Bourne Hall, Epsom in Surrey. What does this name conjure up for you? Some old Victorian hall, or stylish Georgian edifice? Surrounded by sculpted lawns and with an elegant sweeping driveway... Eh? WRONG. The site that greeted me when I pulled up in the car park after my long drive up from Somerset was what appeared to be a recently landed flying saucer of the retro late-60's look. I half expected the front door to slide open amidst clouds of dry ice and Klaatu to step out and start frying cars with his death ray. I was TERRIBLY disappointed when he didn't, but then Michael Rennie has been dead for a long time now. Ahem. I feel I am getting away from the point of this blog. Silly me.
I had been contacted by Bourne Hall via the charming people at Portals to the Past. Bourne Hall is a wedding venue, museum, library, social centre, meeting place and also contains within it's bowels a very nice function room with stage, dance floor and space for about 300 seats. I was informed by David Brooks from the museum that this very hallowed hall where I was about to perform was where Steps auditioned originally and was also where Posh Spice herself had performed as a youngster. I offered to burn down the building to cover up this terrible revelation, but Mr Brooks declined. I was to do two of my Henry's Horrid History presentations and a bit of jousting - one show in the morning and one after lunch. We had good turn outs for both talks - about 50 people for the first and a few more for the afternoon session. I got my timing all wrong in the first show - finished the jousting and said "thank you and goodbye!" as David Brooks ran hurriedly over and gabbled "you've got another 30 minutes to do!" So I did another 30 minutes. Naughty Henry. I was much more professional for the second show. With this we were treated to the appearance of the local Mayor, a lovely lady, who turned out in her full ceremonial robes. For once I felt slightly under dressed as Henry, but I did get a good laugh when she first arrived halfway through my second talk in her fancy gear and funny hat, as I shouted "MUMMY!" very loudly.
Bourne Hall is a lovely, wonderful place with a really nice little museum. Give it a visit if you're in the area. I finished at about 3pm and was on the road by about 4pm. I got home by about 6.30pm and had a wonderful evening as Manchester United got beaten by Wigan, and Manchester City thrashed West Brom. That put a lovely smile on the King's face!
You can catch up with the King again this Sunday with a walkabout appearance at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire. See you there!