2014 Visit To Old Catton


We met up with our French friends from Lavaré at a welcome drink on Wednesday 28th May, before they went off with their hosts for the evening and a well earned rest from travelling.
The next day saw an early departure from the Recreation Ground Car Park, en route for The English Whisky Company Distillery near Attleborough. Richard had prepared a translation of the pre-tour video and also of the tour itself, which was much appreciated. And the Whisky tasting went down especially well with quite a few bottles bought to take back to France.
The picnic lunch was in Bury St Edmunds at a lovely and very well appointed community centre, which was all decked out in flags from across the world, ready for the football World Cup. A great atmosphere, perhaps due in part to the fact that the bar was also open for drinks and coffees.
Then it was on to Bury St Edmunds town centre where the rain managed to stay away and the afternoon was mostly sunny. First we visited St Edmundsbury Cathedral and then had a stroll around the beautiful and peaceful Cathedral Gardens, others went shopping. We left around 4pm to head back to Old Catton for an evening with hosts.
Friday morning started with a visit to Davenports Magic Kingdom and magic show. Great for the French kids and the older kids among us! VERY well received. Lunch was in the centre of North Walsham and then in the afternoon, we moved on to the museum of the broads. The weather was really great, with a lovely sunny afternoon which meant that the group wasn't too interested in the museum, preferring instead to sit quietly in a very tranquil setting chatting and in many cases having a quiet afternoon snooze. A great time for old and new friends to chill out together.
The Soirée started at 7pm on Friday evening at the Hellesdon Community Hall with 75 attending. Tresal Catering provided all the set-up, food and clear-up. The food was fantastic and the French were very complimentary. Good French wine also helped the evening flow smoothly! There were the usual speeches and exchange of presents and it was very clear from all present that the bond between the two communities remains as strong as ever.
As Chairman, I personally thank all of you who were involved in some way, from work on the committee to hosting our friends from Lavaré. I received a very heartfelt phone call on the Monday morning from Nicolas (The French Mayor) to say that they had all arrived safely back in Lavaré on the Sunday evening and thanking us for a wonderful time.
A lot of fun was had by all, and if you are from Old Catton and the surrounding area, and you would like to put some Va Va Voom in your social life, then please pick up the phone and chat with us. I can promise you that we don't bite! I can also promise you that members of the Old Catton Twinning Association have a LOT of fun!
Join us next year in May 2015 when we make the trip back to Lavaré in France.

Old Catton Twinning French Visit 2014

The Mayor of Lavaré has confirmed that the people of Lavaré will visit Old Catton 28th May to 1st June 2014
23 Adults and 10 children are coming (+ coach driver ).
Many have been allocated hosts, and we are looking for Hosts for the remainder.  If you might be interested in hosting, please speak (with no obligation) to the Chairman, Richard Moore, or the Secretary, Ann Moore details from the contact page.
Here is the programme of events for our French guests.
The Twinning Association pays for all entry fees and excursions for the French visitors.
The Party Night is free to our French visitors.
English members of the Association are charged entry fees on excursions and the Party Night for themselves at cost.
Details of costings for English members will be issued around the Easter Break.
Wed 28th May
Arrival and Reception
18:00 - 19:00 approx  drinks & nibbles when French arrive at Pavilion, Recreation Ground.
Meal + evening with host families
Thurs 29th May
English Whisky Co (AM)
Dep 08:45 - Tour at 10:00

St Georges Distillery - Home to the English Whisky Co
Join us on a guided tour of the distillery offer the chance to see how we produce our unique whisky.

