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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

From the President

Chers Amis
What a great lunch we had at Waves Restaurant as our last French Food event of the year. Mike Warren has a full report later in this newsletter but I’d like to say a big thanks to Mike for his work in organising the day and formulating a very tricky multi-choice quiz which had us all scratching our heads. The main thing I got out of it was that, in future, I shouldn’t bother going to trip advisor in order to select a restaurant in Lyon. It lists 3,075 of them. 
You will be pleased to know that a modest portion of your subscriptions to our Alliance is being used to encourage the study of French in our local region. We have purchased some books to be awarded as prizes to outstanding students of French in the local schools which are members of our Alliance. These will be handed over to the schools (South Coast Anglican College, Eden Marine High School and Mumbulla School) in the next couple of days. 
There is only one more Alliance Francaise event for 2018 which, of course, is the annual Coupe D’Antibes and Christmas party which will be held at Mandeni Park on Sunday, 2 December. There will be a glass of bubbly and some Kir Royale on arrival for those attending so mark the day in your calendars. It’s always a great day so come along and join the fun. Full details are in the November edition of La Mouette or on the "Events" page of this website.
Amities, Rob McCombie

Saturday, September 29, 2018

From the President


Chers Amis
The big news this month was the Alliance Française de le Côte de Saphir Annual General Meeting which was held at the CWA hall at Pambula on 5 September. The meeting was attended by 20 members who heard the reports of the outgoing President and Treasurer. I would like to thank the members of the outgoing committee for their tremendous work for and commitment to the Alliance over the past year. The old committee stood for re-election and was returned unopposed. I would like to note especially the election of a new committee member, Liz James and I wish her a warm welcome. I would also like to thank Hugo White, Principal of Sautelle White for agreeing to continue in his role as Public Officer and to Peter Went for agreeing to continue in his role as Honorary Auditor. Members attending the meeting were welcomed with a selection of French wines and Australian cheeses and dips. The AGM was followed by screening of the film Summer Hours which reminded us all of the sensitivities and complexities which can arise in the settlement of a person’s last will and testament. After the film about 10 of us enjoyed a dinner at the Top Pub. This year, in addition to continuing all of the activities which have been successful in recent years, the committee will be exploring the possibility of setting up a new activity, a French cooking group, so that those interested in cooking can share their knowledge with others and that those wishing to learn how to do French cooking can hear it from the experts. Finding a model which meets everyone’s needs will be our first task and finding a suitably equipped venue will follow quickly. We will also see if arrangements should or can be made to set up a system of billeting of members wanting to attend evening events. At the moment, many of our members are discouraged from attending or are simply unable to attend night events such as the film nights and the Bastille Day celebrations if they live away from our local area and prefer not to drive at night. It would make our events accessible to more members, and our members might get to know each other better, if out-of-town members could be billeted with local members on these occasions. Over the next few months we will be consulting with you to see if such a system has merit, and if so, whether we have sufficient billeteurs and billetees to make it work. I am looking forward to an exciting 2018/19 and enjoying our Alliance with you all.
Best wishes
Rob McCombie

Friday, July 20, 2018

From the President


Chers Amis
As many of you will be aware this year is the 30th year of operation of the Alliance Française de la Côte de Saphir. That such a small group as ours is not just still in operation, but is vibrant and blooming, is a credit to the foresight and hard work of our founding members and their successors over the last 30 years. Of that hardy group of founding members only Jan Porter is still with us.
For a variety of reasons the activities of our Alliance today are a little different from what they were back in 1988. We don’t have an accredited Alliance Française language class any more (due mainly to the cost of compliance with the stringent conditions placed on our teachers by the Alliance Française in Paris) and we no longer hold black tie balls. Our activities have developed and evolved over the years in response both to the wishes of the membership and initiatives of committee members and will continue to do so. The continuing theme is our shared love of French language and culture.
I would like, therefore, to remember those who formed the inaugural committee and to whom we owe a great debt of gratitude: Soucila Tompsett – President; Dianne Adlide – Vice President; George Bullock – Secretary; Anne Dobson – Treasurer and committee members Rick Allen, Bruce Peacock, Jan Porter, Dianne Bullock and Peter Dunne.
Cordialement, Robert McCombie

Friday, June 8, 2018

From the President


Chers Amis
Here we are in June already and more and more we find ourselves staying indoors and rugging up to protect ourselves from winter’s cold fingers. Many of our members will soon be packing bags for their annual pilgrimage northwards for the European summer and Le Tour de France. But for those who are staying we have lots of upcoming events like the wine tasting at Mike and Lilias’ place and our extra special celebration of Bastille Day this year in which we are celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of the founding of our Alliance.
Details of these events are provided later in this newsletter. Book early so you don’t miss out.
I would also like to formally welcome the Eden Marine High School as a new member of our Alliance. This school now joins the South Coast Anglican College and the Mumbulla school as members of the Alliance Francaise de la Cote de Saphir. My own first contact with the Alliance Francaise was through the school I attended as a boy in Sydney and I am confident that this early connection with the Alliance played a part in my long-standing love of French language and French culture.
Amities
Robert

Saturday, May 5, 2018

From the President


Chers Amis
I would like to thank all of our members and their guests who attended our first French film night of the year, ‘L’Ecole Buissionniere’. This was a touching story of a young boy whose life was transformed when he left an orphanage in the city to live in the countryside. We had a capacity attendance and the film was enjoyed by all. If you missed it you can borrow the DVD from our Library, details about access are on page 2 of the May edition of La Mouette. Our next event is the concert of baroque music featuring the recorder group Lumiere which will be held at Coffee 22 Café in Pambula on 13 May. I hope to see you all there. Please put a note in your diaries about our Bastille Day celebrations this year to be held on Sunday, 14th July at Oaklands Events Centre. The Bastille Day celebrations are our flagship event each year and we always try to make it a memorable occasion. However, this year will be very special for our Alliance as we will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of its establishment in Merimbula. We will mark the occasion with a number of performances to delight and entertain you including a headline act by Eliane Morel, a recording artist who will sing some classic French songs like ‘I Love Paris in the Springtime’. For further details please see Mike Warren’s item on page 2 of the May edition of La Mouette. 
Amities Robert McCombie

Sunday, April 1, 2018

From the President

Chers Amis
This month’s big event was the French dinner at Waves restaurant. Having the event on a Sunday evening meant that we had the restaurant to ourselves. This turned out to be fortuitous as we had greater numbers than expected and packed the restaurant out. However, what should have been an enjoyable, carefree, evening was overshadowed by the bush fires at Tathra which have stunned our community as a whole and impacted on some of us directly.
Thankfully, our members living in the area seem to have been spared the worst, but for those who have had the experience of having a near-miss bushfire experience we know how upsetting even the threat of loss can be.
Let’s all celebrate our good fortune by coming to our next French Movie Night on 24th April (details on the Events page) and Café 22 on Sunday 13th May at 2.30pm to enjoy a concert by the “Lumière” ensemble of French and European, Renaissance and Baroque music - full details will be in next month’s La Mouette.
On a sadder note I have just learned that a Past President of our club, Rex Speller, has passed away. Jan & Neil Porter have recalled some memories of Rex on page 3 of the March La Mouette.
Amicalement, Rob McCombie