No need to go overseas today! After the Isle of Wight jaunt the other day I was up for another early start - today was a trip to Noremarsh Junior School in Wootton Basset in Wiltshire, followed by a breathless dash through bank holiday clogged motorways to the beautiful Hever Castle in Kent.
The early drive to Wootton Basset was relatively easy and the school was a delight - bright and cheerful, full of very nice teachers and with some hilarious and very excitable children. It was a group of about 90+ children, a mixture of years 3 and 4, and all of them hyper about the prospect of a day with Henry VIIIth! They showed some great Tudor knowledge in the morning and there were laughs aplenty. They were so loud and excited in the morning I knew that the afternoon was going to be good, and I was right. The stocks part of the show was riotous, and ended up with Mr Simpson, the head teacher, stuck in the pillory and being booed by the children. The jousting - wow. The noise! After several closely fought bouts it was the gentlemen who ran off with the title of champions for the year. And so I was soon on my way.
This was to be my first appearance at Hever Castle as Henry and I very nearly didn't make it. On a good day it should take about two and a bit hours from Wootton Basset to Hever in Kent - but this was not a good day - it was a Friday afternoon, of a bank holiday weekend and the sun was shining. Everything was fine and dandy while I was on the M4 heading east. I made very good time, but then I got to the M25. Oh dear. If you ever needed a more compelling argument for NOT living in the South East of England, then this road takes some beating. Dragging along, not getting much above 20 mph, everyone fractious and fighting for any limited piece of road space. It was awful. My estimated time of arrival at Hever kept getting later and later on my Sat Nav. But then, lo and behold, the traffic cleared a little and I was suddenly on a back road in Kent and getting very close. This booking was directly from the show I did at the Excel Arena in London about a month ago - a German company was entertaining all their tour operators who worked in the UK and were visiting various tourist sites in South East England, hence their presence at Hever. I was greeted at Hever by some lovely people - the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming. I was soon changed and meeting and greeting the German group as they finished a tour of this beautiful Castle. I was photographed by many of the guests and chatted with a lot of them, all of their English being impeccable. Soon I was leading them down to the banquet suite and then I was finished. I set off for Essex to stay with Amanda and James in Basildon, and enjoyed another tortuous journey there, but most of that was because my Sat Nav kept taking me down the most ridiculous small tiny back roads and what seemed like circles before I finally found a main road and then the dear old M25 again.
I was possibly working up at the British Library on Bank Holiday Monday, but I am suffering with Cellulitus in my left leg at the moment and it really needs a rest at the moment, so a rest is what it is going to get! Have a nice weekend everyone.