Tour 2019, The last day

Tour Day 14 The Long Trek Home

After discussions with our bus drivers it was decided that to avoid a potential late arrival at Gatwick, after dropping off Chomo & myself at Heathrow, a 2:00 AM start was advisable. Someone suggested that we get the front desk to give us a 1:30 wakeup call till we realized that most of us had no phone in the room. After a lot of coaching we got Ossie to programme his phone for an alarm. So, by 1:45 most of the crew traveling were out in the quadrangle ready to roll, but Ossie was still a no show. Chomo decided to knock on his door to get him moving. After knocking a few times, the drapes of the room opened to reveal a white face, Oops, wrong door.

Eventually everyone was at the bus, bags loaded & ready to roll.

At that time in the morning most passengers were dozing & the bus quiet. I must have dropped off for a while because I missed a couple of the slow spots on the M5. Made a pit stop just before Heathrow but most places still closed.

Eventually I was the 1st drop at Terminal 3 at Heathrow just after 6:00 AM. What happened to the rest I don’t know, but apparently everyone got to their flights on time.

My plan was to leave my big case in left luggage for a couple of days so that I didn’t have to lug it to & from Heathrow. Found out the left luggage was in the next building no problem finding it & checked my bag. As I was heading to the tube, I realized that I could see no reference on the departure screens for Air Canada. Finally checked my itinerary & found I should be in Terminal 2. As I had plenty of time, I did a survey of the distances & time required between the tube station & the left luggage in Terminal 3 & check in at Terminal 2. I realized that with limited time on Monday morning it would be best to take my bag to Terminal 2 left luggage.  When I collected my bag, I had a fee of 7 pounds to pay & I said to the lady that was the price of my stupidity. She replied “No its the price of 2 coffees” Kind of put things into perspective. Finally got the bag checked & on my way to my Hounslow Hotel.

With the delays I got to the hotel around 9 AM. Spoke to the lady on reception & asked as I was so early could I just leave my carry on at the front desk & come back in the afternoon to check in. She asked my name, asked for my passport & a credit card checked on the computer passed back my stuff & said you have a room ready. Now that was a pleasant surprise. Went & cleaned up, unpacked my bag & then headed into the city for breakfast & a sightseeing day.

Next day Sunday was the final of the Cricket World Cup so I looked around the city for a pub showing the game. Even though it was on the general channel all I saw was the Grand Prix, Wimbledon or the Tour de France. The game was on a large screen in Trafalgar Square but nowhere to sit & poor viewing lines to screen. Eventually gave up & went to find Phil’s old pub The Lamb & Flag. Found it down a very narrow passage way near Covent Garden. TV was on tuned to the Grand Prix which was due to start in an hour or more so nothing going on. Got talking to the granddad of a family in the pub for some regular family day out. Interesting individual. Eventually headed back to my hotel where the game was on TV.

By 7:30 the game ended in a tie & I am just wanting to go & eat as I had a 4:30 start next morning. Super Over time. Well we all know the result.

Had a very nice lamb cutlets dinner with a large glass of wine & off to bed.

Next morning at the tube station for the 4:55 AM train to Heathrow, I had checked in on line the night before so all I needed was my boarding pass & bag tag. Of course, the computer does not recognize my info. There was only 1 desk open so it took what seems for ever to check in. But plenty of time for breakfast before the plane loads. Pleasant flight, no problems or very little turbulence.

Going through customs in Toronto which is all machines, the first wouldn’t accept my passport the 2nddecided that I had not answered one of the questions with a tick in yes or no. Made the tick bigger & darker but to no avail so had to see one of the live humans & explained the problem, His only comment was “yea it happens a lot” Good to see we can trust automation.

Remembered too late that I had hidden all my Canadian cash in the bottom of my big suitcase & it was checked through to Winnipeg. In Toronto tried to get cash from an ATM. Only 2 available, first one was out of order & the other one only dispensed US$ or Euros.

As I booked on points I was routed through Ottawa. Tried again for cash in Ottawa. Only 1 ATM in the area & that did not recognize my small bank, RBC, tried again using Visa did not recognize that either. Just had to hope that the cab in Winnipeg would take Visa, he did.

