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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 9 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine. I think autumn is most definitely here; birds have migrated, the clocks have gone back, the frost is beginning to bite and work seems to start and finish when it’s dark! Soon it will be time for Christmas! Talking of Christmas... are you organising a Christmas event, or know of an event that may interest other people? If so, please let me know and I’ll spread the word online and in next month’s issue. It’s very important to me that the magazine is available locally to everyone in the Department. Ideas on additional distribution points to make it more accessible are always welcome. If you need to contact us, please email: or Tel: 05 49 70 26 21.


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.

24€ within France, 16€ 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 2011. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with are a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Deux-Sèvres Monthly>> est édité par Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tél: 05 49 70 26 21. Directeur de la publication et rédacteur en chef: Sarah Berry. Crédits photos: Sarah Berry et Impression: Imprimerie Jadault, 46 rue du BocageBP405, 79306 Courlay Cedex. Dépôt légal: Novembre 2011 - Tirage: 5 000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................4 Take a break........................................................................9 Our Furry Friends..............................................................12 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................13 The Great Outdoors...........................................................15 French Life, Food & Drink................................................17 French Adventures............................................................21 Getting Out & About..........................................................22 Communications.................................................................26 Building & Renovation.......................................................27 Business, Finance & Property..........................................32 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant).............................................. 18 Absolu Paint Stripping Services (Tony Sparks)................. 27 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter)................................... 23 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC D/Glazing)..... 2 Agence POUZET (AXA Insurance)..................................... 23 A.I.P. (Estate Agent)........................................................... 34 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder)............................................. 31 Alain Miot (Saw mill)........................................................... 27 Allez Francais (Estate Agent)............................................. 34 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................... 29 Andy Melling (Artisan Joiner / Cabinet Maker)................. 35 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)...................16 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd........................ 32 Brian Fox (Computer Support)........................................... 27 Café des Belles Fleurs........................................................ 18 Cafe Cour du Miracle.......................................................... 18 Chris Dwyer (Handyman).................................................... 29 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room).................... 24 Colette Bon.......................................................................... 32 Dave Bowring (Electrician)................................................. 30 David Normanton (Handyman)............................................ 31 David Watkins (Chimney Sweep)........................................ 28 Eco Entrepot (Discount store & Building materials).......... 2 Energie-79........................................................................... 29 English (Online Business Directory)............... 8 Garage Planchet (Renault)................................................... 22 Gentle Touch Hair & Beauty............................................... 14 Hair by Janet (Hairdresser and Avon Sales)..................... 14 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).... 30 Imprimerie Jadault (Printer)................................................ 3 Indulgence Beauty............................................................... 14 Insink Plumbing.................................................................... 29 Jocelyn Simms (Segora Open Poetry competition)............. 6 Julie Immobilier.................................................................... 35 Julie’s Cleaning Services..................................................... 33 L’Ecole du Chat Marché de Noel........................................ 5 La Joie de Vivre (Gift Shop & Tea Room).......................... 24 Le Dragon (Bar/Snack)........................................................ 20 Leggett Immobilier (Estate Agent)..................................... 32 Le Logis (Pig breeders)....................................................... 19 Le Puy Remorques (Trailer Hire & Sales)......................... 23 Les Trois Marie (Hotel & Bar)............................................ 20 Madhatters Kitchen............................................................. 19 MS Electrique (Electrician)................................................. 30 Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurances........................................ 23 Namaskaar Accessories...................................................... 6 Nathan Foster Building Services........................................ 31 Open House Sales (L.Walker, Ellerymay & Craft Cabin)... 5 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................ 13 Pause! Coffee Shop............................................................. 5 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 30 Philip Wellman (Plumbing Service & Maintenance)............ 29 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)............................. 29 Poitou Property Services.................................................... 33 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................. 22 RDK Roofing & Building Services....................................... 31 Red White & Blue (English groceries)................................ 18 Restaurant des Canards....................................................... 18 Rob Berry (Plasterer).......................................................... 31 Robert Gough Terrassement (Mini Digger and Driver)...... 31 Robert Walker Plomberie (Plumbing, Heating, Air con)..... 29 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........... 26 R.S.M. Distribution............................................................... 24 Sandy G (Hairdresser)......................................................... 13 Sarah Berry Online (Website Designer)............................. 27 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction)............. 30 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................... 33 15 Stephens Property Maintenance & Renovation.................. 31 Steve Enderby...................................................................... 30 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation).................... 8 Tara’s Mobile Hairdressing................................................. 15 The English Mechanic - Tony Eyre.................................... 22 The Mini Market.................................................................. 24 Total Renovation Services.................................................. 30 Tracy Corrie (Nail Artist)................................................... 13 Warren Baldwin-Jones........................................................ 28 page 3


What’s On....November 2011 4th November - Phoenix Cards, Stationery & Gifts At the Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-l’Autize, 79160 from 4pm-6pm. Christmas cards and gifts available. Contact Della James 05 49 05 78 61, email: 4th & 5th November - Hope Assoc. Book Sale Thousands of books at 1€ each! At the Salles des Fetes, Clussais la Pommeraie, 79190 from 10am-3pm. 4th & 5th November - “We’ll always have Paris” Theatre Show ‘The Civray Footlights’ theatre group present a play (in English) by Jill Hyem at La Margelle Theatre, CIVRAY. Doors and bar open 7.30pm. Tickets 8€. For ticket reservations please phone Pam 05 49 87 19 10 or Lin 05 49 97 10 93. 12th November - Craft Cabin workshop At The mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. See advert on P24. 13th November - Vide Grenier, St Piere du Chemin 15th November - Relais Colis AVON At Lemontree Tea Rooms, Sauzé Vaussais. See advert on P.14 17th November - Relais Colis AVON At 3 Canards Restaurant, Chef Boutonne. See advert on P.14 20th November - Vide Grenier At la Commanderie, Saint Marc la Lande. 20th November - Open House Christmas Sale. See advert on P.5 for more information 24th November - Monthly English Quiz & Supper Night Au Fil del'Eau Restaurant, Mervent. Hot supper and a quiz with prizes! For more details call Jackie on 02 51 00 50 59 or email Jill on 26th November - Marché de Noel At the Salle des Fetes, Bouillé Loretz, 79290. 12pm - 8pm. (See advert on P.5 for more information). 26th November - Ceramic Painting & Pampering with Nicky At The mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. See advert on P24. 26th & 27th November - VOUVANT Christmas Market 27th November - Open House Christmas Sale. See advert on P.5 for more information. 27th November – Christmas Fair at Melleran. In aid of Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres and La Ligue Contre le Cancer. Stands available, please ring Ann Ashwell on 05 49 27 22 83 for details. 30th November - St Andrew’s Day celebration Ceilidh organised by the anglican church of All Saints Vendée at Salle, St Maurice le Girard. Start 19h. 12€ p/head. Contact Jenny Salt 02 51 51 23 62 or Polly Ward 02 51 51 64 29. Thank you to

Church Services Anglican Church, Parthenay. Services, usually Communion, in English on 4th Sunday of each month at 10.30am at 11 rue de la Citadelle, Parthenay. Plenty of parking but not easy to find!  There is a map on the Chaplaincy web site  Please join us for a bring and share lunch after the service. All Saints Vendée, Puy de Serre. Services 2nd & 4th Sunday of the month. Escoval, La Bonne Dame, Ranton. Church service in English 3rd Sunday of every month at 11.30am. Join us for a bring and share lunch after the service.

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

Paperback Jan Books in English 2nd Nov: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 14h-16.30h 3rd Nov: Bar Le Palais, St Aubin le Cloud. 14h-17h 4th Nov Bar de la Paix, Thouars 12h-14h 4th Nov Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-L’Autize 16h-18h 7th Nov Le Dragon bar, Vernoux-en-Gatine. 14h-17h 9th Nov Le Trois Marie, Airvault. 10h-13h 11th Nov Jan’s home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, 11h-16h. 12th Nov Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole. 10h-14h. 12th Nov The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. 15h-17h. 24th Nov Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant. 14h-17h For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email: La Vendee Chippy Traditional Fish & Chips in France! Wednesdays (Nov, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges.18h-20hr Fridays (Nov 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux. 18h-20hr For more info please email:

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

What’s coming up... 2nd December - Christmas Market. At the Tipsy bar, Coulonges-sur-L'Autize 79160 4pm - 7pm. English groceries, books, gifts & cards, jewellery, clothes & accessories, teddy bears and soft furnishings. Carol singing, mulled wine & mince pies! Tel. 0549 95 92 76 3rd Dec - Christmas Fair & Ellerymay Flower workshop At The Mini Market (See advert on P.X for more information). 4th December - TERVES Christmas market At the Salles des Fetes from 11am-6pm. Lots of stallholders, refreshments available. 10th & 11th December - Marché de Noel Christmas market held at la Commanderie, St Marc la Lande. Open: 2pm-7pm on Sat10th and 10am-6pm on Sun 11th. 15th Dec - Christmas Dinner & Quiz. Benoist et Isabelle are hosting a 3 course  English Christmas Dinner and Quiz starting 7:30pm at the Chaudron in Chantemerle, 18euros p/person. Bookings: 05 49 74 24 69 17th December - Live music night at Mad Hatters Kitchen. Angie Palmer performs. See advert on P.19 for more info.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2011 (remaining): • Sunday 25 December: Christmas Day (Noël)

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

Contact Sarah Berry on Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: page 4


Open House Christmas Sales This is the third year of running our Christmas Open House Sales. There will be plenty of gifts at affordable prices for you to choose from, including boxed Christmas cards at under 5 euros. For those of you who are creative there will be Christmas craft materials for card making and scrapbooking. If you are seeking unusual Christmas gifts, Ellerymay La Fleuriste will be selling their flowerpot men and Zimbolic will be selling their recycled metal animal sculptures.

