And to be honest, this was a major sticking point. Geddit?
Another week, and another seven days of travel, travails, excitement, ups, downs and lots of miming to appalling records. But enough about that for now. More later! We spin the clock back a full week though, to the previous Friday when I was due to make an appearance at a brand new school for me - St Mark's Junior School in Salisbury in Wiltshire. The weather was a bit rough on the journey down, but the arrival and welcome was warm and genuine. The motif for St Mark's School is the Venetian lion, hence the name St Mark's I guess, but it gives the whole place a slightly cosmopolitan air. Well it was a great day with the kids in a lovely school, with much fun had by all. The day finished with the inevitable joust and the inevitable win for the ladies. Our score slowly clicks over to:
GENTLEMEN 11 - 14 LADIES
The drive back was OK but unmemorable.
Saturday morning had me up bright and relatively early and heading up to Kent to see my lovely Shelley. I spent a lovely day with her and Sir Owen of Leeds Castle before I headed over to my sister's place at Stockbury near Sittingbourne for my brother-in-law Julian's birthday party. Shelley sadly couldn't attend as she couldn't get a baby sitter for Owen, however she did insist that I went anyway. Well, who was I to argue? The evening was great fun with lots of laughs with Dave and Anne Turner-Maynard, John and Viv Rich, Cath and Julian (of course) and Michelle Coda. I drank too much and stayed up too late, but by God it was worth it, even the hangover in the morning.
I spent Sunday with Shelley and Owen, and we ended the day by re-visiting the new restaurant in Maidstone: Buddha-Belly. Sadly, it was a little bit of a disappointment this time around, but Owen got very excited by being able to actually see the chefs hard at work cooking your food on the big flaming stoves. We wandered back to the car each of us with our own Buddha Belly by this time, but for me there was only a little bit of sitting around, before climbing into the car and driving to Essex. I spent the evening with my lovely son James, before heading for an early night.
Up at an ungodly hour on the Monday and on the road north up towards East Anglia. I was heading back to Gorleton near Great Yarmouth and a once in every three years visit to Herman Junior. I just love the name of this school - Herman Junior. As I said in my previous blog entry about this place, it sounds like a character from The Munsters. Again it was a fun day with everyone being welcoming and friendly, and wouldn't you just know it, the Ladies strolled to another easy victory in the Jousting. So while I was trundling back down the A12 towards Essex, our score slowly changes to:
GENTLEMEN 11 - 15 LADIES
On the Tuesday I was down to Leeds Castle where I had to video a clip of me addressing the camera to advertise the forthcoming Jester Factor - a search for a new jester for Leeds Castle. So I was all dolled up in my finest Henry gear, lurking in the King's bedchamber in the castle, when in walked a Japanese tourist, he had his back to me. He slowly turned round and promptly nearly lost his sushi in his pants - so surprised was he to see the King standing in front of him. Well if you wish to see the results of my video work then please go to You Tube and look at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oGBwLJyaT8 and you might be pleasantly surprised. Or not of course. That evening it was back up to Essex as yet again the following morning I was up at the crack of you know what for a return drive to Norfolk.
It it's Wednesday it must be Norfolk? True, here I was up the A14 and A147 heading back to Norwich and this time an eighth annual visit to White Woman Lane School in that lovely city. This is a cracking school and always a delight to visit, and this year was no different. Warm welcomes, much laughter about Mr Richmond the teacher wearing a Tudor pantaloons outfit in the same colours that Norwich City wear, so he did have a passing resemblance to a post medieval canary. And apart from nearly falling asleep during the "Grand Tudor Quiz" everything went swimmingly and by the numbers. And wouldn't you just know it, the ladies only went and triumphed again in the jousting. The gents don't stand a chance at the moment and they now fall even further behind with a score of:
GENTLEMEN 11 - 16 LADIES
Sometimes it seems like there is absolutely no stopping them. The drive back to Essex was fairly awful with sudden unexpected snow falling on the A147 in Norfolk and then a big smash on the A12 south which managed to close the road for a while, which was a bit of a pain. But I managed to get past it.
Thursday was a day of relative relaxation. I met up with an old friend of mine and had lunch, and picked up a big load of old cricket books, which pleased me! All that and the weather was nice, which was splendid. After another evening with dear James, Friday was due to be something a bit special, and it was.
I was due on this Friday to appear at James' school for a special appearance to kick off their History Week. James and I drove to the school through sunny but very icy lanes and arrived to a warm welcome from all of his teacher's and staff at St Anne Line School. I was quite nervous about doing this show for James and his mates - it's OK to do shows time after time to anonymous children that you don't know, but suddenly to appear in front of a group of children you know, especially when one of them is your own flesh and blood. That was a bit different, slightly scary and all the more rewarding when it went well - and it did. It was a great day with very friendly help from Mrs Slee and Mrs Mulreaney, James' class teacher and his one to one worker, in that order. Well James thoroughly enjoyed the day, even after I put him in the stocks during the afternoon session. The only bit he couldn't stand was the noise in the hall during the joust and therefore sat quietly in the office when that was on. As for the joust it was won - AGAIN, by the ladies. How are they doing it?
GENTLEMEN 11 - 17 LADIES
What a lead! Can they possibly be caught? Keep watching. The King is delighted to announce that he now has a couple of days off before Monday will involve him getting up very early for a first visit to Dulwich College Junior School in South East London. Should be fun, then it is on to Southampton, then Hereford, the Devon and then.... Oh God. It is back to being a yo-yo again, isn't it?