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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 4 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’. Wow! Halfway through the year already! Where does the time go? If you are a sun worshipper, I am sure you have been enjoying all the beautiful weather that we’ve been having recently - but if you are a keen gardener like my husband, you will be praying for rain for the veggies! Whatever the weather, I hope you are enjoying yourselves. After all, I think the majority of us moved to France for the better weather and to live a more relaxed life. Personally, that hasn’t quite happened yet, but it will! Have fun and perhaps we should all do a rain dance! If you need to contact us, please email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21.

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

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CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................3 Our Furry Friends................................................................8 The Great Outdoors.............................................................9 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................11 French Adventures............................................................14 French Life, Food & Drink................................................15 Communications.................................................................18 Getting Out & About..........................................................19 Building & Renovation.......................................................26 Business, Finance & Property..........................................29 Take a break...........................................................8 and 23

THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter)..................................20 A.I.P. (Estate Agent)......................................................... 31 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder).......................................... 27 Allez Francais (Estate Agent).......................................... 31 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................. 27 Andy Melling (Artisan Joiner/Cabinet Maker)................. 26 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre).................9 Antiquities Decoration & Galerie du 309......................... 21 Aquaclean............................................................................ 9 Articulation Aide (Joint Aid for Dogs)................................ 8 ASCOM - Rita Sullivan (Translator & Interpreter)......... 29 Belle Maison Construction................................................ 27 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd...................... 30 Browns International Service (Transport)....................... 22 Cafe Cour du Miracle....................................................... 21 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room)................. 22 Courlay Immobilier SARL (Estate Agent).........................32 Dave Allen (Garden Maintenance)...................................... 9 DJ Maintenance -David Normanton (Handyman).............27 Diane & Franck (Fabrics and Curtains)............................21 Diane Lowe (Reiki Healer)............................................... 12 English Spoken.info (Online Business Directory).............. 7 Facilitutors - Wendy Wise (Courses)............................. 22 GAN Insurance.................................................................. 21 Garage Pigeau Patrick (Mechanic)................................... 20 Hair by Janet (Hairdresser and Avon Sales).....................12 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).. 28 Imprimerie Jadault (Printer)............................................ 22 Indulgence Beauty............................................................... 13 Janet Hall (Translator & Interpreter)............................... 29 John Etherington (Property Care).......................................9 L.A. Building & Renovation................................................. 28 La Joie de Vivre (Gift Shop & Tea Room).......................... 22 Le Dragon (Bar/Snack)......................................................16 Leggett Immobilier (Estate Agent).................................. 30 Le Logis (Chambre d’hote)............................................... 10 Le Puy Remorques (Trailer Hire & Sales)......................... 19 Mr Piano Man.................................................................... 22 MS Electrique (Electrician)............................................... 28 Mutuelle de Poitiers (Insurance)......................................... 21 Nathan Foster Building Services..................................... 28 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................. 12 Peter Hardie (Mini Digger hire)........................................27 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 28 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)...........................27 Poitou Property Services................................................. 29 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................20 RDK Roofing & Building Services.................................... 27 Restaurant La Bergerie du Golf........................................ 15 Rob Berry (Plasterer)....................................................... 28 Rysz Dor-Vincent (Yoga)..................................................12 Sandy G (Hairdresser)...................................................... 12 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................ 29 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation)....................6 The English Mechanic - Tony Eyre................................ 20 Total Renovation Services................................................ 26 Tots 2 Travel.....................................................................30 UK Building Materials....................................................... 28 We shop Britain 4 u...........................................................22 <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry et clker.com. Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du Bocage-BP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: Juin 2011 - Tirage: 3 500 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: © Sarah Berry 2011. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with are a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

What’s On....June 2011 All of June - Photographic Exhibition. Jardin Val de Flore, in Soutiers. Photos of extraordinary plants of Kew Gardens by Bernard de Litardière. Free entry. Open Weds-Sunday afternoons. For information: 05 49 63 43 31 2nd June - Yoga Class with Rysz Dor-Vincent 2.30pm at Maison pour tous, L’Absie. (next to Primary School) Please bring your own covering. Contact Rysz: 06 42 35 97 11 3rd June - Phoenix cards, stationery & gifts. 4-6pm at Le bar Tipsy, Coulonges sur l'autize 79160. For info or to place an order, email:dellajamesie2@aol.com or contact Della James, 05 49 05 78 61. 3rd June - ‘Landrover Dirty Weekend’. Bazoges-en-Pareds. 3rd June - Music Night with ‘Blue Note’. Restaurant La Bergerie du Golf are offering a 3 course dinner and live music playing from 8pm. 25€ p/person. Please contact Christelle on 05 49 70 83 28. 5th June - Ecole du Chat, Les Pattes de Velours "Afternoon Tea". Le Brandais, Bouille Loretz 4pm. 1920's theme. 5th June - Fun Day at Centre de Beauregard. Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country events taking place all day at Beauregard, 86250 Ansois. www.centrebeauregard.com 7th June - Book Signing with Peter Hoskins. The author of ‘In the Steps of the Black Prince’ (see May issue p.4) will be signing copies of his book from 10am-1pm at La Grande Galerie, 7 rue du Temple, 86400 CIVRAY. 7th June - Brocante organised by “The Harmonics Choir” 10am-1pm at the Mairie at Civray. A donation from the profits will be made to RBL Poppy Appeal. For further information contact Sally McCaw 05 49 29 17 73. 7th June - Charity Pamper Day. 10.30am-4.30pm at 2 rue des Beauchamps, Tilou. (See advert on P.13) 10th June - Tai Chi Taster Session Centre Socio Culturel, Bressuire at 3pm-4pm. Please contact Terry:05 49 65 60 34 www.chentaiji-fr.com 11th June - Fish n Chips & Music. La Vendee Chippy and live music with Al Vee, at St.Sigismond. For more info: lavendeechippy@yahoo.co.uk 11th June - English Market. 8.30am-1pm at Tusson (16). 11th & 12th June - Fête des plantes et du jardin. 10am at Domaine de Péré, 79360 Prissé-la-Charrière. Annual plant and garden show. 17th June - RBL Summer Fair. 10am-5pm Clussais la Pommerais. (See advert on P.4) All proceeds to the Poppy Appeal 2011. 18th June – World Championship of Tricyclists. Once again St. Marsault is host to this event where tricyclists from all over the world compete. The race starts at 2.30pm but it is advisable to be in place by 2pm. The route covers St. Marsault, La Ronde and La Fôret sur Sèvre. Parking opp. Mairie. 18th June - Annual Cricket Match & Pig Roast. 2.30pm at The Stade, Pamplie. Friendly cricket match followed by a Pig Roast at Le Moulin, Pamplie. Everyone welcome. Please bring your own picnic, table and chairs - plenty of free range pork cooked on the wood fired roaster! Anyone interested in attending, please contact Alan Clawson on 05 49 75 25 54 29th June - 3rd July - Jazz Festival 2011 Four days of concerts and musical events in and around Parthenay. For more information please see: www.lejazzbatlacampagne.com Church Services Anglican Church, Parthenay. Services, usually Communion, in English on 4th Sunday of each month at 10.30am at 11 rue de la Citadelle, Parthenay. Plenty of parking but not easy to find!  There is a map on the Chaplaincy web site www.church-in-france.com.   Please join us for a bring and share lunch after the service. All Saints Vendée, Puy de Serre. Services 2nd & 4th Sunday of the month. www.allsaintsvendee.fr Escoval, La Bonne Dame, Ranton. Church service in English 3rd Sunday of every month at 11.30am Join us for a bring and share lunch after the service. www.escoval.fr

Books in English, Paperback Jan. 1st June: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 14h-16.30h 2nd June: Bar Le Palais, St. Aubin le Cloud. 14h-17h 2nd June: Le Chaudron, Chantemerle. 18h-20h 3rd June: Bar de la Paix, Thouars 12h-14h 3rd June: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-L’Autize 16h-18h 6th June: Le Dragon bar, Vernoux-en-Gatine. 14h-17h 7th June: Le Zinc bar, Vasles. 10.30h-13h 8th June: Le Trois Marie, Airvault. 10h-13h 9th June: Bar Le Commerce, La Chataigneraie 14.30-17h 10th June: Jan’s home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, 11h-16h. 11th June: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent L’Ecole, 10h-14h 13th June: St Martins Bar & Rest., Brux. 11h-14h 30th June: La Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant, 14h-17h For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email: paperbackjan@gmail.com La Vendee Chippy ~ Traditional Fish & Chips in France! Every Wednesday (June 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges.18h-20hr Every Thursday (June 9th, 16th, 23rd & 30th) Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent. 18h-20hr Every Friday (June 10th, 17th & 24th) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux. 18h-20hr For more info please email: lavendeechippy@yahoo.co.uk

What’s coming up... 2nd July - Tea Party in aid of Marie Curie Cancer. 11am-4pm at ‘The Mad Hatter’s Kitchen’, 79190, Caunay. (See advert on P.4 for more information.) 2nd July - Concert by local and visiting Californian Choirs. 8pm at Foussais Payre Church. Tickets 10€. Proceeds to go to Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres & Vendée and the Anglican Church in Vendée. Contact: polly.ward@aliceadsl.fr 2nd & 3rd July - 6th Annual Classic Car Grand Prix Two day event held in Bressuire, Browse the classic cars and watch them race the streets! 3rd July - British Day at Maillé. Various stalls offering great produce, products and services. Set in a picturesque location on the Marais Poitevin. All day event including Fish & Chips and live music by French Connection. 9th July - Hope Association Garden Fete. 6 Place du Puits, 79380, La Ronde. (Between Moncoutant & St Pierre du Chemin). New & nearly new clothes, Plants, Books, Cakes, Tombola, Phoenix Cards, Refreshments. 12noon-4pm. Contact Sharon Goddard on 05 49 65 21 28 if you have anything that you would like to donate for the event. Thank you to www.whatsoninthevendee.co.uk.

