Tuesday, June 14, 2022

From the President

 Chers Amis

Most of our region seems to have gone into hibernation and many of our local towns and businesses which are normally buzzing have become very quiet. The notable exception to this, of course, is your committee who have been hard at work on our program of activities over the next few months. Most notable among these are:

• Our annual Bastille Day (July 14) lunch which will be held for the first time at Tidal Restaurant in Eden. French-trained Chef, Gavin Swalwell, and his partner Fiona Myers have offered a superb menu of regional French dishes which will soon be e-mailed to all members. As has been the case in past years, the cost of meals for members will be subsidised to the amount of $10 per person. Guests are welcome but the cost of their meals will not be subsidised.

• A French film night to be held at Club Sapphire in late August.

• A Winter Cassoulet Lunch to be prepared at my house by members of your committee in late September. Cassoulet is, of course, an unforgettable hearty, winter dish from the south of France.

• Finally, due to the popularity of our first Car Rally, we are planning to hold another on Sunday, October 23.

Our Secretary, Mike Warren, has also been hard at work negotiating with a number of different venues to find a new home for our weekly pétanque games. In the interim, these are being held on the grass at Ford Park in Merimbula. We will keep you posted on progress with finding a permanent venue.

Meilleurs voeux

Rob McCombie

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

From the President

Chers Amis

Once again the season is changing, and chill winds are blowing away all but the hardiest holiday makers from our beaches and coffee shops. Once again, we begin to pull our doonas over our shoulders at the first light of the dawning day. Winter is on its way to the South Coast. Luckily, we haven’t had the rain which has caused flooding on places further north and some of our days have been stunning. We do indeed live in a beautiful part of the country. Speaking of beauty, those of us who were at our latest Alliance Française film night would have appreciated scenes from the Cantal countryside in which the film, Délicieux, was set. Largely historical, it depicted some of the tensions undermining French society just prior to the French revolution and tells about how haute cuisine became accessible to society at large through what we now know as elite restaurants. It also told of the French passion for fine food and the individuals who created it. The acting, the costumes and the photography of the scenery were superb. The film was warmly received by those who attended the screening and I would like to say a big thanks to Sylvie for having recommended it. The DVD will soon be available to members to borrow from the Alliance Française cupboard in the Tura Beach library.

As I mentioned on the night, our next big event is a wine tasting on 9 June to be presented by Brent Mackay of Amazing Grapes in Canberra. Brent will be offering a generous selection of French wines for us to taste, and all will be available for sale. Please mark the date in your calendar. This event will be open to non-members for the modest sum of five dollars per person so bring along a friend.

Meilleurs voeux

Rob McCombie 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

From the President

 Chers Amis,

We did it!  Despite all of the dire warnings about the prospect of rain and cold weather at Nimmitabel for Friday, 25 March, a hardy band of some 20 of our members climbed Brown Mountain to take part in our second visit to the gardens at ‘Shirley’.  For some of us morning tea and lunch consisted of simple biscuits and healthy fresh salads from home.  For others, the temptation of driving past no less than three cake shops along the way was just too much and we arrived at Holt’s Flat with fresh coffee, chocolate eclairs, bee stings and something for lunch as well!  As usual there was a high standard of pétanque playing on display, but the tricky gravel surface of the piste made some of the most promising shots go awry and ensured that players of all levels achieved good results.  We had a relaxing walk after the game as our host, John Cottle, gave us a guided tour of the old and beautiful gardens which were established years ago by his grandfather.   I would like to say a special thanks to Sally-Ann for going ahead with the day even though she was still recovering from a badly sprained ankle and was able to move about only with the aid of a pair of crutches.   Country girls must be very tough! Our second very successful event of the month was a celebration of the food of Provence at Pividori’s restaurant on Thursday, 31 March.  All preferences were catered for with a wide variety of authentic and attractively presented dishes which we enjoyed in the stunning location right on the beach at Tathra.  The outlook from our tables was made dramatic at times by a succession of heavy squalls of rain and low cloud over the sea followed by intervals of bright sunshine.  I would like to say a special thanks to Mike Warren who organised the event and also provided a quiz which had a lot of us scratching our heads but which brought back to many of us wistful thoughts of the days when we took for granted our past visits to France.

Correction I would like to correct an error in my reporting last month of the results of the Car Rally.  First prize went to Les Espoirs (Rhonda and Michael Rix, and Davina and Barry Hewes).  Second prize went to CARally (Carmen and Ray Coutts-Smith, and Amanda Williams).  Funniest Team prize went to Rose Lily (Rose Harris and Lily Hart).  The Most Tenacious prize went to the Red-Hot Oldies (Elaine and Peter Johnson, and Donna Uren and Jennie Smith).  The Lanterne Rouge prize went to Les Navigateurs Perdus (Regine and Wolfgang Kasper, and Rob McCombie).

Meilleurs voeux  

Rob McCombie

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

From the President

 Chers Amis,

I have just received the following communiqué from the Alliance Française Foundation in Paris.  It sets out the position of the Alliance Française on the disastrous events over the last few weeks in the Ukraine.

