Back to jousting for the weekend, and what a weekend it was. Freezing cold, a howling wind and misery personified. Myself, James, Shelley and Owen travelled up from the South East round to Knebworth House, praying with each mile that we clicked off that temperatures would rise and the fluttering flakes of snow on the windscreen would abate. Would they heck.
On arrival at Knebworth we were followed in by Sir William of Antioch, much to Owen's delight and wound our way through the deer rich grounds to where the Knights of Royal England had parked their horse box. On our first greeting we were informed that lots of them were struck down with the old dreaded "Nawab of Pataudis", after a particularly virulent chicken korma the night before. Several of them were still back in their hotel happily barfing their way through the morning.
We did both shows on the Easter Sunday - and by heck it was cold, but we all agreed that by the end of the second show there was a definite rise in the overall temperature. Shelley, Owen, James and I then drove up the A1(M) towards our overnight stop at Baldock Hinxworth Travelodge. I had booked this several months in advance and was quite sure I had got a bargain. I was wrong. This was quite possibly one of the filthiest, grimiest hotel experiences I have ever encountered. James and I in our room were quite lucky - it was just the usual frugal room with the odd spot of mould in the bathroom. Shelley's room was quite different - it appeared to have been cleaned on a regular basis by a group of people with the norovirus and amnesia. There was quite literally crap everywhere - smeared walls, mould in the bathroom, splatter marks in the bathroom, large embarrassing stains in the bedroom, a broken leg on the bed that made the whole thing creak and even suspicious large brown splat stains on the net curtains. Really, in retrospect I should have offered to swap rooms with her, but I didn't and I bitterly regret that. I wasn't much of a gentleman.
We cheered ourselves up with a really genuinely nice dinner at a Beefeater in Stevenage, where the staff could not have been more helpful if they tried. So nice were they that after our awful night at the Travelodge we went back to the Beefeater for breakfast - and James and Owen both got eggs from the Easter Bunny there, so everyone was happy.
Amazingly, the Monday at Knebworth was even colder. My weekend was also marred with awful tights that kept making a break for the border (i.e. heading south) and caused me to be almost late for the second show on the Sunday. By the end of the final show on the Monday I was in the Royal Box commentating with the owner of Knebworth, Lord Cobbold, and my hands were so cold I could barely feel the microphone in my fingers. But we got through it.
I am off to Bourne Hall Museum in Epsom today for a couple of Henry's Horrid History Shows, then it is back down to Somerset for an appearance on Friday night at Mudford Village Hall (All together now: "HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD!") and then a few days in Wales with James visiting my parents.