Saturday, August 15, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Night Falling

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Taken at about 10 pm.
Sitting by the side of the house with a glass of wine next to me.


At The Village 2015 Pétanque Tournament, Losers Can be Winners

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The 2015 pétanque tournament  in our village in the Auvergne took place behind the building which houses the 'mairie' and the small elementary school.
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The tournament was hosted by the local hunting club.  Registration took place on the main village square in front of the hunters' club house and next to the church.
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Though the event was supposed to start at 2pm, it took a while for people to assemble.
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This was a 'doublet' tournament, so friends and neighbors teamed up in pairs.
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Patrick and Michel, two of my neighbors were in charge.
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Everything was quite official...
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Eveline, Michel's wife kept track.
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Players either brought their old, scratched up boules,
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or shiny new ones.
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As in years past, there were drinks and sandwiches.  Notice that wine was cheaper than Coke.
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The pétanque courts had been set up in the schoolyard, underneath the old apple trees.
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The fallen apples had been swept aside.
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There would be four games for each team.
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Tension was high as the first game began.
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In all, there were 16 teams.
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Some took the game more seriously than others.
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But secretly, everyone wanted to win.
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Mr. Pardon Me had teamed up with our neighbor, Mr. M.
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Concentration...
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'C'est à vous!'…Your turn to play.
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Some players have perfected the quick flick of the wrist.
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and some adversaries were impossible to beat, no matter the strategy.
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The better players always seem to use a rag to clean the boules before throwing. ( We will have to remember to bring one to next year's tournament.)
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Form is important, of course.
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So is keeping track of the score.
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How to  get one's boule closest to the small wooden cochonet?
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Before throwing a boule, it's important to take a moment to plan its trajectory.
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A tape measure is essential.
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Taking a break.
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After each game, the scores are noted.
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Mr. Pardon Me and Mr. M. lost the first game,
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"Take our picture" they asked.
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Since the winners of a pétanque game have to buy the losers a drink, it was time to step up to the 'bar'.
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So, you see, even if you lose, you can be a winner at pétanque.



Monday, July 27, 2015

Picture Of The Day: Old Stone Stairs

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Stone staircase  spotted at a Côte Du Rhône vineyard.



Training For The Yearly Pétanque Tournament

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The yearly pétanque tournament in our village here in the Auvergne is scheduled for this coming week-end, so Mr, Pardon Me has been busy training for the event.  Every night at around 7 pm,  our neighbors join him on the dirt path in front of our house for a game or two.
Since our 'course de pétanque' is so rocky and uneven, it is virtually impossible to truly aim at the little cochonet, the small wooden ball one has to aim for. I joke with the neighbors that we are playing 'extreme pétanque', rather than the slightly easier version played on an actual court.

Since pétanque has become a big part of our summers here, one f our outings last week was to the Obut museum and store attached to its factory.  Obut is the number one manufacturer of boules world-wide and happens to be located in Saint-Bonnet-le-Château, right here in the Auvergne.  The museum is small, but quite interesting for those passionate about pétanque.
Besides an overview of the history of the game, the museum shows the step-by-step process involved in manufacturing boules.  Did you know that the actual boule is hollow?  I did not either.
Most boules are made of steel, but Obut now manufactures sets in carbon and inbox.  Obviously, those are for professionals and are quite pricey. They are for sale in the boutique, where one can also purchase monogramed boules.
We certainly don't play well enough to have our initials engraved in special boules.  Perhaps one day.
Our visit to Obut included lunch in their new restaurant, overlooking Saint-Bonnet-le-Château.
The restaurant includes a few pétanque courts, so we took advantage and played a game before lunch.

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At the Obut museum
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'Le Plaisir de la pétanque' by B. Morvan
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an old lathe used to make cochonets in the past.
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a collection of old nail-studded wooden boules 
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The pétanque courts inside the Obut restaurant.
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The view from the restaurant's terrace