EditorialAs you know, this is the first Jumelage since December 2010, partly because we decided to wait until after the AGM and partly because we have been issuing monthly updates. Hopefully you have found these useful and feel that you are more aware of what is happening with EVTA. If you feel we could improve the updates please let us know; your comments are always appreciated, as are new ideas.
The AGM this year was lively, argumentative even, but the good thing to come out of it was that Geoff Macdonald was unanimously voted in as chairman for the next two years. Geoff has been with EVTA since its inception; he is a French speaker and has a great deal of enthusiasm for his new role as you will gather from his first message as chairman, and we are all looking forward to working with him.
Included in this Jumelage is a copy of the BNM 'journal' received from Didier. He is happy to provide an occasional article for inclusion in our future newsletters; this will enable us to keep in touch with our French friends and they can see what happens in Elham as we will send him copies of Le Jumelage.
Chairman's MessageAs you may have seen in the April update, I have taken over from Joey as your chairman for the next couple of years. I'm looking forward to it with a mix of excitement and some apprehension, but I was persuaded by the evident enthusiasm of the committee members to roll up their sleeves and actually do things - quite a refreshing change from most committees!
Sheila and I have been EVTA members almost from the beginning and have thoroughly enjoyed the many activities we have participated in, on both sides of the Channel, so perhaps it's time I helped to organise some of them! We both love France and over the years have explored many parts of "L'Hexagon" and tried to master the language.
The next major event will, of course, be the visit in mid-June by 28 French guests from Beaujolais, this time travelling by air to Gatwick. Thanks to those who have offered to accommodate them, and I hope that you will all make a special effort to welcome them when they arrive at the Elham Valley Vineyard and join in the other activities over the weekend. Please let me have your booking forms (and cheques!) ASAP for the Saturday evening dinner (so that numbers are known for catering) and the Sunday visit to Chatham Historic Dockyard (so that a cheaper group booking can be made). If you have not yet visited the dockyard you will be amazed at just how much there is to see and do there - it will be a fun day out for all ages.
On a final note, we really could do with increasing our membership to inject new blood into EVTA. Although the main events are our reciprocal visits with our Beaujolais twins in alternate years, the majority are social activities for our own members and EVTA is the only organisation which promotes friendly mixing between the villages along the full length of the Elham valley. If every member could persuade just one friend to join we would double our numbers at a stroke!
Christmas LunchOn 12th December 2010, 32 EVTA members, all dressed up and in festive mood, met at the Etchinghill Golf Club for the Christmas Lunch. It was all very convivial, helped by good food and plenty of wine. A raffle was held, the most coveted raffle prize being a lovely poppy photograph, taken, framed and presented by Diana Forrest.
Joey made a little speech and wished everyone a Happy Christmas and we all went on our merry way.
Les Trois MousquetairesThe following is an account of the day trip to France on Saturday 5th March:
"Our coach arrived punctually in a long queue at Eurotunnel, to news of a delay caused by damage to one of the tracks. Eventually after 3 of us joined another lengthy queue at the information desk, we managed to depart nearly two hours late. Phoning ahead we hoped we would arrive in Aire sur la Lys before the restaurant closed!
Eventually we arrived at the Hostellerie des 3 Mousquetaires to a warm welcome and met Jean Claude and three other friends from the Vallée de la Course who were joining us for lunch.
We were shown to a private room with a large table, overlooking the garden. Kir and an Amuse Bouche were served, a foretaste of the delicious meal to follow. My starter of scallop and chicory soufflé was followed by pork in a mustard sauce, and all the time our wine was replenished. A nougat ice with red fruit coulis and coffee completed my meal two hours later. Good value, my neighbours and I thought, for an inclusive 30 Euros.
It was lovely to renew our friendship with Jean Claude, the new hotel proprietors were charming: the husband an excellent chef, and I wished I could linger over a digestif and stay a night or two!
The tunnel delay meant there was no time for shopping but several people asked me if we were running a trip like this again. I will have many happy memories and return to the château as soon as possible."
The 18th AGM of EVTAThe AGM this year was held at Barham Village Hall on Thursday 14th April. Chairman Joey Bushell welcomed members and our speaker, Nick Eden-Green.
Following the opening formalities, the various reports were presented. The Hon. Treasurer's report showed a total of £1923 available to support the BNM visit. The current liabilities revealed a shortfall of £85 in relation to the château trip. A member raised the point that members' subscriptions should not be used to subsidise trips; this was discussed and duly noted. With regard to Membership subscriptions, we have new members who have recently joined EVTA and the current membership stands at 51.*
Regarding the committee, Diana Forrest has resigned as Hon. Secretary after several years of sterling service and Sue Winter has taken over. Diana was presented with a small gift as a mark of gratitude. Then Joey, who had come to the end of her two year term as Chairman, stood down and Geoff Macdonald was unanimously voted in as the new Chairman. He was given a glowing recommendation by Joey, and he in turn thanked her for all her hard work.**
The new Chairman raised the need to clarify responsibilities and consider roles of committee members. It was suggested that the website should be separated from the role of membership and accommodation secretary.*** Geoff thanked the village reps who agreed to continue and stressed the need to find a rep for Lyminge and also the need to extend the membership.
Nick Eden-Green was then introduced by the Chairman as a past Mayor of Canterbury. He is currently the representative on Canterbury City Council for the Rheims Twinning and has the right background to provide his audience with some interesting ideas. He gave an interesting talk about his involvement with the twinning association; although his role is primarily that of a facilitator for involving and bringing together likeminded groups from both sides of the Channel, there were useful points of reference to us as an association.
The AGM is, of course, the opportunity for all members to air their views and ask questions and there were times when discussions became quite lively. The Chairman eventually brought proceedings to a close and agreed that an early meeting of the new committee would be advisable to discuss the issues.
* Please note that future Subscriptions will be due on 1st September. For those of you who have already paid this year's subs, they will carry you through until September 2012. For those who have not yet paid, your subs will be due 1st September this year.
For the recipe in this Jumelage, as most of us have rhubarb in our gardens at the moment,
it seemed like a good idea to opt for a typical recipe from Lorraine.
The EVTA Committee 2011-2012
Editor: Pauline Davis, 24 Hog Green, Elham, Canterbury CT4 6TU. Tel: 01303 840367 e-mail: paulinedavis42[at]yahoo.co.uk