sailing vessel Sänna

Blogs from our sailing vessel Sänna. Eastwards from England to New Zealand... & sailing circumnavigation.

12 June 2022 | Sherwood, Nottingham
30 March 2022 | Cartagena, Colombia
03 March 2022 | Shelter Bay, Panama
14 December 2021 | Shelter Bay - Caribbean Panama
20 November 2021 | Vista Mar, San Carlos, Panama
11 September 2021 | Nottingham, England
11 August 2021 | No Location
25 June 2021 | England
30 April 2021 | Lockdown in England
14 April 2021 | Lockdown - Nottingham, England
31 March 2021 | Winterton-on-Sea, Norfolk, England
09 March 2021 | Vista Mar, Panama
17 February 2021 | Sherwood, Nottingham, England
07 February 2021 | Sherwood, England
28 January 2021 | In national lockdown, Nottingham, England
28 December 2020 | Nottingham, England
20 October 2020 | Vista Mar, Panama
23 April 2020 | Vista Mar, Panama
08 March 2020 | Boca Chica, Panama

Robin of Sherwood…

12 June 2022 | Sherwood, Nottingham
Dave Ungless
Photo: Marion - without her glasses that made her eyes look big...

The story goes here in Sherwood that Robin Hood was only ever a pillar of Sherwood's respected nobility, he was a local lad with a flashing smile and an eye for flaxen-haired women, that is, until he was unjustly outlawed by the evil Sheriff. Rebellion was fermenting - taxes had been raised, the poor were being squeezed and the scoundrel king John stole the English crown from his lion-hearted brother. When Robin then fell in love with the beautiful Marion the Sheriff was beside himself with rage - the conniving Sheriff had plans to install the same Maid Marion as his own concubine wife and step-mother to his pizza-eating children. By this time the castle's underground catacomb dungeons were full. Then, when Robin disguised himself to famously split his opponents arrow and shoot his next shot right through the apple on Will Scarlet's head there was deep unrest in the forest, law and order was in free-fall and the price of mead was going through the roof. Sherwood's reputation has never fully recovered.

More than a thousand years later, when I myself was born in Sherwood, nothing much had changed. The three pubs here are still hotbeds of rebellion, men cast more than a twinkling eye at local women, even today whispered plots are hatched to storm the Sheriff's castle. Being branded a citizen of Sherwood carries the same dangers the merry men endured in their desire to right Sherwood's wrongs - in particular the more fairer distribution of wealth that so enraged the Sheriff. Those of us who lived in Sherwood have never been forgiven - we're still vigorously pursued for taxes, post-code prejudice is unjust, bylaws are fiercely enforced and outlawism is viewed as something only electrocution-therapy cures. Talk to anyone in today's marketplace and there is something in the water hereabouts. Rebellion and discontent is endemic, we citizens of Sherwood wear the heart of Robin Hood on our sleeves, we will revere his brand of people-politics until the day we draw our last breath. Not that I lived that long in Sherwood, two weeks after being born in the maternity ward my mother took me home.

Home in my early days was not Sherwood. Home was in the slums that slurried and nested at the foot of Nottingham castle. Home was where infant survival depended upon the scant goodwill of the rent-collecting landlord, the caring support of loving neighbours. Home was barefoot kids and smelly outside toilets. Home was my mother's sweet aroma, her sugar and jam sandwiches and her dark-rimmed glasses that made her eyes too big. Home was where Robin Hood never ventured because there was no greenwood forest, no babbling trickling brooks or those tree-singing larks you hear in the movies. No matter, my birth certificate is the living proof that I'm undeniably a citizen of Sherwood. I'm a merry man, being an outlaw is in my blood, I carry the same inexplicable hatred of the Sheriff of Nottingham that's buried so deep in my DNA that it can never be chiselled out.

