After the trials and tribulations of the Bedford day and the joy of my on line banking experience, it was nice to be back to being Henry VIII again. On the Wednesday it was back to one of my longest running schools, St Michael's Junior in Wimborne in Dorset. The lady I usually see at Wimborne is called Jane Eyre, but she is off doing a year overseas with the VSO in Gambia. That or she's doing 12 months in Parkhurst.
Despite her absence there were plenty of familiar and friendly faces on my arrival. As usual on going back to schools I visit frequently there is the cry of "Is it a year already?" from all and sundry, which I think they mean in a nice way! It was a larger group than in previous visits - 140 children this time, and they were a good fun, sparky group. They laughed a lot and joined in well, and pretty much all of them were dolled up in fabulous Tudor costumes. Some of the homemade ones were of a very high standard. I spent a very pleasant lunch break with two of the younger members of the female staff (always a good thing), teaching them how to tell jokes. Neither of them had much of a clue, but then I suppose when you're that pretty and young, who needs humour? That's why I am sitting here alone, in an apartment in South Somerset dressed as a clown with a revolving bow tie on.
The afternoon session was as loud and raucous as it can be and culminated in a stunning jousting tournament won by a very good ladies team. This made the score after the Wimborne show:
GENTLEMEN 17 - 20 LADIES
The drive home was quite pleasant, not too much traffic and along that road from Wimborne to Dorchester with lovely views and scenery all around. I got home, made some dinner, turned on the TV to see Spurs about to take on AC Milan, and promptly fell asleep. Then Spurs always have that effect on me. (DAMN YOU, RICKY VILLA!!!)
And isn't it funny. You wait all year to do a show at a school called St Michael's, then two turn up at once! I had last visited St Michael's in Twerton near Bath back in May 2010, and as I usually see them at about that time of year it seemed odd turning up at this school on a cold breezy morning. Where was all the warm early summer sun?? Again it was good to see some old familiar faces, plus some new ones. This was a group of about 90 children, very excitable and sometimes a bit of a handful, but I kept them happy for most of the day. On the Tudor quiz which I do in the morning, one little lad managed to score 1 out of 20, which is far and away the lowest score anyone has ever got, but I didn't tell him that. Bless him! Lunch was a cannon ball sized baked potato swamped with baked beans and cheese, with a nice crisp salad on the side. Smashing.
The afternoon was riotous, but fun! Some of the kids laughed so much at the stocks routine I honest thought some of them might have little accidents, but the floor remained resolutely dry. The jousting was again of a very high standard and the final finished in a thrilling dead heat between the gents and the ladies. It went to a one quoit race off to find the winner which the ladies just about squeaked home in. The gents score is starting to drift again! The score is now:
GENTLEMEN 17 - 21 LADIES
Good stuff. The drive home was marred only by having to endure Victoria Coren on the Steve Wright Show on Radio 2. Why does he never have Giles London on his show? He'd be great! If you've never had the chance to enjoy him, please check out the occasional blog of the capital's smoothest, smartest, most nepotism-riddled restaurant reviewer - Giles London at http://gileslondon.blogspot.com/ as you will find he is nothing like Giles Coren in The Times at all. Honest.
My next Henry appearance is at Mereside Junior in Shrewsbury on Monday. This was the show postponed a couple of weeks back when my chest was really bad. It may be tempting fate, but I feel better now! COUGH SPLUTTER! DOH!