Our newsletter is published twice a year and is sent out to members of the Association and to our partners in Dillenburg and Vierzon. In it, members report on recent exchange visits between the partner towns. The content reflects the close bonds of friendship that have been forged over the years and pleasure in establishing new ones.
Below are two members’ reports from our latest newsletter (Autumn 2015), one of a visit to Dillenburg and the other of a visit to our partners from Vierzon to Hereford.
Thirty-two members left Hereford on Thursday 10th September and we reached our overnight hotel in Bruges in time to look around the town and enjoy an evening meal overlooking the square.
After a good breakfast we travelled to Dillenburg where we arrived at 3 o’clock after having negotiated a number of road works on the way. We were met by Uli Mai and all our hosts and taken to the Volksbank for Kaffee und Kuchen and a warm welcome from the bank, members of the German-English Society and the Mayor, Herr Michael Lotz. The evening was spent with our hosts and Deanne and I were delighted to meet up with friends from the Glück-Auf Choir who we knew from the visits made by the Hereford Gilbert and Sullivan Society.
It was arranged for Saturday to be a free day with hosts so we were taken on a tour of the surrounding area, taking in the beautiful scenery and enjoying lunch by a lake. In the evening we accepted an invitation to the home of Gisela and Barry where, with lots of others, there was much merriment and drinking.
A full day’s outing was arranged for everyone on the Sunday when we were taken to the Edersee lake and dam in the north of Hessen where we enjoyed a boat trip and refreshments on the lake which was only 1/5 full of water because of the dry summer.
On the return journey we visited the Cathedral at Marburg and enjoyed a meal together at a lovely converted mill.
Our ‘goodbyes’ came all too soon early on Monday morning and we made our way back to Hereford after another enjoyable stay with thanks to all our hosts for the usual great hospitality.
Last September I went on the twinning trip to Vierzon without knowing anyone and I had a wonderful time, so I was looking forward to welcoming the Vierzonnais back to Hereford, and my hostess from Vierzon in particular. Many of the twinners have known each other for many years, but I immediately felt welcomed into the group in France, and it was lovely to see them all again in England.
We started off with a splendid meal at the Town Hall, with the Mayor and other dignitaries, which was the opportunity to say hello to everyone; and of course the evening ended with some dancing. Most of the group belong to Les Berriauds, a folk dancing group. Their dancing is not dissimilar to English country dancing, with the dancers performing in sets, with some simple and more often complex routines accompanied by hurdy-gurdys, violins and bagpipes.
The following afternoon they were invited to dance at the Bishop’s Palace, dressed in their traditional costumes, with a splendid tea afterwards. The evening was really different, skittles at the Welsh Club. Everyone enjoyed themselves and young and old got involved, and several unlikely characters showed great skill!
The next day the twinning committee had organised a great day out for us all to Cadbury’s World where many presents for friends in France were purchased, and then on to Kidderminster for a ride on the steam railway to Bridgenorth. The trip down memory lane was great for all. A brilliant carvery meal in a pub outside Worcester finished off the day splendidly, and the two coaches got everyone home safely.
On a cool Saturday morning we all gathered in High Town for some outdoor dancing. Les Berriauds made a colourful display, and certainly intrigued the shoppers and passers by. After performing some intricate dances, the group invited people to join in with a simpler dance in a large circle. It was lovely to see people joining in, and be able to tell folk about the twinning and where the musicians and dancers were from. We divided up for the last evening, and I enjoyed a meal with three French guests and the driver with another host. We said goodbye to our French friends early on Sunday morning, and were glad to hear they had got back safely with no troubles crossing the Channel.
I enjoyed speaking French with the visitors, and having my mistakes corrected. Those who didn’t have much command of the other language or any particular interest in learning it, nevertheless communicated fine and had fun. The whole thing is more about getting to know people and to travel with friends.
The committee have done so much to make the visit a success, and I thank them for their hard work.’
Frances St Clair-Miller