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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 16 of ‘The DeuxSèvres Monthly’ magazine. This month I promised myself not to mention the weather....but I’m afraid I can’t help it! I am so disappointed at the lack of sunshine so usual for this time of year. We are working really hard to continue renovating our barn, but all this rain stops play. I think last year I asked for us all to do a Rain Dance to help the farmers and their crops....but this year, can we all do a Sun Dance please?! Whatever weather this month may bring, enjoy the time with visiting family and friends. or Tel: 05 49 70 26 21.

à plus, Sarah.

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

28€ within France, 18€ to addresses in UK.

(Unfortunately the cheaper ‘printed papers’ rate cannot be applied to addresses within France, only when sending abroad)

Full Name: Postal Address: Postcode:


Tel: Email: Please make cheques payable to SARAH BERRY.

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

112 European emergency 113 Drugs and alcohol

© Sarah Berry 2012. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry et Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du BocageBP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: juin 2012 - Tirage: 5 000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................4 Hobbies, Clubs & Associations...........................................9 Take a break......................................................................10 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................11 Our Furry Friends..............................................................12 The Great Outdoors...........................................................14 French Life, Food & Drink................................................16 French Adventures............................................................21 Communications.................................................................22 Motoring.............................................................................23 Getting Out & About..........................................................26 Building & Renovation.......................................................30 Business, Finance & Property..........................................35 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS 79 Renovations.................................................................... 34 A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant).............................................. 17 Abattage Service (Slaughter House).................................. 18 Abord Immo (Estate Agent)................................................ 37 Absolu Paint Stripping Services (Tony Sparks)................. 31 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter)................................... 24 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC D/Glazing)..... 2 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder)............................................. 34 Allez Francais (Estate Agent)............................................. 38 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................... 33 Andrew Quick Building Services......................................... 2 Andy Melling (Joinery & Renovation)................................. 34 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)................. 15 Antiquites Decoration & Galerie du 309............................. 28 Belle Maison (Construction & Cleaning Services)............. 34 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd......................... 35 Brian Fox (Computer Support)............................................ 23 Bruno Sellier Insurance....................................................... 2 Cafe Cour du Miracle........................................................... 19 Café des Belles Fleurs......................................................... 19 Centre de Beauregard (Horse riding & livery).................. 26 Chris Bassett Construction.................................................. 34 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room).................... 26 Cottage Services.................................................................. 15 Dave Bowring (Electrician)................................................. 32 D J Maintenance (Handyman)............................................. 31 David Watkins (Chimney Sweep)........................................ 32 Dean Smalley (Cleaning & Gardening Services)................ 35 Electricité 79........................................................................ 32 Energie-79........................................................................... 33 Futuroscope (Theme Park).................................................. 27 Garage Planchet (Renault)................................................... 25 George Rayner Computers.................................................. 23 Hair by Janet........................................................................ 11 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).... 32 (Andrew & Justine Newman)....................... 36 Homes in France (Estate Agent)......................................... 39 Insink Plumbing.................................................................... 33 John Etherington (Home and Garden)................................. 15 John Spray Maçonnerie (Stonemason)................................ 30 Julie’s Cleaning Services..................................................... 35 Keith Bassett General Building Services........................... 34 La Deuxieme Chance (Annie Sloan chalk paint supplier).. 7 La Grande Galerie............................................................... 26 La Joie de Vivre................................................................... 26 Le Forgeron (Ornamental Ironwork)................................... 30 Le Logis (Pig breeders)...................................................... 26 Les Adillons café.................................................................. 19 Mad Hatter’s Kitchen........................................................... 16 Man & Van........................................................................... 23 MatProPose (Wall & Floor tiling)....................................... 31 Michael Hobson (Painter & Decorator).............................. 31 Mini Market (Collection of services around L’absie)........ 5 Mobile Mechanic (John Purchase)....................................... 24 MS Electrique (Electrician)................................................. 31 Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurances........................................ 23 Nathan Foster Building Services........................................ 34 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................ 11 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 30 Philip Wellman (Plumbing Service & Maintenance)............ 33 Phoenix cards (Jenny Wilkinson)........................................ 5 Pick Your Own Strawberries............................................... 15 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)............................. 33 Poitou Property Services.................................................... 36 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................. 24 R&A Services (Renovation)................................................ 33 RDK Roofing & Building Services....................................... 32 Red White & Blue (English groceries)................................ 19 Restaurant des Canards....................................................... 17 Rob Berry (Plasterer).......................................................... 32 Robert Gough Terrassement............................................... 30 Robert Walker Plomberie (Plumbing, Heating, Air con)..... 33 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........... 22 Satellite TV (Nigel Gubb).................................................... 23 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction)............. 31 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................... 36 Spectrum IFA Group (Amanda Johnson)............................ 37 Steve Enderby...................................................................... 31 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation)..................... 8 The English Mechanic & Son - Tony Eyre........................ 24 The Market (Luché-sur-Brioux)........................................ 28 Total Renovation Services (Michael Dominey).................. 31 Vendée Carriers (Man & Van Hire).................................... 23 Vendée Pools (Swimming Pools)........................................ 40 Zumba - Donna Taylor........................................................ 11 3


What’s On....June 2012 1st - 5th June - Festival de Melle Classical music festival at Saint Savinien Church. Melle. All concerts start at 9pm. See for more information. 2nd June - Royal Dress Up with Buffet & Live Music At The Madhatter’s Kitchen, Caunay. See ad on P.16 for info 2nd June - Concert ‘The Crucifixion’ by Sir J Stainer French choir, Via Musica, at the church, Moutiers-sousArgenton. 8:30pm, Cost 12 euros. Light refreshments. 3rd June - Concert ‘The Crucifixion’ by Sir J Stainer French choir, Via Musica, at the Temple, Rouillé. 5:00pm Cost 12 euros. Light refreshments. 3rd & 4th June - Classical Music concerts At l’Orangerie, La Mothe St Heray and l’Eglise St.André, Niort. Tickets: 05 49 79 47 81. 5th June - Queen’s Jubilee Day At La Grande Galerie, Civray. (See advert on P.26 for details) 9th & 10th June - Highland Games, Bressuire See article on P.28 for details. 9th June - Yard Sale At Le Peu, La Chapelle-Thireuil from 10am. (see P.5 for info). 9th & 10th June - 16th annual Fête des plantes At Domaine de Péré, Prissé-la-Charrière, 79360. More than 110 exhibitors. Opens 10am. Entry 5€. 10th June - Jubilee Mini Market At Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux. 11am-2pm. Including La Folie Spices, Phoenix cards, Loulesbelles clothing, Tambeads jewellery and Red, White & Blue English groceries. 10th June - Summer Fayre In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres at the Temple, Cherveux, 79410. 10am-6pm. Mr. T's Fish & Chips, Teas, coffees, homemade cakes. A wide variety of stalls to interest everyone. 16th June - Concert in aid of NALA 85480 Live music by ‘French Connection’ and ‘Nigel Skinner’ in the Salle du Chêne Vert, Mouilleron en Pareds at 8pm. Entrance 10€. Reserve by email: or 06 52 60 08 84. 19th June - Financial Advice Seminar With Amanda Johnson and Sue Cook at La Grande Galerie, 10.30am - 12.00pm. (See P.26 for more details). 21st June - Jubilee Mini Market At Restaurant du Lac, Secondigny. 11am-2pm. Including La Folie Spices, Phoenix cards, Loulesbelles clothing, Tambeads jewellery and Red, White & Blue English groceries. 21st June - Solstice Feast At The MadHatters’s Kitchen. Caunay. (See advert on P.16) 22nd & 23rd June - Les Festiv’été Musicales Live music by various bands at Moutiers-sous-Chantemerle. See for more information. 23rd June - Fish & Chips and Mini Market In the garden beside the River Thouet at "au pont" 79200 Gourgé. Commencing at 5pm. Email: or call 05 49 63 48 80 to reserve a table. 23rd June - Fete de la St. Jean A gentle walk of approx 5km around the village followed by a BBQ with a bonfire, music and dancing in the evening at the football stadium in Chatain. For further details please contact Susan Brice 05 49 87 60 21. 24th June - Pimms + Strawberries & Cream! From 2.30-5.30 at 32 Rue du Vivier 85120 Vouvant. There will also be tombola and a book stall. Reservation and info: Tel 02 51 00 42 05 or by mail Profits are to be shared between the animal association N.A.L.A and the Cancer Support Vendée-both great causes. 26th June - Authors’ Book Day A collection of authors signing their books at La Grande Galerie, Civray. See P.26 for more info). 30th June & 1st July - 7th Grand Prix Historique de Bressuire 2 day Motor racing event. See article on P.24 for details.

What’s Coming Up...

3rd July - Inspector Drake - The Movie. At Le Cinema Foyer, Parthenay at 6pm. (See P.6 for info.)

Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in Deux-Sèvres Jassay The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, has a Home Group Service at Jassay  commencing at 11.00am on every 2nd Sunday in the month, it is held at the home of Ann White, they welcome everyone for a time of worship and fellowship. St LEGER  de la Martiniere (near Melle) The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, also holds services on the 1st Sunday of each month at 10.30am at St Leger. After each service, tea or coffee is served and an opportunity to meet other people in the area. Parthenay The Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd, PoitouCharentes, also holds services on the 4th Sunday of each month at 10.30am in the Presbytery Rooms, rue de la Citadelle, Parthenay, opposite St Croix Church. After each service, tea or coffee is served and everyone is invited to a 'bring and share' lunch. For further details about venue and services consult our website on

Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in the Vendée: St Pierre du Chemin All Saints, Vendée, has a Home Group Service at St Pierre du Chemin at 11am on the first Sunday of the month. It is held at the home of Chris and Julie Taylor.  Everyone is welcome for a time of worship and fellowship. Puy de Serre All Saints, Vendée holds two services each month, on the 2nd and 4th  Sundays at the church of St. Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11am.  After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a ‘bring and share’ lunch. Other services are held in the west of the Vendée, in La Chapelle Achard and La Chapelle Palluau.  For details of these, please check the website:

A VERY WARM WELCOME awaits you at ESCOVAL (The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire). Communion Services are held on the 3rd Sunday of each month at La Chapelle de la Bonne Dame de Ranton at 11.30am followed by a Bring and Share lunch.   Full details of how to find us may be found on our website at: or please telephone us at: 05 49 66 79 14.  Our GPS address is 46˚59'25.30 N  0˚02'06.22 W.

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

THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Paperback Jan Books in English 1st June: Bar de la Paix, Thouars. 12pm-2pm 1st June: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize. 4pm-6pm 3rd June: Café des Belle Fleurs, Fenioux. 2pm-4pm 6th June: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 2pm-4.30pm 7th June: Bar Le Palais, St Aubin le Cloud. 2-5pm 7th June: Bar La Cabane de Vouhé, Vouhé. 6.30-8pm 8th June: Jan’s home, La Ferrière-en-Parthenay. 11am-4pm 9th June: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole. 10am-1pm. 12th June: Pizzeria Rest Bar, Bressuire. 2.30pm-4.30pm 14th June: Pause! Cafe, L’Absie. 2pm-5pm 28th June: Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant. 2pm-5pm 29th June: St Martin’s Bar, Brux. 11am-2pm For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email:

La Vendee Chippy Open Traditional Fish & Chips in France!


