Just had a nice relaxing week off - if you can count driving all over the country as being relaxing! I started off by visiting my sister Susan in Wales again. She has been having a bit of a tough time personally recently, and I like to visit her as often as I can to make sure she is OK, as she is quite isolated down in Carmarthen where she is. But with her for the few days I was there was also my parents, and my other sister Cathy and her husband Julian. So it was a full, and happy house, particularly as it was Cathy's birthday as well. We all had a good time and even the weather was very kind to us. For use in some shows in the near future, I managed to pick up a genuine 1941 gas mask in Newcastle Emlyn which will be of great help, particularly if the children eat a lot of cauliflower during lunch breaks.
After three lovely days in the bosom of my family it was time to drive right across country to Essex, and visit my wife and son. Again we had a lovely time, none more so than last night when cuddled up on the sofa with my little son watching "Ice Age 2" on DVD. Lovely! Yesterday I also popped down to Leeds Castle for a meeting with the sainted Darlene Cavill - Special Events Organiser par excellence! She was, as ever, with her gorgeous and equally brilliant assistant Helen Budd, and here is a picture of them both from Christmas a couple of years back, looking frozen as frost glistens on the croquet lawn outside Leeds Castle's main entrance. We chatted about me coming back as Father Christmas this December, a visit I am making in February during their archaeological "Big Dig" week and for my return in May for a mega Jousting Tournament. They then took me to lunch in the Fairfax Hall, along with John the Estate Manager and top bloke and we had a really nice time.
So there you have it! Back to normal next week with appearances at Archbishop Cranmer School in Taunton, South Green Junior in Billericay and Godstowe Prep in High Wycombe. All that AND Matthew Applegate's 50th birthday party. But I didn't tell you about that, alright?