Upcoming Events

Alliance members meet regularly to play pétanque at Mandeni Family Fun Park twice every month - on the 2nd Friday and the last Saturday. No prior experience is needed and newcomers & guests are most welcome! Just come along, bring your morning tea/coffee/cake (and lunch if you’d like to make a day of it) and have fun playing this challenging game.

Bring your own boules or borrow the club’s. There also may be opportunities to practise your French now that some new members, who are native French speakers, have joined us. Cost is $2 a head for hiring the two pétanque pistes.

The BBQ afterwards has now become a tradition, so why not join us for an enjoyable day. A donation of $1 a head is collected for use of the Mandeni BBQ facilities. If you have any questions please ring Clive Roberts on 6495 9324 or 0491111104.  
May meetings: Friday 11th & Saturday 26th

At Mandeni Family Fun Park, Sapphire Coast Drive, 1.5 km north of Tura Beach Drive. Turn left immediately after the petrol station.
Clive Roberts

Saturday 16 June 2018, 5pm to 7pm
Your Alliance has arranged another free French Wine Tasting event and again the wines will be supplied by Brent Mackay of “Amazing Grapes” of Canberra. Brent grew up on the Sapphire Coast and still has family here. He supplies wines to several of the regional hotels and clubs, including The Lakeview Hotel and Tura Beach Country Club. A range of French wines will be presented by Brent for us to try at no cost or obligation but you will be able to order any of the wines on the night if you wish. The event will be open firstly to members, then if the numbers allow, guests may be invited by members for a nominal charge of $5 pp. For those interested, there will be tasting notes provided on the night. More details will be provided in the June edition of La Mouette.
We will be celebrating Bastille Day on 14 July with a fabulous French themed three course dinner at Oaklands Event Centre BUT this year your Committee are also bringing you a French Cabaret entertainer of the highest calibre.
Eliane Morel studied Voice at the Canberra School of Music, completed a BA Hons in Theatre at UNSW and a Diploma of Playwriting at NIDA and is now a principal singer with Opera Bites in Sydney ( This year she will be appearing in Don Pasquale, Die Fledermaus and The Barber of Seville, as well as numerous concert performances. She has worked as a concert singer throughout Sydney and Regional New South Wales, including concerts for Newcastle Festival Opera, Newcastle Musica Viva and the Sapphire Coast Musical Society.
Eliane has performed as an actor/singer for Citymoon Theatre, Kantanka Theatre and the Asian Australian Artists’ Association and is currently writing ‘Disenchanted’ - a cabaret about characters in fairy tales whose stories are never told – to be performed as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival, 2018.

So make a firm date in your diary for 14 July as Bastille Day 2018 is shaping up to be an outstanding and well attended event. More details will be in your June edition of La Mouette.

Recent Events

L'École Buissonière (The School of Life) (2017)
This film 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.  
Synopsis Filmmaker Nicolas Vanier (director Belle and Sebastian 2013) borrows from his own childhood experiences growing up in Sologne to make l'École Buissonière (The School of Life ) – a feel-good story about a boy whose miserable existence in a Parisian orphanage is changed forever when he is taken to live in rural France. Paul (Jean Scandel) has only ever known the dark, prison-like world of high walls, fear and melancholy of the orphanage in which he lives. When entrusted to the care of Célestine (Valérie Karsenti) and Borel (Éric Elmosnino,The Bélier Family,) Paul is whisked away to leafy forests, misty ponds and vast fields of Count de la Fresnaye for whom Célestine and Borel work. When he befriends an eccentric poacher, Totoche (FrançoisCluzet, The Intouchables, 2011), Paul learns about life, the many secrets of the Count’s mysterious forests and that his coming to Sologne was more than just pure chance.
Breathtakingly photographed, Vanier’s film is a loving child’s-eye ode to the beauty of the natural world – and what it can teach us about life and death – that cannot help but make everyone who sees it smile.

