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