I had been due for several days in Norfolk back in February, but the weather decided that snow, more snow and even more snow was the order of the day and any chance of driving across country to visit the said schools was about as likely to happen as me winning the 100 metres at the next Olympics. So while I sat steaming and trapped in the far west of England and Wales, the schools had to miss out on their Henry VIIIth days. But we managed to rearrange the dates and here I was now on my way to complete my obligations.
First visit of the two days was at Falcon Junior School in Sprouston, Norwich. This is a lovely school with some very groovy children and lovely teachers. Their hall is a beautiful place to work and has a really nice timeline painted round the walls for the children to look at. We had a great day, lots of fun and some fantastic costumes some of the children were wearing. The teachers and classroom assistants were also well togged out, particularly one of the male teachers whose voluminous pantaloons gave him more than a passing resemblance to MC Hammer. The afternoon was a fun raucous event with a fine jousting tournament in which a good gents outfit just edged out the ladies. It is such a fun school to visit every year, I can't wait to go back and see them all again.
Now instead of my usual long trawl back to either Essex or, even worse, Somerset, all I had in front of me now was a 10 miles drive to Acle and my digs for the night. I was staying at the King's Head Inn and I have to say that my first impressions weren't good. The bar seemed to be hosting a Barfly's Convention with much drunken hubbub and a slurred words between rather flakey looking middle aged men and women. However, after checking in and going upstairs to my small but comfortable room, I came back down to find the bar cleared. I was served a very nice pint of Adnams Bitter (It would have to be at £3 a pint - oh for the days when we served Adnams Bitter in The Hoop in Stock at 90p a pint...) and then perused their very good looking menu. I ordered King Prawns in garlic butter to begin and then chicken breast wrapped in smoked bacon and served on a bed of wild mushroom sauce for the main course. The King Prawns were a huge disappointment. They arrived looking massive and impressive but had been over cooked to the point of virtual disintegration. The chicken was a massive saving grace and was delicious and well cooked. After dinner I moved into the second bar where a massive screen was showing the Manchester United v Inter Milan Champions League match. Naturally, being in Norfolk I was surrounded by Manchester United fans, but they were mostly aged about 12, drunk and not over blessed with brain cells, so it was nice fun to wind them up a little. I lost interest by half time as United were walking the match, and so I retired to bed. Breakfast in the morning was a huge and impressive affair and I left fortified and with arteries hardening by the second.
My second school of the two days was another return visit, and this was to Caister Junior in Caister by Sea. This is another wonderful school that is always a delight to visit. We had another great fun day with a really nice friendly group of children. The costumes for the group were fantastic, the children fun, the teachers charming and the whole day was brilliant. The final joust was terrific fun and close as close can be, but once again the gents team strolled to a good victory. Schools like Falcon and Caister should be cherished for the good work that they do and for the fine children they produce. As endorsed by Henry VIIIth!
I drove home for a weekend in Essex with my family which is going to be nice. I am back in Norfolk again on Monday for another return visit, this time to Drayton School in Norwich, then it will be back to Somerset.