The Lot flows with Malbec

A group of 20 alumni and friends ventured into the Lot to enjoy a morning of wine tasting followed by lunch, all organised by Greg Hawes. Greg’s devotion to duty had involved a rapid trip to his daughter’s graduation in Durham and a return at 5 a.m. home the same day, so great thanks are due to Greg, one of our many new members!

The excellent wine tasting at Château Famaey was conducted by Maarten Luyckx, son of the proprietor and main winemaker, assisted by Florence. Maarten exports successfully to 26 countries – and provide wine to BA’s lounges (first-class only of course!). We enjoyed  hearing about the complexities of wine-making, exporting and barrel varieties and left with a significant selection of wine demonstrating our very varied tastes.

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Maarten and Florence
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Attentive!
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The bar graced by our founder and our chairman’s wife!

Lunch in Lectoure, with Baron Lawson of Blaby, Saturday, 12th August.

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We are pleased to invite you to what we believe will be an exceptional event; a quality lunch in lovely surroundings in the Gers, with a suitable post-prandial address by our guest, Nigel Lawson.

Those who attended our AGM four years ago will remember this fine hotel in 32700 Lectoure. Since then it has changed hands and a recent visit satisfies us the cuisine has improved still further. Our lunch will take place indoors in the elegant dining room, with apéritifs outside, weather permitting.

Nigel Lawson went up to Christ Church in the 1950s and took a First in PPE. He went on to write the Lexicon column at the FT, edit The Spectator, then serve inter alia as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher for 6 years to 1989. He has a house in the Gers and has kindly agreed to join us, with his partner, as our guest (or indeed he could be a member!) We are told by someone who heard him speak quite recently, that this is a rewarding experience.

Lunch, including 3 courses, apéritif, wine and coffee, is 35 euros per person. Members’ spouses and guests will be welcome, but capacity is limited to 40 so please reserve seats early to avoid disappointment! Because we are taking over the entire indoor dining area we are naturally being asked for a payment in advance, so
please confirm your wish to attend, with numbers, to Marion and then send your cheque for the relevant sum (being 35 euros x number of people) made payable to OUS SW France, to our Treasurer: Pip Kirby, 26 rue des fossés, 47800 Allemans du Dropt.

For further information, please refer to :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Lawson

The final closing date for notifying your attendance or otherwise is Saturday 29 July.

Final details and directions will be circulated in due course to those attending.

2017 events update

;Our 2017 programme is up and running and members have been sent, or will be sent, details of the following future events by email:

  • Afternoon tea and Pimms with Terence and Carolina Bendixson at St Amans du Pech on Sunday 6th August UPDATE: unfortunately this event is having to be postponed to summer 2018; new date TBA.
  • Lunch, with Nigel Lawson as guest speaker, in Lectoure on Saturday 12th August
  • A tasting visit to a local member’s chateau (Chateau Biac) with an on site buffet lunch, on Friday 1st September. Details to follow. see http://www.chateaubiac.com
  • Our AGM on Tuesday 12th September at La Suite restaurant, Villeneuve sur Lot Golf & Country Club, 47290 Castelnaud de Gratecambe
  • A lunch on 4th November in Le Temple sur Lot organised by Jeremy James

As usual Marion will communicate details of these events as they firm up. If for some reason, you have not received the details please contact her.

Any member prepared to organise a lunch or other event of interest in his / her local area is of course welcome to do so or put forward ideas; with an influx of ‘new’ members recently joining our list, new opportunities for enjoyable social contact are just waiting to be explored!

Lot-et-Garonne Lunch, 26 May

Marion writes:
One of the great benefits of our OUS branch is that it gives its members a chance to meet, and then keep up with, many whom we might never otherwise have encountered – and to do so in a friendly and enjoyable manner. At the last AGM it was suggested that individual members might wish to organize informal events in their neighbourhoods :  for those living close by, of course, but also for any others who might wish to attend.
It is with this objective in mind that Jeremy James proposes meeting for lunch  in the village of Laroque-Timbaut (Lot-et-Garonne), on Friday 26th May.

Further details have been sent to members.

Meeting OUBC, January 3rd 2016.

Once again, thanks to Jeremy James, thirteen members and partners were able to meet the Boat Race crew during their annual training period at Le Temple-sur-Lot.

This was the third year for this event.   The day went, as always, extremely well.   Jeremy started it because he knew that OUBS trained on the Lot (one of the main rivers of southwestern France) every January and thought that it might be fun for both sides.

OUBC has already said how much the annual event is appreciated and that it looks forward to repeating it in 2017.   It is an unfailingly delightful occasion much enjoyed by both sides, as the photo below testifies (click on it to enlarge)!

OUBC Le Temple 2016
OUBC Le Temple 2016

Pomerol

Our party of wine enthusiasts started the first cold day of the season (14th October) in the noisy sobriety of the barrel-making factory, Tonnellerie Sylvain. It might sound boring, but in fact, for some at least it was the highlight of the day, using mainly manual labour to work centuries-old oak from France’s public forests into some 33,000 barrels a year, 70% for export. Of course, given that all had been arranged by Marion and Pip, we did not lack for an inventive and appetising lunch at Catusseau or miss a well-organised tasting of fine Merlot (plus a little Cab. Sav.) at Château Clinet with its new vats and energetic marketing.

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Toulouse Cruise

Nearly forty members and friends took to the locks of Toulouse on board the Occitania. As cruises go, this was not overwhelmingly sybaritic for either scenery (a lot of 60s HLMs/tower blocks, the Police Station and Haute Garonne Conseil Général’s Valhalla) or weather (how could Toulouse only muster 20 degrees on July 30th?).

But, and it’s a big but, we had a jolly good meal (with cruise booze of course) and most of all great company of our own making (typical of OUS SW France as a member noted), spiced up with good humoured local information from Pierre, our Captain for the day.

There were too many factoids for your webmaster to remember, except perhaps the enormous growth of Toulouse over the last ten years and the century plus that passed between the construction of the two canals linking the Atlantic and the Med.

We turned round in the basin where the Midi meets the Canal de Garonne and the Canal de la Brienne, and so our lock count for the day was six. All in fact a great success and our thanks to Pip for all the labours involved in getting it together with a not wholly responsive cruise company – evidently the only one offering serious catering on the whole canal.

 

Pierre locks on
Pierre locks on
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We are ready, listening 

 

Around the basin
Around the basin

 

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The Canal de Garonne begins here