Hi All,

In this report I make a few remarks which you may not get unless you read the 2014 con report.
Luckily, that one is still on the site as well. 


8 May 2016

The Hooded Man Convention 2016

Finally! Wednesday the 27th of April had come!

I woke up around 7 am and thought: 'In about twelve hours we'll be in Cirencester.'

The last couple of weeks were a bit stressful. I started preparations way to late.
Before I knew it, I had only 3 weeks left to make my costume. And in the weekend before we left I hadn't even made a simple schedule telling us when to fly and pick up the car or where to go.

Even when things eventually had been taken care of, I still felt stressed.
Not even realising that we were about to go to Cirencester and the convention.

I tried to sleep an hour longer but there was no chance and so I got up.

After putting the last things in the suitcase, packing up my doggy's things and cleaning up a bit, cause my mother would enter the house to feed the cats, we jumped into the car and were ready to listen to 35 minutes of Chuckie barking while driving to my mother for their 5 day sleepover.

It was a relief to have Chuckie and Kaylo out of the car, although it never feels good leaving them behind. They were 'grandma's' problem now.

We made the two and a half hour drive to Amsterdam Airport with my mother's navigation system instead of our own because we thought we updated hers and it had the UK maps.
Unfortunately that didn't seem to be the case and we missed the same exit as 2 years before. But wait! It gets better.
Before we get into that I first have to tell you a nice airplane story.
As you may know, I'm not a huge fan of flying.

We checked in at the airport and discovered we were not seated next to each other. Oh great.
But I wasn't to worried about that. Just that I would get startled by the movements of the plane and grab the poor person next to me, like almost happened last time.

When I arrived at my seat, a man was already sitting at his spot next to the window.
We greeted each other and I took my place next to him, immediately fastening my seatbelt.
From the corner of my eyes I saw the nice man picking his nose with various fingers and now I reeeaalllllyy hoped I wouldn't grab his hand when startled.  
With both hands I held on tight to my seabelt.

Finally we took off and everything went fine. I tried to relax a bit and that went reasonalibly well until the plane shook a little due to the hard winds and then made a few sharp turns that got me hanging on tight.

When we had to get ready for landing a stewardess came up to me and ask me to please set my seat up straight, which I thought was weird, cause I never put my seat back and I remembered they had also checked it before take off and all seemed fine. I didn't even know how to do it and so she helped me. When she showed me it had to be done by pressing the arm rest it dawned on me what must have happened.
I was holding my seatbelt with both hands, but when the first sharp turn came I grabbed the arm rest in a reflex and didn't let go til everything was flying calm and straight again. So I must have put my seat back without even noticing. Because my body froze up and I could only relax a few minutes later and finally sat back, I hadn't felt any difference.

Good. Back to our GPS.
Turns out a navigation system doesn't really work when you forget to take it with you!

When we arrived at the carpark, I neatly packed it away in the dashboard cabinet and we only realised in Bristol, standing in front of the car rental that we didn't take it with us!
Ronald was afraid we forgot to pull out the plug and that the car battery would be dead when we would return but I told him: 'How stupid do you think I am? I tucked it neatly away!' Pfff men. whahahaha So he was glad about that.

We hired a GPS with the car, which was luckily no problem and finally arrived at The Old Brewhouse in Cirencester 2 hours and 45 minutes later.
We met a lovely woman named Dorothy, who filled in for Rose, the owner that we met 2 years ago.
We really wanted to go into Cirencester that night, but we were just to tired.

The weather forcast for Thursday was pretty good. Not to warm but at least dry and sunny.
After breakfast I couldn't wait to see Robert's Tree!
Alison made some pictures a week or two prior to our visit and it looked beautiful.
A few people had left things around the tree.
There was a small silver heart on the stone with the plaque and iron hearts on the fence.

But when we walked up they had taking it all down!
There were just a few easter chicks left on the branches and half of the little silver heart left, lying in the grass, so I cleaned it and put it back on the stone, as I had seen on Alison's pictures.

There was just one tree that had a little bear and a scarf from some soccer club and it looked like it was just placed there. I think maybe the council takes it down every now and then to preserve the natural look of the park.
Jackie later mentioned that maybe they were afraid it could interfere with the growth of the tree itself.

I was disappointed. I made a little heart to put on the fence. But I hesitated.
Last time I brought a little angel to put on Robert's grave and they took it off regarding new rules because the lawn mowers had trouble mowing close to the stones with all the stuff people put around it.

So this time I made something extra for the tree, thinking that would last for at least some time.
It was for Robert! Not for the counsil or gardners to take away his gifts!
We were going to his grave the next day. Would I give it to him there? Or should I try my luck at the tree?

We sat on the bench before Robert's Tree. The weather was lovely so I had time to think about it.
I looked at the heart in my hand.

In case you can't read it, it says: "If Love Could've Saved You, You'd Live Forever."
I think I saw it a while back on Facebook somewhere and I loved it. I think it fits perfectly. There were so many who loved Robert, and still do!

So I came up with a brilliant plan! Well, a brilliant Jolanda-plan.
I had made the heart with a small necklace lock on the chain so it would be easy to hang on the fence. Like I first planned to do.
I walked up to the Tree. 

I opened to the lock and practically struggled to get the heart over the fence right under the wooden plank that supports the Tree and around its tree trunk.
It took me a while to get to close up the lock, which, to the people living across from the park or driving by, would have looked like I was some kind of tree hugger taking it a bit to far, half raping the tree but luckily having safe sex because of the fence around it.

'Yes, no help needed. I'm fine here.' I told my slightly embarrassed husband.
And when he walked up to lend a hand, it clicked and the lock was closed. Relieved about that, he immediately stepped back again.

I adjusted the chain to get it in the right position and held the heart in my hands for a few seconds. Then I dropped it.

Unbelievable how the heart perfectly and with the right side up landed in the grass. Just what I wanted.
I thought:' Try and remove this, you bastards!! Muhahaha.'
Oh, I'm sure they will. But at least they have to put some effort into it.

We had just one day in Cirencester so I dragged poor Ronald all over town.
We visited the church, which was awesome. Just a handfull of people were inside and suddenly the organ played. Not by itself of course! That would be spooky. whahaha
It sounded majestic!

