After our failed trip to Sherwood Forest during the Derbyshire game, we were dead keen to make it there while in Nottingham.
“Is there a current ‘Sheriff of Nottingham’?” The Prof asked from the back seat of the Rolls Royce of the day.
“I know there’s a Bailiff of Nottingham, in fact I’ve had his personal acquaintance,” said Parker from behind the wheel. “I think Omar visited here once, too, God rest his soul.”
Parker had thoughtfully obtained a copy of the program for the 31st Annual Robin Hood Festival, which as luck would have it runs from 3 to 9 August this year.
“This festival looks like a bit of a wheeze, Parker,” I said.
“Quite. Only problem is that it means that green tights are in short supply. I’ve had to pull a few strings to satisfy your . . . . requirements.”
“But you have the goods?” said The Prof.
“Certainly, sir. They have been delivered as instructed.”
“He is very efficient,” I said under my breath.
The Prof just nodded.
At the Festival, we decided to have a go at the longbow archery. The Prof managed to get a bulls eye, while I was more consistently close to the inner ring. We talked Parker into having a go, but had to leave hastily after his second arrow flew off wildly in the direction of the pony rides. We didn’t hang around to see who or what made the ensuing yelping sound.
Back in Nottingham, tonight’s joint official function was a triumph, even if I say so myself. We had managed to successfully issue counterfeit invitations to the England Team, correctly letting them know that they needed to be at Nottingham Castle at 7 pm for dinner, but suggesting that the dress code was not Black Tie, but Medieval Bandit. The fact that the confirmation letters sent this morning had been accompanied by 15 pairs of green tights had given them the hint and it was clear that they’d spent all afternoon, and a lot of green cardboard, making up the rest of their costumes.
They arrived with a flourish, led by Captain Chef, storming into the function room as a group singing the theme song from the old Robin Hood TV show. The singing slowly lost its gusto as they looked around the room at the local dignitaries in their finery and medals of office and the smirking Australian team in our finely tailored dinner suits. Bell dropped his fake bow and arrow just as the room went silent – he bent over to pick them up and there was a loud ripping sound as his tights gave way.
The English WAGs, who were all dressed up as wenches and mostly bare-footed, were none too pleased. Three of them stormed out immediately when they saw the Aussie WAGs looking rather stylish in their designer gowns and high heels.
Chef is so confident after Edgbaston that he walked straight up to the Mayor, shook his hand, and continued on with the team introductions as if nothing was wrong. He refused to excuse anyone [Ed. apart from Bell], so the England team bravely took their seats and dinner was served.
The night proceeded as these things do, but the England team were not going to stay late, under the circumstances. They made their excuses at about 9.30, and left accompanied by a good humored rendition of the song they arrived to, only this time sung by the Australian Team with a level of enthusiasm rivaling the singing of our team song at Lord’s.
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men
Feared by the bad, loved by the good
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood
I doubt we’ve heard the last of this.