What a great weekend we had! On Friday evening, Peter & Jean Mason received all the French visitors and their hosts and provided a wonderful meal – and lots of it! We all enjoyed reconnecting with the Comines Club visitors and it was difficult to break up the evening ready for the busy weekend ahead.
Early Saturday morning we set off by coach for Brighton. On arrival we found 45 mph winds and a raging sea. Even so, there were three brave ladies swimming in the sea! We spent an hour on the pier where everyone lost around 50p worth of 2p coins. Then a windy walk along the promenade to the Regency Restaurant for fish and chips – what else in Brighton?
Now fully fed, a leisurely walk through the Lanes to the Royal Pavilion. Unfortunately that was closed due to a serious incident earlier in the grounds so we visited the Brighton Museum and Gallery which most of us had not previously seen and which was very interesting with good displays of Art Nouveau and Art Deco furniture and design pieces
Back home in the coach and on to a dinner at the Red Lion Betchworth where we enjoyed great food, lots of wine and speeches by the two Presidents – Dominique and Robert after which banners were exchanged. The theme of both speeches was the warm bond of friendship that exists between the members of both clubs and we must not allow this to change. We also had a short talk about the pub by the landlord Mark. Graham presented a Rotary cap, banner and polo shirt to Florentia who is an Argentinian student staying with Gilles, Annick and Ameline
On Sunday, we all met at Ightham Mote and were lucky to find a troupe of Morris Dancers performing. The house dating from 1382 is fascinating as the National Trust left parts unrestored so that one can see the structure and works which have taken place over 640 years. The grounds were also appreciated by all
Finally we had a convivial lunch at the George & Dragon in Ightham after which we waved goodbye to Comines Club and set them on their way to Dover. We look forward to next year in Comines!