The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Magazine - July 2021 Issue

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English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas



Also this month ...


PLUS : Alison hits a century, book reviews, endurance racing, wine, recipes, communes and so much more ...

Issue 118, July 2021

Welcome to Issue 118


opefully all of you who hold British passports and are resident in France have now applied online for your new residency card. Add to that the (at the time of writing) gradual improvement in the COVID statistics and we may yet have a summer with less to worry about. Here’s hoping. We had some great feedback on last month’s Staycation Special so thank you to everyone who was involved in getting that together. We will definitely run different ‘specials’ from time to time in the future. Another of our wonderful contributors (this time it’s Alison Morton) hits the century (of articles) this month. A massive thank you to all those who provide the content for us. Fingers crossed for a sunny July. Stay safe

n Tony & Lyn


Tel: Email: Website:


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

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

This Month’s Advertisers ABORDimmo Adrian Butterfield (Handyman) Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) Alcoholics Anonymous Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) 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 Café Pause, L’Absie Centre Régional Résistance & Liberté 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 Deano’s Bar & Grill DPS Services (Gardener & Handyman) 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 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 Molly Bushell - Relax & Unwind Massage Mr Fix It (Garden Maintenance) Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances MV Services - Scaffolding 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 Tony Manzur (Property Maintenance) Val Assist (Translation Services) Vienne Tree Services Zena Sabestini (Translation 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: juillet 2021 - Tirage: 3600 exemplaires. Siret: 830 076 345 00016 ISSN: 2115-4848

dsm118-jul21 v25 Final

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 3

Bulletin Board The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days

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

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

CHURCH NOTICES... The Filling Station - Poitou-Charentes. Local Christians of all denominations who meet for spiritual renewal and evangelism. www. or Carolyn Carter on 05 45 84 19 03. ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre. We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St. Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship hold meetings throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée. Contact Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit: The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) meets at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11.00am (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun). Eglise Vie Nouvelle Bilingual (French / English) weekly service based in Civray See Contact 05 49 87 33 69 The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, Poitou-Charentes, normally holds Sunday services in English. Please see our website for current information:

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

07 68 35 45 18 4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

print. as we go to y a -d y -b PLEASE y a get it but u leave anging d n ch ca re e a w s g s a yo Thin as accurate ered before tion here isbeen cancelled or alt a rm fo in e t Th . ts have no the house check even

“WHAT’S ON” DIARY 02/07 FOOD TASTING MELLE 79500. Every Friday 6-8pm. ) Discover the history and taste the food of the DeuxSèvres. Free. 03/07 ‘MARCHÉ ON FÊTE’ - ‘Hey Brother’ CHEF-BOUTONNE 79110. American Blue Grass. 03-04/07 MARCHÉ DES PRODUCTEURS ECHIRÉ 79410. Farmers’ market (From 6PM): Bring your plates, cutlery, glasses. 03-04/07 PAINTING AND SCULPTURE FESTIVAL SAINT-LOUP-LAMAIRE 79600. Circa 150 artists are waiting for you for this 25th edition of the Festival. Come and meet painters, sculptors and graffiti artists and stroll through the alleys of the picturesque village of Saint-Loup. Free. 04/07 VIDE GRENIER CELLES-SUR-BELLES 79390. From 8am to 6pm. 07-18/07 FLIP - FESTIVAL OF GAMES PARTHENAY 79200. Amazing selection of activities for ALL the family. See advert on P7. 07/07-31/08 PRINCESSES ET CHAVALIERS SAINT-ANDRE-SUR-SEVRE 79380. Le château de Saint Mesmin. Discover what life was like in a castle in the middle ages! €4 for children €8 Adults, discounts available. 09/07 FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE MERVENT 85200. Music Festival. Catering and refreshments on site according to authorization. Free 03/07 ‘MARCHÉ ON FÊTE’ - Samantha Bramley CHEF-BOUTONNE 79110. Cello. 10/07 NIGHT GARAGE SALE BRIOUXSUR-BOUTONNE 79170. The exhibitors will cohabit with a few comedians to entertain but the event remains a real garage sale and purchases can be made. There will be a refreshment bar available. 8:30 - 11:00 pm. 10-14/07 TOUR CYCLISTE DES DEUXSÈVRES. Five stages and two time trials, one of which will be for teams. For more details : Tour79Officiel 10-15/07 CHILDREN OF THE WORLD FESTIVAL SAINT-MAIXENT-L’ECOLE 79400. Dance and music from all over the world. Street entertainment, exotic shows, concerts, and craft market.

11/07 VIDE GRENIER LEZAY 79120. From 8am to 6pm. 11/07 BROCHANTE CHEF BOUTONNE 79110. Football Club Boutonais, Chateau de Javarzay 12-13/07 SKATE PARK OPENING BRESSUIRE 79300. Alain Métayer Stadium. Discover the new skate park modules with demonstrations. Free. 13/07 MARCHÉ DES PRODUCTEURS CERIZAY 79140. Farmers’ market (From 6PM): Bring your plates, cutlery, glasses. 13/07 FIREWORK DISPLAY POUZAUGES 85700. Fireworks at the Castle Ramparts. Events from 6.30pm 13/07 FIREWORK DISPLAY RIVES 85240. Musical entertainment, refreshment bar and fireworks 14/07 BASTILLE DAY There will be events all over France. 14/07 VIDE GRENIER CHEF-BOUTONNE 79110. From 8am to 6pm. 14/07 MARCHÉ DES PRODUCTEURS THOUARS 79100. Farmers’ market (from 6pm). Bring your own plates, cutlery & glasses. 16/07 MARCHÉ DES PRODUCTEURS LE TALLUD 79200. Farmers’ market (from 6pm). Bring your own plates, cutlery & glasses. 17/07 FIREWORK DISPLAY SAINTMARTIN-LARS-EN-SAINTE-HERMINE 85210. Food truck and music, Fireworks at 11pm. 17/07 ‘MARCHÉ ON FÊTE’ SHENANIGANS CHEF-BOUTONNE 79110. Irish Music. 17/07 VIDE GRENIER VIENNAY 79200. From 8am to 6pm. 18/07 MARCHÉ DES PRODUCTEURS LOUBILLE 79110. 9am to 6pm. 22/07 MARCHÉ DES PRODUCTEURS MAILLEZAIS 85420. Bring plates and cutlery. From 6pm. 24/07 ‘Vie de Villages et de Quartiers’ LES VAUX, CHEF BOUTONNE 79110. All day.

24/07 ‘MARCHÉ ON FÊTE’ - Christian Bertrand CHEF-BOUTONNE 79110. Singer. 24-25/07 VHR FFSA HISTORICAL REGULARITY RALLY NIORT 79000. The course takes place in the south of DeuxSèvres for more than 400 km. Starting from the gardens of the Brèche, in Niort. The rally is composed of 2 stages with 17 zones of regularity. 25/07 FLOWER BOAT FESTIVAL SAINTMAXIRE 79410. This traditional and popular festival invites visitors to admire the parade of boats each decorated with 10 to 15000 paper roses! The theme of the 70th edition is unknown to date. Various entertainment: children’s merry-go-round, inflatable structure, trampolines, skill games, angling, archery. 30/07 MARCHÉ DES PRODUCTEURS VERRUYES 79310. Farmers’ market (From 6PM): Bring your plates, cutlery, glasses. 30/07 MARCHÉ SUR L’EAULE VANNEAUIRLEAU 79270. A water market from 9am to 2pm plus musical entertainment, exhibitions and animations on the water, country lunch and dinner by reservation at 06 43 59 36 14. Fireworks at 10.30pm. 31/07 FESTIVE AFTERNOON AIRVAULT 79600. Come and enjoy an “associative garden exhibition bar” installed in the middle of town. Artisans, creative arts and free evening concert. From noon. 31/07 MEDIEVAL NOCTURNE BAZOGES 85390. The Castle opens its doors for a magical and mysterious Middle Ages evening. Knights, musicians, dancers, medieval games, tavern, small restaurant. 10€ adults 6€ children (under 9’s free) 31/07 ‘MARCHÉ ON FÊTE’ - OKIES CHEFBOUTONNE 79110. Country Line Dance.

If you are aware of any events coming up in August or September, please let us know so we can tell everyone else. Email us at ...

or phone us in office hours on ...

07 68 35 45 18

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 5


Chez Christie’s


Scones, Cupcakes, Fruit Cake … Homemade Lemonade & Iced Tea Serving Warm Welcomes since 2004!

GREAT GIFTS & BEAUTIFUL CARDS Scarves, Tapestry, Candles, Mugs, Heat Packs, Jewellery, Bags, Tins, Books, Notepads, Pens, Puzzles, Socks, Cat. 1--and Face Masks 1€ … TUES - FRI: 10am - 12 noon : 3pm - 7pm SAT: 10am - 12 noon : 3pm - 6pm

You can collect your DSM magazine from these venues. Why not advertise YOUR event here?

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

Siret: 47876969800018


FRYER TUCKS Fish and Chips British Indian Curry Kebab - Burgers

Regular venues at: • • • • • • •

Aulnay de Saintonge 17470 Beauvais Sur Matha 17490 St Jean D’Angély 17400 Sauzé-Vaussais Hope 79 79190 Villejésus 16140 Charroux 86250 Private catering

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74 SIRET : 537 606 972 00025

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Venues :

Saint Jouin de Marnes - outside the boulangerie - every Tuesday evening 17:30 - 20:30 Bar Genneton - July 9th and 23rd from 18:00 - 21:00

Funny Farm Cat Rescue - Saint Germain de Longue Chaume - July 28th 12:00 - 15:00 (pre-order only) AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE FUNCTIONS

Tel: 06 23 25 48 36 SIRET : 850 442 203 00012


TRADITIONAL BRITISH COOKING Sat: Fontenay-le-Comte (marché), Vendée and at Saint-Jean-d’Angély (marché intérieur), Charente-Maritime Sun: Aulnay (marché), Charente-Maritime Open mornings WE DELIVER THROUGHOUT FRANCE

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65 SIRET : 484 920 285 00018

Centre Régional « Résistance & Liberté »

To understand and live our freedom

Explore the history of the Second World War and the everyday life in occupied France. Follow the steps of those who said "no", from individual acts of civil disobedience to collective actions of Resistance, through a path based on regional history. A journey to the past to get a better understanding of our current world through this interactive and unique exhibition with original photographs, clandestine newspapers, letters and videos. Audioguides in English Activities proposed for groups (Please contact us for details)

Open 2.30 to 6 pm July > September 30th : Tuesday to Friday and Sunday Closed on public holidays

From 2 € to 4 €

(Cash and cheque only)

Écuries du Château Rond-point du 19 mars 1962 79100 THOUARS 05 49 66 42 99

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 7

International Day of .....

... International I Forgot Day (2nd July)

by Beryl Brennan


t happens to all of us, no matter what age we are, but it seems to be more prevalent the older we get. We go upstairs to get something … forget what it was and go back down to trigger the memory! I always say my memory is something I forget with, because as a female multi-tasker there are so many things to remember! However, you’ll be reassured to know that forgetting is part of life and we can forget things surprisingly fast. Research has found that we forget about 56% of information within an hour, 66% by the following day and 75% a week later. So it’s no use saying ‘I told you to do that yesterday’ because whatever the instruction was, it can genuinely have been forgotten 24 hours later. Memory is also selective; some memories are stored deep inside our mind whereas other events have been forgotten after a few days. Whilst the brain is an extremely clever organ, like Dropbox its capacity to store and retain details does have an upper limit, it’s not infinite. It can’t store every single event into its memory box and certainly not in equal amounts. Do you write a reminder note to trigger an instruction to do something? What else triggers your brain to remember something meaningful? Word association? We need a trigger as our memory box in our brain becomes full, unused memories eventually are lost. Without being conscious of it, we use selective memory to remember pleasant happy things and cut out painful memories to put at the back of our mind. Psychologist Gerd Thomas Waldhauser, of the University of Lund in Sweden, believes it is possible to do this. He carried out an investigation which confirmed that we can train our mind in this way to try and hide painful memories and psychology has now begun to use selective memory to overcome depression or post traumatic stress and deliberately suppress the memories which are the direct cause of psychological suffering partly by using hypnosis. Memory is selective because it is linked to emotion. Selective memory may beg the question – how do we retain information when studying for exams especially if we find the subject difficult? This is achieved by repetition which encodes the memory short term and continually accessing it turns it into

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

long-term which can last for a matter of days till the exam is completed, when it then becomes short term from being used less. Older people being forgetful can sometimes be considered a sign of the onset of dementia. However, absentmindedness is a normal part of getting older. Symptoms of dementia go further than forgetting why you’ve gone upstairs to get something, or getting the wrong day for an appointment. It’s when forgetting names of friends and loved ones that one should start to be concerned. Besides the normal ageing process, what other factors play a role in forgetfulness? Excessive drinking can have a negative effect on memory. Depression, as already mentioned, can be another effect and some medications can affect memory including sedatives, cold and allergy medications and antidepressants. Sleep plays an important role in consolidating memories, even though we may not be aware of it and lack of sleep can have a negative impact on memory. We often can’t remember our dreams because the brain decides the memories aren’t worth storing although we are likely to remember dreams which have a heavy emotional impact on us. And it won’t surprise you to know that excessive stress plays a role in causing forgetfulness. What can we do to minimize forgetfulness? Light regular exercise leads to improvement in memory function. Getting plenty of sleep - exercise and fresh air can help with that. Keep repeating information you want to remember to commit it to memory – we’ve mentioned that with regard to studying for exams. Finally, write it down, it’s one reason people keep a diary. If you’ve watched Michael Palin on TV revisiting some of his very memorable trips, you’ll have seen him reading from the many diaries he kept to record his special memories. So how to celebrate I Forgot Day? Make a list of things you know you are supposed to have done by now and start ticking them off – if you can remember them all! Send that belated birthday card, make the phone call you promised to make last week. Even buy a notebook and start a diary of things you did yesterday, last weekend. And don’t worry about being forgetful. Here’s a good quote I’ll probably use in future. ‘I’ve reached the age where my train of thought often leaves the station without me’ Anonymous

On This Day ... July July 1 1997 Sony’s “Walkman” goes on sale for the first time.

in 110 nations and raised more than $125 million in famine relief for Africa.

July 2 1937 Amelia Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan are reported missing near Howland Island in the Pacific. The pair were attempting to fly around the world when they disappeared during the most challenging leg of the global journey.

July 16 1945 At 05:29:45 the Manhattan Project comes to an explosive conclusion as the first atomic bomb is successfully tested in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

July 5 1946 French designer Louis Réard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit in Paris. Réard dubbed his creation “bikini,” inspired by a news-making U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll earlier that week. July 7 1917 British Army Council Instruction Number 1069 formally establishes the British Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC), authorizing female volunteers to serve alongside their male counterparts in France during World War I. July 8 1776 The 2,000-pound copperand-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. July 10 1940 The Germans begin the first in a long series of bombing raids against Great Britain, beginning the Battle of Britain, which would last three and a half months. July 13 1985 Wembley Stadium in London and JFK Stadium in Philadelphia host Live Aid, a worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. The 16-hour “superconcert” was seen by more than a billion viewers

July 19 1799 A French soldier discovers a black basalt slab inscribed with ancient writings near the town of Rosetta in Egypt. The irregularly shaped stone contained fragments of passages written in Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Egyptian demotic. The Greek passage announced that the three scripts were all of identical meaning. The artifact thus held the key to solving the riddle of hieroglyphics, a written language that had been “dead” for nearly 2,000 years. July 21 1969 Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another planetary body when they landed on the moon - a feat managed by just 10 others since. July 27 1921 Canadian scientists Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolate insulin—a hormone they believe could prevent diabetes. Within a year, the first human sufferers of diabetes were receiving insulin treatments, and countless lives were saved from what was previously regarded as a fatal disease.

