Old friends are the best

MY oldest fan Noreen, who enjoys sea views panoramic and has just returned from a trip to Cannes and Monte but assures me didn't go on the gaming tables, stopped me in the street.

James Marston

MY oldest fan Noreen, who enjoys sea views panoramic and has just returned from a trip to Cannes and Monte but assures me didn't go on the gaming tables, stopped me in the street.

“Hello James,” she said “How are you? What have you got there?”

Tempted to answer “three pounds of carrots and some cottage cheese I'm dieting, you see” I knew she was, in fact, referring to the baggage hanging over my right arm.

“I'm off to a wedding, Noreen,” I replied “It's my morning dress.”

“Well how lovely.” She replied. “And of course I've been reading you've got your show coming up haven't you?”

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As you regular readers will know tomorrow is opening night of my latest theatrical enterprise - Singin in the Rain - with the Ipswich indeed Operatic and naturally Dramatic Society.

Stephen, who was once in a boy band and gave it all up to work for Suffolk County Council, Stephanie the Diva, Lucy my plain-speaking photographer friend, my friend Julian who's always cheerful and goes to the gym an awful lot, and Sue who has been in amateur theatre for 45 years will all be treading the boards.

However, for once I was wearing a costume that neither put me at risk of arrest if I walked down the street in it or was going to appear on an East Anglian stage.

This time, dear readers, I was getting all dressed up for church and a marquee complete with parachute lining and a dance floor.

So this weekend last, after an embossed invitation had landed some weeks ago on the mat of my Felixstowe pied a terre with sea views distant, I found myself popping along to the matrimonial celebrations of one, if not the oldest of my friends.

It was my chum Katherine, who remembers me as a fresh faced seven-year-old in short trousers and wielding a hockey stick, who had asked me along to celebrate the big day.

There's nothing better than old friendships is there?

As I know you'll agree, old friends are one of the great blessings in life.

They remember when you didn't know much about the world and couldn't really do maths.

They remember you reading out loud to them in class.

They are the only people who know if you do or don't like Marmite or tomatoes or shellfish or bananas.

They know things but don't remind you of those embarrassing moments when you were a teenager.

They remain discreet in front of new husbands and wives about previous liaisons.

They know your parents and ask after them.

They don't let you get away with pretending you are a celebrity on the Felixstowe peninsula.

They are the only people who tell you to your face to lose weight.

They are the only people who tell you to stop smoking now you're over 30.

They are the only people you let tell you to lose weight or stop smoking.

So, for these reasons, and the fact I never, ever miss a good wedding, I trundled off to deepest rural Suffolk to take part in the big day. I think you'll agree I looked amazing.

HAVE you had a penalty charge recently?

I happened to park my little blue motor car in St Nicholas Street in Ipswich the other evening only to find one of those awful yellow stickers attached to the windscreen on my return.

The irksome thing was I had parked next to a number of other cars in the same place, there was no yellow line and my mistake was genuine.

I can take some, though limited, consolation that the traffic warden had booked every other car in the street.

UNFORTUNATELY, and this sort of thing occasionally happens to us hacks - I made an error last week when interviewing a celebrity.

“Hello” I said as I answered the telephone. “James speaking.”

“Hi it's Mick,” said a voice at the other end.

“Oh Mick, what can I do for you?” I replied thinking it was Mick I occasionally have contact with about things theatrical.

“Well you were going to interview me.” Mick replied.

“Was I? What was that about then? You'll have to remind me,” I said, utterly confused.

“I'm coming to the Regent theatre in Ipswich in July.” Mick added.

It was then the penny dropped. I suddenly realised I was talking to rock star Mick Hucknall.

Thankfully he didn't seem to be too upset by my somewhat embarrassing faux pas.

DIDN'T they all do well at the London Marathon?

It was bad luck for me but I just missed the deadline for entry this year otherwise I'd have joined them on the gruelling run.

You can only admire those dedicated souls putting their bodies through such a challenge. There must be a great feeling of satisfaction when you cross the finishing line too.

Never mind, there's always next year, I suppose.

WHAT'S happened to Heather Mills?

The former Lady McCartney seems to have disappeared doesn't she?

Perhaps she's keeping her head down after hitting the headlines day after day for so long.

There's really nothing worse, is there, than being over exposed and constantly in the newspapers - she has my sympathy.