Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Woodstock School, Bristol

The original Tudor version of the Buster Keaton "falling house" gag.  Sadly their primitive calculations were critically flawed and at least five of them were squashed flat.  The surviving members of this photo went on to find lasting fame as Abbot and Costello.

By the time I got to Woodstock , they were half a million strong. Everywhere there was songs and celebration.  And I dreamt I saw the bombers riding shotgun in the sky, turning into butterflies above our nation.  All right, Officer, I'll come quietly.  But thankfully that was when I woke up.  It was a nice bright pleasant drive this morning up the dear old M5 towards Bristol and my appointment at Woodstock School.  This was a morning only and I was due to be away and on my merry way by about 12.30pm.
The area around the school is very pleasant, quite surprisingly leafy and rural seeming, yet so close to central Bristol.  I parked up outside and was almost immediately greeted by the lovey Wendy Yeo, the teacher who had booked me for the day.  Wendy reminded me of someone and for a long time I couldn't quite grasp who it was I was trying to remember, but then it struck me!  Keagh Fry!  Keagh is the lovely lady who books me each year down at the Maynard School in Exeter.  Well Keagh, if you're reading this, I have found your long lost twin - she is called Wendy Yeo!  It was a lovely warm welcome.  We spent a little while trying to work out how the morning would pad out.  Woodstock is a special school for children with disruptive behaviour and I was to do two session with two small groups - one of a set of long term pupils there in the sort of year 4 age group, and the second group were newer pupils and ranged from year 1 onwards.... so quite a mixed group! 
I opened with a talk to the older group in their classroom and they were fantastic!  Really sparky, full of Tudor knowledge and really with the minimum of disruption, even though one lad was convinced that Henry's last wife was called Catherine Parrott.  I then took them down to the main hall for a fun jousting session where, as it was a small group, everyone got to have a go.  We then had a break for a cup of tea and a sit down and it was on to the newer group.  As they were a lot younger we made their session a lot easier - so we started with the jousting, then I took them back to a classroom and we just sort of chatted through their knowledge and pre-conceptions about Henry VIII and the Tudors.  It was a fun different sort of morning in a really charming pleasant school.  Wendy Yeo should be very proud of all the pupils and staff - they were marvellous.
I packed my stuff away and got in the car and headed up the M5 to pick up the M4 as I was now heading off to Essex.  I stayed with Amanda and James, which was lovely as ever.  Tomorrow I have a relatively early start for a drive up to Colchester and an appointment at Prettygate Junior.  Should be smashing!

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