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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY Welcome to Issue 7 of ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’. Well, I can hardly believe it, but ‘rentree’ is nearly upon us. The quiet, sleepy month of August is behind us and we are all busy preparing for the return to school and work. For those of us who haven’t had a quiet, sleepy August (Rob & I!), perhaps September will allow us a little break in the warm weather before the Autumn descends once more... This issue is packed full of stories, articles and has more pages and is showing some new colour advertising spaces. We are pleased to be hitting our first print target of 5000 copies this month, in only 6 months of business. A BIG Thank you to everyone for advertising, supporting and contributing so far. there wouldn’t be a magazine without you. PS. For all you sporty ones, Rugby World Cup match times are shown on page 9!


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

CONTENTS What’s On.............................................................................4 Take a break........................................................................8 Our Furry Friends..............................................................10 Health, Beauty & Fitness..................................................11 The Great Outdoors...........................................................13 French Life, Food & Drink................................................16 French Adventures............................................................19 Getting Out & About..........................................................20 Communications.................................................................26 Building & Renovation.......................................................27 Business, Finance & Property..........................................31 THIS MONTH’S ADVERTISERS 4ever Beauty....................................................................... 11 A La Bonne Vie (Restaurant)............................................ 17 Ace Pneus (Tyre Supplier & Fitter).................................. 21 Affordable UK Designs (Kitchens & UPVC D/Glazing)..... 2 Agence POUZET (AXA Insurance)..................................... 21 A.I.P. (Estate Agent)......................................................... 34 AKE Petits Travaux (Builder).......................................... 28 Allez Francais (Estate Agent).......................................... 34 Andrew Longman (Plumber)............................................. 28 An English Nursery in France (Garden Centre)................. 13 Belle Maison Construction................................................ 30 Blevins Franks Financial Management Ltd...................... 31 Brian Fox (Computer Support)........................................... 26 Café des Belles Fleurs...................................................... 7 Cafe Cour du Miracle....................................................... 17 Christies (English Book Shop and Tea Room)................. 18 Dave Bowring (Electrician).............................................. 27 Diane & Franck (Fabrics and Curtains)............................ 23 Diane Lowe (Reiki Healer)............................................... 12 Energie-79........................................................................... 28 English (Online Business Directory).............. 7 Futuroscope,..................................................................... 22 Glyn Chubb (Carpenter/Joiner)........................................ 29 Gordon & Jocelyn Simms.................................................... 5 Hair by Janet (Hairdresser and Avon Sales)..................... 12 Hallmark Electronique (Electricians & Sat. Engineers).. 29 Handmade Kitchens........................................................... 35 Imprimerie Jadault (Printer)............................................ 3 Indulgence Beauty............................................................... 11 Janet Hall (Translator & Interpreter)............................... 31 Jardin Deco (Garden Ornaments)........................................ 13 Jo Ashforth (Phoenix Cards)............................................... 23 John Etherington (Property Care)....................................... 14 John Purchase (Mobile Mechanic)...................................... 21 Julie’s Cleaning Services................................................. 32 L.A. Building & Renovation................................................. 30 La Joie de Vivre (Gift Shop & Tea Room).......................... 17 Le Dragon (Bar/Snack)...................................................... 36 Leggett Immobilier (Estate Agent).................................. 31 La Grande Galerie.............................................................. 35 Le Puy Remorques (Trailer Hire & Sales)......................... 21 Mad Hatter’s Kitchen......................................................... 18 Mark James (Stonemason & Digger Hire).......................... 28 MS Electrique (Electrician)............................................... 29 Mustang Sallys (Line Dancing Studio)................................. 6 Nathan Foster Building Services..................................... 30 Pamela Irving (Massage & Reflexology)............................. 12 Peter Hardie (Mini Digger hire)........................................ 28 Philip Irving (Mini Digger hire)............................................ 29 Philip Wellman (Plumbing Service & Maintenance)......... 28 Plombiere Anglais en France (Plumber)........................... 28 Poitou Property Services................................................. 34 Premier Autos - Mike Lane (Mechanic)............................ 21 RDK Roofing & Building Services.................................... 30 RDS-IT (Computer Specialists)........................................ 27 Richard Owen (aka ‘The Fosse Man’).............................. 29 Rob Berry (Plasterer)....................................................... 30 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)........ 26 R.S.M. Distribution.............................................................. 23 Rysz Dor_Vincent (Satyananda Yoga)................................. 13 Sandy G (Hairdresser)...................................................... 11 Sarah Berry Online (Website Designer)........................... 27 sarl Down to Earth (Groundwork & Construction).......... 29 Siddalls (Financial Advisors)............................................ 32 14 Stephens Property Maintenance & Renovation.................. 30 Steve Enderby.................................................................. 29 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation).................... 7 Suzanne Thorne (VIE at Home).......................................... 11 Tara’s Mobile Hairdressing.............................................. 13 The English Mechanic - Tony Eyre................................ 21 The Mini Market............................................................... 23 Trisha Mobile Hairdresser............................................... 12 Total Renovation Services................................................ 29 We shop Britain 4 u........................................................... 17

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What’s On....September 2011 1st September - Les jardiniers du Poitou, 3rd Annual Produce Show At Salle du Prieure St Martin, Verruyes, 79310 from 14.00-16.00hrs. Classes open to everyone. For more information & entry forms email: 5th September - Chandra Yoga Classes starting at The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 8th September - French Classes Helen’s classes starting at The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 10th & 11th September - Fête de St Martin des Fontaines (Nr L'Hermenault, dept 85) 10th anniversary. 10th Sept at 20.30 Free concert with Florent Dady, Bar and food available. Sunday 11th Sept Vide greniers with street entertainment all day, bars and food etc. With another free concert at 18.30 with Mich'To. Tel: for vide grenier space and info. (French). Organised by the Association, Les Amis de la Coussotte. 10th September - Butterfly Tea Party. In aid of Les Pattes de Velours. 2.30pm - 4.30pm. Cards & Gifts, Jewellery, Paperback Jan, Cakes & refreshments. La Bodiniere, 79320, Moncoutant, Tel: 05 49 65 04 09 10th September - Craft Cabin Workshop. Make your own cards at The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 10th September - Fish and Chips in the gardens "au pont", Gourgé, commencing at 5pm. Contact Donna on 05 49 63 48 80 to reserve your table. 11th September - 2nd Fun Dog Show. Fun dog event, with 11 classes. Starts 10am at St Pardoux, 79310. See page 11 for more information. Schedules from Beryl on,  05 49 69 86 16 17th & 18th September - Foire Artisanale Viville, 16120 Art fair from10.30am-12pm & 2.30pm-pm-6pm. Café/bar, sandwiches, gâteaux, possibility of picnic. Free entry. Contact: Maureen Ainge,, 0545785750 17th & 18th September - Galopades. At Chatillon-sur-Thouet. Carriage driving events, sales etc. Free entry. 17th September - Autumn Fete At Le Beugnon  Stade from 2pm.  Includes stalls selling home made produce, basket  weaving & goods, upholstery & toys, beauty products. Fun activities include kite making, treasure hunt, Les palets, rounders match & tug of war come and join in if you are feeling energetic. More info contact tel. 0549702140. 18th September - English Fete/Pasty Fest 10.00am - 4.00pm at Hermitage Puy de Serre. (Next to the old railway station-look for the balloons!) Lots of Stalls inc. Jackies Pasties. Cafe with home made cakes and lots more. 24th September - Ceramic Painting Workshop Fun for all ages and abilities, at The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 24th September - Quiz Night with Supper. At Mustang Sally’s, Secondigny. (05 49 64 92 33) In aid of Cancer Support Awareness Week. 24th September - Car Treasure Hunt (Local Area). Starts 2pm. Supper at A La Bonne Vie Restaurant, Le Beugnon. To book your car, email To book supper: 05 49 95 91 60. In aid of Cancer Research. 5€ p/p entry fee. 25th September - RBL Autumn Fest 11am - 6pm at L’Auvergneuse, 79450 Fénery. Horse competitions, carriage rides, brocante, games, teas and cakes and a hog roast! All proceeds to the Royal British Legion. 25th September - Pork Roast. At Ivan & Thelma’s, St. Marsault. from 12-5pm. Tel: 05 49 65 58 18. In aid of Cancer Support Awareness Week. 28th September - Afternoon Tea/Coffee. In Glenay from 3pm to 6pm. For more info, please call 05 49 67 62 72. In aid of Cancer Support Awareness Week. 29th September - Card Sale & Coffee Morning. At Maziéres-en-Gatine. 10am-12.30pm. Please call 05 49 63 18 87. In aid of Cancer Support Awareness Week. 30th September - Pattes de Velours Quiz night Please contact Thank you to

Paperback Jan Books in English 1st Sept: Bar Le Palais, St. Aubin le Cloud. 14h-17h 2nd Sept: Bar de la Paix, Thouars 12h-14h 2nd Sept: Le Tipsy Bar, Coulonges-sur-L’Autize 16h-18h 3rd Sept: The Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. 15h-17h 5th Sept: Le Dragon bar, Vernoux-en-Gatine. 14h-17h 6th Sept: Le Zinc bar, Vasles. 10.30h-13h 7th Sept: Cafe Cour de Miracle, Vouvant. 14h-16.30h 8th Sept: Bar Le Commerce, La Chataigneraie 14.30-17h 9th Sept: Jan’s home, La Ferriére-en-Parthenay, 11h-16h. 10th Sept: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole. 10h-14h 10th Sept: Butterfly Tea Party, Moncoutant. 14.30-16.30h 11th Sept: Fun Dog Show, St Pardoux, from 10h 14th Sept: Le Trois Marie, Airvault. 10h-13h 18th Sept: Pasty Fest, Puy de Serre, 10h-16h 25th Sept: RBL Autumn Fest, Fenery. 11h-18h 29th 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 (Sept, 7th and 28th only) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges.18h-20hr Thursdays (Sept 1st, 8th & 29th) Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent. 18h-20hr Fridays (Sept 2nd, 9th & 30th) 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

What’s coming up... 1st October - Pampering with Nicky. At the Mini Market, Luché sur Brioux. Contact 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. 8th October - Autumn Fair Also at The Mini Market with existing stallholders and more! More information to follow. 9th October - Fête des Plantes. At the Château Féodal, Bressuire.

