Mad Englishmen and dogs

Bank holiday Monday always comes with expectations. We expect rain, howling winds and endless queues of traffic. Instead in our little corner of the world we have sunshine, very light breeze and a few cyclists freewheeling down the hill.

Little miss Pepper is still with us and despite not being used to it, she is absolutely glacially calm around the clucking chickens. I had to take a picture and send it to her ‘mum’.

image.jpegHowever speaking of bank holiday, the weekend hasn’t been all that different from the others. We got invited for a pétanque competition yesterday and again I marvelled at the crazy English and their stoic acceptance of ‘whatever the weather’.

We started in a kind of sunshine, twenty or so people with very differing pétanque skills (me being at the bottom of the sporting ladder). The court was raked, glasses poured, dogs fighting one another over a brand new football, children still civil and smiling and barbecue lit.

The friendly competition soon turned into ‘everyone against the host’, who let’s be honest has most opportunity to practice. The weather turned too. As we bravely sat on our camping chairs in the middle of the field, the sky changed from sparingly blue to distinctly grey. A sheet of drizzle spurred on by gusts of wind gradually watered our wine and beer (probably a good thing), the temperature drop had us digging out our ‘probably won’t need it’ jackets and jumpers. And still we sat and still we played.

I wanted to document it with a photo but the pressure on my husband, who was playing the host, was so great that I didn’t dare to distract him. At one point the host and the umpire (referee?) said: ‘shall we app it?’ And they actually used an iPhone app for measuring the distance between the silver balls and the little red one (I believe it’s called Jack) to decide that the host was winning again.

While all this was going on, the barbecue volunteer sprung into action and started cooking sausages, burgers, corn cobs and chicken kebabs. I gazed at the sky hoping for a glimpse of blue but in vain. The shower was persistent.

It finished eventually. It got warm and sunny, we picked on meat, bread and salads, refilled glasses with wine and beer without the rainwater this time, the dogs stole two kebabs and had a nice time until the hostess (Fred the dog’s vet) spotted them, remembered a picture of a kebab stick puncturing a dog’s lung and confiscated the loot. The spoilsport.

The host didn’t win the trophy.

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