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Bristol-Oporto Association Events

The Bristol-Oporto Association arranges a wide range of events on a Portuguese theme. New events are regularly added, so keep checking this page. Past events have included cinema, wine tastings, performing arts, jazz, choirs, fado, barbecues and quiz nights.

Bristol Oporto Association Newsletter

Photos taken in the upper town Clerigos area of Porto and on the Ribeira by the River Douro
Upcoming events for your diary:

SUNDAY 1 SEPTEMBER – A SUMMER GARDEN PARTY is being held at 20 SHAPLANDS starting 12.30pm.
Join us for a summer aperitif Portuguese style with a choice of cake to finish. Cost £4.00 p.p. Please BYO picnic as usual for ease and be sure to let Richard Pople know if you are able to attend.
Email: Tel: 07833 187 305. Details on flyer to follow in a few days.

LOOKING AHEAD TO AUTUMN – these 2 events are being planned with dates yet to be confirmed:

A FILM SHOW including fascinating ‘short’ films showing Bristol both past and present.
A WINE TASTING - an opportunity to sample another special selection of Portuguese wines.

Letter from the editor:
Since our last communication 28 BOA members have taken part in a much enjoyed 5 day trip to Porto and Bragança in June. Each visit seems better than the last! Do have a look at the Diário page of this website to see and read about the many high spots. We have also been very much involved in a recent visit of musicians from Portugal and their heritage project ‘767 Miles to Bristol’. A report and photos of this successful and popular week of events follows. Our Charitable Foundation and the projects it supports were highlighted in our last issue. Some new suggestions have been received and we have grant aided projects scheduled and in the pipeline. These include a pinhole camera project with a south Bristol secondary school, a lantern making project with a group of young people for a winter parade in Bedminster. A young person from Porto should be coming to Bristol on a short scholarship awarded by Associação Porto-Bristol our sister organisation. Other plans are afoot but we would always welcome further ideas so please keep thinking!! Many of you already know that our Association Treasurer for over 30 years Harry Smith sadly passed away on Friday 28th June. A great character, friend and loyal supporter of both our Association and Foundation he will truly be missed by us all.

With best wishes Liz Gamlin

SOCIAL DIARY 2019 - An early Spring Quiz held on Thursday 28th February was as ever competitive but friendly.
Run once again by quizmasters Harry and Ruth Smith who set the questions as well as controlling any would be
rebellion among the teams. As usual there was a great mix of questions with a sprinkling of tricky ones to set
brains ticking. A BITA (Bristol International Twinning Association Quiz) was held a few weeks later and although
BOA was well represented by some of our committee, our warm up event was unfortunately not enough to
secure victory this time round.
Our annual social event this year was held on Saturday 13th April at Henbury Golf Club where BOA members and
friends enjoyed an aperitif of red or white port, followed by a super dinner and lively country music provided by a
duo named The Perfect Cure.

A most memorable visit to Porto and Braganca followed from the 8th to 13th June organised beautifully for us by
Peter, Anabela and committee members of Associacao Porto-Bristol. Our grateful thanks have already been
conveyed to them. Because it was such a great visit we thought it worthy of a Diario ‘colour supplement’. So
whether you were there or not if you would like to read and see some extracts from our visit please do have a
look at the attached Porto 2019 articles. Notable contributions have been made by several who came on the trip.
~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
‘767 Miles to Bristol’ was a sponsored project organised by Luis Calvalho of Fundacao Museu do Douro in which
a group of 7 musicians and 2 film makers came to Bristol with him from 3rd to 9th July to take part.
Previously they had travelled the entire length of the River Douro following a wine heritage trail making filmed
musical performances on their journey. This award winning film was titled ‘897’ (the length in kilometres of their
Douro journey. Chiefly using drums made from old wine casks and other instruments made from agricultural
implements of the Douro region they offered workshops and performances here in the city. All were skilled
musicians and some played drums, the pipe, guitar and mandolin. They were very well received and local people
turned out in fine weather to enjoy their music. BOA was deeply involved in organising and co-ordinating key
elements of their week’s visits and in showing them around while here – our thanks to all who helped with this.

They were greeted at the Mansion House by Lord Mayor Jos Clark and BOA committee members and although
they had just arrived in the city they put on a short performance in the garden. Coincidentally near to the
twinning signpost which indicates the mileage between Bristol and Porto as being 767 – the title of their project.
They offered public musical performances and were here to produce a documentary film as a follow on to their
highly successful and award winning film called ‘897 Sons do Douro’. To do this they performed over lunchtime
in the Broadmead shopping centre and at M Shed early evening as well as running workshops.

