All the jokes used by this man are genuine, hand-stitched, leather antiques and have been carefully assembled by aged stand up comedians in a small lock-up garage in East Cheam.
Me? Being a model? A male model? That is just wrong. It goes against all that is right in nature. It's like Bernard Manning hang-gliding, or Dale Winton playing professional rugby league, or George Osborne proving he knows what the hell he is talking about. It is all highly unlikely. But happen it did. And where was this, I hear you murmur, with barely suppressed excitement? A photo shoot in LA for Cosmopolitan Magazine? A new calendar shoot in St Tropez? No. It was the slightly humbler surroundings of Shepton Beauchamp village hall and I was sitting in my full Henry regalia posing for the Shepton Beauchamp Art Group! It was a very pleasant evening in the end, lots of giggles, laughs, a nice cup of tea or two, and at the end of the day a bit of money and a very nice bottle of Australian Shiraz as a thank you. It had been organised by Jo Walshe, post mistress at Shepton Beauchamp post office and stores and I have to say her pencil drawings of me were very good, but then so were most of the artwork produced on the evening. What a talented bunch. This was last Friday.
After a terribly exciting weekend of doing the sum total of bugger all, it was back to being Henry again on the Monday morning. I was being summoned back to Cotford St Luke School near Taunton. Now I had last visited this school back in 2006 when I did a couple of days there a few months apart doing a big group of children. This time they wanted me on two separate days, but right next to each other. So I would be at Cotford on the Monday and the Tuesday. Getting to Cotford is no easy thing as you have to drive right through the middle of Taunton, which as I might just have mentioned in this blog on one or two previous occasions, can be about as easy as trying to excavate a new channel tunnel using a small white plastic tea spoon. However on both mornings Taunton's traffic was in a very benign mood, and I sailed through to the quiet leafy lanes that make up Cotford St Luke. I was warmly welcomed on the first morning by the caretaker, a happy smiley Hobbit of a man and I was soon set up in the big impressive, but squeaky floored hall. On the first day I would be working with a mainly mixture of years 3 and 4, then on the Tuesday I would finish off with years 5 and 6. The group on day one were the most hard work as there were one or two little "characters" in their midst - nothing more than a little bit of immaturity, but on the whole a very very pleasant group. Plenty of laughs in the morning were had, with the children as well as the very friendly welcoming teachers. Lunch was a delicious chicken korma curry, but all too soon it was back to the hall for the afternoon. The jousting was of a very high quality and (wait for it) ended with a win for.... the Gents! At last! This pegs the ladies back a bit to:
GENTLEMEN 13 - 24 LADIES
But there is still so much to do. At the end of the day I didn't have to pack the props back in the car, I just stowed them away in a class room ready for the next day...
Back on the road to Cotford St Luke on the Tuesday, this was almost like Groundhog Day. Taunton was again a placid place of no hold ups and it was back to the lovely school. Todays group of years 5 and 6 were great - really good fun, very intelligent, bright, sparky children, the sort of group that makes you want to come back and be Henry VIII over and over again. Cotford St Luke is a magnificent school! It was another great day - a good morning of many laughs, a lovely lunch of baked potato and sausages, and then back into the hall for more stocks and jousting shenanigans. And just to make the Groundhog Day simile come to full fruition, the Gents won the jousting AGAIN. You wait weeks for one, then two come along in two days. The score slowly clicks over to:
GENTLEMEN 14 - 24 LADIES
There is one very tired King here this evening, his Royal plates are about to be put up for a well deserved rest. Thank you, Cotford for two very memorable days. Sadly, I probably won't see you again until 2018 if the wait between visits is the same! Now that is just too long...