• Wednesdays (June 6th, 20th, 27th) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges • Thursdays (June 7th, 21st, 28th) Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent. • Fridays (June 8th, 22nd, 29th) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux For more info please email: **TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE FOR THE ‘NALA 85480’ EVENT ON 16th JUNE. (see ‘What’s On for details)**

Fish 4 Chip Fish, Chips & mushy peas!

Open 6-8p


Mondays: Bar Tilleuls, Champniers (near Civray) Tuesdays: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square & can be eaten in local bar). Wednesdays: Chef Boutonne (near Chateau) Thursdays: Sauzé-Vaussais (Main square & can be eaten in local bar). Fridays: Mansle (Car park of Simply Supermarket) Tel: 06 37 53 56 20, or visit:

Reel Fish & Chips Traditional English style Fish & Chips

1st June: Bar Tabac PMU, Bouille-Loretz. 2nd June: Cafe du Sport, L'Absie. 3rd June: Vide grenier, Etusson. 6th June: The Canteen, Etusson. 9th & 10th: The Highland Games, Bressuire 20th June: The Canteen, Etusson. 22nd June: Bar Tabac, Genneton. 23rd June: Au Pont, Gourgé

18H30 - 21H00 18H30 - 21H00 12H00 - 14H30 18H30 - 21H00 18H30 - 21H00 18H00 - 21H00 17H00 - 21H00

Tel: 06 04 14 23 94, or visit: 5


‘Inspector Drake - The Movie’

You've seen the play, now the film is Le Cinema Foyer at Parthenay hosts the European Film Premiere of 'Inspector Drake, The Movie', red carpet, champagne reception, 'paparazzi' photographer and all! Celebrating the 25th anniversary of author David Tristram's Flying Duck Theatre Company, the film had its British Premiere in April in Shropshire, where it was filmed; it was also accepted for the London Independent Film Festival.   The story, as ever, features the hapless Inspector Drake ably hampered by Sergeant Plod on the trail of severed heads, murderers, witnesses, the Pope in the woods, lamp posts in the living room.  But the best bit is that this is a film which was made for a budget of £10,000 with a one-man crew using a good camcorder, unpaid actors and stolen or borrowed locations.   You're thinking - amateur - but you are wrong!  With a very talented cast, great comedy, special effects, near perfect camera work - it's 150 minutes of pure comedy from a genius author.   Reaction Theatre Group are laying out the red carpet, a champagne reception before the showing of the film and it's hoped that everyone will make it a special occasion and 'shine for the stars' come on ladies, get out those special occasion dresses and sparkling diamonds, it's a good excuse to dress up!  Gentlemen, how about jackets and no jeans?   Date: 3rd July 2012 Place: Le Cinema Foyer, Parthenay Film showing time: 6pm – so come early.   Usual ticket prices apply. Please Note that the film contains some bad language.

YOUR Book Reviews... It’s always great to hear recommendations of a good book or two. Vanda Lawrence (The DSM’s Amateur Gardener) shares this recent read with us... ‘Before I go to Sleep' by S.J. Watson What an amazing thing our brain is with its ability to recall names, places and events, not only from yesterday but from the distant past too. Of course, some of us have better memories than others: some can remember names better than faces; some can remember dates better than places; it's the luck of the draw. But imagine what it must be like to have only 24 hours of memory. The slate is wiped clean every time you go to sleep! You have no imagination either, if you think about it - nothing to base it on. You might wake up believing yourself a teenager, only to look in the mirror and find you are middle-aged. This story is entirely fictional with a brilliant twist at the end, but it certainly wakes you up to the struggle some amnesia patients endure on a daily basis. See what you think .....

If you would like to share a book review with us, please send it on an email to: marking the subject ‘Books’ and we will show them here.

Sunday Funday – Families do ‘church’ in Civray

Chaplaincy of Christ the Good Shepherd- Poitou-Charentes

‘The DSM’ Monthly Photograph Competition

A great new family event every 4th Sunday is now established at the ‘Open Door’ in Civray. It is run by a talented Saint Gourson couple, Dave and Sue Foster, who are brimming with enthusiasm and ideas; they are supported by Ali Bentham (who started Sunday Funday) and Carolyn Kimber.


Starting at 10.30am, children ages 3-10 attend with their parents. The morning consists of bible st o r i e s, a c t i v i t i e s such as painting, or play-acting, lots of singing, dance and music, including playing musical instruments. There is now a regular group of between 8-12 children and their parents attending, from as far afield as Ruffec and Tusson, as well as nearer to home in Civray. Coffee, juice and biscuits are provided. We ask for a donation from families attending, to cover costs.

Congratulations to this month’s competition winner, Chris Dodman, 79140 “ Taken at last yearʼs Bressuire Grand Prix.”

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

Interested? For more information contact Dave or Sue Foster at or join them at The Open Door drop-in centre, 18 rue Pierre Pestureau from 10.30a.m. until 12.00 noon. If you would like more information about our other Church services and social events take a look at our website 6


Le Nombril du Monde, Pougne-Hérisson

Have you ever wondered what this is all about ? Well, here is a chance to find out! Le Nombril du Monde in Pougne-Hérisson(79) is now offering bilingual tours of its famous Jardin d’histoires. You will hear the legend of this medieval market town, site of a ‘mythological big bang’ which generated all the stories in the world. You will learn about Ombilicology (this mysterious science that deals with bellybuttons) and the evidence gathered by John Barney Ferguson and Robert Jarry to prove that Pougne-Hérisson is the bellybutton of the world. You will enter the Blacksmith’s original workshop and discover his tale reactor. Finally a tour around the garden, resting place for all the threadbare tales, will enable you to experiment with the ‘paleofuturistic’ machinery.

Watching Paint Dry..part 2 by Sue Newell When I first heard about a paint that stuck to virtually anything with no sanding or priming involved, I thought it could not be true. How wrong I was.

Not only is it brilliant for painting furniture (no removing old wax, paint or varnish) it also sticks to metal, plastic, stone, brick and concrete. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Actually, no. It has been available for over 20 years. Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is ideal for old houses without damp proofing, allowing the walls to breathe and has excellent one coat coverage and some wonderful colours to choose from. A litre tin covers approximately 13m² and only costs €23 a tin! La Deuxieme Chance is proud to be an official stockist for Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. We offer Painted Furniture Courses to learn different techniques used.

The garden at Le Nombril de Monde

Bilingual tours at 11am on first Saturday of each month from June to September 2012: 2nd June, 7th July, 4th August & 1st September. Tickets: 7€ full rate, 5€ reduced, 3€ children 5-10yrs old, 17€ family. Tickets will grant you free admission during the 2012 season. Just pay further for guided tours: 3€ full rate, 2€ reduced, 1€ children, 6€ family. Suitable for all ages, picnic area, shop, refreshments, in the medieval village of Hérisson (near Parthenay). The Nombril du Monde is open from April to October. Check out opening times, guided tours in French and special events (storytelling, comedy, street theatre, festival) on 05 49 64 19 19 or

WIN TICKETS! Spot the odd one out and win a free bilingual guided tour! (10 tickets to win): Stonehenge / Pougne-Hérisson / Jerusalem / Cuzco / St Jean-sur-Camembert Send your answers by email: or by postcard to: Le Nombril du Monde, 79130, POUGNE-HÉRISSON

! B on n e ch a n ce

Check out our website for full details: We are located at Les Belles Foyes, 79240, Vernoux-en-Gâtine. Tel : 05 49 70 00 19

NEXT CONCERT IN SAINT-LOUP-LAMAIRE Saturday 2 June at 20.30 FAURE'S REQUIEM for choir and symphony orchestra with 180 artists from the Poitiers Regional Conservatoire. Soloist : John Grippier, baritone Conductor : Benoit Weeger

Contact ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Telephone: 05 49 70 26 21 or email: 7


Lost in (Google) Translation by Sue Burgess “From 1.30pm, installation of booths for exhibitors. All persons exhibiting must be registered or non registered with a manager, (identify by a green t-shirt) before moving”. Ok? Got it? “Respect for the environment is rigour, to pick up the rubbish and leave your own before leaving”. Clear as mud? Well perhaps it would have been better written as “You may set up your stand from 1.30pm. All stall holders whether they have previously registered or not, must contact one of the people in charge, who will be wearing a green t-shirt, before setting up their stand. Respect for the environment is essential. Please pick up your rubbish and leave your stand clean before leaving.” Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not against Google Translate, nor am I telling you not to use it. This sort of software programme can be a wonderful tool and very useful too but must be used with caution. The computer can only translate word for word and since some words have several different meanings, relying on a computer translation can lead to misunderstanding or worse NOT UNDERSTANDING at all! “Bonjour, pouvez-vous m'aider? J'ai décomposé sur l'A10.” (Hello, can you help me I've broken down (in the chemical sense of breaking down into different elements, or I've rotted away) on the A10 motorway. “Je suis tombé en panne” would be a better way to say that your car has broken down. Even simple sentences can be mistranslated. “How are you? Well, thank you” “Comment allez-vous? Puits, merci.” Wishing well or oil well? Or “Comment allez-vous? Amende, merci” Speeding fine or parking ticket? “Please borrow the other door!” - “Veuillez emprunter l'autre porte” would be better as “please use the other door”. “Veuillez mettre vos affaires sur la plage arrière” (Please put your things on the rear window ledge) “Please update your affairs on the rear beach”. Oh well as the online dictionary would say “Google Translate says (whatever) but you may want to ask a human being”. Vocabulary / Vocabulaire traduire.........................

