Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bosworth Battlefield and Bonfire Day

Remember, remember the 5th of November
Gunpowder Treason and Plot
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot

Today is Bonfire Day here in the UK! There have been fireworks going off pretty much every night since Saturday, which has been lots of fun (kind of annoying sometimes, but fun). Tonight, as per my custom, a bunch of us are watching V for Vendetta and I will, of course, be giving a brief historical overview of Guy Fawkes/the Gunpowder Plot beforehand. I have no idea why I have friends. They are saints.

Last Saturday we (finally) didn’t have a flat trip, but I was busy adventuring anyway! Bosworth Battlefield was my destination. On August 22nd 1485, Henry Tudor defeated Richard III to become Henry VII and form the new Tudor dynasty. So obviously the battlefield is on my list and I had to go. John came with me on my adventure and it was lots of fun but super exhausting.

First off, we woke up at 5:45am to get to the bus station and catch our 7:00am bus to Leicester. After an hour-long bus ride (John fell asleep), we got to Leicester and then sat at the bus station and waited for bus #153 to Market Bosworth. After another hour-long bus ride, we got off in the small village of Market Bosworth, which is a 3-mile walk from the battlefield. The area we were in was so pretty—classic English countryside, rolling hills, sheep, green pastures, everything. It was a nice bus ride! (John fell asleep again.)

It was kind of confusing getting from the village onto the road that would get us to the battlefield—we got lost and had to ask for directions. We were trying to follow some signs that had swords on them (we hoped it meant battlefield) but they were meant for cars, not for people walking… the very nice man we asked directions from told us where to go and wished us good luck, and said “hope the weather stays fine for you!” Because obviously “fine” weather means cloudy, gray, misting rain, and freezing. It was way colder than either of us thought it would be (or we thought it would warm up, which it never did), and John had brought one hat that we shared between us. Our walk to the battlefield, once we got on the right road, was scenic and great and so much more rewarding than taking a car could ever be! Good ol’ Shenton Lane went almost all the way there.

We did finally make it to the battlefield! The reason we got up so early was because I wanted to do the guided tour at 11:00, and I’m so glad we did it. The entire journey was worth it just for the tour, I got so much more information than I would have had I gone without a tour! Our tour guide explained a lot about the battle itself: who was fighting, where they were coming from, and how they all met at this spot of the battlefield. A couple years ago they found some cannon balls and a boar badge (the white boar was Richard III’s symbol, and this badge was worn only by his personal guard) in an area that they’ve now basically determined was the final phase of the battle. It was really cool to learn about the different commanders of the battle, besides just the main opponents. During the tour, our tour guide had banners with the coat of arms for each of the major players. Me and some 8-year old kids got to carry them on the tour :)

The Tudor banner!

It started raining right at the end of our tour, so we went into the battlefield exhibition. The exhibition was nice and informative, but the tour was so much better. It started pouring like no other and so we waited it out for a bit in the restaurant there. Finally it let up and there was a beautiful rainbow—it was literally the best reward ever for our adventure.

After that, it was nice and sunny for our 3-mile walk back (no need to share our one hat), and we celebrated our reward with a pint at the pub in Market Bosworth. Market Bosworth is just such a quaint, stereotypical English village, and I loved it. We also got some half-price ice cream bars which was awesome. After that, it was another hour-long bus ride to Leicester (John fell asleep), half an hour wait in the bus station, and then another bus ride back to Notts (John fell asleep again). We were literally starving by the time we got home (walked 7+ miles!), and we got off the bus and legit ran to the flat and stormed the kitchen.

It was another successful adventure and I just loved it! Going on day trips like that, adventuring in the country is so nerve-wracking and can be a little intimidating, especially this time when we had different buses we needed to catch. But it is so rewarding! When I got to the battlefield I just felt so accomplished, and by the time I got back to the flat I felt even more accomplished. It was fantastic. Going on random journeys like this just makes me love England. It is an amazing place.

Shout out to the British transportation system—my trip to Bosworth could never have happened in the U.S. There just isn’t this kind of infrastructure at home to make it all possible. Buses and trains make getting around so easy! It’s amazing.

This week is going to be another super busy one. We have a “reading week” this week at uni, so I don’t have either of my classes. I have a paper due next week though, and a project I need to start working on. This weekend our group is headed to London—we’ll be seeing plays on both Friday and Saturday night, but basically the rest of our time should be free time and we can do what we want. But first I need to have a productive next couple of days beforehand!

Remember remember the 5th of November!

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