Visit by our German friends

You probably know from our previous blogs that our Rotary Club, Sutton Nonsuch, is twinned with Meppen Rotary, a great club in North West Germany. It hardly seems just over a week ago that a group of our German friends from the Meppen club came to visit us. In these exchanges we stay in each others’ houses and this year, Gerd and Helen and Irena came to stay with lovely Jan and me.

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Irena, Gerd and me by the tree. Picture by Helen!

We had a great time as did all of the others. On the first day, we took our three guests to Denbies’ vineyard near Dorking and had lunch there. We also visited the art exhibition  and bought some original paintings, one from Lita Rossier, a close friend of Janet’s and mine!

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Brighton festival fun!

Before we went to a sumptuous dinner at John and Barbara Goodhead’s house, which Tony ad John N also attended, we paid homage to the Meppen tree in Nonsuch Park which the Meppen Club planted on the tenth anniversary of our club.

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View from i360, at the top!

On the Saturday morning the whole group went by coach to Brighton to look around this famous and lively town but mainly to go skywards on the BA i360 ride. We were lucky in bumping into the start of the Brighton Festival parade as we made our way from a coffee shop on the front to i360 itself.

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Inside i360

None of us had been on the i360 before and Diego refuses to go on it until he’d figured out how it worked. ‘See those cables, Diego,’ someone said. ‘That gives you a clue!’ Yes, it was quite an experience and the views from the top were amazing. On a clear day you can see the Himalayas! (Who said that?)

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Gert and Helen by the seafront

We and our three guests then spent an hour looking around the sea-front shops before we took them to the Regency Fish and Chip Restaurant for guess what? Right in one!

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By the shops – keep them out! I’m the one with the baggy trousers. Photo by Gerd

That night we all had a lovely meal at the restaurant at Epsom Golf Club. There must have been all but sixty of us. The high spot was our President, John Chamberlain giving a welcoming speech and Gerd, President Elect, replying on behalf of the Meppen Club President. Each stressed the importance of these international friendships, especially in the troubled times we are living in.

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John and Gerd, after the speeches! Di looks on!

After a lovely Jan fry-up, Gerd and Helen left for the sights and sounds of the big city and took off for London. Meanwhile Tony and I took Irena to the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square and on to a chamber concert at the Royal College of Music, the high spot of which was an incredible guitar piece by Alberto Ginastera, the Argentinian composer.

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Tony and Irena in the Great Hall at the Wallace

All good things come to an end and we are all looking forward to our visit to Meppen next year. Thank you Malcolm Marriott and all the hosts, both for the dinners and accommodating the guests, for making this such a successful weekend!

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