Good King Hal, lurking beneath mistletoe and puckered up waiting to get "busy". Current waiting time is standing at: 3 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, 6 days, 12 hours and 42 minutes, and rising. Please check your local press for opening times.
The day dawned and it was looking good. For this, the first of the "Henry's Horrid History" days at Barrington Court, we had faith in the advertising the shows had garnered from being included in the official National Trust "What's on" guide from the beginning of the year. Previous times though we had occasionally been let down by slightly underwhelming turn outs from the public, but today we had nothing to fear! The public were out in force and we even had to turn some people away as the venue was full. The very first couple I met up with on my perambulations round the grounds were from Chelmsford in Essex - my place of birth! They were very friendly and set the tone that was to continue throughout the day. Through my Facebook account I had invited a lot of friends to come along, but wasn't expecting much if anything. However, I was delighted to bump into my old friend Kathryn Lee who I used to work with at Skandia Life in Southampton. I hadn't seen Kathryn since I had left that job back in 2003, but it was great to see her again. She had come along with her Mother and also her 4 year old daughter Megan. They wandered the gardens and then came into my show and, I hope, seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. I chatted with them in the gardens afterwards as well. All too soon the day was over and I was heading for home, but not for long.
A friend of mine, Anna, had invited me to attend a charity fund raising evening she was hosting at Taunton School for Brain Cancer UK. It was a black tie and ball gown event, with a fine dinner, an auction, then the rest of the evening spent grooving to a live band plus the added fun of a casino with gaming tables. All proceeds to go to Brain Cancer UK. Anna was organising this as a tribute to her late husband John, who had passed away almost exactly a year ago after suffering from a brain tumour. I offered to come along as Henry VIII and run the auction and Anna jumped at the chance. I got to the school, a fine looming Victorian building, and soon was dressed up as Henry and wandering among the guests. I was on a large friendly table for the meal with some very pleasant people, particularly one gorgeous brunette lady called Donna, originally from Crewkerne but now living in Brighton. As Anna kept "subtly" pointing out, Donna was single - which was of no help to me as I really do look like a strategically shaved monkey with a glandular problem and this lovely lady was way, way, WAY out of my league. But she did look stunning in her red ball gown...
The auction went very well, Anna insisted that Donna help me as my glamorous assistant, a job she was most suitably qualified for! We had all sorts of lots - a luxury pampering day at a spa, various signed books by celebrities, a balloon flight, luxury dinner for two at a local hotel, and so much more. Well, Donna and I worked our butts off, and managed to sell the lot in about 20 minutes and raised £1,480 in the process! A job well done! By now it was after 10pm, the band had kicked off down in the ball room and everyone was heading for the gaming tables. I was exhausted and very hot in the Henry costume, so it seemed time to go home. So after lots of nice plaudits from various guests at the event, I got changed and quietly slipped away into the night. Job done!
Today I am back at Barrington Court for the second of the "Henry's Horrid History" days. So here's to nice weather and another good turn out. See you there?