TWINNING WEEKEND 22-25 MAY 2015
Fifty guests from Laon arrived in Winchester on Friday evening for what was to be a very successful and enjoyable weekend. The party included several new members and some children - it was good to see that the Laon association is going from strength to strength. Friday evening was spent with the various families and some got together for meals and barbecues and the like.
Very early on Saturday morning two full coachloads of happy people set off from Winchester for a day out in London. It had been hoped to visit the Houses of Parliament but the recent General Election and the forthcoming State Opening of Parliament the following week meant that no visits were possible on the day. Instead we had arranged to visit the Tower of London. The traffic on the motorways was light but when we got to London we were caught up in roadworks and bank holiday traffic which resulted in a late arrival at the Tower. Not all bad news however, as our skillful driver from Victory Travel took us on a scenic route to the Tower and described the various places of interest to us. At the Tower we were issued with meal vouchers and many of us went straight to the New Armouries Cafe to eat, before exploring the site. A heavy rain shower forced some of us into the White Tower for shelter. Unfortunately there were hordes of people there so it was hard to see everything properly. Afterwards we climbed onto the ramparts and looked at some of the other historical buildings at the Tower. Some people queued to see the Crown Jewels; others were happy to wander around the grounds taking in all the sights.
On our way back we had a stop at the London Eye where, thanks to the generosity of Caesar Slattery we were treated to a ride on this wonderful attraction in three private pods. Some people were nervous to go on the Eye - it's hardly a 'white knuckle' ride though, and those of us that did go thoroughly enjoyed it. For many people it was their first visit. The weather had improved somewhat by then and the views were quite good.
A late return to Winchester was followed by an evening spent with host families. Thirteen of the Chandlers Ford contingent enjoyed an Indian meal.
On Sunday, after a well-deserved lie-in we had a free day. Some went to Chichester and others to the New Forest. Most of us enjoyed a traditional English Sunday lunch somewhere. In the evening we had a very enjoyable Barn Dance at Otterbourne Village Hall. We had hired an excellent band, the Woodsiders, with their caller Charles Haskell. The dancing was great fun, with everyone joining in. Many of us dressed in cowboy costumes. The food committee had done a great job of organising what food people should bring and there was a wonderful selection of cold meats and salads, quiches and other savouries, followed by a good selection of cheeses and lots of lovely desserts. We had the pleasure of welcoming the new Mayor of Winchester, Councillor Angela Clear, and her Escort, Peter Cleare. It was the new Mayor's first engagement since taking office, and she seemed to enjoy it! The usual speeches were made, and gifts were exchanged, then the dancing went on.
Very early on Monday morning, our guests left Winchester on their return journey. It seemed to have been a very short weekend, although much had been packed into it. We now look forward to our return visit to Laon in 2016, which we believe will be from the 27-30 May.
MEAL AT LA PARISIENNE, ROMSEY, ON WEDNESDAY 1 APRIL
About 20 of had a delightful evening at La Parisienne in Romsey where we enjoyed a 2-course meal in true French surroundings. We hope to return soon, maybe later this year.
Tim Foster completed the Paris Marathon on Sunday 12th April 2015 for the Winchester – Laon Twinning Association
Foster ran the Paris Marathon on the 12th of April. Rather like the London
Marathon this is a mass event with thousands of runners getting round the 26.2
mile course that starts and ends in the centre of Paris. He wanted to use the
run to raise funds for Winchester’s Twinning Association with our French
companions from the town of Laon in Picardy. Tim and his wife Gill joined the
Twinning Association shortly after they moved to Winchester some 10 years ago
and the French members from Laon. Tim says that feels very important, and
especially relevant to our present times, that the Twinning Associations around
Europe arose as a response to the horrors of the Second World War, and in the
belief that links of friendship between countries promote and protect peace.
SUMMER POOL PARTY AND BRING & SHARE LUNCH, SUNDAY 23 AUGUST
Sandra Savage has kindly invited Twinning members and their families and
friends to a Bring & Share lunch at her house in Chandlers Ford on Sunday 23
August, starting at 11.30 am for aperitifs. Those of you that have been
before will know that Sandra has a lovely, very large, garden, with a heated
swimming pool, so bring your costumes! More details to follow.