Who's in need of cheering up?

IT'S that time of year again isn't it?The winter rages and the credit crunches.

James Marston

IT'S that time of year again isn't it?

The winter rages and the credit crunches.

And to cap it all, as my plain-speaking photographer friend Lucy said to me while we were walking through the streets of Ipswich in a particularly bah humbug mood, that it's not just policemen but even Doctor Who looks young - goodness we must be getting old.

The green shoots of spring and economic recovery seem a long way off and it looks like it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Now if you took all this doom and gloom to heart added to the fact that polar bears are having a bad time, Venice is sinking, Margaret Thatcher's looking peaky, Russia's not behaving itself and Mandleson's back in the cabinet, then you'd be pretty miserable, indeed, I'm surprised we aren't all manic depressives.

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Thankfully I'm easily pleased, I wake up each morning look at myself in the mirror and remind myself I've got my own teeth and an A-level in religious studies, a thought that sustains me throughout the day.

Added to this morning mantra is an early evening gin martini - varied by the occasional Manhattan - poured when the sun goes down.

It was during one cocktail hour this week that I realised there are lots of things we can all be cheerful about and so much to look forward to.

Here's ten:-

1) The nights are drawing out again. Already it's getting lighter in the evenings and before we know it the clocks will be going forward.

2) George Bush has only days to go in the White House - though I liked him.

3) Hustle is back on BBC1 - my favourite.

4) The notion of a “de-tox” has been lambasted as little more than a con - there's no need to give up alcohol in January after all.

5) You won't have to pretend to enjoy turkey, time with relations or board games for almost a year.

6) You can buy Cr�me Eggs in the shops.

7) People you work with who you don't like might get made redundant and if you get made redundant you'll have more time to yourself.

8) Have you noticed junk mail seems to have noticeably reduced?

9) It's going to be a hot summer - or so they say.

10) No one has banned laughter - in pubs, with dogs or otherwise.

YOUNG Star, the second most famous celebrity in Felixstowe after me, is doing very well my sources tell me.

The young pup, who was the focus of our Christmas appeal, is due to begin her formal guide dog training later this year.

Penny, the lady who looks after her, said: “Well I'm afraid she's more famous than you James. We went into a coffee shop and we were mugged when word got around, people just love her.

“You don't have people walking behind you saying 'Look it's James' do you? Well that happens to us all the time, it's like being a roadie for the Beatles or something.”

Well, Penny tells me Star, now five months old, is making yet another public appearance - this time at a school assembly this week.

Apparently she's making good progress and enjoys running about with fellow guide dog-in-training Amber.

She added: “She loves going off the lead. She's mastered the stairs and next week we'll be going on a train.”

BABY cried the day the circus came to town, cos she didn't like parades just passing by her - as Elke Brooks once said to me as I was driving along listening to a tape of hers I found in a 50p basket in a Felixstowe charity shop.

Well I know exactly how she felt - Baby that is.

You see, dear readers, one of my faults, not that I have many, is that I never like to miss anything.

So it is with some excitement this week that I have been along to the latest rehearsals for the latest production by the Ipswich totally Operatic and indeed most Dramatic Society (IODS) - The Producers.

We open, assuming I get through the excruciatingly embarrassing audition during which I have to dance and sing almost on my own, in June.

Of course, never one to make up my mind easily and with a tendency to vacillate, I demurred for a little bit until my plain-speaking photographer friend Lucy, also an enthusiastic member of IODS, told me straight.

She said: “Well James, you might as well do the show; it's not as if you've got any other friends or much of a social life.”

It's a good a reason as any I suppose.

I SEE Prince Harry's in a spot of bother again.

Well, if he was a politician he'd almost certainly have to resign or at least grovel, but you can forgive young Harry can't you?

He's fun and cheeky and likes a nice holiday and, bless him, he's obviously a little bit gaffe prone - what marvellous news for us media types.

There's nothing better than a rebel Royal, especially one so likeable.

He's only young, he's said sorry, he clearly loves the army and I doubt he's malicious.

He does his best so let's give him a little bit of slack.

n My favourite Royal, Camilla Cornwall, has got involved with a museum I read the other day.

Apparently Her Royal Highness has graciously accepted to be patron of The Fan Museum in Greenwich.

Opened in 1991, the museum promotes research, education, conservation and the production of fans and it is the world's only comprehensive museum devoted to the Ladies' Fan.

How lovely, I hope she enjoys it.

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