The major attraction of Petanque has always been the enjoyment of meeting interesting people and just plain having fun. Sometimes as experienced players we forget the joy of the good ( or lucky ) shots we occasionally had while learning .
As newcomers to the sport it was natural to bring deck chairs, a picnic lunch, a cask and after play sit around in a group enjoying the company and bragging about the odd good shot .
After moving to the new terrain only the Thursday players continued to socialize over their tea/coffee and the Sunday players seem to lose that comradeship although of latter times many are starting to bring their lunch and return to the earlier relaxed social times.
During summers a group would play on a Friday evening. Some would bring a picnic and others have a BYO BBQ. The last game of the evening was always a fun game with whoever was present divided into two teams. With sometimes 7 or more in a team and each with three boules, it was always an anticlimax to score only 1 point.
To raise money for the new terrain, we organized a club night at the Court theatre, a dinner at Woodpeckers, breakfast at the Casino, a Trivial Pursuit evening, a mid winter pot luck Xmas dinner and a spring theme fun evening with games. When we hosted National tournaments or South Island events, we provided both a dinner plus a cabaret with audience participation. Who will ever forget those glamorous typists strutting their talents or that little known classic 'Short People'.
We enjoyed two picnic Christmas parties at the Ohoka home of John and Elaine Lynn. Their formal landscaped garden included a Petanque piste and BBQ area. Eric Gamble contributed to the occasion by playing favourite tunes on an electric organ and all sat in the glorious sun, soaking up the atmosphere (not to mention the odd wine) and having a wonderful relaxed time.
Our 2001 mid winter Xmas dinner was a lot of fun. We started with fun Petanque fuelled by mulled wine and finished with a paper dart throwing competition from the balcony. More recent Christmas parties have featured fun Petanque and Father Xmas distributing gifts. Petanque games featured such intrepid playing challenges as playing with your reverse hand, team members playing from opposite ends with the cochonnet in the centre and playing your boule first and throwing the cochonnet last. One year Steve Thwaites surpassed himself and constructed a 9 hole 'golf' course on the terrain.
Trips away provided many happy memories and the inaugural trip away was a busload to Timaru where they played Petanque on the sand at Caroline Bay. Stella Finch was always a regular starter on later trips and we would play games at Timaru, Oamaru, Waikouaiti and Caversham on the way down and repeat the process on the return journey home. Singalongs, the odd risqué anecdote or story and bus cricket enlivened the mini bus trips and one year we received complimentary casino chips and parlayed these into enough cash to cover the trailer hire and give everybody a stake for the 'real' thing.