An image giving a rough estimate of the amount of mileage covered by Good King Hal this week, and his current whereabouts.
Having four shows in four days would be enough to test the physical stamina and mental fortitude of someone in the peak of physical fitness, of a young age and without porridge for a brain. Which was a real shame as I entered this week full of cold, self doubt and feeling every day of my 44 years of age. I drove up to Essex on the Sunday and saw my beloved James. As usual I received the now traditional welcome of being thrashed mercilessly at Mario Kart on the Wii Console by him, but it was good fun none the less. I was up at the crack of dawn the following morning for a drive up to Melbourn (no, not the one in Australia as that has an "E" attached on the end), but is a small place near Royston which is either in Hertfordshire or Cambridgeshire, depending on who you speak to. Melbourn Primary School was an absolute delight - friendly, welcoming and with a nice bunch of children. I felt like death warmed up on my first arrival at the school, but by pouring large amounts of Lemsip down my throat I managed to assume a vague appearance of humanity. A splendid day was had all round with lots of laughs and ended up with a great jousting tournament that culiminated with another victory for the gentlemen. This made our scores for the year:
GENTLEMEN 6 - 6 LADIES
So the Gents finally pull level for about the first time in over two years. Heart stopping excitement, eh? Eh? Oh wake up for goodness sake. The Monday evening I drove over to Hitcham in Suffolk to see Sue English and Ian Weston, my old friends who run the brilliant Portals to the Past group of re-enactors. I was warmly welcomed by Sue and later on Ian arrived and we ended up heading down to Hadleigh in Suffolk where they treated me to a delicious Indian meal. It was great fun catching up with my old friends and sharing stories about our re-enactment experiences.
The following morning Ian and I were both heading up to Norwich to do shows - Ian in central Norwich and me to Thorpe St Andrew in the north eastern suburbs and St William's School. This was another new school for me and this one was another wonderful find. If possible they were even more friendly than the previous day at Royston and the children here were brilliant. So funny! The absolute highlight of a lovely day was when during the question and answer session at the end of the morning some of the children asked me questions about different sports in Tudor times. One little girl asked was it true they used a pigs bladder when they played football, and I assured her it was true. They'd remove the bladder, empty it, steam it, turn it inside out and then stitch it up and inflate it, before kicking it around. Sounds delightful. A moment later another little girl asked about the pigs bladder, only this time she asked "did it hurt?" - I told her it didn't do the pig any good, which reduced the teachers to tears. The little girl had meant did it hurt kicking the bladder, but it was too good a feed line to miss. Another child asked if the Tudor's ever used children for jousting, but I assured him they only used horses. Our joust was another classic and wound up for another victory for the Gents. Unbelievable stuff. So after so many years of trailing in the ladies wake, by half way through this week the Lads find themselves in the uncharted waters of leading! The score after Tuesday was:
GENTLEMEN 7 - 6 LADIES
I drove back down the delightful rain and lunatic addled A12 and back to see my lovely son James again. But there is no let up this week for the wicked old King. After another brief night of sleep I was again up with the lark (and still down with the lurghi) and driving this morning towards the Eastern coastal paradise that is known as Harwich. As I drove up the A120 in the early morning grey light I pondered as to when I last visited this town. I reckoned my last visit had been in 1975, when at the age of 8 I had travelled with my family at the start of a holiday in France by going to Harwich to catch a ferry, and staying in the deliciously named "VIKING MOTOR LODGE" or something. It was every bit as grotty as the name suggests, but I was just so excited to be on holiday and staying somewhere that had the name VIKING in the title. I had a little trouble in finding the school this morning - the Mayflower Junior. My sat nav took me to a school, but the wrong one. I eventually found what I was looking for and managed to park my car right by the back doors to the large hall. Another welcoming cup of steaming Lemsip helped my human being impersonation again. Once more I was welcomed by lovely staff and some great kids - all in brilliant costumes, something that every wonderful school this week has managed. We had a really fun day and despite my cough nearly knackering me this afternoon I managed to make it through without too much hassle. We had a fine jousting tournament which went right to the wire but was won by a brilliant ladies team. And so we find ourselves level again:
GENTLEMEN 7 - 7 LADIES
And all that and one more school to do tomorrow this week. I am off to Fyfield tomorrow near Ongar for a first visit to the delightfully named Dr Walker's Church of England School. Should be more fun.
As some of you may or may not know I had recently started dating someone. This was the first time I had managed something like this since about the mid 17th Century and I was jolly pleased with myself, particularly as the other person was particularly attractive - the words "punching" "above" and "weight" came readily to mind. However, I am back to my usual status again as this situation has now come to a close. So women of Britain, be aware - I AM SINGLE AGAIN! Yes! Lock your doors, hide under stairs, hammer large bits of wood crookedly across windows and doors... Unless of course you are interested in dating a man who looks about 400 years old, is ginger, so large he appears on Ordnance Survey maps as a shipping hazard and wears tights for a living. Gosh, you can see why I am constantly fighting the women off, can't you? As I only ever seem to find a woman who is brave enough to date me once every five years, I am thoroughly looking forward to a brief two week period in 2016 when I shall be able to take a lady out to dinner three times. And when you look like me, that's about as good as it gets! GOODNIGHT EVERYBODY!