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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome back to ’The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’. Issue 3. The weather has definitely turned and we have been lucky to see some wonderful warm sunshine so far this Spring. I hope you were all able to enjoy some times with friends or family this Easter. The year is quickly marching on and with Summer just around the corner, there is lots to do both now and in the coming months in the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas. Don’t forget to make use of the ‘What’s On’ section on page 3 so you don’t miss out on some wonderful events! The magazine is growing month by month and we are searching for new distribution points in the department. If you know of a possible venue, please contact us. Email: info@thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21. Enjoy the rest of Spring...

Sarah.

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<<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: Jo Wilds, Sarah Berry et clker.com. Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du Bocage-BP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: Mai 2011 - Tirage: 3 000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................3 Our Furry Friends................................................................7 The Great Outdoors.............................................................8 Communications.................................................................10 French Adventures............................................................11 French Life, Food & Drink................................................12 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................16 Getting Out & About..........................................................17 Building & Renovation.......................................................21 Business, Finance & Property..........................................24 Take a break......................................................................27

THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS

4ever Beauty............................................................. ........16 Abord Immo (Estate Agent)...............................................27 Ace Pneus (Tyre supplier & fitter).............................. ....25 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder)...........................................22 Allez Francais (Estate Agent)............................................27 Andrew Longman (Plumber)..............................................22 Andy Melling (Artisan Joiner/Cabinet Maker)..................23 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre).................8 Aquaclean................................................................. ..........9 Articulation Aide (Joint Aid for Dogs).................................7 Avon - Anne Eaton.................................................. ..........7 Belle Maison Construction............................................. ...16 Browns International Service............................................17 Cafe Cour du Miracle...................................................... ..13 Camping La Raudiere (Campsite & Bar).............................9 Caroline Majou (Translator & Interpreter).......................25 Chateau du Chat (Cattery)............................................... ...7 Cheval Paradis (Pension for horses).............................. ....7 Courlay Immobilier SARL (Estate Agent)......................... ...28 Dave Allen (Garden maintenance)............................. .........8 David Normanton (Handyman)........................................... .22 Dean Smalley (B&B and Gardening services)..................17 Diane Lowe (Reiki Healer)................................................16 GAN Insurance...................................................................18 Gordon & Jocelyn Simms (Writers).................................... 3 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers)...23 Helen Ace (Language Services).........................................25 Imprimerie Jadault (Printer)..............................................19 Indulgence Beauty............................................................... .16 Janet Hall (Translator & Interpreter)................................25 John Etherington (Property Care)........................................8 Jon Burton (Electrician).................................................... 21 Kalyn Computers (IT).......................................................... .10 L.A. Building & Renovation................................................. 23 La Joie de Vivre (Gift Shop & Tea Room).......................... 19 Le Dragon (Bar/Restaurant)................................................ 14 Le Logis (Chambre d’hote)..................................................9 Le Puy Remorques..................................................... .......18 Mr Piano Man.....................................................................19 MS Electrique (Electrician)......................................... ......24 Mutuelle de Poitiers (Insurance)......................................... 19 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................. 17 Paperback Jan (Books in English)........................................ 17 Pepinières Cedric Netier (Garden Centre)............... ..........8 Peter Hardie (Mini Digger hire).........................................22 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 24 Plombiere Anglais en France............................................22 Poitou Property Services............................................. .....26 Premier Autos (Mechanic).............................................. ..19 QPR Building Services........................................................ .24 Rainbow Light Reiki............................................................. 16 RDK Roofing & Building Services......................................22 Red White & Blue (English groceries)................................ 12 Restaurant La Bergerie du Golf.......................................... 13 RS Electrical...................................................................... 23 Rysz Dor-Vincent (Yoga)..................................................16 Sally Cox............................................................................19 Sandy G (Hairdresser)......................................................... 16 Sarah Berry (Website Design)............................................. 10 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)..............................................24 Spice Sensations (Spice kits)............................................13 Steve Coupland (Plumber and Renovations).....................23 Sue Burgess (French courses & Translation)....................3 Total Renovation Services.......................................... ......23 Tots 2 Travel............................................................. .......26 UK Building Materials................................................. ......21 We shop Britain 4 u...........................................................19

© Sarah Berry 2011. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with are a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

What’s On....May 2011 30th April to 29th May - Exhibition by Bernard Buourd, Sculptor ‘extraordinaire’ at L’Orangerie, La Mothe Saint Héray near Niort. See his sculptures of birds and dancers and also his fantastic cars, sculpted in wood and completely roadworthy! 6th May, Phoenix cards,stationary & gifts. 4-6pm at Le bar Tipsy, Coulonges sur l'autize 79160. For info or to place an order, email:dellajamesie2@aol.com or contact Della James, 0549057861. 7th May - Charity Walk. In aid of ‘No Panic France’. 10km around St. Hermine. Tel: 09 79 67 65 14 Email: nopanicfrance@orange.fr 7th to 14th May - The Silk Route. A residential poetry course Monmoreau-Saint-Cybard 16190, Contact Brenda on 05 53 52 07 95 or email: brenda.henderson@orange.fr 8th May - Vide Grenier & Book Fayre. All day from 9am at La-Ferrière-en-Parthenay. 13th May - The Stoney River Band. Le Cheval Blanc restaurant in Brioux sur Boutonne (79) Phone 05 49 07 52 08 for food reservations. 13th to 15th May - ‘The Magic of the Musicals’. by Encore Theatre Company. Foyer Rural, Loulay (17). www.encore-theatre.org 14th May - Writer’s Convention. 10am-5.30 pm at St. Clémentin. All writers welcome. For more information, see advert below. 14th May - 1st Birthday Bash! from 7.30pm at Cafe Cour du Miracle, Vouvant. Music with Troubladour. 17th May - Book Signing with Peter Hoskins. 10am-1pm at La Grande Galerie, 7 Rue du Temple, 86400 Civray. 21st May - Plant Swap. 10am-12pm at Place de l’eglise, Le Beugnon, 79130. Join in an exchange of plants and cuttings, or chat about gardening, followed by a picnic. 21st May - Grand Fete 10am-4pm at La Ferme du Chateau Javarzay. All proceeds go to “Help Alex Walk” fund. (see page 5). 28th May - The Stoney River Band. Mad Hatter's Kitchen in Caunay Phone 05 49 27 67 29 for food reservations. 29th May - Armchair Olympics. From 4pm-7pm at The Barn, Cherveux. Tickets 7.50€ Email:bitbrit@hotmail.co.uk. In aid of Galgos.

