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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 11 of ‘The DeuxSèvres Monthly’ magazine. Happy New Year to you all. I hope 2012 brings you all that you wish for. For us, 2012 will be another busy year as we strive to make this magazine better month on month. We would love to increase advertisers, numbers of pages and perhaps more colour spots if budgets allow. We would love to know your thoughts about ‘The DSM’ and in the next month or so we will be setting up a short questionnaire asking you, the readers, what you would like to see in future issues and how we may be able to improve. On a personal level, Rob and I hope to finish our barn conversion this year. There is still along way to go..but Rome wasn’t built in a day! I’m looking forward to having a fully functioning bureau soon! Email:info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr or Tel: 05 49 70 26 21.

Sarah.

Annual Subscription. If you would like to receive a copy of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’magazine by post each month, please complete this form and send to La Bartière, 79130 Secondigny. Please enclose a cheque to cover postage for the year.

28€ within France, 18€ to addresses in UK. (Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad)

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© Sarah Berry 2011. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts 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 are a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry et clker.com. Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du BocageBP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: Janvier 2012 - Tirage: 5 000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................4 Take a break......................................................................10 2011 Quiz...........................................................................11 Our Furry Friends..............................................................12 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................13 The Great Outdoors...........................................................14 French Life, Food & Drink................................................16 French Adventures............................................................20 Getting Out & About..........................................................21 Communications.................................................................25 Building & Renovation.......................................................26 Business, Finance & Property..........................................31 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant).............................................. 18 Absolu Paint Stripping Services (Tony Sparks)................. 29 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter)................................... 22 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC D/Glazing)..... 2 A.I.P. (Estate Agent)........................................................... 34 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder)............................................. 30 Alain Miot (Saw mill)........................................................... 29 Allez Francais (Estate Agent)............................................. 34 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................... 27 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)...................14 Antiquites Decoration & Galerie du 309............................. 23 A.P.S Automobiles (FORD Garage)..................................... 2 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd........................ 32 Brian Fox (Computer Support)........................................... 26 BritsBitz (British Foods)..................................................... 2 Cafe Cour du Miracle........................................................... 18 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room).................... 23 Chris Dwyer (Handyman).................................................... 29 Curtain Creations (Jacqueline Carling)............................... 23 Dave Bowring (Electrician)................................................. 29 David Normanton (Handyman)............................................ 29 David Watkins (Chimney Sweep)........................................ 31 Dean Smalley (Cleaning & Gardening Services)................ 14 Eco Entrepot (Discount store & Building materials).......... 22 Energie-79........................................................................... 27 English Spoken.info (Online Business Directory)............... 8 Garage Planchet (Renault)................................................... 21 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).... 29 Imprimerie Jadault (Printer)................................................ 3 Insink Plumbing.................................................................... 27 Julie’s Cleaning Services..................................................... 32 La Joie de Vivre (Gift Shop & Tea Room).......................... 23 Le Logis (Pig breeders)....................................................... 18 Le Puy Remorques (Trailer Hire & Sales)......................... 22 Montplaisir (Restaurant & Dancing venue)........................ 18 MS Electrique (Electrician)................................................. 28 Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurances........................................ 22 Nathan Foster Building Services........................................ 30 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................ 13 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 26 Philip Wellman (Plumbing Service & Maintenance)............ 27 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)............................. 27 Poitou Property Services.................................................... 32 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................. 21 QPR Building Services........................................................ 26 RDK Roofing & Building Services....................................... 31 Richard Owen (aka The Fosse Man)................................... 28 Rob Berry (Plasterer).......................................................... 30 Robert Walker Plomberie (Plumbing, Heating, Air con)..... 27 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........... 25 Sandy G (Hairdresser)......................................................... 13 Sarah Berry Online (Website Designer)............................. 26 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction)............. 26 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................... 33 Ski-Hike-Bike.com............................................................. 13 Spectrum IFA Group (Amanda Johnson)............................ 31 Steve Enderby...................................................................... 30 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation..................... 8 The English Mechanic - Tony Eyre.................................... 21 Total Renovation Services (Michael Dominey).................. 28 UK Paint Depot (UK Paint supplier)................................... 29 Vendee Pools (Swimming Pools)........................................ 36

Emergency Numbers: 15 SAMU, Medical 17 Gendarmes, Police 18 Pompiers, Fire

112 European emergency 113 Drugs and alcohol page 3


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

What’s On....January 2012

Happy New Year to you all ! 1st January - New Years Day! 11th January - Sales start! 12th January - Phoenix Cards, Stationery and Gifts At Pause! Cafe, L'Absie, 2.00 - 5.00pm. Contact Jo Ashforth 05 49 65 04 09 E: joashforth.phoenix@gmail.com 18th January - Open Doors with Encore Theatre See what happens behind the scenes of an amdram theatre group. At Foyer Rural, Loulay (17330) from 4pm. For more information see page 8. 21st January - Talk about the Black Storks in the Gatine. At the Salle Nelson Mandella, Le Beugnon, 79130 at 20:00hrs Talk given by Jacques Pellerin, including nesting habits and how to identify the bird. Free entrance with slideshow. 22nd January - "Nos Amis Les Animaux" day At Salle du Chêne Vert, Mouilleron-en-Pareds, Vendée, 11h00 to 17h00: details on www.nosamislesanimaux.com 22nd January - Indoor Cricket Tournament At the Salle de sports, Le Bourg sur la Roche from 11am-6pm. Please see page 14 for more information.

Paperback Jan Books in English 2nd Jan: Le Dragon bar, Vernoux-en-Gatine. 14h-17h 4th Jan: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 14h-16.30h 5th Jan: Bar Le Palais, St Aubin le Cloud. 14h-17h 6th Jan: Bar de la Paix, Thouars 12h-14h 6th Jan: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-L’Autize. 16h-18h 11th Jan: Cafe des Belle Fleurs, Feniox. 10h-12h 12th Jan: Pause! Cafe, L’Absie. 14h-17h 13th Jan: Jan’s home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, 11h-16h. 14th Jan: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole. 10h-13h. 26th Jan: Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant. 14h-17h For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email: paperbackjan@gmail.com

Markets in Deux-Sèvres. Monday - Lencloitre (1st Monday in month) Tuesday - Lezay, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize Wednesday - Parthenay Thursday - Sauzé Vaussais, Niort Friday - Thouars, Melle Saturday - Chef Boutonne, Airvault, Niort, St. Maixent Ecole

Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in Deux-Sevres:

Jassay: The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, has a Home Group Service at Jassay  commencing at 11.00am every 2nd Sunday in the month, it is held at the home of Owen and Ann White. They welcome everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. For further details about venue and services consult our website on www.church-in-france.com   Chef Boutonne: The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, also holds services on the 1st Sunday of each month at 10.30am at Chef Boutonne. After each service, tea or coffee is served and an opportunity to meet other people in the area. Further details about venue and services consult our website on www.church-in-france.com   Parthenay: The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, also holds services on the 4th Sunday of each month at 10.30am in the Presbytery Rooms, rue de la Citadelle, Parthenay, opposite St Croix Church. After each service, tea or coffee is served and everyone is invited to a 'bring and share' lunch. Further details about venue and services consult our website on www.church-in-france.com

What’s coming up... La Vendee Chippy will be back serving Fish and Chips in February 2012. Dates to be confirmed. Watch this space!

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2012: • • • • •

Sunday 1 January........ New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an) Sunday 8 April............. Easter (Pâques) Monday 9 April............ Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) Tuesday 1 May............ Labour Day (Fête du Travail) Tuesday 8 May............ WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Vitoires 1945)

Thursday 17 May........ Ascension (l’Ascencion Catholique) Sunday 27 May............ Pentecost (Whit Sunday-la Pentecôte) Monday 28 May........... Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte) Saturday 14 July.......... Bastille Day (Fête nationale) Wednesday 15 August. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption) • Thursday 1 Novmber...All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint) • Sunday 11 November...Armistice Day (Jour d’Armistice 1918) • Tuesday 25 December.Christmas Day (Noël) • • • • •

Contact Sarah Berry on Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr ~ www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 4


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Christmas Fair at Melleran

Event Updates...

by Thelma Bell What a day it was! Outside cold and grey, but inside the hall it was warm with a terrific welcoming atmosphere.

Terves Christmas Market

The Christmas market held at Terves on 4th December was a huge success. Thank you to everyone who popped in on the day. Approx €1000 was raised for C.C.A.S (Centre Communal d’Action Sociale) and all the stall holders were happy with the days events. Linda Reffold herself raised €440 on the raffle due to people's generosity and Maurice sold 10 litres of mulled wine with numerous people asking for the recipe! Next  year's Christmas market is already booked for Saturday the 15th December... mark it in your diary now!

Reaction Theatre’s Caption Contest.

The two winners of the Caption contest held by Reaction Theatre, were:

Stefan Godber for: ”No Madam there are no Clous, it has been screwed to the wall” and Andrew Cherry for: “I obviously misheard your comment I thought you said 'We thought he was a stuffy old boar' not 'We thought we'd stuff the old boar” Congratulations to the winners!

On Sunday 27th November, Cancer Support Deux Sèvres held their first Christmas Fair at Melleran. They were joined by La Ligue and with a good mix of French and English, there was a great friendly feeling throughout. Ann Ashwell from Cancer Support had taken care of the organisation with help from Marie Rose of La Ligue. Well beforehand all the stalls were taken up and every one was different. The La Ligue stall which was run by Marie Rose and Corinne had Christmas decorations, all homemade and excellent. There was a young French girl Emilie Baudrez, who is starting up a new business selling onion confit etc. Another stall sold patés and honey. One comment made was that for a small Christmas Fair there was such a lot of choice. However, we are ahead of ourselves... The day began with Ann and her helpers setting up all the tables in the morning. Since this was the first time of holding a Christmas Fair in Melleran, Ann had booked the smaller hall, but she need not have worried. The Fair was due to start at 3.00 p.m. but at 2.30 people started to arrive and within a very short time, it was packed and remained like that for over two hours. Many people drifted into the Cafeteria area for a sit down and to enjoy cream teas and assorted cakes which had all been donated. Teresa and Allan Jameson, together with Ann Lawrence worked extremely hard to keep the teas and coffees flowing. Madame Micheline Deslebin, President of La Ligue Deux Sèvres, had made some delicious canelés which soon disappeared. (Canelés were created in the 18th century at the Convent des Annonciades. It is a small French pastry with a soft tender custard centre and a dark, thick caramelised crust, a speciality of the Bordeaux region.) One of the highlights of the afternoon was the ‘Guess the weight of the Christmas Cake’ which had been made and donated by Linda MacDonald from Les Ecureuils Pottery at Pers, (she makes exceedingly good cakes!). The French were fascinated by the idea of this and it may be something we see in future at French events. Incidentally it weighed 3.48kg! Two heroines of the day were Flora Clarke and Naomi Smith who took on the Tombola and raised a staggering €237. The total raised on the day was €764 which was shared equally between Cancer Support Deux Sèvres and La Ligue. As fast as the hall had filled, so around 5.30pm it emptied and the helpers were left to clear up after a very rewarding and successful day. By 6.30pm everyone was on the way home, tired and happy.