Welcome Party 2018
Our first social event of the year, the Welcome Party, was held at Lilias and Mike Warren’s house on 17th February. More than 40 members and guests attended - the largest attendance so far. Everyone was greeted and made very welcome with a glass of Kir Royale, French champagne or a soft drink.
Much work had been done by Lilias, Mike and volunteers to ensure that everyone had a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the vast array of food available. An authentic atmosphere was created by a French radio station playing in the background, and a display of French and Australian flags and colourful murals.
Anh-Thu Stuart gave a bi-lingual welcome address introducing the Committee members & a French guest, Aurelia Monfort, recently arrived in Cobargo from Lille.
The main event of the evening then began with a delicious French onion soup and a variety of dishes including casserole de poulet, boeuf bourguignon au vin rouge, quiche lorraine, and salade niçoise to name but a few. There followed a delightful range of desserts to choose from including tarte aux poires, crème au caramel and other delicious treats culminating with a lovely selection of cheeses. The standard of catering improves every year and indeed was a match for the best of local restaurants.
Many thanks to everyone for making it such a great start to the year and particularly, to Mike and Lilias who were so generous in opening up their lovely home to everyone and making us so very welcome.

Clive Roberts

French Regional Lunch – Seafood and Seaside

In October a group of 40 members and guests enjoyed the French seafood lunch and trivia quiz at Indulge Restaurant at Tura Beach Country Club.  The main meals included a choice of Bouillabaisse, Trellis of Salmon and Kingfish or a non-seafood alternate, Beef Cheeks. 

The desserts were magnificent !  Whether you chose the Crepes with Orange Meringue, the Tarte Tartin or the Tarte Citron, all were very well presented and tasted even better. 

The trivia quiz included a series of multiple choice questions with links to the French seaside and cuisines from those regions.  Tie breaker questions had been prepared but were not needed on the day, as there were clear winners of the quiz.  But “waste not, want not” … (see below, the correct answers are underlined).

1. A Galette is similar to a Crepe.  Where do Galettes originate from?  Upper or Lower Haute-Bretagne (Upper or Lower Brittany)?  Galettes originate from Haute-Bretagne (Upper Brittany), or Gallo country,  Crêpes from Basse-Bretagne (Lower Brittany). 
2. The Spotted Ratfish is actually a harmless relative to the shark family.  What is the colour of its eyes?   a  Black   b)  Red  c)  Emerald green 
3.  Was France the first country to ban supermarkets from throwing away unsold food and instead must give to charities and other services?  Yes, in 2016.   

French Film Night
The French Film Night on Wednesday 16 August was attended by more than 30 members and guests.  After convivial nibbles and drinks, the film ‘Rosalie Blum’ was very well received.  Most of the attendees then adjourned to the Top Pub for dinner and a good chat.   

Bastille Day Dinner
A big thank you to all 92 of our members and their guests who attended our annual Bastille Day dinner at the Tura Beach Country Club. This is the biggest attendance we have had for many years and probably the biggest ever. 
The Tura Beach Country Club provided a great venue and a wonderful menu which was enjoyed by all. With Mike Warren as MC and Greg Hunting as quiz master the evening was lively but relaxed and bottles of French wine found their way to the fortunate few who had an amazing knowledge of French history and culture.  Mareta Collins was in good voice and led us all in delivering a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise. A special thanks needs to go to Treasurer Kerry Hunting for her work in organising the event and to other committee members who assisted.

Rob McCombie

Free French Wine Tasting
Thursday 22 June from 5pm to 7pm
About 30 people attended the free French Wine Tasting event.  The wines were  supplied by “Amazing Grapes”, a wine distribution company from Canberra owned by Brent Mackay.  Brent grew up on the Sapphire Coast and still has family here.  He supplies several of the regional hotels and clubs, including The Lakeview Hotel. 