Books in English, Paperback Jan. 2nd May: Le Dragon Bar, Vernoux-en-Gatine. 14h-17h 3rd May: Le Zinc, Vasles. 10.30h - 13h 4th May: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 14h-16.30h 5th May: Bar Le Palais, St. Aubin le Cloud. 14h-17h 5th May: Le Chaudron, Chantemerle. 18h-20h 6th May: Bar de la Paix, Thouars 12h-14h 6th May: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-L’Autize 16h-18h 8th May: Book Fayre, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, All day. 11th May: Le Trois Marie, Airvault. 10h-13h 13th May: Jan’s home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, 11h-16h. 12th May: Bar le Commerce, La Chataigneraie. 14.30h-17h 21st May: Le Chauray, St Maixent L’Ecole, 10h-14h 26th May: La Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant, 14h-17h

What’s coming up... 5th June - Ecole du Chat, Les Pattes de Velours "Afternoon Tea". Le Brandais, Bouille Loretz 4pm. 1920's theme. (see Page 5) 17th June - RBL Summer Fair. 10am-5pm Clussais la Pommerais. All proceeds to the Poppy Appeal 2011. 18th June – World Championship of Tricyclists. From 2pm. Every two years St.Marsault hosts the World Champion-ship when tricyclists from all over the world gather, including single, tandem, recumbent, and disabled tri-cyclists. Parking opposite Mairie. Church Notices: Escoval. Anglican church in Arçay. Church service in English 3rd Sunday of each month at 11.30am. Join us for a bring and share lunch after the service. www.escoval.fr Chaplency Choir, 21st April at 7pm. Genouille Church. www.church-in-france.com All Saints Vendée, Puy de Serre. Services 2nd & 4th Sunday of the month. www.allsaintsvendee.fr

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

Thank you to www.whatsoninthevendee.co.uk.

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

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

• • • •

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

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

• Sunday 25 December: Christmas Day (Noël)

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En Mai fais ce qui te plaît ! In May anything goes !

by Sue Burgess If in April, you shouldn't cast off layers of clothing too quickly, (en avril, ne te découvre pas d'un fil), in May, you can do as you please. But perhaps not until after the “Saints Glace”-“The Ice Saints”, Saint Mamert, Saint Pancrace and Saint Servais, (11th , 12th and 13th May). No French gardener will bring out his geraniums nor be seen in shorts until after these dates. In popular beliefs, these saints are invoked by farmers to protect the crops from the cold nights which can still bring frost. Especially as this is the time of “la lune rousse” (the moon which becomes a full moon at the end of April or the beginning of May). Farmers say that buds can freeze on a clear night even if temperatures stay slightly above freezing. Can't find the ice saints on your calendar? In 1960 the Catholic Church decided to replace these saints by three others, Estelle, Achille and Rolande, with no connection to these superstitions. The 1st May is Labour Day and a bank holiday (except this year it falls on a Sunday!). The trade unions march through Paris. Have you got any Lily of the Valley (muguet) in your garden? Anyone has the right to sell Lily of the Valley anywhere without declaring their takings to the taxman and the Lily of the Valley will bring you good luck all year round. May 1st is the only bank holiday which is also “chômé” (employers can not ask their employees to work) and everything is closed. The 8th of May, also another bank holiday (but again on a Sunday this year), celebrates VE day 1945. There are ceremonies at the war memorials of most towns, and wreaths of flowers are laid. Ascension Day falls in June this year, so rather unusually, the month of May will be a full working month with no weekday bank holidays at all, and no possibility to “faire le pont” and take an extra day off (Monday or Friday) and have a long weekend.

In the Steps of the Black Prince, the Road to Poitiers 1355-1356.

In late September 1355 the Black Prince, eldest son of King Edward III of England, arrived in Bordeaux with an English army. He had come to help the King’s subjects in Aquitaine repel French attacks as the Hundred Years War resumed after several years of truce. Early in October he set off with his army, reinforced by loyal Gascons, on a raid that took him to the Mediterranean coast and back. He left a trail of destruction behind him, and returned laden with booty taken from the rich Languedoc. The following summer he moved north in search of battle with the French. Unable to join forces with the Duke of Lancaster, bringing another English army from Brittany, because of the swollen waters of the Loire, the Black Prince turned back towards Bordeaux. As he did so he continued to manoeuvre to try to bring the French army to battle. On 19 September 1356, at Nouaillé-Maupertuis near Poitiers, the two armies faced each other. The Black Prince won the close-run battle and captured King John II of France, taking him back to Bordeaux and then on to London in the following spring. The itineraries of the Black Prince in 1355 and 1356 were recorded in considerable detail. Peter Hoskins, who lives in the Deux-Sèvres, set out on foot to retrace the routes

Proverbes et dictons : Proverbs & Sayings. Quand il pleut à la saint Servais, c'est mauvais signe pour le blé.......................................................................................... When it rains on Saint Servais' day (13th), it's a bad sign for the wheat Saints Pancrace, Servais et Boniface apportent souvent la glace....................................................................................... Saint Pancrace, Saint Servais and Saint Boniface often bring ice. Avant Saint Servais point d'été, après Saint Servais, plus de gelée...................................................................................... Before Saint Servais' day, it's hardly summer. After Saint Servais' day, no more frost A la saint Honoré, s'il fait gelée, le vin diminuera de moitié................................................................................... If there is a frost on St Honoré's day (16th), the wine harvest will be halved. Mai frileux, an langoureux; mai fleuri, an réjoui; mai venteux, an douteux............................................................................. If it's cold in May the year will be hot and lazy; if there are a lot of flowers, the year will be happy and if it is windy in May the year will not be so good. Vocabulaire : Vocabulary Le muguet.............................

Lily of the valley

Un brin...................................

A sprig

Le porte-bonheur....................

Good-luck charm

Une gerbe..............................

Wreath

La fête du travail......................

Labour day (1st May)

Jour ferié.................................

Bank holiday

Chômé....................................

unworked

Faire le pont........................................................................... to take an extra day's holiday and have a long weekend when there is a bank holiday either on a Thursday or on a Tuesday La lune rousse.........................

The “scorching” moon

Roussir....................................

to scorch, to turn the grass brown

in quest of a greater understanding of the prince’s expedition. He walked more than 1,300 miles from Bordeaux to the Mediterranean and back, and then north to the Loire, onwards to the battlefield at Poitiers, and back again to Bordeaux. On his travels he visited numerous towns and villages off the normal tourist circuit, and met many local historians. This gave him an unusual perspective of events in 1355 and 1356, and enabled him to supplement conventional historical research with his observations and accounts recorded in local tradition. The result was a book, ‘In the Steps of the Black Prince, the Road to Poitiers 1355-1356’, published in February by Boydell & Brewer Ltd. As well as a novel approach to history, the book brings to life the part played by many small villages and towns in France, some of which will be familiar to those living in Poitou-Charentes, during this important episode of Anglo-French history. The book can be obtained from Amazon, other book sellers, and from the publishers. Copies with an author’s discount can be purchased directly from Peter at mail@PeterHoskins.com or see his website: www.Peter-Hoskins.com. Book Signing: Peter will be at La Grande Galerie, 7 Rue du Temple, 86400 Civray, from 10.00-13.00hrs on Tue 17 May. page 4


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Help Alex Walk.

by Carol Sargent. There are unfortunately thousands of children around the world suffering disability, this is the story of just one.

