|Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in drag. From left to right: Bashful, Sleepy, Zeppo, Adolf, Brian, Shergar, Miss Chatham 1974, and another one.|
The world turns and life moves on. And for Good King Hal, it is just more and more endless roads. The weekend of the 25th January found your jovial King once more in the south east of England. I had Friday with my lovely son, and the Saturday morning, before heading down to Kent for my brother in law Julian's 50th birthday party. It was a fantastic evening, populated with a nice gathering of close friends while we had our ear drums blasted out of our skulls by the consummate musical skills of the band The Licks. A very competent and lively covers band, their lead singer looked like the unfortunate result of a night of passion between Mick Jagger and Charley Boorman, but he was a great front man. Our dear old friend Michael Croydon once more displayed his drum whacking skills had not diminished as he pushed the rhythms along. Add a fine bass player and a more than adequate plank spanker and you had the ideal band for a gathering like this. It was great to see Ann Turner Maynard and her husband Dave again, plus Michelle Coda and Matt Rentell were there, and many other old familiar faces. A great evening. Made even the sweeter for me by the mere presence of a lady called Elaine. But we'll leave it at that for now. Keep you lot all hanging on on tenter hooks.
Sadly I had to whizz back to Somerset on the Sunday to get ready for two shows in two days. The journey back was horrendous as the weather was simply so awful. It was truly grisly, worse even than having to walk around CENSORED FOLLOWING LEGAL ADVISE gardens with CENSORED FOLLOWING LEGAL ADVICE and the other hatchet faced old boots from the CENSORED FOLLOWING LEGAL ADVICE, which was usually about as much fun as nailing your scrotum to a telegraph pole and then employing a blind rabid baboon to try and rip the nails out with his teeth. Oh how I miss those happy days. I had a few hours at home to collect my thoughts, then I was up early and out of the door for a drive to Swindon, home of XTC and Billie Piper, among others, for a visit to Gorse Hill School. This was a lovely school and a great day seemed to be had by all - much laughter from a great group of kids. Only one of the teachers had dressed up, all the others had declined the opportunity. But she looked stunning in her, frankly Medieval dress, and certainly cheered my day up no end. The final joust was incredibly loud and closely fought, but inevitably the ladies snatched a vital victory to extend their overall lead even further. Our score is now:
GENTLEMEN 11.5 - 17.5 LADIES
They are virtually out of sight now. It was as pathetic as CENSORED FOLLOWING LEGAL ADVISE trying to get into CENSORED FOLLOWING LEGAL ADVISE without an invite and demanding a dressing room when the jousting is on.
If I had any time to rest on my laurels, I barely had time to notice. All too soon my alarm was squawking on my bedside table and I was up and out of the door again into another cold quiet early morning long distance drive. I was this time making a return visit to Barry Island, in the Vale of Glamorgan (sounds lovely doesn't it?) and a day with the children and staff of Colcot School. This lot were a lovely sparky bunch, ready to laugh and join in and not backward in coming forward with examples of their own knowledge. Even if that knowledge could at some times be a bit dodgy. The morning zipped past in very pleasant time and I was soon scarfing down a very welcoming plate of pasta bolognese and garlic bread for my lunch. Just after the lunch break the teachers put on a mini Tudor banquet for the children, with pottage, ginger breads, and mulled apple juice to wash it all down. I was on the top table with several children sitting with me, their names being drawn at random as to who should sit with the King. I was sitting next to a very chatty and confident little girl of about eight. She told me very proudly that she was learning to speak Welsh at school, which I told her I thought was a brilliant idea. She showed me her new found skills by first saying "yacchi da" at me. Then she told me how to say "hello" in Welsh. Apparently you have to say "bonjour" in a thick French accent. How do you follow that? How DO you follow that? In my case it is with a jousting tournament. And it was another belter. So close, all the way through. In the final it honestly looked like the Gents had it sewn up, but their final rider had a bit of a mare, and the ladies romped through to nick it on the last quoit. Would you believe it? The score goes now to:
GENTLEMEN 11.5 - 18.5 LADIES
If this was a boxing match, they'd have stopped it by now to stop the lads from taking any more punishment. A bit like Spurs being slaughtered by Manchester City the other night. 5-1, at White Hart Lane. And that goes with the 6-0 drubbing they took at the Etihad Stadium earlier in the season. 11-1 on aggregate I make that. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear... I drove on from Barry Island and onto see my parents in Newcastle Emlyn, some 80+ miles further on into the Land of Song, Ivor Emmanuel and Goldie Looking Chain. It was a long old trek and made all the more incredible for me as one of the teachers at Colcot School in Barry, drives there and back, every day from Newcastle Emlyn. And I thought I was insane when I used to drive 75 miles to Southampton every day from Somerset, when I worked at Skandia.
It was lovely to see my folks, and they have pampered me ridiculously, I have helped out a little round the house, doing errands, helping to underpin the mansion and re-tarmacked the main Cardigan Road, but it has been worth it just to spend some time with them. And Elaine.... they're DYING to meet you!
Monday sees me back at the lovely Riverside School in Hereford and then on Tuesday down to one of my all time favourites, Coalway Junior in Coleford in the Forest of Dean. And not a sign of CENSORED FOLLOWING LEGAL ADVISE , stomping round like a cross between Peppa Pig and a steam roller with a cob on. No, neither hide nor hair of her. Thank God.