Photo credits

The Embalse de Riano in northern Spain. The picture was taken by .... me!

Monday, April 28

Pubs v Churches

My Family has been playing the ancient game of “Pub Cricket”. But don’t conjure up images of whites on the green, or of gentle clapping on a summer evening. Pub cricket is a travel game that we derived from a paperback book of travel games (title forgotten) back in the seventies.

In Pub Cricket, the travellers divide into two teams and decide which is to bat first. Then everyone keeps their eyes open for pubs as you travel along. You score runs based on the number of legs in the pubs name. Thus, the Fox and Hounds has 4 legs on the fox, and 8 more on the two hounds, making 12 runs. The pub signboard may have more hounds on the picture, but you only go by the name. Similarly, the Coach and Horses may have four horses in the picture but you would only go by two based on the plural in the name. The Coach and Eight in Durham is a rowing team, so that is ten legs, ten runs. Keep your eyes open for the Octopus or the Millipede! The team that is fielding looks for pubs with no legs in the name. The Blue Bell. The Kings Head (the King may have legs but his head does not). The Willow Tree. When there is a pub with no legs, the batsmen are out and you swap, with the first team now fielding and the previous fielders now batting. It is cheating for the driver to select a route that favours his team, avoiding the Nag’s Head and going on a long detour to pass the Chinese Army. You can develop your own house rules about pubs that have shut down but still show the name, and about what counts as a pub v hotels and restaurants. Five-year-olds who insist they have seen a pub called the Toilet should be sent back to the pavilion. We usually play boys against girls, and the girls normally win because I am chivalrous.

Now, we have been developing a variant of this game: Church Cricket. St Agnes’s is two legs, St Peter and St Paul is 4, while St Michael and All Angels wins the game outright. Calvary Baptist Church and Snodwell Road Methodist Church mean the batters are out.

Then came the moment of inspiration: Pubs v Churches. Forget turns - one side looks for church legs and the other looks for pub legs. Ignore the legless ones.

I’m sorry to say that Pubs win. There are far more pubs, and then churches tend to have smaller signboards so you have driven past before you see the name.

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