WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL BLOG for La Pétanque Marinière in San Rafael, California. LPM has been an active Marin pétanque club since 1972 and affiliated with the Fédération of Pétanque USA, since 1975. We welcome people of all abilities, ages and nationalities to come and enjoy pétanque with us.

The Pierre Joske Courts are located on Civic Center drive in San Rafael. (click for directions). Casual games are played every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from about 1 pm. Tournament play is usually held on the second Sunday of every month.

Please consult the links on the sidebar to the right for more information on clubs in the bay area, nationally and world wide.

If you would like to play but haven't any boules, please contact our President, Christine Cragg. They can bring some for you to use, as well as introduce you to the basic skills and techniques of pétanque. In addition, if you are looking to purchase boules but are unsure as to which size and weight are right for you, we have a range of different examples from which to choose.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Bike Rambler "Asphalt Ruminatons"

When last we heard from our bike rambler friend and founder of the Fresno Pétanque Club Tim Channel, he had just won the FPUSA National Triples in Portland with Mike Stasack and Ryan Baker.
As we look in on his progress in this, the third chapter of his bike tour of the Pacific Northwest, we read that he is having a close-up and personal encounter with this country few will ever experience.

Chapter three of the bike rambler

"Clack, Clack, Clack...

I am having a great time on this bike tour. I have met so many interesting people. Almost all of them want to be included on the mailing list for these missives. So then this little written communique reaches more and more each time it is mailed.

Since my last dispatch to you, I have pedaled over 300 miles. I have encountered only a few other bicycle tourists. What an interesting and remarkable group of people.

A young man biking from Vancouver BC to San Francisco (Mark), a chance encounter with three bike tourists on a hillside in the middle of a Fish and Game wildlife refuge. A young woman (repairing a flat tire) and the even younger man accompanying her were biking from Seattle to Mexico. Their third member, a middle age man, was turning around at Cannon Beach, Oregon and heading back home to Seattle. Then there was the 65 year old man and woman from Australia cycling to San Diego. Me, just having crossed the rugged Oregon Coastal Mountain Range coming from Portland (Highway 47 and 202) was exhausted, but delighted to see them. They were the first bike tourists I had encountered on this trip.

I am at that middle place on the tour, halfway through the journey. Just less than 500 miles to go.

Everyday, the road seems to whisper me on to my next destination. There is an existential aspect to bicycling long distance. You have time to think, and think, about life. This gets all meshed into the awe for natural beauty surrounding you in the forest, the wildlife refuge or even the city. I find myself often singing old 60 and 70's folk songs when I am pedaling in the proverbial middle of nowhere.

Yesterday was another long biking day for me as I pedaled 75 miles from just south of South Bend Washington to Olympia. Click here for that route. A friend's son (Norman's Paul) is letting me rest at his house for two night.

As I rolled out of the camp site yesterday at 7 a.m., the temperature hovered around 51 degrees and the sky was overcast. Perfect bicycling weather. It was 4 miles into South Bend, and breakfast.

As I pedaled into the sleeping town, the only sounds that I could hear were the giant converter belts moving the freshly caught oysters from the bobbing fishing boats to the awaiting dump trucks. Clack, clack, clack, as the oysters shot off the convert belts into the open air space, suspended for just a moment in time, before giving in to gravity and crashing into the belly of the truck with a thump. Tens of thousands of oysters everyday, for us.

Clack,clack,clack, as I rolled my bike up to the only open restaurant for an early breakfast. Upon entering, I saw I was the only customer. An older woman, the waitress, approached me and said "good morning dear. You want some breakfast?" I immediately saw she had stories to tell me and I said " yes I do darling, and I'll take some black coffee too."

Her name was Marsha. You could see that her body was giving in to the passage of time, but her wrinkled eye lids were full of spirit and as I answered her questions about my bike tour, all I could think of while looking into those wrinkled eyes was time, and how it's slow relentless clack, clack, clack courses through our bodies.

Yes, existential recognitions with eggs and toast, intertwined with Marsha's breakfast music of the Allman Brother Band "Eat a Peach"album
. As The Midnight Rider floated through the restaurant, it's bluesy medley, rich as butter flowing over hot biscuits, washed over me and I realized that I was in a blues shrine, not Hamp's 101 as they called it.

Time, I ain't gone let it catch me, but the fishing net keeps swinging closer every day. Clack, clack,clack, like an unaccompanied Gregorian chant. I ate my breakfast and prepared to head east. As I was walking out the door, I heard Marsha say "Now you have fun honey."

As I stepped into the clacking, my next destination was whispering to me and beckoning me on. Get up on your bike and I rolled toward Olympia.

Tomorrow I head to Brementon. This city is on the Western side of Puget Sound. Directly across the Sound from Seattle. It will another long, but delightful day. Here's Saturday's route. Sunday, I pedal to Port Angeles, Washington and the ferry across to Victoria British Columbia. Click here for Sunday's route.

I'll write you again when I have access to a computer. Do good things. "Now you have fun honey."

Clack, clack,clack.

See you in a bit,
Tim Channell
The Bike Rambler

Belgian Pétanque in Portugal

Belgian Petanque contest in Carvoeiro


Last weekend the very first petanque (jeu de boules) contest took place on the brand new surface in Carvoeiro at Vale de Milho. About 12 petanque experts played very professionally and seriously.

Although the contest was initially organised for the men, the ladies decided to set up their own contest. As the event was so successful, the organisers have decided to arrange another game in October.

Monday, August 23, 2010

FPUSA National Triples Results

Greetings from Portland,

Our hosting of the FPUSA National Triples over the weekend was a very successful event and a lot fun. One might venture that the winners had a little more fun than the rest of us, but all would agree it was fun and successful because of a great effort from our volunteers and a very congenial group of players. The beautiful weather helped, too.

We began on Friday afternoon by welcoming arriving players for casual games and a chance to learn our courts. Most of the teams in the event were on the courts then and joined us for a "apero and drawing to assign team numbers for the next day's match-ups. After a few snacks, Tim, our club president, fired up the grill and covered it with "brats" Wisconsin style, to accompany baked beans, potato salad, dessert items. Very delicious and so convenient to the players allowing them time to continue their casual games without having to leave to search out their evening meal.

Saturday morning began with a random series of games for the 13 teams, including one we were very pleased to see from the New York Petanque Club which served to make the tournament a true "national' one, since the rest of the teams were from West Coast clubs.

By about 4 pm we had all our games in and the results could be used to seed the pools for the concours and the consolante the next day. Eight teams were placed in two 4 team pools, and the other 5 teams formed the round robin consolante.

Sunday morning, while enjoying a really tasty continental breakfast of complimentary mini-pastries from La Petite Provence, announcements and welcome remarks were dispensed with and play began.
Teams in pools began their quest to win two games in row and assure their progression out of the pools and into the Semi's and Finals. But, as we know in this zero sum game, a winner also means a loser, so those teams who lost their first game struggled to win one more so they could also advance. But, teams losing twice were then spectators for the afternoon. Being a spectator was not an altogether unpleasant way to spend the afternoon watching the continuing games with such good teams competing.

In the Semi-Finals for the concours then, we had the local team of Pierre and Philippe Agnesse and Joe Cortright matched up with the New York Petanque Club team of Jean-Pierre Subrenat, Xavier Thibaud (both on the FPUSA team going to Turkey for the "worlds" in a couple of months, and Thierry Juillard.
The New York team uses the plombée very impressively to great effect and their flat shooting style yielded more than a few carreaux. However, the Portland Petanque club's team came out ahead 13-8, also very impressive.

In the other semi-final, it was the Seattle Petanque Club team of Greg Conyers, Lee Harris, and John Hunt, against (wait for it) a team comprised of Eugene club players Mike Stasack (EPIC president) and Ryan Baker, and Tim Channell, founder of the Fresno Petanque club. They eased to a 13-2 victory over the Seattle boys.
The Final for 3rd and 4th place was therefore between the the New York players and the Seattle team. It was a close game but the New York players pulled off a 13-11 win to take 3rd place and win medals and prize money.

So our final for 1st and 2nd Place was between the Portland club and the Eugene/Fresno players. In a long game with many great plays, and to the surprise of many spectators, the Eugene/Fresno team emerged the victors (13-11) and National Triples champions for 2010!

The consolante meanwhile had been continuing on and was played to 11 points to help insure its finish before the Concours final. The top two teams in this tournament and who finished "in the money" were, in First Place, our own Tim Larson, Wally Peppel, and Shaughn McClurg (Congratulations!!) and taking second a Seattle/Lamorinda (Lafayette, CA) team of Jimmy Flour, John Chanthavisay, and Jean-Marie Letellier. Also, congratulations!

By now, delicious aromas from the buffet catered by La Provence had arrived and was ready for serving. Over tasty wines selected by our club sommelier Pierre Agnesse, we gathered around tables and enjoyed the chicken, and salmon entreés, and accompanying salads and wonderful mini-pastries. Such fun!