The plane was at the gate when I arrived but had an hour & a half lay over when we boarded nothing happened for a while but then the pilot said the lock on the cockpit door was faulty & had to be replaced. How come that wasn’t noticed when the plane came in?

The part was on its way from the other side of the airport & would only take 5 minutes to get there. Half an hour later the part arrived & eventually the door got fixed & we got off nearly an hour late.

From there on just plain sailing

Tour 2019 Day 13: Chagford

Tour Day 13 Chagford Friday July12

Final game of the Tour, a game I felt we should not have scheduled as by the Friday 5 of the 15 playing members of the Tour would have left the area. Plus, almost all those that were left were nursing some injury or other. Also, we had a very early start (2 AM) the following morning. None the less the game was scheduled & we pulled together a team to play the game. Our driver was familiar with the Chagford area & decided on a small bus as he was sure the bigger buses couldn’t get to the ground & we would have a long walk from the village to the ground. Again, a large ground set just outside a small village on Dartmoor with the hills of Dartmoor all around

Bus picked us up at 10:45 with a projected start for a 25 over game of 1:00, this because we wanted to be away early to prepare for or early morning start for home.

Taverners batted 1st with Nigel & Garvin opening & once again the opposition opening bowler was a young lady this time just 14 years old. Quite quick & on a good length but wayward in direction at times. Garvin was following his running rules it was a single or 4 & he was picking up plenty of boundaries. The 1st wicket put on 52 with Nigel out for 8. Roy joined Garvin for a very short time out for a “golden”. Garvin’s next partner was brother Errol who played the backup role until Garvin eventually retired for 105.

It was during that partnership that the pair set off for a quick single to the young lady with a good arm, seeing that she taking aim at the bowlers end wicket where I was umpiring I made haste running backwards, caught my heel on the practice wicket mat & landed with my head taking the brunt of the fall. I then spent the rest of the game on the side lines with an ice pack on my head.

The innings continued with Errol retiring on 23, David was quickly removed for 2 Taverners 158 for 3 after 21 overs. Joe (12) & Chomo (20) finished off the innings in grand style posting 191 for 3.

Karran & Ossie opened the bowling with Karran striking in the 1st over having the opener stumped. He struck again in his following over bowling the number 3 Chagford 11 for 2. The Numbers 1 & 4 batsmen then staged a comeback taking the score to 102 when Roy in his last over bowled #4 for 58.  The next 2 wickets fell cheaply to Nigel, Chagford 116 for 5. At this point Garvin passed the keepers duties to Roy & the #7 batsmen took control of the innings closing in on Taverners score but he was losing partners to Garvin till at the end of the 25th over #7 was not out 52 & Chagford 180 for 8 Taverners 2nd win of the Tour by 11 runs.

Taverners Bowling:-

Karran 2 – 26, Ossie 1 – 36, Roy 1- 48, Nigel 2 – 35, Garvin 2 – 28 & David 0 – 16

A very good evening with our hosts where we tried to deplete the beer fund but sadly just failed. The Rubber Ducky went to the worthy innings of Roy.

So, we wound our way across Dartmoor to The Cedars but about halfway the effects of the bang on the head & the overloaded bladder kicked in & I asked the driver if he could find a place to stop. He must have known what was coming because within minutes he made a small detour & found a sheltered spot in the woods that several of the team used for their relief. Once we were back at the hotel, we realized that it was still too early to retire so the regular evening get together was again in full swing celebrating the victory & the Tour in general.

Tour 2019 Day 12: Barnstaple & Pilton

Tour Day 12 Barnstaple & Pilton Thursday July 11

This was our second last game & we knew we had a very early start on Saturday so the morning was spent by some with a walk around town & others making a start on the packing. Ray & Terry had decided against the 1:30 AM wakeup call on Saturday & took off by train to spend a day in London

The afternoon game was scheduled for 4:00 & the bus pick up was for 3:00 the ground was only about 10 minutes away but it was afternoon rush hour so it took a little longer

The game was originally scheduled for 30 overs but with the Taverners carrying far too many injuries we managed to negotiate down to 25.

