Monday, July 30, 2012

Spice Up Your Life. And Up Yours Too.

Good King Hal and his Mother, at Hever Castle this weekend.  I said, Mum, tell me what you want, what you really, really want.  And she punched me in the Adam's Apple and broke my camera.

So after finishing at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich, it was back to the jousting cavalcade and back to Hever Castle for the Saturday and Sunday, and then a Monday at Leeds Castle.  At the Hever jousting arena the ground was a lot dryer, but it was still too churned up from the quagmire show a few weeks back, and so we were on the temporary arena down near the lake again.  My son James came along and was dressed as a Herald in borrowed gear from the Knights of Royal England, and he looked absolutely splendid.  Michelle and her daughter Victoria were in attendance as well and so we began our long trek across the grounds of Hever to the jousting field.  When we arrived at where the Knights had set up their horse box and HQ in the corner of the field it was rumoured that we had a "celebrity" in for the show.  It turned out to be Geri Halliwell, formerly Ginger from the Spice Girls, along with her PA and her two daughters.  They had been brought over after having had a personal tour of Hever Castle itself and were sat on chairs provided for them by Hever management which some twit had placed far too close to the edge of the jousting arena.  It was hardly surprising that they first moved back a bit, and then Geri ended up joining me in the Royal Box as I continued my commentary.  Sam of Hever came up with a great joke, when he came to challenge Sir Jasper du Barry he rode up to the tilt and I asked him what he wanted, and he said "I'll tell you what I want, what I really, REALLY want..." and luckily Geri laughed at this.  Later when Sam and Dan engaged in a bit of sub-macho chest barging I commented that it was nice to see the "two become one", which again elicited a minor chuckle from the ex-Spice personage. 
That evening after the show there was my sister Cath's annual barbecue and vast drinking session at her home in Stockbury.  It was good to see all my family there and lots of old friends, including dear old Ian Weston from Portals to the Past, plus Darren and Emma from the Tudor Roses and their kids Johnny and Matty.  Sir Owen of Leeds Castle's lovely mummy Shelley was there also.  So all in all, it was an utterly splendid evening with lots of laughs and the finest of company.
Back at the Castle on the Sunday there was a multitude of Spice Girls related jokes in the show - Sir Stephen of Porlock was dubbed Old Spice, Ashley of Hampshire was Posh Spice and Sir Jasper du Barry even became Fifty Shades of Grey Spice.  And amazingly a copy of Geri Halliwell's autobiography had been delivered to the Castle with a personal dedication inside it from Ginger Spice herself, declaring her undying love for Sir Sam of Hever.  He was delighted with his present and has declared that it is something that he will never part with for the rest of his life.  Both days at Hever were lovely and it was good to see Sir Owen of Leeds there for both shows as ever. 
On the Monday morning James and I were back over to Leeds Castle for two shows - both of which were packed out.  Sir Owen of Leeds was inevitably on hand to enjoy the shows, though my parents were due to come along but sadly my Mother didn't feel so well and so they reluctantly had to cancel their visit.  It was good to see Darlene and Becky back at the Castle, and the entire jousting group had a fabulous day.  And not a Spice Girl in sight.  Perhaps we'll get Liam Gallagher next week, or remaining members of B*Witched.  Who can tell...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Christchurch Mansion Day 2

The Beverley Sisters after a direct hit from the Luftwaffe.

