Past Holidays

Wisemans Ferry – November, 2015


Wonderful catering by Carola Hoogervorst started off the long weekend at the Retreat in Wisemans Ferry. Friday’s lesson on Bidding Minor Suit Slams was followed by a Welcome Pairs  duplicate. After drinks, the group dined at Busby’s restaurant – a delicious meal with plenty of conviviality! Kerry Rymer had organised a raffle to raise money for the Orangutans in Sumatra – won by Beryl Manuel.

Saturday’s lesson was on declarer play – particularly how to avoid the danger hand. During the free afternoon, some participants walked the Convict Road in the rain; others went to St Albans or had a leisurely lunch and a massage in Wisemans Ferry.  The duplicate session gave lots of opportunities to practise what had been learnt in the morning. Our buffet that night was at the Riverbend restaurant (at the venue).

Anita’s lesson on Psychic Defence (Sunday) discussed the best way to decide on leads and when to signal partner.

Congratulations to the following Pairs on their results:
Welcome Pairs (Friday)
North-South: Martin Johnson & Hope Tomlinson
East-West: Christine Joslin & Beryl Manuel
Special mention: John Colyer & Beverley Gwatkin

Convict Road Pairs (Saturday)
North-South: David Liell & Hans Van Weeren
East-West: Maggie Sweeney & Prue Currie
Special mention: Joan Sleeman & Ros Hayden

Farewell Pairs (Sunday)
North-South: Jan Munster & Josephine Abrahams
East-West: Glynnis Golsby & Carol Blaikie
Special mention: Mary Collings & Julie Elsworth

 

Leura – May, 2015


Cold, fine weather, plenty of food and relaxed bridge awaited a group of 56 who spent 4 days at the Leura Waldorf Gardens Resort. After some nibbles on arrival, David gave a lesson on Double Trouble, which emphasised that takeout doubles can occur at different levels, if they are your first entry into the bidding. Our Welcome Pairs followed, along with drinks and a scrumptious dinner at Silks Brasserie in Leura.

Tuesday dawned with an intrepid group of walkers braving the freezing conditions to get their dose of exercise! The morning’s bridge began with another lesson:How to avoid common mistakes in defence with David. Defenders triumphed when given some general principles to follow during the hand. There was free time until mid-afternoon, with participants choosing between bushwalks, shopping, high tea, golf or simply taking it easy. The Silks Pairs allowed defenders and declarers alike some practice. Dinner was at a restaurant of your own choice – and there were lots to choose from!

Wednesday morning’s session involved a great deal of hilarity & discussion, during a workshop on Bidding Decisions. The early afternoon was free again, with the Avalon Pairs starting mid-afternoon. All the group had dinner at the Avalon restaurant in Katoomba – a quirky site in the old dress circle of the cinema.

Our Farewell Pairs was the last session of Leura, with a short discussion of hands of interest before it.

Congratulations to the following Pairs on their excellent results:
Welcome Pairs (Monday)
North-South: Marilyn Mason & Betty Priestley
East-West: Margaret Hutchison & Moira Weate
Special mention: Pam & Brian Spies

Silks Pairs (Tuesday)
North-South: Eve Manns & Judy Twigg
East-West: Yola & Steve Center
Special mention: Mary Collings & Julie Elsworth

Avalon Pairs (Wednesday)
North-South: Colleen Kelly & Maureen Collins
East-West: Rhonda Omodei & Kay Inglis
Special mention: Fiona Atkinson & Jenny Dempsey

Farewell Pairs (Thursday)
North-South: Elfy & Selwyn Suchet
East-West: Joan & Jan Geyle

Japan Tour 2015

Bridge with Beauchamp’s second tour to Japan amongst the cherry blosssoms

27 travellers from NSW and Canberra (3 non-bridge players) met in Tokyo on March 23 for a stunning welcome buffet at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku. Shinjuku was a bit of a shock: people everywhere bustling to work (and play)… It took about 20 minutes to walk across the station (if you didn’t get lost)! It was a good thing that we had our “Bridge with Beauchamp” flag – with card symbols on it, of course. We did find some peace, though: Shinjuku Gyoen (park) was an oasis of calm where the cherry blossoms were just starting to come out. Some people were lucky enough to be able to see Mount Fuji from their bedroom windows – what a way to wake up!

We all enjoyed our night at the Yotsuya bridge club, playing against Japanese locals. It was some people’s first time using bidding boxes but the Japanese were very friendly and helpful.

Day 3 was a day trip to Kamakura – an ancient capital of Japan to see the temples, shrines and Big Buddha. A highlight was also the peony garden – giant blossoms framed by traditional Japanese umbrellas and a pond. Some of us also discovered the delights of local “crepes” – cream cheese & rum or strawberry & chocolate – delicious!

Then it was off to Kyoto on the bullet train – with clear views of Mount Fuji. For the first few days in Kyoto, the cherry blossoms were only buds but they suddenly erupted into splendour…. As a group, we went to see the Silver Pavilion, the Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu temple. The Philosopher’s Path was very popular in people’s free time, as was Gion area. All sorts of gems were uncovered: from temples to walks in the country (never mind shopping areas)! We had a traditional dinner at a well known Kyoto restaurant – run by a chef who worked with Tetsuya in Sydney!

There were excursions to Osaka for a boat cruise and walk around the castle area; Hiroshima/Miyajima area and also newly re-opened Himeji castle as an extra. None of us made it inside the castle, as there was a 2 hour wait!

It was a whirlwind trip that gave a great glimpse of Japan to our group. We are looking forward to going back to Japan in 2016!

GERRINGONG – October 2014

What an amazing holiday! We had wild storms, freezing cold, warmth & sunshine – all in a 4 day period! There were breaks in the weather that allowed keen walkers to do part of the Coastal walk on Tuesday (Werri Beach to Kiama Heights). There was much mirth at the sight of each person crossing the beach as the tide was coming in, trying to avoid getting their feet wet…

Outstanding dinners at Bella Char and Shimmer restaurants featured and the morning/afternoon teas at the Mercure were scrumptious. Last but not least – the bridge: a duplicate session every day, as well as lessons with David on Managing Entries in No Trumps, Competitive Bidding and Inspired Defence. Due to the bad weather, Anita gave an extra session – Hand Evaluation & the Losing Trick Count for those who did not want to venture outside.

  • ADVANCED PLAYERS’ WORKSHOP AT LEURA – September 2014

    Waldorf Leura Linden tree - spring for website

    This 3 day workshop was aimed at experienced tournament players, with a majority coming from the NSW country regions! The program included seminars, discussions, bidding practice and play of set hands on the following topics: Advanced card combinations; Play and bid challenging hands from the Gold Coast finals with hand by hand analysis; Advanced defensive techniques – Surround plays and the Deschapelles Coup, as well as defensive signalling options; How your partnership can use hand evaluation to make high level and slam bidding easier; How to combine your chances as a declarer; Comprehensive defences to multi’s; Winning psychology in bridge and Elimination Plays.

    Two lovely dinners were also a highlight – at Silks Brasserie in Leura and Pins on Lurline in Katoomba. Many of the participants still found time for walking in the mountains, despite the intensive schedule.

    • Northern Italy May 2014

      Bellissima Firenze

      How to describe our trip so far? Sunny Florence full of gelato, pizza, pasta, cakes, shopping, crazy taxi drivers/motorists and tired feet! 26 Aussies had a lovely welcome dinner (but missed Judy and Kerry who were stuck in Hong Kong due to plane difficulties). Popular outings have been: the Accademia with the original David; opera performances in St Mark’s church at night, the Boboli Gardens/Pitti Palace and climbing to the top of the duomo (463 stairs). Susie & Josie couldn’t wait to climb the Campanile as well (an extra 400 stairs), and weren’t even sore the next day….. Piazzale Michelangelo, with its stunning views of all of Florence, was the scene of many photos and then we climbed up the hill to the Church of San Miniato, for views from a different vantage point. Strolling through little alleys, we detoured to a beautiful rose garden; went through the city walls and ended up at the Pitti Palace for a well earned coffee break and many hours of enjoyment in the gardens, galleries and museums. A lucky few managed to find the gate linking the Boboli with the Bardini gardens and discovered the coffee shop with the best view in Florence at the top of the Bardini.

