Chepstow. Robin Hood. Robin without hood.

Peter Hills, for maybe his 8th Birthday treat, asked my Mum and my Dad to go to Chepstow Castle with his friends. And his little brother. We all dressed up as Robin Hood characters: he was Robin, obviously, I was Will Scarlet. I can’t remember who Sam Kent was. We had home-made swords and play-fought and probably ate sandwiches in a VW camper van and talked about how middle-class we were.

Aarthi and I went back to Chepstow for the first time since then* (well, I went back, she just went) over Easter. In the castle there was a robin. He had no hood. He (why is he a he?) – she had something caught in her throat and sang a lot.

Also, here’s some videos of the robin. He’s cool:

She coughs something up in this one. Don’t know what it is:

I like to think she’s practising his counselling skills here. Clearly showing empathy through subtle positioning of the head:

* No, on reflection that wasn’t the first time I went to Chepstow. In one of the more embarrassing (though not entertainingly so) episodes of my life, I decided I’d walk the Offa’s Dyke long-distance path, starting from Chepstow, all the way up the Welsh border. I was 18 and I was invincible and I’d be able to do it with very little preparation by myself thank you very much and I’d camp not stay in B&Bs because I’d be closer to the earth and more authentic and be woken by the birds and find myself and be amazing but in an understated way.I rang my mum after one sunny day’s walking, one teary night’s not-sleeping, and one foggy morning’s walking around in circles lost in welsh woodland and asked to be picked up. I was wrong.

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