Winter cheer for French Twinners: raising our glasses to new links and getting a taste for it!!!
During the winter months we will be offering members, their families and friends a number of small social activities such as wine tastings, quizzes or films.
Hopefully this will keep us all in contact, give us an opportunity to get to know each other better and share ideas for future events. Any ideas and offers to hold a small get together would be great! Also you will be welcome to meet us if you are considering membership. (Phone 01323 890373 for information)
Our first offering will be a wine tasting of the high quality wines of the Cerons Appellation (pronounced ceronz). So why is this wine in particular so special for our twinning group?
Well, on our last twinning weekend in France, we were introduced to the Mayor of Cerons and a group of wine growers from his village during the commemoration of the battle fought by the British soldiers against Rommel’s forces around Veules-les-Roses. We were surprised to find that Veules is also twinned with the small wine growing village of Cerons near Bordeaux. All the wine for our special weekend was brought from Cerons for us to enjoy and it was superb.
The reason for this unusual Twinning is that during the battle an armed merchant ship called Cerons was attempting to take off some 1500 British and French soldiers who, with their backs to the sea, were surrounded and heavily outnumbered. The ship approached as close as possible to the beach and soldiers began to board but a combination of the additional weight and the receding tide caused the ship to become stuck fast with no hope of escape. It became target practise for the enemy guns and to prevent further casualties the troops left the ship and made their way ashore and into captivity. Under a blaze of artillery the Cerons soon sank and remained under water, except for a small part of its superstructure which was sometimes visible at low water, for the next 60 years.
One day, a citizen of Veules happened to spot a bottle of wine bearing the name Cerons on a supermarket shelf and realised the significance of the connexion to June 1940. A movement was started with the aim of “liberating” the artillery piece which was mounted on the forecastle of the submerged vessel. That gun now stands proudly above Veules-les-Roses where an excellent memorial has been erected to the memory of the brave soldiers who gave their lives in the service of France and Britain. (It is said that when first installed, the gun faced England but if it did, that error has now been rectified.)
The Mayor of Veules contacted the Mayor of Cerons and an official twinning was enacted between the two villages.
Now we have been invited to taste some more Cerons wine by Seaford members Jim Taylor and his wife Margaret, the first of our group to visit the village. They were warmly received and returned to England with more wine of course.
The “Cerons” Appellation is the smallest appellation in France and Veules-les Roses has the shortest river in France…. As they say small is often beautiful.