Good King Hal, wowing his audience so much at a recent performance of "Henry's Horrid History" Barrington Court, that some of the punters, overcome with emotion, have to make a mad run for the exit.
This was a week to test the endurance and tensile strength of everything from my lungs to my underpants, as I careered around the country, full of cold and coughing over as many people as I could manage. Things started on the Thursday night when I was booked to appear at Tatworth WI club near Chard in Somerset. Hollywood glitz? You don't know the half of it. So I was at this glamorous post war village hall, surrounded by the great and good of the Tatworth committee rooms, singing my heart out to "Jerusalem" at the beginning of the meeting. Then I was on stage, entertaining them with bonne mottes of Tudor history and humour, interspersed with violent coughing fits and some gentle swearing. Gosh this cold was turning out to be fun. Nearly all of my symptoms had gone, and all I was left with was an occasionally runny nose, but this awful rumbling chesty cough that only ever reared it's head when I went to laugh. And here, a week hence, I STILL have that awful cough and I am FED UP OF THE GIT! Anyway, my evening with the quiet ladies of the WI came to an end and I was thanked and photographed a lot. But that was not the end of my evening, oh no. No sooner had I left Tatworth, I had to leap into my car and drive right the way across the country in the pitch dark and occasional violent downpour of rain, to my beloved Shelley's house in Maidstone.
On the Friday I was due to join Michelle Coda and various members of the Knights of Royal England on a visit over to East Grinstead and Saint Hill Manor, former home of L Rob Hubbard and now a centre for the International Scientology Movement. We were to be part of the entertainment at their international symposium, or something or other. Now my own personal view of Scientology is (THE FOLLOWING SECTION OF GOOD KING HAL'S BLOG HAS BEEN SCREENED FOR LEGAL AND SAFETY REASONS AND IN AN EFFORT NOT TO UPSET TOM CRUISE ANY MORE THAN HE HAS BEEN UPSET IN THE PAST YEAR. FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE, SOOTHING MUSIC IS NOW BEING PLAYED AND IT WOULD PROBABLY BE BEST IF YOU NIPPED OFF FOR A GLASS OF WATER OR SOMETHING. HANG ON, I THINK HE'S FINISHED). And another thing (OOPS, MY MISTAKE. HE'S OFF AGAIN. ER.... DREADFUL WEATHER WE'RE HAVING LATELY, DON'T YOU THINK? AND THAT ROY HODGSON, DOES HE KNOW WHAT HE'S DOING OR WHAT? WHAT'S THAT? OH, HE HAS FINISHED NOW. BACK TO "COUGH-A-LONG" FARLEY)... and about as believable as most Tory party political broadcasts. But that's just me. So for the best part of a whole day we were surrounded by Scientologists from all corners of the World and I have to say that Saint Hill is a very spectacular location. They are clearly not short of a bob or two. The jousters with us for the day were Jeremy, Kim, Lucy, Ashley, Dan and Mack. The weather was atrocious a constant never ending downpour of Scotch mist that soaked you to the skin and sapped your strength. Just what you needed when you were full of cold and feeling like death warmed up. I added to my fun and enjoyment by slipping on the steps at one point and jarring my back which pleased me not! We were only there from 2pm to about 6pm, but the relentless dourness of the weather and the lack of response from some of the guests made the time drag awfully. After a final prance up and down with the Knights and some Scottish pipers, who Jeremy took great delight in soaking by pushing up the rain sagging awning that was over them with his flag (extremely funny) we were soon on our way home as the big evening bash for the Scientologists began. Michelle and I complained that we hadn't seen Tom Cruise all day, but mind you in the dreadful weather we had endured the poor little fella might have sunk I suppose. As we drove out of the grounds as the good and faithful poured in through the gates, we went past a huge gleaming stretch limo with blacked out windows, followed closely by a brand new minibus full of very large muscular men in dinner jackets, wearing dark glasses and with ear pieces. (INSERT YOUR OWN GAG HERE!!!!!)
We had a few days off over the weekend, but got together to visit some Wedding Fayres to get some ideas for possible business ventures. Then I was due at Hever Castle on the Monday for a filming session on their new publicity video, however the weather was so gloomy and foggy that they gave up on Monday, and then gave up on Tuesday. Filming has now been put back to either November (possibly) or next Spring (most likely).
Thursday this week found me back for a return visit to Wickford Junior School in Essex. This was my seventh year at this lovely school and as ever I was warmly welcomed back, and even offered tea and toast on my arrival - what King could ask for more? The morning was great fun, with laughs a plenty from the usual sort of thing you get at Wickford - a big group, fantastic costumes and lots of intelligence and plenty of laughs. The morning seemed to go past so quickly. Soon I was in the staff room munching down a lunch that consisted of breaded cod, saute potatoes and beans (relatively healthy) followed by pancakes in maple syrup (so unhealthy as to be able to hear your arteries hardening as you gulped them down). The afternoon was a riot of laughs and fun and culminated in a long overdue win for the Gents on the jousting. This brings our score back to:
GENTLEMEN 4 - 5 LADIES
Back to almost parity again. I have a feeling it will be a lot closer this time.
Half term is here and the King is off for a holiday in Wales with the lovely Shelley, my son James and Shelley's son, Sir Owen of Leeds Castle, so should be fun. And I have nearly finished coughing over everybody in the entire British Isles. There is an elderly couple in Tenby who I haven't done yet, but I should be catching up with them next week. Have a fun half term everyone. See you soon.