Celebrity meets celebrity - almost

WELL my patience has paid off. This week, after launching an intensive campaign to Vote Letitia in the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, I have finally got to meet - well almost - my dancing idol.

WELL my patience has paid off.

This week, after launching an intensive campaign to Vote Letitia in the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, I have finally got to meet - well almost - my dancing idol.

I say almost because I didn't actually meet her, though we were in the same room, she a national celebrity, me very well known.

Wearing perhaps the shortest short shorts I have ever seen, Letitia posed for the cameras with the cast of Cinderella - this year's pantomime at the Ipswich venue.

She didn't speak to us journalists due to an illness. I can't blame her, she sounded awful and had a nasty chesty cough. I think I might send her some lozenges.

Of course, I was excited to be there and even, yet again, gave up smoking for the event. I suspect she was pretty excited I was in the room too, though a superlative actress like her would never admit it.

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I spent all weekend watching Letitia, reading about Letitia and thinking about Letitia, I'm not sure I didn't even dream about her on Sunday night.

It's my job, you see, to report on what she's been getting up to on the dancing show for the newspaper.

I think my Vote Letitia campaign paid off though as she quickstepped and cha cha cha-ed her way into the quarter finals. Was your heart in your mouth when she was in the dance off?

My sister Claire, who enjoys all sorts of reality shows, could barely contain her excitement. She said: “Well I think she's pulled it off. She just upped her game. And often what I say is reflected in the judges' comments.”

Well after a weekend of such drama, added to by a rather unfortunate kiss-and-tell story in some ugly tabloid, Miss Dean must be exhausted.

She's doing a seven week stint here in Ipswich so she must have fitted in some packing at some point as well.

To be honest I'll be secretly relieved if she doesn't make it next week, I am having a job keeping up with her.

Now as a celebrity about town my services are occasionally demanded by the BBC.

Let Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation I said to myself as I popped along to BBC Radio Suffolk the other morning.

I was there, you see, to deliver a thought for the day.

It seems to have been quite popular so, due to popular demand I thought I'd share it again with those of you who missed it:

It was November 29 1922, 85 years ago today, when Howard Carter opened the tomb of Tutankhamen to the public for the first time.

Wealthy aristocrat Lord Carnarvon financed Carter's search for the tomb of the previously unknown Pharaoh, whose existence Carter had discovered.

By the time the tomb was discovered, Carnarvon was becoming dissatisfied with the lack of return from his investment and that year he gave Carter one last chance and one last season to find the tomb.

It was on November 4, after 15 years of searching, Carter found the steps leading to Tutankhamen's tomb.

He wired Lord Carnarvon to come, and on November 26 with Lord Carnarvon, Carnarvon's daughter, and others, Carter made what he described as a tiny breach in the top left hand corner of the doorway.

He was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. When Carnarvon asked him if he saw anything, Carter famously replied: "Yes, wonderful things".

Tutankhamen continues to enthrall and amaze us to this day.

Inside the tomb were treasures of huge archeological significance as well as the amazing finds we all recognize, the gold face mask, the chariot, the cups and the statues.

A King who was forgotten for thousands of years is today one of the most recognizable in the world. His fame is far greater now than it ever was when he sat on the throne of the Egypt.

It's a remarkable story and one that reminds us that giving someone a second chance is sometimes worth the risk.

But the story of the tomb holds another story, largely overlooked and often ignored.

The King himself was little more than a child when he died. He was just 18.

His was a life unfulfilled and a life cut short.

So behind that glamorous golden public mask is really a tragedy.

The mask we all use to present ourselves to the world often hides a different story.

For whatever reason, we arm ourselves with a persona and its part of the human condition.

Behind that quiet person you work with is a show off just wishing to break free.

Underneath that arrogant exterior of a friend is a lack of self confidence, and hidden below that calm façade of your relation is a gamut of emotions just waiting to be unleashed.

Not everyone is as they seem on first impressions and once you have looked behind that public mask we are often surprised by what we find.

It is an old adage but clothes, nor even gold masks, don't make the man.

It's a thought worth thinking about.

I'VE been soaking up the Christmas atmosphere.

Meeting up with friends Mark and Liz, who knew me before I was famous, I popped along to the Bury St Edmunds Christmas Market, which was lovely if you like bread, olives and crowds.

Well it was far too busy for me we soon retired to the pub for a traditional luncheon. Far more civilised.

but another town I do like is my adopted hometown Felixstowe. Isn't it attractive when its bleak?

I'm enjoying seeing the sea in a number of wintry moods recently. I've seen rough and angry and calm and sleepy. I bet its cold too.

I've enjoyed a few walks by the sea front lapping it all up but even better is retiring to my small flat drawing the curtains on my sea views (distant) and embarking on a cosy night in with a glass of something warming and a few mince pies. Bliss.

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