We ate a burger at The Crown where I send Ronald on a mission.
'You have to go to the lavatory, don't you? I said.
'No, not really.' was the reply.
'Yes, you do! And while you're there, would you please make some pictures?'

Ronald made "OMG, Facepalm- face" but knew he wouldn't get to leave before he did so and headed to the lavatory. Most pics came out a blurry, cause he made the pictures in a hurry, afraid he would be seen by anyone. whahaha

When we got back to the B&B he send the pics to my phone and I posted some on Facebook for the other Robert-lady-fans to see the place Robert must have visited at least a few times.
A place none of us ladies ever went before. I assume. whahaha

In the afternoon we walked down to Cecily Hill and the park.
Sometimes the sun went away but it was mostly sunny and out of the wind it was almost warm.

I love Facebook.
Cause that way friends knew that I was in town and while one part of the country could hide from me, there was one brave lady in town when we were and we could meet up.
It was the lovely Jackie.  And she took us to Stoney's.

She also was at the Tree planting in 2013. We then ate at the Chinese restaurant and in 2014 I was happy to see her again at the first Hooded Man Con.
I loved catching up with her and we had a lovely evening.

When we wanted to go back to our B&B's it started raining and hailing a bit. We waited till it wasn't raining so hard anymore but when we were on our way we got another cold shower and we arrived drenched.
But that was the only rain we had so I didn't mind that much.
We took a warm shower in the B&B and put our clothes and shoes on the heating and, a bit to my surprise, it was almost entirely dry the next morning.

On Friday we were going to Chepstow. On our way there we first visited Robert's grave.
I planned the location visits on a day we were already would have to drive as Ronald really hates the whole driving-on-the-left-side thing.
But this time we just struck one curb with a tire so no damage done. we're happy to announce that there were no near death experiences this time. So yay us!  

Once again I was in for a surprise.
Robert's grave looked really nice! Almost festive.
You know, as far as a grave can look happy and festive.
Someone had claimed a bit more room for Robert.  Had made his 'garden' a bit bigger.
The flowers planted there were in full bloom, his stone looked nice and clean and it seemed people had been visiting a lot.
There were 2 little angels, some fake flowers in a small cute flower arrangement and also around the stone, between the rocks Magdalena had put there a while ago.
There were also two small candle holders placed and a glass ornament with a painted butterfly in it I hadn't seen before. Also Magdalena's ceramic hearts were still there. :)
The lawn mowers wouldn't be bothered by the things now because of the slightly bigger 'garden', which was excellent to see.
And made me think that, looking back, I could have safely place my heart here this time. Whaha
Maybe next time.
The rest of the graveyard looked beautiful too. It was sunny and wild flowers were growing everywhere. It seemed like spring had come and surrounded Robert with all his beauty and love.

*Many of you may already know, but when Robert passed away, the family had asked to please not put pictures of his grave online. That's why, of course, I don't. I am happy to see that no one else didn't either.*

We stayed a while, enjoying the sun and greet some other permanent residents when we made our way to the church. I read we were aloud to go inside and curious and nosy as I am, we did so.
Check in at St. Pierre's was at 3.00 pm so we had plenty of time.

It was pretty. But of course a whole lot smaller than St. John´s in Cirencester. Therefor I could see why they held the funeral in Cirencester.
I think I made pictures of every corner of that church. We were alone all the time until the last 5 minutes or so, when 3 woman joined us. We slowly made our way out to not disturb them as they looked around and took their pictures. Photobombing them didn´t feel appropriate. whahaha There´s a time and a place for that and this wasn´t it.
We walked to the car and said goodbye to Robert from afar.

Next stop, Chepstow Castle!
We wanted to avoid the toll bridge and went through Gloucester.
Everything was fine until we had about 3 minutes left to go according to the GPS.
A diversion! Great!
We didn't want to go back so we hoped for a bit of luck and followed a car down a narrow land street. But a few meters in we had to stop behind a line of cars with no where to go, as the street was to narrow to turn, and behind us more cars joining the party.
A few minutes later the line luckily moved and it seemed like a van had blocked the way but had now moved.

We saw we made the right decision for once and it took us were we had to go. 10 minutes later we arrived at the carpark of the castle.
Last time we had parked our car at the other side of the castle. By then the castle was already closed and we just saw the outside.

But this time it was the middle of the day and nobody could warn them I was coming, so we got in!

To enter you had to go throught the giftshop and immediately I saw the silver arrow!!

They also had a golden arrow. It was a pen. whaha
Of course I had to buy one on my way out. Luckily it wasn't expensive.

It was really a beautiful place. I liked it better than Farleigh Hungerford Castle. Maybe it also was the location of the castle. With that big river in front.

About that river, does anyone happen to know if there is a possibility of seals or something similar living there?
I asked Karen and Alison at the con. They thought it's not possible as there is no connection to the sea.
But we saw (and heard) a brown animal swimming and breathing! Diving under and getting up again on his way. It was kinda fast as well.
Does Chepstow have it's only Nessy? whahah I forgot to ask the locals.
If you happen to know what it was, please comment underneath the report!!!

I made poor Ronald walk up and down the castle several times, looking for Gizzy's window!
There was one room (The Earls Room) that was being renovated and it had a iron fence in front of the entrance with a sign that said you weren't allowed to enter and that is was dangerous.
Oh man! I feared what was coming. Of course that must be the place were the window was. With my luck.

I did buy the book and map from our very own Duncan from The Trail Of Robin Of Sherwood website a while back. But that was sitting at a lovely cozy place in my bedroom in the Netherlands!
Yes, my planning and organising this year was outstanding!

We found a few windows who were similair but I knew they weren't THE window.
I told my husband that I would find it, and if it was the last thing I would do. Ronald said that indeed it would be the last thing I would do, cause HE would be sitting nice and warm in our hotelroom.