And so, on the very day that the London Olympics officially opened, where was Good King Hal going?  Yes!  Back to Ipswich in Suffolk for the second of his two days at Christchurch Mansion.  Yesterday had been fun, but unbearably hot, with blazing sunshine all day, so I personally was a little relieved to wake up and find the morning overcast and cool. The drive up to Ipswich was easier this morning, and despite the odd spot of rain here and there, mostly fine.
The early part of the day found me wandering the halls and rooms of the Museum, chatting to people, posing for photographs and upsetting tiny children - the usual really.  After a brief break for a cup of tea I was due on at 1.30pm for my first show of the day.  I had worried a little that there didn't seem to be as many people around as yesterday, but I needn't have worried.  The first show was, if anything, busier than the previous day.  It was a fun show with a lovely audience, though there was an elderly couple to the back of the room who sat stony faced throughout with expressions that intimated that both of them had recently inserted large cacti into their underwear.  He was tall, pale, elderly and wearing tiny shorts that revealed two thin, knobbly kneed legs that tapered down to Argyle socks and sensible shoes, whereas she simply looked as if she had just been evicted from the Conservative Party Conference.  I left the room to applause and headed for the cafe for a bite to eat - only to find the sour faced couple on the table right next to me.  They had looked like nit-pickers, and I was right, they were.  As I sat down, her opening gambit was:
"Very good show, though some of your dates were inaccurate..."  My usual response to this is to try to shove a blancmange down the protagonists underpants, but I contained myself as they were elderly (and I didn't have a blancmange to hand) and kept it to a:
"Well, it depends on which book you read...."  At which point the thin elderly chap, in a quavering Brian Sewell-like voice, complete with tilted up head and half closed fluttering eye lids said:
"But you said the executioner for Anne Boleyn came from France - he didn't, he was Flemish..."  My usual response to this type of petty "I am cleverer and better read than wot you is (sic)" snottiness is to fell the protagonist with a vicious right hook and then throw them into a convenient water feature.  But they were elderly, and I was trying to eat a Tuna sandwich at the time.
The second show today wasn't quite as full as the first show, but what an audience!  They were magnificent, laughing and joining in enthusiastically.  When asking the audience if the marriage between Henry VIII and Katherine Howard is going to last, I usually get them all shouting "NO!" back at me.  One little boy in this show, louder than everyone else shouted "PROBABLY NOT!" which garnered him a big laugh from me and a round of applause from the audience.  In the end I nearly managed to kill myself by swallowing a tiny amount of spit down my windpipe just after playing the kornholt musical instrument.  As I gasped and coughed on stage trying to catch my breath, the audience continued laughing as they thought it was part of the show.  It isn't and I am very glad I don't have to do it every day.
The day finished with me posing for many photographs with two pneumatic east European ladies and their children, which was fine by me. And I got to meet my friend David Randall and his wife, who I have got to know via Facebook - so hello David!  I drove back down to Essex, collected my lovely son James and we headed then down into Kent to stay overnight at my sister Cathy's place ready for our return to Hever Castle for the weekend's jousting.  It is going to be a fantastic weekend I can tell.  Very excited!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Christchurch Mansion Day 1

Good King Hal showing selected photographers how to hold Katherine Howard up when she's had a tad too much of the old "Meado Collapso".

IPSWICH!  GATEWAY TO THE EAST!  My lingering memories of Ipswich, should anyone feel the urge to ask, were Mick Mills, Bobby Robson, Tolly Cobbold brewing and Trevor Whymark's sideburns.  So if you step outside of football and beer, not a lot has been going on there.  I THOUGHT.  How wrong I was, of course.  I had been booked to appear at Christchurch Mansion months ago, but of course, being the suave idiotic Tudor about town, I had never bothered to actually check out where the hell I was going to be performing.  So a couple of days ago, I looked up Christchurch Mansion on Google - wow.  You should do the same.  It is impressive, but if you think the on line effect is good, try checking out the actual place.  This is truly a gem of the British Isles, overlooked and underexposed, and packed to the rafters with treasures.  So get yourself down there and check it out.
I drove up from Basildon this morning in searing summer heat, listening to the classic Robin Bailey version of Peter Tinniswood's brilliant "Tales from a Long Room" and laughing like a drain at the cricket-world humour.  I arrived at the grounds of Christchurch Park and Mansion, and was amazed again by this wonderful red brick Tudor edifice.  I was greeted by Shelley from the Museum Service and made very welcome.  She toured me round the whole building, showing me the wonderful Constable paintings, the Gainsborough's and even some Matisse, Renoir and Picasso.  Astounding.
I did two shows today - Henry's Horrid History again, with a show at 1.30pm and another at 3pm.  The 1.30pm show was packed out - there just weren't enough seats for all the people who wanted to get in and enjoy the show, so many of the children ended up sitting on the floor, but I got a great response from the group.  When I chose a lovely lady from the audience to be my Anne Boleyn for a decapitation, she was saved from her fate when her 18 month old daughter toddled up on to the stage and cuddled her.  How could I lop her noggin off after that?  After the show I had a lovely lunch sitting in the court yard out the back of the building. Superb.
The second show was a disappointment - only about 10 people turned up, and one lady sat in the back row openly breast feeding a baby, something guaranteed to knock you off your stride when trying to remember what to say next in a show.
But all in all, an absolutely fabulous first day at Christchurch Mansion and I can't wait to get back tomorrow for the second day.  See you there?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Good King Hal & Son

Good King Hal produces his new improved "Mini-Me" to an astonished World.  Last time he threatened to produce is "Mini-Me" in public he was arrested and charged with intended gross indecency.

