Category Archives: Visits

Biberach Christmas Market 2017

A number of enthusiastic TTA volunteers again made sure that our Christmas market stall in snowy Biberach was a great success. Whilst the festivities may seem a long time ago, wintry weather is with us again this February so a few pictures from the market do not seem quite so out of place.

This was my first visit to Biberach in winter, for the final weekend only and all too brief really. Helen and I stayed with Christa and Stephan whilst Sue and Keith were with Petra. As well as enjoying great hospitality and friendship from our hosts and other Biberach twinning supporters, we had a lot of fun on the stalls with our friends from Valence and Asti. We even fitted in a brief visit to Ulm.

Memorable sights for me were the life-sized nativity stalls with live sheep and donkeys, giant steaming dampfnudel served on paper plates with plum and vanilla sauce, and at least thirty varieties of mulled wine and cider.

Most frequently requested items on our stall this year were Terry’s Chocolate Orange, Wilkins marmalade with whisky (had to be with whisky!) and Wilkins lemon curd. We were also asked how to cook Christmas puddings and then to explain why it was necessary to set fire to them. We did our best….

Best wishes from Richard, Helen Keith and Sue.

More pictures here:

CVST Victorian Christmas Market – November 2017

Report by Brenda Snow:

Saturday 11th November saw the annual CVST Christmas Market take place in the Town Hall.  TTA members hosted visitors from Świdnica in Poland and Biberach in Germany.  Sadly, this year, no visitors from Valence were able to attend.  With our visitors arriving on Friday, the early evening was spent preparing the stall for the following day’s market.  This was soon done and the rest of the evening was spent with their hosts.  Petra and Sarah enjoyed an Indian meal at the Blue Sari – especially appreciated as it seems Biberach doesn’t have an Indian restaurant.

Saturday was a busy day, selling produce, being photographed, renewing old friendships, shopping in Clacton and, when the market closed, being hosted, in the inner sanctum of the Town Hall, by the Chairman of the Council, Mark Platt and his wife. Mark entertained us all by producing a number of objects, books and certificates relating to twinning over the years that he had unearthed in various council offices, with a view to having them on more permanent display. 

He also admitted to, on his first visit to our German twin town, driving to the ‘wrong’ Biberach before finally arriving in Biberach-an-der Riss!  He impressed our Polish visitors by pointing out a painting of Świdnica in the background of his official portrait. It is very encouraging to see Mark’s support and enthusiasm for town twinning.

Saturday evening was an opportunity for more members of the TTA to come along to the Martello Inn to join our visitors and hosts for dinner and a very noisy and sociable evening was had by all.

On Sunday our visitors spent the day with their hosts visiting various local places, shopping in Colchester and Norwich always being popular destinations with Christmas looming.  All too soon though, Monday morning arrived and, with a very early start, our visitors were off home again – until the next time.

Kerith & Teresa visit Valence for the first time….

September 2017 – TTA at the Valence Twinners Market

On a chilly September morning Kerith and I set out on a journey to Valance. Our mode of transport depended on Joy and Adrian Phillips. They had kindly invited us to accompany them on the journey. At this point we would both like to commend Adrian for his sterling efforts to get us to the south of France at the quickest of times, without breaking any land speed records! He was a star. Never complained and made sure that we had enough ‘comfort’ stops, as requested on many occasions. As we drove down towards the south of France, the weather became increasingly warmer – certainly not the temperature that we had left behind!

On our arrival we were introduced to our hosts, Claire and Yves. We couldn’t have asked for a better example of French hospitality than was given to us, by them, throughout our stay. After a lovely meal we retired to our respective rooms for a welcome rest.

The next morning, following a hearty breakfast, we wandered through the town to meet with other twinners at the Valence market. It was such fun! The various nationalities engaged with each other in an extraordinary display of friendship. We feel that this, in essence, is what Twinning is all about, breaking down borders of communication and making new friendships.

The day was a huge success. We were tasked to assist Adrian in producing a typical English breakfast – Bacon and egg sandwiches! Adrian no doubt was a street seller in another life as his talents for sealing a breakfast deal were so impressive! Again the focus was on fun and sellers, producers and customers enjoyed every aspect of it.

Another bonus was the opportunity to have our photograph taken with the Mayor of Valence. He was incredibly supportive of the event and stopped to chat with all stallholders during his visit. Once the breakfasts were finished, we could then sit back and celebrate with a cool German beer – bought from our twinning friends from Biberach.

We then wandered off through the medieval city for a little sightseeing. Valence is a beautiful place, so full of history, set within the backdrop of the Rhône Alps. In the evening we were invited to a twinning event, hosted by our Valence counterparts. We enjoyed meeting new people while conversing over a 5 course meal – which was delicious.

The next day we visited the local park, enjoyed yet another lovely meal, presented to us by our hosts, followed by a trip to see the ruins of the historic Chateau de Crussol.

Early the next day, we thanked our hosts for such a wonderful time and set off for England. Of course we had to take in the delights of a French shopping trip in Calais on the way. Again, Adrian didn’t let us down and we arrived back safely in Tendring, that evening, via the Channel Tunnel. It was a wonderful weekend which we would recommend to anyone contemplating the joys of the Twinning Association.

