This is the beginning of a new sound system I am creating.  As you can see from the pictures, the wooden case is for holding 6 boules.  The unit will house a 25 watt amplifier with a brass horn and cradle for an iPhone or iPad.  I haven’t decided if I will include bluetooth yet.  The original case was thrown out by someone (minus the boules) and looks a lot worse for wear than the first photograph shows.  I spent the next few days cleaning it up in readiness to make it a desirable and useable artefact. This meant removing all the hardware, cleaning each material with the relevant solvents (often some pretty vigorous elbow grease) and then putting it back together so as to present the boules case in ‘as new’ condition.

Stay tuned for pics as I upcycle this item. Let me reiterate that if the case had contained the boules, I would not have utilised it for this purpose. That would be sheer philistinism.

A Short History of Boules

Boules (French) or bocce (Italian) is a game where the object is to roll or throw heavy balls so as to land as close as possible to a small white ball.  Boules is a popular game in France, Italy, Croatia, Malta and some former French colonies. Played on a rectangular crushed stone court enclosed in wooden rails and which is sometimes incorporated into a village square, players compete by throwing/rolling multiple balls down a long rectangular court to land close to the small white ball which has been placed near the far end at the start of the game. Of course, knocking and displacing opponents’ balls (each player gets 3 – 4 boules each, depending on local traditions) that land closer to the small white ball, is part of the competitive fun.

Boules have morphed in other cultures. In Australia (where I live) the game of boules has become lawn bowls. It is played on very short turf with generally 6-10 rectangular courts side by side, marked out in white chalk. Popular in the 1910’s – 70’s, it has retained a following mostly with older people. They dress in white (bowling whites), utilise special shoes and often follow up a set of games with a beer at the bowling club (or ‘The Bowlo’ in Australian parlance) which is adjacent to the greens.

A version of the game is also played inside (often in golf club auditoriums) on rectangular artificial turf greens that can be rolled away. It remains a popular low impact social sport to play after 18 holes of golf and the obligatory cocktails which follow a hard day’s golfing.

In recent years as the popularity of lawn bowls has waned, Australian bowling clubs have increasingly closed. Those clubs that have kept their doors open have done so by offering activities such as ‘barefoot bowls’ as a group or party activity to younger people. I remember going to a fantastic birthday party at Waverley Bowling Club a few years ago and it was a great option to play a few games with friends whilst sharing birthday drinks!

So grab a set of boules when you find them (often in a charity store), get a roll of artificial turf and GET BOWLING!