Monday, August 26

Englishness Part 2: Pubs

I've returned to Pescara.  I've eaten ice cream and I've seen my friends, so the all is right in the world of Laura once again!

Pubs - for me - are an important part of my English lifestyle, and are also important within a community, especially coming from a village on a small island.  My village has three pubs.  Well three pubs and a restaurant.  And it depends on where you live, and what you do in the village as to which pub you go to.  And that's generally how it is in my experience...everywhere.

The local whilst on cricket tour
(although really
it's a members club)
Sports Teams of all kinds (like cricket teams for example) have their pub; work places have theirs; most social groups and groups of friends have a regular pub they meet in; my Grandma has her pub; my Mum has hers and my Dad has his (yes they are different).  These pubs are referred to as the/your 'local', the place where if someone says "They're down the pub...." it's the place they'll be...the nearest pub to wherever the 'event', whether it be cricket ground, book club or house, is.  But this Summer I didn't go to my local(s) as often as I would've done if I wasn't currently battling with my end-of-module-assessment for my Masters.  Drastic times.

The local where I used to live in London, well I had two, had really good food and were pretty chic, gastropubs you might say.  However the two locals I frequent on the Island are of an older style, still good food but typical 'pub grub'.  In one there's the chance to play a bit of pool, or maybe darts.  Or perhaps watch the old guy fall asleep at the bar, if that tickles your fancy.  In the other local I always seem to be there for the folk groups practise with their violins and strummed guitar chords.  Sometimes I've eaten free chips because the Bridge group were low in numbers, and we've had to stop our conversations before to wait for the cyclists with their cycling shoes to clip-clop off of the floorboards.

I cycled here with a friend
for an impromptu lunch
The Pub for the
Axbridge Cricket Team
Either way, for me, a pub is a place to socialise and put the world to right.  To eat and drink yes, but more importantly meet people and natter.  I might head out to a pub that I haven't been to before for a catch-up with a friend I haven't seen in a while.  Or I might join my brother and his cricket team to reflect on the day's play.  Or perhaps I'll sit with my Mum and my Godmum to hear the latest news on the bees and their swarms.

Pubs.  Just good round places to sit, relax and have a chinwag.  End of.

Sunday, August 11

Bicycle Shenanigans

To interrupt the English series, I realised I never got round to uploading the following post about when my friend came to stay in mid July...oh what fun we had!

I'm not sure what my friend was expecting when she came to stay for six nights but I'm pretty certain she wasn't expecting to enjoy riding a bicycle quite so much...

Wednesday, August 7

Englishness Part 1: Cricket

I have recently returned to England where I am spending the majority of August studying for the last essay of my current Masters module.  However for five days I was on cricket tour.  Those of you who know me personally will know just how big this event is for me.  It has been a stable fixture of my calendar for...eight years (because I have eight tour shirts) and it's a weekend that I know will consist of...cricket.  It is a form of escapism for me: on tour I see people I only see on tour and so the only thing we have to talk about is the tour!  All the stuff that's occurred in the year between tours only matters if it affects your ability to partake in the tour.  The fact I flew in from Italy hardly got mentioned, conversations about our lives outside of Cricket Tour went something like "So, how's it going?"..."Yeh, good thanks." and that was that.  Bliss.  

However this year I noticed that the weekend was like a checklist of things that are "English" so I am going to do a series of blog posts focusing on these particular things: things I see as being traditionally "English".  They of course may be very different from your view of what "English" is...if that's the case, write your own blog about it!

Part 1: Cricket

It would be really, really silly if I didn't start with Cricket.

I got off the plane at 18:05 in Bristol.  My Mum met me in arrivals at 18:45 and by 19:20 I was scoring a Cricket game.  Bish, bash, bosh!

I'm not going to go into the nitty-gritty of the rules of Cricket, that would be annoying and ridiculously boring for the majority of readers, but basically two teams of 11 players try and get the most "runs" in a specified limit (in a certain amount of time, in a certain amount of balls etc).  One team bats whilst the other fields and then they swap over.  The team batting are trying to get as many runs as possible - a "run" is a point scored by running from one wicket to the other (the wicket consists of three vertical sticks with 2 smaller sticks on top, called bails).  The team fielding are trying to stop the batting team getting runs, ideally by getting the batters "out" as quickly as possible.  Normally a batter gets out by:

a) being caught
b) being stumped
c) being run out
d) being bowled
e) leg before wicket (lbw)

...but according to this explanation there are 10 ways to get out, all of which are explained further if you want to have a gander.

I like the game because it's got everything and everything has it's place.  There are times to excel as an individual and times to work as a team.  It can be serious and elitist but it can be light-hearted and hilarious.  It's an inclusive sort of game, there's "something for everyone": batting, bowling, throwing, catching, running (and standing still) on the pitch, and scoring off the pitch.   Being able to catch a ball successfully is just as important as being able to throw accurately, or hitting the ball really far.  It can be very slow, but it can also be fast-paced.  Trust me, when I'm scoring, if I take my eye off the game, all hell can break loose and I've got no idea what's going on resulting often in a score book covered in tippex, which happened on the Friday when I had issues with my phone.

The first game we played on Thursday against Axbridge
I'm not an avid follower in terms of following a particular team like some people are with football teams but I am going to watch the 2nd day of the last test match of the Ashes at the Oval on he 23 rd August.  The Ashes is a tournament between England and Australia that's been held ever other year since 1882, here's the wiki link if you really want to know more!