Can I dance myself thin?

FOR many of us it's a continual battle to remain slim and trim.

James Marston

FOR many of us it's a continual battle to remain slim and trim.

And obviously no one likes a tubby wanna-be celeb.

My friend Katy, who's often handy with handy advice, advised me the other evening as we drove to a rehearsal of the Ipswich most Operatic and indeed Dramatic Society's latest production Sounds Familiar.

She said: "You won't get thin by walking from the fridge to the sofa. James."

Too true I hear you say.

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So this week, dear readers, I've made a significant move in my continual battle against the bulge.

Mooching around the Felixstowe shops on Saturday, I picked up a bicycle pump with a view to cycling more - it's a start.

Talking of the IODS it's been a busy week and I have done much dancing.

Under the gentle and patient direction of Margaret, a stalwart of the society, we have been running around in the heat, sweating like horses and trying to remember dance moves.

At one point, when I dance between a lady called Bridget and a young fella called Jonathan I am forced to stretch out my leg, and face to the right.

I'm no Fred Astaire, not even It's a move, like many, I have yet to master and tend to end up facing the long-suffering Bridget instead.

Margaret has also put me with my plain-speaking-photographer-friend Lucy in a little selection.

I suspect Lucy, who's half decent on her pins, isn't too keen.

She said, after I asked her how I was doing. “Well James, some people have got rhythm and some haven't. You haven't have you really?”

However, in a further unexpected twist, Margaret has also allowed me to go to the front of the stage at the end of the number and do a few moves - it's a rare accolade - though she did say this was because there was no one else.

Nevertheless with all this movement, and the purchase of a pump, I'm suspecting I shall be waif like by the end of the summer.

Switzerland is such a nice place - my favourite country, after Britain.

They do have some unusual habits though.

You'll see that recently they've been making music at the 7th International Alphorn festival Nendaz, in southern Switzerland.

I'd love to have a go but doubt I'd fit such a big instrument in my small Felixstowe salon with sea views (distant).

I just love that TV show Benidorm with the orange woman and all those amusing characters. In fact I once knew a lady who worked in a tanning shop and she was a sort of Satsuma coloured.

I don't know about you but I've never been one for sitting in the sun and I once fell asleep on a sun bed which was a most unpleasant experience as I woke up wondering what on earth at happened to me.

I did manage to catch some rays as I went swimming in the sea last week and as my oldest fan Noreen said to me the other day “the sea always gives you such a lift doesn't it?”

She's absolutely right.

ANYONE would think Christmas is just around the corner.

Already us journalists are being sent press releases and information about this year's hot toys, gift ideas and Christmassy things by keen public relations departments.

Thankfully we've got a few shopping days left before the almighty retail crush which now defines our festive season.

I, for one, am in no rush to usher all that in too far in advance.

THERE'S nothing new about the economic downturn.

Boom and bust has been part of capitalism as long as it has existed and the cycle of expansion and contraction of the economy should hardly be a shock - but time and time again we seem surprised when things don't go so well.

What this latest contraction has highlighted, however, is our increased reliance on global economic performance

Money lost by American banks has triggered the latest problems in the banking system- not our own economic mismanagement.

Rising fuel costs driven by global financial market speculation about how much oil is actually left is causing us difficulties - not problems with supply.

Added to these factors is increased taxation which is increasing faster than incomes, falling house prices and rising unemployment all of which affect consumer confidence and spending.

There is probably little the government can do little to stop economic downturn.

By anyone's standards the news is not good.

But there is some good news on the horizon - as you might expect each recession or downturn is followed by a period of economic re-growth.

The contraction of the economy leaves it fitter, leaner and more competitive and as the economy picks up as does consumer confidence.

In the end everyone is a winner - until the next time.