Good King Hal and Lady Rochford launch into an impromptu version of "Tubthumping" by Chumbawumba before putting on a show in the barn with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. The wall plug behind them is a genuine Tudor power supply. Honest.
So it was back up to Essex to begin with - how well I am learning this route. But it was worth it, for more time with my lovely son, James. He is my everything these days. I had fun taking him to the bright lights of Festival Leisure Park in Basildon (known locally as Bas Vegas) and we played on the air hockey games as usual, but for a rare change I won - even though I tried to lose. James was very good at scoring own goals. We then had a bite to eat at a Chinese restaurant for lunch and then took him to see the movie "Cars 2". He seemed to enjoy it, but ended up making about 4 trips to the loo after drinking one of the industrial sized cartons of 7-Up that the cinema chain laughingly refer to as "Regular".
Back at Hever I was on for three days, the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. My two lovely Queens from Leeds Castle joust (Zarrina and Diane) were coming along, but due to my general fuzzy headedness and idiocy I had told them the event was on on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, rather than the true days. Therefore I was a Queen short for the Friday. I asked my friend Kiri Bloom whom I worked with at Rochester Castle last year if she could make it, but she was busy, but she suggested a friend of hers called Tamsin Lewis. I spoke to Tamsin on the phone and she was available on the Friday and happy to come down. Gawd bless yer, ma'am! I offered to pick her up from Edenbridge railway station for the show at Hever. She texted me and said she'd be there at about 11.30am. I drove up to Edenbridge and followed the signs to the station. I parked up at about 11.35am and of Tamsin there was not a sight. I tried to phone her mobile. No reply. I texted her and asked her where she was waiting at the station as it wasn't very big and I couldn't see her. She replied and told me she was standing outside the ticket hall. She wasn't. I asked her what the name of the station was where she was standing. It was Edenbridge. I was at Edenbridge Town. Bugger. I asked a local idiot in a local sandwich bar where Edenbridge station was and he gave me directions. It was only about a mile away. Why does a town as tiny as Edenbridge need two stations FFS? Anyway, I found the correct station and I found Tamsin. Bless her. Well we had a great day, lovely turn out, not too hot and I think Tamsin enjoyed herself. I dropped her back at the correct station after the show and headed to my sister's for the evening.
Saturday and Sunday was with Zarrina and Diane from Chippenham. They were great - fantastic costumes as ever, Zarrina in a brand new blue creation as you can see from the picture above. There was a nice breath of wind on the Saturday which made the hot weather a lot more bearable. Sunday was much more muggy. The Saturday night was spent at my friends John and Viv's in Crawley where Viv cooked a fantastic meal of tandoori Monk fish steaks with raita, salsa and guacamole dips and hot flat breads. Mmmmm! We then drank almost our entire body weights in rioja and decided this was the perfect warm up for sitting and watching "A Knight's Tale" on DVD. I think I managed to remain conscious for the first 20 minutes, but missed the rest. Viv only managed 10 minutes. John watched the whole thing and then put on another movie. What a guy! The Sunday at Hever (hang over conquered at first) was good, but marred by two unfortunate incidents. First Sir Stephen of Porlock (the wonderfully nutty Steve Beart from Porlock in Somerset) had finished a ball and chain fight and several jousts, when he wandered back to his squires and as a joke decided to pull his tabard over his head, a la a premiership footballer after scoring a goal. He succeeded merely in dislocating his shoulder and had to be treated by medics at the side of the arena. He looked in agony as he left. Poor man. On the walk back to the castle after the show we were photographed by lots of lovely people - plus one total bastard of a family who's feral kids ran riot, asked rude questions, kept trying to steal our hats, invade other people's photographs and generally behave much as flies do round a horse's bum. And the eldest of the kids was probably only about 12 at most. And of the parents? Well they seemed to think it was hilarious. Scratters. It was a delight to get back to the calm cool order of the Castle afterwards. I drove back to Somerset that evening and was delighted to be home, if alone. As ever. I then had to starve myself for 15 hours after 6pm on the Sunday as on the Monday morning I had a blood test at my Doctor's for my ongoing gall bladder fun and games. Professionally life is great at the moment, but everything else seems to be falling apart, including me. I literally have no idea what life is going to throw at me next, but knowing my recent luck, it won't be good!
A weekend off from Hever this weekend so I am traipsing halfway across England again to see the lovely James, and then I will take him away for a holiday down in Somerset and maybe down to Wales to see his Nana and Bapa. He and I will enjoy that. On Wednesday this week I will be at Honiton Museum in Devon for a couple of talks. Come along! Poke my gall bladder! Enjoy yourselves.