The recent Poppy Appeal collection by the Northern Section of the Branch, totalled 674.37 Euros. On behalf of the Royal British Legion, members would like to say a very big thank you to all the French and British outlets who helped the appeal through donations in Poppy boxes. In the first year of the Northern Section and the 90th Anniversary of the Royal British Legion, Northern members and supporters raised in 2011 a total of 1605. 37 Euros through organising a Burn’s Night, an Autumn Fest and the Poppy appeal itself. For more details about the Branch generally and the Poppy Appeal, please go to their website: www.rblpoitou-charentes. fr   Will Rowe, Northern section

Flora Clarke and Naomi Smith on the Tombola stall.

The Maire of Melleran, Madame Catherine Philipponneau, was so pleased with the event that she asked Ann if it could become an annual Christmas Fair. As a result Madame Philipponneau and Ann have already reserved the larger Salle des Fêtes for next year. So make a note in your diaries, Sunday 2nd December, 2012 for the Christmas Fair at Melleran.

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website

www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 5


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY CRAFT CAFE CREATIF If you knit, crochet or sew and want to meet like-minded people; if you also have a fondness for an afternoon cuppa, cake and a chat, then join us at Le Dragon at Vernoux-en-Gatine for our monthly craft cafe and have some fun sharing tips and know-how. English and French speaking welcome! For more information or to sign up please email myauntie@orange.fr or telephone Jennie on 05 49 94 22 27. You can also visit me at www.skybluepink-designs.com

Running Club... What will your New years resolution be for 2012? Lose a few pounds? tone up? keep fit? Train for a marathon? You can do all of these with our new running club for all abilities. A friendly supportive club looking for members. Email Kelly for more details on Kellyencezelle@hotmail.co.uk

Association Meridien Green We are an Anglo- French group which was founded in 2001 for mutual understanding of each other's language and culture. We meet twice weekly in the Salle des Associations in St Coutant, 79120. The best way to find out more is to visit our website www.meridiengreen.asso.fr or contact Maureen Dalby 0549299450. The name of our group comes from the fact that St Coutant is on the Greenwich Meridian!

www.getogether-france.org

New Language Group... A young-at-heart French couple would like to start a FRENCH-ENGLISH group in or around the area of Mauléon, to be able to practice their language and meet new people. Both French and English of all ages are welcome! If you would like to know more, please contact Isabelle by email: isapia.59@gmail.com

Les Amis Solitaires We are a group of people living alone in France.  We meet regularly for coffee mornings, lunches and the occasional visit.  Our activities centre around SauzéVaussais, Civray and more recently Confolens. During the past few months we have started meeting for coffee in L'Absie for people living around Secondigny, Parthenay and Coulonges. This is on the 1st Tuesday monthly at Le Bistro from 11am. Why not join  us? More details from Nigel 02 51 51 48 13.

2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club has a new club website! Check it out: www.2ndsundayclub.fr If you would like to attend our coffee mornings please contact us via the website........ New members always welcome!

association? Are you part of a club or an us! Please share the details with

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

HOBBIES

With the ‘hibernation period’ well under way here in the Deux-Sèvres, what can we do with ourselves during these cold, wintry months to keep us busy, our minds active and the pennies safely in the purse? Here’s a list of our top 10 winter hobbies....highlighting this month’s favourite: Patchwork & Appliqué.

1. Learn a new language....perhaps French?! 2. Board / Card Games...get together with friends for an afternoon. 3. Crafts: Card-making, painting or drawing 4. Needlecraft: Knitting, needlework, patchwork, applique 5. Baking 6. Plan thoroughly your spring project...perhaps it’s another stage of renovation, or a swimming pool, or new vegetable garden. 7. Jigsaws...it doesn’t matter if you’ve done them before - I can guarantee you won’t remember where all the pieces fit! 8. Geneology/Family Tree 9. Woodland Walks 10. Start a local club - if you enjoy a hobby, there will be others who do too! Get together, share and chat and meet new friends at the same time.

Patchwork & Applique Baby Quilts

by Vanda Lawrence I've always enjoyed patchwork and applique, so when any friends or family have a new addition to the family it's a heaven-sent opportunity to make a pram or cot quilt, a play mat or a nursery cushion for the new arrival. For the pram or cot quilt I usually choose a plain fabric underside in a colour to compliment the patchwork top. Cut to size: for pram, approx 75cm x 36cm and for a cot, approx 75cm x 140cm. I usually avoid adding a frill around the edges - the new Mum has too many other things to do, she won't want to iron frills! Decide how many squares you will have for the top patchwork and whether you will join them with wide ribbon or make strips from the same fabric as the back of the quilt. My fabric squares are usually toning shades of the back fabric but this is all personal choice. I always take my picture designs for the applique from children's colouring books. For me, they are the right size, with simple shapes which are easily traced and transferred to fabric and simple to cut out and apply to fabric squares. I keep a box of fabric oddments cut from shirts, blouses, skirts etc so it is usually possible to make up all the applique bunnies, flowers, trains or dollies from these. One of the squares will always be a clock, so that the clock hands can point to the time the new baby was born. Another square will always be embroidered with baby's name and date of birth.

(We can add the new details on the Clubs/Association page)

Make all the applique squares first, attaching the shapes by machine. Sewing machines have such an amazing choice of stitches, but I usually use good old close-stitch zig-zag so that I can be sure the fabrics won't fray when washed. If you plan to stuff any parts of your applique design now is the time to do it with finely teased wadding. Add buttons for eyes and other embellishments now too.

If you have a hobby and would like to share ideas with us, please email us: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Once all the squares are done, join them together by machine with strips of fabric or wide ribbon, both horizontally and vertically. Be careful that all measurements are exact so that all squares line up nicely. Decide now whether or not you will have a border around the 4 sides of the quilt and if so, stitch in place on top and underside, mitering the corners. Sandwich both layers together with polyester wadding, which is light, warm and easy to wash and dry. 'Quilt' each corner of every square through all layers to hold all the layers together. This can be done with a bold embroidery stitch or even with 2 small buttons, top & bottom. If you use buttons or any embellishments on your quilt do be extra careful that they are firmly secured in place so that little fingers can't pry them off. Happy stitching!

Advertise online with ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ from just 5€ per month! Go to: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr to find out more. page 7


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Bonne Année et Bonne Santé!

by Sue Burgess In France the New Year was celebrated on the first of January for the first time in 1564 following a decree by Charles IX. Before that New Year had begun on dates which varied from region to region.

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire

«Saint-Sylvestre», New Year's eve, marks the end of the year and the coming of New Year. The French welcome the New Year in a fairly relaxed style with champagne and a «réveillon» (meal going on all evening and into the early hours) of seafood, oysters or foie gras. New Year has no religious signification and is generally celebrated amongst friends rather than being a family affair.

Les soldes..................................... Sales

Si le soir du jour des Rois, Beaucoup d'étoiles tu vois, Auras sécheresse en été, Et beaucoup d'oeufs au poulailler

If on the evening of the Feast of Kings, You see a starry sky, There will be drought in summer and lots of eggs in the hen house

Le gui............................................ Mistletoe Bonne Année................................ Happy New Year Bonne Santé................................. Good Health

A lot of French people kiss each other under the mistletoe at midnight and wish each other a happy New Year. Thousands of French people meet to celebrate on the Champs Elysée. Party poppers and party hats are popular.

Klaxon.......................................... Car horn La fève.........................................

Hardly have we digested our Christmas and New Year réveillons than everywhere we go people are sharing the «Galette des Rois». Epiphany or the Feast of the Kings marks the end of the Christmas festivities. It is celebrated the first Sunday after New Year - (formerly Epiphany was celebrated on the 6th January) – by sharing the «Galette» (flaky pastry with marzipan) or a «Brioche».

Broad Bean. Also the name given to the little figurine in the galette and brioche des rois.

Klaxonner....................................

To hoot the horn

Le dernier coup de minuit...........

The last strike of midnight

Le réveillon.................................

to celebrate the New Year

Les cotillons................................

Party poppers and streamers

Les Bonnes Résolutions .............

New Year resolutions

The youngest member of the group hides under the table and decides the order of the distribution of the parts of the cake. The person who gets the «fève» (small pottery figurine or dry bean) becomes the king or queen and gets to wear the golden paper crown that was given with the cake. Tradition holds that the king or the queen buys the next cake and the ritual continues until the beginning of February when pancakes take over at «Chandeleur». At the same time the 1st January is also the departure of a great race – the Paris-Dakar – a car rally during which competitors must cross deserts (since 2009 the ParisDakar has been held in South America rather than in Africa for reasons of security), over a distance of more than 10 000 km. Finally January is the period of fashion shows when the 20 «haute-couture» fashion houses present their summer collections. The Winter sales will run from the 11th January to the 14th February 2012. The custom is to send New Year greetings cards rather than Christmas cards.

Advertise online with ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ from just 5€ per month! Go to: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr to find out more. page 8


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

The Black Prince The Black Prince has a general resonance for those with an interest in history, both English and the French. But there is a local interest for those living in the DeuxSèvres. While he was prince of Aquitaine, his jurisdiction included the modern department, and his momentous victory at the Battle of Poitiers was just over the border in the Vienne. It is this battle, and the associated campaign, with an account of the Black Prince’s activities passing through PoitouCharentes, that Peter Hoskins deals with in his book ‘In the Steps of the Black Prince’, but who was the Black Prince? Edward of Woodstock, eldest son of King Edward III of England, Prince of Wales, duke of Cornwall, earl of Cheshire, and between 1362 and 1372 prince of Aquitaine, was a remarkable man. At sixteen he was in the forefront of the fighting at Crécy, and only 26 when he led his army to victory at Poitiers in 1356. His loyalty to his father was exceptional for a prince in the Middle Ages, as was his marriage. At a time when princes married young for reasons of state, he married Joan Holland for love, at the age of 30. Somewhat ironically known as “The Fair Maid of Kent”, since this was her third marriage, Joan bore him two sons. The eldest, Edward of Angoulême, died young, while Richard of Bordeaux went on to be King Richard II. When the Black Prince predeceased his father at 46 he was mourned even in France, where King Charles V held a memorial service in the cathedral of St-Denis in Paris. If you are curious why the Black Prince had this nickname, then drop Peter Hoskins an e-mail at mail@peter-hoskins.com.

