Getting ready for 2006

IT'S that funny day today. That period between Christmas and New Year when you want your relatives to finally just go away, and start getting your house back to normal.

IT'S that funny day today.

That period between Christmas and New Year when you want your relatives to finally just go away, and start getting your house back to normal.

So fancying a pub lunch, I popped out yesterday for a spot of scampi in a bid to get back to normal as quickly as possible.

I don't really love Christmas and my relatives seem to take for granted a four day open house -so rude- so I was glad of the escape.

Thinking to myself that with any luck they'll be gone when I get home, I lingered in the pub a while enjoying a glass of chilled Chenin and a selection of continental chesses, as I wrote down some 'post Dec 25 but pre-New Year' thoughts from this flood of festive fun.

For a man with no willpower whatsoever, I have taken the extraordinarily brave step of expressing some resolutions for 2006.

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On Saturday, as Andrew Lloyd Webber famously said, “It is New Years' Eve and hopes are high, dance one year in kiss one goodbye.”

So following his advice I shall do exactly that.

Today I announce to my readers, the nation, and the world, my ten top ambitions for 2006:

1

To win Strictly Come Dancing just like Darren - I am having lessons just need to get famous.

2

To successfully pass for 26 instead of looking about 52 after a night out.

3 To take part in a photo shoot about 'elegant living' in Ipswich (and appear in a double page spread for Hello!)

4

To strike up a friendship with HRH the Duchess of Cornwall and be asked to be a regular sparking conversationalist at Highgrove dinner parties.

5

To go on a detox or into rehab or do a fitness video - a right of passage for all talented celebs.

6

To go out for a wild night in Ipswich and wake up in Paris with a stranger-I've always wanted to do that.

7

To declare I intend to “spend more time with my family” after revelations in a national newspaper about my private life - a statement that precipitates late night chat shows, documentaries and a book.

8

To hire a chauffeur - driving is such torture.

9

To stop paying Council Tax, and get away with it.

10

To be promoted to editor of The Daily Telegraph, spend my time lunching with movers and shakers, write a “sensational” diary and live off the proceeds.

I admit some are unlikely but there's no reason why Camilla shouldn't be friendly - she probably needs some mates - and I bet I can buy enough fruit in Ipswich for a detox.

I may struggle with finding a chauffeur - well who wants those sort of hours? and the Daily Telegraph may not be a dead cert but they are both worth a try.

2006 might just be the perfect year for me - at least if the relatives leave now and let me get on with it.

DUM de de di dum dum. Dum de de di dum dum. Da da da da da da dadada.

For those musical among you, those are the words to Ravel's Bolero.

Though no Christopher Dean - I haven't yet found the lycra to fit - my legs are killing me today and it's not just because I filled them with alcohol over the last couple of days-it's because I went skating.

An invitation to a celebrity launch of Ipswich's first outdoor ice rink last week was a temptation I failed to resist.

As I slipped on the skates and prepared to whiz round in style, I knew the paparazzi might be there. I was prepared for intrusive and massive press interest; I know the price of my fame and I was ready with a comment and a smile.

Shouts of 'over here James' and 'give us a smile, gorgeous' and 'look my way, honey' greeted me (in my mind) as I stepped onto the slippery and disarmingly scary surface.

I am too old to enjoy falling over, I thought to myself.

So I graciously posed for the Evening Star snapper who had turned up to cover the glittering event.

As I mingled with other Ipswich notables including the mayor Bill Wright, and enjoyed the hospitality of rink sponsors SGR, the cheeky young photographer snapped away as we discussed the lovely festive atmosphere engendered by skating to the sound of Bing Crosby.

Then I worked on my Lutz and shimmied round and round, dropping in the odd Salchow - shame my friendly snapper wasn't there to capture the more glorious moments.

SIPPING on a snowball, eating festive sausage rolls - from a pack of 50 I found on special offer - the mobile phone buzzed the other evening with a text message.

I walked over to my antique occasional table to find out who had disturbed my evening of self indulgence, only to find it was a complete stranger sending me a festive message.

I say a complete stranger but it must have been someone I knew well enough to give them my mobile phone number in the first place.

However, the sender is someone who my mobile phone no longer recognises as a regular contact. I replied in kind, asking who the sender was but I have had no reply. I've obviously offended someone and the mystery of the suspicious text has yet to be solved. Was it you?

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