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

All are welcome and light refreshments will be offered, including mulled wine and mince pies. So come along and indulge yourself with a spot of retail therapy and pampering. Directions; Sun 20th November: The Craft Cabin, 1 route des prés Guillon, 79190 Melleran. Situated on the road between Melleran & Chef Boutonne D109, approx 1½kms out of Melleran on the right hand side going towards Chef Boutonne. There will be signs at the end of the drive. Sun 27th November: Le Petit Studio, 1 impasse de la Margelle, Vilaine, 79170, Perigné. Situated off the D740 just outside Perigné, between Prahecq and Brioux-sur-Boutonne (check website for detailed map . Le Petit Studio this winter is open by appointment only, it is a perfect place to come and buy a beautiful Christmas gift of jewellery. The collection features sterling silver and fused glass jewellery, as well as a new range of handcrafted beaded jewellery. For more info contact: Laura 05 49 27 36 98 / Mary 05 49 29 55 42 / Denise  06 75 89 95 55

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Are you part of a club or an association? Please share the details with us!

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

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

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

Exciting news for Readers and Writers


To our great delight novelist and children’s author Helen Dunmore will be guest of honour. Her novel, ‘A Spell in Winter’, won the Orange prize in 1996. ‘The Betrayal’, published in 2010, set in Stalinist Russia, is as sensuous and chilling as any of her works.

With the help of their friends they have produced a Calendar for 2012 in aid of two charities, ‘Against Breast Cancer’ and ‘Open Door’ (based in Civray).

Local authors from St. Clémentin are planning the firstever Litfest for the Deux-Sèvres in 2012.

If reading groups would like to know more about Helen Dunmore or to register interest in the Litfest contact Jocelyn Simms. Jocelyn is a founder member of the Deux-Sèvres writersʼ circle and leads a creative writing group at La Joie de Vivre, Moncoutant. Please call Jocelyn Simms on: 05 49 80 22 96

2012 is going to be a special year, because 3 ex-pat ladies, Karin Malpass, Jean Benny and Chris Crane decided to spice up some delicious desserts!

The Calendar will not only help you to keep up to date and tempt you with recipes, it will delight you with some "Pin -up" ladies who have made this calendar. The calendar priced at 10€ will be available at Open Door, Civray; local markets; La Grande Gallerie, Civray and o n l i n e  t h r o u g h ‘ T h e Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine. Please support us to support these charities.

Profits made from the sale of this calendar will be donated to the two charities listed below: Association La Porte Ouverte, ʻOpen Doorʼ . AGAINST BREAST CANCER Reg. Charity no 1121258.

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History Repeating Itself.

by Karin Meek During the early days of my research into the MEEK family history my son gave me a beautiful document which showed the Coat of Arms that had been associated with the Meek name. It stated the first recorded use of the name was 1220 in Gloucester and again in 1299 in York, arriving with the Vikings from Scandinavia!

trimmed with fur, broaches, buckles and linen for Elena – which could indicate that she was about to marry. There were no bequests to Robert! The transcription of the will indicates that Agnes was a dressmaker and Robert could well have been importing and selling fabric. When I was about to support my husband as Mayor my profession was Couturier! Was history repeating itself?

I was intrigued with the ‘York’ information because I knew that the family originated in the Norfolk area. However, I wasn’t sure how I would be able to find out any information. A friend advised me to contact the Borthwick Institute in York – which I did – and it wasn’t long before I was sent a ‘Rolls of Honour’ showing Robert Le Mek, (changed to Meek in middle English), who was Sheriff of York in 1299, Mayor in 1309, 1317, 1320 and 1321. These facts were very interesting and coincidental as Richard (my husband) was Mayor Elect for Chippenham at this time.

One genealogy rule is ‘do not get side tracked’ but rules are made to be broken and I was pleased I did digress. I would love to know more about my namesake but, unless the family is very well documented, I know the direct line will never be proved.

Robert Le Mek, being of great standing within the community, must surely have left a will – wouldn’t he? Here was a new challenge as I had never tried to find a will before. Again I contacted the Borthwick Institute who eventually sent me a copy of a will. It was the will of Robert’s wife Agnes who died in 1305. On receipt of this valuable document my heart sank – it was written in Latin and I couldn’t read it. Yet another hurdle to jump!

All spellings are as they were on the will which shows how name spelling change in such a short period of time.

Now I was even more interested and had to get the will translated. I found I had become hooked on our ‘namesake’ and it seemed to be an eternity before I received the transcription – but it was worth the wait. It was obvious to see the wealth of the family but I learnt a lot more than that. By the way in which the will had been written, with the preamble including mention of ‘The Virgin Mary’, indicated that the family was Roman Catholic. Money was left to the Friars of Saint Augustine for wax candles to be burnt in Agnes’s memory every Christmas and garments were to be sold and the money raised was to be given to the poor. Then there was a list of benefactors who worked for the family – which included Roger le Seler, Thomas the Tannor and Galfridus the Porter. These people and their occupations are clear to see but Henry Le Hotter? Did he keep the fires alight? Then there were the family names that enabled me to draw up a ‘tree’. Agnes made various bequests; to her mother – Custancia, sisters – Emma and Alice, niece – Agnes, aunt – Beatrice, nephew – Nicholas Catton and her daughters – Agnes, Matilda and Elena. But questions were to be asked. Why was Agnes expecting to die before her mother? She had a husband yet she requested that her funeral arrangements were to be made by her daughter Agnes. Why? She had a grandchild – Robert Catton – who was the son of Matilda Meke. Matilda was clearly recorded as the daughter and heir of Robert Meke. Was the term ‘nephew’ used differently then to the way we use the term to-day? On close inspection of the will there were names that also appeared on the Rolls of Honour. William of Grimesby, Robert of Cawode, Robert of Hunsinghover and William of Burton, who, along with Sir Robert Mons, were executors of the will of Robert Le Meke when he died in 1322 without a son and heir. Prior to 1882 and the Married Woman’s Property Act a woman could only make a will with the ‘express permission of her husband’ as she was deemed to have no existence separate from her husband during his lifetime. The items that Agnes left were for her staff, friends and family and were clearly her own items as they included 15 ells of fabric, maple wood goblets, high quality garments

Tracing Your Family History. My own Family History can be proved back to 1735. This research has taken me over 14 years – so far! I have also designed a course on Tracing Your Family History which I have been using to successfully teach students for many years. I have been asked by friends if I would consider teaching the subject in France – which I am very willing to do – but I need to gauge support for this venture because of the costs and traveling with the equipment associated with this. I teach the ʻmethodʼ of researching Family History/Genealogy with the aid of my power point presentation. The complete course is designed to start with the absolute beginner and progress to advanced level. To learn the subject the student does not need to have a computer but research is aided by access to one.   Although the course can be taught in 5 hour sessions I am considering 2 hour sessions starting at either 9.30am or 10.00am on either a Tuesday or Thursday morning, about once a month and hopefully  in the Secondigny area. A small charge will be made to cover the cost of photocopying and possible room hire. I look forward to anyone who might be interested in: 1)providing a suitable venue/room, 2) attending the course or 3)asking questions about this proposal. Please contact me at

CRAFT CAFE CREATIF If you knit, crochet or sew and want to meet like-minded people; if you also have a fondness for an afternoon cuppa, cake and a chat, then join us at Le Dragon at Vernoux-en-Gatine for our monthly craft cafe and have some fun sharing tips and know-how. English and French speaking welcome! For more information or to sign up please email or telephone Jennie on 05 49 94 22 27. You can also visit me at I will be attending the "English market" at le Dragon on the 7th November between 2 and 5pm selling yarns, patterns, needles and knitting accessories. Patterns are available in English and French. page 7


November...a month to remember.

Vocabulary / Vocabulaire

by Sue Burgess The first of November is All Saints' (La Toussaint) and a bank holiday (jour férié). La Toussaint is a Catholic Festival when the Roman Catholic Church honours all the saints. La Toussaint is the day before the Day of the Dead (La Commemoration des Fidèles défunts). The 2nd November was fixed as the date for remembering the dead two centuries after the date of la Toussaint was fixed. However, because the 1st November is a bank holiday, the French remember their dead on that day. Candles were lit in the cemeteries and since the 19th Century the custom has been to decorate tombs with Chrysanthemums (les chrysanthèmes).

la Toussaint........................

