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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 17 of ‘The DeuxSèvres Monthly’ magazine. As I sit here writing this, late into the evening, the pinky/red hues over the neighbouring orchard are telling me it will be a beautifully sunny day tomorrow. I think summer is here, even if it is somewhat unsettled! So this month we have some wonderful Bastille Day celebrations to look forward to. Where will you go? What will you do? If you can, be sure to visit one of the many fireworks displays being organised in the area, they really are worth it. Also July is a busy month for sporting events as the many tennis championships are now underway and the very “British” Wimbledon will be on our screens, plus of course the eagerly awaited Olympic Games in London. I’m not usually one to watch sport, but I certainly will be tuning in for that!

à plus, Sarah.

Have a happy July!

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.

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© Sarah Berry 2012. 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 is 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 Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du BocageBP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: juillet 2012 - Tirage: 5 000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................4 Hobbies, Clubs & Associations.........................................11 Take a break......................................................................12 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................13 Our Furry Friends..............................................................14 The Great Outdoors...........................................................16 French Life, Food & Drink................................................18 French Adventures............................................................22 Communications.................................................................23 Motoring.............................................................................24 Getting Out & About..........................................................26 Building & Renovation.......................................................30 Business, Finance & Property..........................................35 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS 79 Renovations.................................................................... 35 A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant).............................................. 19 Absolu Paint Stripping Services (Tony Sparks)................. 31 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter)................................... 25 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC D/Glazing)..... 2 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder)............................................. 34 Allez Francais (Estate Agent)............................................. 38 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................... 33 Andrew Quick Building Services......................................... 34 Andy Melling (Joinery & Renovation)................................. 34 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)................. 17 Antiquites Decoration & Galerie du 309............................. 27 Auberge de Blanxay (Auberge & Restaurant).................... 20 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd......................... 36 Cafe Cour du Miracle........................................................... 18 Café des Belles Fleurs......................................................... 18 Centre de Beauregard (Horse riding & livery).................. 15 Chris Bassett Construction.................................................. 35 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room).................... 23 Cottage Services.................................................................. 17 Dave Bowring (Electrician)................................................. 32 D J Maintenance (Handyman)............................................. 31 David Watkins (Chimney Sweep)........................................ 32 Dean Smalley (Cleaning & Gardening Services)................ 36 Electricité 79........................................................................ 32 Energie-79........................................................................... 33 Fresco Interiors (Interior Design)....................................... 30 Futuroscope (Theme Park).................................................. 40 Garage Planchet (Renault)................................................... 26 George Rayner Computers.................................................. 24 Gousses de Saveurs (Home made condiments).................. 19 Hair by Janet........................................................................ 13 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).... 32 Homes in France (Estate Agent)......................................... 39 Insink Plumbing.................................................................... 33 Jilly Rosenberg (Mobile Hairdresser)................................. 13 John Etherington (Home and Garden)................................. 17 John Spray Maçonnerie (Stonemason)................................ 32 Julie’s Cleaning Services..................................................... 36 Keith Bassett General Building Services........................... 34 La Deuxieme Chance (Annie Sloan chalk paint supplier).. 31 La Grande Galerie............................................................... 27 La Joie de Vivre................................................................... 28 Le Chat Bleu (Jewellery Shop)............................................ 27 Le Forgeron (Ornamental Ironwork)................................... 32 Le Nombril du Monde (Pougne-Hérisson).......................... 28 Leggett Immobilier.............................................................. 39 Les Adillons café.................................................................. 19 Les Ecuries du Saumort (Horse Riding School & Livery).. 14 Mad Hatter’s Kitchen........................................................... 21 Man & Van........................................................................... 26 MatProPose (Wall & Floor tiling)....................................... 30 Michael Hobson (Painter & Decorator).............................. 31 Mobile Mechanic (John Purchase)....................................... 25 MS Electrique (Electrician)................................................. 31 Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurances........................................ 24 Nathan Foster Building Services........................................ 34 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................ 13 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 2 Philip Wellman (Plumbing Service & Maintenance)............ 33 Pick Your Own Strawberries............................................... 17 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)............................. 33 Poitou Property Services.................................................... 36 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................. 25 R&A Services (Renovation)................................................ 24 RDK Roofing & Building Services....................................... 32 Restaurant des Canards....................................................... 18 Richard Owen (The Fosse Man).......................................... 31 Rob Berry (Plasterer).......................................................... 39 Robert Walker Plomberie (Plumbing, Heating, Air con)..... 33 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........... 23 Sarah Berry Online (Website Design)................................. 24 Satellite TV (Nigel Gubb).................................................... 24 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction)............. 31 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................... 37 Spectrum IFA Group (Amanda Johnson)............................ 35 Steve Enderby...................................................................... 31 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation).....................10 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre........................ 25 The Market (Luché-sur-Brioux)........................................ 27 Total Renovation Services (Michael Dominey).................. 35 Tracey Bowring (English Hairdresser)............................... 13 Vendée Carriers (Man & Van Hire).................................... 26 3


What’s On....July 2012 6th July - Happy Concerts! At Bar le Mexicano, Bressuire, from 7.30pm. See flyer on P.28 6th, 7th & 8th July - La Milléscénie ‘La grand spectacle du Millénaire, Parthenay. See for more details. 6th to 11th July - Terre de Danses For details visit: 7th July - Bilingual Tour 11am at Le Nombril du Monde, Pougne-Hérisson. See advert on P.28 7th & 8th July - Festival of Street Arts <BOUILLEZ!> For details visit: 13th July - Happy Concerts! At Bar le Mexicano, Bressuire, from 7.30pm. See flyer on P.28 14th July - Bastille Day 19th July - Music / Bistro Night At The Mad Hatter’s Kitchen, Caunay. See advert on P.21 19th July - Open Mic night At The Market, Luché sur Brioux, with Jayne & Nick from The Craic. Please see The Market advert on P.27 20th July - Discover Gousses de Saveurs At The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. 6-8pm. See advert on P.19 20th July - Quiz Night At Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.18 21st July - The Royal British Legion Summer Fair. At Clussais la Pommeraie (79), from 10am-5pm. Market, Exhibitions, Demonstrations, Music, sketches from the Pommeraie Players, Classic Cars, Tractors and this year Vide-Grenier. A fun day for all. 21st July - Live Music with 3+1 At Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. See advert on P.18 21st & 22nd July - 24th Festival de Peinture de Magné 79460 Starts 8am. More info on: 21st & 22nd July - English weekend in La Mothe St-Héray Full of exciting, fun activites: music quiz, full english breakfast, fish and chips, tug of war (France v England at the arboretum), market of English products, visit to the historic mill... For more information: 22nd July - 4th Annual Horse & Dog Fun Show At Centre de Beauregard, Beauregard, 86250, Asnois from 8.30am. For more details see P.15. 23rd to 28th July - de Bouche à Oreille 2012 Music festival in Parthenay. see more info on P.5. 25th July - Ceramic painting workshop At The Market, Luché sur Brioux. Please see advert on P. 27 or website: 27th July - Quiz Night At Restaurant des Canards, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.18 27th July - The start of the Olympic Games 2012 27th July - Music / Bistro Night At The Mad Hatter’s Kitchen, Caunay. See advert on P.21 28th July - Live Music with Daddy Mass At Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. See advert on P.18 29th July - Counter-Tenor, Oboe, Strings & Organ. At St Loup, 17h00. Reservation advised. See P.10 for details. 31st July - Dynamic Dean’s Quiz Night At Bar de la Poste, L’Absie, 8pm. The first of a month long series of fund raising events throughout August in aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres.

What’s Coming Up...

3rd August - 60s Night At A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon. Please see advert on P.19 for details. 7th August - Nick’s Music Quiz At Bar de la Poste, L’Absie, 8pm. In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres. 9th August - Music Night with Pete & Nick. At Bar de la Poste, L’Absie, 8pm. In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres.

A Celebration of Marriage A celebration and thanksgiving for marriage will held on Sunday July 29, 2012 at 10:30 am.  The service will be  led by the Rev’d Hazel Door. Do come and join us in this wonderful event. Our venue will be the beautiful home of John and Nikki Ingram, La Baronniere 86250 Charroux (86). A bring and share lunch will follow the service. For more information please take a look at our website or contact our office  at 05 49 97 04 21 or email Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in Deux-Sèvres Jassay The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, has a Home Group Service at Jassay  commencing at 11.00am on every 2nd Sunday in the month, it is held at the home of Ann White, they welcome everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. St Leger The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, also holds services on the 1st Sunday of each month at 10.30am at St Leger, near Melle. After each service, tea or coffee is served and an opportunity to meet other people in the area. 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. For further details about venue and services consult our website on Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in the Vendée: St Pierre du Chemin All Saints, Vendée, has a Home Group Service at St Pierre du Chemin at 11am on the first Sunday of the month.  It is held at the home of Chris and Julie Taylor.  Everyone is welcome for a time of worship and fellowship. Puy de Serre All Saints, Vendée holds two services each month, on the 2nd and 4th  Sundays at the church of St. Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am.  After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a ‘bring and share’ lunch. Other services are held in the west of the Vendée, in La Chapelle Achard and La Chapelle Palluau.  For details of these, please check the website: A VERY WARM WELCOME awaits you at ESCOVAL (The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire).   Communion Services are held on the 3rd Sunday of each month at La Chapelle de la Bonne Dame de Ranton at 11.30am followed by a Bring and Share lunch.   Full details of how to find us may be found on our website at:  or please telephone us at: 05 49 66 79 14.  Our GPS address is 46˚59'25.30 N  0˚02'06.22 W.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2012 (remaining): • Saturday 14 July.......... Bastille Day (Fête nationale) • Wednesday 15 August. Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption) • Thursday 1 November..All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint) • Sunday 11 November... Armistice Day (Jour d’Armistice 1918) • Tuesday 25 December. Christmas Day (Noël) 4


de bouche à oreille

Paperback Jan Books in English 1st July: British Day, Parthenay. 11am-5pm 3rd July: Pizzeria Resto Bar, Bressuire. 2.30pm-4.30pm 4th July: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 2pm-4.30pm 5th July: Bar Le Palais, St Aubin le Cloud. 2-5pm 5th July: Bar La Cabane de Vouhé, Vouhé. 6.30-8pm 6th July: Bar de la Paix, Thouars. 12pm-2pm 6th July: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. 4pm-6pm 7th July: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole. 10am-1pm 12th July: Pause! Cafe, L’Absie. 2pm-5pm 13th July: Jan’s home, La Ferrière-en-Parthenay. 11am-4pm 26th July: Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant. 2pm-5pm 27th July: St Martin’s Bar, Brux. 11am-2pm 31st July: Pizzeria Resto Bar, Bressuire. 2.30pm-4.30pm For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email:

Open La Vendee Chippy Traditional Fish & Chips in France!


• Wednesdays (July 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges • Thursdays (July 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th) Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent. • Fridays (July 6th, 13th, 20th & 27th) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux

Fish 4 Chip Fish, Chips & mushy peas!

For more than twenty five years, this festival has been a unique gathering for any lovers of traditional music and dance and for all the music lovers curious about music opened on the world. This 26th edition again promises you a program rich in discoveries, artistic choices, and music of very high quality. On the banks of the Thouet, right in the heart of the medieval district of Parthenay, why not let yourself go to the musical notes under the moonlight!? There will be shows for young audiences, workshops of music and dance, and the banks of the Thouet will be livened up from breakfast until dawn (free). Also some family activities, workshops, a free concert (7:00pm), dance (2:00pm and 11:30pm), sessions, and open-stage... You really need to come along to discover it all!