Les Amis Solitaires We are a group of people who have found themselves alone in France. We meet up for lunches, dinners and walks and arrange to go to events when it’s no fun going alone. We hold coffee mornings in Confolens, Civray and Sauzé-Vaussais, often followed by a lunch. We would like to expand into the Deux-Sèvres region perhaps based in Niort or Fontenay. If you are interested please contact Nigel on: 02 51 51 48 13 or email: nigelt@wanadoo.fr.

We look forward to meeting you!

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The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2011: • • • • • •

Saturday 1 January: New Year’s Day (Jour de l’an) Sunday 24 April: Easter (Pâques) Monday 25 April: Easter Monday (Lundi de Pâques) Sunday 1 May: Labour Day (Fête du Travail) Sunday 8 May: WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945) Thursday 2 June: Ascension (l’Ascencion Catholique)

• • • •

Sunday 12 June: Pentecost (Whit Sunday-la Pentecôte) Monday 13 June: Whit Monday (Lundi de Pentecôte) Thursday 14 July: Bastille Day (Fête nationale) Monday 15 August: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)

• Tuesday 1 November: All Saints’ Day (La Toussaint) • Friday 11 November: Armistice Day (Jour d’Armistice 1918)

• Sunday 25 December: Christmas Day (Noël)

The Sunday morning markets at Pescalis Fishing Centre near Moncoutant have proved very popular during the Summer months. This year will be no exception. With over 30 stall holders offering wonderful produces, products and services, it’s definitely a must to visit! Stall holders will include: • • • • • • •

Annionir ~ Meats Thierry Arnauld ~ Wine Maguy Bonnet ~ Decorative Products Christian Bouchet ~ Muscadet Patrick Boulestreau ~ Breads and Cakes Elodie Textier ~ Plants Jim Rowe ~ Ironwork

• • • • • • •

Benoit Vandermeersch ~ Sheep’s Cheese Jocya Aucher ~ Coffee and Tea Pamela Irving ~ Holistic Therapies Jean-Pierre Frerot ~ Bee-keeping and honey Clotilde Corbeau ~ Jewellery Howie Taylor ~ Photography Didier Corbinus ~ Goat’s Cheese

The markets start on Sunday 26th June at 10am and will be open every Sunday throughout the Summer.

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World Championship for Tricyclists.

by Thelma Bell For some years now St. Marsault has hosted the World Championships for tricyclists together with The Tricycle Association and the Velo Club Sèvre. It is held bi-annually with the intervening years being held in Asse, Belgium. This year it will be held on Saturday 18th June and as always, it is part of the festivities for the St. Marsault Fête.

recumbent contestant has a motor cycle outrider. The three villages involved, St. Marsault, La Ronde and La Fôret-sur-Sèvre provide the marshalls who will be at every road junction sporting their yellow gilets and red/ green batons. It is a truly international event with great co-operation between all parties. Come and join us but don’t forget your camera! The race starts at 2.30pm but be there early to get the best spot to see the action.

The time trial event attracts participants from all over the world including Canada, United States, Belgium, France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and on occasion even Australia and New Zealand. As a World Championship it is bound by strict rules which are under the control of the Velo Club Sèvre who oversee the running of the race itself.

For further details contact the Mairie, St. Marsault on 05 49 80 87 51 on this or other events during the Fête weekend. The World Championship is followed by a Marche Gourmande and the evening ends with a ‘Son et Lumière’ - Les temps difficile – which is covering the War years so bring your hankies.

In 2009 the course was changed to make it more interesting for both participants and spectators. Starting in the centre of St. Marsault by the school, the course goes through the village of La Ronde, coming through St. Marsault for a second time, then to La Fôret-sur-Sèvre for the final long fast stretch of road back to St. Marsault. This is when they can achieve some very fast speeds. The finish is beside the Fête area, just off the main road. The course covers 25 kms and the fastest riders achieve speeds in excess of 40 km/h.

Photo shows Regine Le Page and other competitors in the recumbent class waiting to start the race with motor cycle outriders. She came second.

There are three categories for the course, tricycles, tandem tricycles and recumbent tricycles, the latter two enabling disabled tricyclists to enter. The winner of the single tricycle event in 2009 and World Champion, Carl Saint (English), won in a time of 35 mins 52 secs. Second place was also won by an Englishman, and third by a Belgian. First place in the tandem event was an English couple and second place by a New Zealander and an Englishman. In the recumbent category all but one participants were French. For safety reasons every

A Perambulating Play ‘Le Chemin Merveilleux’

We must make clear that the “perambulation” will not be long, that chairs and benches will be available for the elderly and the disabled and that three extraordinary characters will act as guides.

The “Amis du Château de Javarzay” in Chef Boutonne present their new performance, ‘Le Chemin Merveilleux’ from the 8th July until the 7th August. This play, written by the author and journalist, Patrick Béguier, is directed by Jean-Pierre Gagnaire.

As the audience for each performance will be limited to 80, booking is advisable. Please telephone 05 49 29 86 31 during these times:*From Saturday 11th June to Thursday 30th June, between 3pm-6pm. Everyday but not Mondays or Wednesdays. *From Friday 1st July, between 3pm-6pm everyday.

The audience will discover, in the enchanting setting of the grounds of the Château, dramatised extracts of works by such well known regional authors as Marguerite Gurgand, Ernest Pérochon, Gaston Chérau, Claire SainteSoline, including poems by Maurice Fomberg and Auguste Gaud and tales and legends of the region.

‘Le Chemin Merveilleux’ is to be held at Château of Javarzay, Chef Boutonne on: 8th, 9th, 15th, 16th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 29th, 30th, and 31st July and 5th, 6th, and 7th August All performances start at 9:00pm. Price 10,00€

This “perambulating play” involves some 30 cast and extras, some of which are local British residents. For some considerable time the Château of Javarzay has enjoyed the support and voluntary involvement of British citizens living in the Pays Mellois. The “Amis du Château” have produced various outdoor plays since 1985 and following the success of ‘Le Pain de la Colère’ in 2009 now wish to pay homage to local authors. The S.A.P.C. (Société des Auteurs du Poitou-Charentes) will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year by joining with the “Amis du Château” for this play and both before and after each performance the audience will be able to meet and discuss with authors from the Deux-Sèvres and the Vienne. Book dedications, presentations, discussions, exchanges about literature are all possible. Books will indeed be “live”!

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Music and Fire...

by Sue Burgess «La Fête de la Musique» (‘The Music Festival’) takes place on the 21st June. This festival was created in 1982 by Jack Lang - at that time, Minister of Culture. The idea was that there should be music everywhere but no concerts anywhere («la musique partout et le concert nulle part»), the music should be spontaneous and free for everybody. The date chosen was the 21st June because it coincided with the Summer Solstice and was connected with pagan rites and festivities. The slogan of the festival became «Faites de la musique, Fête de la Musique» (make Music, Music Festival – but in French the words «Faites» and «Fête» sound the same when you say them so there is a sort of play on words here). The idea really is that the concerts should be free for everyone and professional and amateur musicians alike participate in this festival. In some towns or villages the festival is held on the nearest Saturday evening, but many places still keep to the 21st. In 1985 the festival was exported to other European countries during the European Year of Music («Année Européenne de la Musique»). Other festivities around the Summer Solstice include «La Saint Jean» - St John's Day. La fête de la Saint-Jean celebrates St John the Baptist and not St John who is celebrated in December. The festivities are held on the 24th June and traditionally involve huge bonfires. The nights are short and right for partying all night long. Nowadays this festival is particularly for young people and there are often popular dances «bal nocturne» or «bal populaire». In some areas the festivities involved rites of passage into adulthood and young men jumped over the bonfires. The month of June is not without its sayings and proverbs about the weather. “S'il pleut à la Saint Médard, il pleut quarante jours plus tard, à moins que Saint Barnabé ne vienne l'arrêter.” If it rains on St Médard's day (8th June), it will still be raining 40 days later, unless St Barnabé (11th June) interrupts the rain. Vocabulaire : Vocabulary Saint Médard, c'est du beau temps pour les canards.............. It's good weather for ducks at St Médard. “S'il pleut à la saint-Médard, la récolte diminue d'un quart”................................................................................... If it rains on St Médard's day, the harvest will be reduced by a quarter. “S'il pleut le jour de la Saint Médard, le tiers des biens est au hasard”..................................................................................... If it rains on St Médard's day, a third of the harvest is left to luck. bal populaire............................

village dance

feu de la St Jean.....................

St John's day bonfire

un feu de joie...........................

a bonfire

L'Ascension.............................

Ascension Day (2nd June in 2011)

Faire de pont de l'Ascension................................................ Ascension day always falls on a Thursday. People have the Friday off and make a long weekend of it. La Pentecôte...........................

