Some wonderful memories of the first visit of a Haddington pipe band to our twin town, Aubigny-sur-Nere, in 1966
1) Arriving at Orly
airport after what was the first ever flight by most if not all the BB band. To
the horror of our French hosts who were there to greet us and transport us to
Aubigny, we were dressed in our travelling kit - black blazers, grey flannels,
BB tie etc. They apparently were expecting big hairy Scotsmen dressed in
full number 1 uniform. Before we knew where we were, out kit was offloaded from
the plane and we were ushered into the airport manager’s office and told to
change. It turned out that we were part of the publicity for a French star of
the stage who was arriving from USA about the same time as we arrived. We then
spent a good while posing for photographs with her. At least we got some
publicity as our photo featured in the Express in UK the following week.
2) Playing in
parades up the main street in Aubigny with the police having to force a
way for us through the crowds and being covered with blue confetti which which
was thrown over us. I was still getting confetti in the folds of my plaid two
3) Sitting in the bakery
opposite the sword-in-the-stone monument eating croissants and drinking coffee
with the bakers in the early hours of the morning after our many late-night
was a hectic time for a teenager - a three-week trip to Denmark as part of the
Kettinge twinning in early July, leading to the first performance of Haddington
BB pipe band in the Aubigny twinning arrangement.
at Orly airport - hustled into a lounge to dress for a photo shoot with a
French actress on her way to the US, was the first activity. Francoise Gall was
her name. The pic appeared in UK press and is included in the Pipe Band
Beating the Retreat ceremony in the Chateau created a few tears - it was the
first time the pipes had been heard since the liberation in 1945.
played the lament at the war memorial as part of the seven-year celebration,
and was enrolled as the 'First Honorary member of the Committee of Feasts of
Aubigny'. I've never taken advantage of
the post, although I still hold the certificate - written on the back of the
menu of the celebration evening!
attended a concert by 'Francoise Hardy and les Haricot Verts' - as part of the
celebrations which led to a pen pal relationship with a Breton family.
One event in 1966 at Aubigny sticks out. There
was someone who we would call the local squire who lived in the
local ‘grand property’. Let’s call him the Count in the Chateau.
One evening we were asked to play in his grounds
and there was an arch which had been barred up since 1945 because the Nazis had
marched through this in 1940 and after the war the count did not want anyone
else to do so as he wanted nothing to do with it. Until we arrived, no one else
had ever gone through it again. On this particular day, he had
changed his mind and he told us it would be an honour for him and his family if
we went through the arch. He took the grating down. We did so and he
and his family were quite emotional about it.
McDonald (Adelaide, South Australia)
It is hard to believe that it was 50 years ago. I remember that
the weather was very warm. We stayed in an old house or school and ate peaches,
a rare treat at that time.
My most enduring memory is of the great kindness of the
townspeople from the moment we were picked up at Orly Airport to the time we
I am pleased that the association with Aubigny is still going
strong and the pipe band makes such a contribution.
Good luck with the beating of the retreat and all the best to the
band for the future