August 2015: 40th anniversary visit to Cormeilles

Picnic at St Pierre de Cormeilles

Picnic at St Pierre de Cormeilles

Enjoying the sunshine

Enjoying the sunshine

At the château

At the château de Martainville

Déjeuner Guinguette

Déjeuner Guinguette

Once again we left Chepstow at 4 am in the pouring rain and, unusually, it didn’t brighten up much for our arrival and en route stop at St Pierre sur Dives. But we managed to see the ancient market hall and abbey without getting too wet, and then were on our way to Cormeilles and the warm welcome of our hosts.

The next day, Thursday, was also dull and drizzly but our host families took our minds off the weather with various activities culminating in the customary Vin d’Honneur, this time in the evening. Being the 40th anniversary this was an extra-special occasion marked by the exchange of plaques (see photo). There followed an enjoyable evening of revelry accompanied by live music and dancing.

The following morning the sun shone and the temperature rose as we all gathered at Avenue de Chepstow for the unveiling of our plaque. This was hung next to the one, also made by Ned, commemorating the 20th anniversary in 1995. We then moved on to the nearby village of St Pierre de Cormeilles for a typically French style picnic and a very interesting talk in the church which has ancient links with our St Mary’s Priory church. On display was a model of our own church, painstakingly created by someone from our community some years ago… but who? If anyone can shed light on this, please do contact us, we would love to know.

On Saturday we rose early to board the coaches for the visit to the Château de Martainville where we were given a guided tour of the fascinating museum of art and Norman tradition. Sadly there was not time to linger in the lovely gardens as the next stop was for a ‘déjeuner Guinguette’ by a canal next to the river Seine near Rouen. Even some of our French hosts were not quite sure what this would entail, and it proved to be an interesting mix of eating, drinking and dancing between courses, accompanied by an indefatigable accordeoniste and singer. By now many of us were flagging from the heat and chose to walk by the canal or cross the bridge and watch the unbelievably huge barges make their way through the lock. Definitely experiences we would not have at home, which are, after all, part of the fascination of travel to foreign parts.

After spending a sultry Sunday (31°) with our hosts, we bade them farewell on Monday morning, by which time the weather was already turning more British, and boarded the coach for home . Our stop in Caen was distinctly damp. We were very thankful to have reserved seats on the ferry which was absolutely packed, being Bank Holiday Monday… Brittany Ferries’ policy of letting coaches off last was not appreciated by any of us, least of all poor Phil. But we are very grateful to him for getting us safely back to Chepstow, albeit in the same pouring rain with which we had left.

We are all very grateful to our French friends, especially the ‘bureau’, for the great effort they put into making the 40th anniversary visit so memorable for us.

Halle, St Pierre sur Dives

Halle, St Pierre sur Dives

Isabelle, Tracey, Nathalie with plaques

Isabelle, Tracey, Nathalie with plaques

Avenue de Chepstow

Avenue de Chepstow

Model of St Mary's Priory Church, Chepstow

Model of St Mary’s Priory Church, Chepstow

Celebrating 40 years together

IMG_20150718_153905 IMG_20150718_154523

In this 40th anniversary year we are delighted that local potter Ned Heywood has very kindly made us two beautiful blue plaques to commemorate the occasion. His design is inspired by the doorway of St Mary’s Priory Church; one plaque will be presented to our friends in Cormeilles and the other is displayed in Chepstow. The plaque was unveiled by Mayor Dale Rooke in Cormeilles Square on Saturday 18th July.

QUIZ NIGHT

Another of our popular quiz nights will take place on Friday 8th May, in Mathern Village Hall, starting at 7.30. The cost is £9 per person, to include a fish and chip supper; bring your own drinks. Teams of four: guests are welcome. Please email chepstowtwinning@gmail.com to book your place.

August 2014, Chepstow

August Bank Holiday weekend 2014 saw the 39th exchange visit of the CCTA and by a happy coincidence 39 French friends arrived exactly on time on the Saturday evening.

After relaxing with their host families on Sunday morning, they were welcomed by the Chairman, Tracey Kinsey, and the Mayor of Chepstow, Ned Heywood MBE, at a Pimms reception with delicious nibbles held in the Drill Hall. This was followed by a rousing ceilidh, led once again by local band Rig-a-Jig, and a copious Ploughman’s Supper – nobody went home hungry!

Monday was a free day for families to entertain their guests: some got together for meals, others visited local places of interest, and hopefully the traditional British Bank Holiday torrential rain did not dampen spirits too much.

On Tuesday, 75 of us boarded two coaches and headed to Brecon where some chose to visit the military museum and had an interesting talk and weapons demonstration, and others explored the town with its shops, covered market and cathedral. We then travelled a few miles further to the Mountain Railway at Pant where we ate our picnics in the shelter of the waiting room. It may have been a little cramped but we certainly got to know each other better! We then piled into the observation carriages of the steam train, to the bemusement of the other passengers, and enjoyed the scenic views of the Brecon Beacons as it ascended to Torpantau, stopping on the way down for people to visit the little steam museum or get an ice cream.

Finally, on Wednesday we held a superb Hog Roast lunch in Mathern Village Hall, followed by energetic indoor team games for those who wanted to speed up their digestion – personally I counted myself lucky to have retained the contents of my stomach after Steve’s forceful attempts at the Heimlich Manoeuvre during the tug of war. The French may have won, but we didn’t cheat…

Our friends departed on their homeward journey early Thursday morning, leaving their hosts exhausted but happy, vowing to start their diets tomorrow, and looking forward to the return visit to Cormeilles next year, the 40th anniversary of the Twinning.

Chepstow August 2014

DSC_0017

DSC_0024

DSC_0036

DSC_0065

DSC_0085

DSC_0154

DSC_0162

DSC_0169

DSC_0206

DSC_0213

DSC_0214

Duck Race 2014

Many thanks to all who helped with this year’s Duck Race by buying and selling tickets, helping and supporting us on the day. Despite the grim weather forecast it stayed dry and almost all the numbers were sold. An excellent effort from all who contributed: thank you.

Here are the results:

Position Prize Duck number Sold by Winner
1st £50 378 Christine Lovett Sue Carter
2nd £40 399 Christine Lovett Christine Lovett
3rd £30 610 Tom Boyd-Meaney Kath Sves
4th £20 755 Maria Hudson Alan Hudson
5th £10 733 Christine Green Christine Green
Last Chocolate duck 122 Mike Drake Jamie Pike

Our French friends also held a Course des Canards this year and for a change here are some photos of theirs.Course des canards2014a

Course des canards2014b

Cormeilles 2013 photos

Yvonne and oyster Georgia and Nataley Clos de Chanchore Benedictine Abbey IMG_0717 IMG_0707 IMG_0691 IMG_0690 Epaignes Cambremer