Pentecost, Whitsun

JAZZ FESTIVAL 2011 29th June to 3rd July 2011 PARTHENAY 79 Not to be missed, come and share in the fun in this series of jazz events to be held in the Gâtine. Original and varied there is something for everyone from this rural area of Les Deux-Sèvres known for its cultural events. Lasting four days, concerts will be held in original and unusual settings. Spotlighting just two of the events: ʻTime Out Trio’ with Geraldine Laurent on Wednesday, 29th June at 20h30 set in the peaceful and green surroundings of the Logis de la Guichardière, Tessonnière near Parthenay. Combining music with the tasting of local cheeses and the sampling of wine. ‘The Wared Quartet’ on Thursday 30th June 2011 at 20h30 to be held in the remarkable courtyard of the Château de la Roche Faton-Lhoumois. The original Château dates back to 1179 and its reconstruction started in 1544 after a fire. Mixing music and this wonderful site is well worth going out of ones way for. Both these concerts are 18€, (14€ for students, jobseekers and under 18s, under 12s are free). On Friday, musicians are in Moncoutant and on Saturday others will be parading around Parthenay, with concerts finishing on the river banks of the Thouet and in the Palais des Congrès. So come and swing! For further information on the other concerts taking place in the Gâtine (some of which are free) during the four day programme and to find out how to reserve, please consult the website: www.lejazzbatlacampagne.com or ring The Carug: 05.49.64.25.49 page 6


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Newcomers welcome! Are you a lady in France? Then why not join us for lunch! We are a group of ladies of all ages and from all areas. We generally meet once a month for a good natter and a nibble, in various different restaurants. There’s no commitment to come along each month and no membership fee.....so what are you waiting for?! Join the Facebook group to be kept up-to-date with dates of the lunches. www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_60970137795

LE BOUQUINISTE

by Alan King In the early 60’s the centre of my known world was the steel town of Port Talbot and into this South Walian Klondike on the Friday night before an international would come my friends Mr & Mrs Richie Jenkins. Friday nights in those days, to God’s chosen people, was ‘Mans Night’ and to bring your woman into town was considered a nono, but for Richie Jenkins there appeared to be no rules, he’d gone after all from Taibach (Welsh slang for s--house) and conquered the great stages of the world and in doing so he’d found Elizabeth, no words of mine can equal his. “I have been inordinately lucky all my life but the greatest luck

of all has been Elizabeth. She has turned me into a moral man but not a prig, she is a wildly exiting love-mistress, she is shy and witty, she is nobody’s fool, she is a brilliant actress, she is beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography, she can be arrogant and wilful, she is clement and loving, Dulcis Imperatrix...and I’ll love her till I die”

And no one will convince me that he didn’t. I’ll always think of Elizabeth Taylor sitting quietly in a corner of the Cross Keys pub on a Friday night, out with her old man, the talker. The other beautiful lady was Sheila Palmer. One wet and windy market day in Luzay some years ago she walked, smiling as usual into our book stall and said “Business no good” we didn’t need to answer, so she promptly picked up two paperbacks, paid and walked out. She didn’t have to do that but she did and that act has always stayed in our minds and summed up Sheila, smiling, considerate and generous. We shared the same surname once and imagined we were relatives, she would always come to

the market with a smile no matter what and that’s all I really knew of her, but that smile, that name and that gesture were enough to like her. I’ll miss you both. Bye. The must read at the moment is Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, a long hard slog through strange Scandinavian places and names but worth it if you want to discover how to hack into the CIA or your ex-lover’s emails, kill an 18 stone Hells Angel with a pencil and tattoo a pervert. Read it and find out more of what the Swedes get up to on long winter nights. I have discovered Alan Furst, considered (by his publisher) to be the best espionage novelist in the world, as good as Graham Greene, they claim. He’s good, but not that good. Don’t you just love those world bestselling author claims that are going to sweep the board at prize giving day but never quite make it, they’re always being compared to long gone writers instead of standing on their own two sentences. If I see it on the jacket I usually dump it but not for some reason in Furst’s case, he is good and he doesn’t need the cousin’s selling hype (Nearly used the old English word there). She-who-mustbe-obeyed. Finally one that S.W.M.B.O hasn’t stopped giggling about all week. ‘E’ by M@tt Beaumont. The novel of liars, lunch and lost knickers. Described by his publishers as a tapestry of insincerity, backstabbing and bare-faced bitchiness – just everyday office politics. Now that’s how to sell a book. British style. See you in Aulnay (Sun), Lezay (Tue) and St Jean (Sat) markets. page 7


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Our Furry Friends... HOOF (Horse Orientated Open Forum) A group of like-minded Brits with an interest in anything equestrian who meet on average once per month, held at various locations mainly in North Deux-Sèvres or Vendée area. If you are interested in joining us in some adventures, ring Jo Rowe on 05 49 64 22 67 email: willjo@live.co.uk

The Hope Association, based in Deux-Sèvres was formed in the Autumn of 2009 in response to the enormous and increasing need to help local abandoned and needy cats and dogs. www.hopeassoc.org It is NOT a refuge, but raises money to help save the lives and re-home where possible, dozens of animals which would otherwise have been condemned to a miserable life and often certain death. Volunteers are always needed to help, even your smallest effort will make a difference. If you would like more information, please contact Siobain on 05 49 27 26 20 or email: hopeassoc@orange.fr

Sudoku

Button and Sissy are 8 year old sisters who have always had a good home but suddenly it is no longer there. Grandma was a spaniel, Mother was a Spaniel x Boudin Noir (looked like a fat black sausage!) Father is unknown but at a guess was a long haired terrier type. Button & Sissy would love to stay together. If you can help us find a new home for these wonderful dogs, please contact Siobain on 05 49 27 26 20 or email hopeassoc@orange.fr

www.sudokupuzz.com

Button & Sissy are looking for a permanent home

For DSM Crossword#3, please see p.23 page 8


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The Great Outdoors... The Amateur Gardener by Vanda Lawrence

Busy Bee Corner by Mick’s bee-buddy, Paul.

Now that we have had some nice, warm weather your garden pond and its occupants will be waking up. The frogs in our pond are particularly vocal at the moment and the fish are looking for their feed each evening. Our pond is quite large and we also have a Heron who has realised that there is a 'ready-meal' on hand, so he drops in every now and again. We are hoping to deter him by stringing cord around the marginal plants and trees to hamper his landings and take-offs. If you have water lilies in your pond which need division, late Spring/early Summer is the recommended time to do it.

This week’s bee keeping course included information on the roles of the various bees in the hive. The Queen bee is purely and simply a breeding machine. She can live for up to 5 years, but would normally be replaced after 3. For the aid of locating and identifying her she is normally dabbed with a spot of marker paint and there are different colours which indicate the year she started the colony.

Are you growing a screen of sunflowers this year? Why not grow your runner beans up the stems - adds density to the screen and fresh veg too - what a bonus! If the compost in your hanging baskets gets dry enough that water runs off it, add a couple of drops of washingup liquid to the watering can. This will help the water to penetrate the surface. As the leaves turn yellow you can start lifting your garlic. Choose a dry day, then leave them to dry on top of the soil for 2 or 3 days before storing away somewhere dry, well-ventilated and constant temperature. Lift your spring bulbs as the leaves turn yellow. Place them in shallow boxes and dry in a well-ventilated shed. Later you can remove the dead leaves, roots and skins and store in a cool, dry shed until Autumn. After all the jobs are done, why not sit by your lovely pond and enjoy the view. You can plan tomorrow's tasks while you have a long, cool drink.

à plus!

The worker bees live for 6 weeks only. They start working from the moment they hatch from their cells and never stop. They progress through different jobs within the hive as they grow older, e.g. cleaning out vacated cells, feeding older larvae, making wax and building cones and guarding the hive entrance. After 23 days they fly from the hive to collect pollen, nectar etc. The only other occupants of the hive are the drones, (i.e male bees.) They are only reared during the summer months, and their sole purpose in life is to mate with the Queen, after which, they die. Any drones that are still in the hive during Autumn will be driven out where they will perish in the colder weather. On the practical side, this week we learned how to identify the Queen in the hive and how to mark her with the special coloured pens which determine the year she started her reign. So that all the students got some practice in marking, we also identified and marked the drones. This was done without the protection of gloves, but as drones cannot sting, we were in no danger! April-June is usually the time for bees to swarm. Their favourite places to go are between the window and the shutters, or hang from trees or up chimneys. Most are discovered when people arrive to their holiday home for the summer season. If you see a swarm, or think you have one please do not destroy it but let us try to collect it. Please contact Mike or Keenan Dominey 0549077879 or 0669676706, dominey.michael@orange.fr. Diploma Apiculteurs.

