There is so much to Suffolk

Another weekend - another wedding.As regular readers will know I am an inveterate wedding goer.

James Marston

Another weekend - another wedding.

As regular readers will know I am an inveterate wedding goer.

In fact this was number two out of four that I shall be gracing with my presence this year.

This time it was the turn of James and Joy and my tall and glamorous friend Lucia was one of the bridesmaids.

A friend of mine Matthew - who enjoys gardening - and I acted as impromptu ushers handing out the orders of service.

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Despite the somewhat inclement weather on Saturday it was a lot of fun - partly because there were several theatrical people I know and the bonus of a karaoke - a heady mix.

Margaret, a stalwart of the amateur theatrical circuit, sang Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Anyway, and I thought I'd share this with you, the ceremony itself was held at St Mary's Shotley - a most fascinating church with a very interesting churchyard.

My friend Mary, a very theatrical lady, did me the honour of showing me points of interest including the naval section which includes a lovely memorial to submariners complete with dolphins - the emblem, I understand, for those who serve in the submarines - as well as lots of moving and poignant war graves, including some German ones.

It is a very peaceful spot with some excellent views over the Orwell estuary. I found it all rather moving.

So if, dear readers, any of you could tell me a little but more about the history of Shotley's churchyard and its memorials, you know I always enjoy a letter.

Anyway, the vicar who officiated, the groom's grandfather in fact, also told us how the impressive hammer beam roof weighs 400 tons - though I'm not sure who weighed it to find out.

The point is, and I suspect you were beginning to wonder if I was ever going to make it, is that there is so much on our own doorsteps that we often never see.

I have lived in Suffolk for years and, thanks to my job as a roving reporter, I am often in the countryside visiting interesting places and people.

But there are some places I have yet to visit in Suffolk including:

- Beccles - though I'm sure it's nice - is it?

- Walberswick - hard to believe I know.

- And Walpole Old Chapel near Halesworth - a place my playwright friend Susan tells me I'd enjoy.

Are there places you have always wanted to go but never made it? Do drop me a line.

Perhaps this BBQ/sodden Summer might be the time.

Anyway if you're ever passing Shotley church it is well worth a look.

As some of you will know for sometime I have been almost famous on the Felixstowe peninsula.

Often I am stopped in the street of the Edwardian Spa Town by people keen to pass the time of day or exchange a quick hello.

Last week as I stood outside the Evening Star and East Anglian Daily Times office in Hamilton Road enjoying a mid morning cigarette a lady stopped to say hello.

Unfortunately I didn't catch her name.

She said: “I have often seen you about but never plucked up the courage to say hello. I always read your column.”

How kind of her I thought, recognising me and everything.

The next day I told my story to a friend of how a lady stopped me in the street and told me how marvellous I was etc etc - I may have over egged the pudding somewhat.

I said, as I finished my story, “Well at least I haven't let my fame go to my head.”

“No, just to your stomach,” my friend replied.

There's nothing finer than taking to the water is there?

On Sunday I found myself on the little foot ferry from Felixstowe to Harwich soaking up the sunshine and crossing the estuary.

It was a lovely experience and lots of fun.

Harwich is nice for a walk round too.

The great age of 34 is beginning to beckon.

Next month I shall be sliding into my mid thirties and make no mistake.

I've only just got used to being 33.

Soon it will be twenty years since I took my GCSEs - though of course they're much easier now - and when I'm 37 I will have passed my driving test - first time - two decades ago.

Should I worry about 40?

IT'S not that I'm obsessed or anything I just think she deserves a mention every now and again.

And this week Camilla Cornwall - my favourite Royal - has been busy at Sandringham Flower Show where she looked like she was enjoying herself.

It looks a nice event, just a shame it's on a Wednesday or I might have been able to go along and wave a flag.

James' Mailbag

Dear James,

Have just read of your “spot of bother” with greenflies.

I have a small colony of ladybird beetles in my front garden to whom an aphid is a tasty snack. Spiders' webs can trap them. Otherwise I offer the following more as cheer than comfort:

From “C H P” in The Countryman:

Weep not for the little greenflies who are orphaned in the morning;

They need no mother's tender care - by evening they'll be spawning.

Nor doth the greenfly malice bear for swatting her relations!

She just lays eggs upon the dregs of slaughtered generations.

And if she comes up smiling when with soap-suds she's been plastered,

There's only one thing to be done,

So let me go and get my gun,

And shoot the little *******!


Mill Rise,