Tuesday began with an uncertain sky, the sort that encourages you to take an umbrella, which, of course, guarantees later sunshine, rendering the umbrella completely unnecessary. Our welcome at Le Poulailler was, as always, warm and friendly and the coffee and small viennoiseries were much appreciated. Before ten o’clock Anglophones had already started to gather to the bemusement of the solitary French local who had obviously anticipated a quiet few minutes for his coffee. I explained to him that we were Anglophones congregating for our annual meeting and he was surprised to learn that so many of us were residents, not tourists.
The Membership Secretary and his PA were kept busy with a continuous supply of membership renewals and cheques. Loik was kept busy with a continuous request for hot drinks. What a perfect place it is to meet! And, of course, the sky brightened, and we started to make our way in the cool April sunshine to Les Unelles for the meeting. Some thirty members attended in La Salle Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly. Who was Jules Barbey D’Aurevilly you may ask? Well, not just an obscure French name but actually a Byronesque literary figure, born in St Sauveur-le-Vicomte who was appreciated by Baudelaire and known for his dandyism and snobbery, adopting an aristocratic lifestyle and hinting at a mysterious past although his youth and childhood were actually relatively uneventful. His novels were famed for their risqué subjects. Weird Women, The She Devils and Happiness in Crime have each been translated into English if you are curious.
The President welcomed members to the meeting in an apologetic style, fearful that members might find the proceedings less than exciting. But how wrong could she be? Ahead of us was a treasurer’s report, the voting for the re-adoption of the charity, Les Sauveteurs en Mer for another year, news of three committee members who were giving notice of leaving the committee after three years of service and the cajoling of members to become new committee members.
There was a vote taken regarding whether or not the Association should apply for affiliation with the British Community Committee in France, which is an umbrella organisation of British associations in France, coordinating information on their activities and also able to represent their interests towards the British Embassy as well as the government in the UK. A strong majority of members voted in favour of making an application. The President advised members that this would be her last year so next April the Association will be looking for a new President too.
After the meeting the lunch at La Pergola was a pleasant opportunity to sit on the longest table in Coutances and shout at each other. We enjoyed good food which was efficiently served. My jambon in a cider sauce was delicious and the pizzas looked excellent. If you deserved it you got rhubarb tart and ice cream too.
Write up and photo’s courtesy of members.