Last year, at about this time, I attempted to visit Nelson Primary School in East Ham. I encountered appalling traffic and eventually my car decided to die on me and I never got there. It was a mortifying experience. After letting them down so badly you could imagine Nelson Primary never contacting me ever again, but give them their due they are nothing if not persistent. They booked me again. Determined not to get way laid by appalling traffic and even more appalling cars I vowed to leave as early as possible to give me the best chance of getting there in one piece.
I was driving to East Ham from Basildon (well, someone has to) and even though my sat nav said "only 25 minutes" I gave myself nearly two hours to get there. I am mighty glad I did. The A13 was DREADFUL. Two car crashes along the way, closed lanes and snaking traffic all led up to the actual journey taking me an hour and a quarter rather than the 25 minutes expected. As I was so early I popped into a local cafe near Nelson Primary for a bacon and sausage roll and a cup of tea. Very nice it was too.
Nelson Primary? What a school! Fantastic old Victorian building, massive and intimidating looking but packed to the rafters with wonderful sparky children in some fabulous home made Tudor outfits. The teachers were as ever hugely welcoming and fun to be with, especially the hugely wonderful, but petitely packaged Jo Dalton who was as charming, fun and professional as ever. The day seemed to shoot past in a flash, with lots of laughs and fun and ended early with another rip roaring joust which the ladies justifiably won with a quite brilliant display of controlled skill and speed. We then went for a Tudor banquet after that, complete with tankards of apple juice, apple pies, baked apples and probably even more apples. Wonderful stuff!
This weekend, I am at Barrington Court again for the Mistletoe Festival and then next week I am back off down to Dunster on Monday to see Nicola and co, and then off to the Maynard in Exeter to see Keagh and co. After that Leeds Castle and the spectre of Father Christmas rears his head again...