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LOOK AT THAT SEGUE!
Smoother than silk...
Now, I had absolutely NO business hopping on a plane to London, February 2017. I had books to write. I had a play reading salon to host. I had bills. I had SO MUCH....
A couple actors I absolutely adore were doing shows on the West End. And I needed to write this Robin Hood book I was toying with. I mean... what are you going to do?
So, I was once on this sitcom where I played this church lady, and the guy, James, who played my fiance (and he has a FANTASTIC new book out called Abby and Geo: Mermaid Cousins, and you should buy it for every little girl in your life) and I became good friends.
And somehow, we ended up booking a trip to London in February together. These things happen.
We had a fantastic time. Went to a Harry Potter exhibit at Minalima of all the ephemera used in the Harry Potter films..
We went to a Chinese New Year's Lantern Festival in Chiswick.
We ate at Rules because we're both Downton Abby nerds.
Tea. Much tea was had. In many places.
(and other beverages)
We ate lunches in crypts
And beneath indoor trees
And in underground, art deco, French restaurants
Many plays were watched.
We saw flamingos on the roof.
But the big part of this trip was our trip to Warwick Castle. I don't remember who brought it up, but the conversation essentially went:
"OMG! There's a castle! You can even go glamping! In a CASTLE!"
So, after a lovely train ride out of the city...
And there it was.
We had to march through the town, which was just filled with delights if you kept your eyes peeled. .
Now, the people who owned this castle turned it over to the folks who put together Madame Tussauds, so it is filled with wax work people and sound scapes.
(Figure on left has more heartbeat than might appear)
But it also is a really awesome castle that dates back to 914 A.D.
We got there just in time for a live archery demonstration.
Our host with the most (and seriously, he kept everyone's attention as he's firing off arrows and telling stories) told us where the *ahem* one-finger and two-finger salutes came from.
According to our archer, back at the Battle of Agincourt, the Brits were outnumbered and outmanned by the French. The French would pull back their bows with one, middle finger, and liked to salute folks with the finger they were going to kill them with.
But in the Battle of Agincourt, the British began using long-bows for the very first time, which could cover more distance and pierce the metal plate of the foot-soldiers. Because the force of the string, two fingers were necessary.
So if a Frenchman threw up a one-finger salute, you smuggly threw up two. Cry England and St. George!
And now you're like, "Great story, Kate. AND??"
So, here's the deal. There's several historical people who were "Robin Hood." Some of them, their lives line right up with the stories and there's records of their existence. Some seem to have influenced the story. But the question rumbling around in everyone's head is, "Who was the first?"
One of the clues historians have used to try to answer that question is the weaponry. Robin Hood's favorite weapon was the bow and arrow, but starting around 1300, plate armor became widespread and the regular bow became much less effective. It would just bounce off the steel or dent it. It wasn't until the long-bow appeared (in the 1500s) that the arrow became hard to defend against again. So, historians have hypothesized that the "first" Robin would have had to have lived before the introduction of plate metal armor (that he was only up against chainmail) in order for him to have posed a real threat to the Sheriff and his men. Which puts him in the 1200s or earlier.
ANYHOOGLE! The rest of the day was a delight.
You can't see it, but there was a raptor demonstration with all sorts of hawks flying around. And down next to the glamping tents, there was a whole... aviary? Hawkery? Hawk house? All the birds had nice little houses to hang out in and then they came and few around for us.
THE WEAPONS OF YOUR ENEMIES!
(or just storage for your own)
The hall of dead people hanging on the walls. And also standing on the floor in wax.
Supposedly, Queen Anne died on this bed
Side Note: There was a FANTASTIC play about Queen Anne done by the RSC. If you need a great play or scenes for women, check out the script.
I'll get deeper into the non-Robin Hood Era Warwick Castle adventure in a future London Calling travel post. But in the meantime, one of the coolest things was we got to climb up to the walkways and lean over the parapets. The stone was so very, very old and worn from thousands of feet traipsing over it for hundreds of years.
Oh the view!
Sadly, our day drew to a close.
We tried to stay for the firing of the trebuchet, but alas, it was not cooperating.
So, with ghost tours and theater tickets waiting for us in London, we decided it was time to...
NEXT UP - Part IV - Into the Dusty Tomes
Part I - My Secret
Part II - Cleavage and Turkey Legs
Part III - The "V" Stands for WHAT??
Part IV - Into the Dusty Tomes
Part V - Into The Woods - Sherwood Forest
Part VI - Not in Snottingham
Part VII - Castles in the Sky
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