Royal dream put to bed

AS my legion of fans will know I like the royal family. I think they might be a bit mad and they certainly live in a strange world but I like them nonetheless.

AS my legion of fans will know I like the royal family.

I think they might be a bit mad and they certainly live in a strange world but I like them nonetheless. Wishing to keep them and admiring their work is sometimes a view rarely held by us cynical hacks so perhaps I am an exception.

Of course, though a minor wanna-be celebrity in Ipswich and the Felixstowe peninsula, I can never hope to rival their fame, despite my obvious talents and penchant for self-publicity, nevertheless thanks to the modern wonders of the motorway and combustion engine I can take a look at how they live.

And this week, along with my relations from the west of the county, I took a day out to Windsor to have a look round.

The queen's castle, with countryside views (panoramic and imposing), is a pretty remarkable place.

Inside it's as camp as Christmas - full of gold and crimson and some amazing curtains - outside it's terrifyingly dramatic and awe-inspiring.

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Most of the rooms are bigger than most people's houses and you can probably drive a car down some of the corridors but in a great nation such as ours we should have the biggest and best for our head of state.

We can hardly expect Her Majesty to live in and entertain the world's leaders from something smaller can we? So while we've got it, and them, we should look after it.

Anyway if we're honest we all love a nose round other people's houses don't we? Indeed, at one point in my chequered career and before I became the celebrity you all know today I worked as an estate agent and having a look at other people's houses was ever so much fun.

I was impressed and rather liked the inside, though as I said to my sister Claire, who's as nosey as I am, I couldn't live with the patterned carpet that was laid throughout the public rooms and I'd never feel comfortable inside a place with no obvious kitchen - I mean how do they cook a quick boil in the bag fish in sauce when they fancy something simple? And I didn't spot a microwave either.

Only a couple of hours away, Windsor was a highlight of a rather depressing January and if you've never been I can recommend it.

There's even a huge dolls house which was owned by Queen Mary - I don't think I remember her - which you can have a look at if you like that sort of thing.

Furniture-wise there are things there that looked totally impractical. I saw a silver table, huge sideboards, loads of guns on the walls, massive vases, some pretty ghastly and outlandish ornaments and even a malachite urn which you'd never find in any garden centre let alone fit in your car.

The bed with loads of curtains fascinated me the most.

It was in a room called the King's Presence chamber or something like that and it was used by a long-ago king during a ceremony when he was put to bed by people with a load of other people watching. How utterly bizarre.

I've decided that if having a load of strangers gawping at me in my ancient-but-so-very-comfortable pyjamas is the price of fame then it isn't worth it.

Nice to have your own chamber though.

I wonder if I might rename my Felixstowe salon. James' Presence Chamber with sea views (distant) has got a nice ring to it hasn't it?

NOT very often nowadays do I venture into the centre of Ipswich for a night out but on Friday with my glamorous-teacher-friend-Lucia, I found myself in a pub enjoying a quick gin and tonic, ice and slice.

On the menu - not that we were eating as I'd already prepared a takeaway pizza - there was roast partridge (£12.95 or thereabouts) which sounded rather tasty.

I remarked to Lucia, as she necked a large glass of a crisp cooled Chenin, “I like a game bird don't you? especially at this time of year, but I've never tried partridge.”

She hadn't eaten it either but we've agreed to try it some time. But what's it like? Is it nice? Or is it one of those dishes that sounds better than it really is?

GOSH this government is in a pickle isn't it?

All this cash flying around and donations and sleaze and investigations and name-clearing and things - I'm not too young to remember being promised a whiter-than-white record in office and how we should chuck out the sleazy Tories.

DESPITE being fully exposed on the stage of Ipswich's 1,650-seat Regent theatre as a doorman during the forthcoming production by the Ipswich mostly Operatic and normally Dramatic Society (IODS) of Singin' In The Rain, I have yet to be asked to dance on my own by the choreographer David.

Perhaps David, the Craig Revel Horwood of the society, doesn't think a big boy can be graceful and agile and in my case he's probably right.

The sad thing is that my fellow thespian Stephanie-the-diva, so called because she likes to get dressed up and is never seen in public looking anything but her best, was very much looking forward to a few steps with me.

She said: “We could have been the Fred and Ginger of the show. You could have been a Hollywood stud, James.”

I've a nagging feeling the diva's thoughts weren't entirely serious. I do hope the audience isn't too disappointed.