year, 2021, the 1st and the 8th fall on a Saturday so the only chance for “un pont” (a long weekend) will be the weekend of Ascension. Some years there are three three-day weeks in the month of May! Whit Monday «Pentecôte» may also fall in May depending on the date of Easter. Mother’s day «La Fête des Mères» often falls on the last Sunday in May.

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Le muguet Mi-mai La mouche de mai L’arbre de mai La reine du 1er mai Le printemps Printanier Printanière

Lily of the Valley Mid May Mayfly Maypole May queen Spring / Springtime (season) Spring / springtime (adjective relating to Spring)

by Karen Taylor

Fire !

by Owen Kitchener-McCartney

May 2021



Or, spend two winters in a freezing cold, un-heated house with nothing but several pairs of socks and copious amounts of rouge to keep us warm!

e’ve all had to become more inventive with our entertaining over the past year. It used to be simple – a special celebration deserved a reservation at a special restaurant, coffee with friends was at a local café, a tasty lunchtime get-together? – look no further than meeting up for a menu ouvrier. And then along came confinement, semi-confinement, travel restrictions & couvre feu.

So…our entertainment plans have taken on a different flavour (excuse the pun!). For those outside our travel zone, we now meet up at a conveniently located picnic table, spread out our tablecloth (à la française), open up our wicker baskets et voilà, a meal in a moment! For those inside that all-important 10km zone, a long lunch at home is still possible, but with the couvre feu at 7pm, evening entertaining has become more complicated. No problem, we’ve now discovered a meal interestingly called a dinatoire – a sort of mixture between apéro & dîner – clever, huh?


Magnolia Farm Renovations

Of course with so much more home entertaining comes that tricky question of what gift to offer your host (or hostess, more importantly!). It was oh so simple in the UK – a bottle of decent plonk from the local supermarket (or Oddbins if you felt like being a bit more adventurous) would suffice. But in France, unless the wine is of some special vintage, or indeed a ‘cleanskin’, best turn up with an alternative gift. Flowers & chocolates seem to be a standard offering in France, but arrive with a Victoria sandwich cake & the French will love you forever! One of our more unusual gifts recently came from my gardener friend. No fancy wrapping required for this particular delicacy, just a plain, brown paper bag; a glimpse inside revealed a goodly number of…potatoes! Not just any old potatoes though, none other than les patates de Noirmoutier – la crème de la crème of new potatoes freshly dug from his garden that very morning! But one of my favourite gifts was a box of assorted tulips bulbs, received from our Dutch friends (really!) last year; I could barely stop myself from singing ‘Tulips from Amsterdam’! I had almost forgotten about them until last month, when up they popped in the flower bed reminding me that Spring had finally arrived – ‘the gift that just keeps on giving’, as they say! So when we’re next invited to a friend’s house for lunch, perhaps we should simply turn up with a big bucket of cherries from our garden; oh, and of course a Victoria sponge to pop the cherries on top! Karen runs a gîte business on the Vendée coast. You can contact her on:

ove to France they said, bask in the French sunshine they said...

Of course, we knew that winters here were cold. We’d brought a beast of a log burner with us from the UK, a 14kW Villager no less, but it wasn’t quite as simple as sticking a flue up the chimney as we’d hoped. Nothing ever is as simple as we’d like here on the farm. We had a few people come and quote for the installation and all of them had the same bad news regarding both of our chimneys...they were far too small for the current building regulations. Back to the drawing board then. Now where did we put that terrifyingly rickety, sixties gas fire? We eventually decided the only option was to place the burner in front of one of the chimneys and the flue would run, in the room, up three floors and out of the roof. Efficient? Yes. Expensive? Also yes! Nevertheless, we had a lot of work to do before the installation could take place. We had already knocked out the wall in front of the chimney to reveal what had obviously been used as an open fire judging by the colour of the stone and the two foot deep pile of soot that we had to dig out. It seemed a shame to lose the shape of the old chimney though so we decided to leave it and create a tiled feature behind the stove. Firstly, we needed to build a concrete hearth to stand the stove on. Some hastily assembled timber shuttering and eight bags of concrete later, we had our hearth that would later, also be tiled. Good old Adrian Butterfield came to the rescue again when we enlisted his help with dotting and dabbing the plasterboard onto the weird and asymmetrical shape of the old chimney. After that, I tiled the chimney while Laura got to work with the enduit and paint. The finished article however, would mean getting the stove in. A few weeks later, the burner was expertly installed by Daniel Fox of Clean Sweep France and for the first time since we bought the property in 2018, we had actual heating in the house! What’s that? Springtime you say? Oh well, at least it’ll be toasty next winter! The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 11

Photo by Owen Kitchener-McCartney

View from the Vendée

ALLEZ LES ROUGES ET BLANC The 15 staff members, all but two of whom are volunteers, provide high quality training each week (twice weekly in some cases) between September and June with special school holiday events as well. It’s not all about passing the ball either, the children taking part learn discipline, teamwork and community spirit. As Jérémy Robert put it when we spoke, ‘Better people make better rugby players’.

by Tony Wigmore


ith thanks to Jérémy Robert and Steven Price from the Sport Athlétique Parthenaisien (SAP) Rugby Club.

As well as the senior teams, the Parthenay based Rugby Club offers the youth of the area their “école de rugby SAP” (Rugby School). Founded in 1967, the rugby school was certified in 2007 by the FFR (Fédération Française de Rugby), the first club in the DeuxSèvres to receive this recognition.

Photographs courtesy of Jérémy Robert (SAP)

Despite COVID, in 2021 the rugby school has more than 80 youngsters, boys and girls, aged from five to 14/15 signed up and attending regular training (when COVID restrictions allow).

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

The rugby school also offers some 14 year-old students work experience within the club and members of the training team visit local Primary Schools to spread the word about rugby, SAP and the école de rugby. One of seven rugby teams in the Deux-Sèvres with youth teams, SAP école de rugby take part, under normal circumstances, in tournaments each month allowing the young players to meet opponents from Niort, Chauray, Melle, St Maixent, Bressuire and Thouars. If you have children who might be interested, and who will be between five and 14 years old (15 for girls) by the end of this year, why not take them along for a taster session. The first month is entirely free and several trainers speak English. More information can be found on their facebook page ( and supporters at the tournaments or senior team matches are always welcome.

Do you need help understanding or translating a French text? I’m a professional freelance French to English translator, accredited by the UK Chartered Institute of Linguists, and I’d love to help you! I can provide a “publication-ready” translation or an English summary of a French document. I can also proofread an English text or provide general language support, being a Brit who has lived in France and Belgium in the past. Whilst I am currently based in the UK, I can of course work with you remotely (email, WhatsApp, Skype, etc.) and I accept electronic payments in € or £.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 13

Life in 79 - Get a Grip

by Stephen Shaw


ike so many over the last year, every Sunday, 6 o’clock for me, 5 o’clock for them, my family come together on Zoom and catch up on the past week’s events.

Since moving to France I myself have got certain things out of proportion. It used to be the band of pigeons pooping on the barn roof - let’s just say that problem has now ceased.

Recently my brother has had an issue with his front garden which has had a lockdown makeover. The fresh topsoil has been irresistible to all the cats in the Crystal Palace area, who have travelled far and wide to ‘curl one out’ on his flower bed to be. After trying various ineffectual things he has resorted to spreading some brambles across the protected area. To his annoyance a cat, like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, tiptoed between the thorns and cocked his nose at my brother by burying an offering in his substrate.

I have moved on to moles. As soon as my back is turned, like Grandmother’s Footsteps, a few more will have popped up. My dad told me, on our Zoom meeting, that a few drops of Olbas Oil will get rid of the critters. Well, dad, French moles are a lot more hardy than their English counterparts. It doesn’t work... my garden is going to start to resemble the Australian outback with all the eucalyptus I’m pouring into the ground.

The family consensus was he was getting things out of proportion and needed to ‘get a grip’ as my mother used to say. This type of irrational thinking made me reflect on my school days and Mrs Darby who was my French teacher and form tutor (a very nice, rational, level headed woman, I was and still am good friends with her son), had ‘a thing’ about a small patch of grass/mud outside our classroom/portacabin. If she caught you walking across this patch of hallowed turf, instead of taking the long way round on the path, she would go ‘mental’ to use the school boy vernacular. I can remember thinking how can someone get so worked up about something so unimportant.

The sun is out, as are we, enjoying eating al fresco. A fly has landed on my leg. That’s’s only a fly. There’s another one...on my food! That’s okay. I’m not going to go ‘funny’ about the odd fly like some people. Another has landed. I can feel the anger rising within. Another lands. I waft them away, but they return with their friends. There are now numerous flies sharing my lunch with me. Ahhh! I rush inside and grab the fly swat with the most swat remaining. For the rest of the hurried meal, I will eat with one arm shovelling as fast as possible so I can get inside and the other with raised swat in hand killing everything that moves. I hate flies! The meal ruined. Pudding will be taken inside. Where upon my wife will inform me I’ve given her the wrong teaspoon. Ahhhh!

Rather like my brother, Mrs Darby and Benny Hill we all have something we get worked up about. I would go as far to say, it is unnatural not to get worked up about something. My wife, Anna, gets worked up if I give her the wrong type of teaspoon for the appropriate use (yes, we have different types, I know, weird!). 14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Cartoon by STEVE SHAW

We had another teacher, I can’t remember his name, because everyone called him Benny Hill. He had a passing resemblance to the sex-mad British comedian, but in no way was he his spitting image. If, when he was writing on the blackboard, students would shout out “Benny Hill!” or hum the theme tune, rather than laugh it off, he would go apoplectic, verging on scary. When sitting in a history lesson once I saw a first year (as they were then) sprint past the window, pursued, a few seconds later, by Benny Hill (the teacher) red faced and foaming at the mouth.

WARP Speed Ahead ?

Document requirements. The documents you need to provide along with your application will differ depending on your situation. There is a simple flowchart available that shows you which documents you will need to provide. See below for link. If your prefecture requires additional information they will contact you after you submit your application.

Need help?


f you are a British citizen, aged 18 or over, wish to live legally in France post-BREXIT and were legally resident in France on 31st December 2020 then you MUST obtain a Withdrawal Agreement Residence Permit (known colloquially as a WARP card). Time is running out to make applications so here is some information you might find useful ...

Dates 30th June 2021 This is the last day that applications for a WARP card will be allowed. This deadline is set in the Withdrawal Agreement. After 30th June 2020, a family member of someone who met the legal residence requirements can arrive. However, they must arrive with an explicit short-term Schengen entry visa and must apply for their own WARP card within 3 months of their arrival. Although there are some exceptions, the term ‘family members’ is generally limited to children under 21, spouses and partners. 1st October 2021 All UK citizens resident in France must possess a WARP card. This deadline has been set by the French government so is within their gift to extend if they wish, though there is no current suggestion that they will do so.


Facebook groups. Although sometimes hard to tell the wheat from the chaff, there is a good deal of help available via specialist Facebook groups. There are many such groups but “WA Carte de Séjour for British citizens in France” (link below) seems to provide very good advice AND were the source of much of the information in this article. The admins are extremely knowledgeable and willing to help. Do make sure you read the Announcements and Guides first to save asking questions that have been answered many times before. You will also find VERY useful hints on how to complete the application forms (such as using capitals throughout, what to do if you have had several surnames, etc). Diocese in Europe - French Residency Support (France-wide website and helpline). Phone: 05 32 80 00 05 SSAFA, The Armed Forces Charity (across France) if you have connections to the armed forces. Email: Phone : 08 05 11 96 17

Useful Links (You may find it easier to follow these links from the online version of our magazine). • The application process (English version)

All applications are free. No charge at all.

• The application process (French version)

The application process.

• The documentary requirements flowchart media/uploads/2020/12/04/tableau-cas-d-usages-brexitv7-19112020-en.pdf

Each individual needs to complete an application. Applications can only be made online (see below for the link) and is available in English and French (though it seems that the English version may not be a perfect translation). The process is quite simple for most applicants especially if you have been legally resident in France for more than five years. You will need electronic forms (scans or photos) of the required documentation. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email confirming receipt. Keep this safe.

