Saturday, March 23, 2013

Whoever is Holding Spring Hostage, Can You Release It? Please!

Spring last year - you remember?  Sunny and warm.  Dry.  No wind.  Ring any bells?

With winter showing no sign of abating for the time being, we plod on through what must be the longest season in the history of humanity.  According to my records winter started on June 6th 2012 and is still going.  So that's global warming that is...  Climate change?  Yeah, that as well.  All I know is that I have icicles on all of my exposed areas and permafrost in my codpiece.
My latest Henry shenanigans saw me last Saturday (the 16th) bowling up at BBC Somerset in Taunton for an appearance on the Emma Britton Show.  This was a bit different to my previous appearances as it wasn't as just one of her panel commenting on certain news items.  This time I was to be interviewed as one of her "Somerset Lives" series.  I was following in the footsteps of Michael Eavis and Tara Newley, so in my own warped little mind I was hugely famous for a day.  I got to Taunton early and had a nice wander round the shops - it is a fine town for shopping, but as I was virtually skint it was more a case of pressing my face against the glass and looking longingly in at the goodies inside until I was chased off by irate shop girls.  I walked up to the BBC studio in Park Street and was greeted by Emma with a big hug, which was nice. I sat in the Green Room sipping tea and receiving messages of good luck from various friends around the globe who would be tuning in, including Amanda and James in Essex, and Shelley and Sir Owen in Maidstone.  And then I was on!  It was a nice relaxed interview, lasting about half an hour and lots of laughs.  If you got a chance to hear it I hope you enjoyed it and if you didn't........ what the HELL were you doing???  Emma successfully grilled me about all aspects of my life and I did my best to answer the questions and be entertaining, so hopefully that worked!
On the Sunday I popped over to Barrington Court to see Matthew Applegate and drink more tea.  We had a nice relaxed chat and I offered some ideas to him for various Henry walkabouts over the summer, should it ever decide to put in an appearance, and the possibility of a one day "Tudor Festival" - watch this space for more...
Monday I was back on the road, driving up to Essex ready for a Henry Day at a new school for me - Woodham Ley Junior in Benfleet near Southend.  As I drove into the car park, the lady who had just driven in in front of me saw me parking and shouted "You MUST be Henry!" which I took as a compliment.  What a lovely school!  It was a fabulous day - great fun.  A nice group of about 60 children, mixed across years 3, 4 and 5.  I did my opening bellow ass Henry to the group and one little girl immediately dissolved into tears and threw herself at her nearest teacher, before being lead sobbing from the room.  And that was the last I saw of her for the day.  I hope I haven't damaged her permanently.  The rest were a really lively group, ready to laugh and join in with everything.  After lunch we had more fun and nonsense and ended up with a joust that was absolutely deafening.  Inevitably the ladies romped to an easy victory that now moves our score on to:
This is like England v San Marino.  Or England v Wales at rugby if you follow my drift.  I can almost declare this contest over already.  Come on Gents!
I had an evening with Amanda and James, my lovely son watching old Doctor Who episodes with him - yes, I am truly slowly turning him into an anorak.  The next day I drove down to Kent to spend the day with my lovely Shelley, before heading back to Somerset that night.  It was a nice little trip but over too soon.
And so the Easter Holidays are virtually upon us.  You can tell this by looking out the window and seeing elderly people being mauled in the streets by muderous gangs of rabid starving Polar Bears.  When IS spring going to start?  It must be soon.  Even Carol Kirkwood has disappeared from BBC Breakfast.  She's probably frozen in her dressing room.  My next Henry appearances are next weekend when jousting returns (ice storms permitting) at Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, and then I shall be back at Bourne Hall Museum in Epsom after that for a day of Henry's Horrid History on April 3rd.  Book early to avoid frost bite.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Now Is the Winter of Our Discontent... and it shows no sign of stopping.

Good King Hal and his Mother, doing the hokey cokey in anticipation of the end of winter.  They were wrong.

