Member Mark Opstad conducting:
Member Mark Opstad conducting:
Member John Allsop writes:
Please find below the flier for our second Book Sale of the year, on
Sunday 1st July at the Parc St Vincent.
As you will see, lunch will be Trevor’s excellent Barbecue, so don’t
forget to book your table, as it will surely be well-attended, as always
Looking forward to seeing you, and satisfying your literary needs for
the next few months!
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.
Marion has sent details of this garden party to members, who are invited to reply before June 2nd:
“You may well wish to sport a boater or a panama hat for an elegant « déjeuner sur l’herbe », kindly hosted by OUS member Geoff Douglas and his wife Penny in the garden of their house at Saint Laurent (http://bygad.biz/saint-laurent/) 31310 Rieux-Volvestre. (But they also have a large indoor space available in the event of rain).
Geoff and Penny propose coffee at 10h30, followed by a short walk (25 minutes, or 5 minutes by car) to the medieval village of Rieux-Volvestre, where there is much to be admired (http://www.francethisway.com/places/rieux-volvestre.php).
The walk will give us a good appetite for sharing our picnics (from our own hampers).
After lunch, Geoff has arranged a short talk by a good friend and retired professor of English at Toulouse University, on Clément Ader, known as “the father of aviation”, who was in competition with the Wright brothers for the first hop above the ground (we are, after all, not far from Toulouse and the Airbus …)
If you come from afar, Geoff and Penny have accommodation for 5 couples and two singles in 3 apartments.”
At our request, member Piers Killeen has kindly arranged for us to attend a rehearsal by the Albion Quartet during the festival at Sainte-Mère (32). This will take place on 9th August after a lunch to be arranged nearby. There will be a small charge for this event to help support the festival.
Details of the festival programme are on the Sainte-Mere website and you may like to attend a concert in addition.
It would be helpful at this early stage to get some idea of numbers for the lunch and rehearsal, so please let us know if you might attend via:
Marion Tempé writes:
1939 – 2018
We are sad to have to announce the recent death of Jeremy James, founder of the OUS SW France Branch, and former chairman.
Son of a mining engineer, William Jeremy Layard James was born in what was then Southern Rhodesia, and spent his early years in South Africa. After attending Blundell’s School, he went up to Oriel in 1958 to read Greats.
A short spell with IBM was followed by an administrative career in several of the colleges forming part of London University. On retirement, he and his wife Sara moved to the village of Dondas in Lot-et-Garonne. They both became active participants in village life, as in that of the local British community. His love of music led him, over the years, to acquire an extraordinary quantity of recordings and documents related to his favourite conductor, Carlo Maria Giulini, but his Oxford associates will remember him also as a keen connoisseur of organs and organ music. To some of us he confided his pride in his Huguenot ancestry and his glee whenever he found traces of it in local archives.
In 2007, and after what must have required a lot of ground work, he wrote to a large number of Oxford graduates living in south-west France, proposing that we could set up a branch of the Oxford University Society, as it was then known. On a chilly day in October, several of us met him and Sara in Moissac, where he presented his project in detail. His enthusiasm, dedication and obvious determination to overcome obstacles, convinced any of us who had doubts about its viability that an OUS branch in south-west France was indeed possible. It soon took off with around 70 members.
He remained chairman until 2010, but continued to take an active part in the life of the branch, arranging lunches in the Lot-et-Garonne, and maintaining links with the OUBC which have enabled us for the past three years to enjoy meeting the crews during their winter training sessions in Le Temple-sur-Lot. Organizing this event gave him particular pleasure; sadly, illness caused him to miss the most recent one at the beginning of January.
He took the fortunes of the branch very much to heart, and he would certainly wish it to continue in the tradition of friendship and conviviality which he inspired from the start.
Donations may be made in his memory to « Cancer Support France Lot-et-Garonne » by cheque made payable to: