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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 8 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ magazine. Autumn is definitely on its way. The air is much cooler yet we are still enjoying some lovely warm sunshine during the day. I guess this means that we should be preparing to light the fires soon. It’s an ideal time to sweep the chimney and bring in the wood ready for that evening where it turns too chilly to manage without it. The colours are changing too....the reds, oranges and burnt umbers are just beautiful and create a perfect landscape to live and work amongst. Happy October to you all. If you need to contact us, please email: Tel: 05 49 70 26 21.

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

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: Octobre 2011 - Tirage: 5 000 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-4848

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................4 Take a break......................................................................11 Our Furry Friends..............................................................12 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................13 The Great Outdoors...........................................................15 French Life, Food & Drink................................................17 French Adventures............................................................20 Getting Out & About..........................................................21 Communications.................................................................26 Building & Renovation.......................................................28 Business, Finance & Property..........................................32 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant).............................................. 18 Absolu Paint Stripping Services......................................... 29 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter)................................... 22 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC D/Glazing)..... 2 Agence POUZET (AXA Insurance)..................................... 21 A.I.P. (Estate Agent)........................................................... 34 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder)............................................ 29 All Building Services Cooperative...................................... 28 Allez Francais (Estate Agent)............................................. 34 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................... 29 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)................. 15 AVON Recruitment.............................................................. 14 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd........................ 32 Brian Fox (Computer Support)........................................... 27 Café des Belles Fleurs........................................................ 36 Cafe Cour du Miracle.......................................................... 18 Chris Dwyer (Handyman).................................................... 31 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room)................... 23 Colin Ross Jack (Artist)....................................................... 10 Dave Bowring (Electrician)................................................. 30 David Normanton (Handyman)............................................ 31 Dean Smalley (Gardening and Cleaning)............................. 15 Energie-79........................................................................... 29 English (Online Business Directory).............. 10 Euro-Communication (French lessons).............................. 9 Futuroscope,..................................................................... 35 Gentle Touch Hair & Beauty............................................... 13 Hair by Janet (Hairdresser and Avon Sales)..................... 14 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).... 30 Imprimerie Jadault (Printer)................................................ 3 Indulgence Beauty............................................................... 13 Jean-Luc Moreau (Vineyard & Wine Producer)................. 16 Julie’s Cleaning Services..................................................... 33 L’Ecole du Chat Marché de Noel........................................ 9 L.A. Building & Renovation................................................. 31 La Joie de Vivre (Gift Shop & Tea Room).......................... 23 Le Dragon (Bar/Snack)........................................................ 36 Leggett Immobilier (Estate Agent)..................................... 32 Le Logis (Pig breeders)....................................................... 19 Le Puy Remorques (Trailer Hire & Sales)......................... 21 Les Trois Marie (Hotel & Bar)............................................ 18 Loulesbelles (Second hand clothing).................................. 23 Mark James (Stonemason & Digger Hire).......................... 29 MS Electrique (Electrician)................................................. 30 Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurances........................................ 21 Nathan Foster Building Services........................................ 31 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................. 14 Paperback Jan (English books)........................................... 7 Pause! Coffee Shop............................................................. 2 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 30 Philip Wellman (Plumbing Service & Maintenance)............ 29 Philippa Manning-Smith (Yoga Classes)............................. 5 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)............................. 29 Poitou Property Services.................................................... 33 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic).............................. 22 QPR Building Services......................................................... 28 RDK Roofing & Building Services....................................... 31 RDS-IT (Computer Specialists).......................................... 27 Red White & Blue (English groceries)................................ 19 Richard Owen (aka ‘The Fosse Man’)................................. 30 Rob Berry (Plasterer).......................................................... 28 Robert Gough Terrassement (Mini Digger and Driver)...... 31 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........... 27 R.S.M. Distribution............................................................... 23 Sandy G (Hairdresser)......................................................... 14 Sarah Berry Online (Website Designer)............................. 27 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction)............. 30 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................... 33 23 Stephens Property Maintenance & Renovation.................. 31 Steve Enderby...................................................................... 30 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation).................... 10 Suzanne Thorne (VIE at Home).......................................... 14 Tara’s Mobile Hairdressing................................................. 14 The English Mechanic - Tony Eyre.................................... 22 The Mini Market.................................................................. 22 Trisha Mobile Hairdresser.................................................. 14 Total Renovation Services.................................................. 30 We shop Britain 4 u............................................................. 18 page 3


What’s On....October 2011 Easy Yoga classes have started, but it’s not too late to join in and all levels are welcome, contact Amanda Holmes on 05 49 07 12 12 or email: 1st October - Pampering with Nicky. At the Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 1st October - ‘Nutrition and Yoga’ Round Table talk. At The Café Boulevard, Melle at 7.30pm with a welcoming cup of Cha and afterwards there is a Curry for 12 €. Organised by CEPY. For more information contact Amanda Holmes on 05 49 07 12 12 or email: 2nd October - Curry Lunch at June & Martin’s. St. Germier from 12pm to 5pm. Tel: 05 49 64 59 96. In aid of Cancer Support Awareness Week. 2nd October - The BIG Book Fayre. At La Ferrière-en-Parthenay with Paperback Jan. 11am-5pm. 4th October - Relais Colis AVON At Lemontree Tea Rooms, Sauzé-Vaussais 2pm-4pm 6th October - Relais Colis AVON At 3 Canards Restaurant, Chef Boutonne, 2pm-4pm 7th October - 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: 8th October - Autumn Fair At The Mini Market with existing stallholders and more! 8th & 9th October - Exposition de Champignons. At La Couarde, Maison Peleboise. 10h-18h. For more info, see Px or contact 05 49 05 06 05. 8th-16th October - Pomm’ Expo The annual ‘apple-fest’in Secondigny. Lots to see and do. Please see more info on page 8. 9th October - Fête des Plantes. At the Château Féodal, Bressuire. See page 8 for more info. 9th October - Wine Fair At La Foye Monjault, 9am to 6pm. Free entry. See advert on P.16. 15th October - The Craft Cabin workshop At the Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 15th & 16th October - Fête d’Automne des plantes et du jardin At Domaine Péré, Prissé-la-Charriere. 9am-6pm. 5€ Entry fee. Under 16’s free. See: 18th October - Relais Colis AVON At Lemontree Tea Rooms, Sauzé-Vaussais 2pm-4pm 19th October - French Succession Law & Tax Talk At Salle Socio Culturelle, Le Tallud, 79200 at 10am. For more information, please see page 8. 20th October - Relais Colis AVON At 3 Canards Restaurant, Chef Boutonne, 2pm-4pm 22nd October - Ceramic Painting workshop At the Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 23rd October - Rugby World Cup FINAL! Kick off 10am 29th October - Halloween Celebration Quiz. At Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. With Chilli and Jacket Potatoes and a “Scary Quiz”! Please book your place from the 12th October by calling Paul on: 02 51 00 54 93. Fancy Dress welcome! Thank you to

Clocks go back on midnight, 29th October. Don’t forget to set your clocks before going to bed!

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

Paperback Jan Books in English 2nd Oct: The BIG Book Fayre, La Ferrière-en-Parthenay 11h-17h 3rd Oct: Le Dragon bar, Vernoux-en-Gatine. 14h-17h 4th Oct: Le Zinc bar, Vasles. 10.30h-13h 5th Oct: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 14h-16.30h 6th Oct: Bar Le Palais, St Aubin le Cloud. 14h-17h 7th Oct: Bar de la Paix, Thouars 12h-14h 7th Oct: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-L’Autize 16h-18h 8th Oct: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole. 10h-14h 8th Oct: The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. 15h-17h 10th Oct: St Martins Bar & Restaurant, Brux. 11h-14h 12th Oct: Le Trois Marie, Airvault. 10h-13h 13th Oct: Pause! Coffee shop, L’Absie. 14h-17h (TBC) 14th Oct: Jan’s home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, 11h-16h. 27th Sept: 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 (Oct, 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges.18h-20hr Thursdays (Oct 6th, 13th & 20th) Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent. 18h-20hr Fridays (Oct 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux. 18h-20hr For more info please email: 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.

What’s coming up... 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 At Salles des Fetes, Clussais la Pommeraie, 79190 from 10am-3pm.

The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2011 (remaining):

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

• Sunday 25 December: Christmas Day (Noël)

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


ZUMBA anyone? I keep hearing about ‘Zumba’ and questions about possible classes. Lesley Duncan has kindly sent some info to me about these classes, so I hope this helps all you ladies looking for Zumba classes in your area. (I just wish I had the time!!) • Charlotte Macari is the English instructor who takes the classes for ‘Wingy boots’. To find out more go to: ‘’ • Adrien Chatellier is the instructor for Bressuire and possibly L’Absie. Go to: profiles/262252 to contact Adrien and find out more.