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) page 4


St Clémentin Authors in Civray On mid-summer’s day La Grande Galerie, Civray ( hosted a book signing for Glyn Pope and Jocelyn Simms from St. Clémentin. Artist Colin Ross Jack accompanied them. His paintings are on display in the gallery until September. ( “The signing was a great success and I’d like to say thanks to all who attended the event and, of course, to those who bought my novel. If I sold that many books every week I'd be a happy man,” says Glyn. “I met several other writers from the area, with whom I discussed my growing up on a council estate in the 1940's, the background to my novel, ‘The Doctor, The Plutocrat, and The Mendacious Minister’” (Cactus Rain, USA, 2011.) Jocelyn Simms introduced her photocopiable manual, Colour Matters, to the area and hopes to return to demonstrate, in a writing workshop, how colour attracts the muse. (

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

Special thanks are due to Eileen who organised the event and provided the bubbly which, on a hot, sunny day was much appreciated. On the return journey Gordon Simms, our chauffeur, took the party to see the magnificent Gallo-Romain site at Sanxay where, in August, the opera Carmen was performed ( Gordon came home to find he’d won a major poetry competition which results in the publication of his collected poems early next year ( In October, Gordon and Jocelyn are hosting Roger Elkin from the UK who will be giving workshops on their poetry course, Mills and Mulberries. Please see advert (right) for further information. Meanwhile Glyn returned to an invitation to an event for authors from Leicester, where his novel is set. ‘The Doctor, The Plutocrat, and The Mendacious Minster’ is available from Glyn at 11.50€ inc. p&p. Other formats: as Nook from Barnes and Noble, iPad, Amazon Kindle and Sony.

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!

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

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 SauzéVaussais, 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:

Are yo u part of a club or an association? Please share the details w ith us!

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 5


Association Beugnonaise Autumn Fete

Anglo/French event in Le Beugnon, 79130 17th September 2.30pm start In 2009 we formed an English/French group in our village with the aim to bring together the best of our different cultures in joint events throughout the year. Our first meeting was held in A la Bonne Vie which reopened its doors in July 2008 to great acclaim and helped greatly in bringing a sense of community to the village. During the last three years we have established community gardening, a singing group and various events including photographic evenings, a pumpkin festival and this year we are staging an Autumn Fete in The Stade on the above date. Home made produce will be sold including jams, bread, cakes. Local artisans have been invited and will include basket weaving, beauty products, hand made soft toys and upholstery. There will also be a fun side with games which will reflect the different nationalities in the association which include les palets, rounders, Dutch billiards & a tug of war. Anyone is welcome to join in if you are feeling energetic! Something also for the younger ones a treasure hunt and kite making and flying. There is plenty of parking and the entrance is free. (See advert on page 5). Also put May 1st 2012 in your diary - we are staging a plant exchange and inviting various gardening artisans to take part. Our theme being water which is relevant to our village being the source of two rivers. Any further info please telephone: 05 49 70 21 40.

If you are looking to increase your social circle and/or your range of activities, why not give “Get-Together” a try? We are an association established in 1989 consisting of English speaking folk who have either holiday or full-time homes in the department of DeuxSèvres and the adjoining departments. Members nationalities include French, Dutch and German. Our primary function is to assist new residents make the adjustment to their new environment and there are many formats in which advice is offered, from downloadable fact-sheets, to friendly seminars. There is a wide variety of social events too, to suit full or part-time residents, such as regular walks and lunches, presentations on french history, book swaps, reading circle, photo competitions and informal parties. Included in the annual family membership of 15€ is a monthly email newsletter with full details of current and future events. (non computer users can have a printed newsletter for an additional fee)  You can participate in as many or as few events as you wish. We are always open to new ideas and fully support members if they have a wish to organise and promote their own suitable event. You are welcome to attend a couple of events if you wish to 'try before buying'. 

Finding activities to participate in can often be difficult when settling into a new place. However for me, that was not a problem, thanks to a dear friend who recommended Line Dancing, an activity I had never considered before in my life. So, with my head held high and my stomach churning inside, I boldly stepped over the threshold of what was to become a regular activity in my life. The new term starts on 5th September and new members would be most welcome to join, in what is guaranteed to be a fun evening. The class is held in the Salle de fete in Reperoux on Monday evenings during term time. The class starts at 18:00 until 19:30 for beginners followed by a short break then continues until 21:00 for the advanced. If you are wondering if Line Dancing is for you then you have the opportunity to attend for a free two-week trial. Membership costs 175€ for the year. The class is taught by Sally Lanario (Mustang Sally, see advert above) who is an experienced teacher, and can make even the two left footed person master dance. The instruction is given in French, which can seem daunting, but like me you just need to watch what others do. Members are a mixture of French, English, male, female, young and old(er). As well as the weekly meetings there are other events too. Each year we undertake 2 public performances at local events (not a requirement for membership), last year at Glenay and Airvault. In January there is the opportunity for dancers and partners to have a night out at a local venue and enjoy a meal, and in the Summer-time a BBQ. So, I have improved my two left feet, danced publicly, learnt some French, made some new friends and most of all had fun. written by G.Gooding

So, take a look at the website and drop us an email on or phone Sally (evening and weekends only) 05 49 76 15 30 or Steve on 06 02 27 75 98 for more information. page 6

THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY The kids don't seem to have been on holiday long and there are already large colourful signs in the shops “La Rentrée”. The supermarket aisles are rearranged and several aisles are taken over by fournitures scolaires (school equipment). All the three school by Sue Burgess zones go back to school on the same date after the long summer holidays. This year, 2011, the back to school date is Monday September 5th. Generally all primary school classes go back on this day, but Secondary schools may let new first year pupils (6ème or 2nde) start a day earlier than the other classes so that they can get used to their new surroundings and find their way around. At some time during the holidays, families will have received the liste de fournitures from the school – a long list of equipment that they need to provide for the new school year. L'allocation de rentrée scolaire (ARS), the Back to School Allowance is given to families who have one or more children aged between 6 and 18 who are in full time education, if their income is not above a certain limit. The allowance is to help the families to buy everything the children need for school and its amount depends on the age of the child. The allowance for Primary school children being lower than that for High school pupils. La Rentrée brings with it the inevitable debate about the weight of children's satchels and the effects on their health. An average satchel weighing 8.5 kilos, it's not surprising that many now opt for satchels on wheels. The period of La Rentrée is generally associated with everything (whether it be education, business or politics) getting going again after the slower lazy summer time. La Rentrée Littéraire is the name given to publishing boom and the numerous new books that are published and put onto the market between August and November. Several literature prizes are voted between September and November, notably the Goncourt prize. BONNE RENTREE! Vocabulary / Vocabulaire Les Fournitures Scolaires.....

School equipment

Un cahier 96 pages................

Exercise book

Des feuillets mobiles perforés .................................

Sheets of paper to go in a ring binder

Un classeur rigide .................

Hard backed ring binder

Un protège-cahier..................

Exercise book cover

Un stylo à bille........................


Un crayon à papier.................


Un feutres de couleur............

Felt tip pen

Un bâton de colle ..................

Stick of glue

Un rouleau de ruban adhésif

Roll of Sellotape

Une gomme............................

Eraser , rubber

Un cartable.............................

School bag, satchel

Une serviette..........................


La Rentrée..............................

Back to School

L'Allocation de la Rentrée Scolaire (ARS)........................

Back to School Allowance

L'école maternelle.................

Infant school

L'école primaire.....................

Primary School

Le collège...............................

11 – 15 secondary school

Le lycée...................................

16 – 18 secondary school

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Congratulations to our competition winner, Shona Grant, 79440. A great piece of photography....this moth has been captured perfectly in amongst the lavendar.

Across: 8. Enthusiasm to transfer particle? (7) 9. Suppress (5) 10.& 11. The wrong hour we gather means a bad forecast (5,7) 12. Bound to make waves we hear (4) 13. Let in and let on (8) 16. Brow (8) 19. Pin down a seabird (4) 22. Rough cider (7) 23. Rub out article in Gaelic language (5) 24. The full multinational (5) 25. Sounds like no friend of mine either in the garden or at sea (7)

Sudoku Corner...

