Visit from Notre Dame de Gravenchon
6th April - 10th April 2019
44 friends from Gravenchon travelled to Street and there were some new visitors, including children which is fantastic for the continuation of twinning. There were a few hiccups along the way in organising this visit but with great team work by the subcommittee and communication with Sharon in France everything ran smoothly during their stay.
They travelled by Ferry from Calais to Dover and arrived slightly earlier than expected. Each member of the subcommittee had been given a group of hosts and those hosts were made aware of their contact in case of emergencies. This system worked well and enabled hosts to be informed quickly of the new arrival time.
During the day on Sunday and Monday there was time to relax, catch up and time for new hosts and guests to get to know each other. The Dinner and Dance was held at Meadway Hall in Compton Dundon on the Sunday evening. A team of volunteers, including a few French guests, decorated the hall with the theme of a train trip to the beach. There were props of a train, photo frame and accessories that many people enjoyed taking photos with. Everyone was greeted with a glass of Bucks Fizz on arrival. We enjoyed excellent catering by Claire and team and danced to the lovely singing of Sally Vinyl.
Monday evening the Street Parish Council hosted a reception in Crispin Hall. Tasty non-alcoholic beverages and a wonderful ploughman’s supper went down well with both English and French. We enjoyed music by Dylan Thomas and John and Ann Diment. Gifts were exchanged and a plaque celebrating 50 years of twinning was presented by Marie-Francoise Loison, deputy Mayoress of Gravenchon to the Street Parish Council and received by the Chair, Nina Swift. Stars displayed on the plaque were decorated during last year’s visit to Gravenchon and also by local school children during their visit to France. One plaque will be displayed in Street and the other in Gravenchon.
Tuesday was the trip day and a large group of 96 people travelled by coach to Bishops Lydeard and then onto Watchet by Steam train. The Subcommittee were informed with not much time to spare that maintence to the line from Watchet to Minehead had overrun and so would be closed. With quick adjustments made the trip still ran smoothly. West Somerset Railway provided a great service with two train carriages reserved for the twinning and we had a chance to take photos up front with the train driver.
Once in Minehead we walked to the Hairy Dog where we were all seated together and promptly served fish, chips and peas. Some then enjoyed deserts, drinks or a walk along the sea front before catching the coach to Dunster Castle. The drizzly rain didn’t spoil our enjoyment. Many went into the castle, some wandered around the gardens and tried their hand at archery or shooting whilst others ventured into Dunster village. We had a good journey home with a friendly coach driver and a great service provided by Taylors coaches.
Wednesday morning was an early start and time to say goodbye. With long lasting friendships reinforced and new friendships made, twinning is still going strong. We look forward to visiting our friends over in Gravenchon in 2020.