Thursday, October 26, 2006

Somerset Rural Life Museum

I was quite excited about today - a visit to Glastonbury and the Somerset Rural Life Museum. I was due to give three talks here today. I arrived at just before 10am and was due on for my first Henry at 11.30am. The people I meet at all these schools, castles and museums that I visit never fail to amaze me with their warmth, charm and good nature. They couldn't do enough for me this morning and I was introduced to all these fine people, so many of them volunteers. I was due to be giving my talks in the great Abbey Barn in their grounds and it was a wonderful venue. With it's high vaulted ceiling and rough dirt floor, plus the secluded lighting giving an impression of candlelight, all just added to the atmosphere.
My first group came in, probably somewhere in the region of 30+ people. It was nice to chat to them and get some laughs as well. I wheedled in some info about the Dissolution of the Monasteries as requested by Mary at the County Museum. It went really well and I got some lovely comments at the end of it, from young and old alike. All commented on how much like Henry VIII I was, more than any other Henry VIIIth look-a-like they had seen, which was extremely gratifying.
After a lovely meal of a kind of Ploughman's lunch with farmhouse cheddar and home-made apple pickle (which was fabulous), I was back in the Barn for the two afternoon talks. The first of these was particularly memorable for me as the jousting was contested by a lovely little lad called Cameron who made up for any lack of jousting skill with sheer enthusiasm and speed. Quoits, horses and targets flew in various directions and hardly anyone really noticed when the other team won - all eyes were firmly on Cameron's team!
The final session was packed out and with some lovely people. One family had their fourteen year old daughter with them who is into role play and history, and was she delighted to discover you could make a living out of historical re-enactment. She reckoned this was the career that beckoned her after school. Good for her! Another couple stopped me as I was packing stuff away and again commented that it was scary how much like Henry VIII I was. I know I am the same height as Henry and my build always helps. You do see some people impersonating Henry and there is a passing resemblance (and some times absolutely none at all!), but I am proud to say that I feel confident that there are few others as accurate as me at present. This may sound big headed and blowing my own trumpet a bit, but I am proud of what I do and I enjoy it, and getting these comments back are always very gratifying. So thank you!
When I got home, there was already a phone call from a teacher who's sister had been at the show today and had rung her saying how good I was, and that she must get me into her school ASAP. Well, who am I to argue?

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