Thursday 21 May 2009

Concours de Petanque

We are told that one of the sights of this Twinning Celebration worth seeing was a massive Petanque tournament, called a "Concours de Petanque". Petanque (Boules) is hugely popular in France, with many houses having courts in the back yard, many children starting to play from a very young age and most older people (mainly men, but plenty of ladies also) spend a lot of their leisure time playing.

Dad saw a kiddie who can't have been more than 6 or 7 casually lobbing boules about (and then much less casually when he noticed Mum, Dad and their fellow " foreign visitors" watching him) but in such a way that the first casual lob went 15 feet with feirce back-spin and landed "thock" flat with no bounce, and the second casual lob would hit it with unerring accuracy every time.

The "concours" was something else. This one was part of the Twinning (Jumelage) weekend but apparently they go on most weekends anyway. You can see from the pic it takes up the whole of a double soccer hard-pitch and there are dozens and dozens of matches going on all the time. the bar is open and the lads are in and out of there on a regular basis. As it gets dark the flood lights come on and the drinking, playing (and by then singing and tomfoolery) and larks carry on way past midnight and into the small hours.

Sometimes this is still going on at 4, 5 or 6 in the morning, by which time the average player is completely tanked, can barely stand, never mind see the boules or throw accurately, and nobody knows who's winning, or even cares.

My only experience of petanque was on a 2CV camp, where Dad was playing friends Cliff and Shelley, and where either I, or C+S's collies Ben and Nellie spent most of the time trying to nab the jack-ball and run off with it.

A tout a l'heure

Le Deefer

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