It's that time of year again

So have you had yours? With ever-predictable regularity, it's office Christmas party season. Once a year all those people you sit next to day in and day out put on a sparkly top and sit next to each other somewhere else for a few hours.

So have you had yours?

With ever-predictable regularity, it's office Christmas party season.

Once a year all those people you sit next to day in and day out put on a sparkly top and sit next to each other somewhere else for a few hours. This year our lot popped along to an Ipswich hostelry for a three course dinner - smoked salmon, turkey and an orange meringue - it was an entertaining evening.

We even pulled some crackers to get us in the festive spirit, and we wore the paper hats, which to be honest, and maybe you're the same, make me hot.

Neil, the tall political reporter who sat to my left, was somewhat underwhelmed with his plastic gift which emerged after he had snapped his cracker.

I turned to him as I generously buttered a warmed granary bap.

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"Neil," I said, "What did you get inside?"

"Do you know James I think its a plastic finger nail," he said.

"Really? A plastic nail" I replied, somewhat agog at such an unusual response, only to be shown him modelling a lurid yellow fingernail.

He added, somewhat tongue in cheek I felt: "It's just what I've always wanted."

I never found my trinket . I suspect it flew out of the cracker with such force it must have disappeared under the table - thankfully.

I mean I dread to think what I might have been a plastic eye lid perhaps? or a yellow nose?

But I am able to share with you the joke, if that's what you call it, inside.

What has a bed but does not sleep and a mouth that does not speak?

A river.

Laugh? - well we never did.

IT'S finally happened.

All these years of waiting and I've got one of my own.

Of course, David Beckham, McFly, Robbie Williams, Kylie, even the ever popular Daniel O'Donnell have had them for years.

Today, dear readers, if you look on the website of the Evening Star www.eveningstar.co.uk you'll find your very own James Marston Calendar 2008.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology you can download some amazing images of me that have graced the pages of the paper over the course of the last two years. So instead of views of Suffolk, or Britain's Historic Houses you can have a lovely picture of me on your kitchen wall each month staring back out at you.

I can particularly recommend March.

A perfect present for those who have everything, I can offer you a stunning selection of pictures and the oppurtunity never to miss an appointment for absolutely no cost at all.

What a marvellous gift.

Well my mum will think so.

In another week of high octane social engagements, I found myself out with Letitia yet again on Saturday.

I use first name terms as she now knows my name which, as far as I am concered, means a celebrity friendship.

I was invited to the post pantomime party at Ipswich's Regent theatre, the gorgeous Miss Dean and the rest of the theatricals were on top form as they celebrated the triumph of opening night of Cinderalla.

I enjoyed a glass of celebrity white wine (dry) and a few celebrity chicken nibbles (breaded) with the great and the good of the Ipswich arts scene.

This time James went to the ball.

NOW its that time of year again for Christmas cards and dear readers, I have made a decision not to send any.

Now you might think that odd, and it is in a way, but I can't bear the thought of singing my autograph over and over again.

Lucy, my plain-speaking-photographer friend is unimpressed.

"What, you're not sending a single card?" she asked as we mooched about Ipswich town centre one lunchtime.

"No," I replied "I'm thinking of my carbon footprint, you see. I'm kind to trees."

"What you mean is your just tight," Lucy added.

I countered, as we ambled through the Buttermarket: "I'm saving some money to fly to Norway on a cheap flight in the new year."

Lucy was having none of it.

She said: "Yeah, you're tight."

Oh well.

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