Images from our March Magazine
IBS Open House
Laptops for a School in Madagascar
All events listed are open to all AAGP Members. There is also a large range of regular events and activities to choose from including: French Conversation, Computer Club, Wine Club, Children’s Group, Regional Art and Cultural activities, Restaurant reviews and many more great activities, tips and ideas to help you get the best out of life in Provence! For contact information for any of these events please refer to the AAGP Newsletter or the Members’ section of the website.
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There will be no Family Ramble this month
We are going back to the beautifully appointed venue a lot of you will remember from last year’s picnic. La Ferme de Heidi is a theme park for children with many attractions that we able to use free of charge. Lots for them to enjoy! Have a look at the website www.lafermedeheidi.fr.
The owners of the park request that parents are responsible for their children at all times.
Please remember that although there is some shade at this venue you should come prepared with a sunshade and perhaps a picnic table and chairs or a blanket. Anything for your comfort….
There will be a barbecue (for which we would need some of you men folk to volunteer!). Coals and lighters will be available, but please bring your own cooking utensils. The group will supply the meats, cheese, bread, soft drinks, wines and beer, with plenty of ice.
Please reserve early as we hoping for a large turnout for this occasion. There is plenty of room for us to take up a picnic spot. Please let me know what you will bring for the table: something to accompany the barbecued meats or a dish should you not wish to eat meat. Desserts too! Just let me know.
We shall combine our meeting this month with a pot luck lunch and a swim and shall read ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams. Please let Alwyn know during the preceding week if you are coming and what you can bring towards the lunch - simple dishes, preferably not needing to be heated. Please telephone in good time to confirm the play and date and your attendance.
Also please let Una know so that she can distribute parts.
10:00 – 12:00hrs
Please contact Marietta if you would like to join us.
Come and join us for tea at the Hotel in Aix. Each year we visit this charming hotel, which sits in magnificent gardens, and where tea will be served. Please call me if you would like to join us.
Time to be advised
We are revisiting the restaurant on the delightful island of Porquerolles. This will mean an early start from Aix so that we can allow for traffic and get the boat from Hyeres over to the island (no outside cars allowed), where we will be met by the hotel bus. There will be time to explore the beach and countryside locality close to the hotel after lunch and then you can then decide whether you want to stay on longer in the village before getting the boat back to Hyeres. We will try to pool transport. There is a choice of menus between 62€ and 82€. Please phone me on receipt of this newsletter if you wish to join us.
14:00 – 16:00hrs
This month we will be discussing ‘Address Unknown’ by Kressmann Taylor. It is a short book but full of feeling. Please contact Lydia directly to let her know you are coming.
More Marseille…. A visit to the Villa Méditerranée, and the Musée Regards de Provence
The Year of Culture goes on, and so we do too, thanks especially to our intrepid Marseille team of JO+ANNE! As the new venues open, they are greedily gobbling them up…
The Villa Méditerranée forms the epicentre of “New Marseille”, surrounded on three sides by MUCEM, revitalised Fort St Jean, and the Musée Regards to Provence - looking on, appropriately, to the sea – and only opened its glass doors to the public last month, so it’s sparklingly, spanking new.
We’re here for the architecture. It’s an amazing building, designed by Italian architect, Stefano Boeri, to be a meeting place, conference centre, “a place for encounters, ideas and exchanges” - somewhere citizens and experts can debate the future of the Mediterranean and its countries. Well, make up your minds when you see it, but for €70m, I wonder if it should have a more concrete mission for its existence. Call me a cynic. But I’m still dying to get inside its 100,000m² and have a look.
This is what The Guardian said about it: “The first thing you see as you turn the corner of the bay is its sheer white façade butting into the dock like the rump of a cruise liner, complete with tinted oblong windows. From the other side, the building looks like a supersized diving board, with one vast exhibition hall jutting out towards the sea in a 40m long cantilever, suspended above a pool of water”.
After our 45 minute guided tour (no general public access, so we have the place to ourselves), we will have time for a little wander along the seafront before crossing the road to the Musée Regards de Provence, for lunch. The idea here is that we’ll book the group lunch in the restaurant at the top with great sea views, and then people buy their own tickets (reductions for over-60s!), and wander around the art collection at their own pace, in the afternoon. There’s a good written summary in English, so we didn’t feel we needed a guide.
There are two parts to the Musée, the permanent expo, related to how they converted Marseille’s old Station Sanitaire into this modern, airy building, and the art itself, which, as the name suggests, concentrates on Provençal subjects and painters/sculptors.
On the first floor we explore “old Marseille” in a fascinating collection where I particularly liked the street life pictures – markets, brawls, men snoozing in the sun – plus ça change… (though the views are obviously much less cluttered with cranes and travaux than now (!), and it’s interesting to see how the Panier looked before the wartime destruction when so much was dynamited in 1943.)
Upstairs there is a broader look at Provence, with a splash of the Med thrown in. The next-door Salle d’Estaque is home to the modern collection – full of life. All the way through you have window views onto the sea and the Villa Méditerranée and MUCEM.
