Wednesday, July 19, 2006

End of the Season...

My final show of this academic year was postponed for a week. I had been due to appear at Sedgemoor Manor Junior School in Bridgwater, a booking that had been on the books for some time. A few days before I was due there, one of the teachers at the school phoned me to say there were some problems and it was likely the day would be, at best postponed, but more likely cancelled. Eventually it was the postponement that won and I found myself on the early Tuesday morning driving up the M5 to Bridgwater. The school was relatively easy to find. The surrounding streets in Bridgwater reminded me greatly of the roads I used to drive round in Dagenham for the Essex Water Company in my previous life! The school was great and I had a group of about 100 children, of whom about 25%-30% had dressed up in some fabulous costumes. One lad was a particularly fine Jester. The day went quite well, even though the stifling heat of the hall was a little over-powering at times. The afternoon's jousting went as usual with the ladies trouncing the men!
Tuesday evening I was back at the Dinnington Docks to meet up with Matthew Applegate from Barrington Court for another "brain storming" session about future ways we can use Henry at the lovely NT site. Of course, for "brain storming" you should read "beer drinking", but it was good fun anyway. I hope Matthew made it home on his bike in his delicate state...
Wednesday. The hottest day on record in the UK. Thank God I wasn't dressed up as Henry. Another booking came in today. A re-visit to Friends School in Saffron Walden in Essex for January next. I am looking forward to that.
My wife has posted my details on the "Mumsnet" website, so hello to all Mumsnet people out there!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Even More Tudor Lunacy

Again, a few days have gone by since my last missive, so it only seems fair that I should update you as to Good King Hal's whereabouts.
Friday, 30th June, I was at North Crescent Primary in Wickford, Essex. A really nice school. These lovely people had booked me months and months ago, and I was a bit worried they might have forgotten about it, but they hadn't. We had a fine time. Lovely teachers and kids.
Monday, July 3rd. Finton House School in Wandsworth in London. This was my return visit to this lovely school, and as ever I was warmly welcomed by all. It was a scorching day and I didn't really fancy driving up there during the rush hour, so I left really early from my parent's house in Essex (where I was staying) and sailed through. I sat in the car outside the school gates until I saw some life inside. It was a sweltering day and I really roasted in my costume, but the kids had all dressed fabulously and made the day as memorable as last year. They have already booked me for next year! Thank you!
Tuesday, July 4th. Cavalry Primary School in March in Cambridgeshire. This was a much further trip than I could have imagined, but it was worth it! Really fabulous school, very welcoming teachers and some great kids. If anything, the day seemed even hotter than the day at Wandsworth - if the temperature kept increasing exponentially with the days, by Friday I would be likely to spontaneously combust. I headed back to my parent's house and unwisely accepted my Father's invitation to stay and watch the Germany v Italy World Cup Semi Final. I didn't leave their house until about 10.30pm and then had to drive to Somerset. I got home about 1.30am. YAWN!
Wednesday, July 5th. Uplands School, Poole, Dorset. Again, I had to get up early. This was going to be a hard day. But actually it was great. Uplands proved to be a lovely school, some wonderful teachers and great kids. And they had so much going on! Aside from my visit there were Art Animators doing a project with one group of kids and some dancers doing a Funk Music project with another group. What a cool school! I wore the new green/purple outfit from Duncan for the first time today - and I roasted! It is considerably heavier than the other new outfit and was not a wise choice on such a sultry day.
I had a couple of days off with James for company which was nice, but then it was back to the Henry routine on Tuesday when I visited Daubeney Middle School in Kempston just outside Bedford. I did this all in one day - I left home at 5am and arrived at the school at 8am. I buzzed the intercom to be let in.
"Who is it?" asked the lady in the office. I was now due to reveal who I was, always a nice thing as it usually gets such a laughter filled response. Usually.
"Henry the VIIIth - here for the Tudor day." There was a long quiet pause.
"What, today?" The colour must have drained from my face.
"Er....yes, today.... I think..." Her silence back to me seemed to last a lifetime but was probably only a few seconds.
"Oh yes! It is today, I was looking at the wrong page on my calendar..." Phew!
The day was great - a big group but a good group. Loads of laughs and everyone pitching in and enjoying themselves. The ladies nicked the jousting tournament and then it was time for me to head for home - 3 hours. I got in at 6.30pm. I was finished, almost literally.
I have been doing some paper work and getting plenty of bookings for September and beyond. Some nice photos have been sent to me from Leeds Castle's jousting weekend. I'll try and post some on here soon. Good to be back.
Next week - Sedgemoor Junior.