We went down to Yorkshire yesterday. We had to collect some stereo speakers that The Man of the Place had won on eBay and we tied picking the speakers up with a visit to my favourite sister-in-law. We drove down the M6, getting off at Junction 36 and going diagonally across the North Yorkshire dales on the A65.
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When we set out in the morning it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there were only a few clouds. The wind was up and some of the clouds had sprinkles of rain in them, but nothing that would have kept me out of the garden.
You know me by now, I initially questioned the worth of losing another entire day of gardening to go on a merry chase through Yorkshire but then I saw sense. I got to spend an entire day with my family and that's much more valuable than a day raking and pulling weeds. We drove through some of the most beautiful countryside that the UK has to offer. The daffodils are just about at their prettiest this week and the lambs are still are still at their knock-knee height of cuteness. In a few weeks the lambs will venture further from their mothers and in small groups, start having little romps in the fields. The great thing about driving through this part of the country is that it is the best area in the world for game of Pub Cricket. If there is one thing that Yorkshire isn't short of is a good local pub.
The way you play pub cricket is this:
Taking it in turns during a journey, one player bats. This means he looks for pubs which the car passes. When one is found he gets a run (point) for each leg in the title of the pub. Thus "The Jolly Sailor" gets 2 points whilst "The White Horse" gets 4. If a pub has no legs, it scores no points. A player is out if the pub name includes the word "arms" or "head" (e.g. "The King's Head", "The Baker's Arms"), and it is the next player's turn. The game ends at the end of the journey. The player with the highest score wins.
There are family variations. In the way that we play, the pub sign plays heavily in scoring. If we pass "The Wagon and Horses" pub, we look to the pub sign for the number of horses the batter can count (in the original game, plural means two). I had a "Wagon and Horses" pub during my turn yesterday. The sign on the pub showed a driver (2 legs) and four horses (16 legs) for a grand total of 18. In our version any inanimate object e.g. The Rose and Crown, means that you're out and it's the next person's turn at bat.
We had a ferocious game and there were heated disputes about the number of points allowed in a run. At one point, when we passed The Friendly Pub when it was George's turn at bat, we actually stopped, turned the car around and had a second look at the pub sign to see if there was in fact a man on a horse and two people standing (there was) to give George a very respectable 10 points. Later when it was Henry's turn further up the road, we passed The New Friendly Pub where the pub sign showed two hands shaking. It was brutal, but Henry was out and the next person was up at bag. There was a Punch and Judy pub - as Punch and Judy are puppets and will never have legs, the batter was out. We also had a strong debate as to whether the Black Horse Inn was a pub or a hotel. We agreed that it was a pub and the four legs that were shown on the sign would be allowed. The Coachman Hotel which looked for all the world like a pub was deemed NOT a pub by George and he would not stray from this view so this non-pub and it's two points were not counted in the game.
If you play this game, I strongly urge you to nominate a person (not the driver of the car) to keep tally of the points so that there is no argument as to how many points a player has at any time during the game.
This pub is worth six runs or points - four for the pig and two for the boy playing the whistle. Normally a whistle doesn't have any points but in our family version, the sign factor brings in the additional two points.
A game of Pub Cricket should end at the end of your day's journey, however you are allowed to continue the game for the return trip if the people in your car are pathologically competitive.
The weather during the return journey home was much worse than the trip down. There were snowflakes flying in front of the headlights as we drove through Kirby Lonsdale. The wind was so strong that we were giving lorries a whole extra lane wobbling room as we overtook them. Visions of "accident at Shap Summit" on the M6 ran through my imagination but we made it back to our own dear Whitelees Cottage in one piece (and the greenhouses were not blown over when we got here).
We all had the same number of turns at bat during our game of Pub Cricket. George won the game with a record high of 64 runs. I came in second with 38 runs and Henry brought up the rear with 24 runs.
We had a wonderful day out and it was so nice to see Victoria, Neil and nephew Daniel.