And so it was time to head back to Hever Castle first of all, for a joust on the Saturday.  However, this time there were a couple of differences - one, it wasn't raining and the sun was shining (hoorah!) and two, I had my son James with me, dressed as a sort of cross between a Herald and a cheap version of Prince Edward.  I had picked up a costume for James to use from "Dress the Part" - a fancy dress outlet that used to be in the Shereday's Centre in Billericay High Street when I was working there back in the 1980's, but has since moved to much bigger premises at Barleyland's Farm just outside Billericay.  We drove down to Hever from Essex on the Saturday morning and met up with Jeremy Richardson, head honcho of the Knights of Royal England as the jousting arena we normally use at Hever still hadn't recovered from the soaking and pounding it took last week, and a new, temporary arena had been set up the far side of the public car park, next to the lake.
Well, we paraded out for the show, and me feeling proud as punch as I had my son James with me in the show for the first time.  There was another notable difference - no Michelle Coda today.  She and her family were attending a big family event and so her place was taken by the admirable Emma Fuery from The Tudor Roses.  She looked after James wonderfully while I was in the middle of the arena doing my patter with the audience.  As we sat in the Royal Box doing the commentary, James knelt on the floor in front of me, but I had to keep shushing him as he was laughing at the antics of the Knights too much and occasionally forgetting he was very close to an open mic!  It was also nice to see Sir Stephen of Porlock back with the Knights again.  It was a lovely day, topped off in marvellous style by seeing Sir Owen of Leeds Castle again, along with his lovely Mummy, Shelley.
James and I immediately left the castle and then headed down to Somerset.  We had a fun night playing on the Wii console, but it was time for an early night as we had to be up bright and early for a trip to Sudeley Castle and the latest Tudor Fun day.  It was lovely to see Sudeley in the sunshine, we had waited so long to see it that way.  There were two Tudor Roses today - Lady Erica and Lady Rachel, plus the lovely Zarrina and Diane from Tudor Gowns.  James and I were spoilt for lovely ladies to look at!  It was devilishly hot today and the old castle was packed with punters which was lovely to see.  It was good to see the lovely Tudor ladies frolicking in the playground, and Rachel and Erica both had fun on the big slide in their Tudor frocks, and then Erica topped that by going on the zip wire in her full Queen's outfit.  Not a site you see every day!  We wandered and posed for photos for most of the day, but James' two  days in the limelight started catching up with him, and by about 3.30pm he was well and truly done in.  We slipped away from the throng, he got changed, I got changed and then we were on our way.  He slept in the car for a while, but amazingly, one take away curry and some Sponge Bob episodes on the TV and he was virtually bouncing off the walls again. 
A few days at leisure and then I am on at Christchurch Mansion in Ipswich next Thursday and Friday, before heading back to Hever Castle on the Saturday and Sunday, and then Leeds Castle on the Monday.  Come and say hello if you get a chance.  And now........... sleep....!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Muddy Norah!

The near legendary Sir Owen of Leeds Castle and the Broomfield Gate, trying to stay dry with his lovely Mum and a not so lovely Good King Hal.  At Hever this weekend.