I texted Lutine, cause I remembered she went to the castle last time but she couldn't remember where it was either. Ronald had access to the internet on his phone but because it's very expensive we had to be quick.
I found a picture of the right window at Duncan's website but didn't see a describsion of were the exact location was. I knew he and his wife made some location video's as well but I had to work quick so looking at those wasn't an option.
Armed with the window picture we searched the whole castle again.
We started in the back were I thought it must be and worked our way to the front, like a bunch of officers combing out a residents looking for the criminal in hiding.

In the beginning we skipt a part because it was so crowded so I made sure we also searched those rooms top to bottom but no Gizzy window was insight.

They say it's always in the last place you look. In this case, it was absolutely right.
Right accross the giftshop there was the sign "cellar" and although we didn't know for sure we'd been there and in my head it seemed like the last place for the window, we went down the stairs.
And there it was! No refference pic necessary here. I saw right away this was it!!!

I was so happy I hugged and kissed the windowsill, trying to keep my enthusiasme to myself while more people came in.
I wanted to make a hundred pictures from all angles but those darn people wouldn't leave! If I hadn't known any better, I'd think they were relatives of Tony! 

(If you're not on Facebook, Tony, his lovely wife Della, and Ronald and me met each other last con and have been 'arch enemies' eversince. whahahaha Pestering each other a lot on Facebook. To the entertainment of many others as well. Maybe some are annoyed by us too, but they have never told us.)

But I had patients although it was kinda cold, wasn't really in a rush to leave (unlike others who shall remain nameless..Ronald!) and I got my 100 pictures.
Then tired but happy it was time to go to the hotel.
It looked like I had calculated the perfect time schedule because we arrived shortly after three.
A sweet young lady checked us in and said that she was excited to see what was about to happen with the con this weekend as she hadn't been there for the previous one.

Before we had set foot in the building, I got my first hug from Sally, who just walked outside. I was so happy to see her.
When we checked in I heard: "Gisburne!" right behind me and there stood Stephanie. Whahah
They of course told me immediately that Tony was already there and that he was sitting in the bar.
We put our suitcases in the room and freshened up a bit and went to find my frenemy! To let him know who's boss, I'd put my Sheriff necklace on already.

He was sitting with his back to me when I came in. From a short distance I yelled: 'Tony!'
He turned around and gave me a "OMG No" look. I tried to look angry. Only my face wouldn't really work with me because I was really happy to see the group that was sitting there. Some I had met before. Some I knew only from Facebook til now. Like Katharyn, Amanda and Sian, wonderful ladies.
Later Anne joined us. She's so funny! I had seen her a few times posting in groups but we weren't fb friends and I didn't know her.
Sally opened her bag and gave us all a beautiful Herne necklace.
She had made a 150! For all people at the con. Until she'd run out.
Later on I even saw Mark Ryan and Jason Connery wearing one. And most of the fans during the weekend.
Everyone belonged to Sally now! Muhahaha.

To reduce the queue on Saturday, Barnaby made it possible for the guests arriving on Friday to already register that evening. Which was very handy.

Last con we only spend the Saturday night in the hotel but that wasn't very convenient to say the least. We slept a in a B&B 2 minutes away from St. Pierre's but I hadn't put on my costume Saturday morning and we couldn't get our stuff out until check in time so changing was difficult. Also there wasn't any time to do so during the busy program.
We left Sunday evening. Again, very unconvient. Check out was at 11.00 am so we had to put all our stuff in the car, spend the day at the con and try to change in the ladiesroom. Then we made our way to Cirencester at about 5.30 pm. But we hadn't eaten right all day, were tired from the busy weekend and had to drive for an hour or two. It wasn't a success.
So although it was a bloody expensive, yet beautiful place to stay, we chose to book 3 nights this time to avoid the hassle.

When it was my turn I greeted Barnaby and his lovely wife, Kim.
We got the booklet and programme for the weekend and you could already buy tokens for photo's and autographs but I told them I hadn't done my homework yet so I didn't know how many tokens I would need.
I told them of course I needed a token for Nickolas Grace!

Than came the surpise. Brr, sheriff doesn't like surpises.
I saw his face change. I brought up Nickolas Grace so he had to tell me at that point.
There was a big chance that mr. Grace couldn't make it. His mother was ill and they wouldn't know for sure til Saturday morning if he would come.

My stomach dropped. I knew right than he wouldn't be there.
I felt disappointed but that feeling was quickly replaced by sadness. For Nickolas Grace. And I really hoped his mother would be fine soon. After all, that's most important. I would have made the same decision.

On Saturday morning we woke up slowly.
We had some time before breakfast and were looking online to see if people had behaved after we left the night before.
We both looked at each other when we heard something dripping. After a second we realised that was not normal and we shot out of bed and ran to the hallway of our room.
There was coming water from one of ceiling lights!
We looked for something to catch the water in but could only find a coffee cup.
We had the strong suspicion the hotel hadn't upgraded our room with an extra lighted shower and so I ran to the phone and called reception.
They send someone over right away.
There was one room above us but we had no idea which door led to that room, otherwise we would have warned the hotel guests about the leak. So I was happy when they did.

While we went to breakfast, they fixed the problem. At least that's what I think. I never heard back from them but it stopped leaking for the rest of the weekend and no one was electrocuded.

You know what? I blame Tony! whaha I'm sure he's the one flooding our room!! No matter if he was in an other building or not! whahaha

I didn't want to make the mistake I made 2 years ago, being the only one in full armour at breakfast. Also, I was forbidden to do so by Ronald.  
So I went as myself and waved fierce and enthusiastic at a man and a woman who I thought to be Duncan and his wife.
Apparently, they were not, judging by the look on their faces and their lack of greeting me back. whahaha Either that, or they really didn't want to talk to me that early in the morning.

After that is was finally time to slip into my costume.
I was a bit nervous what they would think of it. I had searched so long for the right color and for costume decoration and didn't find anything that was an exact match to the original. But 3 weeks before the con I knew I had to get over my OCD-self and got the band closest to what I had in mind.
They had told me Friday that everyone was curious to see the costume as I was the 'talk of the town.' Well, at least the of the 'villagers' that knew me. No pressure here, people! whaha

All of my doubts were swept away when we walked back from our room to the convention room.
People were laughing and yelling that I looked brilliant. The moustache had a lot of fans. And so began a weekend with lots of picture taking and laughs.

