Off my trolley

SHOPPING is the new religion. The chances are you went shopping over Easter. Instead of celebrating the resurrection of the living Christ, I suspect many of us just enjoyed the time off work and popped out to pick up a few things for the garden - nice weather has that affect on us.

SHOPPING is the new religion.

The chances are you went shopping over Easter.

Instead of celebrating the resurrection of the living Christ, I suspect many of us just enjoyed the time off work and popped out to pick up a few things for the garden - nice weather has that affect on us.

I washed the car, went out for a scampi luncheon with friends in the west of the county and spent the rest of the four day break eating chocolate and avoiding exercise, no change there then.

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But I did manage to avoid the shops. You see, I can't bear them.

Yet despite my wanna-be celebrity status I still have to shop for myself. But isn't it a drag?

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Dull, unexciting and uninspiring, supermarket shopping in particular is so unpleasant.

I was thinking the other day, as I was sitting in my little Ipswich sitting room listening to a spot of Bach and enjoying a cream soda, how awful these establishments really are.

So here's the best reasons to avoid them.

Other people - especially those who amble around not in a hurry to get out.

Trolleys - why can't we just hand over a list and get someone to go round for us? Pushing a trolley and shoving things in it is just humiliating.

Meeting people you know - if you see them in the veg aisle and exchange a few words you've got to keep nodding and smiling each time you see them, awkward isn't it?

The booze section - far too tempting.

Constant music - why is even a supermarket constantly noisy?

The clothes section - as if I want to stress myself further by not finding something that fits in a supermarket.

24-hour shopping - apparently even in Ipswich there are shops that open round the clock. What a ghastly idea. Much better to lie on your sofa in the evenings.

The self service checkout - it takes longer than waiting for a checkout to check you out.

Children - screaming and badly behaved they shouldn't be allowed. Though when I go I always park in the family parking section as it's near the door.

The “Do you have a reward card?” conversation. I just stare back in silence. That kills that.

Of course not going to the supermarket does have its drawbacks.

I've never got anything in.

STARRING alongside me, my plain-speaking-photographer-friend Lucy and my entertaining-entertainments-reporter-friend Helen in the very forthcoming production of Titanic (tickets still available) the musical by the Ipswich oh-so-awfully Dramatic and frightfully Operatic Society (IODS) is the lovely Stephanie-the-Diva.

As regular readers will know I've mentioned the Diva before.

She's a pussy cat really, a stalwart of the IODS, who admires Barbara Streisand and is familiar with the repertoire of Shirley Bassey.

During a particularly lively rehearsal, in which David the choreographer was forced to pretend to be the French mistress of one of the richest men on the boat who made his money by smelting gold half way through the opening sequence, Stephanie took me to one side for an audience.

“Darling James,” she said.

“Yes my dear,” I replied, somewhat in awe of a lady who remembers the world of musical theatre before Andrew Lloyd-Webber was really, really rich.

“I'm celebrating my birthday soon and we're having a few drinks, make sure you come to the pub after rehearsal.”

I nodded my agreement.

Later as I sipped on a martini in one of Ipswich's watering holes we spoke again.

“So Stephanie,” I ventured, “How old are you now then?”

A frozen stare was issued in my direction.

“Twenty one plus a few years of experience. And don't you dare put that in the newspaper,” she enigmatically replied.


I have a strong and sneaking suspicion that she's hoping for a karaoke machine so she can sing show tunes to her heart's content in the comfort of her large Ipswich drawing room. She and I are so very similar.

Celebrity announcement:

I have decided that I shall not take part in this Summer's Big Brother.

It's just as well as applications for the show closed in February but, dear readers, don't be too upset, apart from not being nearly weird enough I can't bear the thought of being trapped in a house full of despicable wanna-bes.

I can have that in my little Ipswich sitting room.

And anyway, Evening Star editor, who has the honour of sitting next to me in the newsroom, pointedly pointed out: “To be honest James you're TV days are already probably behind you.”

I'm only three and one 31 and I've still got my looks - ish, my hair - ish, my teeth - ish and at least half my wits. Surely there's time for a rather chubby, balding but still handsome and charming lad to make his mark.

Well, dear readers, Big Brother 2008 has yet to be ruled out.

OF course I love the Royals but that Kate Middleton has got a bit of a cheek.

Moaning about being photographed just weeks after reports that she gets a nice new car on a favourable lease. I aint impressed.

If I was offered a smart motor just for hanging around someone rich and privileged I wouldn't be complaining too much.

By the way I fancy a Jaguar so if any dealers out there want to be associated with me drop me a line and I'll drive around in one.

Munga - What a lovely word to say, used colloquially by New Zealanders, it means an army canteen.

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