Chabanais twinning comes of age

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The Forfar Chabanais Twinning has come of age with the 21st twinning visit to Chabanais in the Charente region of France.

A group of 20 people left Forfar by plane or car to take part in this special occasion.

A wide variety of events was planned to celebrate this landmark visit.

Last year one of the original French committee, Michel Gealegas, arrived in Forfar with a plaque to mark the 20th birthday of the twinning.

Unfortunately it had not been fired so it was returned to Chabanais for its final coating and was re-presented to Alice McLeod, the Forfar president, at the traditional soiree of food and dance.

Everyone was invited to a wedding celebration of a French couple, Patrice and Christine Normand. A wonderful meal was served including the local specialities of snails and frogs legs.

The Entente Cordiale was tested with a serious game of boules.

The theme of this year’s visit appeared to be windmills. The Forfar visitors were able to visit various mills, powered by water or wind, to see flour being milled, paper being made from linen, hemp and cotton and finally where cannons were made for the French navy.

This visit was introduced by Peter Stagg, a former member of the Scottish rugby team.

The highlight of the trip was a day’s outing to the Medieval Theme Park at Puy de Fou. Various shows were available for viewing - among them were the Vikings, Richelieu’s Musketeer, the Secret of the Lance, a display of birds of prey and a full size Roman amphitheatre with chariot racing and lions.

A spokesperson said: “We were privileged to be able to stay for the evening spectacle.

“It is the biggest night show in the world, where 1,200 actors using 6,000 costumes with 70 horsemen and all of the latest technology entertain you for one hour and 40 minutes with a show that is as awesome as it is breath-taking. It is a true ‘Son et lumiere’, a medieval pageant play displayed with 21st century technology.

“The show tells the history of the Vendee as seen through the eyes of a small boy over the period from just before the start of the Wars of the Vendee in 1793 through two centuries to the present day.

“French and Scottish families have become very close over the years so it was with a lot of sadness that the visit came to an end. However, plans are already afoot for the return visit next year.”

The annual general meeting of the Forfar Chabanais Twinning Association takes place on Wednesday, October 9 at 7.30 p.m. at the Vine and Monkey, West High Street, Forfar. It is hoped there will be a good turnout of past, present and future members.