My son James, looking almost insufferably cute in chain mail in the "Hands on History" tent at the Leeds Castle jousting tournament.
In 2006 I appeared at Leeds Castle for their jousting tournament - it was the hottest weather I had ever experienced whilst portraying Henry and I wasn't really involved with the jousting team. I just wandered around on the periphery of things and chatted to the punters. This year however, the sainted Darlene Cavill and her erstwhile assistant, the charming Helen Budd had booked me back for the joust but this time with complete involvement in the show. It has been great so far. I do the usual before and after the show stuff of wandering round and chatting to the punters and being photographed, but during the show I get to sit in the "Royal Box" and holler and shout along with the rest of the crowd at the mayhem going on in the arena. I also have a speech I have to deliver to the Knights before they begin, and I am still reading it off a piece of paper at the moment, but I might have learnt it by the end of the week. There are other items of interest for the public - the chance to loose some arrows at fake animal targets, firing a trebuchet, hearing talks and trying on armour with the "Hands on History" people (see my son James in full battle gear above), plus there are stalls selling everything from hot chocolate and eccles cakes, through to mini Knight's outfits and cloaks.
We began on Tuesday with a fairly good turnout and some excellent jousting. Wednesday the weather was awful but luckily many hearty souls braved the elements (My parents, my son James and my sister Cathy included!) but the turnout was a lot lower than had been hoped for, but it was just so cold and wet. Today, the sun has shone, the clouds have gone and Leeds Castle had nearly 7,000 visitors in! And it's only going to get better as the week goes on! Watch this space for more soon!