Letter From Blighty

by Beryl Brennan

July 2021


fter spending weeks driving around a 100 mile diameter of our rental base viewing dozens of properties, we finally settled on one…not our first choice though. First choice – a flooding risk given rising sea levels. Second choice – occupied and the couple hadn’t even started packing up 40 years of belongings! So we settled on our third choice in a town we hadn’t originally considered. With criteria of a bus stop, local shop within walking distance, small manageable garden – bliss after 7 hectares to maintain! – and no stairs, life should be much easier. Our cheeky offer was quickly accepted, as we are cash buyers and the property is empty. Then began the fun!! Talk about being made to feel like a money-laundering criminal in the country of our birth! Proof of identity – the estate agents were the first to ask for that, followed by the legal beagle. Certified photocopy of passport – banks can no longer do that! The solicitor will charge to do it – rip off Britain again. Utility bills and bank statements … all from our French addresses and of course we’re in rental in the UK. We even had to show originals of bank statements to prove we had the cash…then the question was asked ‘what was the source? Know what? We sold a house to buy another one! What a palaver! It took about 3 weeks for us to prove we are who we say. Then there’s the paperwork – legal beagles do everything in triplicate now with reams of pages of Terms and Conditions mainly to cover their backs if they make a mistake and we sue! We didn’t actually sign and return ours as one condition was that we supplied 3 months’ bank statements. Well, what we do with our money other than buy a property is our business, not theirs to go on file! With lockdown you don’t meet face to face, not even Zooming. The secretary used WhatsApp to check our faces against our passport photos but that was the limit of any contact other than emails and post. We asked for completion before the end of June and the Stamp Duty holiday, only to learn that we needed to be permanently resident in the UK for a minimum of 183 days – 6 months near enough – to qualify. So we would get slammed with 2% Stamp Duty. The tax specialist at the Legal firm could claim it back for us after 6 months for a minimum charge of £300. Blow that, we’ll do it ourselves with one of us a retired accountant! Our legal beagle said she’ll do her best to complete before our rental term expires and with just us and the vendors, there shouldn’t be any complications. So fingers crossed, we might actually be property owners again! Will be in touch again.

July 29 1588 Off the coast of Gravelines, France, Spain’s “Invincible Armada” is defeated by an English naval force under the command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake. After eight hours of furious fighting, a change in wind direction prompted the Spanish to break off from the battle and retreat. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 9

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


ur thanks to this month’s contributors. If you have something to say, please get in touch.

Emails to Letters to 32 Rue Andre Gastel, 79450 ST AUBIN LE CLOUD

Dear Editor A question concerning wine: since the Deux-Sèvres is relatively near wine areas, such as Bordeaux and Anjou, are there many wineries and vineyards in your magazine coverage area? We are looking at visiting the wine areas, when we can travel again. S Sharpe, Canada An answer kindly provided by John Sherwin who writes a regular wine article in The DSM... Using Deux-Sèvres as a base for trips to famous wine regions is not ideal. Bordeaux is three hours (six hour round trip) and Angers over two hours (four hour round trip). The neighbouring departments are more convenient. Charente is home to cognac – OK, not wine, but very interesting and well organised distillery visits, and the Charente river itself is one of the most beautifully languid in France. For wine-wine, the Vendée would be a great choice. Not uber-famous wines, but rightly of AOC status. Vineyards all over the country are looking forward to welcoming back visitors, and are all taking appropriate anti-Covid measures.’ J.S.

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Dear Editor I was interested to read about the Crystal Palace as an historical event that I remember well. I was eight when it burned down. I was awakened by my parents talking and saw father take his bicycle and leave the house to find out what was happening. My mother drew back the bedroom curtains and there was this red sky for as far as I could see. The next day, after school, with the baby in the pushchair and the three of us, we walked with my mother to see the ruins. My overpowering memory is of the strong smell of smouldering wood and metal and of the muddy slush around our feet washing along the gutters and down the hill. I was born in Holmesdale Road, South Norwood, home (still) of the then third division ‘Glaziers’, as the now Premier League Crystal Palace football team was known. The Crystal Palace was only a walk away and was the chosen venue for the family on Sundays. My mother remembered that, as a child, she had sung with the Choir of Thousand Voices. One penny was the cost for adults to enter the building, but the park was free. At my age I found the fact that huge, live trees grew inside astonishing and more interesting that the hundreds of artefacts around. The gardens were a paradise. They were laid out in Italianate style; two large roundels on either side of wide steps, one with flying chairs and the other with a huge carousel. There was a lake with boats for hire and a fishing lake, but what we children liked best, were the life-sized models of all sorts of dinosaurs. One of my father’s interests was motor bike racing and he often took us to watch. My mother would rage when we returned home covered in black dust from the track. In the last century, this became a road racing track, but the noise and disruption in a built up area caused it to be discontinued in the Seventies. In modern times much has changed. The lakes and the dinosaurs are still there. The Fifties sports arena, track and baths are still there, but under used. The concert bowl of the same period has recently been refurbished and the grounds are well looked after. There is a children’s’ zoo and a restaurant. I still live in the area, at the other end of the Sydenham Ridge looking out to the North Downs. During lockdown, the park has been well used for exercise and walks. But I miss my quiet country house in DS, last visited 9/19. I hope, Boris permitting, soon to be back. P Cove, UK

Technology Satellite TV H

ello and welcome to this month’s ramblings. Hopefully the sun is shining, the curfew is lifted and we can all get back to doing what we like doing best. Reading about satellite TV and 4G internet. It’s what I do. There again, I seem to have no social life. Oh well, who needs to be happy when you could be talking about quad LNBs and download speeds?

So, as is tradition, just a quick reminder that Freesat is not the same as Freeview. Please do not buy a Freeview/ Youview box for TV reception here. Also, do not just purchase any Humax box as they no longer make Freesat boxes. So, if you do buy something from Humax, there’s a very good chance it’s not what you want.

by Stuart Wallace

system still works as well. However, this system does not work with Sky Q. Boo….. 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

Where possible, avoid joins in your TV cabling. It’s not always possible of course, so if you must, then please use screw type connectors and a joining piece (especially for satellite TV, terrestrial TV is a little more forgiving). Then, if the join is external, you need to ensure that it is waterproof. This means not using electricians tape. It is not waterproof. Also bear in mind that every join in the cable can have an impact on the signal passing through it. One join is likely to make virtually no difference, three or four however will take their toll. Remember that you can have a Sky TV package in France, you’re just not supposed to. If you arrange a package in the UK or bring your equipment with you, it’ll work just fine. This does not apply to ‘on demand’ services which require a VPN (virtual private network); An IT person can help you with these. As I tell my wife, it’s quality that counts. This is also true of satellite TV signals. Most receivers will display both signal strength and quality. It’s quality that’s the most important. Poor quality means you’ll lose your TV reception in bad weather. Naturally, quality is dependent on having a well aligned satellite dish. But, there is a final thing to ensure is correct. LNB skew. Ah, now I’ve got you haven’t I? What new and exciting nonsense is this? Well, nearly (but not all) LNBs require their angle to be set correctly to minimise errors in the data received at the dish. This is easy with the correct measuring equipment. However, as you probably won’t have this, what can you do? If you have an LNB which has a cable outlet coming vertically down from the LNB, the skew usually needs to be nearer 7 o’clock than 6 (and I’m assuming we’re talking about UK TV in this scenario). What I mean by this is if you were looking down the arm towards the dish (so standing behind the LNB), the cable(s) should be nearer 7 than 6 if you think of a clock face. It’s not much but it can make a massive difference. The 4G trials went well. A number of people benefitted from having an external antenna connected to an internal booster. One example saw a consistent 15Mbps inside the house where previously there was no signal. It was said to me the other day that it is no longer possible to send the signal from your Sky box to a second location (such as a bedroom). Older Sky boxes used to have an RF out socket that meant you could send the same signal to another, or multiple other TVs. If you used the RF2 output, you could even fit a magic eye which allowed you to change channels from those other TVs. ‘But no longer’ I was told. Not so, Sky boxes without an RF output, use an I/O (input output) port. You simply need to purchase an I/O adapter for a Sky box and all will be well with the world. The magic eye The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 11

À La Carte Citius, Altius, Fortius (“Faster, Higher, Stronger”).


ven if you are not a sports lover, there’s something magical about the Olympics. As we watch an athlete who has trained for years give their all and deliver the performance of a lifetime, we cry happy tears for the winners and sympathize with the losers. We feel a little bit more patriotic, root for the underdog and cheer for the one representative from Tuvalu! It’s also a symbol of status within the family if you are the first to recognize the flags and national anthems from around the world. The 2020 Games, still known as that despite it being held in 2021 due to COVID-19, will mark the second time that Japan has hosted the Summer Olympic Games. Their first time as hosts being also in Tokyo in 1964, making them the first city in Asia to host the Summer Games twice. The Olympic Games began over 2,700 years ago in Olympia, south west Greece. Every four years, around 50,000 people came from all over the Greek world to watch and take part. The ancient games were really a religious festival, held in honour of Zeus, the king of the gods. There were no gold, silver and bronze medals, winners were given a wreath of leaves and a hero’s welcome back home. Athletes competed for the glory of their city and winners were seen as being touched by the gods. There was no need to worry about sponsorship, protection, or fashion – they competed naked. Women were not allowed to take part in the main games though unmarried women had their own fouryearly festival at Olympia. Around AD 393 these games were halted by the Christian Roman emperor Theodosius as he considered them a pagan festival.

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by Catherine Bailey

Baron Pierre de Coubertin, a 29-year-old French aristocrat, is widely recognised as the father of the modern Olympic movement with the first modern games being held in 1896. He designed the Olympic flag and wrote the oath that is now recited at each games by one chosen athlete on behalf of all the competitors. The five Olympic rings represent the five major regions of the world - Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania, and every national flag in the world includes one of the five colours, which are (from left to right) blue, yellow, black, green, and red. The games have never been held in Africa or, less surprisingly, Antarctica. The official languages of the games are English and French, complemented by the official language of the host country. The host city designs the Olympic medals for their games. Each medal must be at least 60mm in diameter and 3mm thick. The gold medals must be covered in 6g of gold, and silver medals must contain 92.5% silver. The last medals made entirely of gold were awarded at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. London holds the record of being the only city to have hosted the event 3 times – 1908, 1948 and 2012. The USA has hosted the Olympics more than any other country (4 times). The following sports are (sadly) no longer part of the Olympics: solo synchronized swimming, tug of war, rope climbing, hot air ballooning, pistol duelling, tandem bicycle, swimming obstacle race, and plunge for distance. Luckily, live pigeon shooting was only part of one games in the 1900 Olympics in Paris. These games also included croquet with France winning every medal and cricket with 2 countries entered- Britain and France, they took gold and silver, respectively.

Olympic Trivia Tarzan competed in the Olympics: Johnny Weissmuller, an athlete-turned-actor who played Tarzan in 12 movies, won five gold medals in swimming in the 1920s. The oldest ever Olympian is Oscar Swahn of Sweden. He was 72 years, 281 days old when he competed at the 1920 Olympics in shooting. He also qualified for the 1924 Olympics but withdrew without competing. The oldest woman to compete in the Olympics was British rider Lorna Johnstone, who participated in Equestrian at the 1972 Olympic Games at the age of 70 years and 5 days. During the 1936 Berlin Games, two Japanese pole-vaulters tied for second place. Instead of competing again, they cut the silver and bronze medals in half and fused the two different halves together so that each of them had a half-silver and half-bronze medal. In 1908, the London Olympics went on for 187 days... they started in April and didn’t end until October. The first Winter Olympic Games were held in Chamonix, France in 1924. The Beijing Olympics, 2008, began at exactly 8:08:08 PM on 8/8/08 because the number 8 is considered lucky in China. The Rio Olympics in 2016 were the first Summer Games to be held entirely during the wintertime of the host nation. In order for a sport to be included in the Olympics it must be practiced by men in 75 countries on at least 4 continents, or by women in 40 countries on at least 3 continents for the women’s events.

During the 2012 London Games, the Olympic Village required 165,000 towels for a bit more than two weeks of activity. Only five athletes have ever won medals at both the Winter and Summer Olympic Games. American swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, winning a record 28 medals (out of the 30 events he entered) between 2000 and 2016. The only Olympian ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize was Philip Noel-Baker of Great Britain. He won the silver in the 1500-metre run in 1920, and was awarded the Nobel prize for Peace in 1959 for his support of multilateral nuclear disarmament. Hitler banned alcohol from the Olympic Village in 1936 but permission was given for the French and Italian athletes to be served wine with their meals, and after protests the Dutch and Belgian squads were allowed to have beer. Great Britain is the only nation to have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Games. The island nation of Kiribati was notably mispronounced by officials in all three languages - French, English and Greek - during the opening ceremony in 2004. At Moscow 1980 both the gold and silver medal-winning rowing teams in the coxless pairs event were identical twins - Gold went to Bernd and Jorg Landvoigt (East Germany), silver to Nikolai and Yuri Pimenov (Soviet Union). Whatever sport you follow or nation you support, the games of the XXXII Olympiad and its 339 events will highlight the strength, endurance and tenacity of the human spirit. Whether as an individual or team; records will be broken, limits exceeded and nations bought together as one ... hopefully.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 13



by Sue Burgess

ell, July’s here and the schools have broken up for two months of “grandes vacances” (the long summer holidays). The kids “sont en vacances” (are on holidays). Some secondary school children are lucky enough to have three months off, as classes finish when the bacalauréat exams begin in June. A lot of French families “partent en vacances” (go away on holiday), often for three weeks. Family holidays are generally taken either in July or in August, “en juillet ou en août” but rarely across the two. French families like to spend their holidays “à la mer”, “à la campagne” or “à la montagne”. (at the seaside, in the country or in the mountains). They don’t often go “à l’étranger” (abroad), and especially since COVID they have been particularly keen on holidays at home. According to recent research 6 French people out of 10 go away on holiday. Some families “descendent dans un hôtel” (stay in a hotel) whilst others “font du camping” (go camping) or “ont une maison secondaire” (have a holiday home). This year gites “les gîtes” will be even more popular as you can keep yourself to yourself. Many families “partent en voiture” (go by car). The last Saturday in July and the first Saturday in August as classed as “noir” (black) by Bison Fûté, the authority that keeps a watch on road transport. Traditionally there are huge “bouchons” and “embouteillages” (hold-ups and traffic jams) which are always announced on the TV news as a total number of kilometres of traffic jams. Let’s hope you don’t “tomber en panne” (break down). July holiday makers are known as “juilletistes” (sometimes written “juillettistes”) and August holiday makers are “aoutiens” The kids generally have “cahiers de vacances” (holiday books which help them to revise their schoolwork from the previous year, so that they haven’t forgotten everything when it’s time to go back to school “la rentrée”). These “cahiers de vacances” can be found in supermarkets. For kids from infant school to high school, some are general “cahiers” which revise all the subjects studied and others specialise in one subject.

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When their parents are at work, children can go to “centres aerés” (day centres) or even “centres de vacances” (holiday clubs) which could be “colos” /”colonie de vacances” (holiday clubs) or “camps scouts” (scout camps) or “centres de loisirs” (activity clubs) for horseriding, canoeing, camping …..... Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Partir en vacances to go on holiday Partir en weekend to go away for the weekend Partir en voiture to go by car Prendre le train to go by train Faire ses valises to pack Réserver to book Retenir une chambre to book a room Descendre dans un hôtel to stay in a hotel Monter une tente to pitch a tent se baigner to bathe / to swim Prendre un bain de soleil to sunbathe Bronzer to tan Passer des vacances to spend holidays Passer une nuit dans un hotel to spend a night in a hotel Envoyer des cartes postales to send postcards Passer ses vacances à la mer to spend one’s holidays at the seaside.