Alexander is five years old. Born ten weeks prematurely weighing only 1400g whilst his parents were visiting friends on a Greek island, he spent nearly 2 months in intensive care at the Alexandra Hospital in Athens. A cranial ultrasound discovered 'problems in the white area of his brain'. As soon as he was strong enough to return to England he underwent an MRI scan which showed that he had a brain injury called PVL (Periventricular leukomalacia) and he now suffers from Cerebral Palsy. His condition means that he has limited mobility, he cannot stand or walk unaided and finds many of the movements we take for granted very difficult. His parents were told before he was a year old that he would never crawl, sit without help or walk; but recognising his happy, determined nature, his parents realised Alexander had potential to improve his condition. They researched everything to help him gain as much independence as possible. Unfortunately, little is available through the National Health Service so family and friends have been continually fundraising to provide him with the necessary therapy, equipment and support. To date they have held sponsored events, cake sales, raffles, car boot sales, cocktail parties, quizes etc. and

have managed to raise enough to provide intensive physiotherapy, equipment for the home, fees for a Conductive Education nursery specifically for children with motor disorders, an adapted tricycle with low gears and piedro shoes. With the help of these therapies and equipment he has learnt not only to crawl, but to climb on and off chairs, use a pencil to write and to walk a short distance with a walking frame. To maintain his mobility he has continued physiotherapy for the past 4 years. He wears leg splints to help keep his feet flat, which gives him stability and improves posture. Now Alex's parents need to raise £50,000 to fly him to America where he has been offered the chance of lifechanging Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery at St. Louis Children's Hospital, Missouri. The predicted outcome will be that he will, among other things, be able to walk independently using crutches. Fund raising has gathered pace. In England there have been a variety of sponsored events including cycle rides, parachute jumps, hang-gliding and swimming contests. Others have organised coffee mornings, cocktail parties, book sales and a fantastic musical evening at the Old Fire Station in Windsor. Newspapers and radio have reported and added to publicity. In France, friends have already held coffee mornings, a quiz and music night, and with the kind generosity and support of the Mairie's office in Chef-Boutonne, a grand fete will be held on May 21st at La Ferme du Chateau Javarzay, 10.00am to 4.00pm - all proceeds going to Alexander's fund. Unfortunately, we can't always help all the children who need us but on one day in May we can help a very bright, polite, happy and determined little boy called Alexander. For updates on Alexander’s progress or more information please visit:www.alexanderburland.com/about.htm page 5


THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

Bernard Buord/Childérick – A Life “Extraordinaire” by Thelma Bell

Life has turned full circle for Bernard Buord, showman “extraordinaire”. As a young boy he watched his father working in wood and learnt at his side what beauty can be created with a chisel and a piece of wood. His father was a Blacksmith by trade but was an Artist at heart. However, life had other plans for the young Bernard and, excelling at gymnastics as a teenager, he qualified for a place on the French team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Unfortunately, due to the Algerian War he was not able to compete and turned his abilities into a stage act instead, later becoming an acrobatic act with his wife Pierrette, when he first took the name ‘Childérick’. The act developed and he became in turn, a magician, an escapologist and a fire-eater. During this period he appeared in the Guinness Book of Records for three different disciplines, the most famous being for time in a water filled tank, upside down and shackled, the same trick that Houdini practised all those years ago and of which he is reportedly said to have died. Bernard’s second record was as a fire-eater producing the highest flame on record, which remains unbroken to this day. His third entry is for the number of press-ups done from a handstand position.

after so many years, but has returned to the love of his youth, sculpting in wood. Working once again under his own name of Bernard Buord, he is now as well known for his beautiful sculptures as for his spectacular acts as Childérick. Drawing on his experience of gymnastics and acrobatics and a love of watching the dance, he now produces ballet dancers, circus acrobats on horses and tall elegant birds -all in wood. For a man not used to standing still, there is always another challenge. His latest venture is in fabricating cars in wood. They are modelled on older classics. The first had a diesel engine and was inspired by the Morgan. The second was his own inspiration and is electric. The third, also his own inspiration is petrol driven and he is currently working on the fourth which is loosely based on a Bugatti Royale. He constructs a model first in great detail before moving on to the full size car. These cars are roadworthy! He is holding an exhibition of his sculptures and his cars from the 30th April to the 29th May at L’Orangerie, La Mothe Saint Héray near Niort.

With his act Childérick toured throughout Europe appearing in theatres, arenas, circus rings and on television. As his act became more and more daring and his fame spread. Thousands flocked to see the man who risked death nightly. Time marches on and after years of touring and performing, Childérick decided to opt for a slower pace of life. He still does the occasional fire-eating act as a “special” because it is hard to give up that adrenalin rush

Bernard Buord with one of his wooden car sculpt

ures.

‘The Magic of the Musicals’.

Jean d’Angely on the N150), the home of the Encore Theatre Company. The theatre has parking facilities.

After an extremely successful 2010 season, the Encore Theatre Company is ready to kick off 2011.

Performances are on:

Our first performance ‘The Magic of the Musicals’ will take place in May and will be a cornucopia of songs, action and dance from such well-known shows as ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘My Fair Lady’, ’Calamity Jane’ and ‘Oliver’, to name but a few. The show will feature such well-known songs as ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire?’, ‘Samantha’, the wonderful song and dance routine ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’ and, to keep you on your toes, ‘The Black Hills of Dakota’, ‘The Deadwood Stage’ and, not to be missed, ‘Food, Glorious Food’ and ‘Consider Yourself ’. As you can see, it’s going to be an action packed evening/ afternoon. Make sure you’re there! The show will be a major production for Encore Theatre, involving nearly the whole company. Since its foundation in 2002, the Encore Theatre Company, a non-profit making organisation has staged a wonderful mixture of events over the last nine years from musical revue, pantomime, open air performances in support of the local tourist boards, cabaret and a number of stage plays. The show will take place at the Foyer Rural, Place Jean Moulin, Rue des Meuniers, 17330 Loulay (11km from St

• Friday 13th at 19:30hrs • Saturday 14th May at 19.30hrs • Sunday 15th May at 15:00hrs Tickets are priced at 10€ each with a concession for children (under 16) of 5€ each. We have developed ‘Friends of Encore’ for people who are interested in going to the theatre and other social events that the Company put on during the year. If you would like to be kept informed about what’s happening, please visit our website; fill in your details and send the form as an attachment to encorepublicity@yahoo.com. For further information please visit our website www.encore-theatre.org where you will be able to order your tickets by downloading our online order form or call 05 46 26 26 92. The theatre has comfortable tiered seating for 220 people and an uninterrupted view of the stage. Refreshments will be available in the foyer during the interval. In true Encore tradition we aim to provide first class evening and afternoon family entertainment. For all your publicity or other enquiries, please call John and Carole Harvey-Perry: 05 49 29 75 92

Les Amis Solitaires We are a group of people who have found themselves alone in France. We meet up for lunches, dinners and walks and arrange to go to events when it’s no fun going alone. We hold coffee mornings in Confolens, Civray and Sauzé-Vaussais, often followed by a lunch. We would like to expand into the Deux-Sèvres region perhaps based in Niort or Fontenay. If you are interested please contact Nigel 02 51 51 48 13 or email nigelt@wanadoo.fr. We look forward to meeting you! page 6


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Our Furry Friends...