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! 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

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

W G Grace-notes There is something about the expatriate Englishman which is never entirely content. His continent-conquering spirit is always yearning, not necessarily for the grand chords of Stonehenge or Westminster Abbey, but for more personally resonant demi-semi-quavers and grace notes. But reality calls. He realises, with resignation, that his only substitute for warm beer is a six-pack of '1664' tucked behind the Aga. Moules frites in the Figaro must deputise for fish‘n’chips in the Financial Times. He sighs and accepts his lot; perhaps is ruefully grateful. Only one thing grates, gnaws at his vitals: the absence of cricket. Such extreme emotion must be addressed if a modicum of sanity is to be maintained. Thus was born, one dark and stormy night (judging by this year's weather it must have been around mid-August), La Roche-sur-Yon Cricket Club. Word of mouth spread, players and wannabes accumulated. Practices were organised. Almost forgotten muscles flexed blearily. Slowly but surely, a team was born.   To the present. LRsYCC is alive, well, bowling, batting and fielding - and looking for new blood. We play friendly matches against sides from Maille, Ile de Re, Saumur, Nantes, and a couple of clubs from Brittany. We also host visiting sides from the UK. We do the best teas South of the Channel.   This outdoor season is almost over, but indoor practice continues. We expect you to do your duty and come along for at least a practice session - a great way to get rid of the winter blues and meet like-minded maniacs. Young or old, male or female, experienced or novice: all are welcome. We provide all the kit and the basic training if necessary; you provide the enthusiasm.   Please contact: Lynne Illingworth, Secretary, LRsYCC Email: ~ Website:

Are you part of a club or an association? Please share the details with us!

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website page 5


HOBBIES - Genealogy

by Vanda Lawrence I've had several hobbies over the years, some were necessary pastimes such as knitting and dressmaking when the children were small, but pleasurable nonetheless. Then about 15/20 years ago my parents gave me a box of old family photos to 'look after and pass on to the children in due course'. Amongst these was a photo of my Dad's grandfather. He really took my eye so I asked about him - all Dad knew was that it was his grandfather and that his name was Samuel Joseph Moss. So started the latest and most long-standing hobby, Genealogy. There was also a photo of Samuel with his wife Elizabeth so I thought I would see if I could find their marriage in the Essex Parish Records. Luckily, at that time there was a Records Office in my home town of Colchester, so I was able to go for a couple of hours each week and search the microfiche records. I found the marriage; so now I knew Samuel's wife's maiden name, their ages, the full name and occupation of both their fathers and names of witnesses to the marriage (quite often family members and worth noting for future reference).

Reaction Theatre puts down roots in Secondigny. by Bernadine Smith

After 6 years of treading the boards in theatres across the Deux-Sèvres and Vendée, Reaction Theatre has finally decided to put down roots and has moved their 'siege' (the association's registered office) to Secondigny. Liz Plaatsman, Secretary, explained, “Our members, both French and English, come from all over the region and so we have settled on Secondigny as the most central point for both members and our loyal audience. We have built strong links in the commune and have already used it as a rehearsal and performance base for some time. The town is well served with two theatres: Le Petit Theatre for smaller, intimate pieces and the large, modern Salle Alauna for more complicated sets and plays.” This innovative group has two exciting developments for their autumn production. Firstly, in response to great demand from their audience, they are introducing a Saturday matinee for the first time. Secondly, they are hanging up their traveling boots for a while and just performing at one venue – Secondigny of course! - for the next production.

Once you have started there is no turning back, you just can't help wondering ... did they have children? .... who did the children marry? .... what happened to them? ... and so it goes on. There is a pub called 'The Thatcher's Arms' in Tolleshunt D'Arcy, Essex and during further research into my family I found that in 1861 my gt-gtgrandmother, Elizabeth Hume, was a beer-seller from home while her husband John was at work - you guessed it - thatching! By 1871 their home had become 'The Thatcher's Arms' and John's occupation was recorded as 'Publican and Thatcher'. This extra information comes from census returns, which is yet another part of researching your family history. Censuses began in 1841 and have been taken every 10 years since then. The latest census returns available to the public are those from 1911. When I first started they were only available on microfiche at the Library but now of course we have computers with most information gradually becoming available on-line. Anyone interested can see these census returns on-line at Of course, there is a charge but you can choose pay-as-you-view or subscription. The 1881 census is free to all. Another good site is but at present they only have 1841-1901 censuses available. If you are looking for births, marriages or deaths try You can order copies of certificates on-line at the General Register Office ( I have also found living relatives from different 'twigs' of my tree on This is another good site for us family historians. If I have piqued your interest in this hobby and you would like any help or advice I'll be happy to help - just e-mail me on but beware, it becomes addictive! One last thought - all those photos you have lurking in the cupboard or even those stored on computers - please put a date on them and a name, not just 'me and Fred' for example, because two generations down the road the person looking at the photo might not know who 'me' is! Samuel Joseph Moss, (1847-1932)

Mayor and Adjoint of Secondigny with committee members of Reaction Theatre at the entrance to the Petit Theatre.

“We have had enormous fun over the past few years touring our productions around theatres in the region, but it has become very tiring and very expensive,” explained Geoff Cornwall, their Chairman. “So at our AGM in May the members voted to move our 'siege' to Secondigny and to perform at just one venue for the next production – as the vast majority of amateur theatre groups do, both in France and Britain! Our aim is always to offer high quality theatrical productions and we feel this will be easier to achieve without all the distractions and technical problems that touring venues cause”. The next production? An hilarious comedy, 'Inspector Drake and the Perfekt Crime' written by David Tristram whose hugely popular plays are performed all around the world. Inspector Drake is often described as a very British version of Inspector Clouseau, so be prepared for murder and mayhem, with lots of laughter. The play is being performed at the Petit Theatre, Secondigny on: • Thursday 1st December at 8pm • Friday 2nd December at 8pm and • NEW! Saturday Matinee on 3rd December at 2.30pm. Tickets cost €10 each. To book, please or Tel: 05 49 70 29 86.

Advertise online with ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ from just 5€ per month! Go to: to find out more. page 6


Paperback Jan... a woman of mystery... chic lit, spy novels & more!! The name is a bit of a giveaway as I sell and exchange paperback books, in English. I would have to say that the majority of my readers like murder mysteries, after learning from skillful authors such as, Christie, Cornwell, Rankin and newer crime writers such as Peter James, David Baldicci and Lee Childs, you’ll know who to blame if there is a crime wave of ‘perfect murders’ around the region! From a stock of approx 4000, I take upwards of 300 books to each of the thirteen venues I visit monthly; obviously not all the books are crime, you’ll find period dramas, chic lit, novels, spies and spooks in there too.   You can buy my books outright, or exchange good condition paperbacks as a way to keep the cost of your reading down, this also has the knock-on effect of keeping the stock constantly changing. If your books are of a subject matter I can effectively resell, you will be given credit against anything you buy from me. I don’t buy for cash or deal in hardbacks, for one thing they are far too heavy for my aging bones to carry around...   After a break of a year I am returning to L’Absie into the new café called ‘Pause!’. The proprietors have kindly invited me to visit on the second Thursday of each month 2-5pm to share the book experience with their new clients, and possibly some of my old ones too!   Twice a year I host a Book Fayre at my house and the next one is October 2nd, from 11am to 5pm. With over 20 other stalls, it’s a pleasant way to spend  an afternoon. There’s food and drink available, and the sun will shine, I’ve put an order in! La Ferriére-en-Parthenay is approx 10 mins along the Parthenay to Poitiers road, once in the village follow the yellow signs.... I look forward to seeing you somewhere soon.