      On Thursday, we also had the opportunity to visit one of Florence’s bridge clubs – a real experience! After a brisk half hour march via Santa Maria Novella, we gratefully sat down to compete against local players. Congratulations to Noelene & Felicity, John & Helen and Sally & David for winning prizes! Then it was off to pizza in a nearby pizzeria – squisita!

      We all had dinner together in an Osteria right next to Piazza della Signoria on Friday night and were able to fill each other in on our ‘free’ day. A group of 8 went up to the hills of Fiesole (20 minutes from Florence) and walked down little lanes and above olive groves, culminating in lunch with a perfect view. The rest of the group did more shopping (fashionable leather handbags & jackets) and visited sites such as Santa Croce (yes, another church), Uffizi Gallery and just wandered around, soaking up the atmosphere in Florence.

      Saturday was spent in Lucca. We had perfect weather again (in fact, it was hot!). After our train trip, we spent the day exploring this medieval town. Some hired bicycles/pedal carts and rode around the wide walls, while others walked them or strolled the myriad of streets with delicious buccellato (semi-sweet bread with raisins) and interesting piazze at every turn. Then, it was onto our bridge game at the Lucca bridge club. We were amazed that we were playing bridge in  one of the original gatehouses, where sections of transparent glass on the floor were used to throw boiling oil on invaders!  Felicity & Noelene were pipped at the post by Greg & Sharon – a very close competition.

      Our next excursion included Siena and San Gimignano with a guide – rival hill towns with winding streets and a long history. The duomo in Siena was very impressive but Kit and David preferred climbing to the top of the Torre del Mangia for great views. We were lucky enough to see a parade in medieval costume around the main square as well.

      Monday was  a real change of pace – cooking school in the Tuscan countryside at an agriturismo. Who can argue with spending the day cooking, eating and drinking in beautiful surroundings? We learnt how to make homemade pasta in a vegetable and wine sauce, plus chicken involtini (stuffed with prosciutto)! We had a tour of the working winery and sipped our wine, before sitting down to a surprisingly excellent meal that we had cooked ourselves! Fears that our cooking would be inedible were unsubstantiated – it was outstanding!

      6 days in Verona

      Our coach arrived promptly at 9am on Tuesday 13th May and, by midday, we were in Verona. After a quick lunch in Piazza Bra’, we went to the Arena – still used to this day for concerts and Juliet’s balcony, where Eileen and Phil attempted to re-enact Shakespeare’s famous love scene. Unfortunately, the weather was not kind to us and the skies opened, just as we arrived at the Ponte Pietra (stone bridge). We took refuge in various coffee shops, waiting for the weather to settle down. Some time later, the rain eased. Some went shopping (again!) and others walked around the environs of Verona, ending up at Castelvecchio – a 14th Century residence/fortress that now houses a museum.

      Padova – an unspoilt university town was our next stop. We were lucky enough to have the wonderful Paolo Clair from the Padova Bridge Club take us around the town for an hour, introducing us to the delights of  Caffe’ Pedrocchi, the university and the markets. After a leisurely lunch and the chance to see the famous Prato delle Valle square and Basilica di Sant’Antonio, we headed for the bridge club – a true highlight of the trip. The hospitality we received was extraordinary, including a 3 course meal worthy of the finest restaurant and pre-dinner seafood ‘snacks’ with champagne. We discovered that we were playing in a simultaneo (tournament that played the same boards throughout Italy) and our visit was reported on the Italian Bridge Federation site! Congratulations to Sally & David; Greg & Sharon and Beth & Trish for excellent results.

