THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
to Issue 7 of ‘The Vendée Monthly’ magazine! With the harvest well under way as I write this, the orchards are buzzing with workers carefully picking and packing the fruit for deliveries. With the harvest seem to come the rains and cooler weather. For me, this time of year is a reminder that another busy summer has passed and quieter, more relaxing times lay ahead. I’m certainly looking forward to recharging the batteries! I hope you enjoy a restful November and I’ll be back again next month with something a little twinkly for the Christmas edition.
à plus, Sarah.
Email: email@example.com or Tel: 05 49 70 26 21. website: www.thevendeemonthly.fr
Contents... What’s On..........................................................................4 Getting Out & About.........................................................6 Hobbies, Clubs & Associations..........................................11 Our Furry Friends.............................................................. 12 The Great Outdoors.......................................................... 13 Motoring........................................................................... 15 Spotlight On................................................................... 17 Take a Break...................................................................... 19 French Life, Food & Drink.............................................. 20 French Adventures........................................................... 23 Communications.............................................................. 24 Building & Renovation...................................................... 26 Business, Finance & Property........................................... 28
This Month’s Advertisers... Affordable UK Design...........................................................................................2 ARB French Property............................................................................................29 Bill McEvoy (Plumber / Heating Engineer).......................................................... 26 Cafe Cour du Miracle........................................................................................... 21 Chris Bassett Construction.................................................................................. 26 Concept Construction......................................................................................... 26 Corbin Electrical................................................................................................... 27 Currencies Direct (Money Transfers)................................................................... 28 David Watkins (Chimney Sweep)......................................................................... 26 Edward Lizard (Wooden Sculpture and Furniture)............................................. 7 Elliott Gardening Services.................................................................................... 13 English Spoken..................................................................................................... 25 Evelyne Mallet (French Lessons & Translations)................................................. 8 Hippychick Ltd (Baby & Toddler products).......................................................... 6 Insink Plumbing................................................................................................... 26 Jon Crocker Photography..................................................................................... 13 Julie’s Cleaning Services.......................................................................................30 Karen Renel-‐King (Sworn Translation)................................................................. 8 Leggett Immobilier............................................................................................... 29 Le Pub des Halles................................................................................................. 21 Ma Maison Parfaite............................................................................................. 30 Marie Stuart Hotel............................................................................................... 21 Mark Sabestini Renovation & Construction........................................................ 26 ML Computers..................................................................................................... 25 Nathan Foster Building Services.......................................................................... 26 Polar Express (Frozen Foods).............................................................................. 21 Rob Berry (Plasterer)........................................................................................... 27 Ross Hendry (Interface Consulting & Engineering)............................................. 24 Sarah Berry Online (Websites and Graphic Design)............................................ 25 Satellite TV (Nigel Gubb)......................................................................................25 Shaun O’Rourke (Garden Maintenance)............................................................. 13 Spectrum IFA Group (Amanda Johnson)............................................................. 29 Sue Burgess (French Courses & Translation)....................................................... 9 Val Assist (Translation Services)........................................................................... 8 Vendée Carriers................................................................................................... 15
Emergency Numbers: 15 SAMU, Medical 17 Gendarmes, Police 18 Pompiers, Fire
112 European emergency 113 Drugs and alcohol
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Tel: Email: Please make cheques payable to SARAH BERRY. © Sarah Berry 2013. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. While care is taken to ensure that articles and features are accurate, Sarah Berry accepts no liability for reader dissatisfaction. The opinions expressed and experiences shared are given by individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the publisher. Please ensure you verify that the company you are dealing with is a registered trading company in France and/or elsewhere. <<The Vendêe 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, Clkr et morgeufile.com. Impression: Raynaud Imprimeurs, zone industrielle, BP13, 79160, Coulonges-‐sur-‐l’Autize. Dépôt légal: novembre 2013 -‐ Tirage: 3500 exemplaires. Siret: 515 249 738 00011 ISSN: 2115-‐4848
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
What’s On... November 2013
What’s Coming Up...
7th December -‐ NALA Xmas Fair At the Château de Puybelliard, Puybelliard near Chantonnay. See back page for further information. 8th December -‐ Christmas Market at Salle des Fetes, Terves. More information can be found on P.5. 7/8th & 14/15th December -‐ Christmas Market at Chateau Tiffauges 50 craftsmen and artisans offer gift ideas in a magical Christmas atmosphere. Free entry. See: www.vendee.fr or call: 02 51 65 70 51
Monthly services in the English speaking Anglican Church in the Vendée: Puy de Serre All Saints, Vendée holds two services each month, on the 2nd and 4th Sundays at the church of St. Marthe, Puy de Serre, at 11.00am. After each service, tea and coffee is served in the parish room and everyone is invited to a ‘bring and share’ lunch. Other services are held in the west of the Vendée, in La Chapelle Achard and La Chapelle Palluau. For details of these, please check the website: www.allsaintsvendee.fr A VERY WARM WELCOME awaits you at ESCOVAL (The English Speaking Church of the Valley of the Loire). Communion Services are held on the 3rd Sunday of each month at La Chapelle de la Bonne Dame de Ranton at 11.30am followed by a Bring and Share lunch. Full details of how to find us can be found on our website at: www.escoval.org or please telephone us on: 05 49 66 79 14. Our GPS address is 46˚59'25.30 N 0˚02'06.22 W. You will be warmly welcomed at Joie de Vie Christian Fellowship in St Gilles Croix de Vie. We meet every Sunday in Espace Notre Dame, Rue Gautte, St Gilles. May to end of September, 6.00pm and October to end of March at 11.00am. We are an English Speaking Church, but welcome French speakers and hold occasional bi-‐lingual services. To find out more see our website www.joiedevie.org or contact Rev. Roger Fray on: 02 51 33 27 81. We look forward to meeting you.
Small B/W advert only 30€
Until 11th November -‐ Painting Exhibition Painting exhibition by René-‐Charles Keromnes. At Salle Marcel Baudouin, Place de la gare, 85800 St-‐Gilles-‐Coroix-‐de-‐Vie. Free entry. 3rd November -‐ Rendez-‐Vous Christian Fellowship Meeting at 11.00am in La Brionniere near St Pierre du Chemin. For details contact Chris Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or see www.therendezvous.fr 5th November -‐ Quiz Night At Le Pub des Halles, Sainte Hermine. Great fun evening, all levels welcome. Please see advert on P.21 for contact details. 6th November -‐ NALA Quiz At The Auberge, St Vincent Sterlange. 8.00 pm start. 9th-‐11th & 15th-‐17th November -‐ Sculpture & Art Exhibition Professional artists and members of the ‘Association Art Actuel Haigha’ show their pieces in an exhibition titled ‘Fulgurances’ at Tour Saint Nicolas, La Rochelle. 12th November -‐ Darts Night At Le Pub des Halles, Sainte Hermine. Please see advert on P.21 for contact details. 13th November -‐ Christian Fellowship Talk The Rendez-‐Vous Christian Fellowship will host a talk by Rev Paul Kenchington of The Filling Station at 7.00pm for refreshments for 7.30pm start at La Grange, Thouarsais Bouildroux. 16th November -‐ Christmas Market At Claranne’s Pantry, 85670 Saint Paul Mont Penit with over 20 stands offering Christmas gifts and foods. See advert on P.5. 17th November -‐ Rendez-‐Vous Christian Fellowship Meeting at 11am in La Brionniere, near St Pierre du Chemin. For details contact Chris Taylor 09 60 49 78 50 or see www.therendezvous.fr 17th November -‐ Christmas Market At Salle des Primevères, 85230 St Gervais. 9.00am -‐ 6.00pm. 19th November -‐ Quiz Night At Le Pub des Halles, Sainte Hermine. Great fun evening, all levels welcome. Please see advert on P.21 for contact details. 19th November -‐ Christmas Market At Hôpital de Challans, 85300. 1.30 pm -‐ 3.30 pm. 22nd & 23rd November -‐ Gymnastics Championships Gymnastics competition held over two days at Vendéspace, 85000 Mouilleron-‐the-‐Captive. For details please visit: www.vendee.fr or call 02 51 44 79 79 23rd November -‐ Christmas Market At Salle des Sports, 44650 Carcoué sur Logne. 1.00pm -‐ 6.00pm. 23rd November -‐ House Clearance Sale At Le Paliron, near Bazoges-‐en-‐Pareds. See advert opposite for details. 30th November -‐ Curry Night At Le Pub des Halles, Sainte Hermine. Please see advert on P.21 for contact details. 30th November -‐ Christmas Market At L’espace Prévoirie, 85300 Soullans. 10.00 am -‐ 8.00 pm. 30th November & 1st December -‐ Marché de Noël At Salle des Fetes, Fenioux. See advert on P.5.
If you have a date you would like included in next month’s “What’s On” listing, please email the details to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Holidays, Religious and Feast Days 2013 Friday 1st November......... All Saints Day (Toussaint) Monday 11th November... Armiskce Day (Armis.ce 1918) Wednesday 25th December. Christmas Day (Noël)
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Paperback Jan Books in English
1st Nov: Bar de la Paix, Thouars 79100. 12pm -‐ 2pm 3rd Nov: Café des Belles Fleurs, Fenioux 79160. 2pm -‐ 4pm 6th Nov: Café Cour de Miracle, Vouvant 85120. 2.30pm -‐ 4.30pm 7th Nov: Brasserie Vue du Chateau, Bressuire 79300. 11am -‐ 1pm 7th Nov: Bar le Palais, St Aubin le Cloud 79450. 2pm-‐5pm 8th Nov: Jan’s home, La Ferrière-‐en-‐Parthenay 79390. 11am -‐ 4pm 9th Nov: Cafe Le Chauray, St Maixent l’Ecole 79400. 10am -‐ 1pm 13th Nov: Les Jardins St Laurent, Parthenay 79200. 10.30am-‐12.30pm 13th Nov: Le Don Jon Bar, Moncontour 86330. 2pm -‐ 4pm 14th Nov: Pause! Cafe, L’Absie 79240. 2pm-‐ 5pm 27th Nov: Jan’s home, La Ferrière-‐en-‐Parthenay 79390. 1pm -‐ 6pm 28th Nov: Le Relais des Deux Moulins, Clessé 79350. 4pm -‐ 6pm 29th Nov: Le P’tit Bar Boucard, Ménigoute 79340. 4pm -‐ 6pm For more info contact Jan on: 06 08 30 73 29 or email: email@example.com
La Vendée Chippy Traditional Fish & Chips in France! • Wednesdays (November 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th) Bar ‘Auberge le St Vincent’, St Vincent Sterlanges • Thursdays - Bar ‘La Rando’, Mervent.