When a kid, in the dark hours before I was sent to bed, my mother read me the fascinating tales of Robin Hood who, she said, was born in the same nursing home room as me over a thousand years before. I listened with wide-eyed rapture, Robin's fight on the log with the giant Little John, Friar Tuck who could get the Sheriff drunk then drink every one of his swordsmen under the table, about Alan-a-Dale, the wandering minstrel who sang love ballads under Sherwood's oak trees - and Maid Marion, who I loved with all my heart and would one day marry. I was myself a Sherwood boy, a rebel of the forest, robbing the rich to give to the poor would always be in my blood.

Then, in my growing years my mother would take me on the bus from Nottingham, a short ride up the Mansfield Road that passes through the old medieval township of Sherwood. Of course, everything in my young days had changed, it was a bustling Nottingham suburb with Dewhurst butchers, Boots and Woolworths - but from upstairs on the bus my mother would show me the exact place where both me and Robin were born. I imagined the open window where Robin shot his last arrow moments before he died - the unknown place where his arrow landed marks the grave where my hero still lies buried.

Then, when I met a Sherwood girl many years later it was inevitable we would fall in love. My wife isn't really a Sherwood girl - she's from Derbyshire, a land of sheep and not one brave outlaw, but she owned a home in Sherwood which was enough for me to realise our two destinies would be forever entwined. My wife's home, where we live now, is not that far from the nursing home where my mother and I spent our first days together - just the two of us, side-by-side with me held in her arms, with Marion in her midwife uniform and Alan-a-Dale singing the nicest song you ever heard outside the open window. When my mother died, I worked out that where I live now, in Sherwood, is only an arrow flight from where my mother was the moment I was born - it's the exact place where an arrow would land if shot from an open window, from where my mother screamed out loud in child labour with Maid Marion right beside her side.

A few days after she died, when there had been just the two of us together, when she'd been lying unconscious and the angel came to take her, I unlocked the closed gate of the care home to let myself inside. I scaled the wall in the same way that Robin did when he rescued his merry men from the dungeons of the evil Sheriff's castle. I skirted under the security camera, easily dodging the myriad of deadly arrows fired by the Sheriff's men from behind the castle walls. I found the open window, where I'd been showed a million times from upstairs on the bus was where I was with my mother when I loved her for the first time. I sat and cried, I cried so much that it's difficult for me to describe, in that way you do when you've lost the one you love, your mother who promised you she would always be by your side, when you thought she would be there forever. A lady came, of course she had seen me on the overhead camera but why was she dressed in those medieval tweeds? With kind blue-eyes that tried to understand? With her golden flaxen-hair braided down her right side in the same way that Robin adored.

The lady, she called the security guard and I was politely marched outside. I told the guard about my mother, that it was right here where I was born, before The Firs became a care home though it still has the same name. He wasn't impressed, it was his job, he couldn't have strange men breaking into the grounds of their old people's home. The guard told me about his own mother who died, when he was a young kid, when he too lived here in Sherwood. He still lived around the corner, with his wife, a Sherwood girl. He smiled, with a tear, when I showed him where Robin's arrow would fly, when I explained where it might land. You see, me, the guard and Robin Hood, we're all Sherwood boys, our mothers loved us and, all three of us, we fell in love with Sherwood girls, girls who'll always be there by our side.

Shirley Patricia Cole, 1934 - 2022.
Funeral Order of Service Booklet
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Please visit our SV Sänna website for more details of our circumnavigation voyage from the UK. Also at www.facebook.com/SV.Sanna. Like our Facebook page if you'd like to receive more news about our sail adventure. You can contact us here.

Read more about the mishaps and mayhem of Nellie, The Ship's Cat
Vessel Name: Sänna
Vessel Make/Model: Ocean 50 (Bavaria)
Hailing Port: Poole UK
Crew: Dave & Marie Ungless
About:
We have sailed together for over ten years now, leaving the Mediterranean to head eastwards. Our destination was Australia and New Zealand which we achieved in 2012 before attempting a full round-the-world circumnavigation across the pacific and back to the UK. [...]
Extra: Sänna is a hybrid Bavaria Ocean 50, custom built for bue water ocean cruising. The build and re-fit specification is high and to date boasts over 56,000 miles of ocean cruising. For more information visit our main website at www.sanna-uk.com.
Home Page: http://www.sanna-uk.com
Social:
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