Jane Dor-Vincent shares a busy life in the Deux-Sèvres with her husband, 5 children, 4 horses, 3 dogs, 2 cats, tanks of fish and a hamster! From a baby, she was surrounded by family pets of all sorts and as she grew, so did her interest in animals. Having worked in stable yards and completing general horsecare/management courses and owning her own horses, Jane has a vast experience of handling animals. She also worked at an animal shelter assisting with surgery and helping to re-home troublesome pets. After taking a break to start a family, Jane went on to set up a Home Pet Care Service as an alternative choice to people leaving their beloved pets in kennels or catteries and made a great success of it for a number of years. Now having lived in France since 2009, Jane and her family have settled in the Deux-Sèvres and are ready to set up business for horse care. Cheval Paradis offers the option of a grass livery at their home in Largeasse (79), or daily home visits to the horse in their own home environment. A 20m x 40m Riding Arena is also available to rent. (5€ p/hr) If you would like to find out more about services offered at Cheval Paradis, please call Jane on 05 49 65 16 33 or 06 42 35 97 11. HOOF (Horse Orientated Open Forum) A group of like-minded Brits with an interest in anything equestrian who meet on average once per month, held at various locations mainly in North Deux-Sèvres or Vendée area. If you are interested in joining us in some adventures, ring Jo Rowe on 05 49 64 22 67 email: willjo@live.co.uk

The Hope Association, based in Deux-Sèvres was formed in the autumn of 2009 in response to the enormous and increasing need to help local abandoned and needy cats and dogs. www.hopeassoc.org It is NOT a refuge, but raises money to help save the lives and re-home where possible, dozens of animals which would otherwise have been condemned to a miserable life and often certain death. Volunteers are always needed to help, even your smallest effort will make a difference. If you would like more information, please contact Siobain on 05 49 27 26 20 or email: hopeassoc@orange.fr page 7


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

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

Hooray! We have had some lovely sunny days and the garden is really waking up. Don't forget though that there is still the danger of frost, so if you have planted out anything slightly frost tender remember to protect it overnight - even a couple of sheets of newspaper held down with stones will help, or an upturned bowl or flowerpot.

I attended the bee keeping course this weekend and in glorious sunshine sat listening to the tutor telling us about the products of the hive. In a good year, the hive will produce from 20-30kg of honey and a good amount of wax for polish and candle making, along with royal jelly and queen bees which are becoming more and more valuable as time goes on.

Continue to sow your annuals and plant out when convenient but hold back the half-hardies until all risk of frost has passed - they will be too tiny to survive outside even if they are protected. If you have a bank of naturalised spring bulbs give them a foliar feed every 10-14 days after they have finished flowering and until the leaves turn yellow and start to die back. This goodness will be absorbed into the bulbs ready for next year’s flowers. Sow runner beans, sweetcorn, beetroot and brocolli and take cuttings of herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme. Also sow seeds of basil and oregano. There are so many fertilizers available to us, but sometimes our plants have a specific need. Perhaps you have a plant grown especially for its foliage which is looking a bit 'pale and wan'. A feed rich in nitrogen should improve things. Yellow/brown patches around leaf edges and between veins can indicate a lack of magnesium. Extra iron is important for all plants but most especially those who do not like alkaline soils, eg Rhododendrons. An indication of iron shortage is yellowing between leaf veins, especially on young growth. Lack of potash can lead to poor flowering, fruiting or berrying.

After an hour or so and with the temperature rising, we were asked to get kitted up in our bee suits. Some had borrowed suits, but most like me, had new brilliant white suits (what a bunch we must have looked milling around, adjusting and getting used to these new clothes!). The instructor had in the meantime lit a smoker and with a line of white suits following, set off across the garden to the hives. Imagine my shock when the instructor pointed at me and with the command “Anglais” he beckoned me over to the first hive! And so, step by step, with a puff of smoke here and there I was shown how to open the hive, take out the frames to see what was happening, remove the surplus wax and find the Queen among the thousands of bees-all with thousands of bees buzzing around my veil. A first time experience not to have been missed. Can’t wait to get my own hives filled and buzzing! April/May is usually the time for bees to swarm. Their favourite places to go are between the window and the shutters, or hang from trees or up chimneys. Most are discovered when people arrive to their holiday home for the summer season. If you see a swarm, or think you have one please do not destroy it but let us try to collect it. Please contact Mike or Keenan Dominey 0549077879 or 0669676706 - Diploma Apiculteurs.

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“We will remember them” A 1000km sponsored cycle ride has been organised by the Linazay Poitou-Charentes Branch, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the founding of The Royal British Legion. Members will be cycling through the DeuxSèvres, Vienne, Charente, Charente-Maritime and Vendée departments between the 8th May and 18th June 2011. Organiser Steve Collins said: “This cycle ride is one of many fundraising events to take place in this celebratory year and in addition augmenting the continuing work of RBL by assisting Service personnel and their families. We aim to highlight the important work done by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. All funds raised will go to RBL annual Poppy Appeal. We will visit each of the 439 Commonwealth War Graves dispersed amongst 56 French Cemeteries and Churchyards in these Departments.” Further information or how to sponsor the riders can be found on the RBL Linazay Poitou-Charentes Branch website: www.rblpoitou-charentes.fr.

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Communications... Using your PC - Exactly what programs are available for Free on the internet and are they any good?

In the current financial climate it pays not to pay, so if you are able to get valuable programs free of charge doesn’t it make sense? I personally use free all of the following : anti-virus, anti-malware/spyware, compression software, photo management and editing program, and office programs including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics and database programs. My email is all free, backed up by the provider, as is my contacts list/ address book. Free programs are not necessarily full of viruses, or trial programs that only run for a few days or weeks. Believe it or not there are very well respected antivirus programs that provide excellent protection, free of any initial charge or update subscription, for example AVG or Avira antivirus; well respected names who permit the general public to use their products completely free of charge. I think this is very responsible as I am sure there are many people on the internet who cannot afford an antivirus or anti-spyware program, and if these free programs were not available they would eventually infect all of us, or spam us to death with unwanted junk mail. Both of these products are very respectable and do exactly what they are designed for, protect your system. You may read the latest independent test information at http://www.av-comparatives.org. For anti-malware check out http://www.safer-networking.org, their Spybot program is quite simply excellent. We all need to write a letter and some of us are budding authors, so we need a word processor. Microsoft Word, part of The Microsoft Office suite of programs is what most PC users either use or aspire to... Microsoft Works is often packaged with new computers by the vendors. However, these programs are updated quite frequently and keeping up with Microsoft Word 95 / 98 /2000 / 2003/2007/2010, six versions in 15 years, could cost you a real packet. Two brilliant easy to use programs that are