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

Another Helping Hand.

by Jenny Harris. You may have read in the July edition of ‘The DeuxSèvres Monthly’ how we gave a couple of swallows a helping hand with their nest building activities. A few weeks later we were presented with another opportunity to assist. My son and his family were staying for their week’s holiday with us. They experienced a mixed bag of weather; cloudy, sunny, windy, with even a light shower or two. But nothing to stop trips out, paddling pool in the garden and picnics. Towards the end of their stay my granddaughter, aged just 4, came rushing into the kitchen where I was putting a salad together. ‘Nana, Nana, come quickly, there are little birds on the lawn. I nearly trod on one!’ She grabbed my hand, tugging me outside. ‘Where? Where are they?’ I asked, unsure if this was real or imaginary. She pointed to two pieces of what looked like fluff. But sure enough, two baby Goldfinches lay on the grass, little beaks opening and closing, very much alive. Looking up into the dense foliage of the Mulberry tree under which they lay, I searched for a nest. We knew there was one there somewhere as we had seen much adult activity in and out the branches over the last few weeks. My tall son, a fireman, joined us, being very careful where he placed his size 13 trainers. He soon spotted the nest. We got the big step ladders, and positioned them so that the nest could be reached. He went up the steps till he was within touching distance of the tiny nest, which was quite empty. With the enthralled children watching from a safe distance with my husband Bill, I gently scooped up one of the chicks in two tissues between my cupped hands. As it tried to flap its little wings, the distinctive markings of the Goldfinch were clear to see. I passed the bundle carefully up to my son, who gently took it out of the tissue and into the nest. We did not want to leave our scent on the chicks, as it could put the parents off from returning. We could see the Mum watching anxiously from the barn roof, protesting loudly. The second little bird was dealt with in the same way. As my son climbed down, he could see their beautiful little beaks opening and closing furiously. Bill and the grandchildren made a no-go zone round the tree, using some bright orange baler twine, and we all kept our fingers crossed. We returned to the tree a couple of hours later, and there were no fluffy bodies on the grass. The mother Goldfinch was very agitated by our presence, swooping around the tree. So we all retired to the ‘cave’ and quietly watched. Within a few minutes mum had disappeared into the foliage, and we could clearly hear her telling her children not to be so naughty as to leave the nest before they could fly. Was it a sibling squabble that got out of hand? or a sudden gust of wind? Who knows. But I can assure you that the babies are alive and well with two doting parents. Like the young swallows, it will soon be their turn to officially leave the nest.

Jenny Harris is a Member of ‘North Deux-Sèvres Writers’ Circle’. page 7


Secondigny Pomm’ Expo

by Marylene Barron The 57th Secondigny Pomm' Expo takes place over the period 8th-16th October 2011. Previously known as ‘Business Week’, the event brings together many local traders and enjoys large support from the local community. With Secondigny being at the heart of apple trading in Deux-Sèvres, in April 1994 traders renamed the event ‘Apple Expo’ in celebration of the Clochard apple, commonly known as the 'Apple Tramp'. Legend says that when picking, apples were dumped on a bed of sticks and covered with straw to protect them from the cold moonlit winter nights; which is compared to the tramp, or bum, who walked the roads of France and slept under the stars. Today the Pomm’ Expo boasts a variety of trade stalls, displays and events, a fair, a large market and much more. One of the main attractions is the Paint Room, a large exhibition of paintings following a central theme and produced by local people. Art works are of such quality that recently three exhibitors were awarded silver medal diplomas by the Academy of Arts and Sciences in Paris. This year the theme follows ‘Wildlife and Fauna’. These competition entries can be viewed on 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th October from 10am-12pm and 2.30pm-7pm. 1st Prize: 230€. The Pomm’ Expo opening ceremony will take place on the afternoon of Saturday 8th October and a huge market filling the streets of Secondigny will close the event on Sunday 16th.

Festival of Plants at the Château féodal, Bressuire. by Brian Preece Sunday 9th October 2011 This first festival of plants, a unique event in our region, has been organised by the Association of the Automnales de Bressuire, the town of Bressuire and the Rotary Club of Bressuire. The two themes are based on plants for food and those used for medicinal purposes. Some 50 exhibitors will be present and these will include the production of rare plants, specialist bulbs, various fruit trees including citrus, old roses, cacti, perennials, curious vegetables and seeds; plus garden ornaments and greenhouses. Those with a passion for gardening will be present to answer your questions. There will also be a small exhibition of plant associated photographs courtesy of the «Through The Lens Group», a group of English residents in the Deux-Sèvres and Vendée. The expansive esplanade of the château will be available to the public and the municipal services of the town of Bressuire will present three different gardens themed along medieval, renaissance and contemporary lines. The entrance fee is three euros for adults and free for children.

The full programme of activities and events will be shown on

French Succession Law and Tax Talk ~ La Semaine Bleue - Coffee Morning Wednesday, 19th October 2011 at 10.00am La Semaine Bleue is a national annual event in France and helps to outline some of the services available for the elderly and retired. The Pays de Gâtine decided that organising a presentation on French Succession Law would be an interesting and beneficial subject for English speaking families living in the Gâtine. Mr Bradley Warden from Blevins Franks and Maitre Prestat, an English speaking notaire will give a presentation at the Salle Socio Culturelle, ave de la Vernière, 79200 Le Tallud near Parthenay and answer many of your questions. There are significant differences between the inheritance laws of the UK and France and this can cause confusion and misunderstanding when trying to plan your financial affairs. This is your opportunity to establish what is available and to talk to qualified people in the Deux-Sèvres who can help you both now and in the future.   In order to help us organise the meeting, coffee and tea, we would kindly ask you to let us know if you would like to attend this FREE presentation by contacting: Julia Salvat, Pays de Gâtine.  Email: page 8


Alexander says 'MERCI'.

by Carol Sargent Alexander Burland, 6 years old, the young English boy who has cerebral palsy visited Chef-Boutonne to say a personal thank you to the Mayor and all the people in the area who helped raise the funds necessary for him to have a life changing operation in the U.S.A. He and his family expressed their gratitude for all those who supported the Fete held at Chateau Javarzay in May. Alex had a series of operations at the St. Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri, and after extensive physiotherapy which is ongoing, hard work and determination he can now walk short distances with the aid of fluorescent blue children's crutches (interestingly made in France!) and a fluorescent green children's walking frame. The first time Alexander visited Chef-Boutonne, he had no mobility at all, his father had to carry him everywhere. But now, he has confidence and excitement in his new ability to walk and is looking forward to the autumn term at school and being able to enjoy most of the same experiences as the other children.

Terves Christmas Market

by Linda Reffold. I have been involved with this event for 6 years and as a resident of Terves we have a lot of help from our mayor Monsieur Dufes. He loves it and we have to call it a 'Christmas Market' not a ‘marche de noel’! You will see from the poster when it is, where and what time. We are fully booked again this year and have good support form all our stall holders and the residents of the village. We have a variety of stalls selling British goods and our cafe run by Lin Adams does a busy trade in English tea and mince pies!

It was a joy to see him proudly show off his new skills to Mayor Fabrice Michelet and shake his hand and say, 'Merci, thank you'. His parents and grandmother looked on and all who watched had difficulty in keeping their tears under control! His good news story is not only an inspiration but also vindication to his parents and all those who worked tirelessly to raise the money that their efforts have been rewarded and given Alexander the opportunity to walk and ultimately live a normal life. The surgeon who operated on him has seen a video of his progress and is confident that in a year or so he will be able to walk without any aids. The charity has now been wound up and we wish Alexander a happy and successful life ahead.

We are a charitable organisation and this year are collecting for CCAS, which helps people of all ages and families in difficulty local to Terves. We hope you can make it along this festive season.

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 9


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness

by Sue Burgess October is the tenth month of the Gregorian calendar which, under Napoleon's orders in 1806, replaced the Republican Calendar (calendrier républicain) that had been put into place in 1793 during the revolution. The month of October was to cover the second part of Vendémiaire (mois des vendanges) – the month of the wine harvests and the first part of Brumaire (mois des brouillards) – the month of fog. Those of us who live in the L'Absie area can attest to the truthfulness of that name! The last Sunday of October sees the passage from summer time to winter time (le passage de l'heure d'été en heure d'hiver). Please don't forget to put your clocks back an hour. (reculer les montres d'une heure).

The autumn weather is the source of many proverbs and sayings:«Octobre en brumes, mois à rhumes»

Mists in October give colds.

«En octobre, il faut que l'homme vite s'habille quand le mûrier se déshabille»

In October when the blackberry bush is stripped, mankind gets dressed.

«En Octobre, si tu es prudent, achète grains et vêtements »

In October if you are wise, buy grains and clothes.

«Beaucoup de pluie en octobre, beaucoup de vent en décembre»

A lot of rain in October, a lot of wind in December.

«Octobre emmitouflé annonce décembre ensoleillé»

October in mittens, sun in December.

For Catholics, October is dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary (Notre Dame du Rosaire) and Guardian Angels (les anges gardiens). It is also the month of sorcery (la sorcellerie) because black magic rites take place at this time of year. October is the month for late wine harvests, and apple harvesting. The Secondigny Apple Festival (Fête des Pommes - «Pomm’ Expo») takes place during the second week of October. October brings longer nights. We lose 1 hour 47 minutes of daylight in October. Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Quel temps fait-il ?

