My little grey cells were confused

STABBINGS, poisonings, death and scandal - another busy week.

James Marston

STABBINGS, poisonings, death and scandal - another busy week.

Well this time, dear readers, I write from my small Felixstowe salon with sea views (distant) after a particularly hectic time after being embroiled in murder.

The murder mystery weekend kind of murder, that is.

From my base in a Shropshire hotel room I and 70 others were asked to try to work out who killed whom during a weekend that included three course meals, a bottle or two of a crisp and dry Chenin, and some unfortunate deaths.

During the welcome cocktail party my much-heralded acting abilities came to the fore.

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Pretending to be someone I was not - so it all fitted in with the plot - I pretended to be a newspaper reporter, an experience a colleague somewhat rudely suggested I knew all about, with a particularly popular column on the cusp of international celebrity. I was very believable, at least I thought so.

My sister Claire, who loves such puzzles, took the exercise a little too far and made out, rather exuberantly I thought, that she was a big wig in the local amateur theatrical scene prompting a few of our fellow sleuths to believe she was one of the actors-cum-suspects performing for our entertainment.

Suffice to say by the end of the cream of mushroom soup with a hint of tarragon one lady was looking particularly peaky after what appeared to be a sandwich knife was shoved into her abdomen.

Of course, as a journalist I was among the first on the scene asking questions and upsetting the police.

Not that it helped.

No sooner had I deduced that a lady was dead, than a scandal was revealed with what appeared to be a blow-up doll - I deduced his wife doesn't understand him.

It all became very complicated and, despite having the advantage of shorthand, I failed to really work out what was happening until the inevitable denouement on Sunday morning.

Nevertheless and despite my inability to resemble Hercule Poirot in any other way apart from girth size, it was an experience worth experiencing, I laughed all weekend - even though no one believed I was famous.

HAVE you seen this X Factor programme on the television?

The other weekend I was forced to sit and endure a Saturday night in front of the television - it was not a pleasant experience.

X Factor is apparently a talent contest but with some very strange characters. One woman, a young girl didn't even wear shoes - poor thing. Imagine being so keen on performing you forget your footwear. I felt sorry for her.

Another contestant, who sang out of tune, was lauded as “fantastic” though one judge admitted there had been “tuning issues” - awful isn't it? I can hardly believe that singing out of tune can be heralded as fantastic on primetime television.

I shan't be watching again.

Have you started your Christmas shopping?

What a dreadful thought isn't it?

It's not even Hallowe'en and things are hotting up for the festive season. I suppose these shops need all the help they can get at the moment but I shan't be shopping until mid December.

I've also found that if I cannot find gifts and other things I think I need in the Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe then I don't bother.

So Mark Foster is out of Strictly Come Dancing - well he wasn't much of a dancer was he?

As regular readers will know I am an avid viewer of the programme and very keen on all the costumes and music - it appeals to my theatrical side.

But now things are getting serious - the wheat is gradually being separated from the chaff - the show is getting even better.

Much my relief, however, John Sergeant - the journalist's favourite - is still in the competition - I wonder how much longer he will last though, don't you?

Dear James,

Some further thoughts regarding 'the pip'.

You kindly printed my remarks the other day. Thanks for that. I remember that there was another meaning for 'the pip' that my family would use occasionally.

That expression was; 'you're giving me the pip', which meant that one's parent was being irritated by an offspring's childishly naughty behaviour. I don't know if any other local readers might have heard of that one. In similar circumstances, my old dad would bark out: 'You're getting on my wick!'

This meant he was pretty annoyed with something I might have got up to. I wonder if anyone else might have heard of this expression as well.

Bernard Jasper