Returning in March 2014. Watch this space! • Fridays (November 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th ) Bar ‘Au Bon Coin’, Thoursais Bouildroux
For more info please visit website: www.lavendeechippy.com
Only 34 days until our ma) s!! NA(SLeeAba ckXpa ge
NALA Christmas Family Quiz The NALA Animal Association is holding its annual family Christmas quiz from November 6th to January 5th. For a donation of 5€ you have the chance of winning a 50€ Super U voucher. The quiz will be available at the NALA quiz nights at St Vincent Sterlange, at the Xmas Fair at Chateau Puybelliard on 7th December and Paperback Jan will make the quiz available at all her venues again this year. If you are unable to get along to the venues, you can send your 5€ donakon and a stamped addressed envelope to S.Marshall at 12 Rue du bourg Chasteigner, 85390 Cheﬀois, and a copy of the quiz will be sent out to you. The winner will be drawn from correct entries received and will be announced on the NALA website www.nosamislesanimaux.com by 11th January together with all the answers to the quiz. If no correct entries are received, the winner will be drawn from the highest scoring entries received. Hopefully you will ﬁnd the quiz both entertaining and intereskng.
Bonne Chance! Page 5
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Getting Out & About... The Terves Christmas Market Sunday 8th December 2013 organised by Aidez Association Supporting Local French Charities
The Aidez Association, Promising yet another spectacular event for all. With 34 Stalls, Keynotes booked to sing some of our favourite Christmas Carols and Father Christmas calling in at some point during the afternoon, this year it will be an event not to miss. This is our eighth year at Terves for which we are very grateful to the Mayor, Mr Dufes, who enjoys and supports our event each year. The hall is booked and confirmed for Sunday December 8th and this year we will again open the doors at 11h00 and close at 18h00. We only have a few spare tables left (thanks to all who pre-‐booked their tables at our Summer Market and also at the Christmas Market last December). If you have any queries or require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me. Once again, thank you all for your continued support, and we look forward to seeing you all again on Sunday December 8th. Lin Adams, President Association Aidez. Tel: 05 49 64 84 95. Email: Lin.firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTIONS... We are always looking for new contributions for consideration in future issues. Do you have an experience to share? Are you a tradesman with a Top Tip? Or perhaps an avid reader who would like to contribute a book review? Whatever it may be, either long or short, we would love to hear from you. Please call Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 with any ideas, or send them by email to: email@example.com
Launching the first in a series of Mind and Movement Yoga Retreats on November 8th -‐ 11th, Manoir du Moulin invite you to join them for a restorative, balancing and blissful weekend.
Situated in the heart of the Vendée region, Manoir du Moulin is a luxury, French, boutique Inn located 40 minutes from Nantes, La Rochelle and the beautiful west coast beaches. Lovingly restored in 2011 -‐ 2012, this 17th century Manoir House opened it’s doors for business this summer and has already secured the number one spot on Trip Advisor for the Loire Valley.
The Retreat Package includes: • 3 Nights Luxury Accommodation • 5 Yoga Classes • 2 Wellness Sessions • Law of Attraction Workshop and Conscious Language Workshop • Friday Evening Aperitif and Dinner • Daily Chef Prepared Breakfast, Brunch and Dinner • French Chef Cooking Experience Saturday & Sunday Nights • Daily Sightseeing Opportunities • Daily Body and Beauty Treatment Opportunities • Opportunity for One-‐on-‐One Sessions with Trainers • Airport Transfers to Manoir du Moulin For further details please visit the website: www.manoirdumoulin.com or contact Manoir du Moulin directly on 06 26 97 24 12.
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
EDWARD LIZARD works with wood. What kind of work?
Furniture (my style suits a farmhouse environment) and fine work e.g. jewellery boxes. My work often incorporates an element of sculpture which I see as enhancing the wood’s inherent beauty. This is why I do one-‐off commissions, not run a production line.
Is Edward Lizard really my name? No, it’s a ‘studio name’.
How long have I been doing this?
Since schooldays. After university the Scottish Development Agency, liking my work, gave me a workshop. I exhibited in the borders and got inspired by amazing work being done by other wood-‐butchers. When academic stuff took over I still found time to experiment with new ideas and sell pieces to friends or take on a commission. In the last decade I was invited to exhibit in galleries in North Norfolk.
I must apologise to our loyal supporters in the Vendée but our advertised play has had to be cancelled due to the illness of key actors. We do however intend to present a Christmas bonanza entitled “Christmas Cornucopia”, an abundant supply of different things all based around the theme of Christmas, which will include Christmas songs and carols by our Keynote singers and short sketches from our Reaction Theatre members. We haven’t forgotten you either because there will be lots of opportunity for you to join in and have a good old sing song. In addition to this merriment, included in the price, you will all be served with a glass of mulled wine and lots of Christmas fayre. This will all take place at the Petit Theatre in Secondigny on the 23rd November. You can come to either the matinee performance at 2pm or the evening performance starting at 7.30pm. Tickets may be booked via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Maureen Murdoch on 05 49 77 23 54.
Who are my heroes ?
In the furniture world, Tim Stead who was in the Scottish Borders. Artistically, I’ve been several times to Florence, Pisa and Vinci to worship the great Renaissance sculptors/artists. More modern, Brancusi, Picasso, the architecture of Antoni Gaudi. And many more.
November 9-‐11 and 15-‐17 at the TOUR ST NICOLAS, LA ROCHELLE. This is an exposition called ‘FULGURANCES’ (look it up in Larousse!) by ART ACTUEL HAIGHA (see Facebook by the same name). This is an association of sculptors and artists. Shortly after arriving in France I met, fortuitously, one of the founders; she liked my work (‘.... avec un grain de folie toute British’ ) and invited me to join the association and exhibit alongside the beautiful work of other artists. One of my pieces will be ‘chaise d’Alice dans le pays de merveilles’. See it above in the picture and in more detail on my website (see advertisement below).
The Keynotes singers have a number of bookings for December but more about that in the next edition of the Vendee Monthly. Having performed in October at the Combined Services Support Group Beer Fest we have now switched from rehearsing songs about drinking to songs about Christmas. At our last Friday singing group we had over 40 people present but we still have a little bit more space if you want to join us. The Art Scene Over the next few months and years for that matter, you will hear a great deal about the many events that will be held all over France to commemorate World War 1. Events will be held in Parthenay and all three of the groups of Reaction Theatre have been asked to participate in a number of events. 2014 will be focused on WW1 memorabilia and 2015 on the arts, which is when The Art Scene will be heavily involved. We have a good group of developing and experienced artists but would welcome any of you who would like to increase your skills with pencil or paint brush. Christmas is coming and if you need to fill someone’s stocking, what better way to do it than to give them one of our Reaction Theatre Alternative Calendar Girls calendar. A wonderful Christmas present for everyone and so easy to pack! The Calendars are still for sale at the following four venues and will remain so for the rest of the year: A La Bonne Vie at Le Beugnon, Cafe des Belles Fleurs at Fenioux, Pause! Cafe at L’Absie, Cafe Cour du Miracle at Vouvant. Or give me a call and I’ll arrange delivery. Remember ALL money received will go to Cancer Research organisa.ons in both Britain and France. Contact John Blair on 05 49 63 23 50 or by email: email@example.com
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Learn French with Evelyne A nos morts
by Evelyne Mallet
Le 1er novembre, c’est la Toussaint (1st November is All Saints’ Day). Now, I know that’s not a scoop. In France, it’s a bank holiday -‐ un jour férié. Personally, I’ve always found it odd that we should have a bank holiday for a religious celebration. I thought that since the Revolution (1789), the State and the Church were supposed to be separate. Still, a bank holiday is always welcome, whatever the reason. Le lendemain est ‘le jour des morts’ (the following day, based on demain = tomorrow, is what we call ‘the Day of the Dead’, or All Souls’ Day). If possible, we go to the cemetery and take flowers to our deceased relatives’ graves. The flowers we traditionally take are chrysanthemums; colourful flowers in full bloom at this time of the year. In France, les chrysanthèmes (m) are reserved to decorate graves. Do not go and offer chrysanthemums to your French neighbours and friends, no matter how beautiful the flowers. If the people are still alive, that’s a definite no-‐no. By the way, talking of dates; months and days don’t get a capital letter in French; they’re just not worth it. Besides, we say le 14 juillet, le 11 novembre -‐ not la -‐ because the word day is masculine (le jour). Also, we only use the ordinal for the first day of the month: le 1er novembre (= le premier). After that, we say le 2 (le deux) novembre, le 3 (le trois) etc...
Colour Advert Size A or B, only 38€ per month or from 33,33€ per month for 12 months.
Another occasion during this month to remember our dead is le 11 novembre -‐ another bank holiday in France. Most places, even small villages, have un monument (m) aux morts, which lists the names of the local people who died fighting for France in the two world conflicts. I discovered only this week that 30,000 of those monuments were built in just a couple of years following the end of the First World War (la Première Guerre mondiale (f)). Apparently, my country found it easier to focus on the dead, than to cope with the men who came back from the battlefields, injured and traumatised. On 11th November, in Paris, the French President will
place a wreath at the Clemenceau statue (symbol of the victory of the Great War -‐ la Grande Guerre) before going down the Champs Elysées escorted by the cavalry of the Republican Guards, and then placing another wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, under the Arc de Triomphe. Since 2011, when the last Great War veteran died, 11th November is when France pays tribute to all the French soldiers who died in combat. Locally, the mayors will also organise an official ceremony, by the monument aux morts. Since we’re on the subject of death (la mort, feminine word in French, but so are la naissance, birth, and la vie, life), here are a few expressions you might find useful when someone you know passes away: Toutes nos condoléances (f), Nous pensons bien à vous = thinking of you. Passez un bon mois de novembre et prenez soin de vous = take care. In loving memory of Pat
Contact Evelyne Mallet by Tel: 02 51 00 47 13 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THINKING ABOUT PLACING AN AD? For a full list of our advertising rates, please phone 05 49 70 26 21 or download our Advertising Pack from our website: www.thevendeemonthly.fr
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Did you know?... by Ian Wallace
November’s News When I was a lot younger and skiing in Austria I had one of those moments that has stayed with me forever -‐ I was walking through a graveyard in the town and looking at the strange and unfamiliar German gothic script on the various stones. On one of them was also a photo of a soldier in full uniform, young and smiling, but like millions of others across the world a victim of the war that swamped the world. I can't remember his name or exact age or the circumstances of his death, but what has stayed with me is the face -‐ a young and smiling man not much older than my own son. As we prepare for Remembrance Sunday and next year the centenary of the start of the First world war, it struck me that this young man was fundamentally the same as you and me -‐ meet him face to face, how would you have treated him? On Nov 11th at 11 o’clock the bells will sound out the hour, heads will bow with respect and two minutes later the last post will sound and we will remember and pray to never forget. The way to peace is in our individual actions, that is what we as christians are asked to do to everyone, no matter who they are or wherever they are, irrespective of their creed, colour, political persuasion or location. Each year on Armistice Day we remember the crew of a Halifax bomber, five of whom were killed when the aircraft was shot down following a raid on the German battleship Scharnhorst at La Pallice, the port of La Rochelle, in July 1941. Initially we visit the site of the crash in the commune of Angles near the village of Les Conches where the events leading to the crash are recounted and a cross placed on the memorial erected near the roadside. We then drive the few kilometres to the Cemetery at Angles where the five young airmen are buried in graves maintained by the War Graves Commission. Following a short service a two minutes silence is observed; and crosses and poppies are placed on the graves. Please join us if you can, or at our service on the Sunday -‐ full details are shown on our website www.allsaintsvendee.fr.