      Thursday was a tour into the Soave and Valpolicella districts. Some of the group chose to explore the town of Soave – east of Verona, with its perfectly intact castle, while others enjoyed the wine tour. Then we transferred to Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella for a lovely lunch with accompanying wines and a saunter to a viewpoint afterwards – a lovely way to celebrate Noelene’s birthday!

      The following day was a jaunt to the gateway of the Dolomites – Bolzano, as well as Helen’s birthday. From there, we took a cable car to the top of Ritten/Renon (everything is written in both German and Italian); walked to the Earth Pyramids, stopping for Wiener Schnitzel or goulasch and some people even found Apfelstrudel! The scenery was gorgeous and we all enjoyed the change of pace and relative isolation.

      Venezia was next on the agenda – back to the hustle and bustle with beautiful canals, glass, masks and plenty of tourists… Our last day was ‘free’ for shopping/ sightseeing/ relaxing until the late afternoon, when we enjoyed more Italian hospitality at the Verona Bridge Club (many thanks to Daniela Granuzzo). Hilary and Bob starred in this session with 60% – a great effort! We were treated to dinner at the club after the game, plus after dinner singing by John McGrath….

      We said a sad goodbye to those leaving the tour (Hilary & Bob, Eileen & Phil, Trish, Janice, Noelene & Felicity) and prepared ourselves for the next exciting instalment of our Italy adventure – Lake Como.

      Tour B – Bellagio – Lake Como


      The trip to Bellagio from Verona on May 19 was a challenge for those who didn’t like winding roads (sorry, Jan!). Nevertheless, with all 20 passengers intact, we disembarked to a scene of incomparable beauty: snow tipped mountains; a gorgeous lake; sunny skies; quaint towns and a hotel right on the water in the pearl of Lake Como – Bellagio.

      After lunch, we walked to the elegant Villa Melzi gardens, with its maples and impressive architecture. We were to see many villas over the next week but the general consensus was that none could compare with Villa Melzi. The remainder of the afternoon was given over to exploration, word quickly spreading about the cafe’ at the point with stunning views. Drinks and nibbles were held on the 5th floor terrace of our hotel – we all felt very special! Then, an enjoyable dinner at the hotel.

      Tuesday dawned with fine weather again, thank goodness, as we prepared for our 10 km Greenway walk from Colonno to Tremezzo. Before we started, we visited Villa Carlotta – another beautiful 18th Century villa and gardens. The Greenway walk had been described as “leisurely” and we were therefore rather surprised to begin with a hill that would have put fear in the hearts of less sturdy troopers. The group walked at very different speeds but everyone enjoyed the spectacular scenery, although I don’t think many of us ‘enjoyed’ the slog up the hills (apart from our mountain goats: Susie, David, Kerry M & Kerry R, Sally, Sharon). Roles were reversed for the tour leaders – David taking the lead and Anita bringing up the rear…. Everyone reunited for lunch in Lenno, some people deciding to catch the ferry back to Bellagio afterwards, with others continuing their trek. Josie, Greg and Marianne took the low road (by mistake – they say!) thereby avoiding the hills, while the rest were rewarded for their efforts with a wedding in a mountain church (featuring an Australian!). There were many sore muscles that day but it was worth it…..

      Wednesday was an early start, in order to catch the fast ferry to Como. Much of the trip there and back was spent searching for George Clooney’s villa on the shores of the lake – congratulations to Sharon for finally spotting it! 14 stalwart souls caught a mini bus to Brunate (above Como) and then attempted to walk to the lighthouse. Well done to Sally, Sharon, Susie, Kerry M, Kit, Josie and David for reaching the top! I don’t think I have ever seen a steeper path in my life…. Then Kit, Josie, Susie, Anita & David walked from Brunate down an old mule path (oh, my aching legs!) and staggered to the main square for a well deserved gelato, before catching the ferry home. We were all very happy to see our small town of Bellagio, after the ‘crowds’ in Como.

