A visit to a new school seems quite rare these days, but that is what was in store for me at West Leigh School in Leigh on Sea, Essex. I drove to Essex on Thursday, 13th September and was lucky enough to be taken out to dinner in the evening by my lovely Mother! We went for a really nice Chinese meal in Ingatestone.
Friday dawned clear and bright and I headed down to Leigh on Sea. I think the last time I visited here was in about 1984! I found the school fairly easily, but was alarmed to find one of the smallest car parks in the history of humanity! However, I parked, got my gear in and got ready for the day ahead. The teachers were very kind and welcoming, and the children were brilliant. It was a big group, about 150 children and all year 3. Now year 3 groups normally fall into two distinct categories - the first are an overwhelmed, quiet, very young looking group, who sit in stunned silence throughout my shows and generally look terrified. The second are cocky, self assured, rude little monkeys who come across as a sort of mad hybrid of A.J.P. Taylor and Eric Morecambe. However, the children of West Leigh were unlike either group! They were fun, lively, full of laughter and generally very well behaved. We had a fine day, some good laughs and a really good jousting session which the ladies won by a whisker.
Friday evening I went for a drink over at my old local, The Hoop Pub in Stock near Billericay. I met up with old friends including Mick Stephenson, Brian Boddy and his wife Lorraine, Dan the Man and his cute dog Thistle and even "Little" Jim Hawes. It was a nice wallow in nostalgia. Amanda and James had driven up Friday evening and arrived at my parents a little after I got back from The Hoop.
Saturday it was down to Basildon for a surprise 40th Birthday Party for my wife's lovely sister, Maria. A good time was had by all, but sadly I had to leave early to drive back to Somerset. And here I am!