Chers Amis,
The nights are drawing in and it finally seems that we have to accept that Summer is over! This is also a sign that Christmas is on its way and with it, the busiest season for our fundraising. There are several events already well into the planning stages and we hope to see you there.
Meanwhile I’m very pleased to report that our annual visit to Montesson in September was a huge success, made even better by the fantastic weather that was enjoyed throughout the weekend.
I wasn’t able to be there but Sonja has written a superb account on Here’s the link if you want to read it:

Annual weekend visit to Montesson, 13th - 15th September



Twinning members posing by the minibus


17 members took part this year, with 13 travelling by minibus, ably driven by Linda and Sonja and 4 by car. This gave a little more space for gifts and purchases than last year, and I think that all would agree that 13 is plenty in a 17 seater minibus. As usual the party was warmly welcomed on their arrival at the Montesson Town Hall and after a short welcome drink, everyone retired to spend the evening with their hosts.


Monet's Garden at Giverny Friends in Monet's GardenThe highlight of the weekend was the Saturday visit to Monet’s garden at Giverny.

Originally planned and planted by the artist himself to resemble an ‘Impressionist’ painting, the garden includes the actual Lily Pond and Japanese bridge, tunnelled these days with dappled green planting, that featured in Monet’s famous work depicting that very scene.

The house and studio have recently been sensitively developed into a museum, with every room in the house, decorated as it would have been in his day and filled with objects, such as furniture and dinner services, that belonged to him.

All around the walls there are photographs of his family and friends and scenes from his life. There are also paintings, some his own and in addition, many Japanese works of art, Japan being a country that he was fascinated by.

As always the weekend coincided with the local festival, intriguingly called “La Fête du Pâté à la Carmen”. As regular visitors to Montesson know,  the Pâté à la Carmen  is a small meat pie which resembles a flattened sausage roll. The origins of this tradition are uncertain, but if you’re interested in the history behind it, take a look at

The evening entertainment started early Saturday evening in the Parc des Sophoras with the sampling of the “Pâté à la Carmen” washed down with a glass of wine. This was followed by a very convivial meal, attended by both the Thame twinning group and their hosts and twinning guests from Baesweiler, Montesson’s twin town in Germany.
As part of her speech Linda spoke of the deep feelings that we share for the continued friendship between our 2 countries. The evening was rounded off splendidly with the annual festival fireworks display.
Sunday was left free to spend time with our hosts, go shopping, go to the market, visit other nearby towns or just enjoy the sunshine on the banks of the Seine!
Huge thanks must go to Linda who sorted out all the travel arrangements and to her and Sonja who drove the minibus. Without their willingness to do this, the trip would not have been able to go ahead at an affordable price. At £85 a head we think that this is very good value for money and our aim is to keep it at this price next year.  The date is nearly always around the 15th September, so start to think about saving the date!

What else has been happening?

Pupils from John Hampden School

If you have read Sonja’s article, you will see that the twinning of a class at John Hampden with one in Montesson continues to thrive. Despite the frequent best efforts of technology to thwart their attempts to communicate, the 2 primary school teachers are determined to grow the friendship and link between their classes. In September the Thame contingent presented a selection of English children’s books to the teacher in Montesson, who sent back a selection of French books in return.

Poster for Casse-Tête Chinois





Film night, Saturday 28th September
Following on from the positive feedback from the previous film “L’Auberge Espagnole”. Liz decided that it would be good to show the sequel: “Les Poupées Russes”. This was clearly a wise move and a very good choice! The newly renovated room at the Cross Keys was nearly full and a very healthy profit of £75 profit was made. This bodes very well for the next film: :”Casse-Tête Chinois” (Chinese Puzzle) which is in fact the final film in the trilogy. Unfortunately we shall have to wait until January 11th, the next available date in everyone’s busy calendars, not least the Cross Keys! Liz will send out details nearer the time.



What’s coming up?

Friday, 8th November – Quiz  - 7.30pm in the Town Hall

Quiz Night


£5 per head. Bring your own drinks and snacks. Teams of 6 (or more or fewer – but prizes for 6!)
It would be wonderful to raise £500 at this event, which would be a great boost to our funds and would mean that we can make a very decent donation to the Stroke Association. So please spread the word and bring a team. As soon as you know you have a team (or several) please let Sue or Linda know.  / or call 07763816013 or 07805229556


Sunday, 10th November   - Remembrance Day Parade and Wreath Laying
As always we will be taking part in the annual parade and laying a wreath on behalf of the Twinning Association at the War Memorial. If you would like to join the parade, it leaves from the Town Hall at 10.30, arriving at the War Memorial for the Service of Remembrance at 11am.

Xmas Market stallSaturday 23rd November (all day)– Marché de Noël in Montesson
Leaving Thame on the 22nd and returning on the 24th November.
We will need home-made cakes, jam, chutney – anything else you have that you think we could sell. If you have any ideas of things that you think would sell well (not only food), please pass them on. Traditionally home-made cakes, jam, marmalade, lemon curd and pickle have sold well, but we are very keen to expand our range!  Last year around a third of our profit came from such items, so please share your speciality if you can. Our Brexit planning is in place and most of the non-perishable produce is already being stored in France. If you can supply goods, Sue will be going to France around 10th November and can take any items with a long shelf-life. Otherwise please can you get them to Linda by 21st November.
A number of us have already said that we will be going to man the stall, but if anyone else would like to come along, let us know. In order to maximise the profit for twinning, we pay our own transport, but car share may be possible depending upon available space or in the past members have taken the Eurostar. Please say if you’re interested.


Friday 6th December – Christmas Lights Switch on and Market in Thame. 3pm – 7.30pm

Thame Xmas MarketWe will be having a stall and we are very pleased to say that the French have decided that they still plan to come over and will be having a stall. This is excellent news. At the moment we don’t know what they will be selling or how many to expect, but if you normally host one of the regular Xmas market people, please do contact them as I’m sure they’ll be hoping to stay with you as usual.






Saturday 7th December – Christmas Party. 7.30 – 10.00pm
Date for your diary – venue still to be decided.
At the moment we’re still working on the format for this year. Linda will be away on a trip with Lord Williams’ and we know that this is a very busy time for everyone, meaning that we struggle to get a good number to fill the town hall. However, there will definitely be a party. If you know that you will be coming, please let us know as this will help us organise a good “do”!


Thank you for getting this far!
As you know the May visit can only happen if we can pay for it, so our fundraising events and your support are vital. We feel that we have made real progress in raising our profile in the town this year with more people knowing about us and attracting several new members. We’re also proud of our participation in community events and hope to build on this whenever we can in the coming year.