Good King Hal and Natalie Dormer show you how "that" scene in The Tudors would have looked like if it had taken place indoors, on a boat, and with clothes on.
Sometimes life goes past so fast that if you blink, you can miss some of it. That is how this last week has felt to be brutally honest. No sooner had the two days in Bristol gone last week, then I was getting ready for a visit down to my place from the lovely Shelley, and Sir Owen of Leeds Castle. They arrived on the Friday afternoon, mainly to see me, but also to come along to the annual Chut Fest at Barrington Court, to which I had been invited again by the splendid Matthew Applegate. As ever the whole of Chut Fest was a roaring success - very busy with plenty of interested punters wandering around sampling Chutneys, Jams and Pickles, and much fun to be had with Matthew, Rachel Brewer and everyone else. Shelley and Owen stayed over until Monday morning when we went on our separate ways with me heading off to Romford in Essex for an afternoon at a school, and Shelley and Owen off back home to Maidstone.
My afternoon was at Broadford School in Harold Hill, which is the Latin quarter of Romford. I had previously visited this school in 2009 for a full day, but I had managed to remember where the site was, so I felt quietly confident when I arrived. Nope, confidence might have been a bit misplaced - the reception area was partially boarded up and visitors were encouraged to go to the new building. I couldn't find the new building and it was hammering down with rain. This was beginning to be a bit of a pain. I saw a lady with a push chair and asked her where the new school was, and she patiently pointed out the obvious and massive new build behind the old school house. Oh, THAT school. I drove round to a big side entrance to the car park on the side of the new school building. I got out in the pouring rain and pushed the buzzer entry on the gates. There was no reply, so I pressed it again. Still no reply. By now I was virtually soaked to the skin, so I had one last hopeless go with the bell and was delighted to get a reply. Soon I was in and drying off in a very welcoming staff room, along with a warming cup of tea. It was a fun afternoon with a combined group of years 3 and 4, with just an opening talk and music from Henry and then a loud and exciting jousting tournament. It was a very closely fought final between two very good teams, but I had to disqualify the Gents team in the final as one of their riders only collected three quoits before returning to base and handing on to the next team member. This brought out score back to:
GENTLEMEN 3 - 3 LADIES
So any advantage the gents had has already slipped away. Normal service now resumed? We shall see. I spent the Monday night with my lovely son James in Basildon, desperately trying to convince him of the positives and advantages of an early night. He didn't seem to get the message. I personally had to go to bed early as I was up and out of the front door at the crack of dawn the next day.
So the Tuesday dawned with me heading back to dear old St Cecillia's School in North Cheam in Surrey - this was my 10th year of visiting this lovely school and it was, as ever as pleasure and delight to be back there. The journey down was hard work, with the M25 being in an absolute pig of a mood with stacked up cars and drizzly lousy weather. I eventually arrived at St Cecillia's and was warmly welcomed by the caretaker (with yet ANOTHER new car) and all the other staff members, nearly all of whom said "is it another year already?" It was a group of about 60+ children, all of whom were in fantastic costumes, as were the teachers. What can I say about St Cecillia's which I haven't already said in previous blog entries about this school? It was a superb day as ever, plenty of laughs and warm friendliness from all the staff and children. The final joust was predictably loud and exciting and, with one poor little lad having a bit of a melt down in the final, it was left to a ladies team to walk away unopposed with the title. The score clicks inexorably on to:
GENTLEMEN 3 - 4 LADIES
So there is something faintly familiar about how the scores are starting to turn. I drove from North Cheam back down to Maidstone to spend another evening with Shelley. We had a lovely day out in Maidstone (it is possible, honest) on the Wednesday, before I drove back to Somerset that evening. I was home just after 11pm, but I had to be up early again as I was back on BBC Somerset the following morning as they were broadcasting live from Montacute House near Yeovil and I was on their tour bus as a special guest. Emma Britton wasn't available as she was on leave and so the show was run by Vernon Harfield instead, who obviously has designs on being the next Jeremy Paxman. And he is ALMOST there, he just needs to get his nose and sense of moral outrage a bit more pronounced.
I am now full of cold and considering an early night, or death. To be honest, the way I feel at the moment, either would do.