What's the weather like ?

Il tombe des cordes.............

(literally it's raining ropes), it's raining cats and dogs

le climat...............................


la pluie.................................


Il pleut comme une vache qui (literally it's raining like a cow that's peeing) it's pouring down pisse.............................. les prévisions météorologiques.................

the weather forecast

un nuage.............................

a cloud

une averse..........................

a shower

un grêlon............................

a hailstone

une goutte de pluie.............

a raindrop

un arc-en-ciel.......................

a rainbow

un orage...............................

a storm (electric)

la foudre...............................


un coup de tonnerre............

A thunderclap

la gelée.................................



to snow

des flocons de neige...........


une tempête.........................

a gale

un ouragan..........................

a hurricane

le brouillard..........................


une tempête de neige..........

a blizzard



le verglas.............................

black ice

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Congratulations to our competition winner, Rajya Downes, 79190. A lovely market shot that has been expertly editted.

Take a break....

Sudoku Corner...

Down: 1. Guess I am shortly getting into the collection of houses (8) 2. Succeeded in former times I hear (6) 3. Quoted from rewritten edict (5) 4. Points Japanese drink out to rattlers eg. (6) 5. Altered record on French and German articles to get loot (7) 6. BAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new car is a beetle (3-3) 7. The Jones boy makes new deal (4) 14. Entry form coming from US college rugby player (4-4) 15. Nothing in part of flower is the same again (7) 17. Queen blends sage to make lubricant (6) 18. Trouble comes before this in slang for spouse (6) 20. Roman governor has me in car registration (6) 21. Saintly symbols around many fish (5) 22. Soldier and ex-pupil in vast arid area (4)


Toughie Crossword#2.....think cryptic!

With thanks to M.Morris


Please see website: for answers

Across: 8. Stop on line (7) 9. All you need for operational work in one part (5) 10.Could be big for street sellers (5) 11.Gentle colour of fellow spirit (7) 12. Tots produced by mixed parents (4) 13. For construction work this goes to front of line (8) 16. Journalist and soldier show fear when by monster lake (8) 19. Love, friend is a precious thing (4) 22. Regret a change to something much bigger (7) 23. Article in large building is for special food treatment (5) 24. Swiss town has foundation round one side (5) 25. Craft in new condition is actually in a state (7)

page 11


Our Furry Friends... 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. There is no charge to become a member of the association but members are asked to contribute to fund raising activities by giving unwanted goods for sale on vide grenier stands or tombolas or by giving a little bit of their time to help run the stalls. The association aims to help in any way it can, help with sterilisation and neutering, rehoming etc. In our first two weeks of existence we have already helped to find a new home for one adorable dog whose first owners sadly had to give him away for health reasons. The Bar de la Poste in l'Absie supports our efforts and one of our first fund-raising events was the vide grenier, tombola and craft work stand outside the Bar de la Poste for the l'Absie Braderie day in September. We know there are lots of other animal associations but a lot of them operate either South of Niort or in the North of the Deux-Sèvres. Mayday Mes Amis aims to fill the gap in the l'Absie area. If you would like further information or if you wish to help out in anyway and become a member of the association please contact us by 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:

The Hope Association is as association that raises money to help save the lives and re-home where possible, dozens of animals which would otherwise have been condemned to a miserable life and often certain death. Volunteers are always needed to help, even your smallest effort will make a difference. For more info, please contact Siobain on 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 Hot & Cold Refreshments ALL FUNDS RAISED HELP RESCUE ANIMALS

Do you know of an anima l association that we don’t feature here? If so, please get in touch. All charity and non -profit making organisations can adverti se free of charge. Call Sarah on: 05 49 70 26 21

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

“This is one of our three cats, Micky. He’s a handsome fella and is always close by my side”. Sarah Berry, Secondigny.

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Health, Beauty & Fitness... Shiatsu: the Japanese art of healing through touch.

by Elisabeth Couval-Baudry Shiatsu is a holistic therapy that originates from Japan and is influenced by Chinese and Western knowledge. It is based on similar principles to acupuncture, but using the pressure of the hands rather than needles. Shiatsu acts to rebalance the body's energy channels of vital energy, to promote well being, support good health and prevent illness. In 1955, Shiatsu was officially recognized as a therapy by the Japanese Government. How does it work? According to Eastern medicine, the human body is comparable with an electrical circuit. In order to function well, energy must be able to circulate freely. When this circuit is blocked, the defense system gets weaker and diseases can appear. The goal of energy therapies such as Shiatsu is to identify and to remove these blockages to restore the body’s own self-healing capacities. To achieve this, the shiatsu  practitioner applies sustained finger, thumb and palm pressure, gentle stretches and rotations to release and restore the flow of energy. Following Shiatsu, the patient feels more balanced, calmer and more relaxed, and physically more mobile. You don't need to be ill to benefit from Shiatsu. CrossEuropean research by the European Shiatsu Federation (ESF) into the experiences of shiatsu users found that between 39% and 59% of people who had Shiatsu did so to maintain their health. The treatment is given on a soft, futon mattress on the floor and through loose comfortable clothing, and lasts about 1h15. I recommend you to wear warm loose fitting clothes, such as jogging bottoms, tee-shirt and socks. At the end of the session will be a short period of rest, in order for the work of the session to be fully assimilated. You may be given a recommendation or shown an exercise to continue at home, supporting the process to restore and maintain health. Elisabeth Couval-Baudry is a Zen Shiatsu practitioner graduate of the FFST and works in Bressuire (France– dept 79). She has completed a full four year course with Christine Atkinson, and also studied with Dinah John, Paul Lundberg and Clifford Andrews, well-known teachers invited regularly to schools on the Continent. For more information visit: or call Elisabeth on 06 60 75 31 19.

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~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 14


The Great Outdoors... The Amateur Gardener

by Vanda Lawrence This month will be another busy one for us gardeners, mainly cutting back and tidying but it does give us a chance to take a long look at the garden as a whole and maybe move plants which, with hindsight, are not ideally situated. Of course, our minds have already moved on and I expect you are also thinking ahead to your Spring planting schemes. First though you must remove summer bedding plants from borders where you plan to grow Wallflowers and other flowers for your Spring display. If you leave it too late before planting-up, the soil will be getting cold and the young plants will not make new roots. Do not manure beds or borders for spring-flowering plants at this time of the year - it only encourages soft growth vulnerable to frost damage. Instead, add bone-meal, a slow acting fertiliser which the plants will be able to make use of when growth begins again in Spring. Hardy perennials which have grown too big can be lifted and divided now. Replant vigorous outer shoots for a good display next year. This is a good time to protect the more tender perennials from frosts - one thing less to worry about later on.

Busy Bee Corner

by Mick Lawrence Autumn is here again with it's shorter days and lower temperatures. For the moment the bees are still active. Honey has been extracted so the hive will need sugar syrup to see the bees through the winter months. Now the hive will be sealed again by the bees with propolis wax to prevent draughts and the colony will collect in the centre of the hive to keep warm. In case of strong winds it is a good idea to place a strap around the hive, or a large stone on top, especially for those hives in an exposed position. On a personal note I am hoping for a more successful year with my bees in 2012, by then they should be really settled. Buzzing off now until Spring 2012.

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Spring bulbs can be planted now, either in flower beds, containers or in drifts in the lawn. And talking of lawns, October is a good time to scarify, aerate and feed with autumn fertiliser. Any bare, worn patches can be reseeded. In the vegetable garden you can plant your garlic and sow carrots; also strawberry and rhubarb plants are available in the garden centres for planting up. Tomato plants are about finished now and should be lifted before the first frosts. Any green tomatoes left on the plants will ripen indoors or can be used to make Green Tomato Chutney. Clematis plants can be layered anytime between autumn and spring. Choose a vigorous, flexible stem which is long enough to reach the soil. Make a slanting cut on the underside of this stem, just below a node if possible. Dip this stem-cut into hormone rooting powder then bury into the soil or a small pot filled with compost if you prefer. Secure in position with a piece of wire or a stone and water well. After about 6 months test for roots by pulling gently on the end of the stem. Of course, this same procedure can be used for many other plants including Honeysuckle, Chaenomeles, Rhododendrons, Skimmia, Wisteria and Hydrangea.

