Most Somerset towns are twinned with French partner towns in nearby Normandy. Just pop across the channel and you're there.
Not Bridgwater though. Oh no, we're twinned with a town in the South of France. Having said that, La Ciotat is just as easy, if not easier,
to get to as any Norman twinning and, in fact, far more rewarding. While you're packing your car, driving to a Channel port, booking a ferry
and driving off the other side, you can be popping up to Bristol airport, flying over to Marseilles or Nice and within 4-5 hours you'll be as
much in La Ciotat as you would have been in Caen, Rouen or Bayeux. And it's sunnier.
It was only a year or so back that we started to develop links with Hungary. This came about through a meeting with Hungarian councillor
and turkey magnate Nemeth Zsolt from the town of Sarvar at the Uherske Hradiste wine festival. He introduced us to school teacher Kovacs
Beata from the Tinodi Sebestian High school and thereafter the links simply flowed.
Not the three least well known of the seven dwarfs, but a mildly convoluted way of linking together the themes of our final project of 2012.
For the third year running now, our partners from the Akropolis Family Centre in Uherske Hradiste have sent us a small group of women eager to
learn about their counterparts over here in the UK, and this year we split the project with some lovely people in Worcester.
No-one quite knows why Bridgwater is twinned with the elegant Mediteranean yachting resort of La Ciotat-but thanks to whoever did that 55 years ago.
Last year we kick started the link with a joint Anglo-Czech football invasion -successfully losing every game, and this year we took a multitude of
choirs from the Bridgwater area to link up with a choir from La Ciotat.
Sarvar is the Hungarian twin town of Uherske Hradiste which is the Czech twin town of Bridgwater. Which has an annual Fair second only in bigness to the very very big Nottingham Goose Fair. But only geese are allowed to go to that one. So the Hungarians came to Bridgwater.
September is quite a busy time for schools in the UK - seeing as they're just starting back, and also in Hungary,
so the Sebastian Tinodi school gave their intrepid adventurers just 4 days to explore the UK (in it's approximate entirety), civilise Bridgwater
and be back in time for supper.
If the Ceske Budejovice School for Civil Engineers had asked us to organise a programme in Somerset we could have shown them the
collapsed wall at West Quay in Bridgwater and explained exactly why it has still not been rebuilt after almost a year and they
could have witnessed four different agencies fighting desperately to deny their own responsibility for the collapse in the first place.
But they didn't. They wanted to see London.