Petanque Les Boules Lawn Bowling etc

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Ben Lemmon

Member
I know there was a game that was popular in the Edwardian era. I checked the internet about it, too. Anyway, here is a personal anecdote that leads to the question I have:

When I was in high school, my first French teacher introduced me to a game. She called it Bocce Ball. As the regular French teacher returned, she also introduced us to this rather enjoyable game. However, she called it les boules. I liked it so much, I decided to use it in my story. However, on closer examination, I found that it went by many names.

So here are my questions. Are Bocce Ball and les boules/Pétanque different sports. Also (this question is more focused on the UK members of ET) does Pétanque go by lawn bowling in Great Britain, or is it referred to using its French pronunciation? Finally, would it be at all plausible to refer to it by its French name if someone lived in, say, Edwardian Era Southampton?
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
Oddly enough, traditional English (certainly not French) bowling was particularly popular in Hampshire, which is the county where Southampton is located. According to legend, Sir Francis Drake was playing bowls on Plymouth Hoe when the Spanish Armada was sighted, and he famously announced that there was time to finish the game before thrashing the enemy. Nevertheless it's a game which appealed mainly to older people because it doesn't require much physical effort. If your character is a normal healthy young lad he might get involved in a game of bowls on a family occasion but he'd rather be kicking a football around or playing cricket.
 
Dave Gittins

Dave Gittins

Member
Bocce and Pétanque have many regional varieties. They all involve throwing balls rather than bowling them. I don't think they were played in England. Today they are played widely, having been spread by migrants.

Bob is right about boys of the time not playing bowls, though times have changed now. Another popular game in 1912 was croquet, but again that was for older people.
 
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Ben Lemmon

Member
So would it be logically plausible for someone to call it Pétanque if they lived in Hampshire, maybe because they learned it during a vacation in France? What I'm thinking is that the M.C. used to play it with his parents when he was young, but then something happened to his parents, and he is no longer able to play it with them. Anyway, he loved the time he spent playing it with his parents, so would like to continue playing it.
 
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monica e. hall

Member
I thought Petanque is a Basque name for a game which involved two players hurling a ball at a wall out of wicker hand baskets, but I may well be wrong. However, I have played it, whatever it was ... and boules, which is the ancient French game of throwing balls at a 'jack', not rolling them, like bowls.
 
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Ben Lemmon

Member
I have looked on the internet, and from what I can see, Petanque is a game similar to boules. It is played chiefly in Provence, where it could be said that the MC went on vacation one time. Do you think that it would be logically plausible to have the aforementioned situation?
 
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monica e. hall

Member
No! I know what the wall game is called - it's pelota, got them muddled because played them both and they both begin with P.. I have to tell you the Basque game is rather more dangerous than gentle petanque.
 
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Ben Lemmon

Member
I would use cricket, Bob, but I haven't the faintest idea of how to play it. However, I know how to play and like playing Petanque. Petanque was popular in Hampshire, as you say, around that time. Marcel Pagnol watched his father play the game in his movie/book La Gloire de Mon Pere, so kids were familiar with the game. Also, when I was younger, my cousins and I sometimes preferred playing croquet at my Grammy's house in place of football or something similar. Also, the M.C. is not from Hampshire. He hails from Kent, but his parents learned Petanque from Provence, where they went on holiday once. Somehow, I'll incorporate that into my story. Just so everyone knows les boules, Petanque, and lawn bowling are basically the same thing. They are all referred to each other in their own articles on Wikipedia.
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
"Petanque was popular in Hampshire, as you say, around that time." I said that? I don't think so, Ben. And neither has anybody agreed that English bowling and French boules are "basically the same thing". Far from it. What I say is that no English kid (and probably no French kid either) would have been a devotee in 1912. Or if so he would have been very much out of character for his time. If you feel a need to describe a game in detail, then have the kid playing hopscotch. Or marbles. Or just playing around in the garden as kids do. Anything except a game which is highly unsuitable for character, place and period and which has crept into the storyline simply because it's familiar to you. Well, you did ask for opinions! :)
 
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Ben Lemmon

Member
Well, you did ask for opinions!
I said that? I don't think so, Bob. What I say is that it might have had a degree of plausibility.
Happy


The game cannot merely be one such as tag, hopscotch, or something of the like. It has to be a game with tangible objects, such as Petanque or marbles. However, I don't want to just settle on marbles. Experience has told me to weigh all my options. So before I decide to use any one of these elements, I am going to need an idea of what kind of games there are. This scene in the story is not merely playing a game! It has some significance in other parts of the story. It has to be tangible. Otherwise, it wouldn't work in the story!
 
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monica e. hall

Member
You did ask for opinions, Ben, in another thread. And Bob does not make mistakes in this respect.

I am beginning to wonder exactly who is writing this novel - you or us? You demand information, and then fail to acknowledge the help and/or merely demand more. I suggest you do some proper research / work yourself.

Moreover, all childrens' games from 1912 have tangible objects, mostly 'balls' in one form or another. Hopscotch, marbles and jacks all involved skill with tangible objects, whether balls or stones.

Frankly, children in 1912 would have been fairly similar to children today - they wouldn't have played adult games much. So they wouldn't have played Petanque from choice - too leisurely.
 
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Ben Lemmon

Member
I was kidding with Bob, Monica. I was saying exactly what he said, just in a different context. I have acknowledged people on many posts, saying "thank you" and everything. Just because I haven't done it every single time I post doesn't mean that I'm not grateful. I have been joking around with Bob for a while. Check my posts. Especially the last one in Writing a New Novel. I don't think you're getting what I'm talking about regarding the tangibility of an object. It must have a meaning, which stones would not suffice. I believe that I am going to change it to marbles, but I have to figure out how to work it as well. And I have been doing my own research. I've looked up different information not directly regarding the subject of Titanic. I have just relied on people when I couldn't find information elsewhere. Additionally, I don't have as much time to work as I would like, being a college student. I put more time into it than I actually have.

I'm not angry at you, Monica. I don't want to start a fire, but I am going to refute false claims made against me, thank you very much.
Happy
 
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Bob Godfrey

Member
Sure we've kidded around in the forum, Ben, but in a straight discussion nobody likes to see their statements re-worded to support an opposing argument, so I wasn't kidding when I responded to that. Monica, who knows me a lot better than you do, could judge that better than you did and that's one of the points she was making. As for the old-fashioned courtesies, we do appreciate them when we get them. And we do know that a college student has other demands on his time, but us oldies have responsibilities too and unlike your teachers we don't get paid for taking time out to answer your many questions. Please keep that in mind and don't take our forbearance for granted. Having said that, hopefully now the water is under the bridge and friendly discussion can be resumed.
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Ben Lemmon

Member
I have also helped people, even when I'm asking questions. I sought you out, Bob, because I knew you would know the answers to my questions. I have done research on my own. You'd be suprised. I already have a binder full of information for the story. I have not taken your forbearance for granted, and if I have worded something wrong that came across that way, I'm sorry. I didn't say that you guys did not have responsibilities, all I was saying was that I am getting ready for stuff, and I don't have a lot of time in the day to search for all the information I need, nor do I know where to start. You, Bob and Monica, have had many more years of experience, and while you have other responsibilities to attend to, you have a lot of this knowledge right on the top of your head. Sorry if I came across as not being grateful. If you would rather me do it, I will sign off for a while, and find all the information by myself, although I enjoy talking to people on this forum. Again, I'm sorry.
 
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monica e. hall

Member
I don't think, Ben, that you need to take such unproductive action as signing off for a while. All of us who have responded to you are quite happy to do so - if it's a reciprocal relationship.
 
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