All Saints' Day

un chrysanthème................

a chrysanthemum


to put flowers/ to flower

un cimetière.......................


un gerbe..............................

a wreath

le monument aux morts......

a war memorial

le cénotaphe........................

a cenotaphe


to commemorate

In the countryside, around the time of All Saints, the whole family including the children helped to pick the potato crop. During the potato harvest many children took time off school and the half-term holidays were made official (les vacances de Toussaint (formerly called potato holidays «vacances patates»)).

pavoiser ............................

to decorate with flags

édifices publics.............

public buildings

les poilus.......................

«hairy» nickname given to the French soldiers in the trenches during the First World War, because they didn't have the facilities for shaving.

The 11th November is another bank holiday. If the 11th November has become a day for remembrance, it is in fact the day for remembering one day in particular, that of the Armistice of 1918. In France, the end of the second world war is remembered on the 8th May. The minute of silence was put in place for the first time in 1919. The ‘unknown soldier’ was buried under the Arc de Triomphe in 1921 and at the ceremony in 1923, the flame (Flamme du Souvenir) was lit for the first time. «Le Bleuet de France», the cornflower, France's equivalent of the poppy, was the idea of Charlotte Malleterre and Suzanne Leenhardt, both nurses at Les Invalides. They created a workshop for war invalids. The war pensioners made cornflowers out of blue material – a therapeutic activity but the sale of the cornflowers would partly cover their financial needs. The cornflower is the national symbol for remembrance in France. In 1935 the government decided that the cornflower would be sold on the 11th November. In 1957 it was decided that they should also be sold on 8th May. Ceremonies are held at the war memorial of most villages and towns. A wreath (un gerbe) with red, white and blue ribbons is laid. Lists of the people killed are read out. The minute's silence is respected. In most villages the local primary schools participate in the c e r e m o n i e s. P e r p e t u a t i o n o f t h e national memory is very important to the French. As the 11th November is a holiday, the ceremonies can be held on the day itself. The third Thursday in the month is famous for beaujolais nouveau – a new wine produced in the vineyards of Beaujolais, from Gamay grapes. The sale of beaujolais nouveau is allowed immediately after vinification has taken place.

COMPETITION WINNER! Congratulations to our competition winner, Helen Tait-Wright, 79290. A lovely image to mark the events of Guy Fawkes Night, November 5th, For a chance to see your photograph on the front cover of our magazine - please enter our monthly photo competition. Entry is free and limited to one photograph per month. Please see the website for further details. page 8


Take a break.... Across: 7. The respect with which a person is held (10) 8. Public house for gambling (6) 9. Scratch repeatedly (6) 10. Your consciousness of your own identity (4) 12. Surround (8) 14. A business deal (11) 18. A drug that causes temporary loss of bodily sensations (10) 20. A sharp twist or bend in wire, rope or hair (4) 22.Caring only about yourself and your own needs (10) 23.Collection of things for public display (4)

DSM Crossword #6 Down: 1. Confused by guilt (7) 2. New Zealander (4) 3. French General and Emperor (8) 4. A failure to hit (4) 5. Noisy sleeper (6) 6. Resort city of Southern Mexico (8) 11. Mentioned before (8) 13. Song, melody (5) 15. Fishing equipment (6) 16. Sheltered and secluded place (4) 17. Unforeseen obstacle (4) 19. Detest (4) 22. Pinch (3)

Toughie Crossword#3.....think cryptic!


With thanks to M.Morris


Please see website: for answers

Sudoku Corner...

Down: 1. Male trees form swamp plant (8) 2. Roman governor in endless keep fit exercises (6) 3. Tough writer? (5) 4. Top teams have words with the audience (6) 5. Maleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s article in the big house(7) 6. Sets up modes of travel out west? (3-3) 7. Aims and finishes (4) 14. Unusual red hen mixes CD and gets soaked (4-4) 15. Arranged French bedroom to fit in bullets (7) 17. Worn down newspaperman split by ride past (6) 18. Trendy alien in New York is short of a ton (6) 20. Healthy state of mind results after I get nasty in mix-up (6) 21. Sounds like take-away brings processed iron (5) 22. Winner missing regular in clenched hand (4)

Across: 8. Wild band? (7) 9. Midlands home of Roman house? (5) 10.& 11. Ambitious plans for piano? (5,7) 12. Not less than the regulation number of balls?(4) 13. Wed when wrong pose used. (8) 16. Missed big thing in the room (8) 19. A brief I will is heard in small island (4) 22. Diver halfway to handsome princehood? (7) 23. Small change adapted after short time can pick you up (5) 24. Saw, we hear, is part of play (5) 25. Let changes rest to offer support (7)

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Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres wish to say a very big ‘Thank You’ to all those who supported our events thoughout Awareness Week to raise funds to donate special equipment to the Palliative Care Unit at Parthenay Hospital. We had asked the staff at the Palliative Care Unit to give us a list of items that they needed in order of priority. As a result of the incredible support we received during that week we are now able to donate the item at the top of their list - an electric massage table and all its accessories €3243,79. Thank you. There are two events coming soon. On the 27th November we are joining with La Ligue Contre le Cancer in holding a Christmas Fair at Melleran on Sunday, 27th November. There will be all the things you associate with Christmas - gifts, cards, mulled wine, mince pies, crackers and many more. If you would like to have a stand there or would like further information, please contact Ann Ashwell on 05 49 27 22 83. On Sunday, 4th December Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres will have a stand at the Christmas Fair at Terves, with leaflets, information on the work that we do and much more.

Royal British Legion Flag Ceremony

Members of the Linazay Poitou-Charentes Branch of the Royal British Legion, expats and French Officials attended a ceremony on Friday, 14th October 2011, at the Musee, Quartier Medieval, Parthenay for the dedication of a new Union Flag obtained by the Northern section of the Branch, also to announce the commencement of rememberancetide. The co-ordinator of the Northern Section, Captain Will Rowe BEM, addressed the assembly in English and Monsieur Michel Birault, Ajoint au Maire, Parthenay repeated the address in French. Outlets for the Poppy Appeal can be found at the following venues: • A La Bonne Vie, Le Beugnon • Le Dragon, Vernoux-en-Gatîne • Bar de la Poste, L’Absie • Sandy Hendry, Hairdresser, La Chapelle-aux-Lys • Tabac, L’Eclerc, Parthenay • Bar Logis, Leclerc, Parthenay • Jan Smith (Paperback Jan) at various locations • Alan Rowlands RBL representative • Will Rowe, Northern Co-ordinator and many more. Please see the branch website: for more outlets and information.

Reaction Theatre PRESS RELEASE

WIN Theatre Tickets...

Reaction Theatre, renowned throughout the region for its high quality amateur theatre productions, is performing 'Inspector Drake and the Perfekt Crime' this December at Le Petit Theatre at Secondigny. It's a tale of murder, mayhem and mystery with more seductions than deductions and more Red Herrings than John West could reject, as Drake and his sidekick Sgt. Plod struggle to solve the crime.

For a chance to win a pair of tickets to see the next Reaction Theatre production ʻInspector Drake and the Perfekt Crimeʼ, simply take a look at the photograph below and decide on a suitable caption.

For the first time, Reaction Theatre is offering a Saturday matinee on 3rd December at 2.30pm, as well as evening performances on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd December. “People come from all over the region to see our plays and we have had lots of requests for a matinee so they can enjoy the show and not get home too late” commented Liz Plaatsman, Group Secretary. Tickets cost €10 each. To book please email: or Tel 05 49 70 29 86. Take a look at the website as well on Bernadine Smith, Publicity REACTION THEATRE

2 sets of two tickets are up for grabs. (Performance of choice). To e n t e r s i m p l y e m a i l y o u r c h o s e n C A P T I O N t o : marking the email subject ʻCaption Contestʼ. Closing date: 21st November 2011. Winners will be notified by email on or before 25th November.

Good luck!

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website page 10


Operation Scenery 16/17th November 1943 by Tony Barrett

decided it was time to make a decision, he would burn the plane where it stood. Smashing all the cockpit dials and then puncturing the fuel tank he set fire to the stranded Lysander. Luckily for Robin Hooper and the group, the nearest Germans were some 10 miles away. The reception committee, as well as the pilot and the agents for whom this operation had been arranged were taken back to Niort and Celles. Flight Officer Hooper was taken to Mr. Poirault’s in Celles. "Baby Louis" took care of the others dividing between the members of the network ‘Delbo-Phenix’ in Niort. Then Robin Hooper was accommodated in Chaban de Chauray at the home of Mr. Andre Bellot.

Plaque outside the church at Périgné records Operation Scenery.

Operation "Scenery" took place just outside of the village of PÉRIGNÉ, on the road to Secondigny, it had been chosen for its particularly easy access and its surface suitable to land a small aircraft. The night of the 16/17th November was a full moon with a hard frost, and the mission was to pick up two agents of the Franco-Belge ‘Delbo-Phenix’ Louis Michaud alias ‘Baby Louis’ and Jean Depraetere alias ‘Georges’, leader of the information network.

The following day the Germans came in force to recover the wreck and to search for the pilot and resistance men. The truck on which they tried to load the remains of the Lysander got stuck in the mud and once again the bullocks of Mr. Fournier were called to assist. A month later on the night of the 16/17th December another of 161 Squadron’s Lysanders piloted by Wing Commander Lewis Hodges landed and took off with Robin Hooper and the agents.

