James Marston: I like horses, but from a distance...

James Marston

James Marston - Credit: Lucy Taylor

First of all this week I must thank the lady who popped into the newspaper’s Felixstowe office, or bureau as I like to call it, to say to me in person how much she enjoyed my articles.

Never one to eschew fame – even though it might be limited to the Colneis peninsula – I was very pleased as it makes such a change from letters pointing out ancient grammatical rules I have overlooked or ignored.

Added to which, I had a spot of success with Balthazar King in the Grand National last weekend, on which I had placed an each-way bet and scooped a massive £11.25, so all in all it has been a fairly good week.

Keeping on the racing theme, on Tuesday I found myself in Newmarket, the home of horseracing, where I met a lady called Amy Weaver – a bright young trainer – who was engaging company and entertaining to listen to.

In her yard she got out one of the horses and posed for pictures.

I kept a wary distance just in case the horse decided to bolt or rear up or bite me, much to the amusement of photographer Gregg, who seemed to enjoy the spectacle of me walking briskly to a safe distance.

“Don’t you like horses, James? I thought you liked racing,” he asked.

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“I do, Gregg... from the comfort of a restaurant or grandstand or my armchair. I don’t want to get too close, now, do I?”

And it is from my armchair in Felixstowe, where I have a small flat with sea views (distant) that my mother Sue, who enjoys an occasional day out by the sea, noticed a change in my outlook.

And I don’t mean I have become more philosophical.

Suddenly, it seems, my small flat has bigger sea views than it did last week.

A whole chunk of ocean is now visible, making me think that either the North Sea has got bigger or some trees have been cut down in the grounds of the Bartlet hospital, which, as everyone knows in Felixstowe, is being turned into what will be lovely flats after a long campaign to save it.

This development is rather nice for me as I can now spot the shopping as it makes its way across the seas.

I have decided I’d better sit down in my armchair a lot more; I am not sure how long this extra vista will last...