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Frogs in France; the water or green frogs (Cdes Grenouilles vertes) by Roger Meek You find frogs everywhere you look in France particularly from Spring onwards. If you live in an area near ponds or marshes or have a garden pond their calls will be well known to you. The frogs you are most likely hearing are those of water frogs and are probably males giving notice of occupation of territory, which will be defended vigorously from other males. In western France there are three types, the marsh frog (Pelophylax ridibunda), pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae) and the edible frog Pelophylax kl. esculenta, a hybrid of the other two. All have a basic green colouration frequently with a dorsal stripe (see photos). The marsh frog is much the largest of the three living in deep lakes and canals whilst pool and edible frogs usually inhabit smaller bodies of water. Visually they are very similar but their calls are different. In western France most appear to be pool frogs but they often live in mixed populations. If you are interested you can identify the one(s) living near you from sound files on www.alienencounters.org.uk/ marshfrog.html. They are useful animals to have around, as they are active hunters of flying insects, mosquitoes and other bugs, including garden pests. They bask in the sun even on the hottest days and start breeding in late Spring laying clumps of spawn that have around 1000 –2000 eggs. The male grasps the female behind the front legs (amplexus - see photo) releasing sperm at the same moment she releases the spawn, which swims to the spawn clump to fertilise the eggs. The tadpoles change into small frogs in late Summer. Water frogs have many predators including herons, water snakes, polecats and otters.

Pelophylax kl. esculenta. This is a reference to the use of genetic material from the other species but it does so in a complex way. In simple terms (very!) first generation edible frogs are hybrids of male pool frogs with female marsh frogs but during development something very unusual takes place. At the beginning of development one set of chromosomes is obliterated. In French populations it is always those of the pool frog, which means the adult hybrids have only marsh frog genes. Edible frogs are very similar in size to pool frogs and usually take up residence alongside them as they have similar habitat preferences. However, they choose to mate with pool frogs rather than each other and hence all subsequent crosses are edible frogs as they have one set of pool frog and one set of marsh frog genes. Edible frogs can thus persist indefinitely as long as some pool frogs mate with each other to maintain a supply of pool frogs. In very few places edible frogs are able to survive on their own but they are females that have triploid (three) instead of the normal two sets of chromosomes with varying combinations of marsh and pool frog chromosomes. This hybrid species, particularly the tadpoles, apparently prospers better than either parent species in harsh or changing environments where ponds may dry out. The adults are also able to hibernate either on land or at the bottom of ponds, neither of the parent species can do both or at least survive as well if they do.

The strange case of the edible frog. The edible frog is no ordinary hybrid. Indeed it is so unusual that science has had to come up with a new type of classification for it - a klepton (thief) species, hence its zoological name

A water frog basking beside a pond (right). Just previous to being photographed this frog was calling and so is most likely a male. Left photo shows a pair in amplexus; the male is waiting for the female to release the spawn so he can fertilise it. In both photos the dorsal line can be seen and is a characteristic of most water frogs. From the sound recordings mentioned in the text these are pool frogs.

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert! page 10


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Health, Beauty & Fitness... Kate, 2011 and beyond!

by Helen Tait-Wright Every day, each one of us writes a page in our own personal history, but very few of us ever make an impact on world history. On 29th April 2011, Miss Middleton of Bucklebury did just that. With her wedding to Prince William broadcast to 180 countries, every detail of their day could be scrutinised around the world, none more so than “the dress” which will no doubt take its place in the history of fashion too. Sarah Burton, creative director at Alexander McQueen showed us how to look like a princess without frills and pearls and pulled off a clever, sophisticated, understated and elegant design, incorporating pointers from the most iconic wedding dresses of the twentieth century, creating an icon for the future. The most immediate comparison is with Grace Kelly’s 1956 dress with its famous lace bodice, but the neckline owes much to the Norman Hartnell dress worn by Princess Margaret, and the shape of the skirt to the Queen’s own dress. The ungathered silk tulle veil had echoes of the one worn in the 20’s by the Queen Mother and fittingly it was teamed with her tiara. With the corsetted bodice, padded hips and exquisite overlaid lace work, the whole dress also bore all the hallmarks of the house of McQueen.

Buzzzz...

by Karen Hawke Okay, Summer is almost here. Everyone’s hoping for long, lazy days in the sunshine, & restful sleep in the heat of the Summer nights. The potagères have been planted out & old DVD’s are swinging from the trees to keep hungry birds away from your precious crops. Swimming pools have been opened and a close eye is being kept on their temperatures, ready for your first swim of the year. The BBQs have been brought out of sheds & dusted down, ready for the first meat-fest washed down with the appropriate amount of vino collapso.....You get the idea by now. So here’s the “but”... For many of us, Summer also means Citronella candles everywhere, mosquito nets above all the beds, fly traps hanging in the kitchen (always with one in the death throes as it’s stuck but not yet expired), little plug-in gadgets which you’re always afraid will combust & set the house on fire & then of course there are the antihistamines on standby for your itchy lumps resulting from the bites of the persistent mozzies that have successfully circumnavigated all your meticulously planned defences, yet have still taken chunks out of you while you slept or have nipped your ankles at the barbecue! Some people’s reactions to mosquito bites are quite severe. I remember my husband was badly attacked one year when we were on a camping holiday in the Camargue. An elderly French neighbour told us that Pastis was the answer. “You rub it on the itch?” I asked. “NO” he said, “You drink it, then you don’t care”! If you’re dreading the night-time drone of the bloodthirsty mozzie and have your fly swat near your pillow primed and ready to lash out in the middle of the night, might I suggest that you try Avon’s Skin-So-Soft Dry Oil Spray (the Soft & Fresh version). It’s a dry oil you spray onto your skin, which has anti-mosquito properties, and it works. (Normal catalogue price €9.50 for 150ml) Google Avon Skin-So-Soft Soft & Fresh dry Oil Spray for yourself, and read the reports on its anti-mozzie qualities. Troops use it out in the Deserts of Afghanistan & Iraq. Horse owners use it on their horses to keep flies at bay. Cat and dog owners spray it on their pets to repel ticks & fleas. It’s a moisturizing oil, which when sprayed on after your bath or shower, locks in moisture, it has a lovely fresh fragrance (previously known as Woodland Fresh dry oil spray by Avon), and it keeps the mosquitoes away as well.

With the replica dresses already hitting the bridal shops, Kate’s dress will undoubtedly influence mainstream bridal fashion, showing a shift back towards the use of lace and herald a welcome move away from strapless evening type dresses towards a more classic and flattering look. Lace has been a traditional fabric for bridal gowns in the western world since Queen Victoria “invented” what we now regard as the traditional white wedding dress and veil in 1840, using some Honiton lace she already owned. When lace was made by hand, its high cost restricted its use to brides of high social standing and in the later years of the 19th century, items of wedding attire became family heirlooms. Now with machine made laces available we can all own a piece of the fabric Coco Chanel described as having “precious elegance, lightness and luxury”, and add the princess touch.

If you haven’t tried it yet and would like to see for yourself, contact your Avon Lady for further details. Your Ambassadrice Avon in the Coeur du Poitou Region is Karen. She holds a regular “Relais Colis Avon” at the Lemontree Tea Rooms, Sauzé-Vaussais, where you can try the products yourself, place your orders & collect & pay for them when they arrive at the next event. Dates already arranged are Tuesday May 24th, Tuesday 14th June, Tuesday 5th July, 2-5pm. For further details contact Karen on 06 25 23 64 85, or email: Karen.avon@orange.fr or ask at the Lemontree Salon de Thé, Sauze-Vaussais. Here’s hoping for a lovely, mosquito-bite-free Summer!

Photograph: www.news.sky.com

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What is Hypnotherapy?

by Pamela Irving. During hypnotherapy specific techniques are used to put the client into a relaxed state of mind so that we can aid the subconscious to help the patient to relieve the mind of problems. You will be fully aware at all times of what is happening and will maintain total control. In everyday life, we generally use what we call the conscious mind, however, this conscious mind is only part of our total mind - only about 5% in actual fact. The other part of our mind is our subconscious mind taking up the remaining 95%. It is important to understand that the conscious mind can have a totally different agenda to the subconscious mind. For example, although the conscious mind knows smoking is bad for us and wishes to stop, the subconscious mind objects to giving up - as there could be an emotional factor to consider. Only when we delve a little deeper into finding out exactly why, using hypnotherapy, can we recall the answer. It is only when both the conscious and subconscious mind agree to work together can we achieve a successful result. The conscious mind can be described as our ‘humanness’. It decides, analyses, judges, objects, discriminates and rationalises situations for us. It has no memory, one thought simply replaces another. Should we require memory, we call upon our subconscious mind. The conscious mind is like the captain of the ship - it sees what is going on and tells the subconscious mind (the ship’s engine room) what to do, Our subconscious mind holds our memory bank for all of our life experiences, good and bad. It has no intelligence or morals and understands repetition. It controls our health and repair maintenance of our body. From childhood we accept certain forms of ‘programming’ from the outside world, which may not always be good for us. With the aid of hypnotherapy we can establish why a problem began - it could be that we have forgotten a traumatic event and buried it to allow ourselves to cope with life. When the patient begins to allow a more positive message into the mind or simply remembers and releases the memory, then the problem can be released. Pamela Irving, DHP Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. Member of Howard College of Advanced Hypnosis. Tel: 05 49 65 55 25 or email: irving.philip@wanadoo.fr