Another large ground & even though it was still in Barnstaple it was surrounded by hills & greenery.

Barnstaple batted 1st but our score book doesn’t seem to have been used until the 15th over & the only bowlers names listed were Joe #1 & Ossie #4. But as umpire I do remember the score moving along quite briskly with the 1st wicket putting on 55 & the 2nd adding 24. By the time the 15 over is recorded Barnstaple are105 for 4. The score slowed at this point & at over 20 they were 130 for 7. One of the bats(men) in this sequence was a young lady who looked quite comfortable & playing nice strokes but she was bowled before she was settled. Then batsmen 6 & 10 pushed the score along to be 166 for 8 after the allotted 25 overs.

Taverners were set to score at better than 6 an over with David & John opening the innings. The one surprise is that the young lady was the opening bowler bowling quite quick on a good length but her direction was a little wayward. Even so we were through over 4 before we passed the 6 mark. But then the scoring picked up so that by over 14 we were at 80 but then David was bowled. A couple of overs later John was stumped I think voluntarily as he was in pain from sore hamstrings. 90 for 2. From that point the innings slipped downhill, Garvin N.O. 14, Karran bowled 5, Roy LBW 15, Nigel LBW 4 & Errol N.O. 5 could not close the gap quickly enough so that after 25 overs Taverners were 154 for 6 just 12 runs short. In old Taverner terms a moral victory.

The teams adjourned to the pavilion for tea & a couple of rounds of beer with the usual presentations with Captain Chomo on the receiving end of the Rubber Duckie. As the bus driver had headed home, we gave him a call to pick us up but that left plenty of time to socialize with the opposition.

The usual format of the late-night entertainment was underway in the back room But I quit & went to bed


Tour 2019 Day 11: Stonehenge & Salisbury

Tour Day 11 Wednesday July 10

No Game Scheduled but a bus trip to Stonehenge & Salisbury was on the agenda. Because of the length of the journey, over 2 hours, we had an early start with the bus ready to pick us up at 8:00. The driver was obviously well aware of our bladder limitations & coffee capacity as he announced that he would be making a pit stop prior to our arrival. When we arrived at Stonehenge I was surprised at the additions & changes they had made with a large visitors centre & cafe, plus a bus to take people out to the Henge.  I sat talking to the driver about our return to Gatwick & by the time I went to find the others they had vanished into the large crowds of visitors. I decided that as I had seen the Henge previously I would just take a walk across Salisbury Plain. It was about ½ an hour stroll to the entrance to the stone circle but once I got there I bumped into Nigel & a couple of others who had decide against the tour. On our walk back we passed one of the burial mounds where some druids were performing some ceremony. The rest of the group didn’t believe us when we told them about the naked dancing. The driver had allowed the standard 2 ½ hour visit & as we were closing in on the time several of us had to instigate a herding team to get everyone together.

Our other stop was Salisbury which was just a short drive away & our drop off & pick up spot was at the entrance way to the Cathedral. As you turn the corner into the Cathedral grounds the sight is most impressive with the massive spire.

The main reason for the visit was Karl’s request so that he could see one of the only copies of Magna Carta which is housed in the Cathedral. To our surprise there was an entry fee to the main area of the Cathedral but no one to see the Magna Carta. The Cathedral was shut as it was being used for a service for the Women’s Institute. I was wondering why there were so many ladies wearing silly hats. As for the Magna Carta it is in a small chapel where you can get up close to the document & there is a lot of information all around it. I know both Karl & Ossie were very impressed & I might say moved at seeing the document that for hundreds of years has preserved freedoms in the British world.

On a lighter note we were able to confine our Captain to the stocks for a photo opportunity.

Nigel remembered an Inn he went to on a previous that had a severed hand on display. One of the ladies in the Cathedral told us how to reach the place that was just a fairly short distance from the Cathedral. We found The Haunch of Venison after a few minutes & as it was the middle of the afternoon it was not too busy so the whole crowd gathered on an upper floor. The pub was established in 1320 & the slant of the floor & the low height of the ceiling pretty much confirmed that age. Some bright spark in the group asked our server if the served venison, to which she replied with a dead pan face NO.

