Only so much fizzy fun a man can take

AS regular readers will know every year I go to the Suffolk Show.

James Marston

AS regular readers will know every year I go to the Suffolk Show.

This year my plain-speaking photographer friend Lucy and I worked extremely hard sampling the delights of the food hall, checking out the flower tent, avoiding the dog show, getting stuck in the melee that is rural crafts, not getting too close to livestock for fear of being trampled, and, in Lucy's case, taking close-ups of sheep.

And as regular readers will also know I always enjoy the lunch.

This year I sidled up on day one to the groaning buffet of cold meats and what have you followed by Suffolk cheeses with a most entertaining lady called Rona, who was from Saxmundham and had worked in television in the 1960s..

On day two I found myself at what turned into a most agreeable four hour luncheon next to a lady called Alison with whom I sampled a crisp ma�on chardonnay several times while we watched the horse jumping.

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But it might sound all glamour and sophistication I'd like to point out that the show is not the journalist's jolly it might appear - despite what you might think.

I had to work very, very, very hard - at one point I even had to have a little sit down in the Otley College marquee where I had been invited to cocktails and refreshments.

SPENDING time in the small Edwardian seaside town of Felixstowe this last weekend, I found myself with a few friends enjoying the delights of the amusements.

It's surprising what you can do with a 2p in there - there are all sorts of machines to put cash into and I even saw, at least I think it was her, a portrait of Her Serene Highness Princess Stephanie of Monaco on a game called High Roller. I wondered if she likes the Felixstowe slot machines when she fancies getting away from all those luxury yachts.

But have you ever been into one of those places? They are very loud indeed.

Even worse is the fact that by noticing such a din, I suspect I am beginning to show my age.

And that's not all I've noticed recently.

Suddenly I hear people younger - though only by a bit - than me are talking a different language.

It's all “whatever” and “is it” and “innit” and “giving it large” and “blood” as in “Hey wassup Blood.”

Did I partake in such a sub-cultural linguistic phenomenon when I was a kid? I don't think so.

I've yet to hear anyone refer to their friend as any other bodily fluid - “Hey Saliva, wassup” isn't common parlance - but it might not be long.

And what does blood mean anyway? Can anyone apart from teenagers speak teenager?

Of course a certain je ne sais quoi with technology helps, in this virtual world.

And internet acronyms and text speak (txt spk) is another area in which I, and probably you, are almost totally out of touch with.

How many of these do you know?

- POS - Parent Over Shoulder

- KPC - Keeping Parents Clueless

- GYPO - Get Your Pants Off

And in the world of text there's much the same

- 2NITE - Tonight

- AFAIK - As far as I know

- g - grin (and of course eg - evil grin; beg - big evil grin; and vbeg - very big evil grin)

- HAK - Hugs and kisses

- IYKWIM - If you know what I mean

- LMAO - Laugh my a**e off

Parents and everyone else who feels a little young to be old but too old to be young, might like to take comfort in the fact that while they may not understand what's being talked about, many acronyms and texts I discovered during my research often show a keen and earthy appreciation of our Anglo-Saxon linguistic heritage. It's just a shame they are unprintable.

Is it. BRB.

FINALLY, as I write in my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) the weather is glorious and, after a difficult start, my tomato plants are thriving on my little balcony.

But can you believe it's June? There'll be Christmas stuff in the shops soon - now there's a thought.

Not that I'm averse to a few gifts from my fans.

So if there's something you might like to get me - such as a bungalow in its own grounds with a greenhouse and sea views (amazing) or just a can of Special Brew - I'd be delighted.

HAVE you noticed the suitcase phenomenon on the TV show The Apprentice?

It's something that's been puzzling me.

Each time a contestant leaves they invariably have a small wheeled suitcase trailing behind them - but how do they manage to live for weeks and weeks in that luxury penthouse out of such a small bag? They must constantly be at the launderette mustn't they? And whose idea of a flat with loads of other people is luxury?

James' Mailbag:-

Dear James,

You're a star!

I awoke this morning feeling rather low (Parkinson's Disease, and not one of the good days). But on reading your piece about the speaker and the MPs' expenses debacle, I felt uplifted. This was the most honest, sensible and fair summary I have read of this sorry political carry-on.

Hilarious were it not so worrying. Yes, Speaker Martin is tainted, yet is regarded as kind, caring and humane across the political spectrum. He rose from humble, back street Glasgow birth to senior commoner in the land.

Those who campaigned for his fall should look at themselves.

Especially the MP who made half a million on sale of house. Mr Gummer should open a sanctuary for his troublesome jackdaws and moles and you could stand as our independent MP.

Your platform “free marmalade and muesli for OAPs”.

You do not need to lose five stone, being just on the right side of cuddlesome!


Mill Rise,


Poets corner:-

For those who have asked me for the occasional poem, I have chosen another favourite for you. I think it's Victorian.

Say Not the Struggle Naught Availeth

Say not the struggle naught availeth,

The labour and the wounds are vain,

The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been they remain.

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;

It may be, in yon smoke concealed,

Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,

And, but for you, possess the field.

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

Seem here, no painful inch to gain,

Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light,

In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,

But westward, look, the land is bright.

Arthur Hugh Clough

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