Down: 1. French opener? (8) 2. Donkey gets over mixed regret to convince (6) 3. Good looking crockery (5) 4. Scattered seed around an unknown and left a white deposit (6) 5. Nearly everything eaten by sea creature is nasty. (7) 6. Colour of a sure thing? (3-3) 7. Indistinct group? (4) 14. Width of a circle (8) 15. Walk weakly in endless North county city street (7) 17. Try changing air for something unusual (6) 18. Whose line is it? Finished nevertheless. (6) 20. Horn 21. Released, changed and put off (5) 22. Place for a vision (4)


Toughie Crossword#1.....think cryptic!

With thanks to M.Morris


Please see website: for answers

Take a break....

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The Rugby World Cup 2011. For all you Rugby lovers’s a page dedicated to World Cup 2011! Use the match card below to keep track of who’s playing who and more importantly when! Please note. All match times are New Zealand time.





New Zealand France Tonga Canada Japan

Argentina England Scotland Georgia Romania

Australia Ireland Italy Russia USA

South Africa Wales Fiji Samoa Namibia

Fri Sept 9, 20.30 New Zealand v Tonga Sat Sept 10, 18.00 France v Japan Wed Sept 14, 17.00 Tonga v Canada Fri Sept 16, 20.00 New Zealand v Japan Sun Sept 18, 20.30 France v Canada Wed Sept 21, 19.30 Tonga v Japan Sat Sept 24, 20.30 New Zealand v France Tues Sept 27, 17.00 Canada v Japan Sat October 1, 18.00 France v Tonga Sun Oct 2, 15.30 New Zealand v Canada

Sat Sept 10, 13.00 Scotland v Romania Sat Sept 10, 20.30 Argentina v England Wed Sept 14 Scotland v Georgia Sat Sept 17 Argentina v Romania Sun Sept 18, 18.00 England v Georgia Sat Sept 24, 18.00 England v Romania Sun Sept 25, 20.30 Argentina v Scotland Wed Sept 28, 19.30 Georgia v Romania Sat Oct 1, 20.30 England v Scotland Sun Oct 2, 13.00 Argentina v Georgia

Quarter-Final Sat Oct 8, 18.00 QF1:Winner Pool C v RU Pool D Sat Oct 8, 20.30 QF2:Winner Pool B v RU Pool A Sun Oct 9, 18.00 QF3:Winner Pool D v RU Pool C Sun Oct 9, 20.30 QF4:Winner Pool A v RU Pool B

Sun Sept 11, 15.30 Australia v Italy Sun Sept 11, 18.00 Ireland v USA Thurs Sept 15, 19.30 Russia v USA Sat Sept 17, 20.30 Australia v Ireland Tues Sept 20, 19.30 Italy v Russia Fri Sept 23, 20.30 Australia v USA Sun Sept 25, 18.00 Ireland v Russia Tues Sept 27, 19.30 Italy v USA Sat October 1, 15.30 Australia v Russia Sun October 2 Ireland v Italy

Semi-Final Sat Oct 15, 21.00 SF1: Winner Pool QF1 v Winner QF2 Sun Oct 16, 21.00 SF2: Winner QF3 v Winner QF4

Sat Sept 10, 15.30 Fiji v Namibia Sun Sept 11, 20.30 South Africa v Wales Wed Sept 14, 14.30 Samoa v Namibia Sat Sept 17, 18.00 South Africa v Fiji Sun Sept 18, 15.30 Wales v Samoa Thurs Sept 22, 20.00 South Africa v Namibia Sun Sept 25, 15.30 Fiji v Samoa Mon September 25, 19.30 Wales v Namibia Fri Sept 30, 20.30 South Africa v Samoa Sun October 2, 18.00 Wales v Fiji

Bronze-Final Fri Oct 21, 20.30 RU SF1 v RU SF2

Final Sun Oct 23, 21.00 Winner SF1 V Winner SF2

For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 9


Our Furry Friends... Homes needed for 5 gorgeous kittens: Unfortunately these five little things have been left to fend for themselves after their Mum was hit by a car. We have rescued them from our neighbour who would do the 'French' thing! We already have five cats, four of which were rescued in the same way but really can't afford to keep these too. They aren't very old but are adorable, there are two ginger, two tabby/tortoiseshell and one silver and white which is the smallest. As yet sex is still to be determined!

If anyone could give them a home please contact me on 05 49 65 04 09 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: Please find details of two HOOF events in the ‘What’s On’ section, page 4....17th/18th Sept and 25th Sept.

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:

2nd Fun Dog Show, St Pardoux The French take showing dogs seriously - whether it’s breed shows, Foire de Chiens, or agility competitions. Everyone is different and, for me, dogs are for having fun with, especially mongrels – or bâtards as the French call crossbreeds. Those of you who know me well know I’m heavily involved with dog rescue and trying to educate people to adopt from a shelter, not to breed more dogs. Each year I and my team of helpers organise a couple of fundraising events and last year we decided to organise a Fun Dog Show – an ‘alternative dog show’ if you like. Friends Pat and Steve Moon, themselves qualified dog show judges, offered their expert eye in the show ring for such classes as prettiest bitch, most handsome male – dog that is, not handler, and best 7 legs! ‘JMB’ supplied bags of dog food to all the winners and ‘St Pardoux Pension pour Chiens’ sponsored the rosettes. I hadn’t planned on repeating the day but, due to popular demand – including from some of our French dog owners – we’ve decided to repeat the event. This year’s classes include dog to eat the bonio the quickest and dog most like it’s owner. ‘Joint Aid’ have kindly sponsored the

advertising banner, ‘Chateau du Chat et Chien’ at Reffannes are sponsoring the rosettes and dog prizes and ‘Mutuelle de Poitiers Assurance’ in Parthenay are donating gifts. A big attraction is the Have A Go Archery, so popular last year that not everyone managed to have a go. Stalls include dog feed, toys, collars, leads, dog coats, gift items, jewellery, British beers, books, cards, English groceries and Andy and Hayley are coming with their fish ‘n chips, Dave will have home-made Ice Cream and the Tea Tent will sell coffee, tea and cakes all day. ‘Hound Motorcycle’ is bringing a selection of his fabulous motor bikes and there will be some ‘interesting vehicles’ too. All-in-all, a great day out, whether you’ve got a dog or not! Entry is free, contact me for schedules or 05 49 69 86 16 evenings. All proceeds to Galgos del Sol and 112carlotagalgos. 11th September 2011, 79310 St Pardoux (D743 Niort/Parthenay) 10:00am registration

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Health, Beauty & Fitness...

VIE at Home is now under new ownership and will be offering new products alongside our existing core products. We have just launched  Blue Box Perfume. You'll be able to choose your own blend of parfum, the bottle you like, the label, packaging and more excitingly the NAME. These specifications are then made into your perfume and sent directly to you. We offer parfum and not eau de toilette. Blending can be based upon your favourite scent or you can make your own. This would be fabulous for a special gift, to mark a special  event, highlight your business or just  for yourself and is  available in both Women and Mens fragrances.   Why not hold a Blue Box party, coffee morning, event? I am also happy to come along and present this unique concept to businesses.    In October we are launching Pierre Lang Jewellery. Custom made each piece takes 5 days to hand craft. We will be offering HUGE discounts on our first showing of this beautiful jewellery so again why not have a PL Jewellery party.  Anyone booking a party now will receive a free gift from me!   Spirulina Weight Loss complex. Tested recently by many of our VIE Managers. the results were impressive. Consultants will be offering full support on this and a regular support meet up can be held for those using the products. If you'd like more information on this product then do please call me.    Vie at Home has undergone many changes over the last few months and has been operational in France for two and a half years. Our product ingredients are sourced from Italy and Switzerland and we constantly research the market trends. Our business is based on party plan and business to business networking. As the job is so flexible it fits in with family life and other commitments. We offer great incentives to those holding a VIE event/party and now offer greater product range for those wishing to join as a consultant.   If you'd like to know more about holding your own party, event, incorporating VIE within your own business then please call me on 05 49 26 27 74 or email:   Suzanne is Group Sales Manager for France.

