Haslemere and District Twinning Association

News of visits and events in 2009

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Bernay visit May 7th -10th 2009

After a very early start, the party from Bernay arrived in Portsmouth around midday, where they were met by some members of the committee and immediately drove to Chichester. There they had a guided tour of the cathedral, and a cream tea, so they were sufficiently refreshed for some general sightseeing and shopping before continuing their journey to Haslemere. A very crowded car park (Waitrose opened that day), tested the patience and skill of the French coach driver, but reunions and introductions were quickly made so their hosts were able to take them home to relax over an evening meal.

On Friday a visit to London included a trip on an amphibious DUKW. This was very much enjoyed as an unusual way to see the capital, and then Covent Garden and some museum visits completed the day.

Saturday was the traditional day spent with hosts and there was, as always, an enormous variety of activities. The common factor was a pub lunch, and in many cases some food shopping, when both Secretts and Waitrose pleased our visitors. In the evening nearly a hundred of us met at Haslewey, which had been splendidly decorated with flags and the tables looked magnificent. As we gathered, Verity Foster played her harp, a delightful start to the evening. William King addressed us, in the last week of his mayoralty, and as always his speech was well researched and relevant. We were also pleased that the Deputy Mayor of Bernay was with us, especially as he is keen to increase the sporting links between our towns. Melanie Odell was with us too we really value the support from our councillors. Finally a picture quiz, projected on the screen, entertained us all and tested our knowledge of our own and each others' countries and everyone seemed reluctant to go home.

It felt far too soon to say "Goodbye" and "Au Revoir" on Sunday when our friends left to spend some time in Portsmouth and the ferry home.

Click here for pictures of the visit.

Bastille Day lunch

On Sunday, July 12th 2009, a date chosen to be as near as possible to the French National Day, over 40 members and a number of their guests gathered in the garden of Faith and Johnnie Reynolds in Chiddingfold for a buffet lunch. We were able to sit outdoors under marquees, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and - by exceptional good fortune considering the recent weather - a fine, sunny day. The atmosphere was very relaxed, the food was pronounced excellent, and everyone seemed to appreciate the opportunity to meet their twinning friends and catch up with one another's news. No-one seemed eager to go home … Our warmest thanks are due to Faith and Johnnie for hosting and catering for the event, and to committee members and others for providing the salads and generally making sure that the occasion was a success.

First Prize in the raffle was a hamper of food and drink from the specialist shop of Jean-Pierre Bernais in Bernay, which was won by a guest who had been invited along by a member - and has since decided to join the Association! The winning number, appropriately, was 27 - which as aficionados of French car number plates will know is that of the Department of the Eure, in which Bernay is situated.

Horb Visit 1st to 4th of October 2009

On October 1st, 21 members of the association set off for Horb am Neckar. After a short flight to Stuttgart, we enjoyed a long weekend of beautiful sunshine so that the scenery, just showing autumn colours, and timbered buildings with overflowing window boxes looked spectacular. A "Grünprojekt" in Horb will transform the riverside into a peaceful park, where we hope that Haslemere will have a garden, together with Horb's other twin towns. We had a full tour of the area and the old town too before an afternoon spent with our host families.

The evening reception and dinner, a regular event in these exchanges, was lively with food, drink and conversation flowing freely. Lack of German did not prevent communication (many of our hosts speak excellent English!). The welcome poster below was designed by 9-year old Sara Gfrörer.

The main visit was a full day including a remarkable blue pool (Blautopf) welling up from deep underground and local Benedictine monastery. This was on the way to the city of Ulm, on the Danube, where the Minster is notable for having the highest church spire in the world.

The final day included more sightseeing, a shopping opportunity for chocoholics at the Ritter Sport chocolate factory shop, and a substantial lunch to set us up for the flight home. For many of us, it was a first visit to Horb, but the warm welcome made us feel very much at home.

Click here for pictures of the visit.

German evening Saturday, 14th November 2009

On Saturday, 14th November, over 40 people, including a number of guests, enjoyed a German evening of entertainment and food at Haslewey under the title of "Wurst and Verse". Entertainment in words and music was provided by the trio of Tom Jeffers (guitar and singing), Frank Pattison, who gave readings mostly in English but some in German, and Annita Lemon on the treble recorder. Though many of the audience did not speak German, Tom managed to get everyone joining in some simple German songs. Throughout the evening, contributions ranged from light-hearted to serious and sometimes very moving, as in Frank's readings on the rededication of the Frauenkirche in Dresden. Even non-German speakers must have been stirred by his beautifully read passages from Goethe's Faust. We were also treated to an excellent buffet supper including German-style 'charcuterie' and a choice of delicious 'Kuchen'. Many thanks are due to Barbara Jeffers, Wendy Bennett, and Ann Fitchett for organising the event and to all those who contributed to its success. The feedback from those who attended has been universally positive.

German evening 2009

The photograph shows a festively decorated Haslewey before the arrival of the guests, while some of the committee have a preview of photos taken during our recent visit to Horb