A few years ago on a previous visit to Marseille, I found a copy of a book Les fadas de le pétanque (“Crazy about petanque”) which tells the purportedly true story of a gang of con artists who swindled players out of millions of ancient francs, playing fixed games for money. The story is also told in volume 2 of Otello’s classic book Les Histoires Humoristiques de la Pétanque.
It wasn’t simply a case of allowing players to win the first couple of games before upping the stakes. Instead, there was a much more elaborate ‘sting’ in which members of the gang would pose as property developers, looking to build new projects and seeking greedy but gullible partners for their schemes with the promise of easy riches. The boss was an old man who loved playing boules and didn’t mind the fact that he lost money hand over fist playing. Players would be invited to play with the boss and suddenly find they’ve somehow lost!
I’d often wondered if it all really did happen or if it was just fiction. I asked one of the elderly spectators and he assured me it was true and that if I searched the archives of the local press from the 1960s, I’d find the stories. I went to the largest regional paper, La Provence, thinking it would take me all week searching to find anything. I was amazed that one of the archivists knew the story and took me straight to a folder with all the cuttings! The story was true. Otello’s book gives the dates of the gang’s eventual trial and we also found these editions with the newspaper’s court reports.
We have done some redesigning here, and things are starting to look a bit more like 2013. The last change was back in 2005, and that was our 5th redesign. So here we are in the middle of our 6th change since 1996.
FInally there is a petanque-app for the android-users out there. And it is free. The perfect xmas-present perhaps?
We have set up a system that will publish 2 new postcards to twitter every day from petanque.org. It will not work forever of course, in only 2,5 years we will start with re-runs of cards we have already previously published on Twitter . We do have a lot of petanque-postcards here.
We have a very nice collection of postcards here on petanque.org, and all of them are about petanque of course. Currently we have more than 1750 postcards available for your enjoyment.
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