• Facebook group (WA Carte de Séjour for British citizens in France) • RIFT (Remain In France Together) • British Embassy “Living in France” (updated regularly)

If you have not received your confirmation email within a day or two - check your spam folder.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 15

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Saint Pompain


aint Pompain is a large village in the eastern part of DeuxSèvres bordering on the Vendée. It is the first village you come to when entering the Deux-Sèvres from Benet in 85. The name of the village can be found as Saint Pompin in certain historical documents. In the 1950s, there were at least thirty shops and businesses, as well as all the agricultural activity. There were 10 cafés and bars. In one of the bars a small room was used as a hair-dressing salon on Saturdays. 6 passenger trains passed through St Pompain every day on the Angers – Niort line and there were at least two daily goods trains. There were 5 or 6 grocers’ stores and two butchers. The butchers bought the animals from the local farms and slaughtered the animals themselves. The farmers, in return for a certain quantity of wheat, received vouchers for free bread. No money needed to exchange hands. For weddings and celebrations, the baker made large quantities of cakes. Mr Baudouin, the fishmonger, went to collect the sardines from the railway station when they arrived by train and sold them door-to-door with his pony and cart. Milk was collected from the farms and taken to the dairies at Ardin and St Maxire or Nieul sur l’Autize (Vendée).

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

by Sue Burgess

There were breeders who sold cows and pigs. There was a miller at the Moulin du Dray and of course there was a tobacconist. There were cooks (caterers), who went to peoples’ houses for two or three days for weddings and big family parties, and seamstresses and washerwomen (laundresses). The latter did the washing at home with members of the family heating and changing the water in the huge pot (poèlon) on the wood fire. The washing was rinsed at the washhouse (lavoir). It was often the men who pushed the barrows full of clean washing back home where the children joined in to help put the washing through the mangle (these had appeared in 1937). There were craftsmen too. There were three joiners. One of their jobs was to make coffins and they used to put the bodies of the deceased into the coffins. There were several stone masons and 3 blacksmiths. The horses were shoed at the roadside in front of the smithy. There were wheelwrights and barrel makers, shoemakers and repairers. saddlers, plumbers and mechanics.

The château of Saint-Pompain was never one of the really important fiefdoms of Poitou. Legend has it that the château, which dominates the Autize river valley as you enter St Pompain from Coulonges and Torteron, is haunted. Grandmothers, in the past, never forgot to tell their grandchildren stories and to threaten to send them to the castle prisons if they wouldn’t

The old lords of Saint-Pompain were responsible for law and order. Their rights of jurisdiction extended over about 40 small fiefdoms in the surrounding area. Saint-Pompain, seems to have taken its name from Pompain who was martyred in Syria in the 10th century. The church is apparently the only one in France to be named after this saint. The walls of the church contain stones and materials which suggest that there has been a church here since the 11th century. This is confirmed by the fact that ruins of buildings dating from that period have been found in the village. The oldest part of the château, like the vaults and the cellars, date from the 12th or 13th century at the latest. A charter dated 1239 from the Abbey at l’Absie, gives the name of the lord of Saint Pompain. Because of its geographical position, Saint-Pompain must have suffered during the Middle Ages as well as during the Wars of Religion and the civil wars of the 16th century. Situated on the road from Poitiers to the region of Bas Poitou, it was a stopover point between Saint-Maixent and Fontenay and

there are traces of ancient buildings which would have been inns. The lime kilns were built in 1872. Two kilns were built alongside the Angers-Niort railway. The fuel (coal) came from the mines in Saint-Laurs and Faymoreau, but also from England. The kilns stopped working before the Second World War. The kilns were built into the rocky hillside at the side of the railway line.

A voir / Must see The church The parish of Saint-Pompain, is the only one in France which has the name of Saint Pompain. A saint who was tortured in Syria with Saint Advent and 8 other Christians during the 5th century. The church, which dates from the 11th and 12th centuries, was ransacked during the 100 Years War and again by the Huguenots. It was restored, altered and enlarged in the 19th century. The church has a flat apse of flamboyant Gothic style and a romanesque nave which is vaulted. Its large doorway is considered to be one of the most remarkable in the Bas-Poitou region. It has the signature of a certain Guillaume (Guilhermus fecit hoc : « Guillaume did this»). The doorway was already in poor condition in 1843 when the Niort architect Charles Arnault described it. The doorway has been massively restored and not much of the original now remains. The bell tower dates from the 12th century.

Photographs by Sue Burgess

go to bed. Stories of white ghosts with long chains moving through the large rooms of the château. Stories whispered in local dialect of a mysterious cavern whose entrance is in an inaccessible place in the rocks of the château. The cavern is known as “Le Trou des Farfadets”, (The Imps’ Hole), home to all sorts of mischievous creatures and spirits.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 17

Home and Garden

Love your


Now is the time to: • Start planting out summer bedding towards the end of the month, as long as there is no danger of a late frost. • Allow the foliage on the spring bulbs to die back naturally; adding some liquid fertiliser to the bulb clump now will encourage more plentiful flowers next spring. • Collect rain water as often as possible in whatever storage equipment you have. It may be useful to install an automatic battery operated watering system into the water tank to save precious time when watering becomes more and more important as the season ‘hots’ up, Certainly, plants permanently in pots will greatly benefit from such a system.

by Greenfingers


ith the improvement in the weather, has come a more positive feel in everyone I meet……..amazing what sunshine can do for us all. It has meant more time spent in the garden and finally being able to continue with some mini projects that were started ages ago. Just being outside gives me a tremendous lift and I know how lucky I am to be able to do that. The garden centres are beginning to receive more stock and although plants from the UK are proving more difficult to obtain since Brexit, looking at French web sites has been interesting and maybe more orders will be winging their way towards them instead. The tiredness I feel now is the result of hard physical work outside rather than the insidious Covid ‘fatigue’ that has been besetting us all. The grass has been cut…….dry enough to do at last and we’ve had several days now without any frost, so planting has begun in earnest….the bit we all enjoy! The fiasco around the vaccination programme is finally resolving itself and we were both lucky enough to have been ‘done’ on Friday last week. Another dose will be due in three weeks’ time……vaccine being available of course! I’m enjoying some walks in the countryside with a couple of friends, in differing places just to ring the changes. The wild flowers are fabulous at the moment and it’s a real joy to see them in such numbers and in so much variety. My treasured copy of Keble Martin has been dusted off and is now a useful companion once again. There are no cafés open of course, but there are a couple of boulangeries where coffee is served alongside a sandwich or a croissant and when we can’t avail ourselves of that service, I make flasks of coffee and my friend brings the pain au chocolat and the car serves as the café. Who knows in a few months a fête de plantes could be in the offing!

• Thin out hardy annuals that have germinated and pot up the ‘thinnings’ so they don’t go to waste. • Plant up hanging baskets and troughs, using water retaining gel or crystals to keep the plants hydrated and in the best condition. Mix and match colours and textures, using cascading plants and ivies for contrast. • If dahlia tubers were lifted during the winter, now is the time to pot up, firm, healthy tubers into good compost, to harden them off ready for planting out into beds or bigger containers. Canna lilies can be treated in the same way. • Ginger lilies are already showing the strong sharp, pointed ends of new shoots above the compost or earth. These are often purple or red in colour. Once this happens, repot if necessary or divide by cutting into clumps with a long bladed, sharp knife. They are tough to cut through!, Plant each piece up separately and water and feed well afterwards. • Divide any large border perennials to obtain more stock or just to reinvigorate the plant. • New shoots are already showing on hostas too, so divide and repot as for the ginger lilies.

As always enjoy whatever you do in the garden…or anywhere outside, however limited that might feel at the moment. Take some time to relax, good cuppa in hand, breathe in our lovely clean air and enjoy! Keep yourselves safe and well

Greenfingers • Penstemons should be pruned back to new basal growth……if there isn’t any, just cut back to the first set of lower green leaves. Penstemons can become very ‘leggy’ over time, so a good cut back re-energises the plant and the trimmings can be used for cuttings. • Any frost damaged foliage should be pruned off now and the plant be given a good feed with an all-purpose plant food. • Pulmonaria (Lungwort) plants are often damaged by wind and rain during the winter and as a result the foliage can look a bit the worse for wear. Remove all the damage completely to encourage new growth.

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And summer’s lease hath all too short a date. Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimmed; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance, or Nature’s changing course, untrimmed; But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st, Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade, When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st, So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare • Spring flowering shrubs can be pruned after flowering has finished. Cut every fourth stem back to ground level, removing any damaged material as you prune. • Take cuttings of more tender perennials such as fuchsias, pelargoniums and geraniums. Dip the cuttings into hormone rooting powder or gel, and pot up into compost mixed with Perlite which helps to maintain moisture levels and helps with drainage too. • Give the lawn a feed if not already done. • Look out for a bright scarlet beetle on lily plants. This is the red lily beetle which lays its eggs on the foliage in its own black excrement. The larvae and the beetles will happily munch through all the foliage if left untreated. Just pick the beetles off and crush them…before they have a chance to breed. • Deadhead rhododendrons by pinching out the dead flowers. Be careful not to damage the flower buds which will be developing beneath the leaf joint. • Divide clumps of primroses. They are easy to lift and then pull gently apart. The flowers will have finished, but the leaves are still growing. Replant each individual back into the garden, perhaps in a new spot.

• Pinch out the tips of new flower seedlings to encourage side shoots as low down as possible. • Put up supports…wigwams out of poles are easy….for peas and beans. • When buying bedding plants in trays, take cuttings from some of them to increase your ‘stock’. The cuttings will root easily in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. • Sow carrots, runner beans, French beans, peas, lettuce, spinach and Swish chard outside now. • Put nets over fruit bushes such as cherry and plum to protect against bird damage. • Prune camellias in beds or pots, once new growth has begun, Cut back to new side shoots which will flower next year. • Prune philadelphus and forsythia. • Separate new growth from succulents such as house leeks and pot them up in compost mixed with gravel or perlite for sharp drainage. • Harvest broad beans and rhubarb. • Prune back dead and overcrowded stems of early flowering clematis, such as, clematis alpina, clematis armandii and clematis macropetala. • Trim back ground cover plants such as aubretia, candytuft, and alyssum after they have flowered. Take soft wood cuttings from sage and lemon verbena. • Keep tying in climbing and rambling roses, laying the remaining stems horizontally to encourage more profuse flowering. • Cut back flowered shoots from choisya, this will promote a second flush of flowers.

Continued overleaf .....

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 19

Continued .....

• Trim dead flower heads from lavender plants, removing about 2.5 cms. • Feed container grown plants with a liquid feed every two-four weeks to promote healthy growth. • If black spot appears on roses, treat with a fungicide to get rid of it. • Keep weeding beds and borders. • Make or buy a bird bath for the garden birds. The water needs to be approximately 2.5 cms deep. • Attract pollinating moths into the garden by planting night scented flowers, nicotiniana and oneonthera are good examples. • Earth up potatoes, covering the stems with soil to stop the tubers going green and becoming poisonous to eat. • Pinch out lemon balm, and mint herbs to encourage bushier growth. Sow basil seeds now . • Harden off courgettes and marrow plants by protecting them with fleece or cloches. • Hang pheromone traps in fruit trees to deter codling moths if tree bands were not used earlier. This will stop the moths laying eggs in the fruit and making them inedible. • Keep a watchful eye out for aphids, before they become hidden by foliage. Ordinary soap spray is quite effective in dealing with aphids………or any ladybirds you find put them where the aphids are and they will devour them! • As the weather begins to get hotter , check the greenhouse temperature and dampen down the floor to make it cooler, or open the windows and doors during the daytime. • Harvest asparagus spears when they are about 15cms tall. Cut through the stems 2cms below the surface of the soil surface. Harvest every few days as new shoots grow quickly.


