The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Magazine July 2018

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Annual Subscription Costs: 34€ within France, 29€ UK addresses. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad) Full Name:.................................................................................................. Postal Address:........................................................................................... ................................................................................................................... Postcode:..................................... Country:............................................. Tel:.............................................................................................................. Email:.......................................................................................................... Please make cheques payable to ANNA SHAW.

Welcome! to Issue 88 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres magazine...


As I was strolling down a country lane not far from our house (listening to my Michel Thomas French language CD on the ipod), I was startled by a commotion in the hedgerow. Suddenly a wild boar came crashing through the bushes. Now, for some reason I thought they were smaller, but this thing was enormous, the size of a big pig...not surprisingly. Luckily, it started running away from me, pursued (half-heartedly) down the lane by our ageing labrador. Later researching the animal I discovered that when out walking it is advisable to make plenty of noise, to warn any wild boar in the vicinity that you are there. So if you are out walking and come across a man conjugating verbs at the top of his voice, you’ll know why. As you can see in the photo the vegetable plot that we started in April is going berserk. Either the plot is too small or we have planted far too much, but I am eating lettuce for breakfast, lunch and tea. The courgettes are coming faster than we can eat them too, so if anyone knows any recipes involving lettuce and cougettes do let us know.

la prochaine Stephen & Anna

à Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 Email: Website: Emergency Numbers:

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

112 European Emergency 113 Drugs and Alcohol

Contents What’s On Getting Out & About A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Clubs & Associations Hobbies Our Furry Friends Home & Garden Health, Beauty & Fitness Take a Break Communications Food & Drink Motoring Building & Renovation Business & Finance Property

This Month’s Advertisers

13Bees - Beekeeping Workshops ABORDimmo Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC Double Glazing) AKE Petits Travaux (Builder) Amanda Johnson - The Spectrum IFA Group Andrew Longman (Plumbing & Heating) ARB French Property Argo carpentry Assurances Maucourt (GAN Parthenay) Beaux Villages Immobilier BH Assurances / Allianz - Isabelle Want Blevins Franks Financial Management British Day

4 6 11 12 14 17 18 22 23 28 30 34 36 41 45

21 45 2 39 43 37 47 36 35 47 42 44 8

Café Rendez-Vous 32 Centre Régional - Résistance and Liberté 8 Cherry Picker Hire 40 Chris Bassett Construction 38 Chris Parsons (Plumber/Heating Engineer) 37 Christies (English Book Shop & Tea Room) 6 Cindy Mobey - Marketing and business 41 CJ Electricité 36 Clean Sweep Chimney Services 38 Creature Comforts (Handyman & Gîte Services) 38 Darren Lawrence 39 David Watkins Chimney Sweep 38 Deano’s Bar and Grill 33 Digger Hire 40 Discover Yoga 22 Down To Earth (Pool Design) 45 Elliott Garden Services 21 English 29 ExPat Radio 29 Franglais Deliveries (Transport & Removal Services) 35 Futuroscope 48 Hallmark Electricité 39 Helen Booth (deVere Group) 41 HMJ Maintenance and Renovation Service 37 House Contents and Garden Equipment Sales 20 Inter Décor (Tiles & Bathrooms) 39 Irving Location - Digger Hire and Gravel deliveries 40 Jardin 360° (Garden maintenance) 21 Jean-Luc Thierens (Excavation Work) 40 Jeff’s Metalwork 39 John Purchase - Mobile Mechanic 35 John Spray - Maconnerie 37 Jon the Carpetman 20 KCR Service ( Alarms and Security systems) 36 Keith Banks Pool Services 45 KPI Garden Services 21 La Bohème Mervent (Bar & Restaurant) 33 La Deuxieme Chance (Decorative paint specialists) 21 La Petite Noisette 32 Leggett Immobilier 46 Le Regal’on Bar & Restaurant 33 L’Escale Fermiere 33 LPV Technology (IT services) 29 Mad Hatter’s Wonderland Festival 6 Mark Sabestini - Renovation and Construction 38 Me & Mrs Jones (Property Cleaning Services) 21 Michael Glover (Plasterer, tiler, renderer) 37 Michel Barateau (Cabinet Maker) 36 ML Computers 29 Motor Parts Charente 35 M. Page Landscaping (Landscape Design & Construction) 20 Mutuelles de Poitiers Assurances 35 Needa Hand Services (Grass cutting etc.) 21 OD Rénovation (stonemasonry) 37 Opera at Château du Pont Jarno 7 Pamela Irving (Holistic Therapist) 22 Pause! Café - Summer Fête 9 Pericaud Niort (Ford Dealership) 34 Poitiers Biard Airport 2 Projet Piscine (Swimming Pool solutions) 45 Property and Swimming Pool Maintenance - RJ Coulson 45 Puy Rond Camping 10 Restaurant des Canards 32 Rob Berry (Plasterer) 38 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering) 28 Safe Hands 79 (Garden maintenance) 20 Sarl Down to Earth Construction (Groundworks and Micro Station Installer) 40 Satellite TV 29 Short Cuts (Mobile Dog Grooming) 17 Simon the Tiler 39 Smart Moves - Removal company 35 Steve Coupland (Property Services) 37 Steve Robin (Plumbing, heating, electrics) 37 Strictly Roofing 38 Sue Burgess (French Classes & Translation) 9 Sue Cook-Currencies Direct-money markets 43 Summer Fête - The Chaplaincy Poitou-Charentes 6 Swimming Pools In France 47 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre 35 The Fixer - Rick Denton 41 Upholstery - Robert Mann 20 UPVC Double Glazing (Haynes Carpentry) 36 Val Assist (Translation Services) 9

© Anna and Stephen Shaw 2018. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Anna and Stephen Shaw 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 the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. It is strongly advised to check details of published events with other sources before setting out on long journeys. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Anna and Stephen Shaw 2

Jaunasse, Louin, 79600 Tél: 05 49 64 21 98. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Anna and Stephen Shaw. Crédits photos: Anna and Stephen Shaw, Clkr, Shutterstock et Pixabay. Impression: Graficas Piquer SL, 29 Al Mediterraneo, Pol. Ind. San Rafael, 04230, Huércal de Almeria, Espagne. Dépôt légal: juillet 2018 - Tirage: 5000 exemplaires. Siret: 839 041 282 00014 ISSN: 2115-4848 TVA: FR 48 839 041 282

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 3

What’s On... 1 - FÊTE DU AFTERNOON TEA in Bouillé. From 4pm. Ticket only. See page 7 of June’s DSM for more info. 1-10 - LE JARDIN DU BÂTIMENT in Thiré, Vendée. This 17th Century property, with its stunning gardens, only opens its doors to the public a few days a year. For more info: 4-8 - CHAMPIONNAT DE FRANCE DE HUNTER in Niort. 300 riders from all over France participate in this equestrian event. For more info: 5, 12, 19 - GUIDED VISIT OF CHÂTEAU D’ARGENTON. 10am-12noon. 5-7 - COMPETITION AND EXHIBITION OF PAINTINGS in SaintAndré-sur-Sèvre. For more info. 6-10 - FESTIVAL TERRE DE DANSES in Bressuire and Nueil-lesAubiers. A long weekend of dance events: 6 - MEGA JAZZ & BBQ NIGHT at Café Rendez-Vous, L’Absie. An evening with the American jazz singer Suzahn Fiering. 6-13 - FESTIVAL AU VILLAGE in Brioux-sur-Boutonne. Music, circus, theate, exhibitions and more. 7 - THE CHAPLAINCY POITOU-CHARENTE’S SUMMER FÊTE in Migron 17770. Plenty of parking at the church car park. Hot meals and refreshments along with books, plants, cakes and other stalls. Details and directions - Tel. Alan Jenkins: 05 46 26 30 98. 7 - TOUR DE FRANCE - the grand départ and it’s almost on our doorstep. The world famous cycle race will be visiting Fontenay-leComte and Mouilleron-Saint-Germain. Info: 7 - OPEN GARDENS in Marnes. 7-8 - FESTIVAL BOUILLEZ in Bouillé-Saint-Paul. A festival honouring street art. For more info: 7-8 - RELAIS POUR LA VIE in La-Mothe-Saint-Héray, in conjunction with La Ligue Contre Le Cancer. See page 22 for more info.

7-8 - SALE OF HOUSEHOLD ITEMS in Noirterre 79300 10am-4pm. See page 20 for more details. 8 - SUMMER SALE AT THE FUNNY FARM CAT RESCUE in SaintGermain-de-Longue-Chaume, 10am-4pm. See page 17. 8 - RBL BOOK SALE/CREAM TEA in Parthenay, 3pm-7pm. See page 6 for more info. 8 - BRITISH DAY in Rue de Chat Ferré, Petosse 85570, 11am-4pm. See page 8 for more info. 11-14 - FESTIVAL ‘ATOUT ARTS’ in Thouars. Four free concerts. 11-15 - LES FRANCOFOLIES SONG FESTIVAL in La Rochelle. 11-22 - FESTIVAL LUDIQUE INTERNATIONAL DE PARTHENAY (games festival). 13-15 - FÊTE LE JAZZ BAT LA CAMPAGNE in Parthenay. Three day jazz festival. For more info: 14 - BASTILLE DAY. There will be a celebration and fireworks somewhere near you. 14-15 - SALE OF HOUSE CONTENTS/GARDEN EQUIPMENT in Clessé and Azay-sur-Thouet. See page 20 for more info. 18 - CONCERT ‘VOYAGEUR’ in the Abbatiale Notre Dame at

Celles-sur-Belle. A musical journey from east to west, performed ‘a cappella’ by the Choeur de Chambre des Deux-Sèvres. 6-7pm. 21 - CHOIR CONCERT in Coulon by the choir of Saint-Hilaire-la-Palud. 21-22 - FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE PEINTURE DE MAGNÉ 22 - OPEN GARDENS in L’Absie. 24 - LIVE MUSIC WITH MARTIN LAVANSCH at Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See page 32 for more info. 25-28 - FESTIVAL DE BOUCHE À OREILLE in Parthenay. 26-28 - FÊTE DU COGNAC. Music, food and of course Cognac! 27 - INDIAN NIGHT at La Bohème Restaurant in Mervent 85200. 27 - TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE. Join an observation group in Bressuire. 28 - A NIGHT AT THE OPERA at Château du Pont Jarno. See page 7. 28 - FLOATING MARKET in Le Vanneau-Irleau. 9am-2pm. 29 - TRADITIONAL BRITISH SUMMER FÊTE at the Pause! Café in L’Absie. 11am-5pm. See page 9 for more info. 29 - FÊTE DES BATEAUX FLEURIS in Saint Maxire.


1ST & 3RD MONDAY OF THE MONTH AT 3PM Belote at Café des Sports, L’Absie. EVERY THURSDAY AT 7PM - Scottish Dancing at Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. EVERY THURSDAY FROM 8PM - Quizwitch Quiz at le Chaudron, 79320 Chantemerle. 2.50€ p/p. Money raised in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. EVERY FRIDAY AM - Reaction Theatre’s Art Scene meet in Secondigny. Contact John for details Tel: 05 49 63 23 50 EVERY TUES & THURS AM - Annie Sloan Workshops. Personally trained by Annie Sloan to help you get the best from her paints and products. Please see EVERY OTHER THURSDAY AT 6.30PM - Franglais Group at Le Clemenceau, Mouilleron-en-Pareds. 1ST WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM - Franglais Group at Café Bonbon, La Chapelle aux Lys. 2nd Tuesday of Month AT 8PM- Quiz Night at Le Regal’On, Allonne. 3RD WEDS of month AT 7.30PM - Team Quiz. At Le Clemenceau Bar, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, in aid of animal charities. 3RD WEDS OF MONTH AT 3PM - Franglais Group at Pause! Café, L’Absie. Last FRIDAY of month - Books, CDs, DVDs etc. sale. Chez Sue & Stuart Marshall, 12 rue du Bourg Chasteigner, Cheffois, in aid of animal charities (2-5pm) Tel: 02 51 51 00 96 1ST WEDS OF MONTH AT 2PM - 4PM - Coffee & Book afternoon at Funny Farm Cat Rescue, St Germain-de-Longue-Chaume. EVERY THURSDAY AT 1.30PM - 4.30PM - Jean David Art Group at L’Absie.

contact ‘The DSM’ Call Anna Shaw on 05 49 64 21 98 Monday - Thursday: 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 6pm

FIND ‘THE DSM’ AT ONE OF OUR FRIENDLY DISTRIBUTORS THIS MONTH: PAPATOM Reel Fish & Chips 4th & 18th - Etusson: Salle de la Cantine 5th - La Coudre: Auberge de la source 6th - Genneton: Café de la Mairie 20th - Saint Martin de Sanzay: Café de la Pompe Tel: 06 04 14 23 94

FROM 6.30pm

4 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

what’s COMING UP... 10th - 12th August - Mad Hatter’s Wonderland Festival. Headlining are the Bootleg Beatles, Mystery Jets and Dr Feelgood. See page 6 for more info. 25th-26th August - Elephant Haven Information Weekend in BussièreGalant, 10am-5pm. See page 7 fore more info.

La Vendée Chippy Weds: ‘Pub Le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges Thurs: ‘La Bohème’, 69 route du lac, Mervent Fri: Bar ‘Le Clemenceau’, Mouilleron-en-Pareds Sat: Last of month : Bar ‘Le Chaps’, La Chapelle Thireuil We will be at ‘Le Clemenceau’ on Sat 7, 6-9pm & Sun 8, 11am - 3pm to celebrate the Tour de France depart Tel: 02 44 39 16 73 OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

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

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

Tel: 06 02 22 44 74

OPEN 6 .30- 9pm

...July 2018 LOCAL MARKETS


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


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

• • •

A warm welcome awaits everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further information please take a look at our website or contact us by email: office. Further information from the Chaplaincy Office 05 49 97 04 21 or from John & Barbara Matthews 05 49 75 29 71. The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal and evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our bilingual website for details of meetings and summer programmes or contact Mike & Eva Willis on 05 17 34 11 50 or 07 82 22 31 15. ALL SAINTS, VENDÉE - Puy de Serre We hold two services each month (+ Sunday school), on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am. After each service, tea and coffee are served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a `bring and share’ lunch. For details of all our activities, our Services in the west of the Vendée, copies of recent newsletters and more information, please check our website: The Rendez-Vous Christian Fellowship welcomes you to any of our meetings held throughout the month in the Deux-Sèvres and the Vendée.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2018 14th July 15th August 7th October 31st October 1st November 11th November 25th December

1st and 3rd Sunday at 11am in St Hilaire de Voust, Vendée and 2nd and 4th Sunday at 11am in two locations: one near Bressuire, DeuxSèvres and the other near Bournezeau, Vendée. Meetings last about an hour and are followed by a time of fellowship & refreshments. Find out more by contacting Chris & Julie Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or visit:

National Day (Fête Nationale) Assumption of Mary (Assomption) Grandfather’s Day (Fête des Grands-Pères) Halloween All Saints’ Day (Toussaint) Armistice Day (Armistice) Christmas Day (Noël) (Dates in bold=Public holidays)




@The DSMagazine



YOU TUBE: The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine

1st Sunday at 10.30am: Parish church at St. Leger de la Martinière, Melle. Followed by tea and coffee. 2nd Sunday at 11am: the home of Ann White, Jassay 4th Sunday at 11am: the Parish Church at Pompaire 79200 (rue du Baille Ayrault). Followed by tea and coffee, and a ‘bring and share’ lunch.

