Independence Weekend: Cricket, Cotswolds, and Stratford-upon-Avon

Hey y’all,

Well, I’ve been waiting almost a year and half and summer has finally arrived!!  Why a year and half, you might ask?  Because last summer seemed to never happen.  It never got properly sunny or hot, so I completely missed out on a summer.  However, the past week has been a “heat wave” in the UK, and just in time for good ole 4th of July!

This was the second year in a row that I had to work on July 4th, and it felt just as wrong as last year.  July 4th is supposed to be about celebrating America and our freedom and independence.  And that freedom is from the one place I am currently located: England.  So instead, I’m being oppressed and having to work on my Independence day.  No matter, we managed to plan an evening BBQ with a mixture of American expats, other foreigners (Spanish, Italian, Indian, Dutch, Polish, etc), and even a few token Brits.  The weather turned out fantastic for the event and it was a celebration, even if we couldn’t manage to get fireworks.  Special thanks to Vivek for letting us use his backyard, since we don’t have any outdoor space (or a grill).

Celebrating Independence Day

Celebrating Independence Day

Jeff manning the grill

Jeff manning the grill

I made an American Flag fruit pizza

I made an American Flag fruit pizza

Partying is happening

Party is happening

God Bless America

God Bless America

Friday, we went to our first ever cricket match.  Since living here, we’ve gone to see football (soccer), rugby, and even horse-racing, so we figured we needed to see cricket as well.  Although cricket originated in England, it seems to be most popular in India.  I work with a lot of Indians, and in fact, my two neighbors at work both have Indian heritage, so I’ve heard a lot about cricket during my time here.  I think it has slowly sunk in, and by finally seeing a match, I think I get the gist of it.

Here is my very basic explanation.  We went to a 20/20 match, which means twenty overs for each team.  This is the shortest version of the game, and only lasts about a couple hours.  Some of the other versions can last a day, or even a week!  An over is similar to an inning in baseball, although only one team is bowling (like pitching).  One team bowls for all of their 20 overs, and then the other team will bowl.  In each over, there are 6 balls (so imagine 6 pitches); after 6 balls, you go to the next over.  Additionally, the team that is bowling (pitching), is trying to get wickets, which is equivalent to getting the batsman out.  There are 11 batsmen on each team, with 2 batters up at a time, so once they get 10 wickets, there are no more batsmen left, so its the other teams turn to bat, even if there haven’t been 20 overs.  However, in 20/20 cricket, normally the overs are finished before reaching 10 wickets.  As a batsman, you are only allowed to get out one time, you don’t rotate back through the line-up.  In order to get a wicket, the ball has to hit the wooden stumps behind the batsmen, or the ball has to be caught in the air after being hit by the batsman.  In a “test match” which can last multiple days, there is no limit to the number of overs, and one team bats until all the batsmen are out (10 wickets), and then it’s the other team’s turn to bat.

In order to score points, the batsman hits the ball with the bat, and runs between the wickets, with each run counting as 1 point.  Additionally, if the ball goes out of the park, it is worth 6 points, or if it goes past a certain line, it is worth 4 points.

The match we saw was the Derbyshire Falcons versus Nottingham Outlaws.  It was a Friday night 20/20 match, and it sold out with a stadium capacity of 5,000 people.  The atmosphere reminded me of an Indianapolis Indians baseball game, with a good family vibe, and a lot more socializing than actually watching the game.  There were even some cheerleaders and costumed Falcons!  Unfortunately, Derbyshire lost by 6 wickets.

We met up at the Bridge Inn before the cricket match - check out how nice Derby looks when the weather is good!

We met up at the Bridge Inn before the cricket match – check out how nice Derby looks when the weather is good!

We had a nice group at the cricket match

We had a good size group at the cricket match.  Special thanks to Runa for explaining cricket to everyone!

Joe, Lina, me, and Doug

Joe, Lina, me, and Doug

Cricket action - sorry we didn't bring the zoom lense

Cricket action – sorry we didn’t bring the zoom lens

10

Joe and Lina were able to bring their dog, Ruby!

Joe and Lina were able to bring their dog, Ruby!

And the highlight of the match: a streaker!  I've never seen a streaker in real life before!

And the highlight of the match: a streaker! I’ve never seen a streaker in real life before!  hahaha

On Saturday we got gorgeous weather again!  We headed to the Cotswolds with some of our favorite expats and travel buddies, Jeff and Kerry.  Unfortunately, this is one of our last travels with them since they are headed back to the land of freedom in a month.  We enjoyed the day together, and headed down to the Cotswolds, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty and quaint English villages.  We did a circular walk down there, enjoying the sunshine, and also checked out Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare, on the way home.  Quite an amazing day.

Starting the walk - we even had to put sunscreen on for this crazy sunshine!

Starting the walk – we even had to put sunscreen on for this crazy sunshine!

Some quaint stables along the way.  I love how public footpaths go straight through peoples farms.

Some quaint stables along the way. I love how public footpaths go straight through peoples farms over here.

The Cotswalds Circular way - we did about 6 miles total.

The Cotswolds Circular way – we did about 6 miles total

We saw plenty of poppy flowers along the way - there were almost like weeds

We saw plenty of poppy flowers along the way – they were almost like weeds

Also saw lots of cows

Also saw lots of cows, although no hairy ones like we saw in Scotland.  Those are my fav.