20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021


Gardener Handyman

A fully registered tradesman centrally located in the Deux-Sèvres region. Offering a wide range of interior and exterior property maintenance. Garden services such as grass cutting, strimming, hedge cutting, pruning, paths and patio construction, raised beds, fence repairs and installation plus much more. Happy to discuss requirements with free quotation. Friendly, professional, and efficient. Contact via telephone or email to discuss.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 21


by Donna Palframan

All photographs by Donna Palframan


hile things are moving on in the potager, I’m still feeling a bit ‘two steps forward and three steps back’! The second year straw, apart from some in the polytunnel has been moved to the cages outside which have been reshaped into a ‘C’ from the ‘E’, as I want to put another no dig bed in the middle. I planted some of my garlic sets in the second year straw which has been topped with third year straw. Third year straw is amazing stuff, all broken down and has the texture of fine compost, but the only drawback is it seems to dry out quickly. In a normal Normandy Spring, it wouldn’t be a problem but so far, it has been quite dry, so I’ve had to water it! The rest of the third year straw has gone on top of the second year straw where the cucumbers will be planted – this is the same cage as last year but it is a great position for the cucumbers and I’m confident that with feeding, they will do well again. I bought a sweet potato slip to pop in there as well. I tried sweet potatoes a couple of years ago, grown from a sprouted potato. Lack of water meant it wasn’t the most successful crop but I’m good at learning from my mistakes, if I know why it went wrong! I’m still trying to work out why my tomato seedlings aren’t thriving when I’ve treated them exactly the same as I always do.

portes ouvertes 8 and 9 May 9h-19h Good time to get planting before the summer comes Open every day 9h-19h


Chateau Pont Jarno

Email :

Chateau Jarno Pepiniere, Cours 79220 - - 0788627986 - 0549257406

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

The seeds I started – broad beans, spinach, broccoli and beetroot are ready to be planted out but I’ve had to hold back because we are still in what seems like a never ending cold snap which was a bit of a surprise after a week where temperatures were hitting 30°c! I am a bit behind with seed sowing but I’ll soon catch up as this week I will start spending more time in the potager. I’m keeping on top of the weeding as I don’t want the perennials to take over and, during a recent weeding session, I was very pleased to find some self seeded leeks. These will be moved to their permanent bed when I’ve decided where it is. I’ve also discovered an early, solitary, asparagus spear from crowns we transplanted a couple of years ago, so not only have I removed weeds but I’ve made some discoveries. The last bed that is in desperate need of a really good weed is the herb bed where I’m pleased to say the tarragon and sage are flourishing already and the thyme self-seeds like a weed. As I mentioned last month, drying herbs is going to be included in my preserving repertoire this year so I shall have plenty of home grown sage (very necessary for stuffing), oregano and thyme. The tarragon will be frozen as I feel it holds its flavour better when frozen.

Another job attended to was replacing the polytunnel cover. The old one was getting a bit battered and I had a replacement ready but it was one of those jobs that I really wasn’t looking forward to! The weather was good for a couple of days so the allotted day arrived and, of course, was windy and it threatened rain but we went ahead. The old one was dug out and I went and retrieved the replacement from where it had been stored for a couple of years. Without too much bickering, we got it over the frame…only to find it wasn’t really designed for that frame so all the ties didn’t meet the supports but worse still, some rodents had decided to nibble a few holes in it! It was dug in and I shall use some of the old cover to patch the holes as I hate waste. If I get a couple of years out of it, I’ll be happy.

temperatures and I think this is what is holding me back. I do have some cold-tolerant seeds to sow, I just feel I should wait until the frosts have passed. Our last frost date is mid May so there is still a month to go and this is worrying as a lot of my fruit trees are in blossom – plum, mirabelle and pear have been in blossom for quite a few days now and the apples are just showing their petals as the buds start to open. I was surprised to see the cherry in blossom too – will this mean early cherries? The heavy frost has killed the majority of the buds on my wisteria ‘Lipstick Pink’, which is sad, as it was going to be amazing this year. Such a tough plant in some ways and in others, delicate.

I’ve lived in Normandy for fifteen years and can’t remember an April where we have had so many frosts and such low overnight

More next month as I’ll be starting to open up some more no dig beds and get the straw planted.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 23

It’s a bee…but not as you know it!

by Kevin and Amanda Baughen

with blobs of pollen seemingly stuck to their hind legs (in reality the pollen grains are in transparent ‘shopping bags’!). Each subspecies has adapted to local geographic and climatic environments. Honey bees live in complex colonies of several thousand insects and will make their nests in cavities, such as hollow trees or chimneys, or in man-made hives.

Solitary Red Mason Bee


’m writing this on a sunny but extremely cold day just after Easter, and I’m hoping that by the time you read it, the mercury will have risen somewhat…Despite the cold, there are already lots of insects in the garden, especially bees. As beekeepers, it’s easy to forget that not everyone can recognise or identify the kind of bees that we keep, and in the past I have been surprised that visitors to our hives are themselves surprised when they see thousands of honey bees: “Oh! I expected them to be bigger/fluffier/noisier” is a common statement, and this is usually because people are used to seeing bumble bees, not honey bees, fussing around their gardens. Bees are flying insects that belong to a group of insects called Hymenoptera, and this comprises sawflies, wasps, bees and ants. There are over 150,000 living species of hymenoptera, 20,000 of which are bees, and only eight of these are honey bees (although there are also approximately 43 subspecies of honey bee). Bees evolved from solitary hunting wasps but have become vegetarian; wasps feed their larvae with prey such as other insects or caterpillars, but bees collect pollen and nectar from plants with which to feed their young. Of the 250 or so species of bees that live in the UK and northern Europe, 90% of them do not live socially in colonies, and are known as ‘solitary bees’. Honey bees (Apis mellifera, the western honey bee, and Apis cerana, the eastern honey bee) have been

Buff-Tailed Bumble Bee

domesticated for honey production and crop pollination. Very many insects carry out an important role in the ecosystem by way of pollination, but bees are the superstars as they actively collect pollen as well as nectar. So, what does a honey bee look like? It depends on the subspecies, some being darker or more orange than others, with perhaps more stripes, but typically they are dark brown with tawny bands around their abdomens, about 14mm long, and often you will see them 24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Solitary Red Mason Bee

Bumble bees are social creatures too, but live in much smaller colonies of between 50 and 200 insects, often nesting in the ground or in compost heaps. Bumble bees are bigger and rounder than honey bees, about 18mm long, are striped yellow/orange and brown, and have white, red or buff-coloured tails depending on the species. They are the bees that appear most commonly on mugs, notepaper, cards, posters etc and as such are the bees that most people can readily identify. Here in France we are lucky to have lots of big and nearly black Carpenter bees in our gardens, and if you have an abundance of their favourite flower, wisteria, you will definitely have seen them, concentrating hard on getting at the nectar. They are large (24mm!) and blue-black in hue, solitary insects, that won’t bother you if you don’t bother them. Apart from our honey bees, we have a soft spot for the Red mason bees who have settled in our bug hotel – these, too, are solitary, with every female building her own nest in a hollow tube and plugging it up with mud to keep the pupae safe inside. Small (12mm) and fluffy orange bees, they are efficient pollinators and can be kept for this purpose. Please get in touch to find out more about honey bees, and perhaps take up a new hobby keeping a few thousand of them. Contact 13 Bees by phone, email or via our website ... Email :, Telephone : 05 45 71 22 90 Website :

Our Furry Friends Twiggy Twiggy is 4 years old. She had been abandoned and when she came to us, she was skin and bone, and very frightened. Two months later she weighs over 5 kilos and is one of the happiest cats you could ever meet. She adores being cuddled and gets on well with other cats. Can you give beautiful Twiggy what she needs - a kind home and somewhere to spend the rest of her life feeling loved? (Twiggy is sterilised, vaccinated, and id-chipped). Chats de Chatillon Cat Refuge & Pension Email : Phone : 06 85 63 55 94 Website : Hope Association Charity Shops - Helping animals in need Please check the website for shop opening hours as they are subject to change and/or temporary closure due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Hope 16 Confolens

Hope 79 Sauzé-Vaussais

Hope 87 Eymoutiers

51 route de Confolens La Tulette, 16500 Ansac-sur-Vienne

2 Route de Vauthion 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais

2 rue de la Vieille Tour 87120 Eymoutiers





N RNA W792002789

Pongo Pongo is a delightful four year old dalmation who is looking for a home to match his energy levels. He’s a fabulous family dog who has some training, is polite with other dogs and currently lives with a cat (will chase cats he doesn’t know). For more info, please contact us as soon as possible. The Association En Route tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email:

Visit the website:

PEACHES Peaches needs a very special long term foster home. Born in 2018, she has recently tested positive for FelV even though she is fully vaccinated. The vaccine is not 100% protection against Felv. She is such a sweet darling cat and it breaks our hearts that she has this, but we realise that she needs someone to give her the love and affection she craves. She came to us with her two sisters, who tested negative, they were found dumped in a déchèterie and brought to us in a bag as tiny kittens. She will need to be an ‘only cat’ and a cat that lives inside. She is very healthy the vets say that, being vaccinated, she will not have as much of the virus inside her. If someone has the right home and is willing to have her on a long foster we would be eternally grateful.

Le Grand Beaupuits, 79200, Saint-Germain-de-Longue-Chaume Association number W793001884.


Estimated DoB 14/07/2010, Kenny arrived at the refuge 19/10/2020. He is a kind dog with many good qualities, happy and affectionate, always ready with a waggy tail. He does not seem to mind other dogs if they are not aggressive with him and the same for cats. He loves going for his walks (mind he does pull on the lead), still a bit lead shy so we do not use a harness on him. He goes out of his kennel like a bat out of hell (very puppy like) excited to be going out but, once on his walk, he calms down and walks very nicely. email : (in English or French) Chemin des Perchées 85200 Fontenay le Comte SIRET : 508 517 455 000 12

Joya Joya is an affectionate and loving bundle ’Gascoyne Blue’ just over 3 years old and less than 20 kilos; looking for her family for life. It’s time for Joya to experience some happiness in her life and feel safe and secure. Joya is good with other dogs (cats unknown). She is learning the delights of walking on a lead, is clean and non-destructive but would love to have someone home quite a lot - Oh and a well-fenced garden for playing and lying around would be just perfect. Is that too much to ask for Joya? Sterilized vaccinated treated for ticks and fleas Joya comes with her certificate of good health. An adoption fee of 260 euros and a home check will be conducted. If Joya melts your heart please contact us.

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

If you are involved with an animal charity, or association, and would like to advertise an animal for adoption here (usually free of charge) or write a short article on your charity, why not drop us a line at

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 25



e 2011)

4 (Jun DSM 00

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

D From

SM 0

une 04 (J



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 27

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword (with thanks to Rob Berry) CLUES ACROSS 1. A mural done with watercolour on wet plaster (6) 4. An injury that doesn’t break the skin but results in discoloration (6) 8. Away from; one from the others (5) 9. Type of lettuce (7) 10. Furiously angry (5) 11. A constitutional monarchy in western Europe on the North Sea (7) 12. Small European bird with a cheerful song (9) 15. Admit to a wrongdoing; own up (7) 16. The darkest colour (5) 17. Make known previously unknown information (7) 18. Tooth at the back of a mammal’s mouth (5) #






8 #









19. A way of doing something in a systematic way (6) 20. A hat made of felt with a creased crown (6) CLUES DOWN 2. The act of putting something back into working order (6) 3. A poker hand with consecutive cards in the same suit (8-5) 5. Membranous duct connecting the foetus with the placenta (9-4) 6. Completely clear and fine; calm and tranquil (6) 7. Unwilling to part with money (11) 13. Part of a dress above the waist (6) 14. Oblong cream puff cake (6) 5







# #



















# #




# 20














21 #


# 24


# #




25 #



# #























DSM Toughie Crossword (with thanks to Mike Morris) Clues Across 8. If baby must go, something to stop it going too far, in US perhaps? (6) 9. Eastern bogus doctor cut short in bad day, getting barely enough. (8) 10. Get something to sprinkle with crystals on some furniture? (10) 11. A liability of a teacher broadcasting what he has done? (4) 12. High performing entertainer missing tackle? (8) 14. American not in the money so Englishman comes in to get considerably more. (6) 15. Child takes a bend badly, but now regaining control? (4, 2, 3, 6) 18. Get your money back for curdled milk? (6) 20. Some showing displeasure are French proprietors? (8) 22. Little communist is seen as the opposite of a liability? (4) 23. Mixed tonic included in new total spell for Potter triplet? (10) 25. Purchaser of crop destroyed by river, including flower. (8) 26. Baby collector turned over to get what’s coming to him? (6)

Clues Down 1. That man writing two articles about old song is in range? (8) 2. See first signs of spring proliferating on trees. (4) 3. Cooked meat for supporter of deity? (6) 4. Oxymoron not looking forward to past film? (4, 2, 3, 6) 5. Not well suited to go about putting an end to government speaker rubbish? (8) 6. Looking for fellow in market town? (10) 7. Rare steak starter on vehicle going to religious institution? (6) 13. Sit up to accept marching orders ............. (4, 6) 16. ........... for those viewers with the corniest joke? (8) 17. Former poet laureate taking in info on the church is a rebel in the Antipodes? (8) 19. Lapses into sorrier condition when missing me? (6) 21. Gloomy appearance in very large bouquets? (6) 24. Recognize turnover is for the best? (4)

Q1. What has four wheels and flies? Q2. What can you keep after giving to someone? Q3. What three numbers, none of which is zero, give the same result whether they’re added or multiplied? Q4. What word of five letters has one left when two are removed?