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Hardwood cuttings from such shrubs as Forsythia, Spirea, Philadelphus and Tamarix can be taken any time from mid-autumn to early winter. These cuttings are taken from fully ripened/hardened growth from the current season. If you are short of space in the greenhouse just pop the cuttings about 5-6" deep into the back of a border with a little compost and some sand to aid drainage. Garden furniture can be cleaned now, ready for storage. Oil any springs, hinges etc - this can be wiped off next year before use. Wooden furniture can be treated with teak oil to feed and protect - especially necessary if they overwinter outdoors. One last thought - don't forget to pick and dry any attractive seedheads ready for dried-flower arrangements; they can be especially useful for Christmas decorations too.

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Return of the Mad Black Lady, La Négrette, a rare find for your cellar.

Few vineyards in the Deux-Sèvres have been honoured with the A.O.C, yet there are three separate areas with a Royal reputation dating back to the 12th Century when the throne of England was supplied with large shipments of wine from this region. To the North, the “Thouarsais Vignoble” with the Val de Loire Appellation and lower to the East, mainly in the Vienne, the ”Haut Poitou“ where for the first time the 2011 harvest of the 44 communes will benefit from an A.O.C. Included are Doux and Thénezay, Two villages in the Deux-Sèvres, West of Poitiers. Surprisingly, 13 kilometres South of Niort and near the Marais Poitevin, a third smaller area is making a comeback on the north facing limestone-clay hillside of La Foye-Monjault, at the outer limits of the Cognac territory. Vineyards this far South in the Deux-Sèvres, first planted by monks in medieval times, quickly disappeared in 1886 with the Phylloxera. This devastated all vineyards in France. Three years ago, among the 20 “Vignerons” showing at the October Wine Fair of La Foye-Monjault, I discovered by chance a unique vintage made from the Mad Black Lady grapes, a deep blackberry red wine with a violet aroma and a spicy walnut flavour, labelled “Faya Monocalis”, the Monastery’s Beech Woods. This revelation is the result of a dream put to Jean-Luc and Laurent Moreau and Jean-Marie Bodin by a former A.O.C inspector. He hoped to see, when he returned to the village after his retirement, new rows of the Négrette. This rare local grape is now only used in small amounts in the Vendéen “Mareuils” or as the major blend of the rich “Frontons” wines of Toulouse. In 1999 the long-gone vines were replanted on thirty three “ares” by the local group of farmers who responded to the challenge. They are now the only ones producing a red wine steeped in history to which they have added a strawberry coloured rosé with a hint of sweet rock candy, both made entirely from the Négrette. If you want to store a few treasures in your cellar, make way to the fair where you can taste and buy the rare and scarce nectar “Des Vins Sud Deux Sévres”.

Written by Anthony Kusmirek Le Logis de Bellevue, 55 Route de Benet , 79510. COULON. Tel: 05 49 76 75 45. Email:

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

by Gilly Hunt Living in France you may have noticed how the French do like to make an occasion out of just about anything. Each meal that they have is an event to be enjoyed, not rushed with no thought to what you are eating, but merely planning on what you are about to do, rather than what you are doing. They enjoy the whole process of eating, from buying the food in the markets, to cooking it and then sharing it with friends and family. I have been fortunate since I have lived in France in that I have been invited to many family occasions and partaken in a variety of meals which in some instances have started at lunch time and lasted until dark. I have to say that this is one part of their culture that I totally adopt. This summer we had a party on Bastille Day for our French neighbours and we were 22 in all. We set up the traditional long table with benches and chairs either side ready for a 6 course meal, which lasted many hours. Now one thing that I really do like about the French is that they really do not have many airs or graces. I used a paper table cloth and for once actually used china plates and proper knives and forks, only to be told by my neighbours that I was mad and why had I not used plastic to avoid washing up later. I will next time! In September we always have our hamlet picnic which is hosted by one of our neighbours, but we help with the organisation. Invitations are sent out in August, and on the day it is just a matter of setting tables and benches for about 40 people, putting flowers on the tables and of course hanging up flags to represent the nationalities of those attending. As everyone arrives with their picnics and goodies in their wheelbarrows, (hamlet mode of transport for most things) we light the BBQ and then we just sit, chat, drink, laugh, eat and generally pass away the afternoon with the men playing boule or pétanque and the women playing cards, scrabble or taking a stroll. It was our third this year and each year more and more people attend – I wonder how long it will continue? If your hamlet or village does not have an annual picnic, why not organise one? You could check with your local Mairie or just go for it – I can assure you the French will join in and embrace the day in the way that only the French can. Vive la difference.

Keenan’s Corner

by Keenan Dominey As some of you may know, over the next few months I will be writing these articles about my experience in France to give you an insight before you take that big step and move with your children. In this article I am going to explain about my second year (when I was in 5eme) in France and about the main differences between English and French schools. I spent my first four years in this country at “Anne Frank’s Collège” at Sauzé-Vaussais where the teachers are very welcoming. The teachers are very strict and the lessons are more intense. In “Collège” 20% of the students were English and instead of participating in French classes we used to have a special aid class to learn French. This year was very important and I had the choice to study Latin, which I did, and because having already done Latin in England I thought this would be an easy option. I didn’t enjoy it very much; this was because I wasn’t properly informed that we didn’t learn the language but more the civilization. But with the school we went to Italy to see the Roman ruins and visit the different cultural sites. It was a great experience but I had to keep doing Latin for 3 years. The main differences between French and English schools are that in France, French pupils don't have to wear uniform. In certain schools the students are allowed out of school at lunch time, there are no packed lunches allowed - you can have a 3 course lunch. In French schools if a teacher is absent there are no form teachers, we have a free period called “Etude”. A lot of French pupils compared to England smoke, and up until a few years ago they were allowed to smoke in the yard. French pupils speak very good English because they start learning English in Primary school and in 5eme there is 4 hours of English a week. Generally they have Wednesday afternoons off however, in some areas pupils do have to go in on a Saturday morning. The first exams in France are the “Brevet des colleges” and are at the end of 3eme, which is the 4th year of “Collège”. One of the down sides of schools over here is that each student has to buy all their own materials, their textbooks and their pens. Another is that it is very tiring as the school day is longer. Pupils normally start at 8h or 8h30 and lessons can go on until 17h. As most students travel to school on the bus, they usually leave their house at 7h30 and do not arrive home until 18h15. I admit that I didn’t work a lot in 5eme either but I passed into 4eme. At the end of that year I saw many of my class mates leave to do apprentiship courses. A lot of English students return to England, because they don’t try hard enough to adapt and integrate into the French life style. To succeed in a foreign country you must be devoted to the change. If you want to relocate to France, take time to look around and spend time in the area where you want to move. A few things not to do, to come to France and expect to get a job, The French economy isn’t much better than in England. If you want to move to France to open Gîtes, it is very difficult and isn’t an income. In next month’s issue I will talk more about my school experience with my third year and explain about what we can do in our spare time.

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 17

THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Here is a new twist on an old favourite – Fish Pie - for this month’s contribution to the Cancer Support Deux Sèvres Favourite Recipe Book. Thanks go to Beverley Abbot who writes “I love traditional fish pie but whilst my husband loves fish and potatoes he doesn’t like creamy sauces, so I adapted this recipe substituting tomatoes for the creamy sauce and gave it a Spanish paella type taste with the addition It’s really simple to make, just don’t of chorizo. overcook it or the fish becomes a bit dry! You can use whatever fish you like and to make it even easier, some supermarkets sell a ‘fish pie mix’, in which case you need about 700g for this recipe. Easily serves 4. (If you do like it a bit more creamy, add some crème fraiche at the last minute before putting the mash on top.)” Ingredients:

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 kg potatoes 100g Emmental cheese Handful of diced chorizo, very small pieces (optional) 4 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley 300g salmon fillets, skin off and bones removed 300g undyed smoked haddock fillets, skin off and bones removed 125g king prawns, raw, peeled Olive oil A good handful of spinach, chopped (optional) 1 tin of chopped tomatoes or similar amount of fresh chopped tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 200˚ C/400˚ F/gas 6 and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2cm chunks. Once the water is boiling, add your potatoes and cook for around 12 mins, until soft. Meanwhile, fry up the chorizo until the orange oil runs from it. Tip this into a deep baking tray or earthenware dish and add the fish to the tray. Add the tomatoes, (and spinach if required), along with most of the parsley. Mix together. By now your potatoes should be cooked so drain them in a colander and return them to the pan. Drizzle with a couple of good glugs of olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Mash until nice and smooth, then spread evenly over the top of the fish, sprinkling the grated cheese on top. Place in the pre-heated oven for around 40 minutes, or until cooked through and crispy and golden on top. Serve piping hot with remainder of parsley scattered over. Beverley suggests you serve haricot verts to accompany. If you have a favourite recipe of your own please send it by email to, marked “recipe”. Cancer Support Deux Sèvres, Tel: 05 49 64 59 96 or e-mail

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The British Banger in France

Do you miss the taste of real British sausages and bacon? Fun half day sausage making and bacon curing demonstrations are being held at Le Logis in partnership with master butcher Phil Saunders The sessions will run from 10am to 3pm on 15 November and 26 November. They will include a delicious lunch featuring tasters of the sausages that you will have made. Create your own perfect sausage - everyone's taste is slightly different so you can tailor them exactly to how you want them. Adjust the levels of salt, pepper, and herbs to make it just "perfick "as Pop Larkin would say.