It was really funny to see Barnaby almost running into the wall when he came around the corner and saw me in costume. Not really of course, he's a good actor. whaha

I demanded taxes a few times but that darn Robin Hood had everyone rebel! Nobody took me seriously!

During the opening ceremony I was anxious to hear whether or not Nickolas Grace would be there, I had kept hope. Unfortunately the announcement was negative. He wouldn't attend.
But there were more people, cast, fans, Bowlore. It would be fun! And now that I knew for sure I just sat back and tried to relax a bit.

The first guest panel was starting and it was an excellent jump right into the weekend with Jason Connery, Mark Ryan, Clive Mantle and Peter LLewellyn Williams.

When standing in the hall way to buy some tokens, Kirsty came up to me!
I had no idea she was coming and I was so happy she said hello! Another highlight of the trip.
Later on she even gave me 2 tokens she had left over. Sooo nice of her!
If I would like to have them. I told her yes, please! Cause I wanted to get autographs for a mutual friend of ours from the AddiesFaction Mailing List.

After that it was time for the first photo studio.
Our very own Abbott Hugo, Phillip Jackson and Prince John, Phil Davis were first up. Nickolas Grace was supposed to be in the picture too. As later on alone, but Peter would take his spot.
People would comment I should fill in as I was already the sheriff.

I walked up to Phillip and Phil. As I did they joked: 'I don't think this is really a man.' Which I thought was really funny.
They both were so nice. They asked where I was from and I told them and that there were more Dutch people walking around today. A Dutch invasion I called it.
I mentioned Lutine cause I was sure they would have met her already. I told them what a great girl she is and that everyone loves her. Both, but especially Phil Davis said he reeaally liked her too! whaha   
Aaaaaaw!! Forget Raymond!!! Everybody Loves Lutine!! Whhahaha And rightfully so!

The weather was very good, despite the forcast and when I went outside Paul and his lovely family made quite the impression with their Hounds of Lucifer costumes!!

At that time our evil nun, Rula Lenska was signing and was blown away by the costumes as well, as she made some pics with the Hounds and after her signing I saw her outside making pictures for herself of the wild Hounds, walking free around St. Pierre's.

Of course I had to have a pic with Paul's father in law! My brother. 
As he was dressed as Abbott Hugo at which he had done an awesome job! Paul's wife was our evil Nun in the red dress. They all looked stunning.

It was time for the autograph lines.
I had worked out what autographs and photo's I wanted to get because I was kinda on a budget. Now that I am home I have to give everything I got to try and sell goods in my store or we'll be living in a box next month. But, box or not, at least we'll have fond memories! Whaha

I went to Jeremy Bulloch. He was very funny and of course, a fan of the moustache.

Than I moved over to the queue for James Coombes. The man who captured our poor Gizzy in The Time of the Wolfs. He is a very good looking man, I must say.
I heard a lot of girls going wild for Marcus Gilbert as well, although a friend of mine was a little turned of when he started dancing at the disco after banquet. Whahah
So you see, not even stars are good at everything.

Because I had to be sparingly with my tokens, groupphoto's were an excellent way to get a picture with most of the cast.
So there was no question whether I would join the queue for the picture with Mark, Peter and Clive, who said I looked great and thanked me a few times for making the effort. Meaning making and wearing my costume.
They asked me next to whom I wanted to stand. Difficult to chose of course.
But I decided to jump in the first gap that came along next and that happened to be between Peter and Mark. I think that was a good spot. As Peter and I were about the same hight.

Peter almost looked shy, but during the con he seemed to feel a bit more at ease.
Later on I got an autograph from Peter and Clive. Clive has this way about him, just that calm and happy manor of presenting himself. He saw me from a short distance coming up and said: 'I think your moustache moves, everytime I see you it's in a different place!' Which I thought was hilarious.

When Peter asked me for whom he could sign a photo, I told him to just make it out to the Sheriff of Nottingham. Or Jolanda. He laughed and chose the last option.

Now there was time to catch up with other fans. It was so much fun and we just got started.
Everything was even better organised than last time. And I had more time to talk to people and eat something because with some guests I had my picture taken last time or gotten an autograph, so there was no need to stand in queues all day.

We even went back to our room when there was a gap in the program. Or when there was not and we were just hot and tired. whahah I did miss a few guest panels.

This time I wasn't as starstruck as last time.
So I loved just being relaxed, talk to people, having fun and reacting reasonalably normal to the guests this time. And actually know who I was talking to and who was at the con because it wasn't all new anymore and not as overwhelming. I was really proud of myself, whahah
I dove in queue for Jason Connery.
I had promissed a dear Robert Addie friend of mine some autographs after the 2014 convention and I intended to keep my promise.
I hadn't brought it up since than cause then maybe she would think I forgot and it would be a surprise. But when I got it I made a picture of it and showed her on Facebook before others, who know both of us, would spoil my surprise.

Alison stood before me in line. Jason said to her:' Hello, I remember you.'
My husband was standing next to me and I whispered to him: ' Oh man, I hope he doesn't remember me.' whahaha With all the stupid comments I made last time. But I wasn't counting on that anyway. I'm just one of many, many fans and I just met him for 2 second and over 2 years ago.

The shock was therefor extra big when he said something like: 'I know you too.'
So I told him what I just said to my husband. He replied that he was good in remembering faces. Haha
He complimented me with my costume and signed a beautiful picture for Renata.
As he didn't kill or tackled me when I walked off, I think he forgave me.

We sat in the sun for a while, talking with people, making pictures and laughing and while people started to feel hungry and went off to get something to eat, I thought it was the perfect time to go see Bowlore, who were being busy all day at the same spot as last time.
They had build up their tents and equipment and even slept in the tents at night! I heard that later from some friends. They must have been so cold cause the nights weren't exactly nice and summery.

When we got there we saw that there were no people to watch them.
I think at that time there were more photo's scheduled in the studio so that must have been were the party was going on. whaha
In the meantime I had my own party because I had some time to talk to the Bowlore crew. They were so very nice.
I saw on the huge list in the grass, a lot of people had tried their luck in the archery contest which you could enter at every point that day.
*Spoiler Alert*
Our friend Jim won! The silver arrow is his!! Muhahaha
Robin Hood will have hard time stealing it back this time, as Jim lives in America.

