Good King Hal suddenly noticed Victoria Pendleton had finally found her way into the shower block. Grabbing his loofah and a soap on a rope, he was arrested shortly afterwards.
Last year I made my first appearance at Newberries School in Radlett in Hertfordshire and from my recollections I can see that I had an appalling journey to the school mainly because of the dear old M25. I'd already experienced the joys of this road on Saturday morning when I drove up from Somerset to Essex and got stuck in God-awful traffic in the road works at Clackett Lane in beautiful sunny Kent. As ever when it finally cleared and you were on your way there was nothing to see, so I have no idea what caused the problem. But back to Newberries - I was determined not to have a 45 minute journey turn into a 2 hour marathon like last year, so I set out bravely early at just before 6am. I arrived at the front door of the school at 6.45am. I think the word is "bugger". So with approximately an hour and 15 minutes to kill sitting on my jacksy in a Mazda in a quiet suburban back road in Radlett, I would need to be at my most creative to keep my mind active in this predicament. So I went to sleep. Genius!
Luckily I woke up in time and as I went in I was greeted by the caretaker. I couldn't remember him from last year, but he was bound to remember me. "Who are you? What do you want?" he said. Smashing. Er... Henry VIII? Tudor Day? Big fat unlovable ginger psychopath to entertain and educate your pupils? Yes, he knew who Henry VIII was but he didn't know me - this was because he was a new caretaker, the previous one having obviously taken one look at me last year and realised that his life was now complete and had retired. Ah, bless... The teachers remembered me, thank goodness and I was treated like Royalty for the day. It was only about 30 children from year 4 today, but they had all made strenuous efforts with their costumes and were very enthusiastic about the day which was brilliant. The morning went by with few hold ups and much laughter.
Lunch was fish goujons followed by some delicious fresh fruit. Back to Tudor times and laughs aplenty with the stocks/pillory before we went into the jousting. First up was a ladies race... well, words fail me. I have been travelling round as Henry VIII for nearly 10 years now and done close to 1,000 shows, each one with a jousting tournament at the end. In all that time, I have never seen two such utterly incompetent ladies teams. Quintaines were knocked over, quoits went flying and hysterics were had. At first the teacher (Sue Rolfe) and I, laughed openly, but it went on and on and on and on, until our laughter ceased and we just looked on in silent amazement. Eventually one of the teams staggered over the winning line and qualified for the final. The two gents teams were brilliant and fought tooth and nail through to a tense finish. It was obvious this final was going to be quite spectacularly one sided. But I was wrong, not entirely, just mostly. The Gents still won, but not by the cricket score most people had expected. It was a lot closer than you could possibly have predicted. So another gents win. The score goes to:
GENTLEMEN 15 - 22 LADIES
The drive back round the M25 was relatively easy as well and I was soon back with Amanda and my lovely son James at their house in Basildon. Today has been a day off which has been nice, but I am back in Tudor times tomorrow for a return visit to Lee Chapel Primary School in Basildon, so at least I don't have to be up desperately early.