Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another Week - 1,000's more miles...

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.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Calm Before the Storm

Henry has been relaxing a little of late. With the Easter Holidays upon us, I have been about as busy as a pacifist's pistol, but ever gearing up for the next explosion of work.
The cauldrons and skillets display at the County Museum in Taunton has been confirmed for the 26th April, and Tris Pinkney and I have a nice little routine sorted out for the assembled big wigs of the Taunton glitterati. Before that, I have a visit back to Essex for a speaking engagement with Ingatestone Rotary Club and an appearance back at Northwick Park Junior School on Canvey Island. The very next day it is up to Gloucestershire and the day after that Wedmore in Somerset during the day and the exhibition at Taunton in the evening.
Today I am printing out a load of info packs to send to schools I am visiting in the next few months - I have still to hear from Steve French about putting the info stuff on line. I have also been phoning some old friends and catching up - well, those who are about anyway! So I spoke to Ali Bessell, late of the Hoop in Stock and also caught up with the lovely Sue Freeman, who I used to work with and more often eat with whilst at Skandia in Southampton. See Sue!? You get a mention!
And now back to the phone calls and printing. Bye for now.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Website Changes

Steve French, aka The Web Master, has been updating my website for me. We now have some great photos from my week at Leeds Castle back in February, a new scrolling front page picture so you can see even more images of me (you lucky people) and the biography has been updated again. Another new innovation (soon to be put on the website) will give schools the ability to download the presentation brochure I used to post out when they booked me. This means they will have instant access to the information on dressing the children as Tudors! Another quantam leap in the remorseless march of this Mock Tudor Monarch. Hope you like the new improved website. Comments are always welcome.