|Cllr Smedley stands by Bridgwater|
This year there was no official Bridgwater delegation - just a few hardy travellers. However, the walls of the town hall that greeted them were adorned with massive full colour display boards of all 7 of UH's twin towns with the pride of place going to a Bridgwater display featuring photographs taken during the Spring and Summer by Czech exile in Somerset Jana Branecka.
Twin Towns on display
The photos, which featured the Cornhill, St.Mary's church, Blake Museum, West Quay, the town Bridge, King's Square and Brownes pond, stand out with their green and blue hues , easily holding their own against the Italian mountain town of Priverno, the German Mayen, the Hungarian Sarvar,the Polish Krosno and the (not so far away) Slovakian Skalica.
|The Mayor of Strani 'having a dance'|
Cheering pavements of bounciness
The wine festival is basically a costumed procession of slavic folklore wearing countryfolk who wend their way from the winelands of the Maratice hill to the East of UH, through pavements of cheering towns people, handing out wine and slivovice while playing cimbal or dechovka music, stopping to dance, or showing off their lavish hand made costumes.
|UH prison corridor|
Once in the main square the town fills to an overcapacity of dancing , drinking, eating and general mayhem. The visit to the prison alone involved a patient queue of literally hundreds at a time cramming into the entrance yard to take the tour that others would have gladly avoided 40 years ago.
Footballing like it was 1966 (in Albania)
But another regular feature of the wine festival is the annual football match between Altech and Bridgwater International. Altech is the stairlift company founded by Antonin Machala, now employing some 150 workers who have their own works football pitch. Bridgwater International on this occaision featured 3 travelling Bridgwater Brits and a group of Foreign guestworkers from the nearby Akropolis Family Centre, from Spain, Russia and Slovakia.
|Altech in yellow Bridgwater in white|
|People at a wine festival|
The sun shone, but then it always does at the wine festival.
Mad nutter's on parade
Mad nutter Andrew 'Wildman' Napthine, who has failed to find his way out of UH now for over 20 years having moved there from Bridgwater shortly after the first twinning visit, was a sight for sore eyes - well, I mean, if you wanted sore eyes, you only had to look at Andrew...but his happy cheerful who am I and what am i doing here helpfulness is always a welcome introduction to Moravia. And long may he stay there.
|Wildman engages Jana Hubena in 'a little chat'|