…but alas found a locked door that for me was no good!” (ME130909).
Above the, The Tales of Robin Hood museum was this sign ”Medieval Banquet’. It was sorry-looking and I wondered whether the sign was for real which meant they held medieval banquets or were they just going through the motions for the tourist traffic however big and lucrative that may have been.
But since the museum was closed I wondered why? – did it do well as a tourist attraction? Mmmm…so many questions why this place was closed. Why? why? why?….
I hope it opens again soon. I am still determined to visit again but I definitely will find out if it is open before I plan my next visit.
So let’s go back to the real reason I braved time and traffic to get to Nottingham. I was determined to find something about him – anything that will satisfy my curiosity and make one of my dreams come true.
Why, am I so keen on this guy? This Robin Hood. When I was growing up on Kwato Island (Kwato Mission) in the Milne Bay Province, PNG, we used to listen to stories of heroes and heroines in history…English history that is – those were colonial times and in the 60s mind you!
Anyway, one of my favourite English stories or legends was about Robin Hood and Nottingham Forest. I don’t know how many times and how many movie versions I’ve seen. But each time I saw a movie about the life or part of the life of Robin Hood I imagined how one day I could be in England and what privilege it would be to travel to where this hero or villain, whichever your perspective is, lived.
Now I am in England and the opportunity came up a couple of months ago to visit Northampton which I realised was a stone’s throw away from Nottingham and so I decided to visit Nottingham. Just imagine I was going to ‘Robin Hood country’ – a swinging prospect! I heard that there was a museum dedicated to Robin Hood in Nottingham not far from Nottingham Castle and the city centre. Well, how absolutely disappointed I was when finally I stood in front of this museum – closed and locked up! I was devastated. I was so looking forward to visiting the museum. But never one to be totally put off by this, a small hiccup, I ventured off to find something that would remind me of my visit to Nottingham especially as I’ve hung out in Robin Hood country.
Well, another big surprise, I did not know there was a castle in Nottingham! It was there in my face! Wow…this was a great bonus! Anyway, I asked someone who worked at Nottingham Castle if there was something on Robin Hood inside the castle itself. She said there was but just a small display for kids yeah, and those kids at heart too…hahaha. Another disappointment because I was hoping that if the Robin Hood museum was closed surely they’d have had to move the stuff somewhere and perhaps the castle was the place – uhuh…nothing like that at all. Anyway I got into the spirit of the display, took a photo of my face in the carved out wooden model of Marion and headed off on a self-conducted tour of Nottingham Castle.
At the end of my tour, imagine my great joy and relief to find the souvenir shop and a Robin Hood toy figure. Well, that was something! Although small and plastic-ky, it felt good in my hand. I felt so grateful. Thank goodness for souvenir shops! I found Robin Hood! – and now he takes pride of place under my computer monitor on my desk at the office. At least I got something from Nottingham to remind me of having been in ‘Robin Hood country’. It has become one of my prized possessions.
Some days when I kinda focus on my little Robin Hood figure, I conjure up in my mind pictures of this hero or outlaw on his faithful horse in Nottingham Forest annoying the hell out of the Sheriff of Nottingham and at the same time being in love with Marion – I think those pictures in my mind are scenes from movies I’ve seen.
My two favourite movies of Robin Hood are ‘Robin and Marion’ starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn and ‘Prince of Thieves’ starring Kevin Costner as Robin Hood and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Marion.
As we walked out of the main gate/entrance to Nottingham Castle I chanced to look down at the courtyard – and there immortalised in a metal sculpture is the recognisable figure of Robin Hood – ever to stay in my memory! I realised that all through my wokabaut through the castle and castle grounds I was actually unconsciously looking to see if there was something more at the castle than the little display area of Robin Hood. And there it was a metal sculpture. At that moment of discovery, I didn’t feel so bad about the The Tales of Robin Hood museum being closed. It would have been nice if it were open but…there’s always a next time.
As I left the courtyard of the castle, I was still wondering whether Robin Hood was the figment of some creative imagination or whether he was a real character in history. I also wondered why if he was an outlaw in his day did his story become such a famous story so much so that I in a faraway land have heard of it. Did he actually exist? Could I confidently say, and sorry this may sound like a cliché, it’s anyone’s guess?
I think the picture that I conjure up in my mind so vividly, and this is sort of supported by my two favourite Robin Hood movies, is an outlaw with his bow and arrows, a crack shot too and in love with the beautiful Marion – well, as far as the story goes. With my photos and my souvenirs, including a ‘hoodie’ jumper, my trip to Nottingham was not in vain after all.