Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hartland and the Holy Family

Good King Hal clutching Natalie Dormer and very
shortly going blind...
I had been doing a lot of rushing around lately, and when I finally sat down in my office and looked at the up and coming shows I had to do, I was delighted to see that all that was left for the end of this week was a half day at a school in Devon.  I had enquired of the school roughly where in Devon they were, and was delighted again to hear the word "north".  Super, surely they would only be in Axminster or somewhere close by like that.  About 36 hours before I was due to be at the school I decided it would probably be prudent to actually have a butchers at the maps and see where this place was.  Ah.  It wasn't Axminster.  It wasn't Tiverton.  It was a bit further than that.  It was in Hartland, near Bideford - next stop Nova Scotia.  It wasn't a long way, it was a sodding long way.  It was about 100 miles door to door, so I ended up having to leave in the wee small hours and hack off down the M5 and then cut off on the road to, and then past Tiverton and all points west.  It is a lovely road, but by God it's a slow road.  There aren't many passing places and when you're stuck behind a lorry, you are well a truly stuck behind a lorry.  But I got to the school just after 8am and was very warmly welcomed.  The kids were lovely and the teachers charming, and the morning just seemed to zip past.  It was such a pity it was just the morning, just a half day.  We finished just before midday with a rip roaring jousting tournament which was won by a very competent Gents team, which does their annual score the power of good. It now makes it:
As close as it has been for a long long time.
My drive back to Somerset was lovely, through late autumn sunshine, but the early start and excessive driving was starting to get to me and I could feel myself getting dangerously tired.  I am old enough, and wise enough to recognise these warning signs now, and so I pulled off the main road, parked up and had a little snooze in my car - only about half an hour, but it made all the difference and I felt refreshed and ready for action and continued the drive home.
After a very nice weekend of not doing a hell of a lot - OK I went round a few charity shops, but that was the limit of heart racing excitement - I was off on the Sunday evening for a drive back to Essex and a few days with Amanda and James.  As ever it was so nice to see my little boy when I got there, even though he was spark asleep and snoring like a good un on my arrival, but he looked so angelic!  I had the Monday at leisure in the sparkling metropolis of Basildon before getting up relatively early on the Tuesday for a trip to a new school for me again, the delightfully named Holy Family Catholic School in South Benfleet in Essex.  It's funny, I am always slightly wary of going into Catholic schools, simply because of Henry's track record, but I am always rewarded with a warm welcome and usually some fabulous kids.  And today was no different.  Some of the loveliest teachers I have met in a long time, really they could not do enough for me which was very sweet of them.  The kids were great as well, only about 30 of them, but full of beans and much fun.  We had such a good morning, and an equally entertaining afternoon.  The jousting crowd was boosted by all of years 3, 4 and 6 joining the year 5 I was already with, so the hall was packed to the rafters with very excited children.  The first ladies semi final was a scruffy affair, with one team in particular going out of their way to seemingly smash most of my jousting kit to pieces.  But the final was of high quality as ever, and deafeningly loud with such a big crowd, and culminated in a win for the Gents again!
And so we are back where we started.  But well done to the Gents who have fought right back this year and could perhaps take the lead mid year for the first time ever!  Let's see what happens tomorrow.
Speaking of tomorrow I am off up and early in the wee small hours again for a return visit to Martham Junior School near Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.  So wish me dry conditions, an empty road and pleasant kids - mind you, they're usually brilliant at Martham, so I am hoping that will continue.  Night night!


Misty Cottage Crafts said...

I've just been chatting to a friend who was telling me about the brilliant Tudor day her youngest had experienced recently at school. Then I realised that you had blogged about being in Devon. So I thought I would let you know how much her daughter loved what you did at Hartland School.

Mike Farley said...

That's brilliant! Always nice to know one is appreciated. It was a lovely school. Would be lovely to go back there again sometime.