Thursday, December 29, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
This all begins on Remembrance Sunday. I had to drive back to Essex for three Henry VIIIth visits in the week. I would be staying at my parents again (they are SO lucky!) and as ever they were wonderful, kind and not too vicious with the rent book.
Monday I was at South Green Junior School in Billericay. Lovely and close to my parent's house, therefore slightly more of a lie in than usual. Lovely school, good teachers and great kids. We had a good time and the children seemed to really enjoy themselves. Good costumes again. That evening I went for a swift drink down at The Hoop, my old local pub in Stock. Little did I know that I was witnessing the end of an era. It was the last night the old bar would ever be as I remember it... I had a couple of drinks with Dan again, but went home relatively early on the vague promise of seeing Dan again the following night and maybe going on somewhere else.
Tuesday I was in Silver End between Braintree and Witham. I had tried to contact our friend Simon Runagall on my first arrival in Essex as he had recently contacted me to let me know he had managed to pick up some Gertie Millar post cards for me. Gertie Millar is a musical theatre artist from the Edwardian era and I, somewhat anorakishly, collect old post cards of her. Look, I know you are still out there reading this as I can hear you breathing. I knew Simon's parents lived in Silver End and so I attempted to contact him to see if we could meet up. It was arranged that I would meet him at his parent's for lunch during my break from being a Tudor monarch. But right at the start of the day I was in for another surprise as I was walking into the school with my props. I was followed in by a bloke I seemed to recognise, I wasn't sure where from. Crimewatch possibly. It turned out he was business partner with an old friend of mine from Maldon, Kevin Rowley, and he was at the school to tune their piano. The school was really good. Fabulous kids, great teachers and a good day was had by all. I got to meet Simon and his parents at lunchtime, collect my Gertie's and also some lovely photos Simon had taken of my son, James, on his last visit down to us. You will note the excruciatingly cute picture at the top of this posting... That evening I went back to the Hoop which resembled a war zone - the old bar had been completely hacked in half and was being systematically replaced with a new bar top. Too much for me. I ended up at the Bell at Rettendon with lots of friends and best of all a chance to see my dear old friend Sara Turner for the first time in about 7 years. Too long! I got back late. Thank God my mother (bless her!) had sat up to let me in. (Bless her!).
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Friday, November 04, 2005
Monday, October 31, 2005
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Friday, October 21, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
- Driving to Yeovil with my wife to look for her ******* bagels again - we found them you'll be thrilled to hear.
- Mowing the back lawn that was beginning to resemble the Matto Grosso.
- Listening to Manchester City stuff West Ham United on Radio 5. (Actually, that bit was quite good).
I am off to Kent tomorrow, to stay with my sister Cathy and her husband Julian as I have Bridge and Patrixbourne School to do near Canterbury on Tuesday morning. I shall try and post again on Tuesday evening. Oh, and James did something naughty this evening and immediately referred to himself as "a little git". I guess I have to start watching my language.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Friday, October 14, 2005
Well, our little crown prince has been at nursery all day, and Amanda and I decided to go up to Street for the day (near Glastonbury). A nice drive and a pretty good, if plain, High Street. After lunch we returned and there were messages for me from two more schools, enquiries for possible bookings. One was in Yeovil and the other - well, I didn't quite catch the name, but they said I had visited before. I have tried to call back but the people I need to speak to are teaching at present. More bookings are needed as December is looking a little blank. I have bookings after Christmas, all the way through to next July, but some in December would be nice.
After steady, but unspectacular progress up the A303 and M3, I stopped at the services at Fleet for some diesel. At present I am trying not to use my credit cards if I can help it, not out of some desperate urge to stick two fingers up at credit companies, but because both of my cards are virtually screaming for mercy. As I got to the counter, the woman behind it appeared to be German. How did I know? Well, the towel draped across the counter and her frequent invasions of the next door till were a bit of a giveaway. I first asked her if she could print a cheque.