Robin Hooper

Authorʼs impression of Flight officer Hooperʼs Lysander MA-D

The Lysander Mk.III, serial V9548, and coded MA-D was flown by Flight Officer Robin Hooper of 161 Squadron, and the outward flight was uneventful. The reception team was in position at about 0 h 30. At ‘La Prairie’ LZ (Landing Zone) The Lysander arrived and after two unsuccessful attempts finally managed to land off of a very tight low circuit, dropping in rather fast and rather late through the mist. Initially applying the brakes the wheels just locked up and slid across the ground, and it required a lot of throttle just to keep any forward movement. Turning proved to be difficult as the wheels dug grooves into the soft ground but finally he made a turn of 90 degrees to port before getting completely stuck. After loading his passengers Hooper found that the craft was totally immoveable even with +6 of boost. Ordering the passengers out Hooper also got out of the Lysander to inspect the problem for himself. Sunk up to the wheelspats, it appeared he had landed in a wet soggy water meadow and was well and truly stuck. With help from the reception committee Hooper instructed them where to push to attempt a take-off. Again with +6 of boost the Lysander if anything got even more firmly stuck. ‘Baby Louis’ then suggested enrolling the help of a local farmer who lived nearby, and dispatched three well armed resistance men to get him, while the rest of the party started to dig trenches in front of the wheels with the plan of making an incline on which the Lysander could be pulled to firmer ground. Twenty minutes later an odd procession loomed out of the mist, two very large bullocks (Papillon and Fridolin) with clanking chains, the farmer Mr Adolphe Fournier, his wife and two daughters and the three resistance men, carrying spades, brushwood and planks. Mr. Adolphe Fournier greeted Robin Hooper warmly and wanted to know when the British were going to invade France before setting to work on freeing the aircraft. The effort was in vain even with a further two bullocks the plane stayed stubbornly stuck in the mud and Hooper

The Northern Section of the Linazay Poitou-Charentes Branch held an Autumn Fest on Sunday 25th September 2011 at the home of Jo & Will Rowe in Fenery and over 200 visitors, French and ex-pats, enjoyed a nice sunny day at the event. They experienced lots of activities including many stalls selling goods such as trees, books, cards, spices, jewellery and brocantes. Games such as Splat the Rat, horse shoes and skittles. Rob Berry won the male Throw the Wellie competition and Josie Migion won the female competition. A bottle of Whisky was won by a competitor with a bullseye in the target golf and Ted & Elaine Kemp won the Giant Hamper with the lucky programme number of 111. There were also 3 horse races where bets were placed on model horses and competitors also took part in the real thing in the Equine ring with the Best Turned Out, Ridden Obedience, fancy dress, dressage demonstration and a Spanish riding display. Ten vintage cars also were on display, many of them having driven some distance from the South of the area. Food and drinks were in abundance with British Beers in France, wine from the Loire, Le Grande Four Noir general food and drinks, RBL tea and cake stall and hog roast. Although some outgoings are still to be met, it is anticipated that the event will have raised over 500€ which will go towards the Poppy Appeal. Thanks to all the stallholders and other participants and those non RBL members who helped to make the day a success and last of all thanks to all those who attended and took part, for without them, the total amount of money raised for the charity, could not have been achieved. page 11


Our Furry Friends... name is Sybil. I gave birth to 5 gorgeous kittens in August in the loft of the person who feeds me. I was a good mother until my babies were 6 weeks old. They were taken from the loft to be loved and socialised by human hands in order to give them a chance of having a good family life. They are playful, friendly, loving and ready for someone to love them. I am lucky now to have a home. I have been sterilised so no more kittens for me! I will always be semi-wild but my kittens are ready now for good loving homes. Can you give them a chance? Two are black and fluffy, one is black with some grey stripes, and one is grey stripey... Please call Rosemary on 05 49 95 63 81.

MAYDAY MES AMIS Mayday Mes Amis is a new association under the 1901 law which has been formed to help animals in need in l'Absie and the surrounding area. For more information please email:

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:

Just for Fun.... Our adorable furry friends... Please send us your pictures and any comments to be featured here.

Meet Noodle, he adopted us when we lived in Portugal and I can't imagine life without him! He has a wonderful character and goes everywhere with us. Sharon Goddard, La Ronde.

APPEAL Angel and Dalton are two loving family pets, but due to a family break up their owner, who has three children to support, cannot keep her dogs. This is a tragic situation and sadly not uncommon. But that’s not the dogs’ fault. Dalton is a 3 year old castrated Labrador with a lovely loving temperament; he is good with both children and adults, loves to please and loves to play. Dalton is vaccinated (but not for Rabies) and is microchipped. Angel is 2 years old, a lovely intelligent dog with a playful nature who is also good with children, but she does need some more training. Angel is micro-chipped and vaccinated (but not for Rabies) and is not sterilised. These are two young and friendly dogs who just need lots of space, exercise and a firm hand. Animals do pick up on our human problems and these two lovely animals deserve a good life. If you think you could give it to one or both of them, please contact Update: Latest update on Angel and Dalton – I met these two lovely dogs this afternoon together with their family. They get on amazingly well with the children and all they wanted to do was be fussed and then taken for a long, long walk. Itʼs very sad to think that they will have to be split up, but in the long run it will be better for these two super dogs. They need someone who will “work” them as well as plenty of cuddles. I certainly recommend meeting them, I donʼt think you will go away empty handed.



Zen (featured in the April issue) - now renamed Max was adopted by English couple, Pete and Lynda and now lives in a wonderful home. "From the moment he got into the car he has been absolutely wonderful. He has settled in really well, had a good first night, and it did our hearts good this morning when Jezzie our own dog, took him round the garden to show him all her favourite spots. Meeting our cat Holly didn't go quite as smoothly as we'd hoped and in his excitement he playfully nipped her bum! She's currently staying in one of the spare bedrooms and we're planning the slow re-introduction, though sure that all will be well in time". In celebration of finding Max, Pete and Lynda very kindly made a donation to Hope which has gone to help other needy animals.   None of the re-homings would be possible without the dedication and hard work of people who care about animals. We are very grateful to The Deux-Sèvres Monthly for continuing to support us in our effort to re-home animals in need. Hope Assoc Tel: 05 49 27 26 20 or email:

HOPE ASSOCIATION TWO DAY BOOK SALE Over 15,000 new & nearly new books at 1€

4th & 5th NOVEMBER 2011 10am - 3pm Salle des Fetes, Clussais la Pommeraie, 79190 Send your entry via email to:

Hot & Cold Refreshments ALL FUNDS RAISED HELP RESCUE ANIMALS page 12


Health, Beauty & Fitness...

A very special christmas gift for men and women. Thai Manicure Massage. I started my career 25 years ago in England offering hand and foot treatments, Swedish massage and Shiatsu head massage. I have re-opened my business in France doing many aspects of hand and foot treatments including, manicure, pedicure, nail art and the wonderful Shellac. These treatments are done in the tranquility of my salon that is attached to my home in La Caillere. The most luxurious of treatments that I can offer in the comfort of your own home is the Thai manicure massage. This is a unique restorative, relaxation treatment using a fusion of eastern and western massage strokes on the hands, arms, shoulders, neck and head. Manicures are extremely beneficial from a healthy perspective as well as an emotional and mental well being perspective. Regular hand and nail maintenance can prevent various diseases of the nail, keeping them looking healthy and strong. Head massage can relieve feelings of tension anxiety and headaches, relaxing this muscle can improve the blood flow and relax your whole body, soothing and rebalancing the energy flow, creating feelings of ease and peace. This 90 minutes of pure relaxation and pampering is an ideal christmas gift. Take advantage of my special offer of a free pedicure voucher for every Thai manicure massage booked. To lose yourself in pure relaxation or to treat someone you care about to the experience of any of these treatments please contact me, Tracy Corrie on my mobile: 06 02 31 76 43 or by page 13


Winter with Avon Oh Dear. We’ve wintered our pool this week. We’ve clung onto the last days of summer and delayed the closure in the hope that it will continue a while longer. But of course it won’t and now it’s time to get wood in and hunker down for the colder months. Not all bad though, we’ve got Christmas to look forward to. (Sorryshould I have whispered that?) Is it too soon to be thinking about Christmas? Look in the shops & they’re already stocked with woolies & pullies and all things chunky and warm. And who REALLY likes the annual chore of making present lists and traipsing around shops to find something original for our friends and families? Wouldn’t it be LOVELY to have a personal shopper to bring things to us in the comfort of our own homes, with all sorts of goodies that will please everyone and won’t break the bank? It doesn’t take a genius to see where I’m going with this. But you know it makes sense. Avon has been around for 125years, and EVERYONE I meet has a fond memory of Avon products in their Christmas stocking as a child, or that Grandma always seemed to have an Avon book in the house. This year there are some FABULOUS products available. Gift sets of ladies perfumes and men’s aftershaves, scrummy orange and cinnamon footcare and bath products for winter pampering, dazzling jewelry and beautiful lingerie. The high tech developments in skincare are reflected in Avon’s fabulous creams and lotions for face and body for you to treat yourselves to on cold winter days. We hold regular ‘Relais Colis Avon’ events where you are VERY welcome to come along & browse the catalogue, try samples, & collect and place your orders; as well as having a personal Hair Consult with Hair By Janet, all while enjoying your afternoon tea and cake at the Lemontree Tea Rooms in Sauzé-Vaussais or the Restaurant des Canards at Chef-Boutonne (See our advert on P.14 for details, PLUS your chance to win an AVON goodie hamper in our Christmas Raffle) OR why not get together with a few friends and you can enjoy a personal shopper service in your home with your local Avon Lady. If you would like an at-home Avon event, or if you think you too would like to be an Avon Ambassadrice (earn extra cash for Christmas :-) contact or call 06 25 23 64 85. Happy Shopping!

