Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Inspected Wexford (geddit?), 50th bashes, jousting and no blogs (sorry)

The lovely, LOVELY Wexford at night.  I am the 572nd pixel from the left, pissed in a bar.

I had not had a proper full blown holiday for over four years, and I sort of reckoned I deserved one. But the question was where to go.  I had finally plumped for Ireland, a place I hadn't visited since about 1997 when I had spent most of the time over in Kerry dodging the rain that was hammering down.  I caught the ferry from Fishguard in Wales and took the three plus hours crossing to Rosslare.  I was going to stay in Wexford, a town I knew precious little about, but was willing to learn.  It would also give me an excellent opportunity to catch up with my old friend Emily, a lovely lass from Wexford who I used to work with up in London back in 1994.  Well the whole holiday was delightful - the weather was just perfect, almost too hot to be honest.  Em and her family were fabulous guides and looked after me magnificently, sorted out accommodation for me and even opened up various opportunities for new business.  They could not have done more for me.  Em's Dad, Noel took to referring to me as "yer man Cromwell" in deference to the famous Oliver who rather dented any opportunity of being voted "Most Popular Man In Wexford" by burning down the town and massacring the inhabitants.  I drove up to the Wicklow mountains and visited Glendalough (packed to the rafters with tourists) and the lovely Vale of Avoca.  I also got to visit Loftus Hall (the most haunted house in Ireland apparently!), the Hook Head Lighthouse (oldest operating lighthouse in the world), Kilmore Quay and ate more potatoes and drank more Guinness in seven days than I have in the previous seven years.  Marvellous.
When I got back to Wales I went straight to my folks house in Newcastle Emlyn for my sister Sue's 50th birthday party weekend.  It began on Friday 12th July with a surprise party for her at my parents place, with several old friends arriving earlier than she expected.  My sister, being my sister did of course phone in while we were all waiting for her to say she was running an hour late.  This meant by the time she did arrive most of the guests were virtually paralytic with drink, but it made for a most convivial atmosphere.  On the 13th Sue had her own party at her house near Cynwyl Elfed which was again bathed in beautiful sunshine.  A lovely day was spent sitting in her garden and drinking - not a bad way to see the day through.  It was a lovely weekend and nice to see so many old friends.
One week later I was on at Barrington Court for a walkabout at the old place.  Again the intense summer heat had continued.  We are never happy in this country.  For the previous five or six summers we have moaned and complained about the soggy miserable weather we have endured.  Now as soon as we get a hot one everyone is moaning again.  I can't wait for the tons of snow again come winter.  The day after Barrington I was up at Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire for another of their Tudor Fun Days.  I was there with Zarrina, Diane, Justine, Louise and Sarah from Tudor Gowns, who all looked beautiful, and also Rachel from Tudor Roses who was equally stunning and fun to be with.  We had a lovely day wandering round, but even there the sun became so hot that we eventually capitulated at about 4pm and made a run for our cars and the haven of air conditioning.
The weekend of the 26th, 27th and 28th of July found me jousting at Hever Castle again in Kent.  The Friday was a normal joust featuring all the usual suspects, but the Saturday and Sunday were new "International" tournaments featuring teams of English and French knights taking each other on.  Franck and Manou were most definitely pukka French riders, but Matthew's accent was distinctly home counties!  They as the French team took on Jeremy, Sam and Ash as the English Knights.  Much fun and racial stereotypes later we had a show.  On the Sunday in particular we had a massive turn out for the show with the car parks absolutely rammed to bursting point.  Reaction to the shows was brilliant with so many laughs.  We must do this again!
I now have my lovely son James staying with me down here in Somerset and he and I are off to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire this weekend for another three days of fun jousting with the Knights of Royal England.  Be lovely to see you there.