by Vanda Lawrence
This month we’re on a nautical theme. For example, ‘between the devil and the deep blue sea‘. These days we take this to mean being in a difficult situation, but do you know where the saying originates? Apparently in the 1800s sailing ships had a seam between the deck planking and the top plank of the ship’s side. This was called the ‘devil’. Obviously it was crucial that this seam was watertight and needed filling or caulking regularly, even when the ship was at sea. A sailor would need to be suspended over the ship’s side to do this -‐ quite a dangerous job you will agree, so you can see that he might be described as being between the ‘devil‘ and the deep blue sea. An early form of measuring a ship’s progress was by throwing a wooden board or ‘log’ overboard, with a rope attached. This rope was knotted at regular intervals and the knots would be counted as the ship moved away from the log and the time between knots was noted. These measurements were later entered into a book -‐ the ‘log-‐book‘. ‘Knot’ became used as a unit of speed at sea. Another long rope would have a heavy lead weight attached and this rope would be knotted every 6’. The lead weight was swung and thrown overboard and as it sank to the seabed the number of knots that disappeared would be counted to indicate how deep the sea was at that point. Very important if they were sailing uncharted waters, but some sailors felt it was an easy job and ‘swinging the lead‘ came to mean malingering and avoiding hard work, or even, in more modern parlance, to be feigning illness to avoid work. During the time of Nelson in the Royal Navy, in order to stop plates and dishes from sliding around on the tables in rough seas it was the practice to nail four pieces of wood to the benches in the shape of a square … hence ‘having a square meal‘. Casks and other heavy objects in the hold could also be a problem in rough seas. A ‘chock’ or wooden block would be used to wedge them in place and stop them moving around with the ship’s motion. When the hold was full and nothing more could be fitted in, it was said to be ‘chock-‐a-‐block‘.
More to follow next month...
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by Josie Bounds
Piet Mondrian 1872-1944 Kandinsky and Mondrian constantly sought motifs that could be translated into a metaphor of the spiritual. For example the use of the oval shaped compositional format owes much to the religious and symbolic influences of Eastern, Hindu theosophical imagery. You can see how Mondrian borrowed from the microcosmic imagery of ‘ The World Egg’ in his abstract painting Composition in Oval 1914.
developed his work encompassing the spiritual self-‐containment and introspection, to find a purer sense4. This purer sense can be seen in ‘Composition No 10, Pier and Ocean’ 1915, where you could argue Mondrian is searching for a vocabulary that could express such elements of duality. As early as 1914, Mondrian wrote ‘two roads lead to the spiritual, the road of doctrinal teaching and direct exercise, meditation and the road of evolution.’5 Mondrian’s approach to the spiritual in his art meant he used as little of reality as possible, for Mondrian’s reality was opposed to the spiritual. Since these forms were abstract to Mondrian, he found himself confronted by a spiritual art that could only be abstract.
Above: Piet Mondrian Composition No 10 1915
World Egg Hindu Mythology
Piet Mondrian Composition in Oval 1914
Not just the influence of Theosophy, but the growth of trade and the interchange of ideas and mingling of cultures brought about successive waves of immigrants within Europe. This influence of Eastern Theosophy can be described as ‘an early expression of what we now think of as global culture’1. Theosophy, which flourished as a cult during the late 19th century and early 20th century, may be described as a sort of Western Buddhism. ‘Its goal was transcendental knowledge, seeking to break down boundaries between all religions and to transform observation of the natural world into the inner eye’.2 Mondrian formulated his own attitude to life; he turned to outside intellectual stimulus for confirmation of what he already felt. The cosmology of Theosophy was what he had been looking for. In 1909 Mondrian wrote: ‘I try to attain an occult knowledge for myself in order to gain a better understanding of things’.3 The Theosophical teachings of Madame Blavatsky reinforced Mondrian’s belief that all life is directed towards evolution, and the goal of his art was to give expression to this principle. The use of the cross in Mondrian’s paintings was a constant symbol, which never lost its theosophical significance as an indicator of life. This can been seen in his later works, where Mondrian reduces the composition of his paintings to two lines, vertical and horizontal, which seem to float within the boundaries of the canvas. See Mondrian’s Composition with Two Lines 1931. Mondrian’s opinion was that one could obtain higher knowledge within visual reality, whilst maintaining his theosophical concepts of art and life. Mondrian
Mondrian’s sartorial path to enlightenment confronted him with the same dilemmas as Kandinsky, how to find in a secular world a convincing means of expressing religious experiences, other than the traditional themes of Christian Art. A key component for Kandinsky and Mondrian was the creation of a new visual language evoking a long lost world concerned with the transcendental values6. We can follow Kandinsky and Mondrian’s sartorial path through their theoretical background from Theosophy. The mandala may have given them both formal elements for example; a mandala is a magic circle, oval or square, an abstract pattern upon which the devotee, monk or yogi meditates. Such mandalas have always been used in the East and are evidence of the oriental antecedence of the theory that abstract patterns are charged with energy of spiritual forces. 1. Baas J (2005) Smile of the Buddha Eastern Philosophy and Western Art, From Monet to Today, University of California Press, U.S.A, p. 54.St. 2. Golding J (2000) Paths To The Absolute Mondrian, Malevich, Kandinsky, Pollock, Newman, Rothko and Still, Thames & Hudson, London, p. 15. 3. Holtzman H & James M. S (1987) (edited and translated by) The New Life, The New Art: The Collective writings of Piet Mondrian, London, p. 14. 4. Tuchman M (1986) The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890 – 1985, Abbeville press, New York. 5. Sephor, M (1952) “Magazine of art” Piet Mondrian: 1914-‐1918, p. 223. 6. Ibid
Find Josie Bounds at Le Studio, 79240 Le Busseau www.monpentcoeur.info
Are you a bit of a Bookworm? If you are an avid reader and would like to share your books with us -‐ we would love to publish your book reviews here. Please send to us by email: email@example.com or alternatively complete the ‘Written Contributions’ form on our website. www.thevendeemonthly.fr.
Above: Piet Mondrian Composition with Two Lines 1931
Reviews should ideally be 150-‐200 words long.
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Hobbies, Clubs & Associations... Cercle des Anglophiles et des Anglophones de la Cote de Lumière. Back in July 2001, a group of seven French people created the Cercle des Anglophiles et des Anglophones de la Côte de Lumière (CAACL). The President, married to an Englishman, together with a Swedish girl, also married to an Englishman, organised to the best of their capabilities, classes to help the French people in the area to speak English. The aim was ‘Spoken English’ only. Soon the group was joined by some British people wanting to improve their ‘spoken French’ and we became a bilingual association. The atmosphere is convivial and friendly, people learn what they feel will be useful to them and regularly meet on Wednesday afternoons in a room belonging to the Mairie du Fenouiller; they also make friends. We organise a Welcome buffet at the beginning of the school year, a dinner in January and end in June with a méchoui in the garden of the President. Through the years many British people have come to our Cercle, some moved back to the UK, some got interested in other things and we now feel we could do with some fresh British blood! Le Fenouiller is situated close to St Gilles Croix-‐de-‐Vie. People living in the area (or not minding to drive some distance) are most welcome. We work in very small groups, two of our girls look after the British class whilst another four are busy with the French members. For more info please call Raymonde Mc Kenna at 02 51 54 29 89
Association Le Pont à Sion Come along and share ideas (in either English or French) over a cup of tea in a warm & comfortable atmosphere. All welcome. At Salle communale, Place Gaston Pateau 85270 Sion-sur-lʼOcean, Thursdays 6pm to 8pm and Fridays 10am to 12noon. www.lepontasion.org Through the Lens Group Local photography group meets on the last Monday in each month to chat about all things photography! New members welcome. For further information contact: Ian Gawn: 02 51 00 84 52 or Brian Preece: 05 49 72 09 94
Anglo/French Social Club Every Tuesday evening/Chaque mardi soir 19h15 - 21h00 ~ Salle Polyvalente, 85370 Nalliers
Contact Karen Ross on 02 51 56 14 28 email: firstname.lastname@example.org I am a Jewish man with a non-‐Jewish wife from the UK looking for Jewish people of any nationality living in the area of La Chataignerie who would like to meet for tea and conversation. Please email: email@example.com
Association Welcome Vendée
A R E Y O U A M O D E L R A I L W A Y ENTHUSIAST? If so, join a group of likeminded modellers who meet on a monthly basis to visit members' layouts and swap information. We are based on the DeuxSevres/Vendee border but also have members in the Vienne and Charente. If you are interested please contact Gerry Riley for more information on 05 49 63 34 01.
Alone in France? We are a group of people living alone in the L'Absie area who meet regularly for coffee and lunches. We meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 11am for coffee at the Pause cafe in L'Absie. Our lunches are at different venues each month. There's a warm welcome if you'd like to join us. More details from Frank 05 49 69 80 47.
2nd Sunday Motorcycle Club www.2ndsundayclub.fr If you would like to attend our coffee mornings please contact us via the website........New members always welcome!
Vendee Women’s Fellowship Meetings held the third Thursday each month at ‘Le Mangoustan’ in Mervent. We share hobbies and interests and organise trips to places of interest, primarily offering friendship and support to English speaking ladies. Come and join us and you will be sure of a warm welcome. Contact: Carol 02 51 52 10 48 or Shirley 02 51 51 49 39
Based in Saint Christophe du Ligneron with events at various locations in North West Vendée. Meet and make friends and learn about each other’s language and customs in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Many activities planned for autumn, early winter and beyond. For more information telephone Maggie on 02 28 10 20 06, or email: welcome-‐firstname.lastname@example.org
Soirée Franglais -‐ at Le Pub Des Halles, St Hermine Every Monday from 7pm.
