Bourne End (Bucks) Twinning Association
BEBTA Members Articles
Armistice Day 2019
By Janet Gould
We have been members of BEBTA for 9 years now and have alternated each year with the same couple in Octeville. When asked if we would represent BEBTA at the Armistice Day events in Octeville-sur-mer Roger and I were very honoured. We have always been sensitive to the Remembrance Sunday parades in our district. After a few emails with our friends and hosts in Octeville it was agreed that we should arrive on Saturday afternoon and leave on the Tuesday after the Armistice Parade which in France is on the 11th November. We arrived at Michel and Marie-Francoise’s about 15.30 on the Saturday and it was lovely to see them again. That evening a meal had been arranged by Marie-France, a committee member of the Jumelage Council, at the Casino in Le Havre. This was quite an experience as the walls are padded in black and there are large television screens showing fashion shows all around the room making conversation very difficult. There were 10 at the table including Alain, the President of the Jumelage in Octeville and Eliane his wife, Marie-France and Jean-Francois, her husband, Michel and Marie-Francoise, our hosts, Francois and Collette, members of the Jumelage and us.
On the Sunday Michel and Marie-Francoise together with Collette and Francois and Jean and Ann-Marie, two more ‘twinners’ took us to Rouen for a Food and Wine Festival. This is unlike anything in the UK as the whole purpose appeared to be to taste as many savoury foods, sweet foods and drink as possible. We arrived at the Festival about 11.00 and at 12.30, after many tastings, they announced that we were going to lunch. We then had a lovely lunch cooked by students attending the local college.
And afterwards it was back to the Festival for more tastings. We tasted many things including caviar (lovely) and chocolate champagne (an acquired taste). Then it was back home for a brief rest before we sat down, all eight again, for a meal prepared by Marie-Francoise. After much laughter we were allowed an early night and went to bed about 11.30 so that we might be ready to start the Armistice Day events at 08.45.
It was raining when we awoke but we were looking forward to the day. We met at the Mairie and Alain gave us the BEBTA poppy wreath which was already in Octeville. He explained the programme and made sure we were in the right place at the right time. Firstly we walked to the church where there are two memorials; one for WWI and one for WWII. Alain went to WWII with members of the children’s council of Octeville and Jean-Louis, the Mayor, went with us to the WWI memorial where we were to lay our wreath after two members of the Youth Committee had laid fresh flowers.
The rain was constant and at one time heavy hail. We had an umbrella but the French officials were dripping wet. Next we walked to the cemetery where two more members of the Youth Committee laid their fresh flowers. We then returned home as the proceedings moved to Mannevillette, a nearby village. We returned to the Michael Adams Hall at midday ready for the speeches. I found giving my speech (a copy below) very emotional and this had an effect on the audience.
I recuperated with, of course, a little drink and canapes. At 13.00 it was time for the Banquet. We sat with Alain and Eliane, Michel and Marie-Francoise and Collette and Francois. It was a lovely meal and our chance to get to know Alain better. He was a delightful host with very interesting conversation making the event extra special. We returned home about 17.30 and after a short rest we were off for dinner at the home of Jean and Ann-Marie with our six friends. It was a lovely evening with a lot of food, wine and laughter. Francois had found an app for the phone which would enable him and Roger to talk together. Roger’s French is limited and Francois has limited English.
We were really spoilt and consider ourselves extremely lucky to have made such lovely friends within the Twinning. We look forward to seeing them again in May when we will have a chance to repay their friendship and hospitality.
Bonjour, Roger et moi sommes ici aujourd'hui pour représenter le club de jumelage de Bourne End en Grande-Bretagne. Roger et moi avons eu l'honneur d'être invités à être ici ce jour spécial pour déposer une couronne;
En plus, pour moi, c'est très personnel car j'ai un parent qui est mort en France pendant la Grande Guerre. Mon grand-oncle a été enterré à Huon, au Tréport. C'est un jour spécial pour nous . Au nom de tous les membres de notre groupe de jumelage, nous vous remercions tous pour votre amitié.