View from the Vendée by Karen Taylor

July 2021 - A Tale of the Unexpected


s we move into the summer months, it reminds me of the times we used to head over the Channel to our holiday home here in the Vendée whenever we got the opportunity. As soon as we docked at Le Havre at 7am, we usually jumped on the autoroute and headed south, stopping off after a couple of hours for a break and a bite to eat at an aire. But just for a change one day, we decided to take advantage of the good weather and drive more leisurely down the country on the route nationale, taking a break for our petit déjeuner in a local bar.

Photo by Karen Taylor

We ordered our breakfast and made ourselves comfortable as le propriétaire served us with our very welcome cups of coffee. After several minutes and no sign of our petit déjeuner, I went up to the counter to ask if the rest of our breakfast was on its way. ‘Oui, bien sûr, à côté’ the owner answered, pointing towards the street outside. I was a bit confused as I headed out of the bar, but then I noticed a queue outside a nearby shop – yes, you guessed it, coffee may be served in the bar, but croissant was supplied by the local boulangerie ! OK, so it turns out that it was more like a self-service breakfast, but who can complain about hot coffee & fresh pastries!

Since then of course we’ve discovered that it’s quite acceptable to take viennoiseries into a bar to enjoy with your morning coffee, but at the time it felt as though we were picnicking at someone else’s table!! In fact the photo you can see here was taken just a few days ago on our bike ride along the coast – no more worries about tucking into our breakfast goodies… So come on, who else has experienced a ‘Tale of the Unexpected’ during your stay in France??

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 15

Camping & Caravanning in Airvault - Our Story

with James and Jayne Wheeler


aving met through their work in the corporate defence industry, James and Jayne always thoroughly enjoyed getting away from the stress and pressures of work to combine tenting holidays with outward bound activities, often on the west coast of France. One year, the weather turned against them and their tent was washed out in a storm. This made them consider ‘upgrading’ to something a little more substantial in the form of a caravan. The change was made and they both immediately loved the upgrade and made regular use of their new acquisition. Over time, they both felt the gradual pull to reduce the pressure and stress of their work lives but without giving up entirely on working. They began to wonder whether running a campsite would be something that would fit the bill for them. The tipping point came in the winter of 2012 when they decided to combine their next holidays with a search for a site they could take on. So, during their (several) holidays in 2013, they spent their time touring sites in Scotland with a view to buying something. Unfortunately, discussions with the locals about the winter weather on the east coast of Scotland (regularly seeing temperatures of minus 16°C according to at least one local site owner) made them re-evaluate the location of their future home and business. How about France? How about the south of France?

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

The Scotland trips had not been wasted though as they had garnered useful information about their future proposition including what the site would need to have to make it viable for them. For example, an out-of-season income from caravan storage, etc. With all this in mind, they prepared for the following year, determined that THIS was the way to go. The 2014 August holiday found them in the foothills of the Pyrenees in their much-loved caravan. They spent time talking to the British owners there, who had owned more than one site in France, gathering as much information as they could and getting to know the area better. After a lovely, and informative, holiday they set off back to the UK more convinced than ever that owning a site was what they wanted to do but still uncertain about where that site should be. Having looked online, they had booked a mid-point stop in a place called Airvault to break the journey to Caen. On arrival at the Airvault site, James and Jayne were impressed with the location and facilities. During a general chat with the owners in the bar, a lightbulb suddenly went off and they asked … “is this site for sale”? It seemed that, by an extraordinary coincidence, they had booked a pitch on a site previously owned by the people who owned the site in the Pyrenees and it was for sale. Over the next day or two, a series of discussions with the current owners made James and Jayne more and more certain they had found their future. The site had excellent occupancy rates, it had caravan storage with potential to extend, there was a field of static caravans (again with scope to expand) and a small bar/ restaurant which attracted both residents and non-residents alike. By the time they had driven the rest of the way to Caen the decision was made. A phone call to make an offer, which was accepted, and the wheels were in motion.

March 2015 saw them move their lives to France, spending the first month living in their own caravan on a site in the (relatively) nearby Saint-Aubin-Le-Cloud and then, as they themselves describe it, “in at the deep end”. Their first year was, as James puts it, “like drinking from a fire hydrant” but by the end of their first season they were able to start planning to make things more manageable as well as build on the already excellent site. Now 6 years down the line they have a new shower block, a new reception, games room, terrasse, new (extended) bar and restaurant as well as extended living accommodation available in static caravans and an expanded touring caravan storage operation including some indoor storage. After years of hard work they are now old hands at managing a busy camp site who handle everything life throws at them.

residents, to enjoy the facilities and perhaps take part in the various events they have planned. Anything they miss from their old lives? Well, frankly, they miss going on holiday in their caravan … which has been stored in Airvault since their arrival.

James & Jayne Wheeler own and operate Camping de Courte Vallée in Airvault (79600). You can get more information about the site from their web site

Along with most of the world, 2020 was a difficult year for them though their proximity to the major GR36 hiking route and the famous ‘La Vélo Francette’ cycleway (which runs from Caen to La Rochelle) kept them reasonably busy in the summer with walkers and cyclists looking for overnight stops. As things start to return to something approaching the old normality, James and Jane look forward to welcoming guests to their site, both residents and non-

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 17

Life in 79 - Messing About On The River by Stephen Shaw

t was a year ago that it happened and I only now feel able to relive that fateful day.

Anna, my wife, and I were visiting the beautiful town of Périgueux for the first time. The sun was shining and I suggested a kayaking trip down the river. We left our Airbnb accommodation (next to the Saint-Front Cathedral), with a spring in our step and sac à dos (with all our electronic devices in) on my back. On arriving at the boating centre the young man who kitted us out in life jackets and paddles asked if we would like a small plastic barrel to put the aforementioned electrical devices in. I told him we didn’t need one, big mistake. He asked us if we would like to row up stream or down. We said we would like to paddle upstream so we could view the town. The boathouse was at the bottom of a weir and to go upstream we were told to paddle over to the far side of the weir, disembark, carry our kayak up a flight of steps, remount, and away we go...simple!

To avoid another dunking I suggested that I drop Anna off on the bank, with the valuables, and she walk over the bridge and meet me at the boat house. Her disembarkation into the thicket of nettles wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Norman Wisdom film, one leg on the bank, one on the boat, she was almost doing the splits before grabbing a handful of nettles and yanking herself to shore. Like all good stories our narrative divides. I paddled towards the weir and prepared for the worst, but found I had become stuck on the concrete ridge at the top. The boat master was shouting something in French and crossing his arms. I just wanted the ordeal to end and so stood up and started jumping the kayak forward inch by inch until I felt the force of the water pulling me down...

So we settled into our craft, Anna at the front, me at the back and our rucksack with phones and iPad on the middle seat. We paddled across the river and managed to ascend the steps lugging the ridged plastic kayak. Anna got back in the front, rucksack in the middle and as I was fannying around about to embark, I heard Anna shriek, as she is wont to do, and when I looked up saw the front of the vessel was being dragged towards the top of the weir. Not wanting to be separated from Anna, I leapt in.

Anna had thought her troubles were over but she realised she could not cross the bridge as it was for vehicles only. Just then she saw a large, barking dog running at her. After the initial mount, it turned out the slathering canine was very friendly and belonged to two blokes enjoying a few bottles of cider and smoking some herbal substances. Anna explained the situation, why she was soaking and covered in angry red hives and asked if there was any way across the river. They offered to show her where the footbridge was (luckily they had run out of cider and the footbridge was on the way to the off-licence). En route one of them asked Anna if she thought “the French accent was sexy? No?” She laughed nervously and asked what the dogs name was. Looking across the water she saw an over turned boat, with her husband flapping in the water trying to retrieve his paddle.

There was nothing we could do, the boat was dragged over the top of the weir, rolled and in we went. As we resurfaced I was laughing nervously, whilst choking on a mouthful of L’Isle, Anna was repeatedly shouting an expletive. We managed to grab boat, paddles and rucksack before they floated down stream but a sun hat and pair of sunglasses were never seen again.

I had shot down the weir, again, and performed another unintentional eskimo roll. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to get back in a boat whilst standing on the river bed, but let me tell you it is not easy. I had to launch myself into the air and (like the shark in Jaws shortly before eating Robert Shaw) see-saw my way in.

We managed to flounder our way to the bank, where a beautiful young man (who was taking photos of his beautiful girlfriend) helped us out. Anna who had looked radiant not two minutes earlier in her summer outfit now looked like a drowned rat; mascara running down her face, sunhat flopped on her head like a big wet pancake. She started giggling coquettishly as the Adonis pulled her out.

On my eventual return to the boathouse the boat master could not understand why I was soaking wet and my wife had disappeared.

We squelched into our craft and paddled away (making sure we didn’t repeat our flume ride) as quickly as possible. As we glided through the town (me in the back, Alice Cooper in the front and an iPad and phones drying in the sun) we tried to laugh it all off. But, 40 minutes later the nervous laughter dried up as we approached the weir on our return journey. 18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

I wanted to get away from the boathouse ASAP, but had to wait for half an hour (in an ever increasing puddle) for Anna to rock up. She eventually did and explained the off-licence was further than she thought. We squelched back into town (leaving a wet trail behind us), trying to quantify the levels of embarrassment we were both experiencing, but having a good laugh as we relived the events. The moral of the story? If you are ever offered a small plastic barrel...take it.

Cartoon by STEVE SHAW


Health, Beauty and Fitness Everyday Yoga for Everyone Ahimsa and Saucha Compassion inside and out


by Rebecca Novick

ast month I described some of the philosophy around yoga practice and introduced the Eight Limbs of Yoga of which the physical postures are just one part. This month I will explore the first and second limbs, yama and niyama. The yamas and niyamas refer to the conduct of a yoga practitioner that are conducive to the path of spiritual development, the fruit of which is the full expression of the Truth of the Higher Self, the Self that is not limited to culture, personality or personal history. As a reminder, 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 yamas refer to external behaviours and the niyamas to internal behaviours which can also be thought of in terms of values. Examining the yamas and niyamas together, as compliments of one another makes for an insightful exercise so I will begin by looking at the yama ahimsa and the niyama, saucha. The first yama – conduct towards others -- is ahimsa, usually translated as “non-harming”. Many of you who are familiar with Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings will have come across this term before. Ahimsa is not just not hurting or harming other beings, human and non-human alike, but refers to a complete attitude towards life that is embedded in compassion, respect and benevolence. You as an individual are part of the fabric of life and so ahimsa also means non-harming the self. The first thing that my yoga philosophy teacher said to me was “Yoga is non-violence.” He went on, “Yoga should not be torture. You need to respect where you are at any given time.” It is that respect, for both self and others, that is at the core of ahimsa. The niyama ‘saucha’ is usually translated as cleanliness or purity. At first glance, non-violence and cleanliness seem to have little in common, but there is actually a very meaningful connection between the two. On the physical level, saucha means taking care of your health. In ancient India this was not about taking fistfuls of supplements or gym routines or eating organic (they already did!) or taking courses in stress management, it was mostly about avoiding infection through personal hygiene (something that the pandemic has made us acutely aware of lately). Yoga was developed during a time when the slightest infection could kill you because antibiotics had not yet been invented. Cleanliness then, which includes eating uncontaminated food, was the most non-harming action you could take towards your body. In this light, saucha can be understood as ahimsa or non-harming towards the self. Saucha is more than physical purity, however. It also refers to purity of mind and speech. This does not mean being pious which is a form of pride (nor does it mean never thinking about sex!), it means keeping the mind ‘clean’ of harmful thoughts and emotions, such as jealousy, bitterness, pettiness, malicious intent, and so on, and not speaking in a way that hurts other people such as lying and harsh speech. In this way, the relationship between ahimsa and saucha is clearly seen in our everyday actions of body, speech and mind. As within, so without. Respect yourself, explore yourself.

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


Private courses available online and in-person For more information email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 19

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Saint-Sauveur-de-Givre-en-Mai

by Sue Burgess

Church at Saint-Sauveur-de-Givre-en-Mai


aint-Sauveur or Saint-Sauveur-de-Givre-en-Mai, is an old French commune situated in the Deux Sèvres approximately eight kilometres from Bressuire. The commune has been an associate commune of Bressuire since 1973. The inhabitants of Saint Sauveur are called les Salvatoriens and Salvatoriennes, and there are currently almost 2000 people living on the commune. Old writings mention the church : Ecclesia de Guiversay or Sancti Salvatoris de Giversayo juxta Berchorium (1300). Then St Salveur can be found in writings dating from 1380. St-Sauveur-de-Givre-en-May appears in 1387 and StSauveur-de-Gyvre-en-May in 1435. Sauveur Givre en May in 1793 and Saint-Sauveur in 1801. The « Givre-en-Mai » part of the commune name is taken from the church, this is probably a deformation of Guiversay, a name mentioned in 1300, although a local legend explains the origin differently. According to “Tales and Legends of Poitou” (« Contes et Légendes de Poitou), the story happened a long time ago when the army of Charles Martel was fighting the army of the Sarrazin leader Abdéram on the plains of Poitiers. In 732, the Martel’s army was victorious and, realising that they had been defeated, the Sarrazins fled in different directions. Some of them ended up in Saint Sauveur. The church of this little village in the Bocage area, was an ideal hiding place and shelter. They barricaded themselves inside. The church walls were strong and solid and their position

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seemed to be easy to defend. They decided to wait and see what would happen. They didn’t have to wait long. The locals, seeing that their church had been invaded, armed themselves with pitchforks and spades. The Sarrazins realised that their hopes were lost and that they would lose the fight. So, as they were crafty and cunning, they came up with a plan. During their flight, they had noticed that the trees were coming into leaf and that there were large clumps of daisies in the fields. It was May and spring had arrived. The Sarrazins promised to give themselves up on one condition - they said that they would give themselves up if there was a frost the next morning. The night went by without any fighting and the next day, at dawn, there was such a heavy frost that the ground, the oaks, the elms, the ash trees, the apple trees in flower and the hawthorn hedges were covered in hoarfrost. The Sarrazins, true to their word, surrendered, but the generous inhabitants of Saint-Sauveur let the Sarrazins go free as long as they promised not to stay in Saint-Sauveur which was now renamed Saint-Sauveur-de-Givre-en-Mai (Saint Saviour of the May hoar frost). Before 1790, the village depended on the Dean of Bressuire, the Baronry of Argenton, the Senechausse of Poitiers and the local jurisdiction of Thouars. The priory of Saint Sauveur was joined with the Diocesan Chapter of Lucon in the XVth century.

The Church is named for the « Holy Trinity ». Three representations of the Holy Trinity are visible in the church. One of the stained glass windows made by the Parisian glass maker A. Lusson in 1860 shows the Trinity surrounded by eight kneeling angels. A carved rack in the Baptistry shows the Father and the Son with the dove representing the Holy Spirit above them. Above the entrance there is a sculpture of the Father with an episcopal headdress, Jesus on the cross and the dove. A similar representation can be seen in St Hilaire Cathedral in Poitiers. There are traces of wall paintings and some parts of a funeral ribbon on the walls. With the exception of the stained glass window mentioned above the other windows are modern and do not represent scenes from the scriptures. The windows were made by Jean René Petit of Orléans in 1995 and depict a luminous hoarfrost giving credibility to the legend and a sense of unity to the series of windows.