Learning another language is not always easy. So why not come along and participate in our evening dedicated to people wanting to learn and chat in English/French. All levels welcome. Call 02 51 30 23 95 for details. The Filling Station ~ Poitou-Charentes and Vendée The Filling Station is a network of local Christians of all denominations who meet together regularly for spiritual renewal & evangelism purposes. ALL WELCOME. Please see our website for details of meetings and spring programmes email@example.com or locally contact 05 49 87 18 58 or email:michael.willisfr.fr
If you have some time to spare and are interested to help us as a volunteer, please contact us for more information.
Cancer Support Vendée Helpline: 02 51 00 58 21 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Our Furry Friends... End of the Summertime Blues Much to our relief, after a dry period during the summer, adoptions are picking up again. It's the same every year... starting in June first we have the animals abandoned when their owners go on holiday, then there is a wave of kittens abandoned when their owner’s realise that they can't be given away. At the same time, no one wants to adopt as they're too busy with their summer holidays so all the associations become overwhelmed and have to turn people away. Associations for the protection of animals are an essential part of the French strategy for dealing with stray animals, as they are the only bodies allowed to put unclaimed stray animals up for adoption. If it wasn't for them, then the pounds (fourrières) would soon become and stay filled to capacity. However, the government does not fund associations. Essentially they are funded by donations (adoption fees barely cover the vets' bills). The government does make one concession in that it is possible for an association to be recognised as for the public good, in which case donations are tax deductible. We applied for such status a few months ago but haven't heard anything yet. Fingers crossed as it could make a big difference to our ability to help. The strategy for dealing with strays ultimately depends on people actually reporting strays. Recently there have been accusations that a company that provides services for handling strays for about 100 towns in the Vendée has been putting down animals illegally, especially in the fourrière of Luçon. As a result, we've had people contact us about a stray and when we've told them that it must go to a fourrière, they reply “No way”. Clearly this increases the risk to public safety from strays. Most of the animal protection associations in the Vendée including NALA are keeping a close eye on the situation and are carrying out actions to ensure that the authorities conduct a thorough investigation to reassure the public. On Saturday 12th October a silent march from the town pound to the town hall was held in Luçon in memory of all the animals put down in France. It also highlighted the fact that even after the Universal Declaration of Animal Rights was proclaimed in Paris in 1978, under French law, an animal is still treated as property rather than as a sentient being. About 50 people including 8 Nalians participated in this peaceful demonstration. The organisers had prepared some banners and we ended up carrying one which thanked the Mayor of Luçon for his support. This was very much appreciated by the deputy mayor who greeted us upon arrival at the town hall. However he was slightly surprised to find that the banner was being held by a couple of Brits. For more up to date news on the investigation and actions, look on our website: www.nosamislesanimaux.com.
As I mentioned earlier adoptions are picking up, but as I write we still have 21 cats/kittens left to be adopted. So here's a plug for Jess who should find a warm welcome in any Postman Pat fan's house. He's a friendly little chap who soon starts to purr when cuddled. If you're interested he can be seen in Cheffois, 85390. For more details contact: 06 52 60 08 84 (Nathalie, english speaking) or email: email@example.com.
Nos Amis Les Animaux 85480 (NALA 85480). Tel: 07 70 31 54 59 ~
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.nosamislesanimaux.com
AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION...Hunter
Of all the dogs you might think of adopting, have you ever thought of a GRIFFON? If not then perhaps we can persuade you, and there is no better dog to do it than HUNTER. HUNTER is 18 months old and as you can see from the photograph is a handsome young dog with unusual colouring and beautiful golden eyes. We know from French Social Services that he was removed from a home where he was being badly neglected and since his rescue he has been in one of our foster homes being assessed. The news is good; Hunter is a real sweetie with a calm temperament. House-‐trained and non-‐destructive, he was brought up with children and cats and has shown no aggression to other dogs. He is a very bright young dog and learns quickly, and is currently being taught how to walk properly on the lead. This is an affectionate, friendly soul mate that enjoys human company and affection and like all dogs, he needs a safe enclosed garden when he can run and play. Hunter is micro chipped (250268730026380), vaccinated (not Rabies) and neutered. There will be an adoption fee 100€ to cover veterinary costs and where possible Orfee will conduct a home visit prior to adoption. Having been lucky enough to own two rescue Griffons myself, I can vouch for their gentle, loving and loyal nature, and I hope if you are looking to adopt a new family member, that having read his story you will consider HUNTER, he is just waiting for your call. Please contact any of the Orfee Association volunteers now to find out how to adopt this super dog. If you think you have what it takes then please contact Orfee. English enquiries: Nicolette: email@example.com Mary on 05 49 50 69 41 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org French enquiries: Isabelle on 09 77 48 71 43 email: email@example.com. http://orfeeinenglish.canalblog.com
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
The Great Outdoors...
5th Anniversary of the
MARAISTHON Sunday 15th June, 2014 in Coulon (79510)
The village of Coulon is situated on the river Sèvre Niortaise, and is one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is at the heart of the Marais Poitevin (also known as Green Venice) and offers a mosaic of marshes, canals and meadows rich in wild life. In addition to this, in June 2014, Coulon will host the fifth ‘Maraisthon’ ecological event and invites you to take part. • The Marathon is approved by the ‘Regional FFA’. Each participant receives a free ride in a Punt, a free visit to the Marais Poitevin museum, an item from the Maraisthon line of clothing and a surprise ecological gift. • A 10 kilometer Run with an organic breakfast at the finishing line. Each participant receives a surprise ecological gift. • An 11 kilometer Guided Walk. To discover the local flora and fauna and planned meet-‐up along the way with the runners of the Marathon. Refreshments and stands (based on an ecological theme) will be found in an Exhibition Village near the river, with a display of electric vehicles, cars, vans and bicycles. The night before the marathon, an Organic Pasta Party will be held and shall include musical entertainment. As an anniversary to the fifth year of this event, 40 runners' entry numbers will be randomly drawn to win some exceptional gifts... Why not be a part of this event? Register now by visinng the website: www.maraisthon.fr
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Love Your Garden by Babs Kolthammer
The gardens are still full of wonderful autumn colour with asters, Japanese anemones fuchsias, phlox and echinacea still flowering, although these are valiant last attempts on the part of the plants! The feel and smell of the air is changing and contains that slightly damp, decaying leaf aroma that indicates that the outward signs of growth are coming to a subtle end. The temperatures are definitely cooler and I have my fleece at the ready! I have prepared all my half hardy fuchsias for their overwintering in the greenhouse, by weeding the pots, making sure all dead foliage is removed from surface of pots and there is no visible sign of fungal infection. I will reduce the stems by half just before I put them away and water the compost with vine weevil killer to protect them from damage by this pest. I will check during the following weeks and remove foliage that may have accumulated on the pots’ surfaces to ensure that grey mould doesn’t develop. It helps to keep the greenhouse ventilated on all but the coldest days. In my other ramshackle greenhouse I keep the cuttings I have already taken from the fuchsias, penstemons, phygelius, sage, and carnations and have split several hostas to increase my stock for next year and also to serve as ‘insurance’ against any winter losses. I sowed grass seed on bald patches of the ‘lawn’ in October and these have germinated well. I was recently chatting with a group of local Vendéen gardeners and it’s always great to exchange tips, ideas, cuttings and seeds and to learn from each other. Best of all I love the enthusiasm, knowledge and general love of gardening that exists amongst such a group. I really enjoyed those couple of hours! Even though the garden is slowing down, there’s still plenty to do! Now is the time to: Plant any daffodils/narcissus bulbs that have been overlooked or it will be a bit late for them to put on the growth and food production that they need to make good flowers. Continue to plant tulips. If you have prepared some potted bulbs for Christmas, now is the time to bring them into the light to encourage flowering. It’s the last opportunity to divide and replant perennials (such as phlox, asters, hostas) and grasses. Mulch the crowns to protect from severe frosts. Protect containers from freezing by standing pots on feet to encourage free drainage and wrap any precious ones in bubble wrap to prevent cracking. Mulch hosta plants in pots when all the foliage has been removed. Any mulch can be used, even small pebbles, it helps to deter snails and protects the developing shoots. Hostas are very hardy and don’t need to be brought inside during the winter. Clear borders, pots and hanging baskets of summer bedding, remembering to save geraniums which can be overwintered in a frost free, light spot (or take cuttings of them to regenerate your plants for next year. These cuttings can be taken in the usual way, but don’t dampen the compost too much as the hairs on the geranium leaves trap moisture very easily and this can lead to
mildew.) Replant pots and baskets with ivy, winter flowering pansies, violas, mini hebes, cyclamen and heathers to keep the winter colourful. Cut down annual climbers such as sweet peas and add the trimmings to the compost heap. Tuberous begonias can be overwintered by leaving to dry out in their pots. The foliage will die back and the stems dry and break away, leaving the ‘tuber’ in the compost. Don’t water and leave in the pot; If preferred, the tuber can be lifted and stored in a dry place until next spring. Plant fruit/nut trees such as apple, quince, hazel and redcurrant. Grapevines can be planted now, but leave pruning these until February/March. Winter prune existing fruit trees if not already done. Plant bare root roses, shrubs and deciduous trees. Soak all bare root plants in a bucket of water before planting. Apply grease bands to the trunks of fruit trees to deter codling moths. Rhubarb crowns can still be lifted and divided, discarding any brown or soggy central parts. Evergreen trees can dry out in dry windy weather, so will need watering especially if recently planted. Spray peach and nectarine trees with bordelaise mixture to prevent peach leaf curl (or try the egg shell in a net bag tied to the branches remedy!) Remove suckers from around the trunks and bases of trees. Check that tree ties are not too tight and that post supports are still firmly in the ground. Take root cuttings of oriental poppies, Japanese anemones, sea holly (eryngium) and acanthus. Just remove some earth from around the base of the parent plant, enough to expose the roots, select a ‘meaty’ portion about 7cms long and plant on the surface of compost. Cover with grit and water in. Garlic cloves and shallots can still be planted in beds or pots. Plant Amaryllis bulbs now to flower in late December or January. Place the bulb on the surface of potting compost and just lightly add compost around it, it doesn’t need to be buried; water and leave in a dry dark place and bring out into the light when the first leaf begins to show. The bulbs are available in the garden centres now. The flowers are very colourful and the size impressive! Spike lawns with a garden fork in areas where there is compaction or drainage is poor. Scatter sharp sand over these areas to further help drainage. Give lawn mowers a good clean and drain off the fuel tank..…perhaps a service would be a good idea?? Take hardwood cuttings from cornus, spirea and roses. Cut a piece of stem, about 20cms long, just below a leaf joint and push into a pot of compost. If preferred, you can dig a small trench and plant these cuttings directly outside. The cuttings need to be planted fairly deeply, covering the leaf joint………then forget them until the spring, when new leaf growth should be seen. Start thinking and planning what changes you’d like to make in the garden next year. Go online, research new plants and seeds, but whatever you do…enjoy your gardening! You can contact Babs by email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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Why are Ferraris Red? by Helen Tait-Wright
When you mention a Ferrari to most people, they will automatically envisage a red car, and to be fair, a high proportion of Ferraris sold are red. But why? Well, it all goes back to the early days of racing when cars from different countries raced in their national racing colour. It refers to the nationality of the competing team, not that of the car manufacturer or driver. It is thought that this originated at the turn of the 20th Century when national teams competed in the Gordon Bennett Cup, a trophy offered by Gordon Bennett Jnr, the millionaire owner of the New York Herald. The first of these races was in 1900 in France at the ‘Circuit de la Sarthe’, the circuit that we now know as Le Mans, and was won by the French. The French cars raced in blue, the colour commonly seen on early Bugattis, German cars in white, Italian cars were red, American cars were either white with a double blue lengthways stripe or vice versa and of course British cars were green. This identification method was recommended between the World Wars by the organisations that would later become the FIA. In the 1930s the Germans did not apply the paint to their cars, for reasons which are unclear and raced in bare metal, giving rise to the term “Silver Arrow”. These racing colours continued to be widely used up until the spring of 1968 when sponsorship was allowed on international race cars, but many manufacturers, like Ferrari, Aston Martin and Audi continue to use the traditional colours as a homage to their racing past, for both road and race cars.
