This is our first newsletter for 2012, the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and also the Olympics which the UK has the honour to host, so it will be a busy year for many of you. As you are all aware, there are lots of activities being organised in the local villages but I am sure you will be pleased to hear that the events being organised by EVTA will not, as far as we can ascertain, coincide with any of them. We hope you will all join in as many as you can and we look forward to seeing you.
This year will be one of celebration, with the Diamond Jubilee in June and the Olympic Games in August, but for EVTA members there are more fun events to look forward to in the other months, as you will see in this issue of Le Jumelage. First there will be the Soirée Française in April, an evening of French-flavoured fun with a few games, wine and cheese, and French music from a very talented local accordionist, Doug Inkpen.
Film Night" - La Vie en Rose" - 10th February
It was a bitterly cold evening but Diane and Alan Forest welcomed us into their snug studio for a viewing of the amazing film of the legendary chanteuse, Edith Piaf ("La Mome Piaf - The Little Sparrow"). The Forests had done a marvellous job of making their garden path safe for the filmgoers and so we were able to see Marian Cotillard's performance on the "biggish" screen with a glass of wine - and a choc ice in the interval! The height of intellectual sophistication!
Some French Traditions you may find interesting.
Beheading Bottles of Champagne
A tradition that is popular at weddings is beheading bottles of champagne using specially made sabres. This tradition originated in the time of Napoleon when the Hussards under the famous general's command began celebrating victories by swinging a sabre and thus neatly slicing the top off a champagne bottle. According to legend the Hussards, skilled cavalry, would ride up at full gallop to one of the ladies holding up the bottle and, with one swipe, behead the bottle!
EasterCalled Pâques in French, this is a very important time for the French who have a strong Christian (and especially Catholic) background. According to tradition the bells are rung on the Thursday before Good Friday and then remain silent until they revive on Easter Sunday. As the bells toll the custom is for people to hug and kiss each other.
Children do not hunt for eggs left by the Easter Bunny; rather the French believe that the Flying Bells leave on the Thursday before Good Friday, taking with them all the grief and misery of the mourners of Christ's crucifixion, reaching Rome to see the Pope and then return on Easter Sunday morning bearing chocolate Easter eggs which are hidden around the house and garden for the children to find.
Bastille DayCelebrated on 14th July, this is one of France's most colourful traditions. The day commemorates the day The Bastille, regarded as the symbol of the much-hated French monarchy of the times, was stormed and pillaged by an angry mob of French citizens in 1789. Called La Fête Nationale, many fireworks are set off as the day goes on and well into the night. There are many parades and much dancing in the streets.
The trip to Boulogne on 30th JuneWe hope to get a good response to the day trip to Boulogne. There is a lot to see and do there. Arrangements are being made for a "Greeter" to take those who are interested on a one-hour walking tour. You will be able to join a party for lunch or to do your own thing and have lunch at the time and place of your choice. As previously advised, we will not know the actual cost of the journey until all the booking forms are returned, but it should be around £20 per person.
Some things you may not know about Boulogne-sur-Mer
Boulogne is the largest fishing port in France and is number one for fresh fish for the whole of Europe! It specialises in both fishing and fish processing and its impressive fleet brings home some 64,000 tons per year. A further 300,000 tons are brought to Boulogne from other ports to be processed, sold and distributed by some 150 companies which are based in the area.
Le Criée de Boulogne-sur-Mer - Signed & Sealed at the Fish Auction
It begins at 6 or 7 in the morning, but the harbour has already been busy since midnight when the large trawling ships begin to offload their catches. The ships of the coastal fishermen are moored and offloaded in the small hours. While in most French ports the auction takes place directly on the quayside, in Boulogne it takes place in a purpose-built hall. Buyers first inspect the goods. In the shed large green boards display the names of the ships, quantities and types of fish, listed by number. The owners of the ships set the starting price.
FORTHCOMING EVENTSVisit to BNM - 21st-23rd September. Travel by Eurostar/TGV to arrive in Lyon late afternoon. 23 people have already expressed interest but there is still room for more.
Editor: Pauline Davis, 24 Hog Green, Elham, Canterbury CT4 6TU. Tel: 01303 840367 e-mail: paulinedavis42[at]yahoo.co.uk