The club was founded in 1975. On the occasion of the twentieth anniversary the first president, Paul Lüssi, sent a text message to be read out by the then president Trevor Dury. Paul wrote about the beginnings of the club.
This is Paul Lüssi speaking in Tauranga, New Zealand - the better end of the world! Good evening everyone.
Joan and I send our best wishes and congratulations to the English-Speaking Club Baden/Brugg. Sorry we cannot be with you, but when we are sitting down to our Sunday morning breakfast in autumny New Zealand - while you have a real Swiss nosh up - we shall certainly be thinking of you.
Trevor has asked me to say a few words about how the club started 20 years ago. Keep it to five minutes, he insisted. Already 20 years ago! Since then, lots of water went down the Aare, the Limmat, the Ticino, the Thur and the Ohinemuri River. I still have difficulties pronouncing Maori names.
It all started because Joan and I had been members of the English Club Solothurn and when we moved to Untersiggenthal we missed the company of English speaking people. So one evening we plucked up courage and knocked at Lyall's door in Turgi. After a very warm welcome by Lyall, Pat and his family we all decided then and there to get a club started in Baden although there was already a regular English Stammtisch existing.
Consequently we wrote to the local papers and sent out leaflets to firms and various English people. An information evening was held at the Kapellerhof Hotel on 10th October 1974 (Joan's birthday) and more people turned up than we had dared to expect. An ad hoc committee of volunteers was formed with the task to get the club under way. They were a great bunch of guys and girls and we had many lively evenings discussing club rules, club policy and possible programmes. I don't think we ever came to blows, but there were many heated arguments, fueled by numerous crates of beer during those long, long evenings. We had to bring everybody's ideas of what the club should be like and how it should be run down to one common denominator. The rules were to be simple and no longer than one A4 page. Many years later, when the English Club Toggenburg was founded in Wattwil, these very rules were adopted almost word-for-word.
A few club meetings were held before the foundation proper in January 1975. My memory lets me down as to the actual order of events but I remember an evening in a hut near Nussbaumen when so many prospective members turned up that we had to send out for some more Bratwürste. The room was so full you couldn't swing a cat. Which was just as well because there were no cats about
We invited the president of the Federation, Denis Stephenson, to chair the foundation meeting in January. There was a rather embarrassing moment when nominations for the first president were put forward, Three or four persons’ names were proposed. Denis asked these people to stand up and each one was asked in turn if he would be willing to take on the job. One after another sat down and I was left standing on my own. It looked as if it all had been arranged in advance, which, of course, it actually had.
Unfortunately I was unable to act as president for very long, because of partnership problems in the printing business in Untersiggenthal, of which I was a part-owner, Joan and I, with our five children, all still at school, were suddenly forced to find a new home and livelihood. This was at the time of the first oil crisis. We left the Baden area and opened a Hotel Garni in Locarno where we welcomed many English Club Members from Baden and elsewhere. I remember Marcel and Agnes Escudier and Rolf and Margret Wymann staying with us. Both couples helped to soften the change from printing to catering, from German to Italian, from guest to host.
At the end of the club's first year I resigned as president. Vice President David Stone had been carrying on club business during most of the first year. I still remember that first AGM which I conducted rather haphazardly. One member kept calling me to order when I disregarded proper proceedings, and I got so fed up with him that, being me, I lost my temper. Years later, when I was in Baden Hospital with a broken leg, this member was on the same floor. He apologized for his constant interruptions at the AGM and we had a good laugh about it
Later on we lost contact with the club as we were doing all kinds of jobs in all sorts of places, but we were always pleased when Joyce Widmer sent us the club programme. When all our children had left home by 1988 we moved to the Toggenburg and started a translation bureau - and yes - wait for it - another English Club. It turned out to be one of our busiest and most rewarding times - both socially and work-wise.
We retired last year and emigrated to New Zealand because three of our now grown-up children have settled here.
We have bought a small house on two acres and six perches (about 8250 square meters in sensible measures). We have a small avocado orchard and a few weeks ago we started commercial lavender growing with an initial 500 plants. Ultimately we will have 2500 plants. It's hard work but it smells nice. We are now full time horticulturalists - no time to sit around. It gives us great pleasure and keeps us out of mischief, and I have already lost 7 kilos of surplus weight - which can't be bad.
When we first lived in New Zealand we were homesick after the busy life we led in Wattwil - but we have now settled down. We have nice neighbours (one is also Swiss) and I have got used to most of NZ's food, well sort of. Tauranga in the North Island is famous for its mild climate. We are now in mid-autumn. Although there is never any snow in winter, it can get cold, wet, frosty and windy in July and August.
Well, I let you get on with your festivities. Joan and I wish you a nice evening and we look forward to sending you greetings in five year's time. In the meantime, if any of you happen to be in New Zealand, look us up. There's always a cup of tea and a Steinlager - the best beer in the world - well, at least in the Southern hemisphere,
Have a jolly good evening!
The 2023 Badenfahrt - which was the 100 year aniversary of the event - took place between Friday 18th August and Sunday 27th August.
In 1975, soon after the founding of the club, Baden announced that an "interim" or "klein" Badenfahrt would take place under the motto "Musiläum".
It was though that it would be a golden opportunity for the new club to get some local publicity.
We built a restaurant - "The Shakespeare Pub" in the Kurpark. It was a great success.
The Badener Tagblatt reported the parade (we didn't take part in this)..
The English-Speaking Club also took part in the 1977 Badenfahrt which went under the motto "Im Wasser sind zwöi Liebe", The club built a restaurant in the form of a watermill which was constructed in the Kurpark.
The club did not take part in any subsequent Badenfahrts. The next opportunity would have been in 1982 (see programme).. Although plenty of people would have volunteered to serve drinks, nobody was willing to manage the project, which would have involved many hours if not days work.
At that time most members had not retired!
The meetings and events of the first twenty years.