Robin Hood references abound. Our Travelodge is on Maid Marian Way. Statues of archers and merry men are everywhere. The Sheriff of Nottingham does not arrest us as we drive madly down the incomprehensible roads, trying to find the motel and the gig. We’ve violated many traffic laws, and circled endlessly through unmarked streets. We’ve passed that corner four times already. Shawn, Rob, and PL seem to have mastered the right hand drive from the left hand lane, but we still can’t follow the directions. Lookout for that roundabout! A great castle sits on a rocky hill overlooking the city, There’s a pub called the “Trip to Jerusalem” built into the base of one the cliffs at it’s base. The pub itself is connected to network of tunnels that rum beneath the old castle. You can sit and drink your pint at a table in the limestone caves.
The gig turns out to be great. To our delight and surprise, the house is full of enthusiastic ISHILA fans and new converts. One guy has driven 100 miles to see us (quite a long distance in the British Isles). We’re surprised and grateful. The staff runs out to get us great, huge, paper wrapped fish and chips. When Shawn opens his package he exclaims, “Oh my god! There’s a whole fish in there!” Indeed, there is. We devour the very hot food in the cold, half-outdoor dressing room. Yum. The amps don’t blow up, yet. Post gig we hang with the locals, drink tasty ales. RW gets bought shots by a Polish guy and his Greek brother in law. In younger days, RW would’ve tried to catch up with how drunk they were in an act of international cooperation and competition—sort of treated it as an Olympic gathering of drunks. But times have changed and the responsibilities of fatherhood, lead singing, and co-tour managing ground him into a two shot minimum.
We pack up the minibus, find our way back to the Travel Lodge only hitting two fast-moving British curbs, unload, even park with a new found confidence. We’re getting the hang of this.