STAGE STRUCK? You are invited to...

...come and see the inside workings of an amateur dramatic company. All the secrets of makeup, costume and scenery production revealed. Watch, or join in with, workshops on acting, singing and dancing which will be taking place during the evening. We will even show you the very unglamorous dressing rooms. Our members will be happy to tell you how much fun it all is – adrenaline pumping at times but great for the memory and the heart! The Encore Theatre Company has produced shows ranging from Musicals with a cast of 40 to one-act comedy plays to murder mystery evenings to talent shows to summer fêtes and garden parties. We are celebrating our tenth year in 2012 and are throwing open our doors to anyone interested in how an amdram company operates. We are always looking for new members, not only those who want to be on the stage, but anyone who could contribute to music, direction, script writing, front of house, publicity and backstage, (wardrobe, scenery making and painting, makeup etc). Our next production will be a Revue in Spring 2012. You could even be part of the chorus or stage crew for that show after coming to our open evening. Come to the Foyer Rural (a real theatre) at Loulay in the Charente-Maritime between St Jean d’Angely and Niort on the D650. Doors will be open from 16h on Wednesday 18th January. There is plenty of parking and refreshments will be available. For more details of the company look at our website: www.encore-theatre.org

Peter will be at ‘La Grande Galerie’, rue du Temple, Civray on Tuesday 21 February between 10.00 and 13.00, and Galerie 24, rue de la Cloche Verte, Angoulême Saturday 3 March from 18.00 to talk about his book. ‘In the Steps of the Black Prince, the Road to Poitiers 1355-1356’, vient de paraître en française : Dans les Pas du Prince Noir, Le chemin vers Poitiers 1355-1356. Il est disponible chez Amazon.fr et chez l’éditeur : http:// www.editions-harmattan.fr/index.asp, ou avec remise chez l’auteur: mail@peter-hoskins.com. Peter sera à ‘La Grande Galerie’, rue du Temple, Civray mardi le 21 février à partir de 10.00 jusqu’à 13.00 et Galerie 24, rue de la Cloche Verte, Angoulême samedi le 3 mars à partir du 18.00. Il serait très content de parler de son livre. Would you like a speaker for your group or association?   Peter Hoskins would be happy to give talks on the Black Prince or the Battle of Poitiers.  He can be contacted at mail@peter-hoskins.com.

For a chance to see your photograph on the front cover of our magazine (5000 copies!) please enter our monthly photo competition. Entry is free and limited to one photograph per month. Please see www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr for further details.

WINNER! Congratulations to this month’s competition winner, Anthony Kusmirek , 79510 “Snow in Coulon”

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 ~ Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 9


THE DEUX-SĂ&#x2C6;VRES MONTHLY

Take a break....

Sudoku Corner...

Toughie Crossword! Down: 1. Strange rats in hay turn up a waste receptacle. (7) 2. One step and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in the saddle (7) 3. Piper identified in tongue twister? (5) 4. Doctor of word play; originator of runny fiddles? (7) 5. Note about one of many bones for group of people (5) 6. Condition of New Hampshire eg.? (5) 9. Oddly, last rings are productive when delivering fliers (9) 14. Force among newly-weds serves to forge links (7) 15. New masters for small flowers? (7) 16. The list is rewritten to create a national emblem (7) 19. Said wrongly before point is made to the audience (5) 20. Take wrong star and direction, but still find the lakes (5) 21. Erratic parking only for spaced out carrier of current lines (5)

Easy

With thanks to M.Morris

Hard

Please see website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr for answers

Across: 7. Rest is relative when put like this (6) 8. Bottled zest? (6) 10. Explosive placed around unusual European city causes suffering (7) 11. Application of computers to sphere in planetary course? (5) 12. Opera for personality among non-drinkers? (4) 13. Naive radical (5) 17. Kind of following I rant about (5) 18. Go for something dropping a note to do groovy art work? (4) 22. Put up with seating for many people? (5) 23. We hear old blokes are letting off steam (7) 24. Risk of putting many in front of needle? (6) 25. Shape metal symbol for official? (6)

DSM Easy Crossword! Down: 1. Of or pertaining to a horse (6) 2. Warrent Officer appointment (8-5) 4. Structure housing a lift (8-5) 5. Twist together or entwine (6) 6. Hand toy (5-6) 11. A narrow pass or passage (6) 12. Superficially burn (6)

www.sudokupuzz.com

Across: 1. To follow, to pursue (5) 3. Box with a lid, used for storage (5) 7. East Indian pungent dish of meat or vegetables (5) 8. 100th of a pound (5) 9. Incapable of being regained (13) 10. Leonardo de Caprio movie (9) 13. Branch of science (6-7) 14. Musical instrument (5) 15. Mound of stones (5) 16. An instance of rapid strong pulsation (5) 17. Bring or take back (5)

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2011 QUIZ... Test your memory with our special quiz all about the year gone by. Enjoy! and no peeking at the answers on the website!!

Round 1 - General Knowledge:

Round 3 - Sport:

1.

What is 2011 in Roman Numerals?

1.

2.

What was the name of the last American Space Shuttle that was launched on the 1st April?

Who won the Australian Formula One Grand Prix on the 27th March?

2.

Who does the answer of question one drive for?

3.

The 6th February saw the start of which Chinese New Year (which animal)?

3.

Which city hosted the Cricket World Cup Final on the 2nd April?

4.

The fatal shooting of Mark Duggan in August led to what across the UK?

4.

In which month does the Grand National horse race take place?

5.

When did Kate Middleton and Prince William get married?

5.

Which country won its 5th Davis Cup in December?

What caused the failure of the Kukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on the 11th March?

6.

6.

Which boxer took part in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’?

7.

Which country won the Rugby World Cup Final?

8.

Which footba ll team won the Footb all Leagu e Championship 10-11 and promotion to t he Premiership?

9.

Which Winter Olympic gold medallist skeleton racer took part in the ITV adventure show ‘71 Degre es North’?

7.

Which best-selling British Sunday newspaper was forced to close following claims of phone hacking?

8.

Which country saw the slaughter of 77 of its people by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik?

9.

In December, which country saw the end of 9 years of US troop occupation?

10. Who is this?

Round 2 - Film and Television:

10. Who is this?

Round 4 - Music: 1.

Which famous British and knighted musician wrote the ballet ‘Ocean’s Kingdom’, which was performed at the New York City Ballet gala on the 22nd September?

1.

Which film earned Colin Firth a Best Actor Oscar?

2.

Which was the highest-grossing film of 2011?

3.

Which well-known British actor who starred in several films including ‘Brassed Off’ and ‘The Lost World: Jurassic Park’, died on the 2nd January?

2.

Lioness: Hidden Treasures’ is the first posthumous compilation album by which English recording artist?

3.

Who won ‘The X Factor’?

4.

Which former John Wayne character did Jeff Bridges play in the classic western ‘True Grit’?

4.

Which country won the Eurovision song Contest?

5.

What do stars earn contestants in the game show ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get Me out of Here’?

5.

Whose album ‘21’ is the biggest selling album in the UK of the 21st century?

6.

Where in France is the famous annual film festival held?

6.

Which group performed for the last time at Wembley at the final of ‘The X Factor’?

7.

Which TV drama beat Downton Abbey to win the Best Drama Series BAFTA award?

7.

Which 21 year old folk singer won the award for Best Female Solo Artist at the Brits 2011?

8.

Which character does Patrick Mower play in Emmerdale?

8.

Which group’s album ‘Progre ss’ became the century’s fastest selling album with 235,000 copies sold in just one day?

9.

Who lifted the 2011 ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Glitter Ball?

9.

Which French speaking American female jazz singer (with a very French name!) released the album ‘Standing on the Rooftop’ on the 14th June?

10. Who is this?

10. Who is this?

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Our Furry Friends... APPEAL Sissou is about 8 years old. She is a soft short haired German Shepherd with floppy ears, and was rescued in the South of France as a pup and was adopted by a lady who later contracted Motor Neurons disease.

MAYDAY MES AMIS Mayday Mes Amis is a new association under the 1901 law which has been formed to help animals in need in l'Absie and the surrounding area. For more information please email: jill.zub@sky.com. HOOF (Horse Orientated Open Forum) HOOF is open to anyone with an equine interest. You do not need to own a horse! We meet about once a month for talks, visits etc. Interested? Contact Jo Rowe on 05 49 64 22 67 or email: willjo@live.co.uk

Sissou is fully vaccinated including Rabies, micro-chipped and sterilised. She is used to living with other dogs but is not very keen on small ones.    Gentle and sweet-natured, Sissou is happy with male or female pack members, but she is not good around cats as they are too much fun to chase, but having said that she has improved on recall and will stop if called. Sissou is currently being looked after by Twilight old doggies home, but sadly she is the youngest member and needs to find another good home to free up space for an older dog.  If you think you could offer her a home, or even just foster her please email: hopeassoc@orange.fr as soon as possible.  Sissou is a lovely dog and deserves to enjoy her remaining years.

