Earls Colne Twinning Association
One of the first indicators that Spring has arrived is when Twinning Associations emerge from their Winter hibernation and start to migrate across the continent of Europe. The May Bank Holiday is the foremost weekend for this activity and Earls Colne Twinning Association joined many others on an early ferry to Calais to visit our French friends in Nonancourt, Normandy.
There is always a buzz on the coach. While one or two travellers flick through French phrase books most just chat. All are excited. The opportunity to re-visit old friends and make new ones is a prospect that excites us all. This weekend will match our expectations.
Nonancourt is a typical and beautiful small French town that sits on the river Avre. Its narrow winding streets thread between ancient timber-framed buildings and surround the church. On a bright and quiet Spring morning you might imagine you the click of boule – and you might be right.
But our arrival on Friday is anything but quiet. It is heralded with bunting and Union flags and local people waving from windows. A reception and speeches of welcome lead inevitably to an evening of dinners and toasts between friends.
Saturday is a day for walking and talking, visiting old friends and making new ones, remembering our French and helping them out with their English. It’s a day of laughter and sign-language and remarking how the children have grown. In the evening is a dinner-dance. How the French love to dance!
Sunday is a free day, organised by ones host family. For us it was a trip to Entretat with its magnificent cliffs and dramatic sea-walks. The sun shone, the cafes were spilling out on to the streets and a vintage car rally processed through the town almost as if for our benefit. Other families had barbeques; some went to explore chateaus and some went (of course) to Paris.
Monday brings a planned excursion. Two coaches now, a mixture of French and English enjoying each other’s company and off to a country park. It’s an indoor tropical paradise (in case the day was wet) but the sun shines and we are served a meal overlooking the lake and watch the sailboats.
Tuesday morning brings tears. We don’t want to leave and return to our work and our everyday lives. But on the coach home we are already planning next year, when our French friends will visit us in Earls Colne and it will be our turn to welcome them.
If you would like to join us next year please contact us through the 'contact details on this website www.earlscolnetwinning association.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.