The night I imagined I was 007

YOU may have heard about the great shark off the coast of Felixstowe? A report filtered through to The Evening Star newsdesk that a large shark, or possibly a porpoise, was basking in the shallows not far from the Spa Pavilion.

YOU may have heard about the great shark off the coast of Felixstowe?

A report filtered through to The Evening Star newsdesk that a large shark, or possibly a porpoise, was basking in the shallows not far from the Spa Pavilion.

Global warming was blamed, of course, and questions asked about carbon emissions.

It was even suggested the giant fish, or whatever it was, was the east Suffolk equivalent to the Loch Ness monster or Yeti and the sighting was disputed.

Well, dear readers I have a confession, that large white thing close to the coast was neither a massive shark, nor a monster.

It was in fact me.

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Indeed I braved the cold and possibly radioactive waters of the North Sea in a bid to improve fitness and enjoy a summer's evening dip.

Never for a moment did I think I'd be the centre of attention and the cause of a spurious news story.

I can see the confusion though. Sharks and me are alike in many ways.

We both glide through the water with ease - though I have to huff and puff a bit more.

We both like fish - though the shark isn't so fond of chips.

And we both frighten people who spot us - though I'm less of a threat to life and limb.

With towel left on the high shingle, I swam boldy into the azure main and stayed in for quite some time.

Relaxing afterwards on the shore with a Vimto and biography of the Prince Of Wales, my peace was eventually shattered by a woman loudly shouting “Mabel” “Mabel” “Mabel” with increasing volume and desperation.

Alarmed by these hysterics and fearing I may have terrified the poor lady by appearing Daniel Craig like out of the water. I had a look about.

I soon realised that Mabel was in fact a small and clearly uncontrollable Jack Russell.

And for those that have been asking, my move to the Edwardian seaside spa resort is now complete. My DIY skills are developing apace and I even changed the fuse on a plug the other day.

The washing machine works nicely now.

AS usual The Evening Star newsroom hasn't been without drama this week.

Editor Nigel told us he was kept waiting at Ipswich hospital for some considerable time for a meeting with the NHS high command.

He said: “Well James it was a crucial meeting and I was getting most put out. I had been there 20 minutes reading an ancient copy of Horse and Hound. Have you ever read Horse and Hound?”

“No,” I replied. “I haven't.” preferring a monthly journal on classic cars given the choice.

“All of a sudden,” Nigel, who has been a journalist for so long he remembers the days of boozy lunch breaks, added “the doors swung open and out waltzed health reporter Hazel Byford.

“I was shocked to discover one of my own staff had so blatantly kept me waiting. Of course I just had to smile and affect indifference. The irony is I told her to go.”

Never-knowingly-out-administrated Miss Moneypenny, as Byford is affectionately known in the office, didn't seem too concerned by the incident.

She said with a wry-am-I-bothered?-grin: “Well, I didn't know someone was waiting outside, least of all the editor so I was carrying on with my interview.

“When we finished there was Nigel. I think he was getting a bit agitated. Oops.”

I'm tempted to write a sit com.

DON'T I look marvellous? Just like the Milk Tray man…or 007 with my Bond girls.

Resplendent in black tie I turned heads at the Ipswich and Suffolk Press Ball.

As an almost-celebrity on the streets of Ipswich, I even got recognised by Evening Star colleague Tracey Sparling - who has the advantage of sitting next to me everyday so knows what I look like in the flesh.

Even my other colleagues lady journalists Rebecca Lefort and Helen Johns looked pleased to see me.

We had a lovely night with plenty of quaffable champagne.

Plain-speaking-photographer-friend Lucy took some marvellous pictures which, if you turn to page or www.eveningstar.co.uk you can have a look at.

I'M not sure what you think about it but I was rather annoyed to see loads of hippies - or whatever these people call themselves nowadays - climbing all over Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice.

Why, when most of us visit the 5,000 year old circle we have to pay and aren't allowed to get too close to the stones, are these people are allowed to have a party amongst them?

It's little more than mob rule. If they don't get their way there's trouble.

If it is such an important site or world heritage status how come these people are allowed to clamber all over it, drop rubbish and mess the place up.

It's not as if it is even an ancient tradition that's worth upholding.

AS regular readers will know I expressed my sadness at hearing the news that the QE2 is due to be commissioned and turned into a floating hotel.

My thoughts struck a chord with Pete and Jan of Stoke Park.

The couple penned me a missive:

“Dear James,

I am pleased to say I've recently returned home from a cruise on the QE2

This is our third cruise on her in consecutive years. The service is very good and nothing is too much trouble for the staff on this ship.

Needless to say we are disappointed that she has been sold to overseas buyers. It's a shame she couldn't have stayed in UK maybe as a floating hotel in London.

There is no other ship like her. We don't seem to have much left that is British made anymore.

We are not so keen on cruising on the new cruise ships as we feel you may as well be in a Las Vegas hotel with all the glitz. I think it is very sad news but we hope to maybe cruise on her one more time.”

I'd like more letters, on any subject I've covered, to James Marston, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail james.marston@eveningstar.co.uk.

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