The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire (ESCOVAL) meets at the R.C. Church in Arçay every 3rd Sunday of the month at 11.00am (just off the D759, Thouars to Loudun). We welcome and embrace all Christians from all denominations and warmly invite you to join us. Following the service, coffee is served, and for those who wish to stay a little longer, we enjoy a light, bring and share lunch. Please see our website for details

INSTAGRAM: thedsm79

TOP HAT QUIZ & CURRY 2nd: 5th: 9th: 11th:

Limalonges Chef Boutonne Theil Rabier Aigre

Tel: 05 45 71 70 91 FROM 7pm


Markey’s pork ‘n’ pies Traditional British cooking

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

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

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20

Tel: 05 46 01 54 65

OPEN 6 - 8.30pm

OPEN mornings

Visit each website for further information or to confirm venue and dates The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 5

Getting Out & About Chez Christie’s BEAUTIFUL GIFTS & CARDS

Charity Calendar

for Ian’s Orange Day 4 Cancer Research at The Pause Cafe in L’Absie on 29th July at their fête day. 10€ each plus postage. If you would like to order your calendar contact Caroline on:

DELICIOUS HOME-BAKING Cream Teas, Brownies, Cupcakes, Fruit Cake


Find us on

GENÇAY SUMMER FAIR ~ SAT 7 JULY GENÇAY (86) - behind the Mairie Siret: 47876969800018

Complimenting these big bands we have a superb line up for you. All music tastes are catered for, reggae, hip hop, rock, gypsy folk rock, ska - you name it we have it!

TH UGUST TH 10TH, 11 & 12 A


his is a small independent music festival providing an opportunity for locals and all those music fans from far and wide to enjoy fantastic professional musicians of many genres in a laid-back familiar setting. The Wonderland Festival is a family-run music festival where people of all ages come together to enjoy a weekend of music. The stages are situated within a walled garden, along with the great food and drink, real ale and cider and with any luck - some beautiful French sunshine! Circus acts and children’s entertainers add to the scene along with brightly coloured trade stalls tempting you with their wares. On both afternoons there will be ‘open mic’ for those who want to show off their musical talents and tug of war for the more energetic. Camping is available for those booking weekend tickets and there is also the possibility to bring your campervan. Alternatively, you can book one of our nomad belltents for you and your friends. Headlining with Mystery Jets are the Bootleg Beatles and Doctor Feelgood who would think there was a chance to see them in a rural area of south-west France! Mystery Jets are a massively popular indie band from London packing out large stadiums and big venues. The Bootleg Beatles are renowned as the best Beatles tribute band and have been performing for 30 years. Dr Feelgood is still rocking out all those classic songs!

Then of course there’s the food. Choose from a large selection of tasty home-made dishes available in the food hall, or call in at the BBQ for a pulled pork roll, burger or sausage. Liquid refreshment can be taken at one of the bars, serving real ale, cool lager, cider, Pimms and more. Teas and cakes can be enjoyed on the terrace during the afternoon and for the campers we are offering egg and bacon rolls for breakfast! The festival kicks off at 12 noon on Friday 10th August and will wind down on Sunday evening (12th August). This is a unique festival with little else quite like it. To keep a chilled-out atmosphere ticket sales are capped, so book soon to avoid disappointment. All-in-all this is a cool little country party set in the lovely French countryside, but easily accessible being only 10 minutes from the N10 (Poitiers-Angouleme route). All ticket info. is on the website, don’t miss it! We hope to welcome you to our festival this August! Photos: Bands, © Bootleg Beatles, © Mystery Jets and ©Dr Feelgood

6 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

ROYAL BRITISH LEGION Poitou-Charentes Branch

BOOK SALE/ CREAM TEA Sunday 8th July 3pm - 7pm at the

RBL BOOK STORE Parthenay Cream Teas by ticket only available at the book store

7, 50€ each

For further information tel: 05 49 95 54 50 (Alan) 09 60 43 12 27 (Clive)


Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th August 10am - 5pm


lephant Haven will be organizing an information weekend on Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th of August from 10 am – 5pm.

Short guided tours will be held focusing on the recent infrastructure developments and the status of the project today. Guided visits: Saturday August 25th 10.30 am (French) & 11.30 am (English) 2.30 pm (French) & 3.30 pm (English)

Une Nuit A L’Opera Samedi 28 Juillet; A Partir de 21h Tickets Entrée : 35 Euros* *Accès aux 5 representation. Rafraichissement et Apperitif Disponible.

Lieux :

Chateau du Pont Jarno Cours , Les Groseilliers 79220

Sunday August 26th 10.30 am (English) & 11.30 am (French) 2.30 pm (English) & 3.30 pm (French) Stands, music, snacks and refreshments will be available throughout the weekend. Address: 5 Rétabout, St Nicolas Courbefy, 87230 BUSSIÈRE GALANT, France

Pour Plus D’Informations et Reserevations : Telephone : 05 49 25 74 06 / 07 88 62 79 86

E-mail : Site Web : Méthode de paiements disponible : Especes ,Cheque ,Carte bancaire* *

7th - July in Marnes 22nd - July in L’Absie For more information:

For more information email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 7


hey live in matriarchal societies called ‘sounds’. Boars are given names according to their age: Squeaker, Juvenile, Boar, Old Boar, Grand Old Boar, Solitary Boar. Description: Bulky (up to 700 lbs), with short legs. Their head acts as a plough, capable of digging in frozen ground (it can up-turn rocks weighing 40-50kg). Canine teeth (10-12cm) protrude from the mouth. They can run 40km/h. Behaviour: Adult males are usually silent, while females frequently grunt. Boars are omnivores and express contentment through purring. During the day they sleep in nests made of leaves and hunt at night. When surprised they become enraged and extremely aggressive.

What to do if you meet a wild boar: Climb the nearest tree - stand tall do not run - if a pig charges, try to step sideways at the last minute (like a matador) - try to remain standing if being mauled - when walking try to make noise, so that you do not surprise them. Interesting facts: Because of their developed sense of smell, in Germany they are used for drug detection. The hair of wild boars was often used for making tooth brushes.

8 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

Take a Break - SOLUTION

The Wild Boar (Sanglier)

Tour de France 2018 starts 7th July

Easy Crossword: Across: 1. statue 4. nectar 8. diary 9. economy 10. abbey 11. upgrade 12. authentic 15. acerbic 16. flute 17. forearm 18. ankle 19. Odessa 20. mishap Down: 2. trilby 3. three quarters 5. Canary Islands 6. armada 7. refugee camp 13. accord 14. Atilla

by Steve Shaw

This month’s creature:

Toughie Crossword: Across: 1. once upon a time 8. duped 9. stipend 10. IRA 11. retention 13. eunuch 14. preach 17. turnstile 19. tap 20. longest 22. ennui 23. shocking story Down: 1. old wives tales 2. captain 3. underacts 4. onsets 5. ami 6. Iceni 7. ending happily 12. nerveless 15. Antonio 16. mitten 18. ringo 21. eek

Creature Corner

Fêtes d’Eté

by Sue Burgess


ummer is here and with it comes the multitude of village festivals fêtes de village, car boot sales vide greniers and so on. The Terre de Festivals (the land of festivals) in DeuxSèvres, is a series of over thirty different events évènements or manifestations. There are concerts concerts, shows spectacles, sound and light shows son et lumière, street art art des rues and fireworks feux d’artifice. La brocante is the business of selling used objects which are generally of little value (usually organised on Sundays and bank holidays). The name is also used to describe the shops where this sort of business is done. A car boot sale vide-grenier is an informal event during which private individuals sell objects that they no longer have any need for. A flea market marché aux puces is an open air market where there are no foodsuffs for sale. They are often also called Les puces. A braderie is a market selling new things, often clothes, or a special day when shops have stalls outside in the street and sell (new) things at a special price.

The word fête translates as celebration, feast or fun party. It also translates as Saint’s Day. A festival un festival and a festival-goer is un festivalier. There are lots of markets marchés, evening markets marché semi-nocturne and festival markets marché en fête. Coulonges-sur-l’Autize holds a festival market marché en Fête in July and August. Remember not to confuse marché with marche which is a walk. Some villages propose organised rambles or walks with stops for food and drink randonnée gourmande. Many villages organise festivals une fête de village for the 14th July (Bastille Day), there is often a repas champêtre (rustic meal/countryside meal). In the evening there will be a torchlit procession before the fireworks la retraite aux flambeaux. If the children are looking for thrills then you might want to take them to a funfair or travelling fair fête foraine. There are so many things happening in the summer you are bound to find something that suits your taste est à votre goût.

Vocabulary/Vocabulaire Un marché ..............................


Un festival ................................


fêter ..........................................

to celebrate

une brocante .............................

second hand shop / sale

Un vide-grenier/une foire à tout

car boot sale

Une fête de quartier ...................

a street party / local party

Une kermesse ..........................

Church fête / garden party

Une fête foraine............................


Une fête de village .......................

village fête

Vocabulaire / Vocabulary:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 9

by Wendy York

Diary of a Post-Modernist Country Lady


ne swallow may not make a summer, but it can certainly make a lot of noise, especially if it enlists its feathered friends.

It all started last summer when I moved into my cottage. The swallow squatters were in before me, nest built, eggs laid. They had not expected to share. Neither had I. They had the place sussed, empty cottage, broken pane of glass above door, 24 hour access. And these birds are serious party birds. Believe me! I have to confess here, that I am not a country girl by nature, more of a girl who has to live within striking distance of M&S, or should I now say Intermarché or Lidl. I need high speed internet, not low flying birds. However, in my tentative attempt at embracing all things rural, I decided to house share with the swallows. How difficult could it be? Of course the fact that mama bird was keeping her eggs warm and papa bird was attending to her every need was so cute. What wasn’t so endearing was the indiscriminate pooping. No surface was sacred, although they were particularly fond of my hand-crocheted bedspread. We quickly settled into a routine, they would wake me up at the crack of dawn with mama bird shouting her breakfast order and papa flying out to fetch it. He then zoomed in and out all day, occasionally inviting friends in for a visit, - lovely to see them, pity about the pooping! In the evenings the prospective parents were sleeping by 8.45 precisely and if I came in from the garden later than that, they shouted at me. Oh yes, they were worse than my father when years ago, as a teenager, I used to creep home after parties “What sort of time do you call this?”.

We managed to co-exist until the summer ended and the parties started. Word must have travelled as I came in one day to around twenty birds, zooming from old nail to old nail and generally having a high old time. OK, I thought, party time is over, and shooed them out. I could hear the indignation in their squawking. Like typical teenagers, did they clean up after themselves? I don’t think so. So back to the relative quiet of the expectant couple, but wait, what‘s this new noise waking me, tiny, tiny chirpy chirpy cheep cheeps. How sweet. Egg shells jettisoned and landed on the stove, ruffled feathers all round. OK, I’ve played mine host for weeks, how many more before I can serve the eviction order? Answer, several, but then we all suffered from empty nest syndrome. There was obviously no hard feelings to their maternity unit being closed down as now a year later they’re back. I have moved into the house, the cottage is empty, locked up, broken glass repaired. The feathered sleuths have tracked me down though, with several bedrooms to choose from, they have honed right in on my window ledge. Like me, they probably thought the cottage a little compact and bijoux and are looking forward to setting up camp in more luxurious accommodation. “Hi Mom, we’re home!”




t some point, most fosterers will find it impossible to let one of their charges go to another home. I managed to get to number ten before I failed as a fosterer, but am delighted that I did. Without fostering, I wouldn’t have adopted Dilly, a nineyear-old pedigree lab.


look for screenings in ‘VO’ or ‘VOST’ Bressuire Le Fauteuil Rouge: CineChef, Chef-Boutonne: email: L’échiquier at Pouzauges: Melle cinema: Niort CGR cinema: Niort Moulin du Roc: Parthenay Cinema: and find others at

10 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

She came to us in November 2016, a quiet dog who had obviously been used and abused for breeding. Her body is suffering from long-term neglect and she spent the first few days just lying on the floor watching us; only using her bed as a toilet and on walks she trailed silently on our heels and was so quiet, it would be easy to forget she was there. She didn’t know how to play, she flinched when a hand was stretched out in her direction and always seemed to have a frown on her face. We assumed she was just a very quiet, gentle dog but it didn’t take long for her tail to start wagging when we came into a room or spoke to her. She started to venture off our heels on walks and sniff things around her. It was almost as if she was waking up. It took about four days for us to realise we couldn’t let her go. Every time I looked at her, my heart broke to think what her life must have been like and I just knew she had to stay. If you are interested in fostering or adopting a dog through Association Orfée, please tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or email:

A-Z of the Communes in the Deux-Sèvres Reffannes

by Sue Burgess



he commune of Reffannes is within the area of the Communauté de Communues du Pays Ménigoutais. There are approximately 370 Reffannais and Reffannaises. Reffannes (Rufenias, the land of Rufenius) was for a long time merely the western part of the parish of Vautebis.

Since 1973, the commune of Rigné has been attached to Mauzé-Thouarsais. The inhabitants are called the Rignéens and Rignéennes. The village of Rigny was known under the Latin form of villa Regniaco in 876.

The hamlet of Reffannes was about 4km from the parish church and so the inhabitants decided to build a chapel at Reffannes. The land for the church and the cemetery were donated by the Count and Countess of Liniers in an act written in 1871. The new church was built thanks to the help of the Count of Liniers who had previously been a councillor at the embassy of the King of Sardinia. The Count’s wife was Olympe de Pont-Jarno, and they lived in the Château of Plessis Cherchemont at Vausseroux. Charles-Louis de La Rochebrochard and the Treille family also participated financially in the building of the church. Thérèse de Liniers donated her part of the family inheritance to the church before taking her vows and joining the order of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

Faïencerie (Pottery) Inspired by the pottery of Rouen and Nevers, the pottery of Rigny already existed in 1536. After a long interruption, production began again in 1770 before stopping again in 1791.