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Q5. The person who makes it has no need of it; the person who buys it has no use for it. The person who uses it can neither see nor feel it. What is it? Q6. You’re escaping a labyrinth and there are three exits. Exit A leads to an inferno. Exit B leads to an assassin. Exit C leads to a lion that hasn’t eaten in 3 years. Which exit do you pick?

Solutions on P.34

Brain Gym

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE There are ten differences between these two pictures. How many can YOU find? Answers are on page 34

MAY WORD SQUARE How many words of three or more letters can you make from the letters in our square? There is one word of nine letters. If you want to make it harder, only allow words that contain the centre letter.


0 - 10 11 - 20 21 - 30 30 +

Not bad Quite good Very good Expert

<<< Word OK



ise grid


4 KNOW A GOOD RIDDLE ? 5 Send3us in your favourite and, if we like it, we’ll 6 it along with your publish 2 name 9 1 8 7 4 5 3



hat’s in a name?

Well, let me tell you a thing or two about names. Our family loves ‘em and so does the public at large. Do you remember the occasion a long, long time ago, in the spring of 2016 it was, that democracy was put to the test. Missed it? Well, it certainly was a long, long time ago. Before Covid even. But at that time the National Environment Research Council of the United Kingdom offered the public the chance to name the shiny new Arctic Polar Research Vessel, and the public responded to the idea in their thousands. The public racked their brains and came up with the inspired name of ‘RSS Boaty McBoatface’. The name was streets ahead, oceans even, of the other contenders and we all loved it and voted for it. But, yep, there’s a but, the ‘authorities’ or ‘powers-that-be’ having flirted with democracy clearly felt an absence of gravitas or something, and officially named the icebreaker the ‘Sir David Attenborough’. A very worthy name but not the one that won the popular vote. Democracy eh, a fickle jade.

radio stations in both Russia and the US of A. This unlikely international media hit was news of the continuing winter safety campaign for school kids living in the Scottish Highlands w h i c h encouraged them first to give a name to the gritters and snowplows in daily use on the roads covered in snow and ice, and then, via a website, to follow their daily progress clearing roads up and down Scotland. Not only was this naming process an example of yet another democratic adventure, an awareness campaign and innovative piece of home schooling of the local geography ilk all rolled into one, but it caught on, and was a riproaring success. Capitalising on this relatively new found enthusiasm for gritter and snowplow naming, the roads authority have announced that another fifty gritters are to be named from a mountain of some twelve hundred excellent name suggestions left over from the previous year. We are agog to view the newbies, with gravitas obviously not being a pressing issue. And so to remind you of some of the hardworking gritters already trundling up and down the roads of Scotland, and if you were moved to emerge and clap as Mary Queen of Salt, Sled Zepplin, Sir Grits Hoy, Salt Disney, Skid Viscious, Sir Andy Flurry, Licence to Chill, or Sleddy Mercury pass by I’m sure it would be appreciated.

What’s in a name? A very Great deal it would seem.

What’s in a name? This Boaty business came to mind because I had been reading of another naming saga emanating this time from California, my side of the pond. There was I with the kids, dogs, et al manually clearing our driveway of yet another carpet of snow and dreaming all the while of snowplows (or, as you would say, snowploughs), salt spreaders and the like, whilst over on the West Coast apparently they had thought the whole thing through and found Gritney Spears to be the answer. Gritney Spears. Got it? Well obviously all alert Gritney Spearites had seen what an eagle-eyed West Coaster had earlier spotted and posted. A post, let me tell you, that in twenty-four hours had garnered more than 110,000 hits and attracted interest from 30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Whatever your duties, keep warm and well until Spring fully arrives, and all that snow has finally melted away.


Food and Drink The Grapes of Rot A Beginner’s Guide to Sweet Wine – Part One


t never ceases to amaze me how many otherwise worldly-wise, not to mention winely-wise people have a problem with sweet wine. No matter how obliquely, or matter-of-factly, or subtly (I wish) I raise the point in conversation, there’s a pause as pregnant as a lady nine months gone: I might as well have asked ‘and when did you stop beating your wife?’ or introduced a black, disabled, bisexual girlfriend to a member of the Ku Klux Klan. The pause is filled, and here I comment as a certified psychoanalyst, with thoughts ranging from ‘………..?’ to ‘this guy’s a nut, where’s the nearest exit?’.

by John Sherwin

sold me my first ever case of Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise all those years ago had been politer and less ugly I might never have left. But I digress. Perhaps the finest VDN (and here I have to bite my chauvinistic Beaumes-de-Venise tongue) is Banyuls. This hails from the southernmost bit of France before it becomes Spain. White and rosé VDNs are made, but the most celebrated is the red variety in which Grenache dominates. This is favoured over Port by patriotic Frenchmen, and is one of the few wines that match well with chocolate. Imagine aromas of raisins, coffee, stewed fruit and almonds. Put it down on your list for next Christmas lunch.

As my friend Maya Angelou once said to me over a glass of Banyuls, ‘you know, John, it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.’ Taking this on board, I forgave her for not paying her half of the bill (though it still rankles in moments of weakness) and I forgive anyone who thinks that dry wine = sophistication and therefore sweet wine = naff. Illogical, as any ancient Greek would have told you, but not caused by an incurable mental ailment. This gives me hope. Let’s quickly run through the basics. Sugar in grape juice is converted into alcohol under the miraculous intervention of yeast. Usually, this process is allowed to take its normal course, making a more or less dry wine because all the sugar has been eaten up by the yeast. However, as a human being born with free will, you can stop this journey at any time. You could for example allow the fermentation to increase above 32°C for a prolonged period which would make vats of vinegar and you a negligent, rightfully bankrupt winemaker (is my Protestant garter showing?), or you could add neutral grape spirit and voilà, you’ve made a vin doux naturel (VDN) and a pretty profit. The idea of VDN winemaking is that the introduction of grape spirit raises the alcohol content of the vat above 15%, the point at which the yeasts that transform sugar into alcohol can no longer function, thereby stopping fermentation. (The process is called mutage if you want to get technical). The resultant product is sweet, strong (between 15% and 18%) and grapey. The grapes used are usually Muscat or Grenache. There are umpteen Muscat de Somewhere but the two most famous, and rightly so, are Muscat de Frontignan and Muscat de Beaumesde-Venise. Frontignan is a dour industrial dump west of Montpellier, but its wines are great and were once appreciated by the likes of the philosopher John Locke, Voltaire, and a certain Thomas Jefferson. The village of Beaumes-de-Venise, in the southern Rhone, is much prettier. In fact Domaine Jasmin, nestled in the hills, is insanely attractive, and if the woman who

Talking of which, just what do you eat with a sweet wine? As sweet wines are often referred to as dessert wines, you might reasonably infer that they would go with, er, desserts. Well, apart from the aforementioned Banyuls/chocolate combo, you would be wrong. Sweet plus sweet equals over-the-top, dentistpleasing sweet. A friend of mine who makes one of the best, and best value Sauternes (of which more later) always says that the wine is the dessert. He would say that though, wouldn’t he? Best follow the principle of opposites attract. So, an unctuous, sweet wine with the salty tanginess of Rocquefort or any other similar cheese. Or try with spicy Asian food. Or with a simple roast chicken (my friend’s suggestion). Experimentation is the key. If you’ve never thought of Canada as being a player in the wine world, think again. Icewine is a sweet wine made from ripe grapes picked when frozen on the vine. As an experienced grape picker – OK, ten days, but how much have you done? – that’s not a job I would be first in line for. The principle is that when the grapes are pressed their water content, present as frozen crystals, remains in the press thus giving an almost undiluted sugar solution. Call me childish, call me naïve, but I think that’s a pretty neat idea. Ontario is the main producer, making just under a million litres annually. British Columbia, Québec and Nova Scotia also pitch in. The Germans do the same thing, calling the end product Eiswein. The difference here is that sometimes the grapes are affected by botrytis. Botwhat, I hear you ask? Therein lies a tale. More in part two next month. JS John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 31

Saugé Vintage Tea Room Château de Saugé 79400 Saivres 06 29 15 36 55

This month we celebrate ‘Bonne fete Maman’ +! -"/#" 1 1/" 1 #,/ 1% 1 0-" & ) ) !6 &+ 6,2/ )&#" ѹ

Strawberry & Lavender Scones

Instructions Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, add the cubed butter and rub into the dry mixture until it turns crumbly. Add the strawberries, egg, and milk to the bowl and mix everything until it's combined. Remove the dough from the bowl and form a large flat circle around 10mm thick. Cut it into 8 triangular pieces and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 mins at 200 degrees C. To make the glaze, place the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat until the mixture is foamy but not boiling. Stir constantly. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the dried lavender. After 15 minutes, strain the mixture through a fine Those of us lucky enough to strainer to remove the lavender buds. have Tulips brightening up Mix in the icing sugar, and pour over the scones once theirs gardens – here are a few they're baked & cooled. Serve & Enjoy The Scone Ingredients 2 cups all purpose flour 4 Tbsp granulated sugar 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt ⅓ cup butter 2 cups strawberries, chopped 1 egg ½ cup milk The Glaze ⅓ cup milk 2 Tbsp butter 1 Tbsp dried culinary lavender 1 cup icing sugar

ideas to decorate your homes.

The 1st May – Labour Day and fête du travail et du muguet

Chocolate Swirl Meringues Ingredients 4 Large Egg Whites 225 g Caster Sugar 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar 125 g Dark Chocolate Freeze Dried Raspberry (optional)

May Day is a public holiday in France, it is officially in honour of work and workers. However, May 1st is also the feast of the Lily of the Valley. Lily of the Valley is traditionally a flower that brings good luck. Moreover, according to the language of flowers it means " return of happiness " ... It is said that whoever finds a sprig of lily of the valley with 13 bells will be particularly favoured by fate! But beware, lily of the valley remains a very poisonous plant.

Instructions Preheat oven to 120C/100C Fan, and line 2 Large Trays with Baking Paper. Add Egg Whites to a bowl and whip to stiff peaks then start adding in the sugar 1tsp at a time. It may take a good few minutes to get all the sugar in. Add the White Wine Vinegar and whisk again for about 2-3 more minutes. Melt your Dark Chocolate carefully till smooth. Dollop or Pipe your Meringues onto the trays – the ingredients should make 10 Meringues. Add on 1 Teaspoon of melted chocolate per Meringue, and swirl it in slightly, sprinkle with freeze dried raspberry. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes (or until the meringues feel hard on the outside). Leave the Meringues to cool in the oven with the door shut for 30 minutes, and then remove from the oven and leave to cool fully. Serve your Meringues with whipped cream, fruit, or anything you wish.