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CANCER SUPPORT AWARENESS WEEK 24th– 30th September, 2011

Each year Cancer Support throughout France holds an Awareness Week. Last year we held coffee mornings in different parts of Deux-Sèvres culminating in a mechoui for about 100 people in St. Marsault. The week was very successful and money raised was donated to the National Headquarters of Cancer Support France to enable them to continue operating for the following year. In fact enough was raised to cover two years’ operating expenses so it was felt that the Awareness Week this year should be for a different purpose. The primary purpose of an Awareness Week is, of course, to raise awareness but in doing so we find that people are very generous towards the work that we do helping those who have been diagnosed with Cancer. Therefore we decided that this year the Awareness Week should be not only to raise awareness, but also to benefit people who are in need of that “extra care”. As a result of this decision we have had meetings with staff of the Palliative Care Unit (Soin Palliatif) at Parthenay Hospital who have given us a list of things that they need but are outside the standard equipment issued. These include pillows, chairs, mattresses etc., specifically designed for people with certain Cancers. We would like to donate everything on the list but that is perhaps too high an ambition. What we do ask is please can you support us in this endeavour. If you know of an event being held near you, please go, please tell all your friends. If you would like to hold an event, please get in touch with the President, June Searchfield, who will arrange for one of our team members to come along on the day with information and to answer any questions. We promote “Living with Cancer” because in this day and age there are many thousands of people walking round and living a normal life who, with their medication and regular screening, have their Cancer kept under control. Unfortunately, there are also some cases where that is not possible and for these people it may mean spending time in the Palliative Care Unit. Please help us to help them. Cancer Support Awareness Weeks Events:• Sat 24th. Quiz Night with Supper at Mustang Sally’s, Secondigny. (05 49 64 92 33) • Sun 25th. Pork Roast at Ivan & Thelma’s, St. Marsault. 12-5pm. (05 49 65 58 18) • Wed. 28th. Afternoon Tea/Coffee at Kate’s, Glenay. 3-6pm. (05 49 67 62 72) • Fri 29th. Card Sale & Coffee Morning at Carol & Keith’s, Maziéres-en-Gatine. 10am-12.30pm. (05 49 63 18 87) • Sun 2nd October. Curry Lunch at June & Martin’s, St. Germier. 12-5pm. (05 49 64 59 96) Numbers are limited at some of these events so please book early. For up-to-date information on other events in your area please ring June 05 49 64 59 96 or Ivan/Thelma on 05 49 65 58 18

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Tai Chi – Dispelling some myths! By Terry Ryan Many people have seen, and been intrigued by, images of Chinese people performing the slow, gentle exercises known as Tai Chi (nowadays spelt Taiji). Unfortunately it is true, especially in the West, that Taiji has been hijacked to some extent by the 'new-agers'. Consequently some myths have grown up which deserve to be unveiled! Taiji is thousands of years old. Although based on Chinese martial arts founded in antiquity, historical research places the birth of Taiji firmly in the 1600's. It was created in Chenjiagou (Chen village), in Northern China by General Chen Wang Ting. Chen style is the original form of Taiji from which all other styles have subsequently developed. In the West, Yang style Taiji is at present the most well known style. What is not often appreciated is that Yang only learnt his Taiji from the Chen family in the mid- 1820's. Taiji is always practiced very slowly. Chen style Taiji is based on the philosophy of yin & yang ...the complimentary opposites which transform into each other in a harmonious manner. As such, it requires a balance between the fast & slow, the gentle and the vigorous etc. This balance of yin & yang has been retained in Chen style Taiji whilst unfortunately, it has been generally lost by the more recent styles. Taiji is only suitable for 'older' people. By modifying the depth of the stances and the amount of vigour ('faijin') in the postures, Taiji is appropriate for all ages! In Chen village, many youngsters practice Taiji! Taiji is competitive. Taiji isn't competitive. Like painting, writing or yoga, the main contest is with oneself. As in other walks of life, the secret of success is...simply practice, practice, practice!

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Taiji can relieve stress and promote relaxation Happily, this is not a myth. New Taiji classes for beginners will be starting in September 2011 in Bressuire. See for details.

The Great Outdoors...

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The Amateur Gardener

by Vanda Lawrence Well, I can hardly believe it but already it is the beginning of Autumn. Time to start cutting back the perennials and clearing summer flower beds as they finish flowering. Time also to plant bulbs ready for the Spring. It's sad to see all those lovely summer flowers come to an end, but we can lift our spirits by planning and preparing for next year's Spring garden. At the same time we now reap the harvest of all the hard work in planting and caring for your vegetable garden... another busy time for you. Aubergines, cauliflowers, broad beans, green beans, peas, courgettes, sweetcorn, parsnips - to name but a few will all be ready to pick. Some will go into the freezer, some can be stored in dry sand in a cool, well-ventilated space where they should keep until next Spring. Potatoes can be stored dry between sheets of paper @ about 5-8˚C Melons will be mature now. Place a piece of wood or a flat stone underneath to protect from the damp soil and turn regularly so the sun can ripen them from all angles. Pumpkins & squash can be dealt with in the same way. Figs will be ready this month; if you have a glut why not try to make some fig chutney - my friend made some last year which was absolutely delicious! Pears, apples and plums are also ripening. Pick when ready and store carefully in dry conditions @ about 3-6˚C They will usually keep for about 2 months. It goes without saying though, for all the fruit/veg that you store in this manner, check regularly because it only needs one little undetected blemish to spoil the whole layer or box. Grapes and blackberries will be ready for picking too blackberries will freeze ready for blackberry & apple crumble - yummeeeee!! and perhaps this year you will try your hand at wine-making with the extra grapes? As the crops are picked you can remove the plants, dig over the soil and fertilize ready for over-wintering and Spring planting. Check the discarded plants for disease before you throw them on to the compost heap - any signs of disease and it is more sensible to burn the plants or take them to the decheterie rather than return the disease to your soil. Don't forget to make time to sit in your lovely gardens during the balmy September evenings, you know what they say about 'all work and no play'.... bye bye for now.

The Volcanoes’ of France: Skiing, Hiking & Biking by Tandy Cassidy The Chaîne des Puys is a volcanic area stretching out for more than 30km and located in the centre of Europe's largest regional nature park: the Parc Naturel des Volcans d’Auvergne. With over 80 craters and glacial lakes, these volcanoes are perfect for all your hiking, skiing and biking holidays. Beautiful in summer, the dramatic landscape becomes nature's gift to skiers when it is covered in snow. It's ideal for exploring on cross-country skis or snowshoes. Or you could try mushing your own pack of Siberian huskies, kite skiing or Nordic skijoring, where a horse gallops through the snow with the skier clinging on to a harness behind. There are also more than enough slopes to keep downhill skiers happy. A lifestyle and a community is based around the volcanoes. Over the centuries, small villages and later ski resorts sprang up on the slopes or at the foot of the volcanoes. A visit to these incredibly charming villages is always an unforgettable experience for anyone seeking authenticity, tradition and attractive rural landscapes. It's also a great opportunity to discover traditional French produce and producers while doing your bit for nature by encouraging green tourism. Originally built on the site of ancient Roman baths, the spa town of Le Mont-Dore is one of the oldest ski resorts in France, sitting at the foot of the 1,886m Puy de Sancy. When the railway arrived from Paris at the end of the 19th century, it was transformed into a chic getaway, with opulent hotels, casinos and cabarets, while the spa (Les Thermes) was made over by Gustave Eiffel. Soldiers who had been gassed in the trenches were sent here, while Edith Piaf visited regularly to get her voice into shape. So why travel all the way to the Alps or Pyrenees, when these beautiful mountains are only short drive away! Please visit for more about this beautiful region.

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Gun Ownership & Shooting in France ‘To a Brit gun ownership seemed as unlikely as walking on the moon’. When best-selling author Alan Pearce moved to France and wanted to join a gun club he found the process so complicated he almost gave up. ‘My French was really poor and I had no one to hold my hand and steer me through the seemingly complicated process,’ he says. But one year on and Pearce has a gun collection that includes a Colt 1911 and an M4 assault-rifle. He has now written a straight-forward guide - ‘Gun Ownership & Shooting in France’ - which he hopes will help other expats take up one of the most popular sports across the Channel.   ‘Actually, the process of gun ownership here is remarkably easy; I just needed some patience and help filling in the forms,’ he says. ‘In all, it took me less than a year to build my gun collection. And, knowing what I now know, it seems only right to pass my knowledge along.’   His short e-book contains everything you need to know to own firearms or take up shooting with details on how to join the three main sports federations – Tir, Ball Trap and Chasse.   There are also sections on buying arms, storage and transport, and making your own ammunition, together with links to important documents and websites.   ‘Back home in the UK if I declared in polite society my own interest in guns I would get a few askance looks,’ says Pearce who has written a series of books on health and safety madness in Britain. Not so in France where just under a quarter of all households have guns, often between three and four per house, with around 20 million registered firearms in circulation – that’s with a population of 66 million.   ‘In France, having a gun is not considered odd,’ he says. ‘So I joined my local gun club. I started off with a simple, inexpensive black powder revolver and now I have a shotgun, a hunting rifle, a semi-automatic assault rifle and a .45ACP handgun. To me, this seems just as unlikely as walking on the moon.’   Pearce says joining a club helped improve his French. ‘I got the numbers system off pat within a week because everybody at the club talks about calibres, distances and powder weights. I made friends and got to fire their weapons, too.   ‘And I was lucky in my choice of club. Some can be a bit sterile where you just shoot at paper targets at varying distances. Others, like my own, are more anarchic, although just as hot on safety. If I want to drag along a giant refrigerator and blast it to pieces with a shotgun, no one will bat an eyelid.’   Pearce says his book is a continuing work in progress. E-books can be updated more swiftly and easily than conventional books and it’s hoped to continue to bring out improved editions. ‘So all help, comments and suggestions gratefully received,’ says Pearce.   Gun Ownership & Shooting in France is published on August 10 and is available for all digital e-book readers via Amazon and or direct at a discount from his website, price Euros 3.99.

Boats, trains and pedaling to Paris. David Blick, 69, and John Rackham, 77, two British adventurers living in Poitou Charentes, will soon be travelling to London to join the Pedal to Paris to raise money for The Royal British Legion. This extraordinary pair - John, who is the oldest participant in the event, climbed Kilimanjaro to celebrate his 70th birthday, took up cycling seriously two years ago and David, who only developed an interest in cycling when he retired and like John has in more recent years discovered a fascination for trekking in the Himalayas – will start their journey to Paris by first taking the train to London, via the Euro Tunnel, where they will meet with the other 300 participants. David said, “This is my third Royal British Legion’s Pedal to Paris and I think it is simply one of the best cycling experiences I have ever had. I am moved by the support we are given here in France by the local dignitaries of the towns we pass through, the police and the wonderful ceremony that takes place beneath the Arc de Triomphe. The road of the Champs Elysee is only closed three times a year, once on the 14th July, France's Bastille day, for the closing day of the Tour de France and thirdly for the cyclists of the Royal British Legion. What an honour?”

