|Good King Hal and friend suddenly notice the paparazzi. Swines.|
More driving around the country, but this time with a very last minute booking. I got several calls and texts from Shillingstone School, near Blandford in Dorset desperate for me to come to the school before half term. I had visited Shillingstone twice before - once when they were in their old premises. This was an old Victorian building and with absolutely no parking near it. My abiding memory was of dodging thundering lorries and cars whistling about 5 inches from my head as I unloaded all the props from my car in front of the school gates. They have moved now, as I discovered on my last visit, to a brand new purpose built, state of the art school building It is stunning, with great views all round it. A wonderful school with fabulous teachers, lovely kids and great facilities. What is not to like? The drive down is pretty idyllic too, taking you down through Sherborne, past open fields full of deer racing around in herds and little cute hamlets (not moody teenage Danish Prince's having naughty thoughts about bumping people off...). The morning was great fun, with lots of laughs as usual, and we finished with a quite magnificent jousting tournament that went right to the wire, but the winners, almost inevitably, were the ladies. So once more they leap on to:
GENTLEMEN 1 - 4 LADIES
Same old same old! Tired was not really the word when I got home. It was more a case of "oh my God, everything hurts, I cannot move another inch in any direction as I think I am going to die". Which might sound a tad over reactive, but then that's the kind of mock Tudor monarch I am.... A Chinese takeaway made me feel a whole lot better. God bless that MSG.
On the Thursday I drove up to Lutterworth in Leicestershire, so I was nice a close by for a return visit to Orchard School in Broughton Astley. No. No I won't do it. You can't make me. I have done it on every other visit to this lovely school but I refuse to this time. I will NOT make a joke about Broughton Astley being Rick Astley's little brother. DAMMIT! I just did. The drive up was OK, but I was only staying at a Travelodge, so I wasn't in a hurry to get there to be honest. Lutterworth itself is quite nice - as you enter the town there is a big model of a Gloucester Meteor in a real comic book take off position, as this is the birthplace of Sir Frank Whittle, inventor of the jet engine. Well just past this big stainless steel sculpture there is the Travelodge. I drove past it to see if I could find a nice cheap supermarket where I could buy some food for the evening. I had a quick look but all I could see was a Waitrose - expensive, but there seemed little other choice. I actually asked someone in the car park if there was anywhere else nearby and he told me there wasn't. He was a complete liar, because when I drove 200 yards past it the next morning there was a bloody great Mace store. Git. I bought some food which came to just slightly less than the GDP of a small African country and went out to the car park. As I went to reverse out of my space an old chap strolled straight behind my moving car. I stopped suddenly and waited for him to move. He didn't, he simply slowly started lighting a cigarette. I waited and waited and finally he moved. He gave me an absolutely filthy look as I pulled out - not sure why. I wound down the window and called out to him: "I'll get you next time Usain". He made a well known rude gesture. How nice.
Orchard School was lovely the next day. Great to see everyone from my previous visits, including the jolliest caretaker you could ever wish to meet. It was a superb day, great fun, lots of laughs and two of the biggest prima donna's you could ever wish to meet. As if to prove my predictions wrong, the gents this time stormed to a well deserved victory over the ladies, thus pulling our score back to:
GENTLEMEN 2 - 4 LADIES
Nice and close. The journey back on a Friday afternoon affected M5 was not pleasant, but the weekend has been nice and relaxing. Tomorrow morning I am up bright and early for a visit to Tilehursst near Reading in Berkshire, and then after the morning with them I am shooting down to Wales to see my folks again. Can't wait!