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Spring 2005


Commodore’s Bit
Annual Dinner
For Sale
Hawker SC
Hogs Back Brewery
Le Pré Valentin 1
Le Pre Valentin 2
Licensing Act
Mid Thames Trophy
Open Weekend
Prizes for 2004
Programme 1
Programme 2
Riverside Barn Concert
Rules Evening
Sailing Down Wind
Sailing Rules
Skittles Night
Start of Season Party
Working Party 2004
Working Party 2005

Le Pré Valentin Saturday 12 February 2005

The invite read "The Gentlemen of Aquarius request the pleasure of the ladies company at Le Pré Valentin"… dress code in keeping with the Paris nightspots of 1900 (flirtatious or Parisienne).

Now if you thought that might put our ladies off you would have been very wrong. The vast majority took the opportunity to really get into character. I've never seen so many feathers, bustles, boobs, bling, fishnets, fans, feather boas and evening gloves. The colours where amazing and they flirted to the manner born!

Not to be outdone the men sported DJ's, slicked down hair, moustaches, flowery waistcoats and cravats. We had artists, onion sellers, white faced mimes and even a Toulouse Lautrec. The clubhouse was decorated in red, green and gold with coloured spots replacing the usual white lights.

The tables were laid up with flowers and candles and the whole ambience was very Parisienne.

The evening started with cocktails at 7:00pm. There was great interest as each couple arrived to reveal their costumes which just kept getting better and

better. At around 7:30pm everybody sat down and the first of seven courses was served by the waiters. The overall menu was as follows:-

As dessert was finishing Cabaret Le Bordel (i.e. Pat Halling and Mike Lee) presented a selection of suitably French music; at one point they were joined by Pat's wife Anne who read a poem, in French, to a musical accompaniment.

During a short break Champagne was served and toasts proposed to the ladies. Madeline Hatton then replied, on behalf of the ladies, thanking the club for the evening and everybody involved in its preparation.

Coffee and mints were then served and Pat & Mike played for a while longer, including several encores.

Pete's coffee machine in the bar really comes into its own on occasions like this and is a very welcome addition to the clubs catering facilities.

Dancing started well after midnight and the whole evening finished in a whorl of colour, feathers and laughter.

More than most an event such as the Le Pré Valentin requires a great deal of planning and co-operation and Saturday's event was a classic example of what can be achieved when members pull together.

This was the third Valentines dinner that Aquarius has organised. The first was at a Chinese restaurant in Molesey but the last two have been self catered at the club. Rodger Wheeler has been responsible for arranging all of them and has done a fantastic job.

During the run up to and during this year's dinner Rodger was assisted by quite a number of the members. This help included purchasing, preparing the club room and bar, laying-up the dining tables on Thursday and Friday.

Help included Ron Munden, Pete Carpenter, Nigel Knowles, Richard Cannon and Bryan Clements.

On Saturday Stuart Schafer, Leo Bond, Nigel Knowles, George Bray and Richard Cannon assisted with a whole range of jobs including preparation and cooking of food.

On Saturday night Ron Munden, Nigel Knowles, John Neale, Charles Dennis, Bob Sumner, Graham Thompson and Mike Rogers all waited tables while Pete Carpenter and George Bray looked after the pre dinner drinks and bar.

Last but not least was all the clearing up on Saturday night and Sunday. Lots of people turned up to help including Linda Rowley, Eric Bridgewater, Linda Wheeler and Keith Hatton.

I would like to thank each and every one of you for contributing to the success of the evening which I believe was greatly appreciated by all the ladies whom were present.

Hopefully Richard will be able to include a few photographs of the evening in this newsletter. But for the full effect I'll get him to publish some colour pictures on the club website.

Rodger has suggested that perhaps someone else might like to organize the ladies night next year. To make it a little easier it's worth noting that we now have all the tables, chairs, linen, cutlery and crockery needed, therefore organization mainly centres around (a) Menu (b) shopping (c) entertainment (if required) and (d) organization of resources, to bring it all together on the night.

So gentlemen, if you have any good ideas and fancy taking it on, do please get in touch. A suggestion … perhaps two or three of you might like to take it on as a joint venture! It would be a great shame if it fell by the wayside due to a lack of interest.

Rodger has asked for the following to be included:-

Le Pré Valentin

In the latter part of the nineteenth century, many exotic nightspots sprung up on what were the outskirts of Paris with names alluding to the country, several including the name "Le Pré" (the meadow).

The most famous was Le Pré Catelan in the Bois de Boulonge which still exists today.

Whereas Victorian values in England demanded a strict moral code, Paris nightspots were reputed to be sophisticated but many were also very liberal, flirtacious and sometimes outrageous.

You will excuse the intentional "double entendre" in the name.

With thanks to all of those who helped before, during and after the event, our cabaret "Le Bordel", and all who joined in the spirit of the evening with fabulous costumes and make up.

Rodger Le Roue
Mike (Over Easy) Baker

Sumner group