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 12


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HAEMOCHROMATOSIS by Helen Aurelius-Haddock. It is estimated that one in eight Europeans are carriers, two thousand people a year die in France from it, and 5500 British people have been diagnosed with it. Haemochromatosis is more common than we realise, and yet so few people have ever heard anything about it. It's a worrying statistic as it is a genetic disease passed on to children, and with those types of odds, you might think we would all know more about it. This terrible disease can go undiagnosed in people as their illness and symptoms are associated with other medical conditions, while their condition slowly deteriorates. So, what exactly is haemochromatosis? It is a genetic disorder that causes the body to absorb too much iron. We need iron for the body to function, but an excess will be stored in major organs of the body - the heart, liver, pancreas, and even the skin, causing some sufferers to have an appearance of a permanent suntan. Iron in excess has a toxic effect, and can lead to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and liver disorders like cirrhosis and cancer. Symptoms are very often misdiagnosed and the patient is left untreated – some even die as a result of late or incorrect diagnoses. I was fortunate enough to request a second opinion when I became ill in 2008, with abdominal and joint pain, plus palpitations of the heart. I spent 9 months undergoing various tests, including specialised blood tests and an MRI scan. The results showed that I was indeed suffering from Type 1 Hereditary Haemochromatosis. While the tests were very sophisticated, the treatment was relatively simple: I was asked to attend hospital on a two weekly basis, where 500ml of blood was taken from me at each visit. This treatment continued for several months until my iron levels returned to normal.

the joints, with possibly a solution or treatment to make day-to-day living easier for myself and others. I am supporting the research of the scientific community who often rely on funding, so I have embarked upon a fundraising campaign, along with writing about the disease to raise awareness of its existence and the potentially lethal effects it has on those who remain undiagnosed. To date, I have raised funds through a book sale, and have a coffee morning planned in June, as well as another book and cake sale. I have also been working with the The Haemochromatosis Society to ask them to register with the EBay for Charity Scheme. This allows would be EBay sellers to list their items free of charge to allow the entire proceeds for the sale to go directly to the Society. I am in the process of writing a piece for their monthly newsletter to spread the word and encourage members to raise money in this way. Heamochromatosis has no cure, so both the French and British societies are campaigning for national screening programmes, which will allow everyone to be aware of whether they carry the genes or indeed have the disease. The work of the societies along with any fundraising efforts will help progress this vital lobby and save lives. If you feel you would like to be involved in any fund raising activities in this area, please contact me on helen.aurelius@gmail.com To find out more about the disease contact: • Hemochromatosis Awareness on Facebook www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=63296152960 • Association Hemochromatose de France on www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000952359447&sk=wall • The Haemochromatosis Society on www.haemochromatosis.org.uk

I now have monthly blood tests, and when my blood iron levels rise, I restart the treatment to reduce the iron once again. This treatment will last for the rest of my life. Due to the early diagnosis, my major organs had sustained no lasting damage, but my joint pain has continued which is both frustrating and limiting to my daily lifestyle. Research is continuing on the disease and I hope that soon it will be more understood about how the disease affects

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French Adventures... Suzette moved to France 3 years ago with her husband David. Here she tells us the story of her experiences creating a new life and business venture here in the Deux-Sèvres.

I have French and English customers that are expecting more. They don’t say ‘do you mind if’, they say ‘can you’ and I am always willing to oblige.

I had worked in a Civil Service office for the 10 years prior to our move to France, so I was incredibly excited about our life changing decision. Growing vegetables, making jam and having chickens were the highlight of all my conversations! We had planned, like many others, to open a gîte complex. The house was sold, notices given and we found the perfect property. Then, as we began to look forward to our new life, the recession hit and the pound plummeted, so we decided to place Plan A on hold while we figured out if we had a Plan B! We enjoyed our first year immensely. We renovated the house and mixed in some chilling ‘n relaxing! Renovation of the house was fun. Being exhausted and shattered at the end of a very long hot day, doing something for yourself, aching all over, but still feeling good is a surreal feeling and hard to explain unless you have done it. The recession got worse and money was running out. Reality set in and we had to make a decision about our future in France, and indeed, whether it was even possible. Some worrying months later, we were extremely lucky when David got a part-time contract from his previous employers in England. He started to commute back and forth. I missed him dreadfully, but money was all that was going to keep us here, so I put on a brave face each month when I kissed him goodbye. With David being away, I found the peaceful, tranquil life in France a little too slow so we discussed the possibility of me working or maybe creating a business in France. While discussing, I knew instantly what I wanted to do and was very excited by the prospect of opening my own little boarding kennels in the heart of France. Getting the chance to plan and build my own business was very exciting. Having very high standards in mind created a few tense conversations, but I stuck to my guns and I have achieved my goal of creating a comfortable, happy kennels. Creating a new enterprise can be daunting enough, but setting up in France concerned me the most. I have not mastered the language as well as I should have and I thought it would be an up hill struggle - but with help from friends, and a determined mind, the set-up process turned out to be relatively straightforward. My chosen profession was not as trouble free as most, as the law states that I needed to hold a certificate from the veterinaries department (DDSV) to care for animals in France. Being told “Kennels, cattery or pet-sitter, a ‘certificat du capacite’ is as mandatory as public liability insurance” was not great news, especially when I discovered that stage 1 of attaining the certificate meant I had to sit an animal welfare exam in French! But, I studied very hard and passed the exam in 2009 to gain my ‘Attestation’. I sent the Attestation, with the other required documentation, to the DDSV and a very proud day came when my ‘certificat du capacite’ arrived in the post. Only after it had arrived was I able to submit my building plans to the Mairie for consideration. On 1st April 2010, building works commenced. On the 1st September 2010, ‘Saint-Pardoux-pension-pour-chiens’ opened its doors for business offering dogs a 4* holiday experience.

For example, maintaining a dog’s usual food pattern, however complex is vitally important for the dog’s wellbeing, so I ask customers to bring their usual food. Whether a dog’s diet consists of freshly cooked meat, scrambled eggs, or cereals for breakfast, it will be catered for. I am happy to reassure owners, “if they have it at home, they can have it at ‘Saint-Pardoux-pensionpour-chiens’! Prior to their stay, owners are required to complete a detailed questionnaire for their dog. This information is then used to understand their personalities and behaviours so they can be treated as individuals. As a pet owner myself, I am aware how important it is to find high quality accommodation. I found myself facing this dilemma last year when I was looking to board my cat. Fortunately, I discovered Chateau du chat, just a short drive away. After I visited, I was happy to see the quality of the accommodation. I have supported positive animal-welfare since a very young age. Having volunteered at many different animal shelters, helping to rescue and rehabilitate injured and abused animals, meeting like-minded people in France has been very heartening. Last year after meeting the selfless Beryl Brennan, I was more than happy to assist her with the transportation of rescued dogs from Spain to France. Beryl supports the much mistreated Spanish hunting dog called the ‘Galgo’ and holds various fundraising events during the year. When I found out that two events were to be held in our village of Saint Pardoux I was proud to offer assistance and to sponsor the rosettes. The dog show in 2010 and the charity walk in April were both very popular, and thanks to a great team of helpers and the support of the public, were very successful events. Beryl’s website: www.galgonews.com This year’s dog show is on the 11th September - put the date in you diaries! (Rosettes to be sponsored by Chateau du chat). I believe that the more high quality services available in France, the better it is for our pets. If every newly opened establishment matches or exceeds the standards, I will be a very happy person! If you would like to know more about the kennels, please visit my website: www.pensionpourchiens-saintpardoux.com. Suzette Jeapes.

We have become very popular and it is heart-warming to learn that customers are demanding better for their pets. Standards are rising and animal care is moving forward. page 14


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French Life, Food & Drink... Vive la difference. by Gilly Hunt Have you ever woken up feeling just good to be alive? Well I have that feeling most mornings waking up in the lovely Deux-Sèvres. How lucky we all are to live in such a wonderful place. Stunning countryside, lovely towns and villages, great people, a never ending choice of restaurants and bars to visit, as well as all the events and spectaculars that there are all year round – we are truly blessed.

the Here is the first contribution we have received for rite forthcoming Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres Favou Recipe Book. It fills the three criteria – simple, tested and delicious, and it is also suitable for vegetarians. Thank you to Annette Fisher!

I mentioned last month that we have chickens for eggs; well we also have chickens that we rear and slaughter for meat, which I know may sound horrendous to some. We buy the chickens from a French farmer who is taking a lorry load to the slaughter-house, and we have around 50 at a time; we then keep them for about another 10 weeks and during this period of their life they are well fed, cared for, happy and have the freedom to roam and even though they end their days earlier than God had intended, they are despatched with love and respect and without pain.

Ingredients: 250g brown rice 2 spring onions 1 red pepper seeded and chopped 75g currants 50g cashew nuts 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

I did not move to France thinking that I would be rearing animals to eat, but I have and whilst it is my husband who does most of the work, and certainly the despatching, I do think that overall the animals do have a good life whilst with us. If I am going to eat meat I have to accept that an animal has to be killed. The French however have no problem with raising animals for food and have a totally different attitude to us. Our neighbours still cannot grasp why we have ducks as pets and not for eating. Not long ago, I was in a car with my daughter, her French friend and a friend from England, when a rabbit ran in front of the car the French girl said “yum yum” and the English girl said “aw look a cute bunny”. Whilst this view might not sit comfortably with many of us, we have to accept and embrace this view as we choose to live here and that is the way it is in rural France. In England when you move it is traditional for your neighbours to come round and welcome you to the area, but in France the emphasis is on the new arrival to invite all the neighbours round for an aperitif. This may sound scary inviting round the neighbours when you do not necessarily speak the language, but I can assure you that all you need do is provide the drinks and nibbles and they will happily chat amongst themselves. After you showing hospitality, the aperitif invites will then start to flow and your early evenings will no longer be spent watching Neighbours or Eggheads, but drinking Ricard, Pineau or wine with a few tasty nibbles whilst improving your French. Vive la Difference.