Vehicle For Sale Adverts 15€ incl. photo
It is also interesting to note that in the early days of racing, Italy was represented by Alfa Romeo cars, and although the team was run by Mr Enzo Ferrari, it wasn’t until 1939 that Ferrari began building their own cars which raced in the traditional “Rosso Corsa”. Another interesting story is how the Ferrari emblem came to have a prancing stallion on it. On 17 June 1923, Enzo Ferrari won a race at the Savio track in Ravenna where he met the mother of Count Francesco Baracca, an ace of the Italian Air Force and hero of WW1, who used to paint a horse on the side of his planes. The Countess asked Enzo to use this horse on his cars, suggesting that it would bring him good luck. The original ‘prancing horse’ on Baracca's airplane was painted in red on a white cloud-‐like shape, but Ferrari chose to have the horse in black (as it had been painted as a sign of grief on Baracca's squadron planes after the pilot was killed in action) and he added a canary yellow background as this is the color of the city of Modena, his birthplace. ‘Giallo Modena’ (yellow) is therefore considered by some to be the official Ferrari colour.
If you were lucky enough to be able to pick the colour of your Ferrari, I wonder what colour you would choose??
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Keeping on the Right Side of the Road (and the Law) Jacqueline Davies, Property Finder for the Vendée, La Rochelle and Ile de Ré, was speaking with a senior French Police Officer recently who has had responsibility for French roads for over 30 years. Jacqueline writes: “Oh no what happened to that car?” cried my clients as we drove into Luçon this week. Directly ahead of us was a car which had extensive damage and had landed in the middle of the roundabout. I quickly reassured them that it had been deliberately placed there to highlight the dangers of driving at speed and under the influence of alcohol etc. Road safety is a key issue for Mr Valls the Minister of Interieur. As a result France has never seen better statistics with just 5.5 fatalities per 100,000 road users in the last year. Fixed radar cameras are now a regular feature of French roads and mobile radar units are frequently deployed. 400 extra radar cameras have been installed since the beginning of 2012, although the Government now says it will stop at this level. So if you are stopped what could the consequences be? I spoke to a French Traffic officer to find out what you can expect. “When a driver is stopped we ask for their driving licence, insurance papers and car ownership document (carte grise). If your car is French registered we will check the assurance on the windscreen is valid and that there is a contrôle technique if the car is more than 4 years old. Lights and tyres are checked next, along with security vests. Contrary to popular belief these only need to be accessible in front of the car and not on the back of seats. Age is also a factor for us. Children under 10 years old must be in the rear of the car and drivers must be over 18. Fines for non French nationals are due for immediate cash payment. Fines range from 45 to 1500 euros. We don't expect, or advise people to carry cash specifically for this. We would take people to withdraw funds if necessary. Lorry drivers can face higher fines for non compliant loads or entering a restricted zone”.
France medical assistance is frequently administered on site. If you break down or are involved in an accident put on your hazard lights and stand behind the safety barrier if possible. Wear your high visibility jackets, people can be killed by other vehicles if they are not clearly seen. The Police can arrange for your vehicle to be towed away, but unlike the UK this is at a set fee. British people have a good reputation for their driving and don't worry if your French is poor we will always find a way to communicate.” It's reassuring to know that driving on French roads is the safest it's ever been. So next time you see the Police stopping cars, or with a speed trap, remember they are there to make sure it stays that way. www.mamaisonparfaite.com A small selection of some of the road signs you will see:
So, when out and about on French roads do the Police have any advice to aid safe driving? “Speed limits are there for your safety as well as for the protection of pedestrians and other motorists. Remember in wet conditions or in poor visibility, the speed limit is reduced to 110 km on motorways and 80km where it would normally be 90 km. Headlamps need to be switched on to improve your visibility to other vehicles. When you go past a village or town name the speed limit immediately reduces to 50 km, unless it is indicated at a lower speed.
Traffic Queues Likely Ahead
No Motor Vehicles
End of Priority Road
Limited Access Road
Two-‐Way Traffic Ahead
End of Limited Access Road
There are some key differences here in France. Sometimes traffic has priority from the right to pull out onto the main road, mainly in towns. You will see a yellow diagonal sign crossed through to indicate this but, if in doubt give way! Try to take regular breaks, just park up in a service station and take 15 minutes. Fatigue is a regular contributing factor to accidents. Grab a croissant and a coffee then take 10 minutes to relax if you are on a morning run. It would be a shame to miss out on our coffee! Remember that in France it is a legal requirement to carry your passport or identity card with you at all times -‐ driving or not. French people see this as a bonus for identification in emergencies and also carry their blood group and medical insurance cards, as in
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Tour de Vendée Cycliste Museums of the Vendée
by Mick Austin
Winter looms ever gloomier as the days get shorter, but that’s no excuse not to get out and about and explore the Vendée from the inside. Museums have long lost that crusty, dusty image; now they are warm, inviting and full of surprises for all ages. Here are a not-‐so-‐Dirty Dozen for you to try. Historial de la Vendée, Les Lucs sur Bologne One of the Vendée’s major, state-‐of-‐the-‐art museums. Journey through 7000 years of history, from Neolithic hunters to the War of the Vendée, the dawn of the third millennium and the cult children’s TV programme Magic Roundabout! Serge Danot, from Nantes, created one of the first animated movies in the early 1960s and you can find his camera and some of the puppets used to produce the 800-‐plus episodes. Instead of Florence the girl, Dougal the dog and Ermintrude the cow, meet Margote, Pollux and Azalée. Children get their own museum -‐ unique in France -‐ with everything adapted to their height, where they learn about history through play. Local heroine Jacqueline Auriol has a special mention. Born in Challans, she was part of the French Resistance in World War Two, took up flying in 1946 and went on to become an accomplished test pilot and stunt flier. She was the second woman to break the sound barrier but suffered severe facial injuries in an accident and went through 22 operations in two years. Allée Paul Bazin, 85170 Les Lucs sur Boulogne. Tel: 02 51 47 61 61. Internet: www.historial.vendee.fr Open all year except Mondays, Dec 25 and Jan 1. April 1 -‐ Sept 30 10am-‐7pm; Oct 1 -‐ March 31 10am-‐6pm. Musée de Fontenay-‐le-‐Comte Founded in 1875 and declared a ‘Musée de France’ in 2003, it features a remarkable collection of Gallo-‐Roman glassware, a collection of local 19th Century Vendée furniture and a fine art gallery displaying works by representatives of the 19th and 20th Century Vendée art movement, including Charles Milcendeau, Paul Baudry and Gaston Chaissac. 3 Place du 137e RI, 85200 Fontenay-‐le-‐Comte. Tel: 02 51 53 40 04. Internet: www.fontenaylecomte.fr Open April 1 -‐ Sept 30 Tuesdays to Sundays 2 -‐ 6pm; Oct 1 -‐ March 31 Wednesdays 2 -‐ 6pm. Closed Jan 1, May 1 and Dec 25. Musée Ornithologique Charles Payraudeau Showcases the stuffed bird collection of the Vendée naturalist who, in 1926, became the first zoologist to study the wildlife of Corsica. A variety of shellfish and 400 European and tropical bird species on show. 4 rue des Noyers, 85310 La Chaize le Vicomte. Tel: 02 51 05 70 21. Internet: www.lachaizelevicomte.fr Open all year Monday -‐ Thursday 8.30am -‐ 12.30pm and 2 -‐ 5pm. Weekends by reservation. July and August daily 8.30am -‐ 12.30pm and 2 -‐ 5pm except Saturday and Sunday mornings. Vendée Miniature, Brétignolles-‐sur-‐Mer Step back in time to a bygone age with this magical 1/10th scale model village with its carts, crafts and trades, stone houses and water mill. See the village centre with its little shops, dominated by an imposing 3m high church, and miniature steam locomotive. The village took 15 years to make and its 650 tiny figures help bring this typical Vendée Bocage village to life – a source or wonder for children and adults alike.
50 rue du Preegneau, 85470 Brétignolles-‐sur-‐Mer. Tel: 02 51 22 47 50. Internet: www.vendee-‐miniature.fr Open April 1 -‐ May 31 and Sept 1 -‐ 30 every day from 10am -‐ noon and 2 -‐ 6.30pm except Saturday and Sunday mornings; June 1 -‐ Aug 31 every day from 10am -‐ 7pm.