Brent selected the following wines for us to try at no cost or obligation. 
  •  2015 Madame Coco Blance de Blanc, Aude Valley, $18
  •  2015 Parnasse Sauvignon Blanc, Languedoc, $14
  •  2014 Domaines Schlumburger Pinot Blanc, Alsace, $25
  •  2015 Bertaine et Fils Pinot Noir, Aude Valley, $18
  •  2014 Dourthe Estates Terasse de la Jolle, Medoc Bordeaux, $30
  •  2014 Bernard Schurr Cotes du Rhone Village, Southern Rhone, $22 
Dinner at the Ritzy Wine & Tapas Bar
The last day of our lovely Autumn here on the Sapphire Coast saw a gathering of 33 members enjoying a Tapas meal at the Ritzy Wine & Tapas Bar in Merimbula. Ritzy’s had kindly allowed us to create a bit of ‘French atmosphere’ with our French flags, tablecloths & settings so there was a festive air. After enjoying pre-dinner drinks and catching up with old friends in the bar, we all sat down to await the feast. We were not disappointed as Ritzy’s maintained their high standards of food and service, delighting us with a varied selection of tasty courses. We started with a lovely fresh garden salad, and a selection of marinated olives and toasted bread. This was quickly followed by ‘melt in the mouth’ orange and chili calamari cooked to perfection. Next came delicious grilled pork chorizo then lovely and tender lamb cutlets marinaded in mint, garlic and lemon. All the while everyone was enjoying lively conversation with plenty of laughter, washed down with a variety of beverages, including French wine. Word has it that Bill was even conversing in French with Hilaire! Incroyable! Next we had blue cheese risotto balls and to finish the main course there was double crumbed, triple cream, deep fried local Tilba Brie. Delicious! Finally the dessert was either vanilla bean panacotta with espresso syrup and brandy snap or baked banana pudding with salted caramel sauce and Bailey's cream. I think it is fair to say that a good time was had by everyone! Photos are shown in the June edition of La Mouette. 
Roll on the next event!

Clive Roberts 

Conversation en Français
La deuxième réunion des membres de l'Alliance qui jouissent parler français a prit place le 3 mars au Garden Room du Pambula Golf Club. Wolfgang parlait de l'histoire fascinante de son grand-père paternel, qui était un esclave en Asie centrale après avoir devenu un prisonnier de guerre de l'armée tsariste pendant la Grande Guerre, qui voyageait 6,000 km pour retourner chez soi et qui devenait un maître verrier, c.à-d. un gardien du savoir secret comment produire les mille variétés de verre en mille couleurs différentes. Cette petite histoire menait à une conversation animée entre les sept participants. Conclusion: il vaut la peine de répéter cette expérience utile et stimulante. 

Nous sommes informés que désormais nous serions obligés de payer un loyer de $50 pour chaque reunion au Garden Room au Pambula Merimbula Golf Club. Par conséquence j’ai réservé une pièce à la bibliotheque municipale à Tura. Notre prochain rencontre aura lieu le 7 avril, 11:00 heures au Meeting Room. Tout le monde est bienvenu –– à condition qu'ils parlent exclusivement en Français. Si on cotise une somme d’ un dollar par personne nous pourrons facilement payer le loyer de $7.50 demandé par la bibliothèque. La Tura Bakery, où on peut acheter du café et des gateaux, est à quelques pas de l’entrée de la bibliothèque.

Wolfgang et Robert
French Film Night
The French Film Night on Tuesday 28 March for a showing of the film ‘La Famille Bélier’, was attended by 30 members and all reports are that it was a very good choice of film.  The DVD is now included in the AF library cupboard, hosted at the Tura Marrang Library.  
 For the Béliers their sixteen-year-old daughter Paula is a vital member of their eccentric clan. As the only non-deaf member of the family she acts as their ears and mouth allowing the townspeople to communicate with the often misunderstood Béliers. One day this harmony is thrown in to disarray when Paula discovers a raw and untapped gift for singing and with the encouragement of her music professor decides to audition for the prestigious Maîtrise de Radio France music college in Paris. However, this leaves Paula with a painful dilemma: does she stay with her family or take her first steps towards independence and adulthood?
The film won a number of awards including Best Actress & Best Female Newcomer in the 2015 Lumiere Awards and Best Female Newcomer in the 2015 César Awards. 

2017 Welcome Party
On 11 February almost 50 members attended the first event of the AF year, the 2017 Welcome Party.  See the President's message on the home page for more details.
Photos shown in La Mouette are repeated below.

