Bonjour Vera - Le Coq et Bull trophy returns home
Twinning visit to Rotary Club of Nantes sur Loire in May 2019
What is the connection between Vera, oysters for breakfast and a 40 ton mechanical elephant?
I must admit I had no idea before the Club visited our friends in Nantes sur Loire with whom we are twinned.
All our trips to Nantes are special and I knew this was going to be no different as I was instructed to pack a pair of gardening gloves. And this is where I met Vera. Was this an encounter scripted by Simenon? Was Maigret involved? No. Vera was very different to what I had expected. Her real name was 'Aloe Vera' which I thought was a strange name until I was asked to treat her carefully and transfer her from one pot to another. The nursery where this took place was a place of wonder.
One day we were meeting Vera, the next we were eating oysters in the Fine Arts Museum. This is a beautiful building which has recently been refurbished (it took 6 years and was worth every minute it took). The exhibits are delightful. Purely incidentally, your correspondent loved the oysters for breakfast as well.
And the 40 ton elephant? You will find that in the redeveloped area previously used for shipbuilding. You can ride on it (I do not know if it is a him or her) as it takes about 50 people on its back on an adventure downtown. And the big thrill for kids of all ages is that the elephant can squirt water from its trunk if you get that close. I dare you to go and see this wonder of modern engineering!
And by way of conclusion, I can report that we returned with the Coq and Bull Trophy. We beat the French at 'Splat the Rat' or perhaps I should say 'Éclabousser le Rat'. An explanantion of the Coq and Bull trophy had better await the next epistle of the glories of twinning with our French friends. À bientôt.
As an afternote, we are pleased to hear that the sales of Vera at a major flower show in late summer raised over 4,300 Euros which was donated to the University Hospital in Nantes, towards the purchase of a Snoezelen trolley to assist severely disabled people of all ages.