2019 Sun, Sea and Sexagenarians
Rotary principles in action- International Fellowship and co-operation on charitable projects with the Rotary Club of Basildon and four Rotary Clubs in Europe - Beausoleil (France), Alba (Italy), Ovada (Italy), and Karlshamn (Sweden).
Sun, Sea and Sexagenarians ...
(other decades were also represented)
Early morning September 26 found the Acors, Greenes, Sheppards, Sinclairs and Woods at Gatwick for the flight to Nice for this year’s double triangular friendship weekend.
A short take-off delay was recovered in-flight and we landed on time in Nice, to be met by Phillipe and Roselyne Tricetti and a waiting minibus for those not collecting hire cars. An hour later those in the minibus had unpacked at the hotel and were sat in a beachside café enjoying a drink. No such luck for those collecting the cars, who faced huge queues and eventually arrived a couple of hours later.
Thursday evening, after a short stroll to Roquebrune Cap Martin Pétanque Club, Beausoleil President Rafaële Volpi formally welcomed all clubs. We were then split into groups for a series of games, but, just as we were getting into the swing, the power tripped and we were plunged into darkness.
Fortunately, the fuse box was quickly located, the lights gradually came back on and we continued. After the game came canapés and Kir, a barbecue meal and free-flowing local wine, rounded off by Roselyne’s home-made Limoncello. Just perfect to set us up for a good night’s sleep.
Sport and Art
Friday morning and all aboard a 9am coach to the medieval village of St Paul de Vence. A guided walking tour around the town - it is best known for its artistic connections, as, from the First World War onwards, many great artists lived there for a time, amongst them Picasso, Matisse and Chagall, whose grave formed part of our tour. Many sculptures adorn the village, including ‘Lucky’, a horse made of about 3,000 horseshoes.
Pizza and paella for lunch at the Restaurant Les Terrasses (with the local wine again flowing well) and then a visit to 'Fondation Maeght', an art gallery and extensive sculpture garden containing works by numerous 20th century artists including Miro, Giacometti and Hepworth.
Then back to the hotel to freshen up before collection for the evening home-hosting in small groups. Everyone enjoyed delicious food and apartments with wonderful views of the sparkling lights around the bay and on moored yachts.
Up in the Clouds
Another 9am start on Saturday for the coach to the hill-top village of Eze, where our guide led us through a maze of narrow streets with buildings dating back to the 14th century.
At the very top of the village we strolled around the remains of the old castle with its a ‘dry garden’ of cactus, agaves and aloes. The clouds briefly engulfed us but quickly cleared again. Then down and back on the coach for the 200m (yes, really!) drive to Parfumerie Fragonard for a guided tour of the factory before being let loose to sample the fragrances in the shop.
All smelling sweet, we returned to Roquebrune, for lunch at Le Fellini; another treat, featuring tasty local seafood. The afternoon was free, and the opportunity to walk off some of the calories before returning to our hotel to prepare for the Gala Dinner.
Dinner at the Palace
At 6:30 pm, dressed in our finery, we boarded the coach for the drive to Monaco, arriving at the Place du Palais with half an hour to stroll around and look down at the expensive yachts moored in the harbour, before the official group photograph and pre-dinner drinks.
The restaurant, Castelroc, could hardly have had a more exclusive location, as we faced directly across the square to the Royal Palace. Between main course and desert came the speeches, in which, Vice President Les presented greetings from President Ben, thanked the Beausoleil club for the great programme of events we had enjoyed and gave a gift from the Club to President Rafaële.
On Sunday morning Malcolm and Les attended the Presidents' working meeting with colleagues from Beausoleil, Basildon, Alba, Ovada and Karlshamn.
Co-operation on Charitable Projects
Malcolm Acors presented our case for our Borehole Project in aid of St Francis Ciamanda Primary and Secondary Schools, illustrating our involvement in words and photographs (see the "Vital Boreholes in Ciamanda" report of the latest status, under "Foundation & International" elsewhere on this website). In fact, Headteacher of Ciamanda Primary School, Mrs Mbogo, had wrtten to us to stress how overwhelmed she was by our Club’s concern. They had “brain-stormed” with school staff and believed that only a borehole would solve their lack of rain. It would cut water bills, and enable them to commit to horticulture to minimize the cost of buying vegetables for the feeding programme.
As he told Club Members at lunch on October 5, “I stressed not only how worthwhile we as a Club thought this project was, but also how hard our members had worked, and that we would be liaising with our friends Ruth and Jack Wambui Ndwiga from the Rotary Club of Embu". "It was very well received”, said Malcolm.
The rest of our group enjoyed a final walk along the promenade and/or a beachside drink before reuniting for a farewell lunch at Restaurant l’Hippocampe; a sumptuous buffet on a terrace overlooking the sea, which made a great finale to a very enjoyable weekend of fun and fellowship in the warmth of the late summer Mediterranean sun.