HAPPY ENDIN

G

Just for Fun.... Our adorable furry friends... Please send us your pictures and any comments to be featured here. Send your entry via email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Barney and Charlie the Cat... They are the best of pals and love to cuddle up together.  Lin Adams

Tall Order - Eruse and her Puppies. Once the Hope Association heard that Eruse was pregnant and that her owner planned on disposing of the pups as soon as they were born, it was time to act. Thanks to Alan who fostered Eruse in his front room and oversaw the birth of 5 handsome and healthy pups, we were given the time to find new parents.   In this we were greatly assisted by the Orfee Association and are now pleased to say that all the puppies have been safely re-homed to English and French couples. What could have been a tragedy has been a success.  Finally we were delighted to hear that Alan had found a new home locally for mum Eruse, so no small flat in Poitiers for her and Alan can have his front room back again!   None of the re-homings would be possible without the dedication and hard work of people who care about animals. We are very grateful to The Deux-Sèvres Monthly for continuing to support us in our effort to re-home animals in need. Hope Assoc Tel: 05 49 27 26 20 or email: hopeassoc@orange.fr page 12


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Health, Beauty & Fitness... Skiing in the volcanoes.

by Tandy Cassidy We all love our own piece of France, whether we moved to be near family, for the better weather, or we fell in love with a property; for me, I love the mountains of the Massif du Sancy in the Puy de Dome! After 5 years in Queensland, Australia, I craved the lush green mountains, the natural thermal spas, the waterfalls and of course the skiing! Before leaving for Australia in 2005 we spent our winter holidays here skiing, both alpine and cross country; and our summers walking the beautiful Natural Parks of the Auvergne. Here once again, I have spent the last year, reacquainting myself with this stunning volcanic landscape, and have captured the diversity of this region within a guide book that offers the avid walker a collection of my favourite marked walks, ranging from 2 to 8 hours long. The marked walking tracks, cross country skiing and downhill skiing of the Massif du Sancy, is part of the largest protected area of Europe; known for its breathtaking mountain ranges and volcanic peaks, offering views of a lunar landscape pitted with huge craters and outcroppings. It is a paradise for nature lovers; full of picturesque lakes, domes and craters, spectacular waterfalls, natural hot spas, rich alpine forests and outstanding and protected fauna and flora. For centuries, the volcanic mountains of this region, a unique treasure in Europe, stood like the ramparts of a remote fortress blocking invasions and intruders. This is where the Gauls fought the Roman invaders every inch of the way. In fact, this region has been settled by humans probably longer than anywhere else in France. At the foot of the Puy de Sancy you will find the bustling ski resort of Le Mont Dore, formally called Les Bains du Mont Dore, due to the importance of the mountain water that flows to the Dordogne between Grand Cascade and Capuchin. The world class hot springs, of Le Mont Dore and La Bourboule were used in ancient times by the Gauls and the Romans. From the nineteenth century, countless personalities including royalty, came to take the waters due to their healing benefits. These siliceous waters, along with the freshest air in France, helps treat a variety of ailments including ENT diseases, asthma and rheumatism and are popular throughout both the summer and winter seasons with the ‘curists’. Skiing here is quieter and more family oriented than the Alps or the Pyrenees, with 85km of downhill skiing, 60% of these are covered with snow canons. There is also 250km of cross country skiing routes, enabling you to leisurely experience the beauty of the forests and lakes, and maybe stopping at one of the typical Auvergne Inns for a hot mulled wine and a warm seat by an open fire!

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The Great Outdoors... The Amateur Gardener

by Vanda Lawrence Garden work can be difficult this month, being cold & wet with short days, although thankfully the shortest day has passed. Little can be done except to try to minimise the effects of any adverse weather and protect your more tender plants from cold winds and frost. In general, plants often survive quite well under a complete blanket of snow but where they penetrate above the snow these parts can be badly frosted. Heavy snow can break down branches and you would be wise to shake it off. The children love to 'help' with this job - just be sure you aren't underneath at the time!! Some other jobs to think about are: • Continue digging over the vegetable garden and other heavy soil areas to be weathered by frosts. • Continue to plant new trees and shrubs as they arrive from the nurseries. Should they arrive during hard weather store them in a frost-free shed with straw under and around their roots. • Deciduous hedges can be planted during milder, dry weather. As above, any plants received when the ground is unfit for planting should be kept in a frostfree shed with straw to protect the roots. • Winter-prune Wisterias by cutting back young shoots to within 3" of old wood. • Plant rhubarb crowns and spread strawy manure, compost or leafmould over after planting. Do the same for established crowns and cover plants with boxes/ pots to encourage early growth. • Mulch gooseberries with manure or leafmould. • Continue to harvest winter cabbage, sprouts, parsnips and leeks. • Spray sprouts & brassicas against whitefly. • Slugs will cause damage in mild spells - be alert! • Apply nitrogenous fertilizer to trees and bushes grown in grass. • Plant early potatoes into pots in the greenhouse or coldframe to produce an early crop. • Sow seeds of Salvias, Verbenas, Begonias etc., all at 18 deg C in a heated greenhouse. • Finish pruning apples and pears. • Continue to inspect stored fruit and veg and discard any suspect items. • Order seeds for the potager. • Check lawn mowers/garden equipment & send for servicing if not already done. • Check pergolas and other wooden structures - heavy snowfall or high winds could bring them down. • Bring in bulbs for indoor flowering as they become ready and plant those already finished in odd spots in the garden. And finally, please don't forget our feathered friends - make sure to give them a regular supply of food and water, especially during very cold weather. Happy New Year everyone, see you next month ....

An English Nursery in France  are now able to supply Greenhouses and Polytunnels, I can offer polytunnels from PREMIER, an English company with many years of using and building tunnels.  Greenhouses by HALLS and EDEN, two well known companies, and high quality cedar greenhouses by GROWHOUSE. For further information contact Mike Curtis on 05 46 33 66 17 or email: lacourtyard@gmail.com

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert!

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Samantha Davies set for the 2012 Vendée Globe with Savéol!

British yachtswoman and adopted Breton, Samantha Davies was at the Nautic de Paris boat show, where she officially announced her intention to compete in the 2012 Vendée Globe 2012. Her lead sponsor for the race will be Brittany-based firm Savéol, France's biggest tomato producer. Following a 4th place finish in the 2008/09 Vendée Globe, the heroine of the most recent edition of the solo round the world race becomes the first woman to confirm her presence at the starting line at Sables d’Olonne on November 10th 2012. At 37, the partner of Romain Attanasio who recently became a mother, is preparing for another circumnavigation of the globe with backing from Savéol. For this Brittany firm, which grows and sells high quality fruit and vegetables, the partnership with Samantha Davies is the logical next step in a natural progression. Sam won over her audience at Savéol's general meeting in 2009, then sailed under the Plougastel-based company's colours in the recent Ag2r transatlantic race, alongside Romain Attanasio. Convinced by Sam's personality and plans, the firm, which is keen to internationalize its business, took the plunge and seized the opportunity to support an ambitious project and a yachtswoman who is admired by her peers and popular with the public. Around Savéol, Sam's Vendée Globe plans have become a multi-partnership enterprise with a constellation of companies lining up to join her adventure. On her return from the 2008 Vendée 2008, Sam and her project manager Xavier David set up their offshore racing team ‘My Samantha Company’, aimed at attracting dynamic businesses around a major sports sponsorship programme. To date, the team's sponsors include: official partners bringing together the Vendée-based firms Mât de Misaine (sportswear) and Ridorev (mobile homes); a partners club including pioneering companies with the Oséo Excellence label and SMEs from the Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie area – a strong base of support for Sam and also technical partners whose expertise will be crucial for optimizing the boat, whose identity Sam finally revealed at Nautic. Sam and her team have opted for the former Véolia. It's the same 60 footer that Roland Jourdain sailed to victory in the 2006 Route du Rhum 2006 and in which he entered the 2008 Vendée Globe, eventually being forced to abandon his challenge when lying in second place. In the same monohull, the pairing of Boris Herman and Ryan Breymaier took 5th spot in the 2010 Barcelona. Reliable and fast, the boat Sam Davies has already competed with the Jourdain teams. Optimized for the 2012 Vendée Globe, she'll be ready to carry Sam to a podium finish! Sam Davies: “I’m so happy...I have been waiting 3 years for this day! I found a fantastic sponsor and also a whole family of co-sponsors to support my project. I can’t wait to get back out on the water and share this adventure with everyone. I’ll do everything I can to make my sponsors proud of me.” Press Contact: Cathy Lallement / Agence Olivia Payerne T. +33 (0)146 040 862 / M. +33 (0)614 041 716 Email: contact@agence-op.fr

‘BEST FOOT FORWARD - A 500-Mile Walk Through Hidden France’ written by Susie Kelly.A touching and inspiring tale of the Texan pioneering spirit, English eccentricity, and two women old enough to know better. When Susie Kelly decides, on a whim, to trek alone across France from La Rochelle to Lake Geneva, she entrusts her French farmhouse full of assorted animals to a Author, Susie Kelly total stranger from San Antonio, Texas. For each of them it will be a life-changing experience. Both will find their resourcefulness and ingenuity tested to the limit as, in their own ways, they explore and enjoy the culture, cuisine and people of Europe’s most fascinating country. While Texan Jennifer Shields copes heroically with lost dogs, erratic electricity, old men hiding in bushes, and a language she cannot speak, Susie doggedly tramps 500 miles over unknown terrain, frequently lost and either too hot or too cold. Armchair travellers will enjoy this tale of laughter and tears following the adventures of two women old enough to know better. For a review PDF or download code for other formats (Kindle, Epub etc) please email mail/at/blackbirdebooks.com or TWEET @blackbirdebooks. (Also available by this author: ‘The valley of heaven and hell - cycling in the shadow of marie antoinette’.)

Fast and furious ? Cricket ? If you thought that cricket was a sport played at a sedate, sometimes soporific pace, then think again. Indoor cricket bears as much relation to the outside version as bare knuckle fighting to the Queensbury Rules.

