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!