Good King Hal suffering a severe attack of the gall bladders during a particularly violent jousting tournament earlier this year.
I had a few days back in Somerset trying to dry out after the downpour at Hever the previous weekend. Someone had said we were going to get an Indian summer, I had no idea it would be a bloody monsoon. I had also noticed that I was in pain. Shortly after my show at the Somerton Festival earlier in July, I was aware of a certain uncomfortable pain in my side - sort of in the liver area. I was hoping, as most men do, that it would just go away and there would be no need to go and see something as terrifying as a Doctor. On the Monday after the previous Hever weekend I woke up at about 6am thinking that I had just been stabbed in the side. I had a sharp jabbing pain in my side running right the way round almost to my back. Classic signs of a gall bladder either packed full of stones, or just grumbling. Time to do something I should have done months ago - EAT HEALTHILY! It was time to go on to a fat free diet. Goodbye butter, cheese and anything else that might contain saturated fats, and welcome to dry bread, skimmed milk and water. Well, it's not as bad as that and I am actually quite enjoying the healthy eating option. Who knows, next time you see Henry VIII he might bear a striking resemblance to Twiggy, or Lily Cole.
Two days after the gall bladder shenanigans I was back at BBC Somerset for another appearance on Emma Britton's show. It was another good programme - our discussion topic was "Is suicide a selfish act?" - which seemed to get little reaction from the callers of Somerset. Our secondary topic was about should you have to pay to use your local civic amenity site (formerly known as a "DUMP"). The phones simply rang off the hook with outraged callers. Hey-ho. It was nice to see the lovely Emma again - such a good presenter. From the BBC Studio I drove up to Essex to spend a couple of days with Amanda and James in lush tropical Basildon. It was great to see my lovely son and he got such a glowing school report for his end of term - so, so proud of my little man. He has really pulled himself up by the bootlaces this year and shown everyone what he is capable of - we always knew he was a smart little cookie. Now the school can show the evidence as well. Nice one, Monkey!
Saturday it was time to drive back down to Hever Castle for another show with the Knights of Royal England. This time for a change I was to be Master of Ceremonies for the shows on both days. This was a daunting thought and was even more worrying when I sat and read the script that Jeremy had sent me from the jousting team. However, I have seen the show on so many occasions when compered by the brilliant Roland Bearne, so I simply went along with his style and chucked in a few jokes of my own. I was accompanied again by the delightful Michelle Coda as my Anne Boleyn. Both the Saturday and Sunday were a triumph for me - great shows, good turn outs and warm on Saturday and boiling on the Sunday. It was also nice to see my dear old friends Viv and John Rich at Hever on the Sunday! I drove back to Somerset on the Sunday evening a very tired, but happy King. I didn't even worry about the Doctor's appointment I had this morning about my gall bladder. But even that went OK - I am back next week for some blood tests. Probably to ascertain that I am actually a homo sapien and not some neanderthal left over, but I shall keep you posted. Hever again next weekend - Friday, Saturday and Sunday this time. Come and say hello!
Oh, by the way, the smashing picture above, taken at the jousting at Leeds Castle earlier this year is now on Flickr and is by Blindluckphotos who are brilliant! Check out their piccies!