Twinning Exchange with Clermont l'Herault October 2015

This was another good exchange between our town associations.
It was different in a way as many of the people who we met were new to twinning, but nevertheless the soon picked up the informality of our relationship and new friendships were formed over the 4 day period.
It was a similar format as we use here in Patchway where many of the members use their own cars to get to the events and all meet up as one group. In the past where there had been more ambitious exchanges coaches were needed to get to the venue sites.
We were met at the airport and whisked off to the centre of Clermont and as time was pressing we quickly paired up with our hosts and went off to their homes, a quick freshen up and then off to the first function.
This was the exchanging of "Fanions", or a kind of medieval banner, which Eve Orpen did on behalf of Patchway. (thank you Matthew for all the efforts on the Fanion). There were representatives from Gauting present and it was lovely to meet up with Mrs Kossinger, Renate Dengler and Willie for a quick catch up, the timing was such that they were flying home on the Saturday.
When the formalities were over there were aperitifs and nibbles available while we mingled with the people of the town. I noticed the youth workers were very busy networking with the French and German delegations in order to try to get something organised.
Afterwards we were whisked off to the Cep d'dor (an independent school for practical skills) for an evening meal, very good.
Saturday morning and it was grey and raining, we could have been at home in Patchway! However the similarity ended there as we went off to visit a couple of vineyards and their Caves. A "petit degustation" was in order and we sampled a few of the local varieties of grape.
One in particular was a grape which had been bought back from near extinction which was very good and a few of us bought a (are you ready for this new French expression "a bag in a box"
It was a bit grey right up until lunchtime but after lunch the weather brightened up and we set off for the tour of the oyster and mussel beds in the Thau de Tang near Sete, fascinating place where the water temperature salinity and nutrient content are perfect for the farming of these crustations.
The tour took us out on the waters of the Thau de tang and right alongside the platforms where they grow the oysters from minuscule dots up to something around 120 mm in diameter. As always the quality of these oysters is so good where do they end up on the plate, Japan!!
In the evening we had the formal presentation of a Tribute to the originators of the twinning Marcel Vidal and Mdm Vidal was present along with with Mdm Gengen so it was a great evening.