Château de Saugé 2 Saugé 79400 Saivres 06 29 15 36 55 Chambres d'hôtes – Gites – Event Space – Vintage Tearoom – Crafters Bar

Please like us on Social Media:

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

a n n o D



by Jacqueline Brown

fter over one hundred days in lockdown followed by another hundred under curfew, I’d reached the point when I was craving the return of normality and the joy to be found in socialising face to face. Tentatively taking small steps, as the weather began to improve, six of us met up in the garden, sensibly distanced, but around the same table, where normal conversation could flow without the need for text messages. Bubbles were served to celebrate this momentous occasion and everyone brought something homemade to the ‘party’. Hummus, onion bhajis with chutney and an oven-baked cheesy tomato dip, all individually served with our own spoons, but providing finger licking comfort food that had never tasted so good. This was followed by cake, because a good get together with friends (who are great bakers) should always include homemade cake. I’ve never really been one for shopping trips, just to browse, but the afternoon that three of us (and our masks) ventured into Niort, leaving the husbands at home, provided a much-needed break from routine. We chose the quieter hours of lunchtime and in two of the three shops we visited, we were practically the only people there. There was no stopping for lunch, or even a quick coffee, but the girl-time and great fun conversation were fuel enough for me. Even the prospect of a face to face meeting, in French, with four others from our village library ignited a spark of excitement I thought I’d lost. Instead of feeling frustrated at the unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing of their decision making, this time I just smiled under my mask, finding it as refreshing as the cakes and cider that would normally follow a village association AGM. Ironically, just as I’d started to feel like I’d begun to emerge from my hibernation, further measures to restrict the spread of the virus were brought in and our wings were clipped once more. Happily, this time we have fewer restrictions on our permitted exercise and social gatherings of up to six people are still allowed. At home things are different too. Ed is back to university, with exams on his horizon, but I’m pleased he’s managing to retain some of his independence. Who am I kidding? Confinement just isn’t the same without him around this time. Thankfully, normality is still to be found all around the village in the fields and hedgerows. The new leaves unfurling on the trees give a fuzzy green backdrop to the vibrant yellow fields of flowering colza. The delicate yellow cowslips have now given way to bluebells in the woods, and the first of the iris are flowering at the side of the roads in the village. Our bike rides are a riot of colour, whatever the weather. My favourite has to be the blossoms on the fruit trees, the frothy branches alive with bees and each tiny flower the promise of a fruit to be harvested later in the year. Nature isn’t in lockdown and that has made me smile. Email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021| 33

Book Club Punctuation in Dialogue


ive hundred words is rather tight for describing all the possible ‘rules’ of dialogue, but I can show you some of the most important standard publishing industry conventions for your writing if you want to send it to a UK publisher.

by Alison Morton

tags as plain as possible so they don’t distract from the speech itself. ‘Said‘ is acknowledged as the invisible tag and tends to melt into the background. This is perfect as it’s the story and the interaction between the characters that count. I consider ‘replied’ and ‘asked’ are perfectly acceptable as they are simple, but it’s best to avoid horrors like ‘ejaculated’ (honestly!) and verbs like ‘protested’. Editors like to see the protesting within the speech, e.g. ‘You can’t say that!’ he said, or as a reaction, ‘You really think I’m capable of that?’ The sarcasm in his voice made her wince.

Full stops and commas – These go straight after the last letter of the sentence or phrase and one space only after each. Most writing software will insert the space automatically so you can usually type on without worrying. Dialogue can be tricky, but after a while it will flow naturally, especially if you read the words out loud to make sure they sound natural. Begin a new person’s speech on a new line. If it’s the same person continuing after a speech tag such as ‘said’ or an action, you just carry on. In the UK, you open with a single quote mark ‘m and close with a single quote mark m’. If you need to quote within a piece of speech you use double quotes “m”.

Fiddly bits Interruptions require a long emdash, such as in this example: ‘I’m going out, whatever you—’ ‘No. You sit down and finish first,’ his father said. Endashes and ellipses are perfect for pauses for additional information, explanation or change of subject within speech, such as here: ‘I’ll nip to the market first – the one in Nuneaton.’ ‘It’s me … Linda.’

Here’s a sample. (I’ve only put it in italics for clarity within this article!) ‘Tell me exactly what happened,’ Sally said. ‘Gavin seemed a bit shifty,’ Michael replied. ‘All he did was mutter two words, “double jeopardy” over and over again. That seemed a bit weird at the time.’ Michael looked up at her. ‘Does that mean anything to you, or was he just mumbling away to himself as usual?’

‘Rule’ is a strong word, but conventions have emerged to form an industry standard way of presenting and producing work in the publishing world. Like any game you play or club you want to join, it’s usually best to find out about them before you start to take part. Happy writing!

Indent speech when it starts, but it can run on after that until the next new speech. If the same speaker continues with a new paragraph, don’t end the first with a quotation mark, but begin the second paragraph with one. When ending a speech, you insert a comma, question mark, exclamation mark or full stop before the closing speech mark. The default is a comma such as …what happened,’ Sally said.

Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available as an ebook and paperback.

He said, she said are called dialogue tags. Tempting as it is to use explanatory words for these, it’s better style to keep

Her new thriller, ‘Double Identity’ is now out.

TAKE A BREAK - SOLUTIONS - PAGES 28 & 29 Spot The Difference:

1. An extra lamp 2. Butcher picture removed 3. Cat removed from window 4. Extra wine glass on table 5. Bistro door curtain changed 6. Bistro name/sign changed 7. Extra plant pot in front of Patisserie 8. Extra rose tree in front of Bistro 9. Florist birdcage removed 10. Foliage (top right) removed

Brain Gym:

Easy Crossword: F # A # L # # # C # D # M

R E P A I R # B O D I C E

E # A # V # C # N # V # T


C # T # D # A # E # L # O

O # # # # # F # S # G # D

Toughie Crossword (Theme = Backwards): # T I G H T F I S T E D #

B # C # O # I # # # # # F

R # E # L # N # B # M # E


I # E # A # H # A # L # O

S E R E N E # E C L A I R

E # G # D # # # K # R # A

Q1. A dustcart Q2. Your word Q3. 1, 2 and 3 Q4. STONE Q6. Exit C (The lion will be dead after three years of no food)

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

# D # S # C # B # R # T # P #

H I M A L A Y A # E R R O R S

# A # L # S # C # N # O # O #

Q5. A coffin

S P O T # T A K E N O T I C E

# E # S # R # I # E # # # U #

B R A H M A # N O T I C E R S

# # # A # T # T # # # O # E #


# D # E # # # E # R # T # # #

D E T R I T U S # O D O U R S

# Q # # # E # A # W # N # E #

H U N T I N G D O N # T O P S

# A # O # N # D # E # A # A #

S C A R C E # L A R R I K I N

# Y # T # R # E # S # L # D #

This Month’s Book Reviews

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

AN ACT OF LOVE by Carol Drinkwater


Review by Jacqui Brown

Review by Jacqui Brown


his is the latest brilliantly written historical novel from author and actress Carol Drinkwater, whose writing I have admired for many years now. Set in a small village in the Alps during The Occupation, we follow Sara’s war journey from adolescent refugee, whose family are given lodgings in a small mountain village, to a life filled with danger when change was forced upon them once more. In this beautifully descriptive book, it was easy to visualise the village, the mountains and to feel Sara’s emotions. In the small mountain community, we meet those who are prepared to fight, those who crave acceptance whatever the cost, those who care and those who are driven to do what they can no matter the consequences. As the changing of the seasons mirrored Sara’s maturity, I could feel her determination to fit in, her frustrations at her parent’s reluctance to embrace their new haven of peace, as well as her fear of change and strength of character. Carol’s words painted a vivid picture of the Occupation in the south of France and the situation of the Jewish refugees. Things here were very different to Paris, but no less shocking, and the liberation came later than on the northern coast, something I hadn’t fully appreciated before. Sara’s story gripped my attention and I lost hours among the pages, my heart in my mouth, fearing for her safety. This book will stay with me for a long while. I may have finished reading it, but I’m not ready to let Sara leave me just yet.


y local author selection for this month is Charente based memoir writer, Jackie Skingley, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at local literary events over recent years. This memoir takes us from Jackie’s early childhood recollections of the war, to happy times spent with her great aunt and uncle, not so happy times with her stepdad, and then onto her new life in the Womens Royal Army Corps in the 1960’s. Growing up surrounded by military towns, Jackie’s life had plenty of military connections before she decided that this direction might be her chance to gain independence and adventure. Jackie certainly has a story to tell of a fascinating era where women were making their mark, but as we follow her journey, this book becomes a heartfelt memoir of personal loss too. It was a privilege to witness the ups and downs of her time at officer cadet training, her visits to military bases in Germany and the roles she went on to have as an officer, even if some of the military terms and references were a little lost on me. She also shares her blossoming romances along the way. Not surprisingly, her young men were all in the military too and her descriptions of the balls and her dresses, lovingly made by her mother, were vibrantly brought to life. She paints a great picture of the camaraderie of military life, the socialising and the rule breaking too, giving a great insight to what it felt like to belong to the extended military family. This is a beautifully written, honest memoir, where hard work, heartache and happiness all play a part, and it left me keen to read more.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 35

À La Carte The Great Exhibition of 1851

by Lynne Wigmore


n 1st May, 1851, the first in a series of World’s Fairs opened in Hyde Park, London. It ran until 15th October that year and was visited by over 6 million people, in fact one third of the entire population of Britain visited this ‘Great Exhibition’. The Exhibition was the brainchild of Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, and English civil servant Henry Cole “for the purpose of exhibition, competition and encouragement”. A competition was organised to design a building that would be large enough, but also of sufficient grandeur to house the event. The winning design was based upon Joseph Paxton’s design that had been adapted from a glass and iron conservatory he had originally produced for the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth House. The Crystal Palace Glittering in the sunlight, it was truly a sight to behold. Paxton’s innovative design used modules of glass and iron that could be fabricated off site. The first prefabricated building of its kind, the enormous glasshouse incorporated 300,000 sheets of glass, the largest size ever made at the time. In just nine months, this magnificent building had become a shining landmark on the capital’s skyline. It took around 5,000 navvies to erect the 1,850 feet (564m) long, 108 feet (33m) high structure. Work began on 1st August, 1850, and by December more than 2,000 men were working on the site. By means of ingenious machines invented by Paxton, 80 men could fix over 8,000 panes of sheet glass in a week. Over 1,000 iron columns supported 2,224 trellis girders, 4,000 tons of iron, 30 miles of Paxton’s newly invented guttering and 202 miles of sash bar. The 16 vast semi-circular ribs of the transept arch, made of laminated timber, took just one week to fix. The flooring was of boards set half an inch apart with the intention that machines

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

could sweep the dust through the spaces at the end of each day, but in practice the trailing skirts of the women visitors did the job splendidly. The Exhibition Opens Opening the exhibition, Queen Victoria described the day as “one of the greatest and most glorious of our lives” and became a frequent visitor. Two thousand five hundred tickets were printed for the opening day, all of which were sold. At first, the price of admission was £3 for gentlemen, £2 for ladies. The gentry arrived in elegant carriages, leaving them at a separate entrance to be valet parked. Saturday mornings were reserved for invalids. From 24th May the masses were let in for only a shilling a head - four and a half million shillings being taken from attendees. Factory workers were sent by their employers and country villagers, in their best clothes, were sent by benevolent landowners. The travel agent Thomas Cook arranged special excursion trains, a third-class return ticket from York cost ‘only’ five shillings. One old lady even walked, all the way from Penzance. A mysterious Chinese man in full mandarin robes stepped forward as the royal procession passed. He was treated, just in case he was important, as a visiting dignitary but he turned out to be the captain of a Chinese junk moored on the river.

The Exhibits Exhibits were on two levels, but most of the major displays were on the ground floor. There were 14,000 exhibitors (almost half from countries other than Britain) and more than 100,000 exhibits. A total of 44 countries had their own display areas. Great Britain occupied half the exhibit space, after that France and USA had the largest display areas.