A voir / Must see The Church The church dates from the last part of the XIIth century and the XVth century. It has been listed as a historical monument since 1978.

The full collection of Sue’s A to Z articles is now available via our web site ...

The building belonged to a priory of the Abbey of Lucon in Vendee. It was built on the site of a chapel dating from at least the beginning of the VIIIth century.

Photographs by Sue Burgess

This church is a curious example of a sanctuary with an ambulatory but without radiating chapels, attached to a nave without aisles. The arcades of the ambulatory, traced in a raised pointed arch, fall on four-lobed pillars, with the exception of those at the entrance to the choir. The apse is covered by a pointed barrel vault, while the ambulatory is vaulted by a double barrel vault. The choir is joined to the nave by three open front arcades, supported by two strong pillars with eight columns welded together. A XVth century frame, with chamfered corners, ten crossbeams and ten arched gables, covers the nave. The square side belfry, with a turret, is located in the first south bay of the ambulatory.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 21

Home and Garden

Love your


• Water the garden and pots in early evening so that evaporation is reduced and the plants reap more benefit; mulching pots helps water to be retained in the compost: dampening terracotta pots especially in days of high temperatures, will ensure that plant roots are kept cool. • Deadhead, deadhead, deadhead! This encourages a longer flowering period in perennials and bedding plants. • Cut back dead and dying perennial plant foliage to keep flower beds tidy and to keep fungal disease at bay.

by Greenfingers


was recently reading an article in a gardening magazine, written by Alan Titchmarsh, and I suddenly realised he was talking about me…. well, not me actually personally, but all the notions he was writing about applied directly to me and I imagine thousands of others. The winter months seemed long, the weather was not always conducive to getting outside, it was too early to sow certain seeds or take cuttings from some plants. The spring bulbs were all planted in the autumn ready for the spring, and the time seemed endless…….. then suddenly, it’s March, the temperatures have risen a bit, it’s still raining, but things have begun to ‘poke’ through the earth and grow away. Those hours we thought we had are now lessening and that feeling of ’I’m not going to get everything done in time’ is beginning to creep in! He had the same thoughts and feelings! I had decided to change the shape of some of the flower beds, extending them, with the idea of having so many plants in, that there would be masses of colour everywhere and no space for weeds. But………. everything took a lot longer than I thought, in fact I had longer because of Covid and I guess the work extended to fit the time ……… and of course I am still doing it! I’ve tweaked, dug slightly different shapes, moved some plants, changed my mind a few times and of course, with the wettest, coldest spring for ages, I didn’t get outside every day. At the same time, with the distance restrictions that were in place at the time and me being the ‘nominated shopper’ all the time, every outing seemed to take at least two hours, so less ‘garden’ time available anyway! Thank goodness things are gradually getting better, with no travel paperwork necessary, and with ‘distance no object’, the garden centres are beckoning and I shall definitely be going to the first available ‘fête de plantes’. One real positive has been having time to look at new plant suppliers on the internet, thinking about diversifying even more the species of plants in the garden, actually planning where the pond will be, laying out a stone circle I’ve had for ages (had help with that as it weighed a ton!) and actually looking at the garden for a change instead of always seeing it from my knees. The dependance has had a jolly good tidy up, so I can find most things now and can see what I need to buy. I’ve also bought a new extension lead so I can listen to my story CD’s right at the bottom of the garden, ( I know I’m a bit of a Luddite but I do enjoy them), so it’s not all doom and gloom! I’m not a person who can sit outside without ‘doing’ something and the time just melts away. A ‘bit of deadheading’ always turns into more, because there is always more to do! I do hope that you are all keeping well and have had an opportunity to get vaccinated, and that you are getting as much pleasure as I get when I’m in the garden. What a healthy solace for us all! Do take care,

Now is the time to :


• Trim overgrown foliage in hanging baskets and pots, to rejuvenate the display, watering well afterwards. • Reduce the growth of hardy geraniums after the first flush of flowers have faded. This used to be called ‘The Chelsea Chop’, as it was always carried out during the same week as the show. It is a hard thing to do as the plants will have put on so much growth and be flowering well……on closer inspection though, many of the petals will have fallen off, revealing the seed head. If left, the plant will stop flowering because its’ seed production job is done. My plants are very bushy and tall but they will get the ‘chop’ this weekend and more blooms will follow a bit later. • Climbing roses and honeysuckle need to be tied up firmly. Some of the heavy rain and strong winds we’ve experienced have not only damaged the plants, but also their supports, so ‘tie-in repairs and renewed supports are a ‘must’!

• When tying in roses, deadhead first and you’ll have a clearer view of where to put the twine……at the same time, the deadheading will ensure repeat flowering. • Prune lupins and delphiniums to encourage a second flush of flowers • It is a good time to take cuttings from many perennials and shrubs, whist we have the warmer weather…….warmth aids the production of roots in these cuttings. • Deadhead roses and peonies to help keep the plants looking tidy. My Gertrude Jekyll has blossomed magnificently this year, but the flower heads have been spoilt by the wind and rain……. similarly with some of the larger peony specimens. I will prune off any damaged flowers of both and there may be another flush of flowers. Look out for ‘suckers’ growing from the base of roses, often below the union of the graft, and remove them, this helps to conserve the plants energy. • Lift any tulip bulbs from pots and save the largest and firmest and put them in a dry place to use again next year. Tulips are not

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

In Summer Oh, summer has clothed the earth in a cloak from the loom of the sun! And a mantle, too, of the skies’ soft blue, and a belt where the rivers run. And now for the kiss of the wind, and the touch of the air’s soft hands With the rest from the strife, and the heat of life, with the freedom of lakes and lands. I envy the farmer’s boy, who sings as he follows the plough, While the shining green of the young blades lean, to the breezes that cool his brow. He sings to the dewy morn, no thought of another’s ear, but the song he sings is a chant for kings and the whole wide world to hear. Oh ye who toil in the town, and ye who moil in the mart, Hear the artless song, and your faith made strong shall renew your joy of heart. Paul Laurence Dunbar 1872-1906

always successful for a second year, but it’s worth a try! • Sweet peas need watering every day and deadheading regularly. • Root out dandelions before the seed heads form to prevent them from ‘seeding’ into the flower beds. • Red lily beetles are around now----although the numbers I’ve seen seem to be fewer -----maybe those late serious frosts have killed some of them off. If you spot any, just pick them off the plants and destroy them. They will ravage lily foliage very quickly and produce larvae, wrapped up in black slime, which will emerge and just join in with the leaf eating! • Hollyhocks easily develop ‘rust’ in hot humid weather. If you discover this on your plants, prune away any affected foliage.

the soil surface completely and climb up every plant stalk!. Best action, just dig it out or locally apply some of the acetic acid weed killer that is in the supermarkets. • If chilli plants have not been potted on yet, now is the time to do it……..just use the next sized pot up and follow with a feed of a balanced fertiliser. • Pinch out the side shoots on tomato plants regularly. Remove any leaves that are growing below the fruit, as this helps air to circulate more easily around the plant, reducing the risk of blight developing. Feed the plants every week with a high potash fertiliser and water every day. Irregular watering, will cause the fruit to split, leaving it open to disease, so try to regulate watering.

• Clematis wilt, as its’ name suggests, is a disease where the foliage wilts and eventually turns black. If you discover the plant has it, cut out any infected plant material, remembering not to put it on the compost heap. • Bindweed and hairy bitter cress grow quickly and spread everywhere if not checked. A small piece of bindweed left in the soil, will regenerate and soon be a big problem as it will cover

• If you are growing garlic, it will be ready to harvest when the foliage turns yellow. Lift them and leave them in a dry sunny spot to ripen. • Runner beans should be harvested every day as they become ‘stringy’ if left on the plant for too long. Harvesting encourages the formation of more flowers and pods. • Mulch around potato plants to stop the tubers going green and becoming toxic. If the tubers are being grown in a bag, just keep topping it up with compost.

Continued overleaf .....

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 23

Continued .....

• Take semi-ripe cuttings of lavender, rosemary, thyme and sage. • Chard and perennial spinach can be sown now and brassicas should be mulched to lock in moisture and nutrients. • Keep watering camellias, rhododendrons and agapanthus to ensure good flower production next year. • Make sure that ponds are filled up regularly and that wildlife can get in and out safely.

• Thin out the fruit on apple trees by leaving only two fruits every 15 cms. If there is a problem with birds……or squirrels eating the fruit, silver paper strips in the tree is a good deterrent, or fine netting also discourages them. • Feed citrus trees with a special citrus fertiliser. If there are any of what looks like small deposits of cotton wool on the branches and in the leaf axils, these are scale insects and can be damaging to the plant, so wash these off, using clean water. • Use simple metal staples, readily available in the local super markets….and cheap!! peg down to the earth, strawberry runners, which when rooted, can be separated to increase the stock of plants. • Encourage more fig production by pinching out the tips of side shoots once they have developed five leaves. • Prune plum, peach and cherry trees. • Prune wisteria removing seed pods and the long, whippy, new growth on the branches. Cut back to five or six leaves or about the length of your elbow to your hand. • Turn the compost heap so that air can get into it. Add water and turn again. This ensures that the green waste on the heap is being broken down. • Trim evergreen hedges and conifers. • Feed dahlias, cannas and hedychiums every two weeks, with a high potash feed, such as tomato food. • Sow biennial flower seeds such as foxgloves, to grow next year.

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

• Plant autumn flowering bulbs such as colchicums and nerines. • Start collecting seed from plants that have been successful this year, or that you really liked, store them in envelopes or somewhere where they will remain dry ready to sow again next year. • Make sure when watering plants, that the roots get watered thoroughly. Try not to leave lots of water on the leaves as this can easily cause powdery mildew or burn the leaves when the sun is very hot. • Keep bird baths topped up. • Although we still have the summer to ‘get through’, start thinking about autumn bulbs you may like to order and look through catalogues and magazines for new shrubs and rose varieties.


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 25


by Donna Palframan


’m leaving my potager this month to share with you something I found in the formal garden of our maison de Maître. Work is still underway in this garden which is a delightful mix of flowers – three different colours of peony which bloom sequentially, pear trees, fruit bushes, roses, even white strawberries have been growing there for years, as have the weeds… The garden is arranged with eight long, thin beds which encompass two lawns and a path down the middle and around the edges. This is all enclosed with a beautiful old beech hedge. I have got seven of the beds under control, well , nearly! The eighth, though, was in great need of a good attack. The only perennials in this bed are a beautiful rose bush and a Philadelphus. Strawberries, white, wild and big fat ones run riot. The decision was made to dig out and separate out the weeds, replanting the strawberries and daffodil bulbs we found. All went well and we got to the last foot when work slowed down, well, stopped as I found something unusual. It was obviously made of metal and was quite heavy, so initially I thought it was a piece of lead pipe… then I looked more closely and discovered it was actually a shell casing. I’ve lived in Normandy for over fifteen years, and my partner, nineteen years; we’ve both done a fair amount of digging in our gardens and this is the first artifact found. It was lucky we had little left to do as we were keen to get it cleaned up as we could see marks on the base and wanted to know more. The internet can be a wonderful thing and how I wish it had been at this level when I was studying for my degrees! The first discoveries were that it is a .50 calibre shell and had never been fired – there is no mark on the base from the firing pin and the bullet part of it was absent. The casing is also blackened – difficult to see on the photo.. Live ammunition is still being found 77 years after D-day in Normandy and elsewhere. The next mystery to be solved were the markings ‘DM’ and ‘4’ on the base. As it was, it wasn’t difficult to solve that mystery. ‘DM’ means that the shell was made at the Des Moines armament factory in Illinois and the ‘4’, that it was made in 1944. How it made it into our garden was no mystery and I will tell the sad tale. It was Sunday, 2nd July, 1944 and St Martin de Montbray was still under German occupation. Mass was over at the beautiful church and everyone was going about their Sunday morning, getting ready for lunch, having un petit café with their

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

friends, when the sound of aeroplane engines was heard. It was the 396th fighter squadron that had departed Cardonville, Normandy, that morning for a mission near Nantes, strafing the railway lines and was on its way back to base. The squadron was made up of P47Thunderbolt aircraft which carried .50 calibre shells along with bombs and rockets. However, all was not well with one of the aéroplanes. ‘Miss Second Front’, number 276325, piloted by First Lieutenant John Carter Leavitt USAF, was having engine problems. No oil pressure, the engine was out of service and the propellers had stopped turning. He radioed his coordinates to the base and advised that he was going to parachute. The propellers stopped turning at 1,200m and the pilot of a second plane said Lieutenant Leavitt had plenty of time to parachute but did not as it is thought that the young pilot was trying to guide his aéroplane past the village. The plane missed the church but crashed into a house nearby, belonging to the famille Marion. Alcine, his wife Lucienne, their children, Gérard, Jean-Claude and Marie-Joseph - aged 11, 6 and 4 months and widowed twin aunts, Adrienne and Marie, aged 71. They are believed to have been at the table having lunch but died instantly in the huge explosion that occurred. Lieutenant Leavitt’s body was recovered 30m behind where the house once stood by German soldiers, as Montbray was still occupied but due to the intense fire, the bodies of the family could not be recovered and a second enormous explosion caused by a remaining bomb that night meant the fire raged on. The famille Marion remain at the site of the house which has never been rebuilt and now roses flower in their memory. Lieutenant Leavitt was initially buried in the churchyard at Montbray, then moved to the Brittany American Cemetery at St James to be with his fellow Americans and in 1948, his body was returned to America, and rests in Mount Evergreen Cemetery, in Michigan. A house on the other side of the road, which is next to our house with a small road between, bears the scars of the explosion which can be clearly seen on the granite lintels. It would take an incredible force to cause such damage to granite so it is no wonder that we found the shell in our garden, and there are gouges in the floorboards that I believe were caused by shrapnel and debris. In 2016, the aerostele, a memorial to those that died in this tragedy was erected by the association ‘Lest We Forget’ close to the site of the Marion house. Montbray will never forget.

The Woman in White

by Kevin and Amanda Baughen


ashionistas will know that, every season, clothes designers will dictate the must-have colour to wear, with phrases such as ‘the new black’ used to denote what is fashionable this year. Nobody could ever accuse beekeepers of being ‘trendy’ but we do like to colour our queen bees where possible. This isn’t just some random painting session (sorry to disappoint!), but a means of identifying the queen and also a way of knowing her age. Finding the queen in a colony can sometimes be a little tricky as she is shy and likes to hide away, plus there is only one queen to spot in amongst thousands of other insects. This is why beekeepers often mark their mated queens with a spot of special paint on the thorax. There is an internationally-recognised colour code to indicate the year a queen was hatched, with five colours representing the final digit of two years, five years apart. Only five colours are required because queens don’t live longer than five years. The mnemonic we use to remember which colour denotes which year is as follows: Year ending

Queen colour


1 or 6



2 or 7



3 or 8



4 or 9



5 or 0



This means that the new queens we have in our colonies this year have been marked white to denote 2021 as the year they hatched. Of course, you have to find the queen in the first place in order to mark her, but early in the season when colony numbers are lower than they will be in the height of summer, there is much more chance of locating her. We only mark our queens once we are sure they have mated and are laying eggs. There are several ways of restraining the queen in order to mark her, from holding her gently to pinning her against the comb with a device called a ‘crown of thorns’. We find that catching her in a special tube with a mesh lid and

sponge plunger is fairly simple and less likely to damage her legs or wings. Once in the tube and pressed against the mesh lid, we are able to dab a spot of special paint (of the correct colour!) onto her thorax. We allow it to dry for a couple of minutes and then release her back onto the comb. We use wet-ink paints that can be bought individually or as a set of five, and which need to be charged before allowing a drop of paint to be placed onto the queen. Practising on drones who have large thoraxes is not a bad idea if you’re unsure of how much paint to place through the mesh lid and, as drones have no sting, you could also practise picking them up to paint them…but either use a different colour or ensure you have killed them because you will find it very confusing when looking for your queen on another occasion! As well as making the process of finding the queen much easier, a marked queen will tell you how old she is. We still have colonies with ‘blue’ marked queens, ie last year’s queens, which is fine but we expect them to be superseded later this year or next spring depending on how big and strong they are. Queens in wild colonies will live slightly longer than those in kept colonies as they don’t have to work as hard. It’s important that we have strong viable queens going into the winter so that the colonies will build up quickly when they emerge in the spring. Commercial beekeepers will typically cull their queens each year so that their colonies always have a new queen, but that’s not for us. If you’d like to find out more about beekeeping and how to mark queens amongst other things, please get in touch with us on 05 45 71 22 90 or email Amanda and Kevin Baughen, 13 Bees, Confolens

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 27

We have lots of kittens and cats ready for adoption/reservation at the moment. Come and see us on Wednesday’s 11am-4pm, no appointment needed, or contact us to make alternative arrangement.