TTA’s First Student at the Biberach German Language Week Reports Back…

Alice Rowe was a student – TTA’s first – on the German language week for 18-20 year-olds in Biberach recently. We hope this will inspire others to take up this generous offer in future. Alice writes:

“When I was offered by the Tendring twinning association the chance to take part in a free German course in one of the oldest towns in Germany, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Having studied German for the majority of my secondary school experience, including A Levels, I believed the course would be perfect for me, and I wasn’t wrong. Biberach definitely lived up to the expectations I had conjured from others’ experiences, providing me with an extensive insight into the life and culture of swäbisch Deutschland.

I was thrown straight into the town’s culture by arriving on the weekend of Schutzenfest; a traditional German beer festival celebrating Biberach as a town. The course having booked front-row seats for the History rally, our group was lucky enough to witness a truly incredible part of southern German tradition.

   It was amazing how many activities the trip packed into the week. With 4 hours of language lessons every morning at varying difficulties, we; a group of students coming from England, Poland, France, Italy and other countries; were able to introduce ourselves and get to know each other, all in German. This gave us the opportunity not only to enhance our German speaking by thinking on our toes but also to get to know other cultures from all over the world. Our week ranged from city tours of Biberach and Ulm with the visiting of the respective museums, to laser tag, swimming and a group BBQ with traditional German food cooked by us. Needless to say the course allowed me to enhance my German speaking skills extensively by completely immersing me in the language, while also providing me with life-long friends from across the globe, who share an avid passion in language-learning.”


English Event 22–27 June 2017

What do we call an event that in the past has been called an English language course?  This year we didn’t run a language course, but rather a series of events that introduced our visitors from our twin towns of Valence and Biberach to some very English-style activities. ‘English Event’ doesn’t quite give the correct impression, but we can let our readers make up their own mind. All our planning was designed to involve others from the Tendring Twinning Association (TTA) so that our guests were able to meet many different people from the Tendring District.

A photo-journal of the entire visit was also produced containing many images of events, places and people. You can see it here.

Friday, 23 June – we all met at the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club (WFYC) for a morning of introductory activities and a light lunch: our fellow twinners come from land-locked regions, so we made our coastline an important part of their activities. Martin Jenkins, the Club Commodore, welcomed the group, along with Peter Sweeney, Vice-Commodore with the technological support. The group were welcomed to the Tendring District by Councillor Mark Platt, Chairman of Tendring District Council accompanied by his wife and Councillor Maurice Alexander. After all the introductions were completed, we made our way to the Naze Tower and the newly-opened Visitors’ Centre. Peter, our very knowledgeable guide gave everyone a real flavour of the area and its importance.

Saturday, 24 June – and it’s off to Colchester: a quick tour of our historic neighbouring town, followed by entrance to the Food and Drink Festival in Castle Park. Our grateful thanks to organiser, Don Quinn for making this possible – we appreciate your welcome – quite a number of cheeses have found their way back to Germany and are being enjoyed by our friends in Biberach! The afternoon, most of our group wended their way to the Annual Wivenhoe Regatta: thanks to the Poloms for their local knowledge and their warm hospitality. A very English experience built on our coastal locality to show off to our twinners!

Saturday wasn’t yet done – we finished our day with a disco of 60s and 70s music, dancing to all the old favourites with enthusiastic twinners ranging in age from 10 years to 80 plus. 

Sunday, 25 June no lie-in for the intrepid twinners! We began our day with a bargain hunt at Ardleigh Car Boot Sale – who knew you could get your hair cut as well ‽ This was followed by a wonderful picnic in Frinton with the chance to pay a visit to as many charity shops as possible before arriving for the Tendring Brass Band concert at the McGrigor Hall. Fantastic! Superlatives are not adequate to describe the lovely performance put on for an appreciative audience.

Monday, 26 June – another focus on our coastal advantage point, this time enjoying a warm welcome from Walton Pier. The plan had been to spend a few minutes on the slot machines then to bowl. Well, our visitors were so keen to win prizes, they spent an hour trying to ‘win’ on the ‘penny gobblers’!

Our bowling game was very competitive, and ended with a clear winner – well played Roland! A stroll down Mill Lane ensued and back to the WFYC for another lovely lunch preceded by the welcome pipes from Esther Killington and time spent with other members of the TTA. Our final meal, a barbeque graciously hosted by the Hockley family was a fitting ending to a busy few days.

English course? I think not. But it was a time of learning – about each other, the Tendring District, some rather uniquely English activities and the opportunity to share our lives for just a few days with folk from our twin towns.

Tuesday, 27 June. Homeward bound – very early. Tired, but with heads full experiences and new friends made.

Thank you to all who have made this visit possible – you are too numerous to mention and thank properly here – your efforts are sincerely appreciated.

Joy Phillips

Chairman, TTA

Biberach Christmas Market 2-16th December 2017

Members are invited to visit the lovely town of Biberach and to assist with manning the TTA stall during this festive period. We are always well taken care of by our friends in Biberach whilst we all take turns  to help on the stall. If there are plenty of us, it really helps spread the work load.

This particular market is very important to the financial health of our association as it is always a successful fundraiser and very popular with our twin town.

Although it is still early days, we would be glad if you would give it some consideration and let me know if you think you can come on any dates between 2 and 16 December.

Many thanks

Joy Phillips

Chairman TTA. 


Members are invited to the 22-27 June English Event

All our twin towns have been invited to send people to our four day English event. There will be a wide variety of activities from Friday morning to Monday evening which are designed to include all hosts, helpers and members.

Come and join us if you can to make it a really fun occasion. This is not a fund-raising event, but we will need your contribution to cover any costs if you join us. As a number of these activities include food and booking tickets, please let me know which of these events you wish to participate in.

Please email: for more details.

Joy Phillips

Chairman TTA