The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Magazine - June 2021 Issue

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English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas


How and where to holiday near home (P30)


As restrictions lift, find out what is happening in our area

Also this month ...

Chateau news. Book Club. An Artist’s Life. New cycle routes. Plus much, much, more.

Remember : Residency Application Deadline is 30th June 2021

Issue 117, June 2021

Welcome to Issue 117


OVID restrictions are slowly being relaxed and, finally, more businesses and events are managing to open, if only partially. This month we can even produce a limited diary of events - just like the old days. Mother’s Day (France) is just behind us and Father’s Day is just ahead. What with that, increasing levels of vaccination (we’ve had our first jabs) and, hopefully, some sunshine ... life may soon be returning to some version of normality. Stay safe

Tony & Lyn


Tel: Email: Website:


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

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“Staycation Special” Advertisers STAYCATION : Bienvenue B&B STAYCATION : Camping de Courte Valleé STAYCATION : Camping du Chateau STAYCATION : Camping la Raudière STAYCATION : Château de Saugé (Chambre d’hôtes) STAYCATION : Chats de Champagne STAYCATION : Forest Gites STAYCATION : France Fishing Gites STAYCATION : Guest Soaps and Gels STAYCATION : La Vie Scolaire & Le Refectoire STAYCATION : Le Tilleul Gites STAYCATION : Wisteria Lodge B&B

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

35 34 31 32 33 32 30 33 35 30 30 34

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) ARB French Property Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) 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) Cherry Picker Hire (Tony Moat) Chez Christie’s Tea Rooms 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) 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 Le Regal’on (Bar and Restaurant) LPV Technology (IT services) Magic Renovations (Michael Glover) Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction Michael Moore (Electrician) Michel Barateau (Cabinet maker) Mike Sweeney - Motorsport Engineering ML Computers Mr Fix It (Garden Maintenance) Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) OKNOPLAST (Menuiserie) 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 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

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© 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: juin 2021 - Tirage: 3500 exemplaires. Siret: 830 076 345 00016 ISSN: 2115-4848

dsm117-jun21 v28 online

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 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

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:

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“WHAT’S (probably) ON” DIARY : JUNE 2021 31/05 - 08/06 DISCOVER STREET ART BRESSUIRE 79300 (Rue du Dr Brillaud). Variety of artists recreate a diversity of street art. This event is organized as part of the “Street Art” Red Wire of the Year of Youth. Free 04-05 FESTIVAL A2 BULLES NIORT (79000). 14th edition of the Niortais Comic Book Festival. Promotion of books and readings to reach both enlightened and new audiences: youth workshops, artistic performances, exhibitions, meetings with the authors. 06 MARCHÉ DE PRODUCTEURS ST HERMINE (85210). Starts 9am. Sales of food products, plants and handicrafts. 01-10 A MOTS DÉCOUVERTS SAINTMAIXENT-L’ECOLE (79400). The Théâtre au corps invite you to participate in a temporary exhibition of visual arts, allowing everyone to contribute to the life of the festival. Free 08-12 AMATEUR THEATRE FESTIVAL THOUARS (79100). 5 Boulevard Pierre et Marie Curie. Audience, amateur troops and professionals meet, exchange and share. Discover the work of amateur troops

around impromptu surprises, musical breaks and meetings with the guest author. Free. 12 ‘Marché on Fête’ - Salsa CHEFBOUTONNE (79110). 13 CHARITY DUCK RACE THOUARS (79100). 50th anniversary of the Lions Club, a plastic duck race is organized in the form of a raffle. Each raffle ticket corresponds to the adoption of a plastic duck which will then race in the river to win a new Peugeot 108 car and many other prizes! All plastic ducks will be recovered. 5€ (1€ per adoption ticket will be donated to for-profit associations). 18 MARCHÉ DE PRODUCTEURS DE PAYS PAMPROUX (79800). Evening festivities, music, conviviality and delicacies. Free entry. 18 ‘D’Autres Traces’ CHEF-BOUTONNE (79110). Poetry and Clarinet. Free. Reservations required.

19 FESTIVAL OF MUSIC THOUARS (79100). Browse the city centre streets and listen to variety of music. Enjoy an evening with a jovial atmosphere, let’s live the music together. Free. 19 ‘Marché on Fête’ - Green Leaves Down CHEF-BOUTONNE (79110). 20 CONCERT D’ORGUE VOUVANT (85120). Église Notre-Dame Place de l’Eglise Vouvant Free organ recital. 25-27 BICENTENNIAL OF THE JAVARZEY FAIR CHEF-BOUTONNE (79110). Three days of activities. More details on P10. 25-28 VERY GRAND WORLD COUNCIL OF CLOWNS NIORT (79100). 10th edition. Beginning 28th May travelling to various communes, finishing in Niort. 15 companies from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Spain and Italy. Shows in the morning for children, evening for adults. 26 ‘Marché on Fête’ - Ecole de Musique, Melle CHEF-BOUTONNE (79110).

LOCAL MARKETS Mondays......... Tuesdays......... Wednesdays.... Thursdays........ Fridays............... Saturdays........ Sundays............

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

‘BEE PREPARED’ This time of year is the time we can find that bees have taken a shine to our homes, out-buildings (or even cars). Get expert help with swarm removal Kevin & Amanda Baughen 16500 Confolens, Paul & Anne Clark 86250 Genouillé paul@bees86 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 5

International Day of .....

... World Nature Photography (15th June)

by Beryl Brennan


alling all keen photographers, whatever your level. World Nature Photography Day should interest you as most of us have a camera in the house or on the phone in our hand. At the peak in 2010, there were over 121 million cameras but now with digital cameras that has decreased to less than 9 million. The first lasting photograph was made on pewter covered with bitumen in 1826. It wasn’t until 1888 that Kodak invented photographic film, then in 1975 went on to develop the first camera using digital electronics to capture and store images. Sharp introduced the first digital camera phone in 2000, and ten years later most smartphones had an integrated digital camera. Action and wearable cameras are now very popular and with programmes like BBC Springwatch and Countryfile using ‘wildlife cameras’ with infra-red ‘night vision’, more people want to monitor the wildlife frequenting their garden. Remember the outcry when CCTV cameras were introduced around towns – invading privacy was the cry. Are you grateful for them now…useful for tracking people intent on wrong doing, helping the police solve crimes. Thinking of taking it a step further and installing them at home? Sales of Home security cameras are increasing with people wanting to protect their property from theft and vandalism.

All photographs from WWW.PIXABAY.COM

What pictures do you take – capturing a smile on a baby’s face, your son or daughter receiving their degree, butterflies in the garden, glorious sunsets? I’ve inherited family photographs dating back to my great grandparents – currently I’m scanning them onto my computer to further preserve the records. What photographs are hanging on your walls – grandchildren, much loved pets, a dragonfly in the garden, boats bobbing in the harbour on a memorable holiday? It’s important to record as much of life as possible before it disappears – capturing a moment in time is important as we may never experience it again. Do you keep an Instamatic camera close at hand to snap the great tits on the

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bird table, red squirrel kittens playing in the garden, deer grazing in the meadow – moments that bring a smile to your face when looking back at them? World Nature Photography Day was first celebrated in 2006, evolving from the North American Natura photography Association (formed in 1994) with over 100 nature photography members. Now worldwide there’s even a competition for amateur photographers, new cameras and workshops with experts being among the prizes. Workshops are important for those wanting to understand the complexities of technological advances when words like ‘raw’ and ‘macro’ enter the equation! Nature photography is even more important these days as humans continue to decimate the planet we all share. How to celebrate World Nature Photography Day? Set yourself a challenge – snap at least one picture a day – an insect on a flower, raindrops on the window, reflections on the water on a nearby etang, storks on their nest, moss on the bark of a tree. Modern camera technology allows you to zoom in on parts of a photo to see detail, the same with photos uploaded onto a computer, enabling you to see minute detail not possible with the naked eye. What better excuse to get out for a walk after months of lockdown, take a moment to look around you before you put your camera to your eye – it’s a guaranteed stress reliever! Why not join a local photography group. Through The Lens (TFL) and Get Together Association are listed in The DeuxSèvres Monthly magazine. GT produces an annual calendar of photos taken by members, the final twelve being voted on by all Association members. Don’t be put off by imagining everyone is an expert, many people just want to be able to take a decent photo, rather than always going into the complexities of setting a camera up before taking the picture - group organisers should remember that. I enjoy using an Instamatic set on auto – pick up the camera, point and shoot. The quality of photos from these and phone cameras is amazing. World Nature Photography Awards are an annual global nature and wildlife photography contest celebrating the best natural photographers. Its mission is quoted as ‘showcasing nature’s beauty to a wider audience’. Nature, wildlife and travel – three necessities for nature photography. You don’t need to go far, what’s on your doorstep – the local park or footpath, your garden when a swallowtail butterfly lands on the lavender bush? The winning photographer for 2020 for the ‘animal portraits’ category is British. And note, not all photos in groups on facebook are true – programmes like Photoshop can dramatically alter the original photo so seeing is not necessarily believing!

Good shooting.




As from Wednesday 19th May we will open again (outside only) making the most of our beer garden / terrace / marquee and fire pits. We will be offering a Plat du jour along with fish and chips , Pie and Chips and a snack menu. We are really excited to welcome you all back and hope the weather is kind to us all. We’ve been working hard behind the scenes to ensure your visit is safe, so you can have the best possible experience. We will be opening in line with the latest government guidelines and look forward to welcoming you all back to the pub. Please support us by following the guidelines we have put in place and be aware that this is also new for us, we will be doing our best to ensure you have a great time. We cannot wait to say “Welcome Back!”

Scarves, Tapestry, Candles, Socks, Mugs, Tins, Puzzles, Jewellery, Bags, Books, Bookmarks, Notepads, Pens, Cat. 1 Face Masks, Heat Packs … * FATHER’S DAY ~ 20TH JUNE! *


Scones, Cupcakes, Fruit Cake … * TEA ROOM REOPENS ~ 9th JUNE! * with Homemade Summer Drinks We can’t wait --and to serve you again! TUES - FRI: 10am - 12 noon : 3pm - 7pm SAT: 10am - 12 noon : 3pm - 6pm

Latest details on Website & Facebook: GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie

Siret: 47876969800018

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On This Day ... June June 2, 1953 Queen Elizabeth II is formally crowned monarch of the United Kingdom. June 3, 1937 In France, the Duke of Windsor—formerly King Edward VIII of Great Britain and Northern Ireland— marries Wallis Warfield, a divorced American socialite for whom he abdicated the British throne in December 1936. June 5, 1968 Senator Robert Kennedy is fatally shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles by 22-year-old Palestinian Sirhan Sirhan. June 6, 1944 Supreme Allied Commander General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the go-ahead for the largest amphibious military operation in history: Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of northern France, commonly known as D-Day. June 8, 632 In Medina, located in present-day Saudi Arabia, Muhammad, one of the most influential religious and political leaders in history, dies in the arms of Aisha, his third and favourite wife. June 10, 1935 Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, two recovering alcoholics, found Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), a 12-step rehabilitation program that eventually helps countless people cope with alcoholism. June 14, 1940 Paris wakes to the sound of a German-accented voice announcing via loudspeakers that a curfew was being imposed for 8pm that evening as German troops enter and occupy Paris. June 15, 1215 King John puts his royal seal on Magna Carta at Runnymede.

June 16, 1963 Soviet Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman to travel into space aboard Vostok 6. After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to earth having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date. June 17, 1885 The dismantled Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of America, arrives in New York Harbour after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. June 24, 1812 French Emperor Napoleon orders his Grande Armee, the largest European military force ever assembled to that date, into Russia. The enormous army, some 500,000 soldiers and staff, included troops from all the European countries. June 25, 1876 Native American forces led by Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of General George Custer in the Battle of the Little Bighorn. June 26, 1945 Delegates from 50 nations sign the United Nations Charter in San Francisco, establishing the world body as a means of saving “succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie are shot to death by a Bosnian Serb nationalist during an official visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. The killings sparked a chain of events that led to the outbreak World War 1 by early August. June 29 1995 The American space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir to form the largest, at that time, man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.

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Letter From Blighty by Beryl Brennan June 2021


leased to report we arrived safe at our rental. Great place, small modern bungalow where we can have the dogs. It’s actually a holiday let and an ideal base for house-hunting in the area. Taken us a while to adjust to living with central heating after nearly 20 years living in an old stone damp dusty French farmhouse! Turning down the thermostat doesn’t help, so resorted to opening windows. Good job we’re not paying the utility bills! T-shirts out, polo shirts and sweatshirts repacked… it’s been dry with temperatures more like we’re used to in 79. House hunting hasn’t been too much of a problem, lockdown rules allowed for house moves but it was strange not having to fill in an attestation every time we left the house. We made sure we were armed with agents’ particulars in case we were stopped. Registering at the local medical centre we were first given a form as ‘temporary residents’ which only lasted 2 weeks so we asked for one as ‘permanents’ as we expect it to take probably 4 months to complete a purchase. Luckily we still have our medical cards with our NI numbers. Quite impressed that within a week we’ve had a kit to test for colon cancer and details of the local virus vaccination centre. By the time you get this, we’ll have had our first jabs. One thing the UK has got right, are you still waiting for yours? Must remember to send back our Carte Vitale to CPAM. Honestly, the roads in the UK are like those in a 3rd World country. Potholes galore! And the litter!! We walk the dogs round a local wood and the ditch is full of rubbish sacks, broken chairs and even 2 large grey gas bottles! What?! I’ll be writing to the local Council about that, they apparently have a ‘Wombles’ litter-collecting group. Must admit to feeling homesick for France. Even though we’ve got fields at the back of us and I bought a bird table and feeder like we used to have on our patio, not a single bird has come to it! We’ve got seagulls, crows and pheasant ... Note to self, find a property where we can watch the wild birds again. Can’t say I’m glad to be back. But then, you know it took a lot of persuading by the ‘kids’ for us to return. Kettle’s boiling and I’m dying for a cuppa. Will write again.