The church is of neo-romanesque style. There is a bell tower, three rows in the nave, a transept and a semi-circular apse. The church is dedicated to Saint-Vincent-de-Paul. There is only one other church in the diocese of Poitiers which is dedicated to Saint-Vincent-de-Paul.

Le Retail The inhabitants of Le Retail are the Retaillons and the Retaillonnes. The Logis was mentioned for the first time at the end of the 12th Century. It was the property of the battling lords of le Retail. One of them, Jacques de Parthenay, a Huguenot, managed to take Secondigny which was Catholic. Today the Logis has been completely renovated and is a municipal gîte and village hall. St Joseph’s church dates from the 19th Century, with its round apse and its bell tower porchway. It was built after the decision by the town council of Allonne to satisfy the wishes of the inhabitants of the hamlet. Le Retail ony became a commune in its own right in 1912.

The last master potter of the commune used white clay which came from the area between Saint-Varent and Rigné. Recently the communauté de communes du Thouarsais, reopened the pottery to help women in difficulty to find a job. Tile and Brick works Because of the clay soil, a tile and brick works developed in Rigné. During the first half of the 19th century there were approximately ten workers. From 1866 to the time when it closed in 1938, the tile and brick works was managed by the Deboeuf family. Logis de Laudairie The Logis de Laudairie (or Château Laudérie), situated in the centre of Ruault, is a manor house which had belonged (since about 1805) to Ange-Achille-Charles de Brunet, the Count of Neuilly (1777-1863), and son of the Count of Artois (future King Charles X) who had made him his chief of stables. Then the manor house passed into the hands of his son-in-law Charles-Léonce Durant de La Pastellière. Near the manor, overlooking the stream of the Grollier, was a lime kiln which also belonged to the Count of Neuilly who had built it so that the farmers could put lime on their fields. Saint-Hilaire Church The parish church of Saint-Hilaire de Rigné dates from the 15th Century. It was restored in 2005 and has modern stained glass windows. Famous people connected with the commune • Ange-Achille-Charles de Brunet (1777-1863), Count of Neuilly, and Mayor of Rigné from 1826 to 1848. The son of Charles X, he lived in the Logis de Laudairie au Ruault de Rigné and is buried in the commune. • Marie-Anne Joséphine Leblois, daughter of Michel-Joseph Leblois and the wife of Ange-Achille-Charles de Brunet, is also buried at Rigné.

Château de Gordes Saint-Firmin

The lavoir (wash-house) has been restored by the children in the local school. La Pierre de justice (the stone of Justice) was apparently used to behead condemned prisoners. The lords of le Retail, had a feudal right authorising them to judge crimes and petty crimes committed within the area of their jurisdiction. They could set up a pilory to punish offenders.

An inventory of the furniture of Barnabé Fouschier, lieutenant and assessor at Fontenay-le-Comte, attests to the existence of Rigny in 1563. On Cassini’s map, the village is identified under the name of Rigny.

More A-Z of the Communes of Deux-Sèvres next month... Inset: The parish church of Saint-Hilaire de Rigné wikicommons/DG-Irao

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 11

Clubs & Associations ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, there are now a number of English-speaking meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous in the South West of France. Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership and A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety. Telephone: Angela: 05 49 87 79 09, Jim: 00 44 79 60 16 83 30 or Janet: 05 46 26 90 85. Email: publicinfo.swfrance@aa-€ or visit for details of English-speaking meetings.

The Jean David Art Group meets every Thursday, 1.30pm - 4.30pm at L’Absie (79). Jean’s classes cater for all media and all levels of students beginners most welcome! For details, please visit or phone Jean on 06 52 93 33 60. I’m Francis. I am 52 years old, French and have been learning English for a few years. I live in Aiffres (nr Niort). I would like to meet with English speaking people near me, to spend a couple of hours per week to speak in French or English. We could both improve our language skills this way. Contact me on or 06 85 92 58 33.

Franglais Anglo-French Group Thouars - Centre Socio-Culturel

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


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

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

Aims to improve the lives of people affected by Cancer in the Deux-Sèvres. Contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or visit CLE (Charente Limousine Exchange) is a non-profit organisation for exchange of news, views and information. We work to protect member’s best interests, run social activities, events and clubs, helping members to make new ex-patriate and French friends. John Welch 05 49 87 90 33

Franglais at Bressuire

Why not come and practise your French with a friendly and convivial group of French and English speakers? Each Wednesday evening (8-10pm) at the Centre Socio-Culturel in Bressuire. Phone Jan for further details 05 49 65 60 34.

Les Amis Solitaires

We are a group of people living alone in France. We meet up for coffee mornings from 11am, every 2nd & 4th Thursday at The Lemon Tree in Sauzé Vaussais. More details from Gwen on 05 17 34 10 23 or email:

ThouarStMed’Arts - Association that aims to bring together people from the historic town of Thouars (Quartier Saint Médard) for a new development of artistic activity. Exhibitions, galleries, brocantes, creators, cultural events etc. Visit the website:

Get Together is an association for English speakers of all nationalities. We have social gatherings, lunch & wine club, quizzes, walks, group meetings for all manner of hobbies and much more. Contact Julia Murray for joining details. Email: Tel. 05 49 07 70 69

AL-ANON Support Group

Do you wish the Drinking Would Stop? Are you troubled by someone’s drinking? If so we can help. There is now an English-speaking Al-Anon meeting every Wednesday @ 2.30pm in the meeting room behind Civray Mairie. Just turn up or ring Angela on 05 49 87 79 09.

12 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

Please visit the branch website:

Amateur woodturners/woodworkers interested in joining our association ‘Faisons des Copeaux’. Any level of ability from debutant to experienced. We meet Wednesdays & Thursdays, 2-5pm, every 2 weeks. Contact Roland 05 49 96 44 10, preferably evenings. Royal Air Forces Association Sud-Ouest France Le Perail, 17250 BEURLAY, France Tel: 0033 (0)5 46 95 38 89 Mobile: 0033 (0)6 89 90 55 82 Email: WANT TO PLAY CRIBBAGE? Whether you are experienced, a novice, or want to learn how to play, everyone is welcome. We are a group of friendly players who meet the last Friday evening of every month in La Chapelle Thireuil. Contact Sally on 05 49 76 15 30


A British style band, who meet each Tuesday at 8pm, at the Salle de la Cendille, Limalonges (just 1km from the N10). All levels welcome. Call Penny on 06 38 78 99 92 or visit our website MERIDIEN GREEN ASSOCIATION We are a cross cultural association who aim for closer integration of the inhabitants of St Coutant 79120 and surrounding areas. Free weekly language classes on Monday evenings and Tuesday afternoons. For all our events visit

Chorale Mélusine, Parthenay

French 4-part choir established over 30 years (with 2 English members) always looking for “new blood”! Excellent Musical Director. Come to a rehearsal and see for yourselves. Contact Keith for more info 05 49 69 14 89


Come and join us. Learn at your own pace within a mixed group of English and French speaking people, in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Every Thursday 8pm-9.30pm. Contact Penny 02 51 63 31 21 or Ray 02 51 61 28 69.

by Paul Meads


big thank you to everyone who responded to the appeal for food and clothing for the ‘Resto du Coeur’ charity, at the Pause! Café, L’Absie on 12th April and 24th May.

PANTOMIME UPDATE by Tony Murdoch I was absolutely delighted when asked by Malcolm, our pantomime director, to look after the publicity for Carry on Cinderella to be performed in November. Being fully aware of the costs involved in putting on such a show, I knew I’d need to get my nose to the grindstone right away and start looking for sponsors. Blevins Franks immediately came up trumps and set the ball rolling, so they’re going to be our principal sponsors and we’re delighted to have their support. A special thanks to Brad Warden and Sally Coppack for agreeing to this.

As a result of your generosity, 94 sacks of clothing, and a good amount of tinned and packaged food was delivered to the ‘Resto du Coeur’ charity at Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. Your donations were gratefully received, and will go a long way to help local people in need. Thank you. Every donation makes a difference !

My luck didn’t end there …oh no, local businesses in the DeuxSèvres and the Vendée have been superbly responsive and offers began flooding in. If you are involved in a local business and want to help, please contact me on: tonyandmaureen2@ My next task is to spread the word to the French, hopefully through local schools. Pantomime is not as well-known to the French as it is to the British. You too can also help by spreading the word: Carry On Cinderella is coming in November!


Both groups participated in the Fenioux Fête de Pain. The choir singing in the church went very well and included an excellent musical piece by Linda and Aidan Fairlie. They were accompanied by Carole Winter on violin, Andrew Sanders on piano and Nigel Pearce on double bass. The talented choir is fortunate to have Linda not only playing the piano but also the violin and Aidan conducting the choir, not to forget our leader, Margaret Round, who has spent hours knocking us into shape and soloed on one of the songs. The performance must have been good as the audience gave us a standing ovation! Scottish dancing went well but was cut short due to the weather. We all looked grand in our kilts and managed to get a few lovely locals to join in the fun!


As you may have seen in the May ‘DSM’, the art group have created a huge copy of Picasso’s Guernica. It’s not as big as the original but it does consist of 15 separate canvases. Joy at the Café des Belles Fleurs in Fenioux kindly displayed the painting in her bar area during June. Other venues where the painting will be displayed include: • •

The Lifest Festival de Voulmentin - 25th June – 1st July Le Marmiton Restaurant - 17 Rue de Grands Ajoncs, 79410 EXIREUIL have offered to display the painting for a number of weeks. So why not give one of these venues a visit and let me know what you think? Constructive criticism is always welcome.

Best wishes, John

Pictured are Cindy Malone (right), proprietor of the Pause! Café, with Maureen Jarvis and Judith Meads, taking a breather after loading up the van with your donations.

NB ‘The Restaurants du Cœur’, commonly and familiarly known as the ‘Restos du Cœur’, is a French charity, the main activity of which is to distribute food packages and hot meals to the needy. The comedian and actor Coluche launched the idea of the ‘Restos du Cœur’ with the first one opening in 1985. They soon multiplied all over the country. The initiative was supported by a song written by the songwriter and singer JeanJacques Goldman called ‘les Restos du cœur’, which included some of the lyrics being sung or spoken by other celebrities.

Clubs & Associations Submission Guidelines Wordcount: Title of entry+ 40 words (max. incl contact details). Logos can be supplied and will be added if space allows. Adverts meeting the above specifications can be added free of charge, and will be rotated on a monthly basis to allow everyone to participate. To guarantee the advert is printed each month, a small fee of 54€ per annum will be requested. How to SUBMIT your entry: 1) Complete the short form on ‘Submit Article’ page of our website (under the ‘Content’ menu) or 2) Simply email the details to us:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 13

Hobbies GDPR For Authors


by Alison Morton

ou may have heard of them, or they may strike fear into your heart, but if you’re a writer you should be aware of them. The General Data Protection Regulations came into force on the 25th May 2018 and apart from harmonising rules across the EU, they are designed to tighten up existing data privacy rights and introduce new safeguards for you when you give your data to others. They also reshape the way organisations handle data privacy. “So how does this affect me as a writer?” I hear you say. I’m not legally qualified and this is not legal advice, but I’ve just gone through compliance and can describe very briefly what I’ve done and why. If you’re affected, you should take qualified advice. If you hold data on other people such as name and email address for a newsletter list, sign-ups to your blog, a list of attendees at a conference or workshop you run, a list of people you invite to your book launch and who you intend to email about your next event or news, then you need to think about GDPR. As a list subscriber yourself, you’ve probably received a flood of ‘We’re changing our privacy setting/terms of service‘ emails. Some organisations ask you to re-subscribe, some ask for confirmation and others advise you of the new regulations and their updated privacy policies. There’s a fair amount of confusion out there, but I conclude that what you have to do as somebody who holds data on other people depends on how you collected the email addresses in the first place. If people subscribed to your list by ‘double opt-in’, i.e. they had to reply to an email invitation you or your blog/newsletter service sent out before they were fully subscribed, then you can show people positively consented to join. Now, under GDPR it has to be ‘informed consent’ and you need to tell them at the time of subscription how you are going to look after the name and email address they sent you. The easiest way is by having a privacy policy which links to the subscription sign-up. I’ve always had a privacy policy on my business websites because it protects me by setting everything out clearly for my subscribers and followers. The other ‘must-do’ is to have an ‘unsubscribe’ link on every email you send to people on your list. The main thing is to be able to prove that people joined your list because they really wanted to. I looked at how my list originated and saw that everybody had had to sign up via double opt-in. I had a privacy policy then and unsubscribe links on the emails I sent them. I’ve concluded that I can show consent and don’t need to ask them to confirm. In my April and May newsletters, I set out a short piece about the new regulations and pointed out my revised privacy policy. Your case may well be different – please do check. I love staying in contact with my readers and colleagues via my monthly newsletter and on my blogs and didn’t want to abandon them. For more information go to: Now back to writing!

Happy writing! Alison has compiled a selection of articles from this column into ‘The 500 Word Writing Buddy’, available on Amazon. Her novella CARINA, is now out in paperback.

14 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

YOUR Book Reviews

Warm thanks go to John Gordon and Vronni Ward for sharing their book reviews with us. If you’d like to send us a book review, please email it to:

DEAD IF YOU DON’T by Peter James This is the latest in the Detective Superintendent Roy Grace Series which are all set in Brighton. Successful businessman and compulsive gambler Kipp Brown is not having much luck. He is on the slippery slope to ruin and in order to get some stress relief he takes his teenage son to a football match. Arriving at the ground Kipp meets a client and his attention strays from Mungo. It is then his nightmare begins when his son disappears. Later, he is contacted by someone claiming to have the boy, and to get him back alive he will have to pay. Kipp is instructed not to involve the police but he does just that and Det. Sup. Roy Grace is brought in to investigate. At first, it seems like a straight-forward case of kidnap, but Grace soon finds himself up against the dark, criminal underbelly of the city where the rules are different. What starts off as a childish prank turns into a desperate fight to save Mungo’s life from the clutches of gangsters and the sea. by John Gordon.