To translate



de mot à mot

word for word


to decompose / to rot

tomber en panne

to break down

une amende

a fine / parking ticket / speeding fine

un puits

a well


fine / well (adverb)

votre propre emplacement

your own place

votre emplacement propre

your clean place


to spend (money) / to use energy

passer du temps

to spend time


to put up with

Je ne le supporte plus

I can't stand it any longer

Visit our website:

St Clémentin Bilingual LitFest 1st September

by Jocelyn Simms

It may seem, as the song says, a long, long time from now till September but with holidays, visitors and an air of summer’s ‘détente’ it will soon appear on the horizon. Take a look now at some of the delights on offer on Saturday the first of September and reserve your place at the festival. Workshops take place with Bill Kirton (Write a Crime Story in an Hour) and Barbara Unkovic (Flash Fiction). The latter is about writing to a word limit providing all writers, whether of fiction, poetry or prose, an insight into how ‘less is more’. Barbara has won many Flash Fiction competitions and is the author of several collections of short stories. Now, how to organise, edit and save your work? Answer - Tim Kay’s workshop. Learn some tricks of the trade and find out how Word can become your best friend. John Hudson produces films and installations, working frequently in France. John will launch his latest book ‘Earth’ and show his film ‘Toutes Directions’ with music by Thomas Tallis. The day begins with a workshop by Australian poet, Katherine Gallagher, who will discuss the art of the translator. The organisers (Gordon and Jocelyn Simms and Glyn Pope) would like to thank Diane Keziah Robertson for sponsoring this event which will be of interest to anyone who loves language. If you would like to be a sponsor (donations of any amount are most welcome) please get in touch with one of the organisers. La Chapelle des Rosiers is the venue for an art exhibition. Amongst those showing are photographer Howard Needs, painters Ana Uribe, Colin Ross Jack (whose painting is used on the festival poster) and Anne Lamali. JeanClaude Bessette will show his exquisite enamel work and will be playing guitar and performing songs in Troubadour style at lunchtime in the square. Parisian violinist, Léonor de Récondo, will treat us to a recital of Baroque music. Download the programme: or http:// Email:, or 8


Hobbies, Clubs & Associations... Is anyone in the Chef-Boutonne area interested in French conversation get-togethers? Nothing heavy or burdensome - ,just fun in learning French. I don't know if there is already such a class in existence, if there is, I am keen to learn more about it. I am not asking about formal paying lessons, just fun get togethers with like minded people. Please contact Brenda Dudley on

Anyone out there interested in air rifle shooting? Searching for Andy & Mary of Chef Boutonne who were interested in this club...

Secondigny Running Club... Put the bounce back in your step. Join our friendly and supportive running group. All abilities welcome. Email Kelly for more details:

Please call Graham Bell on 05 49 39 44 75. Les Jardiniers du Poitou (Gardening club) The next meeting is on 28th June at the Salle de Fetes in Verruyes at 2.00PM. Please feel  free  to  come  and  join  us!

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

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

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

Any Surfers out there that fancy sharing costs when surf’s up? Moncoutant / Bressuire / Largeasse area. Please call Rysz: 06 42 35 97 11


Les Amis Solitaires We are a group of people living alone in France. We meet regularly for coffee mornings, lunches and the occasional visit. Our activities centre around Sauzé Vaussais, Civray, Confolens and more recently L'Absie where we have started meeting again. Why not join us? More details from Nigel 02 51 51 48 13.

Association Meridien Green We are an Anglo-French group which was founded in 2001 for mutual understanding of each other's language and culture. We meet twice weekly in the Salle des Associations in St Coutant, 79120. The best way to find out more is to visit our website or contact Maureen Dalby 05 49 29 94 50. The name of our group comes from the fact that St Coutant is on the Greenwich Meridian!

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

WANTED...for 2 weeks in July or August. Warm, friendly accommodation with an English family with children for a 16 year old French girl who is anxious to improve her English language. Contact Roy Ames on 05 49 74 30 98 or email: 9


Take a Break...

Across: 1. Test drillings made by doubtful Texan oil pros (12) 7. Not equivalent to, and certainly not the first one down? (7) 9. Applying this with sensibility produces a novel result (5) 10. Final workplace for cobblers? (4) 11. Arrangement a ram sang used to make new words (8) 12. Plant making one see red, and then even more cross? (6) 14. Master capsized in the river (6) 17. Something to get someone twitching? (4,4) 19 Sounds like I will shortly be a man eg.? (4) 22. Court often frequented by noble Australians? (5) 23. Less experienced, but probably better for one’s environment? (7) 24. No notes needed when performing with a particular organ? (7,2,3)

Sudoku Corner...

Down: DSM Easy Crossword! 1. What it did a lot of in May! (4) 2. A long pin for holding meat (6) 3. A member of a nomadic tribe of Arabs (7) 4. A number of birds hatched at the same time (6) 5. Nearly, almost (5) 6. Heavy filling food (6)) 7. French site of heavy fighting in WWI and WWII (8) 12. The letters of a language (8) 14. Clearly apparent or obvious (7) 16. Express opposition to (6) 18. An organism in the early stages of growth (6) 19. The place where something begins (6) 20. Type of evergreen tree (5)

Down: Toughie Crossword! 1. The same as most of one across, but without the organisation? (5) 2. Pushed to be made smoother on the board? (7) 3. Typical starter reconstituted into great work (4) 4. Could be visible form of intuition? (7) 5. Ian moves into eastern state to become oriental assassin (5) 6. Conserve, if set badly inside, is thrown overboard (6) 8. Fin or Scot, for example, put on the bank? (4) 12. Pine or beech, eg, found when Royal Navy team turns up (6) 13. Famous old brand of cigarette. “Consulate”? (7) 15. Directions given to rearranged scene of the crux of the matter (7) 16. Greta is turned over, but loses nothing in the card game (4) 18. Peru rally takes in something of the countryside? (5) 20. Taking time off from abject fear is a mistake (5) 21. Part of speech made when short vicar reversed over second class symbol (4)



With thanks to M.Morris

Please see website: for answers

Across: 8. Foot joint (5) 9. Marine crustacean (7) 10. City in southwestern Wales (7) 11. Not yet payable (5) 12. Not allowing gas to pass in or out (8) 13. The senior member of a group (4) 15. Walk heavily and firmly (4) 17. Capable of being penetrated by a substance (8) 21. Plenty (5) 22. Beginning to develop (7) 24. Elated bliss (7) 25. Any form of sound (5)



Health, Beauty & Fitness...

Vocabulary: The Human Body / Le corps humain Arm Leg Body Head Nose Eye, eyes Ear Mouth Eyebrow Eyelash Chin Neck Shoulder Elbow

Le bras la jambe le corps la tête le nez l’oeil (m), les yeux l’oreille (f) la bouche le sourcil le cil le menton le cou l’épaule le coude

Hand Finger Thumb Fingernail Chest. Breast Stomach Thigh Shin Ankle Foot Toe Knee One hair, hair Tooth

la main le doigt le pouce l’ongle (m) la poitrine, le sein le ventre la cuisse le mollet la cheville le pied l’orteil (m) le genou le cheveu, les cheveux la dent 11


Our Furry Friends... HAPPY ENDIN


In the April edition I was drawn to the pathetic picture of a dog called Lady looking through the bars of a Pound and the plea from the Hope Association for someone to rescue her. I already have four rescued dogs and decided “Lady” had to be given a loving home. After a brief call to the Hope Association they took all the particulars and told me Lady has been renamed “Marta”. We met up with Isabelle from the Orfee Rescue and there was Marta, skin and bone, tail between her legs, head bowed. The new red collar I bought hung around her thin neck, she was afraid of her own shadow.

Equine Rescue France Looking for forever homes Sadly, yet again, our 2 little Shetlands Molly and Merlin have come back to the Equine Rescue. These adorable, loving and very gentle natured ponies deserve to be in a forever loving home where they can live out the rest of their lives peacefully and happily. Merlin just loves to follow you around, he’s so inquisitive and Molly, just goes with the flow, she is so relaxed. They are just looking for someone to give them lots of love and they would make ideal pony/horse companions. If you can help, then please contact the Equine Rescue Tel: 05 49 48 27 91 or visit our website We are always looking for new members and we are in need of donations so we may continue to help equines in France. Please support the ERF.

The abandonment of dogs and cats and treatment of hunting dogs in France is a disgrace. The police are a toothless tiger when reporting abuse, SPA do not have resources similar to the resources of the UK. Small Rescue Centres in France work on a shoe-string budget but do a wonderful job, donations help the great work. I keep reading France is a dog lovers country, is this because the French take lapdogs into restaurants? Let’s just ignore the other statistics of the millions of animals that are put to death every year. After three weeks observing her fear and distrust of humans, I can only imagine the beatings and starvation that was her life, humans did this to her which makes me ashamed, but now she is living the life she always should have had, and I smile every time I see her try to “play” with our other dogs. Marta has her forever home, she is well fed and loved, so please give a thought to the thousands of other dogs and cats like her that are desperate for a home. Helen Meek. Addendum - Marta was abandoned in the Commune of Clussais la Pommeraie along with another lovely hunting bitch we called Purdie. Both were middle aged females used for breeding, and when considered too old, had been loaded aboard a van, driven far from where they came from and dumped in the open countryside without ever a thought of how they would survive. Thanks to Helen and Roger Meek who adopted Marta from Hope, this wonderful animal will be well cared for and loved. We are very happy to say that Purdie has also found a wonderful home too. Without the help of people like Helen and Roger these dogs would probably end up being put to sleep. We need more people to come forward and help. If you can give a home to an abandoned dog please contact us now and save a life. email: or telephone 05 49 27 26 20 Thank you.

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

HOOF (Horse Orientated Open Forum) HOOF is open to anyone with an equine interest. You do not need to own a horse! We meet about once a month for talks, visits etc. Interested? Contact Jo Rowe on 05 49 64 22 67 or email: 12

A Stray or not a Stray? That is the question. Article L211-23 of the Code rural et de la peaches maritime defines strays. For a dog the definition is pretty much common sense, roughly translated, if it's out of earshot of the person responsible for it, no longer under their effective supervision or more than one hundred meters away from them, then it's a stray. Seems reasonable to me. For a cat the definition raises some practical difficulties. Any cat that is not identified, found more than 200 meters from habitation or more than 1000m from it's owner's home and not under their supervision as well as any cat whose owner is not known found on the public highway or anyone else's property is a stray. As the code rural acknowledges, and cat owners know, cats like to wander. Whilst away they may visit someone else's home for some attention or a bite to eat. If they do that often enough and they are not visibly identified then there is a risk that they will be taken for a stray. What should you do if you find a cat that's not identified and without an obvious owner, or if one comes visiting? How can you tell if it's a stray? I believe that difficulty is responsible for a lot of misery to owners and unnecessary work for animal protection associations. If you think that the cat is a stray and take it to the town hall, then if it isn't identified it should end up in the town kennels where its fate is uncertain. However, there is a chance that it will be reunited with its owners if they actively search for it. If not then it may be given to an animal protection association for adoption or, in the worse case, put down. If you don't think that it’s a stray and leave it to its own devices, it may wander back to its home and live happily every after - or it may be a stray and you might be leaving it to suffer in the wild. What should you do? There are no hard and fast rules. If you find a cat in the middle of nowhere and its very friendly or its very young then it may well have been abandoned. Evaluate a suspected stray's condition: if it looks clean and the pads of its paws are not worn then it's probably not a stray... unless it's just been abandoned! If its condition is bad and/or deteriorates then it's more likely to be a stray. We have had some success with asking people to put a (safety) collar on the suspected stray with a message saying, “Please get this cat identified as it is suspected of being a stray/Veuillez faire identifier ce chat parce qu'on soupconne qu'il est en divagation.” There is a risk that by leaving a cat to its own devices it has an accident, but if you take it in or take it to the town hall you might be causing a problem for its owner. It's quite a big responsibility because the stakes are so high: get it wrong and you may have taken someone's animal or you've failed to help an animal in need. The worse thing is that you only find out if you've made the right decision if you reunite the animal with its owner. In all the other cases, you either discover that you've made a mistake and something bad happens or you never find out for good or for bad, which makes it difficult to refine your technique. And this only happens because people don't identify their animal. So for your own peace of mind (and to make our work a bit easier) please ensure that it's possible to tell that your animals belong to someone. Nos Amis Les Animaux 85480 (NALA 85480). Tel: 06 48 68 40 37 Email:

