Our “tale” began back in 1998 when a representative from Bussy-St-Georges came to see whether a twinning relationship could be established with Radcliffe-on-Trent. His town, Bussy-Saint-Georges was situated 15 miles east of Paris, reachable by Metro in 30 minutes, and just 5 minutes drive from Euro Disney! Bussy was growing from a small and ancient village to a vibrant new town with a young population. Our “engagement” was soon agreed, and over the next 10 years both partners found much to compare and contrast as their relationship developed.
Like most Twinning Groups we have a long list of activities we have shared over the years and it has been pleasing to see how many local schools and groups have also benefited. We – les Anglais – have for example, experienced the fun of dancing down by the Seine in the warm evening twilight (La Guinguette!) and exploring the chateau of the Rothschilds near Paris (we coined the phrase “completely chateaued” after one rather long visit). On the other hand our friends have found out about Robin Hood and attempted skittles in the back of a country pub (with thankfully no injuries). Of course this all sounds very friendly – but it wouldn’t be a normal twinning without some competition!
We often reflect on the annual Petanque match which used to be extremely closely fought! Our understanding of French expletives took a leap forward during these matches but alas the trophy was lost in the post-match celebrations of 2005.
We have now enjoyed over 10 years of twinning with Bussy-St-Georges and many friendships have been made over that time. We celebrated our 10 years together with a party in Montmartre – the photo shows the party cake that we all enjoyed with the obligatory glass of champagne! Well – we had to show willing!
But perhaps the most encouraging aspect of “Le Twinning” has been the way it has helped open the eyes of the youngsters who have been involved? As a teenager, we all know that sharing experiences with other youngsters from a different country is a powerful way of opening yourself to new ideas. The photo shows a group of girls (French and English) who have been involved in the twinning trying out the commemorative park bench presented to us by Bussy-St-Georges back in 2006. There are many teenagers who have been involved in the Twinning – and they are now young men and women making their own way in life – and we know many (3 of those on the bench!) who have gone on to study French or English as part of their University studies.
Coincidence? or “Vive Le Twinning”? www.radcliffe-twinning.org.uk www.arhbuss.fr