Winter Newsletter 2008 (no.34)

Cross-channel trips boost the ‘entente cordiale’....


A very early start meant boarding the coach in what seemed to be the middle of the night.  As we approached Dover, the crimson sunrise made this well worthwhile - or, at least we thought so!


Weather forecasts the day before had suggested that we might be in for a rough crossing, but fortunately they proved to be wrong, and the first rain we encountered was in France rather than in England. We stopped for lunch to break the long road journey from Calais to Paris, and the only heavy traffic we encountered was when we arrived in Paris.


Our party eventually reached the hotel, near the Gare de l'Est, by late afternoon. This gave us some time to settle into our rooms and have a brief look around the area.


In the evening we boarded the coach again to see the Christmas lights and the sights of Paris. The coach driver timed this to perfection, manoeuvring round the Place de la Concorde and along the tree-lined Champs Elysées with its sparkling blue lights.  Just before 7pm we paused at the Arc de Triumph to look down at the Eiffel Tower, in time to witness the spectacular explosion of twinkling lights which occurs on each hour.


Our next stop was for an evening meal where we were all made to feel very welcome. The food was generous and the wine flowed freely. The evening was made all the more memorable with a sing-song. We raised our glasses to Chris and Bill Barwell who sadly were unable to come along even though they had made all the arrangements.

The following morning we set off for Chantilly and its spectacular Chateau. There was a good variety of stalls at the Christmas market, and thankfully it was all under cover as the weather was wet and windy. We met up with the team on the Epsom Twinning stall, and we were introduced to the mayor of Chantilly before we were entertained by the local bell ringers.


For those who wanted to, there was an opportunity to visit the local hypermarket before setting off back for Calais. We were very fortunate to get straight on our ship because earlier in the afternoon several ferries had been delayed due to the bad weather.   Back on dry land our coach was hit by a lorry and we had to make an unscheduled stop to replace a wing mirror! Apart from that minor mishap, everything went very smoothly and was well organised by John and Eric.

Susan and Nigel Gill


... and the Mayor’s charities


Thanks to the generosity of Epsom Coaches, the Mayor’s Charity Fund was able to organise a great Saturday out in Le Touquet on 3rd November. The coach was one of Epsom’s finest and 47 of the 48 seats were taken.


At 8am we were welcomed aboard by a DVD specially recorded by Her Worship the Mayor, followed by breakfast and various trays of goodies. Warned of a future quiz, we listened intently to ‘Things you might not know about this coach’ and also made generous donations to the Mayors’ charities, in return for the right to guess the eventual mileage.


Sadly the M20 was closed, requiring a detour along narrow congested roads, and a delay of 20 minutes at Eurotunnel was enough for the group to arrive to find the Le Touquet market being dismantled.  However we were still able to enjoy walking along the seafront in sunny France.


Some of the group took the coach to the supermarket and most met up at Cafe Neffe at the appointed hour for our meal together. All too soon it was time to rejoin the coach, face the perils of the quiz and accept generous prizes for this and the mileage guess.


We caught a slightly earlier tunnel crossing than planned, enjoyed fireworks en route and arrived back in Epsom slightly before 10 pm. The event was a hugely enjoyable success and the Mayor’s charities benefited to the tune of £600.

A further trip, this time to Salisbury, Stonehenge and Bath, is planned for Saturday 15th March, so please put a note in your diary.

Brian Angus



Meeting up with old friends at Chantilly Christmas market


The Christmas market, which took place in Chantilly on 8th and 9th December, was supported once again by a contingent from Epsom.  Six members of our Twinning Association, and a friend from the Epsom Choral Society, set up a stall alongside a group from the town of Überlingen in Germany which is also twinned with Chantilly.  Chantilly’s Belgian twin town was not able to join us this year, but the town’s Mayor came for one day.


The main aim of the stall was to promote the twinning activities between our towns. A number of new contacts were made, and the group also met up with loyal friends who live in Chantilly.  As in previous years our mince pies and Christmas puddings were popular purchases, and a small profit was made for society funds. 


New items this year included English cheeses, which we had taken for people to taste. The green sage cheese got a lot of attention, as well as the Stilton, Wensleydale with ginger and traditional Cheddar. They proved so popular that people were asking to buy them. We also took souvenirs of Epsom & Ewell such as tea-towels and notecards, and as usual the children loved the free crackers, bookmarks and Santa stickers. 


Bill Barwell's coach party visited us on Sunday morning and it was good to chat to friends of the Association.  Sadly Bill was not well enough to come on the trip this year and we wish Chris and Bill a speedy recovery.


The Chantilly market had a wide range of local and regional produce including wines, cheeses, honey, saucissons, and many other items, and there were many craft stalls with ideal presents for Christmas. Hot and cold food, and drinks were served throughout the day, with an excellent choice of local recipes.


Epsom & Ewell Town-Twinning always receive a warm welcome from our friends on the Chantilly Jumelage committee, and we are very grateful for their hospitality.

