Twinning Visit
Shelford to Verneuil
April 2014

We had an excellent, varied and interesting weekend under blue skies in Verneuil-en-Halatte.

Our magnificent driver, Spike, made sure that we were in the right place at the right time – always going the extra mile for everyone. He had a good rapport with everyone he met and was very relaxed. His knowledge of Verneuil, its surrounding area as well as Paris helped the programme run very smoothly.

We arrived in Verneuil, via Channel Tunnel, at 5.30pm. After the many greetings between the French and English groups, our hosts whisked us away for a short rest before we all assembled at Calmette School for the evening buffet. The room was buzzing with conversations in both French and English. The French, as usual, put on a good spread for us.

This year, the children, adults and family groupings spent a whole day with their particular French hosts, and people did all sorts of different things. Some had quite a relaxing day, having a short visit somewhere before relaxing in the hosts’ garden before tucking into a sumptuous evening meal. Others had a very busy day –  visiting Senlis, Chantilly, Gerberoy, Pierrefonds Chateau, Compiegne ……

The next day, the primary age children spent the morning at Ferry School in Verneuil accompanied by the English group leaders, whilst the adults were taken on a guided visit of Château de Montataire (a town not far from Verneuil) and nearby troglodyte houses. After lunch at Calmette School (also in Verneuil) the whole group had a guided visit of Clouterie Rivierre in Creil – the last remaining factory for making nails in France …. 2800 different varieties. The whole group had an activity workshop at the end of the visit which entailed decorating a polystyrene egg with a variety of different shaped/coloured nails and sequins. There some magnificent creations were made by members of the group.

The final day saw us visit Montmartre in Paris. The traffic on the way to Paris was just like the M25 on a bad day, but Spike managed to negotiate the route making sure that we arrived safely and ready for the final visit of the tour. After a picnic lunch outside the Sacré Coeur we set off on the return journey to Shelford. The weather was beautiful throughout the weekend.

As always we had a wonderful weekend with our French hosts, enjoying meeting up with old friends and new, and we very much appreciated their generous hospitality.
Colin Jefferson