Gene Kelly eat your heart out

IT'S started….I am trying to learn how to tap dance. Now as regular readers will know, I'm neither oil painting nor Slim Jim, so moving my not inconsiderate bulk around at speed and trying to look like I'm enjoying every minute is perhaps the equivalent of climbing the north face of the Eiger with nothing more than a pair of tweezers to grip with, but nonetheless I am giving it a go.

IT'S started….I am trying to learn how to tap dance.

Now as regular readers will know, I'm neither oil painting nor Slim Jim, so moving my not inconsiderate bulk around at speed and trying to look like I'm enjoying every minute is perhaps the equivalent of climbing the north face of the Eiger with nothing more than a pair of tweezers to grip with, but nonetheless I am giving it a go.

It's all part of my burning ambition to once again appear on the stage of Ipswich's Regent theatre.

Next spring you see, the Ipswich dreadfully Operatic and awfully Dramatic Society (IODS) of which I am a member, are putting on Singing in the Rain.

I popped along to a rehearsal taken by choreographer David, the Craig Revel Horwood of the society, to find out exactly what will be expected of me during the nerveracking audition process later this month.

Now, I knew before I started not to attempt the really difficult steps undertaken by my plain-speaking photographer friend Lucy and all the other agile thin people, so assigned myself to the far end of the room at the back to avoid too much ridicule.

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And as the instructions - 'step ball change and shuffle, and scissor legs' - were meted out with lightning speed, a look of grim determination crossed my visage.

By the end of half an hour I felt exhausted and my ankles were crying out for a foot spa.

After an hour my mouth was so dry I thought I had been transported into the Gobi desert.

By the end of the night 'Craig' had added arm movements to the melee and I was quite frankly struggling. At least Margaret, a stalwart of the society, appeared sympathetic to my plight.

But as all us thespians know, practice makes perfect and in the absence of a body double I shall have to jump around my Felixstowe salon with sea views (distant) until I get it right.

And as a colleague said to me, when the news broke that I was once again indulging in my theatrical hobby, “Who are you playing then? Fred Astaire's dad?”

I've got a long way to go.

THE sea, the sea. Well what a drama in the seaside Edwardian resort of Felixstowe.

All eyes were on the azure main on Friday, as a great swell threatened to inundate the streets and cause untold damage.

Thankfully the high tide turned into a spectacle rather than a disaster.

Photographer friend Lucy and I were dispatched to cover the unfolding drama.

She managed to capture the moment beautifully as I looked out for the expected surge.

NAIL biting times came for Letitia Dean's Ipswich fans on Sunday night, as my and your favourite dancer looked a little bit touch and go, in the drama that is Strictly Come Dancing.

She got through though, and avoided the dance off, but it all looked a little close to call for my liking.

It's a show that makes Saturday night in just about bearable, and it's nice to see something without too much swearing and a spot of glamour. Keep going Letitia, we're all behind you.

I love a cheese scone, anytime of day.

Perfect with a large glass of Chenin, I recently tasted some scrumptious ones made by a fan called Audrey. They were among the best I've ever had.

So Audrey if you could you send me the recipe - or even better another batch - I'll share it with my readers and maybe even attempt a spot of baking myself. My kitchen is finally finished and I have moved my hotchpotch selection of crokery and glassware in.

It's been somewhat of an odyssey and I haven't had the use of a kitchen for some time.

Forced to live off toast, takeaways and powdered things, I am now much relieved.

I've been round the supermarket - a most unpleasant experience at the best of times - and stocked up on tasty, nutritional things I can cook for myself, like pizzas. Nice.

HAVE you ever been anything in a previous life?

My friend Amanda, who is a little bit alternative and lives in Jersey and enjoys evening classes, has been regressed or repressed or relapsed whatever it is.

She told me with the results of her previous incarnations. She said: “I was drowned at sea off the coast of France in 1750. I was lower royal family in Versailles and I was a man. I drank and smoked and wrote poetry.

“I was also a spice merchant in Turkey in 1200. I was a Muslim. And I was a slave in North America.”

What a melange eh? I wonder how she fitted it all in.

I'm tempted to have a go myself, but I'm terrified I might have just been someone normal back in the Middle Ages or whenever, and that would never do.

An elderly gentleman was writing his will and planning his funeral.

He gave his solicitor explicit instructions. He said: “I want my ashes scattered on the floor of Marks and Spencer.”

“That's an unusual request. May I ask why?” replied the lawyer.

The gentleman paused and then answered.

“It's so I can be sure my wife will visit me once a week.”

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