Details: The morning guided visit will cost 3€. The afternoon visit between 5 -7.50€, depending on age/numbers. Lunch will be 26€ for 3 courses, 1/4l wine, water and coffee. (Details of this will be circulated once you reserve.)
Registration by 5th June latest: Given the massive response to the last two MP2013 excursions I’d suggest you move fast on this one. There are only limited places. Contact Jo and copy me just in case Jo has a family crisis with her Ma. (One never knows, and for once Anne looks like she can’t make this one.)
10:00 – 11:15hrs
This is an open forum for anyone to come along with their computer issues or questions, so come along and we shall do our best to help you.
Come and join us for our end of year celebration. We are travelling just outside the centre of Aix, but it is well worth the effort. Hopefully the weather will be fine and we can eat on the shady terrace. Thank you to all the members and their guests who have supported this event during the year. At times the numbers have been a little too large for the restaurant to give us their best attention and so, with effect from September, once the numbers reach 12 I shall start a waiting list. Hope that this meets with everyone's approval. Thank you for your support and have welcome summer break.
We will discuss ‘Invitation to the Waltz’ published in 1932 by the very popular Rosamund Lehmann. She was born in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire, the second of four children. Rosamond's father was a Liberal MP, founder of Granta magazine and the editor of the Daily News. Home educated, she won a scholarship to Girton College Cambridge in 1919 and graduated with a second class degree in both English Literature and Modern and Medieval Languages. In December 1923, she married Walter Runciman (later 2nd Viscount of Doxford, but it was an unhappy marriage and were divorced in 1927.
In 1927, Lehmann published her first novel, ‘Dusty Answer’ to great critical and popular acclaim. The novel's heroine, Judith, is attracted to both men and women, and interacts with fairly openly gay and lesbian characters during her years at Cambridge. The novel was a succès de scandale. Though none of her later novels were as successful as her first, Lehmann went on to publish six more, as well as a play, ‘No More Music’ in 1939, a collection of short stories, a spiritual autobiography, and a photographic memoir of her friends (Rosamond Lehmann's Album, 1985), many of whom were famous Bloomsbury figures such as Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Dora Carrington, and Lytton Strachey. She also translated two French novels into English.
In 1928, Lehmann married Wogan Philipps, 2nd Baron Milford, an artist. They had two children, but the marriage fell apart during the late thirties when her husband left to take part in the Spanish Civil War. During World War II Lehmann helped to edit and also contributed to ‘New Writing’, a periodical edited by her brother, John Lehmann. She had an affair with the journalist Goronwy Rees and then a "very public affair" for nine years (1941–1950) with the married poet Cecil Day-Lewis who eventually left her to marry his second wife, Jill Balcon. Lehmann was awarded the CBE in 1982. Nearly blind from cataracts, she died at home in London in 1990, aged 89.
There's a timeless quality to the world presented in this novel. In the character of 17-year-old Olivia Curtis, readying herself for her first big dance, Lehmann perfectly captures what it is to be caught between girlhood and womanhood; despite the intervening decades, so many of Olivia's worries will be acutely, painfully familiar to anyone who has ever been young, shy and self-conscious. Though the bulk of the novel concerns the waltz itself, a scene of excitement and intense trepidation – a night with so much riding on it in her young mind – it never feels slight. The narrowness of focus is deceptive. Every emotional ripple is beautifully observed: the hideous anticipation, the agony of the empty dance card, the brief flutters of hope as various men take her for a turn around the dance floor, the many small disappointments that follow and the sudden vivid need to escape from the crowd, to flee, to breathe. Though Olivia so often feels overshadowed by her brighter, more socially graceful sister and is fidgety and uneasy in her ill-fitting, flame-red frock, she slowly grows into herself over the course of the evening – and the novel. There's a near stream-of-consciousness style to Lehmann's writing as she guides the reader through each of these brief encounters, with the self-involved young poet, the middle-aged rogue, the courteous and sensitive blind man. Each character is deftly sketched. The long shadow of the recent war is subtly evoked, as is the complex social terrain and the interplay between the sisters; the mixture of rivalry and deep affection is wonderfully well drawn. Although the plot is quite old fashioned ‘The Invitation to the Waltz, is a romantic novel and an easy read.
This is our last meeting for the summer so please bring your book proposals for our discussions for next season and we will discover which books we enjoyed the most this year. Please let Gilly know what you would like to bring for our, as usual, delicious pot luck lunch before June 10th.
We shall meet on the car park. This is a little village on the coast just off the D5. We will start our hike from here taking the coastal footpath towards Méjean, which is another charming village. Somewhere along the way, according to weather conditions etc., we will stop for our picnic lunch and (maybe) enjoy some bathing. Bring the necessary food, drinking water, and sun protection, and wear proper hiking gear. The path is not difficult and altitude changes are insignificant. At Méjean there is a bar where we can have beverages, and after that we will return to Niolon via the same route. Total hiking time will amount to 4 hours approx. For any further information please call Roderick
18:00 – 20:00hrs
Please contact Marietta for more details.
