Lovingly, the King blew an enormous raspberry on the back of Anne Boleyn's hand. How the long winter evening's at Hever must have just flown by.
Summer has taken a long time to come along. As I might have mentioned once or twice in this blog before, the winter just gone seemed almost limitless, but I am really enjoying the springtime we are now enjoying. And with springtime comes more walkabouts for the King. Last Sunday I was back at Barrington Court near Ilminster for a few hours of strolling the grounds and leaping out of hedges startling old ladies. The weather started off alright, but unfortunately eventually closed in, and visitor numbers dwindled. Towards the end of the day I was sitting in the large Kitchen of the court house, where I normally do my one man shows, and I was playing my recorder. I love playing music in the kitchen at Barrington as the acoustics are so wonderful. Sounds like you are hooked up to an enormous reverb unit with the settings going all the way up to 11. Well I was happily tootling away to a couple of tourists, when I saw a woman walk past the doorway in the corridor. She suddenly reappeared in the door and stalked towards me. I wondered what she was going to say, it could have been anything, but when she did open her mouth I was dumbstruck.
"What are you going to do about the next Queen?" She shrieked, almost shaking with anger. I stopped playing and looked at her with some puzzlement.
"Next Queen?" I wasn't really sure what she was on about. "Which next Queen?" I imagined she was mucking about and was going to say how angry she was about Katherine Howard, or Anne Boleyn or any one of Henry's Queens. I was way wide of the mark.
"Yes! The next Queen!" She bellowed. "Camilla!" Now I really was struggling.
"What about her?" I eventually managed.
"WHAT ABOUT HER!?" She was doing a very good impression of the Alien Queen that Sigourney Weaver beat the crap out of in the movie "Aliens", and was scaring me. "If Camilla becomes Queen there will be REVOLUTION in this country.... REVOLUTION! The people just won't accept her!" I really had no idea some people's lives were so empty that they'd waste that much time getting this angry about something as pointless as this. "Diana's blood is on their hands! Charles and Camilla MUST make way for William..." I made the fatal mistake of mentioning something about William being more approved than Charles simply because he was prettier, and that Diana was no angel when it came to manipulating the press, but that was it, she was off again. More frothing at the mouth, shaking with anger, a final finger wagging at me and then she stomped off. I sat in stunned silence before glancing at the other tourists in the room.
"How do you follow that?" I asked them. One silently shook his head, so I picked up the recorder and began playing again. Wonderful.
My next Henry appearance of the week wasn't until the Friday evening when I was to give a talk in Crewkerne at St Bartholomew's Hall for the local Liberal Democrat group, with local MP and Cabinet Minister David Laws in attendance. Well they all seemed to enjoy my silly jokes, particularly one about David Cameron and George Osborne going off on a tour together. I'll explain it all to you next time I see you. Please remind me. After my "turn" I was invited to stay for the supper afterwards and ended up sitting next to Mr Laws. I had met David at various previous events I had visited and he is a nice affable chap and easy to talk to. As he works in education now I did make a couple of requests - (a) could he ensure that Henry VIII and the Tudors stay on the national curriculum for as long as possible, and (b) next time he was alone with Michael Gove could he kick him in the bollocks as hard as he could. He said he would look into a feasibility study in both my requests. You heard it here first folks.
Sunday (today) saw me up and about bright and early for a drive up to Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe near Cheltenham in the Cotswolds for a walk about with Tudor Gowns and the Tudor Roses. With the remnants of my cold hanging about, particularly my awful chesty cough, I had a dreadful night's sleep on Saturday and had coughed so much I had very sore stomach muscles. Luckily the weather was bright and warm for the drive up the M5 towards Sudeley. We had a good day wandering round the grounds meeting and greeting the tourists, but by the afternoon numbers had slowed down and my cough addled sore muscles were really giving me merry hell. So just before 4pm I surrendered and wandered off to get changed. I said goodbye to Emma and Rachel of the Tudor Roses, and then also to Zarrina and Diane of Tudor Gowns before trundling off home. I am quite sure I will sleep well tonight, my ribs still hurt, but perhaps my cough feels a bit better. Or is that just wishful thinking? I'll let you know tomorrow after I have tried to sleep tonight.