For more info please email:

From 23rd to 28th July 2012, Parthenay.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday

Solo Julien Barbances + Trio Safar Trio Kokass + La Bergère Trio Cet Été; L’Occidentale de Fanfare; Solo Sébastien Bertrand + Duo Brotto/Loppez


Ogres; Yeto; Duo Branthome/Quimbert; Faburden/DBDB; Mor Kreizdouar Projekt; Lau; Trio Guerbigny + Krenijenn

Open 6-8p


Mondays: Bar Tilleuls, Champniers (near Civray) Tuesdays: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square & can be eaten in local bar) Wednesdays: Chef Boutonne (near Chateau) Thursdays: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square & can be eaten in local bar) Fridays: Mansle (Car park of Simply Supermarket)

Left: Scottish trio ‘Lau’, who will be performing on Thursday.


Sources; Tir’Pouss & Cie; Bon Matin; Duo Christian Pacher/Julien Barbances; Duo Hamon/Martin + Nahas Project; La Rouzine + Kat ca-i

Tel: 06 37 53 56 20, or visit:

Reel Fish & Chips Traditional English style Fish & Chips

1st July: British Day, Parthenay. 4th July: The Canteen, Etusson. 6th July: Bar Tabac PMU, Bouille-Loretz. 18th July: The Canteen, Etusson. 20th July: Bar Tabac, Genneton. 21st July: Cafe des Sports, l’Absie.

12H00 - 14H30 18H30 - 21H00 18H30 - 21H00 18H30 - 21H00 18H00 - 21H00 18H00 - 21H00

Tel: 06 04 14 23 94, or visit:

Above: Bon Matin. Scheduled to play on Friday 27th.


Adama Akili; La Bande de Violons; Jac Lavergne; Rhizottome; ForOccitania + La Machine; Bourdin Trad Jhâze + Guests surprised

For more details of the programming and the proposed workshops, please visit the website of the festival : 5


A word of warning!

by Paul Starsmeare Hi, my name is Paul and my wife Kim & our daughter Abbie are newcomers to your lovely area. We bought a house in le Busseau last October and we have had several visits since then. On our last visit during the week of the Queen’s Jubilee, we decided to bring my disabled mother & father out to see the new property. My mother is in a wheel chair and my father can only walk with the aid of a stick. We had a few lovely days in between the weather and decided to go to the zoo in Mervent and then onto Moncoutant afterwards as it’s a very pretty village. After a good visit at the zoo we arrived at Moncoutant where both my mother and father decided to stay in the car as they were quite exhausted. We went for a wander around the village, and shortly after, three women appeared at the passenger window of the car asking for a donation to help disabled people in France. My mother proceeded to give them a donation, and we were just about to make our way back to the car when Kim heard my father shouting “My wife’s been robbed”, so I ran to the car only to find her purse had been stolen by the three forementioned women. I ran off in the direction my father had said they headed but to no avail, we later found out it was an organised ring and they had a vehicle waiting. By the time I returned my wife had gone over to the shop, La Joie de Vivre, to ask were the local police station was and the young lady came over to see if my mother was ok. We later found out Mary McWilliams was the daughter of the owners. Then what happened next I have to say is exceptional... Mary then locked up the shop and took us to the local Gendarmerie and not only that, but also insisted on staying with us to translate for my mother. We cannot thank Mary enough for her very kind actions. It is so heart warming to find people that want to help - it makes us very proud to now be a part of what seems to be a wonderful community and a beautiful part of France. Thank you very much Mary for all your help and best wishes from all the Starsmeare family. So please be aware of people asking for donations and keep your car doors locked even if you’re in the vehicle.

One of France's Best Secrets

by Nuala Ryan-Rees Are you sitting in an office in London, or New York, day dreaming about holidays, sunny days, balmy nights, gourmet food and wine? I know just the place for you to visit, the Deux Sèvres in SW France. The Deux-Sèvres is one of the little known departments of the Poitou-Charentes region. The name literally means two sevres. The Sèvre Nantaise and the Sèvre Niortaise, are two rivers which have their sources in the department. It is the next department inland from the Vendée, and below the Loire Valley. The delights of the Deux-Sèvres are relatively undiscovered, making this area of traditional rural France a real treasure to explore. If you wish to combine the pleasures of green tourism, with the exploration of cultural heritage, the Deux-Sèvres is your ideal destination. It is a place of tales and legends, colourful markets, village fetes and vineyards. Traditional architecture is very well preserved. You will find Europe's most impressive and imposing Romanesque Churches, Chateaux and museums all in the Deux-Sèvres. Above: L’orangerie, La Mothe St Héray.

During the Summer months, there are festivals and celebrations in villages and towns, leaving one spoilt for choice. Sailing, motor racing, nocturnal markets and many more. The festival of music is held in June, villages and towns reverberate with the sound of music. Sit outside, have a glass or two, and "feast" your ears on the wonderful sounds. The Deux-Sèvres is ideally situated, within striking distance of the beaches and the wine regions of Bordeaux, Cognac, Val de Loire, and Saumur. The Marais Poitevin, known as 'Green Venice', an area of 900 miles of marshes, woodland and waterways, is one of Deux-Sèvres favourite and most popular attractions.

‘The DSM’ Monthly Photograph Competition The Marais Poitevin. Photo:

WINNER! Congratulations to this month’s competition winner, Andy Walmsley, 79200 “ The River Gue in the Marais Poitevin”

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 for further details.

Life has moved at a sedate pace for centuries in this peaceful area. Take a punt trip around the marshes starting at Coulon. Here you will see irises, poplars, beeches, eels and egrets. There are 70 different bird species to be spotted. Pescalis, the first international nature and fishing centre in Europe, is definitely a place to visit for the fishing enthusiast, great angling in a quality environment. Bressuire is an old Cathederal town with an interesting history and the ruins of the 11th century castle are considered one of the best examples of feudal ruins. Puy de Fou, a theme park, is well worth a visit. The evening show 'son et lumiere' is regarded as the best sound and light show in Europe where 1000 local actors dramatise the history of the Vendée wars. Deux-Sèvres is a place to unwind, relax and recharge your batteries; lazy rivers, quiet roads leading to unexpected villages and hamlets, historic towns and of course wonderful markets. I guarantee your first holiday in this beautiful area will definitely not be your last. 6



The LitFest Saint Clémentin. 31/08-2/09 and Toutes Directions

At the festival we are showing Toutes Directions, a film made by John Hudson, set in France and accompanied by the music of Thomas Tallis. John is the director of an art centre in Gatehouse of Fleet, Scotland, and works all over the world bringing poetry alive in the community. For the festival he will be making a new installation in the wayside chapel of St Ouen. This, he promises, will be full of surprises including an invitation to join Several Souls in Search of a Light Switch. John will be launching his latest book, Earth, (Luath Publications, Edinburgh) at the festival. Another addition to our programme is Anne Darling, a photographer from Charente Maritime. Anne will be making a photo-journal of the festival starting with the preparations and including portraits of those taking part. Anne has exhibited in many locations, including Paris, and her flower photographs complement John Hudson’s bilingual text, The Garden of Love, which will be available at the festival bookshop. For further information about the festival please contact:

New Susie Kelly Title.

Local author Susie Kelly launched her new book last month, title: “Travels With Tinkerbelle, 6,000 Miles Around France In A Mechanical Wreck”. A humorous, well-told travel story as Susie travels through many unusual and unknown parts of France and gives her personal, unique perspective on each. Summary of Book: The author and her husband devised a simple plan – to take a tent and their dog and drive around the perimeter of France. Like many simple plans it went wrong before it started and they ended up with two dogs and a campervan named Tinkerbelle.   On the second day of their journey Tinkerbelle begins to self-destruct, helped by the new dog who does his best to eat her from the inside out. This is their story as they travel from sandy beaches to snow-topped mountains exploring the diverse cultures, cuisines and countryside making up the country called France. Their journey takes them to places out of the ordinary, meeting interesting characters and witnessing ancient traditions. While the dogs rejoice in the freedom they find running on the beaches, Susie and Terry spend a lot of time holding their breath, wondering whether Tinkerbelle will manage to negotiate impossible mountain routes and get them home before she completely disintegrates.


The Northern Section of the Poitou-Charantes branch of the RBL has been quite busy since our last update with two trips to Parthenay, one to St Loup-sur-Thouet and a charity Rugby match!   On the 29th April, there was the Deportation Ceremony held at the memorial in the park in Parthenay. On a very cold and rainy day, Jamie and Sally McCaw travelled up to Pathenay with the RBL Standard and paraded alongside the French standards. Due to the inclement weather the numbers of people attending this year were somewhat depleted.   Monday 7th May saw several of us, again with the RBL standard, in St Loup-sur-Thouet for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating Dr Daniel Bouchet, and also a stele on the "Roads to Freedom".  Over one hundred standards were in attendance along with two choirs, a brass band, military personnel and a large crowd of well wishers.  It was an emotional event, especially as Dr Bouchet’s family were present.  Dr Bouchet was a local leader of the resistance. His story is told on the plaque outside the Mairie and also in the Museum of the Resistance in Thouars - well worth a visit.   8th May, we were in Parthenay for the commemoration of Victory in Europe. Once again, a rainy day, but many people turned out for the event. CHARITY RUGBY MATCH On 31st May, a 35 strong rugby touring party arrived in Parthenay from YNYSYBWL Rugby Football Club from the South Wales’ valleys. The initial plan was to play a charity match against Parthenay SAP to celebrate the town Millenium, but unfortunately the party were let down at the last minute as they were unable to play the fixture. At very short notice, Bressuire Rugby Club agreed to play the match and to host the visitors. Unfortunately, this left little time to advertise and promote the match, so on Saturday 2nd June 2012, a small but very enthusiastic crowd attended the Bressuire Stadium to watch a very hard fought and entertaining match, which ended in a 0-0 draw. A presentation ceremony followed the match with a barbeque and raffle which raised 200 Euros for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. Our grateful thanks go to both teams for playing the Photo: Trevor Pearson match in such high temperatures, and to Bressuire Rugby Club for being such excellent hosts, especially at such short notice. A date for your diaries... On the 26th August, 2012, a horticultural and Craft Competition is being held at Le Grande Sauzean, 79200 Pompaire. For further information about this event please check the Royal British Legion Linazay Branch, Northern Section website: For anyone wishing to join us at future events, please check the Royal British Legion website for details. Newcomers will be made very welcome. Terri Laverick, PRO, Northern Section, Poitou Charentes Branch, RBL 7



by Rob Berry

On 6 July 2005, a bid headed by Sebastian Coe, former Olympic Champion, and the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was successful in London becoming the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games; defeating Moscow, New York City, Madrid and Paris. For the first time ever, London has become the only city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and 1948.

Above: Athlete prepares to throw a discus.

The word ‘Olympics’ is the name given to the modern revival of the ancient Games held at Olympia, Greece. Games can be traced back to 776 BC and were dedicated to religious festivals of the cult of Zeus. Their aim was to show the physical qualities and performances of young people whilst harbouring good relations between Greek cities, with an underlying emphasis on religion. The Games ran for 12 centuries until in 393 AD when Emperor Theodosius banned all such ‘Pagan Cult’ events.

Originally, the Games were a one-day event. In 684 BC they were extended to three days and in the 5th century BC were extended to five. By then, events were boxing, equestrian (chariot racing and riding), a Pentathlon of discus, javelin, high jump, running and wrestling; running and pankration (a mixture of boxing and wrestling); a far cry from the number of events of today. Eligibility to participate was basic; all ‘free’ Greek citizens regardless of status could compete, from Shepherd to General. Married women could not compete or even watch the Games, although unmarried women could attend the competition; the goddess of fertility is believed to have something to do with this! Now we see the modern Olympic Games, a festival of sport covering a plethora of events. For competitors, to be a World champion is a fantastic achievement, but to be the Olympic champion is the highest sporting accolade. Hopefully we will see many British Olympic champions following the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games on 27 July 2012. For those of you who want to follow a particular sport, this link: will guide you through the sporting schedule. On a personal note, well done to my Brother-In-Law, Greg Lawrence, and his business partner Jez Clarke (Hothouse IWG Ltd) for creating the Olympic Countdown Clock located in Trafalgar Square, London.