For further information see our website or call us to book your place on 05 49 75 52 89

Butternut Squash Soup.

Ingredients: Butternut Squash. 4 baby Butternut Squash or 1 large Chicken bouillon: 5 cubes (unsalted) Onion: 1 medium Olive Oil: 1 tbsp Cream or milk: 1/2 cup (this depends on personal preference) Water 4 cups Salt Pepper Nutmeg (optional) Parsley: to garnish (optional) Garlic Toast (optional) Directions: 1. Wash and cut the Butternut Squash(s) in half. 2. Roast the Butternut Squash(s) cut side down on a sheet in the oven for about 45 mins at 350˚F. Then scoop out the prepared squash. 3. In a large saucepan, slice and saute the onion in olive oil until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. 4. Bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes or until squash is tender. 5. Puree squash mixture in a blender until smooth and then return to saucepan. 6. Before serving, add cream and heat through. Do not allow to boil. 7. Garnish with parsley and serve with garlic toast.

Phil Saunders the butcher

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French Adventures... David Bowring, his wife Tracey and their four children moved to Usseau near to Mauze sur le Mignon, DeuxSèvres in June 2005, with David remaining in the UK to work as a Golf Professional. The family soon settled into their new lives, with Tracey and three children living in France and eldest daughter Steph and David living in the UK. In 2006 finances were stretched to the limit as the family were renting properties in the UK and France. A decision had to be made to either relocate back to England, or to “bite the bullet” and David move over to join his family full-time, but Steph had decided to remain in the UK, which made the decision even harder. At the time, David’s father was looking to move to France and being a Golf player was looking at a new development attached to the Les Forges Golf Club. Whilst he was discussing purchasing a property he happened to mention that his son was a Golf Professional and looking to move to France full time. By a stroke of luck the company involved were looking to take on a Sales Manager to help sell the homes within the golfing complex. Well this chance comment proved to be the instigator and after a bit of negotiation in 2007 David started work selling homes on the Les Forges golf complex.

In February 2011 David registered as an Auto-enterprise and has been busy ever since with both French and English customers. No job is too big or too small for David, and he works either on his own or alongside other tradesman when required. He is fully insu red a nd c a n update old electrical systems to new (3 phase to mono). If you have any electrical requirements then David would be delighted to hear from you, he prides himself in offering a friendly, efficient and value for money service.

After a year the family decided to move nearer to Les Forges in order to reduce the hour-plus commute that David had. Tracey then also found employment with the same company. The family were happy, David and his wife were both working and the children were content in their new schools. Life in France was good. In 2009 the recession and the dropping rate of exchange was really impacting upon Les Forges, properties were not selling and eventually David and Tracey along with many others, were made redundant. It was at this stage in their French adventure that they were moving once again and were signing the final paperwork to move to their new home in Gourge, just outside Parthenay. Life was once again throwing them a curved ball. However, as part of the redundancy package in France, David and Tracey were offered the chance to re-train and given aid to get back into the workplace. This is available to anyone who has been made redundant in France on economic grounds. David and Tracey told me that they have nothing but praise for the French system and have been overwhelmed by the support and opportunities offered to them when they were both made redundant. David was invited to his first meeting at the “pole emploi” in Parthenay; when he went he admits he was feeling very apprehensive as whilst he could speak some French he was certainly not fluent. However, he came away feeling much more positive. They had asked what he had wanted to do, and when he had said that he had always been interested in becoming an Electrician, phone calls were made and following an aptitude course for 2 hours a week for 6 weeks to test if David would be capable of undertaking the electricians course, he was given a place on the next available course. At this point David was already having a considerable amount of French lessons, all funded by the “pole emploi.” After Christmas, David’s place on a training course for electricians run by the AFPA (Adult Training Centre) at Niort was confirmed; and once he had the place on the course he had to have a further 8 hours intensive French lessons to learn the technical vocabulary required and also to help with job interviews, writing a CV French style, and job applications. David started his course in April 2010, and graduated 7 months later top of the class. He now has the qualifications for not only domestic but also commercial and industrial installations.

Tracey opted to set up her own company as an Autoenterprise in cleaning, general property maintenance and looking after gîtes and ‘maison secondaires’. One of her clients is a hotel in Airvault where she has a permanent cleaning contract as well as helping out on a self employed basis when required either waitressing or behind the bar. Tracey would be pleased to hear from anyone regarding cleaning, property maintenance or care of gîtes or maison secondaires. After three moves in 6 years, the family is now settled in Gourge with two of their daughters (11 and 14) now happily attending school in Parthenay; Daughter Steph lives in England but returns to “her home” in France regularly. Son Alex (18) has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and is currently undertaking the same training his father had. He would like to initially work for a local company, with his ultimate goal being to join his father. See David’s advert on P30, or contact David and Tracey on 05 49 70 06 81, mobile 06 38 95 51 13 or by email:

D.Bowring Siret No: 530 216 696 00019 T.Bowring Siret No: 521 852 137 00012

Written by Gilly Hughes-Jones.

page 20


Getting Out & About... Why are Ferrari’s red?

by Helen Tait-Wright When you mention a Ferrari to most people, they will automatically envisage a red car, and to be fair a high proportion of Ferrari’s sold are red. But why?


Well it all goes back to the early days of racing when cars from different countries raced in their national racing colour. It is thought that this originated at the turn of the 20th Century when national teams competed in the Gordon Bennet Cup, a trophy offered by Gordon Bennett Jnr, the millionaire owner of the New York Herald. The first of these races was in 1900 in France at the Circuit de la Sarthe that we now know as Le Mans, and was won by the French. The French cars raced in blue, the colour commonly seen on early Bugatti’s, German cars in white, Italian cars were red, American cars were either white with a double blue lengthways stripe or vice versa and of course British cars were green. In the 1930’s the Germans did not apply the paint to their cars, for reasons which are unclear and raced in bare metal, giving rise to the term “Silver Arrow”. These colours continued to be widely used up until the spring of 1968 when sponsorship was allowed on international race cars, but many manufacturers, like Ferrari, Aston Martin and Audi continue to use the traditional colours as a homage to their racing past for both road and race cars. It is also interesting to note that in the early days of racing, Italy was represented by Alfa Romeo cars, although the team was run by Mr Enzo Ferrari, and it wasn’t until 1939 that Ferrari began building their own cars which raced in the traditional “Rosso Corsa”. Canary yellow “Giallo Modena”, the colour featured on the Ferrari emblem is also used on Ferrari road cars as it is the official colour of the Modena region, the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari, and is therefore considered by some to be the “official” Ferrari colour. If you were lucky enough to be able to pick the colour of your Ferrari, I wonder what colour you would choose??

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


Association Charabia (Charabia is a French word meaning “gobbledygook”!) The association Charabia was founded in 2000 with the objective of building a float for the Fête de Pentecôte at Parthenay (last weekend in May for 2012). This fête is a major event in the calendar for the people of Parthenay, more than 10,000 of whom attend the four day event for free. The highlight of the many attractions being the parade of floats on the Sunday night and Monday afternoon. Our articles of association are quite straightforward: 1 – to build a float 2 – to have fun doing it

need “walkers” to accompany the float – so if you’ve dreamt of being a knight templar or a Saracen this is your chance! There are no costs to you (other than time) as the association is fully funded. The rewards, apart from the satisfaction of bringing pleasure to a large number of the local inhabitants, include a free lunch on build days, a celebratory meal after the event and occasional social events. Please contact the following for further details :Carol ANDREWS, President – 05 49 63 18 87 Lin ADAMS, Secretary – 05 49 64 84 95.

The Parthenay council decide on the theme for the following year’s parade, in 2011 the theme was “Adventurers”, and our float was based on 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. The 2012 theme is to be “The History of Parthenay” to celebrate 1,000 years since the incorporation of Parthenay. Each float is to be based on a given century in the history, Our period is to be the 13th Century and we intend to celebrate the connections between Parthenay and the Crusades. We build the float over a period of three months – working mainly on Saturday mornings. We have a dozen builders at the moment but we need a few more! We’re not looking for skill – enthusiasm is more important – we also

Our float for 2011, based on 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY The mural paintings in the Church; some of them have still not been exposed but the quality of the paintings proves the importance of the ancient abbey. L'Absie forest, the Abies gardens (park).