Two Doors Down A Tale of Two Ladies

by Wendy York

Photos from Wendy York

Now that monsoon season is over, we turn our heads toward the sun. Not so for two very unfortunate ladies whose portraits hang two doors down in Château de Dampierre. Indeed in the château every picture and artifact has its own tale. From its earliest beginnings in the tenth century the château and its occupants have lived dangerously, surviving bloody wars and dread diseases As an art and architectural historian it’s a historical treasure trove and hard to choose just what to write about.

When the Revolution began Mme de Gallifet, aged 26, fled to Belgium to keep her head and never returned to Dampierre. However, when the Revolutionaries arrived to ransack the château, to destroy the furniture and artifacts and to load the books and papers onto carts to take them to the triangle for burning, they found the portrait of Mme de Gallifet, painted probably by her artist brother. They figured that, as the lady had escaped the guillotine, they could at least ‘kill’ her portrait and so they symbolically slashed the canvas at her neck. Her proud profile, beautifully coiffed hair and gorgeous costume show a strong, assured woman. Ironically, where the canvas was ripped by the sword, it looks as if her neck was severed. Yet, today she gazes quietly out of the canvas, still proud, still regal. The current custodians of the château will not have the canvas repaired, Mme de Gallifet’s story needs to be told. This one caught my eye, no pun intended. It is primitive Spanish, painted towards the end of the fifteenth century. In this cruel and unusual image, the artist depicts the martyr Saint Lucia/St Lucy holding a tray with her eyes on it to show she is blind. As she wouldn’t renounce her Christianity, instead of killing her, the executioner took out her eyes. This gory painting, however, made me smile as there is more than a passing resemblance to ET ready to phone home. The second portrait is of Marie Josephine, Mme de Gallifet. This picture was found abandoned in the attic of the orangerie and has another gory story to tell, albeit one with a happier ending. Born into a famous Provençal family, Mme de Gallifet divided her time between the Paris court and the Château de Dampierre. She was the last chatelaine before the French Revolution.

After these gory tales, I feel bound to write that there are many, many, happier equally interesting tales to tell.

The château is living history and, having survived the latest pandemic, is looking forward to opening again to the public on Saturday 29th May. From end of May until 14th June, the château will be open daily from 2 – 6.30pm, the opening hours then change to Mondays 2 - 9.30 pm, every other day from 10.30 – 6.30. Guided tours are held on Wednesdays, Saturdays & Sundays at 3pm & 5pm. For further information tel. or

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 9

Bicentenaire de la Foire Aux Pirons de Javarzay

‘Foire de Javarzay’,in the town of Chef-Boutonne, was Tthehecreated by a royal decree of Louis XVIII in 1821 to incorporate ‘Foire aux Pirons’ (goslings in Patois) and the pre-existing fair dating back to the middle ages. He gave a fixed date respecting the calendar of other fairs in the region, so that there are never two held on the same day. Cattle, ducks, pigs, mules and donkeys were sold there, sometimes from fairly remote regions, arriving via the Chef-Boutonne station. Agricultural machinery was also sold. Traditionally, fairs have been an opportunity to discover new things, to haggle, to buy, to meet up, getting together to party, and the funfair brought fun and joy during this busy day. In the past, many attractions rivalled each other in originality, such as ... The Diabolical Sphere launched at more than 80 km/h, The Wall of Death, the Headless Woman, the Woman with Snakes, a Wrestlers’ Hut, and also a famous tamer from Chef-Boutonne, Marffa “Corsica”, known for her menagerie “La Jungle” with lions, panthers, bears, tigers, etc., which she travelled the world to find.

On Saturday June 26th, the Market Fair and the funfair will be all day long, and visitors will be greeted by a Town crier, a barrel organ and musical entertainment. The Asinerie du Baudet du Poitou will be present in the fairground, with it’s traditional Poitou breeds such as Baudet and Trait Poitevin. BICENTENAIRE DE LA FOIRE AUX PIRONS DE JAVARZAY DU 25 AU 27 JUIN 2021


The fair was traditionally closed with a ball with an orchestra and the bonfire of Saint John, the pagan festival of the summer solstice.

by Amanda Holmes

The day will finish with two rock concerts : the local Rock Metal group Gérald followed by the Groupe Yarol, with Yarol Poupaud, Johnny Halliday’s former guitarist. On Sunday June 27th, during the morning the association, Aujourd’hui Tillou, is organising a car rally to show and discover the Patrimoine/ heritage of the large commune of ChefBoutonne, complemented by an exhibition of vintage cars. To close this anniversary weekend, there will be a concert with the Jean Vincent orchestra playing classic French standards during the afternoon. Unfortunately due to the current restrictions there will not be a firework display but we hope that we have managed to respect, with our festivities, the great tradition of the French rural fair. Full details will be in our guide ‘chef-boutonne estival’, available on the Chef-Boutonne website,

This year, in order to properly celebrate the 200 years of the Javarzay Fair, the festivities will begin on Friday June 25 and end on Sunday June 27.

For all information: Mairie, Chef-Boutonne: 05 49 29 80 04 or in English Amanda Holmes: 06 02 35 90 53

Friday June 25th will begin with a Trad Concert with Le Groupe TEDAAL.

Subject to the governmental and health provisions in force under COVID-19.


30TH JUNE 2021

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

Technology Satellite TV - 4G and Football B onjour. June already? That must mean it’s summer, no? Regardless of the weather (it’s raining as I write this), welcome to this month’s feature. Thank you for coming back. I’d like to take this opportunity to individually thank those who sent me positive feedback for the new photo. So, here goes...

Moving on... Freesat remains different from Freeview. The clue to the one you need is in the name. Freesat is what you want, as in ‘Free Satellite’. OK, who has a poor internet connection? Maybe your old telephone line just isn’t up to the job and downloading things can take an age? Perhaps you have a 4G signal in your area but it’s just not strong enough to be received inside the house? 4G is ‘mobile data’ that can be as fast as a good telephone line based service.

by Stuart Wallace

get the benefit of the 7-day channel guide that you get with something like a Freesat or Sky box. As always, please feel free to get in touch if you would like any further information or would like to discuss your requirements. Contact details can be found on the advert. Have a good month. Stuart runs The French House Satellite TV Other contact details in his advert in the Buildings & Renovations section of the magazine

Going forward, we will be able to assist with improving your 4G signal reception (assuming you have one to start with that is). This can also benefit your mobile voice calls, not just data speeds. By installing a signal booster on your property, the mobile/data signal on the exterior can be brought into the house and amplified, giving you good coverage indoors. Then, you’ll be able to use your devices such as a mobile phone, tablet (with SIM) or computer (with SIM) to access the internet. You can also use your phone as a ‘WiFi Hotspot’. This means that your phone will act as a modem/router and allow devices to connect to it via WiFi. As long as the phone has a 4G signal, you’re good to go. ‘So, how does it work?’ I pretend to hear you ask. Excellent question. There is an exterior antenna, usually on a chimney or somewhere of similar height, that points towards your nearest 4G tower. This antenna is connected to an internal ‘booster’ unit which itself is connected to an internal antenna. The signal from the exterior is then brought into the property through the booster and out to the internal antenna. This then distributes the 4G signal. That’s the basic theory anyway. If you wish, you can use the usual providers like Orange, SFR & Free etc to supply a 4G router. This has a SIM card (like your mobile phone does) that will give you a dedicated amount of monthly data which can be used. For example, both SFR & Orange offer 200GB per month. This is more than sufficient to work online, surf the internet, look at cat videos on YouTube, use social media and stream services like Netflix. However, as there is a ‘cap’, you need to be aware that should you stream something like Netflix in Ultra-HD every night, you’ll eat up your data fairly quickly. Whilst on the subject of providers like Orange, remember that if you subscribe to one of their TV services, it will be primarily for French language TV. Now, this is of course perfect if you want French language TV. However, if they tell you that it enables you to watch UK TV channels then this isn’t strictly true in the sense you may be imagining. There are a few news channels (Sky News, BBC World, CNBC etc), but nothing like the BBC & ITV channels that you’re probably expecting. Forewarned is forearmed. Or something. UEFA Euro 2020 starts this month. One year late, but apparently they have a good excuse for it. Sounds like a reason to get a second digibox connected to your satellite dish. That way, there’s no need to clash over Songs of Praise and Switzerland v Turkey (20th June, 6pm, ITV4 if you’re interested). Both boxes would be independent of each other and no arguments need to be had. We truly do care about you. Who is in the market for a new TV? Be aware that many new TVs come with a satellite tuner built-in. This means that you don’t have to use a separate set top box. However, unless you’ve bought a dedicated ‘Freesat’ TV from the UK, you’ll not The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 11

La Vie En France Fiery Midsummer Music by Sue Burgess


he « Fête de la Musique » (music festival) whose slogan is « Faites de la Musique » (make music) – Fête and Faites are pronounced in the same way so it’s a sort of play on words – is held on June 21st (when it’s not stopped by COVID). In 1981 and 1982, Jack Lang, the minister of culture « ministre de la culture » and Maurice Fleuret, director of music and dance, « le directeur de la musique et de la danse » imagined a great popular festival « une grande manifestation populaire » which would allow every aspiring musician to play and make themselves known. The first « Fête de la Musique » was held on the 21 June 1982, the day which is the symbol of the summer solstice « le jour symbolique du solstice d’été ».

« La Fête sera gratuite, ouverte à toutes les musiques « sans hiérarchie de genres et de pratiques » et à tous les français. » (The festival will be free and open to any musician (without any pecking order in the different types and forms of music) and open to all the French people). Thousands of events happened all over France. The musicians set up in the streets « dans les rues », in squares « les squares », bandstands « les kiosques », yards « les cours », gardens « les jardins », stations « les gares » and so on. Thousands of people wandered around the streets until late in the evening in a good natured atmosphere « dans une atmosphère bon enfant ». The concerts are free and anyone can sing or play, they just need to ask at their townhall and be told where to set up « s’installer ». « La fête de la Saint-Jean d’été » (St John’s day Festival) is traditionally celebrated with large bonfires « feux de joie ». The « feux de la Saint-Jean », is for Saint John the Baptist’s day on the 24th June. The day is close to the summer solstice. In France for many years on the night between the 23rd and 24th of June, it was the King himself who lit the fire. Some traditions developed – keeping the ashes « les cendres » which were supposed to bring protection from lightning and storms « la foudre et les orages » and protect the livestock. Young lovers « les amoureux » were encouraged to jump over the fire to keep the flame of their love alive. In Poitou the custom was to take a cartwheel « une roue de charrette » and fill the space between the spokes with straw. The straw was set alight with a church candle and was carried around the fields. The sparks were said to fertilise the land. The custom of the bonfire is still celebrated in some villages in DeuxSèvres and Vienne

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire background music blues classical music country electronic music folk French pop music hip hop jazz rap rock soul

la musique de fond le blues la musique classique la musique country la musique électronique le folk / la musique folklorique la variété française le hip hop le jazz le rap le rock la musique soul

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

by Karen Taylor

May 2021


raffic calming – the very word makes me shudder!! I can barely remember a time when I could drive from A to B without negotiating sleeping gendarmes, chicanes and cushions, not to mention road narrowing and weirdly off-set mini roundabouts that take you so far out of your way that you feel like driving over the hump in the middle (not that I ever would, of course!). Exactly when did France adopt these intrusive additions to the road surface? The UK have got it sussed – the odd pothole here and there certainly slows the traffic down, though I’m not sure what it does to your suspension! But in France it’s a veritable art-form. On my regular route to the gîte, I pass through a tiny village which, a couple of years ago, seemed to have continuous roadworks. The end result is very pretty – pedestrian crossings, speed humps and islands abound, with a generous scattering of bushes, trees & flowers to negotiate either side of the road. Footpaths are wider, vehicle access is narrower – a subtle message to find an alternative route round the village! But it did give me an idea. Our own village, although not strictly a through road, seems to be an attractive alternative to the main road for noisy farm vehicles and screeching scooters. Why couldn’t little ol’ Sainte Pexine have its fair share of traffic calming? I knew that the village was due for a face lift (like every other village in France over the past couple of years it would seem), so I trotted down to the mairie to ask if any traffic calming measures were planned. ‘Oui et non’, came the reply – no humps, bumps, cushions or chicanes (apparently tractors don’t like them!), but they were planning to narrow the road, and, whilst I was there, would I like them to create a flower bed outside the front of our house? Mais bien sûr, that would be a distinct advantage!


ot os

by K




And so it was; last summer the road was dug up, a footpath was added on one side and a flower bed sprung up on the other side. It doesn’t make a jot of difference to the tractors & scooters of course, but it does look a lot prettier!!

Magnolia Farm Renovations G&T Terrace

by Owen Kitchener-McCartney


here are many important aspects of creating a home and people tend to maintain the same priorities in terms of what’s necessary. A nice kitchen? A comfortable bedroom? Somewhere to watch TV perhaps? Priorities, however, are surely subjective aren’t they? Very high on our list here on Magnolia Farm was, of course, a gin and tonic terrace. Now, us Brits know all too well that nothing is quite as imperative after a days slog than a nice, crisp G&T. Do we put enough effort into where we partake in this favoured British ritual however? I’m not so sure. Naturally, Laura and I had pin-pointed the exact location for our G&T terrace whilst halfway up the driveway on our first viewing of the property. A little corner by the summer house, safely adjacent to the fridge in the kitchen and principally, sunshine at the right time of day...G&T o’clock if you’re wondering. We started by throwing a few bits of hardcore vaguely near the area that we wanted to build it. A few months later though, it was just a big pile of rubble as more sensible, albeit less essential, building works were implemented for boring things like bathrooms and such. The terrace, for now at least, was put on the back burner. In the slightly warmer days of early spring this year, we decided that we were heading deep into ‘G&T season’ territory and that everything else should be put on hold. We cleared the now enormous mound of rubble, levelled it with some gravel and got to work. We’d agonised over potentially slabbing the terrace but after discovering that the only slabs we could reasonably afford looked like something out of a 1980’s school playground, a symphony in pebble-dash, we decided to concrete and lay exterior tiles instead. We managed to pick up some relatively low priced tiles from Leroy Merlin and we could finally see our long overdue terrace taking shape. It hadn’t rained since about February when the heavens opened above me as I laid the final tile. We hastily covered the terrace in anything we could find that may be waterproof including an old tent from the barn! The next day, Laura managed to grout the tiles in between rain showers and with the addition of a second-hand marble table and some cast iron garden chairs, finally our G&T terrace was complete. Pass me a lime wedge would you...?

