"Solent Coaches" coach left Verwood on Wednesday the 27th
August 2014 at 17:30 p.m. with a party of Twinning and members
of "Verwood Concert Brass"
bound for Portsmouth and the Ferry to St
Malo. An additional 4 members of Verwood Concert Brass were picked up in Portsmouth.
party docked in St Malo at 07:30 hrs ready for the trip to
and after a short stop near Rennes and an unexpected detour near to
we arrived slightly later than
expected at about 12:30 hrs.
climbed the hill after crossing the Loire at Oudon we arrived at the "Jardins
du siège de la communauté de communes à
Champtoceaux" for a reception ("Coteau
de Layon" wine) and welcome speeches.
were quite frequent throughout the visit so it is perhaps as well that no
members of the English party were driving.
all those who were visiting for the first time were introduced to their
hosts we all left for "Déjeuner, après-midi
et soirée en famille".
the 29th of August 2014.
friends in Champtoceaux
had arranged a full day of excursions to places in
the Saumur region. For those with plenty of energy the coach left St.
Sauveur de Landemont at 07:15 hrs and
Champtoceaux at 07:30 hrs for the
Journey to the "Château
underground fortress of Brézé
, which resides under the main Château
is the largest of its kind in Europe and is one of the most remarkable monuments of the Loire Valley, the
fortress of Brézé
is a voyage into the bowels of the earth.
de Brézé" and the passage to the Underground Fortress.
the visit to the Chateau the group left by coach for lunch in the "Cave
troglodytique - Les Pieds Bleus" where
other members (who preferred a more liesurely day) joined the main
Pieds Bleus restaurant has several menus with products of the cave: snails, mushrooms and the famous regional speciality : “the fouée” (the delicious dough worked and baked in front of you, in an oven as
it has always been done). Below is the menu offered to the
group with of course wine which was included with the meal.
MENU DE LA CAVE
Assiette de la Cave
- large mushroom stuffed with rough pork pâté
- Onions and chopped bacon in special bread
- Oyster mushrooms in garlic cream
Special hot bread “the fouée".
”With salted butter, rough pork pâté
Mushrooms of Paris , white beans in “sauce maison”
Hot cheese on special bread
"Cave aux Moines"
were dug from the 12th century onwards to extract “the tuffeau” stone,
which was used in many of the local buildings. They were used as far back as the beginning of the
20th century to cultivate mushrooms.
During the tour,
the group was taken back in time and started with a presentation
in a small museum where the origin of mushroom cultivation in the
cave was explained.
It then continued in the galleries where it
was seen how cultivation is done today with different kinds of mushroom (mushroom of Paris), the oyster mushroom (pleurote), the blue stam (pied bleu) and the shi-také (asian mushroom).
In another gallery
it was explained how the galleries were dug in order to extract “the
stone, which was used to construct castles, houses, cathedrals etc.
Snails are one of the specialities of
the restaurant, so it was interesting to see these in a special room where
we were told all about how they live, and reproduce.
little incident happened while on the tour in the caves in that one French
host (who shall be nameless), while backing up to take a photograph,
backed into and stuck to a large fly paper attached to the wall. She had
to be rescued by the Mayor of Champtoceaux, much to the amusment of the
other French hosts who were nearby.
"Cave aux Moines"
the group visited 'des caves
"Bouvet-Ladubay"' for a wine tasting.
the 30th of August 2014.
members of the group met a
"l'lLette" which is a park in the valley in the
pretty village of St.
Saveur de Landemont
(which is one of 9 members of the Canton) at around 11:30 hrs.
entertainment was provided by Melodie
and Les Cols verts de
Champtoceaux which is normally a marching band. Before long
however members of the Verwood Concert Brass joined in, forming a massed
band. One problem was the size of the music with 4 people squinting at a
small piece of card on a music stand.
the Verwood Concert Brass gave a short concert which was enjoyed by all
prior to having another apéritif provided by the Comité de Jumelage.
Many enjoyed a picnic followed by more musical items while some went to
their hosts for lunch.
The Verwood Concert Brass
outdoor Concert in front of a very appreciative audience
on most people met again outside the Mairie in St.
Sauveur de Landemont
where starting at 17:00 hrs the Verwood Concert Brass
gave a much appeciated free concert for 1.5 hrs followed yet again with
another apéritif provided by the group Melodie.
31st of August 2014.
11:00 hrs many locals including the Verwood group arrived outside the
Liré. As people left the service they were entertained
" Verwood Concert Brass"
playing their first short session of the day.
Polish Dancers "Wici de Pologne"
then danced in front of the church followed by the Breton dancers
Javelle d'Ancenis 44" and then
"La Conquerante de Couffe" band performed.
cavalcade of old cars and military vehicles (mainly American and
French) formed a procession past
This was joined by "La Conquerante de
Couffe" and followed by horses, donkeys, cattle, carts and
many old pieces of farm machinery including tractors of all shapes
and sizes. The more interesting were the speciality tractors used in wine
procession wended its way up the hill to the field where the 37th
anniversary of the "Comme
dans l'temps" took place at the farm of Grand
after arrival at the field speeches were made by the different invited
groups and the Chairman of Verwood Twinning gave his speech (in French).
He presented his
opposite number with the gift of a Glass sculpture
designed locally in the New Forest by Angela
her Hillview Studio near Ringwood.
the field there was entertainment all day on the stage. There were
many stalls, refreshment tents and a small museum in the old farm house
showing lace making. There were tractor and carriage rides with
demonstrations of threshing and wood sawing using the old farm equipment.
The Verwood Concert Brass gave at least 3 exceptionally well received
concerts in different areas of the field.
1st of September 2014.
Verwood party arrived rather bleary eyed at "place
Paul Deltombe à Champtoceaux"
ready for a 06:00 hrs start to catch the 10:30 hrs sailing
from St Malo back home with friendships having been renewed and many new
was very pleasing to have
" Verwood Concert Brass"
with us again as they were involved in the very first twinning visit from
Champtoceaux in 1984 when they played a memorable concert with "La
Val Chantant" in the then recently opened Liesure
Centre at the then Safeways centre.
since then "La Val Chantant" has
disbanded after the loss of their conductor and this year the Liesure
Centre was reduced to rubble to make way for the new Morrisons supermarket
but "Verwood Concert Brass"
goes from strength to strength expecially since they own their own band
hall which replaced the old TocH Hut.
must go to our hosts, Champtoceaux and its canton for the warm welcome. Thanks
must also go
" Verwood Concert Brass"
and the Organisers in the Twinning Association for all their hard work and
support in organising the visit. We can only hope that the VCB will come
with us again, perhaps when we visit Liederbach.
pictures and text by Stuart Clifton.