NEWS FROM LA CUMBRE (CORDOBA)
by Frances Evans Bengtsson MBE
LA CUMBRE RECEIVES TWO IMPORTANT VISITORS FROM IRELAND
by Frances Evans Bengtsson MBE
The Mayor of La Cumbre issued Municipal Decrees on 28th January 2011 naming Peter Mulvany and Harry Callan “Distinguished Guests of La Cumbre”. The Decrees were presented to them during the launching of my book “Quiet Endurance” and its version in Spanish “Giros del Destino”, which took place on Saturday 29th January on the platform of the former La Cumbre train station (now Tourism Secretariat and Art Station).
Peter and Harry had come to La Cumbre specifically to be present at the launching of the book which I wrote partly as a result of them appearing in my life in 2010, when Peter told Tim Lough that he had a friend – Harry Callan – who had been shipwrecked on the “Afric Star” in 1941, and Tim and Ian Gall remembered that my parents were on that very same ship. All passengers and crew were subsequently taken prisoners. Later, on a third German ship, my father was killed and Harry happened to be sitting next to him when it happened. Harry has never forgotten the incident.
During their stay, Peter and Harry held a very meaningful memorial at the British cemetery in La Cumbre in honour of my parents, not forgetting all those former War veterans who now rest in La Cumbre.
The two Irish gentlemen caused quite a furore at the launching of the book when they appeared in their very smart blazers with their badges and medals. Peter presented to the Mayor of La Cumbre a beautifully framed Document from the Lord Mayor of Dublin, conveying greetings to the Irish, Argentine and British communities of La Cumbre. He then made a speech during which he asked Harry to present to me a badge from the Not Forgotten Association whose patron is Princess Anne. He then asked Harry to present to me the following: 1) Honorary life membership of the National Ex Prisoner of War Association; 2) An inscribed commemorative Ex Prisoner of War medal as a former Civilian Prisoner of War, in my name; and 3) an inscribed commemorative Ex Prisoner of War medal in memory of my mother Henrietta (Joan) Evans, Civilian Prisoner of War. The audience, calculated to be in the order of around 120 to 150 people, were highly moved by this improvised and unexpected ceremony.
It goes without saying that during the five days the two friends from Ireland were in La Cumbre we shared many beautiful and emotional moments, particularly when Harry was able to speak to me about the father I never knew.
La Cumbre will not forget their visit. Nor shall my husband Walter and I.
THE QUIZ - 24th June 2010
"In the foreground: Shirley Anderson, Jean Thurn, Shirley´s
daughter Frances, and her husband Alejandro."
The La Cumbre Quiz was held on Thursday 24th June at a new venue for us: "Geronimo".
The questions were to be prepared by last year´s winners, the foursome formed by Kenneth and Louise Logan, Andrew Potter and Alistair Grant.
In the event, it was Kenneth with the help of Alistair who put their thinking caps on and produced all the questions.
Because of the cold weather we decided to hold it at midday and it was a really successful fun event - with an attendance of 31.
The bar opened at 12 and the game started on the dot of 12.30. Sandwiches were served at each table and delicious empanadas were brought out during the forty minute break. Coffee and cakes came at the end.
The winning foursome formed by Veronica and David Grant, John Stourton and Peter Shearer will now be in charge of thinking up next year´s questions. The second place went to Maurice Rumboll, Sandra Grant, Pat Wilson and Walter Bengtsson.
The day was beautiful, the hall comfortable and warm, and everyone had a great time !
LA CUMBRE CAR BOOT SALE - Sunday 11 April 2010
Sunday 11 April 2010 was the chosen date for the latest La Cumbre Car Boot Sale and prospects looked good.
When we first advertised, our poster indicated inscription dates from 22 March to 1 April. In actual facts, we had people queueing up on Monday 22nd and by the second day we had no more spaces left - to the great annoyance of a lot of interested parties who wanted to put their cars in and hadn´t inscribed right at the beginning.
The day itself was perfect, and as usual, the Sale was a roaring success. A rough calculation of people browsing and buying showed something like two thousand or more - Unbelievable!