Teams of six battle it out with nine overs (54 balls) apiece. The basic rules are the same, but the pace of the game is frenetic. Three pairs of batsmen have three overs each. Points are scored by hitting the walls or by running, or both. Batsmen are ‘out’ in the usual ways, but with minus points, not instant dismissal. Canny shot selection and nimble feet are key for batsmen, accuracy and panther-like fielding for the bowling team. You have a chance to see this version of the game on 22 January at the Salle de Sports, Le Bourg sur La Roche, from 11am to 6pm, when teams from La Roche-sur-Yon, Maillé, Poitiers and Saumur will be playing for the ‘Bar des Artistes’ Trophy. Free entry, and all are welcome – but be warned, this can be almost as exhausting (and addictive) for the spectators page 15


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

French Life, Food & Drink... Vive la Difference

by Gilly Hunt I have in my years in France been to many accident and emergency departments, firstly with my daughter and more recently for myself and my husband. Now for those of you who have been lucky enough not to have made such a trip, I feel I must tell you just how different the experience is to the one you may have had back in England. This is what happened when I went with my husband to Parthenay “Urgence” last November. We arrived at 11.20am on a Saturday morning, we drove in, parked the car free of charge and walked into the reception area, where we were greeted by a nurse who showed us into a room. My husband was within five minutes linked up to a heart monitor and had all vital checks done. I then had to complete all the necessary paperwork, well, we are in France after all! Further tests were then undertaken with great care and consideration for his comfort. The Doctor was called and after a short chat, I realised that we had in fact only been there for 20 minutes. Why, in our local hospital in England we would still have been driving around the car park trying to find a space, and then looking for money to put in the machine to pay for it! I am glad to say that we left within 3 hours feeling that all avenues had been covered and safe in the knowledge that there was nothing seriously amiss. We certainly had a very dry November and early December, and on one of our many walks we went to Lac Cebron, which is in actual fact a reservoir which I believe supplies Parthenay. It was incredibly low and it was fascinating to walk on what was the bottom of the lake and seeing the formation of the terrain and the plant life that was springing up in the autumn sunshine. We also walked along a dried up river bed, which was a rather surreal experience. Fortunately in December the rain finally came and as much as we may not enjoy it, we will be grateful next summer when we have water! Unfortunately, in December we had to have our beloved Beagle dog put to sleep, and I have to say that I was very impressed with the care and compassion that was given to us and him by our local veterinary practice. I think one hears only too often about how cruel some French people are to their animals, and I am sure this is true, but perhaps sometimes we need to look at the other side of the fence as well – there are many French people who are as besotted as the English with their pets. Christmas is now officially over and many of you will have been ‘home’ for Christmas or maybe had friends or family visit. Whichever, I am sure you are now feeling that life is rather quiet and I think living away from friends and family is always harder in the long dark cold winter months. But there are some lovely things to do still – check out the what’s on page, read some books curled up by the wood burner, take some lovely bracing walks in the winter sunshine that the Deux Sevres is known for, meet friends for a “plat du jour” at lunch time, check out the sales in the shops – you will find some real bargains, invite your neighbours round for aperitifs and practice your French, ask friends over for supper and best of all prepare your house and garden for summer, because it will be here before you know it! I wish everyone a Very Happy New Year ~ Bonne Année Vive la difference.

Film Producer seeks help from ex-pats. I am an English filmmaker with a beautiful home in the Gers and I am currently developing a story - titled STILL SUMMER - that will be made as a feature film next July/ August in and around my home.

The story is based on my experience, and the experiences of so many of my friends. It explores the difficulties, realities and adventure of building a home in another language, another country and another culture. It’s about what happens when our kids grow up, our parents grow old, our husbands and wives move on – all hard enough to deal with in familiar surroundings...but how hard does it become when in France, Spain, Italy or Portugal? What magic drew us here in the first place? Is that magic enough to sustain us? What does ‘home’ really mean? Where do we look for the next adventure? I want this story to explore and reflect your story, so would be very grateful if you would upload photos of yourselves, your homes, and/or your stories, by adding a ‘note’ to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/StillSummertheMovie or email to: jenny@stillsummer-themovie.com. You can read more about our film on tour website at www.stillsummer-themovie.com. Jenny Granville, Producer.

Pétanque

Pétanque is a version of Boules in which the aim is to throw hollow metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball whilst keeping both feet together and firmly planted on the ground. The small ball is call a ‘cochonnet’ or a ‘jack’ but is sometimes also referred to as a ‘bouchon’ or ‘le petit’. The game is usually played on hard dirt or gravel but can also be played on sand or grass. The current format of Pétanque originated in 1907 a La Ciotat, near Marseilles in Provence, Southern France and the name is derived from ‘la petanca’ and ‘pès tancats’ which means ‘feet together’ or ‘feet anchored’. Pétanque is played by 2, 4 or 6 people in two teams. The starting team draws a circle on the ground, 35-50cm in diameter. All players throw their boules from within this circle with both feet remaining on the ground. The first player throws the ‘jack’ 6-10 metres away, ensuring that it is at least 1 metre from the boundary. Players then take it in turns to throw, underarm, hoping their boule will be the one to rest closest to the ‘jack‘. The winning team receives one point for each boule that it has closer to the ‘jack’ than the best-placed boule of the opposition. The first team to reach 13 points wins.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Keenan’s Corner by Keenan Dominey I’m continuing every month to explain the different steps of French schooling, from my first year to the present day. At the age of 15, I started at “Lycée” (The equivalent to English College) at Confolens in the Charente. In my class we were 35 students, which made it quite hard to concentrate. This year was important to enter into my first year of accountancy; I had to show the teachers that I was able to work. In the first of “Lycée”, when the students have free period they have to go into a class room and do their homework. The time spent in “etude” can vary but is normally around 5 hours a week. Homework was essential during this year, the teachers sometimes used it to make sure that we could work outside of school and not always need the teachers help. Because of the distance between the school and my home, I had to board at the school, which meant that we were obliged to respect certain times, for instance we had to be back at the school at 18 o’clock and out in the morning at 7.15. On Wednesday afternoons we didn’t have lessons so we spent our afternoon hanging around, but we had to be back at school at 18.30. During this year I started my 125cc motor-bike test which we can pass at the age of 16 in France; this meant that I could be more independent. At the age of 16, there is the possibility to drive with your parents for 2 years before passing your driving test. Every term the teachers have a meeting to talk about every student to discuss their progress, and in the 3rd term the teachers decide whether the student is capable to follow his or her choice and enter the next year. If they reject a student, he or she has the possibility to redouble and try and work harder the following year. The lessons were a lot harder than previous years. This made it hard for a lot of students, including me. I ended up making it and entering my first year of accountancy. This will be the topic of my next article.

Reader’s Restaurant Reviews.

It can sometimes be difficult to decide where to dine out for that special occasion or where to take visitors, so this column may help....we would love to hear from you if you have recently enjoyed a good meal in the local area. A good all round review including prices would be ideal. Thank you to Ian McKay for kindly contributing these two restaurant reviews and starting the ball rolling. Le Relais Des Saveurs 20 rue du Commerce, 79130, Neuvy Bouin We had been recommended this restaurant at Neuvy Bouin (between Bressuire and Secondigny). However I had  never found its outside appearance that appealing whenever I had driven past. Eventually, in August, my wife and I took four French friends there for lunch on a Saturday. Inside it was much more appealing. It was bright and clean, the staff admirable and the ambiance was enhanced by the use of room dividers around the tables. The food was excellent and impressively presented - on a par with the better restaurants of La Rochelle. For the 6 of us, the three course lunch with a couple bottles of wine and coffees came to about 30 euros per person. On leaving, I spotted a sign saying lunch in the week was 10.50 euros. I suspected that at that price it must be completely different at midweek lunch with possibly the premises being shared. We went a few weeks later for Thursday lunch with two English friends. We all judged it as excellent both for the food and for the service. With wine and coffees the bill came to about 13 euros each. Though the locale may be unimpressive, I would recommend it for both an evening special celebration and for an excellent but cheap lunch during the week. Restaurant Chez JB 2 Place Pave, 85120, Saint Pierre Du Chemin Looking for a bargain place for lunch, my wife and I, together with an English friend went in October to this restaurant midweek. The price for the midday set lunch was 11 euros for FOUR courses with a carafe of wine and coffees included. The staff were pleasant and efficient. We were seated in a pleasant enough room with tables for maybe 30 people, There were a few other diners in the room and about 20 diners in an adjoining room large enough to take probably a hundred or so. There is apparently a third even larger room. The food overall was fine, though not outstanding. The entrée of spicy prawns was really good but the main course of sauté de porc, although plentiful and very tender, I found rather bland. I thought it was really good value and we certainly intend to go back there.

If you have positive restaurant experiences to share, we would love to print them here. Please email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Love Films? If you love a trip to the cinema, films are shown in English at Parthenay Cinema. For more information or to be kept up to date with screenings, email cinema.foyer@gmail.com. ...And don’t forget your popcorn!

If you are new to the area, ‘The Pays de Gâtine's guide for newcomers’ may be a useful read. For information, advice and contacts, go to www.gatine.org.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

CANCERS SUPPORT DEUX-SÈVRES FAVOURITE RECIPE BOOK

After all the excesses of Christmas and New Year maybe you fancy something a little plainer. Here is a recipe sent in by Leo, which serves four people and can be made in advance. It is simply called ALL-IN-ONE SPAGHETTI. Ingredients: 200g smoked lardons 2 onions (chopped) 1 garlic clove (crushed) 1 tablespoon tomato puree 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes 1 teaspoon mixed herbs Salt/pepper, a little oil 400g grated emmental cheese 350/400g spaghetti In a large frying pan with a little oil fry the lardons for 5 minutes. Add the onions and cook till tender (about 5 minutes). Add garlic, tomato puree, tinned tomatoes, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes. This mixture needs to be quite liquid as the spaghetti will absorb the moisture. While the tomato sauce is cooking, cook the spaghetti till al-dente. Drain the spaghetti and add the tomato sauce mixture and the grated cheese. Put into a casserole dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees. Serve hot with garlic bread and a green salad. If you have a favourite recipe why not send it by e-mail to ivan7thelma@wanadoo.fr marked “recipe”. If you would like any information about the work of Cancer Support Deux Sèvres, please contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or e-mail junesearchfield@gmail.com

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

January’s Recipes...

by Mark Addy Muscovado Pudding with Fudgey Chocolate Sauce. If you enjoyed last month’s pudding recipe, you’ll love this one! Ingredients: • 110g plain flour • 175g golden caster sugar • 2 teaspoon baking powder • Pinch of salt • 110 ml milk • 40g Coco powder • Sunflower oil • 2 eggs • 50g chopped walnuts • 225g light muscovado sugar • 425ml hot water Method: 1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C or gas mark 4. 2. Butter a 9 inch square tin or ovenproof dish. 3. Sieve flour with baking powder, salt and 2 tbsp of coco powder. 4. Add milk, caster sugar, oil and eggs and whisk until smooth. Then add all walnuts. 5. Pour into the tin or dish. 6. Mix remaining coco powder with muscovado sugar and sprinkle over tin contents. 7. Pour hot water over the top of the tin or dish contents – but DO NOT STIR! 8. Cook for 30-45 minutes making sure it is cooked in the middle. 9. Serve warm with crème fraiche. For those who are missing rich Heinz baked beans...try this! BBQ Baked Beans Ingredients: • 300g white haricot beans soaked overnight in plenty of cold water • 400ml water • 30g butter • 1 onion finely chopped • 1-2 garlic cloves crushed • 110g dark brown sugar or treacle • 2 teaspoon wholegrain mustard • 1 dessertspoon tomato purée • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Worcester sauce • 110ml cider vinegar or white wine vinegar as substitute • 150ml tinned tomatoes very finely chopped, or passata if available • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper • 1 tablespoon corn flour • Salt to taste Method: 1. Rinse beans and put in a clean pan with 400ml water. 2. Cover and simmer for 30-45* minutes until tender (add more water if necessary). 3. Leave aside when done. 4. Cook onion and garlic in butter until soft but not brown, add sugar, mustard, tomato purée and soy/ Worcester sauce and stir well. 5. Simmer for approx. 10 mins and add beans, vinegar, tomatoes and cayenne pepper. 6. Mix corn flour with a little water until a milky consistency and stir into beans with the liquor of the cooked beans. 7. Simmer for 20-30 mins, stirring from time to time until beans are very tender.

