One of the few civic duties that your Chairman undertakes is welcoming people from our twin village Hautvillers in France. Yesterday I was privileged to undertake this duty again in the company of the young. Beaulieu has been twinned with this pretty village in the champagne region for 28 years and actively exchanges young and old nearly every year. Many close relationships have been built up over the years including at least one wedding.
Whilst it is the Parish Council that is twinned with the Maire the actual business of twinning is undertaken by an independent Beaulieu twinning association. They have a notice board and information area under the statue of Dom Perignon which is located in our village hall. Dom Perignon was a Benedictine monk and cellar master in Hautvillers. In 1670 he perfected the art of producing clear white wines from black grapes and enhanced the tendency of Champagne wines to retain their natural sugar in order to encourage secondary fermentation. He was a master in deciding when to bottle these wines in order to capture the bubbles.
Yesterday’s initial reception took place in the ‘pig sty ‘ at Home Farm with speeches and libations! We often hold joint events in our twinning garden in the High Street this is located around our iconic red telephone box. It sports two flag poles for hoisting up the French flag on official visits. The garden is also planted with vines brought from Hautvillers to mark special occasions. It is a Hautvilliers tradition to water the roots on the initial planting with champagne much to the dismay of the watching English.
The twinning Association membership is open to all who live or work in Beaulieu and is currently chaired by fluent French speaker Andrew Rawlings.