I've nothing to Toulouse in French move

HE was certainly before my time but as John Denver once said I'm leaving on a jet plane.

James Marston

HE was certainly before my time but as John Denver once said I'm leaving on a jet plane.

And, dear readers, I don't know when I'll be back again.

You see, I am leaving the country I love, the county of my birth and my favourite Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe and heading for a new life in French France.

A new job beckons in Toulouse and I am upping sticks and taking the plunge.

So at the end of the month I shall be swapping my small flat with sea views (distant) for another small flat with sea views (non existent), brushing up on the lingo and perfecting a Gallic shrug.

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There are a few things I shall miss about England though:

- The centuries old tradition of a good drink on a Friday.

- Camilla Cornwall - though I doubt she'll miss me.

- Big Brother - only joking.

- The countryside of Suffolk - the older I get the more I like it.

- Woolworths - oh well.

- Radio 4 - I'm not sure I'll be able to manage without The Archers, Desert Island Discs, Last Word and Broadcasting House on a Saturday morning.

- My mum's gravy.

- Cheese scones and malted milk biscuits.

- English stately homes.

- The Ipswich most Operatic and hugely Dramatic Society.

- My plain-speaking photographer friend Lucy.

Thankfully I am not one for Marmite, I suspect I can manage without HP sauce and our lovely country pubs don't have the same attraction now you can't smoke in them.

Things I shan't miss include:

- The ridiculous run up to Christmas - I've already seen cards and stuff for sale in Felixstowe.

- Shocking petrol prices added to the fact you have to serve yourself - it's criminal.

- People who sound their horn in an aggressive way - they should be banned from driving.

- My mum's experimental cooking - macaroni cheese with added crab sticks springs to mind.

- The M25 and every single motorway service station I have ever been to in Britain.

Is there anything you'd miss or not? Has anyone got any advice before I take this leap into the dark? Do drop me a line.

Naturally, as I am moving to France I am looking forward to a life of fantastic food, sunny weather, and all things French.

The language might be a little tricky though I know some things already:

- I know how to ask where the syndicat d'initiative is - though I don't know what it is.

- I know the French for croissant - so I shan't be short of pastry.

- I can talk about my aunt Marie-Claire - if I had one.

- I remember how to say I am 16-years-old - which is only a few years out of date.

Any tips?

One day I woke up this week and I found myself slipping into my mid-thirties with precarious speed.

There's nothing I can do about it now - I'm 34 and there's no turning back.

To celebrate, however, my arrival at my late early 30s - and empathically not early 40s as someone rather unkind suggested not only the other day - I dined with a few friends from the James Marston set in the west of the county.

Starting with an amuse bouches - a blinis or two and quails eggs - we finished off with a ripened Somerset brie and a glass of late bottled vintage.

My sister Claire, who is keen for me to point out that not only does she enjoy murder mysteries and jigsaws she is also searching for a husband - preferably a landed farmer with an aga kitchen - then turned up the tunes and I found myself trying to keep up with all the latest combo beats - just like other celebrities.

Blackpool isn't what it used to be is it?

Apparently it's gone all Baywatch with beach volleyball and girls in not much.

My journalist colleague Andrew, an artistic type and resident of the BoHo section of Felixstowe, wondered out loud, somewhat wistfully I might add, why Felixstowe doesn't host such an event.

I think he'd like to go along and spectate.

Autumn is on its way but it still hasn't rained much in Felixstowe.

In fact I can't remember the last time I felt a spot of rain on my balding head.

According to my friend Jools - a lady very high up at the Spa Pavilion - it's because of the town's geographical position.

She said: “People keep telling me it's because of the two rivers, don't ask me why that means no rain though.”

Do you know no why Felixstowe is so dry?