20 Jul 2023 |
Posted by Jonathan Radnedge | 0 Comment.
After last year’s anniversary junketings at the Harbour Festival – gin boat and all – how could we follow that with our Hannover friends coming back to Bristol this year?
In the event, our guests agreed in chair Robert Nicholls’s words: “There were no highlights – it was all fantastic!”
This time arrivals and departures were varied in modes of transport, plane or car, and the airlines did not help with several cancellations disrupting travel plans but somehow everyone managed to reach their destinations eventually.
The first day involved a trip to Cheddar Gorge, where everyone scattered to do their own thing, be it climb Jacob’s Ladder, enter the caves or just relax in the sunshine with a coffee.
After lunch we went to Thatchers Cider Distillery at Myrtle Farm – a request of Hannover’s vice-chair, Petra Pilger, last year – and had a comprehensive tour of the distillery, followed by tastings of four of the latest ciders and the opportunity to buy samples.
Visiting Thatchers – by special request
Saturday saw us visiting backstage at Bristol Old Vic, always fascinating as the oldest working theatre in the country, and then in the afternoon a visit to the Underfall Yard museum, where we witnessed the historic machinery in perfect working order at the touch of a switch.
On Sunday, we all met at the Llandoger Trow to start a tour of the harbour with Christel Stöcker-Danby giving her usual excellent illustrated tour in German.
As a great extra, we were invited by former Lord Mayor Alderman Royston Griffey, member of BHC and chair of the Matthew Trust, to board the Matthew, where he gave us a wonderfully colourful historical account of the ship, complete with multiple flags.
Monday was busy, with a reception in the Council House (pictured below) led by another former Lord Mayor and member and friend of BHC, Alderman Colin Smith, followed by our now traditional combined committee meeting at City Hall.
This time, however, we invited representatives of Young Bristol, Ashton Youth Football Club and Bristol Cathedral Youth Choir, all of whom are engaged in plans to visit and exchange with like-minded groups in Hannover. It was a fruitful exchange.
In the evening 46 of us sat down to a splendid farewell dinner at Aqua Restaurant in Welsh Back, Harbourside, presided over again by the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Peaches Golding OBE.
It had been a year of multiple royal events, with the late Queen’s Jubilee, her death in September and the subsequent coronation of King Charles. Peaches was involved at all times, though she had to come back from Germany on hearing of the death of the Queen, and she gave us a fascinating presentation of the events and protocols, which was interesting both to the German visitors and the British members alike.
All our visitors were waved farewell at different times of the day and night, some moved on in their cars for an extension of their holiday in the Isle of Wight and France respectively, but we all felt satisfied that we had kept our twinning flag flying, and look forward to September 2024 when it will be the Bristolians’ turn to visit Hannover.