BROWN RICE SALAD (for 4 people)

For the dressing: 6 tablespoons sunflower oil 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 clove of garlic finely chopped Salt and pepper the Rinse rice and cook. Drain and allow to cool. Mix allin a salad ingredients together. Make the dressing. Put over screw top jar and shake or whisk until blended. Pour rice salad when ready to serve. it to If you have a favourite recipe how about sending to Thelma at ivan7thelma@wanadoo.fr for an opportunitye”. be included in the book. Please title your email “recipand Remember the three criteria – simple, tested delicious! r If you would like any information about the work of Cance on 05 Support Deux-Sèvres, please contact June Searchfield 49 64 59 96 or email junesearchfield@gmail.com

Family Favourites... This favourite dessert of Jacqueline Brown’s family certainly sounds lovely....enjoy! Fat Free Cherry Cake Ingredients: Enough cherries to fill the bottom of a lined flan tin 3 eggs 65g sugar 110g plain flour 1 tbsp cornflour 1 tsp baking powder 2 tbsp natural yoghurt 50g ground almonds a few drops of almond essence Method: Beat the eggs and sugar for at least five minutes until very frothy and pale. Gently fold in the yoghurt and almond essence, and then half the dry ingredients sieved, then the remainder. Try and lose as little of the air as possible. Pour the batter over the cherries and bake in a preheated oven (gas 4) for about 20 mins, or until the top is golden and springs back to the touch. Leave to cool and then turn out upside down onto a plate. Serve warm or cold with a healthy dollop of natural yoghurt. page 15


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Communications... Protecting your PC – from Viruses, Trojans, Worms and Malware

Here we are June is upon us, whilst trying to stop invaders to our house – the weather has meant that ants seem to want to share our house with us again! Each year around this time we get visitors like ants, flies and mosquitoes who are not welcome and we have to rid ourselves of these pests. Just like the pests that want to share your PC with you; I am referring to Viruses, Trojans, Worms and Malware. What are these things? Are they really dangerous? What do I do to protect myself?

VIRUS.

A virus is a computer program that is able to copy itself and infect a computer. Originally transferred from one computer to another via floppy disk, then as the internet grew, infected files were hidden in emails and sent from one computer to another over the internet network. The first virus appeared in the early 1970s and by the 1980s the traditional virus spread well, driven by the growth of computer networks, by the mid 1990s macro viruses were providing the mechanism for a virus to send a web address link as an instant message to all the contacts on an infected machine. If the recipient, thinking the link is from a trusted source, follows the link to the website, the virus hosted at the site may be able to infect this new computer and continue propagating.

TROJAN. A Trojan, the term is derived from the Greek

myth of the Trojan War, in which the Greeks give a giant wooden horse to their foes, the Trojans, ostensibly as a peace offering. However, after the Trojans drag the horse inside their city walls, Greek soldiers sneak out of the horse's hollow belly and open the city gates, allowing their compatriots to pour in and capture Troy. A Trojan, is a destructive program that masquerades as a benign application. The software initially appears to perform a desirable function for the user prior to installation and/or execution, but steals information or harms the system.  Unlike  viruses  or  worms, Trojan horses do not replicate themselves, but they can be just as destructive.

WORM. A computer worm is a self-replicating computer

program, similar to a computer virus. A virus attaches itself to, and becomes part of, another executable program; a worm is self-contained and does not need to be part of another program to propagate itself. In addition to replication, a worm may be designed to do any number of things, such as delete files on a host system or send documents via email. More recent worms may be multiheaded and carry other executable programs as a payload. However, even in the absence of such a payload, a worm can wreak havoc just with the network traffic generated by its reproduction. Mydoom, for example, caused a noticeable worldwide Internet slowdown at the peak of its spread.

MALWARE. Malware (also known as malicious software)

has the ability to enter your computer and cause damage to the system without your knowledge or consent. Sometimes, the intrusion is minor and annoying, while other forms of malware are quite serious, causing irreversible destruction to your current applications, files and data or exploiting your privacy by recording and sending on your personal information to the author of the malware, it can even attach itself to your outgoing correspondences and infect others. When you want to find out what malware is on your computer, you should know what is considered as such. Many familiar computer threats help you to understand what malware is. They include viruses, worms,  spyware, adware, scare-ware, crime-ware, root-kits and  Trojan horses. The problem is so serious that there have been

legal codes set in various states, such as California, that define these entities as “computer contaminants”, although what good this will do heaven knows. Clearly none of these are welcome visitors to any computer, so how do you protect your PC from them? The first and best form of protection is having a good quality, up to date anti-virus program, there are many good antivirus products available free of charge, such as AVG, Avast, Microsoft security essentials, choose one of these and keep it up to date – DAILY! Scan your PC regularly, I do mine overnight, every night. When I go to my PC in the morning I know that I have a virus free system. Most anti-virus programs will seek to protect you from viruses, Trojans and worms. However, I highly recommend running an anti-malware product as well. I use another free program namely “Spybot search and destroy”, others you may consider are Adaware, Windows Defender and Malware Bytes. Spybot is running on my PC 24/7 watching for nasty programs that can infect my PC, just like the anti-virus, it is updated daily. However, I do not run daily scans, these are usually weekly events, or if anything seems different with my PC, for example it seems to be running slowly. These simple, free tools with a little consistency of use, keep my system free from infections and more importantly from infecting others.

HOAXES.

This week I have received two emails sent out to “everyone” in the senders contact list, warning of the danger of opening two emails, supposedly doing the rounds. Namely “Black Muslim in the Whitehouse” and “A Postcard from Hallmark” both emails claim that a virus will, burn/s your “C” drive, I guess they mean erase the data on your “C” drive. Either way it is a hoax, these have been circulating for at least 10 or more years, with slight modifications. If you receive one of these emails, Don’t Panic! Simply check by doing a Google search on the key words in the email, such as “black in the Whitehouse” or “Postcard from Hallmark”, or look up the email in the Hoax Encyclopedia. I have not yet received a legitimate email warning of a virus, and I probably receive a dozen or so of these emails per quarter. Sending on one of these emails to everyone in your address book/contacts list will only slow down the internet, make you look foolish and fill up the in boxes of your friends and family with useless information. Finally with the correct up to date Anti-Virus and a Malware/Spyware scanner you should be protected from most of these pests. I believe that most viruses/malware can be removed, and in most cases your data will not be destroyed, however, as these programs get more sophisticated they become more difficult to remove, and therefore more costly to remove. If it takes more than 5 hours to remove one of these pests then it may well be more cost effective to reload your operating system than to remove the virus/malware, but get a specialist to do it, as I believe they have more chance of protecting your important data and ensuring that you do not lose anything. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. He operates from his home on the Deux-Sevres/Vendée border adjacent to L’Absie. You can find more information on his services at www.seowise.co.uk. Email Ross: rs.hendry@gmail.com. page 18


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Getting Out & About... Ladies, tops off please!

by Helen Tait-Wright The sun is shining and even our newest Princess couldn’t resist getting the breeze in her hair in a vintage Aston Martin convertible! There is just something about driving with the top down maybe the distant memory of a glamorous bygone era....... a great feeling of freedom on the open road with the wind blowing through your hair, weather permitting of course.....but I was surprised to learn that a 2010 survey by the AA revealed that women are a third more likely to drive 'topless' than men and it is those in their fifties who are most likely to choose a convertible.

probably the closest you can get to a road going go-kart, but beware your man may want this one too! If you don’t expect to raise the hood at the touch of a button and like a bit of retro motoring, you might want a classic Healey, a Triumph, an MG, a Jaguar E Type, or even a Morgan 3 wheeler, several of which can be used on the Historic Race and Rally circuit that is alive and thriving in France. (See 6th Annual Classic Car Grand Prix 2nd & 3rd July)

Perhaps this can be attributed to the time of life when the family has flown the nest and they can indulge in a frivolous car rather than needing a practical one. Most convertibles are two seaters, and boot space is usually compromised by the storage space for the hood. It is also interesting to note that the statistics show that Brits register more open top cars than any other European country, which is odd really given the British weather! But, we are in France now and with most manufacturers offering convertible models these days, how is a girl to choose? Perennial favorites include the Mazda MX5 and the Audi A4, and the Porsche Boxster is a superb drive if you have a bit more cash to splash. I can also personally recommend the XK8 convertible. When it comes to fun and thrills behind the wheel, there’s nothing on earth that compares with the Caterham Seven. Although very basic, the fun factor is enormous and it’s

Whatever you choose, put your shades and sunscreen on and enjoy!

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 19


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Maintenance of your car.

by Mike Lane After living in the Deux-Sèvres for 6 years, I have been persuaded to start up a business primarily to help English speaking people to look after their vehicles. I had thought that after 35 years as a diesel mechanic in the UK and running my own business I would retire, but I admit that this new venture and working from home is proving to be enjoyable. If your command of the French language is, like mine, somewhat lacking it can be very difficult to explain to a French garage the problems you have. There are some simple steps you can take to help overcome some of the obvious (to some) problems that may arise. Check Oil Levels. Insufficient oil can cause severe engine damage. Too high an oil level can cause seals to blow, causing oil leaks. It can also cause turbo charger to blow oil into the cylinder bore and can cause bending of the connecting rods or con-rods. Connecting rods, con-rods are the components that are attached to the pistons and crankshaft and when they bend it is not possible to straighten them. You would then be looking at replacement of the engine or cylinder assembly.