You can tell when it is the English summertime.  The heavens open, the rain falls, mostly downwards, though sometimes at high speed sideways, and everyone moans about how miserable they are.  All together now - OH HAPPY DAY!  Well we knew there was going to be far too much rain around as we had a hosepipe ban on.  With various Biblical style floods smiting the country it seemed like a jolly splendid idea to hold a jousting tournament at Hever Castle.
I drove up to my sister Cathy's house near Sittingbourne on the Friday, and with rain hammering on the roof all night prepared myself to head back to Hever Castle for the first time this year.  I drove round to where the jousters had parked their submarine... I mean horse box and was greeted by the lovely Kim, Sir Jasper du Barry's wife.  She looked at my rather pathetic trainers I was wearing and asked me if I had any decent Wellington Boots.  By the time I had walked out to the arena to see Sir Jasper (Jeremy) I could see what she was talking about.  With each squelching step I sank a little further into the waterlogged swamp that was once a jousting tilt yard.  How on Earth they were going to do a show in these conditions was at this moment quite beyond me.  I drove back round to the Astor Wing of Hever Castle where my luxury dressing room (for luxury dressing room please read "disused abandoned kitchen") is situated.  I got changed and was then joined by Michelle Coda and her daughter Vix who were to be my Anne Boleyn and junior herald respectively.  As we sat in the castle waiting to be called the rain simply hammered on the roof, churning up the waters of the moat and frightening away any tourists we could startle with our traditional window game.  But cometh the hour and cometh the Sir William of Antioch, ready to bring us out to meet our beloved public!  We did the usual jokey set up with me addressing the crowds, then we had a special honour as I got to Knight Sam, Jeremy's son, in his new character and costume as Sir Sam of Hever.
We wandered over to the arena and did the show.  It was very very muddy in the arena, a couple of times as we walked in I worried I was going to lose a shoe.  But they have built a new Royal Box for us at Hever and Michelle and I squeezed in there with Kim operating the sound system.  Just to our right was seated Sir Owen of Leeds Castle who you can see above, with his lovely Mummy Shelley, getting very excited and laughing his head off at the antics of Sir William of Antioch and Mungo.
We finished the show and headed back to the Castle only to be accosted by a mad woman with a coach load of Italian teenagers who had only just arrived.  She demanded we put the jousting back on as they had arrived and missed it.  I left her with Jeremy to explain that we had finished the show, the horses were exhausted because of the soggy terrain etc., only to hear her utter the amazing words of "well, that's not good enough".  What can you do with obstinacy and stupidity of that level?
The following day it was much warmer, dryer and generally nice, however it wasn't enough to dry out the jousting yard and, if anything conditions actually seemed worse than the day before.  Some of the horses really just didn't want to take part at all and all of the Knights while fighting on foot kept falling over and sliding all over the place.  But we had a much bigger turn out than on the Saturday, which was fantastic, and the show seemed to go really well, even if I did occasionally keep referring to Sam in his old character name of Sam of Castille and not Sam of Hever.  Naughty Henry.  Sir Owen of Leeds Castle was there again in another fantastic costume and seemed to enjoy himself just as much as the previous visit.
Michelle and I got back to the Castle, got changed and I then began the long slog back to Somerset, but it was a fairly easy run back and by about 7pm I was in Crewkerne and opening a bottle of wine.  Schplendid...
Just a quick question - I have noticed on my Facebook page that far more people read my one or two line postings than these blogs.  Can anyone who reads this via the Facebook page please leave a message after they've read it saying "Done it".  That might get people asking what they're talking about and there is no such thing as bad publicity.  I think.  So let me know if you've actually read this!  Ta.  Back to Hever on Saturday, then I am off down to Sudeley Castle on Sunday.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Sutton Valence Primary School

Engelbert Humperdink and his mother celebrate not coming last in the recent Eurovision Song Contest.