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

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

The Great Outdoors... Common newts in Western France (Tritons communs dans l'Ouest de la France)

by Roger Meek Amphibians are an unusual group of animals in that they have a combination of biological characteristics that set them midway between fish and reptiles. They evolved the critical stages that enabled the backboned animals to move out of the water onto land, including limbs to enable movement on land and lungs to breathe air directly. However, to reproduce most amphibians must return to water to deposit eggs (spawn) from which larvae emerge that in turn develop in to the adult amphibian. The constraint of having to return to water to reproduce was not solved until the reptiles evolved a shelled egg that is able to develop in the absence of water. Amphibian larvae (tadpoles) live in ponds and lakes breathing through gills, as do their fish ancestors, but with the change to the adult condition the gills are absorbed and lungs appear. A life history that involves living in both terrestrial and aquatic environments is what gives the group its name, which is from the Greek amphi = both (or two), bios = life. Amphibians are therefore frequently constrained to a period of migration between summer home territories for feeding and the need to return to aquatic areas for reproduction. In western France amphibian migration back to ponds for reproduction occurs on wet nights in late autumn and early winter, which reduces the risk of dehydration due to water loss through a skin that has poor water retention properties. Two common species of newt, the brightly coloured marbled newt (Triturus marmoratus) and smaller palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus) can often be seen at night at the bottom of ponds using torchlight at this time. The reproductive period in newts begins in February when each female may lay up to 400 eggs. The newly transformed young leave the water in late spring or early summer, again on rainy nights. On land they must live in moist environments, as do the adults, although adult marbled newts may descend into underground retreats during the summer and remain inactive. You may find them at this time under log stacks, cellars, rubbish heaps and in drainage systems. They feed on earthworms and

small insects when on land or in water. However, in common with many other amphibians their populations fluctuate substantially, particularly those of the marbled newt, and in some years you may come across them only rarely. A range of predators including snakes, especially grass snakes, prey on both species. For defence marbled newts have toxins in the skin, which are released when it is attacked (or handled roughly). If you do pick one up it is good practise to wash your hands afterwards – although gentle handling rarely induces this behaviour and the compounds are not normally dangerous to humans although dogs and cats may have problems if they grasp them by mouth. Marbled newts frequently hybridise with the less common crested newt (Triturus cristatus) producing animals that grow larger than either parent species. A photograph of the hybrid can be seen on along with other information on reptiles and amphibians in western France. For the more technically inclined there are downloads of research papers as pdf files including a few on French species.

Marbled newt (left photograph) may grow to 16cm (including tail). The smaller palmate newt rarely exceeds 8cm. Life spans of 25 and 12 years have been recorded from captive marbled and palmate newts respectively but individual from wild populations will live for much less. The palmate newt is a male as indicated by the swelling at the base of the tail, the absence of a swelling in the marbled newt indicates female. Note the vivid colouration in the marbled newt, which is a warning to potential predators of an unpleasant taste experience should she be attacked.

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 15


The Amateur Gardener

by Vanda Lawrence At the beginning of October my husband & I went to the 'Fête des Plantes' held in the grounds of the Château Féodal at Bressuire. I believe this was the first time this event has been held and must say I can thoroughly recommend it. We saw the most amazing varieties of tomatoes in all sizes, shapes and colours on a stand by 'Le Potager d'Autrefois'. I was also interested to talk to an English lady who grows Penstemon varieties. She also works in a French orchard and I asked her advice regarding pruning fruit trees. As she says though, everything depends on the form of the tree: espalier, cordon, full tree etc but she did tell me that apart from the norm of keeping an open centre to the tree with no crossing branches the French advocate leaving 'enough space for a pigeon to fly through'. (Thanks to ‘Le Jardin de Marian’, St Hilaire des Loges). Another lucky meeting for me was with 'Pepinieres Delphwood'. They specialise in Hibiscus plants and as I have an 'Old Yellow' which was planted this Spring but is not flourishing I asked their advice. Apparently our clay soil is suitable but as the plant is near a wall maybe it got too dry during the very hot spells - Hibiscus like plenty of water. I must therefore top-dress with lots of fallen leaves this autumn which will gradually feed and aerate the soil as well as protect the roots from any frosts during the winter. Also next year I must feed every fortnight with a tomato fertiliser. ( Back home again there are still jobs in the potager. Continue to sow peas for picking in Feb/March and sow carrots in November for lifting in April/May. Shallots can be planted now; they will also be ready in April/May.

Produce Show a great success This year’s Produce Show organised by ‘Les jardiniers du Poitou’ was a great success despite the awful summer weather! Sarah Gearing comments below on behalf of the sub-committee.


hope everyone enjoyed the Produce Show. Thanks to all who participated,  and a big thanks to those who helped out. We hope everyone enjoyed seeing all the different classes, including the eye catching displays and the original signs. The produce was of an  excellent quality, especially considering the awkward weather we had this year. Any suggestions or ideas for next year please let us know...  Good or bad..!” In all there were 31 different categories - a selection of winners are shown below: • Cherry Tomatoes-on or off the vine  1st Janice Johns /2nd Frank Parrington/ 3rd Maureen Whatmore • Pumpkin/Squash 1st Chris Kingston/ 2nd Sarah Gearing/ 3rd Julie Riddell • Ugliest Fruit/Vegetable 1st R. Emmett • Jam, Marmalade, Lemon Curd etc. Home Made with Ingredients list    1st Peter Lamb /2nd Maureen Whatmore /3rd Christine Lamb • Dressed Watering Can                                   1st Judy Beadle /2nd Glynis Best /3rd Ann Wilson. • BEST IN SHOW Peter Pryor- Vegetable tray 5 different vegetables, Cat. 7.

The last of the beetroot can be lifted. I have been told that they are delicious when roasted. Apparently they retain their red colour and have a lovely sweet flavour something new to try, I only ever have pickled beetroot. Brussel sprouts can be picked as the buttons firm up and Jerusalem Artichokes can be lifted and stored any time between November/February. After all this, you can dig over vacant areas of your vegetable garden, leaving the soil to be broken down by winter frosts. Continue to plant spring bulbs and spring flowering plants for added colour to fill gaps between young shrubs or where a mature shrub has had a 'haircut' leaving a space to fill. Collect up fallen leaves. You can store damp leaves in plastic bin liners in a corner of the garden - hey presto next year you will have lovely leaf mould to top dress your flower beds. Just punch a couple of holes in the sack so air can circulate. Talking of leaves, don't forget to clear any fallen leaves from your gutters.

If you would like to know more about the amateur gardener association ʻLes jardiniers du Poitouʼ, please contact by email:

Clean the lawn mower and other garden equipment after you use them for the last time. Carry out any repairs needed and store them away for the winter...

Goodness! Now what are you going to do with yourself? I know, you can walk round your garden on a nice, crisp wintery day and congratulate yourself on a job well done!!

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

by Gilly Hunt As autumn falls over France, it is a pleasure to walk around the glorious countryside enjoying the wonderful colours that only appear at this time of year. But have you also noticed amongst all this beauty how many Horse Chestnut Trees are struggling to survive? Apparently it is the tree with white flowers rather than pink that are under attack from disease; or so the owner of a local Chateau informed me. Now to me it really would be a disaster if there were to be no more conkers, not for playing conkers the game, but they are my main defence against all the spiders that also seem to live in France and particularly if you live in an old house. If you put conkers in the corners of your rooms you will find that the number of spiders will reduce – it works! We have been out and about in the last few weeks enjoying all the wonderful events that Deux-Sèvres offers. I find that not only do I enjoy the event such as the Carriage-driving in Parthenay, the Chateaux to visit over Patrimoine weekend, but also you discover other villages and places whilst you are en-route. There is so much to see and do in this area of France, that I do not think I will ever see it all. We visited the Chateau at Maisontiers, which is very near us, and were really surprised by how beautiful it was and felt very ashamed that we had not visited it before. The grounds are only open for a month each year, but it is well worth a visit. The grounds are exquisite and the Chateau reminiscent of one in the Loire Valley. It never ceases to amaze me what one can find behind these towering gates that you see as you drive around DeuxSèvres – it is truly another world.