Photo by Owen Kitchener-McCartney

View from the Vendée

Karen runs a gîte business on the Vendée coast. You can contact her on:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 13

Life in 79 - Grand Designs by Stephen Shaw

nna, my wife, is obsessed with old French houses. We can’t pass an estate agent’s window without her veering off course to peruse the sweeties on offer. She will beckon me over, “look at this renovation job” she will say, pointing at a pile of stones. She watches all the property programmes. Any programme with ‘home’, ‘sun’ or ‘DIY’ in the title, and she’s there, drinking it in. On a glorious sunny day in France there is nowhere Anna likes more than sitting in front of the TV watching ‘A Place In the Sun’ with Jasmine or Laura. Now that we have just finished renovating our own house after five years, she is getting restless feet and has been looking for somewhere to gîte-ify. We have looked at a selection of agricultural buildings in various states of collapse. Must have: structural damage, a leaking roof, inhabited by creatures, copious amounts of lead paint and a pungent smell. Anna has the thickest lensed rose-tinted glasses as every one we see has oodles of potential and lots of character. I just see a hernia, dwindling finances and lengthy divorce proceedings. My wife adopt’s a war of attrition and will slowly grind me round to her way of thinking, through repetition, rather like Bart Simpson. A property, with all the above qualities was found, but this one was in the picturesque town of Saint-Loup (six minutes drive from where we live – Anna timed it). It was going for a song and had been on the market for a while; we were amazed that nobody had snapped it up (mind you, we only knew it was on the market when we saw the hand written ‘for sale’ Post-it note stuck on the front door and before we had seen the diagnostic report, which was a weighty tome). We were taken through the extensive document line by line by a very thorough notaire, highlighting everything from flooding, seismic activity, high radon levels (his advice was to open a window every now and then) and a mushroom that can destroy some properties (but thankfully our house didn’t have it) and termites (didn’t have) - all we needed was plague and pestilence

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

to have the set (speaking of which face masks were worn throughout and after signing on his little electronic pad, he was very thorough wiping down his little electronic pen). We do enjoy a night out, but are happy shutting ourselves away in our French idyll and pottering around the compound - which we do most of the time, ‘antisocial’ I think is the word. What with this seclusion and running an English language magazine for two years our use of French was not called upon much. The first time we visited our new property a stream of friendly French neighbours came out, introduced themselves, took us into their homes for a coffee, showed us their art collection, I have never relied quite so heavily on my good friend Michel Thomas. Even as we were unloading the van a gentleman sauntered over and asked us if we had any metal...Anna thought he was from the mairie and asked him where we could collect our wheelie bin...he left looking very confused. Anna, like so many others, has just taken the road to Niort and become a French resident. It therefore seems apposite that we should now engage more in the community we have chosen to live in. We are coming out, and it feels liberating. Being an Irish passport holder myself, I have not had to suffer the indignity of having my fingerprints stamped like a common criminal.

Cartoon by STEVE SHAW



by Anthea Libby

I experimented with various media and exhibited some of my work at the Looe and District Art & Craft Society (I ended up becoming their chairman for two years). A tourist who liked my work invited me to exhibit in the Great Grimsby Art Exhibition which I did for several years, one year winning their Watercolour Prize. I also won the Watercolour prize at the Three Spires in Truro. The painting shown here of a cow and new born calf also exhibited there. It was the time of BSE and I called the painting ‘What’s to become of us?’ Will never sell it!


eading The Deux-Sèvres Monthly recently, I was surprised to find a painting of mine being referred to in the letters section. I contacted Tony & Lynne and they kindly offered me this space to tell my story so far. It was strange the way it started! I always wanted to paint horses, as my old school friend could so well, so as a busy farmer’s wife and mother of two boys, I bought my ‘cheap’ set of oil paints, a cheap canvas board, some ‘cheap’ brushes and began. Thought it was great at the time, but as my painting improved, I realized how much I had to learn and that it is no good going cheap! I could not put the brushes down though, each painting had to be better than the last! I began classes with Bill Sharples, a superb watercolourist, sneaking peaks over his shoulder. I thought I’d give that medium a try and was surprised how good it felt and how totally different it was to oils. I learnt negative painting, as you must in watercolour, realizing how ‘spaces between’ are vital to the overall composition. Over time my strength developed in pet portraits and I began to get commissions and sell my work.

As my career went from strength to strength, I joined the Society of Floral painters, exhibited in Sweden with them and began teaching in Adult Education in Cornwall. I was elected as an Associate of the British Watercolour Society, travelled to Italy and exhibited there in Arezzo, with 4 other ladies, three of them Italian, and lots more. It was definitely becoming my main occupation and my sons took on the tractor driving, calf rearing, etc. I decided that it was time I took this ‘a bit more seriously’ and began the Falmouth College Foundation Course. What a shock THAT was! The challenges it gave me were incredible. We used all sorts of funny materials, like prints of tomatoes and cow dung! I gained a place at Falmouth for the five year (part time) degree course, but I only lasted two years. After my marriage broke down I managed to buy a house here in France (very cheaply) in 2001 and my new life began. With so much renovation work to get done, my painting took a back seat for a while but I am now doing more including a commissioned copy of Queen Victoria for Donna and Paul Newman at the Chateau de Saugé (one of my drawings is on their range of beer bottles), sets for TheatriVasles theatre and doing the painting weekend at Magné. I was hoping to have a retrospective last year and was offered the Salle de Fête or the church by our mairie, but COVID got in the way. Lets hope for better days to come, and I must get around to finishing the Sunflower paintings that have been left for too long!

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 15

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine & Saint-Varent

by Sue Burgess

Medieval bridge at Saint-Varent Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine

A voir/ Must see

Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine is situated at the West of the Deux-Sèvres in «la Gâtine», close to the boundaries of the Vendée. Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine is between 118 and 262 metres above sea-level. It is the second highest point in the Deux Sèvres. The river Vendée has its source on the commune of SaintPaul-en-Gâtine. The river flows from its spring in a pond at La Sauvagère, just a few minutes walk from L’Absie. The commune is close to L’Absie and Scillé in the Deux-Sèvres, and in Vendée, it borders on La Chapelle-aux-Lys, Breuil Barret and Saint-Hilaire-de-Voust. Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine is a rural commune. 97% of the surface area of the commune is used for agricultural land. In 1997, the 5th stage of the Tour de France passed through the commune. There were 447 inhabitants on the commune in 2018. Ernest Perochon, the author, was the primary school teacher in Saint-Paulen-Gâtine from 1909 to 1914. It was whilst he was living and working in the village that he wrote his first masterpiece «Les Creux des Maisons ». 16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

The church of Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine. The commune of Saint-Paul is mentioned in writings in 1151 – and the name of Saint-Paul-en-Gâtine is found from the end of the XIIIth century. The parish is linked to a priory that belonged to the abbey of Cluny in Burgundy. The old building of the priory is a few metres south of the church. The archishop of Bordeaux, Bertrand de Goth visited St-Paul in April, 1305. It was during this visit that he learned that he had been chosen to be Pope by the cardinals. He took the name of Clément V and was the first Pope at Avignon. The church is built on a slope. 6 steps lead to the beautiful XVth century door which is decorated with three empty coats of arms. When you enter the nave, you get the impression that the church is long. There is no central aisle, you walk up the side aisles. The modern vaulted roof has been repainted not so long ago. Part of the top of the Gothic stained glass window is hidden because the ceiling was lowered at some point in the past. Parts of the walls were rebuilt in the XIXth century. There are two altars at the end of the nave, one dedicated to the Virgin Mary on the left and the other, on the right, is dedicated to Saint Joseph.


The stone altar is in the second bay of the choir and is reached by three steps. Several old houses still exist in the village and the small church is the witness to many years of faith and belief in the village.

L’Aumônerie de Riblaire The Saint Jacques alms house at Riblaire was founded by the monks of Airvault. Situated on the road to Compostella, it was a place for rest and often for nursing care. The alms house also took in the poor, orphans and the sick who could find shelter here. Les lanternes des morts / the lanterns of the dead There are two. They surround the cross on the tomb of Sénéchault, the priest of Saint-Varent who died in 1883. Only about a hundred lanterns of the dead exist in France including the two in Saint-Varent.

Le Thouaret at Saint-Varent Saint-Varent The commune of Saint-Varent is in the North of the Deux Sèvres. The river Thouaret ( a tributary of the Thouet), flows across the commune. Saint Varent is 11 km from Thouars. The inhabitants are known as the Saint-Varentais and the SaintVarentaises. The area around Saint-Varent was settled by man as far back as the Neolithic period. Then the Celts, the Gauls and the Gallo-Romans followed. A lot of ruins and remains have been uncovered. Visitors can admire the romanesque bridge over the Thouaret – the Renaissance chapel St Pierre at Boucoeur, the church that dates from the 19th century and the old mills. Origin and History The Varan (lizard) of Saint-Varent, a fairy story or a legend ?

Nature and the environment Saint-Varent has always been a leader in this area. The solar heated pool was built 25 years ago. Two wood burners have recently been installed. St Varent has won several prizes for its public equipment. It is one of the communes that uses the least amounts of fossil fuels in relation to its public amenities. The Thouaret meanders through the town centre before flowing into the Thouet a few kilometres downstream. The Thouet then flows into the Loire about 20km further north. At Volbine, the water winds through granite blocks, there are several old mills (from the bridge and at Conquenuche) and green spaces have been arranged for people to relax in. This natural area is habitat to one of the 27 nesting colonies of Deux-Sèvres bats. A Voir / Must See • XVth century three arched bridge. • A linden tree (on the church square) planted at the birth of Napoleon Bonaparte’s first son. • A « rue de la Préfecture », although there has never been a prefecture in St Varent. • The carré militaire (military square), which is in fact round, in the cemetery.

Neither one nor the other. It comes from a drawing of a Komodo dragon. In 2017 the commune was looking for a story arc for the trade fair Les Cré’actives. The idea came from the similarity between the spelling of varan and varent. The lizard now features on information panels to allow you to discover the commune and the area around St Varent. The quarry The quarry extracts rock and transforms it for use in road and rail building, for the improvement of urban areas or housing.

The Church The church was built on the remains of the old church that dated from the 10th February 1095. It had been restored in the XVIIth century but then collapsed in 1854 and had to be rebuilt. The church has a nave which points in the opposite direction to usual, and beams and carpentry in the shape of an upturned boat. The bell tower is made of the local white stone from the Loire valley. Le Château de La Brosse Le Château de La Brosse dates from at least 1434. During the Revolution it was burned down by the Republicans. The château, as it is today, dates from the XIXth century. It is privately owned.

Church at Saint-Varent The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 17

Photographs by Sue Burgess

Two viewpoints are available for the public (one on the road to Pierrefitte and the other at «Le Patis»). The viewpoints overlook the quarry. The Butte des Tonnelles, an old slag heap, has been opened up to walkers and gives a wonderful view of the town centre.

Home and Garden

Love your


Now is the time to: • Summer bedding plants are becoming more widely available now, so it’s a great time to plant up troughs and hanging baskets, or just use them to fill any gaps in beds and borders. • After such a dry spring, remember to regularly water anything newly planted. • If you have any tree ferns, spray the trunks and crowns with water to prevent them from drying out. This also helps to keep the foliage in good condition.

by Greenfingers

• Cut back spring flowering perennials especially if they are showing signs of mildew or are getting straggly. This encourages new leaf growth and a second flowering and stops the mildew from spreading.


he lengthening daylight has a huge effect on our gardening possibilities and opportunities, it is sometimes difficult to come inside, even after a day hard at work in the fresh air……and the list of ‘jobs’ just seems to get longer! The sun on the skin (protected of course!) feels so good and a cotton sun hat on my head is a great replacement for the woolly pom-pom model. The weather still hasn’t settled itself down and the end of spring has been really dry and watering has once again become the ritualistic norm. We have had rain here this week, real downpours, but not for long and I was ‘hailed’ on twice last week! I had to stop gardening in the end as my CD player was getting wet. It is lovely now that we can travel a bit further and bedding plants are now beginning to arrive in abundance ….. and are irresistible! The harvest has been going on here, a sign that all the ‘natural’ things are happening in spite of Covid. We are used to enormous ‘engins agricoles’ passing right by our house, with headlights full on at night and the inevitable dust…..but I’m not a compulsive car washer any way! I have been enjoying refashioning the shape of the garden and have just about got round to some planting. I bought lots of tubers and roots in bags on various ‘reduced’ counters and so almost have my own nursery on the terrasse, there are so many pots! It’s great to see shoots coming through on specimens that only cost me 50cts to a couple of euros. If they don’t grow, I haven’t lost much. The bluebells have been at their best ever and the hedychiums are sprouting well … they will definitely have to be divided very soon. My sister’s partner has helped with some heavy work, so the arch is finally up and in the process of being painted lucky Chinese red and he has made good use of a pick axe, digging out some really stubborn roots. I’m looking forward to being able to resume walking in the forest of Mervent on Sunday …. it’s been ages since we were able to do that and the three of us will look forward to the coffee and pain au chocolat afterwards …. maybe the outside tables will be up at last! The Plan d’Eau at La Tardière is so pleasant too, and is a wildflower paradise with wild orchids everywhere. Di and I have been walking there twice a week and Neil joins us on Sundays. It’s well worth a visit. The vaccination programme seems to have finally been organised and we are lucky enough to have had both our ‘jabs’. It does make us feel ‘protected’, but of course still very cautious. Let’s hope everyone can be ‘done’ soon and we’ll all feel more secure. On that note, I hope that you’ll all remain cautious too, get your ‘jab’ when you can, and get outside as much as possible to get the sun on your skin and feel relaxed. Enjoy whatever you do outside and take care.