David added, “I also very much believe in the aims and objects of the Royal British Legion and although I have never served in the military, I have a son and a daughter in law serving in the armed forces today and am extremely proud of them both.”

John commented, “I was inspired to sign up for the Pedal to Paris by my friend David and as an ex Military Policeman I identify with everything our servicemen and women sacrifice and achieve. I remember the 2nd World War very well as our family lived through the blitz in 1941.   I suppose that some of the indomitable spirit my family and everyone else showed rubbed off on me.  I see no limits to my athletic career and fully intend to celebrate my 80th on top of some peak somewhere.”

The 300 miles cycle will take the riders 4 days from Greenwich Park, London through the beautiful countryside of Kent and Northern France right into the centre of Paris. At around 3pm they will cycle down the Avenue de la Grande Armee, then parade down the Champs Elysee for the final few steps of their journey, to arrive at the Arc de Triomphe, where the ride ends in a moving ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.   The Pedal to Paris event is in its 16th year and attracts people from all over the world with participants this year coming from as far afield as Canada and Hong Kong . David and John are hoping to raise at least £2,000 towards The Legion's welfare work.  The Legion currently spends around £1.4 million a week supporting our service men and women and their dependants through a wide range of services including grants for those in need, the provision of care, pensions and benefits advice, reskilling and job retraining. Russell Thompson, Director of National Events and Fundraising at The Legion said, "We are extremely grateful to these amazing gentlemen for pushing the Pedal to Paris challenge one step further. It really is an incredible event and a great experience for all those involved who have to put in a considerable amount of training to help them prepare.   The fundraising that they are doing for The Royal British Legion will make a real difference to the lives of those we support, helping us considerably in continuing to provide the social, emotional and financial care that is central to our work." 2011 is the 90th Anniversary of The Royal British Legion and your support is needed now more than ever.   If you want to support John and David please contact them through

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

by Gilly Hunt Summer brings visitors and with visitors comes extra cooking, extra shopping, extra washing, lots of airport runs and a whole lot of fun too! I just love having the house full and hearing the sound of people laughing and having a good time - relaxing by the pool, enjoying eating copious amounts of French bread and cheese outside, going for picnics, visiting a chateau, enjoying one of the many fetes and events that Deux-Sèvres has to offer. Why would anyone ever want to go anywhere else? But then at the end of their stay the realism hits, and there is that awful journey back to the airport and the final hug goodbye before they go through. After 6 years I am still crying as I see my children walk through to the departure lounge. I think as a mother you never quite become used to being apart from your offspring. Even if you know they are happy and settled you still feel the pull to be near them, well I do. But how lucky am I that my children still chose to spend their holidays with their Mum; the quality time we have is amazing and that is something to treasure. With the strange weather we have been having the number of eggs we have been receiving from our chickens had reduced, so we decided we had better just check out the orchard, where they roam free, to see if anyone was laying outside. As I was walking by our cherry tree I saw a wonderful sight, a wasp nest that had been made around the branches, truly beautiful. I returned later to take a photograph and as my husband started to clip a few leaves away to enhance the photo a number of very irate wasps emerged. They were not too happy about the alterations we had made to their abode! I did however manage a photograph, before we ran back to the house!

Keenan’s Corner

by Keenan Dominey My name is Keenan Dominey. I am now 18 years old and have lived in France for the last 7 years. I am now in higher education, so I have decided to write an article on how I started life in a new country and how I learnt the culture. Over the next few months I am going to explain step by step the facts of French schooling. When I arrived in France, I had little knowledge of the language or the schooling. As soon as I had visited the school I had a choice to make. I was asked if I wanted to re-double which meant going to Primary school or go into 6eme (year 7). If a student is not good enough in class they can redouble a year, so they can re-do the same lessons again. I decided to follow the normal curriculum and go into 6eme. My sister on the other hand, at the age of 13, would have normally entered in 4eme, but decided to redouble and go into 5eme (in France the classes start at 6eme, 5eme, 4eme, 3eme, 2nde, 1er, Terminal, followed by University) because in 4eme she would not only have had to learn French, but either German or Spanish as well. At the beginning of my first school year in France, I felt in a sense lonely, not being able to speak the language, but also very anxious as well. I could and still can’t believe how welcoming the children were. They were so curious about my life’s story. Even with the communication problems I soon got the hang of the school life. I spent a few months getting used to the classes which are not the same as in England, they are stricter and the teachers are more passionate. The students themselves go to class to learn and not because they have nothing else to do. If anyone says it only takes 3 or 4 months to learn the French language it is wrong. After a year I could communicate and after a few years I could talk to everyone, but even now after 7 years I am still learning.

I wonder how many of you enjoyed the numerous free fireworks in honour of Bastille Day this year. It is lovely, I think, that every commune has a free fireworks display each year – I suppose in France it is easier as whilst they obviously consider health and safety issues, they certainly do not go to the extremes that they do in England. If you did not go and see a firework display this year for Bastille Day, then make a note in your diaries for next year as there is bound to be one near you – ask your local Mairie (Town Hall) if you are not sure or look on the internet on

Moving to France was probably the best thing that has ever happened to me, even if I lost a lot of confidence/self esteem in myself after the many times I have been corrected, or the times that people did not understand me.

The local Mairie really is a source of all knowledge local; you can go to them for advice on just about anything and if they do not know the answer they will normally find out for you or send you to someone who does. They even act as a Registrar if you wish to get married. Their roles are endless and varied, and there is nothing to compare them to in England – they really are a one stop shop of information for everyone; yet another wonderful positive part of living in France. Vive la difference.

I was so happy when the end of the year came, not because I didn’t enjoy it but because it was probably the longest year of my life! The summer holidays came and this is one of the best things about French schooling, the summer holidays last generally 9 weeks in ‘College’ (6 form).

I remember going to the Pyrenees in February with the school to go skiing, It was such a great experience that I will never forget because I got to know more French children and it was something that I never would have done in England. I can admit that during that first year, there was a lack of work from me; this was recognized by the teacher and I nearly had to redouble. I promised I would work harder the next year, but this never happened. (Read next month’s article, to find out about my second year in France! and I will explain more about the school system and the different classes in College).

I know many young English people who have moved to France at a young age and have never known the English way of life. This is the down side of bringing children to France early. I am glad that my parents moved when I was 11; I have spent enough time in England to know the English culture and have decided to stay in France.

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THE DEUX-SÈVRES MONTHLY ’s Thank s go to Doree n Farme ry for this month s contri bution to the Cance r Suppo rt Deux- Sèvre She says she fell for this Favourite Recipe Book. and delicious pickle whilst travelling in the USA in l992 never did find out how it got its name. Doreen’s Bread and Butter Pickle Ingredients: Two cucumbers, unpeeled and cut into slices 3mm thick 250g white sugar 300ml white vinegar One tablespoon salt One teaspoon mustard seed One teaspoon celery seed Half teaspoon curry powder or turmeric (for colour) and Place cucumber slices in a non-metallic bowl and water cold with slices the Cover salt. sprinkle with es let stand overnight. Drain and wash in several changthe of water to remove as much salt as possible. Put all boil other ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to thebers to dissolve the sugar. Add the well-drained cucum the (Doreen dries them in a clean tea-towel) and bring mixture back to a simmer. Do NOT allow to boil. for 4 Stir the slices gently in the simmering liquid minutes, no more. The cucumber slices should remain crunchy.Pour into hot, sterile jars and seal. cold Use as you would cornichons, as aperitif or with meats. it If you have a favourite recipe of your own please send e”. by email to, marked “recip r If you would like any information about the work of Cance 05 on field Search June t contac Support Deux Sèvres, please 49 64 59 96 or e-mail

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How not to buy a house in France.

by Helen Aurelius-Haddock We bought our first home in France nine years ago. Seems like a much cement dust has has blown over our lives since then. I used to help find property for some business associates of my husband’s, mainly as a go between where there was the usual Anglo-Franco language barrier. It was an interesting experience, but certainly one I would not want to continue as part of my life here in France today. There were times when I felt my patience was exhausted and left me wondering why I bothered doing it, especially on hot, sunny days. Whilst there were those amongst their number who had thought the whole thing through, there were others who clearly had not. I thought they had lost sight of all practical consideration and in some severe cases, reality. I never felt that as a go between it was my role to offer opinion – the choice was ultimately to be theirs. It did however lead me after time to the theory that there existed somewhere, an archetypical house that all British people wanted. By and large, the British purchase in France seemed to have many common “must haves”. This is the list I have drawn up... 1. A big place – the bigger and draughtier the better , dodgy roof was good as well, as that allowed room for tenacious negotiation and of course lots of water leaks into bedrooms, thereby giving the place the “Year in Provence” feel and vibe. 2. Outbuildings to convert into various projects – animal sanctuaries, retreats, meditation centres, gites, games rooms, guest quarters, work areas, and occasionally dance or art studios. (oh yes!) 3. Land – lots of it – generally to gaze at with no particular use other than for it to cause a constant headache as to how to cut the grass. 4. A place on its own with no neighbours – A bit like Napoleon had on Elba or St Helena. Nothing as far as the eye can see with no facilities and limited access was high up there on the wants list. Happy days if it was in a natural conservation area or within sight of one of the many “Monuments de la France”. This helped to manacle every attempt at renovation , but made great dinner party conversation . 5. Old. old, old, country, country, country. – You get my drift here. 6. NEVER , EVER, located on a road. Perish the thought.