Ice and snow?  More of it?  Oh come on!  It was nearly spring the other week.  I even went into Crewkerne in just t-shirt and jeans.  If I tried that today I'd be ripped to pieces by a pack of wolves as soon as I stepped out of my front door.  And then to add insult to injury, a UN Hercules transporter would probably drop a large wooden crate full of high energy biscuits on me as a "humanitarian gesture".  I dare suggest they might get something similar back from me.
So another week goes past and they STILL haven't formerly asked me to be the Pope, so I shall carry on being Henry VIII until they do.  My latest port of call was a return to Leeds Castle for an evening corporate do on Friday March 8th.  I drove up from Somerset on the morning of the 8th and spent some of the day with my lovely Shelley in Maidstone.  Then it was up to the Castle - and as usual with an evening "do" an air of mild confusion seemed to reign.  First they had no idea where they wanted me to get changed - I couldn't use my usual room as it was full of "shop stuff" apparently.  Finally they decided I should get changed in the Triangle Room.  The next problem was no one seemed to know where it was.  By now time was flying and my chance to be changed and ready for when the guests arrived was a rapidly diminishing prospect.  Finally, we found the room and I got changed.
By the time I came downstairs some of the guests were already in the Library for their welcoming drinks. Everyone from the company had come dressed in fancy dress - lots of the ladies as saucy wenches, which was fine with me, plus loads of Knights, elegant Royalty, one man dressed as a Castle (don't ask, but he was obviously very proud) and even two dragons, one of whom was the lady who had booked me.  I felt quite sorry for her as she looked longingly at all the other ladies in their elegant and sexy outfits, and there was her with a big green head and floppy paws.  Bless.  One lady in particular was very striking - about six feet tall, in stripey black and white basque, fishnets and stilettos.  Trust me, it would have been rude NOT to stare.  She was the perfect comic foil for me though - while I was halfway through my pre-dinner routine about the six wives, she suddenly walked in through the door behind me, then stopped, standing right next to me, frozen it seemed by the glare of the audience.  I looked her up and down and then said "I told you to wait in the car" which brought the house down.
After processing the group down to the main banqueting hall, that was me done for the evening.  So I went back to the Triangle Room, got changed and was on my way.  I had dinner with Shelley and then had an early night.  On the Saturday I met up with the lovely Annie Lucas, late of Rochester Cathedral, but now living in Cornwall and running her own bespoke wedding dress making business.  We met up at Tunbridge Wells railway station in a small cafe next to it and discussed possible future plans for world domination in the wedding market.  Some good plans were hatched, and it was lovely to see the wonderful Annie again!
I was due to stay with Shelley for a few days but the weather forecast for the Monday morning was bleak and biblical, with promises of very heavy falls of snow across Kent and Sussex - so being the wimp I was I decided to make a run for it on the Sunday.  And so I headed back to Somerset.
It is still ridiculously cold, and there seems little let up in the weather continuing in the same vein for a while, even according to Carole Kirkwood again this morning.  I'm starting to go off her, you know.  My next Henry engagement is this weekend when I am appearing on Emma Britton's Saturday Morning Show on BBC Somerset  from about 10am as one of her Somerset Lives interviews.  I am following in the footsteps of Michael Eavis and Tara Newley, so I reckon I should wear slingbacks so I get noticed.  Tune in if you can folks!  After that it is back to being a King at schools again with a visit too Woodham Ley School in Essex.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Blog Author Stuck For Title

The King, treating the latest incumbent in his pillory to the dignity and respect they had come to expect.

Look out the window, go on.  Do it.  Look out of the window.  That's March that is.  T'rffic, eh?  Nothing like it for lifting the spirits after what feels like three months of darkness, snow, ice, howling winds, war, death, pestilence and George Osborne.  To be honest it looks exactly the same as February did, only apparently Carole Kirkwood on Breakfast TV insists it is two degrees warmer this week than it was last week.  Now Carole has a very warm occluded front and I for one would love to get my hands on her isobars, so I take her word as the truth.  If this continues over the next few weeks we should be able to boil kettles on our car bonnets by mid May.
When I published the last instalment of this travesty of the English language as she is wrote (sic), I was still going all girly and wobbly kneed over a night out at a Justin Currie gig in Bridport.  Well, to be honest I still am, but only slightly less so you will be thrilled to learn.  The week after the Currie night (geddit?) saw me back in the car and heading back to Essex - it was a dreadful journey.  Through the roadworks near Clacket Lane on the M25, some Latvian dickweed had decided to smash his lorry through the side barriers and then leaving it smeared halfway across the already narrowed carriageway.  I was stuck here for just over two hours trying to get past, and all this with a bladder the size of Austria and nowhere for relief.  I finally arrived at Amanda's house in Basildon and promptly re-filled Hanningfield reservoir single handed.  It was that good I had to have a cigarette afterwards.  It was lovely to see Amanda and my lovely son James.  He is now wearing glasses and he looks great in them.  A sort of subtle mash up of John Lennon and Harry Potter.
Tuesday 26th February - my 46th birthday.  46?  Jesus.  I am no longer even a record speed.  I've done 16, 33 1/3 and 45, so it's just 78 to go and that's it.  I was to appear at St Mary's School at South Woodham near Chelmsford. I had last appeared at this school back in 2006, but most of them there reckoned they remembered me.  It was a group of about 60 kids today and mixed across years 3, 4 and 5.  They were an absolutely fabulous group of kids, very funny and attentive and we had a fine day.  During the lunch break the teachers from the group suddenly came into the staff room where I was sitting with a birthday cake, complete with candles!  I was very moved. Back in the hall getting ready for the afternoon I was delighted to see that one of the dinner ladies looked like River Song from Doctor Who.  "Hello Sweetie!" I shouted to her.  She looked at me as if I was wearing a jacket doing up at the back and frothing at the mouth.  Mind you, so would you if someone dressed as Henry VIII just suddenly bellowed "Hello Sweetie!" at you while you were removing the shattered remnants of cottage pie from a school hall floor and had no idea of who the hell River Song was and what her catchphrase was.  The jousting after that was a good show, very close and exciting and ended with a long overdue win for the Gentlemen.  This finally gives the gents another point and moves us on to:
That evening I took Amanda and James out to dinner, which was very nice.  The following day I drove down to Maidstone to see my lovely Shelley and took her out to lunch at Mexa Mexa our favourite restaurant in town.  We had a lovely day together sharing the sort of intimacy only and man and woman deeply in love can truly experience.   Yes, we wandered round loads of charity shops looking for bargains, mad passionate loonies that we are.  I drove home to Somerset that night, and apart from spending some time with my mate Pete Flanagan and a nice evening pint at the Rose and Crown at East Lambrook with Matthew Applegate, not a lot has been happening.  But a rest is as good as a change.  Or something.
Coming up the straight for Henry, I have an evening at Leeds Castle, some filming at Hever Castle, I am appearing on Emma Britton's BBC Somerset show as one of her "Somerset Lives" on March 16th and by the end of this month we will begin jousting again with a visit to Knebworth House.  Hoorah!
So what the hell would you have named this blog entry?  Exactly.  Me neither.