And so, it came to pass, that His Majesty Henry VIII - Good King Hal, did travel down to Abbotsbury in the county of Dorsetshire and did take part in their annual Medieval Midsummer Merriment on Saturday June 13th. Despite some dodgy weather and a little amateurish organisational moments which reminded you it was a small village event, it was a total triumph. I entertained the crowds in the main tithe barn with a presentation about Henry and his six wives, we also had some local musicians who scraped away during the main meal. Then there was the Dorchester Historical Dance group - eight middle aged ladies in dramatic and unisex Tudor and Elizabethan clothes, plus one tanned younger man who seemed very at home in tights and was very light on his feet. They did a series of dances that were perfectly adequate, but their sound system sounded like it was from the Tudor era as well. Muffled, fuzzy, hissy and at times, deafening! Finally we had "live" music from a band called The Crack who were from Weymouth, and despite the name they were not an Irish folk band but a very good straightforward party band. The food was marvellous - roast long horn beef spit roasted for about 12 hours, plus venison sausages and a fresh crunchy salad. A marvellous time was seemed to be had by all and I finally got away from the mad partying people at about 11.30pm.
Sunday saw me leaving Portesham (I had stayed at my cousin's house the night before) and headed up towards Barrington Court for a walkabout the gardens during their "Jazz on the Lawn" weekend. Now I love most "live" music, but one thing I cannot stand is Trad Jazz (actually I loathe all types of jazz, but trad jazz and modern jazz the most). It was scorchingly hot and I was tired, but I managed many laps of the house until it got to about 3pm by which time I had definitely had enough. I went and saw the lovely Rachel on the cider stall who poured me a "Barrington Shandy" (some Barrington Court cider mixed with Barrington Court apple juice - delicious and not too lethal) and I was soon scoffing a nice sausage in a bap with some fried onions on it. That certainly girded my loins! I also bumped into a lovely couple of ladies who had been at the Abbotsbury show the night before and had come along to see me! One lady was from Mosterton and the other from Oxfordshire. Bless 'em.
Monday had me down for a return visit to Birchfield Junior in Yeovil, but today was a bit different. I did the usual opening talk and the three activities (which we did all together), but straight after that I did the jousting tournament (which the ladies won!). In the afternoon we did a small play called "Henry the VIII - This is Your Life!" in which I play Henry being surprised by Michael Aspel with the famous big red book. A whole load of family and friends came to join us and we had a really good time. I did some more of my Henry routine for the Mum's and Dad's and soon it was time for home.
Tomorrow I am driving to Dover in Kent for two days at the Cruise Terminal for Visit Kent again. See you then!