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Séances  Past meetings  Wednesday, 16th June 2021  It was really hot this wednesday afternoon,  but the room was drafty enough for a comfortable conversation indoors. After the usual chit chat, we discussed childhood memories when phone lines came to our homes and how we have come to depend on our mobile phones so much nowadays. See you all again soon.   Wednesday, 2nd June 2021  We enjoyed a very informal and easy going conversation exchange this week, at la Cité Tirlet, with a good turn-out of eight participants. After the usual chit-chat about the weather and how we have adapted to the new normal, going back to the cinema or enjoying a drink with friends in town, and about the spectacular archeological diggings outside Notre Dame en Vaux, Steve produced an amazing collection of old British coins and banknotes and how to count that money or give change, before Britain had converted to metric currency, fifty years ago, in 1971. We also talked about taxes and the Pay-As-You-Earn system (PAYE) now in operation in France, too. To finish on a lighter note, we listed a few activities freely available in the coming days and weeks like walking, gardening, travelling, visiting exhibitions and joining local festivals  Wednesday, 28th April 2021  We had a quiet meeting this week, spending quite a lot of time discussing short words that can be used in games like the Scrabble, and we exchanged updates on families and friends, looking forward to the end of travelling restrictions in the coming weeks. The photo exhibition at the tourist information office has been postponed to the first week in November this year.  Wednesday, 21st April  Among other topics, we mostly talked this week about the arrangements for Prince Philip’s funerals at Windsor and especially  the Jubilate Deo written by  Benjamin Britten in 1961 at the request of H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh for St George’s Chapel.  Then, with the video chosen by Steve as his background screen, we spoke of the five major sporting British events among which  the Grand National(horse racing), Wimbledon (tennis) and the Henley Regatta (rowing with the famous races between Oxford and Cambridge universities).  We also  exchanged bad and good news, people dying, people getting married and babies being born,this is the world as it goes.  Wednesday, 14th April 2021  We had a really pleasant and interactive meeting this week, debating about upcoming events announced in the Châlons diary for the next three months, then about Steve’s skills as a « Jack of all trades » and other hobbies upgrading various items or using sissal string ! And of course we exchanged about Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and his funerals due on Saturday, 17th April.  Wednesday, 7th April, 2021 It is always a great pleasure when our counterparts from Ilkeston can join our Wednesday meeting online and although the discussion became difficult for some of us, we had the opportunity to talk about their possible visit to Châlons in April 2022 for Easter. However, we cannot make plans for a more distant future. Then, we compared the restrictions in France and in England due to covid and which shops or public places have been closed and are due to open again soon. With a couple of photos shared by Steve Hunter, we talked about the redevelopment of Shipley lake and the surrounding area which used to be a coal mine before it had become an amusement park for twenty years, until 2007. Lastly, Pascal concluded with references to Denby Pottery being referred to in the catalog of the Paris first International Exhibition of Electricity in 1881.  Wednesday, 31st March 2021 The weather was so beautiful this Wednesday, last day of March, that a few people prefered to stay outside! There were only five of us! We talked about the exhibition at Erewash museum, an exhibition of arts and crafts done during lockdown, so we discussed our hobbies, and described Shipley Park, near  Ilkeston, Blackpool park, and other attraction parks in England. It made us want to go !   Wednesday, 24th March 2021  As in every session, we started talking about covid. Danielle (Brutel) went to take care of her sick daughter, and she is now sick herself!   The other "Danièle" told us she plays scrabble in English online, and she is very happy to be able to do it! We then talked about the interview with Megan and Harry. Are they right? Are they wrong? Opinions were divided. Does the monarchy need to modernize?  Finally, Ulrike told us about our Australian friends : they came back from cruising in la Baie de Somme, but could not travel further because of covid restrictions. They will stay on their boat, at the marina in Châlons a little longer.  Wednesday, 17th March 2021.  Not much change from one week to the next but some of us worry about our relatives. Fortunately Spring is coming and the skies and the lights are amazing especially at sunset, making for amazing contrasts on photos. We also talked about having pets and how they adapt to changes and more seriously we considered how complicated customs regulations have become to enter the U.K. encouraging lorry drivers to commute via the Republic of Ireland. The accommodation of foreign students was an important source of revenue for many families all over Britain and it has been severely impacted both by Brexit and the pandemic, too   Wednesday, 10th March      After the usual enquiries about each other's health, we had a thorough discussion about the cost of property for various types of housing, in different parts of France or the U.K. and about their rent PCM ( per calendar month) for shared accomodation, for example, in London. The second half of our meeting was less difficult, describing shops that are closing or opening in Zone Voitrelle, in Saint memmie. For various reasons, shopping areas, whether big or small, have been suffering lately.  Wednesday, 3rd of March, 2021  After talking about the extremely violent events related in the news this week, we discussed how very young kids who dislike contradiction quickly become very vindicative. In Châlons, activities are organised during the holidays for these underprivileged children and officials have visited these workshops where they can learn to play chess, too . We also talked about the complex organisation first year students have had to adapt to.   Wednesday, 24th of February It was a light and easy-going session this week, discussing the recent documentary about the Bennerley viaduct, its history and its refurbishment and the possibilities to travel around that area. Another topic was the migration back North of the cranes, and how the sonic boom by the planes from St Dizier could disturb them. The last topic was how everything is growing fast in our gardens with this nice weather spell, naming various flowers or birds which are regular residents.  