The Plan for 2020/21 and the 2020 AGM

Our Hon. Sec. writes:

The OUSWF Committee met informally this Tuesday (28th July) to discuss what, if anything, might be salvaged from the proposed 2020 events programme previewed on this site.

The consensus was that the planned October visit to Château Feely should now join the aborted May Gaillac visit and June tour of Château Malromé on a provisional programme for 2021. As and when we have the all-clear to firm up those events, details will, of course, be posted in the usual way.

Our Constitution, last revised in 2009, mandates the holding of an AGM ‘normally in the first fortnight of October’. The terms of our registration as an Association here in France oblige us to do the same.

In the light of ongoing uncertainties about the health crisis and the constraints currently in place on gatherings, it would not seem possible to hold a 2020 AGM along traditional lines.

What we propose to do is to hold in October an AGM attended solely by members of the current Committee. In mid-September we will send all members for online approval a copy of the reports of the Treasurer, Secretary, and Webmaster, together with the usual invitation to propose items for discussion at the now skeleton AGM. If there are any misgivings about this temporary extension of the remit of the committee and its officers, these will be addressed at the earliest opportunity.

Clearly, this solution will not satisfy all members, any more than it does the current Committee. If you wish to raise any questions before the September issue of the draft reports for AGM approval, please address these to the Hon. Secretary.

Bon courage. 

OUS SW France in the time of the virus

Firstly, what’s happening with our plans for the year?

Nigel explains:

Members will have gathered that OUSWF events gazetted for this spring and early summer have had to be postponed. 

As you may recall, some of us planned to meet next week for an informal lunch in Prayssas (Lot-et-Garonne). Further details of the 6 May trip to Gaillac arranged by Committee member Chris Boddington were to have come round later this month. We now hope to stage that event at a later date.

Question marks must still hang over meetings further down the line, among them a possible visit in late June to the Gironde Château Malromé (33490 St-André-des-Bois), some 10 km N. of Langon, eventual home to Adèle Toulouse-Lautrec, mother of the painter Henri.

We are reasonably confident (or, at least, there are those who would have us so) that we shall be able to hold our AGM in early September at the Restaurant l’Atelier in 24560 Issigeac. We shall see.

Meanwhile, we shall of course keep the membership posted in the light of developments in the present health emergency.

– The Committee

Furthermore:

Just in case bureaucratic French is a challenge, thanks to Marion, here is a translation of the current set of rules concerning the confinement:

ATTESTATION DE DÉPLACEMENT DÉROGATOIRE
(2nd version, issued Wednesday 25 March 2020)
New directive issued by the French Government. You are only allowed to leave home in the following circumstances:
  1. Essential professional activity that cannot be conducted from home;
  2. Purchase of food, collection of social benefit, or cash withdrawal;
  3. Visit to a doctor (if you are unable to consult him/her over the phone), to the chemist, or for ongoing treatment for a long-term illness;
  4. Child-minding and family assistance, but only in cases of extreme necessity;
  5. Brief physical exercise, limited to one hour and to within a 1-kilometre radius of your home, either alone or with others who share your home, or to walk your dog;*
  6. Summons to a court; or
  7. Participation in community activities, only if invited the appropriate authority.
You can download the piece of paper you need to fill in at: ‘Attestation de Déplacement Dérogatoire’ on the government site www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites (several other sites also offer a download). You will need to take a completed and updated copy with you every time you go out. If you do not, you will face a hefty fine.
Confinement has now been extended until 16th April [watch this space …].
If you experience any difficulties with your day-to-day life (with shopping etc.), you may find your local Mairie helpful. You should find all Government announcements posted on their notice boards.
*For those living in the Lot-et Garonne, all pathways, whether through woodland, around lakes, or along rivers/canals, are out of bounds.
Finally, a French radio correspondent advises: “Do NOT wash your cat with disinfectant”…

In case you missed it: A message from the Vice-Chancellor

23 March 2020
Dear alumni,

 

Greetings from a very quiet Oxford. I’m sitting in my office in the Clarendon Building looking out at the beautiful Bodleian quad entirely empty of students and visitors. In the absence of the usual bustle, the University remains open.

