Sudeley Castle in sunshine, a view never seen by anyone in a Tudor outfit so far this year...
And so the final day of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend found me once more up and out the door early for a return visit to Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe in Gloucestershire. The weather on the way up the M5 never really alternated much beyond spotting rain and overhead gloom. I had a feeling I was going to be one of the first to arrive at the Castle this morning, but I was wrong as the first battalion of the Tudor Roses had got there before me and were already getting into their battle gear ready for action. I was going to be utterly spoilt for choice today for Tudor wives - the ladies present this day were: Emma, Erica, Katherine, Sarah, Francesca, Louise, Zarrina, Diane, Rachel and.... and.... I am sure there was someone else as well, but my brain has all but shut down now just remembering all those stunning dresses.
We thought with such a large group, to go round all together might make us seem like some kind of Tudor steaming gang, and we didn't want to intimidate the punters. I initially set off with Zarrina, Diane and Louise for a wander, but somehow we managed (not deliberately) to completely miss the rest of the ladies for the remainder of the morning. Now you would have thought a group of ladies in big colourful Tudor dresses would be hard to hide away - not at all! We wandered the grounds all morning and saw nothing of them. So British military leaders, when considering new camouflage gear for your infantry troops, please think about sticking them in big crinoline dresses with bum rolls and farthingales - the enemy won't know where the hell they are.
We finally caught up with them at lunchtime, but by this time poor Emma was suffering having wrenched her back the previous day at Hedingham Castle in Essex. She was in a lot of pain, poor love. The weather was pretty grotty all day to be honest and we spent the vast majority of the afternoon stroll indoors keeping dry. The final act of the day was the Tudor ladies all dancing in the restaurant to the resident Tudor musicians. They looked fabulous - Lady Sarah and Lady Katherine also sang along with the minstrels and a good time was generally seen to be had by all. The only two people not smiling by the end of the day was poor old Emma with her painful back (get well soon) and dear Kim Gibbons the organiser at Sudeley, who was once more left cursing their bad luck with the weather.
The drive back to Somerset once more began in awful driving rain, but steadily improved. However by the time I got home it was actually cold enough to warrant me putting the central heating on in the flat - and all this in June! I was up at 4.30am the next day for a mad dash across the country to Leeds Castle for a stint working on another jousting tournament with the Knights of Royal England. After the long early morning drive it was wonderful to see them all again. Sir William of Antioch and his lovely wife Tracy, had their delightful little boy Liam with them yesterday - 8 months old and just full of giggles. A real bonny boy. Both the jousting shows on the first day were fine - a big turn out for the first show, mostly in bright warm sunshine, then a slightly smaller crowd for the second show, blighted by cloudy skies and the odd spot of rain. It was good to see my little mate Owen in the crowd on the day. I know Owen and his family read this blog so "HELLO" to you all, and I am looking forward to seeing you again when you come back in on Friday this week. Don't forget your waterproofs!
I finished at the castle and drove down to Folkestone to stay with Michelle Coda, her other half Matt and daughter Vix. We had a lovely evening drinking champagne, singing along to Monty Python songs and having lots of laughs. I managed to stay conscious until just after 10pm, when my early start and busy day stopped me in my tracks and it was time for bed. So I did! Back to Leeds today for more jousting - see you there!