My visits to schools in Somerset in the last few weeks have really been spoiling me. After the delight of returning to Dunster last week, I was back at one of my favourite haunts in Taunton - Parkfield Primary near Musgrove Park Hospital. The head teacher there is the near legendary Wynford Sides, a name of Charles Dickens' style quality. I was to encounter another cracking name before the end of the day, but more of that later. Quite a bit of building work has gone on at Parkfield in the past couple of years and the place looks really good now. They have a fine looking gazebo for the children to sit in which in the early morning light this morning looked fabulous as it was tastefully lit up from inside. I am also insanely jealous as they also have two fine cricket nets set up on the side of their playing field now. Very nice! I was soon in the staff room enjoying a welcoming cup of tea and a chat with the ever affable Mr Sides. Soon I was re-introduced to Year 5 teacher Mrs Nightingale and she told me we had a lively group today of about 66 children. It was a lovely morning - full of laughter and fun. A really delightful group to work with, which is pretty much par for the course with Parkfield School which surely must have something to do with Mr Sides' rules and style of management. He has been at Parkfield since September 1987 and long may he remain there.
As ever at this lovely school one of the staff had gone to Tesco to grab me some lunch, and would not accept any money for my food. I had a very agreeable chicken salad sandwich followed by a crisp sharply sweet Braeburn apple. Also in the staff room today was a pile of homemade cakes, so I had to have a bash on some of the flapjacks, and they were stunning! The finest I had ever tasted.
Back in the hall after lunch I was doing the talk about Tudor crime and punishment, and the little chap I had picked out the audience to be my unfortunate victim of the beggars punishment had the colourful name of Dylan Thrasher - you just can't write stuff like that, can you? The jousting was equally colourful and noisy and finished with the gentlemen finally winning a tournament - the first in a long time. They are still lagging behind, but have closed the gap at last. Our score now is:
GENTLEMEN 8 - 10 LADIES
The next chance they get to win again is next Wednesday at Bathampton School, near Bath. Tomorrow night I am at Barrington Court hosting their annual Pub Quiz event for the South Somerset National Trust. I have another good quiz lined up for them and hope they enjoy it. This weekend I will also be at Barrington Court as it is the annual Mistletoe Fayre which is always a delight to appear at. Hopefully see some of you there.