18:30 – 19:00hrs arrival
As fairly recent members to the group Anne and Paul invite us to their home for an evening Pot Luck. If you wish to bring your swimming things for a pre-dinner swim, then please do. I will send out a menu to you nearer the time. Call Jan if you would like to join us.
11:00 – 15:00hrs
For our final meeting, I suggest that we bring all our projects along, and show what we have completed (or not, in my case – too easily distracted with new stuff!) through the year. The format will be the same as usual, bring your own lunch and I will provide drinks.
10:00 – 12:00hrs
Please contact Marietta if you would like to join us.
Looking Ahead: July
Every Wednesday in July and August there will be a language morning coffee in Marseille from 10:00 - 12:00hrs. Marietta has kindly offered to be at Pain & Compagnie. Please confirm with her before going in case neither she nor I really can’t make it!
This month we shall read ‘Present Laughter’ by Noel Coward. Please bring swimwear and pot luck lunch contribution and also let Una know if you are coming so that she can distribute parts.
18:30 – 21:00hrs
How many of us really know the amount of work and effort that is needed to bring this magazine into our homes ten months of the year? To understand we have to begin with our wonderful editor, Steph, who for three years has managed, directed and responded to our group’s needs with precision, humour and creativity. Her able assistant Don has been at her side, and has not only used his computer technical skills, but also his pen to paper talents to add to our printed page. Theirs has been a team effort, as it is for the many others who have been responsible for so many different aspects of the magazine’s monthly production and success.
This celebration will be to say thank you to Steph and Don and to all of you who have contributed your time and your expertise to the AAGP Magazine. You really are too many to name individually, but it is a pleasure for all of us who read your articles when we receive the finished product. Our colourful front and back covers, the photos so cleverly dispersed throughout and the work that must go into the formatting lets us know how much you have contributed to the final Magazine for the printing deadline. Yet, that is not the end, as it is then up to the Paxo Team to get 300+ copies into the addressed envelopes, sorted out and to the Post Office to reach our homes. Whew that’s a lot of work and TEAM effort with a capital T!
We are very fortunate to have Caren, as our new editor joining the staff and her first edition will be October 2013. She has already started with a delightfully written, although frightening, to read article, ‘Operation Caterpillar Extermination’. I’m sure Caren will find working with our group a new challenge. Steph has promised to help her make the transition and the other Magazine contributors will be making an effort as well.
The cocktail buffet celebration will be in Jan and Chris’s lovely garden. This will be an opportunity for the AAGP to say thank you to all the members of the Magazine Team and a special thank you to Steph and Don.
Our evening will begin at 18.30hrs and end at 21 .00hrs. We are very pleased that Roger Godfrey and Company will be there to play for us and those who wish to dance will have plenty of opportunity on the terrace next to the pool.
We would like to encourage our young members with children to join us on this occasion. The children’s page in the Magazine has seen wonderful growth and your involvement in the last few years has been a pleasure for all of us. Please do come.
The AAGP is providing the wine and the soft drinks. We are asking everyone to bring finger food - buffet items arranged on a serving platter. Please bring food which is already prepared and not needing heating up or cooking. Platters for ten would be perfect.
There is no rain date! The 5th of July promises bright sunshine and not too hot! Comfortable shoes! We will be outside on the grass and on the terrace.
RSVP: You must wait for your confirmation before you send your check.
Cost to cover the music will be 10€ per person. Please make out your check to the AAGP and send it by June 18th to Lise.
PLEASE NOTE: we are limited in numbers so do make your reservation early!
We are going east to Juliet Young's recommendation Le Relais des Moines close to Les Arcs where menus range from 26€ to 43€. Contact details for Gillian are as above in the Gourmet Club notice in the main What’s On section.
Looking Further Ahead: August
We are heading towards the Alpilles to a garden restaurant recommended by a French neighbour, le Vieux Four in Mouriès. Surrounded by old plane trees, this restaurant has menus between 30€ and 40€. Please contact Gillian as above if you want to join in with this lunch.
We shall read ‘The Two Gentlemen of Verona’. Please bring swimwear and pot luck lunch contribution. Please let Una know, as above, if you wish to join us.
For those who wish to plan ahead, the September play reading group will meet on Monday 2nd and the play is ‘An Inspector Calls’ by J B Priestly. Full details of venue etc. will be in September’s issue.
As well as all the specials listed above, don’t forget the Regular Activities that offer new skills, fun and friendship all year round. Contact details are in your yellow Members’ List book.
Tuesday: Bridge 14:00hrs
Thursday: Coffee (Croquemitoufle) 10:00hrs-11:30hrs
Wednesday (first): Computer Club 10:00hrs-11:30hrs
Friday: French (Aix) 9:45hrs - 11:45hrs
Saturday: Coffee (Croquemitoufle) 10:00hrs-11:30hrs
Sunday (first): Pétanque 10:30hrs