Cupboard of secrets gets unexpected airing

IT started with a phone call."James, call me back, it is urgent."

James Marston

IT started with a phone call.

"James, call me back, it is urgent."

My neighbour, a very capable lady with whom I get on well, was calling to say water was leaking into her bathroom from my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant).

Naturally, panic set in and I abandoned my luncheon -a bowl of soup and crusty roll with my stylish friend Beverley who benefits from an Aga kitchen and once invited me to look at her puppies in the West of the county - and sped along the A14 through the August-browned Suffolk countryside.

I was anxious to assess the damage wondering how on earth I am going to find a plumber on a Saturday afternoon and how much it all might cost.

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Meanwhile my neighbour - and I told you she is capable - had let herself into my flat, turned off my water supply, drained my boiler and emptied my airing cupboard and discovered a leaky valve.

My dad, who is of a practical nature and knows what a stilson wrench is, identified a leaky resister valve. On being told this news I held my chin and muttered agreement.

Naturally, however, I was slightly embarrassed - wouldn't you be? - to have the contents of my airing cupboard unexpectedly mucked out.

I don't know about you but my airing cupboard is a bit of an untidy glory hole of things you don't know where to put and certainly don't really want on public display including:

- Several phone books that I didn't know where to put and had forgotten about.

- An Argos catalogue.

- Old sheets and a rather tasteless floral duvet cover which must be ten-years-old and I no longer use but won't throw away just in case by now my neighbour thinks I use it.

- My non-guest towels - the type that are lurid in colour, a bit thin but dry well.

- A gym membership application form - blank needless to say.

- Underwear -with XL on the label.

- T shirts - also with XL on the label.

- A broom.

- A guidebook, and goodness knows how it got there, on Osborne House.

In the event, and thanks to my neighbour's presence of mind, it wasn't a total disaster and there wasn't too much damage.

Just perhaps a little bit of red-faced shame.

Oh my goodness.

My sister Claire, who enjoys jigsaws and murder mysteries, is already hooked on The X Factor.

"James, did you see, it?" she asked the other Sunday morning before starting to cry.

I said "What on earth's the matter? You can't be that pleased to see me."

"Oh do be quiet, I'm tired" she tartly replied.

Well X Factor, it appears, is a rollercoaster of emotion, with plenty of contestants plying a moving story to get them noticed.

My sister Claire, who also would like to marry a farmer, was particularly touched by a man who had lost his brother to cancer and was looking after his nine-year-old nephew.

"He sang is heart out," said Claire. "It certainly plays havoc with your emotions."

Gosh - I think she needs to get out more.

Now what's happening down at Ipswich Town?

My friend Simon, who has a season ticket and knows these things, tells me there were all sorts of substitutions and the whole game changed and they got a draw.

Now, as regular readers will know, football is well down on my list of interests perhaps stemming from my school sports lessons during which I was constantly substituted - so I know how these boys feel.

Anyway I like to know what's going on. Will someone drop me a line?

Why is it that as soon as we get some nice weather autumn is on its way?

Any day now we'll be able to start to smell the change in the season and we'll be turning on the heating.

Now let's not get too depressed we've still got September and there's my birthday to look forward to. Obviously I am expecting a lorry load or two of gifts from fans and messages of congratulation from across the globe.

Last year, as regular readers will remember, I visited Sandringham House on a search for my favourite Royal - Camilla Cornwall. She wasn't in.

This year I am not sure how to mark the occasion - if you have any ideas do drop me a line.

James' Mailbag:-

Dear Readers,

It seems that The Arc in Bury St Edmunds is somewhat controversial.

I'm not keen on The Arc myself but Peter Bird is.

Marian, on the other hand, sent me her thoughts on the back of a picture of Southwold - a place she clearly likes.

Keep them coming.


Dear James,

Yes I do. I do not like the name 'arc' but St Edmundsbury Borough Council have done a good job.

It's people like you who distort the truth!

You quote: “I was saddened to discover half the shops had shut in the town centre.”

When I was at school over 50 years ago 'half' is 50 per cent or every other one closed.

That is just not true so apologise please if you are big enough to admit your mistake.

People like you do this community an injustice.

I have lived here 73 years and loved every moment of it. And it will all come good eventually, trust me and us in this community.

Peter Bird

Kelso Road

Bury St Edmunds

Dear James

You ask “does anyone like the arc?” No.

Well, a few perhaps. I hate it.

It's dreary, boring and I have another name for it - begins with 'a' and has three more letters --- (I'm not really a miserable old witch).

I had a gorgeous day at Southwold last week, splashing in the sea with the grandchildren, also built a sand motte and bailey.

Hope you like this card as well as the grandchildren like the real thing - have you seen it?

See you there.

Mrs Marian Allen,

Northgate Street,

Bury St Edmunds