An idea of showing the casks coming into Bristol from Porto after crossing the Atlantic Ocean as of old was
challenging to say the least. Important to show the end of a long journey from the grapes firstly being cultivated
many miles away in the Douro Valley finishing its journey in casks in the old cellars of Bristol.
They also visited Frampton-on-Severn where they performed at a lively folk evening being held in the local pub.
Meeting local people and involving them was a great part of their mission and with such friendly characters in
their group it was easy for them to make new contacts with young and old alike.

Rather like the Pied Piper of Hamelin collecting people in a circle and following the music.
See below - a last evening joining with musicians and a few Porto members you may recognise at the Three Tuns
in Hotwells. They left with one important meeting outstanding a visit to the Portuguese Ambassador in London
on their homeward journey. Much work will now need to be done to piece together the many hours of sound
and film they recorded during their stay.

A warm hearted and talented group of people – we do hope to keep contact with them into the future – either
here or in Porto. We also hope to enjoy their documentary film of the project when completed and copyright
allows although this may be a year or so away.

Chairman: Liz Gamlin tel: 0117 968 4638 Email:
Membership Secretary: Linda Smith tel: 01275 833 456 Email:
Foundation Treasurer: Keith Bonham tel: 0117 968 4972 Email:
Committee: Maureen Gillet, Alix Hughes, Sue Isaacs, Richard Pople, Martin Wragg

Last night (13/04/19) we had our annual BOA dinner at the pleasant surroundings suppled by the Henbury Golf Club. A fine time was had by all on the 35th anniversary of the founding of our association.

Chair Liz advised members and friends attending that  it was on 1th April 1984 that our twinning agreement with Oporto was signed by the Mayors of both cities.  Translated into years this means as a twinning we were 35 years and 2 days old and.  It was good to see that we were still ticking over well.  During those years we had made good and lasting friendships with many in our twin city.  It is quite a wonderful thing to come to our twinning association through many and varied interests. The one area we particularly have in common is a great affection for Portugal and for Porto.    
Social events are popular and much enjoyed – we will continue to keep you posted of future events through emails and Diário our Newsletter. It is also worth mentioning that through fund raising and donations over the years we have supported and continue support a surprisingly wide variety of projects that are connected both with Porto and or Portugal.   If you know or hear of any person or small group that could benefit from grant support – please do remember to let us know.   
A  mention of Porto Quay on the Harbourside in the centre of Bristol.   There is a sign close to the small elevated round lookout area near the  cross ferry.  On the opposite side of the Floating Harbour is the SS  Great Britain.  The area is currently in the later stages of its redevelopment and that and the old gas works site with its character stone buildings are looking pretty good.     
Important  to add that during what has been a difficult year or two for this  country with Brexit looming over us it would  would be a good time to  emphasise how much we have benefitted over the years from our good and special relations  with our European friends.  Never has it been so important to keep this alive.                                    

The evening was an  opportunity for long standing members, friends and for a number of new  members to meet up.  Important as the twinning's biennial trip to Porto  was coming up shortly this June. In the attractive surroundings of the Club House all enjoyed an aperitif of dry white or ruby port with background music provided by The Perfect Cure a duo of local musicians. An evening dinner combined with listening to traditional English, Irish and Scottish country. music. After much foot and finger tapping at tables a good number made it to the dance floor.  A lively end to a very sociable evening.
Membership of our  twinning has grown over the past year as more get to hear of us.  For  anyone interested in or who has a connection with Porto or matters  Portuguese now could be the time to come and join us.
Something about wine:
Bristol and its  connections with the wine and port trades goes back many centuries.   Locally Corsham court the home of the Methuen family came to prominenece  due to the signing of  the Methuen Treay signed 27 December 1703 (popularly known as the "Port  Wine Treaty") This helped to establish trading relations between England and  Portugal. The terms of it allowed English woollen cloth to be admitted  into Portugal free of duty; in return, Portuguese wines imported into  England would be subject to a third less duty than wines imported from  France. This was particularly important in helping the development of  the port  industry. As England was at war with France, it became increasingly  difficult to acquire wine, and so port started to become a popular  replacement.   
Portuguese wines have  enjoyed something of a rennaissance in recent years and some brands of  good quality table wines are among best sellers with large importers. We  hesitate to name them as stocks may dwindle as a result!  

