Your committee met in November to formulate ideas for next year’s events. We would greatly appreciate your feedback.
This is especially the case if you would like to participate in the OUBC, Bayonne or Toulouse visits (these latter two will involve an overnight stay for most members). If so could you please indicate your interest in the forms below in order to help us gauge the level of interest.
As always, suggestions from members are welcome for further events. As always also, we welcome family members and friends at our events and, of course, any volunteers to help organise an event.
31 December or early January – Lunch with the OUBC crews at le Temple-sur-Lot (47). This has become a popular annual event. Details to be confirmed.
12 March, 12:30 – Lunch with the committee at the Restaurant La Bastide St. Louis, Prayssas (47).
April or May – a Château visit for wine tasting followed by lunch. Candidates for this are:
- Sauternes: Château Guiraud (33) with lunch at restaurant La Chapelle at the chateau
- Bordeaux red and white: Château Bauduc (33) with lunch at Créon.
We much enjoyed our visit to the Tonnellerie Sylvain, near Libourne (33) a few years back and this could be added to one of these visits. It would also be possible to do both château visits, with one taking place in October.
May – A visit to St. Emilion for wine and lunch.
June – an overnight excursion to either Bayonne or Toulouse. The less popular could be held over for 2020.
For Toulouse, this could include museum visits and a concert or another event of interest in la ville rose.
Bayonne (64) has many attractions including its museum, Basque culture (language, games – a visit to a match of “pelote basque” could be arranged) and food (jambon, pintxos, excellent restaurants and maybe a visit to a chocolate factory, as Bayonne is renowned for its chocolate). There is also the art nouveau spa of Cambo-les-Bains nearby.
September 6 – AGM in Albi (81).
For the AGM itself, we hope to have a guest speaker as well, to entertain us over lunch. We visited Albi some years ago, but the floods then prevented us taking a river trip. Members may in any case like to visit or re-visit the truly magnificent cathedral and the Toulouse-Lautrec museum.
The restaurant Le Caillou near Vire-sur-Lot was this year’s venue for our AGM. Discussion centred on the substantial continuing interest among members and the forward programme for 2019. An agreeable lunch followed for the 13 members attending and 12 partners and friends: apologies were received from a further 17 members. Our thanks to Greg Hawes and Nigel Griffin for their organisation.
On 9th August 2018, some 21 members, family and friends met for lunch in the Auberge des Bouviers in Lectoure for a lunch of quality in its splendid upstairs room. A couple of us courageously (or foolishly) tried the menu du jour’s very substantial andouillette but everyone else stayed in less challenging but much appreciated territory. As ever on these occasions, amidst good conversation, some new friendships and encounters were generated in the true spirit of our association.
Our objective then was to meet member Piers Killeen at his Chateau to see the then-resident Albion Quartet practice a piece from their next concert. The weather being (for this summer) atypically uncertain, we found them already at work in the Church next door. However, we were all quickly ejected by the onset of an imminent funeral and so repaired inside Piers’ fine house to hear them rehearse Ravel’s Quartet in F. We were much intrigued by the dynamics of the interplay between the players as well as the stunning immediacy and quality of their playing. Given that they had three concerts in three days ahead to rehearse, we were very privileged to get this unusual insight into the creation of fine music and to be able to ask questions about their approach to their work. Piers remarked that their concert the previous evening had been an exciting demonstration of the evolution of the quartet form from Haydn’s signature Op 20 no 2 to Beethoven’s final quartet, Op. 135 – followed by a well-timed thunderstorm.
Piers also provided tea and gave us an intriguing tour of his Edward I-period chateau (in which the concerts are held). He explained the historic and bureaucratic challenges that restoring such a monument present – historic because so little is known about its origins and the method of construction must mainly be deduced from what is there.
We would very much encourage those of you with an interest in chamber music to join Piers’ membership and attend his concerts as a result: http://saintemerefestival.net/en/.
Our great thanks to the Albions and to Piers for making it all possible.
Nigel Griffin writes: A small group of Members was warmly welcomed by Geoff and Penny Douglas to a picnic lunch in early June on the terrace of their home near Rieux-Volvestre (Haute-Garonne), the Ville-cité where in 1982 Le retour de Martin Guerre was filmed. They kindly arranged a late morning visit to a local atelier with stunning views of the Pyrenees, where the potter Sylvian Meschia spoke of recent installation work featuring his ceramics. After lunch, we were taken by a neighbour, Jean-Pierre Soulat, on an enjoyable and informative tour of the village he knows so intimately.
photo: Roger Tarn
19 June 2018
This visit to the Cité du Vin and the former German submarine base was somewhat undersubscribed (Royal Wedding, Whitsuntide?), but this of us who were able to come had a splendidly sunny day in Bordeaux to enjoy both attractions.
‘Attraction’ might be a misnomer for the massive concrete wartime submarine pens constructed with forced labour organised by the Organisation Todt. Our passionate guides told how the massive pens (12 metres deep) were constructed and how they were defended from American aerial bombardment. Whilst the surrounding Bacalan area had been destroyed by misguided bombs and the retreating Germans had destroyed as much as they could, Bordeaux was ultimately helped in its restoration by a courageous German francophile who prevented the detonation of the last bridge across the Gironde.
Sadly, we have to report that impending commercial exploitation may rub out some of the history as the pens are converted into more modern attractions, but for those interested in quite recent history the visit is inexpensive and is currently supplemented by a digital art exhibition in the cavernous underground of what had been the tower block next to the pens.
Prior to this visit we spent the morning in the Cité du Vin with lunch in the Brasserie. Your correspondent enjoyed the Bacchanalian art and music exhibition, the view from the Belvedere and the array of wines from just about every wine producing country. Lunch in the Brasserie was memorable mainly for good company.
Our thanks as ever to Marion for organising this most enjoyable day out.