Above, a desperate attempt to discover if Cheryl Cole actually hit any right notes during her duet with Gary Barlow's stubble at the Queen's Jubilee knees up in the Mall. Probably not.
Ah, what a day! I had been asked some time ago, to appear in the village of Shepton Beauchamp near Ilminster for their children's street party to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. And today was that day. And not content with doing that, I was also invited to then go to Barrington Court for a Right Royal perambulation round their grounds afterwards. Smashing.
On arriving in Shepton Beauchamp the first thing you discovered was a road block stopping people from roaring through the middle of the village and mowing down vast hoards of children as they stuffed their faces with sandwiches. I was allowed through so that I could get changed and begin my wanderings. The atmosphere was great amongst the villagers - Shepton is such a friendly place, I really miss living there (I was resident from 1999 to 2003) but it was good to see so many old familiar faces. Just before the children were to begin their lunch I was handed a glass of very strong scrumpy and a bowl of Thai green curry - well, it would have been rude to refuse, so I gulped down both which were fabulous. We then moved to the tower of the church for the launching of parachute wearing teddy bears. Now this may not sound the most exciting thing ever, but it kept the entire crowd entertained for nearly 20 minutes. There were gasps of wonder as some bears floated serenely to the ground, there were cries of laughter when some very haphazard descents were made, and there was even screams and sympathetic "aaahs" when one or two parachutes failed to open and the poor bear beneath plummeted to a speedy reunion with Mother Earth. One poor bear got halfway down and then snagged on the lower part of the church tower, which elicited the largest sympathetic noise of the day!
The children then sat down for their feast. I bellowed out a welcome to one and all and got three heart cheers for the Queen's 60th anniversary. Great stuff. But then I had to move on and head for Barrington Court. As Barrington is so close to Shepton I decided to leave my tights on under my trousers for this short jaunt there. As I was driving it suddenly dawned on me how awful it would be if I was in a fatal accident at this point. The Police, on recovering my body would find me with a pair of white tights on below my normal clothes. They would obviously suspect that I was a Conservative MP. I can imagine the knock on the door my parents would get. "Mr and Mrs Farley? We have some grave news for you I'm afraid... your son has been in an accident, but you should have seen what he had on under his trousers. It was disgusting..."
Barrington Court was packed when I arrived, which was good to see. I had a great time wandering the grounds, meeting and greeting people. Towards the end of the afternoon the sun even began to force its way out from behind the clouds. It was so nice to see so many people there and having a lovely time. Towards the end of my two hour stint, Matthew Applegate found me and offered me a cup of tea. So I ended the afternoon sitting in Matthew's office supping a much needed and wonderful cuppa. So all in all a great way to spend the Bank Holiday Jubilee Monday, and the fun doesn't stop there. I am off to Sudeley Castle again tomorrow to chase the Tudor Roses round the grounds again, and then on Wednesday I am up at the crack of dawn to drive over to Leeds Castle in Kent for another week of jousting. And funnily enough I am looking forward to it!