As a twinning we  often organise wine tastings when we can get to try the more less  familiar wines.  Bristol has of course a great history with the Taylor,  Symington and Cockburn families in particular having connections with  the city.  Several local independent wine merchants stock a wide variety  of different Portuguese wines so there is always a good opportunity to  try something different.

Another wine tasting!

On a mild November evening, members gathered in the Undercroft of St Mary Redcliffe for another entertaining wine tasting with Alan Wright of Clifton Cellars (  Fortunately, this time, forward planning by Liz had ensured that the occasion was not marred by the bell ringers choosing to practice on the evening!
Alan brought along a selection of Portuguese wines from all over the country – delicious whites from the north and the east, rich, deep reds from north, west and south and a luscious, honeyed sweet wine from the coastal area close to Lisbon.  Enjoyment of the latter was definitely enhanced by the accompanying Pasteis de Nata.  As Alan said, these wines are still not as well known to British customers as they should be.  
It’s always difficult to choose just one favourite but, for me, the star of the show was Quinta do Romeu’s ‘Westerlies’, a red wine specially blended for a voyage from Porto to Bristol in the century-old sailing ketch Bessie Ellen.  Alan, along with several other members, had tasted some of the cargo the previous Sunday at Underfall Yard and was impressed enough to bring along some bottles for us to enjoy.  
The evening concluded with the usual fantastic buffet from the wonderful in-house catering team and our grateful thanks go to them as well as to Alan and his wife.
Ian Abrahams

The Bessie Ellen

As a Twinning Association whose special links are with Oporto we were understandably excited when we heard the traditional sailing ship the Bessie Ellen was sailing from Porto to Bristol laden with port wine, olives and almonds just as in bygone days.  
Preparations were put in place to give her a warm welcome.  The Underfall Yard where she was due to be moored had offered up space for the producers to display their goods and wines inside the Yard building among the historic pumping station exhibits.
Anton Mann of Xisto Wines was much involved with the voyage and with the wines carried on board. He was keen to promote the small producers who transported goods in this way.  In the event the ship was unable to finish its journey because of completely unforeseen circumstances.
However this did not deter producers and visitors of which there were many who came to the Underfall Yard over the weekend of the 3rd and 4th of November.
The surroundings were very atmospheric, much in keeping with the era of the ship.  Colourful stands were set up by the small producers of the wines and other products on board.  Wine tastings were popular both with the public and with members of the wine trade keen to find new suppliers.
The Bristol Oporto Association had a stand inviting visitors to find out more about our twinning link and about the great trading history of Bristol with Porto and particularly with its port and wine trade. We had a great deal of interest over both days with many enquiries about our twinning link.
There are few traditional sailing craft of this type still sailing and being used as a working ship. It is hoped this idea can be replicated in the near future and that we are able to say that Bristol’s  historic link with the wine trade  and with Porto is still alive and well today.


An annual favourite and an opportunity to meet up with other members, BOA friends and family making it a very sociable occasion.      
Any challenge on the weather front can be met, but this year the sun  shone for us and everyone enjoyed the ‘garden games’ of croquet, boules and quoits with plenty of pasteis de nata on hand.

Keep up with these events and others either here or on our Facebook page.

Upcoming events for your diary:

THE QUIZ BUG - Not one but two quizzes this Spring!  Our Association Quiz held at the Eastfield Inn, Henleaze attracted a good number who challenged themselves and on occasion our quizmaster over correct answers. BITA (Bristol International Twinning Association) also held their annual inter- twinning quiz. We may not have won this time but we are proud to have been the only twinning to have fielded two excellent teams.

SUNDAY 9th SEPTEMBER - TREASURE HUNT in Clifton starting from 2.00pm – further details to follow.

TUESDAY 13th NOVEMBER 7.30pm Autumn Wine Tasting at the Undercroft St Mary Redcliffe Church.

Portuguese Gourmet Dinner at the City of Bristol College Autumn Term. Date and details to follow.


Dates are Saturday 8th to Thursday 13th JUNE. A 5 night stay two centre stay in Porto and in Bragança.
We first spend time in Porto staying in the heritage Ribeira area and visiting nearby Aveiro famous for its canals.  We then travel to explore the area of north east Portugal staying in a hilltop pousada.  The itinerary includes a visit to Miranda do Douro and Alfandega, a tour of Bragança, a Douro boat trip and a rosé wine tasting. Places will be reserved on the usual first come first served basis.  Please let Liz Gamlin know if you are interested.