Olympic Countdown clock, created by Hothouse IWG Ltd. Photo:

The Nash Dash.

by Tony Rimmer 1 International B414 Tractor... 2 countries... 4 blokes and a dog!... 7 days... 12 MPH... 600 miles... £10,000 target... All for one and all for Marie Curie Cancer Care! On Saturday 30th June 2012 Tony, James, Alastair and Joshua Rimmer, complete with Scooby the dog, will depart from our home village of Wroot in North Lincolnshire for the sunnier climes of Western France...driving in turns a vintage 1964 International B414 tractor! Why, you may well be asking would 4 perfectly sane, reasonably intelligent males of no fixed hairstyles, want to spend a week of their lives driving an old tractor 600 miles to another country? A perfectly reasonable question. The idea came after reading Tony Hawks’ book about his journey around the coast of Ireland, hitchhiking with a fridge. Why not live out this (quite frankly) absurd idea for charity. Our destination is an old Farmhouse close to the village of Breuil Bernard near to the small town of Moncoutant in the department of the Deux-Sèvres, Western France. My wife, Anne, and I bought the old place a few years ago and decided in due course to emigrate and settle there. James (my eldest) made the democratic decision that to successfully make the transition and settle in Breuil Bernard I would need an old tractor. Some men take up golf, some men take up fishing, apparently I am taking up old tractors! The event is set to commence on Saturday 30th June in harness with Marie Curie Cancer Care. Why Marie Curie? Well, cancer has no geographical boundaries and does not stop at the English Channel. Earlier this year our French friends Alain and Monique Fievre lost a member of their family to cancer, whilst over in England my sons have recently lost their Uncle Brian and Anne’s sister-in-law is desperately fighting the ravages of liver cancer. We also lost a family friend Kevin, to this horrendous disease. Sadly the problem is around us all. So, if we intrepid four can help in some small way to highlight the profile of Marie Curie Cancer Care, and raise some cash in the process to help fund their work, whilst doing something as barmy as driving an old tractor at the princely speed of 12mph, then why not. To find out more about the ‘Nash Dash’, which route the foursome will be taking, and to make a donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care, please visit the website: or Facebook page ‘The-Nash-Dash’.

photo: Michael Jackson


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY by Caroline Auckland

One of the many good things about France we have found, is the excellent health service. “When would you like your appointment with the consultant?” is an encouraging question when you are unwell. I have spent some time in the French hospital system, mainly the University Hospital, Poitiers (CHU-Poitiers), and thought that I could give some outlines of what to expect should you need to make such a visit, based on my experiences. The first thing I recommend is to buy a French – English Medical Dictionary. Even if your French is good, it helps to have the more technical words ready at hand. It also helps the medical staff as they can look up any tricky English words when explaining procedures etc. to you. I buy my books on Amazon and find the service very good. If you are having an operation, you will probably have appointments with the surgeon and then with the anaesthetist before your hospitalisation date. You will need to have completed a form about your general health to either take with you or post back to them depending on how much time is involved. If you are staying overnight at the hospital, you may be asked if you want a single room or a double. This is a personal choice, but I have found that I prefer a shared room as it’s nice to have someone to chat to (they are same sex rooms!). The shared rooms have two beds and a bathroom with loo and hand basin. The beds are numbered by the room door number and either F (fenêtre) or P (port) to designate which bed in a shared room. Separate towel rails and shelves in the bathroom are also marked F or P. You are provided with hand towels and face cloth, and you will have a serviette on your table. There are no privacy curtains around the beds, but the person not being examined simply concentrates on sleeping or their book, tv, or whatever, and I have never felt embarrassed. On the day that you check in, you need to arrive early and will initially be sent to the admissions office for your ward. This is not on the ward but in the admin. area, so you need time to go there, possibly queue, and then get to your ‘ward’. Here you will need your carte vital + medical insurance details. From there, you go to check into your ward. The beds have individual televisions and telephones, and access needs to be organised when you check in. The hospital Relais-H (shop) is in the entrance area and you pay there for television and/or telephone for your room on a daily rate. On your first visit you will also have to buy the earphone set (approx. 2,50€) which you can then keep and re-use if you have future hospitalisations. This is easiest done if you have someone with you who can pop down to organise it once you have been given your room number (+ F or P). Otherwise you can pay when you arrive and then phone down to the shop to give them your room number once you are settled. I have found that there’s a lot of waiting around in hospital, so I take several books plus organise the television! There is no problem having your mobile phone with you, used with discretion of course! Food: Bringing food in with you is frowned upon, as diet can be part of your treatment. This is France though, so food is important – remember you are supplied with a fabric serviette! Breakfast is normally a bowl of coffee (possibly chocolate, but I don’t know) and biscottes, butter and jam, if you want it. Lunch and dinner are 4 small-course meals, and so personally I found that if I didn’t like one of the courses, there was something else I liked to eat. If you are in hospital for more than a day, you will be asked your choices for the next day’s menus. I also found that as the meals are heated up by microwave on the ‘ward’, if you miss a meal due to an examination,

the nurses will bring your meal to you once you return. I found the food to be most acceptable. There are generally no hot drinks, except at breakfast, although sometimes if the staff are not too busy they will ask if you want a coffee, but you always have a jug of water. I always take my medication with me. Always take a current prescription from your G.P. if you are on any medication, for the hospital doctors.

Hospital Visits...

I truly hope that you never need the advice written here, but if you do – “bon courage!”

A few useful words: Corridor - Couloir Your G.P - Medecin de traitment M.R.I. scan – I.R.M. X-Ray – radiographie (radio) Swell up – gonfler Breathe – respirer Blood test / sample – prise de sang Blood pressure (to take) – prendre la tension  Urine sample – prélèvement d’urine 

YOUR Book Reviews... It’s always great to hear recommendations of a good read. A big thank you to Judith Meads for sharing this book with us...

‘Sing You Home’ by Jodi Picoult Published by Hodder 2011.

Jodi Picoult’s books always set you thinking and this one is no exception. The moral dilemmas she tackles are always thought provoking and impressions linger long after the book is finished. Although I have read many of her books and enjoyed her writing style and subject matter, this book was a big surprise. Reading the resume on the back before I chose to buy it, in no way prepared me for what was to come. Would I still have bought it if I had known more of the story? I think probably not, but it would have been my loss. The impassioned, desperate yearning for a family by the main character makes a very emotive story. But when prejudice and fanatical religion feature strongly as well, it makes a very compelling read. This book challenged my long held views about the subject matter. To say more might spoil it for you. But I do recommend it ….it’s a jolly good read!

We would love to show more of YOUR Book Reviews. If you would like to share one with us, please send it on an email to: 9


Faux Amis / False Friends

by Sue Burgess

A lot of misunderstandings can be caused by the wrongful use of words which look as though they mean something that in fact they do not mean. False friends (faux amis) are pairs of words or phrases that look or sound similar, but differ in meaning.

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire actuel............................................ present, current un agenda...................................

a diary

assister (à quelque chose)............ to attend something brave............................................ fine, splendid (of people)

Take for example the French word actuellement it may look like the English word “actually” but in fact it means “at the present time”. The English word “actually” is translated by en fait.

un car........................................... a coach, bus

If the French language borrowed a word from English or vice versa, or both borrowed the word from a third language or inherited it from a common ancestor, and then later the word shifted in meaning or acquired additional meanings, we will face a false friend when learning the other language.

formidable.................................... great/wonderful

The word “preservative” (English), préservatif (French) are both derived from Latin. In all the European languages which use this word except for English, the meaning is “condom”. In English of course the meaning is totally different. “Demand” in English and demande in French represent a particularly treacherous false friend since the words have different shaded meanings. The French word simply means “request” and not a forceful requirement. Several historical misunderstandings have resulted from this. “Normal” in French implies technical conformance to standards. It means “It is as it is supposed to be” but in English “normal” implies conformance to social norms. L'Ecole Normale was a place where people received standardised training in how to teach (a teacher training college). It was not an institution where social deviants learned to behave normally. Assister (French) means to be present at or to attend. The English “to assist” is translated by aider. The French attendre means to wait for or to expect. A librairie is a book shop. A “library” is a bibliothèque.

un cave......................................... a cellar éventuel........................................ possible, future ignorer.......................................... not to know injurier.......................................... to insult une issue....................................... a way out, exit la location..................................... renting, hire mince............................................ thin, slim un pet........................................... a fart un préservatif............................... a condom/sheath une prune..................................... a plum résumer........................................ to summarise un stage.......................................

a (training) course

un store........................................ a blind, shutter user.............................................. to wear out une veste.....................................

a jacket

Counter-Tenor, Oboe, Strings &Organ

Some errors can be embarrassing - if you were to describe someone as “versatile” in English it would usually be taken as a compliment. In French, however, the word is reserved for someone you regard as changeable or fickle, and have reason to distrust. And what about the British tourist who checked into the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) for a room for the night ?

Damien Guillon, counter-tenor Marcel Ponseele, oboe Stéphanie Paulet, violin Claire Gratton, cello Maude Gratton, harpsichord and organ

Sunday 29 July at 17.00

The musicians of the "Il Convito" ensemble have already played in Saint-Loup back in October 2010. This time they are appearing with Damien Guillon, counter-tenor to teach their art during the second Academy of Ancient Music which will be held in St Loup from the 29 July to the 5 August.

‘The Deux-Sevres Monthly’ magazine. Visit our website:

For the opening concert Marcel Ponseele (not featured in the photo), an oboe player of international renown, will be their guest of honour. All these musicians play in some of the best known ensembles directed by the greatest conductors (Philippe Herreweghe, William Christie, Vincent Dumestre, Claude Malgloire...). It will be an exceptional concert. Tickets: 12 €. Reservation advised: 05 49 70 81 92 10


Hobbies, Clubs & Associations... CRAFT CAFE CREATIF

The Filling Station Poitou-Charentes On Thursday July 12th 2012, we are meeting at The Little Stone Church, 14b Avenue de d’Hôtel de Ville. 79110 Chef Boutonne. Rev Richard Fothergill will be speaking on 'Does God heal today?’. 3pm Workshop & 7pm Worship Celebration If you are planning to stay for both events please bring a picnic tea. Drinks and cakes will be available before the evening meeting. The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal & evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME Interested to find out more …please view the website: or locally contact  Mr Mike Willis 05 49 87 89 16, email:

You speak french (un peu), I speak english (a little bit), why don't we meet up to improve each language? One hour per week could be good timing, by phone or for coffee mornings. I'm retired, living in Niort. Please call at 06 73 70 14 21 or send email for more details:

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 or contact Maureen Dalby 05 49 29 94 50. The name of our group comes from the fact that St Coutant is on the Greenwich Meridian!

If you enjoy sewing, knitting, crochet or any crafts, you are invited to bring along your current project to our venue in L’Absie and join a like-minded group of women, for friendship and to exchange ideas over a cup of tea. For further information contact:

Les Jardiniers du Poitou (Gardening club) The next meeting is on 26th July at the Salle de Fetes in Verruyes at 2.00PM. Please feel  free  to  come  and  join  us! Any Surfers out there that fancy sharing costs when surf’s up? Moncoutant / Bressuire / Largeasse area. Please call Rysz: 06 42 35 97 11


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 Sauzé Vaussais, Civray, Confolens and more recently L'Absie where we have started meeting again. Why not join us? More details from Nigel 02 51 51 48 13.

Interlude16. An association offering ‘Leisure & Culture for all’. Lots of regular events organised. Please see website for July’s program and more information.