Back to Kent today for a visit to Sutton Valence Primary School.  I managed to scare myself half to death the night before by looking up the school on the Internet only to discover there are two Sutton Valence Schools in the village.  ARGH!  Was I going to go to the right one? Well, yes I did.  Sutton Valence Primary School is a state school, whereas Sutton Valence School is a private school - and just to make things even more complicated they are both in the same road and within less than 400 yards of each other...  No wonder I was initially confused.  As it was it was nice to get to the correct school and a very warm welcome from all the staff.
It was a different sort of day today.  The school were celebrating a Horrible Histories Day and had all sorts of different events going on, with me just as one of them.  They had built a Viking long ship in their playground, there was a hunt the famous figure from history competition outside, plus a visit from a Falconer and his birds.  Things began with me greeting the entire school to a morning assembly.  I was only partially through this when the falconer arrived and rather stole any thunder I might have had by walking in with an American Bald Eagle on his arm.  Now that is a conversation stopper I can tell you.  He then wowed the children even more by first launching the bird across the school hall and it swooped low over their heads eliciting many excited whoops and squeals.  He did this several times, and then parted the children where they sat on the floor and had the Eagle trot across the hall again getting a great reaction from all present.  The falconer was a bit of a name dropper and mentioned once or twice during the day that the Eagle had appeared alongside Liam Neeson in the movie "Clash of the Titans".  Should I tell him I once had a beer with Rolf Harris?  No, I don't think it would have cut much ice to be brutally honest.
After the assembly I had an hour with year 5 doing the six wives talk, then I was with year 6 (a really mean and moody bunch of trainee teenagers) for a short while.  And so the day continued with me spending times with different groups.  The year four group that I did the stocks and punishment section with straight after lunch were absolutely brilliant and we had a big laugh.  The lunch was a magnificent Tudor banquet with tables set up in the main hall under superb flags and pennants.
My final section of the day was to be a jousting tournament with years 1 and 2.  I was a little worried as to how this would go as I had never done a tournament with such a very young group.  But I needn't have worried, they were absolutely brilliant!  In the main final a very good ladies team JUST pipped the Gents in a race off finale.  This makes what could be the final score for the school year to be:
A convincing win for the lasses!
Watching all of this was the Mayor of Maidstone and he very charmingly agreed to take part in a final joust between children and teachers, but obviously he was weighed down with his ceremonial chain of office and came a poor second to the ladies teacher's team. 
It was a really different sort of day and great fun all round!  A lovely school worth visiting and I was tired but very happy with the day.  A long drive home was not quite what the doctor ordered but I am sure I should thank him in the long run.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Lee Chapel Primary School

Another arduous day on the Atkins Diet.

Some years ago I did some shows at Downham School near Billericay.  One of the classroom assistants that saw my shows there was a lady called Hayley McKechnie - she is now a fully qualified teacher and works at Lee Chapel School in Basildon.  When the Tudor topic reared it's head for her Key Stage 2 pupils, she remembered my appearances at Downham and recommended me to her new school - and here I was!
I drove over from Amanda's house in Steeple View, so the journey was only about 10 minutes.  Parking was somewhat limited, but they let me have a space, which was very nice.  I was indeed treated like Royalty all day - utterly spoilt rotten, which was very pleasant and something which I will be insisting on at every school I visit from now on.
If every school I visited was as nice as Lee Chapel then I would be a very happy King indeed.  The group was a year 5 collection of classes, just under 70 children, and all in fantastic costumes.  They were bright, bubbly and fun to work with.  The adults who sat in with us were equally fun and also laughed like drains throughout the day which is something that always makes my life easier.  I was then even more spoilt during the lunch break when a very nice assistant called Mandy, nipped over to a local shop and bought me a nice chicken salad sandwich for my lunch.  Very yummy, mind you so was the sandwich.
The afternoon session was even more fun than the morning, if at all possible.  I was in "the zone" as they say and gags galore kept suggesting themselves to me.  Things culminated in a ripping jousting tournament, which was loud, mad and wild, but resulted in yet another victory for the ladies.  It was close, but they came through for a probably just about deserved victory.  This now brings the score up to:
It is getting too easy for them now and there is just not enough time left in the school calendar year for the Gentlemen to pull it back.
I am driving down to Folkestone on Sunday for an evening with Michelle Coda and her family, and then I am off to Sutton Valence School near Leeds Castle on the Monday for my first visit to that school.  And young Ms. Coda is coming with me to observe one of my Tudor Days for the first time.  I hope she likes it.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Maltman's Green School, Gerrards Cross

The Amazing Anuscheh Missaghian and her Life Like Full Size Ventriloquist Doll, King Happy Hal.  Why is he so happy?  Well you should see where her hand goes! "A smile. a song and a schism".  Available for cabaret, masonics and religious persecution.