both very similar to Microsoft Office are Oracle’s OpenOffice available here http://www.openoffice.org/ and Google Docs available here http://www.google.com/ google-d-s/tour1.html. Yes, that’s right, good old Google! They not only provide the best search engine on the web, but also free email services with their Gmail program, and much more as the example above in Google Docs. Another valuable and respected offering from Google is Picasa. Picasa is an  image organiser  and  image viewer for o r g a n i s i n g a n d e d i t i n g  d i g i t a l p h o t o s , p l u s a n integrated  photo-sharing  website. It is very easy to manage your photos using Picasa and you have the added bonus of being able to create a free on-line version of your photos in the form of a mini web album, then you can invite your friends to share your photos, and all without having to attach photos to an email and email everyone. You just decide which photos you want to share and give the album a name and Picasa uploads them to a secure area on the internet and then helps you to email your friends and family where to go and view them. These are a few of the literally hundreds of free programs available on the internet. If you need any help locating what you want please email me, I may already have found it for my own or another customer’s use. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Te c h n o l o g y a n d D i r e c t Marketing operates from his home on the Deux-Sevres/ Vendee border adjacent to L’Absie. He provides IT and Communications support to Expats, his website is www.seowise.co.uk where you can find more information on his services. Any questions you can email Ross: rs.hendry@gmail.com.

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French Adventures... Sally Cox ∼ An Artist working in glass.

Moving to France in 2004 gave Sally Cox the opportunity to follow her dream of having a business centred around her love of working with glass. Sally and her husband, Richard, bought a lovely fermette near Airvault in 2002, but made the final plunge, moving out permanently in 2004 from Derbyshire. They then started to build their new life beginning with the total renovation that their house required, and as with old houses in France, it is a “work in progress” and will probably be so for some time! During the initial renovation period Sally identified an area that could be converted into her workshop and this has proved to be a huge success, particularly with the addition of a kiln to her workshop two years ago. Sally and Richard then rescued two lovely black Labradors from people who could no longer care for them and only last year added to their animal family by rescuing three kittens, who were originally male, but have ended up being female! Sally knows that she has been fortunate, in that she has lived in and around the countryside all her life; but moving to France she soon realised that the light was not the same here; it was sharper and everything looked different, having clearer outlines; the colours were more vibrant and this has truly inspired some of her latest work. Sally marvels at the glorious nature in the woods surrounding her house on her daily walks with her dogsoften being stimulated by what she sees or hears. Even though Sally had worked with glass for many years before moving to France, she had not been blessed with the time and space to indulge her interest. Moving to France provided her with this opportunity. Sally soon realised that there were endless possibilities and it was not only the traditional stained glass window, as you would see in a Church, but also coloured glass that is painted, or fused in the kiln – the colours and dimensions of each piece being unique. Size is not important, sometimes a small stained glass window, which is just A4 size, can have just as much impact as a 1 metre x 1.5 metre window; it is more about where the window is situated and what light it will receive. The inspiration for Sally’s jewellery and smaller pieces of fused glass comes from the flora and fauna in the French countryside. Her aim is to capture the sharpness and quality of colour and life within her work, In the last few years Sally has undertaken some wonderful commissions for stained glass including a Welsh Dragon for a 50th birthday, the renovation of a chapel window at a local chateau and various bespoke windows in client’s houses - the old French houses really do create the ideal background for a stained glass window. One of the things that she loves about stained glass is the fact that it has an indefinite life span; it is her legacy to this century. Sally has also had commissions for her glass mosaic work, creating a unique table with eight individual place settings for a friend’s garden. Her mosaic work lends itself to many forms, including sink splash backs, small and large tables, and any furniture needing

a bit of a spruce up. The jewellery Sally creates is not mass produced, it is all individually made. You will never find two identical pieces; her designs are colourful, modern and bold to reflect the current fashion in jewellery, but if you would like an individual piece made to your design then she can do this as well. Each piece of stained glass, mosaic, fused glass, or jewellery that Sally creates is unique. She can create a piece from your initial idea, or you can work on an idea together, developing it to become something truly original and personal to you. When working with a client on an idea, Sally likes to first meet up and discuss the subject; she will then create some sketches and designs and together with you develop the idea and choose colours, bearing in mind where the piece would be finally positioned – thus the final piece will evolve. When working on the Welsh Dragon Sally discussed with the client the colours of glass and where the finished window was going to be s i t e d . When she knew that it was to be used to add extra light to a bathroom she suggested just having the dragon in red and the other glass in white to allow the light to shine clearly. Two years ago Sally was asked by one of her French neighbours if she would be happy to put on an exhibition in his Manor House during the Patrimoine weekend, when his house would be open to the public. Sally was delighted to do so and asked various clients if she could “borrow” some of her pieces to exhibit. Sally carefully placed the Welsh Dragon in a narrow but deep window ledge so that the light would flow through the stained glass. The exhibition was a big success but when she was packing up, for no apparent reason the Welsh Dragon stained glass appeared to fly through the air horizontally and then plunged to the floor. Sally was of course distraught, especially as the clients were there! She has no idea how or why the stained glass window moved in such a way, but needless to say she had some repair work to do! As well as her glass work, Sally also enjoys going to Line Dancing Classes twice a week in Secondigny. It is not only a good work out, but for her has created a social life with the English and French. If you are interested in seeing Sally’s work, she will happily visit your home with a range of her compositions and host a party, if you wish, so that your friends can also see her products. She also runs half-day, day, two day and even week long workshops, if you would like to experiment at making a small stained glass window, or fuse some glass or even make your own unique jewellery. For more information, please see Sally’s website: www.sallycox.eu. Sally Cox. Tel: 05 49 95 13 61. Email: info@sallycox.eu. See advert, page 19.

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French Life, Food & Drink... Vive la difference. by Gilly Hunt One of the first things that we all miss is our family and we soon realise that our friends are now our family. We no longer look to our mother or sister in times of need, we turn to our new friends who are only too happy to help. Birthdays and Anniversaries are now spent with friends and not family. The days take on a different angle, but it is good, it is new, it is something to embrace. So when you next have a birthday, do not sit there wishing you were home with your family, invite your new family round and have a party. I have to admit that top of my shopping list for the first few months was tissues, as I had never cried so much as when I was trying to settle into my new life. It is hard. Do not believe anyone that tells you otherwise. But slowly and surely, like building a house, each brick falls into place and you learn where to go for help and assistance, where to shop, where the Doctor is-all the things that in England you had taken for granted. If you try and fight the bureaucracy in France you will surely drown or end up a nervous wreck, you really do have to “go with the flow”. You will find friends, it takes time but eventually you will and at that point you will begin to live the life you came here for.

