EditorialMany events have taken place since the last edition of Le Jumelage; some have been very successful and some were not quite so well supported. The French films are one of the success stories and there is no doubt that the visit by 19 members of BNM was a great success. Most of our members got involved, whether hosting, joining in or helping with all the various activities over the weekend. All our new members threw themselves wholeheartedly into the whole weekend. Thanks to all the effort put in, our guests and members thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
When I was putting items together for this issue of Le Jumelage, I thought I would ask a new member and also a long-established member of EVTA to let me have their thoughts on the BNM weekend. They both wrote excellent pieces which are both included below.
There is an excellent programme planned for the rest of the year and hopefully you will all put your support behind them.
Chairman's MessageWell, didn't we give our French friends a thoroughly English weekend, what with the Morris-dancing, the Sunday roast and even the White Cliffs of Dover thrown in for good measure? I know from the feedback I have received that they all had a great time with us. Thanks to all the hosts, and especially to new member Marilyn MacKay for showing them the sights of central London on the Monday.
So now we have our late summer and autumn social programme to look forward to, starting in September with a "Soirée en Plein Air" in Fiona & Tony's lovely garden in North Elham. In October we will be enjoying another of Robin & Lesley's car Treasure Hunts, reaching parts of Kent many of us have never seen before, some of which may even be on the correct route! In November we will be showing the first of two classics of French cinema, "La Gloire de mon Père" followed after January's AGM by its sequel "Le Château de ma Mère." This year's Christmas Lunch at the White Horse Inn, Bridge, promises to be excellent, judging by the enviable reputation this venue now enjoys.
In recent months I'm sorry to say we have lost a number of long-term members, mainly for personal reasons, but new members are always welcome. How about inviting friends along to one of our events to "try us out" even if they may not be interested in our biennial trips to France?
The BNM visit as seen by a new EVTA memberAs new EVTA members we were a little nervous of being involved in the BNM visit but there was no need as our guests were charming and everyone from EVTA was warm and welcoming to us. Meeting up with everyone with a glass of wine and a light lunch gave us an opportunity to get to know not only our own guests but also the other French visitors. In the afternoon we all took our guests to various places of interest. We chose Brogdale to look at the fruit trees, a good time to go as there was lots of blossom to see - and then home to dinner.
Sunday was really an experience for us as we haven't lived in the area for very long. So the drive to the White Clffs viewing point was both scary and exhilarating. We were so lucky with the weather, which made for a fantastic visit to Deal, with lunch and a well-researched tour by Andrée.
Sunday evening was the highlight of the weekend, with great food brought by everyone and fantastic Morris dancers from Whitstable. I'm sure we have seen Morris dancers in our time, but these were the best I'd ever seen. That and the country dancing afterwards made sure everyone had lots of laughter and probably sore feet!
For most, the weekend was over, but the few remaining guests went with me to London by train, and we toured many of the major sights on foot and by tube-hopping, the highlight being a front row spot for the Changing of the Guard.
For us, the weekend was very enjoyable, a great way to make new friends both here and across the Channel; and an enormous success thanks to the hard work and planning of a number of people behind the scenes - bravo!
The BNM visit as seen by a long-established EVTA memberThe usual happy reunion of French and English at Etchinghill Golf Club over drinks and sandwiches on Saturday was followed by an afternoon visiting local attractions with our guests; in our case, the America gardens near Saltwood. Although everything was late flowering, our French guest Madeleine was most impressed by the array of Azaleas, Rhododendrons and other flowering bushes in the garden. The afternoon ended with a reviving cup of tea on the lawn outside the summer house. That evening we hosted a very congenial dinner party for nine people at our house.
On Sunday everyone met at the White Cliffs for coffee and a brisk walk along the cliff path until we reached a point where the wind was so strong it was a struggle to carry on. Most people then turned back and browsd in the gift shop before heading for Deal and a typically English Sunday roast lunch at the Royal Hotel on the seafront, famous for being frequented by Nelson and Lady Hamilton. A tour of old Deal followed the copious meal.
The high point of the weekend was Sunday evening in Elham Village Hall where the Oyster Morris dancers dazzled us with their stick and foot work! Both men and women with hats and belts leapt about energetically and even persuaded the somewhat bemused BNM President to join in the fun after a bit of tuition. There was also a session of country dancing, with a caller to prevent us from getting throughly confused as one often does! Lots of fun and delicious and copious "bring and share" supper, providing a wide selection of food and avoiding the cost of a caterer. For those of the French group who were not leaving until Tuesday, there was the opportunity of spending a day in London in the company of new member Marilyn Mackay, who is a Blue Badge guide and speaks fluent French. A good time was had by all.
Please also bring a small raffle prize in order to help raise funds from the event.
Please email Fiona Godden on firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your attendance.
Do try to come - it's a beautiful garden and it will be a very sociable evening.
As always, the more the merrier!
Editor: Pauline Davis, 24 Hog Green, Elham, Canterbury CT4 6TU. Tel: 01303 840367 e-mail: paulinedavis42[at]yahoo.co.uk