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

Franglais Thouars The Thouars  ‘Franglais’  group,  (a  member  of  l’  Association  du  Centre   Socio-­‐Cultural   de   la   Communauté   de   Communes   du   Thouarsais)     meets  every  Wednesday  from  19.30h  to  21.00h,  in  the  Association’s   centre  at   7  rue  Anne  Desrays,  Thouars,  for   conversation  in  English   and   French.   ‘Franglais’   provides   an   opportunity   for   friendly   conversation,   to   form   friendships,   and   to   improve   mutual   understandings  of  different  cultures. We  welcome  those  of  all  nationalities  who  would  like  to  participate. Either  come  along  to  see  us  one  evening,  or  contact  us  at: Mobile:    06  52  21  92  34  ~  Email:

The Harmonics based in the Salle d'Annexe

behind the mairie in Civray are looking for singers. We meet each wednesday from 2.00 pm to 4.00pm. No experience necessary just a willingness and commitment to learn. We sing all sorts of music, from stage and screen, gospel, classical, country songs, madrigals and in several languages, whatever the music dictates. We support charities by donations or by participating in their events by singing for them and each year we hold our own annual concert. We are a small and friendly group who would love to meet you.   Contact: Dolly Ait Boualou:05 45 22 89 32,email Margaret Gomersall:05 49 48 09 02, email: 11


Take a Break...

Across: 1. In spite of things, is always the more inverted? (12) 7. See sign rewritten to show a beginning of a kind (7) 9. These airy passages are left after organisation of space (5) 10. That’s just rubbish, mate! (4) 11. Pommie rugby union gathering in large department store (8) 12. Way of doing things talked of in the big house? (6) 14. Directions given before talks produce written works (6) 17. Be successful in love and end up with wartime worker? (4,4) 19 Enemy, among others, goes after a feature of building work (4) 22. Devil fits in beside monsters and ghouls (5) 23. One who pairs up with dancer to pull when in season (7) 24. Chastened and reformed for traditional, comic performance on beach or stage? (3,4,5)

Down: DSM Easy Crossword! 1. Young sheep (4) 2. Black eye (6) 3. Sad (7) 4. Jewish republic at the eastern end of the Mediterranean (6) 5. Flavoured relish or dressing served with food (5) 6. Painful joint injury (6)) 7. Sporting festival held every 4 years (8) 12. Explosion in the atmosphere (8) 14. A fund of money put by as a reserve (7) 16. Area at or near the north pole (6) 18. Colours flown by a ship to show it’s nationality (6) 19. Advance, incroachment or intrusion (6) 20. A gradual depletion of energy or resources (5) 23. A secret look (4)

Down: Toughie Crossword! 1. The hours of darkness can be a disturbing thing (5) 2. Messing about on vines is a kind of game (7) 3. Taking time off conviction can lead to a form of decay (4) 4. Lies about non-governmental organisation are in familiar languages (7) 5. Raw material of his amalgamation with us (5) 6. “May a thousand fleas mingle and bring forth tongues of fire!” (6) 8. Only a part, but could be said to be the total? (4) 12. My inclusion of inverted benefit is tuneful (6) 13. Gin seen to be a solution for driving forces (7) 15. A suitable blend of fair can make one appear continental (7) 16. Hold tight to a hold-all? (4) 18. An immature form of beauty? (5) 20. Clothes, for example, produced, when right in the middle of a broken shoe? (5) 21. It is said the group should be outlawed (4)

Sudoku Corner...



With thanks to M.Morris

Please see website: for answers

Across: 8. Anaemic, gray or pale looking (5) 9. Surgical knife (7) 10. Neckerchief (7) 11. Something believed to bring good luck (5) 12. Quickly and without warning (8) 13. Not in favour of (4) 15. Measure of paper (4) 17. The art of making and decorating pottery (8) 21. Bring upon oneself (5) 22.Rider’s foot support (7) 24. The act of taking or grasping suddenly (7) 25. Vine fruit (5)



Health, Beauty & Fitness... Adam’s Cycling Challenge COMPLETE!




At roughly 12pm, Saturday 16th June, Adam Skeet completed his cycling challenge...a solo cycle of the circumference of France for Macmillan Cancer Support. Adam writes, “I had been on the road for 77 days and ridden 5981.6km. I had hard times and even the best times, but well, I could only share them with myself. I rode alone, in memory of my Grandparents and for Macmillan Cancer Support. I rode unsupported, but mentally these things constantly kept me turning the pedals. I've had incredible support from family and friends back home and have also met some brilliant people, of many nationalities whilst travelling. I never got off my bike and walked and my tent and cooker were tirelessly used. Every experience and stranger I met added to the adventure, I tried to take positives from everything. Although happy to see loved ones, I didn't finish with relief that the adventure itself was over. It won't be the last. If I wanted to, I could wholeheartedly reel off cliché after cliché; it was the best thing I've ever done, I had the time of my life, I loved every minute of it, etc. Truly it was, but I'm most proud of having dreamt up a challenge and seeing it through from start to finish. I went out and did it. What's stopping you?” Above: Adam having just fi n i s h e d h i s To u r d e France. Left: Adam with his proud parents.

To read more about Adam’s challenge, take a look at his blog: and you can donate to Macmillan Cancer Support by using the justgiving link: UTdlF.

No weekly yoga class for July and August. Classes will resume in September. Thanks to all who attended for the year. On Saturday  7th  July,  15h00  -­‐  18h00  there   will  be   a   stage   du  yoga  at   my  home,  la  chalantonniere,  79240,  Largeasse.  (Route  du  pugny.)   Please  call   for  a  place  05  49  65  16  33  or   06  42   35  97  11.    This  class  is   for  all  levels  and  will   cover  postures,  breathing,  medita\on   and  deep   relaxa\on. Rysz DOR-VINCENT.    Satyananda  Yoga 13


Our Furry Friends... APPEAL

! Meet TINO

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:

Equine Rescue France

We are always looking for new members and we are in need of donations so we may continue to help equines in France. Please support the ERF. Please contact the Equine Rescue on Tel: 05 49 48 27 91 or visit our website

MAYDAY MES AMIS Mayday Mes Amis has been formed to help animals in need in l'Absie and the surrounding area. For more information please email:

Just for Fun... “Kitty and the visiting hen. The neighbour's hen is a regular visitor to the garden”.

On June 8th, this magnificent dog was saved by the skin of his teeth and a little luck. He was brought into Hope’s local vets in Brioux to be put to sleep because his owner was going into Retirement Home. The man had previously tried to give the dog away to a hunter but it was frightened by the loud bangs. Fortunately for Tino the vet could not bear to see such a lovely dog destroyed. Tino is only 10 years old and very fit and healthy. So it was after a couple of phone calls that we picked him up, had him vaccinated and checked over immediately, and now he safely sleeps in our local kennels. We have had Tino microchipped and sterilized, but what is the future for a dog like this? He is so affectionate and would make someone a fantastic companion. We saved Tino but we need someone to come forward to foster or adopt him. There is a lot of life left in him and with your help he can start enjoying it. Please contact Siobain on 05 49 27 26 20 or email your details to

Thank You ! The Hope Association would like to thank everyone who came to Clussais la Pommeraie and supported us at our Book Sale. Through the support of the public and the many Hope Volunteers who worked so hard, we raised a record breaking amount.  The money raised will enable us to continue helping abandoned and abused animals in need. Please note that our next Book Sale event will take place again at the Salle des Fetes, at Clussais on the 5th, 6th &  7th October. Don't forget to make a note in your diaries!

Sue Burgess, La Chapelle Thireui

Our adorable furry friends... Please send us your pictures and any comments to be featured here...just for fun. Send your entry via email to: 14

Adopt with confidence

by Nigel Franks

I had an amusing experience a few weeks ago: an old lady was moving into a ‘maison de retraite’ and couldn't take her pets. So I went round to pick up a “black, male kitten who's put on a bit of weight recently”. One glance was enough for me to realise that I was experiencing a real life “Specsavers” moment.” He was black, that was true. “He” was also a mature “she” whose weight gain was going to disappear rapidly in the next few days as she was heavily pregnant! Sure enough, three days later, Julia the cat, formerly known as Jules, gave birth to 4 kittens which was perfect timing. Another association had a new born kitten, Isabelle, that needed to be bottle fed, but the lady who was doing it had to go away for a few days, so they asked us if we could find someone to take over the task. We decided to see if Julia was up for it. So one evening I brought Isabelle to Julia's foster family. I was a bit nervous as we couldn't be sure how Julia would react: would she accept Isabelle or would she reject her? With the foster family hovering anxiously over my shoulder, I stroked Julia for a moment or two and then stroked Isabelle to transfer Julia's scent to her before putting her down next to Julia. Julia didn't bat an eyelid and within seconds Isabelle had made herself comfortable and was suckling away. There wasn't a dry eye in the house.

4th Annual Horse and Dog Fun Day Sunday 22nd July at Beauregard, Asnois (dept 86). by Jackie Tampen Enjoy a lovely day out for all the family, even if you don’t have a horse or dog. Enjoy a cup of tea with homemade cake, or a burger and a beer and hopefully weather permitting a lovely homemade ice-cream whilst you spectate. There are more country craft stalls this year for you to wander around selling gifts, jewellery, books, plants, a saddler offering on-the-spot repairs and too much more to list! Not only are there horses and ponies of all shapes and sizes turned out beautifully, but dogs galore of every variety to cause delight and the puppy class for the cute factor and much amusement. Power Paws will be giving a display with her dogs doing agility/tricks, guaranteed to be entertaining. Darren of Vienne Tree services will be showing his skills with his chain saw and a lump of wood in the main ring this year, come along and see what he creates. We have a horse driving class again this year and if last year is anything to go by, it is sure to be a stunning turnout. Then of course there is the miniature ponies and in addition to last years classes, this year there is a working hunter class.

That was a few weeks ago and all but one of the kittens have been adopted for the princely sum of €55. You may be surprised that people are prepared to pay for a kitten, when there are many adverts on the “boncoin” for kittens that are being given away for free. So why do people pay to adopt an animal from an association? One pragmatic reason is that it works out cheaper. For that €55 you get a kitten that has been identified, vaccinated and will have had a check-up by a vet. It will also have been treated against fleas, ticks and worms. If you had all that done on a “free” kitten it would cost you a lot more. Another reason is that you get a better behaved kitten. We're not in a desperate hurry to place the kittens as soon as they're weaned: we prefer to leave them with their mother a bit longer so that she can teach them some manners and how to be careful with their claws and teeth. Last but not least, if it doesn't work out between the new family and the animal, and that doesn't happen very often as we carefully choose our adopting families, there is always a way back. If, within a month, things don't go well then we'll take the animal back to it’s foster home. After a month, we're still prepared to take the animal back, but it may have to stay with it's new owner for a while until a foster family becomes available. In other words: when you adopt with associations like NALA 85480 you can adopt with confidence!

Above: Tigre now 8 weeks old at the vet's ready for his chip and vaccination.

PS. Julia the mum (who is very affectionate and loves being cuddled) and Tigre, one of the kittens, are still available for adoption as I write this. Nos Amis Les Animaux 85480 (NALA 85480). Tel: 06 48 68 40 37 Email:

All good pony shows should finish with the fancy dress event and this years fun day is no exception. The longsuffering ponies enjoy the fun, dressed up with beaming proud children on board in colourful outfits. Each year the costumes get more and more elaborate, well done all you mums! The judges certainly have their work cut out each year in trying to decide on a winner for each class, not an enviable task. Information for this and other events is available at

Contact ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Telephone: 05 49 70 26 21 or email: 15

The Great Outdoors... grow in a outdoor environment seem to produce meat that is full of flavour. A happy pig is a tasty pig. Sadly one of our old pet goats Scraggy Aggie died of old age which left our other goat very lonely. By chance we had a call from someone who had also lost one of their old goats, so the two have now been homed together. A happy ending to a sad tale.

