Privacy is not an option

“Secrets are the jewel box of happiness” Alice Ferney

Recently, I came across an article in the New York Times Magazine discussing how simultaneous retirement for a married couple can often lead to friction. Too much togetherness, or “gemütlichkeit” as the Germans call it, can become burdensome even irritating.

Like a living plant, a human needs some space to blossom, and a suddenly cramped environment might bring discord to a couple. Everyone needs some “elbow room” or occasionally a different type of environment to feel contented.

Today it is not uncommon, to come across couples with a vastly different background. Sometimes, these people don’t speak or comprehend each other’s native language. To communicate, they must resort to a different but commonly understood language, and this curiously brings about some benefits… and some drawbacks.

The hidden benefits of speaking different languages stem paradoxically from the inability of each party to decipher their mate’s conversations. She doesn’t comprehend what you’re saying to your friends and vice versa. This allows for some privacy without the need for outright deception.

In any relationship, everybody benefits from the privacy of a secret garden.  Like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden…

The drawback is that it is sometimes difficult to overcome different cultural norms. Everybody is not quite ready to embrace “escargots” or borscht. For many people, whatever is foreign is better to be viewed with suspicion and wariness.

Morale of the story: you don’t have to know everything about each other to be as happy as a sandboy. It is said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. You feel more affection for those you love when momentarily parted from them.


PS: And, you need to remember that “A secret is to only tell one person… at a time.”

May 11, mêlée in San Rafael

I was genuinely surprised and rather perplexed by the disappointing turnout for the May 11 mêlée in San Rafael. Despite expectations of a sunny, warm day, only 16 players showed up, to form just 8 teams. It left me wondering, where did everybody go to?

Noël & Joe by Sara Danielson

Such a dismal number was especially disheartening considering the promising weather forecast. We all had high hopes for a bustling event, but despite the odds, everything turned out pretty well.

Although I hadn’t planned to play due to my sprained left ankle—still painful after three weeks—I arrived early to cheer on the participants, engage in some gossip, and have a cup of coffee.

With our esteemed president gallivanting in France, Shama Kota-Gutheti and Sara Danielson took charge and organized the event like pros. Despite the low turnout, they managed to form 8 well-balanced teams. The festivities kicked off around 10:30 am, and despite the low attendance, it looked like everyone was having a good time.

Although the sun was shining, it wasn’t as warm as expected and after a light lunch, I decided to head home, satisfied with the 200 photos I had taken.

However, the main reason I left before the tournament ended, was concern for my cat. She went out early in the morning and hadn’t returned when I came home. Finally, around 7:30 PM, I located the beast (in my neighbor’s garden) through her Apple Tag and coaxed her back into the house. Young and foolish teenager!


Now, according to one of my spies, here are the tournament winners:

1st place: Noël Marcovecchio and Joe Danielson
2nd place : Jean-Michel Poulnot and Monique Bricca
3rd place: Stephanie Wilkinson & Bernard Passemar

Congratulations to the finalists and thank you to all the participants.

2024 Wine Country Open

Yesterday, we drove to Sonoma to watch the 2024 Wine Country Open finals (the Clash of the Titans) and we were not disappointed! For once in a long time, the weather cooperated and provided us with an almost perfect day.

From left to right: Hureau, Greenberg, Roland and Ziggy

Upon our arrival around 10:30 am, the field was bustling with activity. With 64 registered teams, we had 128 active players, plus numerous bystanders… and their dogs. In other words, “la foule des grands jours” a true gathering of enthusiasts.

From what I could observe, everything was exceptionally well organized, and I have nothing but praise for the organizers.

My real purpose at this event was to witness great players and above all, take some interesting photographs.

Capturing sports moments requires much more care than casual snapshots. The key factors are weather conditions and sun positioning. Like when photographing wildlife, it demands a specific technique. With wildlife, you aim to face the wind to mask your scent, while for sports events, it’s best to have the sun at your back to avoid irritating shadows.

Yesterday though, things were a bit more challenging than usual due to a sprained left ankle I sustained about a week ago. Like a war photographer, a sports photographer needs agility and readiness to maneuver. Because of my injury, I couldn’t move as swiftly as usual and probably missed some good shots, but “c’est la vie.”

The highlight of yesterday’s matches was without any doubt, the semi-final game between Hureau/Greenberg and the German team of Wagler/Laukart. The Germans were under intense pressure and had to resort to desperate measures to avoid defeat. Laukart, the designated shooter (an extraordinary shooter), fired the cochonnet four successive times to stave off defeat but ultimately lost after an exhilarating (and lengthy) game.

The finals were a letdown. It was over in a few minutes with Hureau/Greenberg crushing Ziggy and Roland 13/0.

And now, let the following pictures do the talking.