An Indian Evening in the Loire Valley

Jackie Sheppard

A total of 44 members and guests attended the Indian themed evening at the home of Chantal and Alain Bertrand on Saturday 23 May 2015. It was a delight to see several ladies had entered into the spirit of the evening by wearing beautiful Indian inspired outfits.

After enjoying a relaxing half hour socialising in the magnificent gardens, everyone took their seats in the restored 16th century chapel in the grounds for a presentation entitled ‘Women of the Raj’ by Brian Freeland, a retired theatre manager, speaker, playwright and director.

Brian gave an entertaining and amusing insight into the arduous conditions the Colonial Administrators and, more importantly, their wives faced when they arrived in India to take over from the East India Company and the Army. Wives who spoke only English, who mixed only with other wives and who could not even communicate with their household staff. They made great demands on their husbands and, interestingly as one Indian wrote “I don’t think they realised what a menace they were. If the memsahibs had stayed in Britain there might never have been a Mutiny”.

A question and answer session was followed by a vote of thanks proposed by John Barritt and after a round of applause had echoed around the Chapel, everyone returned to the garden to enjoy the remains of the evening sunshine.

A range of delicious Indian dishes freshly prepared by a local caterer were served to the delight of all present, with many returning for second and third helpings! To close the evening and to continue the theme, authentic Gulab Jamun for the dessert had been carefully transported all the way from Brick Lane in London by our President whilst attending the IPSC!

Thanks for the event go to Chantal and Alain for allowing us to use their home and garden, Brian Freeland for his interesting presentation and committee members for organising such an enjoyable afternoon and evening.