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

Zack Zack is a regal and large seven year old GSD who has lived his life in a quiet home, so he needs something similar for his retirement. He is well trained and independent and although he’s nervous around new people, he’s fiercely loyal to his carer.

Association : W792005754


Association W793001884

Our Furry Friends

Please get in touch through our email address in the first instance if you’re interested in learning more.

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

Visit the 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

Bonnie BONNIE is less than a year old but suffered so much in a short time. Her ears were bitten by another cat when she was a baby. Untreated, they formed large abscesses and she would’ve been in dreadful pain. Her hearing hasn’t been affected, but her ears will remain deformed. The attack also means she’s scared of other cats, so she will need to be an only one. Bonnie is extremely affectionate but needs lots of patience and love. Sterilised, id-chipped, FIV & FeLV neg. Chats de Chatillon Cat Refuge & Pension Email : Phone : 06 85 63 55 94 Website :

Levis Meet LEVIS DU SOUS BOIS DES PIRAILLES Brinnay spaniel almost 6 years old and 18.5 kilos. Levis has probably spent most of his life in a kennel and been a hunting dog. He is now with a foster family in 37 with another dog and children and discovering family life. Of course he will need to continue his education etc, but he is a good willing boy and is now house trained. He has quite high energy so will need daily walks, which he loves, and a well enclosed garden more than 1.40. He is micro-chipped; injection done; neutered; wormed; treated for fleas and has his health certificate. Adoption fee 180 euros Siret n° 508 517 455 000 12

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


Hope Association Charity Shops - Helping animals in need

Cane Corso cross. Born: 1st January 2019. Paco is an adorable big softy. He is really so very nice and cuddly. He is close to humans. He gets along with the female dogs. We tested Paco with refuge cats, he didn’t show any great interest. Of course, if there is a cat in his new home, a careful, proper introduction will be needed. Paco is still very young! Daily physical and mental exercise will be needed. In addition, his education will need to be continued. Be aware though Paco is not a dog for a novice, with little training in his life he needs a firm hand and he can be boisterous when he plays. It would be good if Paco could leave the refuge, even if only in foster, pending his adoption ... He is waiting for you ... email : (in English or French) Chemin des Perchées, 85200 Fontenay le Comte SIRET : 508 517 455 000 12

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 Please check the website for shop opening hours as they are subject to change and/or temporary closure due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Hope 16 Confolens

Hope 79 Sauzé-Vaussais

Hope 87 Eymoutiers

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

2 Route de Vauthion 79190 Sauzé-Vaussais

2 rue de la Vieille Tour 87120 Eymoutiers





N RNA W792002789

Chats de Chatillon Cat Refuge & Cattery, Parthenay


n Spring 2020 I was contacted by Judy from Chats de Chatillon cat refuge in Parthenay and asked if I could help update their website. As a cat-lover I was more than happy to help, and also keen to see the refuge. So when she asked me to visit, I was over the moon. This is how my ‘Audience with Judy Lewis’ went.

by Shirley Atkinson

and we prayed that one day someone extra special would give this beautiful girl a loving home. Months later our prayers were answered – a lady wanted to adopt her as company for another cat

What made you set up the refuge? Alan and I adore cats and over the years we have done whatever we can for homeless cats and kittens. But 3 years ago we found 7 abandoned kittens close to our hedge. None of the refuges could take them, but we had 7 cats of our own, and these kittens needed looking after. We had to do something, so Alan quickly built an emergency shelter for them. At the time, Groupe d’Action pour la Protection Animale (GAPA) were setting up and they took us under their wing as a foster family. Not long after, in November 2018, I earned my Attestation de Connaissance and that’s how it all started. How did it feel when the first cat was adopted? Happy and sad at the same time. Two siblings were going to the same home but it was so difficult letting them go. We had to remind ourselves that they had a wonderful home together, and with the adoption fees we could help more strays.

with the same condition. It’s one of my happiest moments, and I cry happy tears whenever I think of her. Does anyone help out? This year we have 5 wonderful foster families looking after cats with kittens, and motherless kittens. It’s hard work and huge emotional burden, especially when they have to bring them back to be adopted. We also have our angels Carol, Tamara, Sandie, Cathy, Anne-Marie, and Celine. They come to help out every week, whatever the weather and love our animals as much we do. The refuge has incredible business support too. ARK79 send regular donations; Hot Tubs in France sponsor one of our cats; Delbard’s Parthenay provide space for a fund-raising stall and Northern Lights France, donate a percentage from their candle sales. Not forgetting Clovis de Sinclair photographer for our website, and Rob Smith, who fixes all my computer problems!

How many have been adopted? In just under 3 years, we have had over 150 adoptions and paid for 200 sterilisations. We also support people who want to help strays but are unsure what to do. There’s so much cruelty in the world, but we mustn’t lose sight of the many people who devote their lives to limit animal suffering. Which cat made the biggest impression on you? It has to be Tommy. The vet called us about a young male cat that had been hit by a car and had spent several weeks lying under a hedge. Tommy’s pelvis and back leg were fractured and his tail was so gangrenous it had to be amputated. Slowly, over several months, we nursed him back to health. He still needs surgery but, as he is mobile and not in pain, we have been advised to wait until it is essential. He is a cheeky, mischievous cat with a huge character and he has become our refuge mascot. Everyone that meets him adores him. What’s the happiest story? This has to be Pebbles. She was found in a field, miles from anywhere and brought into us weighing just 1 kg. Everyone thought she was a tiny kitten; in fact, she was about a year old. Caked in dirt, skin hanging off and with a very painful, bleeding prolapse, this poor baby looked so sad it made us weep. But even in so much pain, she never murmured or hit out as we bathed her. Pebbles tested positive for Feline leukaemia virus,

We are eternally grateful to everyone who has donated money, toys, cat litter and food over the years. Without their support we couldn’t continue to save lives.

Chats de Chatillon Cattery Chats de Chatillon also has 2 separate wooden cabins used as a pension. They cost 9€ a day if you supply the food, otherwise it’s 10€. All money received goes directly towards paying the refuge bills. Visits by appointment only. Call 06 85 63 55 94 from 9h-12h 16h-18h Website : Author: Shirley Atkinson - manages the Chats de Chatillon website site and Google profile. The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 29

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword (with thanks to Rob Berry) Clues ACROSS 1. Not open (6) 4. Domesticated llama (6) 8. A soldier in the Australian and New Zealand army corps during World War I (5) 9. A republic in north-western South America (7) 10. Informal term for an upper-class or wealthy person (5) 11. Grasped by the mind easily; likely, clearly (7) 12. A public institution for the care of parentless children (9) 15. Permission to do something (7) 16. An appliance that corrects dental irregularities (5) 17. The largest ocean on 18 across (7) 18. Third planet from the sun (5)

19. I or me in person (6) 20. Not sweet (6) Clues DOWN 2. The capital and largest city of England (6) 3. Land-locked county in the West Midlands of England (13) 5. Not attending school without due course (7-6) 6. A body of dancers or singers who perform together (6) 7. The theory and practice of navigation through air space (11) 13. The branch of biology that studies plants (6) 14. An edge tool for cutting grass (6)

Clues Across

Clues Down

1. Harry’s backtracking after misplacing core of grape? (5) 4. Royal house belonging to us after start of battle having a good ending for the French? (7) 8. Having something to say about it when held down by love? (9) 9. Gone back without finishing drink? (3) 10. First of team aboard when nearing yacht in port? (5) 11. New lady rearranging fur to have enough to fill this space? (7) 13. Derisory pay-cut for disorderly footmen banding together; I wouldn’t have it! (3, 2, 3, 2, 3) 15. Core get fashion followers. (7) 16. Allowed light metal on stage? (5) 18. Infusion that each can swallow? (3) 20. Horse comes in for start of time in debating bits exposition? (9) 21. Cockney description of intelligentsia indicated by facial feature? (7) 22. Entitlement to broadcast ceremony? (5)

1. Solidly built holy man dismissed? (5) 2. First of thermal rainwear manufactured to combat this? (9) 3. Dangerous prince enlisting me for end of war? (5) 4. Raise a glass for amazing boy wonder getting blue during reorganisation? (4, 4, 5) 5. Suffer egg starter ground up? (7) 6. Chuck out tie when end is torn off. (3) 7. Lawson perhaps alleging a thousand lost has turned up? (7) 12. Wearing a gun; gift I put together sadly? (9) 13. Draw on courage to get a length of material knotted in the US. (7) 14. Collapsing reedily? I give up! (7) 16. Lout missing out on hooligan’s beer? (5) 17. A window that is easy to lift up? (5) 19. Local entertainment including beer. (3)


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. We estimate about 200 words are possible, 160 if you always use centre letter. 0 - 50 Not bad 51 - 80 Quite good

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

81 - 120 Very good 121 + Expert



Solutions on P.47

DSM Toughie Crossword (with thanks to Mike Morris)

CONNECT FOUR 1. 2. 3. 4.

a. Edward b. Henry c. Gordon d. James a. Elizabeth b. Albert c. Edward d. George a. The God of War b. Roman emperor born 100 BC c. Maia, goddess of plant growth d. The tenth (in Latin) a. Harrison “Jack” Schmitt b. Eugene Cernan c. Charles Duke d. John Young

9 3 7 5


8 3 2

7 9 3

1 4 8 5

3 1

4 1 9 2 6 6 4 8 9


Solutions on P.47

What connects the following ...


The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 31


ur garden is bursting out all over with Rhododendrons and Azelia that are just blowsy and beautifully amazing. Obviously the result shows that our garden soil is acidic and we don’t grow too much else, but ‘gather ye roses whilst ye may’ and so we will when they turn up. As you will know, all this bursting out has happened very quickly as we were clearing the snow away not that long ago, and dreaming all the while of Gritney Spears. In the meantime though, the ‘games afoot’ big time. Baseball and Football are in the moment and turning in some good results. Sadly though I have to report a minor muscle injury to our brave football tag hero which has necessitated an interesting visit to the Chiropractor, a visit that may later be remembered in the family annuls for all the wrong reasons. Hopefully, a bit of rest on the bleachers will soon sort out the strain. Baseball has been an altogether different matter, a big hit, very succesful and confidence boosting. In a noteworthy continuation of the Wind in the Willows theme of last month’s DSM report, water sports too have taken a dramatic turn, or tack I suppose you might say. First Daughter was temporarily plucked from relative Middle School obscurity, to cox one of the High School teams competing in a Regatta. On the Hudson River or tributory

thereto! Fortunately for the sake of the nerves and fingernails of family and friends, this outing was a success in terms of the crew and boat all finishing the race together, not quite in first place, but hey, a considerable triumph nevertheless! Many lessons were learned during the course of this weekend outing, which fortunately took place in warm conditions. If you were into whittling or chatting and doing nothing at all there was plenty of time to indulge and to look and learn. Hanging about was huge. There were many different crews competing in many different heats, run-offs and events of which progress onwards and upwards could only be determined once other results in the program had taken place. So eventually, very eventually, after learning that they had not made it through to the semi-finals our intrepid crew was all metaphorically washed up. It was at this point that First Daughter and paternal support staff decided that having outstayed their usefulness, Regattawise, logically the next step was ‘East West, home’s best’. Bags were packed and after a delightful father and daughter ‘farewellto-all-that-Regattastuff’ early supper we departed for family base camp. It was maybe during the three hour journey home that First Daughter decided that taking part, as in the robust ‘hands-on’ rowing-the-boat function was for her a far, far better thing that she could and would do rather than the steering and ‘voice-over’ super responsible function of coxing. So the decision has been made. Rowing is once again the primary focus and it’s a case of coxing been there, done that, got the T-shirt, move on. So enjoy yourselves out there, and take care.


32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

Food and Drink Meet the Rothschilds


ome of you in the many socio-economic brackets above mine might be familiar with the wines of Chateau MoutonRothschild and Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, both Bordeaux First Growths. If so, good for you, and my diary is free if you’re thinking of giving a tasting or, you know, an informal twelve course meal. Others might be more familiar with Mouton Cadet, the over-priced and average branded wine made under the name of Baron Philippe de Rothschild. But you might not be aware of the enduring influence that the Rothschild family had on Bordeaux wine and the wine industry generally. In a very small nutshell, as this is a wine article and not concerned with matters of international finance, the Rothschild family started their rise to wealth and prominence in Frankfurt at the end of the 18th century. Five sons were born to Mayer Rothschild, one stayed in Frankfurt, the other four spread the nascent family empire to Vienna, Naples, London and Paris. The Rothschild coat of arms includes a fist clenching five arrows in a reference to Psalm 127 – ‘Like arrows in the hands of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth’. Keep it in the family, Rodders, keep it in the family. It’s the latter two branches that interest us here. Baron James of the French side of the family bought Chateau Lafite (subsequently Lafite-Rothschild) in 1868. The excitement of the auction must have proven too much as he died a few months later, but his son Edmond proved a worthy successor. In 1882 he made a massive donation to the Israeli wine industry which had disappeared with the exile of the Jews. This made viticulture an important part of the agricultural resettlement programmes. Chateau Mouton-Rothschild came into the family when a certain M. Thuret sold it to Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild of the English branch in 1853. Two years later came the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, ranging from First Growth (the best) to Fifth Growth (the least good). Lafite was listed top of the First Growths, Mouton top of the Second. Must have been some interesting family lunches around that time. Nonetheless, this rating was never seriously contested as it was accepted that the 1855 listing was set in stone. I know that seems crazy, but that’s the way it was. Until, that is, Baron Philippe (1902-1988) took over the reins in 1922. You will see from the dates above that Philippe was a twentyyear old punk, and he wasn’t slow to put new ideas into practice. He startled staid old Bordeaux by employing a poster artist to design an art deco label for the 1924 vintage. This was the precursor of a series of artist’s labels which kicked off after the war and continues to this day. Every year, in great secrecy, a contemporary artist is chosen to create a picture to adorn the label. Said artist is not paid in anything so menial as money; no, he gets bottles. Nor are they up-and-comers from

by John Sherwin

down Hackney way – past artists include Bacon, Henry Moore, Picasso, Cocteau, Braque, Dali. So far, so nice and pretty, but what really hacked Philippe off was that Mouton was still a Second Growth. Everyone knew it belonged in the top flight, but everyone also knew that 1855 was never going to change, as noted above. Philippe had other ideas and used all his clout and cash to lobby for the unheard of – the promotion of Mouton from Second to First Growth. And yes, he got his way, a mere fifty one years after taking over, in 1973. The only change ever made, and the only one that ever will be made to the classification. But all the above is basically in-house navel gazing. One thing the young, visionary punk championed in the 1920s changed the way wine is marketed to this day. I speak of ‘chateau bottling’, ‘mis en bouteille au chateau’, those innocuous words you see on the label and often imprinted on the cork. You might think these words are as meaningless as ‘Grand Vin’ (which truly is meaningless) but not a bit of it. Bear in mind the context: the 1920s, just after WW1; just after the natural fiascos of powdery mildew and phylloxera. This equals a major shortage of wine. Bear in mind also that up to that point all wine was sold in bulk to merchants who subsequently bottled the wine either in the region of production or consumption. Human nature being as it is, widespread fraud became rife. Wine in barrel was adulterated with cheap plonk from Spain, N Africa, or the Rhone but labelled as, passed off as, the ‘real thing’. It was Philippe who persuaded all the Bordeaux big hitters to bottle on site, to, ahem, take back control. And where Bordeaux went, the rest of France, then the world, followed. Not all chateaux or domaines can afford the capital investment of a bottling line, so Philippe inadvertently also invented the mini-industry of mobile bottling lines – if the mobile line is at your chateau, and it’s bottling there, then it’s chateau-bottled. Please bear this in mind when next you see the words mis en bouteille au chateau, and raise a glass to the young Baron. Covid permitting, it is entirely possible to visit both Mouton and Lafite. The English branch, Mouton, is a two and a half hour visit, taking in not only their Musée d’Art, featuring breathtaking wine-related artefacts, their state of the art vat room (finished in 2013) which has a permanent exhibit of their arty labels, but also a tasting of their best and second wines. Lafite, the French branch, is a less showy-offy visit, about an hour and a half: a quiet walk round the grounds and a tasting in their atmospheric cellars. Mouton: €55; Lafite: €0. Draw your own conclusion, if indeed there is one to be drawn. John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 33

