In April 2019 we hosted the Premier ‘Petanque Tournament’ here in the Algarve. The social event was for members of the Browns Walking Football team and their partners. It was a popular event, so much so, that many members wanted it to be held twice a year. Her Outdoors and myself looked at each other at the time, smiled ruefully and thought ‘we’ll put that on the back burner!’. Once a year was enough, we decided, given the amount of time and energy we had put in to planning and organising the event. However, we also had to acknowledge that it was a great incentive to get those projects finished and the garden tidied.

Fast forward to late April 2022 and we held the second, annual Petanque Tournament. Those good at numbers will find a discrepancy here… 2nd annual… 4 years apart… I’m labouring the point here of course, but a lot has happened in the intervening time. Liverpool have won the Champions League and the FA Cup Final, Leeds United were promoted to the Premier League, Newcastle United got rid of Mike Ashley and survived the drop to the Championship! But this blog is not about football, rather it’s a celebration of coming out of the gloom and despondency of… that global situation that will not be named.

Knowing full well what we were letting ourselves in for, after a 3 year gap, we were up for the challenge of putting on another event. We concentrated on the fun elements: the joint planning, making Sprinkler-lists (a minor obsession), putting our “Blue Peter” hats on to make some naff trophies (made from recycled materials) and finally unpacking the lifetime collection of plates and cutlery still in boxes from our move to Portugal.

So, bouyed up by the lifting of restrictions, the weather improving, the green shoots sprouting, we decided to plan our second tournament. One of our driving forces was a feeling that our garden has an altruistic purpose beyond our own enjoyment. The joy that we get from being in the garden and delighting in the view is enhanced by sharing it with family and friends. What we also enjoy, is the challenge of putting on such an event. It encourages us to make changes or developments in the garden and review the successes and failures. 

In recent months Browns Walking FC have been joined by a number of new players and so it was a chance to meet and make new friends as part of an expanding calendar of social events. Consequently, one of the most satisfying elements of the event was seeing so many happy, smiling faces of team members and their partners enjoying a lovely social occasion. This was despite a couple of mini disasters with bouncing beers and forgotten lasagnes… (But that ‘s another blog story!) What was especially joyful, was a mini pitch invasion by some other ‘residents’ of Quinta Antiga, our lovely free range chickens!

Karen rounding up the invaders.

The tournament was a great success, so it was suggested, to Her Outdoors, that we should consider putting on a second event in late September… Her reply is un-reportable! Hopefully though, we won’t have to wait another three years until the next one.

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