18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

• Tie into supports, new, weak and sappy growth of wisteria, clematis, honeysuckle and jasmine. Whilst doing this, trim out any overcrowded stems or any growth that looks diseased or dead. Use soft ties in such a way as to ensure stems have good access to sunlight. • Deadhead roses, using secateurs…..cutting down to the first leaf beneath the flower. Keep an eye out for the signs of black spot on the leaves. This condition is much more likely to develop in warm, damp conditions. Cut out any ‘sucker’ stems from the base of the plant. These will not flower and just sap energy from the main growth. These suckers are easy to identify….they grow directly from the base of the main plant, they are dead straight, tall and have, usually seven leaflets. • Prune spring flowering shrubs, removing old stems as soon as the flowers have faded, thus encouraging new stems to grow, these will carry next spring’s flowers.

Great the Sun and wide he goes, through empty heaven and repose, And in the blue and glowing days, more thick than rain he showers his rays; Though closer still the blinds we pull, to keep the shady parlour cool, Yet he will find a chink or two to slip his golden fingers through. The dusty attic, spider clad, he through the keyhole, maketh glad, And through the broken edge of tiles, into the laddered hay-loft, smiles. Meantime, his golden face around, he bares to all the garden ground, And sheds a warm and glittering look, among the ivy’s inmost nook. Above the hills, along the blue, round the bright air with footing true, To please the child, to paint the rose, The Gardener of the World he goes. Robert Louis Stephenson 1850-1894

• Cutting down old flower spikes of penstemons during the summer months will extend flowering and make the plant more vigorous. These plants tend to become straggly after a few years and a good pruning keeps them in shape and aids the production of new growth. Add compost to the planting hole when adding them to the flower bed or pot, and mulching aids moisture retention and protects against frost. • Lift and divide clumps of snowdrops and bluebells once the foliage has begun to turn yellow. • Allow spring bulb foliage to die back naturally to ensure improved flowering next year.

• Sow the seeds of winter bedding such as primroses, violas and wallflowers. Wallflowers are especially good for their delightful perfume which permeates the garden when they are flowering. • Cut back oriental poppies right to the ground to encourage new foliage growth. • Divide spring flowering bulbs when all the foliage has died down. Small bulbils can be broken away from the main bulb and can be potted up and grown on. • Some variegated shrubs may be showing signs of reverting to ‘all green’. If this happens, trim away the ‘all green’ or any yellow or white leaves and this should help to stop the process. Euonymus is particularly prone to doing this. The very pretty and interesting twisted hazel tree, will only stay red and twisted if the green straight poles are removed from the base of the trunk. These poles are really useful in the garden as support stakes or for turning into ‘wigwams’ when growing runner beans. • Place straw or a dry mulch under the foliage of strawberry plants to protect the developing fruit from rain splash and mud damage.

• Once sweet peas begin flowering, pick them for vases in the house or give these perfumed beauties to friends. More blooms will develop as a reward. • Tall perennials will need staking to protect them from wind damage, make sure they are attached firmly to the supports. • Hardy perennial geraniums may have finished flowering by the end of the month and will need a good haircut to improve their shape and to encourage the growth of new foliage and flowers. These reliable plants can be divided now. • Lavender flowers at the top of the plants will be good to ‘harvest’ now for use in cooking or to make lavender bags for the wardrobe. Continued overleaf .....

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 19

Continued .....

• Keep potatoes watered well in order for tubers to reach a good size, reducing the chance of ‘scab’ developing. • Keep feeding tomatoes with a high potash feed…….this feed is good for fuchsias too! • Cordon tomatoes will need support for the main stem. Pinch out side shoots regularly. When the plant has made four trusses outdoors, cut off the growing point, leaving two leaves above the highest truss. • Aubergines, courgettes, sweet corn, tomatoes and squashes can be transplanted outdoors if not already done. Keep the fleece handy however, just in case!! • Prune back gooseberries, red currants and white currants by trimming back this years’ growth to five leaves.

• Bindweed grows so well once the weather is wet and warm. Pull out as much as you can, being aware that every little bit left in the soil will redevelop and creep everywhere. Couch grass, with its’ thick white roots is another ‘nuisance’ on the same scale; almost impossible to eradicate without the help of a weed killer. It always reminds me of cooked spaghetti in the soil! • Prune ornamental cherry and plum trees after the blossom has faded. Make cuts with sharp secateurs or a tree saw and keep the cuts to a minimum. Wounds do not heal quickly and there is always a danger of disease entering the tree.

• If the weather is very dry over a period of time avoid cutting the grass too short. • Protect soft fruit from bird attacks by draping the plants with bird netting. • Sow quick growing crops such as salad leaves, radishes and spring onions in between slower growing vegetables. • Borage is a good plant to encourage or introduce into the veg patch. It is a magnet for pollinating bees and other insects which feed on aphids. Borage seeds itself all over the garden and is a pretty plant with a cucumber like perfume.

• There is still plenty of time to sow annual seeds, either directly into the soil or into pots and troughs. Cosmos and osteospermum are good examples to sow. These will germinate quickly and the flowers will last well into the autumn. • Sow ornamental grass seeds, so that they can develop into good sized plants before autumn. • Remove spent flowers from euphorbias, pruning flowered stems back to ground level. Always wear gloves when tending these plants as the sap is an irritant and can affect the skin and the eyes quite badly. If you do get sap in the eyes, irrigate them copiously with clean cold water and go to the Urgences. • Plants with shallow roots dry out quickly, so make sure they are watered well especially when they are putting on new growth. • Perennial flower plants can be pruned hard now; rudbeckia, heleniums, solidago, etc, remove about a third of all stems and foliage….this stimulates the production of sideshoots and more flowers. • Take cuttings whenever you can to increase stock, or just for the fun of watching them grow and knowing they have cost you nothing! Use softwood stems, removing the leaves from the base and potting up into free draining compost. If you take cuttings of pelargoniums, don’t put them in the greenhouse, the humidity will encourage the growth of mildew. • If you are growing blueberries, water with rainwater---- tap water reduces the acidity of the soil and it will become more alkaline. These plants prefer to be in an acidic environment in order to fruit well. • Hoe flower beds regularly to remove weeds when they are small and easier to deal with. • Sow fennel seeds now as the plants are less likely to bolt than sowings made earlier in the year. • Leeks can be planted out when they are of pencil thickness.

20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

• Fill gaps between vegetables by sowing herbs. Sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme need warmth and free draining soil and will do well with the protection of the veg plants. Fennel, lovage and lemon balm make good additions to the flower bed. I’ve planted parsley in a border and always thought it behaved like an annual, but it has survived all weathers and has doubled in size and makes a super looking plant. Harvest beetroot, garlic (plait it with straw and allow the skin to dry), cabbages and cauliflowers. • Sow pak choi, mizuna and chinese cabbage for oriental tastes to a salad. • After weeding, water well and mulch to keep the moisture in.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 21


by Donna Palframan

All photographs by Donna Palframan


ek! Sergio, my manure man says he doesn’t have any… at the moment, which has thrown a bit of the spanner in the works but with a bit of juggling, it will work out. So, what has been happening in the potager? Some rain in the last week or two has had a great effect on directly sown seeds – radish, beetroot, carrots, parsnips and spinach are all germinating nicely but the lettuce still seem to be holding back! Last year, or maybe the year before? I dropped a couple of lettuce seeds on some very old sheep manure and they germinated and were actually the best ones I’ve ever grown and really all I did was water them when I realised they were there. Why does that happen? Carefully sown seeds – right time, depth etc, say ‘nope, I’m not germinating’ but drop a couple and they grow into beautiful specimens. Note to self – get some sucrine seeds! One of my new favourites is griddled sucrine. Cut into wedges, I do use them with left over balsamic vinaigrette (homemade, naturellement!) and put them on a hot griddle. They make a wonderful change from a raw salad. Another great use of a lettuce glut is soup… Sorry, I diverge! With the weather finally warming up a bit, the tomatoes have decided to put a bit of effort in now as well. This time last year I planted out my tomatoes and my bushy ones will be planted in the polytunnel in the next week but the indeterminate varieties are still lagging behind a bit, still they will catch up…won’t they?! Although they germinated quite quickly, they just haven’t developed as quickly as I expected – I did the same as I do every year. Ah well. It’s going to be a haricot sort of year, I think this year. I sowed some seeds in pots and they are doing very nicely and seem to be largely ignored by the slugs which have decided they have a penchant for cornichons this year as they have nearly decimated them, about 75% are now just stalks. Luckily it isn’t too late to sow more! I need to check under all the pots as they have also been nibbling on the courgettes. I’ve decided not to sow any squashes this year, partly because my Hugel bed isn’t finished yet as I’m waiting for Sergio to tell us he has more manure ready and partly because we still have quite a lot in the freezer. While we do enjoy it in soups and pastries and the such like, it isn’t something that we need to stockpile. Now spinach and leafy vegetables are another matter. The first sowings in pots of four varieties of kale have germinated and more will be sown directly. ‘Cut and come again’ type leaves are best for my potager, I’ve decided, rather than cabbage types, (apart from Brussels sprouts) as they take up less space and it is more cost and space effective for me to buy a cabbage when I want one. The same with cauliflower – I haven’t been

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

very successful with cauliflowers so why waste the space? I buy seasonal vegetables, so when they are a good price, in season, will buy them and freeze what we don’t use. I have a thing about red cabbage coleslaw so we end up with pickled cabbage and braised red cabbage (in the freezer). One of my tasks this year is to ensure a better variety of frozen vegetables and lots of spinach. We really didn’t have enough spinach in the freezer last year. Although I didn’t manage to grow many swede last year (the caterpillars loved the young leaves!), we had some for the freezer but this year need more. As we have a plant based diet, variety, along with lentils and beans, is the spice of life. Before changing my diet, a lot of vegetables were used as accompaniments and I would have NEVER dreamed of putting sprouts or beetroot in a tart but I have quite a repertoire now of lovely quiches, pies and pasties. I am now the proud gardener of TWO asparagus spears. One each! I’m still not sure if the old crowns I transplanted are going to come to much, but we’ll see and in the meantime, seeds are being sown around the edge of the asparagus bed. I hate to see bare soil when it should have something growing from it! After the asparagus season, when I’m sure no more will be growing, the bed will be put over to winter veggies. I’m going to work hard this year to make sure we have a good variety of winter veggies just ready for the picking. That is all for this month but hopefully there will be some good news about Sergio’s manure availability!

When is ‘enough stuff’ enough?!

by Kevin and Amanda Baughen

later in the year, queen excluders and frames, as well as ruchettes for housing swarms, and of course all the equipment required for the honey harvest at the end of the summer. So you’d think we have everything covered : think again!


he simple answer is ‘Never!’ It is a truth universally acknowledged that whatever hobby you take up, whether it’s cycling, baking, gardening, or beekeeping, there is always more equipment that you can acquire. You may not actually need that much kit to get enjoyment from your activity, but there will come a time when you decide to get a few more things in order to get the most from your chosen leisure pursuit. We always advise those new to beekeeping to equip themselves with a few essentials, so that along with a colony of bees, and somewhere to put them (a hive of some type, rather than a kennel or a hutch!), the basic requirements are protective clothing, a hive tool and a smoker, plus some training, and away you go. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have a few hive tools (despite your best efforts you are going to lose one or more in the long grass), and maybe a couple of smokers, together with a spare suit, and lots of pairs of gloves….and generally the advice is to have more than one colony of bees so that you can compare and contrast…Before you know it, your shed or garage will contain more than one spare brood box, a few supers and lots of frames. If you decide to make or put together your own hives then the whole assembly business requires different tools, so instantly you need more DIY equipment. Perhaps now you see why the minimalist approach doesn’t necessarily apply to beekeeping?!

It’s currently ‘swarm season’ and so we have our standard ‘collection kit’ ready for swarm call-outs; however, swarms are rarely ‘standard’. To this end we have equipped ourselves with a couple of extra gadgets, one home-made and one expensive but worth every centime. The home-made item is a ‘bee vac’, essentially a vacuum cleaner which will safely suck up the bees into a container from which they can be re-homed. Bee vacs can be bought but are expensive, so beekeepers have worked out what’s required and have built their own, using good old trial and error. The things to bear in mind are weight and suction power, both of which need to be as low as possible for the sake of the bees and the beekeeper! The other item is a thermal imaging camera for locating bees behind walls or in loft spaces; being able to identify where the little darlings are nesting makes their removal a lot easier. Of course you don’t need this but it does help if you have this kind of task to perform. So, if you’ve got quite enough Lycra cycling outfits and golf clubs for one lifetime, why not try beekeeping as a hobby? Think of all the equipment you can justifiably acquire…. Contact us on 05 45 71 22 90 or or visit our website

Is there an end in sight to the collection of more kit items? Not really, as there is always something new to buy or build, or modify from other ideas. Our shed is full to bursting with stacks of winter quilt boxes, insulation roofs, spare supers for The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 23

Travel Death and Hell The Procession of the DamNed Photographs by Howard Needs

The Procession of the Damned (Le Cortège des Damnés) is the third of the processional paintings, and although it is found as a separate theme in more than a few churches, it is really a part of the grand theme of The Last Judgement, as can be seen in the painting in the Abbatiale Saint- Austremoine, Issoire, Puy-de-Dôme, XV (see DSM April 2020). On Judgement day the dead arise from their coffins and are brought to St Michael, who weighs their sins and good deeds. The saved are then led by angels to be greeted by St Peter, whilst the Damned are led off by demons and devils to the mouth of hell. The mouth of hell is portrayed in various horrific forms, as will be apparent in the photos. Some churches seem to have a standalone procession, but this of course could be due to loss of the rest of the Last Judgement, either by degradation or by later painting campaigns that have been determined as being more important. I am showing paintings from seven churches, and two photos of parts of Last Judgements found sculpted in the portals of two cathedrals.

by Howard Needs


Only recently were wall paintings discovered during restoration work on La Prieuré de la Poraire, Chapelle Saint Nicolas , Chiché, Deux-Sèvres, end XII. Of these the most intact is the Procession of the Damned, with the men and women being led, with rope or chain around their necks, by devils, the women first, into the mouth of hell – Leviathan. The figures are almost caricatures, the women with longer hair than the men and in more disarray than the men, with their grim, similar faces . The chapel is privately owned but has been opened in the past for Les Journées du Patrimoine.


