Saturday 17th August.
Last weekend executive members Jean-Yves Robic (JY), Kon Tomczyk (KT), Peter Beresford (PB) accompanied by Barbara Vaughan (BV) visited the residential home of Llys-Erw in Ruthin North Wales.
The warden and residents have just built a terrain in the grounds for residents and families to be able to participate in the game of boule.
The purpose of the visit was to give some direction on how to play the game, demonstrate the various techniques required to enable them to enjoy the game of boule.
For the residents it was to have a sport they can enjoy, be slightly competitive and gain useful exercise when doing so.
We were met by Anna Newman (Warden) and her colleague Anne at the Castle Hotel and over some refreshments discussed the plan for the day. We were taken to the resident’s home to find Frank (the main man for installing the terrain and getting the whole thing off the ground) busy cooking enough food to feed an army.
The two pistes were constructed of local material with a topping of crushed slate, which was found to be quite testing.
Frank had also arranged for several picnic type benches to be installed for residents and visitors to come and watch the games, if they did not want to participate.
We were joined by about a dozen residents all eager to learn how to play and after eating as much as possible of Frank’s fine cuisine we split into 2 groups.
The first group went onto the piste with JY and PB to be shown the basics of how to play and practice their techniques. The other group joined KT and BV inside to watch a video on the techniques used and various practice sessions to improve their game and discuss the basic rules and strategy when playing the game. The groups then swapped over to go through the process again.
That completed, a couple of games of triples which was organised between the residents, who by this time were keen to put into practice what they had learnt from the coaching sessions.
A game was then played between John-Yves and Kon versus Peter and Barbara to demonstrate the strategy and decision-making they could use during their matches
After several successful hours of talking and playing boule it was back to the hotel for an evening meal. We were joined by Anna, Dave, Chris, Steve and of course Frank to discuss the day’s events.
We all agreed that it was a fruitful day on both sides and it will be interesting to see how they progress.
Sunday 19th August.
On Sunday morning after a hearty breakfast it was off to the Groes Inn, Conway which was about a 45 minute drive from Ruthin.
This historic inn is set in the beautiful North Wales countryside and has been welcoming visitors for over four centuries. We were welcomed by Justin the owner/landlord of the pub and shown the terrain he has installed in the car park, again constructed from local material (crushed slate), but a lot firmer than the terrain in Ruthin.
Justin’s aim is to provide the facility not only for his customers, but to establish a small league with other public houses in the area and to involve as many local people as possible. We were joined by about 16 people from junior to senior ages, all eager to learn how to play pétanque.
We divided into 4 groups with each group having a member of the WPA attached to each one. During the practice sessions the local press who took a multitude of photos for the local paper and were obviously keen to spread the word that pétanque is being played in North Wales joined us.
After the practice sessions a game was organised with everybody participating using the techniques that were demonstrated during the coaching sessions.
A spot of lunch and a glass of the local Groes ale and it was time to head home. We left to the sound of people discussing ordering boule and some talk on building pistes in their gardens.
A fantastic day was had by all. We then headed for home; down through the beautiful Welsh countryside with spectacular views all the way.