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“We will play it in the city, we will play it in the streets, we will play it in the rain!”:
The skies may have threatened, the storm clouds may have hovered, and the weather predictions may definitely not have been for Riviera sunshine, but despite this over 1300 people came to the Chelsea Physic Garden on Saturday 18th June to celebrate the start of summer with Ricard at its annual Free Pétanque Garden Party.
From 10.30 am, the keenest “bouliste” started arriving to warm up for the tournament, with teams rushing to sign up as soon as they could - and with Eurostar Standard Premier return tickets to Paris and a trip to Marseille at stake people were in it to win it!
Word had spread, and from die hard pétanque veterans to newly converted young’uns, people flooded in.
But this was no ordinary Pétanque tournament. For one day only, one of London’s most beautiful private gardens had been transformed into “Ricard’s 1920s Joie de Vivre Garden”. With giant garden games, treasure hunts, a swinging jazz band and delicious cocktails and a BBQ, summer was being celebrated in style!
French vintage chic and British kitsch were the order of the day and revellers took to the theme with enthusiasm! And none more so than Olli Dixon and his hilarious Lost and Found Dandies, who pulled up outside the garden in a vintage London bus, having ferried 30 players over from Shoreditch.
As they joined the tournament, Pétanque’s status as the summer game of choice of young Londoners was cemented: when boules start rolling down Brick Lane, you know it’s official!
Even the volatile English weather didn’t dampen people’s spirits. With the first downpour, everybody rushed to shelter under the marquees, only to have the party continue under cover. Ricard flowed, steaks sizzled, and Benoît Vieillefon and his orchestra set such an atmosphere with their swinging jazz classics, that when the sun finally fought its way back out some fans even stayed on to hear the end of the set. The rest of the party goers, of course, rushed out with a cheer and continued the tournament with renewed vigour, now fortified by their glasses of Ricard and merguez.
The party would go on, come rain or come shine, and even when the occasional drizzles or short burst of tropical rainfall occurred, panama hats, ample supplies of Ricard and the playful frolics of the jolly and chipper Lost and Found Dandies ensured that the Chelsea Physic Garden remained a little haven of summer fun.
At 6 o’clock, the time had come for the final round of the tournament. The crowd gathered around the central pitch for the last game and tensely watched each move. With the last boule thrown, the winning team was finally crowned and awarded the eagerly awaited Ricard Cup, as well as their return Eurostar Standard Premier trip to Paris.
With three cheers for the winners the final rounds of Ricards were poured and the music resumed, but at 6.30 and with the party still going strong, the garden warden kindly ushered everyone out. Having spent the day in this idyllic flowered corner of London, the city’s streets looked that little bit greyer. Back to reality indeed; and as we all went our separate ways we were happy to say “See you next year!”
1973, nuxe, echange, natoora, restaurant, kings place, London Fashion Week, europafood.xb, 5.55, Politique/Economie, film, Tintin, Entrepreneur de l'Année, tournois de petanques, Life and Style, Agences Au-pair, Poissoniers, Vico, pret a porter, londres, Mathilde, Ello les Anglos, fromage, Matthieu Kassovitz,