Life on the Farm...

by Peter& Jenny Sebborn. Welcome back to Life on the farm. All the sheep are now sheared, a little scruffy but happy that all their fleece is gone now the weather is warmer. Beavis our Suffolk cross ram was a cause for concern as he is a big lad and very strong. However, after an initial reluctance to walk into the shed, he stood, quite relaxed while we relieved him of his winter overcoat. Once back outside he was strutting his stuff showing his girls what a fine figure of a ram he is underneath the big woolly blanket he had been wearing. Shearing time is also a good opportunity to carry out our regular checks and trim the feet of the sheep and worm them to prevent parasites. It’s amazing the effect a worm infestation can have on the growth rate and general well being of an animal. I know I’ve said this before but we have definitely finished bottle feeding - well... for this year anyway and all the lambs are growing well thanks to the rich grass. So far the grass has been good and we hope to be able to cut our own to make hay to feed the sheep over winter. We prefer to grow as much food for both ourselves and for the animals as we can. This year we have decided to plant fodder beet for the first time as a food supplement for the pigs for the winter. During the summer they get all the excess fruit and vegetables from the garden. The fruit trees however are looking a bit bare of fruit because all the rain washed the blossom straight off the trees. We have had lamb updates and photos in the post of some of the live lambs we have sold earlier this year. We reluctantly sold Bentley, one of the tamest lambs I have ever known. He is so loving and we are glad we found him a forever home. We are glad of some sunshine after all that rain but not happy about all those weeds in the veggie plot! After a lot of weeding we are now harvesting delicious broad beans, the best we have ever had, and a mountain of strawberries. So far we have made jam, ice cream, couli and pavlova and that is just todays picking. It won’t be long before the peas, potatoes, onions and garlic are ready. Then we brace ourselves for the glut of courgettes - the pigs will be pleased! Bianca the Bantam chicken has hatched her ducklings. The proud mum was a little shocked when they sat in the water bowl but has accepted her strange new offspring. To join the pigs we have 2 Gloucestershire Old Spot cross Saddleback piglets called Hamish and Hamlet, and we will soon be taking delivery of another 3 Gloucestershire Old Spot cross large black piglets. We just love the flavour of the meat from the rare breed GOS, known as the orchard pig, which produces top quality meat for all purposes... pork chops, roasting joints with crackling, bacon and sausages. The delicious meat is very much in demand as it’s full of flavour and melts in your mouth. Pigs that are allowed to

The final additions this month are 9 ducklings hatched in the incubator and all doing well. You may think that we only ever add to our animal stock, but last week we addressed the balance with pigs, chickens and guinea fowl going to the Abattoir. We also said ‘Au revoir’ to Henry the boar. He hasn’t managed to get Stinky pregnant so has been returned to our friends. His future has not yet been decided, but I get the feeling he is set for a long retirement. Perhaps retirement is the wrong word as it infers that he actually did something to retire from! Off now for more weeding and grass cutting in between the rain showers. Please join us again next month for more Life on the farm. Peter & Jenny Sebborn. Breeders of pigs, lambs and poultry. La Gauteliere, 79220, Pamplie. Tel: 05 49 28 38 57.

Abeilles (Bees)

by Tania Dominey

Thank you to everyone who has telephoned for information or for us to collect a swarm in the last two months, we are very happy to help. We had a telephone call from someone only 5km away from us with a swarm in the eaves of their roof. So Mike (my husband) and Keenan (my son) went to see if it was possible to retrieve them. The owner of the house was very helpful and put up scaffold so Mike could get up to them. He removed some roof tiles to disturb the Queen, hoping that they would swarm again. A few days later the owner telephoned us to say that the swarm had moved into a tree in their garden only a metre high. I went with Mike this time to see if we could get the swarm and I was fascinated because I had never seen one before. Mike just shook the branch of the tree and about 20,000 bees dropped into the Ruchette. We left it there overnight as they go to bed at dusk, and the owner shut them in and Mike collected them early the next morning. He has now put them with our other hives and in two weeks they are nearly ready to move into a bigger hive (Ruche). We were very surprised with our Colza (Rapeseed oil) harvest. We had the same amount as last year - 35 kilos. The hive that Mike started with a new Queen is getting bigger, but we are not likely to get any honey from this hive this year. The hive that was split 2 months ago, has been moved from a Ruchette to a Ruche because the colony had grown too big. If we do get any honey from this one it will be a bonus. The bees are very busy filling the ‘Supers’ up with spring honey and just before the sunflowers start to flower we have to remove the supers to harvest the spring honey. I am glad that Mike got into bees because they are so fascinating. Our contact details:Dominey family, 05 49 07 79 78 / 06 69 67 67 06 or email: 16

The Amateur Gardener

by Vanda Lawrence Summer is here! Is it? I hear you ask - it's certainly been a strange year so far, weatherwise. One good thing to have come out of all the humidity is our Bamboo. It has made tremendous rapid growth which has really thickened it up nicely. In the flower garden we can continue to cut back early flowering plants, dead-head others where necessary and remove dead flowers from the Paeonies which have given us such a wonderful show. Dahlias will come into their own now, so continue tying young stems to their stakes and remove side buds if you wish to obtain longer stems and bigger, single flowers for the flower vase. Feed fortnightly. Border carnations can be propogated by layering. After about 6 weeks you can sever from the parent plants and about a month later they can be transferred to pots or planted out separately. They certainly make a lovely show at the front of the flower border.

Above: Paeony â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Bowl of Beautyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;.

The fruit garden is coming into its own now too. A busy time, thinning apples and pears and training in new shoots on blackberry, raspberry etc. Pick blackcurrants then prune the bushes. Support heavily-laden plum trees and prune after picking. Pick raspberries and cut down canes which have finished fruiting (NB some varieties fruit for a 2nd time later in the year so don't cut these down). Keep the strawberry bed tidy and discard those plants which have cropped 3 times - they have done their best for you and it's time to replace them now. In the vegetable garden you will begin cropping artichokes now, also early-sown beetroot, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumber, courgettes, haricot verts, parsnips, peppers, tomatoes - goodness me! there is hardly time to sit down for a well-earned rest. As a last thought for this month: before long we shall be worrying about drought conditions so keep an eye on the situation in your area by checking on-line: where you can select your Department and Commune for up-to-date water information. See you next month......


French Life, Food & Drink... We had a dream....

We have always wanted to move to France. We have holidayed here with our family over the past 20 years and had always found the people welcoming (especially if you made an effort with the language), the food and wine delicious, and the way of life laid back and relaxing. Over Christmas 2009 we visited Vouvant, a walled city of historic interest and also one of the prettiest villages in the whole of France. We looked at houses, businesses, and wrecks but could find nothing that suited our tastes. We were chatting to the cafe’s former owner and his wife about our search for the perfect property when he suggested that we might like to buy the cafe from them – a dream was about to be fulfilled! Three months later we had signed the Compromis de Vente and on May 9th we became the proud owners of the Cafe Cour du Miracle. We could not have been happier! Here we are today – two “and a bit” years later – just as happy and extremely proud of what we have achieved. The cafe has a Facebook page, a website and a mention on Trip Adviser. We have a loyal holiday clientele who visit whenever they are in the area and a very loyal local clientele who pop along each week for a chat, drink, meal or to join in our monthly quiz or speciality evenings. The cafe has a full Category 4 licence enabling us to sell spirits and beers, including 3 draught beers and specialities like Leffe Ruby and we have developed a tried and tested (by us!) extensive wine list. Our menu consists of homemade goodies such as pies, quiches and savoury tarts, along with sandwiches, toasties, omelettes, burgers and salads. We have a menu change in the winter when we also offer curries, chilli and jacket potatoes. All our produce is local and homemade so you know you are getting the best. We also make a large selection of cakes including Victoria Sandwich, Lemon and Orange sponge cake and Carrot cake, and we take orders too so if you need one for your special occasion just ask. Come along and see us – we are open from 11am each day except Tuesday until 7pm, with late evening opening until 10pm. Hope to see you in the Cafe soon!

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Vive la Difference

by Gilly Hunt I do not know about anyone else, but I really do feel that this year is passing us by very quickly, and we are supposedly living the relaxed life in rural France! I think it is because we have just been so busy looking after the garden, preparing the house for summer visitors and of course finding the time to visit all of the wonderful events that are on throughout the Deux-Sèvres. Some weekends it is difficult to know where to go, try something new, or go to the same event as last year? Last month I mentioned the Highland Games at Bressuire. Well I am delighted to report that they certainly did not disappoint – I had a lovely afternoon soaking up the music and watching live dancing and of course lots of burly men hurl huge weights around! One Saturday morning we had a phone call, from a friend whose son plays rugby at Bressuire, to say that there was a match that evening between Wales and Bressuire. Well, having a Welsh husband any other plans for the evening were literally “kicked into touch” (excuse the rugby pun). We arrived at Bressuire Rugby Club at 17.00 and sure enough there was a match between a “team from Wales” and Bressuire. The match itself was exciting, with lots of excellent game play, but despite a few penalties and hard run attempts at a try, the final score was 0 – 0. But the camaraderie in the bar afterwards was certainly a great ending to a couple of hours of great live sport and the look on the barman’s face when he was asked for 20 pints of lager was a picture. It was also the first time I had ever seen adverts for “pitchers of Rosé” for sale in a Rugby Club!

Readers’ Restaurant Reviews. Thanks to Ron & Dot Biggs for this month’s restaurant recommendation... A La Bonne Vie, 2 Rue de la Panique, 79130, Le Beugnon. My Wife and I have just had the most rewarding time at "A La Bonne Vie" Restaurant at Le Beugnon, The food was excellent and the hosts and staff so friendly and obliging. My wife has been very ill recently and they did everything that they could  to make her feel comfortable and welcome. I can't thank them enough and have no reservation in recommending their restaurant. Long may they continue.

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

Sport is certainly something which gave me my first insight into the French way of life. When I first arrived my son and daughter were living here, and my daughter who plays football was eager to find a local team. This we did at Airvault. At the end of the very first training session the whole family was invited for drinks and cake at the Manager’s house – we never looked back and very quickly were immersed in the activities of the team and meeting new people. Visitors did comment how lovely it was to go and watch my daughter play football and be kissed by her entire team prior to the game, something that would never happen in the UK. Despite the fact that my daughter has now returned to the UK, the welcome we receive at the football club remains. Remember to look out for your local celebrations for the 14th July as there is sure to be a firework display somewhere near you. Now firework displays are something that the French really do very well, so do not miss out. We will be at St Loup Lamaire on the 13th July and Airvault on the 14th July – hope to see you there. Vive la Difference.


French Village Diaries

by Jacqueline Brown.

Living in a small French village is an old French couple who I think hold the key to a long and happy marriage and a long and healthy life and I am going to share their secret with you. M & Mme B, my neighbours, are both in their seventies and last year quietly celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. He may be a little wobblier than when we arrived nearly 8 years ago, but he still makes it to his potager by bike and spends most of his weekend tending his vegetables. She regularly goes cycling for an hour or two at a time, (still using the bike her Mother bought for her when she was 18) retracing her childhood steps in the woods and fields around the village. She has some great stories to tell of what they used to get up to and how life was very different then. I will always be thankful to Mme B for taking the time to chat with me, slowly at first and with lots of hand explaining going on, but she didn’t give up, despite the confused looks I must have given her over the years. A good chat and a gossip is now one of the highlights of my week, nothing that goes on in the village escapes her! I know their life hasn’t been easy, post war village life was very hard, they wanted a family but it never happened and they have had to face some health issues, but they are still together. Time spent exercising outdoors is still important to them and they still laugh and joke together – he is a very funny man although most of his humour is still a little lost on me, but I do understand when she tells him off for winding me up! The secret, I am sure, is to be found at their simple kitchen table every Sunday lunchtime, a ritual more sacred than roast beef and Yorkshire puddings. Their secret is oysters. Every Sunday they are up much earlier than we are, to drive to the local market to buy fresh oysters, always from the same vendor. These, along with mussels when in season, are served raw with homemade parsley and shallot vinaigrette and some bread. I am sure there are other factors that have kept them together, happy and healthy over the years (possibly including not having children and growing their own vegetables), but I like to think it has a lot to do with the oysters and not just because of their famed aphrodisiacal effects. They are also an excellent source of zinc, iron, calcium, selenium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12 and are very low in calories. I want to be cycling the lanes around the village with my husband when we are in our seventies, so oysters it is. After all what could be nicer on a hot summers day than sharing a plate of oysters and a glass of wine sat next to the love of your life?