Medals for Dogs

by Caroline Auckland Following the article of ‘Nos Amis Les Animaux’ in April’s issue, whilst I totally agree that microchipping our pets is an important part of being a responsible owner, can I add the recommendation to also put a medal with the keeper’s telephone number (and other details if you wish) on your dog’s collar? For those of us who live in the countryside or away from a town, there is not usually a vet or other organisation available locally who has a microchip reader. You can buy engraved dog tags in all shapes and colours very cheaply on I have a story to tell which gives an example of the usefulness of a collar and medal: The summer before last our niece, her husband, 4 children and their elderly Labrador Ben left Scotland for a camping holiday near Bordeaux. However, they discovered after leaving home that the campsite did not permit dogs, so Ben the Labrador came to stay with us for a couple of weeks. We have had friends’ dogs to stay before and our dogs enjoy meeting new friends, so he was very welcome. Our niece and family left Ben and his bed and food, and gaily tumbled back into their car and set off for their holiday, with the parting words: “He does wander off sometimes...” and forgot to leave his collar and lead. No problem – we have assorted sizes of collars and leads from dogs we have owned and dearly loved in the past. (I just can’t throw them away and they do come in useful from time to time...) I had a spare medal with our details in the drawer too, so Ben was now dressed to stay. For the first week we watched him all the time, but he showed no inclination to wander off and was quite contented with us, so we relaxed a far can a fat old Labrador walk in 10 minutes? A lot further than one would think! We have about an acre of garden plus field plus woods surrounding us on two sides. We searched everywhere and our voices were hoarse and still no Ben. We had just regrouped back at the house and I started to think “How do we tell the children?” Meanwhile, in the village about 2 kilometres away, a charming French couple were having a BBQ together, when a rather tired and thirsty Ben wandered in (well, he is a Labrador!). They gave him a bowl of water, and then looked on his collar and found our medal with our house name and number and called us straight away. When our telephone rang I had to tell my husband twice, as he couldn’t quite believe the good news the first time. What joy and relief to have Ben home again!

Just for Fun... Meet Belle our beautiful Golden Retriever, found wandering in the Dordogne till we rescued her. She loves people & was nicknamed "the smiley dog" because she seems to greet people with a smile. We were so lucky to find her. June Firmstone, La Ronde

Our adorable furry friends... Please send us your pictures and any comments to be featured here. Send your entry via email to: 13

The Great Outdoors... When we found one of our ewes (Big Mama) in our field legs bolt upright we feared the worst, but she must have just rolled too far and got stuck. Jenny rolled her back onto her feet and she’s fine. We have heard of it happening when a ewe is pregnant or very wet and too heavy to move, but we still have no idea what happened to her.

Life on the Farm...

by Peter& Jenny Sebborn. Welcome back to Life on the Farm. It’s official - Pete and Jenny Sebborn are completely insane. Remember last month we said we had finished bottle feeding the lambs and were looking forward to returning to a normal way of life. Well, we are certainly gluttons for punishment. The week after we finished bottle feeding we had the opportunity to buy four more. We are back to feeding four hourly which has taken over our lives once again. Everything revolves round the feeds. We even have to plan what time to go shopping to be back in time to give the lambs their bottle. The new lambs have been named Eenie, Meenie, Miney and Mo. Good news is that we have finally finished lambing with the arrival of a tiny lamb called Barnaby. The ducks have loved all the rain we had a few weeks ago but for us it was a nightmare. We just managed to avoid a disaster when the sheep shed started to flood. We quickly evacuated the sheep and lambs to dry ground and they spent a night or two sheltering in the area we had ready for our Christmas turkeys and a few stayed dry in the spare pig pen. We are lucky to have so many large out buildings that are animal friendly. With the rain the veggie plot was submerged and we thought we had lost all our crops but with a little warmth from the sun it looks like they have all survived. Now the weather has improved our new piglets, Digger and Nom Nom, have moved outside to their new pen which is underneath the walnut tree. Its the perfect place for them to chill out for the summer. They love to sleep in the shade and make their wallow under the tree, and they love it even more when the nuts fall from the tree! Stinkerbelle (a.k.a Stinky the pig) is sadly still not pregnant so no piglets of our own just yet. We haven’t given up on Henry but he needs to start bringing home the bacon or he’s for the chops (sorry couldn’t resist that one!). We will try artificial insemination again soon and have chosen the dad to be a Pietrain which is a much leaner pig, so crossed with our traditional breed Gloucestershire Old Spot will produce delicious joints and also some great homemade sausages and bacon without too much fat. Elodie, a French Agricultural student, came to stay with us for a week on the farm to improve her English and was very interested in the animals. At her parents farm in the centre of France her family grows a variety of cereal and vines and make delicious wine (speaking from experience). I expect Elodie will be trying to persuade her father to buy some lambs. Mrs Rabbit has finally let us have a look (and a cuddle) with her first litter of 4 kits. When she was due to give birth we separated her from the dad, but he decided that wasn’t what he wanted and chewed through the wire to get back with Mrs Rabbit. Rabbits being rabbits I expect she’ll be expecting again!

Jen’s been (badly) shearing the ewes; not only does it keep them cool but reduces the risk of fly strike, a nasty condition where a fly will lay eggs under the skin which hatch into maggots. Very distressing for the sheep and also for anybody who has to treat it. Our next challenge is to shear Beavis the ram - any volunteers? We have hatched some more chickens. This time we have tried some different varieties called Cochin, Brahma and Light Sussex. We have also been given a broody hen called Bianca the Bantam. Within an hour of arriving she sat on 4 duck eggs and is refusing to move. Well that’s all from us for now. We do hope you’ll join us again next month to hear about our Life on the Farm. Peter & Jenny Sebborn. Breeders of pigs, lambs and poultry. La Gauteliere, Pamplie. Tel: 05 49 28 38 57.

Abeilles (Bees)

by Tania Dominey

My husband has always been fascinated by bees and wanted to keep them, so I told him instead of talking about it do something about it! I didn’t want him whinging on his death bed saying he wished that he kept them! So three years ago we looked into keeping bees, which is not as easy as people might think. We joined the BBA (British Bee Association) in the UK and Syndicat départemental d'Apiculture in the Deux-Sèvres. In France they have a warehouse-like shop only open on certain Saturday mornings for you to buy everything you need for bee keeping. We bought 3 Essaims (Broad) from a local French beekeeper and that’s how we started. You do not get honey the first year as the hives have to enlarge. You have to feed the bees in the winter and put Varroa and other treatment in the hives to help them survive the winter. We started with three hives and now have six, maybe eight by the end of this year. We took a French bee course last year which was very interesting and it helped us understand what to do with the hives and when. You harvest the honey when the Colza (oil seed rape) stops flowering, then the Printemps (spring) and after that the Tournesol (Sunflower). We had 35 kilos of Colza, 37 kilos of Printemps and 70 kilos of Tournesol last year, but this year because of the cold winter the Colza is very late so we don’t think there will be as much. My husband has just bought a Queen from a commercial (Apiculteur) bee keeper and has split a hive because there were too many bees in it and hopefully we can make another hive. If you think that you have a swarm of bees and need someone to have a look, please check the website below to find your local beekeeper before phoning us. But if you need to contact us please do not hesitate. Our details are: The Dominey family. We live between Melle and Sauze-Vaussais, 79190. E: Tel: 05 49 07 79 78 (after 19h) or 06 69 67 67 06 (anytime). 14

The Amateur Gardener

by Vanda Lawrence Well, weather-wise we're certainly having a time of it this year, aren't we? I know we need the rain and I'm not complaining, honest!!, but I wish it would come overnight so I could get outside and get on with things during the day. And no more sneaky frost either, if you please - not good for the veggie seedlings. Talking of vegetables, here are a few jobs for June: • Garlic - begin harvesting in June. • Beetroot - sow seeds until mid-June for crops until November. Sow varieties 'Crapaudine' or 'Rouge Globe' if you wish to store your beetroots during the winter months. • Celeri-Rave - young plants can be planted out any time up until the end of June for harvest during September and can be stored in your cave until Feb/March. • Brussel Sprouts - as your young plants grow, look out for the Flea Beetle/Altise parasite which will rapidly devour the young leaves. However, they hate humidity so deter them by keeping your plants, especially the leaves, very well watered. You can also spread wood ash around the plants - it has a repellent effect on this particular parasite. • Lettuce can be sown from Jan - Sept but choose the correct variety for each season - it's now time to opt for a summer variety which can withstand heat, such as Batavia 'Great Lakes' or 'Marsala'. • Sweetcorn, courgettes, peas & beans are all good neighbours in the vegetable plot: Peas & beans turn nitrogen in the soil into a usable form, courgettes shade the soil and sweetcorn provides support. • Strawberries - Yummie! Lovely to pick your own from a nice sunny corner in the garden. Botrytis (grey mould) is probably the worst problem encountered with strawberries. Of course, there are over-the-counter chemical controls available but for those who prefer natural remedies it can be avoided if you water only when the plants are very dry so that they are not in the midst of a very humid atmosphere. Be vigilant and remove affected fruit/ foliage immediately. In the flower garden we can continue planting the summer bedding, looking forward to the beautiful flowers and colours to come. Remember to plant insect-friendly plants such as Helianthus, Nicotiana, Stachys, Gazania, Rudbeckia and others with daisy-like blooms which are particularly accessible to bees etc. Roses can be plagued by aphids, as we all know, but apparently interplanting with Alliums, Catmint, Parsley or Thyme can help to prevent the problem. If anyone out there tries this, can you let us know how successful it is please? Likewise, if you have some tried & tested gardening tips to pass on to others we'd be glad to hear them.

Bon courage mes amis!

Rendez-vous aux jardins 2012 For the 10th year the Ministry of Culture and Communication organises the national manifestation 'Rendez-vous aux jardins', the equivalent of the National Garden Scheme, on Friday June 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd, whereby private and professional gardens will be open for the public.