One of the pastimes many of us dream of when moving to France is being self-sufficient, or at the very least, having a few chickens running around. I was definitely one of those and as the years have passed we have fulfilled our dream. Now, my only previous experience with chickens had been looking after some for a friend, and I had felt that it was their intention (the chickens not the friends) to make me feel insignificant and them superior, which had by and large worked, as I had not been comfortable with them at all, those pecking flapping bundles of feathers. However, when we purchased our first six chickens I was smitten from the word go. We bought 6 lovely little bundles of white feathers, giving them all names, although we had promised ourselves that ‘real farmers’ did not name their animals. We have continued to have chickens and although they no longer all have names, we do still have one of the originals and she is the epitome of the chicken in the film ‘Chicken Run’ who sits and knits; we are sure she no longer lays but she certainly earns her keep in looking after the others. Living in France we must all learn to adapt and live differently if we are fully going to embrace our new lives – Vive la Difference.

Family Favourites... This month we have our first contribution to this section....thank you to the Jeapes family for this wonderful recipe....I can’t wait to try it! Meatballs with a hot Mexican sauce For the Meatballs:1kg (2lb) lean minced pork 1 large onion, finely grated 2 garlic cloves, crushed 50g (2oz) ground almonds 50g (2oz) fresh breadcrumbs 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley 3 tbsp medium dry sherry 1 tbsp butter 2 tbsp olive oil Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:Put the butter and oil to one side and mix all the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Knead well with your hands, season to taste, then form the mixture into about 36 walnut-sized balls and set aside. Melt the butter and oil in a frying pan. Add the meatballs, in small batches, and fry for 6 to 8 minutes, until they are evenly browned. Remove the meatballs from the pan and keep warm while you make the sauce. For the sauce:1 large onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 6 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 2 tins chopped tomatoes) 1 medium green pepper, pith and seeds removed and thinly sliced 1 medium red pepper, pith and seeds removed and thinly sliced

1 green chilli, finely chopped (remove the seeds for a milder flavour) 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1 tsp paprika 2 tsp cornflour 1/2 tbsp soft brown sugar 1 Tbsp parsley, freshly chopped 4 tbsp medium dry sherry 150 ml (5fl oz) beef stock Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:Fry the onion, garlic and brown sugar in a large pan until the onion is soft and golden brown. Add the tomatoes, peppers, chilli, cayenne, paprika and parsley and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add stock and bring to the boil. Season to taste. Dissolve the cornflour in the sherry. Stir a ladle full of the hot sauce into the cornflour mix then return to the pan stirring all the time. Add the meatballs, cover the pan and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Delicious with pasta!

Another recipe from the Cancer Support Deux Sèvres Favourite Recipe Book and just right with Summer around the corner, but equally welcome at any time of year. CHILLED LEMON FLAN Ingredients: For the flan case - 120g digestive biscuits ! ! 60g butter ! ! 1 level tablespoon castor sugar For the filling - ! 150ml double cream (épaisse will do) ! ! 180g can condensed milk (lait concentré sucré) ! ! 2 large lemons (well scrubbed or use organic) For the topping Lightly whippe d double cream ! ! Fresh or crystallized lemon slices Crush digestive biscuits with a rolling pin. Melt butter in a pan, add sugar then blend in biscuit crumbs. Mix well. Turn mixture into an 18cm pie plate or flan dish and press into shape round base and sides of plate, with the back of a spoon. Bake in a slow oven for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Do not turn the flan case out of dish as it will crumble. Mix together cream, condensed milk and finely grated lemon rind. Slowly beat in lemon juice. Pour mixture into the flan case and chill for several hours until firm. Just before serving decorate the flan with a whirl of lightly whipped cream and the lemon slices. This delicious dessert can be made the day before. Enjoy! page 12


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Portes Ouvertes

by Helen Aurelius-Haddock One of my personal pilgrimages is to visit each and every one of the 28 viticulteurs that are within a half hour drive of my home in this area to imbibe their wares – no unpleasant task I might add. This crusade is facilitated by the generosity of these people when they hold their Portes Ouvertes to gather the faithful customers in through their doors to share the delights of trying the first of the new wines that have been prepared this Autumn previous. One such producer, Domaine de La Gachère, hosted such an event in recent weeks, and I was invited to go along. They produce a range of wines amongst which appear the familiar grape types such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.

This is not the place to come if you are a serious wine collector and are looking for a find to squirrel away in your cellar to accrue in taste and value. Theirs is more the wine of a moment, honest and sagely priced and doing exactly what it says on the label. Much of their offer is packaged to identify the grape variety, and bearing a rebranded trendy label, plus a few “specials” to include a wine named after a family member – Alexia- which does improve with a few years’ keeping, if you are inclined to do so. The Lemoines received their guests over a weekend in an ageing barn. It still sports a freezer-like plastic slatted entrance as the main door has long seen better days.

Inside it is lined with trestle tables with hastily stapled paper tablecloths and benches which require an internship at a circus to balance on. The trappings are simple, uncluttered and frankly not photogenic. It is a different story however, on the matter of ambience. I was greeted by the sight of around 100 guests who were generating a buzz of conversation that threatened to drown the string folk group who were in attendance. As is the form in wine tasting etiquette, I moved from the drier whites of the Sauvignon Blanc, the Chardonnay and lesser known Grolleau Gris (think Pino Grigio) into the Rosé d’Anjou and finally onto the red: Anjou villages, and Cuvée Alexia, which was rounded off with a glass of sparkling white, one of the vineyard’s top scorers. The wine was as young as it could possibly have been, and needed, especially where the whites were concerned, a bias towards the drier end of the taste spectrum, which suited me well. Nonetheless, it had the distinct foundations of a credible wine yet to come and left an indelible taste, note to self to return when the bottles were ready for sale. Once I felt I had eaten and drunk more than was polite, my order was taken and brought to the car, where farewells were again sincere and promises were exchanged to come for an aperitif when next in the area. It was a privilege to be allowed over the doorstep of such kind and honest people. If you get the chance, go and try the wine, as a warm welcome awaits. To read more culinary musings by Helen, visit: http://haddockinthekitchen.wordpress.com

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 13


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Health, Beauty & Fitness...

Many years ago Julian-Dor Vincent (known also as Rysz) found Yoga. It had such an impact on him and his outlook on life, that he chose to become a teacher and show others. Rysz says “The culmination of yoga is the modification of the mind and an incredible journey to embark upon. We all live in this world but are separated by the mind’s activity. It draws us into the future and the past creating all sorts of emotions and reactions. There is an antidote yoga and especially Santyananda yoga, it uplifts the individual both physically and mentally. We stretch the body, consciously control the breath and learn to watch rather than be, the activity of the mind.” Rysz is in the process of forming an Association to teach Santyananda yoga locally. If you would like to find out more or find out when lessons are due to start, please call him on 06 42 35 97 11.

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Getting Out & About...

