Some of Manchester City's recent signings were a little surprising, but the new first XI seemed to be shaping up well.
Well, my dear old Blog appears to be working again, especially if you're actually able to read this, which I hope you are. So after rattling up and down the A303 and the A12 in Essex and Suffolk, and all points north towards Norwich last week, I was now back down in deepest darkest Devon for yet another return visit to Blundell's Prep School in Tiverton. I had been to this school so many times in the past, but it was different this time - for a start there was no Steff Jeffs. She has departed to pastures new, wearing a Dog collar and saving souls. There was also no Nick Folland as head teacher as he has now moved on. I met the new head teacher on my arrival first thing in the morning. I know I am getting old when head teachers start looking so YOUNG.
Blundells is a lovely school and I was very warmly welcomed by all the staff as ever. It was a nice group of children as well, and we spent the morning first of all in the main hall, before swapping back to the Drama studio for the final part of the morning. Lunch was a delicious chicken curry which was spent chatting to the friendly staff. As this is a private school the day is a little bit lop-sided. The morning doesn't finish until about 1pm, then you are back after lunch at about 2.15pm, and yet I still finish at 3pm! So the afternoon was a very rapid session with the stocks, before finishing off with a great Joust that ended with a thrilling win for a very good ladies team. Our score lurches on inevitably to:
GENTLEMEN 12 - 16 LADIES
I got home on the Monday evening and then went to meet some friends for a drink at the near legendary Dinnington Docks pub, where I was delighted to find that the guest ale for the evening was Adnams Broadside - my old favourite beer from my days at the Hoop Pub in Stock in Essex. Yum!
There was no time to rest on my laurels as first thing on the Tuesday I was driving back up to Essex for a return visit on the Wednesday to Wickford Junior School. It was good to see my lovely son James again, and he is doing so well at school it seems. On the Tuesday night he read me a new book he had, and read it from cover to cover with barely a wrong word. He has come on in leaps and bounds and I am so proud of him. Wednesday found me back at Wickford School, which is again a lovely place to visit and work at. I was welcomed and made to feel very much at home by the wonderful staff of this school, particularly Mike Williams, my main contact there. The children were a delight in this group today. Sparky, funny and very switched on to the whole Tudor thing! The morning just seemed to fly past. Lunch was great fun in the teacher's new improved, larger staff room. Plenty of laughs. The afternoon session was unbelievably loud and finished with another brilliant joust and yet ANOTHER win for the ladies. Boys, this is getting embarrassing now. So the score ticks over to:
GENTLEMEN 12 - 17 LADIES
I had a couple more days in Essex, with my wife and son, and seeing and helping some friends, but today (Saturday) I drove back to Somerset and tried to remember which flat I lived in. It had been a while... This week I am back up at Coalway Junior School in Coleford in Gloucestershire for another return visit to an old and favourite school. Hope the weather holds.