Friday evening, off to Chambon sur Lignon, for their annual bridge fest on Saturday. Lovely weather on Friday, though we arrive rather late for a hike before dark. Take a dip in the pool instead.
Saturday the weather is holding alright, though there are some scattered drops coming down. The weather reports had a general consensus that the rain would start around midday. I'll risk it. Haven't been hiking hardly at all this summer. Mariette's knee is bad today, so she decides to stay at the hotel for a swim and a massage. On my own, then.
The hotel has nice plastified maps to hand out, and there are two loops, each with a short and a long version. I pick the 7.5k short loop to the north of town. It's mostly wooded, which will be good if it rains, with many stretches of woods on one side & fields on the other. We're keeping the trail to the south that's much more open in reserve for tomorrow, in case of good weather and knees.
The map is only slightly wrong. It says trail 1 is the short loop, and trail 2 is the long loop. But at the fork, the marker says trail 2 to the left (short loop), and trail 1 to the right (long loop). If I take the long loop I will not be back in time for lunch, and perhaps not even for the start of the tournament. Not much of a risk, though: you go counterclockwise around the loop, which means to shorten the loop you turn harder left. All the other landmarks on the map have so far been correct, so it must be just 1 & 2 inverted. Silly people.
There it is, the Lignon.
Back in town by 11:30, I have time for a turn around the farmers market. Can't resist a market! I even bargain on a linen tunic. Back at the hotel a bit after noon, M is just leaving the massage room and was about to be worried I wasn't back yet but hadn't gotten to realizing I was missing.
Wonderful lunch. Do stay at the Bel Horizon if you're ever in Chambon sur Lignon. Great rooms, excellent food, a professional masseuse.
The hotel guy directs us down the hill, past the pizza place, beyond the church to get to the tournament site. Downhill. Pizza. Church. End of street.
Well, it's not a big town. The other church. The one with the giant community center behind it, where there are bridgers known to us hanging out on the balcony.
Table 14, N/S, in the green tournament. OK. We start out with a false step on the second deal, neither able to convince the other that their explanation has a fatal flaw. Would you just listen to what I'm saying for one second? No? Leave it. Let's move on.
I said Leave It.
Oh look, it's raining.
Ooo, really coming down! Good thing we're indoors.
So there are other hands and other opponents, and I try to remain zen, but develop a raging headache. This responds slowly to paracetamol and lots of water, but overall we don't feel we're playing well. I, actually, don't play at all until the second to last hand. Over 26 hands I play once, M plays 9 times, and the rest of the time we're on defense. You'd think with pre-dealt hands, they'd spread out the play more.
In a literal sense, there are just as many top and bottom boards to be had on defense as on offense, but on defense you don't have the same sense of 'playing' and having control of your destiny that you do as declarer. It's a mistake to passively submit to the declarer's play, but even when you defend as aggressively as you attack, there's still a gut feeling that being on defense is less valuable.
Anyway. By the end of the tournament we thought we wouldn't make the top half of the ranking, and were generally dissatisfied with our play. (will you shut up about board 28? I refuse to have this argument again)
While all the players are looking the other way, fighting their way to some tables laden with chips & peanuts & drinkables, the organizers set up a huge and tasty-looking buffet. Once we have licked the last of the salt off our fingers, they have a pretty hard time keeping us from swarming the buffet as the results take their sweet time being posted. One person will go up to snick a plastic plate, to be ready, and somebody else thinks the movement means the buffet is open... It's a job, keeping the dogs from their bowls. And it's not even proper dinnertime yet. Why are people so hungry?
Ah, the results.
We are not expecting to be in the top dozen or so pairs who get prizes. But I can't find us on the second page of the posted ranking. Surely not among the four pairs that spill over onto a 3rd page. Ah, here we are on the first page. Not even at the bottom, but 27th out of 88. Who'da thunk it.