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Is this the best car in the world?

by Helen Tait-Wright Think of a car whose body design has essentially remained unchanged since 1948, that is as sought after now as it was then, and that can do practically anything you ask of it, and I give you the Land Rover. I’m not talking about the Chelsea tractor varieties of Freelander, Discovery and Range Rover, good as they undoubtedly are, but the original Land Rover, now known as the Defender. Beloved by the military, owned by Royalty and small holders alike, this is a vehicle that transcends social classes throughout the world and is renowned for its sturdy, simple construction and off-road abilities. With a selection of different body options, from the Station Wagon with the emphasis on seating, to the Pick Up for load carrying, Hard Tops and Utility Wagons, there really is a Defender for everyone. This is a vehicle that can take you across the desert, through a muddy field and stream, up a 45 degree gradient, winch your mate out of a ditch and tow his car home, then if you feel the need you can go and pick up a couple of sheep from the farmer down the road, shove them in the back and hose it out afterwards; and you can still turn up at a society wedding in it without being looked down upon! Having done the trip from East Anglia to Deux-Sèvres numerous times in our Land Rover, often towing a laden trailer, I can say that it also copes well on a long journey. (Although we used to struggle before the new A28 with the lack of petrol stations between Rouen and Alencon, as our model has the less than economical 3.5 ltr V8 engine! Thank goodness for Jerry cans.)

They are easy to repair and parts are readily available world wide, and it is said that 75% of the vehicles ever built are still in use. Second hand models keep a good value and new Defenders start at 26,000 Euros. And it’s safe. Road accident statistics on a model-bymodel basis from the UK Department for Transport show that the Defender is one of the safest cars on the roads, in terms of chance of death in 2 car injury accidents. The figures, based on data collected by police forces following accidents between 2000 & 2004 in Great Britain, showed that Defender drivers had a 1% chance of being killed or seriously injured and a 33% chance of sustaining any kind of injury. OK, you are not going to win any prizes in a drag race, and the 0-60 time isn’t going to set the world alight, but that really isn’t the point. The Defender is a legend in it’s own lifetime. Much as I enjoy our fast cars, if I was only allowed to keep one car from our fleet, it would have to be the Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender.

Source: en.wikipedia.org. License: GNU Free doc license.

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr. Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 18


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Advertising rates start from 25€. Please contact Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 or go to www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr to download an advertising pack. Copy deadline: 15th of the month. page 19


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Building & Renovation... Employing Artisans by Jon Burton of JB Services

If you are going to employ an artisan for whatever purpose, you need to ensure that they are registered and insured to carry out the type of work you require and that they have a SIRET number and valid insurance certificates for both 3rd party liability and 10 year guarantee for the works undertaken. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for the relevant documentation or even references from previous clients. Any artisan worth employing would not hesitate to comply. If you are found to be employing people “on the black” you could be liable for hefty fines, also if you have any complaints about an artisan, you are only likely to get recourse through the courts if the artisan is registered. When employing an artisan, by law you must have a devis/ quote for the work before they commence and before you pay any money. You need to sign the devis and return a copy for the agreement to be legally binding and insurance to be applicable. The SIRET number is an identification number for each French business. It is unique to that business and legally linked to a particular person. If several people engage in similar activities at the same location then each must have their own SIRET number. The SIRET number is also linked to the geographical site as well, so the same legal person should get a different SIRET number if his activity takes place in several different locations. The SIRET consists of 14 digits. The first 9 digits are the SIREN number for the business. The SIREN is only issued once and is removed from the list as soon as the business ceases to function, the owner dies or the business is dissolved. As it is legally linked to an individual, it is not transferred. The second part of the SIRET number is the NIC (Numéro Interne de Classement), which consists of 5 digits. The first 4 identify the business (or one of several businesses in the case of an enterprise running several establishments) The 5th digit is another check digit to validate the complete 14 number code. Some companies also display an APE code, which consists of four digits and a letter, and identifies the principle activity of a business (activité principale exercée). All registered workers should be immatriculated with the Centres de Formalités des Entreprises (CFE) at their local Chambres de Commerce, Chambre de Métiers, Tribunaux de Commerce, or the URSSAF, Services Fiscaux, or regional office of the INSEE (Institut National de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques).

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

The only real ways to check if someone is registered for all the trades they advertise are: 1. Ask to see his/her "carte d'indentification" or DiP (Des inscriptions Personne Physique) issued by the local Chambre de Metiers. Or their KBis which is issued by INSEE. 2. Contact the Chambre des Metiers and ask direct. 3. Ask to see insurance documents for responsabilité civile and decennial which are the two obligatory insurances in France. The insurance document will show and list the items or trades which the artisan is insured to undertake. 4. Check the Siret number of any artisan you are hoping to employ by going to the www.infobilan.fr or www.infogreffe.fr. (NB. These sites do not list secondary activities, only the primary activity.) 5. Most importantly ask for contact details of previous clients so you can obtain references.

Basic Conversion Tables:

Finally, do not be afraid to report to the authorities anyone who is working on the black, or undertaking work for which they are neither qualified, registered or insured, after all they are taking work away from honest, hardworking and registered artisans.

Length 1 inch = 25.40mm 1 foot = 304.8mm 1 yard = 914.4mm = 3 feet 1 metre = 3.281 feet = 1.0936 yards

Area: 1 square metre = 10.764 sq feet 1 square foot = 0.0929 sq metres 1 square yard = 0.8361 sq metres

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Advertising rates start from 25€. Please contact Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 or go to www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr to download an advertising pack. Copy deadline: 15th of the month. page 22


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~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 23


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Business, Finance & Property... Wealth Tax

whereby you do not have to declare your assets OUTSIDE France, for the first five years residence.

Wealth Tax or ‘Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune’ or “ISF” is a completely separate tax, which is based on a “snapshot” of the assets of a household on the first day of the year. Unlike income tax, unmarried and “un-PACs’d” couples living together are considered a household for this tax by the “Fisc”. Wealth Tax returns are due by 15th June, just 2 weeks after the normal deadline for Income Tax returns. You will be expected to complete a Wealth Tax return this year if you had taxable assets in excess of €800,000 on 1st January this year and were resident in France at that time. You will then be taxed on the value of the assets you declare as follows: 800,001 to €1,310,000

0.55%

1,310,001 to €2,570,000

0.75%

2,570,001 to €4,040,000

1.00%

4,040,001 to €7,710,000

1.30%

7,710,001 to €16,790,000

1.65%

You will then need to complete form 2725 and its 4 annexes, on which you list all assets, add up their values and calculate the tax due. As the declaration should be based on the value of your assets at a specific date, there is no ambiguity as to the exchange rate which should be used to declare the value of any Sterling assets and the year end rate of £1 to €1.162 should apply. David Hardy, Siddalls France. www.siddalls.fr

Above €16,790,000 1.80% The principle of a tax on what you own, as opposed to what you earn, coupled with the occasionally sensationalist treatment of Wealth Tax by the British press, mean that it is often a subject of fierce criticism. In reality though, Wealth Tax should only be a real concern for the extremely wealthy. For example, a household with taxable assets of €1,000,000 would have a tax bill this year of €1,100, which is relatively reasonable, even if it must still be budgeted for each year. To work out whether you are in the Wealth Tax bracket, you need to calculate the “sale” value of all assets on 1st January 2010. You can then deduct any liabilities such as a mortgage and tax bills for the year in question. This includes income tax, local taxes and even the wealth tax bill! There are various exemptions for assets used in a business, antiques and fine art, and a 30% allowance is given against the value of your principal residence. For anyone who became resident of France after 6th August 2008, a temporary exemption has been granted, page 24