Awards and photos followed and while most player were ready to return home or to their motel rooms to "vege out", a dedicated group were out on the courts again while there was still light enough to see the cochonnet and play another game or two.

The combination of camaraderie and good food and drink is what draws us to the sport and keeps us coming back. Most of us would agree petanque is a wonderful addition to life.

To those of you who helped put on the event and those who played, the Portland Petanque Club thanks you sincerely for making the weekend a great one.

Pétanque News from Pattaya City, Thailand

The Bike Rambler - Asphalt Ruminations

Hello Everyone,

It seems that getting around to another "The Bike Rambler" update is difficult at best for me on this extended my bike trip of the Pacific Northwest. For now, it is increasingly looking like I will only be able to give you these brief e-mail updates. If that is all I can do on the Northwest Bike tour, I will write a travelogue for all of you when I return home.

I am having a great time. I have logged about 200 miles so far on my trip and will be cycling from Portland to Astoria, Oregon today, click here. It will be one of my long bike days at about 100 miles.

Since I last communicated with you, I have cycled from Eugene to Corvallis to Portland, Oregon. I have met so many wonderful people on this trip.

And oh the places I have seen. From the 4 million dollar bike bridges in Eugene, the mowed wheat field as the sun rises at 6 :30 a.m., the Brigittine Monastery in Amity that makes amazing chocolate, to the United States Petanque National Championship in Portland, Oregon.

Their are to many people to individually thank right now in this missive for the food, lodging, conversations, washing machine uses, computer services, etc. They know who they are. Merci to dozens of you.

Until next time, Carpe Diem.

The Bike Rambler

Friday, August 20, 2010

Wooden Balls, Metal Balls - Bowling Fever Grips Lamorinda

There's clanking and clattering all over Lamorinda as the locals turn out to play variations of an ancient sport. And somehow, there's always a nice Merlot within reach.

Growing up in the Midwest – I won't say exactly when, but if the name Ozzie Nelson rings a bell, you're in the ballpark – indoor bowling was hugely popular. Bowling places were popping up all over, so much so that it was difficult to keep one's mind out of the gutter. Brunswick, maker of mechanical pin-setting machines, was a brand better known at the time than McDonalds… although Brunswick fries weren't nearly as tasty.

Nowadays, bowling alleys are hard to find as cheap real estate in Lamorinda. According to the Yellow Pages, the closest to us is in Costco Country, on Monument Boulevard in Concord.

Although alleys may be on life support, bowling remains alive and well. It's simply moved outdoors. Think of the sport of bowling al fresco. Hereabouts, it is being lapped up in two European flavors: French and Italian.

The former is called petanque (PE-tonk, as in "Honk If You Like Petanque"); the latter, bocce (BOCH-ee) ball. In Italian bocce means kiss, or so I'm told. What do I know, I'm Irish. Both derive from a game originated eons ago by Greeks.

The current form of petanque originated in Provence, France, more than a century ago. An estimated 17 million French play the sport in the homeland.

Click here for the complete article.

Friday, August 13, 2010

2010 Emile Furlan Memorial Tournament

The Emile Furlan Memorial Tournament will take place this year on Labor Day weekend at the Furlan Ranch just outside of Knights Landing, north of Woodland, Ca. If you have never participated in this event, it is surely one you don't want to miss.
Bring your R.V., or tent and sleeping bag and sleep under the wonderful canopy of walnut trees, or if you prefer something a bit less rustic, there are several hotels in nearby Woodland.

All of the details are in the 2010 Furlan Tournament Flier.

There is also a slideshow from a previous tournament.

Even if you don't have a team member, there are people looking to play. Call Kevin Mcgill to assist you in forming a team.

Since it does take place on the Labor Day weekend, it is advisable to book your hotel now, since availability may be hard to come by.

Don't forget the insect repellent, since their is nearby water. Pretty during the day, yet home to some voracious little creatures at night...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Bike Rambler - “Visage of America”

One of the most driving forces behind pétanque in the last few years has been a humble, self effacing young man, Tim Channel, of the Fresno Pétanque Club. Tim is a real mover and shaker, partly to blame for the fact that the Fresno Club is the largest and fastest growing club in the nation! Although this post really doesn't have to do with pétanque, it is all about one man's energy and determination. We wish him well on his journey and look forward to future dispatches.