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

July is the month of RED, WHITE & BLUE with France Bastille Day and US Independence Day Let’s celebrate with : Macarons in red and blue with vanilla cream or how about Vanilla cupcakes with red, white & blue buttercream

Macarons 175g icing sugar 125g ground almonds 3 large egg whites 75g caster sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract The same buttercream recipe can be used. Instructions Preheat the oven to 160°C and line 2 baking sheets. Sift the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form soft peaks, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar until thick and glossy add vanilla extract. Fold the almond mixture into the meringue and mix well then spoon into a piping bag. Carefully pipe 3cm rounds of meringue onto the baking sheets Leave at room temperature for 10-15 minutes to dry then bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Make the filling using the cupcake buttercream recipe. Spread thinly over the flat sides of half the macaroons, then sandwich together with the other halves.

Cupcakes 120g butter 120g caster sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 120g SR flour

Buttercream 140g butter 275g icing sugar 1-2 tbsp mascapone Food colouring

Instructions Preheat oven to 180C/160C Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale, add the eggs and the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour, adding a little milk until the mixture is of a dropping consistency. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until they are three quarters full. Bake in the oven for 15-17 minutes, or until golden-brown. Set aside to cool for 5-10 minutes. Then place on a wire rack. For the buttercream icing, beat the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth add 1 tbsp mascarpone to give a smooth and silky texture. Divide the buttercream into 3 bowls adding a drop of red food colouring to one a drop of blue to another bowl and mix well. Giving you 3 bowls red, white, blue. Spoon each buttercream into a separate piping bag and pipe a circle of each colour on your cooled cakes creating a dome shape. Add decorations of your choice.

JULY BRINGS MORE AND MORE COLOUR TO OUR GARDENS Roses continue to bloom – Bupleurum Ammi majus - Sweet peas – Phlox - Pot marigold – Delphinium Hydrangea

It’s time to celebrate with a Cocktail or two – perfect with your picnic or barbecue. A refreshing blend of citrus and peach flavours, this easy to make cocktail will become a year round favourite. 1 ounce blue curacao 1 ounce peach schnapps 1 ounce clear rum 3-4 ounces club soda 1 maraschino cherry Fill a tall glass with ice. Add blue curacao, peach schnapps, and clear rum, Top with club soda and stir. Finish with a cherry. Enjoy.

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34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021



by Jacqueline Brown

he arrival of the third lockdown meant we had to cancel our plans for a short break away in April, so the first thing we did when we were released, was to rebook and keep our fingers crossed nothing would get in the way this time. As with our getaways last year, we chose a covid-safe, self-catering holiday, in a quiet, rural area where we saw more cows than people, and didn’t have to worry about airports, stations, planes or trains. France never ceases to amaze me with her stunning scenery. Within a three-hour drive from the Deux-Sèvres we found ourselves surrounded by the gorges and lakes of the Haute Dordogne, and the mountains and volcanos of the Cantal. It was a feast for the eyes, recharged our batteries and refuelled our senses. Even the boulangeries in France have a different selection of tasty treats that varies from region to region, and when your holiday includes cycling, cycling and more cycling, indulging is a must. The highlights of this trip were a sablés aux myrtilles, a shortbread style sandwich biscuit filled with a layer of blackcurrant jam, and a langue de belle-mère (mother-in-laws tongue!). With a name like that I couldn’t not try one and it didn’t disappoint. It was a soft and chewy almond biscuit, shaped like an enormous rolled tongue that was just sweet enough to be the perfect accompaniment to our morning coffee. The recent rains have certainly helped the green weeds we call a lawn. The days leading up to going away were spent mowing, mowing and more mowing and after less than a week away, the first few days after getting back, were spent mowing, mowing and (you guessed it) more mowing. Add to that the washing that needed doing on our return and by the end of the week, I felt I needed a holiday again. We were also out of cake, and I do find I have a tendency to panic when we are out of cake, but an afternoon spent baking, relaxed me and filled me with that sense of contentment that only comes with knowing there is once again, cake in the kitchen. We have also been busy preparing the potager for the summer veggies. I thought long and hard about whether to sow the seeds this year, and have drastically reduced the number of plants, but summer in our garden wouldn’t be summer without a daily picking of courgettes, especially as the early fruits have suffered with the inclement spring weather. It is all change for us as a family unit this summer. Ed is back from Poitiers and has landed the best student summer job in the world, well in my world anyway; a part-time position at the médiathèque in Sauze-Vaussais, until the end of August. I will also be back working at the Chef Boutonne library this summer, on another maternity replacement contract, so we have become a family of two librarians – just think of the fun we can have rearranging our bookshelves. Email: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 35

On The Road Can you stay the distance ?

by Helen Tait-Wright

Endurance racing is meant to test the durability of the equipment as well as the endurance of the participants. Teams of multiple drivers attempt to cover a large distance in a single event, with participants given a break with the ability to change drivers during the race. Endurance races can be run either to cover a set distance in laps as quickly as possible, or to cover as much distance as possible over a preset amount of time, as with the Le Mans 24 hours. Endurance races pack all of the excitement of shorter races, but add the drama of catastrophic mechanical breakdowns and the steady, heart-rending attrition of vulnerable vehicles as the laws of physics take their toll.


he first weekend of June saw the 2021 running of the 24 hour race at the Nürburgring in Germany.

Our compatriots, the all female team at WS Racing ( Pippa Mann/ Célia Martin/Christina Nielsen/Carrie Schreiner) competed in their Giti sponsored Audi R8 race car and came home first in the SP8 class. The race weekend was like no other in recent history with fog blanketing the circuit and causing a 14+ hour delay! This was coupled with rain showers and some dramatic accidents to add to the legendary drama of the Nürburgring circuit. Long distance racing is not new, in fact endurance racing has existed almost as long as there have been cars to race. The invention and early development of the motor car in the late 19th century soon brought with it a desire for competition. One of the best ways for automotive inventors to prove the worth of their constructions was to put them under scrutiny on the open road. The early 1900s saw a series of long-distance, rally-like races between major cities in Europe, usually sponsored by national newspapers in France. Paris to Bordeaux, Paris to Vienna, Paris to Berlin, even Beijing to Paris – all were part of the early days of motorsport. Strictly speaking, they were trials or rallies, not races, but the competitive edge was certainly present. The origins of endurance racing are in Italy as far back as 1900 with the Coppa Florio, but the first organised 24 hour race was in Columbus Ohio USA in 1905 on a 1 mile oval track. In that race the winning car covered 828.5 miles in the 24 hour period. Not to be left out, the British ran the first 24-hour race to take place at a dedicated motorsport venue, at the purpose built Brooklands circuit, just eleven days after its opening in 1907. This incurred the wrath of local residents and would lead to the Double Twelve race. This format meant the race took place for 12 hours each between 8 am to 8 pm and between it, the cars were locked up overnight to prevent maintenance work from being performed on them.

36 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

Although in the early days race cars in all disciplines were more or less the same, as Grand Prix cars started to evolve towards single seaters, the endurance races have tended to be for sportscars, that is to say they have two seats and enclosed wheels. These can be purpose-built prototypes as well as cars related to road-going models which are known as Grand Touring cars or GT. A mixture of the two classes can be seen at the Le Mans 24 race, which is one of the oldest motor races still in existence, having been running since 1923. On one hand the endurance formats were appealing to manufacturers, not only as alternatives to the expense of Grand Prix racing, but also because of it’s increased relevance to their road going models. But in the 1960s powerful prototypes (effectively pure-bred two-seater racing cars with no real link to production vehicles) started to appear, and alongside that some high profile battles between major manufacturers which have been documented in popular film such as Steve McQueens “Le Mans” and most recently Leonardo DiCaprio’s “Ford v Ferrari”. With the Le Mans circuit being easily reachable, certainly from the north of the Deux Sevres, you can get your own experience of endurance racing when the 2021 edition takes place on 21-22 August. It was coming to the circuit in the early 90’s that gave me my first taste of France and rarely a year goes by without a visit to the endurance racing mecca!

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021| 37

Gazelles Update JULY 2021

with Helen Tait-Wright and Sue Alemann


s I am writing this it’s looking as if June will be flaming!

Some sun and warm weather is definitely welcome with the Gazelles. I hope that by the time you read this July will be looking equally as good. We have several news items to report!

Firstly we are thrilled to welcome a new partner to the team, Bijouterie Alexandra in Saumur. They will be supplying us with watches for the rally. It’s great for us to have more local support and nice to be able to give businesses in our area a bit of a promotional boost after lockdown. We will be proudly wearing timepieces from the trendy modern Belgian brand Ice-Watch, whose objective is to “boldly go where no other watch brand has gone before…” Talking of local partners, we were delighted to experience the brand new cellar tour at Veuve Amiot a few weeks back, and we definitely recommend you visit and try some of their most excellent sparkling wines.

This represents the money we raised via our tombola and financial support for the conservation project from our partners Giti Tire. It will also be great to see how the baby Gazelles are growing!

Don’t forget we still have some of our branded bottles of bubbles available too ;-) We are also pleased to report that the Mayor of Doue la Fontaine has granted us access to the quarry training ground that had previously been made inaccessible to us, and we were amused to find the local firemen training there too on a recent visit. It would have been rude not a get a photo with them wouldnt it ?! At the beginning of June Priscilla and I headed south in search of sand to drive on and we were able to access a private Domaine north west of Bordeaux with an instructor and other Gazelles teams. The weather was kind to us, the driving was awesome and most importantly the tyres behaved perfectly so we are really pleased. To run on sand the tyre pressures are massively reduced so to be able to leave for the rally knowing that the sidewalls are strong enough to run under those unusual conditions is really important for team confidence. There is always something to learn about off road driving and it’s good to refresh our knowledge. On 6th July we will be making a presentation to the Bioparc in Doue la Fontaine of a cheque for 3,000 euros. 38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

Of course if you can’t wait until then, do head over to our social media accounts and follow us … @gitigazelles To date we still do not have firm confirmation that the rally will run in September but with the sanitary situation worldwide improving daily, we remain, once again, optimistic. Keep your fingers crossed for us! Contact

All photographs by Helen Tait-Wright

The new tour features some great lighting effects and a gallery with some of the vintage advertising designs for Veuve Amiot from all over the world.

The copy deadline comes just too early for us to report on our navigation stage in Avignon, that will have to wait until our August update and we will also be able to report on a second practical training course.

Book Club The hundredth article!


hen I wrote the first article in 2012, editor Sarah Berry and I agreed I should produce a short series of six articles about writing and publishing. Nine years later, there is still plenty to talk about, but some topics are evergreen.

I’m principally a novel writer and my books are mainly 80-100,000 words long; most of them settle at around 90,000. A writing friend of mine cajoled me into contributing to a short story anthology, limit 5,000 words, so a long short story. I resisted at first as I’d always felt cramped at this length. My success in the short form (1,500 words!) had only been a ‘Highly Commended’ in Writing Magazine. But the writing friend pushed me on this and I ‘broke the duck’ as cricketers might say. It went on to be part of the highly successful book, 1066 Turned Upside Down, an anthology of alternative endings to the Norman invasion of England. And I have gone on to contribute to several anthologies ever since as well as producing my own collection. Lessons learned: Never say never and don’t put barriers up for yourself.

A couple of years ago, many writers were popping in a novella to add to their series, as an in-between story, a prequel, sequel or spinoff. These run between 15,000 and 35,000 words. Mine (inevitably) touched the upper end of the word count, but they were fun. The stories were single issue stories with one relatively straightforward plot, just a few characters and a comfortable relaxation from the overtightness of a short story and the complexity of a full-length novel. I was able to bring in characters who had featured in the novels, even if in cameo roles which seemed to delight my readers. But each story ran to the length it needed to be.

by Alison Morton

Lessons learned: Aim for the best at all times, whether with the writing or production of your work and do not skimp on essentials. Gone is the exclusivity of the bookshop, event signing and library, although I love them all! Authors now sell online more than ever and even launch uniquely online as I did with the first of my new series. Readers can buy a book in ebook, print or audio format with a few clicks, even from what were once only bricks and mortar bookshops. Authors who want to sell their work now have digital platforms: a website with an optional blog, a presence on one or two social media and a newsletter to fans. It sounds like a lot of work, but it can be great fun if you choose channels carefully. Lessons learned: The book world has changed and will continue to change, but dynamism can be intensely creative. But the thing I remember best over the time of a hundred articles? You, the reader. Many of you have come up and chatted to me at events where I’ve been selling my books. Sharing your enthusiasm for your writing, discussing finer points, exploring routes to publication – I’ve loved all our conversations. Happy writing into the future!

Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column in ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available as an ebook and paperback. She is now drafting the sequel to her latest thriller, ‘Double Identity’.

Lesson learned: Vary the length of your stories and write each one to its natural length.

Publishing has opened up opportunities to everybody, especially with the ebook revolution and print on demand paperback printing. Although ebook production was first popular with self/indie published authors, the traditional published world has embraced it fully and tenaciously. Ditto with audio books and streaming. But (and you knew there was a ‘but’) good quality is indispensable if a book is to be successful. And this is unlikely to change. It’s not just about grammar and punctuation, but editing, interior design, proofreading and commissioning a good cover.