The sculpture above the central west portal of La Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, Bourges, Cher, XII-XIII, shows the weighing of souls and the saved being led off to the left to a seated figure. These persons are clothed and have an appearance of wellbeing and respectability and seem to be mixed male and female. To the right are the Damned, naked, being driven and carried by devils towards and into a fiery cauldron representing hell. Again, male and female figures can be seen.


L’Église Notre-Dame, Antigny, Vienne, XII, has a procession of the saved and the Damned but no trace of the judgement. Additionally, the church has a side chapel also full of paintings, including sinners burning in hell. As with the other representations, the figures are naked – the saved praying on their knees and two of the Damned looking backwards as if they are regretful.


The second sculpture, from La Cathédrale Notre-Dame, Amiens, Somme, XIII, is part of a multi-level frieze decorating the west portal, but the photo shows only the Damned, being driven by a devil towards the mouth of Leviathan, again representing hell. Leviathan is a mythical monster in Judaism and the Old Testament, but in Christianity it represents the devil and the mouth of hell. St Jacques 24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021



The church of the same name at Saint-Jacques-des-Guérets, Loiret-Cher, end XII, has two beast-faced devils leading a procession of chained figures. This community is situated in the Loir valley, which is home to a number of churches with fresques.

conventional sinners, this in itself perhaps reflecting changes in the church as it matured.

L’Église Saint-Genest, Lavardin, Loir-et-Cher, mid-XII, also in the Loir valley, is a church richly endowed with remarkably well-preserved wall paintings (so much so that photographing them was a long task). The Procession of the Damned is situated above a side arch of the nave along with the rest of the Last Judgement. The photo shows the procession with its devils, one holding a chain, and naked figures being led towards the cauldron full of other sinners. However, here the hair and two crowns of the sinners indicate status, something that is entirely missing in the other paintings. The top of the photo has the procession of the saved being welcomed into heaven. St Maxime

I have found little in the literature or on the Internet about the Procession of the Damned and have thus kept to my own observations and am letting the photos tell the tale of these remains of an earlier faith.


L’Église Abbatiale Saint-André , Lavaudieu, Haute-Loire, XIII, still has quite some paintings, one of which is a procession with the devils feeding the sinners into the mouth of Leviathan, which seems to have flames issuing from it to make things worse. The church contains another painting quite unique in France of a woman portraying death casting arrows upon the people surrounding her – the arrows representing the plague. I have included the two photos of Saint-Austremoine, Issoire, XV, and L’Église Saint -Mexme, Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, XV, because they are of a later date and more sophisticated in their style. However, these are not a procession but are groups of people being herded into the fiery cauldron or the mouth of Leviathan. They also show monks, with their shaven pate, included with the more

Rigny-Ussé The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 25

SOPHIE Sophie arrived recently with her tiny kittens. She is young and very sweet. She will be available for reservation soon. Please contact us if you are interested in Sophie or any of our other beautiful cats available for adoption.

Association W793001884

Our Furry Friends

Le Grand Beaupuits, 79200, Saint-Germain-de-Longue-Chaume Association number W793001884. Email: Association : W792005754


Falko is a 1 year old German shepherd cross groendael, a lovely natured boy who loves long walks and always being by your side. He knows all the basic training and gets along well with dogs and cats but can be very excitable. He needs an active family who would regularly do agility or tracking with him so he can use his work drive to prevent him getting bored and making his own entertainment. Falko is neutered and vaccinated and is in foster in North of dept 16.

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

Visit the 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





Billy Boy came to us a few weeks ago in a terrible condition after years as a stray. Admittedly, he is not the most handsome chap, but he is adorably cuddly, and loves affection. He has tested FIV+ so would have to be an only cat and kept indoors. He does get eye infections sometimes, but they are easily treatable. If you are looking for a characterful cat, who is desperate to be loved, then Billy is your boy. Sterilised and id-chipped. Chats de Chatillon Cat Refuge & Pension Email : Phone : 06 85 63 55 94 Website :

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


N RNA W792002789

Siret n° 508 517 455 000 12

As spring transforms into summer, the kitten season commences. As in previous years, the calls and emails have already started. A number of kittens will be launched on our website shortly as soon as they start the weaning process and venture away from mum. They will be available for adoption from approximately 8 - 10 weeks of age. Reservations can be made by filling in an adoption request on our website (available in English if preferred). All kittens will be identified and vaccinated and, in accordance with our adoption contract, must be sterilised/castrated at the appropriate age. This is also a period of great expense to the association the adoption fee seldom covers the actual <<frais réels>> so all donations whether financial or by other means are all very welcome too.

The Assocation Orfée tel: 09 77 48 71 43 or by email: 26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

Billy Boy


Introducing the Lovely ’Rita’. A Beauceron cross female of 5.5 years - an adorable sassy lady who loves tranquility who’s hugely affectionate, obedient and is easy with dogs and cats alike. She just yearns for that kind loving forever home. A nice secure garden to wander and folk who are present most of the time as this lady doesn’t like loneliness.....and a calm life is what she is expecting ‘Rita’ is with her current owners in 86 near Montmorillon. We’re really hoping that ‘Rita’ won’t have to wait too long to begin her new journey to her happy ever after. Identified, vaccinated up-to-date, spayed. Please message us for more info .... but don’t leave it too long. email : (in English or French) Chemin des Perchées, 85200 Fontenay le Comte SIRET : 508 517 455 000 12

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword (with thanks to Rob Berry) Clues Across 1. A marine gastropod; mollusk with a low conical shell (6) 4. Take in liquids, absorb (6) 8. A book of photographs (5) 9. Prohibited by law (7) 10. A former province of western France in the Loire valley (5) 11. Moisten with fine drops; very light rain (7) 12. Finishing position after 79 (9) 15. Sporting games held every four years (7) 16. A frame of iron bars to hold a fire (5) 17. A Kingdom in north-western Africa linked to France (7) 18. A loose garment worn by Muslim women (5)

19. Lacking strength or vigour (6) 20. The world’s largest desert (6) Clues Down 2. A land mass that is surrounded by water (6) 3. A nuclear weapon (9-4) 5. Succeed at easily (6-7) 6. A small short-haired smoothcoated breed of hound (6) 7. An instrument for determining whether a person is telling the truth (3-8) 13. A small recess opening off a larger room (6) 14. A labourer who tends fires (6)

DSM Toughie Crossword (with thanks to Mike Morris)

Send us in your favourite and, if we like it, we’ll publish it along with your name

JUNE 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 - 50 Not bad 51 - 100 Quite good 101 - 150 Very good 151 + Expert

Clues Down 1. Confess the French are on their own? (7) 2. Get better result from investing everything in railway terminals? (5) 3. Directions given to popular watering holes. (4) 4. Teacher of Samuel inspired centralisation. (3) 5. Reportedly dodges indoor game? (8) 6. Coaches settle on an American? (7) 7. Make approaches to those close to the monarch? (5) 12. Starts to use cunning in river to bring the scores level? (5) 13. Authorised chemical company to put article among waste products? (8) 15. Equipment right for one trying to have a ball? (7) 18. Slovenly mess and leader of nightshift not turning up leads to multiple firings. (7) 19. One in a hurry to change his life’s work with no end of drive? (5) 21. Angel in one real mix-up! (5) 22. Use a recipe for one, getting a mess of potage? (4) 24. Aged, lacking energy, but turning up to look for pleasure? (3)



The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 27

Solutions on P.42-43


Clues Across 1. Single queen faced with depravity but getting some help? (7) 5. Priest at centre of church scrap? (5) 8. Material many Londoners wear? (5) 9. Popular firm upsetting nun is unknown in Paris (and elsewhere?). (7) 10. Puts down those not being affiliated to a church? (4) 11. Notice project worker is assistant to an officer. (8) 14. Collection of originals of stamps exhibited temporarily. (3) 16. Make mistake of releasing energy for article of flute playing? (5) 17. Powerful vehicle acceptable in introduction of Seats and Volvos? (3) 19. Veer madly into rice, crashing into fence? (8) 20. You would enjoy having one! (4) 23. Getting stick over metal work? (7) 25. Just a small portion of muesli cereal. (5) 26. Country sport taking the place of love in unwritten test. (5) 27. Do blues work in carbon copies? (7)



What connects the following ... 1. 2. 3. 4.

a. A feather b. A US flag c. The ashes of Eugene Shoemaker d. Two golf balls a. First Christian leader of Bulgarian Empire b. Pseudonym of French singer Philippe Dhondt c. A lunar crater d. UK Prime Minister born in New York a. Burnley b. Stoke c. Aston Villa d. Everton a. France b. Mali c. Burkina Faso d. Togo

3 2 3 5 6


8 7 9


6 4 9


3 8


6 9 3 7 5

1 5 5 2






Word Search Generator





















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Solutions on P.42-43



ll expat Brits must surely come together to express their dismay, on top of everything else, at the news of the chronic shortage of garden gnomes and concrete ornaments. ‘We haven’t seen a gnome for months’ sniffled one distraught Gloucestershire garden centre manager. The news media has been full of the failure of the ‘just in time’ or whatever it is called system of market supply that has been caused, in part, by the possible carelessness of the driver of the monster container ship ‘Ever Given’, or a wind and dust storm occurring in, or around, the Suez Canal. My personal theory is that there was a gnome mutiny within the 18,000 container community packed on board which went a bit wrong, but take your pick. Anyway, there it is, the ‘Ever Given’ seems to be possibly ever stuck and intent on causing a one-way monumental traffic jam and distressing shortages in the retail gardening market.

But STOP PRESS: a now rescued, released but not apparently in a rush to return to normal shipping life, the ‘Ever Given’ has been seen, parked out of the way, at anchor and presumably clocking up huge bills for all sorts of interested parties in the Suez Canal Parking Zone. You can imagine the ship parking meter having to be constantly reset, or perhaps they have been able to acquire a season ticket. Sadly, however, there is no news of any gnomes having arrived in Gloucestershire, so just not in time or until we have saved up, or otherwise. All we can say at this time about the Gnomes of Suez is that they are undoubtedly still fishing. Anyway, in a more positive ‘Wind in the Willows’ frame of mind this shipping news has caused me to reflect on Ratty’s observation to Mole: ‘Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half as much worth doing as

messing about in boats’. Quite right. As a family we have messed about in boats, including running aground and being blown off course, for all of my life and this essential enjoyable experience I have passed on to my children. They too mess about in boats, skippering, crewing, sailing, canoeing, rowing and having all too familiar misadventures with inconvenient slabs of land mass. For many seasons now we have tootled around in our small day boat, the ‘Not Titanic’, but First Daughter has recently taken up rowing so for her this ‘messing about’ has just gotten serious! Now that the weather has improved, and the various rowing crews can mix outdoors in a not so socially distanced way, all the talk is of placements within the ‘eight’, yep, weight distribution and stuff is very important. First Daughter is rowing at stroke. Meanwhile, back on terra firma the junior action men of the family are out there wearing all the correct gear for whatever sport is paramount at the moment, currently baseball and football. Baseball, is Baseball, fair and diamond-shaped; what you see is what you get; large catching glove, bat, cap, knee protectors; a fairly economical team kit in the sensible, non-flamboyant outfit requirement department even for speciality Third Base men. Striking, throwing, catching and sliding is what baseballers do to earn their places on the team. Football on the other hand is not soccer, but a no-contact tag runabout. It means wearing lots of gear, monster protective gloves and mouth guard, and with yellow ‘flags’ flapping as a means to facilitate ‘tackling’, but not the touchy crunchy kind, if you get what I mean. Definitely no gratuitous rough stuff; athletic and artistic are the skills much prized. So as we are now probably all worn out just reading about it, we must leave all the action men and women in their recovery positions, and continue our support for the gnomes wherever they may be. Summer is threatening to break out, BBQs are being scrubbed and all thoughts are turning to vacation destinations, with or without the confusing necessary health protocols. So enjoy yourselves out there and take care.

Expat The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 29

Staycation Special ST YCATION SPECIAL Staycation

/steɪˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/ noun a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

With uncertainty regarding the rules around travelling abroad, is it time to consider a holiday ‘at home’? A so-called ‘Staycation’? This does not, necessarily at least, mean literally staying ‘at home’ of course but does usually mean staying within the borders of your home country. Think of a Staycation as a holiday that requires NO flights or ferries. NO border controls or associated, increasingly complex, paperwork. NO money to change, NO baggage restrictions, NO phrase book to search out every time you want a meal. Staying local to your home means you get an opportunity to visit places you love or visit places you’ve always meant to or even take pot luck and try something entirely new. A Staycation allows you to really discover the heart of a place instead of simply checking destinations off a to-do list. While you are making the most of the opportunity to visit the areas NEAR you, why not take advantage of the great accommodation available. Sometimes all you need is a few days away from your normal routine to feel completely rejuvenated. This detox can be mentally revitalizing and can lift spirits. A Staycation is a great way to focus on what is important and slow things down. Perhaps start a new hobby and do things you’ve always wanted to but have never had the time. As well as being great for YOU, think of the benefits for local restaurants, hotels, leisure activities and shops ... which is surely the need of the hour. This is a really important reason to travel locally at the moment, as the pandemic has had a significant impact on not only the travel and tourism trade, but also small businesses. You might decide to take one long break or several smaller ones throughout the year. Visit one area for two weeks or several different places for long weekends or mid-week breaks. Staying closer to home makes it easier to reduce your carbon footprint, a huge added bonus if you’re conscious of your impact on the environment.

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 31

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Château de Saugé 2 Saugé 79400 Saivres

Chambre d'hôtes, Gites, Vintage Tea Room, Event Space, Crafters Barn

Chambre d'hôtes – Open Offering Luxury Suites : Woodland (Sleeps 4), Napoleon (Sleeps 2), Victoria (Sleeps 3) Royale (Sleeps 3) Cedar Apartment (Sleeps 3) and Stable Studio (Sleeps 2) Checkout our Website for further details and Special Package deals.