NB. Please make sure that the dip stick is first wiped off clean using a clean paper towel, so that no oil is shown on the stick. Refit the dipstick into tube and make sure it is pushed firmly home. Remove dipstick and check oil level shown. Top up or drain as necessary. Power steering fluid - Noises found from power steering systems can be attributed to low power steering oil level causing air ingress in the power steering fluid. Whilst on the subject of levels:The most important level to check should be your brake fluid level. Don’t rely on your sensors on your dash. These levels should be checked at least once a week, visually. Check Water Levels. Low water levels can cause overheating and engine damage. Check tyre pressures. Low pressure can result in high fuel economy, bad road holding and rapid tyre wear. If you follow these simple steps it will help prevent what could be very serious problems.

So when topping up with oil, it is important to fill the correct level, which will be shown on the dipstick.

I am always available to discuss any problems you have...that can be anything mechanical. Cars, vans, small trucks or motor homes. Caravans, lawn mowers and other garden equipment. Mike Lane, Premier Autos. Tel: 05 49 32 23 50

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

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

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

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 22


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Castles in the Mist

Phillip.ap.Tudur@orange.fr Being a Cymro, from a country with more foreign castles per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world, one could be excused for thinking that this is about invading Romans, Vikings, Saxons, or Normans. But that’s another story. One of the great pleasures, on the way to infants’ school, after negotiating the busy A48 at Llansamlet, with an occasional filthy steamroller (spoiling everybody’s washing) was to stop a while on Brunel’s narrow stone bridge over the main Swansea to Paddington line. On the eastern side are the arches constructed by Brunel (of French origin and training) to brace the walls of this deep cutting, known locally as the “cet”. The cet was a forbidden adventure playground par excellence. It’s hard to believe that it was cut by the navigation workers, or navies, by hand, pick and shovel. What effects there must have been on the small communities alongside the railway; if only in their genetic inheritance. Thousands of workers came from all corners and we had been a cosmopolitan community for centuries. But that was only part of the story. Less than a mile away is the lower Swansea Valley which spawned the industrial revolution and which provided the highly advantageous faster “copper bottoms” for Nelson’s ships at Trafalgar; each plate stamped “Swansea”. A few miles to the south, in Swansea Bay, it was not unusual at that time to see 400 square-rigged sailing ships; Cape Horners waiting for the high 28 feet tide to bring home their metal ores; copper, nickel and zinc and every other metal ore imaginable. There were so many furnaces here that it never went totally dark at night; 150 in four miles. The rows and rows of tiny terraced cottages to house the workers, and numerous tiny pubs with wonderfully exotic names. The victory at Trafalgar, and others, exacted a heavy price in terms of the poor health and premature death of the workers in places like Swansea, or Abertawe to give it its correct Welsh name. History always has more than one face! Very often many more than ‘Big Ben’. “It came to pass in days of yore, the devil chanced upon Landore. Quoth he, by all this fume and stink, I can’t be far from home I think.”

Take a break....

DSM Crossword#3

Yes, the ‘fair country’ had been violated for centuries, raped and pillaged in the name of progress. The pollution was horrendous. The screams of anguish and pain easily could be heard on still nights; not easy with wheezing lungs corroded by sulphuric acid. There were many missing fingers, hands or legs and “colliers’ blue” coalimpregnated scars on foreheads. Listen! Here is the scream again, but this time mechanical and shrill, each time the unwavering same. “Mam it’s coming”, jumping up and down on the bridge to see. “Hold me up please Mam!” And there, up the line, came the chuff, chuff, chuffing of steam cylinders, and plumes of vapour, smoke and cinders frequently which set alight the “cet”. I was sure the whistle was just for me. “Oh Mam It’s a Castle, Mam. It’s a Castle! Don’t know which one.” A thundering roar in Great Western Railway green livery and grime, picked up speed and now started the curve. “Please Mam, hold me up higher Mam, I can’t see”. Getting larger by the second was a huge dragon heading straight for us, clouds now trapped in the cutting. It engulfed us in a flash, dancing eddies, sulphur and cinders, swooping from both sides of the bridge. I loved it, breathing as deeply as I dared. I ran to the other side of the bridge and caught a fleeting glimpse of snaking coaches and the guard’s van. “Come on now cariad (love). Now don’t you forget bach (little one) that railways are dangerous. I’ve told you many times about poor Tommy Jones who wouldn’t listen to his Mam. He was a silly boy. One day he walked down the cet to play near the railway? He never came home and nobody ever found him again.” “I won’t forget Mam. But it’s great on the bridge isn’t it Mam”. Mae’n dda fy n’ghariad it (it is good my sweetheart). You’ve been very good for weeks now. We’ll get you a licorice stick in Mrs. Thomas’ shop on the way to school. Have you got your penny in your pocket? “Yes Mam. I love you Mam. “I love you too Phillip bach.” I was now blessed with shiny lips and tongue as black as anthracite coal, and tastes and smells to last the day. They could last a lifetime because they are still with me today, over sixty years later. ©Phillip ap Tudur. April ,2011.

Across:

4. You can sunbathe on this tree (5) 6. Conservative follows grub for convenience (8) 7. To call or summon up (5) 9. Run away secretly to avoid prosecution (7) 12. Habitually silent and reserved (8) 15. A sphere or globe (3) 16. Underground missile position (4) 17. Obtained dishonestly or illegally (3-6) 18. Surprises or astounds (5) 20. The probability expressed as a ratio (4) 22. Famous Boxer (3) 25. Helped (5) 26. This drink gives you wings! (3,4) 27. A lyric or poem (3) 28. Slacken or stop (3,2) 29. Sternly or severely (7)

Down:

1. To expand upon (9) 2. Vanquish utterly (5) 3. Clients ordered a cut out design (7) 4. A parting salutation (3) 5. Solid fuel product (4) 8. The quality or state of being true (6) 10. This band lives in a place of peace and safety (5) 11. To loiter or fluctuate in one’s opinions (5-5) 13. Quilt or fabric unit of insulation (3) 14. Entrusts information into another’s keeping (8) 19. Sky features with short time back on transport (6) 21. Over seasoned (5) 22. To choose and follow (5) 23. Showed the way to, guided (3) 24. Curved structure that spans an opening (4)

Please see website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr for answers

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

French markets where money doesn't seem to matter. by John Jeapes

Car boot sales give expats living in France the chance to get acquainted with their new neighbours, whilst picking up a few bargains.

the done thing at all to admit to the local who flogged you the stuff that you have just sold it on the internet at a profit! In fact your neighbours would probably laugh if asked if they did vide-greniers simply for the cash they earn. They would say they do it for the fun. If they can help their local clubs raise funds and earn a few Euros for themselves, all the better. In small French towns, everyone seems to know everyone else, and the seller frequently knows the buyer and this probably explains why the transactions here are so lighthearted.

In France, what we in Britain call “car boot sales”, are normally spring and summer events. The winter months give French Traders the time to sort out their most unwanted objects, even unwanted Christmas presents, so a whole pile of knick-knacks, clothes and furniture will be lying in wait for the Big Day – or, as the French say, "le jour J". The phrase "car boot sale" in French does not have anything connected to a car. A "car boot sale" in France, is far from being a straightforward matter, because the French use a variety of words. A vide-grenier or loft clearance is literally when you want to empty (the verb "vider") your loft or attic ("grenier"). A braderie is another word used for these second hand sales: "brader" is the verb "to sell off at knock-down prices". A brocante is where registered professionals do the selling, but even this word seems to be used for some sales that allow the general public take part in, if occasionally. If you decide to rent a stand – being a brocanteur d'un jour – you can of course earn a modest sum of money. It may even be enough to finance a day out for the family, buy a birthday present, or a meal in a restaurant. Members of the general public are restricted to a limited number of times per year that they can have a stand (currently two): the argument being that they are not professional traders and therefore should not be allowed to make a living from these sales.

But for newly-arrived Brits in the area, the vide-grenier is an opportunity to search for that antique bargain whilst getting acquainted with your new neighbours and learning local habits. Join the locals, who have a wander round when they buy their baguette before lunch, and then again, after they have eaten lunch. As for those renting a stand – for the amount your two metre pitch costs, the organisers throw in a free apéritif at midday, which loosens any inhibitions you may have had up to that point! This day out is a chance to get to grips with one of the most daunting aspects of living abroad – the language. For those who are really determined to speak their newly adopted language, local occasions like this maximise the opportunities for doing so. To get the best out of the day, reserve your spot as soon as you can, although you will need to know how many metres to book. Two metres is the absolute minimum but keep within your budget. You will need a vehicle large enough to transport your things – and your display table or blanket since these are not always provided. Undertake this “boot sale” adventure in a group; if nothing else, it avoids transporting everything alone, and it also gives you a little free time to wander around. Also take protection from the cold, the wind, the rain and the sun. Do not forget the necessary tools of the trade: bags, scissors, sticky tape, paper and markers – and lots of small change to carry on you, of course. All the feverish planning activity during the colder months, the almost military precision in the days running up to it, and the fun on the day itself, just goes to show how the vide-grenier is an essential part of provincial life here in France.

