Good King Hal (right) appearing in black and white, something to do with either (a) shortages, or more likely (b) he was alive in the 16th Century and colour photos took a long time to come back from the chemists.
My brain is obviously turning to mush these days. Following on from getting myself double booked the other week, I received a message on Tuesday evening from my friend Minti down in Cornwall asking me what time I was going to be turning up to stay with her, her other half Gary, and their lovely kids. I had completely forgotten our telephone conversation from a few weeks previously when Minti had graciously offered me a room for the night so that I would be close to Truro Prep for the morning start. More abject apologies from me, but thankfully Minti just thought it was hilarious.
I left from Somerset relatively early on the Wednesday morning, but it was a very pleasurable drive. The weather was kind, the roads mostly empty and the scenery as I drove down into Cornwall became quite rugged and interesting. It was nice to see the A30 over Bodmin Moor empty, rather than how I remember it during summer holidays - a long thin, winding car park, with over heated engines, families and tempers. I stopped in the early morning sunlight near Jamaica Inn and bought myself some breakfast, which was most welcome. You approach Truro Prep school via a tiny back lane near Truro golf club, and then in through a small winding back driveway. The previous two visits to this lovely school had been at the height of summer, and lunch had consisted of a slap up hog roast served out on the cricket pitch. It was warm and sunny today, but certainly not warm enough for the delights of an outdoor hog roast. As ever I was warmly welcomed by the lovely staff of this delightful school, and everyone, and I mean EVERYONE had dressed up in Tudor costumes. The morning was to be a different from my normal Henry days - I would give my opening "Six Wives" talk four times over to each different year group that was studying it. So I kicked off just after 9am, shortly after being serenaded by the school orchestra through a strangulated version of "Greensleeves", and then a rumbustious singing of "The Tudors Had Arrived" song by some miserable person with the initials T.D. who should not be approached by small children or Henry VIII impersonators.
My opening talk was to the year 5 group who were quiet to begin with, but really picked up as the talk progressed. Next I was with the year 3 group, who simply sat in stunned silence throughout the talk with a vague look of terror on their faces. We had a break for about 2o minutes, where a cup of tea was most welcome. Then it was back for year 6 who really got it and thoroughly enjoyed the show. I finished the morning with year 4, who were a smaller group and a little quieter than the year 6's. Lunch was in the main dining hall and was a sumptuous Tudor affair consisting of roasted pheasant, beef or chicken, slow roasted vegetables and roast potatoes (OK admittedly the pheasant and the potatoes would not have been on Henry's menu) which was absolutely stunning. The pheasant in particular was delicious - moist tasty and a delight. There was some pottage and bread as a starter, but just in case it tasted like real Tudor pottage I gave that a wide berth. The pudding was a sort of cheesecakey/milk puddingy filling, with lots of cinnamon and raisins, in a pastry case. It was interesting, much in the same way I am sure industrial floor polish is interesting.
After lunch I had to judge the children's costumes in a parade of the whole school - not an easy job. Then after that we had a long superb jousting tournament in the big sports hall. It was a fabulous tournament over many races but was eventually won by a very capable ladies team, that now brings our score to:
GENTLEMEN 18 - 22 LADIES
I was supposed to go an meet an old friend, Annalise who I used to work with at Rochester Cathedral in Kent, as she now lives and works down near Truro. Sadly, I didn't get away from the school till after 4pm and I was due out for dinner with friends near Langport that evening by 7pm, so I knew I would be cutting it fine. Therefore I had to blow poor old Annalise out, and promise to visit her another time soon.
I got back to Somerset and almost immediately had to go out and meet my friends at the Halfway House Inn at Pitney near Langport. We had a fabulous meal and lots of laughs. So all in all, a really nice day! My next Henry show is on Monday at Downend in Bristol, the birthplace of WG Grace. How thrilled you must all be to know that!