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Tripartite 2011

Tripartite , for the Rotary Club of Eastbourne, was held this year in Lille, France, over the weekend of 13th-15th May.

We joined 30 members of Ghent Maritine Rotary Club and 44 from Lille Nord Rotary Club, which is in the process of joining with it's daughter Club and will in future be called Lille Nord Nouveau Siecle.

This year 37 members of the Club joined the weekend, the largest number Eastbourne has ever sent to Tripartite. 29 of us travelled by coach and 8 made their own way by car and Eurostar. We arrived in Lille late on Friday afternoon at the Novotel Gare Flanders hotel,Lille, apart from the President who in case he got lost on route arrived on Thursday.

What a fabulous weekend of food drink and culture, non stop and full on for 2 days.

The weekend started with dinner at the Bondue golf Club a superb old French Chateau. Unfortunately no golf but wonderful food and wine which flowed freely throughout the evening.

At about midnight we returned to the hotel by which time some of were getting withdrawal symptoms and were persuaded to move on to a micro brewery in the centre of Lille for a small night cap, by the litre!!!. For a small fee I promised not to mention names suffice it to say next years Vice President and a large blonde and several of the ladies chatted up 3 English vicars who for some reason were in plain clothes.

Saturday started early when we boarded a double decker coach for a tour of Lille and the surrounding area. Lille is the 4th largest city in France with a long history of trade often using the canal network which is extensive throughout the city. I have to say we were bombarded with names of French architects and shown many beautiful

properties but there are only so many one can absorb in broken English/French.

After the tour we moved on to a guided tour of Lille's Museum of Modern Art, full of Picasso's and many other 20th century artists. The Museum has recently been refurbished and extended and now houses a major collection of "Art Brut" which is artisan art completed by untrained artists often influenced by spirits and outer body experiences!!! !! Some of the work was brilliant others at least from my prospective were best described as different.

Lunch, 3 courses of course, was taken at a nearby restaurant accompanied by lots of wine which had a considerably influence upon our after lunch sleep patterns in the coach.

Following lunch we moved on to the "La Piscine" in Roubaix another art gallery. La Piscine building is a 1920's swimming pool completely refurbished and housing a wonderful art collection of "Signac" a French artist specialising in French ports including Pam Pol where two of our party have a house. There were some wonderful sculptures from artists who worked closely with Rodin.

After an hours tour the French thought we might be in need of sustenance and we stopped for drinks and biscuits.

In the evening we had a Gala black tie dinner in an old converted metal foundry. The meal started with free flowing champagne followed by a spectacular meal that seemed to go on for ever. Many of the French kept looking at their mobile phones throughout the meal and we discovered Lille were playing Paris in the final match of the football season and they won the French league title the first time in 56 years, more celebrations of course.

The President made an excellent speech but as per usual everyone else throughout the room thought it was a good idea to give one as well including a detailed run-down of the building of the new Lille football stadium, in French of course.

Finally we drifted back to the Hotel early Sunday morning to be welcomed by car horns blaring celebrating the Lille football win.

Sunday started a little later with a private visit to Lille Citadel an incredible fort built at the turn of the 17th century. Amazing what you can do with limitless starving peasants.

Brunch followed at a nearby restaurant just to top us up ready for the journey home.

I am sure everyone who took part had an enormous amount of fun, laughter and Rotary fellowship which will provide a lifetime of happy memories.

Tripartite is in Eastbourne next year over the weekend of 27th-29th April and I really hope all members will take the opportunity to join us for a fabulous weekend of fun and laughter.

Chairman Tripartite Ian Hunt