After months of planning, meetings, problem solving and trouble shooting it was a huge relief to know that work on the new terrains started on 18th May.
With large plant on site and fair weather the topsoil was quickly removed and excavation started: revealing fine sand. This was an unexpected bonus which meant that the ground was easy to work and the finished terrains should drain very effectively.
At the time of writing the drains are being installed and the base layer of stones will be next. The contractors expect most of the work to be completed by the end of the first week in June, leaving just the access paths, turfing and re-seeding to be done. All well ahead of schedule.
On the last Sunday in May, four members of the Club (Lesley, Diana, Mike and Sally) assisted at a fun boules tournament in the grounds of a manor house in the picturesque village of Colerne.
The event was organised by Rodney Priest, who tracked down our Club at Alexandra Park one Monday night and asked for our help. The event was part of a fundraising drive called Project 825 to raise funds for Colerne’s Church of St John the Baptist to make improvements to the Church to make it into a community resource.
We arrived at 11am to find the driveway to the beautiful Manor House divided into pistes ready for the tournament, and gazebos housing a bar and food service, with a barbeque already starting to heat up. The wind and rain were doing their best to disrupt proceedings, but we carried on regardless and were rewarded with a few bouts of sunshine later.
The 8 teams all registered, most with unpronounceable French names, we gave them instructions (some having never thrown a boule before) and safety tips, and off they went. Luckily there were enough of us to monitor all the games and be on hand with measuring tapes when things got tight. The standard of play was remarkably good, with some ‘naturals’ among them. The winners were ‘Wonky Donkey’, a Dad and his daughters, who won every match they played.
The Club’s annual tour to our twin city of Aix-en-Provence saw 11 members fly via Marseille to spend a long weekend in and around the city. We received a warm welcome from our old friends from the village clubs of Saint Cannat and Puyricard, where we participated in challenging melées alongside our hosts. Puyricard’s terrain in particular has its own challenges, as they prefer to play on their car park with its rough ground and ‘racines’ or tree roots to their smooth official pistes. Saturday afternoon was spent with new friends at the village of Couteron, just north of Aix, taking part in their regular melée. We were delighted to be given a bottle of local wine for each participant, presented in a formal ceremony which the French are so fond of. Our new committee Chair, Diana, was in splendid form thanking our hosts in her best French, which they obviously appreciated.
She presented them with a new Twinning badge, a tasteful little Union Jack and Tricolor together.
Members of the City of Bath Pétanque Club decided to enter this year’s Open Boules competition held at Jersey Pétanque Club . We flew Flybe from Southampton in their Bombardier Q400 turbo jet – with a required cruising height of just 16000 feet .By the time we reached our ceiling height we started the descent into Jersey airport. This short 30 minute flight suited me down to the ground!
The game of Pétanque in Jersey is so well supported and our teams from Bath were most welcomed with handshakes, hugs and greeting many old friends from both Islands. One of our teams was well placed coming 6th out of fifty four teams entered for this two day competition.
Of course it’s never all about Boules. On tour some fine dining occurred in many interesting restaurants which became a nightly haunt. We dined out with The Saxons from Cricklade. The laughter around the table just has to be experienced, words are just not enough to describe the fun we had on this Tour. Ah yes nearly forgot, we discovered a midday place to snack called the ‘Crab Shack’ which registered enough interest for us to return twice for their delightful fresh seafood..
On May 9th the Island celebrates ‘Liberation Day’ .Sadly this date was just beyond our stay so we decided to visit ‘The War Tunnels‘ to support the Island’s Liberation during WW2. The ‘War Tunnels’ bring the occupation days back with a jolt for us to acknowledge those who lost their lives and the terror the Islanders lived through over a period of five long years.
What did this tour offer?
Well, it gave us a chance to meet others who play our game in another zone,tactics and ball play concentration which gives a guide to what
we could never develop playing continually with the same group in Bath.
WITH the start of the Bath Pétanque Thursday Boules league just around the corner, boules players in Wiltshire can now play on a piste at the Tollgate Inn in Holt after its installation has finally been completed.
Owner Mark Hodges, 38 first came up with the idea after playing a game of boules in Queen Square in Bath with a group of friends a couple of years ago and since being finished, he has seen a number of teams come forward and use the newly-refurbished pitch.
Mr Hodges said: “The feedback has been brilliant and some of the locals have even gone out to buy a new set of French boules ready to play.”
A standard, 12x9m, size of a boules pitch allows for three games to be played at a time, although the piste at the pub has been extended to 14 x9m to allow players extra room.