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 39

This Month’s Book Reviews Death and Croissants (A Follet Valley Mystery) by Ian Moore

Review by Jacqui Brown


y local choice this month is Loire based author and stand-up comedian, Ian Moore with his latest novel, Death and Croissants (A Follet Valley Mystery). Poor old Richard. One minute his life, running a B&B in the Loire Valley, is calm to the point of being dull, just how he likes it, then mysterious guests and strange happenings at his chambre d’hôte mean life becomes a dangerous adventure overnight. In a plot with more twists than one of Richard’s favourite classic movies, most of the time I felt as clueless about what was going on as poor Richard. With the energetic Valérie d’Orçay calling the shots, Richard is thrown into a bizarre world of grown men dressed as chickens, mysterious feuding old Frenchmen, odd British expats, the Mafia and more. In an attempt to discover what really happened to old Monsieur Grandchamps, we get to visit Tours, the Château de Chenonceau and the Zoo de Beauval, as well as meet the locals in the village bar. Richard might have no idea how his routine changed so quickly, but he can’t deny that life with Valérie d’Orçay by his side is exciting, and that excitement feels good. Richard’s passion has always been the cinema and the many references to films, actors and plots all added a certain something to this story, which along with the humour you would expect from an author/comedian made it a very readable book. The laughs might have been at Richard’s expense, but this just made me like him more, as I tried to work out how it would end. This really is a book where nothing is quite as it first seems. Will he ever find his missing guest, or more importantly discover who killed his favourite hen, Ava Gardner? If you are looking for a light-hearted who-done-it, with lots of humour and a fun cast of bizarre characters, this would be a great choice.

Body on the Rocks by Rachel Green

Review by Jacqui Brown


aving made the decision to move from Paris and begin her life again on the Mediterranean coast, recently widowed Margot is struggling to find her feet. She has a routine of swimming in the sea every morning, something that gives her purpose and a structured start to her day, but for the rest of the day, she is lost. The morning she witnesses the finding of a child’s body, an unknown migrant boy, something within her fires into life. From the beginning of the book, I found Margot an easy character to engage with. I could sense her pain and grief from the trauma of losing her husband Hugo, but there was a spark of something that gave me hope she would find the strength to push through. With her determination to see justice done and her stubbornness to not let obstacles get in her way, nor take no for an answer, Margot finds herself in some precarious situations, where the risk 40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to: of danger to herself and others is quite high. In places this is an emotional read with some touching, sad moments, but overall, I felt a sense of optimism where good can triumph over evil. Margot’s need to fight gave her a reason not to focus on her grief and opened up some new possibilities for her future too. This book was quite different from my usual reads, and as I can be a bit of a wimp, I surprised myself at how much I enjoyed the danger, especially as Margot walks into situations I would do my best to avoid at all costs. If you are looking for something a bit gritty with plenty of action to get stuck into, add this book to your summer reading list.

Far from the Madding Crowd By Thomas Hardy (published 1874)

Review by Vronni Ward


t is with bittersweet sadness that I write what might be this last book review for the DeuxSevres magazine – thank you so much for publishing my ramblings over the years. After much deliberation we have sold our dream house on the lake in Clave and are returning to the UK in early July. The reason for our return is that we desperately miss our nine children and beautiful grandchildren – Wolfie, Elodie and Archie – just too much. Unfortunately, Covid has also compounded our sense of isolation from our loved ones. We are looking to buy a property in my home county of Dorset… so I dug out all my Thomas Hardy books and supplemented them with extra titles from the excellent Funny Farm Cat Rescue Centre, whose books cost the grand sum of 50 cents. One thing that Hardy does so well is to immerse one into the beautiful Dorset landscape and the country ways both idyllic and harsh that my grandfather (or Grandfer, in Dorset Dialect) knew. Along with the tragic Tess of the d’Urbervilles, Far from the Madding (read, frenzied) Crowd is one of my desert island books. Besides the beautiful descriptions of the landscape, the novel has all the ingredients of a great story: a feisty, ravishing heroine (Bathsheba Everdene); a solid, loyal, sundrenched shepherd (Gabriel Oak); an older, obsessive, rich farmer (William Boldwood); and, an uncaring, handsome, dashing soldier (Sergeant Francis Troy). Throw in a few crises such as two hundred dead sheep, burning hay ricks, torrential rain, murder, out of wedlock pregnancy, unemployment, class and social climbing, starvation and struggle, together with heaps of sexual tension (Sergeant Troy wielding his razor sharp sword around Bathsheba’s body is definitely sexual foreplay Victorian style) and women’s position in society. At times Bathsheba can seem vain and fickle but she is a young women in a man’s world and one who does not want to accept the past way of doing things, so we can forgive her for her shortcomings. As Gabriel declares at the beginning of the book: “I shall do one thing in this life -- one thing certain -- that is, love you, and long for you, and KEEP WANTING YOU till I die.” Romance at it’s best. This book is just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! If you have never read Hardy, start here. Once I get back I am going to join the Thomas Hardy Society based in Dorchester Hardy’s Casterbridge in his fictitious county of Wessex)… now there’s another Hardy novel “The Mayor of Casterbridge”… don’t get me started…

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 41


Photographs by Howard Needs

markets, and so we stopped. It took me back many years, to the 1970s, when we lived in Holland. It was not only the plethora of small stalls selling all types of bio local products and ethnic foods for preparing at home or as take-aways, and the stalls with all sorts of handmade and alternative products, but it was also the dress style of many of the visitors and stallholders which, for me, was the 1970s “alternative” scene. We left with a very comfortable feeling of having revisited our early days together and headed out towards La Grotte de Niaux, with a bag full of Syrian take-away food emitting a tantalising odour in the car.


eaving Saint-Lizier behind us, we headed farther south and east, taking things in as they turned up on the map or were signposted. Early in the day, whilst driving on a small road, we saw a sign “Abbaye et jardin remarquable”. At the gate to the property was a lot of information concerning the abbey and garden, but also a notice saying it was closed. That should have brought the visit to an abrupt stop but, whilst we were trying to see more over the hedges, the owner came up to us and after a bit of conversation he invited us in. We paid a small entry fee, and he took us into the building and showed us the chapel of the abbey. It was all rather sober, with no trace of decoration, because it was used by the canons of the abbey and the local nobility, all of whom were literate and thus did not require the instructive paintings found in the village churches. The abbey had been built by Moors, presumably from Spain, using brick rather than stone (we did not understand why). Walking farther, we found the garden and were stunned by the sight of two large grass squares with centuries-old trees and almost covered by a pink-purple carpet of cyclamen. A couple of white garden chairs and a small table completed this idyllic scene. I took a number of photos, but since it was private property, I am not including them in this article even though they are very good ones. Walking a bit more, we found a French garden with topiaries and box hedges, and then a vegetable garden with a tree in the middle supporting a ‘Kiftsgate’ rose metres high, climbing to the sky. Our next stop was to be a once-inhabited cave system, but at midday we found ourselves in a small bastide village which had a bio outdoor market on its wide main street. My wife, Martina, loves

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The visit to the cave had required advance booking on the Internet, which we had done the previous evening. We had plenty of time on our hands and so, after leaving a small C-road along the valley bottom, we climbed a narrow and twisty little road up to the gaping mouth of a limestone cavern high up on the valley side. We found a spot for our picnic lunch overlooking the valley and realised that our Neolithic ancestors or even their Neanderthal predecessors would have sat there with the same view before them. The cave is home to cave paintings and engraved figures on the rock walls of the tunnels and voids. Limits have been imposed on the number of visitors and frequency of visits because of the possibility of damage to the paintings due to the breath of the visitors. The entrance is a huge overhang sheltering the car park and visitors centre. We were issued with torches and counted in (not a good idea to lose people in a cave system). The tour lasted some two hours and involved narrow passages and rocky climbs and descents. Even the small group of 10–15 people was too large for some of the spaces, and we certainly could have done with more time looking at the prehistoric paintings. The paintings were similar to those of Lascaux, with outlines in black or ochre, but were quite varied. We saw aurochs, bison, the head of a deer, a fish engraved on the floor, a frontal view of the head of a stag, one human being, mixed scenes of many animals, paintings over paintings, ibex, horses, weasel and others. There were additionally stylistic, perhaps ritualistic, marks on the cave walls in red ochre and footprints in, I suppose, the nowcalcified mud of the floor. This all dates back to various periods of occupation between 15,000 and 20,000 years ago. The cave system itself is very extensive, having been formed by local rivers and percolating water in the limestone massif.

Here again no photography allowed, and my description must suffice. And so on to our next B&B, in Montbel, where we had booked for two nights. The owners were vegetarian and provided evening meals, which suited us very well.

Mirepoix, our next stop, must be one of the most attractive bastide towns in France. We had visited it years earlier, and it was still as we remembered it, with a large central square with shops, restaurants and arcades on all sides, bright colours and full of life. Catering for tourists, but actually unspoilt. A cathedral in the background and many small side streets, all on the old bastide rectilinear street plan. A bio crêperie in one of these side streets and a terrace in the sun provided our lunch and allowed us to soak in the atmosphere of the town and its visitors. A few months later we read of a bad road accident very close to where we had driven, involving a heavily laden lorry collapsing a light bridge, resulting in the death of a young teenager. Now, when I think of Mirepoix, it is associated with a young life cut short – sad .

The next day was an out-and-back day visiting a couple of places that we had seen on an earlier trip. The first visit was to Camon, labelled as one of the “most beautiful villages of France”. The village was indeed beautiful, with its town walls covered in roses, but the abbey is privately owned and closed to the public, housing a B&B (outside our price class) and a restaurant.

Years ago, we had visited an “église rupestre” (a rock-hewn church) in Vals, not far from Mirepoix. It is a small chapel built half on and half in or under a rock, and it has fresques. The first visit had been hasty, and I wanted to take some better photos, but this time half of it was blocked off as being dangerous, which prevented my getting close to the paintings. However, it was still worthwhile seeing again, and a bit later we had a drink in a little café and museum run by an association for the preservation of the church. The only other church like this that we have visited is Sainte-Radegonde in Chinon, dug into the valley side above the town, with a fresco of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her family on horseback. Merovingian graves and beautiful gardens were planned for the late afternoon, but the threat of rain and tiredness decided us to return to the B&B, where a curry meal put new life into us. We learnt over dinner that pesticides had not been used in the village since the 1960’s and that this could be seen in the very varied flora. This area – Mirepoix, Foix and the surrounding countryside – is Cathar country and is also the home area of Guilhem d’Ussel, hero of a long series of historical novels (late XII cent) written by Jean d’Aillon.

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A SHORT HISTORY OF PARIS by Catherine Bailey

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Travel Light’’ because it was the first big city in the continent to have gas street lighting. The history of Paris can be traced back to a Gallic tribe known as the Parisii who, sometime around 250 B.C., settled an island (known today as Ile de la Cite) in the Seine River, which runs through present-day Paris. By 52 B.C., Julius Caesar and the Romans had taken over the area, calling it Lutetia, probably from the Latin word luta, meaning mud or swamp. The settlement later spread to both banks of the Seine and the name was replaced with “Paris.” Some vestiges of this period remain today. The Arenas of Lutece, is a stone amphitheatre located in the 5th arrondissement, parts of the public baths at the Cluny Museum and the remains of the ancient Roman city in the archaeological crypt of the Île de la Cité, under the forecourt of Notre-Dame Cathedral, all date from the Roman Period. The town was Christianised in the 3rd century AD, and after the collapse of the Roman Empire, it was occupied by Clovis I, the King of the Franks, who made it his capital in 508.


nown as “The city of Love”, and the fashion capital of the world, Paris has long and varied history. However it was not a foregone conclusion that Paris would still be around on 8th July 1951 to celebrate its 2,000th birthday. When the German occupation of Paris began in 1940 the French government fled Paris and on 12th June Paris was declared an open city to allow the opposing military forces to peacefully occupy the city rather than destroy it. The first German soldiers entered the French capital on 14th June and paraded down the Champs Élysées, followed by the arrival of Adolf Hitler ten days later. The occupation lasted until 25th August 1944 when the city was liberated and General Charles de Gaulle led a huge and emotional crowd down the Champs Élysées towards Notre Dame de Paris, and made a rousing speech from the Hôtel de Ville. Today, Paris is home to some two million residents, with an additional 10 million people living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city retains its reputation as a centre for food, fashion, commerce and culture. Paris also continues to be one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The city is also known as the ‘’La Ville Lumiere’’ meaning ‘’the City-of-

Between 1190 and 1202, King Philip II built the massive fortress of the Louvre, which was designed to protect the Right Bank against an English attack from Normandy. The foundations of the fortress can be seen today in the basement of the Louvre Museum.

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Population change


By 1328, the population had grown to 200,000, which made it the most populous city in Europe at the time. With the increase of population came problems.

Of course, the most famous event in the history of the city took place in 1789 and is remembered across France every year on the 14th of July.

In the first epidemic of Bubonic plague in 1348, it is estimated that between fifty and eighty thousand Parisians died (one third of the population). During the 16th and 17th centuries, plague visited the city almost one year out of three, killing many thousand more. One of the bells of Notre-Dame, the knell, rang for every death signalled, creating a very morbid atmosphere in the city. The Hundred Years’ War between France and England made Paris the scene of unrest with many riots and skirmishes in the city and surrounding areas. Paris was occupied by the Englandfriendly Burgundian forces from 1418, before being occupied outright by the English when Henry V of England entered the French capital in 1420. The King and his administration were accepted mostly because of the Parisians hatred of the French King Charles VI. The French king’s supporters, aided by Joan of Arc, tried to liberate the city by storming the Porte SaintHonoré gateway (the main entry point into the city from the west) but the attack failed and the French suffered extremely heavy casualties. The English did not leave Paris until 1436, when Charles VII was finally able to return. Many areas of the capital of his kingdom were in ruins, and a hundred thousand of its inhabitants, half the population, had left the city. Though Paris was once again the capital of France, French monarchs for almost one hundred years chose to live in the Loire Valley and visited Paris only on special occasions. King Francis I finally returned the royal residence to Paris in 1528. The capital was prominent once again in the French Wars of Religion (1562-98) between Catholics and Protestants when a third of Parisians fled and many houses were destroyed. On the night of 23rd August 1572, many prominent Protestants from all over France were in Paris on the occasion of the marriage of Henry of Navarre—the future King Henry IV. The royal council decided to assassinate the Protestant leaders. The targeted killings quickly turned into a general slaughter of Protestants by Catholic mobs. It became known as The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, the killings continued through August and September, spreading from Paris to the rest of the country. About three thousand Protestants were massacred in Paris and five to ten thousand elsewhere in France. In the 18th century, Paris solidified its position as the financial and cultural capital of continental Europe, the primary European centre of book publishing, fashion, and the manufacture of fine furniture and luxury goods. Parisian bankers funded theatres, gardens, works of art and new inventions such as the Montgolfier brothers who launched the first manned flight in a hot-air balloon on 21st November 1783, near the Bois de Boulogne.

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Paris in the first half of the 18th century was not a pleasant place to live if you were not rich. Jean-Jacques Rousseau describes his arrival in Paris in 1742: “I saw only narrow, dirty and foulsmelling streets, and villainous black houses, with an air of unhealthiness; beggars, poverty, menders of old garments…”. During these times there was widespread discontent among the population, the French monarchy and the poor economic policies of King Louis XVI being the focus of their anger. France’s costly involvement in the American Revolution, and extravagant spending by the King and his predecessor, had left the country on the brink of bankruptcy. Not only were the royal coffers depleted, but two decades of poor harvests, drought, cattle disease and skyrocketing bread prices had kindled unrest among peasants and the urban poor.

These desperate people expressed their resentment towards a regime that imposed heavy taxes (yet failed to provide any relief) by rioting, looting and striking. Things came to a head in July 1789 when Parisians, enthusiastic about the potential breakdown of royal power but panicked by rumours of an impending military coup finally acted. On 14th July, a mob seized the arsenal at Les Invalides, acquired thousands of guns and stormed the Bastille, a prison considered a symbol of royal authority. At that time the prison held only seven prisoners. Almost 100 revolutionaries were killed in the fighting. Despite this, the revolutionaries prevailed and the governor of the Bastille was killed, his head put on the end of a pike and carried around Paris. The fortress itself was completely demolished by that November with many of the stones being turned into souvenirs. King Louis XVI met his death by guillotine in 1793 along with his wife Marie Antoinette.

