Brexit has cast its ugly shadow over Bath’s town-twinning arrangements for the festive season as Marian McNeir MBE writes:
‘For the past 6 years , our colleagues from Aix en Provence , Bath’s twin city in France, have brought an enticing selection of typical Provencal goods like wine, lavender products , unusual chestnut honey and melon marzipan, Marseilles soaps and colourful typical Provencal fabrics.
The stall is hugely popular with customers who come year after year to stock up on original Christmas presents.
Equally, volunteers from the Bath – Aix Twinning Committee take about £8000s worth of local goods to Aix to sell at their Christmas market.
Local companies like the Twerton Bakery who supply nearly 2000 mince pies and mini Christmas cakes, “In a Pickle ” whose marmalades and chutneys fly off the stall in Aix and Whittard’s Teas in the Guildhall Market all benefit from this Christmas market exchange.
But not this year ! We have researched the Brexit implications on import / export taxes, increased transport costs and even having to engage a specialist firm to deal with the bureaucracy where the slightest mistake in the form filling could mean fatal delays at the ports.
All this mitigates against having a stall in Bath or Aix and I can quite understand how frustrating it has been for B&NES to have to cancel the traditional Christmas Market.
In the circumstances I think the Council has taken the right decision — let’s hope for a return to the usual Christmas Market fare in 2022 with our friends from Aix able to bring their beautiful goods to delight local residents and visitors alike and for us to be able to showcase Bath products in Aix.’