Feerie des Santons, Beaulieu sous La Roche Magnificent miniature villages inhabited by more than 600 figurines (santons). Several automata and in winter nativity scenes pop up in the villages in two dozen vibrant shop window displays, making it a magical Christmas in Beaulieu. Place de l’église, 85190 Beaulieu sous La Roche. Tel: 02 51 98 23 80. Internet: www.vendee-‐tourism.co.uk Open July 1 -‐ Aug 31 daily from 2 -‐ 6.30pm, Nov 29 -‐ Jan 26 daily from 2 -‐ 6.30pm. Page 17
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Museum du Coquillage, Les Sables d’Olonne Private collection of tropical seashells from around the world, unique in Europe both for the quality of its exhibits and for their sheer number and diversity. 8 rue du Maréchal Leclerc, 85100 Les Sables d’Olonne. Tel: 02 51 23 50 00. Internet: www.museum-‐du-‐coquillage.com Open April, May, June and Sept every day 10am -‐ 7pm, Oct 1 -‐ March 31 10am -‐ noon and 2 -‐ 6pm except Sundays. Espace des Records, Aubigny Enter a world of gigantic and incredible objects. Fifty-‐plus common objects from the past that combine craftsmanship and knowhow and you’ll find out what they were used for and how they worked. These outsized objects have all been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. Rue Jules Verne, 85430 Aubigny. Tel: 02 28 15 50 63. Internet: www.espacedesrecords.com Open April 1 -‐ June 30 and Sept 1 -‐ 15 every day 2 -‐ 6pm; July 1 -‐ Aug 31 every day 10.30am -‐ 12.30pm and 2.30 -‐ 6.30pm; Oct 26 -‐ Nov 10 every day 2 -‐ 5pm. Manoir des Sciences de Réaumur, Réaumur Enter the world of a great 18th Century scientist René Réaumur and discover his studies and inventions: insects, metals, the spirit thermometer, hen coops and beehives! 8 rue Ferchault, 85700 Réaumur. Tel: 02 51 57 99 46. Internet: www.manoirdessciencesdereaumur.fr Open school holidays throughout the year. Check website for dates.
Musée des Traditions Populaires, Olonne-‐sur-‐Mer An image of everyday life at the start of the 20th Century as experienced by the people of the Pays d’Olonne. Traditional arts and crafts, costumes, coastal activities and occupations, a schoolroom and World War One memorabilia. 30 rue du Maréchal Foch, 85340 Olonne-‐sur-‐Mer. Tel: 02 51 96 95 53. Internet: www.memoiredesolonnes.fr Open July and Aug Mon -‐ Fri 3-‐6.30pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am -‐ noon; June, Sept, Easter and All Saint’s holidays Monday -‐ Friday 2.30 -‐ 5.30pm; other Tuesdays throughout the year 2.30 -‐ 5.30pm; closed Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays throughout the year.
Musée de l’Abbaye Sainte Croix, Les Sables d’Olonne Collection of modern and contemporary art primarily comprising the work of Chaissac and Brauner. Rue de Verdun, 85100 Les Sables d’Olonne. Tel: 02 51 32 01 16. Internet: www.lemasc.fr Open all year. From Sept 16 -‐ June 14 2.30 -‐ 5.30pm except Mondays; June 16 -‐ Sept 15 1 -‐ 7pm except Mondays. Centre Minier de Faymoreau, Faymoreau Discover a Vendée village with a coal-‐mining heritage dating back 130 years. A reconstructed mine with permanent and temporary exhibits, guided tours in period costume, miners’ cottages and stained glass windows. La Cour, 85240 Faymoreau. Tel: 02 51 00 48 48. Internet: www.centre-‐minier-‐vendee.com Open winter holidays Wednesday -‐ Sunday 2-‐6pm; April, May, June, Sept Wednesday -‐ Sunday and bank holidays 2 -‐ 7pm; July and Aug every day 10am -‐ 7pm; All Saint’s holidays Wednesday -‐ Sunday 2-‐6pm. Musée du Château de Noirmoutier, Noirmoutier en l’Ile One of the best preserved medieval castles in the Vendée. Museum showcases the island’s history from prehistoric times, through the Vendée War to the beginnings of tourism in the 19th Century. Place d’armes, 85330 Noirmoutier en l’Ile. Tel: 02 51 39 10 42. Internet: www.ville-‐noirmoutier.fr Open Feb–Nov with varying days and times. Check the website.
*Opening dates and times are for 2013 unless stated. Please check before you set off.
Mick Austin is a freelance journalist based in the Pays-‐de-‐la-‐Loire. He has had his work published in several expat magazines and newspapers and has also written the Mayenne Tourist Board’s only English-‐language brochure. He runs a gite
business at www.gitefortwo.com.
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Take a Break... VM Easy Crossword... Across: 8. Area where sports events take place (5) 9. Someone who quits school before graduation (7) 10. Emit or reflect light in a flickering manner (7) 11. Carpenter’s hand tool (5) 12. Created with cloth (8) 13. Any plant that crowds out cultivated plants (4) 15. A player’s turn in a board game (4) 17. Cranium pain (8) 21. Summarise briefly (5) 22. Parcel (7) 24. South American river (7) 25. Large feline (5)
Down: 1. Lure, entice, entrap (4) 2. The third sign of the zodiac (6) 3. An accumulation of jobs not done (7) 4. Stick to firmly (6) 5. Remembrance flower (5) 6. Pinpoint, find (6) 7. Person who is present at a meeting (8) 12. The day after today (8) 14. Teach (7) 16. Person who suffers a crime (6) 18. Use (6) 19. An impetuous rush towards someone or something (6) 20. Cutlery item (5) 23. Make money (4)
VM Anagram Crossword...
All the clues are anagrams; this is a real toughie!
Across: 1. FACIALLY TORN (12) 7. ENDOWED (7) 9. AGE MI (5) 10. MODE (4) 11. PAGE TEST (8) 12. ATONED (6) 14. RECEDE (6) 17. FRIER WOK (8) 19. NOPE (4) 22. BARBI (5) 23. TEARING (7) 24. TEACHES SLEEP (12)
Down: 1. FILED (5) 2. BAD OMEN (7) 3. WONT (4) 4. TEA GATE (7) 5. EVE LA (5) 6. RECENT (6) 8. READ (4) 12. FORMED (6) 13. LITE WON (7) 15. CALIPER (7) 16. GRAD (4) 18. ORB TO (5) 20. ICE EN (5) 21. CLAT (4)
Please see website: www.thevendeemonthly.fr for answers
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
French Life, Food & Drink...
by John Sherwin.
Food, Family & Friends - Life in the Vendée by Helena Boyle
SWEET PICCALILLI •2kg washed, peeled vegetables. Choose your favourites from: cauliflower or romanesco cauliflower, radish, green beans, cucumbers, courgettes, green or yellow tomatoes, green beans, carrots, onions, small silver-‐skinned onions, shallots, peppers and cut into cubes.
I can hardly believe that we are staring Autumn in the face already. I have just returned from a couple of weeks in the UK and Autumn has deﬁnitely arrived there, although it seemed unseasonably mild and warm. It was absolutely lovely to catch up with everyone and everything, but visits always serve to reinforce just how wonderful the way of life in France is. So great to be back!! I indulged myself in a few more ‘Le Creuset’ items when I was in the UK; a cast iron wok (that I’ve been wanting for ages) amongst them. It always seems crazy to me that it’s cheaper to buy French produced items in the UK, which have been imported than it is in France. The French are just more used to and accepting of higher prices than the British. I often think that if the locals could be set free in any UK supermarket, they would not believe their eyes with all the offers and prices! There are even some ‘buy 1 get 2 free’ offers nowadays… I was treated recently, by a good friend, to two artisan chocolate-‐ making workshops in Foussais-‐Payré. Both were so enjoyable and well-‐presented. The first one was a basic course and we made various plain and milk chocolates. The ‘advanced’ morning was really excellent. We made chocolates in moulds, having prepared our choice (for the group) of 3 fillings -‐ raspberry ganache, from fresh raspberries, mint filling and salted caramel. When we had all had a try at everything, we packed a box full of a mixture of all varieties to take home with us. The final products were absolutely delicious -‐ and tasted even better for having made them ourselves. The chocolaterie has a website www.ateliers-‐du-‐gout.com which gives more details of the workshops. This year I planted artichokes that I had bought at the Suffolk Show earlier in the summer. I planted a couple last year (bought in France) and they amounted to nothing! This time I planted 8, and they are almost tree height. I would have thought the plants bred here would have grown better, but there you are…! I know that it’s recommended that you don’t pick and eat them the first year, to give them a chance to become established, but there are so many that I couldn’t resist, so picked just a couple from each plant. They were absolutely delicious. As usual, I boiled them, (even young ones take about 45 minutes) they are ready when one ‘leaf’ comes away easily when pulled. I served them with freshly made garlic and parsley butter. Messy to eat, certainly, but so tasty! Unfortunately, whilst I’ve been away, my courgettes have taken on a life of their own and there were many which are bigger than marrows! Fortunately my hens love them -‐ particularly the seeds -‐ and they peck away at the whole vegetables until they have demolished them and eaten every single bit, skin included. We are getting close to the end of the season and one way I use up some of the vegetables is to make a batch of piccalilli. This is so easy to make and really delicious with cheese and/or charcuterie. (See recipe opposite). Enjoy the lovely sunny days whilst they last. Until next month.
• • • • • • • • • •
100g fine sea salt 60g cornflour 20g ground turmeric 20g English mustard powder 20g ground ginger 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds (optional) 2 tsp crushed cumin seeds 2 tsp crushed coriander seeds 1.2 litres cider vinegar 350g granulated sugar
METHOD OF PREPARATION 1. Cut the vegetables into small, even, bite-‐sized pieces. Place in a large colander over a bowl, and sprinkle with the salt. Mix well, cover with a tea towel and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, then rinse with ice-‐cold water and drain thoroughly. 2. Blend the cornflour, turmeric, mustard powder, ginger, mustard seeds, cumin and coriander to a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar. Put the rest of the vinegar into a saucepan with the sugar and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the blended spice paste, stir well and return to the pan. Bring gently to the boil. Boil for 3-‐4 minutes to allow the spices to release their flavours into the thickening sauce. 3. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold the well-‐ drained vegetables into the hot, spicy sauce. (I often bring the vegetables in the sauce back to the boil for a minute or two before bottling). Pack the pickle into warm, sterilised jars and seal immediately with vinegar-‐proof lids. Leave for about 6 weeks before opening. Keeps for approximately 1 year -‐ if you can manage to keep it that long! Helpful Tip: I put the waxed circles (that you use when making jam) on top of the hot piccalilli to protect the inside of the lids. Cellophane circles/squares dampened on one side and stretched over the tops and secured with a rubber band before putting the lid on, also help!
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
YOUR Book Reviews... A huge “Thank You” to Patricia McAvoy for this month’s book review.
Asta’s Book by Barbara Vine Asti lives a lonely life in London. Danish, and with poor English, she relies totally for company on her two small sons and her ill-educated maid whom she regards with distain. Her entrepreneurial husband is mainly overseas, seeking his fortune She begins to keep a diary, recording her feelings of isolation and the desire that the baby she is carrying will be a girl. As her life improves, she sees many changes and she continues to keep a diary until into her 90s.