Christmas Party & Coupe d’Antibes 2016

On the beautiful Merimbula morning of Sunday 27th November a large, enthusiastic group of AFCS Pétanque players gathered at Mandeni Fun Park for the 2016 Coupe d'Antibes. On arrival everyone was offered Champagne (with Peptides) or some other stimulant. When the Draw was done by the stewards, the 10 teams, who chose their own names, were:- Les Beaux Arts ( Georgia, Jessica, Simon ) The Three Musketeers ( Bill, Clive, Kerry ) In your Dreams ( Julie, Margaret, Pete ) Rossignol ( Brigitte, Hilaire, Val ) Belles d’un Jour ( Benedict, Donna, Lilias ) Les Deplorables ( Mike, Narelle. Patricia ) Chanel No. 7 ( Ian, Jean, Mareta ) Groggos ( Greg, Olive, Wendy ) Bocce ( Jan, Maggie, Michael ) Marie Lune ( Gabriel, Marie-Helene, Neil ). 
Two Preliminary matches were needed and The Three Musketeers defeated Les Beaux Arts and Rossignol triumphed over In your Dreams. In the quarter-finals Belles d’un Jour were better than Les Deplorables; Chanel No. 7 toppled the Groggos (too much Champagne before the match?); The Three Musketeers out-fenced Bocce; and Marie Lune flew too high for Rossignol.

In the semi-finals Belles d’un Jour out-perfumed (!!) Chanel No. 7 whilst The Three Musketeers armoury was too big for Marie Lune.

In the Grand Final were two teams whose consistent line, length and innate cunning all morning had made them worthy contenders for the Title. Firstly, The Three Musketeers, namely Kerry, Bill, and Clive. In the other corner Belles d’un Jour, namely Benedict, Donna and Lilias. The battle raged and the lead was hotly contested. When the time limit allowed for only one more end, the score was 7 points each ! You could have cut the air with a chainsaw - it was a cliff-hanger with every shot a potential clincher. In the end the coaching from beyond the grave by Alexandre Dumas helped The Three Musketeers to a memorable victory - in time for a belated, but delightful, lunch.

Congratulations to all contestants, and thanks to the organizers. “ Bonne Chance pour 2017 !”

Michael Quinlan *Thanks to Julie Welsh for taking the photos

Thirty Alliance members gathered at The Wharf for a French inspired Cajun lunch on Sunday the 23rd of October. There was a good mix of long-term and newer members and singles and couples and the day was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Following a welcome from our new President, Robert McCombie, which included some interesting, and as it turned out, useful background on Cajun history, mains of Cajun Fish and Chicken Gumbo with dirty rice, were served. Clive Roberts provided postcards with more Cajun facts and this set the scene for a quiz about Cajun settlement and culture in America prepared by Mike Warren.
The winners of the quiz, Georgia Partridge, Ian Goater and Elaine Johnson took home bottles of Cajun spices together with recipes and gift vouchers for ingredients from Woolies. Perhaps we will get to enjoy some more some Cajun food at our next annual Welcome function!

Kerry Hunting

2016 Annual General Meeting

The AGM was held on Monday 5 September 2016 and a copy of the President's Report is shown on the home page of this blog.  The Office Bearers and Committee members elected on the night were:

President:  Robert McCombie
Treasurer: Kerry Hunting
Secretary:  Mike Warren
Committee: Clive Roberts, Michael Quinlan

French Film Night
Twenty or so members enjoyed the drinks, nibbles and film on Wednesday 17 August.  

"The French Minister (Quai d'Orsay)" was indeed a "sparkling and savvy comedy of political manners", with plenty of laughs.  Members then made up a large table at the Top Pub at Pambula for a late dinner.

Bastille Day Dinner

The celebration of Bastille Day this year was tinged with sadness following the tragedy in Nice. We were deeply saddened and shocked to hear of another such horrific event in France. However, with this in mind, all who attended our dinner seemed to enjoy the evening. We were pleasantly surprised when the entree selection included escargots; the Golf Club had not mentioned this in our discussions. It was certainly a welcome addition to the menu and was well received.
The Garden Room at the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club was a great venue for our private function and the room was set up beautifully thanks to Club staff and AF committee members. This year we added some fun games, Celebrity Heads as an ice breaker and 'Vrai ou Faux', as a bit of frivolity between courses. Some of the questions found holes in our French general knowledge, much to the dismay of some!
All in all, the Club did a magnificent job with the arrangements, menu and staffing for the event. A very special thank you to Margaret Gaunson for all her efforts to make sure all was right on the night and that no detail was overlooked. Thank you also to Julie Welsh and Denise Brown for their assistance in setting up, planning the questions, making signs for our game and the decorations. Please keep the people of France in your thoughts and prayers.  Photos from the dinner are shown below.  

