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They're rugby crazy, rugby mad...
To pep up the team, the banda, led by Yannick - our friend who runs the DIY shop in Trie - played all the way there, through the match and afterwards to a slightly disappointed following. Trie lost but still had a chance. The next match was two weeks later in Les Landes, but after leading, FCT lost in the last few minutes and so will have to try for promotion again next year. Still, we all had a great time and the spirit of FCTs fans made each match a lot of fun. So much so that Perry decided to join as a dirigeant at the club. This is a glorified name for one of the old players who now cater for the teams, make dinner on training nights and man the bars on match days. A great excuse for a lads' night out and for Perry to get to know more of the characters in Trie.
From the pot to the garden
All went well for a week or so, but the wet, cold weather came and nearly every plant rotted and died, or just simply didn't grow any more. The slug and snail invasion did the rest. So a second wave of seeds and plants were prepared and planted, this time with a little more success. By growing Bio and not using any chemicals or synthetic snail killers, the garden is more work to keep under control. A week of rain and the weeds will engulf everything. I often saw Caroline bending down scraping away and pulling wheelbarrow's full of weeds away. That makes the final produce all the more special.
A few weeks later, we went again and Perry had a go. Not having fired a rifle since his days in the army cadets and rifle club at school, the shotgun's twin barrel, single-trigger action took some getting used to. The sighting was very difficult too since Perry had always shot at static targets, albeit much further away. Still, he managed to miss all his discs and came away with a tender cheekbone from where the first kickback took him by surprise. He also had a ringing in his ears for the rest of the day!
Who needs a swimming pool?
So we asked Didier from Libaros to quote and come lay it for us. It involved a mini digger carving out the foundations and levelling off the surface. Then as that was done, we laid down an anti-weed material, which is a tightly woven synthetic fabric that alows water to pass but keeps roots and shoots out. This was followed by a layer of rough gravel and sand, which was passed over with a vibrating roller to compress it into place. A few days of rain helped to settle the grains and compact it even more. Caroline came up with the genius idea of adding an 'aperatif corner' to the court. So a half circle was added along one side and given the same gravel and sand floor.
Meanwhile, we had spoken to Alain Fourquet and he said he had some old poplar wood beams we could have to frame the court. This would keep the sand in place and act as a border for the surrounding grass. He also helped us find a source for railway sleepers which we fetched in his van in Tarbes. We needed eight to cover the 18 metres of the court. Painting all the wood with old motor oil and pouring gravel in behind them, we hoped to protect the wood from rotting too soon.
Finally, Didier came back and a fine sand was delivered. This was raked evenly over the surface and left to sink in for a few weeks as the heavy rain washed the grains into all the gaps and created a hard, compacted surface. Perry couldn't wait to throw a ball, but had to wait until mid June before his dream came true.
Fancy building your own boules, or pétanque court?
Until next month,
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|© 2008 Perry Taylor and La Baguette Magique, France.|