But the menu defied her words with a variety of burgers & cuts of venison. As there was such a variety the choice was difficult. The range of beers served was also quite impressive.

When our meal was over, we found that their computer had gone down so each of us had to pick out our order so that with the aid of a number of fingers our bills could be paid.

Then we had a short walk to the bus but of course we lost a couple of individuals & the search parties scoured the Cathedral grounds until the group head count was correct & we were on our way back to Barnstaple. I think that this was a very special venue for some of the group.

Pub Crawl Day 9 Sunday June 30

Really the last day of our adventure. Early start & drive through Snowdonia but the weather cloudy & cool with the clouds down on the tops of the Mountains. Our 1st target was Llanthony Priory a pub built as part of a ruined priory. To get there we drove over the steepest, narrowest & most winding roads of the trip. Plenty of stops to let other vehicles pass & to look at the scenery. The pub now sits in what was the kitchen of the priory that was sacked by Henry VIII. Met a couple of cyclists there for a good chat.

From there on to the Skirrid Hotel, claimed as the oldest pub in Wales. For previous tourists He/She was not serving.

Had lunch & drove into Merthyr Tydvil

Met up with a number of friends we met at ’92 Las Vegas 7’s for a pub crawl around the town only to find 1 place shut at 10. A great evening but some difficulty understanding the Welsh guys


Tour 2019 Day 10: Bridgetown

Tour Day 10 Bridgetown Tue July 9

As we had plenty of time after breakfast till the Noon pick up by the bus, the group took another walk into town so that Ossie could buy a pair of cricket shoes like Nigel’s for the indoor season. Must remember not to go shopping with Ossie again as he shops like the average woman, looking at everything twice going to the checkout & then changing his mind.

The bus arrived at noon & the team was assembled & we were quickly on our way. Although much of the journey was through narrow winding roads, we made excellent time & were in Bridgetown with about an hour to spare. The newcomers to this venue marveled at the very narrow bridge over the River Exe to get onto the ground. For the longest time we were the only folks there & we were starting to worry that there was some confusion of the date or time. But I guess as is typical in a small country village the team arrived with just enough time to spare.

The game was scheduled for 40 overs but because of Taverners group of walking wounded we managed to reduce that to 35 overs.

I think our captain Chomo had worked out the plot by our previous hosts in letting us bat first then loading us down with vast amounts of sandwiches & other goodies at the break. That way we were not able to move quickly in the field. Little did they know it didn’t matter if we fielded 1st or 2nd we couldn’t move quickly period. So, Chomo contrived to get Bridgetown to bat first.

As with previous games in Bridgetown the locals took advantage of the superior knowledge of the ground’s geography by taking runs where the ball goes up the hill & just when the chasing fielder catches up with it, the ball reverses & runs down the hill again. They also restrict their boundary attempts away from the hill. Using these tactics, they proceeded at a steady rate of just over 5 per over losing a few wickets along the way. Their standout batsmen who I think was a ringer from South Devon retired after he reached his 50. The only real bowling of note from Taverners was Ossie’s 3 overs taking 4 for 8.

Bridgetown finished with 195 for 9

Tea was delayed for a couple of overs as the kettles had not yet boiled, no way were the ladies going to serve food until the tea was ready. When we got to the pavilion, we could see that Chomo had made the correct decision in batting 2nd as the spread of food was considerable with all the usuals.

One thing I noticed about the Bridgetown bowling was that speed was not on their agenda, concentration was on line & length. Taverners had a lot of difficulty in getting the ball away & the bowlers racked up 6 maidens in the 1st 15 overs, & with Taverners looking for 5 an over They were restricted to 2.

The brothers Budhoo opened the batting but Errol was unable to penetrate the field & was out for 4 after 10 overs. He was replaced by David who with a flurry of activity scored 9 in the next 6 overs. Then there were 2 quick wickets Garvin for 28 & Nigel for 0.

Roy was in form hitting 33 off 22 balls well supported by Ossie who watched Roy, Joe (4), & Karran (0) go at the other end before being caught for 8. From then on it was just John W with a well struck 22 off of 10 balls before Taverners were All Out for 138.

