St. Patrick’s Night – 2013

Following on from the recent Burns’ Night, xxxx and yyyy have kindly offered to host our other Celtic celebration in their house.

This will commence at 7.30, wear something green if you wish, and bring a plate of finger food to share – and a well tuned singing voice ! An aperitif, wine and water will be provided but a charge of 5€ per head will be needed to cover costs.

Full details, including directions, will be in your March newsletter. Numbers will be limited to 32, and following the sell out of Burns’ Night, booking this month is recommended ! If you can contribute ideas or even perform anything Irish please also contact xxxxx

Lunch and 'The Gauls in Aquitaine' Exhibition

We shall be visiting this fascinating exhibition in the Musée d’Aquitaine. It is a special exhibition which closes on 17th March, it includes replicas of houses, rooms and workshops from the pre Roman era (800 BC +). There is good bi-lingual labelling of the exhibits. The majority of objects presented have never been publicly exhibited before, since they have come from recent excavations which are revealing new ideas regarding life of the Gauls.

We shall first meet for lunch at 12.00 at ….. Offering excellent rumpsteak, Magret de Canard or Salmon, Salad and the best frites we have experienced ! We have a group menu price of 22€, including an interesting range of desserts, wine and coffee. The full menu will be available soon. Hopefully we shall be able to manage the short walk to the Museum afterwards ! The exhibition has a group admission charge of 2.50 € per person.

Please book with Norma by 5th March

Cycle Ride and Lunch in the Entre Deux Mers

A gentle cycle ride in two separate 10km stages starting on the Rive Droite opposite Ile d’Arcins. We cycle alongside the Garonne and then inland into the Entre deux Mers to Latresne to join the old railway line (now a Piste Cyclable). We will stop for a leisurely lunch before making the return trip.

Lunch a good value ‘honest’ menu de jour for 10.50€ or a plat de jour for 8€.

Enjoy some leisurely cycling and exploring a very different area of our region (not a vineyard in sight!) or just come for lunch.

To register for cycling and lunch, or just lunch only, please contact Ian Couper (Ian says that he will definitely be cycling and enjoying lunch irrespective of the weather and does not want to feel lonely!)

Lunch in the Country

The February monthly lunch is to be out of Bordeaux, meeting at 12.00.

L’Auberge adjacent to the roundabout in the centre of …. (approximately 45 minutes west of Bordeaux). We will have the menu de jour for €14.50 comprising Entrée from the buffet, a choice of Plat and Dessert with a quarter of wine and coffee. Please let me know by Tuesday 5th if you would like to join us. There is no need to make menu choices prior to the 12th.

If further directions are required they will be given on booking. Please do come and join us.

Burns’ Night – 2013

What a venue, and what a marvellous evening in the Chateau in Cenon (Bordeaux). Members Alan and Aracelis, kindly offered their spectacular home, for the second successive year for this
most Scottish of evenings. It was a sell out! The full capacity of 28 members booked. Guests commenced the evening with a rather potent Scottish Sparkle, skilfully prepared and ladled out by John. There was a healthy display of tartan evident, together with knobbly knees displayed by the kilt wearing Scotsmen!

We progressed to the spectacular dining room already laid with delicious salmon (of genuine Scottish origin). Alan commenced proceedings with the ‘Selkirk Grace’ followed by our President Deirdre providing a toast to the immortal bard.

We were then treated to animated singing led by Kit of ‘Comin’ thro’ the rye’ accompanied – as has become the custom at our Celtic events – by Jack, duly dressed in fine regalia. He then lead the magnificent procession, with several circuits, piping in the Haggis. The strident bagpipes were momentarily silenced when the key pipe came adrift, causing some amusement, but not detracting from the spectacle of Eileen proudly bearing the Haggis, followed by the Rankins, all in their tribal gear ! Chris then treated us to an ‘Address to the Haggis’ before brutally stabbing it ! Then to the serious part – eating the haggis, which courtesy of the Rankin family had been on a tour of Scotland and England before making it to Bordeaux, it was agreed by many to be the best ever ! It was of course accompanied by the traditional, neeps and tatties (mashed potatoes). Less obvious was that the excellent whisky, served to all, was to be partially poured on the haggis (like gravy).