Saugé Tearoom Open Friday 12 midday – 10pm Saturday 12 midday – 10pm Sunday 12 midday – 6pm

Email: Tel: 06 29 15 36 55 SIRET : 848 904 181 00015

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 33




S •








No.2 Le Bas Coudray, Chanteloup 79320, France


Wisteria House Bed and Breakfast is open all year round and is conveniently located within easy driving distance to Puy du Fou, Futurscope and Pescalis. Wifi is available in all rooms and with an above ground pool during the

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

summer months is suitable for all the family. Home cooked evening meals and packed lunches can be provided. Contact Melanie Chipperfield to find out more or to make a booking. Phone: Siret 51009885800010

Bienvenue Bed and Breakfast

Wherever you decide to go, whenever and however you decide to do it, keep safe and enjoy all the very best that France has to offer.

18 Place du 14 juillet 1836 L’absie 79240


Tel : Mob : SIRET : 490 626 348 00026

Tips for a good staycation trip • B e a Tourist in Your Own Town: Visit nearby museums and attractions you’ve never tried before. Join a walking tour of nearby historic sites. • Get Active: Try athletic pursuits you’ve always been curious about: indoor rock climbing or try a golf game for the first time. Rediscover the bike and explore the miles of cycle routes throughout the area. • Discover the inner Gourmet: Make reservations at new restaurants in the area. Take a wine or brewery tour. • Relax: Slow down and read that book you’ve had for ages. Take a leisurely walk around the lakes and enjoy the local wildlife. • Use your hosts. They will know their area and will be more than happy to guide you. fr ... or visit your LOCAL tourist office and find out what YOUR town has to offer. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 35

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


ast month1 I mostly talked about Vin Doux Naturel, the ‘naturally sweet wine’ which is anything but natural as the fermentation process is artificially halted leaving residual sugar. I left you with a cliffhanger, the word and notion of botrytis. Apart from being handy in Scrabble (13 points without doubles or trebles), it is an essential ingredient in the style of sweet wine made in Sauternes (and elsewhere – more below). This type of winemaking doesn’t stop Nature, it lets her rip with all her foibles and fickleness then uses the result mercilessly to the max. To explain ... In vineyards, as in life, shit happens. If it’s not late frost – April is a real killer – then there are rabbits, rodents, wild boar, all manner of insect pests, powdery mildew, black rot …. honestly, it’s a wonder any wine gets made at all. Two closely related forms of rot are grey rot and noble rot – no prizes for guessing which is bad cop. They both start from botrytis cinerea fungus. (This very same fungus spoils your strawberries and other soft fruit.) If grapes are dark-skinned, unripe or damaged, or the weather is constantly wet and humid, the fungus becomes grey rot, spreading through bunches until the berries break down and become rotten. If, on the other hand, the grapes are healthy, ripe and white (sémillon, sauvignon blanc and muscadelle in Sauternes), and the weather is misty in the morning and sunny in the afternoon then we welcome noble rot. These ideal conditions occur in Sauternes, in autumn, when the cool waters of the small Ciron river meet the warmer waters of the much larger Garonne, causing late afternoon mists which last until midday the next day when they are burnt off by afternoon sun. Nature doesn’t always oblige, so some years you don’t get noble rot, but when you do you’re in for a fine sweet wine vintage, all other things being equal. The effect of noble rot on the grape is quite remarkable. Over a period of five to ten days, a beautiful, bonny grape becomes shrivelled and raisined, covered with a fine, grey, ashen powder – think Miss Haversham. This dehydration, for such it is, not only concentrates natural sugars but also sprinkles magical chemicals of complex flavour in a process which is not fully understood – I like that. The changes are not uniform, affecting different parts of the vineyard at different times, indeed different grapes on the same bunch at different times. Small brown spots appear, then the grapes turn gold, then pink or purple, finally brown. Harvesting therefore becomes a staggered, start-and-stop affair spread over days. (These visits are known as ‘tries’, as in ‘triage’.) The act of picking graduates from hearty bunch snipping to skilful surgery – and I mean grape by perfectly shrivelled grape. One of the reasons sauternes is expensive. This style of botrytized (25 points without doubles or trebles) wine is also made closer to home, and at more amenable prices. The Coteaux du Layon (here we are 100% chenin blanc) appellation covers more than 1000 hectares south of Angers, off the left bank of the Loire. The name means ‘slopes of the Layon’, the Layon being a small river which flows into the much 1

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

by John Sherwin

larger Loire – sounds a bit like the Ciron/ Garonne, non? Seven villages are allowed to add their name to the label (always an indicator of quality) if their yield is restricted to 30hl/ha, as opposed to 35 for the rest of the area. However, two small areas produce such spiffing wines that they have their own appellation. Bonnezeaux covers about 100ha spread across three southfacing hills. The even more sought after Quarts de Chaume covers just over 30ha and annual production can be as little as a few thousand cases. Another happy hunting ground for quality sweet wine is Alsace. Vendange tardive (late harvest) wines are made from one of the four permitted varieties, riesling, muscat, gewurtztraminer, or pinot gris. Botrytis is not always present. The most common of these is gewurtztraminer, the rarest muscat. Sélection de Grains Nobles wines are made from the same four varieties but the grapes have reached even higher sugar levels. Botrytis is almost always present. So what can you expect from this style of wine, this so-called ‘sweet’ wine? On the nose, take your pick from honey, peach, pineapple, spice, orange, lemon, marmalade, caramel, baked apple, apricot; you get my drift. In the mouth, full, oily, viscous, unctuous. However, the lingering taste is not one of cloying sweetness but of sweetness wrapped around a backbone of acidity, and it’s this genius combination which makes the wine so alluring. When the world was young and still open for wine tours, I once took a group of Americans to visit my favourite sauternes producer, Chateau Raymond-Lafon. Inevitably, one of Mesdames ‘couldn’t stand sweet wine’, wouldn’t taste ‘em, no sirree. The owner did, however, have her taste a wine he called ‘off dry’. She liked it. She tried another. Mmm. Sauternes, pure and simple: amazing what you can get away with if you have Gallic charm, prestidigitation, and, of course, an amazing wine. You have probably heard the word ‘terroir’ bandied around, the combination of soil, slope, hours of sun and rain, and so on that make a vineyard’s unique microclimate and therefore the unique nature of its wine. There is no wine that exemplifies this better than sweet wine, the concatenation of elements of nature which will never, ever occur again in exactly the same way. Just think of that. Cor! John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or

When I confused my domaines – Domaine Jasmin should have read Domaine de Durban.

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

Father’s Day – 20th June

Triple Chocolate Brownies

June Birth Flowers: Rose conveys a variety of meanings depending on colour. Honeysuckle symbolises everlasting love.

Ingredients 200g Dark Chocolate 200g Butter 3 Large Eggs 275g Caster Sugar 90g Plain Flour 35g Cocoa Powder 100g White Chocolate Chips 100g Milk Chocolate Chips 100g Dark Chocolate Chips


Instructions Preheat oven to 180C/160C and line a 9″ Square baking tray. Melt together the Butter & Dark Chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water, leave to the side to cool. Whisk together the Eggs & Caster Sugar until the colour has turned pale and is double the original volume. When whisked, pour the cooled chocolate mix over eggs and fold together carefully. Once combined, sift the cocoa powder and plain flour on top of the chocolate mix and then fold together carefully. Finally fold through the chocolate chips and pour into the prepared tin – bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes! Once baked, leave to cool in the tin completely. These Triple Chocolate Brownies will last in an airtight container for 1 week! If you find they're a bit hard to cut, stick them in the fridge for an hour and it'll make it a lot easier! Mmmmm Enjoy !

The 1st June – Whit Monday, or Pentecost Monday, is a Christian holiday. It is the day after Pentecost, also known as Whit Sunday or Whitsunday, which commemorates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament of the Bible.

The sun is shining…time to get that BBQ out of the Shed – Need something refreshing to wash down all that lovely food?

Cider Mimosa Fill a large jug halfway with ice Pour in 800ml of dry sparkling cider with 100ml smooth orange juice and a few orange slices. Mix well, then pour in 1-2 tbsp of grenadine before serving. 5 ways to Dress Up your Summer Corn or a White Port and Grapefruit Cooler 1. Sweet and spicy. Blend butter with honey and Fill a large jug ¾ full with ice and cayenne and spread it on before grilling. 2. Baste with Parmesan butter. 300ml white port,500ml pink grapefruit tonic 3. Season salt with citrus zest or spices like and stir. Garnish with pink grapefruit slices. smoked paprika One glass will not be enough 4. Mix Roasted Garlic into your butter. 5. Spread mayonnaise onto the corn and sprinkle with cheese and chile powder.

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

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 37



by Jacqueline Brown

e have made it through another lockdown and the sun is shining here on the other side, however, I have noticed a few strange occurrences since confinement began. The first involves carrots, kilos of carrots and the second, bananas. Before the first confinement I don’t think I’d made more than one or two carrot cakes in my life but having found an easy to follow (relatively healthy) recipe in April of last year, I’ve probably now made over sixty. Cake quickly became a daily staple for us during lockdown and has remained one, but our tastes in cake are rather plain; nothing too sweet or sickly. It won’t surprise you to hear that ours are topless carrot cakes, always free from the frosting on the top. I’ve recently noticed that I’ve become addicted to grating carrots as not only do I grate for the cake, but a grated carrot seems to have snuck into our daily salad lunches too. Having had success with fermenting white cabbage, I am now planning on seeing if I can get that same crunch and flavour from fermenting grated carrot as well. Bananas and I have always had a strained relationship and for forty-eight years I never warmed to their taste, odour or flavour, until last autumn. Just as we entered lockdown number two, I weirdly felt the need to add some thinly sliced banana to my breakfast oats and although I do allow myself the luxury of a croissant and no banana on a Sunday morning, bananas have become another daily staple. What I hadn’t been brave enough to try was anything involving really ripe and smelly bananas, but lockdown number three solved that. I discovered a flapjack recipe aimed at fuelling the cyclist, that seemed easy to make, but included a mashed ripe banana. The first mashing experience was tricky, but I’m proud to say I can now do it without making a fuss! Encouraged by coping with the banana flavour in the flapjacks, I was also brave enough to try banoffee pie, for the first time in my life. Now I’m on a roll with the banana baking, I’ve also made, eaten and enjoyed my first banana bread; another great treat to take on a bike ride. With so much closed for so long over the last year, it is lovely that things are opening up once more and I’m delighted to say we have a new shop open in the village. EspoirNature, a local association, have recently opened their new local producers shop at their premises just outside of our village of Loubillé. Selling a great selection of local fruits, vegetables, cheeses and dairy products, patés, sausages, pies and eggs, as well as soaps, leather products, ceramics, wine and plants, it is going to be a useful addition to village life, with the benefits of helping local artisans and promoting buying locally. It also means that I should never fear running out of carrots again, although it is a shame that bananas don’t grow locally. Email:

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

On The Road A Supercar, but not as we know it …..

by Helen Tait-Wright

The front suspension and rear multi-link set-up were re-engineered to meet Lotus’ renowned ride and handling standards, resulting in sprint times of 0-60mph in 5.0 seconds and 0-100mph in 11.1 seconds. Top speed was officially 174mph, though it was widely known to be capable of 180+. The unassuming four-door saloon was chosen as the base vehicle due to its advanced and robust platform for this mutually beneficial brand image-building project between Vauxhall and Lotus.


e often seem to find ourselves browsing classic car websites, and as the years go on, the cars that I hankered after as a young adult are increasingly being listed as classics. Which is worrying! One such car that has eluded our purchasing power is the Lotus Carlton. It is a bit of a wolf in sheeps clothing really, and certainly doesn’t look like a sports car, but is just one of those cars that you will know about, if you know about cars. I wanted one when I was 21, I still want one thirty years later. I couldn’t afford one then and in all reality probably cannot afford one now either! So, what is so special about a car that looks like a regular family saloon with a couple of spoilers chucked on? It is a legend.

Even although it looks like a big car, its proportions, even with the flared arches and wings, are far smaller than modern day four door sports saloons. Being built in the nineties, the interior wasn’t clad in Alcantara and fitted with hip-hugging bucket seats, but rather finished with leathers and wood veneers and buttons. Lovely! The car was only sold in one colour, a shade of green called Imperial Green (similar to British Racing Green, although in many lights it looks black), and with a limited production run of 950 units, 250 of which were UK spec RHD models, the Lotus Carlton is a rare beast indeed. Maybe my wolf in sheep’s clothing analogy was wrong. It was a wolf in a big-shoulder business suit. An expensive one, too, because despite its humble beginnings, the result sold for £48,000 in 1990, which is £111.5k in today’s money. But if you are lucky enough to find one now, it is likely to cost you more than that as the cars are becoming modern classics with low-mileage, well-looked-after examples increasingly rare. Now, I’ve never driven one, only dribbled over them at various car club events, so I have to turn to the verdicts of luckier motoring pundits to give you an idea of what its like. This is my favourite; “It’s like a nightclub bouncer who’s worked on the circuit for some time. He’s getting on a bit but he’s still sharply dressed, still works out extensively and still more than willing to knock your block off if you wind him up and can still keep up with the cocky young ’uns who think they own the place.” (Jake Groves, Car magazine) That’s why it’s a legend.

It was a legend for its top speed, landing it in hot water in the UK and Europe for out-pacing everything else in its class and garnering the wrath of the middle-market press. Some even wanted it banned for being so potent and, well, dangerous.

The Lotus Carlton was so ahead of its time that some of its attributes are still copied in performance cars today, and it’s proof that you can come from pedestrian roots and still take on the best and brightest in the business.

