Southern Times

An expatriate view of life in Southern France, with events guides, market days, diaries and advice sections.

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Thursday 25 August 2005, by Theo

Buy a raffle ticket and help raise money for research into Alzheimer’s.

I wish I’d taken it up years ago. When we first arrived in Agde, in 1991, I quite soon became aware of the thriving local patchwork group by way of the annual exhibition of their amazing creations. I was interested, but for all the usual reasons - small children, doing up a house - I never took it any further.

Then a couple of years ago, now living in Tourbes, I spotted a poster for a new patchwork group starting up in Pezenas. This time I didn’t hesitate. The courses are run by Nicole Serieys, a French woman who lived for many years in England and speaks fluent English. The classes are held in the back room of the shop run by her daughter, Brigitte, where they sell a range of irresistible fabrics, patchwork accessories, candles and gorgeous gifty things.

There were two groups to start with, increasing to three as from September 2005, as word gets round. The Thursday group, to which I belong, is a mixed French/English group, but by general agreement, we all communicate in French. Nicole is an excellent teacher, and famously laid-back. When one of us does something stupid, which threatens to ruin an entire piece of work, she always says: "Ce n’est pas grave" - her favourite expression - before finding a creative solution to the problem.

It is a wonderful opportunity to get to know people, improve your French, and sit around chatting, drinking tea and eating biscuits, comforted by the warm glow of doing something creative with your hands. There also seems to be an unspoken rule that nasty people don’t do patchwork. In two years, I have yet to come across any unkindness or meanness. Generosity and a spirit of sharing seem to go with the hobby.

We began in September 2003, and were ready for our first exhibition in Pezenas in May 2005. We were lucky to be able to hold it in the famous Hotel Lacoste, which made the perfect backdrop. Perhaps we are not yet quite up to the standard of the Agde group, but we’re getting there. Special thanks are due to Alice Van Wart from Roujan who kindly lent us two of her Canadian grandmother’s beautiful hand made quilts for the exhibition.

Nicole also holds a series of full day or half day oocasional workshops on special patchwork techniques.

We are currently working all together on a tablecloth which will be raffled to raise money for research into Alzheimer’s. Pat Ogden of Coulobres will be trekking a 100km stretch of the Great Wall of China to raise funds, and this will be our contribution. The finished cloth will be displayed in the shop (2 en 1, rue Conti, 34120 Pezenas - and tickets will be on sale at 1 euro each.

So if you are a newcomer to the area, interested in doing something creative, meeting people and improving your French, come and join us.

Any message or comments?


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