Everything ran smoothly and both sellers and purchasers alike were extremely happy over the whole event, and we were constantly and enthusiastically being asked when the next Sale was to take place.
Walter Bengtsson had his moment of fame when the local television reporter interviewed him, and as usual - after the event - we were very happy to receive phone calls from grateful people who had taken part for the first time and who felt they had to express their appreciation for all our work and what they described as "excellent organisation".
Frances Evans Bengtsson, MBE
Wednesday 10 March 2010 - An "All British and Irish Saints lunch" was held on 10 March in La Cumbre.
It was getting near St Patrick´s Day so we thought it a good excuse for a get-together of our community and friends, and since the Irish are a minority we called it “All
British and Irish Saints Lunch”.
It was also a last chance for everyone to say farewell to Guy and Inga Williams who have returned to live in Buenos Aires (Acassuso) which was the reason for holding the lunch a week before St Patrick´s, to fit in with their departure date.
The lunch was held at the beautiful Reydon Hotel on Wednesday 10 March with an absolutely full house as the response to our invitation had been unexpectedly massive. Chemy, the Reydon chef, excelled herself yet again, this time by making delicious lassagna. Unfortunately I was again unable to be present due to health reasons but I know from thank-you telephone calls and reports from other committee members, that everyone, including visitors and foreign temporary residents, had a wonderful time, for which all helpers and organisers can be very pleased.
La Cumbre, 17 March 2010
"PATA Y VINO" IN LA CUMBRE:
Our traditional "Pata y Vino" get-together was held on Tuesday 5 January 2010 at Reydon School and - as usual - was a great success.
The roast leg of veal cooked to tender perfection accompanied by assorted sauces and salad for those who wished to add to their sandwiches became immediately popular with people returning more than once for repeats.
With a temperature of 40° and a high percentage of humidity, all helpers are to be congratulated for their tireless work, setting out tables and chairs, putting up the bar, the table for the "pata" and salads/sauces, selling raffles, selling entrance tickets, tickets for sandwiches and bar, and generally seeing that once more this ABCC event turned out to be a winner, and we were delighted to welcome visitors from Buenos Aires and other areas.
I was very sorry to have been unable to be present due to a temporary indisposition, but the many telephone calls I received after the event had taken place reassured me that indeed this had been one of our most successful get-togethers.
My personal thanks go to all those who did so much on an unbearably hot day.
Frances Evans Bengtsson, MBE
Wednesday 23 September 2009: - La Cumbre Annual General Meeting at Reydon Hotel.
The present committee was voted in once again by a unanimous showing of hands. The meeting was followed by the traditional - and delicious - shepherd´s pie cooked by Chemy - the Reydon Chef - and offered by the committee free of charge. A great time was had by all.
CAR BOOT SALE IN LA CUMBRE - Sunday 13 September 2009
"...there must have been well over one thousand people milling around and shopping..."!
Walter Bengtsson and helper Hugo mixing lime and water
We normally hold our two Car Boot Sales in April and October, but this time we decided to change to September because October can be the beginning of the rainy season (and considering we are going through one of the worst droughts ever, we certainly hope that the rain will indeed start in October). The date therefore was set for Sunday 13 September and as usual the Sale drew in massive crowds of people. At 11 a.m. we calculated there must have been well over one thousand people milling around and shopping from the fifty cars that had inscribed.
The day before, the “work team” (Susan Savage, Shirley Anderson, Peter Shearer, Walter Bengtsson, our gardener and helper Hugo, and myself) gathered at the empty grounds and set everything up – enclosing the area with rope, mixing lime and water, measuring out the fifty spaces and painting each one - for a totally orderly placing of cars. At that point, with just the five of us working on an empty field, it seemed impossible that the entire area could turn into a seething mass of people the following day.
