It was at approximately 11.45am that Good King Hal whipped out his big wooden trencher out and startled everyone.
Half term! Hoorah! What does half term normally entail for your average King Henry VIII impersonator? Well, to be honest, not a lot. With the schools all closed it usually involves lie ins and late nights, but this year the February half term was a bit different. For a start I had my lovely son James staying with me down in Somerset. Secondly I had a show to do at the Dementia Care Trust Home in Weston super Mare where I had appeared about four years ago.
It was funny - I had asked James what he was most looking forward to on his return to his county of birth, thinking he'd come back with something about "being with you, Daddy" or "a visit to Lyme Regis" or some such. Did I get that? Did I heck. What was he most looking forward to? Lunch at Bilby's Cafe in Ilminster. Well at least he has good taste in local food outlets. He and I drove down to Somerset on the Saturday, along with my sister Cathy who we picked up from her home in Kent as she wanted dropping off in Southampton to collect a new car she had bought from the Ebay website. She treated us, if that is the right word, to lunch on the way, which ended up being taken at the Rounham's service station on the M27. The food was, at best school dinner level and served by the sort of people you would imagine that if you asked them to follow your finger in front of their eyes, they'd be about two seconds behind. We found the home where the car was to be collected and waited with Cathy till she'd paid and then led her to the nearest petrol station that sold LPG for her new vehicle. Turned out it didn't sell LPG, but never mind, the thought was there. So as Cathy and her new Jeep Grand Cherokee headed east back to Kent, James and I continued west towards Somerset.
We had a nice lazy Sunday not doing very much other than watching Spongebob Squarepants endlessly on Nick Toons. On the Monday I fulfilled my promise to James and took him to Bilby's in Ilminster for lunch. Unfortunately, James' new medication for his concentration can also wreck his appetite, which it did on Monday. So while I sat and munched my way through ham, egg and chips (very healthy), James simply sat happily slurping from a bottle of diet coke.
Tuesday saw us up and early off for the show at the Dementia Care Trust in Weston super Mare. They are a lovely group and I am always made most welcome there - particularly from my dear old friend Diane Warren and her daughter Alice. James worked hard as my roadie helping me get my gear into the unit and waiting with me as I got changed. The talk went really well, and James sat happily with Diane throughout the show and even laughed quite loudly at a couple of my jokes. When the show was over James came up to me and said "you told some jokes!" as though it was illegal. I told him that I always try and make my shows funny, which he thought was marvellous.
Wednesday and I fulfilled another promise to James - to take him to see Star Wars - The Phantom Menace in 3D. We got into Yeovil quite early and I purchased the tickets for the 2.20pm showing. Next it was time for lunch and James wanted to go to Pizza Hut. Not a chance - a queue of Biblical proportions snaked out of the front door and down the road. OK, I was not heartbroken by this news, so we tried to get into Frankie and Bennie's, with pretty much the same result. Fair enough. About 20 yards up the road is a small Italian restaurant called La Tamboura or something - we walked down there, and it was virtually empty! We had a superb meal of real Italian food with a very hard working friendly staff who could not have been more attentive if they tried. After that blow out we wandered back to the cinema. OH MY GOD. It appeared that there had been an explosion in a "spotty-bed-haired-annoying-teenager-factory" somewhere and they had all landed in the cinema foyer. The queue for the ticket booth snaked right across the entrance hall and the queue for the popcorn was only marginally shorter. As we already had tickets we joined the popcorn queue. The huge amounts of spotty adolescents in the line was matched only by the spotty adolescents behind the counters who seemed to be content on finding anything to do other than serve the ever swelling crowd in front of them. Time was whizzing past and the queue was barely moving. With only about 5 minutes before the film was due to start, we finally got served. A small bag of popcorn and slush puppy for James, a small diet coke (small? It was about the size of your average garden water butt) and a packet of wine gums for me and it cost over £12. How on Earth can they justify these prices? Anyway, we belted into the screen where Star Wars was showing, expecting it to be chock full of the annoying adolescents to find the room almost completely empty - they'd all obviously come to see Daniel Radcliffe in "The Woman in Black", and I was insanely jealous. The Phantom Menace, not to put too fine a point on it, is a truly appalling film. Terrible script, abject plotting, half formed characters, stilted dialogue and of course Jah-Jah f*****g Binks. I put my 3D glasses on and promptly fell asleep until James elbowed me for snoring too loudly. The film seemed to go on forever, but James loved it, so that is all that matters.
So today, Thursday I am driving the little fellow back to Essex. I will thoroughly enjoy having my bed back to myself, but by God the flat (and my life) is going to feel very empty without him around. He is so gorgeous and my pride and joy. I can't spend enough time with him!