Helen Wright has sent us another of her favourite recipes for our Favourite Recipe Book – Rainbow Eggs. It makes for an unusual and tasty entrée. Ingredients: • 6 eggs • Mayonnaise • Tomato purée • Basil • Seasoning • Anchovies • Parsley • Mango chutney • Curry powder Method: Boil eggs for ten minutes, then put into cold water to cool. Shell eggs and cut each egg in half, removing yolks. Mash yolks together with mayonnaise and divide into three. Add to one of the yolks the tomato purée, basil and seasoning. To the second lot, the anchovies and parsley and to the third lot the mango chutney, curry powder, salt and pepper. Put mixtures back into the whites so that four people have three half eggs with different fillings. We will shortly be putting together our Favourite Recipe Book so if you have a favourite recipe of your own, don’t delay, please sent it by e-mail marked “recipe” to

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July’s Recipes...

by Mark Addy

Roasted Vine Tomato Soup Serves 4. Ingredients: •150ml olive oil •1 roughly chopped medium sized onion •3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced •1kg overly ripe vine tomatoes •150g sundried tomatoes in oil •3 large sprigs fresh basil •3 sprigs fresh thyme •1 tbsp tomato purée •500ml vegetable stock •Balsamic vinegar

• Worcester Sauce • Sea salt & ground pepper. • Frozen cubes of olive oil & basil leaves (prepare earlier using ice-cube trays) Method: 1. Preheat the oven to 220˚C or Gas 9 2. Heat a large roasting tin in the very hot oven for 4-5 mins. 3. Pour the olive oil into the tin and add onion, garlic and whole tomatoes (removed from the vine). 4. Roast for approx. 15 mins. 5. Stir in the sun dried tomatoes with their oil and herbs. 6. Roast for a further 10 mins, then mix in the tomato puree with a wooden spoon before returning back to the oven for a final 10 mins. (At this point don’t worry if the tomato skins have turned black). 7. Remove from the oven and add approx. 1 tbsp Worcester Sauce and 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar. 8. Cover with tin foil and leave to rest/infuse for 1-2 hours. 9. Blend the cooled mixture until smooth then add the vegetable stock and taste. 10. Finally, push the liquid through a fine sieve into a bowl and check seasoning. Serve with 1 or 2 olive oil/basil ice cubes. Can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days. Vanilla Panna Cotta Serves 4. Ingredients: • 1 1/2 leaves gelatine • 330ml crème fleurette • 3 tbsp full fat milk • 55g caster sugar • 1 1/2 vanilla pods (or 1 tspn vanilla essence) • 2 tbsp Malibu or Grand Marnier Method:1. Soak leaves of gelatine in a bowl of cold water for approx 10 minutes until soft. 2. Split vanilla pods lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Add these and the pods themselves into a pan. 3. Add cream, milk and sugar and bring to simmering point. 4. Remove from the heat and add either the Malibu or Grand Marnier. 5. Take the gelatine and squeeze out any excess water. Drop into the cream mixture and whisk until dissolved. 6. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a jug. Then stand the jug in a bowl surrounded by iced water. 7. Stir the cream mixture until it starts to thicken. (At this point it may be necessary to refresh the iced water). 8. When the mixture is to the consistency of crème fleurette, pour into ramequins and put into the fridge for 2-3 hours to set. 9. To serve, dip ramequin into hot water, run a knife around the edge and tip onto a plate. 10. If you added Grand Marnier earlier in the receipe, serve with summer berries, and if you added Malibu, serve with diced pineapple and banana.

Going for Gold.

by John Sherwin

The gentle slopes of the Sauternes region south of Bordeaux city consist of gravelly soil over clay and limestone. So far so good for grape growing – the lousier the soil the more the vine has to work, the better the grape. Now the magic. Add nearby a big, tidal river (the Garonne) and a much smaller, springfed one (the Ciron). In the autumn, when small-cold flows into big-warm, mists appear, as in a boyhood chemistry experiment, and spread over and through the vineyards. This mist encourages the development of a fungus – ‘noble rot’. Yes, a contradiction in terms, but a poetic one, as the nobility the rot produces is indeed sublime. In brief, the rot dessicates the grape, concentrating sugar content and adding complexity. But this is no automatic, inevitable process. In the wrong conditions, noble rot can quickly become devastating ‘grey’ rot. This is not the only thing which makes sauternes production a risky business. Noble rot develops at different rates, and harvesting therefore has to be progressive, with anything from three to ten runs through the vineyard over several weeks – both skilled and labour-intensive work. Add to that several years ageing in new oak barrels and an incredibly restrained yield (one vine = one glass, not the norm for other wines of one vine = three bottles), and you quickly understand why sauternes is expensive. My favourite is Raymond-Lafon. A 12 bottle case of 2007 would cost around €460, but their Jeunes Pousses 2005, again 12 bottles, around €200. Is it worth it? Imagine a glass of glinting gold with aromas of grapefruit, pineapple, apricot. Or candied lemon, spices, prunes, honey. Set it next to a plate of quickly pan-fried foie gras, or a slice of rocquefort, and dig, slowly, tenderly, in. Is it worth it? Is love worth it? John Sherwin. French Wine Tours Email:,

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Bon apetite! 21

French Adventures... When you find yourself under a pear tree on a rain-soaked French country morning in February announcing to all and sundry - in my case three rather damp sheep and a weary husband - that there’s absolutely ‘NO WAY’ you’re going back to the UK, you know it’s time to take stock. Our love affair with France had begun more than a decade before. The pull of its relaxed way of life, friendly people and wonderful food had steadily increased until we found ourselves cramming in five or six visits a year. At that stage it seemed logical to buy a holiday home. After all, we reasoned, with the enormous sums we were spending renting gitês and staying in hotels, investing in our own place would probably save us money in the long run. (This is the point at which anyone who’s ever gone down the renovation route is allowed to roll their eyes and grin knowingly). We’d visited Poitou-Charentes many times. The peaceful country villages of Deux-Sèvres had some lovely and affordable properties, better weather than the UK and were within comfortable driving distance of the channel ports. So, in May 2006, we set out to find ourselves a low maintenance holiday home with a bit of outside space, maybe needing a little redecoration. They say you know whether you want to buy a house within the first thirty seconds. In our case, it took less than ten - a real ‘coup de coeur’! What we actually bought (yes, I know) was two 18th century farmhouses, one habitable, the other unoccupied for more than a decade and in a sorry state, surrounded by a large garden complete with fruit trees and barn. It wasn’t so much that we’d changed our plans, we reasoned, more a case of being flexible and open to possibilities. Work on the habitable house began immediately and we soon got used to spending all of our holidays painting, hacking back the jungle outside and tiling walls. Eighteen months and several thousand Euros later, two had become one as work on the second house neared completion and we knocked through. As time went on, it became harder to close up the shutters to go back to Yorkshire. When my guilt about subjecting my husband, and the local sheep, to increasingly tearful farewells reached epic proportions, we did some serious thinking about how we could make our dream of living permanently in France come true sooner rather than later. At this point, I was a Deputy Head teacher in a large inner city comprehensive school while Andy worked in local government finance. We both enjoyed our jobs but working twelve hour days left us with little time or energy to spare. Being too young to retire and knowing from the outset that we would have to find a way of generating an income, we started to investigate the possibilities of working in France. By chance I stumbled across an article about property finding that piqued my interest. Since I love meeting people, understand all too well the stress of buying in another country and knew I’d be in my element spending hours nosing round other people’s houses, I decided to go for it. Amazingly, Andy’s employers were happy for him to work from France via the internet and our house in Beverley sold within five days of us putting it on the market. It looked like fate was on our side. By the summer of 2010, I’d completed my training and had successfully conquered the mountain of paperwork that French bureaucracy demands before issuing the all important Siret number. We were happily settled into our new life in Deux-Sèvres and as I’d hoped, I loved meeting local estate agents and searching out interesting properties. Andy was now dividing his time between working for his old employer in Yorkshire and taking photos for the property finding web site. Alongside this, we found time to work in the garden setting up our potager, cook for friends and visit the local markets.

It was around the time that the sale of a client’s UK house fell through and her plans to buy in France were put on hold that we decided we needed to broaden the scope of the business. Realising that the support we already offered to property-finding clients would also benefit others who already owned a second home, we started to advertise property management services. Although this hadn’t been part of our original plan, it’s provided us with interesting challenges and we’ve met some fantastic people, many of whom we now count as friends. So, what does a typical week look like now? Happily, no two days are ever the same. Currently, we’re setting up a new gîte for a client who works in the far- east. Work like this relies on a high level of trust and excellent communication skills as well as the ability to organise budgets and find creative solutions to problems - challenges that our former careers have well prepared us for. The variety of the job means we might find ourselves working on a pool in the morning, making sure that murky green waters are crystal clear before the arrival of visitors then preparing a garden prior to a home owner’s

arrival in the afternoon before coming home to phone a plumber or arrange for a fuel delivery. The work can be hard and demanding at times but it’s also deeply satisfying when clients tell you that they know they can rely on you to sort things out on their behalf. We do manage to keep some time for ourselves. Andy’s love of radio and his huge collection of archive materials have inspired him to write a Blog through which he has been able to connect with a wide range of people, including some well-respected names in broadcasting ( I’ve started writing about life in France and am finding that our everyday experiences mean that material for the book almost writes itself. I still sit under the pear tree but nowadays, it’s usually with the laptop and in the sunshine.

Val & Andy Walmsley Poitou Property Services Tel: 05 49 63 93 42 (Find their advert on P.36)

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Communications... How to Speed up your PC, Part 9.