Our first property we bought here saw us trekking a few kilometres down the lane away from the house. (it’s not far, claimed the owner!) to view a sprawling plot with extremely bad drainage, no access for vehicles of any kind and thistles that were, lets say well established. Sort of sunflower sized. We were horrified as the property itself stood on an overly large piece of land with a small overgrown wood – in short there was a hell of a lot of work there, which clearly wasn’t getting done by the present incumbents. At the time I had the particular problem of not having my husband here during the week. (This is still the case). It made me quickly realise that I was going to have to organise the renovation of a home and look after what amounted to a small-holding sized piece of property. That notion came at a price. We had to pay to get it maintained. It took me little time to reassess our needs. We needed to have a place that had the elements of French country charm, without the hassle. For that reason we chose a maison bourgeoise that was located in the heart of the same village. We have land, about 5 acres, which runs alongside our mature walled gardens – It is flat and manageable, and maintained by our farming neighbour for hay production. We are on a small road, with virtually no traffic, but discreetly recessed from this with a small front garden and huge gates. Lots of twirly things going on and they really clang shut with attitude. Our gardens are to the side and at the back of the house – both well hidden, flat, easily tended and laid mainly to lawns. We have some handsome out-buildings in the form of a small stable block at the end of the garden and an impressive coach house that straddles the front boundary along with the main house. The buildings are all sound and dry, with good roofing. Doubtless we will concoct a “project” for one or two of them. I am seriously thinking of a sound proofed padded cell – cum – flat for my teenage daughter and her noisy friends. The house needs re-decorating, and a wiring upgrade, and is centrally heated. A home from home comfort that should never be underestimated. I know it’s easy to get on your high horse about these things. Many people do have a second move in France once they have fallen into some of the traps I have outlined here. We did. So do yourself a favour when property hunting. Run your eye over this article once or twice, ask your friends who have bought here, keep a sense of proportion on the whole thing, choose wisely, and enjoy! To read culinary musings by Helen, visit:

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French Adventures... When our daughter was about 9 months old, both our families, nine of us in total, stayed in a beautiful ‘cottage’, in Pickering in North Yorkshire. It accommodated nine of us with room to spare, it was surrounded by fields, had a large garden and was very picturesque. I had this mad idea that I wanted life to be like that permanently but because property prices were very high at the time this wasn’t an option in England so we started to look further afield, we asked both sets of parents if they would like to come too and we were delighted when mine said yes.

catalogue and an invitation. I have since found that being a trader is a great way to meet new friends!

After a lot of internet property searching and overseas trips we settled on France and started the mammoth task of preparing for our adventure abroad. We sold our house and all our furniture, took French lessons, started saving and told all our family and friends, some who thought we were completely mad, but others who slightly envied our choice, if only they had been brave enough!

I also try to help local charities and one of them is ‘Les Pattes de Velours’ which do great work sterilizing the local cat population. Last year I held a ‘Butterfly Tea Party’ in the garden and raised over one hundred and fifty Euros for the charity. We are hoping it will be even better this year with art, jewellery, photography, reiki, a raffle and tombola as well as the new and exciting products from Phoenix and the Christmas card range. The date for this year’s event is Saturday 10th September, 2.30-4.30pm, so please come along and support this very deserving charity, in the garden, La Bodiniere, 79320, Moncoutant.

In April 2007, four adults, one child, two cats and two dogs and all the belongings we could fit in one van, while the rest had to be left behind, arrived in France. A lovely large rented house awaited us and we sat in the garden with a local wine and wondered what had taken us so long.

I love that my Phoenix business is so flexible, I can fit it in around my family and when we had another addition, our son Luc, I could put things on hold and pick up again when I was ready. Phoenix give us so much help and support and brilliant products that sell themselves, every three months new products are launched and I am amazed at what great ideas the artists come up with!

After a few months of property searching we found the ‘ideal’ house – two houses in fact with lots of ‘potential’. I cringe when I hear that word now, but at least they were habitable and in August 2007 we moved in.

The gite was renovated first and opened in July 2008, and although it has been hard in the current economic climate, this year has seen a boost with ‘returning’ customers and 13 weeks of bookings. However, because the gite is seasonal I started to look at other options of earning an income in France, but with only my school girl French to hand the chances of employment looked pretty slim.

My Phoenix business has been very busy, particularly over the last six months where I have been more focused on developing and supporting my team. I now have three traders, who are lovely and have given me more enthusiasm to sponsor. Phoenix is an international business now and we can recruit traders in the UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. I am part of a great team in France and we have regular training meetings, I was also recently asked to give a talk at one of the company meetings, which was very nerve-wracking but a great adrenalin rush.

On one of our days out at a local market I met a Phoenix Distributor selling amazing cards and gifts. My Mum and I were very impressed with the quality and price, especially as we had found the cards in France very disappointing and expensive, not at all what we were used to! She was also looking to recruit other agents, this is done under the VDI – Vendeur à Domicile Indépendant regime and is an easier way to start a business from home in France. After a couple of meetings with Elaine I decided to become a trader in May 2008.

Many people ask me whether we would go back to the UK with so many families relocating back across the channel. Although not easy in France, the lifestyle, the weather (normally!) the fact that both our children will be bilingual and the outside space we have for them, far outweigh the disadvantages we face, the main one for me that I miss family and friends very much. However we now feel that we are finally being accepted in to the local community and France is now our home.

I was so excited when my business kit and stock arrived and I couldn’t wait to start so I first held an ‘Open House’. We hadn’t been in France long enough to have a large circle of friends and contacts but I invited all my French neighbours, who are now regular customers and I went to an English night at a local bar and gave everyone a

If anyone would like further information on the Phoenix range, including Christmas cards, or becoming a trader please contact me on 05 49 65 04 09 or email: or see my advert on page 23. page 19


Getting Out & About... A French icon!

by Helen Tait-Wright Recently when I booked house sitters and introduced them to our four wheeled family, they said “but you live in France - surely there is a deux chevaux somewhere?” There isn’t, at least not in our garage, but it got me thinking about this iconic French car. My only first hand experience of a 2CV was when I was a student and my friend Rosie had a blue 1970’s model called “Mad Dog”. The car designed to mobilise rural France was the perfect student car, and at the weekends we opened the flap up windows and roll back roof and headed off into the Peak District! The 2CV was born as a result of a survey in the 1930’s showing that France had a large rural population who could not afford a car. Citroën used these results to prepare a design brief for a low-priced, rugged "umbrella on four wheels" that would enable two peasants to drive 100kg (220lb) of farm goods to market at 60 km/ h (37 mph), in clogs, and across muddy unpaved roads if necessary. The car would use no more than 3 litres of petrol to travel 100km (78 miles). Most famously, it would be able to drive across a ploughed field without breaking the eggs it was carrying! As a result of the war, the actual car wasn’t unveiled until October 1948. Citroën were flooded with orders, and it had a great impact on the low-income segment of the French population. Within months, there was a three-year waiting list, which soon increased to five years. The name of the car refers not to the horsepower of the engine, but to its puissance fiscale, which determines its taxable value. Production continued until 1990. Well, “Mad Dog” is long gone, but the popularity of the 2CV lives on. Despite the special skills needed to drive one so that it doesn’t lose momentum once you have built up any sort of speed, there is a race series in the UK and if you are already an enthusiast and need some extra mechanical knowledge, you can go on a 2CV technical break just south of Cognac:

New Norton motorcycle arrives in France.

by Roger Meek Norton motorcycles have a long (and turbulent) history since beginning motorcycle production in 1902. Beginning in the 1950`s there has been a series of changes in ownership until in 2008 UK businessman Stuart Garner obtained the rights to the Norton brand after a period of foreign ownership. A new factory has now been constructed for motorcycle production ( at Donnington Park in England where the new Norton 961SE is produced in several forms. The first of these new models to be sold in France was to Joel Painot from Lucon (Vendée) who took delivery of the rather splendid looking 961SE Commando from the Paris concessionaire Paradise Moto ( at the end of July. Along with other French and English motorcycle enthusiasts I went to see the bike and all present were impressed by the build quality. The 961SE Commando is the top of the range model that in common with the other versions has a twin cylinder 961cc fuel injected engine, similar in appearance to the original Norton Commando, driven through a 5-speed gearbox. The cycle parts are about the best available, for instance, Ohlin front forks, Brembo brakes and carbon fibre wheels. The machine is pictured with ex-Manchester police motorcyclist Jack Hailwood aboard, now resident in the Vendée. Having ridden Police Norton’s in the 1960`s during his time in the road traffic department the brand has always been a favourite. The new bike has not altered his opinion - although his days of high-speed police pursuits are now over! Norton has in recent years undergone several changes of ownership, let’s hope this is the final one for this iconic British motorcycle and wish them the best of luck with their new superb products.

