Friday, September 21, 2012

Better Late Than Never (And TOPLESS KATE MIDDLETON PICTURES!!!!! - that got your attention didn't it?)

Good King Hal in his latest replacement double glazing advert.  "I liked the product so much, I dissolved the monasteries, and made myself head of the newly formed Church of England.  Beat that, Victor Kiam."

I was feeling listless, uninspired, torpid to be honest.  And then I realised what the problem was - I had not had a single blog in over a week, and that is not good for you.  So, today I have decided to attempt a new blog, and here we are 50 words in and all is going well still.  The shock title of this blog is to try and see if I can get a few more hits from the outside world.  I suppose if I was going to really try and court publicity I should put on some crudely drawn cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed, but then some people in this world have had a complete sense of humour by-pass and I'd end up with some deranged lunatic setting fire to Tudor Roses (the pictures, not the ladies) and hurling stones at my windows.  But I can handle the pressure! Or as Prince William said to Kate Middleton "get yer writs out!", so let's get on with the blog.
Tuesday the 11th of September found me driving up to Harrogate in Yorkshire for a visit to Bicton Grange School in the town.  Normally when I am going away to do a show and have to find somewhere to stay I tend to plump for the obvious Travelodge option as they are cheap, easy to find, but admittedly utterly soulless.  So in advance of my trip I went on to the Travelodge website - their hotel in the middle of Harrogate wanted to charge an extortionate rate just to get your head down for the evening, plus they had no car park and your only nearby option was to use a local municipal car park at a breath-taking £1.10 per hour.  I would find somewhere else.  With the help of my lovely Shelley we went on line and checked various of these "Last Minute dot com" and "You want a room, where!!??" type of websites.  I had soon found the St George's Hotel and Spa in the middle of Harrogate that would normally charge somewhere in the region of about £120 a night for the most basic of room, but on this site was flogging off rooms at £40 per night - so I went for that.  After the long drive up to Harrogate I was delighted to find what a charming town it is - very leafy and pleasant, with big wide open spaces right in the middle of the town.  Finding the St George's Hotel, or more specifically it's car park was proving a bit more of a headache.  I eventually stopped and asked a couple of ladies walking by the side of the road where I could find the St George's Hotel, and scarcely cracking a smile they pointed to a sign directly behind them that said in letters about four feet high "ST GEORGE'S HOTEL".  Should have gone to Spec-Savers.  Now I know I got a cheap room, but a hotel of the quality of St George's will make sure it can screw every other penny out of you at every opportunity.  So just to leave my car in their small car park over night was an extra £5. KER-CHING! Wi-Fi Internet connection was free, it just didn't work very well and was quite staggeringly slow.
I decided to spoil myself that night with a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant.  It appeared I was one of only two people eating in the cavernous dining room that night, but never mind.  I kicked off with coquille st jacques, which was delicious but tiny, and then had a succulent sirloin steak which was cooked to perfection.  I washed this down with a very agreeable bottle of Merlot.  This meal alone cost more than the rental of the room had originally cost. KER-CHING!  I slept OK, but there was a lot of noise outside the hotel at night which disturbed me from time to time.  I got up in the morning, showered and shaved, and prepared for the short drive to the school.  However, before that I decided to have my "free" breakfast at the hotel.  I dashed down to the dining room and explained my haste to a bewildered looking east European waiter, and grabbed a plate of egg, sausage and bacon, and gulped down a pot of tea.  It was OK, but as it was "free" it tasted a bit better.  I went to check out only to discover the breakfast wasn't free at all - for my egg, bacon and sausage, and one cup of tea I had been charged £10.  KER-CHING!  So I might have started off with a cheap room but I was now starting to head for a cost close to the import deficit of a medium sized third-world country.  KER-CHING!
Bicton Grange School was a delight.  I was very warmly welcomed by all the staff who were very excited about the arrival of Henry VIII at their school.  I was with the year 5/6 group today and they wanted to split the groups into three and then have me do three separate "Henry's Horrid History" presentations to the groups.  Sounded great to me, but I have to admit by the time I got to the final group at the start of the afternoon I was exhausted.  It was great to get all of the group together at the end for a right royal Jousting tournament.  It was uproarious and entertaining and culminated in a win for...... the Gents!  This makes our start of the academic year score:
It's nice to see it so close at the beginning of the year.  I wonder if the ladies will just race off into the distance like they did last year?  Watch this space...
Fully recovered from my 6 hours+ drive back from Harrogate, I was then on the road early again on the Saturday for a trip up to Wallington in Surrey for another Wedding appearance.  This time I was to be toast master and MC for the wedding reception of Manuela Jenkins and Ian Flowers at Carew Manor, one time home of the Carew family in Tudor times, but now a special school run by the local authority.  It was at Carew Manor that Henry VIII apparently had various assignations with Jane Seymour before their marriage, dirty old devil.  I arrived and was welcomed by the caretaker, a really lovely bloke and one of the catering managers for the event, the deliciously named Amie Poland, who apparently is cousin of dear old Mungo from the Knights of Royal England - what a small world it is.  Well it was a lovely event and a nice evening.  The Bride and Groom looked stunning as they arrived at the Manor being driven along in an 80+ years old open top Lagonda car, which rather worryingly smelt like my late grandfather's sit on lawn mower when the engine was switched off.  Bizarre. 
The meal was lovely, I introduced the speeches and then I was on my way, down to Maidstone and my lovely Shelley.  On the Sunday we went over to my sister's near Sittingbourne to meet up with Michelle Coda and young Vix for a cup of tea and discussions about possible future Tudor projects.  It was a very positive meeting given extra piquancy thanks to Sir Owen of Leeds Castle producing silent but deadly "Butler's Revenge"-style farts that could strip paint from 20 yards and make your eyes water like tear gas.  That's the last time he's getting onions for lunch, I can tell you.
Right, up to date now, and I honestly promise never to hang on to my blogs as long as this again.  I know it is bad for me.  Perhaps I should eat more onions like Sir Owen.  Oh, and no topless Kate Middleton photos, just a joke.  And definitely no cartoons of "you know who".

1 comment:

Moonroot said...

Re your experiences in Harrogate - They do say there's no such thing as a free lunch. Nor breakfast, apparently.