Yule find it tricky to buy me a gift

MY oldest fan Noreen, a lady who has lived in Felixstowe since 1948, has today sent me a picture of me enjoying myself.

James Marston

MY oldest fan Noreen, a lady who has lived in Felixstowe since 1948, has today sent me a picture of me enjoying myself.

Snapped while out with friends, I think, dear readers this is the first time I have been photographed in a restaurant - just like other celebrities.

As you can see I am about to enjoy a sausage and mash and have finished a glass of red - which might account for my rosy cheeks.

I think the moment has been caught don't you?

AS I sit in what I affectionately call my library-cum-study-cum-swing-a-cat-room complete with easy chair and drinks table, but not much else, in my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) and write this week's James Marston column, I have decided to dismiss all talk of the credit-crunch-downturn-bust and treat myself to a luxurious cheese scone.

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I don't know about you but I don't want to hear any more about economic things do you? It's just so depressing. Say no to the credit crunch I say. No, no, no.

Life's too short and Christmas is just around the corner.

And, my dear readers, for the first time ever I feel ahead of the game.

Instead of a last-minute dash around Ipswich on Christmas Eve afternoon I have just finished wrapping up several gifts and it's not even December.

I've been shopping online, you see, and what a boon that is, I must say.

Not once did I have to feel guilty about interrupting the conversation of a couple of shop girls about what they are wearing and who they are seeing next Saturday night in order to get five minutes of service, not once did I have to queue or fight crowds or struggle to park or walk miles.

Yet wherever or however you shop doesn't detract from the basic fact that no one really knows what to actually buy do they? I mean, what do you get people at Christmas?

Are you really bothered about hot chocolate mugs with a matching bag of marshmallows or novelty slippers or miniature bottles of booze and hip flask accessories?

Who wants notelets or socks or, God forbid, lavender draw liners?

I don't know about you but I have little interest in DVD sets of American television shows or those not really amusing books on grammar.

I am also far too young, though probably of ample enough girth, to play golf - so no balls please- and too old for remote controlled cars and boats that you see piled up everywhere - though those are quite tempting.

This, and I suspect I am not alone here, leaves the stalwart of knitwear - a gift, alongside a book token, I can confidently predict will be somewhere among those wrapped and ready under the tree, that we all strangely chop down and bring into our homes at Christmas and leave to die in a corner, with my name on it.

Of course, many fans - well my mum - have been asking me what I might like to celebrate the festive season.

I've suggested you all club together for a token gift such as an Aston Martin or maybe a small but stylish villa in Cap D'Antibes - other celebrities aren't without such things and, though I wouldn't want to appear greedy, car dealers and estate agents need all the help they can get at the moment and I'd like to do my bit in these troubled times.

TODAY I want to dispel a rumour.

I have not, as has been suggested by some of my crueller and, I may add, much older colleagues, recently passed my 40th birthday.

Now I admit that I may have a few grey hairs and more of them than I used to but I am only a young man, manifested in my impatience of old and slow drivers and a total lack of knowledge when it comes to steam trains.

Neither do I remember life before multi-storey car parks, Mars bars, and decimalisation or before Prince Charles was old.

I'm 33, a mere youngster in the scheme of things.

YET again we are subjected, if we so choose, to I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

Do you know any of the celebs?

I know a few of them, though I have to say the ladies who are so unattractively known as wags have not really made much of an impression.

Perhaps it is because their only discernable talent is an undeniable ability to make friends with footballers.

And I can't think Esther Rantzen really needs the money can she?

Not that I care much, I shan't be watching it anyway - will you?

So HRH The Prince of Wales is 60, quite a landmark.

I wonder what he got for his birthday? A three pack of socks? A nice decanter? He must be almost impossible to buy for.

But what would he really like? I thought of a couple of things including the throne, of course, or a new mistress - now he's married his last one there's a vacancy.

I suspect something for the garden is a safe bet with him.

YOUNG Star - the subject of this year's Evening Star Christmas appeal - is thriving according to my latest information.

Apparently the young guide dog in training recently endured a wash and blow dry.

“She didn't like it,” said Penny, the lady who looks after her.

I have also discovered she is to make a number of public appearances over the Christmas period including turning on the Felixstowe Christmas lights on November 29.

Penny said: “I'm afraid she's more famous than you, James. How many people stroke your head in the street? She also loves the click of the camera, she likes the attention - a bit like you.”