The Chateau at Maisontiers

Living in France, many people feel isolated and frustrated when they want to do something as simple as selling things they no longer need. There are no Friday Free Ads, or the local free paper, or notices in the shop windows. Well you can put cards in some supermarkets, but I have never found this to be particularly successful. However we do have the Internet. There are of course the English forums on the internet; but have you tried the French ‘leboncoin’? Which literally translated is “the good corner”. It is amazing for buying and selling just about anything. I have recently successfully sold a car and a scooter, and dare I say it for a better price than I would have received from English people! If you want to alter an advertisement, you just remove it and then put it on again – quick and simple. So if you are selling anything give it a go, the French use it all the time, and it is free. Vive la difference.

Keenan’s Corner

by Keenan Dominey This is my third article and this month I have decided to give you an inside view into my third year and explain about what we can do in our spare time.

In September 2006 at the age of 13, I was starting my third year in French school. This year is very important in the French education, 4éme is the year where we have to find our way and start thinking about being independent and to decide on your future career. Compared to the previous years the school had completely changed. A lot more work was asked of us in school and at home, we had about 2 hours of homework a week. We had to do a lot more project work which was posted on the internet (articles, biographies, etc.). The teachers would ask us to read out loud in front of the class and answer question’s much more. During the year there was a school trip to England, which I did not attend because my sister had decided to go. This school trip was organized every 2 years for the 4émes and the 3émes, and took 50 pupils around London and to Wiltshire to see Stonehenge. At the end of the school year everyone in 4éme had to find a place for work experience (in French “Stage”) to learn more about professional life. I chose to work at a building firm who specialises in road works and general building, so for a week I went and worked with a few builders. I did not enjoy it at all. This led me to decide not to become a builder. In England there are often after school clubs. I took part in many, for instance the Cricket club, Rugby club, Chess club, sign-language club and Warhammer club. When I moved to France I didn’t take part in any clubs until the 4éme because we finished at 5 o’clock in the afternoon so there wasn’t much time left in the day. In 4éme I decided to get back to Rugby and found a local club at Ruffec where I started training with the under 15s every Friday night at 5.30pm and matches were every other Saturday or Sunday. In the summer, I used to go to the public swimming pool on Wednesday afternoons with some friends. There are sometimes youth clubs in town and I used to go to one in Sauzé-Vaussais. There is not a lot to do in the country so we have to go to places like Niort or Poitiers to find anything. The youth club organises trips to do activities in town, which allows the children to be more active. As my sister was in 3éme she passed her “Brevet des Collèges” at the end of the year, so in the next article I will explain how we are prepared for the “Brevet” and how we decided on what school we wanted to opt for.

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Shmeaujolais Nouveau Don’t miss out! The Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé, oh joy! It’s the third Thursday of November, the traditional time of year when all good marketing men gather to lick their lips and fondle their calculators for the annual cull of consumers paying inflated prices for vin ordinaire. Time was when the Beaujolais made honest wine to be matured, while ensuring there was enough young plonk left over for friends and family to swim in at Christmas. Simple enjoyment of simple wine gave way in the 70’s to a hypefest which continues today. Let’s be clear. Beaujolais nouveau is a wine which has hardly learnt to crawl. Entering it into the 100 metres doesn’t make it great, but it does create cash flow. Sirs, I am but a simple vigneron, what about the customers? Pah! Tell them it is a fruit-driven pleasure with hints of banana and fig. But sirs, isn’t it still just plonk that smells a bit funny? How naïve you are! Look at the pretty label... And so on.

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But the golden goblet (the marketing worked) turned out to be a poisoned chalice. Now the world equates beautiful Beaujolais with the nouveau nerd. Time to take a stand. On the label, look out for any one of these names: Saintamour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à-vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Cote-de-brouilly; Brouilly. These small areas are the princes of Beaujolais, and their swords are not double-edged. They will never be kings, and are best drunk quite young (2 to 5 years), but they have the ‘f’ word: finesse. If scents of peony, rose, violet or iris don’t work for you, how about apricot, cherry or peach? Serve around 10 to 12°C with rabbit, pork, lamb, pheasant, partridge, frogs legs. These wines really represent value for money. Don’t call me a shmuck, think twice before you buy shmouveau. John Sherwin. French Wine Tours Email:

The recipe from the Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres Favourite Recipe Book this month has been requested by a number of people who came to our recent Barbeque in St. Marsault. Tuna Mousse is an ideal starter and proved extremely popular.

A helping hand whilst searching for items in the Supermarket... Herbs








Ingredients : 1½ cups (375ml) mayonnaise 3 tins of tuna (thon naturel) 140g ½ cup (125ml) tomato sauce Pepper (little) 1 sachet of powered gelatine or equivalent 1 grated or very finely chopped onion

















Put all ingredients except gelatine into food processor and process until well mixed and fairly smooth consistency. Dissolve gelatine in a little warm water as instructed on packet and add to mix. Pour into a long plastic container ( a bacon storage box is ideal) and place in fridge for 24 hours. Turn out carefully onto serving plate and decorate with cucumber, lettuce and tomato. This will serve 10/12 people as a starter. It can be made two days beforehand.



























Plain Flour

Farine de blé

Caster sugar

Sucre en poudre

Self Raising Flour

Farine Gateaux

Granulated sugar

Sucre cristal

If you have a favourite recipe of your own please send it by email 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

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~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 20


French Adventures... Sussex to Sanzay

Steve and Tracey Latchford arrived in Sanzay, ArgentonLes-Vallées in April 2003 with their son Ben then three. Steve had had a good business in Sussex doing mainly renovation work, with his speciality being carpentry. But they were seeking a better quality of life for Ben and themselves and so the decision was made to move to France. Moving into a small hamlet near to Argenton-LesVallées, Steve and Tracey set about forging a new life for themselves and Ben. The language was obviously going to be an important factor, Steve had “school boy” French and knew that he and Tracey had to learn French quickly in order to establish themselves. Steve admits that they were lucky as their neighbour spoke superb English and was therefore able to help them in those first few difficult months. However, after 8 months their neighbour refused to speak English to them as he considered 8 months long enough to learn French! They also wanted to meet all the neighbours and decided to visit them all and ask them round for an aperitif. Their neighbour who spoke English said that he would accompany them and make the introductions. They started off and the first set of neighbours invited them all in for an aperitif, this trend continued and Steve and Tracey arrived home a few hours later, a bit wobbly after quite a few strong home brewed aperitifs; as Tracey said it was a real baptism of fire into French hospitality!

As a carpenter Steve is always looking for new things to make from wood. He now has an upmarket range of chicken houses, a wonderful selection of hand crafted walking sticks with the handles made from Buffalo horn, Cow horn, wood and Deer antler, wine racks sculptured from branches and his latest creations are wooden mushrooms which he sculpts from logs with a chain saw – these are already very popular with the locals.

The first few months were spent working out how to register a business, there was little information available then and in order to register Steve had to attend a week long course, in French, in Niort run by the ‘Chambre de Metier’. This was no easy task for someone who was still struggling with the language. A few months after they arrived Steve was asked to volunteer at the local Chateau to help with renovation work, alongside some disadvantaged children, as part of an annual team building exercise. This one bit of volunteering led to Steve being offered his first paid job in France by a Frenchman. Steve has gone from strength to strength with his business and recently decided to opt out of being registered as an ‘Enterprise Individual’, changing to the “less paperwork option” (if that is possible in France), to register as an ‘Auto Entrepreneur’. Steve has found that his regular customers are quite happy to now supply materials, and Steve is still always available for advice. Steve’s main work area is in renovations, replacement windows, fitting kitchen and bathrooms, plaster boarding and flooring, but he also sub-contracts for local French companies. He has quickly built up a strong customer base of both English and French clients and has the reputation for completing work to a very high standard.

Tracey loves her life here and is currently investigating the possibility of registering to make cakes for birthdays and special occasions, but as is the way in France, there is a mound of paperwork and legalities to be overcome first. Steve and Tracey have totally embraced the French way of life, working in their friend’s local vineyard when he needs an extra pair of hands, striving to be self sufficient, rearing animals for food and also having a very large vegetable garden.

In 2004 Samuel was born and Tracey told me that her experience in France in support and care whilst being pregnant and in Hospital having Samuel was far superior to that which she had experienced in England. Ben and Sam both attend local schools and Steve and Tracey love the fact that the teachers really seem to know the boys and that the classes are so small in comparison to the class size their cousins are in back in the UK.

Their main aim when re-locating to France was to achieve a good work/life balance with a good quality of family life for them and their children. They are certainly living their dream.

Tracey took the courageous step four years ago to join the “Bureau APEL”, Parents Teachers Association, of Ben’s school and through this the family have made many close friends and now have a full and active social life, having a superb balance between French and English friends.

