This is almost the very first chance I have had to sit down and update this blog for a while. So what has been happening in the world of Good King Hal, I might possibly hear you cry if I was suffering from some sort of dementia? Well, we go back to the 20th April first and a trip back to Essex with myself, Amanda and James, plus the cat in tow. I was there for an after-dinner talk to my Father's Rotary club, based in Ingatestone. We had dinner at Ivy Hill Hotel in Margaretting, with all the Rotarian's present with their wives. During the break at the end of the meal, I nipped off and changed into my Tudor glad rags and was back shortly for my presentation. It went quite well, short and sharp and with lots of laughs and I seemed to get a pretty good response from the members. On Saturday the 22nd, I travelled up to Chelmsford in Essex to meet Duncan James, a dressmaker and tailor, to discuss the possibilities for new costumes. Duncan makes lots of the outfits for the Venice Carnival and he showed me some pictures from his portfolio - stunning. We discussed designs and colours and he reckoned he could do me two complete new, interchangeable costumes for under £2,000, which seemed a fine deal to me.
On Monday the 24th it was back to being Henry again. This time it was a return visit to Northwick Park Junior School in Canvey Island in Essex. Once again I was warmly welcomed and we had a great day with some great children. Some of the costumes were wonderful. I always get a warm welcome there! That night we had to drive back to Somerset as I had an early start the following morning.
Tuesday the 25th, another return visit, this time to Coalway Junior school in Coleford in Gloucestershire. It was nice to see a load of familiar faces again and we had a great laugh as usual at this school. Again, the kids had come up trumps with some stunning costumes. The long drive home wasn't too bad as I was JUST ahead of the rush.
Wednesday the 26th was a long day. I had to drive to Blackford near Wedmore in Somerset to visit the Hugh Sexey Middle School. This was my first visit to this school, but it was wonderful. A great school with some bright sparky pupils who had appeared with some of the finest costumes it has been my pleasure and privilege to see during my "reign" as the King. After finishing at this school I had to drive to Taunton and the Castle Museum for the opening of the Cauldrons and Skillets exhibition. I was doing the presentation with Tris Pinkney from Bilby's Cafe. He and his wife Jane and their daughter, came up trumps with a fine Tudor spread including Umble Pie, real mince pies, buckwheat trenchers, spit roasted pork and quince, a boars head, eel dumplings, pickled French beans and much much more. There was a speech from various big wigs within the Museum community, then Tris and I did a brief presentation on some of the food you would expect to see Henry eating. We chucked in lots of laughs and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
Thursday the 27th I was back on familiar ground again as I was at Monkton Combe school in Bath for my third visit in two years. Once again it was a small group, no costumes but a great enthusiasm for all things Tudor. We began in a classroom, which was a little limiting, even with such a small group, but the afternoon was held in their gymnasium which was a huge arena! Another nice visit and good to see all the old friends again.
After a nice Friday off with my parents visiting, with their close friends Ros and Mike with them, today (Saturday) I am starting the first of three days at Barrington Court for the National Trust, in my capacity as Henry, walking about and probably scaring children. Still, someone's got to do it. I shall report more on this soon.