Reloading/re-installing Ross Hendry Before we get to this month’s topic, the final part of “How to speed up your PC”, I should like to thank those of you that have contacted me regarding the Telephone fraud I covered last month and reassure you that if you have been the victim of this fraud, it is highly unlikely the persons doing this have left any Spyware, Trojans or Viruses on your PC. They are simply after your money! I have now seen over 6 PCs that have been “cleaned” by these scammers and after extensive scanning, I have not been able to find any evidence of anything sinister being left on their machines. Just remember, do not let anyone that you do not trust have access to your PC either via the internet of indeed by sitting next to you! Re-loading Windows is a serious issue and should not be conducted without ensuring that you know exactly what you are doing, you may lose your valuable personal data, or if you are unable to find all of the drivers that you need, parts of your PC may not work after the re-load. This procedure differs considerably depending on the version of Windows you have, and may take several hours depending on the age of your PC and the version of Windows you are re-installing. Due to the complexity of this task I will need to devote a few months to ensure I cover the details for each of the Windows versions. Preparation. Before I embark on this task, I make myself a check list of everything I need to do and the things I need to back-up (copy) and programs I need to complete the task. When you re-load Windows you will effectively be completely wiping you hard disk, so it is essential that you take a copy of all of your files, including your documents, pictures, movies/films/videos/music, favourites and any codes and passwords you use. Besides having the Windows Program disk or media, or a method of getting this program. (More recently PC manufacturers do not supply Windows on CD/DVD, they have a hidden part on your hard disk drive that contains this information, along with the drivers needed to make the individual elements that make up your PC work with Windows. Sometimes the only way you may access this information is to do a factory reset, this means returning your PC to the way it was when you purchased it. See the documentation that came with your PC for these instructions, it may be a user manual on paper or be on your hard disk somewhere as a document.)

is a zero and what is an “Oh” etc.) The activation process may well require you to telephone Microsoft to get an “Activation Code” if you are unable to do this automatically on-line. You will also need to ensure that you have the means to re-load any programs you use, such as Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint and Outlook etc; CD/ DVD writing software. Do you have sources such as disks for your antivirus, anti spyware and other programs plus any codes or keys you need to make them work? Finally you will need the disks for your peripherals such as your printer, scanner, webcam, mobile telephone, digital camera and your ADSL Modem or router, some of you may need IDs and codes to access your internet connection and email servers. Do not forget to ensure that all of the disks containing these programs and drivers are readable, often the disks may get scratched if not stored safely. Do not despair if you are unable to find disks for everything, most of the data for this type of reload is available on the internet for downloading. If you do resort to this you will need to copy this data to some easily accessible media, such as an external hard drive or USB storage key/dongle. Make sure that you list everything you need and check it off as you locate it on your check-list. Once you have done this you will need to consider what sequence you should do things, either re-write the list in order, or note the sequence you need to do things and leave space to check them off as you complete each task. Remember, this process will take several hours for Windows XP machines and even when you have completed the re-load successfully, you may spend hours, over several days, getting updates for Windows, and many of your programs. Think of this as taking the engine out of your car and re fitting it, it is a specialist job and needs to be taken very seriously, do consider getting the specialist that looks after your PC to provide you with a quotation to do this for you, if you have any doubts of your ability to get it right. In next month’s article I will cover re-loading Windows XP, in detail. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (See advert below for more information).

Windows will almost certainly need to be activated, to do this you will need the Windows activation code, this may be on a label on the side of your PC (for laptops it is usually on a label on the bottom of the PC, make sure you are able to read the whole code and you understand what


Motoring... Mandatory Breathalyser in Vehicles From 1st July 2012, drivers of any motor vehicle (excluding a moped, or 2/3 wheeled vehicles where capacity does not exceed 50cm3) must have possession of a breathalyser. This is indicated by the ‘Journal officiel du jeudi 1er mars 2012’. The breathalyser must respect all validation conditions, including expiration date provided by the manufacturer. It must show a certification mark of manufacturer stating compliance. Should a driver not be able to show a valid breathalyser kit in the vehicle, a fine of 11 euros will be issued as of 1st November 2012. The breath test, commonly called “alcooltest” shows the prescence of alcohol in the blood stream by exhalation. The alcohol limit here in France is 0.05% BAC, much lower than the 0.08% BAC limit in England.

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Happy 60th Healey!

by Helen Tait-Wright

The Queen isn’t the only one celebrating a 60th anniversary this year. In 1952 the Austin-Healey sports car marque was born, and 60 years later their cars are as quintessentially British and as loved as her Majesty. Donald Healey, a racing driver and auto engineer had already established his own car manufacturing business in Warwick. In 1952 he took a prototype ‘Healey Hundred’ car to the London Motor Show and so impressed the managing director of the Austin division of the British Motor Corporation, that a collaborative deal was struck and the Austin-Healey marque was created. The “100” was the first of three models later called the “Big Healeys” to distinguish them from the much smaller Austin-Healey Sprite. The “100” name comes from the cars ability to reach 100mph. The first cars had a top speed of 106mph and accelerated from 0-60 in 11.2 seconds, and could be yours for £1063 including taxes! The 100 model evolved and racing modification packs and models came onto the market, and were raced internationally, including at the Le Mans 24 hours. Sadly an Austin Healey 100S works car, campaigned by racing drivers Lance Macklin, Gordon Wilkins and Marcel Becquart, was famously involved in the disastrous accident at Le Mans in 1955, where 84 people died and 120 were injured. Lance Macklin escaped without serious injury and the unrestored car went into obscurity until it was sold in December 2011 by Bonhams for a record £843,000! In 1956 the Austin-Healey 100-6 model was introduced to replace the 100. It featured a 2 inch longer wheelbase and a six-cylinder engine, and added two occasional seats which later became optional. The body lines were changed to a less rounded appearance, with a wider, lower radiator grille below the air scoop which was added to the bonnet, and a windscreen which was fixed and could no longer be folded down. After a production run of over 14,000 examples, the 100-6 was superseded by the Austin-Healey 3000 in 1959. Although the body and chassis remained relatively unchanged, the new model had a 2.9 litre engine. AustinHealey 3000's have a long competition history, and raced at most major racing circuits around the world, including Sebring (USA), Bathurst (Australia), and of course Le Mans. The BMC competitions department also successfully rallied the 3000 from its introduction, winning many European rallies, but the development of the works cars effectively ended in 1965, mainly because of the success of the Mini Cooper 'S'. Today the 3000 remains popular with enthusiasts and is still used in competition. The more observant of you will remember that we ran a Healey at the Grand Prix Historique in Bressuire; a short run in 2011 and at time of writing this year’s event is still to come ....... Our car is a 100-6 model but it has been modified with the introduction of a V8 engine, and the bumpers etc stripped off to give it the appearance of the racing Healeys. If you missed that, undoubtedly there will be a significant Austin-Healey presence at the Le Mans Classic meeting 6-8th July 2012, which I would thoroughly recommend visiting. Happy Anniversary Austin-Healey!!!

Austin Healey 3000 mk2 © Marc Vorgers


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Getting Out & About...


The Market, Luché sur Brioux

The Market, incorporating The Mini Market, The Market Kitchen, The Field Emporium and The Language Centre, is a meeting place for people to get together over a coffee, have a chat, enjoy traditional home-cooking or just browse around for that special little something.

Above: Inside ‘The Market’, Luché sur Brioux

The Mini Market continues to sell well-known UK high street brands at cutdown prices, a selection of quality secondhand clothing, gifts, cards and our very own treasure trove of delights at The Field Emporium. The Language Centre offers French classes in a relaxed environment and is now organizing conversation classes, with native speakers, over cream tea and will be organizing bilingual events in the near future. On 19th July The Market Kitchen will organise its first musical soirée with an Open Mic evening and meal - see advert. Then on the 18th August The Craic will be joining us for your entertainment and we will be lighting the barbecue for what promises to be a fun summer’s evening. For more information on events and bookings, refer to our website:, email: or phone 06 98 05 48 79. 27

Local Markets There are lots of Vide greniers taking place around the region. To find out the latest information try: or

Mondays: Tuesdays: Wednesdays: Thursdays: Fridays: Saturdays: Sundays:

Lencloitre (1st Monday in month) (dept.86) Lezay, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize, Thouars Parthenay Sauzé Vaussais, Niort Thouars, Melle Chef Boutonne, Airvault, Niort, St. Maixent l’École, Fontenay le Comte Neuville (dept.86)


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

Briolaises. The Vieille Dive (a branch of the river Dive) crosses the commune.

by Sue Burgess

Bretignolles Bretignolles is a commune of Deux-Sèvres which belongs to the canton of Cerizay and for general elections to the constituency of Bressuire. The inhabitants of Bretignolles are known as Bretignollais and there were 602 of them in the last census. Bretignolles is about 218 metres above sea level.

Le Breuil Bernard Situated at the heart of the bocage district, le Breuil Bernard is above all an agricultural commune. It has a growing population of young people who take a full part in the life of the commune and its associations. The population of le Breuil Bernard was 454 in 2007.

Above: Château of Ebaupina

again in 1983.

Above: The Sèvre Nantaise river at le Breuil Bernard.

Breuil Chaussée Since 1973 Breuil Chaussée has been an associate commune of Bressuire and part of the «Greater Bressuire».

Above: Breuil Chaussée square

On Cassini's map which represents France between 1756 and 1789, the village is shown with the name of Brye. In 1972 the commune of Brie fused with that of Oiron. Brie became independent

This type of organisation which is rather unusual creates a single commune called Greater Bressuire with one town council, one mayor and one budget.

The former independent communes have however kept a town hall annex, an assistant mayor and make up an independent electoral district. A large brocante and vide grenier is held in Breuil Chaussée at the beginning of July. Le Breuil-sous-Argenton Le Breuil-sous-Argenton consists of the Bas Bourg, the village centre, close to Argenton-les-Vallées, and over thirty small hamlets spread over the 1900 hectares of the commune. “Les Mitaudières”, “La Butte aux Cailles” and “Les Oeufs Durs” are the main ones. The inhabitants are called Breuilletais and Breuilletaises and number 422. The commune is situated at 118 metres above sea level and the main rivers which cross the commune are the river Argenton and the river Ouère. The commune is close to the Loire-Anjou-Touraine regional national park.

À VOIR / MUST SEE: • The church. The stained glass windows of the church have been redone in a modern style and this gives a special quality of light inside the nave. • The old chapel of Sazais. (see photo right)

Brieuil-sur-Chizé Brieuil-sur-Chizé with its 122 inhabitants, is one of the smallest communes of the canton of Brioux-surBoutonne. It is situated about 30km from Niort close to Chizé forest. Brieuil-sur-Chizé is made up of 7 hamlets – Le Petit Genouillé, Le Grand Genouillé, Prinçais, Brieuil, part of the village of La Garde, Conzais and Parsay. Brieuil-sur-Chizé is crossed by the Boutonne river and a lot of fishermen are very familiar with the small footbridge named La Grande Planche which is the symbol of the commune. A legend says that a poplar tree fell down at that spot and that the inhabitants of the hamlet of Champeau on the neighbouring commune of Villefollet, used the trunk to cross the river to carry their milk to the milkman who stopped at Le Petit Genouillé. The footbridge was then built. It was destroyed by the gale in 1999 and rebuilt in 2001. The 6th century St Radegonde's church which was situated opposite the cemetery, was destroyed after the revolution. À VOIR / MUST SEE: • Le Château de Prinçais. The present Château de Prinçais dates from the 18th century. It is composed of a lodging house with a square pavillion at each end. (see photo below).

The international Val d'Argenton karting circuit is to be found at Le Breuil-sous-Argenton. The population of the commune grows during the summer months with the arrival of seasonal workers for melon and apple picking. À VOIR / MUST SEE: • The tumulus which can be found on the commune. The tumulus of Bois de Salette offers the best panoramic view of the area. A prehistoric site containing a large quantity of arms and stone tools was found here. • The Château of Ebaupinay which was burned during the Vendée wars and classified as a historic monument in 1898. Brie Brie is a small village with 200 inhabitants. It is surrounded by the communes of Saint-Jouin-de-Marnes, Oiron and Moncontour. The inhabitants of Brie are called Briolais and

• Le Château de Parsay. The château was rebuilt after 1765. It is also composed of a lodging house with a square pavillion at each end. The roof is quite pointed. Since 1967 the château has been home to a 59 bed convalescent home.

More ʻA-Z of the Communes of the Deux-Sèvres.ʼ next month... 29

Building & Renovation... Floor Tiling

by Mathias Boulai

My name is Mathias Boulai and I would like to introduce my new business activity as a floor and wall tiler located in Sainte Ouenne, 79. I’m 37 years old and I started my career as a social worker in Derbyshire for The Padley Group. After two and a half years (long enough to get addicted to beans and toasties!) I chose to come back to France where I worked 6 months in Paris, 2 years in Antibes and then 3 years in Niort. With Social work becoming psychologically more challenging and with the difficulties fitting it in with family life (working at weekends and Bank Holidays), I chose to retrain and change my career. I passed a “CAP carreleur mosaïste” in 2008 (the necessary French qualification to work as a floor and wall tiler). Since then, I realise every kind of renovation work, mainly in bathrooms working with Italian-style showers but also in kitchens, living rooms, entrances, stairs etc. I’m aware that many people try to save money by doing their bathroom on their own and that’s fair enough, but there are many different water protection systems available and my knowledge can help ensure you have chosen the right one for your situation. Where is the saving when a leaking shower causes damage? Everything must be undone to locate and repair the leak before repainting and retiling. Fully insured and thanks to my experience, I always give full satisfaction to my customers. With my English knowledge I’m able to fully understand your needs and be able to suggest a variety of reasonably priced ideas to create and decorate unique and superb tiled areas. For more information, please visit my website where there is an English translation at the bottom of the home page or as I’m always happy to have a chat with an English speaker, you can give me a call on 06 21 40 27 47 and say “Hi Mat !”.

