Good King Hal, second from right at the back clutching a Union Jack, shortly after arriving in Basildon after a nearly six hour drive from Somerset. He was horrified to discover Amundsen had got there first, but was delighted to see that some of the locals had already had the runners off his sleigh.
My last two Henry shows of the year were due at Nelson Primary School in East Ham, and the following day at Knightwood School in Chandlers Ford in Hampshire. This was all as long as the weather behaved itself. Well, unless you have been living in a cave, or a snow drift (more likely) then you will be aware of what the weather has been like.
I travelled up from Somerset on the Tuesday and all was going swimmingly until I reached the south east. As I got east of the M23 turn off on the M25 the snow began to appear, and it got steadily heavier and heavier as I approached the Dartford crossing. The final stretch was done at a mere walking pace as the authorities had closed off the M20 exit and there was a massive snarl up around that junction. I finally got to the tunnel and sailed through! Great, I thought, I will be at Amanda and James' place within about 15 minutes. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!
The exit to the A13 was gridlocked. People fighting to get onto the M25 was snaking back across the exit and locking solid the roundabout. Idiots chopped and changed lanes as though this would do them any good. One particular twit in a crap coloured Ford Ka changed lanes about eight times, and each time I let him in with a little cheery wave which he virtually ignored. When he asked to change lanes AGAIN, I am afraid this time I refused to let him and was rewarded with a cheerful hand gesture which I was more than happy to return. We ended up sitting motionless on the roundabout down onto the A13 for about 45 minutes as the snow piled up around us. My, this was fun. As things slowly started to move I noticed that two huge lorries either side of me were jockeying to push in front of me, even though there was no space. It is times like this that I am glad I have a very loud voice. I wound down both windows, sucked in a huge lungful of air, and allowed the previous four hours worth of frustration pour out as I yelled:
"IF EITHER OF YOU TWO CHAPS IN THE LORRIES ARE CONSIDERING PUSHING IN FRONT OF ME, I SHALL FIND OUT WHERE YOU FELLOWS LIVE AND WILL KILL YOU!" I hasten to add I did not use the words "chaps" and "fellows". The words I did use did begin with the letters C and F, but I shall leave that to your imagination. But it worked, both the lorries allowed me through and one even flashed his lights cheerily at me and shouted something about me being a "fellow chap". I reciprocated his affections once more. But I got to Amanda's place.
Well, to cut a long Captain Scott type diary short (though there is less self sacrifice, fetid penguin blubber and frostbite involved) both of my days at the schools were called off. There was just no way I could get to either of them with the roads the state they were in. I instead kept myself amused by frequently getting thrashed by my son at Mario Kart on the Wii console.
So no more Henry's now until next January, however I start down at Leeds Castle on the 10th December as dear old Father Christmas. All this and I have very nearly finished my Christmas shopping which is surely a record.