Written by Gilly Hughes-Jones

Steve and Tracey can be contacted on 05 49 80 09 32, or email: Website: Siret no.: 450 822 457 00021 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: page 21


Getting Out & About... Driving Down Under

by Helen Tait-Wright Since last writing for DSM, I have been in Australia, and so I thought I would share with you some observations on motoring Down Under! On arriving in Queensland we were delighted to find we had a Holden V6 Commodore hire car, (Holden being the Aussie branch of the GM group) and slightly alarmed to find that it was metallic emerald green! However after driving the relatively short distance from the airport into Cairns we realised that it was quite a subdued colour! No dull European colours for our Aussie friends; lime green, turquoise, purple, orange, yellow, burnt orange, lilac and royal blue cars seem to be the norm, and actually seemed to complement the exotic colours of the tropical landscape. As one Queenslander explained “happy coloured cars for happy people”. Amen to that.

e hire Our Holden V6 Commodor


In town finding your way is easy as the streets are a grid system. Once we hit the highway for the drive south to Sydney we found surprisingly empty roads, albeit single lane, stretching along the coast with signs giving you useful information such as “Do not sleep and drive” to break the miles of ghost gums!! The trucks have the same speed limits as the cars, and boy they have big trucks, so sadly the verges are littered with kangaroos and other animals unfortunate enough to have encountered a road train. And the car itself was a joy, despite the relatively low speed limits restricting the fun to be had from the V6 engine. But Holden make another version of the Commodore which really took my eye. A V8 Ute. From the front it looks just like our saloon car, but with only two doors the rear section is pick up style with a hard top. However this description does not do it justice. This is a real sports vehicle with a practical twist (perfect for those trips to Bricoman, I think). As Holden’s publicity says “Low slung on massive 19” wheels and powered by 6 litres of awesome Gen IV V8, this traffic stopping performance Ute will put a smile on your face that never goes away.” Trust me when I tell you this is true. Dear Santa, please can I amend any previous Xmas list. I would really like one of these!

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Find the cheapest fuel prices in your area. This government website provides comparative prices on petrol and diesel in all areas of France. Go to: and simply click the department of your choice on the map (Deux-Sèvres = Dept.79) and a list of fuel stations will come up, giving their location and current price. Advertise online with ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ from just 5€ per month! Go to: to find out more. page 24


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

by Sue Burgess Some definitions: • Un lieu-dit is a place with a very small number of houses (if any). The name of the lieu-dit is often connected with its geography or with the name of the people who lived there. • Un hameau (hamlet) is a group of houses in a rural area. The number of houses is too small for the hamlet to be considered as a village. A hamlet always has people living in it whereas a «lieu-dit» does not. • Un village (village) is a group of houses and other buildings with different and varied usages, in the countryside. • Un bourg is a large village often with a market. It is also found in country areas. • Une ville (town) is an urban area regrouping housing, places to work, commerces, businesses and places for social activities. • Une agglomération (built up area) is the large built up area surrounding the town and including the suburbs and even small neighbouring towns and villages that are now connected to the town. L'agglomération de Niort – Greater Niort • Une Cité : this word has two very different meanings. It can be the old centre of a town (Parthenay has its « cité historique  »). Or it can be a housing estate, often one with council housing and families with problems. Les Alleuds is a commune belonging to the canton of Sauzé-Vaussais. There were 297 inhabitants in Les Alleuds at the time of the last census in the village. The commune is surrounded by Maisonnay, Melleran and Clussais-la-Pommeraie. It is at 164 metres above sea level and 40km south west of Niort. Allonne is a commune situated between Le Retail, LaBoissière-en-Gatine and Secondigny. In 2006 the population was 645. 1.4% lower than in 1999. The river Thouet crosses Allonne. Allonne is about 205 metres above sea level. A VOIR / MUST SEE:

The sculpture of the Emmaüs meal on the altar in the church.

For many years wolves were a huge problem in the village and the cause of poverty and destruction. In 1800 a huge wolf hunt was organised. Of all the castles which surrounded the commune only Tennesus and Fougerit are still visible. A VOIR / MUST SEE:

The Town Hall, Tennesus castle (private), Fougerit castle (private).

Amuré had 450 inhabitants in 2005, an increase of 40.2% in relation to 1999. Surrounded by the communes of Saint-Georges-de-Rex, Le Bourdet  and Sansais, Amuré is at about 10 metres above sea level. The rivers Courance and La Rivière cross the commune. The inhabitants of Amuré are Amuréens and Amuréennes.

The large port of Arçais has been completely restored. This is the place where the magical boat festival, the Féerie Batelière, takes place in August. It was the main place for commercial exchange between the plains and the Sèvre Niortaise river valley. A wooden crane reminds us that years ago the trunks of poplar trees, transported by waterways, were hoisted out of the water onto the banks. At the edge of the river port stands an 1829 dwelling (a private property visible from the street). The eleven warehouses at road level were used for stocking merchandise in transit between Niort and Marans. Continuing along the Chemin de la Garenne there are old farms which overlook both the street and the Minet mill race. Arçais is a village which has typical marsh housing and is an ideal place from where to set off to discover the wet marshes on foot, by bicycle or by flat boat. A VOIR / MUST SEE:

Amailloux stretching over 3,725 hectares is the largest commune in the canton of Parthenay. The origins of Amailloux go back to the Roman occupation when Amailloux was known as Animalya (Animals) and then as Amallo in 1095. The people of the commune are called Amaliens. The first church in Amailloux in the 11th Century was a priory church which was given to the Abbey of Airvault by the Bishop of Poitiers in 1095. The castle, of which only part of the tower and some foundations remain, was at that time made up of a courtyard surrounded by a moat and protected by a high wall. The keep was in the middle. There were towers at the three corner angles and the two storey dwelling was at the side of a tower with a stone staircase. There were 950 inhabitants in Amailloux in 1750. Amailloux was the first market town to be burnt during the Vendée wars. Only the church, the presbytery, part of the castle and an old house with its timbered facade survived the fire. The old house is today the Town Hall.

The Féerie Batelière boat festival in August. This is a son and lumière show performed by the locals.

Ardilleux is situated 41 km southeast of Niort, between the communes of Bouin, Chef Boutonne and Loubigné. The commune is crossed by the river Aume. There has been a church here since the end of the 10th Century. During the 11th Century the church was dedicated to Saint Saviour (St Sauveur). The church was finally dedicated to St Junien in 1118 when it was attached to Nouaillé Abbey. Nouaillé Abbey is also dedicated to St Junien. A VOIR / MUST SEE:

St Junien Church.

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

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


Communications... How to speed up your PC – Part 3

This is part three of How to speed up your PC, in the first part we checked that your PC had the correct hardware resources to perform well, since then we have covered items 1 and 2 on the list below. I hope all is going well for you and you are already seeing an improvement in performance. Section three this month is below. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Does your PC have the correct hardware resources to perform properly? Create a System Restore Point, Clean up your desktop, Scan your PC and Fix Windows System File Errors, Running the Check Disk Utility (Chkdsk) Scan for Viruses, Spyware and Adware, Adjust Windows Visual Effects, Only start up programs you need, Defragment your Hard Disk.

3. Scan your PC and Fix Windows System File Errors This will help improve the speed and functionality of your PC. Your PC is a versatile tool permitting you to do many things, emailing, surfing the web, creating documents storing and editing pictures and videos. Each program that permits these activities is controlled by the Windows Operating System (OS), which itself is a collection of programs that work together to enable the programs to do what you require. Microsoft strives hard to keep these programs working properly regardless of who made your computer or wrote the programs that run on it, constantly updating the Windows OS to cater for changes and correct errors. Inevitably some of these files may get changed or corrupted by new programs and hardware being installed, the update process itself, viruses, or simply turning off a PC before it has finished shutting down. This will of course affect the running of Windows. Once again Microsoft anticipated this and has a program called the System File Checker (SFC). The SFC is a program that scans all of the protected system files that make the Windows OS work and will replace incorrect or corrupted versions with the correct Microsoft versions. This process is especially recommended if your system has been running erratically or displaying error messages. During the process SFC will check for Windows protected system files that have changed and attempt to replace them. You may need your Windows OS CD handy so that SFC may replace certain files. If you do not have one, then you should seek the assistance of whoever maintains your PC for you.

Using the SFC is quite straight forward; first however, use System Restore to set a Restore point as mentioned in last month’s article (you may read this on-line here if you did not get a copy of the magazine In Windows XP 1. First close any programs that are running 2. Left-click the Start button. 3. Left-click Run 4. Enter this command in the Run box: SFC/SCANNOW 5. Left-click the OK button In Windows Vista and Windows 7 1. Open the Start Menu and left-click All Programs 2. Left-click Accessories and right-click Command Prompt 3. Left-Click Run as administrator 4. Enter this command in the box: SFC/SCANNOW and press enter. In both cases above Windows will advise what it is doing and when it is finished. I would advise you not to use your computer during this process that may take from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to scan and fix all of the Windows OS files. You should be on hand to follow any instructions the SFC program gives you. When the SFC has finished the run window closes, and you may be asked to re-start your PC. Next month we will check that your hard disk drive is functioning correctly and not introducing errors and corrupting files. Once again if you are having difficulties please give me a call or send me an email. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. He operates from his home on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border adjacent L’Absie. (See advert below for more information).

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

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

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

Useful English Language Numbers...

