Le Tournoi International de Boules Carres
The town on the hill
Saturday 8th August
Got up reasonably early and got packed for our trip to Pierrefort. By the time we had left the outfit ready for any weather in our absence and filled up, we were running a little later than we had planned. We went directly from Aurillac to Pierrefort rather than going via Vic-sur-Cere as we usually do. We stopped for a brief snack lunch on the top of the Auvergne plateau and wished Neil a Happy Birthday, quite gently as he was still feeling a little fragile after the previous night. The temperature had dropped from a cool 16°C when we left Argentat to a chilly 13.5°C on top.
Mist in the high auvergne
Fabulous views and Sue's favourite kind of motoring on the way up. Going across the top, we saw a huge bird of prey, that lifted off from the top of a telephone pole as we approached, casually beating its wings in slow, majestic flight just ahead of the car. It was not a buzzard nor a kite, so I assume it was an eagle. We saw a kite as we approached Pierrefort, going about its business in a wide spiral about 100 feet over the car.
madness - pure madness
Arriving at Pierrefort, where it was a warm 23°C Rene was already hard at work starting the draw for the first group but he greeted us enthusiastically and was delighted that we had decided we would play this year. We checked in to the Panoramic, again greeted as old friends by Rosalie(?) with the customary Cantal 2 kisses on either cheek. We have never really fathomed the mysteries of this French traditional etiquette; its confusing enough alternating cheeks without having to remember how many you have delivered. Typically French, of course, there are differing numbers of kisses due, depending on where you are and the relationship of the participants. The average Frenchman will have learned this at his(or her) Grannies knee and it is now second nature but to the average English person it is a mystery. You can go for the safe bet of one on either cheek but then find yourself recalled to finish the job. It is a delightful custom – I just wish I understood it!
Our 2nd opponents
Rene had arranged for our inscription so when we showed up, Team 142 was swiftly up and running in Group B. Our first match was against a couple of lads who were apparently visiting their Grandma who lives locally. Although they claimed that they hadn't played much, they were either very good or very lucky – we only scored one point! Our second match was against another couple of young lads who were quite embarrassed to loose to us, I think. Our final match of the first round was against a couple of mature ladies and it was nip and tuck – the match not the ladies.
our 3rd opponents
On our way to the terrain, we asked the way of another player on his way to a neighbouring pitch. He was well oiled but reasonable coherent. However, he couldn't resist turning on the Gallic charm with the two ladies who good humouredly returned the banter. But one of the ladies made it quite clear to me that she would have two of him for breakfast! We managed to get a result and as a reward were through to the next round! This was against a team that mixed youth with experience. We were soon down 8-0 and it was not looking too good but we battled back taking one point at a time; finally going down 13-7!
Our 2nd round opponents
The boys bought us a commiseratory drink for which we were very ready. It was very warm and getting very humid. And it was now 8:30pm!! After our drinks we popped in to see Rose marie & Rene to see when we would be called to present the Shrewsbury Cup which was to be awarded to the best female team. It was not going to be very soon, so we went and had a shower and refreshed ourselves. After a brief discussion with Rose marie we went to have dinner, as otherwise the restaurant may be closed; Rene was to come and fetch us for the presentation when needed. In the restaurant, our table was next to a long table which contained a party from Clermont Ferrand, most of whom had been in the tournoi. Several of them we recognised from previous years and one older lady in particular recognised us; she had clearly been enjoying herself for some time and was leading some sing-songs. We were quizzed about where we came from then about le fut about which I said I knew very little, my interest being in rugby. Needless to say, being from Clermont Ferrand, they were all avid supporters and we had a discussion about which English players were involved in Ferrand and Brive (Jonnee Weelkeenson). Shortly after we started on our main course, we were called away for the presentation.
Winners of the Shrewsbury Cup, Ladies winners
I was pleased to see it was still there on our return - a delicious braised steak with mashed potato and being a warm evening was still very palatable. After an intermezzo of cheese, we had our pudding of cream filled choux pastry rather like a very large profiterole. During our sweet, the Ferrand contingent celebrated the 10th birthday of a little girl and we all joined in with singing Joyeux Anniversaire (same tune as Happy Birthday) not all of us knew all the French words and some improvisation was required. Panoramic had baked a special birthday gateaux for her, which looked very good.
We retired to bed close to midnight; as we were down two floors, we were not disturbed by the ball going on overhead!
Next – Les Monts du Cantal
on August 11, 2009
from the travel blog:
Argentat de nouveau
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