It is doubtful that this traditional Scottish meal is normally accompanied by such excellent wine, but we were in Bordeaux! Chris then proposed the toast to the ‘Lassies’ to which Eileen responded in song ! Then to the plentiful and rich Trifles, made by members. Arnaud, who kindly supplied the whisky plus wine from his Chateaux, gave us some insight into his own selection of whisky,and the growing popularity of this import in France, his wine is very popular too!

The repas concluded with Coffee and Deirdre’s excellent Shortbread. Jack then exercised his pipes again to accompany us singing ‘Flower of Scotland’, and finally ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (perhaps Robbie Burns’ most famous rendering).

Thus finished the formal part of the evening which reminded us of Scottish traditions, and that lovely accent (which must be a huge challenge to non native English speakers (as well as many who are !)). All agreed it had been a memorable and most enjoyable evening. Such events do take a lot of organising, preparation and catering, especial thanks are due to the Rankins and Basgallops forbearing the brunt of this, as well of course to our entertainment team. Our sincere gratitude to Alan and Aracelis for providing their
magnificent home to the BBC for this occasion – there cannot be a more fitting setting !

Report by Phil, Photos by Phil and Alan

New Year Walk and Lunch: Carcans

We all made it to the church at Carcans on time so it was not too bad a start to the New Year, and the first 2013 vintage walk is now respectfully assuming its rightful place in Piet de Bie’s repertory of always very interesting and enjoyable walks.

Earlier in the morning, I heard a foghorn down on the Estuary at Le Verdon. But, by the time I and we had all arrived at Carcans, the mist and low cloud was beginning to thin acceptably for ground-level walkers. Just as well, as Piet had found us another nice pleasant ramble in the hectares of forestry land, cleared, reclaimed and replanted further to the disastrous storms in 1999. Already, the one time saplings had grown to respectable fir trees 2-3 metres high, interspersed by an occasional oak sapling still wearing its autumn cloak of golden brown. As the mist continued to clear, it was to reveal whole ranges of browns, ochres and greens which were so beautiful, natural and untouched as they were, and so a panorama which was fit for many an artist’s pallet. The bright and pure cadmium yellow of the gorse bushes in flower in splendidcontrast to emerald greens of the gorse bush itself and also that of the smart, green, green, brand new fir trees, just beginning to learn to stand up straight for themselves.

Notably absent, apart from the sun, was the wildlife, birdlife in particular, and the noisy chatter of young jays flapping their way from tree to tree. Possibly, the lack of cover and undergrowth explained that all this wildlife was feeding elsewhere, in another neck of the woods. Without thinking of anyone in particular, maybe, after all, it was not a bad idea to flex a few of those joints and get those cartilages back into working order and the 5 miles or so of rough and smooth terrain, forestry rides and sandy tracks were just what the doctor ordered. No way, with Piet fully kitted out with GPS and large-scale IGN maps of the area, could we have had to ask our way or have missed out on our important rendez-vous for lunch.

So, and not too soon, we could notice Charles striding out in front, leading us back to the superintendantand meter-free church carpark at Carcans. However, and I guess there may have been a second reason. I suspect Charles was in the know. Back at the ranch, Deirdre was ready with a warm mulled wine welcome for us thirsty British souls cluttering up her driveway and carpark. And, afterwards, Deirdre invited us to sit down to the ‘simple’ lunch which we had been told we might expect. I suppose I don’t know too much about these things. What is particularly simple about delicious home made onion and home made vegetable soups? Maybe the dozen or so French cheeses, rosé and red wine also on the table were of help? On behalf of all who partook, may I say, quite simply thank you Deirdre, thank you Chris and, yet again, thank you Piet

Report by Anthony Dingle, Photo by Piet de Bie