Early on Friday morning September 13th, two intrepid couples set off to drive to Neukirchen-Vluyn, with the boot of the car filled with goods produced in Buckingham ie. Wine from the Gawcott Vineyard, Cider, small samples of fruit flavoured Gin, honey and homemade marmalade, plus a few other typically British biscuits, sweets and packets of tea. We were headed for the Harvest Festival market in Neukirchen-Vluyn the next day.
We boarded an earlier ferry than had been booked as we had made such good time to Dover. We arrived at our destination at about 4.30pm and were treated to a tasty supper of goulash soup and a delicious fruit salad. Our hostess was Dorothe Korner-Pflugrad and her husband Thomas and this is where Stephen and Sue Watkins were staying. Susie and Simon Kelly were to be collected by Claudia Becker and delivered to their hosts Charlotte and Marc, two young square dancers.
That evening everyone assembled at the hall in nearby Moers where the local Square Dance club, the Broom Bears, meet each week.
After all the introductions were completed we danced for about an hour and then came time for the Feast. Every local dancer had brought a tasty dish of some sorts of salad or cakes and we all sat down to these amazingly varied dishes, all washed down with juices, beer or wine. Sue, Stephen, Simon and Susie received delightfully packaged gifts and there were speeches from both hosts and guests. That long day ended with promises to meet up the next day at the market and all wound their way home to bed.
Marc and Charlotte took us to find the market stall which had been set up for the Town Twinners. We arrived to find Sue at the gaily decorated stall and we were left there to spend the day selling our local produce. Later on Dorothe and Thomas took Simon to climb the 350 steps to the 360 degree view-point at the top of an old coal mining slag heap, called Halde Norddeutschland now covered in grass and trees. The day finished with a delicious meal for a mixed group of a dozen of our hosts, both Dancers and twinners.
Some of these dear people met us back at Dorothe and Thomas’s house at midmorning to wave us Good-bye on our journey back home with an almost empty boot. This journey was somewhat spoiled by the traffic crowding the English roads, sometimes leaving us crawling at 5mph in three lanes of traffic, so will leave that to your imagination.
on Thursday 3rd October some of those same hosts arrived in Buckingham to stay for three days. Heide, Christian and Regina, Edith and her daughter, Dorothe and Thomas and Guenter were hosted by Buckingham Town Twinners, Jane, Howard, Sue, Stephen, Paul, Valerie, Clifford, Robin, Susie and Simon.
The visitors arrived from Birmingham airport in two cars and after a light meal drove off again to Bletchley Park to see if they could see how the Enigma code was unravelled by the clever brains employed there during the war. On Friday the whole group headed off to Oxford in three cars and the day was spent variously at the Ashmolean Museum, the shops and in the afternoon an Official guided tour of Exeter College, plus a glimpse of the big room at the Bodleian library where the filming of some parts of the Harry Potter movies took place.
Dinner that evening was taken with the hosts and then on their last morning on Saturday the Guests were treated to a visit to the Flea market in Buckingham. Lunch was taken all together at the Wool Pack Inn where all our last Good byes were said with hugs and promises to meet again soon.
Susie and Simon hope to take a small group of dancers to dance at the May Carnival next year in Neukirchen-Vluyn. We are looking forward to sharing the Town Twinners visit then and maybe more in the future.