Bubble, bubble...

by John Sherwin

Did you know that if you made and sold a brand of trousers called ‘champagne’ you could lose your shirt? The champagne makers of today take their litigious cue from widow Clicquot, who copyrighted her particular shade of orange in the early nineteenth century. The argument goes that only ‘real’ champagne can be made in Champagne. Woe betide you if you dare step over the line. Many a Reims law firm make a tidy Euro arguing (always successfully) that the nine letters of champagne – attached to anything you care to think of – belong by law for ever and a day to the champenois. Of course, they have much to protect. The global market for ‘champagne’ is upwards of €5 billion. But the pennypinchingest legal hack can’t copyright nature. Making sparkling wine is a simple, albeit painstaking process. First make wine – any type will do, but usually dry white. This is the first fermentation. Then, dose it with yeast and sugar to provoke a second fermentation. Do this in a capped bottle so that the carbon dioxide, a by-product of fermentation, is trapped therein. Tra-la! Bubbles in a bottle. If you have done this, and are lucky enough to live in the Champagne region, then you can put ‘Champagne’ on the label and charge lots. If you live elsewhere, then the password you use on the label is ‘méthode traditionnelle’ which means that you have followed exactly the same wine-making procedure as the champenois but can’t legally put ‘Champagne’ on the label. Grape varieties may differ, but the result is essentially the same. Cheapest bottle I could find with ‘champagne’ on the label in my local, €13.59. Thereafter you can pay whatever your ego prompts you to pay. But why not save bucks and support the home teams? Saumur Brut, €4.20. Vouvray Brut, €5.20. Ackerman Saumur Brut, €5.10. A fun drink shouldn’t make your bank manager frown. John Sherwin. French Wine Tours Email: johnsherwin@orange.fr, www.french-wine-tours.com

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Ideal served with terrines, pates, cold meats (especially ham) and strong cheeses. Serve cold. Will keep for up to a week in the fridge, alternatively it freezes very well. *Due to the age/quality of the beans you use, it is difficult to know the exact cooking time. Some can take up to 1 hour. page 19


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French Adventures... Brothers Ross and Dorrian Waitt and their wives Michelle and Lorna often used to holiday in France and dreamt of maybe one day living there and owning their own place. They were all living in Kent with a good lifestyle, stable careers, Michelle a Nurse, Ross a Paramedic and Hockey Coach, Lorna a Primary School Teacher and Dorrian a Project Manager on large building projects. They thought it was just a dream, but their holidays in France had left them wondering “what if”. One day Dorrian was surfing the net, whilst busy at work, and came across a lovely Chateau, with gites that were crying out for renovation, love and attention; so he and wife Lorna went to France to take a closer look. Whilst there they contacted Ross and Michelle and suggested they flew over immediately as this was an opportunity just too good to miss.

So in April 2007 the Chateau in L’orangerie in the commune of Le Chillou, near Airvault became theirs. They spent the next two years spending whatever time they could visiting and starting on the renovations. The first job was to ensure the Chateau was “watertight” so all the shutters were painstakingly re-built, but to the Waitt’s total shock the local woodpeckers began to drill holes in them. Reflective CD’s were hung from the shutters which seemed to do the trick! Lorna and Dorrian moved out first in January 2010 and began the project for real. Michelle and Ross followed as soon as they were able to sell their house in July 2010. The four were then ready to start the major renovation works that were necessary. The first thing to do was to lay water and electricity to all the gites and chateau from a source nearby. A large job, but thankfully they came prepared with a mini excavator from England. Renovating the Chateau and the gardens is a full time occupation for them all, and they have been helped by their very supportive French neighbour Lucien Leconte, who apart from recommending local artisans, also made their lives easier by introducing them to a range of people and networking on their behalf. Michelle and Lorna joined the Gourge walking club, a “fronglais” group in St Loup Lamaire and also an Art Club at Pressigny (near St Loup Lamaire) where Lorna is now on the committee. Lorna said that the club are looking for new members and they meet regularly in a yurt in one of the members’ garden! (Contact http://avecleblog.over-blog.com if you are interested). Realistically they are not looking to complete the Chateau for another year. The main project for this winter, along with many smaller ones, is the in-ground swimming pool, which they plan to be up and ready for June 2012. They will continue to renovate the four gites, two are already completed offering accommodation for 4/ 6 people. They had a few lets this year, and bookings are already coming in for Summer 2012.

The Chateau will eventually be home for the two couples, and will also offer 2 apartments which will be available all year round and two luxury bed and breakfast rooms, with the bathrooms being in the towers. The couples are settling in to their new French way of life. Ross with the help of their neighbour Lucien Leconte, has had a go at making his own wine from the vines that grow along the driveway, using equipment they found in their outbuildings. Michelle is discovering the joys of having time to cook with their home grown produce and trying new recipes, including a delicious chocolate cake using courgettes! And they all enjoyed some pizza nights with friends, family and guests this summer after having renovated the bread oven they found secreted in their garden! They will certainly all be busy for years to come as Lorna is researching into setting up as an Auto Entrepreneur to teach English. Ross is working hard on their website and Dorrian is writing a blog to keep everyone informed as to their progress. Michelle is the real communicator of the group and has helped everyone to integrate and make a social life for themselves in France and Lorna will be dealing with all their bookings for next year. You can catch up with them all on: Website : http://www.wix.com/l_orangerie/info or blog: http://lorangerie.tumblr.com The story behind L’Orangerie... The Orangerie overlooks the village of Machepaille and the Seneuil valley, and was owned originally by the Guignard de Germond family. At the beginning of the XVIIIth century through marriage they were joined to the Clabat de Chillou family, who had lived in the Gatine since the XIIIth century. It is thought that the Chateau was built by Jean-BaptisteDesire Guignard de Germond and stayed in the family until 1917. The chateau has led rather a hectic life since then with many owners. It was rumoured that it was used by the Germans as an SS headquarters during the war and during the late 1950s and early 1960’s was used to provide help and assistance for the elderly and also an orphanage. In more recent years it has been owned by various people and now is in the safe hands of the Waitts. Written by Gilly Hughes-Jones.

If you would like to share your ‘French Adventure’ with us, please email your story for consideration to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr. For more information, please visit the Written Contributions page on our website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr. page 20


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Getting Out & About... New Year, old classic car!

by Helen Tait-Wright Well, it’s a new year, and I wonder what changes that will bring in your garage? For us, we hope to find loving new owners for 3 of our cars and bring over another of our fleet previously languishing in the UK. This is a Mk 1 Mini Cooper in a slightly deconstructed state after having a bare metal respray, so she will need some work before she is let loose on French roads! She is a car with some emotional attachment as Chris’s father rallied a Mini in the 60’s. The Mini is of course a modern classic, and the Cooper version a motor sport hero. It was developed by the designer of the original Mini, Sir Alec Issigonis, with racing driver and engineer John Cooper, who, in 1959, had driven a prototype Mini to the Italian Grand Prix and had been greatly impressed by the car and saw the potential of the Mini for competition. Issigonis was initially reluctant to see the Mini as a performance car, but after John Cooper appealed to BMC management, the two men collaborated to create the Mini Cooper, a nimble, economical and inexpensive car. The Mini Cooper debuted in 1961. These Coopers were easily distinguishable from the standard models by the different front grille, two-tone paintwork, and two-tone upholstery. Right after making its first appearance, the Mini proved to be a genuine sports car in the true sense of the word. Countless teams and private drivers recognised and acknowledged the great potential this small car had to offer with its driving behaviour reminiscent of a go-kart. A more powerful Mini Cooper, dubbed the "S", was developed in tandem and released in 1963, and this was the model that earned acclaim with Monte Carlo Rally victories in 1964, 1965 and 1967. Photograph: www.minimania.com

Even if you are not a rally fan, the speed and agility of the Mini was immortalised in the popular classic film “The Italian Job” (the original version obviously!) where the team of Rémy Julienne, a French stunt driver, used these fabulous little cars to whisk the stolen gold out of the gridlocked city of Turin. Maybe our Mini will be ready to thrill the audiences on the streets of Bressuire later in the year - watch this space!

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Find the cheapest fuel prices in your area. This government website provides comparative prices on petrol and diesel in all areas of France. Go to: www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr and simply click the department of your choice on the map (Deux-Sèvres = Dept.79) and a list of fuel stations will come up, giving their location and current price.

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A-Z of the Communes of the Deux-Sèvres.

by Sue Burgess

Aubigny Aubigny has about 176 inhabitants. The commune is spread over an area of 12 km² which gives a population density of 15 inhabitants per km². Aubigny is at an average height of 146m above sea level and is situated near Pressigny, Le Chillou, Lhoumois, Gourgé and Oroux. Augé Augé is part of the canton of Saint-Maixent-l'Ecole. The inhabitants of Augé are called Augéens and number about 794. Between the plains of Niort and the hills of the Gatine, the narrow streets of Augé snuggle against the XIth and XIIth century church of Saint Grégoire. À VOIR / MUST SEE: • There are several washhouses on the commune. • The steep little streets. • The XIth and XIIth century churches. • The mulled wine festival in January. • The Contes en Chemin story festival during the second half of July. Availles Sur Chizé Since the 1st January 1973, Availles-sur-Chizé has joined with Chizé. The village is built around a rocky promontory where you can still see ruins of the medieval castle, a key element in many battles during The Hundred Years War. The inhabitants of Chizé are Chizéens. Chizé is situated on the banks of the river Boutonne. There is also the 4 800 hectare state owned forest of Chizé. Chizé is well known in the world of science and ecology because of the CEBC – centre of Biological Studies which is based in the forest. The town of Availles was given to Thomas de Wodestock, the son of King Edward III of England under the treaty of Brétigny signed in 1360 although the town was not handed over until 1363. Availles Thouarsais The village of Availles-Thouarsais is mentioned as early as 1179 in the records of Saint Jouin de Marnes under the name of Availlia, and in 1300, in the records of the diocese of Poitiers. On Cassini's map representing France between 1756 and 1789, the village is called Availle. A golden coin with the effigy of the Emperor Tetricus was found under the rocks. Roman tiles have been discovered and aerial photos have revealed the existence of a GallicRoman villa with three buildings and a protective surrounding wall. A limestone sarcophagus was discovered near the church and about a hundred prehistoric objects or pieces have been found at Le Déffend. À VOIR / MUST SEE: • Piogé castle Piogé castle stands on a promontory overlooking the Cendronne river. The castle was destroyed for the first time in 1207 by Philippe Auguste. It was later rebuilt. In 1630 the village was hit by the plague. In eight months one out of three inhabitants died.