Walter and Peter measuring space for cars
The event has now become so famous that not only did we have our own television channel filming everything but I was interviewed live by the La Falda radio and also by a journalist from “La Voz del Interior” who travelled specifically from Cordoba to La Cumbre to cover the Sale and also to talk about the British Community living in the area. This Cordoba-based newspaper is publishing a supplement on all foreign communities in the province, thus their great interest in the Sale and other matters concerning the British community.
As usual our mayor and other municipal authorities enoyed the event as much as anyone else. And once again, the Car Boot Sale was immensely successful. One of the things most admired is the fact that this is a fund-raising event organised exclusively for charity.
Wednesday 26 August 2009:
The La Cumbre annual Quiz took place on Wednesday 26 August at Reydon Hotel.
This time, for a change, we decided to hold the game at midday rather than at night so that people shouldn´t have to go out in the cold. When this was decided we had no way of knowing that we were going to be enjoying a mildly summery patch, so it could easily have been held in the evening.The disappointingly low attendance (22) did nothing to dampen the very high spirits and great atmosphere of relaxation and fun. Veronica Grant, David and Elsie Powell and Diana Rumboll were last year´s winners, and as tradition dictates they had to write up this year´s quiz. Of this foursome only Veronica was able to attend so she was therefore in charge of supervising the works on this occasion. Drinks and sandwiches were available from 12 on and the game started at 12.30 sharp. During the two intermissions, everyone enjoyed the plentiful supply of delicious empanadas made by Chemi – Reydon´s chef -, and finally brownies and cakes made by three community members were also passed around.
The great variety of questions under different headings made this a very interesting game full of fun, and final scores – whether high or low - were gleefully received by everyone. Those who got all the applause, however, were winners Louise and Kenneth Logan, Alistair Grant and Andrew Potter, sitting at table No.1. Apart from the individual prizes each of them received, it is their chore now to write up next year´s Quiz.
Frances Evans Bengtsson MBE
La Cumbre, 27/08/09
Wednesday 24 June 2009:
TALK ON THE HISTORY OF LA CUMBRE
Mr Francisco Capdevila, former Municipal Secretary for Tourism and present Municipal Spokesman is a well-known local historian and writer, and an expert on La Cumbre and surrounding areas. It occurred to us that a talk by him would be very interesting. When we approached him about this possibility he agreed with great enthusiasm and chose the history of La Cumbre as his theme.
The talk was in Spanish, open to the whole public and took place at the beautiful Gran Hotel La Cumbre on Wednesday 24 June at 8.30 pm. Francisco started by covering the late 1700s, when the initial division of land took place. Then he went to the late 1800s and continued right through to 1959. His talk was documented by photographs and graphics on a large screen. By the end of 1959 it had got quite late so he decided to cut off and perhaps continue on another occasion, covering from 1960 to present times.
During the 30-minute interval we served an assortment of sandwiches, wine and soft drinks, and I provided some light background music by playing a potpourri of old melodies on the baby grand, which also has its own history dating back to the late 1800s.
With an attendance of over seventy people, this turned out to be a very interesting and pleasant outing and we hope to organise the second part of his talk at a future date.
Frances Evans Bengtsson
10th May 2009:
Sunday 10th May 2009 was the date chosen for the first of this year´s Car Boot Sales held usually around April/May and September/October in La Cumbre (“Feria Sobre Ruedas” as it is known here). The Sale, which we first organised in 2006 – has now become one of the most popular and sought after events, and again this time drew in the crowds both of buyers and sellers at the municipal grounds in front of the bus terminal. These grounds were packed to their utmost limit (52 well marked out spaces) with people offering second hand goods from the boots or tables no wider than the stipulated width for each car, and with hundreds of potential buyers, including the Mayor and other municipal authorities.
As usual, all the hard work takes place in advance of the event, starting with letters to the Mayor and Secretary for Tourism requesting permission, putting up posters which are so efficiently made by Mrs Hazel Silvestroff at her computer, writing out strict instructions that we firmly ask people to adhere to, inscribing each participant and finally, the day before the sale, measuring out and painting each space and with the help of the Traffic Control Office, making sure that no-one parks inside the area which has been roped off, also by committee members.