Saturday, 8 January 2011

Annual General Meeting Time

Around the New Year (December and January) all the local clubs and societies have their annual general meetings. One way to fit into the local community is to join these societies, show your face and sooner or later you become part of the scene. Cormatin Guitar FestivalFrom the beginning we wanted to be a part of “Guitares en Cormatinois” (a classical music festival in and around Cormatin) and we also tried to join in with the Amicale (the group that fund raises all year to pay for and organise the old people’s lunch and the kids’ Christmas party) but both of these wishes proved more difficult than one would at first imagine.

For a small community of 552 people (in the 2010 censor), Cormatin has a strong and relatively large group of volunteers and fitting in, when you don’t know how things work or you don’t understand the protocol, can be difficult. We have had a couple of false starts, but I am thrilled to say that we have finally made it into the inner sanctum of both the guitar festival organisation committee and the local Amicale.

The Amicale was the first group to open its arms to the two foreigners from La Tuilerie and we have been heavily involved in all events for the last year, most people “tu” us now and the vast majority can even pronounce Cees’ name! Cormatin Guitar FestivalOur acceptance into the “Guitares en Cormatinois” group was finally sealed with us making the “mâchon” (an after meeting small meal) back in October and the samosas, chicory salad, selection of Dutch cheeses from Paula and Suus at Cluny market, the Dutch apple tart and cheesecake must have been up to standard because we were formally voted on to the “Connseil d'Administration” at the annual general meeting just before we disappeared for the Christmas break.

However, having poor French political skills and having a tendency to smile and nod a lot when asked a question can get you into trouble. Last summer Cees inadvertently stumbled into the “tent-putting-up-group” for the theatre festival “Les Rendez-vous de Cormatin” - a large theatre festival held in the Chateau’s two theatres (one open-air).
Chateau de CormatinThis honour involved him in hours of tent-putting-up over the space of about two weeks and seemingly endless tent-taking-down over about another week or so. But through that he has made friends in high places, none other than the Secretary and Treasurer of the “Guitares en Cormatinois” who very thoughtfully nominated Cees for a place on to the “Communication” committee and he is now charged with making all the publicity for the festival. I was a little quicker to see what was going on and I managed to just smile and duck at the right moment!

However, after being ambushed one day in November by one of the Amicale committee members when I was out for a walk and then after being almost bludgeoned into submission during the Amicale Christmas dinner in December by some other committee members, I have finally been outmanoeuvred by these French pincer-movement tactics. At the Amicale Annual General meeting last night, I think I have been made the treasurer, I say “I think” because I wasn’t given the books to study or given any explanation of what I would have to do, because I need to be made a formal signatory of the society first. I don’t know whether this will involve me in putting a knotted hanky on my head and rolling up my trouser legs and chanting or not, but I am sure I will find out soon enough. After the compulsory glass of Crémant and Galette des Rois, my photo was taken by the visiting journalist and so I await the newspaper article with interest to find out what I have let myself in for!

For information on the gites we rent out click on La Tuilerie Website.

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