To find out which gardens will be open near you, visit: 15

Viperine snake (Natrix maura); couleuvre by Roger Meek vipérine. With the arrival of spring many cold-blooded animals (a better term is ectothermic) are now emerging from their hibernation period. Amphibians are usually the first to appear (February) with reptiles emerging a little later. I saw my first snake of the year, a whip snake, on March 30th. It was basking in the late afternoon sun in a hedgerow but quickly fled when it realised I had spotted it. The following day I came across four aspic vipers basking along a woodland edge within a few metres of each other. They may have been hibernating in the same den, which is not unusual, but again all rapidly fled when they realised I was present. Due to the limited greenery on the trees at this time of year I was able to see how far they retreated into the wood. It was around 10 metres. If they move these distances every time they are disturbed they incur quite a cost in energy but I think it illustrates a key point – snakes usually try to avoid people at all costs. There is no benefit in a human contact for a viper; they do not want to waste precious venom, which is physiologically costly to produce and has evolved primarily to secure prey. Later the same day I came across a viperine snake (Natrix maura) on a roadside verge close to a fishing pond. Usually they are encountered during summer or autumn when ponds and ditches have dried out and they search for new ponds. Viperine snakes are a small nonvenomous species. The largest individual I have found in Vendée had a head to tail length of 645mm with the average size 364mm (based on 36 snakes). In DeuxSèvres they are close to the northern limits of their range and less common than other types of snakes in the region but they are also found in the Iberian Peninsular and North Africa. They operate as sentinel predators sitting motionless at the bottom of ponds and ditches (for up to around 15 minutes) preying on passing fish and occasionally amphibians. Research has shown they may hunt during night or day if temperatures are appropriate but sometimes attempt to consume fish that are much to large to be swallowed. As well as visual detection of prey, viperine snakes also employ what is known as Jacobson’s organ, which is part of the olfactory system and located in the roof of the mouth. It is used in conjunction with the long forked tongue and one of the photographs below shows a viperine snake sensing the air

with its tongue extended. This species is an egg layer depositing around 10 eggs in moist soil or even compost heaps. Viperine snakes are so named for imitating venomous vipers. They do this by flattening the normally slim head into a triangular shape, but some individuals also mimic the Above: A viperine snake tests dorsal zigzag pattern common to the air using its forked tongue, many vipers. However, they are which transmits scent particles inoffensive animals and those I have to Jacobson’s organ situated in caught in France, Portugal and the roof of the mouth (see text). North Africa have never attempted to bite. Passive defence is found in many types of snake and one explanation for its widespread use is that it reduces risk of injury to the head of the snake. Viperine snakes will sometimes adopt what is known as balling behaviour, where the body is formed into a ball-like shape with the head situated at its centre with the tail apparently presented as a lure (see photograph below). Presumably this induces the predator to either bite at the tail or loose interest in the immobile mass. However, the behaviour is not particularly common (only 20% of the large study population of English herpetologist Adrian Hailey in Spain displayed the behaviour) nor do all individuals have the viper-like dorsal pattern (some variation in dorsal pattern can be seen on, which suggests they are adaptations that have only limited value. Viperine snakes have many potential predators including otters, foxes and birds of prey (e.g. buzzards). Nevertheless in some areas they are abundant but this may be primarily due to their low activity levels that may minimise predator contact. Above: Balling behaviour is a form of passive defence that apparently attempts to divert the attention of a predator to the snakes tail. The head is positioned at the centre of the ball where it is least likely to be injured. Note the differences in body pattern between the two individuals shown, which is a characteristic of viperine snakes. Both snakes were caught in Vendée. This photograph was originally published in Herpetological Bulletin, a publication of the British Herpetological Society.

E: ~

French Life, Food & Drink... There’s a festival going on at Mad Hatters Kitchen! 17th/18th August... Daytime events start on Friday 17th at 2pm and Saturday 18th at 12pm. Free entry. Come along to browse the stalls, watch musicians, join in with the juggler, look at the vintage MG car and motorbike display, watch the Zumba group, Children’s entertainments, dig into the BBQ & Bar and much more! If you are a musician or performer come along to show your skills, all talents welcome, just let us know you are coming! Stall spaces available and are priced at 30€ for the two days. The evening events start at 6.30pm and are ticket only to include Buffet, BBQ and bands. Friday: Paul Whitton. The Endless trail band. Saturday: Angie Palmer, Soul Monkeys, the Thomas Ottogalli band. For more info on ticket prices and stall bookings please ring 05 49 27 67 29 Or email 16

Vive la Difference

by Gilly Hunt No sooner had my French neighbour said to me that we were about to be put on water restrictions and “we could really do with a bit of rain”, when the heavens opened and it seems to have done nothing but rain ever since. However, when I permanently moved to France in 2005 there was a drought, and I was constantly being told we were about to be put on standpipes and therefore to use water economically. It was not until I spent a weekend without mains water (due to a faulty stop cock) that I realised just how much water I used/wasted. This made me regard water with a renewed reverence. Water was not on endless supply and to be taken for granted, it was to be used sparingly and given respect. I now save whatever water I can, by having large water tubs throughout the garden, and all buildings on our land having guttering to water butts. If you look around you will see that the French already have respect for water and use it sparingly. So why do they use car washes? - because it is re-cycled water and therefore good for the environment. Even though we have had a great deal of rain in the last few weeks, do use water wisely in the coming summer months as it is a valuable commodity. Mind you, I did hear someone say the other day, “This is the wettest drought we have ever had”! There is so much to do in Deux-Sèvres at this time of year and I for one will be out and about in the month of June enjoying some of the events that are there for our enjoyment. The Highland Games at Bressuire are from 9th-12th June and are held bi-annually. I went along in 2010 and it has to be one of the most surreal days of my life, seeing burly men walking about in kilts, playing the bagpipes around Bressuire – but also one of the best. For more details go to . Another event in June is the St Loup Lamaire Arts Festival which is held the last weekend in June each year. For three days the village is dedicated to artists and sculptors. You can wander around the historic village with the gabled houses and look at a wide range of artwork in varying styles, some of which is available to purchase. Artists can be found working around the village with their easels painting local scenes and many will be found on the banks of the river Thouet. The sculptors are mainly found in the ‘Place des Poulies’ where the river Cebron and river Thouet meet. There are many bars and restaurants in St Loup, and many more places to eat and drink seem to spring up during this weekend. Information on events throughout the Deux-Sèvres can be found at the Tourist Information Offices which can be found in most towns and villages or at Vive la Difference.

Visit our website: 17

French Village Diaries

by Jacqueline Brown.

We have just got back from a fantastic holiday – in France. I know, but despite having lived here for eight years there is so much more we want to see, we still take our holidays in La Belle France. If you would like to see what happens when two forty-somethings and an 18 year old Mini Cooper take off for an eight day, 2,300 km road trip in the South of France, please use the link to my website at the bottom of this article and click on the page ‘Road Trip’ where you will find photos and my diary, thank you. Food played an important role (as it always does for me), from choosing our daily patisserie for our picnic lunch (a real holiday treat) to influencing our evening stroll to find a restaurant in each new town we arrived in. Top of our wish list was a reasonably priced set menu that offered local dishes. Most nights we struck gold, dining on foie gras in St Gaudens, moules in Collioure, cassoulet in Carcassonne, trout in Meyrueis (from the river Jonte that runs through town) and a delicious walnut crème brulée in Argentat-sur-Dordogne. The views out of the car window were also influenced by food, as it is not just the house styles that change with the regions, but the food produced too. We didn’t have to drive far before we were in the Cognac vineyards, all neatly pruned with two fruiting arms growing from the main stem, but with no new signs of life. However in Bordeaux the first fresh leaves had emerged. The vineyards became fruit orchards as we made our way inland, firstly the famous Agen prune, then hazelnut, peach and apple. We then found ourselves back with the vines, Armagnac and then Cotes de Gascoigne. What was interesting was that each area we came across had adopted a different vine pruning technique.


Helen Wright has sent in YUM YUM CAKE. She first came across this as a Girl Guide many years ago and has made it many times over the years. Ingredients: 2 oz brown sugar 3 oz margarine or butter 2 egg yolks 6 oz self-raising flour (farine gateaux) Vanilla essence 2 egg whites 4 oz castor sugar (sucre en poudre) 1 oz chopped walnuts 1 oz glacé cherries Method: Cream together brown sugar and margarine/butter until light and fluffy. Add beaten egg yolks, flour and a little vanilla. Mix together until stiff paste and place in greased lined swiss roll tin and flatten. Beat egg whites until stiff, fold in castor sugar, then the nuts and cherries. Spread evenly over base and bake at 180C or Gas 4 for 20 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. If you have a favourite recipe why not send it by e-mail to marked “recipe”. If you would like any information about the work of Cancer Support Deux Sèvres, please contact June Searchfield on 05 49 64 59 96 or e-mail

Contact Sarah Berry at ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email:

Upon reaching the Gers we drove by fields of muddy ducks, paddling in the puddles from the recent rain. I know foie-gras isn’t everyone’s idea of good food, but at least the animals were being raised outdoors. Having crossed the Pyrenees and reached the Mediterranean, the Languedoc Roussillon presented us with sheep grazing the olive groves and our first ripe cherries of the year in their neat orchards. Here the terraced vines (growing alongside cork oak trees) were clipped short, but full of vibrant leaves with the first tiny bunches of grapes just visible. Heading inland again we passed grazing animals; the milk sheep of Roquefort, looking half naked in comparison to the full woolly meat sheep and the contented Cantal cows in the Auvergne. Our final day saw us following the Route des Noix and the Dordogne River. The lazy walnuts being the last of the trees to burst into life were still looking very wintery.


All this delicious food production in just the southwestern corner of France really highlighted how important agriculture is and how lucky we are to live here.

Don’t forget I’m happy to help with your food related queries, just email me Follow Jacqui’s blog at Photos: French Village Diaries.


Les Adillons

by Gilly Hughes-Jones From the moment you arrive at the tree lined car park at Les Adillons, you know that you are assured of a friendly welcome at the new Cafe situated at the two lakes at La Bourreliere, Luche-Thourasais, situated just off the D163 Bressuire-Thouars road at Saint Gemme. The café is a new venture for Alphonsus and Annette Fahy. They already run the very successful ‘Earl Le Beau Trèfle’ restaurant/bar/tabac with Hervé Henry at CoulongesThoursais. The Les Adillons Café is run on a daily basis by Carolyn Roberts and she is determined to make it a place that people want to visit regularly and will recommend to friends and family. Les Adillons offers two lakes, one for swimming and the other for carp fishing. There are opportunities to practice tennis, table tennis and even volley ball – these activities can be booked via the office of Espace Communale and for this year, fishing is free! You can meander around the lakes on paths suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs, the children will be kept occupied playing at the playground or with a range of activities secreted along the paths, whilst you can admire the fauna and flora or relax in the cafe. There really is something for everyone. Idyllically situated on the edge of a large lake, and as you sit in the open air Cafe, at a rustic wooden table, you can listen to the birds sing, watch the ducks on the lake, or at the time of my visit the frogs croaking. You can sit there from 10am until late into the evening, with last dinner orders being taken at 9pm. Whether you fancy a hot or cold snack, such as a Panini, sandwich or burger to a lunch time set menu of just €12, for three courses plus a drink. There is a children’s menu for €5. The aim is to provide freshly cooked and locally sourced food, at affordable prices. Morning coffee or afternoon tea with home-made cakes is served daily for just €4. Wine and beer is also served all day at reasonable prices – so whatever your tipple you will be able to enjoy the shade that the cafe provides during the summer months. In the evening, as the sun goes down, the atmosphere mellows to that of a restaurant, so you can enjoy a drink, watch the ducks on the pond or peruse the evening A La Carte menu, which will definitely include steak, sourced from Alphonsus and Annette’s own farm. The plan is to have themed nights and special events at the Cafe, and also to support the annual family sports day on the last Saturday in August, where there are games for everyone including catching raw eggs! If you would like to be kept informed about up and coming events then please send your email address to Carolyn at The Cafe is also available for private hire for parties and functions, and if you would like more information about costs and to make evening reservations, then please call Carolyn on 06 14 01 93 84


June’s Recipes...

by Mark Addy

Warm Potato Salad. Serves 4.