A 3D Viewer

Technology and moving machinery proved popular, as did working exhibits like the entire process of cotton production from spinning to finished cloth. The curious-minded could see scientific instruments including electric telegraphs, microscopes, air pumps and barometers, as well as musical and horological devices. The biggest machine of all was the massive hydraulic press, invented by Stevenson, that had lifted the metal tubes of a bridge at Bangor. Each tube weighed 1,144 tons yet the press was operated by just one man. Next in size was a steam-hammer that could, with equal accuracy, forge the main bearing of a steamship or gently crack an egg. There were adding machines which might put bank clerks out of a job; a ‘stiletto or defensive umbrella’– always useful – and a ‘sportsman’s knife’ with eighty blades from Sheffield – not so useful. One of the upstairs galleries was walled with stained glass through which the sun streamed in technicolour. Almost as brilliantly coloured were carpets from Axminster and ribbons from Coventry. Visitors could wonder at inventions such as a folding piano, an expanding hearse, a waterproof watch and a locomotive so big that it required 22 horses to drag it into place. Also on show were a variety of machines unknown to most of the audience such as a printing press that produced a thousand copies of the London Times in one hour, a voting machine, an envelope folding machine that also glued the envelopes and a cigarette machine. There were artificial teeth made from hippopotamus, as well as teeth that could swivel so the user could yawn. One could see a bed with a timer that would stand the sleeper upright, a revolutionary lens for lighthouses, and a carriage drawn by kites. Canada sent a fire-engine with painted panels showing Canadian scenes, and a trophy of furs. India contributed an elaborate throne of carved ivory, a coat embroidered with pearls, emeralds and rubies and a magnificent howdah and trappings for a Rajah’s elephant (the elephant wearing it came from a museum of stuffed animals in England). The American display was headed by a massive eagle, wings outstretched, holding a drapery of the Stars and Stripes, all poised over one of the organs scattered throughout the building. Although the general idea of the

Exhibition was the promotion of world peace, Colt’s repeating firearms featured prominently, but so did McCormick’s reaping machine. The exhibit that attracted most attention had to be Hiram Power’s statue of a Greek Slave, in white marble, housed in her own little red velvet tent, wearing nothing but a small piece of chain. The largest foreign contributor was France. She exhibited sumptuous tapestries, Sèvres porcelain and silks from Lyon, enamels from Limoges and assorted furniture. The visual impact of the French display was stunning. The Koh-I-Noor (Mountain of Light) diamond, was another popular attraction. It was supposed to be of inestimable value, but most people found it disappointing, although they crowded round to see it. It lay in a safe like a large parrot-cage, and on special days it was lit by a dozen little gas jets, but it still failed to sparkle. It was not until it had been later skilfully re-cut as an oval-brilliant, by Coster Diamonds, that its beauty emerged. Today it is set into The Queen Mother’s Crown and housed in the Tower of London. The famous fountain, standing approximately in the middle of the building, was made of four tons of pink glass, 27 feet high, provided a useful meeting place, as well as cooling the atmosphere. There was a police desk for lost children and umbrellas. No alcohol was sold, but there were various areas where light refreshments were available, provided by Messrs Schweppes. The first modern pay toilets were installed, with 827,280 visitors paying the 1 penny fee to use them. The toilets remained even after the exhibition was dismantled. “Spending a penny” became a euphemism for using a toilet. And what became of the Crystal Palace itself? Paxton’s clever design not only allowed the building to be quickly erected but disassembled too. Shortly after the exhibition, the whole structure was removed from Hyde Park site and reerected atop Sydenham Hill in Kent. However, after being put to a variety of uses in the years that followed, the building was finally destroyed by fire on the 30th November, 1936. The flames are said to have lit up the night sky and were visible for miles. Sadly, the building was not adequately insured to cover the cost of rebuilding it and little remains of this Victorian wonder except the foundations and some stone¬work. The memory of the glorious past survives, as the Kent hamlet eventually became part of Greater London and the surrounding area came to be known as Crystal Palace.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 37

Health, Beauty and Fitness Everyday Yoga for Everyone May 2021

by Rebecca Novick


here are many yoga warm up exercises that can be done outside a formal yoga session that can help to keep us aligned and flexible. A great time to do these is just before or just after the shower. All of these exercises can be done standing up in your bathroom and take very little space. Here is my number one all-round movement for maintaining a healthy spine. A bonus effect is that this exercise helps to tone the shape of the waist. This movement is especially beneficial for anyone who (like me) who spends a lot of time sitting at a work desk or computer or finds themselves feeling a bit stiff in the spine in the mornings. It is also gentle and playful to do and best of all, it takes only about a minute.

The Universal Spinal Spiral My students all know that the Universal Spinal Spiral is my number one warm up exercise. It is really remarkable for working out the kinks. I’ve resolved many minor back issues with this one, but I also run through it every morning as a preventative measure. This exercise keeps the spine flexible and improves its range of motion by engaging the supportive soft tissue surrounding the spinal cord. This is actually an exercise that I borrowed from my first Tai Chi teacher who used to praise its virtues. There are several spinal twists in yoga, but they are generally done lying down or in a sitting position on the floor. I love this one because I can stay standing up and it is at least as effective.

The Method Stand straight, hips forward, with your feet hip distance apart. Check your feet to make sure that both big toes are pointing straight forward. Relax but don’t bend the knees, just keep them soft. Keeping your hips as still as possible begin to turn your waist around to the right as far as you can and then all the way to the left, allowing your head to turn as it follows the movement. Each turn to the right and then to the left equals one round. Keep your arms completely loose like a rag doll. Concentrate your attention on the sides of your torso at the waist – the external oblique muscles. This is where the movement comes from. Try not to use your arms to swing you around. Use the muscles of the waist instead. In the beginning, most people find that they can’t turn their waist without also rotating their hips, but after some practice, you can keep the hips still as you rediscover your waist muscles. As you progress with this exercise, begin to lift the arms slightly as you complete each round, first to the height of your belly button, then to your chest and finally up to your shoulders. Keep the shoulders relaxed the whole time and keep the arms soft not stiff. Maintain the focus on the waist muscles so that the arms raise in response to this movement. Do the same on the descent, bringing your arms down in stages until they are back down by your sides. Five rounds up and five rounds down is good number. And don’t forget to breathe! Enjoy.

Zoom classes every Wednesday at 10a. For more information email: Respect yourself, explore yourself. 38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021


by Catherine Bailey

• Wholegrain starchy foods (potatoes with skins, wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholegrain pasta) • Milk and dairy foods (or their vegetarian/vegan equivalents) • Protein (beans, pulses, fish, lean meat, nuts, seeds and eggs). • Cutting down on saturated fats and sugar. Some studies have shown that acne and rosacea (characterized by red bumps, redness or flushing) can be improved or worsen by diet.


our skin is the largest barrier your body has to protect itself from infection. It is constantly growing with old cells dying and new cells being created, and it works hard every day to protect the body from a wide range of harmful elements. Every facet of your lifestyle will have an effect on your skin: from what you eat and how much water you drink, whether you work indoors or outdoors and whether you live in the city or the countryside. Healthy skin is better placed to fight the signs of ageing, it heals faster and protects your body from potential disease. Because your skin is always growing and changing it is important to nurture and care for it correctly, with a little extra TLC you will reap the rewards. Before we get into the do’s and don’ts of how to look after your skin, let’s see what it’s made up of. Your skin has three layers: • The epidermis (the top layer of skin) which we see and touch every day. • The dermis (the second layer) which is made mainly of collagen, and helps skin to keep its elasticity and strength, and also helps to grow hair follicles and produce sweat. • The third layer is the not-so-nicely-named, subcutaneous fat, but it plays an especially important role in storing fat and controlling your body temperature. What are the skin-sapping culprits that stop you putting your best face forward and how do you get that perfect healthy glow without make-up and costly cosmetic products?

Diet In spite of many myths and hype, you don’t have to completely cut out certain foods to help your skin look flawless, and there aren’t any secret skin care recipes or foods alone that will give you a selfie-worthy glow. It’s all about making sure you eat foods from a variety of different groups, as this will help you obtain all the nutrients that help your skin stay healthy. These include zinc, vitamins A, C, and E. All these can be found in a healthy balanced diet that incorporates ... • The ‘five-a-day’ recommended portions of fruit and vegetables

Dehydration Alcohol can make your body dehydrated, which means your skin is more likely to develop wrinkles and look tired. Cutting it out completely or cutting down will help you stay hydrated. Whilst drinking water doesn’t directly hydrate the skin, it does help all of the body’s systems function better. It aids the liver in eliminating toxins from the body, reduces puffiness, helps with kidney function (which in turn helps dark circles appear lighter), and may even help skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the quickest fixes for frazzled skin, so try to drink the recommended six to eight glasses of fluid per day – but do drink more if it’s hot or you are exercising. Where possible you should try and drink water, but if you struggle to then lowfat milk, tea, coffee, fruit juice, smoothies and sugar-free drinks all count too. Note though that fruit juice and smoothies are a source of free sugars so should be limited to 150ml a day. How can you tell if you aren’t drinking enough water? Check your pee! If it’s a deep shade of amber, then it’s time to drink more water. The colour of lemonade is the goal.

Lack of sleep Have you ever been greeted by the comment “You look tired”? You really do need that beauty sleep! Sleep is a time for your body to rest and renew, and its positive effect on the skin is noticeable as it helps to generate new cells. So, a lack of sleep can result in tired looking skin and pesky dark circles, leaving you looking less than your best. Wrinkles can be ‘created’ while you sleep. If you’re a side sleeper, the constant pressure of your face on the pillow

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 39

can create friction between the skin and fabric. This creates creases in your skin which in time can become wrinkles. Try a silk pillowcase as the fabric allows your skin to “slip”, minimizing the chance of creasing. Silk pillowcases are also great for preventing frizzy hair. Sleep decreases the stress hormone cortisol (which can cause skin discolouration, thinning skin, and stretch marks) and increases the sleep hormone melatonin (which acts as an antioxidant to fight fine lines, wrinkles, and skin cancer). While asleep we also produce new collagen, which helps keep our face looking plump and wrinkle-free.

Cleaning the skin Smog, dirt, dust and toxins can cause the skin to dehydrate and age prematurely. Free radicals infiltrate into the deeper layers of the skin, which can also lead to the loss of elasticity and firmness. Air pollution from the burning of diesel and coal is well known but recent studies have added a mixture of different heavy metals from car disc brakes to the list of culprits. Steaming your complexion has some serious skin care benefits. It warms up the skin’s surface and helps open pores which can soften blackheads, promotes detoxification (through perspiration), and leaves the complexion feeling ultra-supple and hydrated. Simply hold your face over a bowl of hot or near-boiling water, taking great care of course not

to get TOO close. Then, place a large towel over your head to help trap some of the steam. Allow the steam to work its magic for 5 - 10 minutes. Repeat this a few times a week, and you’ll be on your way to clearer-looking skin in no time. Always make sure that makeup is removed before hitting the sheets. The skin needs to breathe and leaving it on overnight clogs the pores which may cause blemishes and/or blackheads. Don’t possess makeup remover? Just put some olive oil on a cotton pad and gently massage the oil onto your face to get rid of the makeup and dirt. Using old makeup and skin-care products or sponges and brushes that have become contaminated with bacteria or yeast can cause skin irritations or infections. Most makeup will last for about two years, but mascara and eyeliner should be changed at least annually. Try to keep fingers away from the face as it is extremely easy to transfer germs, dirt and sweat from your palms and fingers. Likewise, our phones go everywhere with us, which means they are collecting bacteria from your car, the counter at the coffee shop, and everything your hands have touched. When you make a call and hold up the phone, all of that bacteria is in contact with your face. Continuous cleaning of the phone will benefit your skin as well as being prudent in these Covid times. The eye contour skin is ten times finer than the skin on the rest of the face. It is particularly fragile, and some studies have concluded that it is one area of the skin that has fewer sebaceous (oil) glands making it more prone to wrinkles, which is why crow’s-feet are such a big problem here. Be gentle if applying cream or removing make up in this area.

Protecting against the weather You may think that the best way to sun kissed skin is catching some rays, but the powerful UV rays from the sun are the main cause of ageing skin and skin cancer, so it’s important to make sure you wear the correct sun protection and clothing (including a wide brimmed hat) and limit your time in the sun too. Be “sun savvy”. Always use sun protection with a factor of 30 or above and avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm. Don’t forget to protect your eyes. Squinting doesn’t exactly protect your eyes and you may end up developing more lines and wrinkles around your eye and forehead.

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Winter can adversely affect the skin as the cold temperatures and low humidity levels result in dry air that draws moisture away from the skin. Harsh winter winds and dry indoor heat can make the problem worse and lead to cracked and even bleeding skin. Skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis may also flare up during these cold, dry months. Whilst outside in cold weather, cover as much of your skin as you can. For the skin that must stay exposed, use a moisture cream or lanolin product for protection. Be extra careful and hydrate more than you normally would to help your body naturally compensate as well. Sun protection is not just for the summer months, use it when around reflective surfaces like snow or ice. While a hot bath or shower can feel great in the winter, it can strip your skin of important oils. The Sebum (oil) in skin has a wax-like consistency and using hot water to wash the face essentially “melts” the oil stripping the skin of much-needed moisture. Lukewarm is best because it allows our oils to warm up a bit allowing a proper cleanse without completely stripping it.

Stress Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It can also make it more difficult for skin damage to heal and can activate the eccrine glands (sweat glands) which in turn, can cause dehydration. If that wasn’t enough, when you feel anxious or worried, you might notice redness or puffiness in your face which is a result of increased blood flow.

