We waited for the bang that never came

WELL it's been a most exciting time in the Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe. Just like the war - well without any fighting, Hitler, Churchill, bananas or dried egg.

James Marston

WELL it's been a most exciting time in the Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe. Just like the war - well without any fighting, Hitler, Churchill, bananas or dried egg.

As regular Star readers will know, a huge bomb from the Germans was found washed on the beach, causing the full force of the state to swing into action.

Men in uniform, police tape, a media hubbub and even a gold commander - whatever that is - were joined by plenty of spectators as drama unfurled in the murky waters of the North Sea.

My aunt Ruth, who married late in life and lives in Bournemouth, had even heard about the remarkable story as the bomb blast was postponed, postponed and postponed again.

At the height of the drama she said, over a tasty chicken dinner with wine at my sister Claire's in the west of the county: “It always seems to happen to you, doesn't it James. So were you evacuated, James? What's the feeling like? Are people worried? Is Felixstowe under siege?”

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I replied after a swing of a glass of Nobilo that I felt perfectly safe and wasn't too concerned. I fortunately live outside the exclusion area and won't be having to make my first visit to what is known as a leisure centre but looks more like a place of torture for big people.

As update was followed by update the drama unfurled into what looked suspiciously like a cross between Dad's Army and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. There were lots of people not panicking, honestly, and denying the bomb had been “temporarily misplaced” but with the Germans still holding the trump card.

I even went along to have a look through my field glasses only to run into a chap called Giles from Felixstowe television and my fellow hack Richard who likes to miss nothing.

As the week wore on it became clear exactly when the big bang takes place is still anybody's guess. Indeed my colleague Juliet, who's always elegant and composed despite having teenage children, said she had heard that I had been working in Ipswich instead of my usual day in Felixstowe because of the clear and present danger of high explosives.

“Well I noticed you were here in Ipswich. They didn't want to risk your life, did they James? I guessed they would make special arrangements for you what with you being an almost celebrity and everything.”

She's right, of course, though I suspect her tongue was firmly in her cheek.

WHAT words and phrases do you dislike? Today, as I sit in my tiny study-cum-library-cum-guest room, I could get quite worked up at the things you hear in everyday life.

Here are a few suggestions.

Outage - eg an electrical outage or phone outage, awful isn't it?

Actioned - a perfectly adequate noun turned into an inelegant and clumsy verb.

Medaled - eg medaled at the last Olympics - since when was to medal a verb?

Not fit for purpose - surely this just means no good?

Gender - eg what gender are you? This is a linguistic term which is used far too often when people should use sex.

Jus, timbale, coulis, melange - menu speak - need I say more.

AS I was listening to a spot of Elkie Brooks with 7pm dry Martini in one hand, a

cigarette in the other, admiring my sea view (distant) while waiting for something fishy and delicious to be ready in my little oven, a thought struck me in the glow and peace of the early evening.

Isn't it about time Felixstowe had a pier again? It's such a shame that it isn't used isn't it? They've got one in Southwold so why not Suffolk's premier coastal resort-cum-large container port?

According to my sources there have been plans for many years to do something to the pier but nothing has come of them.

Well, what with all this lottery money flying around, you'd think a little old pier could have a bit.

DOESN'T the price of petrol make you angry?

What on earth was the point of the Iraq war if it wasn't to secure the oil supplies?

I accept that Britain is doing very well out of the war with security and construction contracts but isn't it about time the likes of you and me saw some advantages of holding the Basra oil fields?

It seems odd that petrol prices are so high when we've gone to war to make sure we've got enough.

MANY fans often ask about my plain-speaking-photographer-friend-Lucy.

Indeed she is in danger of becoming almost as nearly famous as me.

The other day, as we drove through the stunning countryside of the Shotley peninsula with the windows open and a show tune or two on the radio, the conversation turned to our careers.

“Lucy,” I said as she drove through Chelmondiston. “Are you ambitious still?” “Oh yes, she replied, “I just don't know what to do yet.”

I doubt she's alone.