I had last visited Holly Trees Primary School in leafy Brentwood in Essex way back in November 2004. Not only had I been invited back for a return visit all this time later, but they had also asked me to do TWO days, so who was I to argue?
I drove up to Essex on the Wednesday evening (with many thanks to my friends Alison and Ian in Kingstone for making it possible) and arrived at my parents' house in Mountnessing. The following morning I set off for Brentwood with my Sat Nav trying desperately to guide me to St Thomas' Road, not where I really wanted to go. In the end I found Vaughan Williams Way and then the school. I was warmly welcomed as I had been back in 2004 only this time I didn't turn up with my mother in tow!
The first day was with a predominantly Year 3 group but also a few Year 4's. It went wonderfully with the morning zipping along nicely. All the children had dressed up in fabulous costumes, as did the teachers as you can see from this lovely picture sent to me by Jo, the lady in the picture and one of the teaching assistants for the day. The afternoon was another rousing affair and ended with a loud jousting session which featured a very good boys team who stormed to victory. With nothing to pack back in the car as I was returning the next day I was soon home.
The next day I was back at Holly Trees while my parents went off to France for a little holiday. The second day was with a predominantly Year 4 group but also with a smattering of Year 5's. Again another good day was had by all. I really like Holly Trees Primary, you are made so welcome by everyone - it really must be one of the friendliest schools in the South East. The afternoon went very well and the jousting was once again won by a quite brilliant boys team.
I had to make a choice as to whether I was heading for home on the Friday evening, or leaving early on Saturday. As it was I went to the Hoop Pub in Stock again and had a lovely reunion with lots of members of the old Hoop Cricket Club - Mick Stephenson, Gareth Clipstone, Andy Banks, Adam Hudson and his lovely wife Lisa, Mike Slowey, Brian Boddy - loads of old familiar faces. We had a fine evening with lots of good laughs and happy memories. I capped a splendid night by stopping in Ingatestone for a chicken curry and egg rice from the local Chinese take away. Cue much burping!
I got up at 4.30am this morning and headed back to Somerset. I was here by 8.30am, so I have had a nice full day with Amanda and James. Next shows are on Wednesday and Thursday next week at Godstowe Prep School in High Wycombe and Hazeldene Lower School in Bedford. I am then running a pub quiz for the South Somerset National Trust at Barrington Court on the Friday evening. Lovely!