Wednesday, 17th of February  This week's conversation dwelt on the Shrovetide or Carnival time traditions in different parts of the world, but mostly in the Carribean where Lent and the forty days leading to Easter are a period of sacrifice and repentance which justify the exuberance of Shrove Tuesday demonstrations or in the U.K. with the Royal Shrovetide Football in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. We  also shared news about the successes of the French competitors in skiing or Rugby and  all the advantages we could find for living in Châlons, enjoying the February temporary garden Place Foch, and the pleasantness of many services. We also wondered whether the local economy will be boosted by the arrival of civil servants from Paris.  Wednesday, 10th of February 2021  This week's session was like a jigsaw puzzle which took us from the advantages of learning foreign languages at an early age, to dental treatment, to time-shared flats or the devastating pandemic surge in Portugal, to New Zealand or Vietnam with zero reported deaths, and to the dreams we have of being able to start visiting national heritage places or local museums some time soon. And we even managed to fit in the weather, a record of a visit to les Vosges, Barak Obama's latest interview for the French TV and advice on how to change background images while video conferencing.  Wednesday, February the third, twenty twenty one   What a delightful session we had this week! Although the topics  we discussed were not cheerful as such, we had the opportunity  to exchange with Ann and Steve, Glenys and Don from Ilkeston's  twinning committee which was great!  We discussed how lockdown and strict regulations  have impacted  our daily routines, or  the tribute to "captain" Tom Moore this  Wednesday at 6.00pm, as well as the  unfortunate consequences  of consumers' new habits of shopping online like a national  cardboard shortage or the closing of High Street department  stores such as Debenhams. This global pandemic has definitely  affected us in different ways and has accelerated changes which  were already happening  Wednesday, 27th january 2021  We had very technical exchanges this week, often revealing gloomy prospects for the future of our world! During lockdown, more than ever, computers have become essential to maintain social connections and recycling or maintaining older desktops with new external devices is a way to reduce our carbon footprint. The BBC documentaries A Perfect Planet narrated by David Attenborough in England, as well as Legacy by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, broadcast last night in France,  focus on major human impacts on the environment such as pollution and global warming, are, at the same time, beautiful and dismal. While sitting and reading by the fire can be very pleasant to us, open fires have caused disasters and have become forbidden in most urban areas in Britain. A few days ago, the U.K. has passed 100,000 COVID deaths, a milestone that will make history too.  Wednesday, 20th January 2021  We had a busy session today, full of anecdotes and witty remarks!!!  Among our usual weekly chit chat, we exchanged on the various ways to enjoy a friendly cup of tea and the characteristics of a good whisky, we compared our reactions to various aspects of Kamala Harris and Joe Biden 's inauguration ceremony in Washington this afternoon and we shared unusual situations we had experienced this week.   Wednesday, 13th January 2021 We all enjoy these weekly opportunities to exchange in a random way which this evening took us from cats and kittens, to amazing  cat models by a Japanese artist, to young people who have had to start online businesses, to the luddites who have mistakenly destroyed a mobile mast, to blended-learning and the consequences of lockdown for underprivileged families, and so on and so forth...   Wednesday, 6th of January  Two people couldn't connect tonight, but there were still six of us. The topics covered were : our Christmas and New Year's eve celebrations, whether oysters taste better cold or cooked, curfew measures in our part of France at 6 pm, English words we use in the French language and French words used in English, shopping on Amazon, singers who give concerts in their kitchen and broadcast them online ... and so on ... We had great fun !   Wednesday, 16th of December  Nothing unusual for our last conversation group in2020 : most of the time was occupied with sharing our emotions and doubts about the pandemy and the gloomy prospect for our Christmas celebrations this year, but also sharing tips and making suggestions as to what to see, what to do in Châlons to brighten up our days, as well as a few other topics before the traditional exchange of wishes for Christmas and the New Year !  Wednesday, February the third, twenty twenty one  What a delightful session we had this week! Although the topics we discussed were not cheerful as such, we had the opportunity to exchange with Ann and Steve, Glenys and Don from Ilkeston's twinning committee which was great!  We discussed how lockdown and strict regulations  have impacted our daily routines, or  the tribute to "captain" Tom Moore this Wednesday at 6.00pm, as well as the  unfortunate consequences of consumers' new habits of shopping online like a national cardboard shortage or the closing of High Street department stores such as Debenhams. This global pandemic has definitely affected us in different ways and has accelerated changes which were already happening.    Wednesday, 9th of December 2020  Quite a large group exchanged tonight starting with rather pessimistic remarks on the endless restrictions in our lives and doubts about the vaccination campaign in France and all over the world. We could hardly believe how high the number of recommended vaccines is from an early age until late in life. The next topics were more cheerful talking about mince pies and Christmas decorations, local news and unusual numbers such as a googol, a zillion ...  Wednesday, 2nd of December  Tonight, we were seven discussing various topics. Danièle started telling us about her afternoon : she played with her friends a letter game to guess words. We talked about other games : Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit , Abalone.... Some of us said they  preferred to play cards or dice. We then talked about the European song contest  for children. This year  France won ! Children can sing better than adults!  Then Pascal, with cards, and Célia, with her iPhone, made us play quizzes .  We concluded that we would like to play that when we meet again round a table.  Wednesday, 25th of November We were a lively circle of nine people this evening and although our conversation started with the new lockdown measures and how we understood the new possibilities of travelling around in December, we quickly moved on to lighter topics such as TV programs or series and how inspiring and stimulating they turn out to be. Loneliness affects us all in different ways and even going out for a walk, listening to music can be our only company.

Comité de jumelage

  Châlons-Ilkeston