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James Marston: Is it time to give up the sausage rolls, perhaps?

12:55 28 March 2014

James Marston

James Marston


It’s non stop isn’t it - life?

This week I have been riding around Suffolk with barely a moment to myself.

Not only have I been to Newmarket racecourse to find out what’s coming up in 2014 but I’ve also been in Ousden to look round a garden and to West Stow to look round another garden – partly because I’ve got a bit of a blank canvas garden-wise and wondered how people effectively rabbit proof.

Thankfully, at the weekends, when I find myself on the Suffolk Riviera in the Edwardian seaside splendour of Felixstowe where I have a small flat with sea views (distant), I can usually relax with a mooch about the charity shops and a five item cooked breakfast.

But this weekend I found myself at a dinner party in the medieval splendour of Bury St Edmunds with a few journalistic types. Unfortunately I wasn’t drinking – I had the car and didn’t dare go mad on the gins – which, in the event, probably would have helped.

Anyway, over the nibbles – which included a dip made from some sort of wheatgerm and garlic creation – and prosecco, a drink which is becoming as ubiquitous as quiche on a wedding evening buffet, I experienced one of those moments which will live in infamy.

As I took my seat in the corner of the room the chair released what I can only describe as a pained scream.

In fact it had totally given way. Its little legs were unnaturally splayed at an angle which can only be described as agonizing.

I knew instantly, as I sprung red-faced from the chair, that despite one other guest deciding to actually pick it up and look underneath, thereby highlighting the ripped upholstery and full extent of the devastation, that nothing could be done.

My sister Claire, who happened to be there and enjoys murder mysteries and wants to marry a farmer, stuffed a handkerchief into her mouth and exchanged those sort of meaningful looks that happen between family members when out in public.

Now dear readers, don’t get me wrong, my hostess quickly informed me it wasn’t a Chippendale or Heppelwhite or anything like that. What it was, of course, was an excruciatingly embarrassing reminder that I must give up pastry.

I thought about giving it up for Lent but discovered that even my vicar Rosemary has lapsed in this department. Rosemary, who administers lively guidance to the souls of Icklingham in the west of the county where I spent my boyhood, revealed in a recent sermon not only that she suffers from an unusual allergy to creosote which makes her arms puff up, but also that she only managed to give up chocolate for two days before succumbing to her weakness for Maltesers. Thus, I decided not to eschew the occasional emergency croissant and vowed instead to stand up more often in a social environment.

So I’ll need that sausage roll just to keep me going.

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