Mary, Queen of Scots, busking outside Hampton Court just before being moved along by the Police and her subsequent triumphant residency at Fotheringay Castle.
If it's October then it must be a visit to St Cecillia's RC Junior School in North Cheam, near Sutton in Surrey. This was my EIGHTH appearance at the school, if you can believe it. Eight long years since I first arrived there. Of course coming all the way from Somerset does warrant a bit of an early start, to say the least. When the alarm clock went off at 4am it was a bit of a shock to the system. However, having said that, there is no finer time of the day to be driving up the A303 - the place is decidedly quiet and empty and all the better for it. I made very good time and was soon on the M3. This is really the only part of the journey where one might hit trouble and sure enough it was very busy, even at 6am in the morning. It made a change to turn onto the M25 and find it was a quieter road. It would be like moving to Kabul and finding there were less explosions there. Mind you, if you lived in Basildon during the November 5th period, then it might just work.
St Cecillia's is a fine school and it was a delight to be back - I was warmly welcomed as ever by their friendly care taker. I have absolutely no idea who this gentleman is, but he is always a delight to talk to and is welcoming and friendly. He let me drive my car in and unload the props, and then it was time for a very welcoming cup of tea. I was then introduced to the two teachers looking after Year 4 at St Cecillia's this year - two new ladies who had never seen my show before. They were dressed in their Tudor finery as were all the children. It was a group of about 60 pupils, all full of beans and dying to know more about Henry VIII. During the morning session I was telling the children about the horrors of the plague hitting Tudor England and about some of the insane "cures" people tried to come up with, one of which was they thought the plague was being spread by cats and dogs. So they slaughtered all the cats and dogs, and of course the rats (whose fleas were really spreading the plague and were having their numbers kept down by the cats and dogs) quadrupled in their population size and the plague got ten times worse. Well, I had just mentioned this information when a little lad put his hand up with a question - I asked him what it was. He said "what about the tigers?" I was a bit confused. Tigers? Yes, he meant tigers. What about them? Well, he said, they're a type of cat, so what happened to them? This really tickled me. I suddenly had all these ideas of the Tudors keeping Tigers as pets. i.e. taking them for walks and being horribly mutilated/trying to put the cat out for the night and more mutilations. Great stuff.
I munched some lunch in the staff room then it was back for more amazing Tudor revelations. I was doing my musical talky bit and playing my instruments and I was asked by one child if all the Tudors were musical, I mused that they probably were to a lesser or greater degree. Another child put his hand up. Yes? Did any of them play the spoons he asked. I told him Mary, Queen of Scots was a sod for whipping the spoons out at most social gatherings. I did various impressions of her singing such great Tudor melodies as "Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty" and "Let's All Go Down the Strand, Have a Banana". The jousting was good, but ruined in the final by the gents team cheating unashamedly and thus being disqualified. This let a very good ladies side in for an easy win. Our score is now:
GENTLEMEN 4 - 5 LADIES
I am next on parade at this weekend for my mate Roland Bearne's wedding in Surrey. Should be lots of fun.
Today has been nice and relaxing, I did some shopping over at Tesco's at Ilminster and was alarmed to discover that Uncle Peter from the "Smell of Reeves and Mortimer" had decided to have a sex change operation and then work on one of the tills there. DONKEY! It's amazing who you meet.