This edition of your Newsletter is later than intended as I was asked to delay publication so that the AGM could be included. We then decided to hold it open to include the visit to Beaujolais-Nizerand-Morgon (BNM).
Only 15 EVTA members attended the AGM this year. This was possibly due to the confusion regarding the actual date of the meeting (at least, that's what we like to think!). New ideas were discussed at the AGM, your support is so necessary.
There are several events planned for this year and the programme for the planned visit to BNM looked exciting. From feedback received it lived up to, and possibly exceeded, expectations.
Please do not forget that I would be grateful for some sort of feedback regarding this Newsletter. Be they good or bad, all comments will be taken on board.
You will obviously receive the Minutes of the AGM in due course. For now here are a few salient points which were put forward for consideration:
- A membership drive
- Issue a précis of committee meetings to members
- Periodic information from BNM
- Produce a three-fold brochure about EVTA
- Possibility of working with the French for a charity
Petanque & BBQ
This will be held at the newly-refurbished court on the green at Elham on Sunday 18th July. Start approx. 11am. There will not be a charge for this but donations would be gratefully received.
French film evening - limited space (30 seats), first come first served.
French film with English sub-titles. Venue: (Courtesy of Diana & Alan Forrest) Derringstone Hill House Garden Studio, Barham, on Friday 24th September at 7·30pm for 8pm.
The film, with English sub-titles, is a classic comedy called "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" ("Welcome to the sticks"). This 2007 film holds the record for the highest first-week takings of any French film in France. Philippe works at the national post office and finds himself transferred to Bergues, near Dunkerque in the north of France. This region of France is regarded as "out in the sticks", a cold and wet land inhabited by incomprehensible peasants. His wife Julie eventually joins him in this land of barbarians....
Book your place with Andree Sladden - 01303 840366. £5 for members, £7 for non-members, including a glass of wine on arrival.
Saturday 11th December is the probable date for our Christmas meal this year. Details will be advised at a later date.
Fête des Rois
Saturday 22nd January. We are reviving our Epiphany Party, with prizes for the Best French Dress and for the Best Salad Dressing. Details to follow.
Coach trip to France
Saturday 5th March 2011. Lunch at a ch#226;teau and time for shopping. Details to follow.
Annual General Meeting 2011
Thursday 14th April 2011
Just five weeks after becoming Chairman last year, I welcomed a large group from BNM at Etchinghill Golf Club. Hosts met their guests and the weekend began. I would like to say a very BIG thank-you to all who hosted for all your kindness, time and effort. Without you the visit would not have gone ahead. I hope some of you made friends, polished up your French and may visit BNM for your hospitality to be reciprocated. We took our guests for a brief visit to Rye, followed by a lovely meal at the Royal Oak in Brookland. Later they were offered a tour of Romney Marsh churches, led by myself, and including a tiny church in the middle of a sheep field, and one painted pink which was used as a setting for a Dr Syn movie. The alternative was a trip on the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway escorted by Bryan Shepherdson.
On the Monday, a first for EVTA, school for the French children at either Elham or Brockhill. They all had a good day and even enjoyed school dinners!
I would like to thank Anne Leva and Sue Winter for helping with the programme and Sue for her knowledge of Romney Marsh. Also Andrée Sladden for arranging the school visits, and Gerald Crease who, amongst collecting membership subs and hosting with Jane, arranged all the hosts for this large group.
Our Spring walks for both 2009 and 2010 were arranged and led by Andrée who knows many highways and byways from walking her dog. Thank you, Andrée.
Our summer function was cancelled due to health problems of one of the organisers.
On 24th October we held a quiz at Kingston Barn, well supported; the hall was virtually full.
In December our Christmas Lunch was held at the Abbotts Fireside, Elham, always a popular event. The atmosphere of the setting put us all in the mood for Christmas.
All twinners seem to like eating and even a drink or two, so we wined and dined again at the Duke of Cumberland, Barham, at the end of January. Helen and Eric, the landlords, looked after us well and, at our request, devised a special French menu for the evening.
On February 26th we were at Barham village hall when Hilary Newman, an RHS speaker, showed slides and gave a talk entitled, "Vive la Différence" between English and French gardens.
Which brings us to the Committee.