In conclusion Having beautiful skin as you get older means making smart choices throughout your life. Just as doing the right things now can help you down the road, bad skin care choices can have lifelong impacts. One reason that skin cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer is because it can be the most easily recognized. You should be doing self-checks of all your freckles and moles on a monthly basis and any changes or concerns should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible. While we spend so much time and energy on honing our bodies and looks, we forget to express our inner joy and happiness. Keeping a smile on your face will help maintain the tone of your facial muscles and skin. Adopting healthy living with simple healthy practices can result in the beautiful skin you always dreamt of.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 41

Travel The Pyrenees – Saint-Lizier


his visit was planned just on the basis of a mention in a guidebook: “medieval town, worthwhile visiting”, which we had read two days previously. We checked in to our hotel, booked whilst at our last stop, and immediately went out into the town to see what it was all about. That first exploration and the dinner at the hotel that evening decided us to stay for a couple of extra nights – after all, a holiday doesn’t always have to be measured in kilometres. The area was of course inhabited in the distant past, but the modern history of the town and region begins with the Romans, and both Saint-Lizier and its sister town, Saint-Girons, have extensive traces of the Roman administration of the area. Saint-Lizier has a lower centre bordering the river and extending uphill, old and attractive in itself, including the Cathédrale Saint-Lizier. The hilltop is crowned by the old town with its defensive wall dating, in parts, from Roman times, as is witnessed by the visible brick layers in the masonry. Within the walls, there are the remains of an early defensive château. This upper town, as you might call it, is dominated by the bishop’s palace and the (second) cathedral, Notre-Dame-de-la-Sède, but

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

by Howard Needs

does also have a number of small, old streets that are charming seen in the bright sunlight that we had that day. The palace may sound a bit grim, which it is in places because at one time it was in use as a mental hospital with a couple of 18th and 19th century additions to the earlier religious complex which ranges from 11th to 13th century in places; however, it also houses a museum and the cathedral, as well as a gourmet restaurant, Le Carré de l’Ange. This last will be the subject of a visit next time we are down that way. We walked to the Cathédrale Saint-Lizier, in the lower town, and had a quick look round, noting that it had some fresques in the choir, but being on foot with no tripod, we decided to leave it for the moment and continued up the hill until we found a delightful town gate in the walls, with timberframed house over the entry. Once inside the town walls, we walked all the small streets, savouring the atmosphere in the heat of the day. The houses are mixed, from humble dwellings to mansions, including a farm, Le Grange de la Cité, which was offering light, mostly vegetarian, bio lunches in the farmyard. Late during our morning on foot, we found, with some difficulty, the bishop’s palace and

We took a swift walk downhill to the hotel and checked that our next two nights there were “safe”, grabbed more camera gear and the big tripod, and drove the few hundred metres up to the bishop’s palace, finding a spacious parking a little to the east of the complex. Cautiously entering a small door in the facade, we found a rather large ticket office and tourist information centre and two very helpful young women. We paid our entry for museum and cathedral, and after looking round at the information available, I asked if taking photos was allowed. The answer was yes, but for personal use only; permission should be sought for any other use.

The nave and choir of Notre-Dame-de-la-Sède was marvellous not because of its architecture but because of the paintings on the walls and ceiling. I spent a long time meticulously photographing that ceiling, interrupted a couple of times by one of the receptionists assuring herself that I wasn’t a professional photographer. I will neither describe the paintings nor show photos, because to date I have no authorisation to do so, but I do plan an article dedicated to those paintings of the sibyls and the sons of Jacob. The museum itself was also interesting, with an expo of archaeological findings in the surroundings and their relationship to the various civilisations that rose and fell in the area. Additionally, there was a temporary expo about the life and doings in the direct area and the Pyrenees in general during the second world war – an eye opener. The adjoining cloister

was destroyed during the 19th century. By this time the afternoon was becoming dull, and we drove down to the Cathédrale Saint-Lizier to spend more time there. The building dates from the 11th century, and the tower is a splendid regional example – hexagonal in red brick – whilst the rest of the building is a typical Romanesque construction. The fact that it has a fine cloister tells us that in the past it must have been an abbey. It is the only remaining medieval cloister in the Ariège and is composed of 28 sculpted pillars with decorated capitals. The wall of the covered gallery above the cloister walk has traces of wall paintings. Returning to the church itself: this exudes the peace of an old religious building, and in the choir you can also find wall paintings, some older than others. It makes you wonder what these buildings must have looked like in their heyday, with glorious scenes painted on all surfaces and the busy life of a working monastery with monks and lay brothers going about their business, albeit religious, or the management of farm or grange. The next day, we went into Toulouse by train, and I had thought to say a bit about that visit, but really it was a dull and rainy day and Toulouse is a big town busy with cars, and although there is much of interest, I cannot do justice to it in a few words. However, as I said, the sibyls hopefully appear in another issue of DSM, and so I will stop here.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 43

Photographs by Howard NEEDS

read that there was a museum and the cathedral, with again frescoes. We decided then that we would finish our tour on foot and come back with the car and the heavy tripod later in the afternoon for some serious photography. So back up the hill to Le Grange, where we had our lunch in the sun amongst other visitors, with children and dogs, and relaxed to the hum of voices in the background.


by Helen Tait-Wright

n 16th March, 2021, the world of motorsport lost an icon.

passengers, and it was through this that Sabine came to prominence. She drove one of the two taxis and delighted in scaring her customers on the demanding and dangerous track she knew so well. According to her own estimates, Schmitz went around the track more than 20,000 times.

Sabine Schmitz is equal only to Michele Mouton, in my opinion, for being at the forefront of changing the perception of women in motorsport and is an inspiration to many.

As a result of her popularity as “the fastest taxi driver in the world”, and her charisma, Schmitz became an occasional motorsport guest commentator and presented on German television show D Motor.

Well known in Germany and absolutely synonymous with the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where she was Queen, she was well known to British viewers through her appearances on Top Gear. Sabine was just a few months older than me, and although she had been racing successfully for several years, she came to the attention of the general public as a driver of one of the BMW M5 “Ring Taxis” She had grown up within the perimeter of the legendary Nürburgring, a fearsome 13 mile race track that winds through the hills of western Germany, in a family of hoteliers and initially intended to follow their footsteps into the hospitality industry. She graduated from her studies in hotel and catering and was a trained sommelier. The youngest of three girls, she and her sisters went on underage drives around the Ring in their family BMW, and all started racing, but Sabine was the only one who continued. Schmitz moved through lower-level racing categories before winning the 24-hour race in 1996 and 1997 as part of a team driving a BMW M3. She remains the only female race car driver to win the annual 24-hour race at the Ring ... so far.

In 2004, Schmitz was featured for the first time on the British motoring TV show “Top Gear” in a segment about the Nordschleife. She soon became a regular guest star and fan favourite, and from 2016 was part of the show’s regular team. In one notable appearance, she posted a competitive time on the Nordschleife behind the wheel of a van after taunting Jeremy Clarkson about his lap time in a Jaguar. Sabine was a pioneer for female racing drivers and a fantastic role model for women. (And what I really want to know is how she managed to look so good in a helmet!) Seeing a woman on TV who was not only a great driver, but witty and confident enough to talk a bit of banter with the boys, always with a big smile on her face, inspired so many other women involved in cars. Motorsport was, and still is, a very male-dominated space. Sabine smashed that perception to bits for car-loving women globally.

She also won the VLN championship of endurance races at the Nürburgring in 1998.

She was a force of nature for women drivers in the motoring world, and we will forever be grateful to her for that.

Schmitz’s company - Nürburgring based Sabine Schmitz Motorsport - offers advanced driver training and a “ring taxi” service for

RIP Sabine.

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Sports Car & Motorcycle Specialist Restoration

Engine Building

Expert Advice

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

Siren 838987717

Latest Specialist Vehicle Diagnostics (For All Makes)

Drive business to your door Advertise here from 32€ per month

Servicing Vans, Cars, 4x4’s, Motorhomes

Control Technique Repairs & Welding

Air Conditioning Recharging & Repair

Towbars Fitted & Wired

Fault Code Reading/Clearing Component Testing & Repair Key Programming Contact Paul: 06 36 13 90 77 Based in Le Busseau Siret No: 85409585800015

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 45

Gazelles Update May 2021

with Helen Tait-Wright and Sue Alemann


o misquote the words of Chumbawamba, we get knocked down, but we get up again, you’re never going to keep us down! As you know, we should be heading off to the rally in May, but as you probably also know the rally has been delayed now until September. Are we disappointed? Yes definitely, especially as the indications were very much positive right up to the point where Morocco closed the border to France. But, this is totally out of our control so we are staying motivated and determined and will use the extra time wisely to be even more prepared, to promote our partners and to support our causes. So, aside from that bombshell, what else is news?

A better flowing exhaust can help your car to generate more BHP. How quickly you can get the exhaust gasses out of the engine places a limit on how quickly you can get fresh air into the engine and therefore how much power can be made. A better flowing exhaust always improves the power your engine produces. So it goes without saying that we are super happy with this upgrade! We also had the privilege, just before the latest lockdown was announced, to visit our local school at Argentonnay and speak to the children about the rally, about life in Morocco and the education project we are supporting at the Talataste school. Of course the children enjoyed seeing Priscilla too! We certainly had a fun afternoon with the kids, and hope that it inspired them. Now we wait for news on when, or indeed IF, we will be able to get to our planned Moroccan training, which obviously is also delayed again, and we look forward to more sunshine over the next few weeks to train in here in France!

Well, we have had a successful raffle for the gazelles project at the Bioparc, Doue la Fontaine, and will be making a donation to the cause along with our partners Giti Tire, and we have new graphics highlighting the project to put onto Priscilla and our helmets! Priscilla has been into the garage for some major revisions, with the help of our partners at Landypoint France, although unfortunately this was completed at almost exactly the same time the rally delay announcement came. Most of the stuff we have upgraded you can’t actually see, but we do have a totally wonderful new stainless steel exhaust system from our newest partners in the UK, Demand Engineering. Aside from it looking and sounding totally fantastic, a performance exhaust does have a serious function in our bid to improve power to weight ratio.

46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

check with re that you Please ensu n you are r associatio any club o setting off. visit BEFORE to g in n n la p

Clubs and Associations

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 47

Building and Renovation Slate specialist with over 40 years’ experience • Slate work

• Listed buildings

• Roof renovations

• Zinc guttering

• Emergency call-out

• Repairs

• Insurance claims


• Box gutters


• Storm damage

• Special projects


• Chimney removals


• Velux windows

Contact us for your free estimate

06 35 11 27 31

Strictly Roofing - Malcolm Cooke

Advertising your business with us may not be quite as relaxing as a walk along a beach ... but it’s not far off.

48 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Siret 879 119 030 00010


All Domestic repairs and installations


Free quotes with home visit


Based in Exoudun (Deux-Sèvres) Search on Facebook or call 07 87 26 32 54

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!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 49

50 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

HARD DAY ? FANCY A TAKEAWAY ? Check out our noticeboard (page 4) for some suggestions

Small B&W Advert from 32€

per month


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 51

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

52 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 53

Business and Finance INCOME TAX FORMS 2021

by Isabelle Want


h no! It is that time of the year again when you have to fill in your income tax form. It’s all in French and there are lots of pages and boxes to fill in! And they may have changed it again! Well, worry not, help is at hand. I will try to explain it to you and make it simple. I will only cover the most common revenues so for more technical information, contact me directly.

1) Changes Just one I noticed, on the 2047, it is easier to enter interest, just box 2TR, section 260.

2) Important dates: You have to declare your revenue for the year 2020 (January 1st to 31st of December). However, the tax office accepts that you use the revenue corresponding to the UK tax year. You can start filling the forms online (only if it is NOT the first time) from the 8th of April and ... until 18th of May 2021 for Departments 1 to 19 (Charente is 16) until 25th of May 2021 for Departments 20 to 49 until 1st of June 2021 for Departments 50 and above (Deux-Sèvres is 79 and Vienne 86). Deadline to send or deposit your paper tax form is the 13th of May 2021. The result (the bill !!) is called Avis d’ imposition and is sent to you from mid-August. Note that in September 2021, the French government will then adjust the amount that they take out of your current account monthly according to what you have filled in (so more or less or even reimburse you if you had less income than 2019). Or change the % tax on your salary if you are an employee.

