Good King Hal, roasting his chestnuts by the fire in Rochester Cathedral Library (next to the Jackie Collins section).
After the bewildering week of tearing up and down the country and heading to Paris to meet Mickey Mouse you'd think I would choose a nice relaxing week wouldn't you? Wrong! The Friday saw me driving back down to see my sister Cathy and her husband Julian in Kent. On the Saturday I was due at Rochester Cathedral again, this time to do a very passable impersonation of Jools Holland. This is not as insane as it may sound. Rochester were launching their new audio tour guide section, and this had been narrated by Jools as he is a "Friend" of Rochester Cathedral (i.e. a patron and supporter). He had also been asked to come along and open the new tourist aid. He couldn't make it and so I had been asked to come along and open the audio tour in his place. It was a pleasure. I parked right outside the North Door as I had before and was soon in the impressive old Cathedral Library changing into my Henry gear. It was a bit off-putting, baring your legs and other bits in front of stern looking oil paintings of Cathedral Deans from the past, but then I am sure they saw far worse things in Victorian times. But then again...
Soon I was out in the Cathedral chatting to people and meeting the current Dean, a lovely chap called Adrian who apparently as a young priest used to work in Forest Gate in the East End of London, not too far from my old stamping grounds of Stratford and Plaistow. A ribbon was place round the desk where tourists could pick up their audio guide, I was handed some scissors by the lovely Annie from the Dean and Chapter Office, I made a nice little speech to the congregated people and then happily sliced through the ribbon. About two seconds later the photographer from the Kent Messenger appeared and moaned that he was a little late and could I cut the ribbon again. So we had to tie up the bit I had cut, I had to hold it in my left hand to stop it being seen in the picture and then cut the ribbon again. I was then also asked to pop a bottle of champagne. We were standing right under a big impressive chandelier and I had visions of the cork pin-balling it's way through the crystal and us being showered with broken glass. Therefore I lowered the trajectory of the bottle and fired it off. The cork rocketed across the vast expanse of the Cathedral and was caught spectacularly by a well placed curate. Well held, your reverence. I wandered round the cathedral for another few hours, chatting with people, but then at about 2.30pm I was on my way.
I drove up to Essex to stay with Amanda and James again. We had a nice Sunday at leisure. Monday was a very early start and off up to Taverham School in Norfolk. I was at Taverham last year and it was just as good this time around. A really lovely school, great teachers and fabulous children. We had a really fun exhausting day and lots of good Tudor knowledge was had, and plenty of laughs. The ladies inevitably won the jousting again, so the score now stands at:
GENTLEMEN 0 - 3 LADIES
I had the Tuesday and Wednesday at leisure which was nice as I could pick up James from school both days. It was slightly less fun on the Wednesday as I had to wait for him and his school mates to get back from an outing to the Science Museum in London. This wouldn't normally be too bad but his coach was about half an hour late, and so I had to sit in the playground with the other parents who, as they didn't really know who I was, treated me like a leper in their midst. I was blanked to an Olympic standard. Soon James was back and very excited. I asked him if he had seen anything exciting on his day out. He thought for a bit and then told me that his mate Victor had fallen asleep on the coach. Not quite what I was expecting.
Thursday was another early day and a return visit to Godstowe Prep School in High Wycombe. We had another really lovely day at this wonderful school. True there was the usual early morning running of the gauntlet of avoiding being killed by fleets of brand new 4x4 vehicles the size of the USS Nimitz, each disgorging one small child in uniform right by the front door, but that is just a minor quibble. The main hall we were in had lights that were on a time switch which is movement activated. So if we were still for too long the room would be plunged into gloom. I soon had all the children jumping up and down waving their arms about each time this happened, which was quite often! I would give you a result on the jousting, but as it is an all girls school you can guess that the ladies won again, but I can't really add it to the year long score.
I headed for home and was finally back in Somerset by about 5.30pm. Next up in the Henry's never ending progress is the long awaited Chut Fest at Barrington Court this weekend. Come and join us on both the Saturday and the Sunday. Arrive early to avoid the jam. (Ba-doom-tish). (Good King Hal is available for cabaret, masonics, bah mitzvah and target practice).