Contact ‘The Deux-‐Sèvres Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 Email: email@example.com www.thedeuxsevresmonthly.fr
Asti’s diaries would probably have remained unread had not her adored daughter received, when in her 50’s, an anonymous letter claiming that she was not Asti’s child, a claim Asti would neither condemn nor deny even up to her death. Her daughter, seeking the truth in the diaries, realises their value. They are published and bring her wealth but, no answers. There were missing pages, plus a reference to a local murder. The little daughter of the murder victim had disappeared without trace. Was this where the truth lay? The daughter died without knowing. It is left to her niece and the educated grandson of the despised maid, (an alliance of which Asti would certainly disapprove) to find the truth. This is a story of many layers. A most interesting and intriguing read. Page 21
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
The Tigger Factor The wines of Mareuil (II)
by John Sherwin
It’s odd the bits and pieces of nonsense that stick to the side of your brain and detach themselves from time to time at just the right moment to help you frame, as it were, a moment or feeling or character. Just such a detachment occurred when I first met Jérémie Mourat. He bounded in, said hello, then bounded up a spiral staircase only to reappear through another door at the end of the room. He apologised he didn’t have much time to talk -‐ harvest in full swing and had I also had the storms the night before? He did his best to look worried but didn’t make a very good fist of it: I have never seen a winemaker at such a critical time of year look so…fizzing. And then it came to me: bouncy trouncy flouncy pouncy -‐ Tigger! Jérémie was soon out in the vineyards again and I headed down into Mareuil-‐sur-‐Lay to find the Mourat boutique in Place Circulaire, just below the church. Olivier was waiting to give me a full tasting of the Mourat range. And being the biggest producer in Mareuil (100 or so hectares) and therefore in the Vendée, that means you have a fair old range. There are basically four grades, the basic being the Collection selection of red, rosé and white at 5,25€. These are well made wines with balance and structure, and are dependable good value for money. Moving on up, the Chateau Marie du Fou range (the Chateau, in the middle of Mareuil, is the family home) again provides solid wines, typical of the region. The 20 year old vines are reaching the peak of maturity. The red and rosé are at 6,60€; the white, a blend of Chenin and Chardonnay, is worth the slight premium at 7,15€.
The Orion family
The Moulin Blanc range is at the top price-‐wise -‐ all 9,90€. The red is a 100% Pinot Noir and is very well made: you will not find a similarly good Burgundy for twice the price. The rosé, also 100% Pinot Noir, lacked a bit of whoomph. There are two whites: one a mix of Chenin and Chardonnay (Blanc de Blancs) the other 100% Pinot Noir (Blanc de Noir). The former is a lovely success, dry and fruity at the same time. The latter I don’t really get, as in why do it? Interesting enough idea, in the Tiggerish mode, but doesn’t do much for me. Stepping back one notch in terms of price, we come to the OVNI range, which I leave to last because I like it the most. OVNI stands for Objet Viticole Non Identifié or ‘non-‐identified vinous object’. If you think this is another EU monstrosity, then you’re not thinking Tigger: this is Jérémie’s tongue-‐in-‐cheek name for a range a little out of the ordinary mold. The white and rosé use Grolleau Gris and Sauvignon Blanc which are grape varieties not authorised by the wine police in our region. The white mixes Sauvignon with the authorised Chardonnay to make a wine which in theory should be a perfect match for a medium curry (I didn’t have a curry to hand to confirm) -‐ a little sweetness to start but with lingering, cutting acidity at the end. The sparkling red (yup), 100% Gamay, is a bit of fun -‐ macerate strawberries in it and have a chilled glass to go with. The last I saw of Jérémie that day he was getting ready for the vineyard and it put me in mind of another Winnie-‐the-‐Pooh moment: When you see someone putting on his Big Boots, you can be pretty sure that an Adventure is going to happen. www.chateauderosnay.fr. John Sherwin, French Wine Tours Tel: 02 51 66 13 05 Email: john@french-‐wine-‐tours.com www.french-‐wine-‐tours.com Page22 22 Page
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Sarah & Kevin Floyd run Le Pub des Halles, in Sainte Hermine. Here they share their story with us... administration system was a nightmare to say the least. It wasn't just The adventure began 23 years ago for us. Our lives had taken a few bad strokes of luck. Kevin had been made unemployed and our tenancy agreement was coming to its end. Two small children to look after and the long winter months ahead in a small Cornish town, life seemed pretty bleak. So when the suggestion of a new life in idyllic France was suggested to us by my parents who had retired there a couple of years earlier, what did we have to lose? My motto in life has always been "I'd rather regret the things I have done than the things I haven't ." So that was it, we packed everything up and left good old Blighty in December of 1990. How different things were back then. No Satellite TV, no internet and definitely no English food in the supermarkets! Nevertheless, we felt at home immediately. We studied French rigorously every evening and shopped in local shops to integrate with the locals. It was through one of our friendly neighbours that Kevin got his first job, just six months after our arrival to the Vendée. Another six months later we bought our house. Well, I say house, that is being a bit optimistic! No bathroom or kitchen, not even running water was installed never mind central heating or modern electricity! Originally, we wanted an old farmhouse in the country where we could grow roses around the door and have fields for our offspring to play for hours on end. There were plenty of that kind of property to choose from but thankfully in the end we chose a large town house with a moderate sized garden, right next door to a boulangerie and just around the corner from the schools, bank, post office and shop. This meant that most things we could do on foot instead of using the car each day, very practical. We brought our four children up speaking only English at home but of course everywhere else French was all they heard and spoke, (not many other ex-‐pats around back then). They went to the local schools, each starting at the age of two! I quickly joined the parents/teachers association and any other local clubs I could, eager to pick up French as quickly as possible. The language wasn't a barrier for long as it was all around us. I know I have kept a bit of an accent but the children speak English like the English and French like the French. Such a bonus for them to now be completely bilingual. They have all done so well and we are proud of them in every way. Our eldest son has his own building business which is flourishing. Number two is studying sport in Paris. Number three passed his baccalaureat in science and is now doing business studies and our youngest, who is now 14 will be off to Lycee next year. Where do the years go? It wasn't all sweetness and roses from the beginning. Kev's work took him away regularly, so quite often I was home alone with the four children. We adapted to life with the long school days, gouters at 5pm and all the other 'French ways'. Trying to get used to the French
another language it was a completely different way of living. Where in English we might take tem niumtes to fill in a form, in French it would take at least an hour with the help of a dictionary and quite often visits to the neighbours begging 'Au secours'. Saying that, the worries I had all those years ago had been a complete waste of time. Yes, we had ups and downs and there were times in the beginning when we missed Cadbury's chocolate or popping out for fish and chips. But regrets? No, none at all and the real icing on the cake was when in August 2012 we opened 'Le Pub Des Halles' in our home village of Sainte Hermine. Many moons ago we managed my parents’ hotel/restaurant in Devon and it had always been our dream to one day have our own business. The little bar next door had been on the market three times since our arrival and each time we ummed and ahhed, shall we or shan't we? But it was never 'the right time'. In April of last year, with three of the four offspring no longer at home, we finally took the plunge and bought what was then a complete ruin that had been shut for four years. We worked solidly day and night for four months with help from devoted family and dear friends to get the place up and running to catch the end of the summer season. And so the paperwork started again!! Between taxes, financing and the dreaded red tape, it was a challenge and a half to say the least, but we did it and couldn't be happier with the result. The pub is open six days a week, (shut on Wednesdays), from 8.30am until 11pm weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturdays (closed between 3pm and 5.30pm). We serve food everyday all day with a selection varying from snacks like English breakfast baguettes and omelettes to more substantial dishes like fish and chips, curries and three course dinners. We have a variety of English ciders and beers on offer, including Guinness on draught. Once a month we have a darts competition and twice a month a bilingual quiz. Every Monday from 7pm is Franglais evening, where the French and the English get together to learn and acquaint in both languages. A theme evening is also on the monthly calendar. We have met so many wonderful people and made some great friends since the opening of Le Pub. It is a joy to open up every morning and share in the village life. Each day is different and it's always a great pleasure to see old and new customers come through the doors. For more information you can find us on Facebook or contact us at: Le Pub Des Halles, 7 Place André Bujeaud, 85210 Sainte Hermine. Tel: 02.51.30.23.95. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Page 23
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Communications... Using Your PC...
There are many free programs available on the web but are they any good? by Ross Hendry From anti-‐virus to word processing the number of free programs on the internet is increasing, and what is more many of these programs are as good if not better than the commercially available counterparts. For example AVG Free edition 2012 was rated better than the paid version, Google Docs and Sheets and Open Office compete very well against the market leader -‐ Microsoft Office which is only available as a paid product. I use many of the free programs for anti-‐virus, anti-‐malware/ spyware, compression software, photo management and editing program, and office programs including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, graphics and database programs. My email is all free, backed up by the provider, as is my contacts list/ address book. When playing any form of media I prefer a free program rather than the Media Player included with Windows, the same is true for browsing the internet, I prefer Google's ‘Chrome’ browser to Microsoft's ‘Internet Explorer’, also included with Windows. Free programs are not necessarily full of viruses, or trial programs that only run for a few days or weeks. Believe it or not there are very well respected anti-‐virus programs that provide excellent protection, free of any initial charge or update subscription. An example is AVG or Avira anti-‐virus; well respected names who permit the general public to use their products completely free of charge. I think this is very responsible as I am sure there are many people on the internet who cannot afford an anti-‐virus or anti-‐spyware program, and if these free programs were not available they would eventually infect all of us, or spam us with unwanted junk mail. AVG and Avira are two of many free antivirus programs available free of charge, you can see a list of the top ones here: Best Free Ankvirus 2013: www.pcmag.com/arncle2/0,2817,2400355,00.asp. We all need to write a letter and some of us are budding authors, so we need a word processor. Microsoft Word, part of The Microsoft Office suite of programs is what most PC users either use
or aspire to. Microsoft Works is often packaged with new computers by the vendors. However, these programs are updated quite frequently and keeping up with Microsoft Word 95/98/2000/2003/2007/2010 (six versions in 15 years), could cost you a real packet. Two brilliant easy to use programs that are both very similar to Microsoft Office are Oracle’s Open Office available here www.openoffice.org/ and Google Docs available here www.google.com/google-‐d-‐s/tour1.html. Yes that’s right good old Google! They not only provide the best search engine on the web, but also free email services, with their Gmail program, and much more as the example above in Google Docs. Another valuable and respected offering from Google is Picasa. Picasa is an image organiser and image viewer for organising and editing digital photos, plus an integrated photo-‐sharing website. It is very easy to manage your photos using Picasa and you have the added bonus of being able to create a free on-‐line version of your photos in the form of a mini web album. This allows you to invite your friends to share your photos and all without having to attach photos to an email and send to everyone. You just decide which photos you want to share, give the album a name and Picasa uploads them to a secure area on the internet and then helps you to email a link to your friends and family that takes them where they need to go to view them. In order to make their free programs even more usable Google also provide 15GB of space on their servers to store your data. This means that items stored are backed up by them regularly and available to you through any device that has access to the internet at any time. These are a few of the literally hundreds of free programs available on the internet, if you need any help locating what you want please email me, I may already have found it for my own or another customer’s use.