I would like to thank Andrée and the committee for their support throughout the year. Sadly, Lorraine Evans (Hon. Treasurer) is not standing for re-election; Mark Jenner has also resigned from the committee due to work commitments. I am sure you will be sorry to hear that Gerald Crease has also resigned: he has represented Kingston since we started, looked after members and their subscriptions and, as already mentioned, found hosts for BNM visitors. Gerald, thank you for everything, I shall miss you on the committee. How will we manage without you! I would like you all to join me in giving him a round of applause. (A gift was also given.)
I would also like to thank Pauline Davis for compiling Le Jumelage; this is where we keep in touch and give details of forthcoming events. I know she would welcome any suggestions, comments, recipes, photos or jokes for inclusion in Le Jumelage.
Thank you all for supporting EVTA and I hope to see you all at functions throughout the year.
An Evening in France
How to go to France without leaving the Elham Valley. Well, that's what 35 members and guests did at Barham Village Hall on 26th February at 7·30pm in the evening. Fortified by a welcome glass of wine (French of course) we didn't even have to venture across a stormy English Channel or take the "Underground" train, but spent a very pleasant time listening to Hilary Newman RHS tell us about the differences between some English and French gardens.
We didn't have to travel far - the French gardens were all in the north and the north-east of the country and included those old favourites Villandry and Giverny plus many others.
The English gardens were mostly in the south-east including Great Dixter, Sissinghurst and also Beth Chatto's Essex garden, where she established her "drought resistant" garden so suited to the current climate.
Hilary was a fluent and humorous speaker with little need of the microphone, and illustrated his talk with excellent slides.
You will see that I am no gardener when I tell you that the picture I recall most vividly showed the toilets of a grand French garden with the Ladies and the Gents signposted with statues of the appropriate gender - naked, of course - after all this is in France!
So we all spent a most enjoyable evening in the garden - and didn't even get mud on our boots.
Spring Walk in Wootton and Denton
Our Spring Walk this year, on Sunday 16th May, was a great success with EVTA members joining the Elham Ladies Walking Group on one of their outings.
The weather was "kindish" and we managed to find some bluebells. But really we were all so busy that we hardly noticed when it got a bit chilly.
The views were spectacular and we all learned some local history, and only managed to lose ourselves a couple of times!
Naturally, we had to have de-briefing in the Jackdaw at Denton afterwards. EVTA members know how to enjoy themselves!
EVTA VISIT TO BNM — JUNE 2010
More pictures .
On Friday 11th June eleven EVTA members travelled to BNM, five via Eurostar and six who drove down. Three very disappointed EVTA members were, for varying reasons, unable to go with them and had to cancel. The visit seemed full of promise with quite an exciting itinerary.
They were met by their hosts and attended a welcoming party which was held in a lovely old wine cellar.
On the Saturday they all drove to Châtillion-sur-Chalaronne, which is one of the fleury towns. They had a guided tour of this lovely old town, including a visit to a very good market. They drove on to Brou where they had an excellent lunch and saw a Royal monastery. In the evening they attended a wine tasting at Le Château de Cercy before enjoying a dinner and evening entertainment.
On Sunday morning they were free to spend time with their hosts before either travelling home or continuing with their holidays.
BNM presented EVTA with a book and also had books for each individual present. EVTA presented BNM with a pot, specially made for them, inscribed with the words “Where there are friends there is wealth”
And a very good time was had by all - as verified by the article below.
A Report by two first-timers - "pour encourager les autres!"
With a mixture of excitement and slight trepidation our holiday got off to a flying start with the Sheps' tradition of champagne in the Tunnel. The sun shone brightly in Paris and, on arrival in Lyon, our French hosts whisked us away for what proved to be an action-packed and amazing weekend.
Superlatives fail us to describe the wonderful welcome, fabulous food and wine, superb scenery and great generosity of our French friends. They had put a lot of thought into the itinerary; we cannot believe how much we fitted into our weekend.
Our overwhelming impression was of the friendliness, bonhomie and warmth of all the French and especially our hosts. We can't wait to renew our friendships when they visit the Elham Valley next year as our guests.
Our initial concerns were totally groundless and we both had a fabulous weekend. We will have no hesitation in taking part in future exchange visits and we do hope you will too.
(when they are available - Ed). We promise you won't regret it! VIVE LA FRANCE!
Why not put the next Twinning exchange dates in your diary
Joy Rule and Sue Winter
French archaeologists to dig up 30-year-old banquet.
The following is a recent item of French News - it surely could not happen anywhere else!