 

I wanted to write to you as members of the alumni community to update you on how Oxford is adapting to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

We had eight confirmed cases in the student body when we broke for the Easter holidays. The timing of the break was fortuitous in that it has given us time to develop plans for moving all our teaching and assessment online for Trinity term.

 

We mobilised Bronze and Silver emergency management teams many weeks ago to help us anticipate the implications for a uniquely complex institution. Our international staff and student body belong to 39 colleges and 6 PPHs and many were conducting research, field-work and language training all over the world.

 

The collegiate University have come together as one to ensure that our students are cared for, our research protected, and our staff supported. Most of our students have returned home while those that remain are supported here. Most of our staff are now working remotely.

 

While things are quiet on the surface, we have been very busy. The Bodleian has responded to the crisis by launching a campaign to ‘Keep Oxford Reading’. When students left at the end of Hilary term they took 35,000 books with them. On 17 March, the day the library closed, a further 5,000 books were borrowed. The Bodleian is making available a vast array of digital reading material and working with other libraries and academic presses to make e-Book catalogues openly accessible. Finally, the library is also providing an eReference and eEnquiry LiveChat.

 

Across the divisions our academics have been contributing to the national effort to combat the pandemic; from expert modellers in the Department of Statistics, to engineers developing medical apps and, of course, our medics supporting the NHS and working on developing a vaccine. Please take a look at this microsite which provides information on some of the extraordinary research that is being done in Oxford. One cannot read this material without feeling enormous admiration for the talent of our colleagues and pride in the work they are doing to save lives, both at home and abroad.

 

As I write, UKRI is announcing government funding for six coronavirus related research projects. Three of these are in Oxford: Professor Sarah Gilbert’s team working on developing a vaccine; Professor Peter Horby’s team testing new and existing drugs on patients with confirmed coronavirus, and Dr Sandy Douglas’s team developing manufacturing processes for mass production of vaccines.

 

We have not forgotten our local community in the midst of this crisis. The Oxford Hub has launched a campaign, ‘Oxford Together’, to mobilise volunteers across the city. They have divided the city into 600 streets with ‘neighbourhood captains’ arranging assistance for vulnerable members of our community.

 

This crisis has posed some very real challenges to the University and it will continue to do so as we enter the very difficult times to come. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we will learn a great deal from this experience and will emerge stronger for it. The enduring value of our core mission – conducting cutting edge research, educating the next generation of responsible citizens, and contributing to the society around us – has never been more evident.

 

I would like to thank you, our alumni, for your ongoing support of our efforts. You are our best advocates and ambassadors, and are key members of the University community.

 

Sending my best wishes to you and your families.

 

Professor Louise Richardson
Vice-Chancellor

 

Around Gaillac in May

Our first full event of 2020, arranged by Committee member Christopher Boddington, will be a trip on Wednesday 6 May to the Gaillac region. Details have been sent to members.

Arrangements include:

The 2020 AGM will take place in either the first or the second week of September at Restaurant l’Atelier, 62 D14, 24560 Issigeac. Further details will be on this Website as soon as we have them.

BCC Brexit update and Embassy Meetings

We have received the following from the BCC as a BCC member:

Dear All,

Please note the following three items.

Firstly, you will find linked an important article prepared by our Vice-Chairman, Christopher Chantrey, about the post Brexit situation. Please circulate this to all your members.

Secondly, Philippa Tomlin, Regional Consular Policy Adviser from the British Embassy confirms two upcoming Embassy Outreach meetings,

27th February    Agen 6p.m.

9th March, La Rochelle 12.30 pm

Details of both meetings can be found on the BCC Facebook page.

You should register as a legal resident in your country of residence see Living in Guides on GOV.UK.

Finally, please save the confirmed date for the BCC AGM at the British Embassy Residence on Tuesday 21st April at 5.30 p.m. 

We look forward to seeing you there.

Best regards,

Janet

BCC Honorary Secretary

 

A small plea

Subscriptions for 2020. The annual sub of 10 euros is now due. We need your support, even at the paltry sum of 10 euros a year, to cover prepayments for events, guest speakers, overheads, and the occasional charitable donation. Even if you are not able or do not wish to attend an event, your contribution will be much appreciated, it being inequitable that some members pay and some do not.

Details have been sent by email to members by our Honorary Secretary Nigel Griffin.