TALES OF THE CITY - Book one by Armistead Maupin “The plot emerged from my own skipping, stumbling life as a just-out gay man in San Francisco.” Armistead Maupin I decided to read this novel because firstly, it was serialised on Radio 4, secondly, it is set in 1976 (my era), thirdly, I wanted an easy summer read and fourthly, I long to take a trip back to California. Bingo! This is the book! It’s a romp through the heady days of San Francisco in the 70s. The book is ‘uber-fun’! A naive young secretary, Mary Ann, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut-throat debutantes, and jockey shorts dance contests. Michael just wants to get to the ‘furniture buying’ stage with a boyfriend. The saga that ensues is manic, romantic, tawdry, touching, and outrageous! This is a book in the vein of Dickens, with characters that leap off the pages and present the human condition. I’ve always loved books with complicated, multi-layered, engaging characters and this one definitely offers that. Their philosophy on life radically different from the next person - they laugh, love and hurt, and their stories intertwine unexpectedly and excitedly beneath the San Francisco sky. Maupin’s language is simple and flows effortlessly and always keeps you on edge. So grab those sunglasses, get out the sun cream, make yourself a G&T and enjoy this book. By Vronni Ward

Bees at the Little White House by Gloria Fisher

Experiences of a new Beekeeper... Bees Or The Lack Of!


ello Bee-friendly folks. What a winter we have had, I really felt for the poor bees, all that rain. Bees stay indoors when it rains, as they can’t fly when wet. A few days of sunshine and not much blossom. I didn’t think that the bees were out of their sleepy winter-ways yet, wrong again! The plan for this year was to split my existing hive in two. But, I must admit, that I was a touch reluctant to investigate the hive after my last disastrous effort in which bees managed to get inside my beekeepers suit and sting me very badly. I did however open it with my fellow bee enthusiast to remove the sugar candy plastic pouch that I had given them for winter feeding and to remove the anti-Varroa strips put in earlier (there to protect the bees from the parasitic Varroa mite).

Gin and Tonic

To T or not to T, that is the question.

by Martin Hughes

Martin has lived in Menigoute since 2014. As well as being involved with the Get Together group (where he has made some wonderful friends), he is a keen writer. Here is a cautionary tale from him.


ast your minds back to those innocent days of Ginsberg’s flower power when your author was but a thin slip of a teenager and one could still be a virgin at twenty one, but that was about to change. As an innocent abroad, or rather at home, the Hogarthian sin of the lure of the grain proved too strong for your weak willed author. So one pre-Christmas day, whilst the family were out, the drinks cupboard was raided and a shot (or was it a slug) of gin poured. Now the observant amongst you will have noticed at this point there has been no mention of tonic, ice, or slice of lemon. So there you have your bold experimentalist ready with a crystal glass filled, not with an amber liquid (that is another story), but with clear temptation beckoning.

While working in my field I heard numerous bees fly past and thought ‘there goes a swarm’. I later discovered it turned out to be my swarm. This is what happens when you don’t keep an eye on them. My bee friend was coming that afternoon to split my hive, too late the bees had already flown. I was left with no queen and no brood, just some workers. Apparently the hive would make a new queen as long as it’s early enough in the season. Now I have to wait for the new queen to go on her maiden flight and start to lay eggs, this takes about three weeks, as long as the weather is good enough.

Lips pursed, I still had enough self-preservational instinct not to down the whole drink in one but it was more than a high-bornlady might delicately sip. Though there again certain duchesses…

The way I do this is to look at the frames to see if there are eggs (like rice grains) and larva (like little worms) and put them in the new hive along with some worker bees and honey. Sounds simple doesn’t it? I will let you know!

A quick witted person would have immediately returned the gin back to the glass. However, in my confusion I bent down and spat elsewhere, in the only available place where my sins would not be discovered. The fireplace. The hot, open coal-fired fireplace.

The hive then has to be closed off or moved three kilometres away for 48 hours, otherwise the bees will fly straight back into the old hive and then you’re back where you started. The picture shows the queen with her attendants - notice how much bigger she is. When you have a frame full of bees she is very difficult to spot. If she is bought then she will be marked with a spot just behind her head, every year has a different colour (this year is red, the one in the photo green). If you are lucky enough to find an unmarked queen you can pick her up, as she has no sting and doesn’t fly. Just be careful that if you drop her she lands back in the hive, to continue with her egg laying.

I cannot quite describe what happened next, but to say my taste buds and brain were in turmoil would only be an approximation. I had a stark choice of swallowing or somehow spitting out the gin.

There was a whoosh and the next moment a smell of burning hair as my eyebrows singed. The perfumiers of Grasse would not be looking to capture the emanating scent within their range. On the family’s return I think I deserved an Oscar as I declared that my sense of smell could not detect what was described as burnt meat or Auntie Flo’s old fox fur that accidentally got thrown on a bonfire If I was a ginsoak, I would look lovingly into my glass and know there were many stories to tell - if only I could remember them. However, life has passed one by and I can only reflect in the balm of a summer evening on a French te r ra c e , somewhere in D eu x- S èvres , that a chilled white wine has a certain compensation.

If you would like to get in touch, please email:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 15

The Pocket Monster Pillow Project

teeth’ and place them at Step 2 – Take the felt ‘wonky monsterlapping the straight edge over e, piec flap et pock the top of the the second pocket piece of the felt slightly at the top. Place the teeth between the right side down and pin to sandwichturn to the right side and two long edges. Stitch in place. Now ards. press flat with the teeth pointing upw

by Nicola Chadwick


fter spending 25 years working as a senior fashion lecturer, my partner Steve and I decided to fulfil a long held dream of living ‘la bonne vie’ in rural France. So in June 2016, in the shadow of Brexit, we took the plunge and moved here full time.

Over the past ten years I have developed an online business dedicated to helping fashion start-ups, by providing advice as well as the practical tools necessary to succeed in the fashion industry.

Step 3 – Place th e pocket flap on tack into position the front pi , down and pin to place the back pillow piece wllow piece and ho ith right sides ld in place - sti a small gap for tu rning through antch around the shape, leaving d stuffing.

Since moving to France, I have also started a creative pattern cutting and sewing blog at Blog readers can find free sewing patterns along with lots of useful sewing and pattern making tips. During a chance conversation with ‘The DSM’ the idea of creating a monthly project feature came up and I jumped at the chance. I love to encourage others to be creative through sewing. I thought I would start with this very simple craft project, ideal for children (they can leave one out for the tooth fairy). You can keep your TV remote safe! Also perfect for learning to sew. The free pattern for this project and a more detailed sewing guide can be found at lies: Gather together the following supp ) x 60cm (24”) wide (12” th leng 30cm ic: Main cushion fabr ) x 30cm (12”) Pocket flap: Contrast fabric 24cm (10” x 10cm (4”) Small piece of felt for eyes: 10cm (4”) (10”) x 5cm deep (2”) wide 25cm h: Small piece of felt for teet Enough Polyfill to stuff your cushion 2 buttons of your choice for the eyes Matching thread machine or a needle and You will also need access to a sewing , a tape measure and an pins ors, sciss ing, sew thread for hand free pattern template. iron for pressing. Plus, of course, your Sewing your monster cushion Step 1 – place the felt eyes in position on the fabric. Stitch straight across the eyes vertically andfront of your Sew your chosen buttons to the center of the felt horizontally. you are making this for a small child then don’t eyes. NB - if use buttons, the felt on its own is safer.

16 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

lity toy stuffing and close

Step 4 - Stuff the pillow with good qua the gap by hand stitching.

u over the cts with yo ster pillow’ je ro p ve ti n crea see your ‘mo aring more I will be sh ths. I would also love tome at: n coming mo please email them to y creations – so .com always happ elistecreative project I am is th t nicola@mod u o ab y questions If you have anget in touch. st ju to help – Nicola

Our Furry Friends

SWAT SWAT is a gorgeous chow chow x who is estimated at just under 2 years old. He is 18kg, so smaller than he looks in his photo. He has just moved into a foster home, where he is settling well. He is lively and playful and gets on well with other dogs so a canine companion will be a bonus for him. He is clean in the house and walks well on the lead, a lovely boy. SWAT has been neutered, micro-chipped, primary vaccinated, and he has been treated for worms, fleas and ticks. An adoption fee of 150€ will be requested to help towards his medical costs. If you’re interested in adopting Swat, please get in touch with us on our contact details below. For more information about The Orfée Association and the work it does, see page 10.

The Assocation Orfee Tel: 07 69 18 56 81 or by email: Visit the website:

Hope Shop 79 have MOVED! Now at 8 rue d’aunis, 79120 Saint Soline

Charity Calendar If you would like to order your calendar contact Caroline on:

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 17

Home & Garden

Love your


by Greenfingers


fter the tempestuous storms of June, let’s hope that we can look forward this month, to settled, calmer weather which will give more opportunities than of late, to continue with our gardening activities. The torrential downpours have not only prevented us from getting on with things, but have caused damage to garden buildings and plants alike. One of my largest and longest lived fuchsias was beaten down and two climbing roses were stripped from the wall. The fuchsia has been gathered up and tied, not very elegantly, but sturdily, so that it can once more face the sun. It is already holding its head up well. The roses have been more firmly attached and will, I’m sure, continue to flower. Its amazing just how plants can survive though the odds may seem against them. The lemon trees, which were well wrapped up against the frost, shed all their leaves and looked to all intents and purposes completely dead. However, after a really hard prune, new glossy, healthy leaves have appeared and I’m very pleased. A good feed will be applied and hopefully flowers and fruit will follow. The hostas have increased their size quite dramatically and the foliage is looking very healthy, but a watchful eye is still being kept out for slugs and snails! The warm wet weather has encouraged the rampant growth of weeds and bindweed seems to be everywhere...uncurling it from around rose stems reminds me of winding knitting wool for my mother years ago! Fortunately, most other weeds are easily pulled whilst they are still young and not too deeply rooted. We are now into the season of summer fêtes des plantes, so look out for dates in the local newspaper and online, there is always something interesting to see…and buy. I have been lucky enough to go to Pamproux, Vouvant and Prissé la Charrière already, so my stock of plants is increasing - they are irresistible!

Now is the time to:

Spray tomato and potato plants with bordelaise mixture to combat blight at the first sign of blackening foliage and stems. Bordelaise mixture is copper based and you should wear gloves when using it. I have read that spraying with a bicarbonate of soda mixture is effective and more eco-friendly, but I haven’t tried it myself. It sometimes helps to remove the foliage from both potato and tomato plants when the fruit is set so more energy goes into the produce, and then less is available to become infected.

Climbing roses took a pounding in the June storms. Anchor them against a wall.

Capsid bug causes holes and distortion of leaves on fuchsias, dahlias, apple trees, clematis and many other garden plants. The bugs can be controlled by using a spray containing pyrethrin, but removing leaf litter from around plants may help to stop the bugs coming in the first place. Bearded irises can be divided now. Select young, firm portions with a fan of leaves; trim the foliage to about 15cms and shorten the roots, replanting just on the surface or just below the soil. Regular deadheading will encourage repeat flowering Lemon trees should be bouncing back in most plants and after their hard prune in spring. trimming some of the tendrils from sweet pea stems encourages more flower production too. Continue to tie in new shoots of all climbing plants, especially roses and clematis. Tying rose stems horizontally leads to flower production along those stems. Remove faded flower spikes on delphinums, foxgloves, lupins and verbascums. (Foxgloves have been fantastic this year in all the local hedgerows!) Prune whippy new growth of wisterias to within five or six buds of the main stem. Add supports to later flowering border plants to prevent them from flopping over. Remove sideshoots from standard fuchsias and roses. Propagation of pinks and carnations can be easily done now by layering. Simply choose a non-flowering stem, strip off the leaves, except for about the top 10cms. Make a cut part way through the stem, and bend the stem so it forms a kind of ‘tongue’. Push this into the soil and peg it down with a bit of bent wire. Roots will take about six to eight weeks to grow and then it can be separated from the main plant in spring.

Support your fuchias by tying (Fuchsia Wind Chime)

18 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

Harvest salad and vegetable crops regularly and sow seeds of radish, spring onion, or lettuce in the gaps. Sow maincrop spring cabbage and carrots and keep the beds weed free. Pinch out the tops of broad bean plants to channel energy into bigger pod formation. Tidy strawberry beds, discarding any diseased

Remove faded flower spikes on foxgloves © wikicommons/Rae

and brown leaves and removing fruit that may have been damaged by slugs. Strawberry runners can be removed and potted up to make new plants. When the foliage of garlic plants has died back, dig up the plants and place them in a warm, well ventilated spot to dry out.

Temperatures are likely to rise quite rapidly this month, so dampen down the floor of the greenhouse and keep it well ventilated. Feed hanging baskets and pots weekly and keep everything well watered!

Make a jug of something cooling and soothing or a pot of tea, and sit and relax. Make time to enjoy the results of your hard work in the garden.


Perennial geraniums can begin to look untidy now and many will have finished flowering. Cut back the stems to about half their height and add the cut material to the compost heap. Cut off the remaining spent flowers and any weak stems, this will encourage strong new growth and perhaps a second flush of flowers. Pinch back fuchsias from the tips to encourage bushier more floriferous plants. Take out small side buds from tuberous begonias to get bigger flowers. Plant autumn flowering bulbs. Save seeds from perennials, cleaning any plant material and store or sow them straight away. Take soft wood cuttings from fuchsias, clematis, pelargoniums and shrubs. Clip box hedges and balls.

Photographs: The formal clipped box garden of Abbaye royale in Celles-sur-Belle (top left). An impressive potager garden in Magné (right) , and the majestic, but rampant passion flower (bottom left).

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 19

79380 La Forêt-sur-Sèvre

House Content and Garden Equipment Sales 20 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

Small colour Advert from 35,17€ ttc per month

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 21

Health, Beauty & Fitness DON’T FORGET OUR DEADLINE!

OF THE MONTH Tai Chi in Bressuire and Le Breuil Barret



Everyday Yoga for Everyone

Each Tuesday evening (7pm-9pm) at the Centre SocioCulturel in Bressuire. Each Friday afternoon (3pm-4.30pm) at the Salle Communale in Le Breuil Barret. Simply turn up in loose, comfortable clothing and flat soled footwear. Phone Terry on 05 49 65 60 34 or visit:

by June Searchfield


his update is going to be slightly different from previous ones in so much as it is a personal account of how cancer can affect those closest to you. In the 12 years of volunteering with CSDS it crossed my mind how I would react, feel and cope, not knowing that my thoughts would shortly be put to the test. In January, after a routine blood test with abnormal levels, my husband was referred by his doctor to a specialist in Poitiers.

