And so it was, with a smile on his lips and a song in his heart (a drugs test will be implemented shortly) Good King Hal sallied forth from his man cave in Crewkerne for the short jaunt to Ilchester and a return visit to Ilchester Primary School. I had last visited a couple of years back and remember it being a very cold dark morning driving over there. Today was completely different - bright, sunny and full of early spring promise. I plumbed in the post code for the school into my sat nav and began the journey. I was at first suspicious of the sat nav when it tried to make me turn off the A303 ages before the Ilchester exit. It seemed to be hell bent on getting me to visit a small field on the outskirts of Ilchester where there was no buildings at all. Now I know Michael Gove's management of schools in the UK has been about as effective as a condom machine in the Vatican, but surely even that incompetent rubber brained arse faced twat couldn't make a complete school disappear... could he? No, he couldn't. Michael Gove couldn't even walk upstairs and fart at the same time to be honest. I remembered on my previous visit driving down through an estate and past a small Nisa store that looked like something out of an abandoned Soviet town from 1973 - and, ah yes! There it was. I drove past some very familiar looking houses and then found.... The INFANT school. Not the Junior school like I wanted. I went in and asked a breakfast club assistant where the Junior school was. She informed me to go back to the next roundabout and go straight over. I did this and now found myself in another completely anonymous faceless housing estate, with not a sign of any school. My sat nav was by now doing the technology version of rocking backwards and forwards and stroking it's own arms repeating the words "go to a happy place" over and over. I eventually surrendered and phoned the school. Where are you? I cried, wiping away snot, tears and mascara. It turned out I was about 20 yards away, but across the road away from the housing estate - and there it was.
Well, it was a fantastic day. Terrific fun, a big group of about 80 children from years 3 and 4. I was recommended to watch out for one little lad in particular who they said could be a handful. Well, he certainly made himself known to me, but he was fine. He had ADHD and to the extent that he just could NOT sit still. It was honestly as if someone had just set fire to his trousers, he was up down, going to sit with the teachers, back with his mates, twisting here, there and everywhere. And all the while looking like the dead spit of the Milky Bar Kid. He was great fun. The morning was great fun and seemed to be over very quickly. During the lunch break I sat and chatted to a lovely red headed lady who I said would make an excellent Queen Elizabeth I if she was interested in history. Was she interested in history? Do ursine creatures defecate in sylvan glades? Hell, yeah. She had just finished an archaeology degree at Cardiff Uni and was utterly fascinated by the whole Tudor era and the fact I was making a living out of being Henry VIII. I urged her to get a Queen Elizabeth frock made and begin prancing round stately homes. I will put her in touch with Judy Picton and Zarrina Bull, the two finest costume makers I know.
The afternoon went by at a terrific rate and we finished on yet another fine jousting tournament with yet another fine win for the ladies. Is there any point keeping score any more? The lads are being trounced this year.
GENTLEMEN 13.5 - 22.5 LADIES
Almost ten clear tournaments in front. I had no trouble in getting home, though my poor old Mazda is sounding decidedly creaky these days. Time for a change I think. A bottle of wine put a big smile back on my face that evening.
I am back being Henry tomorrow at West Pennard School near Glastonbury, and then off to Essex for a few days before popping down to Leeds Castle with the Knights of Royal England for another jousting tournament down there. It will be nice to see some familiar faces at the Castle.