Hello Everyone,

Many of you have heard that I was planning an 800 mile bicycle tour through Oregon, Washington State and Victoria, British Columbia. This tour starts this evening when I board an amtrak train for Oregon. Click here for the bike route.
I do not want to blog about this bike tour. It takes too much time. Many of you, however, have asked that I write something that tells them about the bicycle journey. So, I will occasionally be writing a brief little summary on some of the trip highlights. These highlights will be encapsulated in "The Bike Rambler."

Thanks for all your support. I'll be back soon.


....So It Begins - The Bicycle Journey
An occasional journal by Tim Channell during his 800 mile bike tour In Oregon, Washington & Victoria, BC.

...nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people. - Mark Twain, 1867

Road Statistics: Today, I boxed my bike for transit to Eugene. My 4 panniers are packed and I am ready.
Route: Fresno, Sacramento, Eugene
Total Bike Miles: 0
ispatch #1 - Fresno, August 12, 2010

I begin my bicycle journey this evening with an overnight train to Eugene, Oregon. It will change me.
America has always been discontented. In a land of wealth and plenty, America’s people are always striving and seeking new horizons, new changes. We Americans fervently believe that a new town, a new house, new friends or a new marriage will make us happy. For a while, it works, but never for long. Yet, we continue searching for the holy grail of happiness. We believe it is our destiny. It is a wishful and dreamy ideology, and simultaneously a strange national psychosis.
I am an American. I start this bicycle journey believing that I will find Americans along the way that will enrich my life. This optimism is so very American. I plan to briefly chronicle in this short column some of America’s people that I meet along the way. I will be looking for their optimism and telling you about it.


When my friends found out I was planning an 800 mile solo bicycle tour of America’s Northwest, their usual response was “Why?” These sentiments, however, ranged from “that’s dangerous,” “you’ll be lonely,” “there are bears out there,” “carry a gun,” “This will change your life,” and so on. I just smiled at their insight.
What motivates someone? It’s a mystery to me. I have no good reasoning for going on this journey, other than I think it will be a delightful time. I suspect I will learn something about my country, my home and most likely about myself. In this short column “Asphalt Ruminations,” I will briefly describe some insights I find along America’s byways.

Thanks to Ms. Terry for her help in getting me physically and emotionally trained for this long bicycle tour. Terry has been my wife and partner for almost 26 years. She is a dynamic force in my life, and our community. Unlike me, she seems to always know what to do. I will always be enamored with her perkiness and patience. She is a bicyclist also and one day will bike around the world with me. She is my love.
And So It Begins

County negotiates to buy Marin Commons complex

County officials are negotiating with the owners of the 35-acre, 455,000-square-foot Marin Commons complex in San Rafael to determine what it would cost to buy the facility.

Acquiring the complex and turning it into a public safety center instead of constructing a building next to the Marin Civic Center is among proposals under consideration by the county board.

County supervisors met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss what an agenda called "price and terms of payment" with negotiators, apparently including representatives of Corac LLC of Delaware and its managing member, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., owners of the Marin Commons at 1600 and 1650 Los Gamos Road. The complex reverted to its lender in a $62 million foreclosure last year.

Although the county board's agenda disclosed the purpose of the closed meeting, and an official pointed it out to a reporter, all were mum when emerging from the private talks.

"We gave instructions to our real estate negotiator," said board president Judy Arnold, declining to elaborate.

"We're seriously looking at all our options," added Supervisor Steve Kinsey. "I can't say any more."

A plan to build a $100 million-plus public safety center near a dog park next to the Civic Center has been a political hot potato in Santa Venetia, where residents fear the move would ruin the neighborhood.

Former Assemblywoman Kerry Mazzoni, who lost a bid to unseat Supervisor Susan Adams in June, made abandoning the Civic Center


site a cornerstone of her campaign, saying it was crazy to erect a new building when the Marin Commons site could be acquired for about half as much.

Acquisition and retrofitting of the earthquake-safe complex would save money and provide more than enough space for public safety facilities, allowing consolidation of other county leased facilities as well as the lease of unused areas.

At last report, the "preferred alternative" of the Board of Supervisors was the dog park site, where officials have long envisioned the first phase of an 85,000-square-foot public safety complex costing an initial $58 million. An environmental analysis will review several sites, including the Marin Commons complex.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

UBK Studios at Amelia Island

With the Pétanque America Open coming up in November, UBK Studios, a low or "no funded" group of cinematographers is trying to raise enough funds for travel expenses from Chicago, IL to Amelia Island, Florida for 3-4 crew members. Equipment rental (Canon DSLR Cameras, audio equipment, lighting kits), music licensing rights and DVD Duplication.
Their goal is to film the entire tournament proceedings and general atmosphere at the competition, but there is a catch...
they need your help. As you may know pétanque in English is not very common as there are few videos around. After looking at LUDO it was blatantly apparent that these guys know their stuff and through their proposed dvd, will give pétanque a huge shot in the arm here in the states by showing pétanque in all of its social and competitive facets.

