Let's not do lunch soon!

CAREFUL the things you say - you don't really mean them.

James Marston

CAREFUL the things you say - you don't really mean them.

As I sit in my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) with remote control in one hand and a gin and Dubonnet in the other trying hard to make sense of the world, something this week has struck me as amusing.

What has tickled me is not the fact that the world's leaders have all decided to spend millions and millions of our money which we don't have and hailed it as a huge success - though what can you do but laugh at that?

Neither is it Jacqui Smith - I bet her husband's in the dog house.

Nor is it the name of Jamie Oliver's baby daughter - Petal Blossom Rainbow - which is totally hilarious.

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No, what has amused me is far removed from the world of global and domestic politics and celebrity cookery - it's simply the things we say.

I'll give you an example.

I was recently stopped in Felixstowe's Hamilton Road - while I'd popped into town for some shake and vac for my carpets and a bottle of slimline tonic - by a lady who recognised me.

“You look much younger in the flesh, James.” She said.

What she really meant was “You look awful in those pictures in the paper, I thought you were about 50.”

And, dear readers, we spend our lives not really saying what we think or mean don't we?

We all do it.

And today I thought I'd share with you a few examples of what we say and what we really mean that made me smile to myself.

- “We must catch up”= “I have no intention of seeing you for a while thanks.”

- “In due course.”= “I'll do it when I get round to it.”

- “I'll call you right back.”=“Leave me alone.”

- “Let's do lunch.” = “Let's not do lunch”

- “How are you?”= “I have no interest in your latest health problems.”

- “You look just the same.” = “Christ what happened to you?”

- “It was lovely to see you.” = “Now go away and don't darken my doors again for another 20 years.”

- “I Love you.” = “Can you iron my shirt?”

- “I've pencilled you in.”= “I'll be there unless I get a better offer.”

- “How are the kids?”= “What are the names of your ill-behaved brats again?”

- “You look well.” = “My god you've beefed.”

Can you think of any more? Do drop me a line.

DIDN'T she do well with all those prime ministers?

Our Queen does a great job and long may she reign.

But the recent news that there are moves afoot to reform the monarchy and its ancient rules worries me.

Tinkering with Act of Succession and religion of the Royal family is a dangerous precedent,

For 300 hundred years our country has enjoyed one of the most stable forms of government in the western world - based on hereditary monarchy which is strictly controlled and limited in the breadth of its power.

Only once in that time has a king dared to even drop the merest hint that he might defy the rules, and Edward VIII was soon dispatched into exile with the woman he loved.

It is a system that works and it is at the heart of what it is to be British.

Sectarianism in Britain isn't a distant memory, it is, I'm afraid, alive and well and deeply rooted in our national psyche. The most obvious manifestation of this is the hugely popular and annual burning of a Roman Catholic effigy on bonfire night several centuries after the event that inspired it.

Perhaps the most recent example of British sectarian attitude is Tony Blair's reluctance to convert to Roman Catholicism while in office - he knew it would not be a politically good move.

Furthermore the fact that Mr Blair's conversion and the conversion of other public figures remains newsworthy at all is a reminder how much Roman Catholicism, rightly or wrongly, is still distrusted in the UK.

It might be a good idea to allow women to succeed to the throne -some of our best sovereigns have been women - but fiddling with the rules about religion and the crown can only lead to the logical step of church disestablishment.

And by doing that it's a short step to losing the monarchy altogether - something we have tried before and we didn't like much and for which there is almost no popular backing - though this tinkering is a golden gift to the republican movement.

And anyway the rules have been bent and loopholes found over the years.

For example, the Duke of Kent is married to a Roman Catholic and he has retained his place in the succession.

DID you see the Grand National?

I love racing and I love this race - it was excellent.

I had a little punt on Offshore Account, which at one point was doing quite well

Anyway I was shouting at the television and cheering him on until he fell - you can't win them all.

But what fun, and how exciting.

AS regular readers will know last week I set you a little quiz.

Here are the answers

- Who discovered penicillin? Alexander Fleming

- What is the English generic term for German white wines from the Rhine? Hock

- Who has played Count Dracula most times on film? Christopher Lee

- What is the county town of Somerset? Taunton

- What does TARDIS stand for? Time And Relative Dimensions In Space (I think)

OUR most precious resource is not tobacco, or oil or barn owls - it's water.

And this week Anglian Water sent our newspaper a nice little press release declaring the appointment of Sir Adrian Montague CBE as its new chairman.

Included with this press release is the information that Sir thingy thing is also the chairman of Friends Provident, Michael Page International and Cellmark AB - a Swedish pulp and paper marketing company - as well as non executive director of First and Skanska AB - an engineering and construction group.

My goodness, with all this fingers and pies, it's a wonder he's got a moment to turn on a tap let alone fix a leak.

James' Mailbag:-

Dear James

The best reading for a wedding is in the New Testament of the bible, in 1 Corinthians Chapter 13. You could read the whole chapter, as I did at my brother's wedding, or if that is too long, versus 4 to 7, and the first three words of Verse 8. This needs to be read from the New International Version (NIV) of the bible, as the word used is love. This is an accurate translation of the King James Bible (thees and thous) which uses the word charity instead of love. I have enclosed a copy for you.

Hope this is useful.

VIVIENNE UPSON (Mrs)

Gt Totham,

Maldon

Dear James

I enjoy your column (usually).

We have Felixstowe sea views too, not distant at all, in fact a bit too close for comfort on a high tide!

Here are some suggestions from the Bible for a wedding talk.

Interesting about Tunisia, - I didn't realise it was Carthage!

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their hard work. For if one of them should fall, the other one can raise his partner up. But how will it be with just the one who falls when there is not another to raise him up? Ecclesiastes 4 v 9, 10. If two lie down together they also will certainly get warm…etc v 11-12 proverbs 5 v 15-21.

“Let the sun not set with you in a provoked state” Ephesians 4: 26

Ephesians 5 v 25-29, 31, 33 and 28.

Proverbs 15:17 Proverbs 31

Genesis 2:18

Hope these are helpful.

JAN LONG (Mrs),

Undercliff Road West.

Dear James,

Pleased you had a good holiday!

1. A popular reading is 1 Corinthians ch. 13 vv 1 - 7 very good to read and listen to.

2. Psalm 98

3. If the couple have a good sense of humour: Wives and husbands! Ephesians ch 5 vv 22 - 33

Good luck!

Brenda

Felixstowe

Dear James

I always enjoy your column and this week especially with the report on your visit to an amateur production of 'A Murder is Announced' at Trimley.

This brought back memories of plays put on by Colchester Repertory Company in the old Albert Hall back in the 1940s. The audience always arose from their hard wooden seats as the National Anthem was played on a 78 rpm record before the curtain went up on the current play.

As the interval came round a lady carrying a large tea urn walked up the aisle and placed it on a table by the side of the stage and poured out a cups of tea at three [old] pence per cup.

When the audience left at the end of the performance, the manager or his assistance was always at the door bidding everyone 'goodnight -do hope you enjoyed the play: see you again next week'.

Happy days, long since gone!

Regards

Bernard Polley

Colchester

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