Good King Hal about to have a light supper (14 roast oxes, 26 roast sheep, 342 chickens, Eric the late lamented Royal Turbot and a small Diet Coke - got to watch the pounds) with a few close chums.
I had last visited Noremarsh School in Wootton Bassett a couple of years ago. The town, famously in the news in recent years, is close to Swindon, which is one of those sorts of towns in Wiltshire that is incredibly difficult to get to from Somerset. There is no real obvious direct route. One way suggested by my sat nav was to drive up the M5 and then miles and miles along the M4 which just smacked of idiocy to me. In the end I did a sort of hotch-potch of A303, A350, A361 etc etc. This also included a big hold up around the suburban delights of Chippenham. The journey seemed a lot longer as there was no Chris Evans on Radio 2 this morning and instead I had to endure Richard Madeley and his appalling taste in music.
I got to Noremarsh school and it is, just like last time, and absolute delight. I am greeted by Mrs Parker who booked me the previous time - a lovely lady originally from Weston-super-Mare. No wonder she moved. It was a truly fun day all round, with delightful teachers, great kids, and lots of good humour and joking all day. I was using the head teacher's office as my dressing room, bless him, which meant me evicting him at various points during the day so I could rip all my clothes off (and no one wants to see that, trust me). But he was very good natured about it and even rigged up a blind on the window in his door so I wouldn't upset any passing impressionable types.
Lunch was a real rarity - a school dinner that was (1) delicious, (2) in no need of any seasoning to give it flavour, and (3) filling! It was a pasta bake with a bolognese type sauce and with cheese crumbled over the top. I could get used to this very easily.
The afternoon was the best fun I have had in a long time. Really funny, laugh out loud kids, me pretending to flirt with one of the teachers (which brought some of the kids to the point of hysterics they laughed so much), a great stocks session and finished off with the usual pounding finale of the jousting tournament. This was of a really high quality with the final result in the balance almost all the way, but was won, inevitably so it seems, by the ladies team. They now score as follows:
GENTLEMEN 20 - 25 LADIES
Great stuff. I packed up and was soon on my way home. All this and Manchester City sticking 5 goals past Sunderland at the weekend. How marvellous.
There was one really funny spot to the day - two little girls who said that I shouted too much, and burst into tears nearly every time I said or did anything. When I asked the teachers if they were alright, their reply was refreshing in it's honesty. "Oh, those two, don't worry about them, they cry at everything. They're just pathetic!" So there you go!
I am off to Somerton Infants tomorrow up near Glastonbury for a banquet with the little ones up there, then on Thursday I begin a long journey that will finish in, of all places, Stranraer. Watch this blog for more info soon!