Good King Hal, moon walking his way past Leeds Castle in a valiant attempt to impress anyone who might be looking.
2013? 2013? Weren't we all supposed to be blown to smithereens or something in 2012? As I sit here in my concrete nuclear fall out shelter eating chunks of "Stormin' Norman's Re-Hydrated Southern Chicken" (Just like Mama used to re-hydrate it!) by the light of my re-chargeable lithium light emitting diode lamp, the quiet gurgle of my waste re-cycling tank my only accompaniment, I can't help feeling a little let down to be honest. Also, I think I might have over-reacted to the threat our civilisation faced. Still I am sure my landlord won't be too upset by the small changes I have made to my flat. For all I know he will be delighted that I have added 3,000 tonnes of gamma ray proof lead sheeting and 6,000 tonnes of pre-stressed concrete roofing. It all adds to the ambiance of my two bedroom flat. And the rooftop mounted missile launching system has proved an absolute boon in keeping the grotty pigeons off my window frames, the filthy disease riddled feathery twats.
But seriously folks... It IS 2013 and it was time for Henry VIII to hit the road again. January 9th was my first day back in the tights and it was to be a return visit to Blackbrook School in Taunton, a school I had last visited about 4 years ago. The reason being that on my last visit I was doing the show for a group comprised of years 3, 4 and 5 combined, and it was the same this day as well. A group of about 130 children in total, and it was great to be back here doing the Tudor Show again. Blackbrook was a delight - a big group, and a very enthusiastic group. A lot of enjoyment and some great Tudor knowledge was shown by the pupils and we finished the day with the inevitable loud jousting tournament that a very good ladies team strolled to a comfortable victory. This brought our score for the current educational year to:
GENTLEMEN 8 - 11 LADIES
So different year, same old result! The weekend I nipped back briefly to Kent and Essex to spend some time with my lovely Shelley, and also to spend a day in the company of my darling little boy, James who is now unbelievably 10 years old. Where does the time go?
Monday 14th saw me back to a school I have the delight of visiting every year. St Paul's Junior is in Shepton Mallet and is a lovely school. I am always made very welcome and today was no different. Again it was a big group, about 130 children and they were very excitable and loud. The morning passed very quickly and I ended it sitting in the dining hall eating some very nice sausages for lunch and chatting to some of the children who were enjoying the day. Sure enough, with such a big group we had another deafening jousting tournament to finish the day with. Much enthusiasm and skill was shown by the children and it culminated in yet ANOTHER victory for the ladies. How do they keep doing it? Our score clicks over to:
GENTLEMEN 8 - 12 LADIES
The gents are being slowly pulverised. You sometimes wonder where their next victory is going to come from.
Tuesday 15th was a return visit to one of the schools I only ever get to visit every other year, as I do two year groups combined. It was to Ashcott School just to the south west of Glastonbury that I was visiting. It was a crisp clear morning, some vestiges of over night snow were on the roof of my car first thing. The drive up towards Ashcott was lovely and the sweeping views down across Glastonbury town and the Tor rising majestically in the early morning sunshine was beautiful. That view of the town and the mysterious looking Tor is still one of my favourite views in the whole of Somerset. Ashcott School is a delight every time I visit, and this day was the same. It is only ever a small group, just under 40 children this day, but their lack of numbers are more than made up for by their sheer enthusiasm and noise levels. Mr Bryar the head teacher was a welcoming figure even if he does look young enough to almost be one of the pupils. We had a superb day, a lovely shepherds pie lunch and a very close final to the jousting which was finally decided by me having to disqualify the gentleman's team as they just simply stacked up so many little faults and cheats! So by default it was another win for the ladies. The score now begins to look a bit ominous for the Gentlemen. Where is their next win going to come from?
GENTLEMEN 8 - 13 LADIES
The drive home from Ashcott took me through Compton Dundon, a lovely little village that always reminds me of visiting it many years ago on various camping holidays with friends including Kevin Rowley, from Maldon in Essex. Kevin always used to like one stone built shed you could see from the main road as you drove through Compton Dundon. This particular shed had a wonderfully undulating roof ridge, where the elderly timbers sagged under the weight of the tiles across it. As I drove through Compton Dundon after the show yesterday I looked out for this shed as I always do.... but, horror of horrors, it was gone! Utterly destroyed! Either by just simply collapsing under the weight of years, or possibly it might have been smashed by someone driving into it. It was difficult to tell as I drove past. Poor Kevin, he will miss it terribly I know....
And so, today, Wednesday 16th found me getting up on a very chilly iced up morning for a long drive up to Coalway Junior in Coleford in Gloucestershire. This is another lovely school (I know I might sound like I am repeating myself here, but I have to be honest, pretty much all the schools I visit are genuinely lovely places) and almost as soon as I arrived I was whisked off to a side class room by some of the teachers I was working with today to be told that they were in the middle of an OFSTED inspection. It had begun that morning and their first inclination of it taking part was a phone call to the school at 3pm on the previous day. Well despite OFSTED's presence, we had a fine day. About 90 children I would estimate and all full of enthusiasm for the Tudors and my presence. There was much guffawing at some of my gags from the teachers present and a lovely day was had all round. I hope OFSTED give them the glowing report they deserve, as Coalway Junior is a fabulous school. The day finished for me and the children with another brain and senses numbing jousting tournament, and for once, and for the first time in 2013, it was great to see the Gents finally wining a tourney!
GENTLEMEN 9 -13 LADIES
Perhaps there is some hope for them after all. Keep watching folks...
So I am now back in my nuclear fall out shelter, awaiting the Biblical fall of snow we have been promised on the electric wireless thingy. Well, what was promised to be something like the movie "The Day After To Tomorrow" yesterday, the forecast is now down to little more than some airborne dandruff on Friday. But we shall see, you never know. It's a bit like jousting tournaments really - you just never know what you're going to get.