For those of you who decide to buy, you are not meant to purchase objects in order to resell them. It would not be

Jane Kennedy has been missing since 5th April. Jane disappeared on the 5th of April from Aigre in the Charente. It is very out of character and so unlike her to do this. She has medication that she should take every day, she left this at home. She left in the family car which was seen by the Gendarmes parked in Confolons on the 10th April and has since been moved. Jane was reported missing to the Gendarmes within 24 hours by her husband, Mark. There are posters everywhere. Can anybody help? Perhaps you have seen Jane? If so, please get in touch. Contact us at The Deux-Sèvres Monthly magazine, or via the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Have-you-seen-Jane/213436095333280

Advertising rates start from 25€. Please contact Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 or go to www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr to download an advertising pack. Copy deadline: 15th of the month. page 25


THE DEUX-SĂ&#x2C6;VRES MONTHLY

Getting the perfect shot...

by Howie Taylor Photographing the sights of the area is a great way to get into the countryside. Through the coming months I will let you know some of the interesting things we can see and how to photograph them differently. At the moment along the roadsides we can see a blur of purple flower stalks as we pass. They are about 6-8 inches in height and are accompanied with either plain green or spotted green leaves. These are Pyramid orchids. They are very much at home hidden in the rural lanes and are a great thing to photograph. Set your camera on macro (the flower icon) or, on some compact cameras, super macro, and get in close to your chosen subject. Try to isolate the individual blooms, of which there are about 10-20 on each stem. If you have unsteady hands, use a tripod or bag of rice as an anchor point. Once you have found a nice composition in your frame play around with it. Try tilting your camera diagonally so that any lines in your image go from corner to corner, instead of top to bottom or side to side. This works particularly well with close up shots.

the sky as the background. I positioned myself, set up the shot and fired the shutter twice. Looking at the image I decided that a tighter crop would be better. A few more shots and I had what I needed. I could hear the tractor approaching in the field and looked up. Just behind it was a large cloud of dust and due to the prevailing wind, would cover me and the orchids in about 20 seconds time. I chose to make a dash for it, knowing that cameras and dust donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get on. I just made it. Looking back from a safe distance, the cloud rolled across the road and covered the orchids in a fine layer of dry, earthy dust, just where I had been standing.

Note to self; keep an eye on your situation and safety, as tide and tractors wait for no photographer! Happy trails.

My latest foray into the fields involved photographing these wonderful flowers. I had found some orchids on a verge in a quiet country lane. A lone tractor was scattering pellet fertiliser on the far side of an adjacent field, sunshine beat down on a perfect scene; France in spring, wonderful. I had a look around my chosen subject, a small group of orchids, to find the best direction from which to take the photos. There was a small dry ditch to the left and I thought, if I got a low viewpoint I could use

Building & Renovation...

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Basic Conversion Tables: Weight 1 tonne (metric) = 2205 lbs 1 ton imperial = 2240 lbs 1000grams = 1 kilogram 1 kilogram = 2.20462 lbs 1 lb = 0.4536 kg = 16 oz 1 oz = 28.3 grams

Volume: 1 cubic metre = 35.315 cubic ft 1 cubic foot = 0.0283 cubic metre 1 cubic yard = 0.7646 cubic metre

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Business, Finance & Property... Wealth Tax - Update Since our Wealth Tax return article in the May issue, there have been important developments that may have an affect on how you declare your assets. We are therefore informing you of the changes, however, it must be remembered that these are still only proposals for the moment. What are the proposed changes? Wealth Tax is currently going through a major review and a bill was put before Parliament in April, proposing to modify it considerably. The proposal is that: • The “Bouclier Fiscal” (or ‘Tax shield’, which limits total taxation) is to be abolished. • The ‘nil rate band’ would be raised to €1,300,000. • The tax rates would be lowered and simplified, with a rate of 0.25% up to €3,000,000 of assets and 0.5% for anything over that. • The declaration process would change. Anyone with assets of less than €3,000,000 would declare assets for wealth tax on their income tax returns. The bill is therefore still going through the parliamentary process, will be subject to amendment, and is unlikely to become law before July at the earliest. The Government have said that the new rules are to be in place for the 2011 tax returns, which then poses a problem in that the bill will not become law until after the deadline for tax returns! Two proposals are rumoured to be on the agenda for discussion by the Government. The first is that the declaration should be postponed until September so that new forms can be produced to reflect the law voted. The second is that the declarations should be completed in June as normal, without an accompanying cheque, as a bill will be received in September for the revised amount. David Hardy, Siddalls France. www.siddalls.fr

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

New Surprise Tax On Holiday Homes by Bill Blevins. The French Finance Bill which was presented to parliament on 11th May contained an unwelcome surprise for owners of second homes in France. If you are not tax resident in France but own a holiday home here, under the proposals you will start to pay a new extra tax on it from 2012. The tax applies to property which is freely available for the owner’s use (i.e. property which you do not rent out) and the rate will be 20% of the cadastral notional rental value. The government justifies the new tax by saying that holiday home owners should contribute towards national services and infrastructure since they benefit from them when they are in France. The tax does not just target foreign property owners as French nationals who live abroad and retain property in France will also be liable. However there is a temporary exception for people who leave France and who have paid French taxes as residents of France for 3 years out of the previous 10. These individuals will have a 6 year exemption from this tax, and those who are overseas for professional reasons will not be affected.

The Finance Bill now has to be debated by parliament and voted on in July. France is often written off as a high tax country and many Britons who own property in France remain UK resident because they fear that they would face higher tax liabilities in France. However many people, particularly higher earners, could find that with appropriate planning they pay less tax as French tax residents – and the tax savings can sometimes be considerable. If you do consider becoming tax resident in France, you should seek advice to ensure you get your tax planning right. Statements relating to taxation are based upon current taxation laws and practices which may be subject to change. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website www.blevinsfranks.com Bill Blevins, Financial Correspondent, Blevins Franks

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Our top 10 mistakes made when moving to and living in France.

1. Under-estimating the cost of living in France Many people arrive in France with the profit from the sale of their house in their previous country of residence - but no other source of income. They frequently over estimate how long this money will last and it often runs out much quicker than anticipated. It is important to have an additional source of income. Also please note, the income at which you need to start paying social charges is quite low so you need to take this into account if planning a self-sufficient lifestyle with a small income. 2. Not speaking French If you're moving to the countryside, it is very important to understand the culture of rural France - they speak only French and expect English people to speak French. If you cannot speak the language you are likely to find life difficult and isolating, especially if you want to work or set up a business. It is also vital for families with children as your child will learn the language so you will need to as well. Try to study French before moving to France and when you arrive, organise extra lessons. 3. Not researching local schools It is very important, especially if coming to live in rural France, to research schools and colleges for your children. Try to visit schools in the area in which you intend to move in order to avoid disappointment and also the stress of changing schools very soon after arriving causing undue upheaval and upset for the children. 4. Not budgeting for health cover Be clear about how you fit into the health and social security system – and how much it will cost you. Many people underestimate the costs and often do not budget for them, especially when it comes to health cover. Remember: only 50 – 75% of health costs are refundable and top up insurance is required for the rest.

7. Hiring Artisans working on the black There are many people in France trying to earn a living by doing building work on the black. The problem with using these people is that you have no guarantees for the work and therefore no comeback. Using unregistered tradesmen is also a problem if you want to re-sell your house as the potential buyer will want to see guarantees for important work, such as the roof, the fosse etc. These have to have been done legally for the work to be accepted. 8. Forgetting to pay bills on time In France bills are expected to be paid by the due date – it is not done to wait for the 'final warning' letter! Failure to pay can mean automatic penalty payments or worse, being cut off! 9. Not carrying Driving Licence & other documents By law you must always have your driving licence, insurance details and carte grise with you at all times. These will be checked on the spot by police, and you will be in trouble if you do not have them or if they are out of date. Also be careful if you are involved in a car accident. You are expected to have the form called un constat with you and both parties need to sign this form before it is given to both insurance companies. 10. Under-estimating costs and red tape of being self-employed Many people come to France to be self-employed, hoping for a more flexible life than being an employee. However, many people find themselves in financial trouble because of mistakes made when starting up and running a business. It is vital to take advice and guidance when setting up your business and then on an on going basis to ensure all the correct charges are being paid by the due date. This will give your business the best chance of success and avoid undue stress – and failure. Peter Elias (Agent Commercial). www.allez-francais.com email: sales@allez-francais.com, Tel 05 49 27 01 22 Also, with assistance from Susan Busby at France Legal.

5. Not registering for tax Many people are afraid of the tax laws in France and therefore don’t register; or they believe that it is not required as they have no French income. However, it is imperative to register for tax (impôts) even if there is nothing to declare. If you don’t there could be a knockon effect with issues such as capital gains tax; for example you could be eligible to pay it on your French home even if it is your only home. 6. Signing house sale contracts without understanding them Often people sign the compromis de vente (promise to sell) and the acte de vente (act of sale) without understanding the contents. This means that they do not discover problems, such as an issue over rights of way across their land or restrictions on use of a building, until after they have signed to buy the house. Make sure you fully understand the details of the sale before you sign.

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly - June 2011  

FREE English language magazine for expats and holidaymakers in the Deux-Sèvres department of France