A loss by too many.

Post-game was at the Badgers Holt just a short walk up the road where the pennant was presented to join the other 2 from previous visits.

I do not recall who was the recipient of the Rubber Duckie but the most likely candidates were Nigel & Karran for their well rounded scores.

After some refreshing pints at the Holt we journeyed back to The Cedars & the late evening entertainment.


Pub Crawl Day 8 Saturday June 29

After locating the car in the bowels of the Liverpool underground parking complex we headed for Wales. 1st stop Conway Castle. The castle is part of the defenses of a completely walled town. I am sure Sid is trying to kill me with a thousand steps up & down spiral stone stairs. We went up & down circular stairs in a couple of towers & up & down between the various levels. Next stop Caernarfon Castle this is a massif structure & again part of a walled city. We decided to give it a miss.

Grabbed some lunch & then headed over to Anglesey & to our next hotel in Lanfairpwllgwyngyll (abbreviated). After checking in we inquired about supper & was told that there were 2 groups of 45 & 60 in that night to eat but if we got in early, they could PROBABLY accommodate us. We decided on a 6:30 supper & picked the mixed grill. This turned out to be a large plate full of protein. Lamb, Sausage. Chicken, Bacon, Pork with a little veggies. & so to bed.

Tour 2019 Day 9: Ilfracombe

Tour Day 9 Monday July8

This was farewell day for Sid, Imdad & Tina from the Tour & I was awakened at 4:00AM as Sid was searching for his belongings in the darkened room. So, to make things easy I got up & saw them off, Sid to catch his flight at Gatwick & Tina & Imdad on into London for a short visit. Tried going back to bed but it was a waste of time.

This was a free day with no game & no Bus so John was volunteered to drive a small group to Ilfracombe. Relying on Google Maps was not the best idea as it wants to send you on the shortest route. In this instance it took us off the main road along a typical narrow country road. That wasn’t bad but after about 20 minutes the road was closed & we were diverted along something a little more than a cart track. After a couple of minutes, we met a big tractor whose wheels were touching both hedges. So, John had to back up with the tractor a couple of feet from his hood. We found a gateway to get into to let the tractor by. We then resumed on our way only to meet another tractor. After we let him pass, we had no other difficulties.

We were lucky to find an on street free parking spot as soon as we started looking. We headed toward the harbour along the water front walkway. A Wetherspoons location soon attracted our attention as a place for lunch. Upstairs there was an open roof garden with a set of wires crisscrossing what would have been a ceiling. This was to deter the seagulls. While we waiting for our food a couple of gulls dived between the wires & tried to snag someone’s burger when they went to pick up some ketchup from the next table. As usual with Wetherspoons the food was good & the beer cheap so a pretty pleasant place for lunch. The walk continued to the harbour where surprise surprise the tide was out again. Interesting to note that most boats had double keels so that they sit on the mud when the tide is out.

For our return journey we decided to ignore Google Maps & just follow the posted traffic signs despite getting involved in the evening rush hour we got back in less time than it took going out.

Pub Crawl Day 7 Friday June 28

Up early for breakfast but despite being told breakfast was at 7:15, nobody was up at that time, so we hit the road to Liverpool,

Quite an enjoyable & very picturesque and very, windy road around Loch Lomond. After leaving the Loch Lomond it was mostly motor way driving fast but quite boring. So, I convinced Sid to take a break in Lytham St Annes. Went for a walk along the Prom. The tide was so far out that we couldn’t see the water. After Sid had become convinced that England has sandy beaches, I am sure after this trip he is now convinced there is no ocean. Had a beer in a beach pub before continuing on our way.

The directions to the Liverpool Hotel took us along the dock area, not a very inviting area but the last mile or so was much better. The Hotel doesn’t have parking so Sid had to go to a public lot close by that was half the downtown area under ground When Sid returned to the hotel I asked where the car was parked, the answer “I have no idea”

Set off to do some shopping but found “The Cavern” so dropped in for a beer. Some live entertainment, the place was packed with everyone there looking for a good time. Many of the Beatles songs played had full audience participation. Spent way too much time there but fun time. Supper & bed