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

by Sue Burgess Before starting on our A – Z visits of the communes of Deux-Sèvres, perhaps we should first look at what a commune is and what it does. There are 305 communes in Deux-Sèvres and 36,682 in Metropolitan France and it’s overseas departments. The commune is the smallest administrative subdivision of the French state, formed from a clearly defined territory which usually corresponds to part of a town, a whole town or a market town with its outlying villages and hamlets. The size of a commune can vary. The largest being Paris with 2,000,000 inhabitants. The commune is governed by the mayor and the Conseil Municipal (Town Council). The responsibilities of a commune are always the same, whatever the size of the commune and include civil registry (births, marriages and deaths), organisation of elections and the electoral roll, management of pre-school nurseries and crèches, the primary school, upkeep of the local C roads, council housing, industrial zones, mains water and drainage, local policing, urban development and planning, aerodromes and local libraries. L'Absie A few kilometres from the source of the Sèvre Nantaise river, in an area called the Gâtine, L'Absie, at an altitude of 259 metres is the highest town of the Deux-Sèvres. The history of L'Absie was for many centuries closely linked to that of its abbey. Founded in the 12th century, it became a Royal Abbey and was one of the most important in this part of France. It was certainly at the crossroads of two Roman roads which meant that right from the middle ages, trade fairs and markets were held in L'Absie. In the 19th century, thanks to the beneficial action of the lime, the farmlands became fertile and the prospering agriculture fed the fairs and markets. L'Absie became an important centre of commercial exchange and craftsmanship. The town developed and the commune of L'Absie was created by order of Louis Philippe on the 14th July 1836 and replaced the commune of La Chapelle Seguin which became a hamlet. Enterprises to do with wood were set up; sawmills, furniture makers, nurseries, and there was also the sale of agricultural machines, clothes making, bus transport.... The changes in the agricultural world and the economic crisis have sadly caused many of these activities to disappear. A VOIR / MUST SEE:

Adilly The 304 inhabitants of Adilly are called Adillysiens. The name Adilly comes from the Gallic Roman name Atiliacum. The domain of Atilius was known both as Atilii and Atiliacim. What the Romans called a villa was in fact a group of buildings in the centre of a huge agricultural business which sometimes covered hundreds of hectares and which was used for fruit and cereal growing and animal rearing. Villas were always isolated, in contrast to the hamlets of Gaul where several farms were grouped together. Adilly depended on the lands of the Seneschal (Royal Officer) of Poitiers. The parish was part of the archpreistship of Parthenay. The priest was nominated by the Prior of the St Paul district of Parthenay. The Sergent of Adilly gave liege to the Lord of Airvault and the lands stretched over Amailloux, La Boissière Thouarsaise, Châtillon sur Thouet and Saint-Germain-de-LongueChaume. Between 160 and 167AD, the Sergenterie of Adilly belonged to the Chatelain of Tennesue. The feudal rights were got rid of in 1789 during the revolution. A VOIR / MUST SEE: The Château of la Clairière. (near the road from Parthenay to SaintGermain). Le Pont de Sunay (Sunay bridge) left, a medieval bridge, situated near an old mill which crosses the Cébron. Aiffres The river Guirlande runs through Aiffres, on the outskirts of Niort. Aiffres is named either after the Gallic-Roman villa Afer or after the settlement of a legion of African soldiers. The present commune was formed from the joining together of the parishes of Saint Pierre d'Aiffres and St Maurice de Mairé. The population of Aiffres has grown rapidly over the years. Aiffres is a residential commune which offers a wide cultural programme with Art En Scène which proposes classical music, hip-hop, contemporary dance and shows for children. During the one day Aiffricades festival in June, there are street arts, concerts, fireworks, a cavalcade procession and a bonfire. A VOIR / MUST SEE: St Pierre Church.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Aigonnay Aigonnay is a commune situated 16 kilometres North East of Niort. At the time of the 2005 census, there were 619 inhabitants. The commune is spread over 14 square kilometres and is situated at an avergae of 115 metres above sea level. The Logis du Breuil Malicorne is a listed historic building. A manor house stood on this site before 1560. The present manor house dates from the second half of the 16th and first half of the 17th century. The manor house is privately owned and not open to visits. Airvault Airvault, situated in the North West of the Deux-Sèvres, nestles in the hollow of a valley between the granite and the limestone areas. The river Thouet outlines the plains and the hills of the Gâtine. The old Roman road from Limonum (Poitiers) to Juliomagus (Angers) passed close by. The castle that exists today is probably not the original castle of Airvault. Records show that a castle existed in the 11th century. The underground spring can be

reached by means of an old staircase. The drinking fountain dates from the 12th century and is 25 metres long and the Roman well can still be seen. St Pierre of Airvault is an abbey church. The different parts of the abbey date from different periods. At one time the abbey was the home of Augustine monks. The Seneschal (Royal Officer) or Poitiers gave permission for town walls to be built in 1438. Airvault has three chapels - la Chapelle de l'Aumonerie, la Chapelle des Trois Maries and la Chapelle St Jérome. The Logis de Barroux (manor house) in the village of Barroux is a listed historic monument dating from the 16th and 17th century with a dovecote and chapel. There are two medieval bridges, the bridge of Ternay is also a listed historic monument. The other medieval bridge is Soulièvres bridge, about a kilometre upstream. The writer Voltaire's family came from Airvault and the young Voltaire spent his childhood holidays here. It may well be the name AIRVAULT reversed that inspired his pen name of VOLTAIRE. In the summer Airvault is the home to a well known festival of dances and music as well as to the internationally renowned Didgeridoo festival.

Communications... How to speed up your PC – Part 2

Last month we looked at your PC and checked it had the correct components to perform well, this month we can look at how you can improve the performance by simple “housekeeping” tasks, using the tools provided and keeping things in the right place. 1. Create a System Restore Point. First let us think of safety, if anything goes wrong wouldn’t it be good to be able to go back to before you started changing things? Microsoft thought of this and has built in System Restore to the Windows Operating System and automatically creates System Restore Points before it makes changes to your system, for example when doing the inevitable Windows System Updates. You too can set System Restore Points before you make changes, making it easy to recover from any problems that may occasionally happen - here is how: To set a System Restore Point...

In Windows XP • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Open the Start menu Open the Programs menu Open the Accessories menu Open the System Tools menu Finally, start System Restore Pick the option for setting a System Restore Point and click on the Next button Fill in a name for the restore point so you can find it and click on the Create button Click on the Close button when done In Windows Vista and Windows 7 Open the  Start menu right-click on Computer, click Properties Under Control Panel Home select System Protection Left-click the System Protection tab Left-click the Create button You will be prompted for a name for your restore point, enter a relevant name to help you identify it later Left-click on the Create button and the system will create a restore point The system will display a dialogue box telling what it is doing and when it is finished

Now if anything goes wrong you may use the System Restore feature to restore your system back to how it was before you started. I use this feature before I install anything on my computer, you never know if you will need to use it! 2. Clean Your Desktop. Many customers store files on their Desktop, or have them littered with icons that are short cuts to programs. A few shortcut icons for programs and folders you need each time you use your PC does no real harm. However, if you notice that the hard drive light flashes often when you wait for the PC to respond to your requests then you need to clean up your filing. When Windows starts, RAM is used for all files on your desktop, a small amount for icons that are shortcuts is acceptable, but if you have files stored here, then the amount of RAM used is quite considerable, reducing the amount of RAM available for processing. RAM is used by the PC to speed up processing by feeding the processor with program information, the less available for this, the slower your PC will run. This process is called “memory paging” and enables the processor to keep everything you, the user, wants running at the same time, the more RAM available the faster your PC will respond. Place your files in the folders called “My Documents” or “My Pictures” etc., if you have many files, split them into folders within the other folders to make them easier to find. Once done this should reduce the amount for items on your Desktop and as a consequence free up RAM, reducing the frequency the hard disk is used and improve the response of the computer to your requests. If you have any problems, please either call or email me and I will do my best to help you. That’s all for this month, look in next month for how to: Scan your PC and Fix Windows System File Errors. 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 on opposite page for more information). page 26


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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Building & Renovation... My name is Rob Berry and I plaster (skim) on dry-lined plasterboard. I know that most of us have moved to a new home in France or have purchased a holiday home with the definite requirement being.... Renovation! For those who don't know, dry-lining is the fixing of plasterboard to a background, commonly masonry, timber or metal. It is quick, relatively clean and immediately functional. Doing it correctly is good for you and even better for me as a plasterer (and it can save you money too!). Here are a few tips that can benefit us both: 1.

