9th December 2017

Mme Jackie Sheppard

Fifty-four members and friends of the ESU Loire Valley gathered to celebrate the festive season at The Auberge Le Cheval Blanc in Juigné-sur-Loire on Saturday 9th December 2017. The sparkle of Christmas was transported there by a team of willing helpers who gathered earlier and quickly transformed the room and tables with their decorations including traditional crackers from England.

With our President, Patricia Curd, absent due to illness, it was Michael Small, as Master of Ceremonies, who welcomed everyone to the event, introducing several guests who were joining us for the first time. He then read a letter from Patricia in which she sent her apologies and thanked everyone for the contribution they had made to the success of today’s event. Crackers were then pulled, paper hats donned and the first course of an excellent menu served.

Between the numerous courses we had plenty of time to draw the raffle. There was a wonderful selection of prizes, many of which had been generously donated by members, plus a number of typical “English” prizes purchased in the UK.

We were then entertained by John Barritt who gave a wonderful rendition of the rhyme “Remember When ..” which compared modern computer references with their original meanings of many years ago and was very funny.

After the cheese course it was time for the Christmas pudding to be carried flaming into the room. An English Christmas pudding was a first time treat for many of our French members and quite a challenge for the restaurateur himself!

The final contribution of the afternoon came from Michel Cartillier who gave a hilarious presentation highlighting the idiosyncrasies and characteristics of member countries of the EU when organising a joint event. This was greeted with roars of laughter from the different nationalities present.

Sadly due to a recent accident, Tony Oakley could not join us and his usual excellent musical contribution was sorely missed. However, whilst coffee and hot mince pies were served and under the leadership of Irene Small and Roy Powell, the entertainment finished with a Christmas sing-song, when everyone joined in singing traditional Christmas carols.

We were particularly delighted to welcome some new faces to this festive gathering, including Jean-Claude Ravigne, the winner of our prize draw at the Agora Exhibition in Angers, 7th and 8th October.

The food was excellent as was the entertainment. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the success of the day; to members of the committee for organising the meal and programme; to Helen and Brendan Bye for transporting quantities of crackers and mince pies across the Channel; to everyone who generously donated prizes for the raffle; to the members who entertained us and in particular to all who supported the event and helped to make this a very special day in the ESU LV calendar.

To all our members and friends “We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.