Avon Avon is a commune in the canton of la Mothe-SaintHéray. The inhabitants are known as Avonnais and there were 75 of them the last time the census was held in the village. À VOIR / MUST SEE: • Pollarded oak tree on the military camp Azay le Brûlé The inhabitants of Azay-le-Brûlé are called Azéens or Azéennes. There are 1753 inhabitants and the commune is made up of 12 villages: Beausoleil, Cerzeau, Chamier, Fonvérines, Jaunay, Kadoré, La Brousse, Le Bourg, Le Clatreau, Mautré, Mons and Puyblain. Two rivers cross the commune – the Lambon and the Sèvre Niortaise. À VOIR / MUST SEE: • The Roman bridge Azay-sur-Thouet Azay sur Thouet is in the heart of the Gâtine. During the second world war, a Jewish family took refuge in the bar on the main street of Azay-sur-Thouet. The couple who owned the bar at that time hid the family and lied to the police. A monument which names the commune as one of the sites of the Resistance makes particular reference to Charles Gabriel Tellier who was shot on the 13th June 1944 by the inspectors of the SAP (Political Affairs Section). There is a commemorative plaque on the wall of the old café of la Girardière where Valentine Germain used to hide resistants like Charles Gabriel Tellier. The grave of Robert le Chouan can be seen in the town cemetery. François-Augustin Robert participated in the Royalist uprising in Western France in 1832. À VOIR / MUST SEE: • Notre-Dame de l’Agenouillée Church (the Church of the Kneeling Lady) (2km from Azay/Thouet, towards Secondigny). There once lived a pious noble lady who was going to Mass to celebrate the Nativity of the Virgin Mary. Along the way she met a poor woman. Stopping to help the beggar, the noble lady brought her back to her manor and took care of the woman herself. Upset to hear the Elevation bell-ringing before she got to the church, the lady kneeled, asking God’s forgiveness for being late. The Virgin appeared to the lady and showed her the priest raising the consecrated host. The noble lady had a Pietà carved representing herself kneeling to pray. A chapel was built in 1550 but was replaced in 1892 by the edifice we can see today. Many visitors still gather here for the September 8 pilgrimage, on the feast day of the Nativity of Our Lady. An organ was offered to the chapel in 2000 and a concert is given here every summer. • La maison des Pêcheurs This building which is an old mill on the river Thouet has recently been restored. There is a picnic area.

Please return to this section next month to see the continuation of ʻA-Z of the Communes of the Deux-Sèvres.ʼ

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 ~ Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 24


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Communications... How to speed up your PC – Part 5

5. Scanning for Viruses and Malware Season’s greetings to you and I hope you have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. We are halfway through my guide on how to speed up your PC; I hope that those of you who have had the courage to follow my articles are experiencing improved speed and performance on your computers. In my June 2011 article I looked at Viruses, Spyware, Malware and other unwanted programs that could affect your PC, in some detail. I also suggested some programs that you could download free of charge to keep your PC free of these pests. This month I want to advise you how and when to run the two programs that protect my computers, and how to keep these programs up to date. Prevention is far better than curing these problems, so probably the best advice on this issue is to be aware that when you decide to download a program or an update to an existing program, you read the information on exactly what you are downloading and be sure to only download what you want. Many essential programs such as Adobe Acrobat, will also offer you other programs or maybe a toolbar, when you are downloading an update or newer version of their programs. Unless you really need the additional optional program or toolbar do not download them. I believe that Adobe Acrobat Reader is currently offering the Google Toolbar, for free of course! With the current generation of Internet browsers you do not really need a toolbar to make searching easy from any page, as you can enter your search directly into the address bar at the top of the page. Browsers that permit this are the latest Internet Explorer (version 9), the latest Mozilla Firefox (version 8.0.1) and of course Google Chrome, which does not support toolbars anyway. Whilst sorting out PC problems, I often find computers with many toolbars in their Internet Explorer, so many in fact that the available search results space is reduced by 50% so that you can only see a few results and have to

France Telecom English Customer Services:- 09 69 36 39 00 EDF (Electricity Provider) English Helpline: 05 62 16 49 08 or 08 10 12

scroll down to review the search results properly. My advice on these is to keep only those that you need and use, if you do not use them get rid of them, or at least turn them off until you do. They are only likely to slow down your internet browsing speed and may be giving information or what you search for to third parties. AVG Free Edition is my choice of anti-virus protection; I have set this to check nightly for updates at around 1am and to run a scan of every file on my PC from 2am. It is always finished when I wish to use my PC in the morning and is efficient and reliable, it also provides protection whilst I am surfing the web and checks emails that I send to others and, of course, those that I receive. I have found this remarkable free software finds viruses that the likes of Norton and McAfee do not. AVG runs in the background all of the time my PC is running Windows. Spybot search and destroy is my preference for protecting me from Malware, Spyware and Adware and other undesirables, these are more likely to cause problems than viruses, as they can catch you unaware when you are visiting websites, this program once installed runs in the background and keeps me free from these pests. If it detects anything that wants to change my computers operating system it asks me to permit the change. Clearly if I have asked for a download or similar I authorise the change, if not I deny the change. I update Spybot manually every month, then immunise and rescan the whole system; it takes about 30 minutes and keeps me safe. TTFN, Ross. As ever if you need some help please send me an email, or call between 8am-10am Tuesday to Friday and I will do my best to assist you. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. He operates from his home on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border adjacent L’Absie. (See advert below for more information).

Get iPlayer in France! Assign yourself a UK IP address by going to www.expatshield.com and you will be able to use BBC iPlayer to watch those TV programs you’ve missed. Not available for AppleMac.

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 ~ Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 25


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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 S.O.S Helpline: 09 69 36 39 00 Hertford British Hospital (English speaking Hospital for the Paris area): 01 46 39 22 22 EDF International Customer Service: 05 62 16 49 08 CLEISS (Social security advice between countries): 01 45 26 33 41 Association La Porte Ouverte (Open Door): 05 49 87 97 36 or www.opendoor-civray.com British Embassy (Paris): 01 44 51 31 00 Funeral Information (AFIF): 01 45 44 90 03 or 06 08 24 42 71 Passport Advice: 0044 208 082 4729

Consulates: Bordeaux: 05 57 22 21 10 Lille: 03 20 12 82 72 Lyon: 04 72 27 81 70 Marseille: 04 91 15 72 10

Building & Renovation...

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 ~ Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 26


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Help from ‘The Fosse Man’.

by Richard Owen A new ruling came into force on the 1st of January 2011 which states that, at the point of ‘compromis de vente’, a certificate of conformity is required by SPANC if the fosse has an individual drainage system, or otherwise notification from the mairie that drainage is of the collective type. Should SPANC decide there is problem with the system, the buyer has to rectify this within 12 months of the date of ‘acte de vente’. Obviously if you are selling your house and you don’t have the work done, the buyer may feel justified in knocking the cost off the purchase price. It is basically a point of negotiation between the two parties but you need to be aware of it. If you already own your house and have had an inspection, you will have been told you have four years to carry out the work, after which time it will be enforced. However, don’t take fright. It is SPANC technicians who perform the inspections and make the recommendations. They are extremely busy at the moment and it is unlikely that enforcement notices will be dished out just yet. It would be prudent though to set aside funds to ensure that you are in a position to have the work carried out when given notice. SPANC stands for ‘Service Public Assainissement Non Collectif’. This is the body responsible for ensuring household waste is disposed of in an acceptable manner to the environment. When installing a new system, a SPANC technician will inspect your proposed installation, preferably in the company of your installer, and discuss the requirements. You will often find that they will ask for a particular drainage system which may well destroy a part of your garden that you particularly wanted to save. This is where your installer will help by providing alternative solutions to SPANC, who (in the most part) are quite amenable. The size of the system required depends on the size of the house. Basically, the number of bedrooms you have will dictate the size of the septic tank (fosse septiques toutes eaux) required. The smallest tank available is 3,000 litres. All the water from the house is collected in the septic tank allowing the main sewage to be broken down over

time by bacteria. A warning note here – if anyone is on medication it is possible that the bacteria can be damaged. You can protect yourself by adding bacteria boosting powders to the system – in fact I know of some families who simply throw a tub of yoghurt down the toilet from time to time and it seems to work. There are various ways of dealing with the purification of the liquid that comes out of the septic tank and are dependent on availability of space and type of t e r r a i n , a l so bearing in mind that this area cannot be driven upon. Your SPANC technician will decide on the best filter method for your situation. There are many different filter methods available, although normally sand or trench filters are used. On a final note, generally fosse installers do not empty fosses. A starting point is with your mairie who will know of a local company that will perform ‘fosse vidange’. I have been installing fosses in France for seven years now and I am always more than happy to have a chat with anyone who is unsure of what is required by the authorities and will give you advice according to your circumstances.