Bowlore Sheriff came towards us. I was so happy! If you have read the 2014 report (or facebook) you know I'm a fan and this time I got to tell him that. He was so nice and humble and I finally got the courage to ask him for a picture! Yay!!
He had bruised his ribs the Monday before so he had to be careful during the shows.
We said we would be back for the 17.00 pm show and the 9.30 am show Sunday morning.
They thought nobody was going to come then cause who watches a show at 9.30 in the morning. I told him we would definitely be there for support.

We shortly went up to our room. I was really happy we could do that every now and than. It gave me more energy throughout the whole weekend.

It also gave me an opportunity to make some quick posts on Facebook cause I know some fans were waiting for con pictures.

Before the Bowlore show I went over to Claire Toeman for an autograph for my friend.
I loved talking to her last year. It was short but sweet cause another 150 fans were waiting in line behind me.

I have to be honest. With certain guests I have my doubts about how 'real' they are.
They are really friendly to you when you talk to them during a signing session of pictures. Or even when you go up to them during the convention.
But it's the times in between, when you see them walking around with a look on their face which makes you wonder if they really like to be there sometimes, not looking at you at all. And what they are really thinking.
After all, it is part of their work and of course they probably will have more fun seeing their old collueges than us peassants and I knows these weekends are verrry busy for them. But maybe it's just me!

Having said that miss Claire Toeman is without any doubt NOT one of those people! She just has that bubbly personality and doesn't have that whole "I am a star! Bow for me!" feeling around her. whahah
Which makes her that more of a star in my book. Everytime I saw her she just had that spark and looked like she really enjoyed herself.
When I came up for her autograph she laughed loudly when she saw the costume and she said: 'I love the moustache! Can I make a picture of you?' whahahaha
Of course she could! Perfect way to show her family what kind of freakshow she attended this weekend. whahaha

She asked me which picture of her she would like me to sign and to whom it was. She wanted to write something personal and asked me: 'Shall I write that I love your moustache? Would she like that?' I found that very funny and I was sure she would like that and so she wrote: "Dear Renata, I love Jolanda's moustache. Lots of love, Claire Toeman."

This time I saw father Huntingdon, Michael Craig only shortly and uncle Huntingdon, Ian Ogilvy not at all, as he had to cancel due to the flu.

To not catch the flu ourselfs we had to cut the Bowlore show short.
It started to rain and a group of people, including us, went back to the hotel while Bowlore Sheriff shouted: 'Cowards!' Whahah
I would have stayed if I wasn't in my costume at the time. But I was so afraid my Sheriff necklace, made out of cardboard, glue, paint and a whole lot of Mod Podge was not going to survive the rain.
Of course when we were  almost back at the venue, the rain almost completely had stopped.

When it was time for the evening banquet we walked to the main entrance of the hotel and saw a lot of people getting ready for the groupphoto for Jason's fanpage.
I think a lot more people were dressed up compared to two years prior. I loved it!

Before that picture was taken, Sheriff got all the ladies.

I could do this at least every week cause I never heard and read so many "Jolanda, I love you!" 's. Whahaha

We went inside and it's always a surprise to where we would end up, in terms of the seating arrangements.
I was so happy to see Hayleigh and her lovely daughter. She invited us to come sit with them and we had an awesome time! It was so cool to get to know them in person.

The food was good. There was lots of choice. My favorite was the pork stew but of course I only got a little bit of that. I wasn't fond of the pies. I had never had it with a slight sauer touch by adding pearl onions, which they did. But that's just personal taste. Or.. lack of it.

When I walked to the buffet I saw that the maintable for the guests was at the right side of the hall. At the 2014 con they had the table at the front of the hall on a platform but this time they had set up the dancefloor and all the sound and dj stuff there.
A very elegant lady came from the buffet passing me saying very enthusiatic that I looked great! I thanked her just as spontanias and than I realised it was Esta Charkham!
I had been a bit nervous meeting her again before the con. Because of my 2014 Con report in which I first forgot to mention her at all, then making it worse by calling her sister, her daughter.
But with my marvellous moustache maybe she didn't recognise me. Or remember me at all, which seems more likely.
Jeremy Bulloch said something to me about my moustache while walking by with his plate but I couldn't understand what he said, which made him think that I didn't have a good reply to his joke and he said: 'Got you there!' I smiled and was happy with that.

After banquet it was getting dark and Bowlore invited us all to join them for the short show outside with the burning swords. I love that!! It looks so spectaculair.

 (C) Hooded Man Events

I stood front row next to Lutine who told me to stand next to her on the small wall and that Ronald wouldn´t care to see it anyway. Which was kinda true. He just wanted to be outside at that point to have a smoke.

Bowlore Robin again had a lot of admirers this con. At least 3 girls I spoken to that weekend fell in love.

After the show we went inside and sat down again as they started the disco.
We watched a while as people started to dance. But I, the Sheriff, left the dancing to the simple folk. 
I can't dance at all!!

During the disco having a good conversation was hard and Hayleigh's daughter was a bit tired so they left for the night. For me it had also been a long, but wonderful day so to be ready for another day, we followed them shortly after they had left.

I slept better than the night before. I had different earplugs than I normally have, to shield me from the 'sweet sounds' of Ronald chopping down Sherwood forest, which basically were rubbish!
I searched for an alternative and found it in slightly wet toiletpaper. 
It dries overnight and seals of the ears perfectly. Just make sure you don't shove it in to deep so you'll be able to get it out again. whaha
For me it worked so good that I threw out the 'real', yet crappy earplugs.

I don't know if it was a coincidents or if it was because of the toiletpaper, but Monday and Tuesday at home it felt like I lost a little bit of my hearing. It wasn't so bad though. I didn't have to listen to people wining.

I figured that as the ear is a selfcleaning organ, it would push out the piles of earwax I pushed in over the weekend in time. (EEWW! Gross!!) whaha
And so it did cause I think I have my full hearing back.