He went through the usual tests, scans, biopsies etc. He was told he had four malignant aggressive tumours. So, although we both support people affected by cancer, we were in the position of needing help ourselves. All sorts of emotions came out, anger, sadness, why me? Well why not me, I’m not special. Cancer can affect anyone, rich or poor, happy or sad. Surgery was performed and he is now recovering - the tumours have gone, thanks to the swift attention and treatment given by the doctors and nurses. Fortunately, our experiences in the past were a great help. Knowing procedures and both speaking French meant it wasn’t as traumatic for us as it can be for others in the same situation. CSDS continues to support to the best of its abilities and we both understand exactly how receiving those awful words ‘you have cancer’ can devastate you. We continue to work alongside La Ligue Contre Le Cancer, and will be joining them in La-Mothe-Saint-Héray for the Relais pour la Vie on 7th and 8th July. If you would like to know more about us as an association or hold a fundraising event, please contact me on 05 49 64 59 96, or email: Thank you to all who continue to support us. June Searchfield President CSDS

Interested in playing walking football around the Dampierre sur Boutonne area? We really need more players of any level (and age) to join us for fun, competition and above all, the health benefits! Call Ted Sellwood on or email

by Rebecca Novick

Enjoy some real relaxation this summer!


ow often do we really relax? We may think we are relaxing while our mind is simply straying to the endless list of things ‘to get done’. Even holidays can be stressful and entertaining family and friends can leave us more drained than energised. Shashankasana (pose of the moon or ‘hare’ pose) is a simple and effective pose that calms the body and mind. It stretches and strengthens the back muscles, releasing pressure on the discs, and encouraging them to align properly. It also tones the pelvic muscles and helps digestion. Sit in a kneeling position with the palms on the thighs, keeping the spine and head straight. Inhale, raise the arms above the head, and bend forward from the hips on the exhale (keeping the arms as straight as possible), until the arms and forehead are on the ground. Then bend the arms of the moon slightly and let the elbows rest on Pose © Rebecca Novick the floor. Remain in this position for about 30 seconds, then push yourself back to a sitting position on the inhale. Exhale and repeat three to five times. Try to increase the time in the final position up to about 3 minutes. You can place a folded blanket under your heels for extra comfort. Those with very high blood pressure should avoid this position. Another powerful relaxation pose is to put your legs up against a wall and lie on your back. Move your hips as close to the wall as possible, leaning on one buttock, while lifting up the other, and swinging your legs up and around. Once your legs are up, you can shift yourself closer to the wall using your buttocks. It reverses the blood flow, improving circulation and helps oxygen to flow to the brain. Place a folded blanket under your shoulders for extra support. Unwind – literally!

Respect yourself, explore yourself.

Cancer Support Deux-Sevres

22 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

For details on yoga classes email: or follow Rebecca on

Take a Break DSM Easy Crossword

Across: 1. A sculpture representing a human or animal. (6) 4. A sweet liquid secretion that is attractive to pollinators. (6) 8. A personal journal. (5) 9. The system of production and distribution and consumption. (7) 10. Religious building. (5) 11. A travel reservation that is improved. (9) 12. Not counterfeit or copied. (9) 15. Sharp, bitter tasting. (7) 16. Wind instrument. (5) 17. Area between the elbow and the wrist. (5) 18. Foot joint. (5) 19. Ukrainian Black Sea port. (6) 20. An unpredictable outcome that is unfortunate. (6)

Down: 2. A hat made of felt with a creased crown. (6) 3. Seventy-five percent as a fraction. (5-8) 5. Archipelago and autonomous community of Spain 100km west of Morocco. (6-7) 6. Fleet of warships. (6) 7. Shelter for persons displaced by war. (7-4) 13. A written agreement between two states or sovereigns. (6) 14. King of the Huns between 406-453AD. (6)

DSM Toughie Crossword

Answers on P.8 and our website:

With thanks to M.Morris

Across 1. UN Peace Motion moved, but that’s just the beginning of the story. (4, 4, 1, 4) 8. Tricked to perform exercise under ineffective cover. (5) 9. Allowance provided; spend it constructively! (7) 10. Former illegal organisation given change of air. (3) 11. Some not yet released after tore net in violent reaction. (9) 13. Heads of every university not upgrading can have tackle missing? (6) 14. Pontificate about taking time out of rewritten chapter. (6) 17. Lustre polished up on new tin gate. (9) 19. Apt arrangement for exploit? (3) 20. Greatest distance for relocating to glens? (7) 22. Sullen nuisance is just concealing boredom. (5) 23. Horrific account of disturbing ghosts in ‘Rocky’. (8, 5)



irstly this month, I should say that I will refer directly to some clues in the above crossword. Beginners may appreciate this, of course, but more experienced solvers may prefer to read this column later, when they have solved (or not?) the crossword. Anagrams are perhaps the most commonly used form of clue in cryptic crosswords, and partly for the sake of this article I have included many in the above.

Down 1. Wise slave told to interpret mythical stories. (3, 5, 5) 2. Involved in a pact to find a leader. (7) 3. Dunce turns up with star and gives a suppressed performance. (9) 4. Determined beginnings of Rolling Stones. (6) 5. French friend turning up in interim activity. (3) 6. Old tribe chiefs of Indian civilisation each needing independence. (5) 7. Philip and Danny eg. rewriting desired outcome of story. (6, 7) 12. Composed, but Len’s serve needs to be worked on. (9) 15. A notion, crazy maybe, to become a famous merchant. (7) 16. Hopelessly in love, losing direction, makes one’s hand warmer. (6) 18. No force for American; one of a legendary group. (5) 21. Comic expression of surprise suppressed by beekeeper. (3)

obvious. This can often happen when the words of the clue are a little odd or strained. In 7 Down, for instance, the solver may find the use of proper names unusual and this could trigger a suspicion of an anagram. The use of the word rewriting could confirm this, leaving only the problem of which words or letters are involved in being rearranged. Rewriting is one of many obvious indicators of an anagram; others could allude to change, arrangement or alteration etc., some of which are employed above in various disguises. When letters are to be rearranged, this can also be indicated by a suggestion of silliness, madness etc. The challenge for the setter is to find ways to point to an anagram that avoid the obvious. This can involve an eccentric use of an ordinary word or phrase; for instance Rolling in 4 Down. Many such indicators are employed in this month’s crossword.

Sometimes the fact that an anagram is employed can be quite

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 23

Where We Live...



Saint-Nectaire (AOC) This semi-soft washed rind cheese has been made in the Auvergne region of central France since at least the 17th Century. Like Cantal and Salers, it was brought to the table of the Sun King, Louis XIV, by the Maréchal de Sennecterre. When properly aged it has a greyish-purple rind with dots and stains of white, yellow and red moulds, while the inside has occasional residual holes and is supple with a silky texture that’s heavy on the tongue. It melts in the mouth to reveal a slight acidity and a huge range of flavours, depending on the age of the cheese. The taste can variously be described as earthy, wild mushrooms, milky, nutty and minerally. The hints of hazelnuts and mushrooms make it similar in taste to that of a Reblochon. The soil, wild grass and rich raw milk produced by Salers cows fed on rich, volcanic pastures all contribute to the complex taste. This cheese must be fully ripened before eating and should be spreadable at room temperature. Affinage (maturation) takes from five to eight weeks. If it is any shorter than that the smell and taste does not develop sufficiently. One of Saint-Nectaire’s characteristics is its distinctive, sometimes pungent, odour, which can be described as old, smelling of a dark and humid cellar, of rye straw (on which it is ripened) and of mould. The finished cheese is circular in shape, around 21cm in diameter and 1.7kg. It takes approximately 15 litres of milk to make one cheese. A smaller version – the Petit Saint-Nectaire (13cm and 600g) is also made. The fermier cheese is easily recognised by the oval green casein label that indicates the number of the department and the codes of the maker and commune. The industrial version is stamped with a square white label. This is a good keeping cheese and also a good melting one. It is often used in truffade, a delicious rural dish traditionally associated with the Auvergne. It is melted over thinly sliced potatoes that are slowly cooked in duck or goose fat until tender and then topped with crème frâiche. A glass of Bordeaux, Shiraz, Côtes d’Auvergne or Beaujolais all go hand-inhand with a Saint-Nectaire.


Eighty-four, living alone in France and loving every minute!


idowed at the age of 80, a question most frequently asked of Muriel 'Biddy' Webber was ‘I expect you will want to return to the UK to be near your family?' But, a bit like Margaret Thatcher, this lady was not for turning...

“My immediate reaction,” says Biddy, “was to reply: 'No, why should I?' Over that first year of widowhood I was determined that, as no-one was likely to come knocking on my door, I had to get out and meet people.”

© wikicommons

24 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

Now, four and a half years after the death of her husband Tony, following six years of illness, this determined lady is living life to the full with a 'wonderful circle of friends and a full diary.' “I have been entertained and entertaining myself for the first time since retiring from business. I have to have my diary to keep track of where I'm invited and who I have invited to my home here in Lapiteau, on the Vienne-Deux-Sèvres border, near Brux.

by Mick Austin

“There's not a week goes by when I'm not dining somewhere or going out for a coffee and a chat, having an afternoon tea party, lunches, suppers. Many's the time I've come home with a doggy bag for a meal the following day. I'm always being made welcome. I'm my own boss and can come and go as I please. My French neighbours have played a big part in my rehabilitation with practical help, gifts of flowers, fruit and vegetables, offers of lifts to hospital, the doctors... the list is endless. Every day I say thank you for today. “Some six months after my husband died I met up with a lady called Christine and through her eventually built up the friends I have now. True friends that are always there for me, always on hand to help with any problem or situation I find myself in. Whether it's Phil helping with my car, John with my garden, or Gill and Kath with form-filling, they're always there for me, always generous with their time and hospitality. “Not long ago I had a car accident and was without transport – and that's something you really can't do without when you're living in rural France with few amenities. Soon after the accident, I was given a lift to a nearby bar and was regaling the owner with my sad tale when a voice from the other end of the bar piped up: 'You can borrow my mum's old car. It's all insured and roadlegal.' It was a young acquaintance called Dave and I was totally overwhelmed. “Then there was a Sunday not long ago when I ordered three steres of wood via a French neighbour, whose brother is the local wood supplier. A message comes back that he will deliver first thing Monday morning, so I left a tarpaulin on my drive and went off for a coffee. When I got back some two hours later, not only had the wood been delivered but my other French neighbours had moved the whole lot off the drive and into my wood store.” Now 84 years old, having been married for 60 years and having decided, in her early 70s, to leave family and friends in England for a new life here in France, Biddy Webber has a story to tell. Both she and Tony were born in Ipswich, Suffolk. “My parents, grandparents and great grandparents all hailed from Suffolk. My three children still live there today. I was born in 1933, the middle of three children, my elder brother Ivor and my younger sister Joan. My father died in 1936, leaving my mother eight and a half months pregnant with my sister. That's when my grandparents took over. My grandfather would take me along to the docks to see all the barges and to feed the gulls. He made me a special little box with leather hinges and a handle to put the bread in. “My grandfather was the local waterworks inspector and we lived with him and my grandmother in a large house, but when he died in 1938 we all had to move out. No sooner had we settled into our new home, war broke out and we were bombed out – the only casualty was our canary! – so we were all re-housed: Grandmother, mother and us three children.

“Times must have been hard for my mother, three mouths to feed on just ten shillings a week widow's pension. But the war was an exciting time for us children. Someone would get to know where a plane had come down and all us kids would go looking for shrapnel, bullets, anything at all. There seemed to be a great friendship among the children. You all felt safe. All the mothers would welcome you in and we would listen to the radio (no telly then!). We would follow the coalman and his horse and cart in case a sack might split and then there would be a scramble for the coal. The greengrocer would come round with his horse and cart and the fishmonger would call on a Sunday and I would be sent out to get a pint of shrimps for tea. “We had an air raid shelter in the garden which was kitted out with bunks, candles and boxes of biscuits. But only my grandmother would go down into the shelter. My brother and sister stayed upstairs with mum and I would walk round to Auntie Maudy's, not a real aunt but a friend of my mother. That was where I learned to knit – something I still enjoy to this day. “Mum loved walking. She would put Joan in the pram and the four of us would walk for miles. Sometimes, when she heard a doodlebug [a German V1 flying bomb] coming she would literally tip both pram and Joan into any nearby ditch and we would all scramble in after them!” Biddy left school at 16 to work in an office, typing, filing and earning £1 2s 6d a week, of which her mum took £1 for her keep. She first met husband-to-be Tony while cycling down Ipswich main street with her friend, when he and his friends tried to chat up the two girls. It was some time later when they met again Biddy joined a dancing academy and found Tony was one of the instructors. “I wasn't really very interested in him, having been put off him by another friend, but thankfully he was persistent and we married in 1954 in our local church. He was 23 and I was 20 and we went to Brighton on honeymoon. We moved into a rented furnished flat and Tony, after having been in the navy for two years, resumed his trade as a plumber and engineer. He travelled all over the world coordinating the building of grain stores. While he was in Ethiopia he was presented with a tiepin and cufflinks by the then emperor, Hailie Selassie.” It was some years before the couple had children – Martin in 1961, Nancy in 1963 and Ann in 1967. “When Ann was four and began school I became a social work assistant based at Ipswich hospital. My career progressed and I eventually became a qualified social worker and at one stage was a team leader with four social workers and two assistants. A wonderful job, wide-ranging and in beautiful Suffolk. “During this period, Tony got involved with our village hall and was

Left: Biddy and friends from ‘Carpet Bowls Holidays’. Centre: with grandson Tom. Right: with husband Tony.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 25

...A look at what makes France so special chairman for many years. He and a good friend, David, were instrumental in setting up carpet bowls in the village hall. It is a game for everyone, with no special clothes, shoes or equipment as that's all supplied. As time passed, Tony, David, David's wife Lin and myself started up a business organising bowls holidays across England, Scotland and Wales and, although I say so myself, it proved to be very successful.” In 2002, however, Biddy had to have an emergency operation to remove a major part of her stomach and was feeling very much down in the dumps. Her neighbour, Caroline, saw how low she was getting and suggested that, as she was going to France to open up her holiday home in Genouille, near Civray, for visitors, Biddy should take the trip with her. “That was when my love affair with France began,” says Biddy. “It flirted with me, beguiled me and, above all, helped me get my act together. For the next few years I came back to France with Caroline maybe three or four times a year and always felt so much healthier. I broached the subject of a permanent move here to Tony but he was adamant there was no way he was going to move to France because he had so many fingers in so many English pies. “However, I'm not that easily put off. I was determined not to argue, I would be sweetness and light. I persuaded him he needed a holiday so – surprise, surprise – we visited our friend Caroline at her holiday home. As luck would have it, the partner of a friend of Caroline's just happened to be an immobilier and she turned up the next day with several properties for us to view. Ever the cautious one, Tony told me not to be silly as our house in England wasn't even on the market, we had a business to run – and he didn't want to move to France! Rather than appear rude, though, we decided to visit the properties and we both fell in love with a house straight away. To cut a long story short, three months later our UK house was sold, the business was sold and on August 6th, 2006 we bought Ici La (Here There).”