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 ~ Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 28


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~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 ~ Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr page 29


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More building & renovations vocabulary...this time, along the theme of plumbing & heating which may come in handy during the winter months. ball valve.............................. vanne (f) basin..................................... lavabo (m); cuvette (f) bath....................................... baignoire (f) blowlamp/blowtorch............. chalumeau (m); lampe á souder (f) boiler.................................... chaudière (f) boiler flue............................. carneau de chaudière (m) boiler, gas............................. chaudière gaz (f) boiler, oil.............................. chaudière fioul (f) to braze................................. braser (v) brazing rod............................ baguette de brasure (f) burner, gas............................ brûleur gaz (m) burner, oil.............................. brûleur fioul (m) butane (gas).......................... butane (m) cistern.................................. citerne (f) conduit.................................. gaine (f) connector............................. joint (m) to drain................................. vider (v) drainage system................... système de drainage (m) drainpipe............................... tuyau d’écoulement (m) flange.................................... collet (m) flux.........................................flux décapant (m) gas, refillable bottle............. bouteille gaz rechargeable (f) gas regulator........................ détendeur (m) gutter.................................... gouttière (f) to heat................................... chauffer (v) heater.................................... réchauffeur (m) heating................................... chauffage (m) inlet pipe............................... tuyau d’entrée (m) insulation............................... isolation (f)

joint, copper........................... raccord cuivre (m) joint with olive, compression...... raccord á olive (m) leak; leakage.......................... fuite (f) macerator............................... pompe de relevage (f) manhole.................................. regard (m) water meter........................... compteur d’eau froide (m) pipe........................................ tuyau (m); canalisation (f) pipe clip.................................. collier simple (m) pipe cutter.............................. coupe-tube (m) pipe, overflow........................ tuyau de trop-plein (m) plug......................................... bonde (f) to plumb................................. plomber (v) pressure reducing valve........ détendeur (m) PTFE joint sealing tape......... ruban Téflon d’étanchéité (m) pump, heat.............................. pompe á chaleur (f) sewer..................................... égout (m) shower tray............................ receveur de douche (m) sink......................................... évier (m) tap.......................................... robinet (m) tap with temperature control.. mitigeur thermostatique (m) valve....................................... soupape (f) waste pipe.............................. canalisation vidange (f) water...................................... eau (f) water softener....................... adoucisseur d’eau (m) to weld................................... souder (v) wrench................................... clé (f) wrench, monkey.................... clé anglaise (f)

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website

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Artisans & Tradesmen..... Do you have any top tips you can share with our readers? If so, we would love to include them in this section! Please email to: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Business, Finance & Property... Ask Amanda.

I have been invited to write regularly for ‘The Deux Sèvres Monthly’ Magazine, I wanted to start by introducing myself.

I am Amanda Johnson and have lived in the Loudun area, with my family, for the past 5 years. I am a regulated Financial Planner, specialising in helping expatriates understand the benefits and obligations of living in the French system. Bilingual, with 20 years of financial experience in the UK, I am authorised through Orias in France and work for a brokerage also registered with the AMF. Living in France is very rewarding but many of the rules and regulations, especially when it comes to taxation, inheritance, retirement planning, buying and renovating your home, differ from the UK. Working closely with colleagues throughout France ensures I can share experiences, best practices and keep you abreast of changes in French financial law. This is why I consider it important to have a servicing strategy of regular face to face meetings with my clients. I am frequently asked about Inheritance tax planning and can usually make recommendations that ensure when you have lost a loved one any financial loss is kept to a minimum. I can help you optimise your savings by offering a range of investments in major currencies, protecting you from exchange fluctuations and from inheritance tax should the worst happen. I can also review existing pension arrangements giving advice on your future retirement plans. For a Free Consultation on Inheritance tax, investments, retirement planning and tax efficient buying or renovating your home, or to review your current circumstances, please call me on 05 49 98 97 46 or email: amanda.johnson@spectrum-ifa.com. www.spectrum-ifa.com/johnsonloire.shtml

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Do you have a question for Amanda?

Please drop her a line and she will respond to you personally. We shall select the most helpful questions and answers to be printed here in future issues. Ask Amanda at: finance@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

You can also find me each Tuesday morning between 10.30-12.15 at ‘La Grande Galerie’, Civray where I hold a free Financial Surgery which gives you the opportunity to meet me and have an informal chat.

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~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 31


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Is Austerity the “New Normal”? by Bill Blevins, Financial Correspondent, Blevins Franks. When countries across the western world began implementing austerity measures it was hoped they would only be needed for a short time while economies got back on track. However, it looks like we’ll have to get used to them as they’ll be around for a while. In the UK, a leading think tank Reform published a report called “The Long Game” in November. Declaring that “austerity is the new normal”, it said that Britain needs 10 years of austerity measures to fix its economic problems, even under the best economic scenario. I think there is little doubt that austerity will become the new normal in many Eurozone countries including France. The Euro Plus Monitor 2011, published in November, examines progress in Europe. In its Overall Health Indicator Rankings, France came just 13th out of 17. France had below-average scores on most major counts and its other weaknesses include the highest share of government expenditure in GDP in the Eurozone and a huge fiscal deficit.

economic and social sovereignty require prolonged collective efforts and even some sacrifices”. All in all, it looks like austerity measures will be in place for much longer than expected, and austerity measures of course include tax increases, whether direct taxes on your income and wealth or indirectly through cutting tax breaks or freezing thresholds and scale rate bands. While some of the tax measures being introduced are only meant to be temporary, at the rate things are going they’ll be around for longer than promised. And a temporary tax could become a permanent one. If you haven’t already done so, this is the time to look to protect your assets from tax as much as possible. Talk to an adviser like Blevins Franks about compliant tax saving opportunities in France. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website www.blevinsfranks.com

France announced a second wave of austerity measures in November, including more tax reforms, less than three months after a previous round of supplementary budget measures. The Prime minister warned that “our financial,

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert!

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert!

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 32


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Turbulent times in annuity markets

by Robert Brealey, Pension Consultant, Siddalls With the recent turbulence in financial markets, you may be considering starting your pension. If you have money purchase pension funds, one of the options is an annuity. Annuity rates are based on a number of factors: your age, life expectancy, and the expected return from government bonds (called the yield). The yield is the interest generated by the bond (gilt). For example, if a bond when issued has a price of £100, and the interest is £5, then the yield is 5%. However, if this bond is then sold for £110, the yield has reduced to 4.5%. Therefore as prices of gilts rise, the yields fall. Although rising life expectancy has meant that over the last 15 years annuity rates have fallen naturally, the market volatility recently has meant that annuity rates have fallen even further over the last few years. This is because as investors have sought ‘safe havens’ in the form of government bonds, the yields have fallen. There are other factors that may affect annuity rates in the future: Quantitative Easing Quantitative Easing has been used by the UK government to inject liquidity into the financial system. This is where the government buys gilts from banks and institutions, thereby increasing the cash held by the banks, which increases the money supply. The purchasing of government bonds means that the prices increase, which means that the yields have reduced, and may fall further, if there is further Quantitative Easing or markets remain unconvinced about long-term stability. European Court of Justice ruling The European Court ruled in companies cannot discriminate insurance purposes. This means insurance, and annuities must be specific rates.

March that insurance between genders for that life insurance, car based on non-gender-

This means that annuity rates for women should rise (as men tend to die younger than women, annuity rates for men are higher). However, potentially annuity rates for men could fall to equalise at the lower level. At this early stage it is difficult to judge how the ruling may affect annuity rates. The ruling is due to come into force from December 2012. Solvency II Solvency II is an EU regulatory requirement which is due to come into force in the UK in 2014. This determines that companies which offer guarantees (such as annuities) have to hold a large proportion of government bonds (gilts). At the moment most annuity funds hold a mixture of government bonds, corporate bonds, and property, but if the proportion of government bonds increases, the returns on the fund will decrease. Therefore we might see a further decrease in annuity rates. It is difficult to judge how each of these factors might affect annuity rates. The good news however is that there is no requirement to purchase an annuity, and there are options that would allow you to draw an income, without committing to annuity purchase. These options are not suitable for everyone, and it is important to obtain independent advice to ensure that, whichever route in retirement is chosen, it is appropriate and suitable for you. For further information please contact David Hardy, Regional Manager Poitou-Charentes, Limousin & Pays de la Loire for Siddalls France, who have been providing impartial independent financial advice to the British community for over 15 years. www.siddalls.fr Tel: 05 56 34 71 77

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 33


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

What’s in store for 2012?

by Peter Elias. First of all a Happy New Year to all readers, and congratulations to Sarah and the DSM for surviving 2011, whilst other English language publications have stopped publication. Running a business and surviving in France is tough, and your support is very much appreciated. At this time of year, I always look ahead and attempt to predict what will happen in the property market in the 12 months ahead. For some unexplained reason, I do actually feel positive, although there are no signs of an upturn in the markets, which continue to be flat. However, there are so many British who are looking to escape the UK, and start a new life overseas, that there will be a continuing stream of British buyers looking to move to France, with the Poitou Charentes high on their list of areas to investigate.

will have some source of income in the UK, and this means that their £s go just that bit further on this side of the Channel. Finally a recent survey states that the UK is the worst place to live in Europe, thanks to a combination of high living costs, a poor work-life balance and low government spending on healthcare and education. France comes out in No 1 place, for the third year in a row, with Spain taking second place and the Netherlands third. If you want the full details visit http://www.uswitch.com/quality-of-life-index-infographic Happy New Year encore! Peter Elias (Agent Coercial) www.allez-francais.com Email: sales@allez-francais.com. Tel: 05 49 27 01 22

Allez-Français are attending the France Show at Earls Court in January 2012, and we feel confident that the exhibition will yield plenty of clients for the year ahead. To incentivise buyers we are offering a number of special offers, and full details are available via our website www.allez-francais.com For vendors, new rules are on their way in concerning French Capital Gains Tax, and these are effective from 01/02/2012, (completion of the Acte de Vente). These are going to hit some people especially hard, particularly those who had owned for 15 years (or more), and thought that they were clear of this tax. There has been a lot in the press over recent days about David Cameron’s veto of the treaty for Europe. But at the time of writing, the markets seem to be agreeing with the British PM rather than Merkozy as they have become known, (Merkel and Sarkozy). Indeed, the £ is pushing 1.19 it’s highest level for sometime. Inevitably, we find that the level of enquiries increases as the £ gets stronger, as the British buyer can get more property for their money. At 1.19 a property priced at 250,000 Euros would cost £210,084 (14/12/11) a reduction of 7.7% from £226,244 (on 01/07/11).

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Sadly, for ex-Pats looking to return to the UK and selling in France, the opposite is true. So, in less than 6 months they have seen a significant fall in the value of their property in Sterling terms, plus in all probability a fall in terms of Euros as well as the market has been so slow. As I have repeatedly advised in this column, the only way that vendors will sell a property, is to price the property competitively, following the advice of a trusted agent. One thing that is for sure, is that with the £ flirting with 1.20, and French property prices having fallen back over the last 3-4 years, now is a better time than any in the recent past to buy a property in France. Property prices have been falling since the peak in 2007, so you probably need to go back as far as 2004/5 to find such good value. I suspect that most ex-Pats living in France will welcome the strength of the Pound / weakness of the Euro as most

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The Deux-Sevres Monthly, January 2012