3) What forms and how do you fill them in: The 2042 is the blue form that everybody has to fill in and it is on this form that you report what you have filled in on other forms. But there are different versions of the 2042: 2042: This is the normal blue 2042 form that everyone has to fill in - NO EXCEPTION. Check or fill in the information on page 1 (name, address, etc). On page 2, check or fill in the information asked for (marital status, etc) and make sure it is correct as they can give you allowances or discount (invalidity, number of children living with you, etc). 2042RICI: This is the form on which you report things that give you tax credits such as having kids at college, lycee, etc or doing some work on your house related to saving energy and ecology. Note that this year, the box for employing a gardener or cleaner, giving to charity is on the normal 2042. 2042C: This is the form to have if you are under the French health system via an S1 (you are receiving a state 54 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

pension). You need to tick box 8SH (declarant 1) and/or 8SI (declarant 2) to avoid paying Social charges on your interest. Box 8TK, which was on the last page on the normal 2042 before, is now on this form. This is the box that people with government pension or UK rental need to tick. You can also find box 8VL which is the 17.7% tax credit on your dividends. Those boxes are on the last page of form 2042C. 2042C Pro: If you are self-employed in France, this is where you fill in your professional revenue. This is also the form used to declare revenues from Gites or chambre d’hôtes nonprofessional. 2044: This is the form to fill in if your rental income is superior to 15 000 euros per year. 2047: This is the purple form (or pink) on which you enter your revenue from abroad. It is better if you start with this one and then report the result on the other forms. Here is how to do it: 2047: Enter all your pension revenues (even those from civil service that are taxed in the UK) on page 1, section 1 in the box called «Pensions, retraites, rentes”. Be careful, you now must tick the box stating if the pension is public (ex-civil servant) or Privé (private and state pension/old age). So, if you have both, tick both boxes. You then have to report pensions to the pension section on the 2042, page 3, section 1, line 1AM (or 1BM for declarant 2) for pensions taxed in France (state pension and private pensions) and line 1AL (or 1BL for declarant 2) for pensions from UK government employees such as teachers, civil servant, military, NHS, etc). In section 2, on page 2 is where you put the interest you earned on savings in the UK. And yes, ISAs and Premium bonds are taxable in France as you are French resident! So, you have to fill them in at the bottom of page 2 in the box 260 “intérêts”. Enter the country of origin, then you write the amount on line 2TR. Then you report the amount in line 2TR, page 3, section 2 of the 2042. You also need to tick box 2OP on form 2042, page 3 if you want the interest to be taxed according to the rest of your income and not at 12.8% flat tax.

In section 4, you enter the revenues from house rental abroad. Then report on section 6 to get the tax credit (because it is taxed in the UK) and report on line 4BE and 4BK, section 4 of the 2042. If revenues from rental are > 15000 euro, you have to fill in the 2044 form.

4) Help:

In section 6, you put the revenue from government employees pension (military, police, NHS, civil servant, etc) and rental income from property in the UK (those will always be taxed in the UK whether you are French resident or not). Then you report the amount in line 8TK, last page of the 2042C. This is because those revenues/income get a tax credit in France equivalent to what the tax would be on it in France as they are taxed in the UK. You must enter the gross amount (before tax for pensions or expenses for rental).

If you are one of my customers, you are entitled to free help in 2 of our offices (no appointments, just turn up):

3916: you have a bank account outside France, then you have to declare it on that form (section1 and 4). One form per account. Or if you have a lot, on a blank A4 paper. Don’t forget to date and sign the forms!! If it is your first, attach a RIB and copy of your passport. The exchange rate for 2020 is 1.13 (that is the average of last year). You can get another rate from your local tax office, use theirs if it is lower than 1.13! Note that when you ask the official Paris tax office they tell you to use the rate from the “banque de France” on the day you got paid or use the average of the year. If your pension has been directly transferred to your French bank account, just add up all the figures of last year as long as it is a gross amount (not taxed at source).

A complete guide on how to fill in your tax form online is on our web site: if you can’t find it, email me!!

-Chasseneuil sur Bonnieure on Tuesday the 4th of May (all day apart from 12-2pm-my lunch) -Ruffec on Thursday the 6th of May (all day apart from 12-2pm-my lunch) Please make sure you have all the figures ready and the relevant forms (you can get them from your local tax office or online) when you come to see me. Otherwise I get very grumpy! And remember to check out our web site fr/en for all my previous articles and register to receive our monthly Newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook: “Allianz Jacques Boulesteix et Romain Lesterpt” And don’t hesitate to contact me for any other information or quote on subject such as Funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top up health insurance, etc… No Orias: 07004255

BH Assurances 22 rue Jean Jaures 16700 Ruffec

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

Email: Visit our website:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 55

It’s income tax time in France


f you were resident in France last year, it is now time for the annual tax return for income and gains made during 2020. You are taxed as a ‘household in France’, so married couples are taxed together. Deadlines dates Everyone should now file their return online, on the government portal, unless you have a genuine reason for being unable to do so. The dates for online declarations vary according to your department: Dept 01-19 – 26 May Dept 20-54 – 1 June Dept 55-976 – 8 June Non-residents – 26 May

by Catrina Ogilvie, Blevins Franks

income tax rates. This includes both tax and social charges so is beneficial for those with higher investment income. Lower income household can opt for the progressive income tax rates (plus social charges). What you need to declare French tax residents are liable to French income tax on their worldwide income and gains, so you must declare all income you earn outside France. You will not pay tax twice on income taxable in the UK. Under the terms of the France-UK double taxation treaty, UK government service pension and rental income are only taxable in the UK – but you must still include it on your French tax return. You then receive a credit equal to the French income taxes. Real estate gains are taxable in both countries, but you receive a credit in France for UK tax paid. Gains from capital investments are generally taxed in the country where the seller is resident.

If you cannot use the internet, the deadline for paper returns is 20th May (residents and non-residents).

Residents of France are also obliged to declare all foreign bank accounts and life insurance policies, even if they are dormant.

Taxpayers whose situation is the same as last year and only receive French salaries or pensions may not need to submit a return. Anyone with income from abroad will almost certainly have to continue to file every year.

This is a brief summary covering the basic elements of income tax in France, so seek personalised, professional advice. For questions about completing your tax return, speak to a tax accountant. For advice on effective tax planning in France, to lower liabilities on savings, investments and pensions, speak to a cross-border tax and wealth management specialist.

Income tax rates range from 11% for income over €10,084 to 45% for income over €158,122. Households with income over €250,000 and €500,000 may have to pay an additional 3% or 4% respectively. Various deductions are available, so make sure you are using all the ones you are entitled to. Investment income is taxed at a fixed rate of 30% rather than the

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

Specialist investment advice for expatriates in France. Blevins Franks has decades of experience providing investment advice and portfolio management to UK nationals in France. We start by getting to know your circumstances, objectives and risk tolerance, then choose the right blend of investment assets and managers to create a well-diversified portfolio that matches your needs and profile. Contact your local advisers for personalised investment advice and peace of mind.

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.

56 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson


i Amanda I have an Assurance Vie held in Dublin and don’t take regular withdrawals - has annual reporting of my policy changed and what do I need to do differently for this year’s tax return? There have been recent changes to tax return reporting obligations and your surrender value figure should now be included in annual tax returns. This will go on the last line of form 3916 (the same form used to declare foreign bank accounts and investments). If your policy is denominated in sterling, convert the surrender value to euros using the exchange rate at 1st Jan 2021, which was 1.12. If you have taken a withdrawal from your policy (during 2020), this should be declared in the line ‘Date d’effet et montant de chaque operation de dénouement partiel’. Declare all withdrawals if more than one was taken. All policies and all withdrawals should be declared. Finally, as a reminder, foreign bank accounts and investments should be declared in sections 2 - 4 of the 3916 form (complete one form for each account). You should report all accounts and investments, excluding pensions. When declaring sterling denominated assets, convert to euros using the average exchange rate for 2020, which was 1.143. The tax return format should be the same whether you’re completing on-line or submitting the paper version, a copy of which is available below.

Advertising in The Deux-Sèvres Monthly is not as expensive as you might think. Up to 15,000 potential customers see the magazine every month. A colour advert this size costs as little as 40€ per month*. Why not find out more by dropping us a line at ... *This price is based on a 12 issue, colour, size B advert (same size as this advert) paid annually in advance. Other options are available and a range of discounts are also available for multiple month adverts. formulaires/3916/2021/3916_3425.pdf If you are unsure about completing your tax return, there are many people who will provide reasonably priced hand holding services to help you. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please call or email me on the contacts below and I will be glad to help you. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. Amanda Johnson Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 E-mail:

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, May 2021 | 57

Property Perfect timing for an Apéro ....


aylight saving, longer warmer evenings and blossoming plants provide the perfect backdrop for a quiet apéro in the garden. And what better than to sample the local tipple? We’re lucky in having a choice of locally made apéros in Deux-Sevres – firstly Pineau – ‘native’ to southwestern France. This delicious mix of of grape juice and Cognac eau de vie, best drunk chilled is heady to say the least – especially when home made! It came about reputably several hundred years ago when someone tipped grape juice into a barrel containing eau de vie – a very happy accident! Deux Sèvres also boasts its own local tincture created in the 1920’s in Thouars: the story of its creation is priceless! One Monsieur Deacon, a local wine merchant, held regular well ‘watered’ luncheon meetings followed by fishing. After one particularly convivial rendezvous M. Deacon fell asleep, giving his friends time to hang a cooked lobster on his fishing rod! Too good a joke not to share widely, it gave him the idea to create a wine-based aperitif – naturally named Duhomard! Back then it was fashionable to drink quinine based aperitifs (think Dubonnet). Duhomard followed this tradition and its label portrays the eponymous lobster to this day! You’d certainly serve Duhomard at this wonderful ‘Hotel Particulier’ (118704) in the medieval heart of Thouars. Beautifully restored in the 1980’s, it’s both gracious and spacious with many original features as well as a conservatory and swimming-pool complex. Mod cons include mains water, central heating (town gas) and lift, six bedrooms, the master suite has its own boudoir (literally sulking room) for its mistress. Hidden within almost an acre of mature gardens and strolling distance of central Thouars – this gem

by Joanna Leggett

is for sale at €848,000 - it’s potential as family home or business immeasurable. 12 kms south in Saint-Varent this five bedroom stylish home (AO3822), built in the 1950’s, echoes Art Deco style. Set within a walled garden and presented in excellent condition it offers great living spaces, wonderful galleried hallway, stunning kitchen, three bedrooms on the first floor, the master with its own dressing room, on the third floor are two further bedrooms, games room and storage. Mod cons include electric shutters and electric gates with entryphone, central heating and double glazed it could become yours for €299,000. Further south in Deux Sevres it’s ‘pineau’ country. In Paizey-Le-Tort (105941), a popular village not far from Melle, this great family home is set in a hectare of gardens and woodland with river frontage. It has excellent income potential with three private gîtes offering a total 7 more bedrooms, each with all mod cons including dishwashers and private courtyards! The main house is beautifully presented with great living spaces, conservatory, office and four bedrooms. There’s also a salt water pool, games room and various outbuildings. €369,995. Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at






€256,800 HAI

Ref. 114708 - 200m² 16th -18th century 4 bedroom watermill with 17424m² of land. DPE D - agency fees to be paid by the seller

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


€72,000 HAI

Ref. 120359 - Adorable 2 bedroom house with great outbuildings and over an acre of land. DPE Ongoing - agency fees to be paid by the seller


Le Beugnon

€351,750 HAI


€274,990 HAI


€99,000 HAI


€87,500 HAI

Ref. 117140 - Large detached 7 bedroom prop-

Ref. 120953 - Beautiful complex of three stone

Ref. 115145 - A charming 2 bedroom house with

Ref. 100581 - Spacious 3 bedroom village house

erty previously run as a successful restaurant.

houses, barn, heated pool and gardens.

a large outbuilding for possible conversion.

with spectacular countryside views.

DPE F - agency fees included: 5% TTC to be paid by the buyer

DPE N/A - agency fees to be paid by the seller

DPE G - agency fees included: 10% TTC to be paid by the buyer

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

+33 (0)5 53 56 62 54 - -

Buying or Selling Our clients are ready atoproperty buy NOW ? Contact us for a FREE Valuation and Marketing Advice 58 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021

Thinking of selling? We have 1000s of registered clients looking to buy, at all budgets. If you want to sell with the best, contact us today!



VSA1443 PARTHENAY 199 500€

Spacious rural farmhouse with lot’s of potential. 1ha and outbuildings Agents fees included

Superbly renovated house in the Medieval quarter with attractive walled garden Net price 190 000€

Winner of Best Estate Agency France

Beaux Villages IMMOBILIER

05 56 71 36 59

Small colour Advert from 35,17€

per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, May 2021 | 59

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh 1921 - 2021

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.