09 August 2011

Nottingham and Sherwood Forest. . .

I have to start this entry by saying that every time I think about this day trip or Keith and I talk about it, that song from the opening of the Disney Robin Hood is stuck in my head for the entire day. . any one else hearing it?  Dee-duh-dee-doh-doh-duh-doh-doh. . or something like that anyway!  Silly rooster!  Love that movie, though!

4th of July weekend we took the girls up to Nottingham (a little under an hour's drive from here) to the Sherwood Forest National Nature Reserve/Country Park.  Most local people you talk to don't necessarily go there because they went as kids and it isn't a place that Brits would drive an hour to go back to.  But, Keith and I are all about seeing as much as possible while we are here, so off we went!

We told the girls where we were headed and Maggie's immediate response was: "That doesn't sound very exciting!"  We were off to a fine start!  Then there was the diversion (detour) that our Tom-Tom did not handle very well.  She had us driving in a field; luckily Keith had us drive down this much more scenic road (which we thought looked a bit like an Illinois back road):
The weather was beautiful--upper 60s and plenty of sunshine.  Sounds like every 4th of July, huh?  We got to the park and our first destination was a walk in the woods to find the Major Oak.  This tree is about 800 years old and the legend is that it gave shelter to Robin Hood and the Merry Men.  The girls spent pretty much the entire walk asking if every large tree in this very old forest was the Major Oak.

In actuality, the Major Oak would have been a sapling at the time of Robin Hood, but looking at it makes it easy to imagine a tree being able to house men.  It is 33 feet around and its branches spread over 92 feet. Here's a couple of shots of it:

Next up was learning how to shoot a bow and arrow.  Hannah was the only one of us, including Daddy, to hit the pig that was our final target.

After our lesson, Keith, the girls, and I spent the rest of the day running through the forest ("jumpin' fences, dodgin' trees and tryin' to get away. . ") shooting imaginary bows and arrows--ducking behind trees, crouching behind fallen logs and rocks--it was really fun!

We finished our walk and hit the Robin Hood exhibit; it was pretty kid friendly and the girls did some crayon rubbings, etc.  

Then we walked over an amusement park (really just a little carnival).  On the way we passed a cricket game in progress.  Keith really enjoyed watching that--someday soon we will have to figure it out since there aren't any baseball games in our immediate future!

I couldn't resist!

 Then we walked back through the woods again and saw some really cool trees:

After Sherwood Forest, we stopped at Rufford Abbey on the way to supper.  It was built around 1170 and is the best-preserved remains of a Cistercian abbey in England.

Our last stop was dinner at a pub called, appropriately, the Robin Hood.

This day was a great day. . we only had a couple shaky moments when Charlotte threw up the apple she was choking on at lunch and the big girls needed a sassy pants time-out!  It was just one of those days when it is easy to count your blessings and be happy with all that you have.  I always try to remember that not only do I have this incredible chance to experience so many new things, but I have an amazing family to share it with!   Thank God for days like this one!

On the way home, on this tremendously beautiful day, holding my husband's hand while we listened to Zac Brown and Bob Seger, I just kept thanking God for His goodness.  And when I overheard Hannah tell Charlotte: " holding her hand is exactly what a big sister is for" --I just had to thank Him for the three angels in the backseat!