Bristol now has its very own wine, but don’t worry if you’ve never seen it on the shelves.  At present, there’s just one small problem: the label is missing some key information, so it isn’t legal to sell it in the UK yet.  But I have tasted it!
That was at a wine tasting evening arranged by the Bristol-Porto Twinning Association – a group that fosters links and arranges exchange visits between Bristol and friends in the Portuguese city with whom we have had trading links for many centuries.
The event was hosted by Alan, the owner of Clifton Cellars, one of Bristol’s best independent wine merchants.  He brought along a selection of wines which truly showed how far Portugal has advanced since the days when it was only known for Mateus Rosé. Aklan has an excellent blog about wine here.
The tasting included 2 very different whites: Quinta de Gomariz’s vibrant, citrussy Alvarinho (aka Alboriño) from the Vinho Verde region (£13.99) and Lagar de Darei, a richer and subtly oaked bottle from the Daô made from the local Encruzado variety (£11.98)
Of the reds, Patraô Diogo’s Aragonez- (Tempranillo) based red (£12.85) is a fascinating and rare representative of the tiny Colares region on the coast west of Lisbon.  Its sandy soils have resisted the phylloxera bug and so vines there can be planted on their own rootstocks.  The Vinha da Mouro (£13.50) from the Alentejo showed a lovely southern warmth and richness and brought the evening to a happy close.
The ‘Port O’Bristol’ is from a traditionally planted vineyard at the far eastern end of the Douro Valley. Produced by Ramos Pinto’s winemaker, this was brought over in barrel from Portugal in a sailing boat and bottled in Bristol.  There’s a tiny production and this is the first vintage of a wine that is certainly a ‘work in progress’ at present but one that is worth keeping a close eye on.
If you are interested in joining the Bristol-Porto Twinning Association, please go to this page, download the membership slip, attach a cheque and post it to the address on the slip.

our recent presence at the Bristol Harbourside Festival, Paulette North of Ujima Radio (98FM in Bristol) invited us to an interview. Your webmaster duly appeared at the appointed hour on 29th September. The results can be heard on the Listen Again section on their website here.
Search for Outlook  with Paulette 1pm hour 2 of 2.

Our chairperson, Liz Gamlin and your webmaster were recently invited to Bristol Community Radio (BCfm, 93.2Mhz, site) for an
interview and to publicise our association. The results may be heard here - look for Silver Sounds 11:00 26/11/15. We hope
we managed to reach out to more people and to give an informative interview.
As always, feed back to webmaster.

BOA chairperson Liz Gamlin and BITA co-ordinator Alix Hughes  met with Dave Trigger, the Castle Park ranger on 19th November 2015 to discuss the  situation regarding the Oporto ceramic floor. The ceramic piece of  public  art is entitled “only dead fish float with the current” and was created  by Spike Island artist Vic Moreton in the famous traditional Ceramica  do Douro factory in Oporto, after his design won a competition with  artists from both Oporto and Bristol. The piece  was unveiled in 1993 as part of the revamped Castle Park’s huge range  of new public art. The Oporto ceramic has been lovingly repaired by Dave  Trigger each time it has been damaged by weather or park users. Sadly  it has now reached the stage of being beyond  repair and the BOA is leading the discussion to have it removed and  perhaps re configured on a wall along Oporto Quay. The BOA would like to  hear your views on this.

Please send your comments to the webmaster.

Tree Planting in Castle Park, Bristol

Representatives from the BOA joined members of the One Tree Per Child team and councillors from Oporto in Castle Park on 9th October 2015 to plant a tree. Deputy Mayor Felipe Araújo and Deputy Councillor Luis Assunçião from Oporto City Council were in Bristol to attend the Eurocities Environmental Forum and took time out to plant a Sorbus Bristoliensis. Twin city Oporto want to send us one of their Portuguese Oak Trees in the future and we will be sending another sorbus bristoliensis to Oporto for their National Tree Day in November. The sorbus bristoliensis only grows in the Avon Gorge in Bristol, and we are thus quite proud of it.
The aim of the tree planting was  to symbolise the growth of the link and to mark Oporto’s celebration of our European Green Capital Year. The idea originally came from a conversation in Oporto with Bristol City Council’s head of sustainability, Alex Minshull and the project was progressed by Alix Hughes from the BOA and Richard Ennion from the BCC parks team.
From left to right:
Maureen Gillet’s (committee member) partner, Cllr Mark Wright, Maureen Gillett, Richard Pople, Richard Ennion, Cllr Felipe Araujo, Alix Hughes, Cllr Luis Assuncao, Will Fawcett
 Councillor Dr Mark Wright (Lib Dem councillor for Cabot Ward which includes Castle Park) and Councillor Felipe Araújo
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