I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before. Sooner. Earlier. We have left the one-night hotel earlier than planned. There was no point in sticking around and our feet were too restless to linger. There was makeshift breakfast and throwing things together made an improvised lunch for on the road. Bags were packed and dogs were in the car & we were back on the road that seemed to stretch on endlessly before us, as if postponing our arrival in Scotland. I suddenly spot the familiar name on the map and say “Hey, we can stop at Sherwood Forest” in a joking fashion.
Mum disagrees. She’s serious. “OK, I’ll get us there!”
On a 4,5 hour trip, a 30 minute extra ‘detour’ is nothing. We adjust our route and before I know it, I’m back on familiar grounds. It seems that the only thing that has changed is the number of cars present – the last time I was here, it was pretty packed. Not even the funny looking lad at the car park entrance that collects the parking fee has changed – I think. It makes navigating darned easy as I know exactly where to go.
We go through the forest in an almost zigzagging manner. The first time I was here we did the long walk, going almost all around the grounds, but this time I take us to the cute little shops first. I make sure to buy some fudge – like I did last time – because I’m meeting M + L again in the next week. We indulge in useless souvenirs that look too cute but, really, are nothing much more to us than useless.
The souvenirs were take are memories. Pictures. Shooting some video here and there. Casual comments that will linger for the rest of our lives, like “I wish I could say that I went on a run through Sherwood Forest, but no one would believe me”. We have the images in our heads. Those are our souvenirs. An occasional postcard, maybe. Bric-a-brac. Boxes and tins and books to put our memories in.
And the souvenirs we take from Sherwood are drenched in sunlight with the sun as up and early as we were, and high in the sky. The damp earth and random puddles betray a previous day’s rain, but not today. Not now. We’re here, in Sherwood Forest, gazing up at the Major Oak (800 to 1000 years old), with the sun burning at the back of our necks. There’s an array of tourists and visitors, a mixture of different dialects, accents and languages in the air. A merry feeling spreads over the green fields, which mixes with a multitude of colours.
I do not recall Sherwood to be this alive, but it’s wonderful.
Before we know it, it has long been since two hours ago that we arrived. With our bellies & our minds full, fulfilled and satisfied, we embrace ourselves for the 4,5 hour drive that still awaits.