Ingredients: • 700g new potatoes • 2tbsp chopped spring onions • 1tbsp finely chopped parsley Dressing Ingredients:• 2tbsp Dijon mustard • 2tbsp red wine vinegar • 325ml ground nut oil or Sunflower oil. (or any neutral tasting oil) • Small jug of warm water Method: 1. To make the dressing, put the mustard, vinegar and 3tbsp of warm water into a blender and mix until smooth. 2. Whilst mixing, slowly pour in all the oil until you have a consistency of single cream. (If it is too thick, add a little more of the warm water and continue to mix). 3. Taste, season, and pop in a jar to cool in the fridge. (This dressing can be stored this way for up to 14 days). 4. Boil the new potatoes (ideally starting them in salted boiling water and not cold). 5. Once cooked, drain them off and leave to cool slightly. 6. When cool enough to handle, scrape off the skins, slice thickly into a bowl, add the spring onions, parsley and dressing and fold together. (The potatoes absorb the flavours of the dressing much better when they are still hot). Best served warm with smoked Salmon, or smoked mackerel fillets. Orange Caramel Cream Ingredients: • 1/2 litre full fat milk • 3 large eggs • 3 large egg yolks • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 100g caster sugar • The zest of 1 large orange • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier liqueur (or any other orange flavoured liqueur) For the caramel:• 300ml water • 125g caster sugar Method:1. Bring the milk to the boil in a pan with half the sugar. 2. Whisk the eggs, egg yolks and other ingredients together and pour into the boiling milk. 3. Mix together and turn off the heat leaving to stand. 4. Now make the caramel by boiling the sugar and water together. Leave alone to melt and bubble until a dark golden colour.* 5. Carefully pour the caramel into the bottom of 6 small ramequins. (small round oven-proof dishes 2-2.5” diameter) 6. Strain the milky liquid off and pour into the moulds on top of the caramel. 7. Place the 6 ramequins in a roasting tin and fill it with hot water until half-way up the side of them. 8. Place in the oven at 130˚C for approx 30mins (until lightly set). 9. Remove and leave to cool. Cool finally in the fridge. 10. To serve, tip onto a plate and serve with orange segments.

Rosés without the thorns

by John Sherwin

I don’t want to jinx things, but I’m thinking seriously of summer sun, honeysuckle gardens buzzing with bees, balmy cricket, briny beaches and barbecues. I mean, there seems a real chance that, if we’re all good, that might just happen. Last summer was a bad dream. So, we’ll be needing sun hats and espadrilles, parasols and buckets and spades, some light novelettes, a set of boules and a hammock, a personal music system for the anti-social, a groaning hamper of comestibles, and a stonkingly good rosé. Rosé wines went through a long period when they were thought unworthy of consideration unless, courtesy of the funky bottle, you were looking for a ‘sophisticated’ candle holder. I refer of course to the dreaded Mateus. Let us not dwell on such unhappy, uneducated times. These days, rosés are taking their proper place on the palette of wines we have available to help colour our lives. Serious whites can be ascetic, winsome, monkish. Reds are juicy, judicious, deep as a midnight movie. Rosés? They’re as jolly as jelly, and don’t we love ‘em! My best tips for rosés are those from the southern Rhone or Provence. No need to pay more than €3 a bottle. If you want to celebrate by painting the town rosé, then go no further than Billecart-Salmon, Brut Rosé – citrus notes, strawberry, elegant, refined. OK, this is €50+ , but sue me if you don’t find this the best sparkling rosé in the world. Food pairings can be pretty obvious – charcuterie, grilled or roast white meat, salads, fruit salad. But don’t ignore the more exotic – satay, steamed fish with ginger, dim sum, spring rolls, tandoori. The world’s kitchen is a big place and rosé has a welcoming face. John Sherwin. French Wine Tours Email:,

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*Please be careful when making the caramel. The temperature of sugar during this process is very, very high and can cause significant burning if touched or spilt onto the skin. 20

French Adventures... Born and bred in England’s second city, Birmingham, the department of Deux-Sèvres was a world away from Andrew and Justine Newman's city life. Here we hear how they made France their home... Things were set to change and 2004 turned out to be a very eventful year. It started with a once in a lifetime trip to New Zealand to visit friends who had emigrated two years before. This planted a seed in their minds that it could be possible to make the step themselves, although maybe not to the other side of the world. It had been a dream for many years to move out of the city and the rat race which comes with it, and settle down somewhere more tranquil and be able to live life at a slower pace. In the May they got married and much to the surprise of family and friends later that year took the step, or should I say leap, and moved lock stock and barrel to France. With not much foresight or preparation they spent the first year renovating a 1970's pavillon style house, complete with granny flat for Andrew's mother who had moved out with them. Living off their savings and soaking up the French way of life was wonderful and seemed a million miles away from their former life, but when Justine fell pregnant the realisation that you can't live on thin-air hit home. Andrew set about pestering the ANPE (job centre), turning up every day and being turned away because they felt his French language was not good enough. "Go and read French newspapers and watch French TV" they would say. It was perseverance and determination that stopped Andrew giving up when faced with this attitude. Finally after signing up for French lessons and showing that he was not going to give up, the ANPE sent him to have an interview for a school bus driving job. His French was still limited and after an awkward interview he was thankfully offered the job. For the last six years Andrew has driven the local children to and from their schools, firstly around the roads of Thouars and now through the villages of Pressigny,

stops to get a glimpse of the English man driving the school bus! Now his daughter Lilia gets to ride on his bus - not yet embarrassed by her dad, she's only six! He was able to take this job due to a 5 year period in his life in the 1990's when he took his PSV driving test and drove coaches for National Express/Midland Red. Little did he know how useful this would be many years later. Andrew’s driving job is only part time, just two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, so when in 2009 the new Auto Entrepreneur régime started it gave both Andrew and Justine a great opportunity to work for themselves. Andrew's skills were his ability to tackle all DIY jobs after years of renovating houses both here and in the UK. and Justine has a passion for gardening and the outdoors, and so their businesses were born. They started by doing work for friends and friends-of-friends and now after three years have a good client list in the area where they live, stretching out as far as

60km. Justine has regular gardening work and has also taken on cleaning, key holding and looking after clients’ holiday homes. Andrew, between driving the bus, has done many different types of DIY jobs including fitting new bathrooms, tiling, painting and decorating. One of the most enjoyable aspects of their work is meeting different people from all types of backgrounds and getting to work in some fabulous places and houses. They have found living in France to be challenging but rewarding. Would they return to the UK? Not out of choice. "It’s hard to look too far into the future when you work for yourself but as long as we can continue to find work, the DeuxSèvres is very much our home". Andrew & Justine Newman. Tel: 06 31 36 41 40 Website: (Please see advert o P.36)

Gourgé and Parthenay. This has helped improve his French and made him and his family part of the community. In fact, when he first started parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles would turn up at the bus

If you would like to share your ‘French Adventure’ with us, please email your story for consideration to: For more information, please visit the Written Contributions page on our website: 21

Communications... Protecting your PC and Your Wallet.

Telephone Fraud posing as Windows Technical Support. by Ross Hendry Beware there are telephone con artists out there preying on ex-pats! Firstly, may I apologise to my regular readers for not covering ‘Reloading Windows’ as I mentioned last month. I have a few customers who in the last 10 days have received telephone calls from people implying that they are Windows Technical Support department and that their PC has sent reports that it is infected. Using this and clever pressure selling techniques, they direct you to look at areas of your computer, such as the Event logs, and cite these as proof of infection and danger. The scam progresses and they offer you an online clean-up on various terms from £30.00 for an instant clean to lifetime support for only £150.00 plus £20.00 per year, etc. One customer I visited who had fallen foul of the scam, had had some free clean-up tools put on their computer, such as” CCleaner”, “Defraggler” and “Malwarebytes”, and had spent 2 hours watching them “clean” his PC. He had been given a telephone support number to call for future problems. I was fortunate enough to be called by a customer when one of these frauds was in progress. This customer even managed to persuade them to give him a payment document, which he managed to print before they deleted it. I did not get to them in time to see the online fraud in action, but the PC had been left as it had been when they gave up and I was therefore able to see what they had done. They instructed the customer to type ”” and a code that permitted their technician to access their PC. He seemed to busy himself with trying to get payment documents loaded and downloaded to their PC, a couple of freeware utilities to clean their PC. Besides checking this I also looked at their browser and viewed that day’s history. Here I found that they had accessed Paypal and tried to open someone else’s PayPal account (unknown to my client). I removed the installed utility programs and scanned the PC several times. No other nasties were found and I reported the details to PayPal who were most grateful and were aware of the problem. They also checked my customer’s PayPal account and confirmed that no money had been taken. Since these calls, and several in March and April from an Indian sounding woman (professing to be from AVG), to several ex-pats I know, in each case asking for them by name (how are they getting the names?). This call is very amateur and so far most have spotted the scam and hung up, or challenged the caller who then hung up on them. I have done some research and found that this has been going on in the UK for some time. The first reports were in 2008 and as one of the Companies being impersonated,

Microsoft has conducted some research –

Microsoft’s own survey finds that “79% of people deceived in this way suffered some sort of financial loss”. The details are even more galling: 17% of victims had money taken from their accounts 19% reported compromised passwords 17% were victims of identity fraud 53% suffered subsequent computer problems The average amount of money stolen was £543 The average cost of repairing damage caused to computers was £1,073 ― rising to $4,800 (£2,977) in the US. • Only two thirds of the people defrauded were able to recover the stolen money (presumably from their credit card company), and even then, only an average of 42% of the stolen funds. • • • • • •

There is quite a bit of information available if you search for “Windows Technical Support telephone fraud” in Google. Some of these have recordings of people stringing the fraudsters along. So far I have not found any evidence of these people being malicious and leaving viruses or Trojans on people’s PCs, but the Microsoft survey is very revealing and quite disturbing. For more info you can check out these links: • • phone-calls-india-scams • pensioner-targeted-by-fake-virus-phone-scam Please be very vigilant and under no circumstances enter anything in your browser or anywhere else when instructed to. If in doubt ask them for their contact details and say you will call them back as you do not have time at present. Then check them out before you go any further. I will be pleased to help, either email or telephone me if you need to. Please warn you friends that Microsoft do not cold call, and will only call you at your request; I believe that the same is true of AVG. Next month, reloading Microsoft Windows as planned in the May edition... Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. (See advert below for more information).


