The Knights of Royal England democratically deciding who has to buy the next round of drinks at the Pub.
And so the long fun summer of jousting starts to wind down. The penultimate weekend started off with me down in Somerset with my son James. I had been keeping him entertained for a few days by taking him for days out, or to the cinema to see Ice Age 4, or by simply allowing him to thrash me mercilessly at baseball and tennis on the Wii Sports game.
We drove up to Essex on the Wednesday evening and then intended to head down to Kent on the Thursday - which was the plan, but poor old James started suffering with a tooth ache on the Thursday morning, to such an extent that he willingly volunteered to go to the dentist the following morning (first available appointment), so therefore for the Friday show at Hever I was a small loud herald short for the day. And I really did miss having him there - and funnily enough Michelle Coda's daughter Vix was also unavailable that day. So not a Herald in sight! The Friday was a good fun show - quite staggeringly hot and airless, but the audience really joined in and enjoyed the show. James was recovered enough from his dental torture to return to the fray on the Saturday. Well if you thought the Friday had been hot - you ain't seen nothing yet! This Saturday simply sweltered with temperatures at Hever Castle at about 80 degrees. It was unbearably hot in the Royal Box doing the commentary, so goodness knows what the poor jousters were going through in the middle. The audience seemed equally dulled by the blistering heat and were quiet, non-responsive and a bit lethargic to be honest. It was hard work trying to whip up any enthusiasm with them at all. But in that weather you really couldn't blame them at all.
I was already pre-booked for the Sunday at Sudeley Castle from some time ago, and so the jousting at Hever had to occur without Henry for once, but I did really miss being there with the jousters and Michelle. Sudeley looked lovely in the early morning light and dappled sunshine. Luckily the weather in the Cotswolds was about 10 degrees cooler than it had been the previous day at Hever. So it was another wander round the grounds of Sudeley Castle - groups from the Tudor Roses and Tudor Gowns were also there, as was the Tudor music group Waytes and Measures, but James and I ploughed our own solo furrow for the vast majority of the day, meeting people and posing for photographs. The weather was very kind on this final day at Sudeley for the summer, but I was slowed down with a stiff painful ankle, which plagued me for most of the afternoon and finally forced me to give up early on the day at about 3.30pm.
On leaving Sudeley, James and I drove out to Wales for a few days at Newcastle Emlyn with my parents, where we are still currently residing and being spoilt rotten. Mind you, the pub my Dad and I went to in Cenarth last night was (censored on legal advice).
James and I head back to the South East late on Wednesday and will be back at Hever Castle for our final joust there on Friday and Saturday, and then off to Castle Hedingham in Essex for the Sunday and Monday for the final summer joust of 2012. It has been a blast.