The previous two days have seen Good King Hal move into a whole new area of the country for the first time. I was due to do my first ever school in Lincolnshire - in fact, unless anyone can inform me to the contrary, this was to be my first visit to Lincolnshire EVER. I had been contacted by Ellison Boulters Junior School in Scothern just outside Lincoln and they had asked me to come along for a Tudor day having seen reports of me on the internet.
The weekend just gone had been fun as my old friend John Rich from Crawley came to stay for the evening, and we had a splendid time indeed. On the Sunday I was due to drive to Lincoln to appear on BBC Radio Lincolnshire being interviewed by my old mate Howard Leader, formerly of "That's Life" and "Allo Allo". I set off from home in Somerset at about 11am, and my sat nav was telling me I should be in Lincoln by 3pm - plenty of time. HA! As soon as I got on the M5 I was in trouble. The traffic was appalling. There had been a crash near Bridgwater and I just sat in non-moving traffic for nearly two hours. I phoned the radio station and warned them that I might be late. They were cool and just said "as long as you are here before 5pm..." I finally managed to get through the stationary traffic, but by now my sat nav reckoned my ETA in Lincoln was up to nearly 5pm. I pushed on and was making great headway - until somewhere in Worcestershire - another crash has occurred and there is more huge queues of stationary traffic. I finally manage to get past that and pushed on, only to hit ANOTHER traffic jam on the M42. When I finally got to the M6, I was so tired and fed up, I phoned BBC Lincolnshire and offered them my apologies and a resignation! They were very good about it and I have promed to get to them another time.
I pushed on to South Witham near Grantham where my old friend Val Smart lives. I had dinner with her, her daughter Bonnie, Bonnie's husband Alex and their cute little 8 month old daughter called Robyn. The dinner was delicious and it was so nice to see old friends and faces. After dinner I went over to my B&B which was the Old Rectory opposite Val's house. It was very comfortable, but bore a slightly uncanny resemblance to the Addams Family House. But I slept well and was presented with a big and hearty breakfast that was very welcoming! All this for just £25 B&B. Bargain!
I headed back out onto the roads in appalling weather, slithering and sliding through vast puddles of water on my way to Lincoln and Scothern. I finally got to the school and it was worth the wait. Fabulous children, charming teachers and a really good set of buildings. It was a bit different from normal days as they wanted me to do my opening hour long talk, three times over to three big groups of children. This was then followed by a grand jousting tournament in the main hall which was done infront of the entire school and the noise was deafening! When the gents won the main final against the ladies I thought the roof was going to blow off! But that deafening noise was nothing compared to what we got when we had a teacher's race at the end. My ears were ringing for ages afterwards.
I packed and left, and immediately had more awful weather and traffic to traverse. I won't bore you with the full details, but it was truly appalling, I had one section where I covered three miles in about two hours, and the rain never stopped. The rain finally ceased when I got down to Bristol on the M5. I had left the school in Lincoln at 3.15pm and I arrived on my drive at 9.45pm. All that for about 225 miles of driving. Boy, was I glad to be home.