"Supervised by the crème-de-la-crème of French archaeology, a bunch of dusty diggers are unearthing the leftovers from a work now known as "Lunch Under the Grass" (see more here) - a meal for eighty in sumptuous gardens south of Paris where the star course was offal.
On April 23rd 1963, Swiss artist Daniel Spoerri, one of the central figures of post-war European art, invited dozens of artists, gallery-owners, critics and friends for a lunch held by a 40-metre long trench. The meal over, the 80-odd participants trundled tables laden with plates, glasses and left-over food into the trench to be buried for posterity.
"This is what you call garbage archaeology", one of France's top archaeologists, Jean-Paul Demoule told AFP, referring to schemes under way across the world to examine society by perusing its rubbish.
"What will these remains tell us about the way artists lived in the 1980s, what will they say about our society?", asked Demoule, who is leading the project and is former head of the National Institute of Preventative Archaeological Research (NPAR).
Spoerri himself was one of the founders of the 1980s New Realism movement, artists active in the post World War 11 boom years who drew their inspiration and drive from the thriving consumerism of industrial society. Born in Romania and now living in Austria, Spoerri became best-known for his so-called "snare" pictures, fixing a group of objects or the remains of a meal left haphazardly on a horizontal board, and then hanging them vertically on a wall.
"I wanted the meal to be bourgeois, in pinks and lilac", the 80-year-old artist said at the digging site. "I'd bought cloth tablecloths, there were vases of flowers"
Working on a tiny portion of the old trench, archaeologists so far have scraped away plates and glasses, including a plastic goblet, but the tablecloth has been eaten by time and the flowers disintegrated into pollen. The remains are to be analysed by a dozen specialist laboratories and the parts of the trench already dug up will be refilled again for posterity.
"In 20, 30 or 50 years, science will have made new inroads and archaeologists will be able to take a new improved peek at all this", Demoule said.
Unfortunately there have been some resinations from EVTA, for various reasons. The following have been received, and I have been asked to include them in Le Jumelage:-
|February 12, 2010|
I think the time has come, reluctantly, to resign from EVTA as I have now moved away from Bridge to live with my sister in Hampshire.
I enjoyed reading my last copy of Le Jumelage, especially as it had photographs of old acquaintances. Your programme for the year sounds very interesting. I do hope the Association continues to flourish - I'm sure it will.
I should be very grateful if you would pass on my good wishes to old friends in Kingston - the Macdonalds, for example, as I lived there before I moved to Bridge. I hope you don't mind my sending this letter to you: yours is the only address I have.
Very best wishes to you all for good times in England and in France 2010.
M E Dixon (Mrs)
If anyone wants to keep in touch with Mary her new address is: 37 Lymbourn Road, Havant, Hants, PO9 2SL
The following e- mail was received from Mark Jenner:-
|Dear Joey and committee members,
It is with some reluctance that I'm writing to tender my resignation from the EVTA committee. The last week was the final straw for me when I'd convinced myself I'd get along to the meeting but again my work kept me away (until Saturday in fact this week) so please accept my belated apologies for that.
I've thoroughly enjoyed the last few years helping to build the new twinning arrangements with our friends in Beaujolais and wish you every success in the future.
I hope to see you all during the year.
Yvonne Parry also resigned as she feels she is unable to participate in activities any more.
We have also lost Veronica Mavin (moved), and Margaret Rushworth (deceased).
Preparation & cooking time: 40mins
8 fresh scallops
4 tablespoons dry white wine
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 tablespoons of cream
50g of grated gruyère cheese
450g of potatoes peeled & diced
1 tablespoon milk
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 220 degrees centigrade
Prepare 4 scallop shells to use as serving dishes. Place scallops in a saucepan with the wine, 150ml water, salt & pepper. Bring to the boil then cover & cook gently for 5mins. Remove the scallops and reserve the cooking stock.
Melt 25g of butter gently in a saucepan, stir in the flour and then gradually stir in the cooking juices, stirring continuously. Cook gently until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and add the cream and 25g of the grated cheese. Add the scallops and season to taste.
Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for about 10 mins or until tender, drain and mash together with the remaining milk & butter. Place (or pipe) the potato gratin around the edge of the scallop shells.
Divide the scallop mixture between the shells, scatter the remaining cheese
over the top and bake in the oven for about 10 mins until bubbling.
A dry white wine matches well with this dish.