To suggest that the 174mph Lotus Carlton was controversial at the time of its launch would be something of an understatement. It was the fastest four-door saloon for some time, owing to the twinturbocharged bomb under the bonnet, and the transformation from family saloon to ground breaking monster took place in East Anglia, just going to prove once again that the best things really do come from East Anglia! Taking the standard Vauxhall Carlton/Opel Omega off the production line at Russelsheim, Germany and bringing it to Hethel, Norfolk, Lotus Engineering increased capacity of the 3.0-litre straight-six petrol engine to 3.6-litres. A pair of Garrett T25 turbochargers were added, developing 568Nm of torque at 4,200rpm.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021| 39

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40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

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Gazelles Update JUNE 2021


n June we look forward to kick starting our rally preparation once again with our obligatory navigation course in Avignon on the weekend of 12th and 13th. While for me it will be a much needed refresher, it will be Sue’s first proper introduction to the Gazelles circus outside of our team. A chance to meet the organisers and some of the other participants, as well as take advantage of the teaching on offer.

The last few weeks have probably been the toughest in terms of staying motivated since the start of the pandemic. However we continue with checking and tweaking Priscilla as there is always something to do on a Land Rover, and driving wherever and whenever possible! As I write this I’m waiting for an audience with one of our local Mayors to try and secure access to the terrain we have been using for driving training, as this has recently been made inaccessible which is a big blow to us. We hope to be able to get some actual sand driving in over the summer months, although sadly the likelihood of that being in Morocco is looking less and less. We are delighted to be able to report the arrival of three new baby gazelles to the breeding program at the Bioparc in Doue, two girls and a boy.

with Helen Tait-Wright and Sue Alemann

We are pleased to be displaying the graphics for the project on Priscilla. We will also be highlighting the initiative on our helmets, and hope to be able to reveal those very soon! This year for the 30th edition of the rally there is a new award that teams can enter to get an additional block of funding for their chosen project with an objective in the general interest. We feel strongly that as a project aiming to conserve the biodiversity of the planet, the gazelles conservation project qualifies for this award. Now we can only cross our fingers! We also wait on news from Morocco, after the Holy month of Ramadan, on advances with our school project. As we are unable to get there, the Giti representatives in Morocco are making contact with Association Assafou who run the school in Talataste to get the action underway. We are really thankful to Giti Tire who are joining with us in donating to this project, and we hope that our funds can make a significant positive impact for this little school and empower the community as a whole. Don’t forget we still have bottles of Gazelles bubbles for sale at just 10 euros each if you would like to help us, and please follow our social media accounts on Instagram and Facebook @gitigazelles We hope to have much to tell you in the next issue!

This is such an important step towards the goal of re-releasing herds into the wild.


All photographs by Helen Tait-Wright

The girls have been called Sila and Sahari in a nod to our adventure.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 41

Book Club Inspiring places – France


et’s face it, France is a patchwork quilt of cultures, scenery and peculiar places. Even our own Deux-Sèvres varies between sprawling fields of wheat, the mysterious green world of the marais, stark mediaeval castles, the 19th century splendour of the Niort prefecture and the lush valley of the Thouet.

Many of us treasure the pace of village life that can give us the tranquillity to write; the traditional markets, the long lunch hour, the time to stop and chat or just to do nothing more than meet for a coffee. My writing is also inspired by objects in museums and archaeology – you should see the Roman glassware in Poitiers Museum! Our region brims with history, especially when the English and French were always fighting over it. Poitou and Anjou were home to the Plantagenets; Thouars, Bressuire, Parthenay and Niort were besieged and relieved alternatively by French and English forces throughout the mediaeval period. I am always impressed by the sheer size of the château at Niort whenever I visit the town and imagine how grim life must have been at that time of constant war. All this has left plenty of material for a history nut like me and for any aspiring novelist. Alongside the upheaval of world wars, other profound social changes took place in French rural society in the 20th century. Adult children of farmers abandoned the land, attracted by shorter working hours, more regular income and less onerous jobs in the towns. Agricultural mechanisation, although slower to take hold in France than in other countries, led to decimation of the rural workforce. France also gives us nostalgia for aristocratic glamour and glitz, revolution, centralised bureaucracy, artistic and scientific innovation, magnificent wine and cheese and love of terroir. Layered on top of that is the story of expats/immigrants, which opens up even further writing possibilities! Some practical tips Give yourself time to absorb the atmosphere of a place. What is the landscape surrounding it? Open fields, woods, streets? Is it crowded or deserted? Are there roads and tracks that connect it, or signs of older paths and bridleways? And perhaps there’s a river, or ponds, lakes or the sea. What does it smell of? Salt, rotting vegetation, grass, stone, flowers, diesel…? What do you see if you turn round? Rolling countryside, rivers, narrow lanes, castle ramparts? And could your characters see the same?

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

by Alison Morton

Read any notices or information boards you come across. Look at everything carefully and individually and talk to any staff. Tell them you’re a writer. Jot things down in a notebook and take photos. Touch the walls and objects (if you’re allowed to) and don’t be hurried along. Whether you’re in a ruined castle, a village square, or in a First World War trench, stop for a few moments and shut your eyes. Take a deep breath and imagine the people living there at the time. Having seen physical evidence of the lives of people who lived there, you may well start to feel a tie to them. Whether you write about a château in the Loire valley, the Alps, the inner city or the Mediterranean or Atlantic coasts, you have the advantage of the massive diversity of France at your writing fingertips. Next time you go for a walk in la campagne, visit the nearby village, shop in the market or watch the locals play pétanque, remember how lucky we all are to draw on this ‘otherness’ for our writing. Happy writing.

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


This Month’s Book Reviews

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

Summer at the Château by Jennifer Bohnet

Summer at the French Olive Grove by Sophie Claire

Review by Jacqui Brown

Review by Jacqui Brown

I’m stretching the area a little bit with my local author selection for this month, but the brandnew release from Brittany based author Jennifer Bohnet, set around a Château in Brittany, more than lived up to my expectations so I hope you’ll love it too.

With a broken arm to heal, filmmaker Lily Martin is forced to leave her current project in Columbia and return to her Grandmother’s (Mamie) house in France for the summer. Mamie is a reminder of her happy summers as a child, with best friend Olivier by her side; memories she has worked hard to push to the back of her mind for many years now. With the knowledge that Olivier is also home for the summer, she is determined to keep her focus, get better and get back on the road with her camera.

Pixie was having the worst of times; recently widowed, she then discovers her husband Frank had kept some significant things from her surrounding their plans to retire to France. Without him to answer her many questions, she has to find the strength to discover the truth behind his actions, and deal with the consequences. Her arrival at Château Quiltu in Brittany, with her Mum Gwen, raises more questions and doubts in her mind as another of Frank’s secrets, lodger Justine, is revealed.

Lily and Olivier were interesting characters, and right from the beginning of the book there was so much bubbling under the surface, I just knew there would be tension and turbulence as their stories were revealed. Lily is feisty and fiery, Olivier is calm and calculated, and together they bring out the best and the worst in each other, with the friction between them making for a great read.

I loved the intrigue and mystery around Justine’s presence in the château’s cottage and how her story was slowly drawn out, allowing my mind to keep second guessing what the truth would be. I was heart-broken for Pixie as her world was rocked and her emotions were all over the place, but I felt for Justine too.

With a bit of help from Mamie, Lily and Olivier are thrown into daily contact once more and they try to re-establish their shared bond of childhood friendship. However, lots has passed in the intervening years, from a disastrous teenage kiss to family traumas that have left both physical and psychological scars, resulting in them wanting very different things from life. Can they reach an understanding of each other’s point of view, or with the heat of a summer in Provence, will things spiral out of control? I can honestly say I had no idea how this book would end.

Too many people have kept too many secrets for too long, but with the backdrop of a château, good family bonds and a bit of healing French magic, this summer will reveal all. This book certainly had that something different, from the detail behind purchasing in France with the viager scheme, to the thoughtfully created, older, characters who grow as their stories unfurl, and it was also a great reminder that it is never too late to follow your dreams or open your heart to new adventures.

With Summer at the French Olive Grove, Sophie Claire has done it again; this is a book full of passion that really packs a punch of heart-hammering emotions as you read it.

Summer at the Château left me with a contented feel-good feeling as wrongs were righted, people forgiven, and new plans for the future put into place.

For a hot summer read, that brings alive the villages of Provence, look no further.

If you are looking for your next read to give you that escape from reality, lockdown and life with Covid, that I think we all need right now, this is one for you. TAKE A BREAK - SOLUTIONS - PAGES 27-28 Sudoku:

Easy Crossword: L # A # A # # # O # M # F

I S L A N D # A L C O V E

M # B # J # E # Y # R # E


E # M # U # G # P # C # L

T # # # # # H # I # C # E

Toughie Crossword (Theme = Tennis): # L I E D E T E C T O R #

I # L # R # I # # # # # S

M # L # I # E # G # B # A


I # G # Z # H # A # R # A

B E A G L E # S T O K E R

E # L # E # # # E # A # A

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

E # Y # A # E # E # A # U

R A L L Y # T A C K L E R

V # O # S # # # E # L # A

I N N S # O F F I C I A L

C # # # A # A # V # N # #

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# # N # J # L # R # # # O

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E # O # T # # # B # L # B

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C O U R T # V O L L E Y S

CONNECT FOUR : Q1. All these items can be found on the moon.

Q2. Boris Q3. Teams who formed the English football league Q4. These countries all straddle the Greenwich Meridian.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 43

Health, Beauty and Fitness Everyday Yoga for Everyone Diving a little deeper – Yoga in Context

by Rebecca Novick


Mobile hairdresser, specialising in classic cuts and short hair Vidal Sassoon qualified Based near Melle (79190) Tel: 07 88 72 46 76 Facebook: harrisonhair Instagram: gillharrisonhair Siret number: 893 356 006 00013

he system of yoga was developed not simply as a series of physical poses (asanas), but as a holistic set of practices aimed at preparing the ground of the body and mind for lasting and meaningful transformation. These practices are encompassed in what are known as the “Eight Limbs” (Ashtanga) of Yoga that were described by the enigmatic master philosopher known as Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras written over two millennia ago. Ashtanga (not to be confused with the yoga school of the same name that was developed by K. Pattabhi Jois in the 20th century) involve processes that incorporate ethical discipline together with physical and mental practices with the purpose of refining the quality of our attention. The ultimate goal of this process of attention refinement is the integration of the ordinary self or person (what we take ourselves to be) with the Truth of the Higher Self - the Divine Nature that knows no suffering or separation. The Eight Limbs are: Yama (external behaviour) Niyama (internal behaviour) Asana (physical postures) Pranayama (control of the breath) Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) Dharana (focused attention) Dhyana (meditative contemplation) Samadhi (non-dual awareness) The six yamas are related to how we behave towards others. Patanjali calls them: Ahimsa (non-harming) Satya (truthfulness) Asteya (not taking what does not belong to you) Brahmacharya (sexual restraint – in the context of an ashram this would mean celibacy, but in the context of lay life it means not harming others through sexual behaviour); Aparigraha (non-clinging, letting go). The six niyamas refer to how we conduct ourselves personally. They are: Saucha (cleanliness) Santosha (contentment); Tapas (self-discipline); Svadhyaya (self-inquiry); Isvara-pranidhana (surrender to the Higher Self)

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

The underlying philosophy of this system is “as within, so without” – the Eastern version of the hermetic aphorism “as above, so below.” As Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (II.35) says; “In the presence of one firmly established in non-violence, all hostilities cease.” What he means by this is that as we become more committed and habituated to not harming others, we gradually experience less and less harm from others. The same goes for the other yamas and niyamas; as we practice honesty, we elicit honesty from others. As we practice contentment with what we already have, the less hankering we have for other stuff ... and so forth. In the coming months, I will be going into each of the Eight Limbs in more detail for those who want to dive a little deeper and hopefully give you a more integrated and satisfying understanding and experience of what yoga is really all about. Respect yourself, explore yourself.


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44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

What is Tai Chi Chuan ?


or over ten years now there have been Tai Chi classes in Bressuire (Deux-Sèvres) and also in Le Breuil Barret (Vendee) … but what exactly is Tai Chi Chuan ? It’s correct name is actually Tai Ji Quan or Taiji for short. It was created in Northern China at the end of the Ming dynasty by the General CHEN Wangting to be an effective martial art which utilises the philosophy of complimentary opposites : yin – yang, In fact, the name Tai Ji Quan literally means Yin Yang Boxing.

by Terry Ryan

When learning to perform a Taiji sequence, attention is initially paid to fundamental details such as : balance, the transfer of weight, stepping out or back with control, synchronising the movements so that they are harmonious both with each other as well as with the breath. Initially, students of Taiji solo learn empty hand forms, after which you can practice with a partner, or perhaps a weapon such as sword or sabre (both are blunt in our classes) etc. The very best way to answer the question “what is Taiji ?” is to attend a few classes (for free!) and discover the answer yourself!

Today however, most people, including myself, practise Taiji not for fighting, but to improve their physical and mental well-being. Age isn’t an obstacle to practising Taiji … 15 or 80+ it is possible to practise Taiji ! Taiji is composed of a sequence of choreographed movements that are, for the most part, carried out in a gentle and slow manner … but one can optionally perform some of the movements more vigorously. As such, it can readily be adapted to one’s ability and enable you to progress in your relaxation, muscle tone, stamina and flexibility as you wish. This posture is called ‘Dan Bian’ (Single Whip) … a beginner could practice the same posture in a higher position … then, over time, practice a little bit lower. The important thing is to feel comfortable in the posture and be able to move smoothly to the next one. To a casual observer, the elegant, gentle movements of Taiji can seem to require no effort … however nothing could be further from the truth ! Both your body and mind (inc memory) are exercised when you practice Taiji. You can expect to improve your breathing, circulation, balance and stress levels etc as a direct result of practising Taiji.

The current head of CHEN style Taiji is Grand Master CHEN Xiaowang (centre) with other UK Taiji teachers in 2007 during a Taiji seminar …Terry is in black & white (right). As you can see, no particular uniform is required … just loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear. Taiji classes will restart (covid permitting) on Monday evenings in Deux-Sèvres at Bressuire and on Wednesday afternoons in the Vendée at Le Breuil Barret … probably in September 2021.

