|Good King Hal, admiring the gear change smoothness on his Tudor Car. He decided instead to get a four door car. (Tudor? Two door? Geddit?)|
So, where is Tilehurst, eh? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Never mind. I assumed, with a name like that it must be somewhere in Kent. Wrong! It is just to the west of Reading in the County of Berkshire. I was lined up for a morning at Park Lane Junior School in this fine town. I drove up the A303 in thick fog, then up the A34 and finally on the M4 briefly before cutting up to Tilehurst itself. The school is a big old red brick Victorian building, but there is no parking on the site, however I was lucky enough to be allowed to leave my car just inside the school gate and tucked up next to the door into the main hall. I was very warmly welcomed by some lovely teachers and staff. It was an odd morning in that the school had worked out their own timetable for me. This started with two sessions with the main groups, just in a question and answer situation. When this was done I was back in the hall with the first group again, this time with the Six Wives talk, then a bit of music and finally a quick frantic joust. This first joust was incredibly close but was won by a very good ladies team. If we add this to our scores we have:
GENTLEMEN 2 - 5 LADIES
The second group then came back in and I whipped through the Six Wives talk again, which was a bit of a mind bender doing it again so quickly. My brain was constantly screaming "YOU'VE ALREADY SAID THIS!" but I managed to keep going. The second jousting tournament was a lot louder but infinitely more confusing. Despite frequent repeats of the rules, both teams really struggled as to what the hell they were doing. Quoits flew everywhere, some riders roared off to the other side of the tilt where they shouldn't be and confusion ran amok. In the end, with the clock zooming round towards midday and time for me to go, I called a halt to the tournament and declared it a draw, which seemed to please no one! So I suppose I can only give half a point to each team, which makes our score now look a bit odd.
GENTLEMEN 2.5 - 5.5 LADIES
As I was about to go and get changed, one of the dinner ladies approached me. "I'm parked behind you." She said. I nodded and said, OK, I'll get changed and we can sort it out. But she stopped me in my tracks and repeated, "but I'm parked behind you." I looked at her for a second or two, nodded slowly and repeated what I had said previously. There was a slight pause, and she repeated "But I am parked behind you, out there!" and she pointed as though to convince me to go and look. I finally had to ask her what she was so worried about. "Well I've got to serve dinner in a moment..." she began in a panicked little voice. I assured her that someone would, surely, allow her a minute to let her ladle have a rest while she moved her car. And I was proved so right! I packed what I thought was everything away and headed off down the M4 towards Wales and a visit to my folks. I was taking them to the airport again, something I used to do a lot when they lived in Essex but haven't done as much since they moved to Wales. The trip down was fine and they greeted me warmly and then, very nicely, took me out to dinner at the Emlyn Arms Hotel in the town of Newcastle Emlyn where they live. We had a fabulous meal and returned home to burp loudly and sip brandy. Splendid. I discovered to my horror the next day that I had left one of my Tudor musical instruments at Park Lane School in Tilehurst. I blamed the dinner lady for distracting me.
After another fine day with my folks it was time for a very early get up of 3.15am, and then a drive up the M4 to take them to Heathrow for their main holiday for the year - a trip to the USA. Lovely. We got to the airport and I dropped them off, but this was where my fun was now starting. I then had to drive back down the M4 to Newcastle Emlyn and drop my father's car back at their house and collect my car, before then driving back UP the M4 to Essex and a visit to my ex-wife Amanda's place and a visit to her and my lovely son James. It was an incredibly long day, made slightly longer by on the first journey back from Heathrow I stopped off at Park Lane School and picked up my errant musical instrument. But it was good to have it back.
And so to Essex, and tomorrow I have a return visit to South Green Junior in Billericay for a full day. Always a lovely school to visit, it should be fun. Then on Saturday I am in Southampton for the Tudor Revels event - Meet the Ancestors. I am on at about 3.30pm in the afternoon doing my Henry's Horrid History show. Come one, come all.