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France Telecom English Customer Services:- 09 69 36 39 00 EDF (Electricity Provider) English Helpline: 05 62 16 49 08 or 08 10 12 61 26



Historique Weekend in Bressuire.

by Helen Tait-Wright It’s 1950 and a small group of young car enthusiasts are meeting in a cafe in Bressuire. Out of the dregs of the wine, used coffee grounds and Gauloises smoke, the idea for an informal street race is born............ After the first successful and popular running in August 1950, comprising mostly pre war cabriolets, the event blossomed and in 1951 the everyday saloon cars were joined by such exotics as Ferraris and Porsches. The event was now called the “Circuit Automobile de Vitesse” and was held on 2.7km of closed roads around the town, with cars racing in four classes. By 1952 the event was attracting the supercars of the decade, and went from strength to strength in 1953 and 1954 with faster and more prestigious cars entering and International competitors arriving to take part. In 1954 the forerunners of what we now know as Formula 3, the “500 racers” arrived in Bressuire. The lightweight single seaters powered by 500cc engines were among the stars of the event. Although there was a race scheduled for 1955, the terrible disaster at Le Mans brought the end of road racing in France, and the event never took place. And so the excitement and thrills of the event lay dormant in the pages of history for 51 years .......... Then in 2006, a group of motor racing enthusiasts from the Automobile Club des Deux-Sèvres met in Bressuire, perhaps in the same cafe, who knows, to discuss reviving the event. They planned the first ‘Grand Prix Automobile Historique de Bressuire’ for July 2006, and just like its predecessor in 1950, it was a resounding success. The event is now run every year on the first weekend of July, recreating and celebrating the spirit of the 1950’s events. Todays circuit is a mere 0.75km, but is tight and demanding for the drivers and provides great viewing, excitement and action for the spectators. Just like the old days, the cars race in four classes; • A ‘Tourisme’ for vintage saloon cars. • B ‘Grand Tourisme & Sports’ for post WW2 sports cars. • C ‘Monoplace’ for single seat racing cars. • D ‘Cyclecar’ for pre WW2 sports cars. As in the past, the event attracts International entries, with 8 British drivers competing in 2011. French marques are well represented as you would expect, but you will also be able to see some great British classic cars, particularly in the Sports category, with a typical grid including such marques as Lotus, MG, Triumph, Jaguar and Austin Healey. The ‘500 racers’ are still thrilling the crowds in the Monoplace class, and the diversity of cars competing is one of the events major attractions. In true French style the event is free and the paddock can be explored freely giving everyone a chance to see the cars close up as well as watch the track action from behind the straw bale barriers. Not only can you smell the hot engine oil, you can touch it!! There are also cars on display ranging from Vintage to American to modern sports cars, the obligatory bar and catering facilities, trade stands and children's activities. Racing takes place this year on Saturday 30 June from 3pm and on Sunday 1st July from 10am, Place St Jacques Bressuire.


Reader’s Report!

Importing a car into France from UK

by John Lanario An Aunt of mine recently passed away and left me some money in her will. I have always been a “petrol head” and immediately thought “Oh perhaps a new car amongst other things”. Anyway, I started to draw up a list of cars that I could now afford and wanted. The list was not very long and included a BMW, an Audi a Mercedes and a Jaguar. After a lot of research I decided on the new Jaguar XF 2.2 diesel. It offered a good combination of luxury, power, economy and of course the kudos of actually owning a Jag. Another factor was the rarity of them in France, I do like to be a bit different. During my research I noticed that they were substantially cheaper in the UK. In the UK the range started at ₤30,000 whereas here they started at €44,000 quite a difference even after allowing for the exchange rate. A bit more research on the internet came up with about 6 Jaguar concessions who specialised in supplying new cars VAT free to military personnel, diplomats and UK nonresidents and could supply them to the French specifications. There was also another company who could supply at a slightly cheaper price than the concessions. I contacted them and discovered that their cars are delivered to Gibraltar, then shipped to a depot in Germany and from there delivered on a transporter to your home for which they charged ₤500. They also required a deposit of 20%. Speaking to my brother who lives on the Algarve, he recounted a story about a friend of his who used a similar company which went bankrupt and he lost his deposit. At this point I decided to order from Watford Jaguar and contacted them for a “devis”. They were most helpful and confirmed that I was eligible for a VAT free order and they could supply a LHD car to the French specification. The car would also come with a certificate of conformity which is important when reregistering the car in France. The waiting list was 12-14weeks. I went ahead and placed the order with a 10% deposit at the beginning of January.

After about 10 mins he told me that I had to pay €560. This consisted of €360 for the carte grise and €200 bonus malus as the car emitted 149gms of CO2 per Km. I paid, was given a certificat provisoire with the new registration and told the carte grise would arrive in the post. I came out elated and quite proud of myself. It arrived 5 days later. The only thing that remained was to change the number plates over and tell the insurance company of the new registration. I bought the number plates from the cordonerie in Parthenay and my local garage riveted them on for me gratuite. What I thought might be a very difficult process ended up being very painless and I saved myself nearly 20% on a car that no dealer, French or English is giving any discount whatsoever.

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Towards the end of February they contacted me to say that the car would be ready for collection around the middle of March. I then booked the flight to the UK and the ferry back home and waited. In the meantime I organised French insurance for the car. There was no problem even though the car was going to have UK export plates. To cut a long story short I collected the car having paid for it by internet bank transfer a few days before and thoroughly enjoyed the drive home. I arrived home and then set about the process of registering the car in France, a process that I had heard from various sources to be fraught with French red tape and enormous difficulties. I started at the Hotel des Finances in Parthenay to pay the French TVA, armed with the facture, proof of identity, proof of residence, Certificate of Conformity and the V5 registration document. The lady there was very friendly when she saw my name, asking if my wife was Mustang Sally the line dance “prof de dance”. Anyway all she required was the facture and she checked the current exchange rate on the internet and calculated the amount of TVA that I had to pay. Duly paid she supplied me with the all important Quittance Fiscale, proof that I had paid the TVA. That done, a few days later I headed for the prefecture in Niort with once again, proof of residence, proof of identity, V5 document, certificate of conformity and Quittance Fiscale. Once there I filled in the demand for a Carte Grise and went straight to the desk. The gentleman this time required all the documents I had supplied. With trepidation I waited for him to say I had forgotten to supply some obscure piece of paper while he filled in the details on his computer.

ADVERTISE YOUR VEHICLE FOR SALE Cost: 15€ including 1 photograph. Simply email the details 25

Getting Out & About...

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

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

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Bressuire Highland Games.

9 – 10 June. Written by Gilly Hughes-Jones The old Chateau at Bressuire will once again host the IHGF European Amateur Highland Games Team Championships, and the French Highland Games Championship on the 9th and 10th June. The Chateau provides a stunning setting for this magical event for all the family. The Highland Games are held in Bressuire bi-annually and are guaranteed to provide two days and evenings of fabulous entertainment and value for money. They are a celebration of Celtic and Scottish culture, including marching bands, displays of dance and music, and of course men in kilts competing in pairs, in events including, Caber Toss, Stone Put, Hammer Throw, Weight Throw, Weight over the Bar and Maide Leisg (lazy stick). The competitors are from all over the world including Norway, Australia, Canada, Holland, Ireland, and of course, Scotland and France. The Highland Games are thought to have originated in the 11th Century in Scotland and were a gathering of the clans from around Scotland and further afield. The Clan Chief would select his best warriors, the strongest and fastest, to take part in a range of events. The weekend starts on Saturday 9th with the Championships of France starting at 10.30am followed in the afternoon at 14.00 by the Championship of Europe. In previous years the events have started with a fine display of marching bands from Scotland, Ireland and France, all in full costume and providing a wonderfully picturesque scene in the shadows of the old chateau. Saturday evening at 20.30 there is a concert of Pipe bands and at 22.30 the ‘Red Hot Chilli Pipers’, a rock bagpipe band will perform. On Sunday 10th, the Championships of France and Europe continue, starting at 10.30 and 14.00 respectively. At 17.30 there is a concert by Anna Tanvir accompanied by Gavin Anderson – folk musicians from Scotland and Ireland. Sunday evening at 20.30 there is a traditional Scottish Ball with Joanne McIver and Christophe Sauniere. After mid-day on Saturday and Sunday there is a wide choice of French and Scottish foods available, with plenty of seating to sit and enjoy your steak or haggis, whilst being entertained by music and dance. I would thoroughly recommend this festival. When I went two years ago, despite the rain, I had one of the most memorable days that I have ever had. The balance of the rousing pipe music, marching bands, men in kilts, food aromas, the bars providing a range of drinks and the atmosphere whilst being slightly surreal was terrific and I for one will be there again this year. For more details and to make reservations go to


2 day pass €12 Pass €8 for Highland Games and Concerts – up until 19.00. €15 for evening concerts after 19.00 Free for under 13s


Day Pass €6 Free for under 13s ∞ Parking is available around the castle and in Bressuire Town. 28

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

by Sue Burgess Bressuire Bressuire is the capital of thePays du bocage Bressuirais which includes Bressuire, Cerizay and Mauléon. It is the headquarters of the Communauté de Communes cœur du Bocage which regroups the communes of Chiché, Faye l'Abbesse, Courlay and Boismé.The inhabitants of Bressuire are called the Bressuirais. The names Berzoriacum can be found around 1030 and Berzorium in 1073 and 1100. Bressuire was perhaps a crossroads in Celtic and Gallic Roman times. However, the town is mentioned for the first time in the llth century where we can find mention of SaintCyprien Chapel. The medieval city (‘Castrum Berzoriacum’) depended on the Viscount of Thouars and there were three parishes : NotreDame, Saint-Jean and Saint-Nicolas. The latter, situated within the castle walls, has disappeared today. The foundations of the crypt are supposed to be buried underground. The medieval castle (ruins) is on a hill overlooking the old town and the Priory that the Viscount of Thouars abandoned about 1030 to the monks of the Abbey of Saint-Cyprien of Poitiers. The outer walls of the castle were built in the 13th century as well as a fortified wall with several towers and 5 doors. From the Middle Ages to the 15th century, Bressuire prospered and the town had 10 000 inhabitants. The city was known for its cloth manufacturing. The town and the castle suffered during The Hundred Years’ War. At the end Du Guesclin took the town which was in the hands of the English.

to La Roche-sur-Yon, Niort, Poitiers via Parthenay, Thouars, Cholet and La Rochelle via Fontenay-le-Comte. Until 1971, Bressuire Station was the crossing point for two passenger lines, Nantes-Limoges and Paris–Les Sables d'Olonne. The town suffered during the two World Wars. But after 1950 the town revived with the arrival of several small industries which are still active today – dressmaking, wood, meat processing, metal work, mechanics, soldering, metallurgy. The 20th century marked the decline of railway activity, firstly for passenger trains and then for freight. Service industries mean that Bressuire, with just under 20 000 inhabitants is today a major town of North Deux-Sèvres. À VOIR / MUST SEE: The commune boasts 8 historical monuments: • Saint Cyprien Church and its crypt • Bressuire Castle • Notre Dame Church • Saint Sauveur de Givre en Mai Church. • Puy-Blain at Terves, built in the 15th century. • The old castle at Noirlieu, which has been partly demolished and which was originally built between 1565-1575 and 1604. • The domain of Dubrie, a manor house dating from the 16th and 17th century. • The disused Petit-Puy Chapel at Terves.