Photographs: (Right) Jack Hailwood trying out the new Norton 916SE for size.

Long live the tin snail, France wouldn’t be the same without her!

(Above) Jack Hailwood In former times on board his Police Norton 650 Dominator SS (left). Pictured alongside his colleague Ted Booth on a BSA 650 Golden Flash, the photograph was taken in 1963 at a Manchester service station - apparently a regular tea stop!

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


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A good day had by all... Sunday 24th July was the day of the 3rd annual ‘fun day’ at Beauregard in Asnois (dept 86). This horse and dog show started early for organisers and horses and the weather was just perfect. This year saw an even better crowd than previous years. Horses and riders impeccably turned out, it was obvious the amount of effort that had been put into their presentation. There were some new classes added this time around, show hunter, miniatures and driving. The judges certainly had their work cut out in trying to decide on a winner for each class, not an enviable task. A short break for lunch brought out picnics and long queues to the burger and tea stalls and all were able to enjoy the many different country craft stalls that were set up around the field selling their wares. A tree surgeon attracted a big audience carving a tree trunk with a chain saw into different objects whilst a saddler provided a demonstration on fitting a saddle and any on-the-spot repairs. After lunch the dog classes began. An amazing turnout of every shape and size of dog you can imagine, including a puppy class to cause lots of oohs and aahs and much amusement!

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All good pony shows should finish with the fancy dress event and this fun day was no exception. The long-suffering ponies enjoyed the fun, dressed up with beaming proud children on board in colourful outfits. Each year the costumes get more and more elaborate, mums must work from the end of one show to the next and judging them is very difficult. The winner this year being the sunflower and bumble bee combination – most impressive! A good day was had by all and we look forward to seeing you all again next year for the 4th annual Beauregard fun day. For enquiries of future events please contact Jacki at or telephone 05 49 87 05 59

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Deux Sèvres Monthly? But what exactly is Deux Sèvres? Or local government and administration in by Sue Burgess France? Over the next few issues, The Deux-Sèvres Monthly will be taking a visit to many of the different towns and communes of the Deux-Sèvres area, looking at their history and discovering local monuments and points of interest. But first, what exactly is ‘Deux-Sèvres’? And how does local government work? Before the revolution of 1789, France was divided into Provinces. The département (county) was created on the 4th March 1790 out of the Province of Poitou and some communes of l'Angoumois and Anjou. The objective of creating départements was to unify the different local languages and provide a national identity whilst modernising the map of France. There are 101 départements (even though the numbering of the départements stops at 95). These départements are grouped together in 27 regions, including 5 overseas regions. The regions were created in 1982 to coordinate the decentralisation of different government services. Each region is made up of several départements. The département of Deux-Sèvres is part of the Poitou Charentes region along with Vienne (86), Charente (16) and Charente Maritime (17). The name Deux-Sèvres comes from the two rivers, the Sèvre Nantaise, a tributary of the river Loire, and the coastal river the Sèvre Niortaise which flows into the sea at Aiguillon Bay. A département is probably the French equivalent of a county. The Préfet, a function created by Napoleon in 1800, is at the head of policing and public order in a département. A département is governed by the Conseil Général, (Council) whose members, (un conseiller général) are elected for 6 years during ‘élections cantonales’. All the members are not elected at the same time. Half of them are elected every three years by direct universal suffrage. The constituencies for the election of the conseil général are called cantons and are usually made up of several small towns and/ or villages grouped together. Some of the things the general council is responsible for can be divided into 4 broad domains : Health & Social services (children, old and disabled people, council housing, help for job seekers and social outcasts), the environment and county planning (D roads, public and school transport, parks, lakes), Education, Culture & Heritage (11- 15 secondary schools, arts, libraries) and Economy. The differences between the powers and responsibilities of the Conseil Département and the Conseil Régional are not always clear cut and many French citizens do not clearly understand all the ins and outs of local administration.

Please return next month to see Part 1 of ‘A to Z of the Communes of the Deux Sèvres’.

Chizé, March 1373 – A Great Party but a By Peter Hoskins Battle Lost It was March 1373. After the great success of the English at the battle of Poitiers in 1356, large tracts of France had been ceded to Edward III. But now war was again sweeping across English held France as the French slowly but surely recaptured castles and towns from the English. At the head of the French armies in Poitou was Bertrand du Guesclin, still a familiar name on street signs in the region. News reached the English garrison at Niort that the castle at Chizé, about 20 miles south of Niort, was under siege by du Guesclin and his men. This was the chance that Jean d’Évreux, a commander on the English side, had been waiting for. He set out from Niort with reinforcements with the intention of lifting the siege. He also hoped to catch du Guesclin off guard and separated from most of the French army. If du Guesclin could be defeated then the rest of the French forces would probably disperse. However, du Guesclin was a wily commander. Even in the Middle Ages the English had a reputation for being fond of a drink, and he turned this to his advantage. He placed two carts of wine a couple of miles from the French camp on the road from Niort. As he hoped, the English reinforcements found the carts, broke open the wine and settled down to enjoy drinking the fine wines of Château Montreuil-Bellay (in current day Maine-etLoire). Meanwhile du Guesclin gathered his men. In the ensuing battle he thoroughly defeated the English. Unfortunately, this was not the end of English misfortune due to the revelries of the troops. Later in the day du Guesclin sent two hundred of his men to Niort, dressed in tabards taken from those killed and captured at Chizé. The troops were taken to be English by the inhabitants of Niort, since the tabards bore the cross of St George, and they were allowed to enter through the open gates. Once inside they discarded their tabards and proclaimed the news of the English defeat at Chizé. The inhabitants, seeing the way the wind was blowing, surrendered the town to du Guesclin. Niort was once more back in French hands, and the border of English Aquitaine had been pushed further back towards Bordeaux. Peter Hoskins is the author of ‘In the Steps of the Black Prince, the Road to Poitiers 1355-1356’. Copies of his book can be purchased from Amazon or with an author’s discount directly from Peter at page 25


Communications... How to speed up your PC – Part 1 A computer is a precision instrument, and needs to be maintained to keep it performing well. Over time and use it will need a service, think of it like your car, if you do not service it, things will break down. If you do not periodically, check the points, change the plugs and the oil and filter, sludge will build up and cause problems. The same is true of your PC, whilst surfing the web, creating and amending documents, copying files such as pictures, music and movies, temporary files build up, you will inevitably save documents and create shortcut icons on your desktop. All of these processes along with windows updates etc. will eventually reduce the speed of your PC. Preventative maintenance will address many of these problems and help keep the performance of your PC at its optimum. The Windows operating system provides you with most of the tools necessary to resolve these problems, and using common sense and caution you can keep your PC in tip top condition. Before we explore the use of some of these tools, you need to make sure that your hardware is up to the job - after all things change very rapidly in information technology! What was fast three years ago is not necessarily so today, the new programs require more resources than in the past and if you do not keep pace with these things, you will find your PC slowing down and frustrating you each time you use it. Over the next few months I will provide you with tips on how to maintain your PC and keep it running as though it were new. Let us start by making sure you have the right hardware to support the version of Windows and the programs you use. Windows XP – Microsoft will support this operating system until April 2014, not bad since its launch in 2001!

However, what was a brilliant fast operating system in 2001, is struggling with modern software and hardware. I would recommend that if you have a Pentium 4 processor or Celeron M or equivalent you should have a minimum of 1GB of RAM, ideally 2GB or more if your system will support it. It will work on less but will be very slow. For your Hard Disk Drive (storage) you should be on a minimum 100 GB, more if you store lots of Photos and Music or Videos. Windows Vista – Launched by Microsoft in January 2007. Mainstream support is due to end in April 2012 for Home Basic, Home Basic N and Home Premium; the business versions will enjoy a further 5 years of Extended support. Really anything less than a dual core processor and 3 to 4 GB of Ram and you will find the system slow and quite unresponsive as Vista is very resource hungry. Once again think in terms of 200GB or more for the hard disk drive for smooth operation, more if you store lots of Photos and Music or Videos. This specification is also the minimum requirements for running Windows 7. If you find your PC falls short of these you should look to upgrade the RAM as a priority. This will make your system much more useable. Many PCs were sold with 2GB of RAM when Vista was launched, and if you had a slower dual core or a single core processor, this has been found to be quite inadequate and will become more so as the newer web browsers and other software evolve. Next Month, Creating a Restore Point and how to clean up your desktop. Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing. He operates from his home on the Deux-Sèvres/Vendée border adjacent L’Absie. (See advert below for more information).

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Building & Renovation... Here is the first of the ‘Top Tips’ by Artisans/ Tradesmen.....thank you to French registered Electrician Dave Bowring for this useful information.... What to do if your electrics trip out!

Your electrics can trip out for a number of reasons. Firstly you can blow a fuse or trip a disjoncteur (MCB or  trip switch) if you overload that particular circuit by switching on too many heavy consumption appliances at the same time. In this situation you will only loose power to that particular circuit. Generally this is easily resolved by reducing the amount of appliances used  and then replacing the fuse or switching back on the disjoncteur. If it continues to blow fuses or trip when nothing is plugged in or switched on, you have a fault with that circuit and should call an expert to rectify it. 

