And Lo, it came to pass, that in the land that is known as Somerset, there dwelt a man called Good King Hal who didst wear tights and impersonate some old Queen or something. And verily he wouldst travel the country and startle children and teachers alike with stories of times past. And e'en now Good King of the Hal wouldst booketh his appearances so that they wouldst all be in the same area of the land that is known as Eng-Er-Land and he wouldst not have to fanny-eth about on the motorway too much. Well, that was-eth the plan. In the month that is January in the year of our Lord that is 2012, it did come to pass that Good King of the Hal had somewhat nausethed up his bookings and lo it did also come to pass that he would be doing a show in the land that is known as Dorset and then immediately have to driveth unto even like the Button that is known as Jensen, and haul his Tudor bottom all the way over to the land that is known as Norfolk in lesseth time than it taketh the on-line supplier, that is known as Amazon, to getteth a new DVD to you, even with their bargain delivery service. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and use of the "F" word. And thou doesn't have to be a mind reader to worketh out what happened next... Here end the lesson.
Yes folks, it was time to get on the road and do some quite obscene amounts of driving. I was heading on the Thursday back to Downlands School at Blandford Camp in Dorset. This was my fourth visit to them, but I only get to go there every two years as I do my show for years 3 and 4 combined. As Blandford Camp is an army base you must sign in through their security post when you first arrive. As it was I arrived at the camp at about 7.30am and presented myself to the security guards. They had not been informed by the school that I was coming but seemed to see this as some sort of fault on my behalf. I was treated with utter contempt by one elderly uniformed creep and with slight disdain by the other hoary old Scottish git. When I asked them what I should do I was told in no uncertain terms to basically bugger off and sit in my car until 8am. This I did, but was then told on returning to the Chuckle Brothers that they had still not managed to get hold of anyone at the school. The elderly uniformed creep had now gone off duty and I was left in the warm tender care of the thistle flavoured one. Eventually word was got to the school and they avowed that I was not a psychotic Al Qaeeda operative with explosives strapped to my codpiece and I was let in.
It was nice to be back at Downlands - the school has been almost completely rebuilt in the two years since I was last there. It looks fantastic! It was a brilliant day as ever at Downlands - lovely kids, great teachers and lots of fun and games. I was warmly welcomed and treated like real Royalty by everyone there, which made up for the rude welcome from the Security Guards. After lunch we had a stunning jousting tournament which was won by a very good Ladies team. The score then stood at:
GENTLEMEN 11 - 15 LADIES
I drove back to Crewkerne and packed a small suitcase and was soon on my way up a rapidly darkening A303 for a trip to Essex. On my arrival I was hugged tightly by my lovely son, always a good welcome.
I was up at 5am on the Friday morning for a two and a bit hours drive up to Martham Junior School near Norwich. My previous two visits to this school had been at the height of summer, so it was a bit of a shock to the nervous system to arrive in temperatures only just above freezing. But the welcome was as warm as the hottest summer day. Martham is a delightful school and it is a real pleasure to go back there every time. It was a biggish group, over 100 children, a mixture of year 5 and 6, and they were fantastic - so full of life and enthusiasm. The noise when they really got going was almost unbelievable and the jousting was of a suitably high standard. At last though it was time for the gents to finally snatch a well deserved victory. So at the end of the week the score is:
GENTLEMEN 12 - 15 LADIES
I drove back to Essex for a couple of days with my lovely son, then this morning it was back to yo-yo-ing up and down the A303 for a return to Somerset and tomorrow morning I am off down to Tiverton in Devon and another visit to Blundell's Prep School. And just to show the yo-yo-ing isn't over, the day after that I have to drive back to Essex for a visit to Wickford School. I really must not organise a week like this again for a while. I don't think my car will forgive me if I do.