Sundaymorning I woke up early and was pleased to see the sun was shining again and no relaxing waterfalls were found in the room.

At breakfast were seated at a table next to the table of 2 lovely German girls.
We talked a bit and then we went to the front and saw Jason Connery. He was standing by the table to get something to eat and I just said goodmorning. He greeted me back and asked how I was doing. I said: 'Fine, thank you.' And left the poor man in peace. Seeing me in the morning must be tough. Especially if he had to deal with Tony later on as well.

Ronald was still toasting his bread and told me I didn't have to wait on him and that I could return to the table. I did but when I came back I couldn't find it. I saw the girls sitting right there but all of a sudden our table looked like people had been sitting there. The coffee cups were used and the girls saw from the look at my face that I was confused.
They pointed OUR table out which was on the other side of them! Oh my! I thought I went to bed early enough. Apparently not. Or I left my brain at the toaster. whahahaha I laughed and told Ronald when he came back. He just pulled his 'Facepalm' face. And didn't say much more than: 'Oh.my.God!'

After breakfast I seemed to be fit again so I got into my Sheriff costume again and we waited in the hall for Bowlore's early show. We stood outside for a while first but I found it still way to cold so we went back inside.

There were some people coming up to me for a chat and a picture and I had a blast.
Jackie was there too and we had some time to catch up.
A very lovely lady came up and I recognised her as Ruth. I just talked to her on Facebook on Saturday. She had complimented my costume and I told her to just come up to me if she wanted to chat a bit because I didn't recognise everyone from their Facebook pictures and if I walked passed them without saying anything, it wasn't because I didn't want too. It's just that I'm not really a star in remembering the faces from Facebook. And with the whole greeting a Duncan-wannabe at Saturday breakfast I had become a bit more careful.Whaha

I also had earlier posted a similair post in my Robert Addie group and I was pleased when indeed more people came up to me that Sunday, that had read that post. It was sooo lovely to meet everyone.
Some new people who I hadn't spoken to before, some people I had only spoken on Facebook and some 'old' friends.
Bowlore was of course great again. Eventhough it was still early. A very nice start of the day.

Next on the program was the picture with the lovely Judi Trott but she was coming a bit later due to traffic. I immediatelly thought of our diversion. Maybe she took the same route we did.

We encountered Alison and Karen in the bar where we all got a drink while we waited. It was so great spending a little more time with them.
When we heared Judi had arrived we walked to the photostudio. There was queue but it all went pretty fast.

Before I knew it I looked into the smiling face of Lady Judi and she said I looked beautiful. I said she did too! She said: 'Come here.' while lifting her arm to put it around me and we took a nice pic together. Than I had to get out of the way because half of the fandom was waiting for a picture too.

When I walked along another queue I thought I heard my name. A few moments later I heard it again and saw Davy!!
He makes these aswesome painting and I was lucky to win one a while back in the Outlaws facebook group.
I went up to him and gave him a hug. Than he said he had something for me.
He pulled a very beautiful painting out of his bag!

It was of Guy and Robin fighting. He said that unfortunately for me, in the end, Robin would win. But I highly doubt that.
Thank you again for this beautiful painting, Davy!!
I haven't come around to put them up, but I have an awesome light place in mind in our livingroom!

We enjoyed the KOTA guestpanel very much with Jason, Peter, Mark, Judi, and Barnaby replacing Clive in the live performance of a 'cut scene' of KOTA, a very interesting love story between Marion and Much, which I hope makes the extra's on the KOTA cd. whahahaha

When they let us hear the trailer for the first time I saw a bit of tension on the faces but it was so great to hear all these familiar voices even if it was for a minute. It send a tingle down my spine.
Later on I found out I wasn't the only one who felt like that. Some got really emotional even. 
Isn't it great this show still can do that. Even after all these years? Pure magic!

I of course listened to see if I could hear the new Gisburne. I thought I heard one sentence. Later speaking to Tony about it who had the same sentence in mind but it was to short to really say something useful about it. I guess we have no choice but to wait til the official release. But I must say, I'm looking more forward to it, now I've heard the short preview, than I did before.  

Esta Charkham was ready for the signing and of course I had to get her autograph this time!
As soon as she saw me coming she said: 'You're still in the costume. Did you ever take that off last night?' Whahah I assured her I did. She was so very nice!
I think a woman like her will never grow old. She also has that life spark! Oh and a beautiful jacket!! She had on a red jacket I just loved! Luckily there were pictures made!

There was one mission left for me to complete that Sunday. Getting the autograph from Michael Praed for my friend. The queue was insane!! I walked from the Judi queue straight in the Michael Pread line.
The whole weekend everything had gone rather quick. Or was it just me? Talking to everyone so time flew by.

They had a few power outages throughout the day, which wasn't very handy for the people doing the photo's and lighting and the printing of the photo's. But it wasn't the hotel, so I heard. Very good. I feared to be electrocuted after all, because of the leakage in the lamp in our room earlier.

I encountered Alison while I was standing there waiting. I had paniced a bit because Ronald was outside with the token I had to use now. He had no idea I was standing in a new queue. I didn't expect to be so either at that point.
I asked Alison if she would do me a favour and get the token from Ronald. She came back with the token and I was so happy. I hugged her. She was my saving angel!!
She went on to complete her own mission and a while later Ronald came to find me when I was still waiting in the hall.
I smiled and showed him the token. He pulled a funny face before grabbing in the bag and pulling out our token. Than we both looked surprised and funny. 'Didn't Alison asked you for the token?' 'Ehrm..No.'

I think I must have been so anxious finding a way to get the token without losing my place in line that I must have talked so fast and unclear that Alison must have thought she wanted me to buy a token! She didn't even asked for her money back when she gave it to me! She must have thought I was spoiled or something when I thanked her. Whahahaa
We had no money left so I asked Ronald if he would try to give the token back at the register so we could pay Alison back. Luckily that wasn't a problem at all.

It was nice to stand in queue behind a family so Michael Praed didn't see me until the last moment when it was my turn to get a picture signed.
He laughed and said I look brilliant. He asked me if Nick had already seen me because he knew Nick was scheduled to be there for the Saturday. I told him no and explained the story.
He thanked me for telling him. I hope he made a call to Nickolas Grace to ask how all is going now. I'm sure he did.

