St Quentin RC visits Canterbury RC

October 2013 – and it was the turn of the Rotary Club of Canterbury to entertain members of its oldest Contact Club, The Rotary Club of Saint Quentin in the Aisne Department of the Picardy region of France, to a weekend of fellowship and fun.  The relationship between the two clubs goes back to shortly after the Second World War and has been active ever since.  With the exception of the years when either of the clubs is organising the Pentangular on their home soil, the Canterbury and Saint Quentin clubs take turns annually to entertain the other club in their respective towns.

 So it was on Friday evening 4th October members of the Rotary Club of Canterbury gathered at the Kent and Canterbury Club to await the arrival of their French guests.  They duly arrived; hugs, kisses and hand-shakes (depending on levels of familiarity) were exchanged, a glass or two of wine was consumed and hosts and guests depart for diner en famille.

Saturday arrived and it was clear, that for some, the renewal of old friendships had lasted late into the night!   So, a relaxing morning was what was needed before the rendezvous for the first event at Tenterden Railway Station.  Then, a gentle steam-train ride through the countryside to Bodiam and back, accompanied by a ploughman’s lunch and pastries, proved just the ticket.  Accompanying the travellers as well was a team of Morris Dancers and their musicians who were part of the Tenterden Folk Festival which was taking place over the same weekend.

click on images to enlarge

All Aboard...
The travelling Morris
Dancers entertain 
Our loco changes ends
Gill, Jenny & Bob
USA Class loco No. 65 all
hooked-up and ready to go
Antoine, Isabelle
& Catherine at Bodiam

Geoff, François &
Jean Christophe

Taking the air at Bodiam

Antoine & Elizabeth

The lure of Bodiam Castle was sadly tempered by the need to get back on the return train.  However, a trip to see this historic Norman Castle isn’t out of the question during a future visit.  So it was off back to Tenterden where many of the party took the opportunity to not only see the town, but also the accompanying folk festivities.

Evening arrived and, after the usual map-reading challenge, everybody congregated at Sue and Stephen Thompson’s in the wilds of Stelling Minnis for aperitifs and hors d’oeuvres before setting off who knew where for a mini Safari Supper.  The calmer surroundings of members’ houses, as they served either a main course or desert, made for more intimate conversations – and laughter – which helped promote and cement the close friendships between members of the two clubs.

Sunday morning was again à loisir en famille and before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye.   A sumptuous traditional Sunday Roast at Etchinghill Golf Club – close by to the Channel Tunnel Terminal at Folkestone - fortified the visitors for their journey home.

For those who have experienced these gatherings before, the weekend served to underline the unique bond which exists between the two clubs.  For first-timers on both sides it opened their eyes to what makes the relationship special, and what makes it such an important part of the heritage of both clubs.  Canterbury members won’t be visiting St Quentin next October, instead we will be partaking in the Pentangular, hosted by the French in June.  Our next small-group event in France will therefore be in October 2015 with the next visit to Canterbury in 2016.

click on images to enlarge

Eliane, Rosemary
& Michèle

Eagerly awaiting lunch
at Etchinghill Golf Club

Nan & Bernard

Eliane, François & Harry

Jayne & Maruthi

Making the most of the last warmth of summer

Maruthi & Sharon

Bernard, Michèle & John

Sue, Antoine & Stephen

Elizabeth, Jean-Claude
& Janice

Mark, Isabelle & Tony

Jean-Claude, Geoff
& François

Tuesday 8th October 2013

Published by: The Rotary Club of Canterbury

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