But what made Tony change his mind about moving to France? “When we got back to the UK after that holiday there were ongoing problems and in-fighting over our village hall and on the business side we were having problems finding suitable venues for our bowls holidays. After one particularly heated phone conversation, Tony put the receiver down and said: 'That's it. I've had enough. We're off to France.' “Of course, I'd already talked to the children, who were all for us doing what we wanted. So we packed our bags and gradually, with the help of our trusty van, we moved over. At first we had to sit on plastic chairs in the kitchen, had a mattress on the floor and cooked on a camping stove, but we loved it. We were in France, neither of us spoke French, we knew no one except Caroline and her partner and a few of their friends. What could possibly go wrong?” The property Biddy and Tony had bought was a typical 300-yearold stone building that had formerly housed both family and animals and had a large bread oven attached where, according to the locals, bread for the village was baked. Any alterations needed were mainly cosmetic. “It certainly wasn't all hard work. Remember, we were both into our 70s. We were introduced to Open Door, a charity that offers friendship, help and advice mainly to expats. Tony quickly took to the French way of life, stopping at 4pm for a glass of something, inviting friends and neighbours over and gradually increasing our circle of friends. Family and friends from the UK often visited, envying our relaxed way of life.” In 2008, however, the Webbers were spending time with friends on the Ile d'Oléron, off the west coast near La Rochelle, when they were involved in a bad car accident, during which time Tony

Photo: ‘Ici La’, the house Biddy and Tony fell in love with.

26 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

suffered a massive stroke. Because of a delay in getting medical attention to him, he ended up being unable to stand, temporarily lost his speech and became doubly incontinent. “After many weeks in hospital at La Rochelle and Poitiers, where the care he received was second to none, he was transferred to Civray for rehabilitation. He became very withdrawn and stopped speaking and eating. But one day my son Martin was visiting him and he put Tony in his wheelchair and told his father he was taking him to a concert in the common room. Lo and behold, Tony soon brightened up, singing along and being his old, jovial self.” It was then Biddy decided Tony had to return to sunny Lapiteau, where she became a full-time carer with the support of the French social services. That came in the form of nurses every day to wash and dress Tony and administer medication and in the evenings it was the reverse. He also benefitted from weekly physiotherapy sessions. “I can't praise the French system enough. It was all offered, I didn't have to fight for it. In the six years of caring they never missed a beat, always cheery and a great comfort to us both.” Biddy became more or less housebound looking after Tony, but through Open Door she was able to arrange for volunteers to come once a week to sit and talk with him for a couple of hours. That gave her a little time to herself, an opportunity to get out of the house. “I was able to get to the shops without worrying about Tony and I even joined an art class that met monthly in Brux. But my social life was almost non-existent.”


On this month

July 7, 1456: A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death. The French soldier and national heroine nicknamed the ‘Maid of Orleans’ successfully led attacks that broke the siege of Orleans in 1430 dressed in a suit or armour. She was captured during the battle of Compiegne in 1431 and put on trial by English supporter and French Bishop Pierre Cauchon. She withstood days of interrogation before being found guilty of the charge of dressing in men’s clothing. She agreed to wear women’s clothing, but when she wore men’s clothes again to avoid rape she was condemned for heresy and burnt at the stake. She died on 30th May, 1431, aged just 19. July 24, 1802: French playwright and novelist Alexandre Dumas is born in Villers-Cotterêts, France. He adopted his surname from his grandmother, a former Haitian slave. His works include The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers and they have been translated into more than 100 languages and adapted for numerous films. Dumas rose to the rank of general in Napoleon’s army at the age of 31 – the highest rank of any black man in a European army. He fell out with Napoleon over his Egypt campaign and was jailed for almost two years and died shortly after his release, in 1870, in Puys, France.

When Tony died in January 2014, Biddy found she suddenly had all the time in the world but no one to share it with. “My friend Christine, who has supported me all these years, invited me to her local méchoui. Did I want to go? Too right I did! A wonderful mixture of French and English and fabulous weather. I met so many people that welcomed me into their lives. “My advice to anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation to the one I faced four years ago is to get out there. Just speak to people. Don't wait, don't dwell on your ailments, just be cheerful. I count myself very lucky to be living here in a community that obviously cares. I'm 84 and a half years old, living in France and loving it. I may live alone, but I am most definitely not alone.”

From the 1921 film The Three Musketeers starring Douglas Fairbanks © wikicommons/United Artists

July 8, 1943: During the Nazi occupation of France, Resistance leader Jean Moulin dies following his arrest and subsequent torture by the Gestapo. He had been sent by the Allies into France in 1942 to unite the fledgling underground movement known as the ‘Maquis’. In June 1943, he was arrested near Lyon and was tortured for 11 days, but betrayed no one. He died on board a train while being transferred to a concentration camp. July 14, 1989: Hundreds of thousands of revellers take to the streets of Paris to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille. Around 500 people were involved in scuffles in the Place de la Bastille after a group of troublemakers fought among themselves, harassed foreign TV crews and threw stones at the police as they tried to restore order.

Claudia, Dene and Biddy before a night out at the ‘Mad Hatter’s’ New Year’s Eve party.

Do you have an interesting story to share? We’d love to know more... please contact us with a brief outline of your French Adventure.

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

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 27

Communications Protecting your PC and router from power surges


he storms last month have caused many problems with peoples modem-routers (Liveboxes, etc) and computers. Much of the damage was caused by lightening but the follow up repairs have also created problems as the power is restored. Some phone providers and insurers take the time to warn you in advance of the likelihood of storms that will affect your area, however the warnings have been coming 3 or 4 times per day recently, it is quite possible for anyone to be caught out. Obviously, the best advice is to disconnect your hardware from the mains circuit by disconnecting the power, simply switching off is not enough. You should also ensure that you unplug any telephone connections including those to your modem-router. In early June a client of mine had a power cut during one of the storms, without any warning. Whilst the power was cut they disconnected the PC from the mains power source, thinking that they would be safe. Sometime later, before the power was restored, their Livebox jumped from its shelf with a loud bang. They had not disconnected the Livebox and so had to get a replacement one from Orange. Fortunately they did not connect to their PC with a cable but via WiFi, so no damage was caused to the PC or other devices. Many of us have invested in surge protectors, and some of these have provision to not only protect the mains power, but also the telephone line feeding your modem-router. This is a quite inexpensive solution starting from around 10€ for a single socket device. However, these are not ‘fail safe’ if you get a direct strike, and do not stop the problem of the PC being turned off when the power is cut. This may cause problems when the PC has not been able to go through it’s normal shutdown routine, and is likely to cause problems when restarting the PC. Also, you may lose what you were working on. A UPS or Uninterruptable Power supply (or source), is a battery backup for your PC and monitor, and depending on the capacity may be used to protect other devices such as a printer or modem-router from power surges, power cuts and short term power losses. These devices are not designed for you to continue working when the power is cut, just give you enough time to save your work and close down your PC in a controlled fashion. These are known as Standby (offline) UPS, or line interactive UPS, or an online UPS.

28 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

by Ross Hendry

The principle is quite simple, the mains electricity to the UPS charges up batteries, these store enough charge for a few minutes to up to 20 minutes. The batteries then power the PC and other connected devices via an inverter. This effectively should stop any power surges from affecting your connected hardware. The UPS incorporates a monitor circuit that will ring an alarm when it senses the mains power is cut. Interactive ones have the ability to shutdown your PC automatically after closing the running programs, these use a cable from the UPS usually connected to a USB port on your PC. You can learn more about the type of UPS at: Prices for these devices start from £50 (60€) and go into the £100s. Of course you get what you pay for. A good home device is the APC UPS Battery Backup. They are rated in VA or Watts and start at 425VA/225W rising to 850VA/450W, the higher the rating the more time to shutdown your machine and the more devices you may connect. Not all of the connections give full UPS support, some are only surge protectors. In the aforementioned devices, you may connect four appliances to UPS protection and two surge only devices for the 225W version. You can connect nine UPS/surge protected, and three surge only for the 450W one. Finally if you are interested in getting a UPS the website 5 Things You Need To Know In Order To Buy The Right UPS has great advice on how to assess what your needs are.

Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 43 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (see advert below).

Welcome Echiré Interested in speaking English, don’t hesitate to join us? The collective courses (four different levels) are given in Echiré, by our teacher Valerie Day-Viaud, in Espace socioculturel Lionel Bénier - September to June (except during the school holidays). The timetables (according to levels) are on: Monday: from 4.15pm to 5.45pm Wednesday: from 2.30pm to 4pm Wednesday: from 4.15pm to 5.45pm Wednesday: from 5.45pm to 7.15 pm Information: or tel: 09 50 71 56 70

Useful English Language Numbers... Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres

05 49 64 59 96

French State health insurance advice line

08 11 36 36 46

Elizabeth Finn Care (Grants and advice if in Financial need)

04 68 23 43 79

Orange helpline

09 69 36 39 00

EDF International Customer Service

05 62 16 49 08

CLEISS (Social security advice between countries)

01 45 26 33 41

Funeral Information (AFIF)

01 45 44 90 03 or

Passport Advice

0044 300 222 0000 The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 29

Food & Drink

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


by Amanda Wren-Grimwood

ith such wonderful vegetables in the markets and our gardens it would be a shame not to dedicate July to some delicious vegetable dishes. Here’s to summer!

Maple Roasted Beetroot Salad Beetroot is such a popular vegetable here. Pair it with cheese and some foraged walnuts and this is the perfect summer dish. Ingredients for 4 servings: • 2 large raw beetroot or about 600g • 3 tbsp maple syrup or clear honey • 150g Roquefort cheese or other blue crumbly cheese • 60g walnuts (roughly chopped) • 100g packet of rocket For the dressing: • 2 tbsp olive oil • 2 tbsp maple syrup Instructions: 1. Peel and cut beetroot into chunks and put into a bag with maple syrup. Shake well. 2. Preheat oven to 190°C and roast beetroot on a tray for about an hour whilst turning a couple of times. 3. Using a large plate or bowl add rocket, walnuts and the warm beetroot. Crumble the cheese over. 4. Combine the remaining maple syrup with the olive oil and drizzle over the salad to serve.

Vegetable Mozzarella Tart

Mediterranean Roll-Ups

Veggie Cheese Stromboli

Delicious hot or cold and so easy to make. Keep some ready-made puff pastry in the freezer and this is a doddle.

This is a really filling dish for the whole family. Perfect for when you have a glut of summer vegetables in the garden.

Stromboli is really a rolled-up pizza. It’s a great surprise when you cut into the bread and the cheese and vegetables ooze out.

Ingredients for 4 servings: • 225g pack of puff pastry • 375g mozzarella = 3 packs, (sliced) • 1 onion (chopped) • 2 cloves garlic (minced) • 1 small aubergine (sliced) • 1 courgette (sliced) • 1 tbsp oil • 2 tbsp olive oil • Seasoning

Ingredients for 6 servings: • 1 aubergine • 2 large courgettes • salt • 250g ricotta • 2 tbsp basil pesto • 1 onion (chopped) • 2 tins chopped tomatoes • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed) • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil • 1 tbsp tomato puree • 1 tbsp oil • seasoning 175g brown sugar

Ingredients for 12 servings: • ½ cup black olives • 10 sundried tomatoes (halved) • 1 tbsp oil from tomatoes • 1lb pizza dough • 15 slices cheese • 10oz frozen spinach (drained & chopped) • 12oz chopped red peppers (strips) • 1 egg (beaten)

Instructions: 1. Use the pastry to line a 21cm x 32cm loose bottom tart tin. Prick the base with a fork and chill for 20 minutes. 2. Bake blind for 15 minutes at 220°C then remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 5 minutes. 3. Heat the oil and gently fry the onions until soft before adding the garlic for 1 minute. Leave to cool. 4. Spread the onion over the base of the tart and cover with the cheese. Layer the vegetables over the top. 5. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes.

Amanda lives in La Chapelle St Etienne and is the writer behind the food blog where she posts new recipes weekly. Photo credit © Amanda Wren-Grimwood

30 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

Instructions: 1. Slice the vegetables lengthways into 6.They should be about half a centimetre. Lay the slices on baking sheets and sprinkle with salt. 2. Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C, turning once. Leave to cool. 3. Mix the ricotta and pesto together. 4. For the sauce, soften the onion and garlic together and add the tomato puree, basil and tinned tomatoes. Season and simmer for 20 minutes until thick. 5. Take a slice of courgette, top with aubergine and another piece of courgette. Smear some ricotta on top and roll up. 6. Place a third of the tomato sauce in a baking dish and arrange the roll-ups on top. 7. Top with the remaining sauce and the cheese topping. 8. Bake at 180°C until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted.

Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line the baking sheet with foil. 2. Put olives, sun-dried tomatoes and oil in a food processor and pulse to a paste. 3. Roll the dough to a 35 x 25 cm rectangle. 4. Spread the tomato paste over the dough, not quite to the edge, add the cheese, spinach and peppers. 5. Fold over the short edges slightly then roll up longways like a swiss roll. 6. Pinch all of the edges to seal and place on the baking tray, seam side down. 7. Brush surface with beaten egg and make a few slices in the top, then bake for 30 minutes. 8. Remove the roll from the oven, loosen the stromboli’s bottom from the foil. Transfer it to a cutting board and let it cool before serving.