Ross Hendry is the proprietor of Interface Consulting and Engineering, who has over 42 years experience in Communications, Computer Technology and Direct Marketing.
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Advert Size A or B, only 38€ per month or from 33,33€ per month for 12 months. Contact ‘The Vendée Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Tel: 05 49 70 26 21 or email: email@example.com
Useful English Language Numbers... Cancer Support Vendée:
02 51 00 58 21
French State health insurance (C.P.A.M.) advice line:
08 11 36 36 46
Elizabeth Finn Care (Grants and advice if in Financial need):
04 68 23 43 79
09 69 36 39 00
EDF International Customer Service:
05 62 16 49 08
CLEISS (Social security advice between countries):
01 45 26 33 41
Funeral Information (AFIF):
01 45 44 90 03 or www.afif.asso.fr
0044 208 082 4729
THE VENDﾃ右 MONTHLY
Building & Renovation...
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Small colour advert only 34€
CONTRIBUTIONS....CALLING ALL ARTISANS & TRADESMEN! Do you have any top tips you can share with our readers? We would love to include them in this section! For more details, please contact Sarah on 05 49 70 26 21 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
USEFUL FRENCH VOCABULARY DECORATING...
apprêt (m) / avant-‐peinture (m) -‐ primer arrêt de cordon (m) -‐ cleat bac spécial à réservoir (m) -‐ roller bandes de couleur (fpl)-‐ masking brosse (f) -‐ brush cadre (m) -‐ frame cadre à poser (m) -‐ photograph frame cale à poncer (f) -‐ sanding block carreau (pl-‐x, m) -‐ tiles-‐s carreau liège (m) -‐ cork tile carrelage (m) -‐ tiling chiffon (m) -‐ rag ciment joint (m) -‐ tile cement cisailles (fpl) -‐ wire cutters ciseaux (mpl) -‐ scissors colle (f) -‐ glue; paste couche (f) -‐ coat (of paint etc) coupe (f) -‐ cutter couteau à enduire (m) -‐ smoothing knife (for filler) nuancier chromatique (m) -‐ colourchart papier abrasif (m) -‐ abrasive paper papier peint (m) -‐ wallpaper peindre (verb) -‐ to paint peinture (f) -‐ paint peinture façade (f) -‐ masonry paint rouleau à peindre -‐ paint roller scie à découper (f) -‐ ceramic tile saw sous-‐couche (f) -‐ undercoat
acier (m) -‐ steel agrandissement (m) -‐ extension architecte (m) -‐ architect bâtiment (m) -‐ building bâtir / construire (verb) -‐ to build béton (m) -‐ concrete béton à prise rapide (m) -‐ quick setting concrete bloc linteau (m) -‐ lintel block bloc plein en béton (m) -‐ solid concrete block chantier (m) -‐ building site chape (f) -‐ screed couche isolant (f) -‐ damp-‐proof course drainage (m) -‐ drainage échafaudage (m) -‐ scaffolding fenêtre (f) -‐ window fosse d’aisance (f) -‐ cesspool imperméable -‐ damp-‐proof mortier (m) -‐ mortar mur (m) -‐ wall mur portant (m) -‐ load-‐bearing wall parpaing (m) -‐ breezeblock permis de construire -‐ building permit poutre en fer (f) -‐ RSJ protection soubassement (f) -‐ damp-‐proof membrane raccordement aux égout (m) -‐ connecting to the drains terrain constructible (m) -‐ building land toit (m) -‐ roof travailleur (m) -‐ labourer Page 27
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY by Sue Cook Business, Finance & Property...
Pound Revival Continues
by Sue Cook
The pound has been on a strengthening trend for the past few months thanks to an improved economic outlook. The feel good factor is contagious and is gathering pace across the entire spectrum of the economy. In yet another good report in early October, optimism in the UK financial industry advanced to its strongest level in seventeen years! This is extremely good news that will likely weigh on the Bank of England’s monetary policy direction in the form of forward guidance which focuses on keeping interest rates low for at least three years. The UK recovery has encouraged investors to speculate that the Bank of England will have to lift interest rates earlier than previously indicated. At the September meeting, governor Mark Carney suggested that the unemployment rate will have to drop below seven per cent before a rate increase is considered. An increasing number of investors are betting that the Bank of England will have to raise interest rates earlier if the economy keeps overheating and the move higher in the pound certainly reflects this view. The activity in the property market is also contributing to the recovery and it seems that the UK government wants to keep momentum going and the good news flowing -‐ especially as we move closer towards the general election. In a surprise announcement at the Tory party’s annual conference in Manchester at the end of September, the Prime Minister David Cameron launched the second phase of the state-‐ backed ‘Help to Buy’ scheme which was originally due at the beginning of January 2014. The scheme was brought forward to early October despite mounting criticism that enabling buyers to purchase a house with a deposit of just five per cent could fuel a dangerous property bubble. Detractors of the scheme are pointing that house prices have already had their strongest increases for six years with September showing the largest house price increase recorded since May 2007, before the financial crisis. In the Euro zone, confidence is also returning albeit at a much slower pace. The European Central Bank (ECB) stance is cautious and the central bankers do not seem in a rush to increase stimulus to support the recovery. The ECB President Mario Draghi acknowledges that the recovery is underway but he never fails to state that risks to the downside persist, especially due to the ongoing shutdown in the US and also to a key confidence vote in Italy in early October. Silvio Berlusconi's attempt to unseat Prime Minister Enrico Letta dramatically failed and this contributed to restore calm in the entire region. Italy’s political crisis has been threatening the stability of the region for the past few months and Letta’s victory removes a major risk for the single currency. Nonetheless, the coalition remains fragile and any sign of political instability in Italy could send jitters again through the entire region.
Ask Amanda. October 4th saw The Spectrum IFA Group & Currencies Direct hold a Tours de Finance Seminar at the prestigious sparkling wine house of Bouvet Ladubay near Saumur. The morning comprised various presentations by industry experts and professionals followed by canapés and a little fizz to allow delegates to speak to the presenters in an informal environment. The following areas were covered: I introduced a seminar and spoke about how The Spectrum IFA Group is set up, regulated and how important regulation is for our customers. I also explained our extensive coverage and capabilities which enable us to provide our customers long term financial peace of mind. Sue Cook of Currencies Direct showed the delegates how using a specialist foreign exchange partner can save you money. Michael Lodhi explained that Currencies Direct were not just a partner of The Spectrum IFA Group but our foreign exchange provider of choice, due to the excellent service they provide. Michael Lodhi, CEO of The Spectrum IFA Group covered clients’ concerns for tax efficiency, pensions and succession planning. He also highlighted the effect of inflation on essential expenditure and how important it is to regularly review your investments to ensure they are working for you. Michael finished with an explanation of QROPS and the importance of taking professional advice to see whether it is correct for you. Andrew Wallace of Prudential emphasised the strength and history of their brand throughout the world. He focused on how financially secure they are in their market, with the AA (Stable) rating from Standard and Poors. Andrew also discussed their French Assurance Vie (through the Spectrum-‐IFA Group) which is fully tax compliant in France and can be held in Euros and Sterling for British Expatriates living in France. Chris Wanless of The Jupiter Group also discussed their financial strength and the importance of client confidence. He explained that Jupiter currently have over 33.9 bn Euros under management. Chris stated the importance of ensuring you are dealing with a company experienced in volatile markets and understands the need to match your ‘risk profile’ to total investments you hold. Whether you want to register for our newsletter, attend one of our road shows or speak to me directly, please contact me using the details below and I will be glad to help. We do not charge for reviews, reports or recommendations we provide. Amanda Johnson, The Spectrum IFA Group. Tel: 05 49 98 97 46 Mob: 06 73 27 25 43 www.spectrum-‐ifa.com/johnsonloire.shtml or “Ask Amanda” at email@example.com
THE VENDﾃ右 MONTHLY
THE VENDÉE MONTHLY
Les Vendanges? Just the other day I had Radio 2 streaming into my oﬃce. When the traﬃc report came on I was instantly taken back to another lifekme stuck in traﬃc jams on the M25 or M4 in freezing cold weather. Those days are thankfully long gone. This week, however, I saw myself stuck in 'les bouchons des vendanges' or traﬃc jams of the grape picking. Thanks to the sunny microclimate of the Vendée the local wine is now increasingly popular. Head to Mareuil sur Lay or Rosnay to sample some yourself. Our village is surrounded by vineyards stretching for miles over gentle rolling hills which makes for a wonderful French dream of a place to live. This week, however, I found myself stuck behind tractors towing away grapes ready to go into rosé, white and red wine for locals and holiday makers alike. Frustrating, but with temperatures still in the mid 20s and beautiful scenery all around I know which traffic jam I prefer to be in! It's not just grapes that are being harvested at the moment. Summer sees Agents busy out on plenty of viewings with clients but now is the real property sale harvest season. Those in the know are now gearing themselves up for the influx of serious property viewers. Almost as soon as the crowds started to leave the beaches at the end of August I started to receive a steady stream of contacts from potential buyers. At the moment there is plenty of interest in the lower end of the market for second homes and in properties priced at around 250,000 euros for those looking to retire here. Younger couples are also looking to start businesses and enjoy a different lifestyle with their families. I always recommend my clients keep to within 30 minutes of the coast. This maximises both rental returns and investment potential for future resale. So what can your euro currently buy you in this area? Here are some of the bargains I have recently visited: • Holiday hideaway -‐ for under 100,000€ a 3 bed house with a courtyard set in a beautiful riverside town. Excellent for either a personal home or a holiday let.
Contact ‘The Vendée Monthly’ La Bartière, 79130, Secondigny. Telephone: 05 49 70 26 21 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Bourgeoise lady -‐ 270,000€ for a wonderful business opportunity. Masses of potential for this Maison Bourgeoise with numerous other dwellings ready to convert into accommodation. So if you see a blonde female smiling to herself whilst she is stuck behind a tractor, it's probably me, busy out hunting those hidden gems for those wise property buyers who wish to harvest their very own special French property. If you would like me to search out and find your dream home here then please do get in touch. Now is an excellent time to buy. Harvest those bargains before prices start to rise next year.
Colour Advert Size A or B, only 38€ per month or from 33,33€ per month for 12 months.
• Spacious abode -‐ 155,000€ gets you a hidden gem of a family home in a village. 4 bedrooms, immaculate order and the possibility to rent out 2 bedrooms with their own kitchen.
www.mamaisonparfaite.com Tel: +33 (0)6 21 74 75 01 Email: email@example.com
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