Mr Hodges said he hopes the new feature of the pub will offer visitors an added attraction to visit the Tollgate Inn and he will soon be installing flood lights to allow teams to play in the evening.
The village attracts a buzz of boules every Boxing Day for the annual match and Mr Hodges, who has been owner of the Tollgate Inn for two and a half years, believes that the tradition should be carried on throughout the year.
The forthcoming season of the Bath Pétanque league starts on May 7 and ends on September 24.
City of Bath Boules exhibit the game for BBC Points West
City of Bath Boules club helped put together a short news article which appeared on BBC points West on April 14th. At short notice several club members descended on Alice Park in Larkhall, the piste where the club plays its home Brunel matches, to demonstrate how the game is played as well as providing interviews about the sport as well how the club has grown over the last 10 years.
City of Bath Pétanque Club secures £23,185 National Lottery funding from Sport England.
New national standard terrain at Larkhall Sports Club will offer excellent facilities to develop the sport of pétanque both locally in Bath and regionally.
This award is through the National Lottery’s Inspired Facilities, part of its Olympic and Paralympic legacy programme.
City of Bath Pétanque Club has secured a ten year lease on land at the Plain Ham site of Larkhall Sports Club to build a pétanque terrain consisting of either 8 International sized pistes or 12 smaller pistes. This will enable the Club to offer playing and coaching facilities to people of all ages and abilities within the community.
Users of this new terrain will also benefit from sharing Larkhall Sports Club’s existing clubhouse, floodlighting and car parking.
The grant is in addition to matched funding being raised by the City of Bath Pétanque Club members.
Bath – Braunschweig Association annual twinning dinner
By our roving reporter – Terry Basson.
Having recently visited Braunschweig as part of the City of Bath Petanque tour and enjoyed the hospitality of our hosts in Germany Di and I were delighted to receive an invitation to a German theme menu by members of the Twinning Association in Bath. We were also joined by two others of our intrepid travellers, Don and Thelma Grimes.
The venue chosen was ‘Cafe Retro’.
We arrived at the scheduled time to be received by an unusual scene of our waitress
ironing the sheets for our tables. Clearly this proved a hoot with me thinking “Is this all part of a Cafe Retro experience”?
Many happy faces continued to arrive during our pre-prandial drinks. Meeting so many new people was most enjoyable.
Whilst our meal was being served, we chatted and banter was soon fast exchanged with Councillor Bryan Chalker and his wife, who kindly introduced us to other diners at our table.
After coffee, I was truly taken back, when Bryan stood up to entertain us, first with his lips supporting a Jewish Harp twanging in fine a rhythm.
Further talent was still to be discovered when Don Withers played his piano along with Gerald, a professional singer, who beautifully sang us ballads all in German.
Not finished yet, Bryan was up on his feet again because he had even further talents to declare to us new comers, playing his mouth organ even though suffering from nasty chest infection. When once again, a most tuneful note sounded throughout the room.
This well attended end of year City of Bath Pétanque Club dinner, was professionally organised by Chris McGinn at ‘The Market’ Bath.
My thoughts, as we greeted each other, were how we all unite under a sport called Boules. We are all very different people from many walks of life, yet come together having enjoyed the game of Pétanque throughout the year.
We were splendidly entertained by ‘The Shanty Men’ who sang songs of sailors carrying out their general duties aboard merchant ships many years ago, using songs like “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum”! To maintain their rhythm of daily toil.
The meal lived up to expectations served by friendly well trained staff.
Don Grimes donned his black bowler hat and acted as our official auctioneer.
First up was a miniature King Bladud’s pig for which Mark Gilbert outbid all assembled.
Alex and Dalene put up for auction their Christmas fresh turkey. They are both spending Christmas with their daughter in New Zealand this year. Bidding hands lifted briskly until finally the highest bidder was found. This went to one of our beautiful women in the club, in the shape of Fiona Manley. She promptly pulled out her cheque book and paid up whilst having a swift drink at the bar with Alex.
Don, that tall master of many disguises, that man for all seasons, removed his auctioneer’s Bowler and then conducted the raffle.
It was also a night to remember a former member of the club who passed on late last year and we were lucky enough to be joined by his widow Jan for the evening who presented a trophy in memory of her husband, Peter Bale, to the winner of the Singles Competition.
All this activity raised over three hundred pounds for the club.
What a wonderful final round up it was, in such great company, best in the world in my opinion.