Slings, and the occasional arrow

I was around five, and sitting in my Balham flat, when I had to take a career decision: would I become a sailor or an outlaw?

Weekend afternoon TV in the early ‘60s had two excellent TV shows: Sir Francis Drake and The Adventures of Robin Hood

I would sit, transfixed and inspired, in front of the telly wondering whether a life on the seas would be preferable to a life constantly trying to thwart the Sheriff of Nottingham?

My complete inability to swim and possession of a toy bow and arrow made the decision easier.

I would prowl around the block of flats where I grew up knowing that King John could possibly own one of the maisonettes – I can now assume he never left Runnymede.

I’d have struggled on the Golden Hind.   They never had Kwells in the late 16th century; I’m not a massive fan of scurvy and, although I also speak German, I’d struggle in a port-side gift shop as we circumnavigated the globe if they didn’t speak either of those two languages.

So, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor would be my metier.  However, this was Balham in the early ‘60s – a town not renowned for its billionaires – a place where Elon Musk was thought of as a type of perfume.

So, the new Magna Carta would have to wait to be written, decreeing that no robber baron could live in SW17 and Iceland would remain undiscovered.  In the late 16th century, it was still called Bejam anyway.

Land ahoy!

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