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

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

From the President

 Chers Amis

Behind us lay the broken remains of so many events planned and then cancelled that it seems to be an act of extraordinary optimism to try again.  However, having adjusted our forward program yet again we are fairly confident that, given the very high vaccination levels in our community together with the Government’s plans to make life easier for us after 1 December, we will be able to hold our annual Coupe d’Antibes on Sunday, 5 December and our AGM on Thursday, 9 December.

All members who have had two doses of any of the approved vaccines will be most welcome so please note these two dates in your diaries.  Information on other important upcoming events is provided later in this newsletter. I am very much looking forward to getting our Alliance back on track and hope to see you all again soon.

Best wishes

Rob McCombie

Sunday, September 19, 2021

From the President

 Chers Amis,

What a difference a day makes!  As I write, a day ago we received the announcement that the Bega Valley LGA Covid 19 lockdown was to come to an end.  Up to that point, and in the context of news reports of a number of Covid cases having been detected in the area, the prospects were for a lifting of restrictions only on some distant horizon.  Social distancing restrictions will continue and PPEs will still have to be worn in some circumstances but now, by and large, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and get back to doing the things we all want to do.  With this in mind you will be aware that, with the lightning speed of a dawn commando raid, Mike and Clive organised a pétanque game on Friday the 17th and our Committee is conducting a(n outdoors) meeting next Friday to get our Alliance activities back on track again.  Mike will be contacting you by e-mail about upcoming events asap.

The other big item in recent news, of course, concerns the demise of the troubled Franco-Australian submarine project and consequent press reports of the challenges this has caused for the bilateral relationship.  However, I am confident that with the passage of time and a refocussing on our shared values and history, the maturity of our relationship with France will restore the warmth of the links which for so long have joined our two governments.

Best wishes Rob McCombie

Sunday, August 22, 2021

From the President

 Chers, Amis,

It was with deep regret that we cancelled the French inspired car tour planned for Sunday, 15 August.  The event had been enthusiastically received by our members and 31 people in 8 teams had registered to participate on the day.  Of course, everything came to an abrupt halt with the imposition of a lockdown in NSW due to a rise in the discovery of Covid cases in regional areas.  The good news is that all of the work by Sylvie and Wal which was put into organising the day has not been lost.  Nor has all of the work that kept the participants up late at night studying French geography, history, wines, food, poetry, literary allusions, cinema and popular culture in order to decode the cryptic clues which were going to guide us to our destination.  Rest assured, we will reschedule the car tour as soon as circumstances permit.  While on the subject of upcoming events I should mention that our AGM and French Film Night is scheduled for Monday, 27 September.  We will use the same format that proved popular last year and will start with dinner in the Club Sapphire restaurant at 6 pm with the meeting starting at 7pm followed by the film at 7.30pm.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that regional lockdowns will be a thing of the past by then so mark the date in your diaries.  I hope that you are all well and coping with the current restrictions.  I know that it’s a second best option but if you are aware of any of our members who are finding things a bit tough, give them a call or a text and let them know that they are not alone and that we are thinking of them. 

Best Wishes, Rob McCombie

 

Saturday, July 31, 2021

From the President

 Chers Amis,

It’s that time of the year again and the world’s greatest annual sporting event, the Tour de France, is drawing to a close. By their bleary eyes and advanced state of fatigue you can easily recognise the local Alliance Française members and other Tour enthusiasts as you walk around town. For three weeks they have kept vigil over their televisions into the wee hours of each morning as the epic battles of this great race are fought out against the background of one of the most beautiful countries on earth. The Australian contingent this year is so large that for the first time ever the Australian riders actually outnumber the Italians. Perhaps the Italians stayed away because they heard that debutant rider young Ben O’Connor from Western Australia would lead one of France’s oldest teams, AG2R-Citroën, and would be blitzing the bunch on the longest and highest climbs. We didn’t get to realise our own 14 July plans because of Covid but, on the day, we were able to watch the Tour and raise a glass to France and to some of the world’s greatest athletes.

Speaking of tours, in this edition of La Mouette, you will read further information about our inaugural Alliance Française Sapphire Coast Adventure Tour which will take place on Sunday, 15 August. Mark the day in your calendars and get some friends to come along and help you to work your way through the clues which will get you to your destination. Sylvie and Wal have been very tight lipped about the route so we are all looking forward to seeing where they take us and enjoying an exciting day out.

Best wishes

Rob McCombie

 

Sunday, June 20, 2021

From the President

 Chers Amis

Recent rainy and windy weather has resulted in an unusual number of Pétanque cancellations so it was fitting that we find something to cheer us up a bit. A wine tasting normally does the trick and so it was that we had a capacity attendance of members and their guests at Mike and Lilias’s place on Wednesday, 16 June. Brent Mackay of Amazing Grapes, Canberra, supplied no less than 5 whites, 5 reds and a rosé for us to taste and enriched the experience by providing a commentary on the style and origin of each wine as it was introduced. With a good supply of cheese and biscuits, a wide variety of good French wines, and the company of lots of members of the Alliance, it all amounted to a wonderful evening.

The most important upcoming event for you to mark in your calendars is the Bastille Day lunch on Wednesday, 14 July. The venue, menus and prices will be circulated to you by e-mail as soon as we finalise details and, as time is getting short, bookings will have to be notified promptly.

On Sunday, 15 August, Sylvie and Wal are organising the AF Sapphire Coast Adventure Tour, a self-guided car tour of the local area, finishing at lunch time in a local restaurant. Directions for the tour will be given to you at the start of the event via a series of clues which could test your knowledge of things French. It will be more fun if we get teams of four people per car and four heads can probably resolve the clues better than two (and get you to your lunch more quickly). So mark the event in your calendar and have a great day out.

Hope you are keeping dry and warm.

Best wishes

Rob McCombie

Monday, May 24, 2021

From the President

 Dear Friends,

Having been at Wheeler’s restaurant on 13 May I am convinced that many of you have either been to Alsace or want to go there whenever we are allowed to travel again. We had an excellent attendance of 47 people and took over a large portion of the restaurant. French-trained German chef Marcel provided an authentic Alsatian menu and produced a selection of dishes which brought back memories for those lucky enough to have spent any period of time touring in Alsace. It’s going to be a challenge for us to offer another French dinner (as well as finding a chef who can prepare it) which is so clearly typical of a particular region of France.

As mentioned on the night of the dinner, Sylvie and Wal are organising an event to be held in August which involves lots of driving around in cars. You don’t have to be a fast driver to win. You don’t even have to be in a French car. But a bit of French general knowledge and a sharp mind in interpreting clues could be a distinct advantage. It will be a completely new activity for our Alliance and will be loads of fun. Read more about it later in next month’s newsletter.

While on the matter of coming events, could I remind you that Mike and Lilias Warren will be hosting a French wine tasting to be offered by Brent Mackay of Amazing Grapes, Canberra, on Wednesday, 16 June. These events are always strongly supported by our members so mark the day in your diaries and come along for this opportunity to taste fully imported French wines. As always, there is no obligation to purchase but orders will be taken on the night if you do decide to.

I hope that you are all keeping warm as the first month of winter is almost upon us.

Best wishes

Rob McCombie