“No. Vy don’t you pay mit zer credit card? It is qvicker.” There was a rapidly expanding queue of huffing and puffing white van drivers and reps behind me, so for a quiet life I got my credit card out and put it in the machine. I tapped in my pin number. “Zis card hass been declined!” She announced, loudly.
“I KNOW! That’s why I wanted to use my ****ing cheque book!” I angrily wrote out a cheque. She took my guarantee card and wrote all the details on the back. Then she took my card and the cheque and started disappearing out the back. “Where are you going?” I enquired.
“I haff to get zer authorisation for der kard.” She told me. And so off she went to do just that – for what seemed like about 6 months. Thankfully another till opened and the white van drivers and reps plodded over there and started huffing and puffing at the new till instead. Eventually she returned all smiles. “Here iss your kard, unt a receipt.” All she needed to do was click her heels and wear jackboots and she had the part. But I was now on my way.
Terrible road works and more rain on the M3 gave over to the usual terrible traffic and even worse driving on the M25. At last, the M40 and finally the promised land of High Wycombe. I find the school and slither to a halt on their posh gravel drive. My horrible old Toyota looks stunningly out of place next to all the Mercedes, BMWs and Saabs. Meet the teacher, a charming lady and I am greeted by the receptionist with “Hello Henry!” even though I am not yet in my costume. We have a great day – lovely kids. It is an all girl’s prep school, very posh and well to do, but not overbearing. Best question of the day? No contest really. One girl, who looks and acts suspiciously like Hermione Grainger from Harry Potter, tries to answer one of my questions about my Bear Paw shoes. I give them the usual hint of them being based on the paws of a big ferocious animal with teeth, claws and fur and ask them what animal they think it is. She shoots her hand up – I point at her. Her answer?
“A duck.” Close, but no cigar. Another girl later suggested that people were pelted with grapes whilst in the stocks. I suppose that could be a bit vicious if you left the pips in. We have a nice lunch with the pupils, then more mayhem in the afternoon finishing with another rip-roaring jousting session. The winning team get their certificates, more photos and that’s it – I am on my way.
Another three hours later, I arrive home just in time to kiss James, my son, goodnight and collapse on the sofa with some dinner from my wife. All this, and not a drop of wine in the house. There should be a law against that sort of thing. Hang on – I’m the King, I could MAKE a law! There are messages for me from Anna from the BBC, who was my runner on the Rolf on Art programme, and who is trying to get me involved in Children in Need coming up. No more definite news, but she is still trying for me, bless her. A note that next weeks show at Barrington Court Tudor house with the children from Barrington Village School in Somerset has been postponed for three weeks, and confirmation that the lovely people at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire want to see me for a pre-show meeting on the 22nd November. A good positive day all round really.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
It has been a hectic few weeks for me really. I have picked up a nice booking to go to Leeds Castle in Kent for the February half term next year - all nine days! Then I was asked by the BBC to take part in the "Rolf on Art - The Big Event" day at Trafalgar Square, London. This involved the re-creation of Holbein's lost masterpiece of Henry VIII, painted by many different artists to build up into a gigantic portrait of the famous Tudor monarch. It was a great day, but exhausting. It was nice to meet the other Henry VIIIth's and compare costumes.
I have been back visiting schools again since the summer holidays finished. Seeing some old friends again at places like Manor Court School in Chard and Blean School near Canterbury in Kent, and some new venues such as West Flegg School in Martham near Great Yarmouth, Friends School in Saffron Walden, All Saints C of E at Great Oakley near Harwich, Puriton School near Bridgwater, Somerset, Hillhouse School in Waltham Abbey and Knightwood School at Chandlers Ford in Hampshire. We had good days at all of these.
Well, the King shall be cheering England on again this evening against Poland. I might threaten Sven-Goran Eriksson with be-heading if we lose, so watch this space for more. Tomorrow? A very early morning and a drive up to High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire to visit Godstowe Prep School. I am looking forward to it!