Monday, January 30, 2006

Beauherne School, Canterbury

Sunday morning I had to drive over to Kent for another meeting with Darlene, the events co-ordinator at Leeds Castle where I am going to be "in residence" over half term. We discussed several things, including where I would be doing my Henry presentations. She also asked me if I would like to be the narrator at the Children's Prom concert at the Castle in June. This will be with full orchestra and with about 6,000 people watching. Let me think about this... YES! I would love to do it. After all that excitement I then drove to my sister's near Sittingbourne to stay the night before my gig in Canterbury. We had a nice evening, drank some wine, ate a delicious lasagne and watched some of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. By 9.30pm I was finished and headed for bed.
I got up at 6am and got ready and then headed down to Canterbury and my appointment at Beauherne School. I knew that this place had just come off "special measures" and wasn't really quite sure what to expect. What I got was a fabulously warm welcome from the teachers, especially Emma and Mrs Morrish, and a brilliant day with some fabulously intelligent, sparky and groovy kids! They really enjoyed themselves, almost as much as I enjoyed myself. The jousting at the end was of a particularly high standard and for a nice change it was the boys who just pipped the girls in the final. I then began my long weary way home, and finally arrived back in sunny Somerset at about 6.30pm.
Tomorrow I have a meeting with Mary from the County Museum in Taunton, and I shall be bringing Tris from Bilby's along with me to discuss our possible involvement in a Tudor cookery exhibition of skillets and cauldrons. Watch this space...

Friday, January 27, 2006

Trull Primary School

Trull village, on finding it on the outskirts of Taunton, was a delight. Beautiful old houses, higgledy-piggledy lanes, and a lovely old church which began ringing 8 o'clock as I pulled up in the car outside the school. The school has recently undergone a facelift of Joan Collins-type proportions and is a wonderful building. It has only been fully re-opened for the last month or so and is spectacular, as far as any small school building can be considered spectacular.
The teachers, as ever, were wonderfully inviting, friendly and full of good humour. The kids all arrived in wonderful costumes, some were so good I found it hard to believe parents had put in such effort, but they had and it looked great. For the morning session in the hall we had some of the Mums of the pupils in to watch and join in, and they seemed to really enjoy themselves. The kids did too!
The afternoon session whipped through and in one of the closest finishes we have had in a long long time, the girls came through to snatch victory from the boys. One of the young lads showed great sportsmanship by congratulating the girls straight away. An incredibly grown up thing to do. After some help from three of the lads from the class I was on my way home. A really nice day and a really nice school. Oh, and the village is nice as well!
The next few weeks are going to be manic to say the least. I have a meeting at Leeds Castle this weekend, then a show in Canterbury. A quick visit to the Paragon school in Bath on the Thursday and then off to Essex for a week, then Kent for TWO weeks. I shall be exhausted but rich come the end of February. All this and my wife is 40 next week. Bless.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Park School - Yeovil

Another day another Henry visit. Luckily it was nice and local and I had a feeling it would be quite easy. The early part of the morning was far from it. I knew where the Park School was as my wife had guided me there so I would have no trouble finding it. Yes, I found it, but it was the wrong part. The Park School has a senior section as well! The Junior section was tucked away in a back road near Tesco's new massive store in town. I finally found it after a nearly nasty altercation with an over officious caretaker. The day was great. The kids were brilliant, they seemed to enjoy the morning thoroughly (it was only a half day) and had some great knowledge of the Tudors. For a change the boys won the jousting and made off with their booty of the certificates, and a couple of the year 6 kids were kind enough to help me load all my junk back in my car. What a lovely school and a nice day all round. I am looking after my little chap James today as Amanda is at work herself. He has just been chasing our cat upstairs but is pleading his innocence. The little pleader. I know you did it James, as I watched you.
Tomorrow? Trull. Not a 1980's sci fi fantasy film but a small village just about outside Taunton. A full day and should be fun all round. I will tell you tomorrow.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Brookside - and not a hostage situation in sight...

Back in the swing of things today. It was back to being England's most infamous monarch. Today, although just a half day, was up at Brookside School in Street, near Glastonbury. I had last visited this school back in September 2004, but they had re-booked me. It was great to be back. The drive over is one of those really annoying cross-country efforts where you never get above 40 mph and it seems to last forever, even though it was just over 20 miles. All the old familiar faces were there, including one chap I recognised but who had moved to Brookside from Huish Episcopi School in Langport, a school I had visited back in November 2004 - he remembered me!
The class were great, really attentive, very interested and very lively. Just what you want a school class to be. The early part of the morning session in particular I felt went really well. I was hitting all the important information right and the gags were flowing fast and furious. The children and teachers were really enjoying it! Then we had the mid-morning break - and afterwards I felt like I was rubbish! I kept fluffing lines and wasn't at my best, but bless 'em the kids seemed to enjoy it. Inevitably the girls won the jousting AGAIN and I left with a nice cheque in my pocket and a warm glow from doing a pretty good day.
Amanda, James and I went into Yeovil in the afternoon. We needed a few bits and pieces, and James as ever did particularly well coming away with a new Brum DVD (one of his favourite TV programmes) and a happy meal from MacDonalds, just don't tell his Auntie Susan (swampie!) or his Grandpa (just general MacDonalds HATER). In the evening had another chat with Ruth Le Mesurier about my tax return and I have vowed to finish the perishing thing tomorrow. Gnash!
Not a bad day. Tomorrow? The Park School in Yeovil...

Sunday, January 22, 2006

A Silent King? Worse than a Butler's revenge!

Hello. Yes, I know, I know. Months pass by and not a new blog in sight. Sorry. Well here is the latest missive to let you know what has been happening in the world of your King.
My first Henry back after the new year break was at Enmore Primary School up near Bridgwater. This was on the 12th January. My trusty old Toyota Lucida was in dire need of a new battery, but with us being at the hands of Lloyds TSB's less than tender mercies there was no way I could afford one. So all the Henry gear had to be stowed into my wife's Toyota Corolla - and it fitted pretty well. Enmore is difficult to find and is quite disturbingly small and spaced out. But the school was lovely, the people very warm and welcoming and the kids were terrific. Yet another good day.
Amanda and I have been doing all the mail shots of late and have been attempting to branch the business out into new areas, so it was very rewarding when we picked up our first bookings in Devon and Cornwall. A booking for Tiverton in May and Exeter in March covering Devon, and a booking for Truro in June for Cornwall - but with more to come. Matthew Applegate of Barrington Court was back in touch with the possibility of having me make a three day visit over the last weekend in April and the May Day Bank Holiday. Sounds good to me.
It is now less than three weeks until I start at Leeds Castle in Kent. I can't wait! I have also been foisting myself upon various local media, such as Radio, TV and Newspapers. I did a brief radio interview with Orchard FM and BBC TV might be interested in doing a local slot about me sometime soon, but we shall see.
All in all, Lloyds TSB aside, this has been a very positive start to the new year. Now I just have my tax return to complete (ARRRRRGH!) and a visit tomorrow back to Brookside School in Street, near Glastonbury. I last visited them back in September 2004, but it will be good to get back. Night night!