When dry lining a complete room, dry line the ceiling first, and flush to the walls. 2. Always run boards across joists and not in line. 3. Ceiling joists spaced 400mm apart or less don't require fixings into noggins along the long edges of the boards. Joists spaced up to 600mm apart do need fixings into noggins to stop the boards sagging. 4. Always dry-line from the proudest part of the wall (cast your eye along the wall, you'll see it) and from that make a chalk line. To get the vertical line on the ceiling, use a long and straight piece of wood with a spirit level and mark the ceiling with a pencil a few times along the ceiling. Again, use a chalk line to join the points. Then dry line to the floor and ceiling chalk lines. 5. Walls with doors or windows – plasterboard with full boards from the opening towards the corner. In the corner cut boards to fit with the cut end into the corner. 6. Plasterboard needs only to be cut to an accuracy of 5mm. Trying to be too exact will slow the task down, cause frustration and make no difference to the finished job. For walls always leave the boards an inch short of the floor and push them up to the ceiling. 7. It is better to use plasterboard screws and not nails....... nails can pop out, especially in timber dry lining. 8. Screws should be sunk into the board and not proud. Whether taping and jointing, or skimming, trowels tend to hit them! 9. A BIG NO NO for me - Plasterboard should NOT move under pressure after fixing. 10. If skimming yourself – Don't bite off more than you can chew! In your mixing bucket, put the water in first and then add the plaster (stops lumps) and don't over-mix, this puts air into the plaster and causes bubbling on the plastered surface (nightmare!). Hope this helps.......

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

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

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

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

Artisans & you have any top tips you can share with our readers? 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 30


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Business, Finance & Property... Does French Tax have to be Taxing? by Bill Blevins, Financial Correspondent, Blevins Franks. Our September article titled “Proposed New Rules For UK Tax Residence” covered the proposed new tax residency laws in the UK, but if you are living here in France or spend a lot of time here you also need to understand the French tax residency rules. If you’ve moved to France from another country you are faced with a new tax system, not to mention the legalities of French succession law. Your tax planning and wealth management needs to be reviewed accordingly to make sure it is effective for your new life in France and that you avoid costly mistakes or missed opportunities. Many people find France complex and expensive from a tax point of view, however it may be possible to take advantage of French compliant opportunities to protect your assets from the various French taxes - so you pay less tax than you expect.

You also need to consider where income is generated, because although you are liable for tax on your worldwide income in France, income arising in another country may also be taxable there, depending on any double tax treaty. You need to research the French taxation rules on all your forms of income and assets, and establish how, when and where you should pay your taxes each year. I’ve never met anyone who is happy to pay more tax than they need to, but you can only set up your assets to pay as little tax as possible if you fully understand how all the options are taxed. Tax in France can be less taxing than you expect. To keep life simple, avoid mistakes and pay as little tax as possible it pays to take professional advice from firms like Blevins Franks which have been advising on tax planning in France for 35 years. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website

The starting point is to look at the residency rules of both France and your home country to establish where you should be paying your taxes – it’s not always as straightforward as you may think, for example if you keep a home in both countries.

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Loi de Finances Rectificative 2011Personal Taxation Changes by David Hardy

In last month’s issue we discussed how the recent ‘Loi de Finances Rectificative pour 2011’ has made changes to Wealth Tax. At the same time, however, the law announced further measures that affect other aspects of personal finance and taxation and, as promised, we will now look at these changes. So what has changed? 1. INHERITANCE TAX The rates for the two highest bands of inheritance tax, between parents and children only, have now increased from 35% to 40% for taxable assets worth between €902,838 and €1,805,677 and from 40% to 45% for assets worth greater than €1,805,677. Lifetime gift allowances, which were previously renewable every six years, have their time limit now extended to every 10 years. 2. LIFE ASSURANCE INVESTMENTS (‘Contrats d’Assurance Vie’) This type of investment is a well established method of reducing French inheritance tax and, while still offering significant inheritance advantages, the new law now makes several changes to it. Previously The beneficiaries of these investments, that were taken out by policyholders who were both under age 70 and nonFrench resident, were totally exempt from tax. From now on This exemption has now been abolished and applies retrospectively to all existing policies. This means that if the policyholder dies while French resident then the beneficiaries (wherever they may live) will now be subject to tax on their share of the investment death benefits, after an allowance of €152,500 per beneficiary. Previously For French resident policyholders, there was taxation at 20% on benefits received above the €152,500 allowance per beneficiary. From now on There are now two tax rates applying to policy benefits received above the €152,500 allowance per beneficiary. The first is 20% up to €1,053,338 and 25% thereafter. Previously If set up correctly, a policyholder could leave the investment death benefits to the surviving spouse or PACS’d partner, to use for the rest of his or her lifetime, and then ultimately pass to the children (or other beneficiaries) on the death of the survivor. By doing this, there was no tax liability for the ultimate beneficiaries on the proceeds of the policy. From now on The surviving partner will still receive the life interest without a tax liability, but tax may be due on the children’s acquired rights. The amount of tax due will vary according to the age of the surviving partner at the date of death of the policyholder, the value of the investment and the number of children sharing the benefits. PENSIONS After an earlier decision by the French tax authorities to tax the lump sums from pension funds, including UK pension schemes, a new tax rule applies to lump sum withdrawals from pension schemes received by French residents. After an allowance of 10% of the lump sum, the capital will now be subject to a standard 7.5% tax charge. TRUSTS The new legislation includes measures to tax benefits arising from trusts which have French resident settlors and/or beneficiaries. The aim appears to be to ensure that the French resident settlor/beneficiary will have to pay tax on the Trust assets and income. However, as the taxation of trusts is “new ground” for the French authorities it may be that the new rules will take some time to be fully interpreted and applied. David Hardy, Siddalls France,

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Conditions of Sale

by Peter Elias. This month I thought that I would have a look at the conditions that are normally part and parcel of a property contract. There are 3 different types of conditions used in a purchase contract. If you want to add conditions into a contract, it is important for you to understand their effect and the difference between them. Conditions générales are the ordinary standard conditions you will find in most contracts to purchase property. These should include confirmation that the purchaser will take over ‘Foncière Tax’ bill for the property from the date of signing the ‘acte de vente’, with the Habitation Tax being paid by the occupant as of the 1st January of the year. Other examples are that the vendor will not make any significant changes to the property between contract and completion, and that the purchaser will have possession of the property on the same date as signing the ‘acte de vente’.

Be concerned if the agreement is only 4 or 5 pages. A typical contract, (just in French), will normally run to around 15 pages. When you do sign to either sell or buy, don’t forget that you can secure the cost precisely, by using a forward contract via a specialised currency dealer. This means that you are not open to massive fluctuations in the currency markets between the ‘compromis de vente’ and the ‘acte de vente’. This can be as much as 10% during a 3 month period. 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

‘Conditions particulières’ are special conditions which may be required by one of the parties but which is under their control. I have listed 3 such examples below, firstly that the vendor repairs the storm-damaged roof, a second may be that the vendor clears out the garage before completion, (often used if there is a lot of rubbish in a garage / barn), and a third could be for the fosse séptique to be emptied before completion. ‘Conditions suspensives’ are the most individual of the 3 types of conditions. A condition suspensive is a condition which, if not realised allows the purchaser to withdraw from what would otherwise be a binding contract. Most standard French purchase contracts only contain 2 or 3 of these conditions. There will usually be ‘conditions suspensives’ to the effect that a search at the land registry reveals no mortgage or charge on the property that will not be cleared by the sale proceeds. Similarly, that local planning information does not reveal any public utility easements that interferes unduly with the enjoyment of the property, and also that no authority that has a right of pre-emption over the property exercises this right.

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There are others which are absolutely necessary, the principal one being in regards to mortgage finance, stating that the purchaser is able to obtain a loan which he needs for the purchase (if a loan is needed). There are many others that could be added to make the agreement very safe for the purchaser. One that many agents fail to include, but is normally covered by the Notaire is to have a condition suspensive stipulating that both purchasers must still be alive and capable when the ‘acte de vente’ is due for signature. Otherwise your heirs may be expected to proceed with the transaction on your behalf. It is normal for the contract to require the vendors, (or their representatives), to continue with the sale in the event of one of the sellers dying before the sale is concluded.

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly - October 2011  

English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrounding areas.