Communiqué

La Fondation des Alliances Françaises adresse un message de solidarité aux Alliances Françaises  d’Ukraine. Partout dans le monde, les Alliances Françaises portent des valeurs humanistes, de tolérance, de respect de la liberté des peuples, de rejet de la haine et de la guerre. L’Alliance Française est fondée sur un  idéal de fraternité et d’amitié entre les peuples. La Fondation des Alliances Françaises invite tous les membres de la communauté mondiale Alliance Française à se rassembler autour de ces valeurs et à agir de façon  bienveillante et solidaire en faveur de la paix.

Announcement

The Alliance Française Foundation sends a message of solidarity to the Alliance Française community in the Ukraine.  Alliance Française organisations across the world, support humanist values of tolerance, of respect for people’s liberty, and they reject hatred and war.  The Alliance Française is founded on the ideals of fraternity and friendship among peoples.  The Alliance Française Foundation invites all the members of the world Alliance Française community to gather around these values and to act with goodwill and solidarity for peace.

Rob McCombie

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

From the President

 Chers Amis,

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022 in the Alliance Française de la Côte de Saphir. We are looking forward to a full program of activities this year beginning with the Car Adventure Tour and Welcome Party on Sunday, 13 February. The route for the Adventure Tour is being organised by Wal and Vice-President Sylvie and will remain secret until you receive your driving instructions on the day. The event will finish with a BYO picnic lunch at Mandeni Family Fun Park. Consistent with Covid-safe practices you will be able to participate with car companions of your own choice, or even to travel alone if you wish. More details of the day are provided later in this newsletter. There are still places available so if you haven’t already done so, send an e-mail to Sylvie on mansynette@gmail.com, subject “AF Car Tour”, to tell her you are coming.

Of course, the Adventure Tour and Welcome Party will be a members-only event so make sure that you have renewed your membership for 2022. Remember that the reduced rate for singles is now $20 and the rate for couples and families is $40. It is preferred that you pay by EFT to Account name: 'Alliance Française de la Côte de Saphir' using BSB: 082 697 and Account No: 168279527.

We are planning two events in March, the first being a visit on the fourth of the month to John and Sally-Ann Cottle’s beautiful gardens at ‘Shirley’ near Nimmitabel. We had such an enthusiastic attendance at the last of these visits that we couldn’t resist John and Sally-Ann’s offer to do another this year. The second event will be a dinner with a French regional theme between 28 and 31 March, possibly at Wheelers’ restaurant. Mark the dates in your diaries so you don’t miss out.

Further events, possibly a French film night, will be organised later in the year and you can always drop in at any time to our library at Tura to get your fix of French language and culture from our great collection of music, films, books and magazines.

Meilleurs voeux,

Rob McCombie

Monday, December 20, 2021

From the President

 Chers Amis,

It’s been another interesting year, however, anybody who attended our end-of-year Coupe d’Antibes would have thought that everything was perfectly normal.  We fielded five teams for the play-off which saw me and the other members of L’Equipe eliminated very early in the piece.  After a gruelling set of closely run matches Kerry, Mareta and Brigitte (Très Belle) faced off against Lilias, Mike and Jessica (Les Jolies – obviously Mike’s choice of a team name) emerged victorious and were presented with the Coupe d’Antibes and the obligatory bottles of bubbly.  Runners-up, Très Belle, were very sporting and shared their winnings of boxes of chocolates with the rest of us after lunch.  It was a lovely day which finished up, as usual, with wine, good food and the company of good friends and reminded us of why we all belong to the Alliance.

We were finally able to have a much-delayed dinner together at Club Sapphire and hold our AGM on 9 December followed by the French film ‘Antoinette dans les Cévennes’.  The AGM was a brief affair with almost all of the committee from last year being re-elected to their roles for the coming year.  The notable exception, of course, was Clive Roberts who, after seven years of service on the committee has decided he needs a rest, which comes as a surprise to none of us.  Clive has always been one of the prime movers of our pétanque games and kept them going even when Covid had shut down everything else.  He has also been editor of La Mouette and our resident French film selector and projectionist. We greatly appreciate the energy and enthusiasm with which Clive pitched in to do whatever tasks needed doing in the organisation of our Alliance and we wish him well for the future.

Best wishes

Rob McCombie

Saturday, November 20, 2021

From the President

 Chers Amis,

As Christmas approaches, Covid-related travel restrictions are removed, and the weather begins to warm a little, we look forward to a new year of the Alliance.  It looks like the end-of-year wine tasting we were planning can’t go ahead and you will have to rely on local suppliers for your Christmas tipples, but we are still looking forward to our Christmas Party/Coupe d’Antibes and BBQ at Mandeni and our much-postponed AGM and French Film Night at Club Sapphire. Under current NSW government health regulations these events are open to fully vaccinated members.

In the new year we are planning our 2022 Welcome Party, the Alliance Française Sapphire Coast Adventure Tour and another visit to John and Sally-Ann Cottle’s gardens at ‘Shirley’.  The dates of these events will appear in the December newsletter.

Earlier in the year Sylvie donated the French version of Scrabble and other board games which are available at our cupboard at the Tura library.  Luckily for us, her recent change of residence has required a further scaling down of French items which will help you while away a couple of hours on a rainy day.  These include the French version of Dominoes, and a number of picture books featuring well-known personages such as Spirou and Gaston La Gaffe.  For the more studious among you Clive has donated a complete BBC French Language course.  If you haven’t already done so, visit the library and borrow one of these or any of the many films, books and other items on the shelves.

Best wishes

Rob McCombie