If You Go Down To The Woods Today...


ou won’t necessarily get a big surprise, but you might come across an earnest chap gazing longingly at a 150-year old oak tree and giving its bark a tap or two. He will probably get out a tape and measure its girth. He will certainly note down the position of the tree on a piece of paper held to a clipboard if he is over 60 or on a ‘smart’ phone if he is not. For he is an axemurderer with a plan. But fear not, he is the kindliest and most considerate of axe-murderers-with-a-plan; he is a cooper. You are most likely to make this encounter in the Allier, Nièvre or Vosges départements. The oak forests there grow on thin, sandy soil which makes for slow, steady growth, which in turn gives a dense, tight grain, which in a further turn supplies a wealth of aromatic compounds and tannins of great nobility. In short, they make bloody good barrels. It’s bewildering but true that in all the articles I have written for this august publication I have never so much as mentioned the ancient art-cum-science of cooperage. Yet it has such profound effects on the wine we drink. Perhaps it has always been the elephant in my room – or if not the elephant then the 200,000 litre barrel that Eugene Mercier had made for the 1889 Paris Exhibition. It had to be towed by 24 oxen and 18 horses from Champagne to the capital, demolishing a few houses on the way which Eugene had the decency to pay for. (You can see this whopper today at the champagne house of Mercier in Epernay.) But I digress. Let us not forget that coopers played a vital role in our daily lives until comparatively recently. Barrels were used to contain any number of household products – salted fish, flour, salt, sugar, butter, gunpowder – and coopers’ guilds existed in the 9th century. At the end of the 18th century there were 8,000 coopers in Paris alone. But ‘progress’ meant that metal and plastic containers now meet most traditional needs, so that these days most if not all barrels are made solely for the wine and spirits business (oh, and garden centres). But why were they, and are still so important for wine? In order for any wine, but particularly red wine, to develop it must have access to oxygen. Small, almost infinitesimal amounts of oxygen (more oxygen would turn the wine to posh vinegar), and there is no better way to provide this than through the staves of natural oak. Also helping in this oxygenation process is racking, where the wine is syphoned from its lees in barrel one into empty barrel two every couple of months or so. The sediment (lees) is cleared out from barrel one which is then thoroughly cleaned and dried, treated with a small amount of sulphur for disinfection, when it is ready to become another barrel two and receive a new batch of wine from the ongoing racking process (imagine a ‘production line’ of barrels from one end of the cellar to the other). Barrel fermentation has also proved popular for white wines. It seems that if the wine is fermented and stored in the same container it has a softer, more integrated oak flavour than if it had been fermented in a larger container before being transferred to barrels.

by John Sherwin

But back to our axe-murderer. He has taken delivery of his tree, from which logs of appropriate lengths are split into four lengthwise (hung, drawn and quartered?) and now, perversely it seems, he turns his back on them, lays the lengths out in the open air, and leaves them for one, two, three years, or even more. This is the process of seasoning the wood, and never was a verb used more accurately. The seasons play on the wood: rain drains aggressive tannin; sun slowly dries and concentrates goodness. It’s a primitive, natural process but like all primitive, natural processes it works. Now we get to the barrel making process proper, where again primitive elements come into play: fire, and the skilled application of human brawn. Staves are shaped appropriately and are placed in an iron hoop so that they splay out from the top like a tepee. Heat is applied to enable the staves to bend. This is the moment of greatest drama. The cooper knocks down metal hoops around the staves, bending them (to his will) as he does so. He steps round the embryonic barrel banging the hoops with a hammer and a hoop driver (a short block of wood with a flat metal end). He doesn’t stop circling, doesn’t stop hammering, for now, if the oak is to achieve its destiny he must be swift and sure. Once the top has been formed the cooper wraps cables around the base and cinches it up with a capstan. We’re almost there, but the most important step, at least for the winemaker, is toasting. Again, this is the application of fire to the inside of the barrel. The winemaker will have specified the degree of toast when ordering the barrels so that his wine will have certain characteristics having been aged in them. Light toast (5 mins at 150°C) = fruity yet tannic; medium (10 mins at 200°C) = rounder, smoother, with vanilla/coffee; heavy (15 mins at 225°C) = roasted coffee beans, ginger, nutmeg, cloves. The fire and fury of the whole process is difficult to express in words, which is why I suggest you go see for yourselves. Check out, easily accessible in CharenteMaritime, where, on a guided tour, you can get down and (not too) dirty with the coopers. After this morning’s visit (they only do mornings) you will be at least vicariously if not truly thirsty and hungry, so take half an hour drive for lunch to ‘La Tonnellerie’ in Chateauneuf-sur-Charente. (Tonnellerie means cooperage in French – just call me the king of segue.) This is a lovely place on the banks of the gentle, languid Charente where Nina and Geoff Hookins have been running a restaurant-cum-B&B for the last eight years. I took a group of American wine lovers here a few weeks ago and they were blown away by the tranquil surroundings, not to mention the food and wine which is of the highest quality. Geoff recommends crème brulée with raisins soaked overnight in cognac, or prawns flambéd in cognac with leeks, lardons and cream. See And if you’re looking for a lifechanging experience, the place and its thriving business is up for sale. The added bonus, should you make the plunge and buy this little slice of paradise, is that the next time you’re in the local bar you can drop into the conversation, ever so casually, that you work at (nay, own) a tonnellerie. Respect.

John Sherwin, French Wine Tours 07 50 90 02 00 or Above: Eugene Mercier’s barrel© wikicommons/Palauenc05

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 31

Freezer Woes


by Jacqueline Brown

the six years I have been writing here, I might have mentioned, once or twice, my love of growing my own fruit and vegetables, and stocking my freezers with produce for winter. Imagine my horror when I discovered some of the contents of my freezer were looking a little soft around the edges. “Adrian, we’ve got a problem with the freezer!” I cried, alarm and panic rising as the magnitude of the problem hit me. He came running, his face reflecting my panic, but there was something else etched across his brow; guilt. At my cry he’d remembered unplugging the freezer to play man things with an angle grinder and had forgotten to plug it back in again! Thankfully it hadn’t been off for too long and although we did have some interesting meals, using up things I was slightly concerned about, most things remained frozen. It did at least provide a good opportunity for a stock take before this seasons produce is ready to freeze. Things in the potager are still a long way off needing freezing, however, mainly as I was running behind with the weeding and potting on of seedlings. Let’s face it, the weather hasn’t really been much assistance this spring has it? By the time our neighbours were waiting for their tomatoes to ripen, we had just managed to get our baby plants in the ground. As I write this, listening to the rain drumming on the roof, I am thankful that as I’m juggling a stressed teenager taking his Bac exams, with the running around involved in getting him to the right place at the right time, along with work, at least I don’t have to worry about watering the garden as well. Following on from the freezer issue I decided to use up the last pack of frozen(ish) ‘waste-not-want-not’ pork bones. I usually put them in the slow cooker, adding an onion, stock and seasoning, then cook until the meat is falling off the bones. This is used in pasta dishes or for pizzas, and I boil the bones to make a bone broth stock. Running late, again, I put the slow cooker on high instead of low, shot out to work, muttering to Adrian about turning it onto low in a few hours, if he thought it was bubbling ferociously. He returned from a bike ride to find a hissing, steaming and spitting slow cooker and realised instantly all was not well. He unplugged it, took it outside and once it had cooled, braved a closer look. Seemingly, set on high was too much for it and the bottom had come away from the sides, meaning all the cooking liquid was in contact with the metal base. On a positive note, we didn’t burn the house down and were able to lift out the bones to continue with dinner and making the broth. We’ve even picked up a replacement slow cooker from The Field Emporium. I think that is enough kitchen excitement for now. Email:

32 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

A Perfect Anglo-French Alliance


ntil recently the peaceful little village of Les Forges was known mostly for its golf course and holiday villas but now something is stirring to awaken the curiosity of food lovers in the Deux-Sèvres. The arrival of chef Neil Gibbs from Devon, England to work at Deano’s Bar and Grill has coincided with the opening, right next door, of a new shop, L’Escale Fermière, specialising in regional, high quality, produce. Having trained under celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, Neil followed a career cooking at some auspicious venues including Cliveden House (of course once famous for the Profumo affair but now a luxury Country House Hotel). Asked why he had decided to come to France to work, he replied “I spent five years working in a restaurant in Bordeaux and I have always wanted to return to France. What chef doesn’t want to work in the food capital of the world? With such a fabulous array of produce available to work with it is easy to be inspired. Our menu, which will change daily, will reflect the essence of French and European cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal and local”.

enthusiastic about the whole concept, added to which Deano’s have draught Guinness and an excellent English ale brewed in the Charente. It is a dream come true! ” The evolution of this mini epicurean experience is already a hit with local residents and will no doubt be welcomed by holiday makers as the summer season gets underway. Deano’s Bar and Grill Tel: 05 49 69 00 59 Open: Every evening from 5pm @deanosbarlesforges

L’Escale Fermière Tel: 05 49 71 55 05 Open: Mon-Sat 8.30am-12.30pm, Wed-Fri 4pm-6.30pm

1 Rue de Château - 79340 LES FORGES - Deux-Sèvres

And fortunately for Neil, L’Escale Fermière opened next door to Deano’s just before his arrival. Managed by Nelly Lepage the shop, created by the local community, sells a diverse range of provisions which have been sourced from around the region, including organic meats, dairy products, confitures, juices, wines and beers and of course the all important bread and pastries. Neil said “I couldn’t believe my luck, not only have I come to work in this beautiful part of France but all the ingredients I need to create the dishes I am passionate about are here right on my door step. Nelly Lepage is very welcoming and incredibly

Neil and Nelly outside their establishments in Les Forges

Internationally Recognised Days for:


1st - Second Half of The Year Day 2nd - World UFO Day 3rd - International Plastic Bag Free Day 4th - Independence Day (United States) 5th - Bikini Day (Parisian fashion designer Louis Reard invented the bikini on this day in 1946) 7th - World Chocolate Day (not to be confused with Milk Chocolate Day on 28th July.) 11th - World Population Day - 7,627,645,713 and counting 14th - Bastille Day - (la Fête nationale) 15th - FIFA World Cup Final Day 16th - Fresh Spinach Day 17th - Tattoo Day 19th - Ice Cream Day 21st - Lamington Day 22nd - Hammock Day 24th - Tell an Old Joke Day 26th - All or Nothing Day 28th - Milk Chocolate Day (not to be confused with World Chocolate Day on 7th July) 30th - International Day of Friendship

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 33

Motoring Pioneering Spirit …..


by Helen Tait-Wright

n last month’s issue you learned about the challenge that Haley and myself will be undertaking next year, in the Sahara.

The first woman to cross the Sahara by car did so in 1932, which is pretty incredible and quite humbling. Eva Dickson was a Swedish born explorer, travel writer, aviator and rally driver. She epitomised ‘Girl Power’ in the 1930s and achieved things that would be amazing even today. Born in 1905, daughter of a wealthy stud farm owner and a socialite, she had a priviledged upbringing. In 1924 she passed her driving test and with husband Olof Dickson she competed in rallies. Many events were not open to women, but Eva signed up under a male pseudonym and always placed at the top of the field.

During 1933 she travelled around and lectured on her journey, before returning to Africa to participate in a scientfic expedition and work as a war correspondant. In 1937 she set off in an open Ford to achieve her lifelong goal of driving the Silk Road to China. The journey was filled with breakdowns, she was hospitalised on a detour in India, but the political situation in China meant she was unable to complete the journey. Instead she entered another bet (with an Englishman), that she could return to England more quickly by car than he could by boat. One evening outside Baghdad she lost control of the car and crashed. She died immediately. Her body was returned to Stockholm, where she was buried on 22nd April 1938. Eva Dickson was a truly inspirational pioneer and adventurer, and I will think of her as we start out on our own Sahara adventure.

Her extensive travels attracted great attention, and she financed these by making bets with various wealthy society people. In 1932, after passing her pilots exam, she took a bet and drove alone, by car, from Nairobi to Stockholm, thus becoming the first woman to have crossed the Sahara by car. The journey took 27 days, but sadly I have not been able to find out much about how she managed that journey. However, I suppose that as a pilot, she would have at least had the navigational skills to find her way.


ere at your local Ford dealership in Niort, we are dedicated to finding the right car for you. Whether you are looking for new or second-hand, our reliable and experienced staff are waiting to help you choose the right vehicle to suit your lifestyle and budget. Our friendly team will be happy to share their knowledge and experience of the complete Ford range as well as answer any questions about the vehicle you are looking to buy. We also offer the Idée Ford system, where your fixed monthly payment is lower when compared to any other agreement of the same deposit and length. This is where you essentially hire the car over the period of the contract, with the option to purchase at the end. The great news being: all costs of maintenance during the hire period, for example regular services, are included. And that’s not all! The close relationship with our customers does not end once you have made your purchase. Our aftersales service provides a personalised maintenance of your vehicle guaranteeing many miles of dependable and safe driving. So why not come along and see what we have to offer? James, our bilingual representative is waiting to greet you and show you Ford Niort’s best deals.

34 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

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 voilĂ !

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 35

Building & Renovation

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 37

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

38 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 39

Small B/W Advert from 34€ per month

40 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

Business & Finance Marketing Matters

by Cindy Mobey

Adding value to your small business


e’re already halfway through the year (can you believe it?), so if you have your own small business, be it selling products or services, it’s a good time to have a look at how the year is going for you. It’s been a hard start to the year, with people in general having less spending power, the shadow of Brexit hanging over us expats and so much competition. But there are still ways you can market your business to try and keep your head above water in the current volatile marketplace. You could start by reviewing your business - are you on track to reach your goals? If not, what can you do to make sure that you do? If your products or services are not selling as well as you expected, do you know why? You could think about surveying your existing customers to find out what they like/dislike about what you offer and ask for ideas to solve a problem they might have. This shows that you value their input and are willing to look at new ideas. It will also give you great insight into what your customers want or need.

to authenticity, transparency and friendliness in a brand.’ More and more of us are logging onto the internet, turning to social media and blogs to get news and information. Content Marketing will help you add value to your customers’ lives and show them how your products/services directly relate to them. It makes sense to write about your products/services and blogging is one way to do this. Blogging A blog is an informal, friendly online article giving information on a particular subject or business. Blogging can not only help bring more online traffic to your website, but keeps your existing customers engaged in your business, grows demand and interest in your products /services and also differentiates you from other similar businesses. Blogging regularly gives customers a reason to visit your website and shows them your human side, promoting your expertise and products and encouraging loyalty to your brand. Adding photos will also make your content more interesting and engaging. A blog is easy to set up with hosting sites such as WordPress, which has training videos and articles to help you. If you do decide to blog, try and write every week to get your name out there. Months after you’ve published a blog, it continues to get readers and possible customers, so why not give it a try? Please feel free to contact me for further information.

Content Marketing Content Marketing is one way to help add value for your customers. If you haven’t come across this term, Content Marketing is the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand, but is intended to promote interest in your products or services. According to, ‘Consumers are fed up with in-your-face advertising. Instead, they’re attracted

Contact Cindy Mobey Tel: 05 45 31 13 86 ~ Email:


Simply register on our website:

Helen Booth DipPFS, EFA

Senion Financial Adviser Email: Mobile: +33 (0) 771712879

deVere France can advise you on ways to help safeguard and increase your wealth, as well as helping with HMRC-recognised pension transfers to a Qualifies Recognised Overseas Pensions scheme (QROPS) to give you potentially more flexibility in your pension plans.

