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Fun in St Benoit

(1 November 2003)

With thanks to Timmy and Lynda Mallett


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Half term and Cookham Twinning make their biennial trip to Cookham's twin village St Benoit, which is close to Poitiers in La Vienne region of France, about 50 miles south of the Loire.  

Lynda and Timmy Mallett along with their son Billy visited St Benoit for the first time. Lynda gives us a feel for their trip there.

What a great time with had with the French mayor and family. We could not have been better placed. Dominic, his wife Sophie and son Theo nearly 13 were just so hospitable and kind.

Dominic, St Benoit's mayor, with his wife Sophie and son Theo

Lovely home with room to move.  I must admit I was a little concerned with the thought of mattresses on the floor and heavy smoking Galloise Frenchies with doubtful food for vegetarian Timmy. But in fact, it could only be described as great.  Fortunately Dominic has good English (not perfect) but frankly that makes it all the more fun.  Gave us something to laugh about on the language front.  Sophie has only ever spoken at language school so to speak to some real fast-talking English in English was a real challenge.  Theo was a shy adolescent, and with only two years of English at school he was quiet.

   Inside the mayor's house

But Billy, having had a school trip recently to Normandy and now did  his confidence grow. He even stood on the restaurant chair and said in French Hello my name is Billy Mallett I live in C'ham and I love bonbons but d'test e'cole!  It brought a laugh. 

 Billy and Lynda Mallett at a seafood restaurant in La Rochelle with the Twinning group

We liked Le Rochelle and the harbour very much. Great and marvellous aquarium. We gave them some interesting English phrases to learn and better yet; some great Aussie ones!!!!!! Hearing them say in Crocodile Dundee fashion "g'day maaaate" was extremely amusing.  

  Billy in La Rochelle

We were given a present Cognac, wine of the region and something that looks different.  We took various gifts they seemed to like including a mouse mat, English tat from Windsor ...sweeties, Marmite (that was fun!) Gentleman's Relish.  

Lynda, Sophie and Billy in St Benoit

In fact, there was rather too much going on for Timmy. He likes to stop and smell the roses and hates to be rushed. He wanted to sit in the port and paint a picture. He did....whilst we walked the narrow streets buying meringues and Halloween tat.  Then he painted a picture of the mayor's new house which went down well.

Timmy with his painting of the mayor's house

Timmy said the last thing he would do for reciprocation would be dragging them into London. He'd be taking them punting in Oxford or simply cycling around the sights of Cookham; since that's the village they are twinned with.  I guess it depends on your guests and whether they've ever been to UK before.  Ours have......also they have done the London Eye and things. 

Agnes Faugeron (left) organiser of the St Benoit Twinning with Monsieur Gregoire, Judy Trinder (Cookham Twinning) and Guy Faugeron

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