When he asked what name he should use I told him it was for my friend and he said:' That's so nice of you.' I said:' Yes, way to nice for the Sheriff.'  He laughed and agreed and gave me the beautiful signed picture of Robin standing in the armour he shamelessly stole from Guy.  I thought that was the perfect pic for a Robert and Michael fan.

I saw Alison in another queue and explain what had happened and could pay the angel back.
After that we took a little time out in our room again and soon it was time for the auction and closing ceremony already! Oh my, the weekend went by soooo fast!

I think they must have been early starting it. Or maybe I underestimated how much time it took everytime we went to our room and back. The walk itself was about 5 minutes but whenever I was seen by people they'd often stopped and talked to me or ask for a picture, which I absolutely loved! But it did take some time.

I promised myself I would enjoy every minute and so I wasn't really worried about times. As I did have the time of my life!

When we walked towards the hall we saw that everyone was already seated and there was already stuff going on on stage. Most of the cast was standing outside, waiting for their sign and although the doors were open in the beginning, I didn't want to go inside and disturb anything.
In my costume there wasn't really a way to slip in unnoticed and I didn't see a place to sit either cause it was packed in there.

I was a bit mad at myself that we were about to miss everything but what could be done? Maybe there would be small pause, a moment we could use to go in and otherwise, oh well, it wasn't like they were going to auction off something Robert related, were they? They hadn't in 2014.

So I haunted Barnaby down for a picture together, as I already wanted to do in 2014 but never dared to ask.

After that we found a nice place to sit.
Close to the cast and with sight on the door.

I didn't have to wait long for company. Susie sat next to me and Daniela and her friend also joined. I told Daniela that it would be nice to get some pics with Peter, who was standing right before us. But that I was a bit scared to ask.
'I can do it!' she said while already getting up and before I know it I was standing next to Peter with sweet Daniela and my husband taking pictures.

When I sat back down I remembered that I had promised girls in the Much fangroup that I would tell him that the page existed in case he wouldn't know and how much he still was loved and appreciated. And that Phil Rose send his greetings through miss Carole.
I didn't think about it to long, so I wouldn't chicken out and got up.
I had to be quick anyway cause they were about to get on stage.
He looked rather shy when I told him but he did tell me to thank everyone for that.

I was chatting away with the girls and barely noticed the con coming to an end and the fans coming out of the hall.

An almost angry Lutine stormed towards us and said like the annoyed Sheriff would to Gisburne in Dutch: 'Where were you????! They had things of Robert in auction! And it didn't even go for much!!'
Oh man! I missed that?? 'What was being auctioned off?', I asked and she said some small pictures and an autographed something.

If I had known that before, I would have elbowed my way in! I was disappointed but what could I do but shrug, get over myself and hope the people who got it would at least post a picture on facebook so I could see.

I went into the hall cause I was looking for Sally. She had ordered a necklace from me before the con and I didn't want to forget giving it to her.

I waved to Alison and saw Sally was busy talking to a group.

I walked up to Karen who was still seated to ask about the auction and of course the Robert Addie items. She told me about it and said that a lot of things were going for a lot, like the banners. Which was excellent for the charity so that was good.
'Alison got some things too.' she said while pointing at her.
I looked over and saw her with some people in a small group. When she saw I looked her way she gestured that I should come over, with a big smile on her face.
I almost ran over cause I thought she wanted to tell me something funny. I asked her: 'You got some things too?' She suddenly gave me a big hug and said: 'I also got the sign with Robert's autograph.'
It was only than that I realised she was standing in line to get the auction purchases from Kim, Barnaby's lovely wife.

Yes, I never said I was the 'Brightest spark in the fire.'
I said: 'That's so cool!' I was very happy Alison got it! Then it would go to a real fan and I could even look at it in a minute!

She still was holding me and said: 'I got it for you!' I was shocked. I didn't know what to say.
I stumbled: 'Are you sure? It's yours.'
'Yes, I have mine and I met Robert a few times. You are meant to have it.'
I couldn't say much more than: 'Thank you so much.' A hundred times.

I think it didn't really sink in what just happened. We stood there, arm in arm til it was Alison's turn to pick up her purchases.
I faught against my tears and I thought I did really good.
She came back and gave me sign, then went back to get her other things and pay Kim.
I just stood there. With the sign in both of my hands.

I told my husband and Karen, and a few others that were standing close and were looking, that Alison had gotten it for me. Than she returned and put her arm around me. I thanked her again.
There were more hugs and she said that she was sure Robert would want me to have it. At that point I lost the battle against my tears and I started crying. Karen cracked also and Alison too.  

It was a beautiful moment. One of the best in my whole life. It completely caught me off guard.
People who walked by us of course were wondering why the Sheriff was crying all of a sudden. 
Kim too, as she was making her way out. I told them of course what an extraordinary thing Alison had done for me, that they were happy-tears and my moustache would absorb them, and all of them went: 'Aaaaaaw.' And that it was so nice of her to do.
I thought: 'Nice?? That woman is a saint!!' Whahaha

I tried to get myself together while I had a clear moment and jumped at the chance to tell Sally about the necklace when we went to the exit.
She said that everyone would meet up in the bar after we got out of our costumes and she would take it than. Of course that was fine with me.
Alison, Karen and us agreed to meet at breakfast the next morning so we would have a proper chance to speak to each other and say goodbye before we would go home.

When Ronald and me walked to our room together I was still staring at the sign, thinking about what just happened and trying to grasp it.
Tears were trying to bubble up again, but this time I won! Although it was close.

In our room I sat on the bed for a while with the sign. I never knew Robert had such a pretty handwriting.
 I didn't want to let it go. But I had to. I got out of my costume, took a quick shower and got dressed in my 'normal' clothes.

When we were ready I looked around for a safe place to keep the sign. Ronald looked at me and asked what I was doing now.
'I must find a safe place for the sign. I need a security system!'
His answer was: ' Yes, cause eeeevery robber wants that.'
I said that he didn't know what he was talking about. That he didn't know the high value of this gem! And that you just never know.
I put it in between my papers in a hard plastic map on my nightstand. Of course I checked to see if it was still there when we came back. It was.

