Dreaming of that perfect 10

AND one, two, cha cha cha.A new addiction has entered my life. Not crack cocaine or pick and mix, but dancing. Well Strictly Come Dancing at least.

AND one, two, cha cha cha.

A new addiction has entered my life. Not crack cocaine or pick and mix, but dancing.

Well Strictly Come Dancing at least.

After leaving my 20s behind just a few weeks ago, I have vowed only to binge drink just one night a week - Friday - and leave Saturday nights (like the Queen) free for prime time television viewing and relaxation.

But unlike The Queen I have no corgis to get under my feet on my sitting room carpet.

This means at 6.45pm when the band strikes up and Brucey makes the final adjustment to his dickie bow, I am up on my feet waltzing around my coffee table, smiling to imagined applause and wishing I had a parquet floor.

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Strictly Come Dancing is just fantastic. I can't leave the house until it's over and I have to be on front of a screen for the result. It makes for a very short night out.

Colourful and elegant, sexy and stylish, I just want to be on the floor performing for my public.

I started preparing for the next series by having a dancing lesson this week. The rise and fall of the waltz, the tempo of the rhythm foxtrot, the speed of the cha cha cha, real dancing is a joy to watch-it can't be that difficult, I thought to myself.

Joined by blonde bombshell Kate Boxell, we stepped out of the hectic Evening Star newsroom to spend a little time in each other's arms.

Excited and nervous at the prospect of a chasse with me, young Kate, who is five years my junior, couldn't wait to step into the hallowed halls of the Lait Dance Club in Ipswich's Clarkson Street.

“Most blokes wouldn't do this,” she purred as we climbed out of the car.

I quickly reminded her that I am not 'most blokes.'

“Most blokes have no rhythm,” she added.

“I know,” I said “and I bet Jeremy Paxman doesn't have this on his to do list either.”

Making a quick start, we waltzed under the expert guidance of teacher Pat Lait (who appeared with husband Tom on Come Dancing in the 1960s though she admits “The eastern region never did win”) to The Sweetheart Tree, a track not often heard in the bars of Ipswich after 10pm on a Friday.

Encouraged by Pat's welcome words of praise, we slipped into the rhythm foxtrot-slow slow quick quick slow-with ease until we came to corner - a skill yet to be mastered - when my foot momentarily fell upon my partner's.

I'm light on my feet for a big fella, so young Kate assured me it didn't hurt.

As the strains of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square faded we found ourselves preparing for the more energetic cha cha cha.

To Love Potion Nine we started to trip the light fantastic, swinging our hips, making sure our steps were small and counting out loud 'one two cha cha cha' to stay in time.

So successful was our first foray into Latin that Pat even expressed a suspicion I had done it before.

“Only once,” I assured her “and that was in a previous life.”

I obviously have natural rhythm and talent. Now looking to buy a glitter ball for The Evening Star newsroom and dim the lights, Kate and I have already started to build up a loyal fan base keen to watch us progress. Our colleagues have even started grading us, by holding up cards in true Strictly Come Dancing style (and yes, in case you're wondering, the numbers do re-arrange to 977 - to make the Co-op divi number for the tsunami appeal!)

“So who's going to win?” I asked Pat.

“I rather fancy Colin Jackson,” she replied with a glint in her eye. “You two could be like Zoe and Ian if you practised enough.”

And one two three one two three one two three….

WHILE enjoying a balloon of cognac in my little Ipswich home, after a particularly decent mince-based dish, I had to remind myself that I am no Indiana Jones.

A strange sentence you might think, but despite the fact I lack a whip as well as the burning desire to dig around in the dust and unearth ancient tombs, I found myself in an adventure that can only be described as horrific.

In a bid to be like other boys, I got out the play station, after years of neglect, and attempted once again to delve into popular 'gaming culture'. Well there was nothing cultural about it.

Once plugged into the television, a process that almost requires a degree in physics - not only do I have to go round killing people, solving mysteries and using secret weapons all of which requires me moving my fingers at very fast speeds - I have to avoid dying.

Every character has a cornucopia of weapons - probably the ones that George Bush failed to find in Iraq - and they are ready to use in an instant.

The people who I fight are a motley crew. One little man even vomits acid on to his opponent - a truly grotesque scene that I can see on any Saturday night in any high street in Britain without having to pay for the privilege.

WILL Christmas ever end?

Now half-way through the hideous experience which, though called shopping, bears more relation to a crowd control exercise-cum-wresting match, I have decided to give up.

I just can't face hot, busy, noisy shops any more.

Depressingly long queues, ill-mannered people who think they own pavements just because they have a pushchair, sneaky old people who, pretending they are senile, queue jump with impunity and then expect you to hold open the door, and uncontrolled, undisciplined and unpleasant children who have been taught that screaming is the only way to communicate, conspire to make the whole expedition absolutely insufferable.

To make matters worse, have you noticed that everywhere you go plays ghastly music? I popped into my bank recently only to find the once hallowed and silent, calm halls of finance sounding more like a nightclub. Intolerable.

I must be getting old.