A new era at the AGM in
Helix Scandinavica

by Buster Berntsen

From the Quarterly Worme, June 2001

I just came back from our 8th AGM in Helix Scandinavica, this year held in Esbjerg, Denmark. Our hosts were Martin Jessen, his wife Anne-Lise Kohler and Anders Villernoes. This meeting started a new era in our club. For the first time, associate members participated. The club has been opened for associate members since 1996 but never before have we had the pleasure to have any of our ten associate members at the AGM. In 1998 the German club joined our meeting specially invited by us. Many of them are associate members in HS. So this year gave us a new experience that I must say filled our hearts with great joy and pride. Klaus and Barbara Bierman, Ferd and Mariet Peters, Francis and Joyce Hutchinson and Alf Leif Erickson and Watcharee guilded our meeting with their presence. And we had a fantastic meeting.

We met at Scandic Hotel in Esbjerg on Thursday the 24th of May. The official meeting started the day after with a trip to a flea market at the break of dawn, followed by the traditional opening ceremony at the Jessen residence. We always start the meeting by singing our anthem. It doesn't always sound great, but we don't rehearse and we are in fact getting better every year. What is the song called? "The old Corkscrew" of course.

After a splendid lunch at the Jessen house, and corkscrew viewing, we had our AGM. This is the only part where our associate members can't attend. The supper was at the art museum, designed by the same architect as the Sydney Opera house. We were hardly finished when Alf called upon us and together with his balloon crew took all members to a completely new level. Being so extremely generous and bringing his ten person strong crew to Esbjerg, he invited us all to go up in his wonderful Corkscrew balloon. What a nice experience. Most of us had never done that before. With all our hearts: THANK YOU ALF!

Sunday started with viewing corkscrews at the hotel followed by an auction. At midday we met at the Villernoes residence for further viewing of corkscrews. Being in Denmark, our hosts had the good taste to let us have lunch (frukost) at a genuine Danish restaurant (kro) with some local specialties, all washed down with beer and schnapps of course, accompanied by a variety of Scandinavian songs in that particular field. Unforgettable.

The afternoon was spent onboard a boat out on the bay outside Esbjerg. We were left off on the island Fanoe for a quick walkabout before returning to Esbjerg for dinner at a most fantastic restaurant by the docks. During dinner our hosts were called upon for a rewarding trip together with Alf, his daughter and Watcharee in the balloon over the city. The rest of us cheered them enviously from outside the restaurant. As all previous nights we kept the bartender at the hotel busy and the feeling of camaraderie and laughs never rested. I guess we all left Sunday morning with great satisfaction of an absolutely unforgettable meeting. I can't wait until Oslo next year.

Photos used in The Quarterly Worme:

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