When we walked into the bar, there was already a group of us fans sitting there. We stole some chairs from the posh golfers and sat down. Amanda, Stephanie, Sian, Helen, Katharyn, Lutine, Mark Ryan, Sally, Annette and Jim looked like they had a blast already.

I sat next to Mark Ryan. Although I highly doubt he cared. whahahaha
It was quit a large group. I loved that last night cause we got to say goodbye properly in case we wouldn't see each other at breakfast the next morning. Misha, Alison, Karen and Paul joined too and unfortunately my arch enemy, Tony too!
Rude as he is, he turned his back on me immediately.

It was so much fun but we didn't go to sleep to late. Monday would be a whole day of traveling again and Ronald had to drive on the left side of the road one last time.
So to keep the risk of wrecking the rental car on the last trip as low as possible we thought it best to do the smart thing and get some sleep.

On our way out I waved at a group of fans we passed and got called by Carol who wanted to see my Robert Addie tattoo. She made a picture of it and we had a short chat before we left.

The next morning we were sad to leave, yet happy to go home and see our animals again. And sleep in our own bed. Nothing as nice as sleeping in your own cave.

When we arrived at breakfast, Karen and Alison were already there and with them was Andrea as well. We hadn't spoken before but I love that we had the chance to get to know her a bit that morning cause she is a very nice and funny lady!
When we got our bread we walked passed Jeremy Bulloch who was about to sit down at his table and he again said something. This time the enviroment wasn't as loud as at banquet and I thought he was talking to me in German. So I asked: Ah, German?
'No, Russian.'
'Oh, you speak Russian?!'
'Just a little bit.'
'Well, that's more than I do.' He smiled and sat down.

So I guess he'd spoken to me in Russian at the banquet too or said something about Russians, which would make sense. I can see how my big moustache and (fake) fur hat could have reminded him of a Russian Cossack.

To soon it was time for goodbyes again. This time Karen cried.
We got to say goodbye to Paul and even another Paul.  I looked around to see if there were more people we knew when I saw Hayleigh and her daughter sitting at a table. Of course I had to say goodbye to these cute girls and we wished each other a safe journey home.

In the lobby we saw Jan and Ralph who were just about to leave too.
We hugged goodbye and it was a nice thing their taxi was about to come so we could wave them goodbye. Jackie was outside as well and Alison and Karen had to go our way too, to get to their room so Jan and Ralph had a proper farewell commity.

We went up to our room and realised we had to hurry up a bit.
We were very early for breakfast but because several people came up to me when we walked by and greeted them, we did run a bit behind schedule.

*Sight** I'll miss all of the positive attention I got from all these lovely friends! I'm a lot less populair here. whahaha

We got our suitcases and put them in the car before we checked out.
The lady at the reception was the same lady who checked us in.
She said:' I remember you from check in, because you were so cheery.
I thanked her, assumed it was a compliment instead of her telling me how bloody annoying my happy, jumpy behaviour was.
You know it could! There are days in live when the last thing you need is an overly happy person blabbering away. You want everyone to be misserable in that second, just like you!
I can't tell you how many times in my life when I felt like that, I wished for a huge tourbus to push them in front of.  whahahaha

We were lucky to make it again in one piece to the airport without hitting a tourbus with our rental car and the man who checked the vehical at our arrival seemed to agree.

This time Ronald and I were sitting next to each other in the plain.
I had remembered to check in early in the morning on my phone.

But the longer we sat next each other, the more doubts arose if that was a good plan to begin with.
He did offer me his hand to hold when the plane took off but that huge smug look on his face whenever I pinched his hand when startled and the 'funny' remarks he made like: 'What's the matter?' And 'Please don't rip of the airplane table, honey', made me regret that decision at times.

At the airport we had to take a short bus ride from the airplane to the gate and I saw the cutest thing ever.
A woman with her bear. When I later on showed this picture at home everyone agreed that indeed that was something I would do. Tsss, bunch of knowitalls.

I couldn't be more happy to see my doggies happy and healthy and luckily my mother didn't want to talk the whole trip over right away, because in the meantime it was 7.45 pm and I just wanted to go home, which was another 35 minutes away.

Gizzy and Baby greeted us all at the window and soon it seemed like we'd never been away.
Part of me was very sad that the week was over and real life would set in again. But I had made so many fond memories, lots of friends and pictures to proof it!

You'll be happy to know that no English toilets were harmed this time.

Truly a week never to forget!
I'd like to thank Barnaby, Kim and the rest of the crew who made this weekend so very brilliant!! I heard several people say it was even better than the first. And I couldn't agree more.

Also a huge thank you to all fans, new friends I got to meet, Bowlore and ROS guests and to the hotel staff as well. Who were so nice and helpful all weekend. They had their work cut out for them.

Of course a big fat special THANK YOU to Alison!!! Who gave me not only the sign, but one of the best moments of my life!! I'll be forever grateful!! X

Andrew Starr (0:58, 5 sep 2020)
I grew up in Chepstow, yes it is sometimes possible to see seals and even porpoises in the River Wye, whose Estuary into the Sea is very near under the Severn Bridge, which you avoided...
Marie Ryan (1:07, 19 mei 2019)
I was reading the convention blog and half the time I was going "Aw"..reading about when Alison bought the sign with Robert's autograph on it and you started crying, I was saying some more "Aw"s.
I wish I could have met Robert Addie back in 1997 and then all the others that he came to. I bet he was a true gentleman as well.
Tracey (2:07, 14 jun 2016)
Your reports are like I was there myself! I love them! Thank you Jolanda, what a great read :)
anne-marie (14:43, 8 jun 2016)
Thanks for this great report. Glad you had a great time...
Magdalena (22:36, 1 jun 2016)
Thanks a lot, I was really moved to read it!
Miss Josh Emmett (23:42, 31 mei 2016)
This was fantastic! Almost felt like I was there! So glad you had such a wonderful time!
Paul (0:59, 31 mei 2016)
Great report....good memories!