      After a short ferry trip to Varenna the following day, we gazed with dismay at the castle up the top of a mountain. The original plan had been to walk up (for 15 minutes – ho ho ho! I do wish that they gave accurate timing and description for walks!). Most people elected to take a taxi to the top, with the exception of our obsessive walkers (you can guess who they were), who promised to meet us soon. We had time for a leisurely cup of coffee at the top and were beginning to get concerned that we would never see our adventurers again, when they arrived panting and dishevelled after a number of abortive attempts to reach the castle. They were not given time off for good behaviour, as we were booked to see the Castello di Vezio and view a falconry exhibition. The way down to the town was rated as ‘much easier’ but in fact was quite challenging and appeared to be heading in completely the wrong direction….Luckily, we did end up back in town. Lunch was far more relaxing, overlooking the lake but the weather took a turn for the worse and it started to rain again just as we began our guided tour of Villa Monastero. Most people preferred to wander around the gardens and a visit to Villa Cipressi was cut short by a general desire to return to Bellagio to relax before dinner. We caught the ferry by the skin of our teeth (they turned back for us!)

      Friday featured two bridge workshops with David; Bidding Decisions – Italy & Partnership Bidding. The rest of the day was free for wandering; visits to Menaggio (Josie and Susie) or just relaxing – most people! A group went to Pescallo – a fishing village on the other side of the hill for lunch. That night, we ate the best meal of our trip at the Sporting Club, cooked by a young chef – Francesco, who had just spent 6 months in Australia. It was an outstanding meal: antipasto of local delicacies; gnocchi and crespelle; fruit tart. Bellagio was a real highlight of our Italy trip – highly recommended…..

      Our last day on tour was spent in Milano. We walked from the hotel to Castello Sforzesco, where we happened to come upon a large market, so a spontaneous break for lunch was called. Later, after a walk via Teatro Scala, we arrived at the Duomo – that is what I call a REAL church! Everyone went their separate ways for the remainder of the afternoon, to regroup that night for the farewell dinner.

      Many friendships were made on this trip and there was a real feeling of camaraderie. Photos will be in our gallery shortly.

       

      Leura 2014 in March-April

      Bridge players came from near and far: Queensland, Canberra, Southern Highlands and Sydney to enjoy 4 days of bridge and fun with David and John. We were also joined by ‘locals’ who travelled up from various towns in the Blue Mountains, Windsor and Emu Plains.

      As usual, free time was greatly enjoyed: walking to Sublime Point and Pool of Siloam, playing golf, bike rides, shopping and resting! Who said that bridge players aren’t an active group????

      Mornings were spent with David learning new skills – the “Combine Your Chances” session was particularly popular, although there was considerable discussion about the percentages for each option. Afternoons featured duplicate games with delicious fruit for afternoon tea and drinks afterwards, plus dinner at local restaurants, of course.

      Have a look at our photo gallery for more pictures. Many thanks to Kerry Rymer and Kit Meyers for their wonderful photos.

      Advanced Player workshop at The Anchorage – Port Stephens

      Although there were torrential storms on the way to the venue, the weather cleared beautifully and allowed for sensational views from the bridge area at the Anchorage over the water.

      35 players from all over NSW were involved in challenging bidding and play workshops: Morton’s Fork; Trump Coups, Dummy Reversals; intra-finesse positions; recognising trump promotions; high level bidding auctions and competitive bidding skills. Hands form the 2013 Asian Pacific Bridge Championships in Hong Kong and NEC Cup in Yokohama tested our skills, with post-game analysis.

      In between stimulating bridge, there were long walks along the beach; games of billiards; dinner at Merretts Restaurant and also the local Sandpiper Restaurant in Nelson Bay and a relaxing drink at the hotel bar!

      Terrigal in September

      The weather was perfect for 3 days of bridge – wet and windy, except at sunrise! (Thanks for the beautiful photo, Alison).

