Back up at the crack of dawn again. Yes, it's time for Good King Hal to hit the road and head up to Gloucestershire. I hadn't visited St Edward's Junior in Cheltenham before, but my crappy sat nav had by some miracle managed to find the address for the school, so it seemed to be a relatively easy hour and half drive up the M5 to find it. What I wasn't expecting was that the school was located somewhere up a very posh private lane that half way up it was a road block. Yup, a big barrier in the road for no adequately explained reason. Perhaps it was one of those ones that if you drove up to it slowly it would just raise for you. Wrong. I tried re-programming the sat nav, but it wouldn't have it - as far as she was concerned this was the way to get to the school and tough bitties if you wanted to go another way. I sat in the quiet leafy posh road scratching my head and wondering how the hell I was going to get past this. I drove back down to the main road, but my sat nav was screaming about doing a u-turn. So I turned round and went back up the posh road, and it was as I was slowly driving up this paean to capitalism that I noticed a very small worn road sign. It suggested if you wanted to get past the road barrier it was best to go in through an alternatively named road (the name escapes me at present). As my sat nav has not the best grasp on finding obscure rural roads I did wonder if it would work, but it did! I followed the directions and lo! There was the school! St Edward's Junior is a lovely school and I was very warmly welcomed by Lin Davis, the lady who booked me, and not the similarly named Olympic Long Jump champion from 1964 who also just happens to be my cousin. As is Lily Cole. But I am getting distracted. We had the main school sports hall for the entire day and it was great - a nice big hall, great acoustics and a good lively group of about 40 children. We had a fine morning, lots of laughs and good fun. Lunch was spent in the school hall being cross questioned by various children as to whether I really was the REAL Henry VIII. The afternoon was a short session, as they usually are at private schools and culminated in a very loud and enthusiastic jousting tournament. This was won by a mile by a very good ladies team. Our score for the year is now:
GENTLEMEN 3 - 4 LADIES
More intrigue. My next Henry day is on Monday with a return visit to St Paul's Junior in Shepton Mallet. Watch out for the score at the end of that.
On the Saturday I was invited back to the Museum of Somerset for their grand re-opening. As I stated in the last blog entry this re-launch of the Museum has taken about three years and millions of pounds, but it looks brilliant. Loads of interactive stuff for the kids, large airy rooms full of interesting nuggets to search out and packed with great local finds, from pre-history to the second world war. I was there as Henry, generally meeting and greeting, and then doing three half hour talks, one at 11am, one at 1pm and one at 2pm. Well over a thousand people came in during the day on this unseasonably hot 1st October. I absolutely sweltered, but it was great fun and nice to see the old place so packed full of excited new visitors. The Museum of Somerset is a big hit and well worth a visit - so get yourself to Taunton! Tomorrow I am back at Barrington Court for the Sunday of the Chut Fest 2011. See you there.