And then Kate Winslet turned into an anteater... as you do.
So where has naughty old Good King Hal been this last week or so? No blog? Surely not! Well despite not much Henry-ing going on, I have been a busy boy. My final Henry appearance before the week of half term was an evening appearance down at Saunton Golf Club near Braunton in Devon. I had been booked to appear for a Rotary Club. Now they were a very nice group, especially the chap who had booked me, however he dropped something of a bombshell the week before the show. It was a black tie event and they expected me to turn up for the dinner in full DJ and bow tie. Now I don't even own a normal tie, let alone and bow tie and DJ. When I explained this over the phone to the nice man he said "well don't worry, just wear a normal suit". A suit? Me? I used to wear suits and ties when I was working down at Skandia in Southampton, but since I left the "ranks of shuffling graveyard people", to quote early Marillion, I needed a suit and tie about as much as a vegetarian needs a George Foreman Grill. I considered looking at buying or renting a suit, but most circus tents were unavailable and to be honest there just wasn't enough material in the world to make one. In the end it was decided (by me) that I would turn up in my usual Worzel Gummidge gear and then slip into my Henry costume for the meal, do my show, then get changed and clear off. Which is what I did.
The drive down was much further than I expected, but was relatively easy. I was warmly welcomed by all the Rotarians, got changed and then came out for the meal. The food itself was lovely and then after several speeches it was me. Not wishing to blow my own trumpet but I tore them up and went down a storm. Loads of laughs and even a round of applause for one new gag I threw in about the recent discovery of Richard III's remains in a Leicester car park. The gag was basically, if someone came into my office and said they'd found a Richard III in the car park I'd say, what do you expect, we are in Leicester after all. Ba-doom-tish! A big round of applause at the end and I was off, but with more than twice my agreed fee as they had enjoyed my show so much. How very nice of them.
On the Saturday I drove to Tidworth in Wiltshire and the Royal Tank Regiment Family day. I met up with my lovely Shelley, Sir Owen of Leeds Castle, Shelley's mum and my lovely son James who they'd picked up in Kent when Amanda brought him down. Shelley's eldest son, Jamie is currently serving in the Royal Tank Regiment. It was a fun day for all the family - tanks to clamber over, weapons to look at, soldiers to chat to and with the added fun for the kids of a roller coaster, dodgem cars, and various side stalls including shooting range and candy floss. The food plus all this entertainment was completely free and James and Owen had a right old time of it, checking out the impressive vehicles and leaping all over them, then driving the dodgems until I imagine the national grid began to run out of electricity. At the end of an exhausting day Shelley, Owen and Shelley's Mum headed back to Kent, while James and I struck out down to Somerset.
The following day James and I headed off to Newcastle Emlyn and a visit to my parents. The weather was nice and my folks were pleased to see us, however for the first day James wasn't too well with a bad stomach, but he soon recovered. We had some nice days out, including a visit to Aberaeron which is an absolutely delightful little seaside town. Then on another day we went into Carmarthen and took James to see the movie "Wreck It Ralph" which he absolutely loved. I then drove James back to Essex, then had a brief stop at Kent to see Shelley before shooting back to Somerset.
I was back on the 23rd for a visit to Bridport to see Justin Currie in concert at the Electric Palace Theatre. I had bought two tickets in the hope of going along with Shelley, but she couldn't get a baby sitter for Sir Owen and sadly was stuck in Kent. I had a spare ticket so I offered it to a few friends and ended up visiting the show with my friend Jill Beed who luckily lives about 20 yards from the front door of the Electric Palace. Her husband Mark cooked us a lovely meal before we went, so I was spoilt rotten. As for the show? Stunning. If you ever get a chance to see Justin Currie live - go for it. His song writing skills are such that he makes it look sickeningly easy and anyone who has ever had a bash at writing songs (myself included) will know just what a tortured experience it can be. He kept the entire audience spell bound for nearly two hours, just himself and his guitar (and occasionally on piano) and I am already in the queue for the next tour. Please check out this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuiy3_hjhkI for a clip from Saturday night of Justin performing "Always the Last to Know" which was brilliant and even brought a tear to the old King's eye.
Back to being Henry now that half term has gone. Tuesday (my birthday) sees me back at St Mary's School at South Woodham Ferrers in Essex. Watch this space for more.