Crowds miss my Frankie take-off

BEFORE you ask, it wasn't something I said. In fact the audience had left about 2,000 years before I took to the stage to deliver my monologue, so I can't be blamed for the empty seats.

BEFORE you ask, it wasn't something I said.

In fact the audience had left about 2,000 years before I took to the stage to deliver my monologue, so I can't be blamed for the empty seats.

You see, as regular readers will know, I was in Turkey enjoying a little trip around some ancient ruins.

I was taking a break from the The Evening Star newsroom and not giving a flying fig about my carbon footprint by letting the plane take the strain.

The fact that the ruins were empty, was a blessing really as I only know enough Latin to order a scampi and chips, and a Roman audience might have been a bit bewildered by my impersonation of Frankie Howerd.

Nevertheless I cast my mind back in time, imagined I was the centre of attention even in classical times and threw myself into my role. Naturally it was a resounding success and my performance on the stage of the forgotten city of Phaselis will never be forgotten by all who were there.

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Thankfully, kindly regular reader Terry Bramer had suggested a couple of ideas.

Dear James

You asked about what you should visit whilst at Antalya.

We visited last March to see the Solar eclipse (splendid, by the way) as Antalya was on the centreline of totality.

We spent a week there, staying at a nice small hotel in the old town (Kaleici), which you should explore at length. Sample the stalls selling freshly squeezed orange and pomegranate juice.

There are two waterfalls nearby to visit. One (the Duden) is on the coast a few km to the east and drops spectacularly straight into the sea over a cliff. The other is inland and is quite wide and falls into a small lake.

The other “must-see” sights are the vast Roman theatre at Aspendos and the Roman/Byzantine city of Perge.

We went on a day's tour taking in all four, plus a (forgettable) compulsory visit to a jewellery emporium and a splendid lunch in a fish restaurant.

We hope you enjoy your visit.

I took him up on a few ideas and had a great time.

But one great mystery remains. What do they call turkey of the gobble gobble variety in Turkey? I didn't see it on any menus. In the same vein that other question must be posed - what's the French for champagne?

Talking of food, of course, Turkey is all very well if you like stuffed vine leaves and aubergine and yoghurt but to be honest I came back feeling that I prefer a cheese sandwich or chips.

NOW for those of you who have been asking me, Titanic the musical (in which me and my plain-speaking photographer friend Lucy make an appearance) takes place at The Regent theatre in Ipswich on April 18 to 21. Tickets remain available.

Rehearsals for the show are going well and you will be relieved to know that it has been decided I shall not be among the dancers appearing in the show.

Naturally, being light on my feet for a big man, I questioned this decision with James-the-affable-director.

He said: “Well to be honest it's not because you can't move your feet in a remotely coordinated way, it's just that we were worried there wouldn't be enough room on the stage with you as well.”

David the hairdresser-turned-choreographer provided no help. I think he was worried I might show up the others with my shimmy.

FOR those of you who work in an office in front of a computer screen and don't enjoy the out-and-about life of a reporter on the go, then you will know all about emails sent by colleagues designed to cheer you up.

Yesterday I was sent, via the marvels of electronic mail, a number of comments made by complete strangers.

For those that don't have the delights of e-mail I thought I'd share them with you here. Politically correct some of them aren't, but you might chuckle anyway:

“What is it with diabetics? One minute they're on the floor with a loved one standing by, screaming "Give him some chocolate! Give him some chocolate!"

The next day someone offers them a piece of chocolate and quick as a flash they say "No thanks, I'm diabetic." I wish they'd get their story straight.”

“I wouldn't say boo to a goose. I'm not a coward, I just realise that it would be largely pointless.”

“Why is it always people who say 'bring back hanging' who also say 'hanging's too good for them'? Make your minds up.”

“I have just returned from a diplomatic trip to the Congo and I can testify that at no point did I see anyone drinking Um Bongo.”

“They say that slow and steady wins the race. Rubbish! I am an athletics coach specialising in the 100-metre sprint, and I find the best tactic by far is to go as quickly as possible.”

“My friend's mum recently pointed out that I have the same ironing board cover as her. Can anyone think of a more mundane and pointless remark to make than this?”

“What's all this nonsense about that 66-year-old Romanian woman being the world's oldest mum? My mum's 77. Beat that.”


Do you have such witticisms to share? E-mail me on