August 9th: top class music after lunch

By arrangement with member Piers Killeen and the Albion Quartet, members have been invited to enjoy a rehearsal by this top class quartet at Piers’ chateau at Sainte-Mère (32) on Thursday 9th August.

We plan to lunch in advance of this at the Auberge des Bouviers in Lectoure.  ‘Bouviers’ are cowboys according to the proprietor but this is certainly not a comment on the food!

Piers writes:

“I am afraid I cannot be sure what they will be rehearsing, but clearly it will be pieces from the subsequent concert programmes. The rehearsals are likely to include sections from the Beethoven and Schubert quartets featuring in the programme.  They are all lovely people and I’m sure they will also say a word or two to your group about their work.  They have fabulous instruments anyway – Stradivarius, Guarnerius and a Grancino.”

Albion b:w photo small

Details have been sent to members by email: please contact for further details.



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

Book Sale, 1st July, Levignac (47)

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!

Book Sale 1st July 2018

Bordeaux: Wine and Submarines

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.

Cité du Vin
One of the submarine pens
Pen visitors
View from the Cite du Vin Belvedere


June 9th Garden Party

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 ( 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 (

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.”