AMICALE ~ Hery Visit 2018

Visite Shilbottle-Héry 2018

In May, Anne wrote an article about the forthcoming Amicale visit to Héry under the title ‘Now we are 55!’  As she explained, this was quite a significant trip for us as, not only were we celebrating our ‘Emerald Anniversary’ but also, within the group, there were ten people going to Héry for the first time.  In addition, we had decided to travel by train this year.

So, we had a mega celebration year with ten new people and an untried form of travel that we weren’t sure how it would all work – no pressure there then!  But I’m pleased to report that all went tremendously well.  David Cant did an excellent job as group leader during the journey and the only person to get lost was the coach driver who – due to road works – had some difficulty in finding a way into the village of Héry!

Judith Line took over as secretary of the Amicale here in Shilbottle in May of this year and she was one of the ten people who were going to Héry for the first time.  Judith has been a frequent visitor to France for many years so I asked her to write an article for our readers giving us her feedback on the trip and this is what she said:

‘This Northumberland-Burgundy exchange may have been happening for fifty five years but for some of us, this was our first visit; we are all agreed it was a great success. All are looking forward to the return visit to Shilbottle in 2019 when we in turn will host friends from Héry.

It was hot – 42 degrees is not normal, even for France! Fortunately, it was not so hot most of the time and the organised, very busy programme – beginning with a celebration meal when we cut the cake brought all the way from England, to the final meal taken on a restored train – went ahead without a hitch. There were visits to a wine tasting and corkscrew museum, a medieval castle in the making in order to investigate building techniques (slightly adapted in some instances to accommodate current Health and Safety legislation) and a canal cruise, to name only some of the group outings. Hosts were, as we understand they always are, incredibly generous and took their guests to other interesting places, pressed gifts upon them, fed and watered them copiously.

The week flew by as old friends greeted one another, shared memories and exchanged opinions on the world at large, travel arrangements and chatted in a mixture of French and English. People who had no language in common had fun together. Goodwill was everywhere.

It was a shame that some long-standing members were unable to come this year, and we extend our thanks again to Anne Armstrong, who organised the travel impeccably, but missed the trip. You were missed.

I have been travelling independently to France for more than fifty five years now, and my love affair with France does not look likely to end soon; this was one of the best trips ever.

You could come too!’

Those members who went to Hery this year had a fantastic time and new friendships were made – not only in France but also within our group itself.  This is what makes the Amicale so worthwhile – friendship – and as Judith says, “You could come too!”

It isn’t just ‘a great holiday’ – it is a true and meaningful ‘exchange’ of friendship and hospitality between two nations which has endured for 55 years. Hopefully, it will continue for many years to come but for now we have to start planning in earnest for the 56th anniversary visit of ‘the exchange’ which will take place in Shilbottle, in 2019!


On our way …

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The Welcome Evening …

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Chateau de Guedelon

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Chablis and Corkscrews!

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A boat trip on a canal, lunch, a church and pralines …

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The notorious boules competition!

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The evening BBQ …

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A meal on a train …

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Leaving …

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Extras …

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