Petersfield Twinning Association Hosts Visiting German Twinners (July 2012)
Mad dogs, Englishmen and some very hardy German Twinning Association visitors went out in the midday rain during their biennial trip to Petersfield from Warendorf. Thanks to a wonderful spirit and boundless optimism, no one let the rain spoil the enjoyment of the planned events.
The first day's outing was to Portsmouth. It included shopping at Gunwharf Quays, climbing the Spinnaker Tower and a boat tour of the harbour. On Friday we visited Arundel Castle, home of the Howard family, and wandered around the town's attractive streets, full of antique shops. After a pleasant lunch at the riverside pub, the Black Rabbit, where most of the Warendorfers ordered fish and chips, we explored the Wetlands Trust - in sunshine! A trip to the Hogs Back Brewery proved very popular and our German friends learned all about English beer and how it's brewed. Full advantage was taken of the Chinese buffet evening meal.
Saturday saw a small group of intrepid Germans and one hardy Brit attempting a Downlands walk. This was one of the worst rainy mornings and the hikers regaled us afterwards with tragi-comic tales of being soaked, losing shoes, being splattered, slipping and sliding. They all thought it was great fun and a genuine 'highlight' of the visit.
The sun shone for Sunday's coach trip to the Isle of Wight. We spent several hours at Queen Victoria's favourite royal residence, Osborne House, where we toured the house and grounds. Everyone was fascinated by the memorabilia on display, especially the photographs, paintings and documents relating to Victoria and Albert's nine children and their 'placement' on so many thrones of Europe. The Warendorfers were particularly interested in the direct link between us Brits and Kaiser Wilhelm who was one of Victoria and Albert's grandchildren. We all saw the irony in Victoria and Albert's idealistic vision that marrying off their many offspring to European royals would act as a kind of insurance policy against war. The rest of the sunny day was spent driving around the picturesque island, stopping at Yarmouth for refreshments. Because of all the rain, a road we were to take had subsided so our coach driver had to re-route calling upon all his driving skills to navigate narrow country lanes, with the steering wheel on the 'wrong 'side. This proved to be quite a challenge when we met four-wheel drive vehicles coming in the opposite direction!
Monday found many of our German visitors and their British hosts braving the weather yet again to witness the Olympic Torch relay through Petersfield. It certainly did rain on our parade but spirits were not dampened as everyone bonded together to cheer on the Olympic representatives.
The traditional farewell dinner for our 41 German twinners and their hosts was held at the Folly Wine Bar. Warendorf is renowned as the 'horse capital of Germany' with its famous State Stud, founded in 1826. And so it was very fitting that Warendorf's Deputy Mayor, Klauss Artmann, presented Petersfield's Deputy Mayor, Peter Marshall, with a commemorative glass engraved with a beautiful figure of a horse. Other gifts came from Warendorf's chairperson, Susan Bock, to Phil Chapman and Gill Clarke, Petersfield's chairman and secretary respectively. They included a photo taken during Warendorf's own celebration of our Queen's Diamond Jubilee as well as a DVD of the event.
Lots of hugging and handshaking took place on Tuesday morning as we gathered to see our Twinning friends off for their long coach ride back to Warendorf. Phil Chapman presented each of them with a Jubilee key ring consisting of a crown, union jack and model of the Jubilee's royal coach. We are all looking forward to next summer's visit to our German friends - hopefully, in the sun!
Petersfield Twinning Association
Maria Himmelfahrt Arch
Open-Air Pool in Warendorf
Münster Bikes in Münster
Petersfield & Warendorf are bound together forever