Latter years In the late 19th and early 20th century, Paris saw the birth of modern art and public cinema projections. Many notable artists lived and worked in Paris during this period, known as La Belle Époque, often in Montmartre where rents were low and the atmosphere congenial. The outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 saw patriotic demonstrations at the Place de la Concorde and the Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord as the mobilized soldiers departed for

the front. Within a few weeks, however, the German Army had reached the Marne River, and Paris was once more under seige.

may not say it out loud, they know that they live in one of the most magical cities in the world.

Fearing the worst, the French government moved to Bordeaux in September 1914 and the many great masterpieces of the Louvre were transported to Toulouse for safety.

Factoids The oldest surviving house in Paris is the house of Nicolas Flamel built in 1407, which is located at 51 Rue de Montmorency. It was not a private home, but a hostel for the poor.

Early in September 1914, the French army desperately needed reinforcements. General Galieni, the military governor of Paris, lacked trains. He requisitioned buses and about 600 Paris taxicabs. These vehicles were used to carry around six thousand troops to the front fifty kilometers away. Each taxi carried five soldiers and navigated by following the lights of the taxi ahead. The Germans were caught unawares and pushed back by the French and British armies. The number of soldiers transported was small, but the effect on French morale was enormous; it confirmed the solidarity between the people and the army. Within a very short time, the government had returned to Paris, and theatres and cafés were re-opened.

The first café in Paris had been opened in 1672, and by the 1720s there were around 400 around the city.

During the war years, Parisians suffered epidemics of typhoid and measles; a deadly outbreak of Spanish influenza during the winter of 1918-19 killed thousands.


Post 1918, Parisian culture became world-famous, with expatriate artists, musicians and writers from across the globe contributing their cosmopolitanism but the arrival of the worldwide Great Depression in 1931 brought with it hardships and a more sombre mood in Paris.

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With France so badly hurt by World War Two, it was unclear whether Paris could recover its world stature. The politics of Paris remained turbulent throughout the 1940s and early 1950s. A strike in December 1950 caused an electricity blackout and the shutdown of the Paris Métro. Communist-led demonstrators battled the police in the streets in 1948 and 1951. The struggle for the independence of Algeria and the resistance of French residents of Algeria, led to numerous bombings in 1961 and 1962 and more deadly confrontations with the police. Conditions gradually improved, especially after Charles de Gaulle returned to power in 1958. During the latter part of the 20th century, Paris attracted thousands of migrants from Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean region, and other parts of Europe. They contributed to the city’s economy and cultural diversity, but also to high unemployment and limited social and economic mobility. Nowhere else on earth makes the heart swoon like the mention of Paris. Its inhabitants are proud to be Parisian and whilst they TAKE A BREAK - SOLUTIONS - PAGES 30-31 Sudoku:

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CONNECT FOUR : Q1. Trains from Thomas The Tank Engine. Q2. Birth names of the four most recent UK monarchs. Q3. Months are named after them (Mars/March, Julius/July, Maia/May, Decum/December. Q4. Last four men to stand on the moon.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 47



48 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

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While our Advertiser Directory is being developed, we have a simple searchable facility available on our web site. Check it out ... The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 53

Business and Finance CAMPING CAR INSURANCE


by Isabelle Want

s it is coming to the summer, I decided to do an article on camping cars. Let’s face it, what can be better than strolling around the French countryside or the rest of Europe stopping and travelling where you want! So, what is the difference between camping car and car insurance?

2. No Claim discount/Bonus malus: In France, you need to have 13 years without a claim to be entitled 50% discount. 50% is the maximum discount. If you had 50% bonus for more than 3 years, you keep your maximum discount after an accident that is your fault (a little thank you for being so good for so long!).

1. Who is insured and where: This is the same as car insurance. In France, it is the camping car that is insured so everybody can drive it as long as they have a valid driving licence and have authorization to drive it. But note that if someone else drives your camping car and crashes , it is YOUR no claim discount that is affected and not theirs. On some policies, there is an additional excess on top of the one you already have if it was not a named driver that crashed the car (with Allianz, 750 euro on top of your normal one).

We accept no claim certificates from the UK. We also have protected bonus. You need to have been at 50% for 3 years and it is transferred if you change your insurance company.

It is a legal obligation to have a motor vehicle insured even if you don’t use it. If someone steals it and kills someone with it, you are responsible, so you must insure it for at least public liability. Camping car insurance also automatically covers trailers up to a certain weight (750kg with Allianz). Caravans and trailers above 750kg must have their own number plates and insurances (and registration paperwork). Finally, your camping car insurance in France does not cover you to drive someone else’s car in the UK! Your camping car however is insured everywhere in Europe and beyond. The list of countries is on the back of your green proof of insurance. And we don’t need to know when you are going abroad! So please stop telling us!

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3. Excess /Franchise: Like most insurances, you can choose to have or not have an excess (affects your premium). If the accident is not your fault and the culprit (third party) is identified, you have no excess to pay. If your car is stolen, you have an excess. The excess can be different depending on the claim (always check your contract). 4. Fully comprehensive/Third party: Fully comprehensive is the same as in the UK, you and the camping car are insured whether it is your fault or not. Third party means that your camping car is not covered for an accident (only public liability) if it is your fault, and it has different levels of cover. Some include glass breakage, theft and fire, some don’t. Check your contract. 5. Glass breakage / Bris de glace: The excess is less for glass breakage, and it covers windscreens, windows and headlights but does NOT include wing mirrors and backlights. 6. Breakdown cover / Assistance 0km ou 25km: You can have breakdown cover (recovery up to 180€) from 0km (your front door-home start) or from 25km, meaning if you break down at only 5km from your house, it is not covered (with Allianz). For the recovery, the camping car is taken to the closest garage (not always the one you want). If the

repair takes less than 2 days, the insurance pays the hotel, otherwise, the insurance pays to take you home or where you were going with your camping car. The insurance then pays for you to pick up your camping car (only one person) once it is repaired. 7. Replacement vehicle: You can have this option added to your contract. With Allianz, it’s about 6 euro more per month. There is a limit on the length of time for the replacement and it depends if it is breakdown, theft or accident. For camping car, the replacement vehicle will not be a camping car but a category C car which is like a 3008 Peugeot. 8. Content: Content for camping car insurance is obviously important as you will have much more than what you have in car! (Cutlery, clothes, toasters, etc!). Therefore, it is automatically included. With Allianz, for a 50 000 euro camping car, content is 15 000 euro, down to 5 000 for theft without theft of the camping car itself. Equipment (like an awning) is also covered but it is included in the value of the camping car. 9. Claims /Sinistres: In case of an accident, make sure that you fill in an agreed statement of facts on motor vehicle accident (Constat in French). Make sure you always have one in the car and don’t sign it if you disagree with it. I strongly advise that you prefill it with your personal details and insurance details so that it is easier when you have an accident (usually people are a bit stressed and panicky!). Also, always fill one in even if the other person involved tells you if they want to do this amicably or have no insurance. DO NOT TRUST PEOPLE!! And take pictures. We all have mobile phones that have a camera. There is an emergency helpline (they speak English) for breakdown, accident, etc. but also make sure you have the number on you even if you are not using your car as it includes repatriation. The number is written on your green paperwork proof of insurance. Note that the breakdown fee will not be reimbursed if you do not phone them (unless it was organized by emergency services due to an accident). Neither will the replacement car be allowed (if you took out the option) if you don’t follow proper procedure (Just phone them before you do anything). Compensation for death or injury is decided by the French code of law and the amount is calculated in accordance with the level of importance of injuries or grief. e.g.: the death of a father of 5 children will be better compensated than the one of a 100 years old without any family. Note that you will not get compensation for death or injury or for the car/camping car if you took the vehicle without permission of the owner or if you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol before the accident. And you will have to pay for the compensation and damages you have caused to others! So, do not drink and drive! Basically, the insurance does not work! 10. UK number plates: Under European law, you have one month to change your number plate to French plate. With Allianz, we do insure on UK plates but you have to follow the law and change your number plate to French plate within one month. But we are very lenient (let us face it, it is impossible to do it within one month with this new ANTS

system!!). However, note that if you go back to the UK in a camping car on UK plate with French insurance, you will get fined as not having insurance as our system is not recognized in the UK by the Automatic number plate recognition system. 11. Premiums: It is calculated taking lots of different facts into account: The model of the camping car but especially its value, price of replacement parts, horse power, the date it was first on the road, nationwide statistic of theft, what option you chose (third party, fully comprehensive, replacement car, excess, etc). You can reduce the premium if you do less than 9000, 7000 or 4000km per year. If, like my lovely English husband, you think French drivers are dreadful (OK I drive too close to the camping car in front but it is only because they are too slow!), then make sure you are properly insured and check your option on your contract.

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:

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 55

Tax-efficient investing in France - the benefits of assurance-vie


hen you look at the headline rates of tax, France is a high-tax country. What many people often don’t realise, however, is that they may be able to take advantage of compliant opportunities to protect their assets from various French taxes – maybe even end up paying less tax in France than in UK. One very useful arrangement for lowering French tax on investment income is the assurance-vie. This specialised form of life assurance allows you to hold a wide range of investment assets and is highly tax efficient for residents of France. It proves valuable for providing taxefficient income while protecting your wealth for your loved ones. Here are the benefits: Favourable income tax Income and gains can roll up tax free within the policy: no withdrawals, no tax. Only the growth element of withdrawals is taxed, not the whole amount. For example, if the portfolio of assets within your assurancevie has grown by 7%, and you take a €25,000 withdrawal, you only pay tax on €1,750 and €23,250 is tax free! For policies set up after September 2017, the tax rate on withdrawals is 30%. This includes 12.8% income tax and 17.2% social charges. The income tax rate reduces to 7.5% for income from contracts over eight years old which relate to contributions not exceeding €150,000. Or you can elect to pay the scale rates of income tax. The 30% rate only applies if your policy is approved for French tax purposes. Non-EU assurance-vie are taxed at the scale rates of

by Catrina Ogilvie, Blevins Franks

income tax plus social charges. Policies from the Isle of Man, Channel Islands – and now also the UK – are therefore at a disadvantage. Annual €4,600 tax-free allowance Once you’ve owned your policy for over eight years, your first €4,600 – €9,200 for a married couple – of growth withdrawn every year can be tax-free. This doesn’t apply to social charges but is still a very favourable tax break. Reducing succession tax Considerable tax savings can be made if the policy was established with lives assured under age 70. Each beneficiary receives a €152,500 exemption, then pay a flat tax rate of 20% (when the taxable part of the assurance-vie is under €700,000) and 31.25% on any excess. If you are over 70 when you set up your policy, your heirs pay the usual succession tax rates, but receive a €30,500 allowance. There are different types of assurance-vie policies available so make sure you choose the one that meets your objectives. Your tax and investment planning should be based around your situation, aims and estate plans, so take personalised advice. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals should seek personalised advice. Keep up to date on the financial issues that may affect you on the Blevins Franks news page at

Are you benefitting from tax-efficient investment income in France? Assurance-vie policies can provide considerable tax and wealth management advantages in France. This potentially includes tax-free growth, favourably taxed withdrawals (more so from the ninth year onwards) and succession tax savings. Many expatriates find them to be very valuable for both taxefficient retirement income and protection of our wealth for our loved ones. Be careful though as not all assurance-vie are the same. With 40 years’ experience in France, we can help you establish which bond will achieve your tax, estate planning and investment objectives.

Talk to the people who know

05 49 75 07 24


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

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Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson


i Amanda

Now that I have received my Carte de Sejour, am I entitled to a French pension? Firstly, congratulations on receiving your residency card. To receive a French pension you must contribute into the system, by paying social charges on your income, either via your employer or yourself, if you are self employed. The amount of pension you receive is based on the number of trimesters (4 per year) you have acquired and your level of income. Not all social charge contributions go to your pension, some provide healthcare. The maximum pension receivable is 50% of your income capped at 35,000€ assuming you have 40 years of trimesters. If you have moved to France in your later years then it is unlikely you will receive a full pension. To understand more you can either ask your Human Resources department or log on to URSSAF to find out what you have accumulated. If you have worked in the United Kingdom before moving to France, you may have contributed to the U.K. state pension scheme and you can request a forecast. You might also have company or personal pensions from when you worked there and by finding out what all these are it can prepare you in planning for your retirement.

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.

I offer a pension health check where I’ll review your current situation and work with you to understand what you can expect to receive upon retirement. 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, July 2021 | 57



rance is famed for food and ‘gastronomie’ – there’s always been something special about dining here because the French treat food with respect and relish good cuisine. I’ve always used the maxim of ‘follow the white van’ when finding an affordable ‘plat du jour’. At the more refined end of the market however the Guide Michelin sets standards. Eating at a Michelin restaurant is an almost religious experience with attention paid to detail – special from the moment you enter as glistening glasses and shining cutlery set on crisp white linen napery await then you’re ushered in with impeccable service before you even read the menu! Thankfully after months of dining at home we can now go out again for such culinary treats – food has never tasted so good! In and around Niort there are several restaurants which have made the Guide – the Auberge de la Roussille (a former lock-keepers’ cottage) is lauded while Le P’tit Rouquin has achieved Bib Gourmand. We’ve three lovely homes which give you the chance to drive in for special occasions or, perhaps, some ideas on food and presentation for the next time you’ve the urge to create a special meal at home! This wonderful château in La Chapelle-Baton (119173) looks worthy of a Michelin starring role. Well maintained with many original features it has great potential for a hospitality business. Its impressive entrance, between two pigeon towers, sets the scene leading you into the formal entrance. Set in 24 hectares with woodland and lake there’s everything you could wish for including six bedrooms in the main house with original features aplenty including chapel

by Joanna Leggett

and game/hunt room! Outside are two cottages with more accommodation and swimming pool. This property has potential plus for a tourist or equine business or as the most wonderful family home - €1,260,000. To the west of Niort is the Marais Poitevin where the pretty town of Coulon. known as capital of this ‘Green Venice’, is small. lively and very popular. This 3 bedroom townhouse (A05684) is tucked away at its heart and a rare find. Ready to move into as a family home, it could be the ideal lock up and leave holiday home or rental. There’s parking, a garage and enclosed terrace outside with access to the rear courtyard and outbuildings – one could become a gîte! Everything is close and it’s walking distance to more restaurants, bakers. shops and bars - €214,000. Champdeniers is north of Niort where this pretty home (104062) sits in the sunshine. Long and gracious it beckons you in to explore its spacious living and all mod cons. There are four bedrooms, 3 baths, a new roof and double glazed throughout, outside there’s a mature garden, heated pool and terrace - €424,000. All designed to whet your appetite – what joy! Joanna Leggett is marketing director at Leggett Immobilier – you can view their full portfolio of properties for sale in France at





€850,500 HAI

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€82,500 HAI



€279,600 HAI


€41,600 HAI

Ref. 117134 - House to be renovated with garage in great situation in a small hamlet. Agency fees to be paid by the seller



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Ref. 120333 - Character 2 bedroom house with

Ref. A05530 - Renovated 4 bedroom house with

Ref. 111086 - 3 Bedroom cottage with garden,

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garden, outbuildings and garage.

swimming pool, garage, parking and outbuildings.

garage, outbuildings and parking.

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Agency fees included : 5 % TTC to be paid by the buyer

Agency fees to be paid by the seller

Agency fees included : 8 % TTC to be paid by the buyer

Agency fees included : 6 % TTC to be paid by the buyer

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58 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021

09/06/2021 11:35:12

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2021 | 59

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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