> Moorfoot Twinning Assocation - Visit of June 2011
Ryanair would not have been my preferred choice to fly to France, or indeed anywhere else, but it cannot be denied that it took the five “Templars,” Raymond, Sinead, Tam, Lorna and myself there and back with little hassle, ahead of schedule and for only sixty quid return. At Beauvais, a small provincial airport about ten miles from Ivry Le Temple, Moorfoot’s twin village, we were met by the Mayor and two councillors who whisked us to Ivry and delivered us to our respective hosts. Lorna and I stayed with the Mayor, Jacques Leclerc and his wife Marie Therese, who were the kindest and most considerate of hosts. A welcome tea and biscuits revived us; then a quick freshen up and a change and 2000 hours found us all at the town hall for the civic reception. There, on one of the three flagpoles outside, a Saltire was hoisted and the Mayor called on the assembled company to remember Kerr MacGregor, in a minute’s silence. A touching gesture. In the hall itself about thirty councillors, locals and their spouses watched as the mayor of the district, and Jacques the mayor of Ivry and Tam, acting for the Moorfoot community signed two copies of a laminated Panorama of Ivry, one copy of which was given to us to take back to Scotland. As a small token of our gratitude, a copy of W Gordon Smith’s book on Willie Gillies, the famous Scottish artist who lived in Temple, was given to the community of Ivry. Tam’s excellent French conveying the greetings of the Moorfoot community to the villagers and translating to us their responses.
After the twinning ceremony we adjourned to a hall, used as a daily drop in centre by the older inhabitants, where there was a real champagne reception accompanied by wine and an excellent spread of canapés, bread, French speciality pate, followed by sweet tarts; such hospitality helping the locals and our party to mix well.
On Saturday morning we were taken on a tour of the village, which has some interesting old buildings including the old church, part of whose roof fell in, in 1981; since restored, though not to original condition, a few years ago at a cost of one million Euros. A very excellent lunch for us and some locals followed at the Ivry Golf Club (at about thirty Euros a round there should you be a golfer!), then to the very well attended Ivry school fete.
Our visit had been timed to coincide with the village’s annual weekend of festivities and a warm evening found us at a special table on the village green where all the villagers had gathered for a supper they had prepared themselves. Thereafter a “fete de la musique” on the Green followed, with singing a capella by a choir and another singing group followed by a Jazz band. 2300 hours came and a bonfire was lit, the “Feu de la St-Jean,” round which we, and as many locals as was possible, danced, like a great circling “Auld Lang Syne.” For the younger and fitter folk, dancing to live music continued until precisely 0316 hours and 23 seconds, when the music stopped; our bedroom overlooked the square, hence my accuracy!
Sunday with still rising temperature, offered a leisurely but lengthy walk to a wayside shrine of some antiquity; your correspondent preferred the more modern surrounds of the golf clubhouse terrace and a meditative beer in the shade. Locally prepared lunch, again with all the villagers, followed on the square after which we were treated to demonstrations of Belly dancing, majorettes and various displays by local school children. That evening we were entertained to supper at the farmhouse of Catherine, one of the councillors who visited us here two years ago, who with her husband proved generous hosts and wined and dined some twenty people.
In all, a very interesting and worthwhile weekend. The kindness and generosity of our hosts was unbelievable and they are keen to continue the Twinning. Ivry is an interesting village where the new and old buildings blend well, and it is set in a flat but pretty countryside. A flight time of just over an hour from Edinburgh makes it convenient for us and them and low fares, if booked far enough ahead, an added attraction. Ivry is about forty miles from Paris, so that city can easily be visited on a day trip; indeed the increasing population of Ivry is largely due to residents who commute there. The Moorfoot community would do well to develop the relationship with Ivry, to the mutual advantage of young and old.
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