Cancer Support Deux-Sèvres: 05 49 64 59 96 French State health insurance advice line: 08 11 36 36 46 Elizabeth Finn Care (Grants and advice if in Financial need): 04 68 23 43 79 S.O.S Helpline: 09 69 36 39 00 Hertford British Hospital (English speaking Hospital for the Paris area): 01 46 39 22 22 EDF International Customer Service : 05 62 16 49 08 CLEISS (Social security advice between countries): 01 45 26 33 41 Association La Porte Ouverte (Open Door): 05 49 87 97 36 or British Embassy (Paris): 01 44 51 31 00 Funeral Information (AFIF): 01 45 44 90 03 or 06 08 24 42 71 Passport Advice: 0044 208 082 4729

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

Building & Renovation...

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DON’T GO UP IN SMOKE... Cleaning of Chimneys and Flue Pipes by David Watkins. Last year the regulations that govern the cleaning of chimneys and flues changed over the whole of Europe and mainly stemmed from the border countries between France, Germany and Belgium. France changed their regulations last October, which is set out in Article 31 of Reglement Sanitaire Departmental (RSD). The basics are as follows:• Solid fuel burners must have the chimney or flue swept at least once before the burning season starts with a second sweep halfway through. Liquid burners ie oil, must have the flue swept once per year. • Gas burners must be swept once every two years. • The above applies to appliances that are used for domestic room heating only. If an appliance is used constantly for heating water, cooking etc then the appliance and flue should be cleaned at least twice a year. The build up of carbon (soot) and crystallised creosote which is produced from burning organic matter can be very fast if the fuel has a high moisture content. • Dry seasoned timber for use in log burners should have a moisture content of less than 2 %. There is also a requirement that the installation be fitted correctly by a qualified installer so that there is no possibility of the appliance not conforming to the installation regulations. Insert and free standing appliances should be fully lined and the chimney sealed at both the top and bottom. Professional Chimney Sweep The regulations require that a professional chimney sweep is used and that a certificate de ramonage be issued by the sweep on completion of the work. You cannot now do it yourself and self certify as according to the legislation any cleaning will need to be inspected by a professional chimney sweep who is fully insured to carry out the work. Do not simply use any person who turns up at the door touting for work. Make sure they are business registered, professionally qualified and insured otherwise any certificates they issue will not be worth the paper they are printed on. The use of ramonage or chemical blocks are not to be recommended as they alone cannot replace the effect of a mechanical clean.

Whilst on the internet recently I stumbled across this website offering handy hints regarding building and DIY. The website is Here are a few hints taken from the building page: • Easy Sawing. Use a candle to lubricate your saw, rub on both faces and you will find cutting a lot easier. • Clean Cuts. If, when cutting fibreboard you want a splinterfree finish then use masking tape and cut thru the tape - a better cut will result. • Plastering. I find that plaster will set much quicker when I use warm water to make it. • Hinges: Use Vaseline rather than oil as it will not run and dirty the paintwork. • Ladders Safety: The ladder rule is - the foot of the ladder should be one measure out for every four measures in height. Ladders should be placed on a firm level surface, and the top should be resting on something solid, and not on guttering or a window-sill.

Insurance Companies Insurance companies do differ in their approach to fires caused by a lack of chimney cleaning. Whatever the terms of the policy and the difficulty of proving negligence, the greater risk may well be to your own safety, not only from the risk of fire, but also from carbon monoxide poisoning. If the fire causes injury or death to third parties, then you could face civil or even criminal proceedings. Please remember for the time it takes and the small cost involved it is far better to be safe than sorry, so use a professional. Article written by David Watkins Chimney Sweep and Member of the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps UK and Registered Ramoneur France. Email Phone (H):02 51 00 33 01 (M):06 42 77 40 13

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

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


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Business, Finance & Property... The Benefits of QROPS for British Expatriates by David Franks, Chief Executive, Blevins Franks. QROPS are Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes which allow British expatriates to move their pension funds out of the UK and achieve more flexibility to set up their fund to suit their lifestyle and requirements in France. More and more British expatriates are moving their private pensions into QROPS as they can offer considerable benefits. • Your fund and the income received can be in Euros, thus reducing currency exchange costs and risk. • No UK tax on any benefits received and no UK PAYE applicable. • No tax is payable on income or gains within the fund (other than withholding taxes on certain investments). • The taxation of withdrawals from a QROPS is usually more beneficial than if you keep your current pension. • The benefit of the fund can pass to your heirs, and it is protected from UK inheritance tax. • If you have been non-UK resident for five complete and consecutive UK tax years when you die, QROPS escape

the 55% death charges which apply to UK pension funds if you were in drawdown or aged over 75 when you die. • There is no requirement to buy an annuity, though you can buy one at any stage if you wish. • You can have a flexible investment plan across a wide range of funds, designed around your personal objectives, circumstances and attitude to risk. • With a QROPS you are not necessarily restricted to the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) rules for income drawdown. To find out more about QROPS and whether they would be suitable for you, contact a firm like Blevins Franks which is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority. Blevins Franks Financial Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority for the conduct of investment and pension business. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website

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

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


2nd Loi de Finances Rectificative 2011 – Further Taxation Changes by David Hardy

Over the last couple of months we have discussed the ‘Loi de Finances Rectificative pour 2011’, dated 29th July 2011, and its impact on Wealth Tax, Inheritance Tax and other aspects of personal finance. Barely two months later, however, a second ‘Loi de Finances Rectificative’ has been adopted by parliament with the explicit intention of reducing the country’s large budget deficit whilst it faces a predicted slowdown in economic growth. In this article, we shall cover two of the measures featured in this new law which should hold greatest interest to our readers. Social Taxes (“Contributions Sociales”) Social Taxes have been increased for the second time in less than 12 months, having previously been increased by the last budget to 12.3%. This time round, they have risen to 13.5% and are applicable to unearned income eg. interest, investment income and gains, and French property rental income. Furthermore, the rise has already taken effect as of 1st January 2011 except for certain French investments and bank accounts which are taxed at source. In those cases, the tax rise came into effect on 1st October 2011. Capital Gains Tax On Property Sales At present Capital Gains tax (CGT) is applicable on the gain arising from the sale of a second home, at a rate of 19%. However, there is an allowance for the length of time the property has been held, with a 10% abatement being allowed for every full year of ownership after 5 years. This means that there is no CGT payable after 15 years ownership. Should you be a French tax resident, then the Social Taxes of 13.5% will also be levied, bringing the total tax rate up to 32.5%. However, for all property sales concluded from 1st February 2012 the annual allowances have been reduced to the following: • 2% reduction for each year of ownership between the 6th and 17th years. • 4% reduction for each year of ownership between the 17th and 24th years. • 8% reduction for each year beyond the 24th year. Therefore the house is only free of all taxes ie CGT and social taxes after a full 30 years ownership. David Hardy, Poitou-Charentes Regional Manager for Siddalls France, who have been providing impartial independent financial advice to the British community for over 15 years. Tel: 05 56 34 71 77

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Great Expectations

by Peter Elias. Everybody knows that we are in difficult financial times and economic uncertainty doesn’t help the property or financial markets at all. At times such as these there is need to step back and view the greater picture. A good analogy is to compare the weather to the market conditions that we are facing – temperatures reaching extremes, storms more frequent, floods, droughts etc.etc. But whilst the day to day changes take us by surprise, we have grown used to these conditions, and with the changing seasons we know broadly what to expect. We may buy a new brolly, but we’re not moving to high ground or getting a boat just yet.

The £ is gaining against the Euro after a relatively long period in the doldrums. Now is a good time to be buying in France, there are some great opportunities out there. If you need help, please contact me on 05 55 28 46 40 for a more detailed explanation. Peter Elias (Agent Commercial) email: Tel: 05 49 27 01 22

In the same sense, buyers and sellers of houses need to adapt to the changing market, and listen to the advice of the sensible agents about how best to proceed. Some vendors are hitting the panic button, and selling at prices well below market value. In turn, some buyers are sensing the opportunity for a killing and coming in with offers massively below the asking price. (Indeed some agencies are encouraging them to do so). Vendors need to price their properties accurately, in line with the market. It is no use pricing it at a level that will enable you to buy a 3 bed semi back in the UK – it doesn’t work like that. Similarly, just because you paid 200,000 € in 2007 and have since spent 60,000 € on improvements, you don’t put the property back on at 260,000 €, (or even more), as it doesn’t work like that either. We can see from our websites, those properties that are attractively priced simply by the number of hits they get each week. Some get 100 times more hits than others – doesn’t that tell you something? Our experience shows us that the best time for interest in a property is during the first 6-8 weeks on the market, so it is critical to get the pricing right for this initial period. Too high and no interest and no viewings. We then find that those properties stagnate, and often fall in price below our original estimation, (well below that of the vendor) and eventually the market forces determine the price.

Advertise your private house sale here... From 10€ per month Email the house details and 1 x photo to:

Buyers too need to step back. True, this is a buyers market, but you can’t expect everyone to accept a price reduction of 20% just because an agent has told you about an example of one recently. That is an extreme example, a bit like the weather we experience from time to time. Cash buyers are in a great position, and can negotiate a good deal currently. But the wise client will make a sensible proposition for the right house, in a good location at the right price, and secure a deal. The market isn’t as depressed as you may imagine, and numerous surveys show a high percentage of British citizens coming up to retirement age, are planning to retire abroad, at least for part of the year, and their preferred destination is La France.

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly - November 2011  

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