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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: or Tel: 05 49 70 26 21. website:

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

Annual Subscription  Costs:  28€  within  France,  18€  UK  addresses. (Unfortunately  the  cheaper  ‘printed  papers’  rate  cannot  be  applied   to  addresses  within  France,  only  when  sending  abroad)   Please tick:

‘The Deux-Sèvres Monthly’

‘The Vendée Monthly’

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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  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

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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:  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: 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:   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   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 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 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:  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:

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:

                                                       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:

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   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


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:

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:

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:   or   contact   Manoir   du   Moulin   directly  on  06  26  97  24  12.

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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  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.

Coming Exhibitions

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:

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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:

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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

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


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: or  alternatively  complete  the  ‘Written   Contributions’  form  on   our  website.

Above: Piet Mondrian Composition with Two Lines 1931

Reviews should  ideally  be  150-­‐200  words  long.

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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. 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

“Nalliers Welcome”

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: 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:

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 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-­‐

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  or  locally  contact   05  49  87  18  58  or

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:

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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:

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:

Nos Amis Les Animaux 85480 (NALA 85480). Tel: 07 70  31  54  59  ~  



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:     Mary  on  05  49  50  69  41  or  email:     French   enquiries:   Isabelle   on   09   77   48   71   43   email:

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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:

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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

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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. 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

Accident Ahead

Priority Road

No Motor  Vehicles

End of  Priority  Road

Limited Access  Road

Two-­‐Way Traffic   Ahead

End of  Limited   Access  Road

Give Way

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  

No Tractors

Maximum Weight

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Spotlight On...

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: 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: 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: 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-­‐ 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-­‐ Open  July  1  -­‐  Aug  31  daily  from  2  -­‐  6.30pm,  Nov  29  -­‐  Jan  26  daily  from  2  -­‐  6.30pm. Page 17


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:­‐du-­‐ 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: 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: 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: 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: 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-­‐ 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-­‐ 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

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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)

Sudoku Corner...

Please see  website:  for  answers



Page 19


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-­‐   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!


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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:

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 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. John  Sherwin,  French  Wine  Tours Tel:  02  51  66  13  05 Email:  john@french-­‐wine-­‐ www.french-­‐wine-­‐ Page22 22 Page


French Adventures...

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:    Email:   Page 23


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:,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   and   Google   Docs   available   here­‐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.  

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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:


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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-­‐ or  “Ask  Amanda”  at

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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:

• 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. Tel: +33  (0)6  21  74  75  01   Email:

Page 30

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The VM - November 2013  

English language magazine for the French department of the Vendée.

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