French Wine Tasting Evening
On 12th May, 23 Alliance Francaise members and 15 guests gathered at Mike and Lilias Warren’s house where Steve Bryant from Negociants Australia presented a tasting of six French wines. Mike made a brief welcome in English, then persuaded Denise Brown to provide a welcome in French, which was appreciated by all. Mike then advised the guests of the benefits of AF membership pointing out that copies of la Mouette were available as well as membership applications. 
Meanwhile Steve was opening the bubbly (a Louis Bouillot, 100% chardonnay from Burgundy) and the conversations, as well as the wine, were already flowing.  Steve’s mentioned that most French wines need to be consumed with a meal to fully appreciate their values. Before we knew it two hours were gone and Steve departed with a number of orders. Members and non-members alike said it was a good event and quite informative about a range of wines from France.

French Film Night
The French film “Être et Avoir" (To Be and To Have) was enjoyed by about 40 members and guests on 20 April 2016 at the CWA Hall, Pambula.  Nibbles and French wines fuelled spirited conversations before the film and afterwards many members adjourned to the Royal Willows for supper.  

Easter Egg Hunt and French Picnic (see Home page for details)

Welcome Party  - see the Home page.  Additional photos are shown below.

Christmas Party and Coupe d’Antibes 2015

Around 30 members of the Alliance Francaise de la Cote de Saphir gathered at Mandeni Fun Park in sunny weather for the annual Coupe d’Antibes on 29 November 2015.  Volunteers had raised the French and Australian flags, laid out coloured tablecloths and readied the glasses. Kir Royal or alternate drinks were offered and “Bonjour” and kisses were soon filling the morning as the members arrived. The team draw took place and “colourful” team names were chosen. These included Les Champions, T.T., Bill’s Belles, Mandeni Magicians, Les Grand-parents, Santa’s Helpers, Arc-en-ciel, Tura Bulas & Carmaray.

With 9 teams of 3 players, we needed an elimination round, so Les Champions and T.T. played off with Les Champions triumphing. Four competitive quarter-finals then took place to decide the semi-finalists. In between games, resting players enjoyed morning teas on the tables in the shade of the gum trees.  Three of the four quarter-finals were very closely fought with only a point or two separating the teams. Bill’s Belles ‘pipped’ Mandeni Magicians, Les Grand-parents squeezed past Santa’s Helpers on the last end, Tura Bulas ‘colours’ were too strong for Arc-en-ciel, whilst Les Champions beat Carmaray.

Les Grand-parents won comfortably against Bill’s Belles in the first semi-final whilst the second went down to the wire in a very exciting game. It looked as if Les Champions had met their match but in a breathless last end they snatched victory by 11 points to 9.  A dramatic final then took place, with all the eliminated team members gathered to watch. Les Champions defended their name but their early form was not up to the standard of the semi-final and several opportunities arose where Les Grands-parents could have taken a commanding lead. In the last part of the game, Les Champions won 5 points, which sealed the fate of Les Grands-parents.  Les Champions were indeed the Champions.

The watching crowd and players were looking forward to lunch by this time so the barbeque area was invaded and soon the smell of cooking filled the air.  The presentation of prizes by Master of Ceremonies, Clive Roberts, saw Les Grands-parents (Gabriel Roberts, Regine and Wolfgang Kasper) awarded the chocolates and Les Champions (Davina Hewes, Benedicte Morrow and Mike Warren) presented with the Coupe d’Antibes and bottles of French wine.

Clive was thanked for organising another enjoyable competition. Grateful thanks must also be given to Julie Welsh for her hard work in organising the welcome drinks, glasses, table settings & flags and also for taking all the lovely photos.

Mike Warren

Photos of the event are shown below.

Alliance members meet to play pétanque at Mandeni Family Fun Park twice every month - on the 2nd Friday and the last Saturday. No prior experience is needed and newcomers would be most welcome! 
Just come along, bring your morning coffee and have fun playing this challenging game. Bring your own boules or borrow the club’s. Cost is $2 a head for hiring the two pétanque pistes. 
The BBQ afterwards has now become a tradition so why not join us for an enjoyable time. A fee of $2 a head is collected for use of the Mandeni BBQ facilities. If you have any questions please ring Clive Roberts on 6495 9324 (h). 
Location Mandeni Family Fun Park, Sapphire Coast Drive, 1.5 kms north of Tura Beach Drive. Turn left next to “Za’s Stonehouse”.