Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's Been A While

Sorry this posting has not been updated for a while. I have been slightly busy! Since my last posting my first big Henry visit was down to Truro in Cornwall for a visit to Truro School Prep. I got there nice and early and was warmly welcomed by all the staff, and I mean ALL the staff dressed as Tudors! What a great start. It was a big big group, but we had a great day, all of the children dressed magnificently, we had a parade of costumes to the lower school and lunchtime was spent on the cricket pitch eating a spit roast of pork. Fantastic! I wonder if all schools in Cornwall are like this? I hope so! The afternoon joust was a belter, in the big school sports hall and after that I had the long trek back to Somerset, but I was going against the tide this particular Friday evening, the queues heading west were vast... Truro School Prep was a really good school. Highly recommended.
Monday the 19th I was down at West Hill near Ottery St Mary in Devon for a school visit there. Another wonderfully friendly school with some brilliant kids. I think a good time was had by all.
Tuesday the 20th, it was a visit I had been looking forward to for some time - West Pennard School near Glastonbury. The teacher who booked me there, Ian Gouge, had heard about me through his daughter seeing me at Trull Primary late last year. We had swapped emails and he had shown he had just as silly a sense of humour as me! The day was, as I expected it, tremendous fun. Great sparky kids and a load of laughs with everyone. Ian was an absolute star!
Wednesday I was at Birchfield School in Yeovil. This was another lovely day. The teachers and children were so friendly and welcoming. We had some great laughs, learnt a lot about the Tudors and everyone seemed to get something out of the day. Wonderful.
Thursday, Amanda, James and I drove to Essex as this weekend was the Musical Proms weekend at Leeds Castle in Kent, and I was on!
The Saturday night we all ventured down to Leeds Castle for the evening prom concert. There was my parents, my sister Cathy and her husband Julian, friends Ros and Mike, Amanda, myself and Julian's mother, Marie. We were Royally entertained by Carl Davis conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with narration by Nicholas Parsons. The evening began with a fly past by a Spitfire, which really got the hairs on the back of the neck standing up. When we finally got to the firework finale and the singing of "Jerusalem" and "Land of Hope and Glory", I was a committed flag waving patriot through and through. Great stuff! Shame about Nicholas Parsons though, who didn't really seem to have a clue as to what was going on. Bless.
Sunday - my day. The dawning of the Children's Picnic Prom. I was driven to Leeds Castle by my sister and was ready for rehersal by 10.30am. They sound checked me with a throat mic and that was it really. I sat and listened to the rest of the rehersal with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and they were just stunning. I have my own caravan out the back as my "trailer" for getting ready in! This is the big time folks! Later I was lucky enough to have lunch with Carl Davis and discuss the script for the show. We got on really well and worked everything out nicely. Carl had a lovely line in anecdotes and told a lovely one of the famous Australian ballet dancer Robert Helpmann getting ready for a performance and having to use the gents of a local rugby club to prepare. He needed a mirror to apply his make up and the only one he could find was a securty effort placed high in a corner of the room. He balanced precariously on his suitcases and tried to apply his make up. Just at that moment one of the lads from the rugby club came in to use the loo. Robert looked down at him from his perch by the mirror and commented:
"Honestly, I don't know how you boys cope before a match" I feel sure they apply their make up long before they get to the ground.
The show began. I am on first to introduce the orchestra and Carl. There must be about 6,000 people in the grounds. Good grief - my biggest ever audience and I don't have my glasses on so I can't see them. I notice my friend Anne Crocker in the front few rows with her daughter Nell - I wave and receive a blown kiss by return. The show rattles through so quickly. Before I know it, it's half time! Also on the bill is a lovely lady called Kathryn Rudge, a young Mezzo Soprano from Liverpool. Her voice is stunning, and she is a lovely person. The concert seems to be heading for an end, and suddenly it's all over. Hugs and congratulations from Carl Davis and Kathryn Rudge, and then it's back to the caravan to get changed. My mother and Father have been there, as has Amanda and James, my mother in law, Amanda's auntie and her niece. They are all complimentary. An added bonus is that Carl Davis' agent Paul Wing wants my details, he gives me a card and asks me to get in touch. Wonderful. I am driven back to my father's car in a golf buggy and suddenly the day is over. But it was wonderful, memorable and something I shall never forget. Thank you Leeds Castle, thank you Darlene, thank you Carl, Paul, Kathryn and the RLPO. What a lovely day!
And England beat Ecuador 1-0. What more could you ask for?

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