* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Bastille Day outing

Boules 01"Play ball!" is a common US expression heard all summer long.  It usually is referring to the American game of baseball.  Here in France, the concept of playing ball is something completely different, especially down in the south.  I'm sure you've all seen the Provençal images of French men (and women) standing around throwing little metal balls at a little red wooden ball.  The game of Boules (balls) is a common sight all over France when the weather is balmy, or in the south perhaps all year round.

We just spent Bastille Day, the French national holiday, with a Boules club.

Boules 02
A Franco-American July

As July 4 is the anniversary in the US of an event that started the American Revolution for independence from tyranny, July 14 is the French anniversary of an event 13 years later that started their own revolution from tyranny, and the closeness of the dates is no coincidence.  The two countries had close ties, and the one action led to the second. 

By chance, the two dates are in the same month; so as Americans in France, we get to party several times in July!  We did our own traditional Fourth barbecue for the French, and they in turn (although a different group) invited us to one of their holiday events!

You may recall that last year we helped a friend clear some overgrown property for a group he was part of for their annual barbecue.  Once again, he asked us this year if we wanted to help him.  Why not?  But this year, the group president and the owner of the property came up while we were there.  When they found out that we'd helped clean everything up for them for two years, they invited us to their event as a thank you!

Boules 03
Getting the party going
Boules 04
Never too old for the girls

I thought I'd share with you how the French party, which really isn't so different from how we party.  Only instead of hot dogs and hamburgers, they served sausages and lamb chops! 

Of course, a French gathering always starts with the apero , the slang for aperitif, or ice breaker.  The super friendly 83-year-old property owner also wanted his picture with some younger chicks.  No ice breaking there!

Boules 05
A very important fire

Boules 06
Load on those sausages

Meanwhile, the traditional chefs were getting the fire going for grilling.  Isn't this a fun looking fire pit? 

Boules 07
Don't forget security
As we were up in the mountains in a very rustic setting, it was very important to have a water source.  To go with the fun fire pit, there was a fun fountain.

There was almost a major problem, because when they came up early to check on things, the whole water system was blocked.  But with a little help and advice from Doc Leo, they all managed to get the whole thing resolved.  What a huge relief!

Boules 08
Responsibilities of being in charge
Boules 09
Everybody likes a pot-luck party
The president himself did a good bit of the grilling, along with a few other chefs, while the other members of the club brought all the salads and desserts to round out the meal.

Boules 10
The old stereotype image still exists today

I just have to share this ultra-classic image of life in France.  Here we have two friends of the property owner (on the right), still living the traditional life of typical country Frenchmen, a scene rapidly disappearing.

While everybody else is doing whatever, here are these three old friends finishing off a bottle of rosé, while next to them is an already finished previous bottle.  Next would come the pastis, an anise flavored traditional Provençal liquor now served all over France but so typical of this region.  You can also see the traditional baguette, now being rejected in favor of the regional wine.

Boules 11
We all wore hats
Although it was my first time with this group, I was apparently right in style. 

We three were sitting together during the meal, and it was noted how we all had hats and therefore needed to have a picture.  

Boules 12
Hey, so did we!

Before we knew it, several others decided they also wanted to be included with their hats, too. 

You would never know that this was the first time I had met any of these people!

Just as we were walking out the door to go to this event, our friend called us and asked if we could bring some music. 

Boules 13
Grabbing participants for dancing à la Queue Leu Leu

So the Doc quickly threw some fun tunes together and put them on his new Smartphone, which was then played through our friend's car speakers.  Where there's a will, there's a way! 

Apparently, he grabbed some worthy choices, as the club had a fun time dancing.  Including doing a conga dance, so typical at these kinds of parties, no matter what the age.

Boules 14
Schmoozing it up
Boules 15
Vying to be #1

Meanwhile, Doc Leo is managing to have a great time with the property owner, who acted the whole afternoon like he'd known us all his life! 

Also, our Canadian friend, whom you've seen at a few of our own events, is enjoying chatting up a woman we made friends with all afternoon and perhaps into the future.  She endeared herself to me right off the bat when I complimented her dress.  She said she'd seen me in the distance, loved my dress (it's actually two pieces), and wanted to know where I'd bought it.  Ah, the joys of being a seamstress and creating my own styles!

Boules 16
A new friend in deep discussion with a previous friend

I also met another delightful woman I hope will become a future friend.  We had a wonderful time sharing all afternoon. 

Perhaps there's some kind of sign for us that she spent part of the afternoon in the company of our Canadian friend's companion. 

Great minds think alike and all that!

Boules 17
So in style!
Boules 18
Another case of unity in the group was the wardrobe selection of black and white.  While some wore a unified black or white, a number of us wore a combination.

Funny how little it can take to amuse some people!

Boules 19
Mind exercise rather than phyisical
While the main activity of this group is playing Boules, a few other groups were represented, probably by those who are involved in multiple activities, such as Scrabble and cards.

I have played Scrabble in French.  I actually managed to keep up with a seasoned player many years ago.

Just sitting around socializing was also a popular activity.  The French are no different from any other culture!

Boules 20
Analyzing the goal point
Boules 21
Round metal in flight

As the purpose of this event was to have time to play a few games of Boules, they finally got around to playing some. 

While we mostly see men playing as we drive through the country, the women were definitely active in this group.

Boules 22
Determining who gets the points
Boules 23
Another ball in flight
Several games were going on at the same time, so the men also got a chance to play, too!

One of my jobs during the cleanout was to rake the playing field smooth from twigs and rocks that worked up from under the surface.  As I never heard any complaints, I guess I managed to adequately succeed.

When the day was over and we made our way back home from being way back in the hills in the middle of nowhere, we had such a remarkable view of the region that I tried to capture some of it for your enjoyment.  (Sorry, I couldn't eliminate the summer haze!)

Boules 24
Driving through the Alps
Boules 25
The rocky mountains in the afternoon sun

I hope I've managed to successfully show you another aspect of French life that you may not consider when you think of France.  Or perhaps you've seen such life in pictures and wondered if it still existed.  Yes, it does, and it was fun being part of it!

1 comment:

  1. What a great time! You look fabulous and the hat ladies are all so great looking. So glad you're getting to do so many social things. As you could read, we are struggling with plumbing at the moment, and flooding and damage and are leaving for Texas on Monday. Emily will be 5 and Crissy will be somewhat older! Keep having fun and going all these gorgeous places. Love seeing what you're doing.


Blogger seo tips