The cute baby lambs are almost all grown up now (or else gone...)

The cute baby lambs are almost all grown up now

And more cows

And more cows

Part of the walk went through some forest and it was nice to get some shade.  This tree had some really cool roots.

Part of the walk went through some forest and it was nice to get some shade. This tree had some really cool roots.

It felt cooler in the shade of the trees

It felt cooler in the shade of the trees

The hills are alive!

The hills are alive!

Hey buddy!

Hey buddy!

So picturesque!

So picturesque!

The yellow fields are what is called "rape seed" over here, but what we know as canola used to make oil.

The yellow fields are what is called “rape seed” over here, but what we know as canola used to make oil.

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Very large bull behind Doug - didn't want to get too close

Very large cow behind Doug – didn’t want to get too close

The sheep had been shaved pretty recently - good thing due to the heat wave

The sheep had been shaved pretty recently – good thing due to the heat wave

Sheep oasis!

Sheep oasis!  All the sheep are congregating under the tree for shade.

It must be the coolest place around.

It must be the coolest place around.

Some fantastic scenery

Some fantastic scenery

Perfect bench and view for a little snack time

Perfect bench and view for a little snack time

The crew!

The crew!

The scenery was really great, and also different than the Peak district, which we have seen the most of.

The scenery was really great, and also different than the Peak district, which we have seen the most.

Artsy shot

Artsy shot

Finished the walk our celebratory beers/cider/shandy at the local golf club

Finished the walk our celebratory beers/cider/shandy at the local golf club

The walk didn’t seem too bad, as we weren’t hiking to a particular summit, and we also weren’t walking through pouring rain.  Amazing how the weather can make a huge difference.  It was also warm and sunny, but it wasn’t boiling hot, so that made it quite pleasant.  Overall, a very nice walk out in the Cotswolds.

Next, we headed to Stratford-upon-Avon, since it was basically on our way home.  Driving into town, we got stuck in a traffic jam, with less than a mile to go.  Doug got out of the traffic and pulled into the Old Tramway Inn, and it turned out to be the perfect stop, with free parking, a great outdoor garden, decent pub food (we ate a late lunch), and a secret pedestrian pathway into town.  Winning!

Dining al fresco at the Old Tramway Inn

Dining al fresco at the Old Tramway Inn

The path into town led us through a public park, and I’ve never seen a park this crowded before!  I guess the English just stop all their plans in order to get outside whenever the weather is this good.  All the kids were enjoying the playground and the pool.  The pool especially since I imagine it doesn’t get much use throughout the year.

Crowded pool

Crowded pool

Crowded park

Crowded park

We didn’t know it, but this weekend happened to be the River Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon.  It occurs one weekend in the summer, and we just so happened to stumble upon it without even planning.  There were tons of people about, with stalls of food and crafts set up, live bands playing, and narrow canal boats docked on the river Avon.  The atmosphere was very lively, and it seemed to be like the English equivalent of a county fair in the States.  We found out there were even fireworks that evening, but we weren’t going to stick around to half past ten in order to see them.

The River Festival - complete with bunting!  I love bunting by the way, I think it makes everything more festive!  (Bunting are those triangle flags btw).

The River Festival – complete with bunting! I love bunting; I think it makes everything more festive! (Bunting are those triangle flags btw).

Entering the festival

Entering the festival – it was free!

Crowded festival atmosphere

Crowded festival atmosphere

It's Pimm's o'clock!

It’s Pimm’s o’clock!

I also love Pimm's

Jeff and Kerry’s first time trying Pimm’s

Checking out the river from the bridge

Checking out the river view from the bridge

We left the festival atmosphere to check out the rest of Stratford-upon-Avon, which includes the birthplace of Shakespeare.  You can buy a 5-house pass in order to see all the important Shakespeare homes, but we decided to save our money and admire from the outside.  None of us are huge Shakespeare fans, so we didn’t feel the need to go in.  We just walked around the area, admired the Tudor buildings, and went in some of the touristy shops selling anything and everything Shakespeare.

Part of the Shakespeare Trust

Part of the Shakespeare Trust

Funky looking Tudor building - don't think this one was related to Shakespeare at all

Funky looking Tudor building – don’t think this one was related to Shakespeare at all

Very artistic Tudor building

Very artistic Tudor building

Honestly, the festival and river were more interesting to us, so we headed back that way and hung out a little more.

The river Avon

The river Avon

Some of the narrow boats parked on the river

Some of the narrow boats parked on the river

The foot ferry to cross the river - the guy cranks a chain that goes along the bottom

The foot ferry to cross the river – the guy cranks a chain that goes along the bottom

Overall, an amazing Independence weekend basically due to the fact that we finally got some summer weather.  Hopefully it will last longer!

xoxo

Tara

4 thoughts on “Independence Weekend: Cricket, Cotswolds, and Stratford-upon-Avon

  1. I love hiking in England but had never heard of the Cotswold’s Way. I agree it is cool how the ancient footpaths remain open for anyone to use. They were all over the Coast to Coast walk.

  2. Pingback: Oxford and More Cotswolds | Schetzels in the UK

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