For further details, please see or leave me a message on 05 49 65 60 34 and I’ll get back to you.

Advertising your business with us may not be quite as relaxing as a walk along a beach ... but it’s not far off. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 45



by Jacqui Brown


first discovered the V93 cycle route at the end of last summer when I spotted some of the newly installed cycle path signs on a bike ride between Chef-Boutonne and Brioux-sur-Boutonne. As one sign led to another, I soon realised we had stumbled upon something big and rather exciting; over 90km of voie verte (green cycleway) running through the southern part of the Deux-Sèvres department, from the border of the Charente to Niort. Being keen cyclists who have toured from Bordeaux to Toulouse, as well as cycling around the Deux-Sèvres on The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’s Tour de Rêves charity bike ride in 2017, we made it our mission to track the V93 from the Charente border, near the village of Hanc, into Niort. The route makes use of quiet backroads, old railway lines, existing cycle tracks and newly surfaced pathways, as it takes in Chef-Boutonne, Brioux-sur-Boutonne, Melle, Celles-surBelle and Prahecq. We were really impressed with this safe, quiet cycle route that took us to places we’ve never seen, despite living here sixteen years. We only encountered a few unpaved sections that hadn’t been resurfaced, and were rather bumpy and rocky, which isn’t great for bottoms or tyres, especially with fully loaded bikes while cycle touring.

In Niort, the V93 joins the Vélo-Francette voie verte that runs from the coast in Normandy to the Atlantic port of La Rochelle, and from the Deux-Sèvres/Charente border it will head east towards Limoges and Lac de Vassivière (although this section isn’t completed yet). It may not be the most direct of routes for those long-distance cyclists wishing to cut across rural western France to the Atlantic coast, but by wiggling its way from one pretty town to another it ensures that the best of the Pays Mellois; the chateau, lake and source of the Boutonne river in ChefBoutonne, the Romanesque churches of Melle and the impressive Abbaye Royale in Celles-sur-Belle, all get a look in.

46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

The Charente border to Chef-Boutonne The first section from the Charente to Chef-Boutonne is mainly on newly surfaced gravel tracks, running alongside the fields of crops and cows between the villages of Hanc, Bouin and Ardilleux, where it then joins a quiet backroad into Chef-Boutonne. The pretty lavoir in Bouin was a new discovery for us and impressive enough to stop for a photo.

In Chef-Boutonne, the route cleverly takes you through the town centre, where there are shops, bars and restaurants, then out to the lavoir which is the source of the Boutonne river. It then signs you towards the chateau at Javarzay which has recently been renovated and where you will find a small museum and a lake. We now use this section regularly and often see other cyclists using it too, even over winter. Chef-Boutonne to Brioux-sur-Boutonne The Boutonne river is quite small at this point and doesn’t really have a towpath, but where possible, the cycle route follows as close to the river as it can between Chef-Boutonne and

Brioux-sur-Boutonne. This stretch is probably my favourite with the quiet backroads between the villages of St-Martin-d’Etraigues and Chérigné, and the newly surfaced gravel paths with a river backdrop; it’s calm and very pretty and there are also plenty of benches to be found. In Brioux-sur-Boutonne the route runs around the back of the town, alongside the municipal campsite, which is useful for cycle tourists, but if you follow the signs without deviating, you do miss the town itself, which is a shame. Brioux-sur-Boutonne has a good selection of bars, restaurants and boulangeries, all of which are necessary to fuel a hungry cyclist and I’m sure the town’s commerces would

and plenty of cafés and boulangeries, it is worth the wiggle around to get into the town centre. Melle to Celles-sur-Belle This section is on an established cycle path that makes use of the old railway line. It passes the arboretum and then soon becomes a cool, shady cutting, the steep banks covered in ferns, or bluebells and wild garlic, in early spring. There are regular picnic spots and it is nice and flat with a good surface. There is a bit of a climb into Celles-sur-Belle, but the route ensures you arrive at the right side of town to benefit from a spectacular view of the Abbaye Royale. Celles-sur-Belle to Prahecq This was probably the least interesting section as it really is a long, straight flat route with fields either side that doesn’t deviate into any towns. It is a good surfaced track, using the old railway line, but when we cycled it there were no picnic tables or even benches to sit at for a rest. The hedgerows lining the path were full of sloes, some of which came home with us for a batch of sloe gin. Prahecq centre, where there is a bar and boulangerie is completely bypassed by the marked route.

have welcomed the extra trade. We often stop for a morning coffee at La Ranch, enjoy our lunches at the Auberge du Cheval Blanc and an afternoon bike ride is not complete without a patisserie stop at the award-winning Le Puits Gourmand.

Prahecq to Niort This is a flat and fast-moving section that also makes use of the old railway line before joining the existing marked cycle routes that bring you through the residential outskirts of Niort and into the town centre. The best way to arrive in Niort is by bike. You don’t have to worry about parking and the cycle paths take you directly into the pedestrian/cycle friendly town centre, past the market halle and impressive Donjon, before joining the Vélo-Francette along the Sèvres-Niortais River.

Brioux-sur-Boutonne to Melle This section was totally new to us, often making use of gravel paths that are also used by longdistance walkers on the Chemins de St Jacques, or backroads through quiet villages. It was great fun to discover villages, churches and lavoirs that we’d never seen before. With lots to see in Melle, including three Romanesque churches, the silver mine museum The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021 | 47


48 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, June 2021

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by Isabelle Want


orry to be gloomy this month but here is one of our most popular policies which gives a lump sum to beneficiaries of your choice to help them pay for your funeral. Funnily enough, we all have house insurance in case our house burns down but not all of us have insurance on ourselves when we are pretty sure we are all going to die! So, if you don’t have big savings, this is a musthave contract. Unless you don’t like the person who is going to pay for the funeral J !

1. Criteria for subscribing: Anybody aged between 50 and 84 years old and who is French resident. No health questionnaire. 2. How much can you be insured for: Between 3000 and 10000 euros without a health questionnaire. Average cost for funeral in France is around 3000€ to 4000€. Cremation and burial are about the same. The lump sum you are insured for follows inflation because 3000€ today might not be worth the same in 10 years! 3. How does it work: The lump sum you are insured for is given to the funeral parlour (presentation of the bill) or to the person who has paid for the funeral (presentation of the bill paid) and what is left is given to the beneficiaries you have named on the policy. You are not covered the first year for disease or suicide, but you are insured for death by accident straight away. If you die of disease or decide to kill yourself in the first year, the insurance company pays back the amount you have paid in. It is not like a normal insurance where if you stop paying your premium you stop being insured. You receive a statement every year showing 3 lines. The first one shows how much you are insured for and it follows inflation. The second line shows how much you are insured for if you stop paying the premium. The last line shows how much is available if you want to shut down the policy completely. That means that if you are still alive after 10 or 15 years, you can afford to stop paying the premium as you will have enough cover already. Or if one of you dies and the survivor of the couple wants to go back to the UK, you can cash in the value of your policy (amount shown on the third line of the yearly statement). 4. How much does it cost: As an example, a person born in 1947 and insured for 3 000€ would pay around 26€ per month and we offer a 10% discount for couple subscription (so then only 23€ each per month). For 5 000€, it’s around 42€ and 10 000€ it’s 84€ (for couples, 10% less). Conclusion: It is a contract we do quite often and the one we have never any problem with. There

is no cheating with it, you are either dead or alive so no expert needed and no argument from the insurance company for paying. The payment is given very quickly once we have the death certificate, funeral bill and the ID of beneficiary (within 10 days). For free quotes, all I need is your birthdate and the amount you want to be insured for. To do the contract, I need copies of passport, a RIB (French bank details) and the list of beneficiaries (date of birth, place of birth, name, maiden name and first name).

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, June 2021 | 55

Six tips for protecting and growing your wealth


areful planning plays an especially important role in securing your financial security over the long term. Here are six key tips that can help. 1. Customise your strategy Your investment approach should be designed to meet your circumstances and goals, including your risk tolerance and income needs. Are your financial arrangements tailored for your life in France or better suited to a UK resident? With an ill-fitting investment portfolio, you could find that your money isn’t working as hard as you’d like, is difficult to access, or is eaten away by inflation and/or unnecessary taxation. 2. Know your appetite for risk Before investing, pinpoint the right balance of risk/return for your peace of mind. An experienced adviser is best placed to ask the right questions and use appropriate tools to create a clear and objective risk profile for you. They can then recommend an appropriate blend of investments to match your profile. 3. Identify your timeline Generally, the longer you have to invest, the more risk you can afford to take. With time, you can ride out market volatility and benefit from compound returns. Understanding your time horizon is also key to ensuring your investments offer the right level of ‘liquidity’. 4. Diversify, diversify, diversify The higher your concentration in one particular investment type or area, the greater the risk. The best way to limit risk is diversification – spreading out investments across asset classes, geographic regions

by Catrina Ogilvie, Blevins Franks

and market sectors limits your exposure to any one area. You can take diversification further by choosing an adviser who uses a ‘multimanager’ approach to spread your investments out among several carefully-selected fund managers. 5. Don’t overlook tax planning To help maximise real returns and protect your wealth, factor in tax planning when setting up your portfolio. Look for arrangements that shelter capital from tax while providing a tax-efficient income in France, and that enable you to transfer wealth to beneficiaries with minimal bureaucracy and inheritance taxes. For expatriates, tax planning is complicated by having to work with the rules of two countries, so talk to an adviser with cross-border expertise. 6. Regularly review your strategy Your circumstances and requirements often change over time. Changes in the law or tax rules may also prompt a strategy rethink. Review your financial planning annually to keep it on track and help control risk and encourage a positive effect on portfolio performance. With the right strategy in place for your life in France, you can help protect and grow your wealth – in real terms – not only during your lifetime but for the next generations to enjoy. All advice received from Blevins Franks is personalised and provided in writing. This article, however, should not be construed as providing any personalised taxation or investment advice. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Beware the cherry pickers... Successful investing is not about cherry-picking the latest high-flying fund (there are plenty of examples where these turn out to be over-ripe and over-valued). Instead it is critical that your adviser matches your investment portfolio to your personal appetite for risk and overall financial planning objectives.

To make an appointment for advice tailored to your specific situation...

At Blevins Franks, our first steps are to thoroughly assess your risk tolerance using psychometric questions and other methodologies, and to understand your needs in terms of income, future capital requirements and estate planning. Only then do we start to construct a portfolio that is suitably aligned to your particular needs and well diversified to reduce risk.

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, June 2021

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson


i Amanda

Can you explain what all the different kinds of protection policies are? I know you wrote about this once before can you remind me? 1. Provision in case of death This form of life assurance does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides a cash amount in the event of your death. Policies are typically for fixed terms and many people will choose a term which will coincide with an event, such as a child finishing education or an adult reaching retirement. In the event of your death the beneficiary will receive a fixed amount which they can invest to provide an income if they choose. 2. Critical illness With critical illness plans the policy will pay out in the event of a critical illness or death. This means that should you become critically ill, your family should not be forced to sell your house and move during what will clearly be a traumatic time, due to a lack of income. Critical illness plans typically cost a little more. 3. Over 50 plans Many of us will have seen and heard adverts on UK TV promoting over 50 plans. It is important to note that with most of these they pay out on accidental death only. You also need to check that they do indeed cover overseas residents, most of them are for UK residents only

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.

4. Income protection insurance These policies are designed to top up your income over a short period of time in the event of you being out of work, due to ill health or unemployment. Before you take out an income protection insurance it is imperative that you check your employment status is covered under the plan. Many self-employed or short contract jobs would not be covered with unemployment protection insurance. French Mortgages are typically covered by a life insurance policy which will have been added as an insurance premium to your mortgage payments. 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 our financial planning reviews, reports or recommendations.

Amanda Johnson Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 E-mail:


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, June 2021 | 57


by Joanna Leggett


hen it comes to choosing your next home have you considered single storey living? Less common in France than in other parts of the world, they’re known here as ‘pavillon’ or ‘plain-pied’. The importance of ‘good flow’ in your home can never be underestimated and this is where pavillon come into their own. First of all they’re light-filled with windows or French doors connecting every room to the outside. And, from a practical point of view, when it comes to housekeeping having everything on one level is an absolute boon – no stairs to negotiate and no more carting up the vacuum they’re much easier to maintain! Best of all, especially here in France, they usually come with large plots of land – plenty of room for a pool and plenty of space to fulfil your gardening dreams of nipping out from your bedroom to pick a rose to place in a vase beside your bed! We’ve collated three of the best currently on the market here in the Deux Sèvres to titillate your tastebuds. The first is traditionally-styled, built by local craftsmen, just 700 metres from the centre of Secondigny (109461). Well insulated and totally secure, it sits in a large wooded garden with lawned area. In all there are five bedrooms, large L-shaped living room, fitted kitchen, cellar and two covered terraces – one oriented to the east the other west – perfect for dining or sundowners! There’s a workshop, garage and large playroom all within easy walking distance of the shops – €214,920.

over open countryside. Just 8 kms from Chef Boutonne (with all amenities one could possibly need) in southern Deux Sèvres, this home has great open plan living with three sets of French doors and a study, so masses of living space. Outside there’s a large double garage for your car and hobbies. Well built and well maintained, it boasts double glazing, mains drainage, it’s well insulated and warm in winter with a heat pump – and within walking distance of the boulangerie! What more could you need for €130,800? The lovely medieval town of Parthenay is home to this pristine five bedroom (118173) home. Stylish and practical it really does have it all. With mains gas, top quality fittings throughout and superbly insulated, it’s both easy and economical to run. Outside the house is surrounded by the lawned garden, there’s a garage, pool and meadow – the perfect spot for your horse or those chickens! Within easy walking distance of town yet in the most tranquil setting this three year old house could be your perfect home - €284,000. Warmth, comfort, easy living with no stairs and great gardens – irresistible combinations! Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at

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Settled in France? Apply for residency now. If you don’t take action by 30 June you risk losing your rights in France. Applies only to UK Nationals who moved to France before 1 January 2021. FIND OUT MORE AT GOV.UK/LIVINGINFRANCE

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