Between 1998 and 2003 I worked for a company called Skandia Life in Southampton. At first I was a computer operator on an AS400 machine, and later I was shoved into working on the telephone system for the company. For the majority of the time I thoroughly enjoyed the job and the friends I made there. I was known to all and sundry in the company as "Charlie" Farley. It was only the final six months at the company that were totally intolerable for me and that was mainly due to one half witted manager there who had it in for me. (Don't worry folks, clever clever Farley gave him both barrells in my exit interview, and to be honest it was a wonderfully cathartic episode!). But the reason why I mention Skandia Life now is that for the whole nearly five years I worked for them, I commuted in from Somerset - every day. A round trip in my car of around 150 miles a day, and I never thought anything of it! Mind you, neither did the managers at Skandia. So today I was driving from Somerset to Cosham near Portsmouth, a more or less copy of my old days driving to Southampton and back every day. How on Earth did I manage it every day? The drive alone was enough to half kill me, but then I did a days work on top of it...
Today was my first ever visit to Highbury Junior School in Cosham. The lovely lady who booked me - Katie Jennings - had heard about me on the TES (Times Educational Supplement) Forum on line. Some people had been saying some very nice things about my Henry VIIIth days, and she booked me on that strength. Well, it was a fabulous school full of some of the sparkiest, funniest pupils you could ever wish to meet. It was a mixture of years 5 and 6, plus a small smattering of year 4's, in total nearly 100 pupils. The day was just a joy from start to finish, lots of laughs, lots of good knowledge and loads of interest in the whole Tudor thing. What a wonderful school! We even had one great bit of knowledge - I was asking the children if they knew the name of Henry's older brother who died young (his name was Arthur in case you were guessing), and one little lad put his hand up and told me it was "Larry". Larry Tudor? Has a sort of ring to it, don't you think?
After a lovely lunch of roast beef it was all in the hall for the afternoon session. Plenty of laughs with a young lad I was pretending to punish for begging, and then the jousting... wow, what a jousting session. It was a close run thing, but in the end the gents ran out winners. So that makes the running score in the head to head jousting tournament:
GENTLEMEN 3 - 1 LADIES
So, come on ladies! Pull your socks up! I am up in Weston-super-Mare on Thursday for another day, so the ladies will have a chance to pull one back.