The pen is mightier than the sword

AS we all know, an Englishman's home is his castle. My little Ipswich sitting room and my maroon boudoir in my small town centre abode, are indeed sovereign territory of James Marston esquire gent.

AS we all know, an Englishman's home is his castle.

My little Ipswich sitting room and my maroon boudoir in my small town centre abode, are indeed sovereign territory of James Marston esquire gent.

But once in a while, Ipswich - however dear to my heart - isn't quite exciting enough for a genius-handsome-reporter-cum-superstar-in-the-making.

So at the weekend I acted on my decision to get out more, and got out. Filling up the trusty rusty rover with petrol-the cost of which nearly necessitated a mortgage - I headed south and west a bit to the great metropolis.

Once the centre of empire, once the biggest city in the world, London is still pretty impressive and I was on a date with some old, old friends.

A former leading light of the Putney Light Operatic Society - regular readers will know I am now a member of the Ipswich variety of 'am dram' society - I was due in Wimbledon on Saturday night to celebrate the birthday of Penny-my-sophisticated-lady-about-town-friend and reminisce about my starring role in Pirates of Penzance as a uniformed policeman-cum-leather-clad pirate.

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It remains a performance that is talked about on the south London amateur circuit to this day.

So as I tuned into Question Time on Radio Four, sat back and let the slightly old rust bucket take the strain, I was in a pretty relaxed mood. That was until I reached the environs of our capital city.

The moment the traffic got heavier a change came over my trusty rusty motor and she started to heat up. Anxious I was going to be engulfed in a fireball thus hitting the headlines in death as well as life, I was forced to creep along taking care to avoid putting my auto under any extra pressure.

By the time Mr Dimbleby has moved on to “any answers” I was in the City of London, tired, emotional and fearing for my mental health.

Though once a regular urban driver, I had forgotten the levels of discourteousness that fellow road users use when on the streets of London. We might think the Ipswich one way system is a bit of a race track but that's nothing compared with the high octane drama of Lower Thames Street.

It doesn't even come close to the dangerous-but-scenic Parliament Square and by the time I found myself over the river in Battersea, I was nervous wreck and had to stop for a lie down.

Eventually, after a lengthy journey via Merton, Colliers Wood and Tooting, I found my way into the familiar Wimbledon one way system.

After my experience, which left my neck stiff and my nerves shattered, I was grateful, after an entertaining evening talking about me, to leave London and find myself on the relative calm of the east Suffolk road system.

I'm not sure if you've thought the same but suddenly the A14 didn't seem that bad, perhaps Woodbridge Road isn't as snarled up as we think, and maybe the A1156 could be worse.

AS some of you will know, and some won't care, I studied history many years ago.

Many remarkable facts are committed to the album of my memory-did you that in fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus didn't just sail the ocean blue.

In fact in fourteen hundred and ninety two Henry the seventh signed the Treaty of Etaples with France thus securing a large annuity and peace with a neighbouring nation. Fascinating isn't it.

Anyway last week I took myself off to Framlingham Castle for a journalistic sojourn in the great Suffolk countryside.

All in the name of research, I toured the impressive battlements, talked at length about the middle ages and then tried my hand at swordsmanship.

Naturally a clever chap like me isn't limited to cerebral pursuits and, as you can see, I think the photographer really caught the essence of my physical prowess when he took a shot of me defending the ramparts from the modern day assault of day trippers and children.

Though unlikely to give up the day job, I quite enjoyed wielding the magnificent shaft of steel.

But to be honest that's the limit of my swash-buckling.

The pen is mightier than the sword and I'm sticking with it.

THE King of the Belgians, the Queen of England, Charles De Gaulle and Winston Churchill, plus Pope John Paul II.

Not only are all of these people noted, admired, revered and respected they have also all enjoyed ticker-tape welcomes on the streets of New York.

Well, dear readers and loyal fans, this weekend it was my turn to get a taste of the adulation normally afforded to the much more important than a mere brilliant journalist, and wannabe celebrity fat club contestant from the east of England.

Stung by recent criticisms that I am self indulgent - what a cheek - I worried I may not be the mega-star in the making that I so regularly tell myself I am.

So as I left Christchurch Park I was amazed to note that hundreds of people were lining the streets to watch my progress to the seaside. Where I do like to be beside.

Driven in style in my dad's 1967 Foden two stroke lorry - bottle green in colour and it can run on vegetable oil at a push - I took part in the annual Ipswich to Felixstowe Road Run under the banner “Heavy Haulage”- a statement I decided to rise above.

Spontaneous cheering, rounds of applause, open mouthed delight greeted me as we trundled along Woodbridge Road.

I even noticed my enthusiastic editor and his family waving excitedly as I progressed through the Trimleys. What an honour. I accept that some who lined the route, and braved the somewhat inclement weather, may have stepped out off their cottage homes in honour of the Jaguars and Bentleys and buses and motorcycles that were also on parade, but that didn't stop me waving regally as I lapped up the attention.

As eagle-eyed star readers will have noticed, once on the charming Felixstowe seafront, I felt a souvenir picture was necessary to mark the occasion. That was featured in yesterday's paper.

It's a simple reminder of a lovely day and if you would like a copy just cut it out, or order a glossy copy.

As I promenaded, listening to the happy throng pointing at Austin sevens and Ford Anglias and Triumph Heralds, reminiscing about their parents and grandparents cars I began to think I wouldn't mind a ticker-tape welcome the next time I drive past Ipswich Waterfront.

Indeed I had so much fun, I am now worried such attention can become addictive, because that would be truly dreadful if it happened to me.