Turn off that circuit, switch the différentiel back on and continue doing the same with the other circuits until you are finished. Once you have found the offending circuit you will still need a qualified person to find and correct the problem but at least you can get some or most of your power back on reasonably quickly. Please remember though, electricity is dangerous and can be deadly. If you are unsure, call somebody qualified to deal with your problem. Dave Bowring, Diplome Français d'Électricien.

If you arrive at a situation where a number of circuits or even all of your house has lost power, there is a good chance that one of the interrupteur différentiels (RCCB, residual current operated circuit breaker) has tripped out. These are the switches that are twice as wide as a fuse holder or a disjoncteur and have a "test" button on them; and their job is to protect people by detecting potentially dangerous earth leakage faults. These devices should be checked every month by pressing the test button and tripping them deliberately. If it doesn't trip, it needs replacing. When you look at your distribution board and see that one of these switches has tripped out, first of all try and switch it back on. If it won't stay on and keeps tripping out you need to find and isolate the offending circuit. To do this, turn off all the disjoncteurs and/or pull out all the fuses which are being monitored by this device and then switch the interrupteur differenciel back on. Once this is back on you need to turn each circuit back on, one at a time, until you turn on a circuit that trips the différentiel again. This circuit is the one with the fault.

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

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~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 28


For a full list of advertising rates, please request an advertising pack or download from our website Charities and non-profit organisations advertise for free. page 29


Advertise online with ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ from just 5€ per month! Go to: to find out more. page 30


Business, Finance & Property... Proposed New Rules For UK Tax Residence

by David Franks, Chief Executive, Blevins Franks. The UK rules as to when you are tax resident in the UK or not if you live abroad (in this case in France) but spend time in, or have strong ties with, the UK are notoriously complex and have caught people out. There is currently no statutory definition of UK tax residence and though HM Revenue & Customs does a booklet on the subject (HMRC6, with the previous version called IR20), it is only guidance and not law. The situation will improve next year as the Treasury has now issued a consultation paper outlining its proposals to redefine UK residence with effect from 6th April 2012. Under the proposals there are different rules for “Leavers”, “Arrivers” and those “working full time abroad”, so you would need to follow the rules for your specific situation.

Otherwise, to determine your tax residence you need to look at the number of days you spend in the UK and how many of the set “Connecting Factors” outlined in the proposals apply to you. These UK residence rules do not override the UK’s double tax treaty with France, so if you are also resident here the terms of the treaty need to be reviewed to establish where you are resident. The rules are all still proposals and so could change before coming into law. Note that this is just a very brief summary of a detailed consultation so you would need to seek personalised advice for your specific situation. To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website

Using the Leaver rules, if you spend less than 10 days a year in the UK you can never be UK tax resident under any circumstances. On the other hand, you would definitely be UK resident if you spend more than 10 days a year there and your “only home” is in the UK, or if you spend over 183 days a year there.

France Telecom English Customer Services:- 09 69 36 39 00

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EDF (Electricity Provider) English Helpline: 05 62 16 49 08 or 08 10 12 61

~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 31


Wealth Tax reforms

by David Hardy With perhaps one eye on next year’s presidential election, President Sarkozy announced several months ago that the government would carry out a review of the way that capital is taxed and, in particular, how Wealth Tax (“Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune) was to be levied. On 29th July this year, and after much discussion, the ‘Loi de Finances Rectificative pour 2011’ finally became law. As well as reforming Wealth Tax, the legislation covers other changes to personal taxation and in next month’s issue we shall look at how these have been affected. Wealth Tax The government believes that by undertaking these new measures, 300,000 households will no longer have a wealth tax liability. At the same time, they have also sought to simplify how the tax is calculated and declared. So what are the changes being introduced by the new law? Well, here are the answers to some commonly asked questions: Q: Under the old system you only had to have €800,000 of taxable assets to be taxable. What is the threshold now? A: Only households with taxable assets worth over €1,300,000 are now subject to wealth tax. Q: What will be the new tax rates? A: From 2012, there will now only be two tax rates; 0.25% on taxable assets up to €3,000,000 and 0.5% for assets worth over that. These new rates will apply to total assets, however, and there will no longer be a ‘nil rate band’. However, to avoid an increase in tax for those whose assets are just above the thresholds, there will be discounts. For 2011, assets above €1,300,000 will be taxed in accordance with the existing system, meaning that the first €800,000 will be in the nil rate band and the rest will be taxed according to the existing bands and tax rates. Q: For those still liable to Wealth Tax when is the payment deadline, previously 15th June? A: As an interim measure for 2011, the deadline for declaration is 30th September. From next year, however, the declaration process will change. Anyone with assets of less than €3,000,000 will now declare their assets for wealth tax on their income tax return. Only those with more than €3,000,000 of taxable assets will continue to make a separate wealth tax return. Q: Are there any reductions available from the tax bill? A: There are reductions from the wealth tax bill for dependent children, including adult children in full time education, of €300 per child (up from €150). Q: Has anything be done to the “Bouclier Fiscal”? A: The “Bouclier Fiscal” (or ‘Tax Shield’), which limits total taxation, will be abolished in 2012. There is good news, however, for those new French residents with assets over the new threshold, as they can benefit from a temporary exemption, whereby assets held outside France do not have to be declared for the first five years of residency. David Hardy, Siddalls France,

Don’t forget to mention ‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’ when responding to an advert! ~ The Deux-Sèvres Monthly ~ Sarah Berry, La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 page 32


Open your heart, open your house

One of the greatest pleasures in life is to welcome friends and make them feel at home, sharing with them the things you like. If this is you, why not try what you had been dreaming about for years. Start a Bed and Breakfast by releasing your spare rooms or convert your outbuilding into a snug town or country gîte. Welcoming guests, enjoying their company whilst topping up your income, is much easier than you could have imagined.

By joining Clévacances you will be part of a united and friendly group of French and English property owners who are only too happy to refer extra enquiries to others. All members are invited to the A.G.M and to an annual Discovery Day, which includes lunch and visits to different areas, to broaden everyone’s knowledge of the tourist opportunities in the Deux-Sévres.

The English enthusiasm for the French way of life makes us ideal ambassadors to foreign and French tourists seeking to discover the attractions of the region and to savour local specialities. Clévacances, the second national label recognised by the French Ministry of Tourism can be of enormous help to you. Founded in 1995 and serving 83 “Départements” it was created to register owners of quality accommodation. Holidaymakers trust the high selection process reviewable every 3 years, as well as the criteria. This evaluates the interior comfort, the location and the welcome given by the owners. The annual membership fee provides marketing support, standard contracts, fiscal, legal information and the quarterly Infoclés newsletter. Clévacances works closely with the Départemental Tourist Board which distributes their annual property guide to all its tourism offices and at trade shows. Each property is featured on the 2 National and Regional Clévacances websites which are user-friendly and allow you to quickly update your bookings and pictures. Clévacances can also create your personal website at a special rate, which allows you to show more images of your property and explain the activities taking place in your area.

A Bed and Breakfast in Coulon in the Marais Poitevin

Anthony Kusmirek Deputy President of Tel: 0549 76 75 45

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Peter’s Review

by Peter Elias. The recent rioting in England makes you take a step back and appreciate just how lucky we are here living in France. The images of youths ransacking shops for goods has not been a great advert for the UK, especially with next year being Olympic year.

imagined), that the vendors are really desperate to sell. Also, many vendors try to sell privately, placing internet adverts, undermining the work done for them by their agents. When we analyse our vendors’ sales, we find that very few actually sell via a private advertisement, and most wish they had never tried, as they get inundated with stupid questions from time wasters, and then waste an awful lot of time on viewings, from ‘window shoppers’.

It is very easy to think that the grass is greener here, but you just cannot imagine French parents allowing their children on to the streets like that, they seem to have much higher values and respect for individuals. That is probably the biggest problem back in England, the kids don’t respect themselves, so they surely won’t respect other people or their property.

A good agent will market the property in different places, and today you need to appeal to the UK, French and International markets. If you are trying to sell, do you know where your agent has your property advertised, or is it just in their window and on their website?

I was sad to see that the ‘French Paper’ has ceased to exist, at least for the moment. It is great that entrepreneurs such as Sarah Berry start magazines such as this one. Until you have run a business in France, you cannot believe the amount of costs that you run into and the administrative/bureaucratic problems that you face. President Sarkozy has tried to simplify matters for business people, but an awful lot more needs to be done in order to help enterprise succeed.

Peter Elias (Agent Commercial) email: Tel: 05 49 27 01 22

The charges (cotisations) faced by an individual or a business are crippling, especially early on when you are trying to get established. So do please support properly registered business people, and think twice before paying anyone for something on the ‘black’. Turning now to the housing market - As we progress through the 2nd half of this year, we are going to be reviewing with our vendors the marketing strategy for their houses as we move towards Autumn. Some vendors will need to rethink their pricing, especially if they are really keen to sell. We will provide them with alternative plans to try to secure a sale. Often, houses are on with too many Agencies, giving the signs, (real or

se sale here... Advertise your private hou Fro m 10€ per month

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The Deux-Sèvres Monthly - September 2011  

English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrouding areas of France.

The Deux-Sèvres Monthly - September 2011  

English language magazine for the Deux-Sèvres and surrouding areas of France.