Sunday, July 21, 2019

From the President


Chers Amis
I’m very pleased to report on the highly successful Bastille Day lunch we held last Sunday at the Tathra Hotel. On a sunny day in a private section of the restaurant decorated in bleu-blanc-rouge and offering panoramic views of an endless ocean, seventy-five revellers helped us celebrate France’s national day. The wonderful atmosphere of the event was enhanced by a roving accordionist who played a mix of French and popular music which provided an additional Gallic flavour to proceedings. We hope that the twenty non-members who shared the day with us enjoyed the food, the wine and the company and will come along to more of our Alliance functions.
Members will be aware that our inaugural French cooking group met at Kerry Hunting’s house at 10.30 on Friday, 17 May and that there was a follow-up meeting on the following Tuesday. This group has been a bit quiet lately but we are planning to meet again soon. Regine and Wolfgang Kasper have generously offered to host another French cooking event at their house on Friday, 9 August before they depart for yet another trip overseas. More details are provided later in this newsletter.
Finally, I would like to remind members about the wonderful collection of books (in both French and English), French text-books, DVDs and magazines which form our library. The collection includes all of the films featured in our French film nights. Anh-Thu Stuart, who is a member of our committee, and our librarian, has spent many hours getting the collection in order and making it readily accessible to members. I encourage you all to pop in to the Tura Library and take advantage of this wonderful resource.
Amities, Rob McCombie

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

From the President


Chers Amis
It’s been snowing in Nimmitabel, the chill winds make us rug up on our daily walks and the sun rises later and a little more reluctantly each morning. Winter envelops our little south eastern hideaway for another year. So for those of you not seeking the sun in France and elsewhere in Europe you can cheer yourself up and get warm with some good wine and friendly faces right here at home. Mike and Lilias Warren are again hosting the Alliance Française annual French wine tasting extravaganza on Friday, 7 June from 5pm to 7pm. There are still a few places available so please let Mike know immediately if you would like to come. Brent McKay of Amazing Grapes, Canberra, will again be visiting and giving us all of the information you need on the enticing range of French wines he will be offering you to taste, and purchase if you wish. Details of the wines to be tasted are listed below. Looking forward to seeing you there.
If you haven’t already done so, please make a note in your diaries about our annual Bastille Day lunch which will be held at the Tathra Hotel on Sunday, 14 July, full booking details are on page 2 of the June edition of La Mouette.
Amities
Robert McCombie

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

From the President


Chers Amis
Most of us are members of the Alliance Française because of our interest in French language, history and culture. Many of us have visited France and had our senses overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of Paris, its epic streetscape and public buildings, and in particular, the 800 year old Notre Dame de Paris. In some small way, therefore, we share with French people the horror and disbelief of the images we saw on our TV screens on 15 April when flames tore through the cathedral’s roof and brought its spire crashing down to the floor below. France has suffered more than its fair share of both natural disasters, and man-made horrors, over recent years resulting in the loss of life and property. But even though the Notre Dame fire caused no loss of life the prospect of losing such an iconic building has caused an unprecedented outpouring of grief both in France and overseas. Our thoughts are with the French people and hope that the cathedral is quickly restored to its former glory. 
Amities, Robert McCombie

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

From the President


With 65 people attending our Cabaret and dinner at the Oaklands Events Centre I would like to offer a sincere thanks to Mike Warren, Secretary of our Committee, for the many hours he spent finding a venue, negotiating a menu, arranging the entertainment, chasing up people for late payments and exploring options for a bus service to take members and guests to and from the venue. Things looked a bit grim on the Saturday afternoon when temperatures plummeted but Mike made a quick call to Oaklands about extra heating and also organised a motley collection of bathroom heaters so that by the time we all arrived the place was warm and cosy. I always thought that Mike was a mining engineer but as an event organiser he is turning out to be the new J.C. Williamson of the Bega Valley. Greg Hunting made an excellent Master of Ceremonies and kept things on time and on track for the evening and looked very much the part in his long velvet jacket with its elaborately laced jabot and cuffs. I would also like to say a big thanks also to Clive Roberts and Anh-Thu Stuart for their work on the publicity for the event. Many thanks are also due to Kerry Hunting for running the Raffle which contributed greatly towards the cost of the evening’s entertainment. I would also like to say a special thank you to Eliane Morel for her performance and her very informative presentation of each song which helped the audience understand its context in the great saga which is Les Miserables. Could I remind members of our coming French Film Night on Wednesday, 14 May, ‘The Student and Mr Henri’ more details of which appear later in this edition. I hope to see you there as it should be a lot of fun. 
Cordialement,  Rob McCombie