12:45 - 13:45 PICNIC LUNCH

Visit to Bury St Edmunds
Magnificent and awe inspiring, Suffolk’s only cathedral, with stunning Millennium tower  

St Edmundsbury Cathedral
Rest of time, visit Bury Town Centre

18:00 RETURN
Meal + evening with host families
Fri 30th May
Davenport's Magic Kingdom (Afternoon) (AM)
Dep 09:15 - Tour at 10:00

Davenport’s Magic Kingdom opened in May 2013 and is already a top-rated attraction on the Trip Advisor website. Discover the history of conjuring and the place of one unique family in its story.  There are all sorts of astonishing things happening throughout the From Witches to Wonder exhibition and live magic entertainment is included in your ticket price.You are also welcome to visit the Ace to Eat Café and The Magic Emporium without an entry ticket.  Magicians are usually to be found entertaining in the café and demonstrating in the emporium!

12:30 - 13:30 PICNIC LUNCH

Museum of The Broads (PM)
14:00 - 16:00

Visit to the only waterside museum of Broadland life in a tranquil and picturesque location at Stalham Staithe. Discover the boats of the Broads and see how people's working lives shaped the landscape.  Family friendly with activities for children.

16:45/17:00 RETURN
Party Night (Soirée)
19:00 - 23:30
Aperitif 19:00, Hellesdon Community Centre
3 course evening meal with wine
Music & dancing to the Denbarry Duo
Bring your own selection of drinks for after the meal as there will be no bar on the night
Sat 31st May
Free Day with guests – suggest you join with one or more other host families to do something. 
(Journée libre avec hôtes)
Sun 1st June
08:00 French guests depart from the Recreation Ground.  Time to be confirmed
If you would like to join in with our activities or simply find out more about the Old Catton Twinning Association, please contact the Chairman, Richard Moore, details from the contact page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's it like to host someone from Lavaré?
In many respects the French are just like us. They will be very curious in the English way of life and customs and often take delight in things and food that we take for granted. Most of them speak some English and a simple dictionary will fill in the rest. Be relaxed and they will be relaxed.

What do the French do during the day?
During Thursday and Friday, we are all together in the French coach with visits arranged by the Committee. Hosts to provide a picnic lunch each day. Trips out are optional on these two days for the English who may be working.

Saturday is a free day. Hosts are encouraged to get together with other Hosts and arrange a mutual visit somewhere locally, with all costs met by the hosts.
What about costs?
The French pay for their own travel, including a coach which is available to take them (and us) on excursions around Norfolk on the Thursday and Friday.
The Old Catton Twinning Association pay for the French entry on outings and venues on Thursday and Friday. Any English accompanying them on the outings will be charged at cost.

Friday night is party night and all costs for the French are met by the Association. The English are charged at cost, usually in the region of £18-£20 per ticket, less for children. This normally includes a three course meal with wine, a pre-dinner drink and dancing to live music.

Hosts will cover food for their French guest(s) other than Friday's party night and any costs associated with the free day on Saturday.

We are a not-for-profit organisation and the French pay for us in return when we go over to Lavaré the following year.
Will I be obliged to go over to Lavaré the following year?
No, you are not under any obligation. However, if you have made friends with the people that stayed with you, you will probably be keen to make the journey back to Lavaré to experience their way of life. You will find the Lavarians very warm and welcoming.
I don't speak any French. How will I communicate?
Many French will be able to speak English to some degree or other. And if you can remember the odd word or two of school French, then you will be able to communicate. And you will be with other English people during the day, and some of the evenings.
If you have any real difficulties, your Chairman speaks fluent French and can help out if required. If you'd like a little help with communicating, just ask him.
I'm worried they won't like our food.
The French love food and are generally happy to try most things.  They will appreciate any meals you do provide, keeping things fairly neutral and English based. They probably aren't used to very hot curries for example!

What happens if I don't get on with my hosts?
In the Chairman's ten years of involvement with Old Catton Twinning, this has never been known to happen. The people of Lavaré are such genuine, lovely and warm people that I am sure you will get on OK. It's only for a short time. Yes, there needs to be a little give and take, but there is a common understanding of what it is like to experience foreign cultures and people. Try to be curious about your hosts, where they live and what they do and I'm sure you will be fine. And in many cases life-long friendships develop.