ABB Visit to Bristol 13-17 July 2022

Late in the evening of 13th July, five members of l’Association Bordeaux- Bristol arrived at Bristol Airport and were met by Mike and Teresa of the Bristol Bordeaux Partnership, who took them to their hotel/lodgings in Clifton/Horfield. In the group were Michel and Huguette Bordeau, Valérie Bonnet, Maggy Leglise and Nathalie Pasquier.

The following morning – ‘le quatorze juillet’ and a beautiful day – Vivien, Rob and Teresa took them to Clevedon, where, for ‘morning coffee’ at No. 5, The Beach, Nathalie was delighted to be served tea in a teapot with a tea cosy – knitted by the granny of one of the waitresses!

A visit to the historic and beautiful Victorian pier was appreciated by all and was followed by lunch at the Glass Box restaurant.

In the evening, some met with David Vowles, longstanding member of the original Bristol Bordeaux Association, and friend of many, at Teresa and David’s (not forgetting Monty) in Sea Mills.

On Friday morning all five Bordelais, now joined by Joël Goumy and his wife Marlène and accompanied by Thomas and Vivien, met up with Rob Collin, a Blue Badge Guide for the South West, who conducts walks which focus on the history of slavery in Bristol. He took the group on a short walk in the centre which was packed with information: indeed he proved to be both extremely knowledgeable and totally passionate about the need to accurately convey to visitors the facts about the slave trade in Bristol, particularly of course in relation to the part played by Edward Colston.

Rob was very impressed by Huguette’s knowledge of some aspects of Bristol history and he was very touched when Huguette presented him with a copy of her book about John and Sebastian Cabot.

He was also impressed by the keen interest shown by the group in the rather difficult subject matter. I think he would have happily extended the tour well into the afternoon but lunch had been booked at the Watershed and the group had to leave their guide on College Green.

To mark the 75th Anniversary of both the Bristol-Bordeaux and the Bristol-Hannover twinnings, members of BBP and ABB, together with a strong representative from the Bristol Hannover twinning, gathered on College Green, to await the arrival of the Lord Mayor of Bristol. Tea and cake were served in the City Hall and speeches given by the Lord Mayor, Councillor Paula O’Rourke, the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding and Dr Ann Kennard, chair of the Bristol Hannover Council. There was also a video recorded message from the Mayor of Hannover who was unable to attend in person as he had contracted Covid. The speeches were followed by an uplifting performance from RISE, the youth dance group.

A special cake had been made for the occasion…

On Friday evening, still not exhausted by the day’s activities, some of the Bordelais group managed to meet up with old friends from previous visits.

On Saturday the Bordelais were free to visit the Harbour Festival at their leisure and in the evening the group, now joined by Cathy Barquero and her daughter Ethel, her sister and a friend from Bordeaux, met for a very pleasant farewell meal at The Lion in Cliftonwood.

Some of the group flew back to Bordeaux on Sunday and others managed to fit in a few more visits to old friends before flying home on Monday.