Dénomination sociale: deVere France S.a.r.l, RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registre avec ANACOFI-CIF (Association Nationale des Conseils Financiers). Nombre enregistré: E008176, association agréée par l’Autorité des Marchés Financiers. Courtier d'assurances ou de réassurance, Catégorie B, inscrit à l'Organisme pour le Registre des Intermédiaires en Assurance (ORIAS) numéro enregistré 12064640. Garantie Financière et Assurance de Responsabilité Civile Professionnelle conformes aux articles L 541-3 du Code Monétaire et Financier et L 512-6 et 512-7 du Code des Assurances. Registered name: deVere France S.a.r.l, registered company number RCS B 528949837, 29 Rue Taitbout, 75009, Paris, France. Gérant: Mr. Jason Trowles. Registered with ANACOFI-CIF (National Association of Financial Advisers). Registered number: E008176, association approved by the Financial Markets Authority. Insurance and re-insurance brokers, Category B, registered with the Organisation for the Registration of Assurance Intermediaries (ORIAS). Registered number 12064640. Financial and Professional Liability Insurance Guarantee conforms to article L 541-3 of the Monetary and Fiscal Code and L 512-6 and 512-7 of the Assurance Code. 6XKWSX • V1.0/120418

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 41

Allianz Vie Generation, A Bigger Allowance For Death Duties

by Isabelle Want


ost of you know that, in France, your children are only entitled to 100 000€ taxfree on your death and that to increase this amount you can invest an additional 152 500€ in an assurance vie account. But did you know that the French government (to encourage people with wealthier assets to invest in the French economy) has given an extra allowance for special Assurance Vie contracts? 1. A small recap of the advantage of the Assurance Vie saving account: I can hear some of you groaning “2015 change of law!” Well think again. As the changes of August 2015 will allow you to be able to choose the inheritance law of your country of birth (instead of France). But the tax will always be French tax so if you decide to leave some money to your nephew instead of your rightful children, your nephew would have to pay 55% after an allowance of 8 000€. The assurance vie allows you to leave money to anyone you want and as much as 152 500€ per beneficiary. They are then taxed at 20% on what is above the 152 500€ instead of the percentage taxed otherwise (55% for nephews and nieces or 60% for others). Note that amounts above 700 000€ are taxed at 31.25%. This is the perfect solution if you want to leave something to unrelated beneficiaries such as friends or stepchildren, who would otherwise pay tax at 60%. But this is also a good solution for leaving money to children as they can only receive up to 100 000€ each before death duties so with the Assurance vie, they can receive up to 152 500€ on top of the 100 000€. Do bear in mind that if you are French resident, all movable assets come under French inheritance law so your savings in the UK will be subject to French inheritance tax and law. Finally, note that it is better that all the money is put in before you are 70 years old as the tax advantage for the money invested after 70 goes down to 30 500€ for all beneficiaries combined, instead of 152 500€ per beneficiary. 2. What is the bigger tax advantage with Allianz Vie Generation? This Assurance Vie gives an extra allowance of 20% of the total amount invested on top of the allowance of 152 500€ per beneficiary. Below is an example for an Assurance Vie with 1.5 milllion euros invested and two beneficiaries: Normal Assurance Vie

Allianz Vie Generation Assurance Vie

1 500 000€ invested

1 500 000€ invested

750 000€ per beneficiary

750 000€ per beneficiary

Still 750 000€ taxable

-20% allowance so 750 000€ minus 150 000€ (20%) = 600 000€ taxable

-152 500€ allowance so 597 500€ taxable

-152 500€ allowance so 447 500€ taxable

Tax is 20% of 597 500€ so 119 500€ tax to be paid

Tax is 20% of 447 500€ so 89 500€ tax to be paid

It is invested in two different managed funds; Allianz Tempo Equilibré and Allianz Tempo Dynamique. The second one being riskier than Equilibré (see above). 4. Performances: Since the creation in 2014 Equilibré has made +26.70% and Dynamique +33.94%. In 2017 the return was +10.20% and +13.40%. Criterias and fees etc.: Being French resident, below 70 years old and having at least 200 000€ to invest. Entry fee is 0.50% plus a 12€ administration fee. 1.005% for yearly management fees. You can add and withdraw money at any time. The money is not blocked (no fee for withdrawals). You can even set up regular withdrawals (monthly, quarterly or yearly). Your beneficiary clause can be changed at any time. If you already have an Assurance Vie higher than 152 500€, then the allowance is still 20% of the amount invested (minus the 152 500€ that you have already used on the first Assurance Vie). To conclude, if you were always wondering how to reduce your death duties even more, this is definitely an investment to look at. So, please contact me, advice is free! And remember to check out our web site: en for all my previous articles (‘practical information’) 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 quotes on subjects such as funeral cover, inheritance law, investments, car, house, professional and top-up health insurance, etc.

In this example the gain is 30 000€. Obviously, the bigger the amount invested, the bigger the gain. The gain is also higher if you only have one beneficiary, it’s basically double. 3. How is it invested: This Allianz Vie Generation Assurance Vie has to match certain criteria. First of all, it’s not secured, meaning all is invested in Funds. And at least 33% of the funds must be invested in: • Shares contributing to finance social housing • FCPR (Fond Commun de placement à Risque- Funds that are not invested on the market) • PME or ETI (Middle size entreprises) • Shares in social care and solidarity

42 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

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:

Want to splash out this summer? Get clever with currency

Ask Amanda

by Amanda Johnson

by Sue Cook

Q> “My wife and I live in France but are planning to return to the UK for the summer to spend eight weeks with our son and his family. We’ll need to move money back from France quite regularly to cover living costs, what would be the simplest solution? ” A> BBQs, Wimbledon, drizzle… English summertime has a lot to recommend it. If you want a quick and easy way to access funds on the move during your time in the UK, you should consider opening an account with a leading currency provider like Currencies Direct. Once you’ve opened an account you’ll be able to make fast, free currency transfers 24/7. Simply pick the currency you want to purchase and where you want it sent (whether it’s your own bank account in the UK or your son’s, for example). Then transfer your funds to Currencies Direct, and they’ll do the rest. As well as making sure you secure a better exchange rate for your transfers than you would through a bank, Currencies Direct will move your money fee-free. As many banks charge a fee of between £10 and £40 per transfer, using a free service will leave you with more cash to splash on holiday treats. If you made ten transfers to the UK during your eight weeks away, for example, and your bank charged £20 per transfer, you could save £200 by using Currencies Direct – think of how many Mr Whippy’s £200 could buy!


recently conducted a poll on social media regarding the topics that people wanted more information on, life insurance and other protection policies came out top. So here is my guide to these policies. 1. Provision in case of death This form of life assurance does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides a cash amount in the event of your death. Policies are typically for fixed terms and many people will choose a term which will coincide with an event, such as a child finishing education or an adult reaching retirement. In the event of your death the beneficiary will receive a fixed amount which they can invest to provide an income if they choose. 2. Critical illness With critical illness plans the policy will pay out in the event of a critical illness or death. This means that should you become critically ill, your family should not be forced to sell your house and move due to a lack of income, during what will clearly be a traumatic time. Critical illness plans usually cost a little more. 3. Over 50 plans Many of us will have seen and heard adverts on UK TV promoting ‘over 50 plans’. It is important to note that with most of these they pay out on accidental death only. You also need to check that they do indeed cover overseas residents, most of them are for UK residents only.

This is also a much more cost-effective option than using your French bank card in the UK or getting travel money from a Bureau de Change.

4. Income protection insurance These policies are designed to top up your income over a short period of time in the event of you being out of work, due to ill health or unemployment. Before you take out an income protection insurance it is imperative that you check your employment status is covered under the plan. Many selfemployed or short contract jobs would not be covered with unemployment protection insurance.

What’s more, Currencies Direct make it as easy as possible to make currency transfers on the go with their award-winning app and online service.

French Mortgages are typically covered by a life insurance policy which will have been added as an insurance premium to your mortgage payments.

Whenever you need to top-up your funds simply log in and make a transfer in just a couple of taps.

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.

Get in touch with Currencies Direct now if you want to find out how to get more from your currency transfers and make the most of summer.

Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 or 06 73 27 25 43 Email: The Spectrum IFA Group is fully regulated to offer financial advice in France and we do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 43

Home bias vs diversification: Some home truths about investing

by Bradley Warden, Blevins Franks

ome may be where the heart is, but is it where expatriate investors should focus? We explore the tax implications of two types of ‘home bias’ – UK-based investments and a concentration in property.


Taxes on UK properties include non-resident capital gains tax (since April 2015), a stamp duty surcharge on second homes, increased council taxes and the gradual elimination of buy-to-let tax relief. Since 2017, UK residential property owned through certain offshore structures attracts UK inheritance tax.

UK investments Many expatriates keep savings and investments in UK structures, but this becomes less beneficial for non-UK residents. For example, interest and dividends from ISAs are taxable in France for residents here.

You need to calculate the overall tax burden of property alongside other expenses – such as management fees and maintenance costs, plus inflation – to establish the real returns.

Brexit may complicate things further. When the UK leaves the bloc and investments like UK bonds and life policies become non-EU/EEA assets, they may not qualify for the tax benefits available today in France.

Why diversification matters Having a home bias – in either sense – does not just present tax and liquidity concerns. When you concentrate money in one or just a few areas, it becomes exposed to more investment risk. By spreading across different regions, market sectors and asset types – including equities, gilts, corporate bonds and cash, as well as property – your capital has the chance to produce positive returns over time without being vulnerable to any single area under-performing.

Explore investment options that may be more tax-efficient for France. A suitable ‘assurance-vie’, for example, can provide currency flexibility and estate planning advantages as well as tax benefits. Even UK residents should avoid being overly weighted in UK investments, especially amidst Brexit uncertainty. Minimise risk by spreading interests across geographical areas, sectors, markets and asset types in line with your risk profile. Property While investing in real estate has advantages, it usually invites council tax, stamp duty and capital gains taxes. In France, owning property valued over 1.3€ million also attracts an annual wealth tax. For French residents, this applies to worldwide property, otherwise only French real estate is liable.

Also consider liquidity – with property, it can take months to retrieve your capital and selling at the wrong time could be costly.

Ultimately, successful investing is about having a strategy specifically based around your personal circumstances, time horizon, needs, aims and risk tolerance. With personalised, cross-border advice, you can reduce your exposure to risk at the same time as ensuring you hold all of your assets – home and away – in the most tax-efficient way possible. 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

Living in France or planning to move here? The only book you need. The Blevins Franks Guide to Living in France is considered the definitive guide to the tax and wealth management issues facing UK nationals moving to and living in France. This new 9th edition, 300-page book, will answer your questions on a range of topics It is based on our 40 years’ experience in cross-border financial planning.

Talk to the people who know

05 49 75 07 24

You may purchase this very useful guide from our website


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 Financial Management Limited (BFFM) and Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF). BFFM is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK, reference number 179731. Where advice is provided outside the UK, via the Insurance Mediation Directive or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, the applicable regulatory system differs in some respects from that of the UK. Blevins Franks France SASU (BFF), is registered with ORIAS, registered number 07 027 475, and authorised as “Conseil en Investissements Financiers” and “Courtiers d’Assurance” Category B (register can be consulted on Member of ANACOFI-CIF. BFF’s registered office: 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 5127 du Code des Assurances (assureur MMA). Blevins Franks Tax Limited provides taxation advice; its advisers are fully qualified tax specialists. This promotion has been approved and issued by BFFM.

44 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018




Published by Anna Shaw, 2 Lieu Dit Jaunasse, 79600 LOUIN. Tel: 05 49 64 21 98 Email: Siret: 839 041 282 00014

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018 | 45

Time to Follow ‘Le Tour’

by Joanna Leggett


n France, each July, cycling becomes the major sport – dominating the media and TV screens. For several weeks afterwards, when driving through the country, one passes phalanxes of cyclists, all suitably clad, emulating their heroes! However, this phase for riding out in very large groups on the open road is usually for a short duration. By August, driving returns to normal with cyclists making it out with steadily decreasing enthusiasm! But there’s no doubt about it, France is a wonderful country for cycling and should this be your bent, where better to partake? In 2018, the Tour starts in the Vendée with its first overnight stop in Fontenay-le-Comte, so this month we’re highlighting three properties on the route – how great to be able to pop out of your own front door and watch the caravan and all the excitement flash past!

First property to catch ‘our’ Tour’s attention is in Saint-Michel-enl’Herm. This area was once an island in the Gulf of Pictones, it’s surrounded by rich land reclaimed from the sea over the centuries. Close to the Vendée beaches sunshine hours here are comparable to the French Riviera. Situated in the heart of this charming market town is a well maintained bungalow (Leggett ref: 86922, photo above) with open plan living, three bedrooms, heated conservatory and swimming pool. There’s also a large detached garage and you need only to stand beside your remotely controlled front gates to watch the Tour whizz by – 230,050€!

Mouilleron-en-Pareds is situated on the Vendée plateau, between the Bas-Bocage and Haut-Bocage and towns of Chantonnay and La Châtaigneraie. This pretty ancient town (with all essential services) is home to a beautifully appointed maison de maître (Leggett ref: 84362, photo left) totally renovated to a very high standard. Set in a charming walled garden with beautiful entrance gates, it offers three generous reception rooms, four large bedrooms and an enormous loft, accessed from the stunning central staircase – on the market for 328,600€. But if it’s a bird’s eye view of l’Arivée after the first day’s cycling you hanker – then look no further than this impressive 19th Century period home (Leggett ref: 89031, photo right). Set in private grounds in the centre of Fontenay-le -Comte! This palladian style manor house has fantastic views over the town and boasts no fewer than five bedrooms as well as extensive and gracious living spaces. From the attic you can access the roof which provides 360° views over the town. The park-like grounds surround the house, are fully enclosed and feature a beautiful swimming pool. For sale at 599,960€.

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


VILLEFAGNAN €199,800 Ref: 81106 Lovely house in the village center with garden, requires updating.

Buying or selling?

LE PIN €350,000 Ref: 88631 Beautifully renovated house with landscaped pool area. Set in 1Ha.

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

Contact the ‘Best Estate Agency in France’

L’ABSIE €61,000 Ref: 65200 Long term rental opportunity for these three houses and a barn.

COUTURE D’ARGENSON €147,150 Ref: 87725 Attractive house with courtyard garden. Close to all amenities.

MESSE €129,710 Ref: 71250 Charming 2 bed cottage with pool and garden in a quiet hamlet.

MENIGOUTE €75,350 Ref: 80677 Renovated stone cottage plus a ruin to renovate. Close to a village

9% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: E

9% TTC agency fees included paid by buyer DPE: N/A

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: F

11% TTC agency fees included paid by the buyer DPE: F

Agency fees included paid by the seller DPE: N/A

Starting a new life in France? Want a new career? Leggett are always looking to recruit new sales agents. Call us for more info 00 800 2534 4388 or email: +33 05 53 60 84 88 46 | The Deux-Sèvres Monthly, July 2018

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