Saturday 12th December 2020:

Soirée de Noël en Virtuel

2020 hasn't been the greatest of years, but it seemed appropriate to round it off with (what else but...) another ZOOM session! It's been a good six months since our last trans-manche ZOOM, which we held to try and offer a little compensation for the cancelled visit to Oignies in May; and so we decided to try and do our bit to generate some festive cheer during these gloomy months with another anglo-french virtual soirée.

We had over 30 households and families taking part in May, and the event seemed to go off pretty well, with plenty of fun and chaos; so I was hoping for a reasonable turn out on this occasion. Given the time of year though, I was a little apprehensive that we may have ended up with only a handful of participants.

I needn't have worried. Catrin and I logged on half an hour before the official start time, in order to have a bit of a chat with Rosy and Hugo Alleaume our lovely couple oigninois. It was great to have a bit of a catch up, chatting about the passing of a very strange year, and comparing notes on the situations in Oignies and Buxton. Before long however, more and more members from both sides of la Manche started logging on, and our computer screen began filling with familiar faces. Soon everyone was, trying at least, to chat to each other simultaniously, and it was time for the 'Mute all button', so that Derek could reprise his role as MC, and give everybody a turn to pass on their Christmas wishes.

Recognise anyone? - A veritable rogues gallery of Buxtonians and Oigninois

(Click on image to zoom in)

In the event we had another great attendance, with well over 60 members joining in. It was a pleasure to see so many friends and amis, and to be able to exchange greetings and to keep the spirit of the Twinning alive during these difficult times. Les Amis de Buxton entertained us with a communal rendition of the festive song "le Petit Père Noël", and not to be outdone, the Friends of Oignies Players (Viv and Jim, Sue and Peter, Karen and Paul, not forgetting Ian la Veuve) presented for ( ...or should that be - inflicted on) the assembled company a ZOOM pantomime. I'm not sure what les Oigninois made of our online representation of this great British tradition, but we all had great fun putting it together.

The souvenir programme for the Panto is can be viewed here.

Thanks to everybody who joined in and helped to make the Soirée such an enjoyable and fun event. Let's hope that we can all meet up again in person soon.