Oonagh Robinson: Everything we don't do, we don't do it for him
I SEE Tunbridge Wells is the latest in a long line of terribly dull places trying to lay claim to our beloved Robin Hood legend.
How very dare they?
Or, as Robin himself might put it, seeing as he was born and brought up and lived in Notts all his life (fact): "Gerraht-on-it!"
It's that age-old story. Some cheeky historian with a new book to flog now claims to have categoric proof that the man who inspired the story of Robin Hood was a 13th-century bandit from Kent called, wait for it, "Willikin of the Weald". Snort.
The proof includes such vital elements as "he had a band of men" and "he probably used a longbow" and "he was quite popular" and also that he "may have returned property nicked by invading French forces on the south coast to their rightful owner". Which obviously gave rise to his famous saying "he robbed from the rich to give to the poor".
Crucially this Wee Willie Winkie, or whatever the blazes he was calling himself, might just feasibly have visited Nottingham Castle once or twice in his life, thus giving rise to the notion that he came from these parts.
Although where the "Robin" and the "Hood" and the "Maid Marian etc" part fits into this extremely convincing (not) scenario remains to be seen.
All I will say to this Professor Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells is: "Come on, me duck, is that all you've got?"
Over the years, we've had all sorts of claims about where Robin Hood really came from – Yorkshire, Wales, Warwickshire, California (all right, that was probably just Kevin Costner) – but none of them really convince.
As Jennifer Spencer from Experience Nottinghamshire put it this week: "Willikin of the Weald does sound like someone true to the ideals of Mr Hood, but alas, not the real deal."
Because until somebody digs up the genuine corpse of the actual Robin Hood in true Richard III fashion, Notts will always be the place associated with this marvellous little myth.
And no amount of bleating from experts that he was actually a monk from Manchester or a farmer from Fulham is going to convince the world otherwise.
But I will say one thing about stories like this week's Tunbridge Wells tosh – it does make it all the more important that the powers that be here in Notts get that long-promised "Robin Hood attraction" built so we can tempt in the visitors and cash in on our illustrious outlaw. Especially since Experience Nottinghamshire is currently in the middle of a big campaign promoting the county on the London Underground with big posters and stuff.
I think last time I looked, we're still on the "something might be built on the site of the castle" stage – or have I lost track?
Trouble is there have been almost as many multi-million promises of amazing Robin Hood tourist developments as there have silly stories about him coming from Bognor Regis or... I dunno... Wetwang.
How embarrassing would it be if Tunbridge Flipping Wells gets a nice little visitor centre connecting the area with Robin Hood before us?