Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy Hever After!

(left) Good King Hal and Anne Boleyn, having a searingly tender moment at Hever Castle whilst standing next to Wee Jimmie Kranky. In a tabard.

This has been a very hectic couple of weeks. We begin last Saturday when I did a "Walky Talky" visit to Barrington Court. It was a lovely day - bright and sunny, and not too hot. I spent an hour or so wandering round the delightful gardens of this lovely house, and then did another performance of my one man show "Henry's Horrid History" just as I had done at the Somerton Festival the previous evening. It was another great show - lots of laughs from a packed audience and a long ringing round of applause at the end. Lovely! From Barrington I headed straight up the M5, then over the Severn Bridge and into wild Welsh Wales and to my parent's house in Newcastle Emlyn. It was a big family get-together of both my sisters and their "other half's" (namely Ian and Julian) for my eldest sister, Susan's birthday on July 13th.

It was so nice being together as a family again and we spent the week having laughs, and probably eating and drinking a bit too much. We had a fabulous meal on the Tuesday at the Daffodil Inn at Penriwllan where my old friend Carole Davey (now Carole Evans!) from Skandia now works - though not for much longer as she is leaving as of this weekend (Stay in touch, Carole!). Before too long it was the last night, and we had a final blow out meal cooked by my sister, Cathy - fish pie for the majority of people there, but for me (who doesn't really like fish) a quite stunning home made burrito. Delicious!

On the Thursday I drove back to Essex to spend a couple of days with my precious lovely son, James. It was lovely to see him and he is growing so fast. On the Friday I was back to being Henry again at a new school for me. Arthur Bugler Junior School has a wonderful name and is based in Stanford-le-Hope near Basildon. It is a delightful school with some brilliant kids there, great fun and lots of laughs. The teachers were a delight as well and made me most welcome. The morning session was a cracker - it just seemed to whizz past at a staggering rate of knots. After lunch it was back in the hall and the noise just got louder and louder, until we reached an absolute crescendo with a brilliant jousting tournament. This culminated in a win for the Gentlemen in a very closely fought finale. This makes, what I think will be the final score for this year as:


Well done, Ladies. A very commendable win for the second year running.

Saturday morning I was down to Hever Castle near Edenbridge in Kent for a jousting tournament with Jeremy Richardson's Knights of Royal England team that I had worked with before at Leeds Castle. I had had one bit of trouble at the beginning as the original lady who was to work with me at Hever as Anne Boleyn sadly couldn't make it, so I ended up phoning round loads of friends trying to see if anyone was free at very short notice to don a Tudor dress and be my wife for the weekend! Unsurprisingly there were very few takers! However, I phoned my dear old friend Michelle Coda to see if she knew anyone, but she didn't, but eventually after some cajoling from me she agreed to come down to Hever and be Anne for me! And she looked brilliant as you can see from the picture above. It was good to see the Jousters again and everyone at Hever made us very welcome. On the first day there was no Roland as master of ceremonies, but Jeremy had brought along a new man for his first appearance. He did very well for a first show, but struggled to remember all the characters names, bless him. The weather was a bit rotten when we first arrived, but cheered up a little in the afternoon. We only had a small crowd for the show with people obviously put off by the bad weather. However, if we thought that the weather was a bit pants on the Saturday it was nothing compared to Sunday. It was like a monsoon and Michelle and I got absolutely soaked during the afternoon show. Michelle's seriously cute daughter Vicky came along on both days and played our "lady in waiting" dressed in a tabard! It was a great couple of days and I am delighted to say Michelle and I will be back at Hever Castle again next weekend for two days more of jousting. I have promised Michelle the weather will be better, and she has my full permission to beat me senseless with a stale French baguette if it isn't. I'd better keep an eye on the long range weather forecast, and ensure all French baguettes near Hever Castle are fresh.

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