The Golden Age of cloth making can be said to be in the 17th and beginning of the 18th century. The speciality of Bressuire was «tiretaine» which was sold throughout the west of France, in Normandy and in Paris. There were specific rules about how the fabric was to be woven.

There are also other interesting monuments, sites and festivals: • Saint Porchaire Church • Notre Dame Cloister (former convent) with its animated Christmas nativity scene. • Saint Nicolas manor • Cornet Mill (17th century) at Terves, at Puy-Fort. An important place during the Vendée Wars. • The town museum • La coulée verte, the green corridor, the banks of the river Dolo with their walkways and bicycle tracks. • The Highland Games -9th and 10th June 2012 • 7th Grand Prix Automobile Historique de Bressuire, 30th June and 1st July 2012.

During the Vendée Wars the town was a republican town in the heart of the royalist bocage. The town was taken in 1793 by the Royal Catholic army. However, Grignon's republican column set fire to the town and raided it leaving few houses standing. The population was forced to take refuge in the surrounding area, Airvault to the east, Saumur to the north and Niort to the south.

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

The wars of religion in the 16th century marked the decline of Bressuire. This was the beginning of the «Black years» and the number of inhabitants fell to 2 000.

It was with the arrival of the railway in 1866 that the urban landscape changed. The town became a railway hub joined


Building & Renovation... “FORGING” a New Venture

by Jim Rowe

It was many years ago, in fact when I was 11 years old, that I first experienced the art of ‘Blacksmithing’. It was my first year in secondary education, when I watched the metalwork teacher heat metal to white heat in the hearth and bend it into all sorts of wonderful shapes. He taught me this amazing art and I honed my skills further during my Apprenticeship. It was his inspiration all those years ago that has led me to my work as a Blacksmith here in France. I have been asked to supply a very varied range of interesting and challenging ironwork designs and I am now in my fourth year of business here in France. If you are thinking of carrying out an ironwork project, I can turn your ideas into reality however, there are certain rules and regulations that have to be complied with. For example: If you have people stay in your Chambres d’Hotes or Gites and the first floor windowsills or above are less than 1 metre above the floor, or there is a fixed window seat that can be climbed onto, there has to be protection in place to prevent people falling out of the window. I frequently get asked to provide window guards as the danger occurs when trying to close or open shutters. If you are thinking of installing a balustrade or railing to your patio, terrace, balcony or stairways then there are regulations for this too. There are set maximum gaps between any of the structure and minimum heights of the panelling. If you want to modify or extend an existing installation then the up-to-date regulations have to be complied with and you may not be able to just copy what is already there. I can design and supply a variety of ironwork projects for your home and garden, such as gates, railings, balustrades, window guards and decorative ironwork. I also offer a renovation and repair service particularly when very old and ancient patterns need to be copied. I can also liaise with the Mairie and the Architect for Ancient Buildings. If you are thinking of implementing a metalwork project, no matter how small or large, I am here to offer you a free devis and friendly advice on the best way forward. Jim Rowe, Le Forgeron. Tel: 05 49 74 37 35



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Business, Finance & Property... Post elections tax update

by David Franks, Financial Correspondent, Blevins Franks. Following François Hollande’s election, what tax reforms can we expect here in France? Here’s a summary of the key measures on Hollande’s agenda. If they are approved by Parliament, some could apply from 20th June (the date presented to parliament) this year, while others would start next year. This year The 24% and 21% fixed rates of tax that can be applied on bank interest and dividends respectively could be abolished. The income would have to be taxed at the scale rates of income tax. The €159,325 tax free allowance for gifts made to children could be reduced to €100,000, and the renewal period increased from 10 to 15 years. Income and gains will continue to roll up tax free within assurance vie policies. It is still only the growth element of withdrawals that is taxable but, under the plans, for the first eight years you can no longer opt for the beneficial fixed tax rates; instead income tax rates must apply. After year eight you can still benefit from the 7.5% tax rate and receive the €4,600 allowance. Gains made on the sale of real estate could become tax free after 22 years (currently 30 years). Next year A new 45% tax rate on annual income over €150,000 is likely to be introduced, and a 75% rate on income over €1m. Wealth tax is expected to return to the 2011 regime, where the threshold that makes you liable remains €1.3m as now, but tax is charged at progressive rates ranging from 0.55% to 1.8%. This is much higher than the current rates, though the first €800,000 would be tax free. Hollande is expected to re-introduce the restriction whereby your income tax, wealth tax and social charges cannot exceed 85% of your taxable income. If Hollande gets his way, the changes to wealth tax could apply from 2012. Changes are likely as the reforms go through parliament. For advice on taxation and tax mitigation in France contact an experienced adviser like Blevins Franks. Summarised tax information is based upon our understanding of current laws and practices which may change. Individuals must take personalised advice. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website



Inheritance Rules for French Residents and proposed changes from 2015 by David Hardy As I hope most of you already know, under French law, if a French resident individual has children, they cannot leave assets to who they wish. Strict inheritance rules mean that children have certain rights to their deceased parent’s estate.

French law to ensure that your wishes are met and taxation is kept to a minimum, is likely to be the preferable option, so no action should be taken without professional advice. David Hardy, Poitou-Charentes Regional Manager of Siddalls France who have been advising the British national, resident of France, on all aspects of financial planning, for over 16 years. Tel:05 56 34 75 51.

For someone with one child the reserved portion is 50%, 67% for two children and 75% for three or more children, split equally between them. The remaining percentage is considered the unreserved portion and may be left to whomsoever the owner pleases. Whilst the French forced succession rules are not changing, new EU rules on succession have recently been agreed, and once finally adopted (expected in the summer of 2012), will come into force 3 years later, in 2015. These new regulations will give expatriates the right to opt for the succession law of their country of nationality to apply on their death. Without an appropriate will, the French succession rules above would continue to be applied to a French resident’s estate. However, with a correctly drawn up will, it should become possible from 2015 to opt to use the law of the country of your nationality. For British nationals, this should mean that you can opt to use British rules – leaving your assets as you wish via an appropriate will. It is vitally important to understand that, whilst it will become possible to choose to use UK law for the distribution of your estate, it is only this that has changed, as the new regulations will not apply to tax issues. For example, whilst it will become perfectly possible to leave all of your assets to your spouse in the first instance, assets left to be divided between children and step-children would still result in the step-children facing a punitive 60% French inheritance tax on anything over a minimal allowance of €1,594. At first glance it would appear that this will be a significant advance, since inheritance issues are the main concern of most British residents in France. However, in many cases, using the many techniques available under

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Ask Amanda.

This month I thought I would give you a review of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Le Tour de Financeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; event that took place earlier this year. I will be holding a Mini Finance Seminar with Sue Cook of Currencies Direct on Tuesday 19th June, so please come along to find out how we can help you.

Amanda Johnson, The Spectrum IFA Group. Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 ~ Email:


Buying Power...

by Peter Elias. The majority of British clients buying abroad do not think deeply enough about the cost of currency into their final buying decision. Many go with an approximate budget based in Sterling and don’t realise how much they have saved in recent months and how quickly they can lose these gains. The chart below shows that if you 250,000 Euro property six months Sterling would have been £214,403. price recently (mid May) had been marginally above £200,000.

were looking at a ago, the cost in In comparison, the “reduced” to only

It is perhaps worth noting that during the last 4 years, every time the GB £ has strengthened past currency highs of 1.20 against the Euro, the Euro has bounced back faster and more aggressively than expected. The figures below highlight this movement. • • • •

November 2008 rate 1.21, 1 month later GBP fell 15.7% to 1.02 June 2010 rate 1.2251, 1month later GBP fell 4.3% to 1.1721 August 2010 rate 1.2250 3 months later GBP fell 8.7% to 1.1184 Jan 2011 rate 1.2069 4 months later GBP fell 8.3% to 1.1057

Buyers may be waiting for property prices to fall further but it is easy not to appreciate how much of a total saving they have already made due to the current high on the currency market and just how quickly this buying power can change. From a vendors viewpoint, the opposite is of course true. They are facing falling prices, a falling Euro and if they have been on the market a long time, it is very easy to become depressed about the whole situation. If you are keen to sell in order to return to the UK, you need to speak to an agency about an honest market value, and a strategy for marketing your property to generate the sale sooner rather than later. With the current economic situation, it is impossible to predict the currency markets, but there is a very real danger that the Euro as we know it could implode. As Greece faces a new election, Spain is also feeling the pinch. The news that Greek MPs are so divided that they cannot form a coalition and that Greece will have to go through another election has unsettled things yet again. We continue to watch the Greek drama play out and no one at this stage can predict whether the Drachma will get another airing in the near future. What is clear is that there is an underlying support for the Pound as a safe haven away from the threat of a Euro melt down. The new French President, Francois Hollande, had a bizarre first day in office, and left perhaps wondering if the day’s events were an omen. He was sworn into office, then paraded through Paris in an open top car in pouring rain, before he got on a plane to Germany to discuss the state of the Eurozone and promptly got hit by lightening. Beware M Hollande it is going to be a bumpy ride! That happened on a day in which the Eurozone economy looks like it dodged a recession bullet. According to the first estimates, the Eurozone economy didn’t grow at all in Quarter 1 of 2012, but more importantly, it didn’t shrink either. That was a huge relief for the leaders of the beleaguered currency bloc. Interesting times lie ahead – oh for a crystal ball !

Currency - £ / Euro You Buy EUR

Costs You Now

Cost You 1 Month Ago

Cost You 3 Months Ago

Cost You 6 Months Ago


£201,086 £206,201 £209,946 £214,403


£402,172 £412,402 £419,893 £428,805

Peter Elias (Agent Commercial) 38



The Deux-Sevres Monthly - JUNE 2012  

English language magazine for the department of Deux-Sevres and surrounding areas.

The Deux-Sevres Monthly - JUNE 2012  

English language magazine for the department of Deux-Sevres and surrounding areas.