Visit UBK Studios Pétanque Promo to watch the pétanque promo. For information on how you can contribute to this worthwhile cause, visit Indiegogo

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fresno Hmong take World

As you may have heard by now, the trio of fine youngsters from Fresno, have won the World Qualifier Competition and are headed next year to the Junior World Championships. What was interesting to see during the competition was the extreme sportsmanship on both sides of the battle. Congratulations on winning shots or points could be heard from one team across the court to the other. A breath of fresh air to be sure when in some competitions, the fact that a game is being played seems to be lost amongst those competing. It could be said that their quality of sportsmanship and playing ethics is due in large part to their parents and other elder relatives. Fine, hard-working, dedicated people teaching their youngsters how to be the best while retaining dignity and respect for their adversaries.

It also comes from their Hmong, or Mong heritage. The terms Hmong (IPA:[m̥ɔ̃ŋ]) and Mong ([mɔ̃ŋ]) both refer to an Asian ethnic group in the mountainous regions of southern China. There, they remain one of the largest sub-groups in the Miao (Chinese:苗族) minzu (nationality) along with other related ethnic minorities. Beginning in the eighteenth century, conflict with Han Chinese settlers migrating to the south caused Hmong groups began a gradual mass migration to Southeast Asia. As a result, Hmong currently live in several countries in Southeast Asia, including northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Traditionally, the Hmong practice subsistence agriculture and the harvesting of timber.

During the last century, the Hmong have been caught up in the political instability which affected Southeast Asian nations. Many Hmong people in Laos fought against the communist-nationalist Pathet Lao during the Secret War. When the Pathet Lao took over the government in 1975, Hmong people were singled out for retribution, and a large number fled to Thailand. Many were resettled in Western countries, including the United States, Australia, France, French Guiana, and Canada. Others were returned to Laos under United Nations-sponsored repatriation programs. Around 8,000 Hmong refugees remain in Thailand.

Today, approximately 270,000 Hmong/Mong people reside in the United States, the majority of whom live in CaliforniaMinnesota (41,800), and Wisconsin (33,791). (65,095 according to the 2000 U.S. census), Fresno, Merced, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, and Wausau, Wisconsin have especially high concentrations of Hmong/Mong people. There are also smaller Hmong/Mong populations scattered across the country, including Western North Carolina (Hickory, Morganton, Charlotte), Linda Vista, California, Sacramento, California, Stockton, California, Winooski, Vermont, and Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, centered around the towns of Ephrata, Pennsylvania and Denver, Pennsylvania. There is also a small community of several thousand Hmong who migrated to French Guyana in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

La Pétanque Marinière would like to congratulate Kenny, Hai & Pengsue in winning the Junior World Qualifier and wish them all the best in their travels abroad and in the actual competition. Carley Stasak from Eugene. Oregon will accompany the team as an alternate

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lentils & Sausage Picnic


The Marin Lentils and Sausage Picnic and tournament a la melée

Registration ends at 10:30 a.m. Lunch served at 11:30. Games begin at 12:30

Lunch Menu: Lentils, Sausage, Salad, Brie & Bread

Lunch $11.- Tournament $7.-

Prizes to be awarded in Cash . Melée for members & newcomers.

A limited number of 3 boule starter sets will be available for sale

Reservations mandatory by Thursday August 5th!!!

Please call Alain Efron, 415.479.5820 or lutecemeister@gmail.com

It Promises to be a fun day of Pétanque and Culinary goodies.
Bring your friends and family, plates and utensils and
anyone who you feel might be interested in playing or watching.
After all, it is an open tournament. The perfect venue to welcome newcomers to pétanque.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oak hurst Pétanque Club

The Oakhurst Petanque Club will host its annual "Hot August Night" tournament Aug. 14 and the Oakhurst Petanque Charity Tournament Sept. 11. The club is located between the Fresno River and Oak Creek in Oakhurst. The team generally hosts open play 9 a.m. Saturdays and 5 p.m. Wednesdays during Daylight Savings Time.

Details: oakhurstpetanque.org