I hope you like this picture - it was from Ingatestone Hall the other week when I met up with my old school friend Anuscheh - as you can see she has weathered far better than I have over the years - but then she did have a head start.
Now even I looked worse than I do in this picture on Tuesday morning as I had to be up by 4am for a drive up to Gerrard's Cross and a re-arranged show at Maltman's Green School.  I had often been told by Ian Weston from Portals to the Past about what a fine school this was, and he wasn't wrong.  I arrived early, and after the late night of the previous evening and the Rotary show, that by the time I got to the school I was exhausted.  So I parked up, set my alarm on my phone and had 40 winks, which was desperately needed and very welcome.  The weather was appalling so after I had been greeted by Steve Thomas, the teacher who had booked me, I was soon slipping and slithering through the rain loading my props into the hall.
It was a large group for a private school - over 60 children, and all girls - well it would be, Maltman's in an all girls school (well done, Sherlock, that was brilliant!).  Whatever you say about single sex schools I can tell you this - by God they were a loud group today!  They had virtually all dressed up in brilliant costumes - one little girl was even sporting a fake ginger beard and had a pillow stuffed up her costume to turn her into a mini Henry VIII!  Fantastic.  The morning, as with most private schools, is a lot longer than it is at a state school, but we had loads of laughs and I even managed to get the start of the stocks section done before we broke for a well earned lunch.  This turned out to be a delicious chicken korma, which was most welcome.  The final jousting tournament in the afternoon was indescribably loud in the echoey hall that we were in, but everyone seemed to have a good time.  There was even time for the King to have a go at the jousting taking part in a final race against a team that Mr Thomas had picked.  Normally I am away from schools by about 3.30pm at the latest, but in the end it was much nearer 4pm before I managed to slip away.  This put a bit of a spanner in the works for my evening plans.  I had been asked by some friends I am in a pub quiz team with to join them at the King Arthur Pub at Burrowbrigde in Somerset that evening.  If I had got away at a normal time I might just have made it, but the 4pm start was going to make it tricky - the appalling traffic round Stonehenge finished any chance I had of making it in time.  I had to text them my apologies - the text I got back made me realise they weren't very happy.  Oops.
No jousting score today as I can't really include a result from an all girls school, now can I?  I am now in Essex having just driven up for a show tomorrow at Lee Chapel School in sunny Basildon.  Sounds like it is going to be a good fun day tomorrow.  I can't wait.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The George Michael Hotel...

Good King Hal showing admirable composure after a particularly unsuccessful Temperance Society cheese and wine bash.

The weekend just gone has been very nice indeed.  My parents came down to stay from their home at Newcastle Emlyn and we had a fun time.  On the Sunday we went down to Portesham in Dorset for the Memorial Service for my cousin Jack.  Jack died in May and this was a chance to celebrate the life of a truly exceptional human being.   I have so many happy memories of my Uncle Jack - he was a true and proper English eccentric, intelligent, witty, creative and one of the warmest kindest men I have ever had the pleasure to meet.  We shall not look on his like again.  A few years ago when I made a Henry appearance at Abbotsbury Tythe Barn for their "Midsummer Medieval Mayhem", Jack kindly agreed to be a "Heckler" in the audience during my set.  He did such a fine job that he got more of an ovation than I did at the end!  The memorial service was full of song, poetry, music and happy memories - just perfect for this incredible man.  Jack - it was a pleasure to know you.  The world is a greyer colder place without you.
This evening, Monday, I was due to give another talk to a Rotary Club, this time Yeo Vale Rotary - their meeting was to take place at a hotel just south of Yeovil on the A37.  I noted the name of the hotel but kept struggling to remember it.  It's official name was The George Albert Hotel, but I kept thinking of either George Michael or Prince Albert, both of which can be quite hurtful.  One is a searing pain where you least want it, and the other is a genital piercing (BA-DOOM-TISH -  thank you, thank you).
I drove down in the slowly dimming light of the summer evening.  I was due on at 8.15pm so I arrived at the hotel at about 7.45pm and was warmly greeted by the lovely receptionist Louise.  I was sent up to a room to use as a dressing room.  It was one of the card entry system rooms - I could not get the door to unlock, so eventually I had to come back down to reception and ask the long suffering Louise to get me another card.  It was only when I went back up to the room that I realised I had to put the card and then take it out to get the door to unlock, not just leave it in as I had been doing.  What a prat.  I got in the room and then couldn't make any of the lights work.  This was turning into a nightmare.  So I got changed into my Henry togs in braille and then went downstairs, but not before I discovered that I could have got the lights to work in my room if I had simply popped the all powerful door card into another slot by the bedroom door.  DOH!.
Downstairs I waited to be summoned to the function room.  But the wait went on and on and on.  Finally I got into do my show at about 9pm.  Well it went great - not quite as storming as the show at I did at the Westland Centre a while back, but plenty of laughs and a real long warm round of applause at the conclusion!  So I got changed back in my now well lit and air conditioned room and then drove back through thick fog and headed for home.  Tomorrow is another early start with a visit to Maltman's Green School in Buckinghamshire.