OK, it's March, right? March as in "not February", as in "not winter"? Yeah? OK, so I am driving back from Essex on Sunday, at about lunch time and I am driving down the A303 across Salisbury Plain - and it starts snowing. SNOWING! S-N-NOOOOOO-WING! ARGH! I should write to The Times about this. This pleased me not as I knew I was going to have to get up very early on the Monday morning for a drive up to Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, and I really didn't fancy doing that through snow storms. However, I had nothing to fear. By the time I got to the tropical climes of South Somerset, the outside temperature had rocketed up to nearly 7 degrees. Mind you, it was still a bit of a shock to the system when my alarm went off at 5.30 this morning. I wonder if Ernest Shackleton ever had worries like this?
The drive up to Cheltenham was actually very pleasant. It was a cold, but very clear morning, and the roads were relative empty. I was making a first ever visit to St James' School in Cheltenham and when I found the address it looked very nice, the school nestling in amongst a very attractive new housing complex. I was extremely warmly welcomed and handed a very cheering cup of tea. This was lovely as I am suffering with a somewhat unpleasant cold at the moment and a hot tea went down a treat. It was a group of over 80 children today in a mixed years 3 and 4 set up. But they were very switched on, very excitable and good fun to work with. The main teacher who had booked me, a simply charming gentleman by the name of Duncan Cook, could not have been more helpful, but then all the staff were very wonderful today. The morning seemed to shoot past at an express rate and before you could say "blimey, what the heck was that?" it was lunch time. I was treated to a very tasty plate of spaghetti and meatballs before heading back to the hall for the afternoon session. More fun with the stocks and then it was on to a very entertaining and interesting jousting tournament. In the grand final it finally looked like the gents were going to claim a much needed win as their first two riders streaked off into a seemingly unbeatable lead. But the ladies would not be denied and clawed back the difference. It was going to come down to the final quoit but the gents, in their haste and desire to claim a win virtually pushed the last quoit onto their riders lance. I had no option but to stop the race, re-hook two singular quoits and let the two teams have a race-off... and would you believe it - the ladies won AGAIN. Our score now moves on to an almost embarrassingly one sided:
GENTLEMEN 12 - 22 LADIES
This is getting too much lads - come on! Must do better! I packed up my stuff and was soon in the car, coughing and sneezing my way down the M5 and home. A nice dinner and pint of Tanglefoot, and all of a sudden my cold doesn't seem as bad as I first thought. It was lovely to visit St James' School today, and I sincerely hope Mr Cook's daughter gets well again soon.