      We welcomed players from Sydney, Wollongong, Windsor, Bowral and, of course, all over the Central Coast. David’s workshops encompassed Card Play Technique & Bidding over the opponents’ pre-empts including the Law of Total Tricks and there were four duplicate sessions as well: 3 pairs and one teams – a first for many of our players using the American Whist movement (boards up one; players up two!). In between, the Crowne Plaza took care of us royally with scrumptious buffets, morning and afternoon teas (see slide show).

      Shopping was nearly as popular as the bridge, with participants spreading the word about antique jewellery stores and clothes shops. Despite the weather, some people managed to do some walking on the esplanade and enjoy the luxurious bar facilities in the hotel.

      Leura in May

      – autumn colours, food galore and 60 eager bridge players – what a combination!

      The Waldorf Leura Garden Resort hosted our four day bridge extravaganza featuring lessons on Analysis of Leura Hands; How to Avoid Common Mistakes in Defence and Bidding Decisions after Pre-empts. There were five duplicate sessions (the Monday night session after dinner and wine plus fresh country air was particularly jovial); a choice of dinner at Wentworth Falls with a delicious Chinese seafood buffet or Italian 3 course menu; dinner at the Avalon Restaurant in Katoomba (the old Savoy cinema with quaint furnishings -did everyone go and inspect the bathrooms?) and non-stop nibbles and refreshments.

      Apart from eating and drinking, retail therapy was a popular pastime, as well as the intrepid few who braved the early morning cold to go on healthy walks or played golf at the nearby golf course. There was also a tour of the Waldorf gardens, an excursion to the Everglades gardens and plenty of post game discussion of hands while enjoying a sip or two at the bar.

      It was wonderful to meet so many of you and to welcome players from all over New South Wales, not to mention the Queenslanders!

      We have rebooked the same venue for next year in early April, so make a note in your diaries for 2014!!!!! Have a look at our photo gallery for more pictures.

      Japan Tour 2013

      Bridge with Beauchamp’s first tour to Japan was a resounding success!

      29 travellers from all over Australia (Launceston, Alice, Darwin, Sanctuary Cove, Perth, Sydney, Coffs Harbour, Tamworth and the Central Coast) spent 10 days in Tokyo, Hakone (Mt Fuji), Kyoto and Hiroshima. Days were spent sightseeing with Anita at the helm. David ran some late afternoon bridge workshops while evenings were devoted to duplicates.

      Whenever travelling, the group was subdivided into Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. Bridge players thrive on competition and soon the groups were vying to produce the best chant, demonstrated on Japanese subways and outside supermarkets. Spades even went to the extent of making a badge and wearing it wherever they went!

      A plastic pink deer from Nara was adopted as the mascot of the group. To the amusement of the locals, it was paraded through towns and train stations with 28 Aussies following behind.

      There were endless opportunities to take photos of traditional Japanese gardens, temples and castles. No one could fail to be moved by the Peace Museum in Hiroshima, dedicated to the elimination of nuclear arms. Japanese department stores and shopping were popular and some people even took time out from bridge in Kyoto to attend a show demonstrating traditional Japanese arts such as flower arranging, dance, koto (instrument), puppets, kabuki etc.

      Highlights included a night in a traditional Japanese inn with incredible food and piping hot springs; hospitality and bridge at the Yotsuya Bridge Club in Tokyo; luscious Japanese pancakes in Hiroshima made right in front of us; travelling on the famous bullet trains (how DO they get everything to run on time?); an earthquake on Marlene’s birthday; a deer eating Anita’s notes; the beautiful island of Miyajima with views from the top of the mountain and the orange torii (shrine) gate surrounded by water and last but not least, great merriment playing bridge together and new friendships made.

      We were all delighted with the kindness shown to us by Japanese passers-by, who went out of their way to guide and befriend us. Our thanks also go to the Yotsuya Bridge Club and especially Tadayoshi Nakatani for organising a special night of bridge and allowing us to use their bridge tables on our travels.