Friday, March 1, 2019

From the President


Chers Amis
Our February Welcome Party was a big success again thanks in no small part to Mike and Lilias opening their house once again to us and doing the bulk of the preparation and organisation. A big thanks to Mike and Lilias, I would also like to thank all of those who dusted off their best French recipes and brought along such great dishes for us to share. The challenging part of the event came when Kerry issued our new membership cards and then asked us to form a line in numerical order according to membership number. The purpose of this exercise was to reveal those who had been members the longest and who were our newer members. However, the chaos it caused revealed that most of our members are either numerically challenged or had been a little too assiduous in tasting the generous variety of wines on offer. In case you were wondering, our longest standing member at the party was Liz James.  Congratulations Liz!
Our next big event is the Cabaret night at Oaklands on Saturday, March 30, more of this later in this edition. The star performer of the night, Eliane Morel, produced a highly acclaimed performance at our last Bastille Day dinner so make sure you book a place and pass your menu preferences to Mike Warren so you don’t miss out. Cordialement
Rob McCombie

Sunday, February 24, 2019

From the President


Chers Amis
Welcome all to our first edition of La Mouette for 2109. I hope that you have all survived the droughts, bush fires, heat waves, hail storms and all of the other events we have been subject to over the last few months. I for one look forward to the passing of the peak of the summer season and the coming of that most beautiful and calm time of year, autumn. Last year we celebrated our 30th anniversary and enjoyed a full calendar of events.
In 2019 we won’t be celebrating any particular anniversaries but we will be nonetheless looking forward to an action-packed program of Alliance activities including our regular petanque games which have already begun, our Annual Welcome Party which will be held on Saturday, 9 February (details later in this edition), a cabaret featuring Eliane Morel at Oaklands at the end of March, dinners, wine tastings, cooking classes, film nights and lots more.
This year we have overnight billeting arrangements in place for those who live out of town and want to attend any of our evening functions but are reluctant to drive home at night. Please let me know if you want to attend an evening function and need this assistance.
It was with great anticipation of a brilliant success that I attended pétanque last Friday as I was accompanied by my secret weapon, Foucault Delesalle, a Rotary exchange student who will be staying with me during the next two months. Foucault is from Lille and is enrolled in year 12 at Eden Marine High School but will return home to France at the end of June this year. He is apparently a gifted football (soccer) player and all-round sportsman but Clive dashed my ambition of achieving immortality in pétanque by allocating Foucault to someone else’s team! The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley, as they say in Lille!
I look forward to seeing you all again and celebrating our love of things French in 2019.
Amicalement
Rob McCombie

Thursday, December 6, 2018

From the President

Chers Amis
There is an old French (?) saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ and there were certainly times at our Annual Coupe d’Antibes and Christmas Party when the weather gods got seriously nasty. On a number of occasions during the day both players and spectators beat a tactical retreat to the BBQ shelter to get out of the driving rain and gale force winds. Nonetheless, in the calm, sunny intervals between squalls some closely fought rounds of pétanque were played with the Winners showing true grit and carrying away La Coupe. But everyone knows that for real French sports followers winning the greatest number of points is only half of the game. What’s really important is how you do it. The flair, the elan, skill and the style with which the game is played (especially Petanque) is at least if not more important. We don’t seem to have recognised this in the past so 2018 became the inaugural year in which we awarded a prize to the most stylish player. Margaret Gaunson, our judge of all things stylish, was in no doubt and selected Brigitte Leroy for her elegance and poise on the piste. May I offer my congratulations to Brigitte and also to the Winners. Read more about the big event later in this issue. May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. We are looking forward to seeing you in the New Year at the Alliance Française de la Côte de Saphir Welcome Party which will be held on 9th February, details in the December 2018 edition of La Mouette or on the "Events" page.
Amities, Rob McCombie