Fresco Interiors

by Alison Millin

For help in making you French house a home At Fresco Interiors we recognise the importance of employing qualified, reliable and trustworthy trades people who treat your home with respect, whether you are in residence or not. Every project is special to us, whether it be your home, holiday home or maybe your business. Painting and decorating is an investment for the future and we supply quality, smooth and efficient services at reasonable rates to include all aspects of interior decoration: • • • • •

Paper hanging Spray painting and traditional painting - all surfaces Special effects Furniture restoration Colour choice and interior design advice

Having been fully trained in decorating and furniture restoration and working within the building industry in the UK for more than 20 years with architects, main contractors, contract and domestic customers we understand all aspects of both renovation and new build projects. We have had a home in Above: The finished transformation of an dark brown ceiling to a lighter France for twelve years ugly, colour, with a distressed driftwood paint but four years ago decided effect. The chimney breast was also to live here full time and colour matched. continue our decorating business in France. The last four years have been really busy, we’ve had a variety of projects from a domestic barn conversion to an old café bar and everything in between. Often we don’t stop at just decorating the interior, we spread the love to tired old furniture as well! With antique or distressed finishes, block colour or simple restoration - what ever the customer wants. In addition to this we will soon be offering other exciting Interior services, to find out more come and see us at The Deux-Sèvres Monthly Trade Fair in September - we can help you find your inspiration!!!!

MatProPose. Tel: 06 21 40 27 47.

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

ARTISANS & TRADESMEN... Do you have any top tips you can share with our readers? We would love to include them in this section! For more details, please see the ‘Written Contributions’ page on our website: 30






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

Contact ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Telephone: 05 49 70 26 21 or email:

Business, Finance & Property... Ask Amanda.

Since I started writing in ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine, I have met and spoken to many interesting people who have either already made their permanent move to France or are in the final steps of doing so. They have many questions and here are some of those I have answered this year: I have just sold in the UK and have some capital, why should I see a Financial Planner? So that all the financial options available to you in France can be explained, allowing you to make an informed decision based on your personal circumstances and aspirations.

I spend more time in the UK, why shouldn’t I see a UK Financial Planner? UK Financial Planner is specialist in the UK where the financial rules and regulations differ to France. Talking to an “in-country” specialist will enable you to keep up to date with the current rules relating to your finances and future changes as they arise. If I need cash at a later date, can I easily release some equity in my French Property? This is more complicated than in the UK. The banks look very closely at what your plans for the money are and your personal circumstances. This is especially tricky if you find that your income has reduced since moving to France. I have made a UK will, is that sufficient in France? If your main residence is in UK, then a UK will be fine. However, if your main residence is in France then it is necessary to make a French will. If I move to France before retirement age, what happens to my UK Pensions until I am old enough to drawn them? There are many options available to you depending on your personal circumstances and this is an area that the needs looking at very carefully. Being an expatriate does allow you certain flexibility with historic employer pensions. How much will it cost me to see a Financial Adviser? The Spectrum-IFA Group charges no fee for consultations. We get paid by the companies we deal with. Please ask for a copy of our customer charter which explains how we work. If you have any questions that you feel I may be able to help you with, please “Ask Amanda” and I will call you to discuss your questions and arrange the most appropriate answer. Amanda Johnson, The Spectrum IFA Group. Email: 35

Do you understand your compensation limits?

by Bill Blevins, Blevins Franks Financial Correspondent. European banks have been right back in the spotlight. Although the main concern has been over Spanish banks, fears spread beyond Spain. For peace of mind, you should establish what protection your savings have in the event of institutional failure, wherever they are held. Under an EU Directive, each Member State must provide a ‘safety net’ for bank account holders, so if a bank fails the national deposit guarantee scheme will reimburse account holders up to €100,000. Here in France the Fonds de Garantie des Dépôts provides a maximum compensation limit of €100,000 per depositor and per financial establishment. In the UK, under the Financial Service Compensation Scheme depositors have the first £85,000 of their savings with any one bank protected. Bank deposits in the Channel Islands or Isle of Man are not covered by the UK FSCS or EU rules. They have their local schemes and the compensation limit in the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey is £50,000. They have an overall “cap” on the amount they need to pay out. The Isle of Man has no time limit for payment. Investor protection can vary considerably depending on what type of arrangement your capital is held in, and where it is held. While many savers nowadays spread their bank deposits over more than one banking group, others have moved capital into alternate arrangements that provide a higher level of protection. For example Luxembourg offers the maximum possible investor protection available to life insurance policyholders through a state sponsored investor protection regime known as “The Triangle of Security”. If you have an investment bond issued by a Luxembourg regulated insurance company, your investment assets are completely protected should the insurance company fail. Talk to a wealth management adviser like Blevins Franks to see if there are steps you can take to increase your investor protection. All information contained in this document is based on our understanding of legislation and practice at the time of writing; this may change in the future. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website


Living in France / Working in the UK

by David Hardy French culture is very family-orientated and it is therefore not surprising that France has an increasing appeal to young families with dependant school-age children. But how to adopt a French lifestyle and maintain the necessary household income to sustain it is a common challenge. For many couples the solution is for the family to be resident in France, while the main breadwinner continues to work in the UK. This scenario inevitably raises questions of taxation. In respect to income tax, where a member of the household is working and earning in the UK then tax on those earnings will be payable in the UK. If the income earner is employed, including as a director of an ownermanaged company, then UK income tax will be collected through the employer’s PAYE scheme. If self-employed then a UK self-assessment tax return will need to be completed each year. Normally income earned in the UK will still need to be declared in France. It will not be taxed again but will be used to determine the tax rate applying to other household income received in France, including worldwide investment income. Under certain circumstances it may be possible to agree with the French tax authority that the working spouse is not tax resident in France. In this case income earned in the UK would not be declarable in France, and the French resident ‘household’ for French tax purposes would consist solely of the non-working spouse and any children. However, the French tax office would expect the French resident non-working spouse to declare as income any ‘allowance’ paid to him or her by the UK resident spouse. If contemplating this approach it would be sensible to take specialist tax advice to determine which option would be most beneficial in terms of overall tax payable in the UK and France. Many families, who feel the ‘absent parent’ route would prove too disruptive for their preferred family lifestyle, prefer to explore the possibility of generating income from some form of self-employment in France. In recent years the introduction of the ‘auto-entrepreneur’ system has made the establishment and running of a small business in France far less bureaucratically onerous. Nevertheless, anyone contemplating this option is advised to take good accountancy advice in France as there is a considerable choice of business and tax structures available and it is important to select the one most appropriate to the nature and scale of the intended business. If you wish to review and discuss your own financial planning requirements in more detail, please contact David on 05 56 34 75 51. You can also visit their website and download their free help sheets at David Hardy, Poitou-Charentes Regional Manager of Siddalls France who have been advising the British national, resident of France, on all aspects of financial planning, for over 16 years. Tel:05 56 34 75 51.

Advertise your PRIVATE HOUSE SALE here. From 10€ per month

For a full list of our advertising rates, please phone for an advertising pack or download from our website. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21

Send details by email to:

for inclusion into the next issue. 37

Perils of overpricing...

by Peter Elias. Gone are the days when you could put a sign outside a house, sit back and wait for buyers to appear. In today's highly competitive real estate market it is essential to prepare, price and market your home well, right from the outset. Overpricing is one of the worst mistakes a home seller can make. Statistics show that if your home is priced just 10% above market value only 30% of potential buyers will look at your property. So it is important to price the property accurately and this is when we can use our knowledge to provide a valuation relevant to your area.

French property websites, and re-launch the advertising of your property. We are, of course, more than willing to offer your property on a non-exclusive basis. Peter Elias (Agent Commercial): 05 49 27 01 22

As a team of professionals with extensive experience in the Poitou-Charentes real estate market, we use a comparative market analysis report based on data similar to the Multiple Listing System (MLS) used in the USA. Our data compares homes similar to your own that are currently available on the market, as well as those that have sold in recent months, (or within current market conditions), via Notaires. We will be aware of homes that have recently been withdrawn, showing what the current buying market is NOT willing to pay. Vendors will often say "I don't want to give my house away." But if you DO want to sell it, and when you have a selling price in your own mind, it's sometimes hard to hear an honest, professional home valuation that is lower than you expect. But please remember pricing is driven by the market, and what current buyers are willing to pay. With buyers, first impressions count! A small investment in time and money will give you an edge over other properties in the area, both for marketing and for subsequent visits. It is important to prepare your home for sale before you put it on the market. Selling your property depends on a lot more than print advertising etc. It involves strong referrals, word of mouth, networking and multimedia promotion on the internet. A recent survey showed only 3% of buyers found their properties via print advertising. Today, with the rise of social media, smart phones and tablets the trend towards searching for property online is even stronger. We have QR codes for each and everyone of our properties.

Advertise your private house sale here... From 10€ per month Send details by email to:

Designed specifically to keep our visitors informed, as well as showcase properties for sale, our website has been optimized for maximum exposure on the internet. Properties and information are further distributed via social media platforms such as Facebook, as well as other strategic internet websites - all helping to promote your property for sale to the widest possible global audience 24/7. Our role is to address your specific needs and to deliver professional real estate expertise and reliable, quality service in a friendly, approachable manner. Our commitment is to provide you with the best quality, consistent and dependable service. Our goal is to sell your house. We don’t mind healthy competition, so yes, do use another agent if you wish, (but not 4, 5 or more). Speak to us and the other agent that you would most trust about your price and be prepared to follow our suggestions. Here’s a radical idea for you – if you give us 3 month’s exclusivity on your property, (i.e. cancelling all other agents for that period), we will pick up the cost of your diagnostic reports in the event that we are successful in selling your house during that period. There is therefore a benefit to you in doing this, (beware of many agents who try to get you to sign an exclusive deal with actually no benefit to the vendor). If you go ahead with this idea, we will offer you our Première Package for marketing, involving the best 38


theme park

Discover a different kind of leisure park experience! With 40 millions visitors since it opened, Futuroscope is one of the best loved leisure Parks in France That destination is Futuroscope, the ideal place to relax in 60 hectares of tranquil green countryside and enjoy 25 original experiences you won’t find anywhere else: films in giant format, thrill-filled attractions, games, live shows, open-air activities, People of the Future and more. Discovery and thrills guaranteed for everyone, young and old! And take advantage of the special 25th Birthday offers to discover Futuroscope in 2012…


The Little Prince

Cosmic Collisions

Arthur, the 4D Adventure


per person The voucher is valid for adult, senior citizen (aged 60 and over) and child (aged 5 to 16) for 1 day or 2 day dated-entry tickets and must be handed in at the Futuroscope ticket booths between the 11th february 2012 to the 6th January 2013 (1 to 5 visitors per voucher). Discount does not apply to packages, group tickets, and undated entry tickets (visa/ season). Offer may not be combined with other offers and backdated. *Please check the opening date’s calendar on


'The Deux-Sevres Monthly' magazine, JULY 2012  

FREE English language magazine for the Deux-Sevres and surrounding areas in France.

'The Deux-Sevres Monthly' magazine, JULY 2012  

FREE English language magazine for the Deux-Sevres and surrounding areas in France.