Sealed with a miss

THERE'S nothing like a Friday afternoon is there?

James Marston

THERE'S nothing like a Friday afternoon is there?

That school's out feeling, the thought of a strong gin and tonic just hours away, the weekend to look forward to - it's great.

Well last Friday, dear readers, I happened to be working in the newspaper's Felixstowe office.

I was conducting an interview with my theatrical contact Susan, who likes a coffee and was off to Oxford to visit her son about her latest play about George Orwell, when the telephone rang.

It was, as we say in the trade, a shout.

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"Is that the newsdesk?" said a crackly voice on the other end of the line.

"Yes, you are through to the Felixstowe news bureau," replied I.

"Well there's a seal on the beach and I think you better come down."

As you can imagine I downed tools, cut my interview short, and jumped into my little blue Polo to investigate.

And, rather sadly, there was seal beached on a groyne in what we call round here, the dip - an area to the north of the town.

I say sadly because it didn't look very well, poor thing.

Spurred into action, I called for a photographer who managed to arrive just as the seal decided to ease itself off the groin and swim away.

Not to be out-witted we felt compelled to follow the seal who was edging towards Cobbolds point.

Now seals can move much faster than you think and they don't seem to breathe very much either -we had a job to keep up.

By the time we accepted the fact that we had lost him and probably wouldn't be getting a picture that day I had walked miles, a slight exaggeration possibly, to a place called Jacob's Ladder, which is neither a ladder nor does it belong to anyone called Jacob.

During this adventure I ran into a fellow celebrity out for a walk.

Star, the Evening Star's popular guide dog, was also in on the action.

And I can't think why her handler Penny seemed most amused to se me huffing and puffing along the beach, notebook in hand.

"James," she said, Penny, that is, not the dog, "I'm not sure there's room for two celebrities on this beach."

Handing me the lead, and I'm not very good with dogs since an unfortunate incident with a Jack Russell in the west of the county when I was in short trousers, I and Star had a little moment together seal searching.

We didn't find it.

But photographer Simon was on hand to capture the moment.

Star, who is now so famous people stop her in the street and pat her - something that has yet to happen to me - seemed to be having a lovely time.

"James, she's taking you for a walk," Penny called behind me as we sashayed over the shingle.

"Do try to keep up."

As a result of this little chase I'm supporting the campaign to link the sea front with Cobbolds point - I can't be expected to walk on the beach every time I'm seal searching.

Talking of which was it all right in the end? Does anyone know?

YOUNG Jade Goody is fighting what is now a losing battle against cancer.

Once she was a figure of fun, a poor misguided woman who was famous for displaying a big mouth and an undoubted gift for self-promotion.

She was, and she knew it, sneered at by the chattering classes who loved to laugh at her ignorance but she never pretended to be anything she wasn't.

She turned her gift into a lucrative living and, like her or loathe her, she's done well for herself and now she's working hard for her children to make sure they receive the education she never had.

Her plight might be tragic, but she is doing what she does best and what we loved about her in her final months of her fascinating rollercoaster life - living, and now dying, in the limelight.

And when she dies I confidently predict there will be much laying of flowers and thousands will line the route of her funeral - that's what we English have always enjoyed.

And another thing I bet her children will know where East Anglia is.

POOR old Jim Magilton, I do feel sorry for him.

I can't believe he has deserved this vitriol for simply trying to provide some Saturday afternoon entertainment.

I wonder is this not a case of shooting the wrong person?

It is the players who play the game after all. On the other hand he might be at fault, but ultimately does it really matter that much?

I have little knowledge or interest in football believing it tends to have an unfortunate propensity to violence, brings out the worst in base tribalism and doesn't seem to achieve much, but even I know there are plenty of people who aren't very good at their jobs.

And they don't get sacked as the result of a public campaign.

Will removing Jim really make that much difference?

AREN'T computers sometimes so complicated?

I'm no IT wizard and I only just about manage, but have you noticed they often say the strangest things.

The other day my laptop in my small study-cum-library-cum-box-room in my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) started conversing with me in the oddest of languages suggesting I reroute a modem and send an error report and other such instructions.

I often wonder who wrote these messages - probably someone who is a wizard.

Dear James,

YOU wanted to know if anybody can help cure your hair loss.

Well, I remember my father's efforts way back.

It was some time between 1946-50, I can't remember the exact date, but not long after the war anyway. He brought home some stuff he had bought in, I think, Boots the Chemist, or sent for it from a newspaper advert, I don't know which.

It was a little jar of some sort of gunge which you rubbed on the bald parts of your head. It was black with a greenish tinge, looked awful, but the smell was terrible, just like bad drains mixed with bad eggs. However, in spite of my mother's protests he religiously applied it for a few weeks.

Did it work? Well, that is the strange part. After about three weeks a faint fuzzy bloom appeared on the bald spots. Great excitement. However, it was short lived. The tiny little bits of fuzz sort of got rubbed away and never appeared again, and eventually he stopped using the stuff.

If it is still in existence it might by now be much improved. The name of this delight? Pomade of Peru.

See if you can find some, you never know!!


First Avenue,


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