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15 Route de Brioux, Luché sur Brioux. We are delighted to report, that 15 Route de Brioux at Luché sur Brioux (on the road between Chef Boutonne and Brioux sur Boutonne) is once again under our management, but this time with a difference. As of 15th June 2011 we will be opening the doors once again. David will be running his tyre business from the garage at the back, I will be running my French and English language courses from the room at the front and we will be introducing Cailin Deas, selling a variety of fashionable clothes at affordable prices, cards, books and any other

interesting bits I can lay my hands on! We will open the coffee shop and bar in conjunction with this. There will be themed evenings starting in July, which will be designed for fun, with food, drinks and entertainment. If you would be interested in using any part of the building on an hourly or daily basis, continually or periodically please contact either myself or David. There is a room that would lend itself very well to exercise or yoga classes amongst other things, another room with an en-suite bathroom that could be used for beauty treatments, hairdressing or massage, as well as the fully equipped kitchen. We want life and activity back in the building so that it can become a fun meeting place for everyone – talk to us, we want to hear your suggestions. Tel: 05 49 29 86 92.

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


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Are your empty weeks costing you money? Top tips for holiday rental owners on making the right first impression to fill more weeks...

Renting your property for a week or two is, in many ways, like selling it. Everyone knows how important it is to make the right first impressions when their home is for sale; it’s common to hear estate agents and sellers throwing around that well worn phrase, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression…” But how many holiday rental owners apply that same principle to their holiday property? ‘Selling’ a holiday home relies on engendering the same feeling in the ‘buyer’ – can they instantly imagine themselves ‘living’ there, from that very first photo set amongst numerous others? Does it say ‘blissful relaxation in the sun’ or ‘a bit dated and it might rain…’? Sell the dream... The fact is, whilst every potential guest is superficially searching by criteria – bedrooms, proximity to a beach, pool – what they are REALLY searching for is their dream. Can they imagine themselves there, far from the daily grind, happy and relaxed?

Top tip 1: The first photo of your property that shows up in a website search MUST show your property at its absolute best – sunny, and staged with appropriate ‘props’ (wine and glasses, children playing, happy skiers, relaxed walkers, whatever your market wants most...) Get into context... It is safe to say that every holiday property is coloured by the customer’s own perceptions. Everyone – whether they admit it or not – has a set of pre-conceived ideas about each holiday destination, be they positive or negative. ‘It will be warm and sunny…’, ‘Cost of living will be expensive...’, ‘Restaurants will be excellent...’, ‘It will rain a lot...’ Owners must remember those pre-conceptions in their property description and photos. Say, for example, you have a property in Brittany. Experience tells us that general perceptions of this region are ‘great for transport links, weather may be poor...’ The description and photos should therefore show rooms bathed in sunlight, pools with laughing, happy holiday makers and bright blue skies, as well as a reminder that it is less than an hour from the nearest port... Top tip 2: Get into the mindset of your average customer... what are their preconceived ideas of your region and type of property? How can you corroborate or dispel those ideas with your photos and write up? Top tip 3: A picture paints a thousand words – if you get one thing right, make it the photos. Few holiday makers will even glance at the words if they don’t get the right first impression. Investing in professional shots could mean the difference between empty weeks and a full calendar... Food for thought indeed! For more tips and advice from holiday lettings expert, author and founder of award winning www.totstotravel.co.uk, Wendy Shand, order a FREE copy of her book ‘Empty Weeks? How to get more bookings and make more money from your holiday home’ at www.freeholidayletsbook.co.uk.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY

The French Marriage Regime Protecting The Family One of the biggest problems often facing UK buyers in

Take a break....

DSM Crossword#2

France is the prospect of French Inheritance rules. Let’s face it, the days of stable families with Mum, Dad and 2.4 children are largely gone. Second marriages, stepchildren and families that the French charmingly call ‘familles recomposées’ are the norm. French law has traditionally favoured the old-fashioned type of family from the succession and inheritance tax point of view, which has led to many British owners of French property having to choose whether to give priority to their spouse or their children.

To renounce their rights, the children must sign a document alone in front of two Notaires in France. It is the Notaire’s duty to make sure the child is acting of his/ her own free will and that they understand what they are doing.  This may cause a little inconvenience but it will be worth it to ensure that everyone is protected. Peter Elias (Agent Commercial) SARL Allez-Français email sales@allez-francais.com Tel 05 49 27 01 22 www.allez-francais.com Also, with assistance from Susan Busby at France Legal.

5. Surprised! (4,7) 7. Greek mathematician and inventor. (4) 8. Agitate (4) 9. A pretty young woman, literarily (7) 10. To organise oneself (3) 11. Chester river (3) 12. High spirits, energy or vitality (3) 16. Dr Jones! (7) 17. Mountain, hill or moor (4) 18. One’s friends and relations (4) 19. Such a material makes a comeback after a stretch (11)

Down:

1. Recreation area (6) 2. Early morning a shrub could catch you off-guard (6) 3. Raise petty objections (7) 4. Groups of musical notes played simultaneously (6) 5. Accomplish too much (11) 6. Carefully thought out in advance (11) 13. Column I will put into a golf score (6) 14. Strange person or thing (6) 15. Former territory of the US now split North & South (6)

Sudoku.

Answers: Please see website: www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr

Fortunately, a law that came into effect in January 2007 provides a good solution to this problem. Children can now renounce their rights to take action against the marriage regime during the lifetime of their step-parent.  Previously they could not renounce this right until after their parent’s death.  The second spouse can then relax in the knowledge that she/he will be secure after the first spouse has died.  What about the children though? Well fortunately French law has provided that the renunciation of the right to take action against the marriage regime is a temporary one and therefore the children can still exercise the right to their inheritance after the death of their step-parent.  They will then only be taxed as if they had received the inheritance directly from their own parent, with an allowance of 156,974€ and the much lower rates applied between parents and children.

Across:

www.sudokupuzz.com

For example Pete has 2 children from his first marriage and decides to buy a French property jointly with his second wife, Sue. Pete wants to protect Sue and make sure she has a reasonable standard of living after his death.  In the normal course of things, Pete’s children would be entitled to 2/3 of his French estate at the time of his death.  Pete would like his children to inherit eventually but wants to look after Sue during her lifetime. One option available to Pete and Sue is to apply the French marriage regime of communauté universelle de biens to their French property.  By putting the property into the regime, the surviving spouse automatically inherits everything on the first death.  However, Pete’s children have a right under French law to take action (action en retranchement) to have the regime set aside insofar as it affects their rights to their share of Pete’s estate i.e. two thirds.  If the children took no action at the time of their father’s death then the regime would work.  However, if Sue then left her step-children  anything on her death, they would be taxed at 60%, as there is no blood relationship between Sue and Pete’s children.

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly - May 2011  

English language magazine for people living or holidaying in the department of Deux-Sèvres, SW France.