62 years of twinned friendship with Jarnac

Wednesday August 24th 2022

Jarnac-Twinned-with-Dalkeith-signing-charter

The Twinning Charter was re-dedicated and signed by Jarnac’s Maire M. Philippe Gesse, and Midlothian’s Provost, Debbi McCall. On the right is Dalkeith Twinning Chairperson Christine McPhillips

This article has been writen by Margaret Howden.

Our group from the Dalkeith/Jarnac Twinning Group travelled to Jarnac in early July to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of our twinning charter between Dalkeith and Jarnac. As you may know, plans had first been made for a 2020 trip but Covid-19 delayed our proposed visit until this summer. Jarnac is also twinned with Lautertal in Germany (40 years), Donnacona in Canada (27 years) and Dogliani in Italy (20 years) so as a result while we were there, the town of Jarnac was full of visitors.

Our group consisted of Christine and Brian McPhillips, Maggie and Colin Dickson,Margaret and Sandy Howden and was also to include Linda and Tom Matthewson, but sadly, Linda and Tom had to cancel their trip a few days before their due travel date because of Covid-19.

We all arrived separately through our own different travel arrangements from the Saturday 9th July till Tuesday 12th July when we were joined by Midlothian’s new Provost Debbi McCall and also by Councillor Margot Russell, for the celebration week which was jam packed with events. Both were visiting Jarnac for the first time. Some of our party were staying with host families and some of us stayed at local bed and breakfasts/gites.

Our first official event of the visit was a welcome drink on the evening of Wednesday 13th July, the “pot de bienvenue” at the salle des fêtes. It was an opportunity to meet up with old friends and to be introduced to new ones.

On France’s National Day, 14th July (known in the UK as Bastille Day) there was a full day of celebrations. The programme started in the morning where the Twinning Charter was re-dedicated and signed by Jarnac’s Maire M. Philippe Gesse, and Midlothian’s Provost, Debbi McCall, on the steps in front of the Mairie (Town Council headquarters). As well as our 60th anniversary, Jarnac’s other twinned towns were celebrating their own landmark dates that day and their representatives joined the Jarnac Mayor on the steps of the Mairie. Speeches were made by Jarnac’s Mayor and representatives of the other twinned towns and gifts were exchanged in front of a large crowd gathered to watch the proceedings. Provost Debbi McCall gave her speech in French to much applause and appreciation. Flags of the countries and coats of arms of all the 5 towns were flown in the main streets and there were information panels and photos from the past featuring our twinned towns.

After the ceremonies, a “pot de l’amitié” (drink of friendship) and hors d’oeuvre were served in a the morning where the Twinning Charter was re-dedicated and signed by Jarnac’s Maire M. Philippe Gesse, and Midlothian’s Provost, Debbi McCall, on the steps in front of the Mairie (Town Council headquarters). As well as our 60th anniversary, Jarnac’s other twinned towns were celebrating their own landmark dates that day and their representatives joined the Jarnac Mayor on the steps of the Mairie. Speeches were made by Jarnac’s Mayor and representatives of the other twinned towns and gifts were shaded area beside the Mairie out of the 36C degree heat. It was a great opportunity to relax with old friends and renew acquaintances.

Later that afternoon, there was a barbeque picnic laid on for all the Twinning visitors. This was thankfully in the shade of trees in beautiful Jarnac park on L’Ile Madame. Later in the evening of 14th July, there was a community dinner in the main square of Jarnac, the Place du Château, then a fabulous fireworks display at night (featuring music from the countries of the twinned towns) to bring Bastille Day to a close.

On Friday 15th July, we were taken by coach to Aubeterre sur Dronne for a tour of the historic town in the morning. Some of us took shelter in the cool as the temperature that day was over 38’C. We were served a wonderful lunch in the Salle des Fêtes of Aubeterre before we visited the subterranean monolithic church of Saint-Jean of Aubeterre in the afternoon and then the return journey to Jarnac. Later that evening, we were also entertained to a fantastic son et lumière in the village of Bourg Charente telling the story of cognac, attended by a huge crowd from all over the region.

On the evening of Saturday 16th July, the Soirée Officielle in the salle des fêtes was attended by 160 guests and hosts. We were entertained by a wonderful group of musicians called “Les Copains du Musette” whose singer delighted us with her beautiful voice. They played and sang their way through an eclectic mix of popular and traditional tunes and songs. As well as enthusiastic dancing, many of the audience joined in the singing of those songs known to them. Following a delicious 7 course dinner catered by Christophe Baudry, we enjoyed speeches and gift exchanges from the Twinning Associations of all the twinned towns.

Dalkeith/Jarnac Twinning Group gifted 3 beautiful prints of historic buildings of Dalkeith by local artist Ron Lugg who permitted the Group to use his drawings free of charge. The digital files of the drawings were taken to Riccio Gallery in Dalkeith who enlarged the prints and produced them on giclée paper using giclée ink and mounted them in black frames. Carlo did a fantastic job and it caused a big stir when they were unveiled in front of the crowd in the Salle des Fêtes. The small inscription plaques for the frames were made by Apache Services in Tait Street, Dalkeith and mounted on each frame. The Twinning Group gifted quaichs to each of the other 3 representatives of the twinning associations and they also were supplied by ApacheServices. So the gifts to the Jarnac Twinning Association and the 3 other twinned towns friends were all made by Dalkeith people/ companies. Dalkeith/Jarnac Twinning Group Chairperson Christine McPhillips did a wonderful job presenting the gifts, all made in Dalkeith, to our friends in twinning at the Soirée Officielle.

The Jarnac Twinning Committee also kindly gave a gift to every invited guest. All our ‘au revoirs’ were made at the end of a superb night of music, dance and foodie delights. Friendships were cemented once more in this wonderful liason with towns all over western Europe and Canada. A sincere “Merci Milles Fois” to the Mayor, the Twinning Committee and the people of Jarnac for making our visit such a delightful one. The concept of twinned towns, I believe, is worthy of support and we hope that our relationship with Jarnac will continue for many years to come.

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