                                                                                      Jane Melia



From left: Margaret Nightingale, Janee Foxon, Margaret and

Brian Angus, Jane Melia, and Anne Richardson

manning the Epsom stall.




Members of the Überlingen contingent behind their stall

alongside ours at the Chantilly Christmas market. 

From right: Peter Männer (from the town hall), Marie Hélene Beck,

Ulrich Behncke, Jörg Mattausch, and Walter Ruther.



And following that…………


In the spirit of building more bridges in Europe, we are now considering twinning ties with Überlingen in Germany.  I wonder, do we have any German-speaking members who may be keen to get involved with us?  Do please let me know!


Margaret Nightingale


Members’ Christmas dinner


The Association enjoyed a splendid Christmas dinner together at the Epsom Club on 11th December.  This year 12 members attended, fewer than previously, but again we had the back room to ourselves.  The evening was informal, and as usual the food was excellent.  We were served a delicious seasonal dinner, we pulled crackers and wore paper hats, and enjoyed ourselves very much.  Our thanks must go to Sean and Joyce for looking after us so well.


Future members' dinners


Members who have an email address are asked to forward this to Margaret Nightingale so that she can make sure you are informed directly of various events that are happening, including our regular dinners. 


As a general guide, our members' dinners will continue to be held on the 2nd Tuesday of alternate months.  So the next members' dinner is scheduled to fall on Tuesday 12th February.  I’ll be contacting you nearer the time with more details, but meantime we are also prepared to consider other venues, and if you have a favourite restaurant to suggest, particularly if it has a French flavour, please tell us and we will try it out!  I can be contacted  at


Margaret Nightingale, Membership Secretary


Railway Club links continue


Links between the model railway clubs of Epsom & Ewell and Chantilly remain as close as ever. The Epsom & Ewell Model Railway Club has in fact just returned from exhibiting a layout at a two day exhibition held by the Club Ferroviaire de Chantilly. This was the second time that the club has attended this biennial exhibition which was being held for the third time.


The Epsom & Ewell Model Railway Club took and operated a layout called Ferring, that is based on the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1911, and which is owned by one of its members. The layout was very well received by visitors to the show and received many compliments, particularly for the working signals and level of detail.  The group were well looked after by the hosts and were taken for a meal with the whole of the Chantilly club and their partners.




M. Eric Woerth, Mayor of Chantilly, seen here at the Christmas market,

took time to visit the Model Railway Club layout.


The show was visited by the Chantilly mayor, M Eric Woerth, who spent some time at the Epsom & Ewell Club’s layout and the group was also introduced to Madame Francesca Milin, the deputy mayor, who presented Chris Robertson, the chairman, with a Town Shield in recognition of the visit.


Epsom & Ewell Model railway Club has invited their Chantilly counterparts to put on a demonstration at its show, which is being held at NESCOT on 26th and 27th April and to bring their new layout based on the racecourse station to the April 2009 show.


Chris Robertson, Chairman, Epsom and Ewell Model Railway Club



Be a part of the UK’s largest celebration of French culture, food and travel at The France Show 2008, being held at Olympia from 18th to 20th January!


Five main themed areas will give visitors the chance to explore French passions, hobbies and interests in what promises to be a most memorable event.  Visit the fantastic Wine Theatre, test your French at the Language Theatre, and look around their Mini-Montmatre to be entertained with music, artists, street theatre and dancers as if you were in Paris itself!





Calendar of Events


18th- 20th January

The France Show at Olympia, London

Thursday 24th January

Cheese & Wine Evening at the Town Hall

Tuesday 12th February

Members’ Dinner – venue to be confirmed

8th and 9th March

Herald of Spring at Bourne Hall

Saturday 15th March

Mayor’s Charity coach trip to Stonehenge

23rd – 26th May

Epsom Male Voice Choir Visit to Chantilly

Sunday 8th June

Prix Diane at Chantilly


Annual General Meeting at Epsom Town Hall

12th – 14th June

Nuits de Feu, Chantilly Chateau


Prix d’ Epsom Race at Chantilly


Christmas Market at Chantilly

For more details of news and events in Chantilly, please see Chantilly’s website:

Committee for 2007/8

Mrs Diana Deavin - Chairman                                            01372 811228

Mrs Jane Melia – Vice Chairman                                       01372 728333

Mr Brian Vandervilt - Treasurer                                       0208 3958996

Mrs Mary Talbott - Secretary                                         01372 743336

Mrs Margaret Nightingale - Membership Secretary           01372 209704

Mrs Betty Emery - Publicity Officer                                01372 725027

Cllr. Clive Woodbridge, Newsletter Editor                        0208 3932853


Mr Brian Angus                                                               0208 3931749

Mrs Alison Chatterton                                                      01372 811099

Mrs Jeanne Farmery                                                        01372 724974

Mr Cyril Frazer                                                              0208 3933628

Cllr Jonathon Reed                                                          0208 3935355

Alderman Reg Saviel                                                        01372 377420

Mr Ron Smith                                                                  01372 811229