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Asco

Coat of arms of Ascó

Asco is up river from us and home to the Nuclear Station for which it is well known.  We always know when coffee or meal times are as we can see the ‘smoke signals’ rising over the mountain behind us.  Today as we drove in it was puffing away and the river was ‘smoking’ (where the hot water enters the river from the plant).  Asco is a small town nestled at the feet of the  Serra de la Fatarella mountain range. This is the same range our valley is in only on the other side of the mountains. But it can be crossed as we found out one day a few years ago when a very tired man trotted into the garden asking for water.  This is normal for those running, cycling or walking in the forest, water is never refused to them. There is also excellent fishing to be had here as the warm waters around the power station is a good breeding ground for fish. A lot of our friends live and work here and during term time Michael helps them with their English in the linguistics class at the college in Mora d’Ebro.  Most of the employment here is based on agriculture with the power station providing a lot of work.  Here they grow almonds, grapes (the wine is very good) and of course, olives.

There is a good deal of history attached to Asco, it  was one of the castled points along the Ebro during the Templars time.  They controlled trade, collected taxes and got rich.  Today the castle is slowly being rebuilt/restored as the towns now realises that being part of their heritage it is important to preserve it.

Petanca

We have been coming here to play in competitions since we began playing Petanca.  Our friends used to come and play in Mora when we had a club there but age, time and other things have seen the club disintegrate  to basically three or four people.  We like others either joined Tivissa or Asco to play, but we still see our old friends around town and at the competitions like today. At the time of writing they have just started playing so it will be a while before I go to take the photos. I do this because I like to, it is nice to see the faces of our friends when they get their ‘winners’ photo something so small means so much, I get pleasure doing it and they get pleasure from the photos.

So here we go – PETANCA! This is the ‘family photograph’ winners and losers alike. We had a great day met up with friends and generally enjoyed ourselves.

          

Relaxing waiting for the last game to finish

Here are the winners, first prize large ham, second prize smaller ham, and so on from there. Michael, Maria & Gill won wine and a dried sausage (sausage didn’t last long yumm) and he is in another competition next weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So as you can see here is proof that like golfers, mad dogs & Englishmen, Petanca players go out in the midday sun…..

(c) Michael Douglas Bosc

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Petanca at Mequinenza over the years

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One of my favoured places for competitions is Mequinenza in Aragon.  Over the years when we have been playing we have had some memorable times and some we would rather forget, but that’s how competitions go. We have made lots of friends and it always feels like a reunion when we all meet up. besides being a place for Petanca Mequinenza is also renowned for its fishing, and as we arrived this morning there were fishermen all along the banks of the river enjoying their sport.

This town is also known for its castle which sits on the hill behind the town overlooking the river as it did in the time of the Templars when they controlled trade on the river Ebre. Katherine of Aragon also spent time in the castle so the English connection is always there.

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Looking at the Petanca courts from the club house – Old Age Pensioners Club – you can’t miss the castle which looks very impressive.   The statue commemorates the miners which is something you would not associate with Spain.  There were a lot of lead mines around here and in Cataluña (see http://wp.me/pVcwA-Bk) and until they were closed down they were a good source of employment. A certain amount of pride was attached, as a miner you had a job, and that meant money coming in and food on the table.

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These are some of our fond memories friends and colleagues with their prizes. Unfortunately one of them is no longer with us and is sorely missed.

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Reiner who, as President of Mora de Ebre, stands alone with the club trophy, and the one person who never shouted at me when we played in the same team, a real Spanish Don.

Today is no different from most competitions I am here writing and Michael is playing which is as it should be. The photos below are of today, the prizes are sponsored by Proctor and Gamble who have a distribution centre here.  Hams and olive oil for the winners and seconds, cheeses, wines and the trophies this year are little framed photographs of the Jubilate Club. Michael, Maria Cinta and Gill they won a nice round of cheese each.

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Our clubs photos start with breakfast and as you can see it is a serious affair. That’s right wine, olives and a bocadillo consisting of pan tomate and jamón, plus water and coffee.  That is a proper petanca breakfast and really delicious.

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This young lady is special and quite a bowler we were pleased to see our first disabled player win, and as you can see she and her friends are in the group photo wonderful.

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(c) Michael Douglas Bosc (author)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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