Columnist James Marston talks about his delightful foray into public speaking and his latest venture into town

James Marston Column

James Marston Column

Well I think it was a success. I am, of course, referring to my latest foray into public speaking – my talk at Mildenhall Museum. Naturally, I rather enjoyed it.

Towards the end of my performance my mother, who was in the audience, kept looking at her imaginary watch and tapping her wrist, as part of a pre-agreed signal, to let me know that someone had gone to put the kettle on and that people needed a cup of tea.

Funny thing is, I noticed that when I think I am cracking a joke no one laughs, and when I don't, they do – an unnerving experience I can tell you.

Anyway, as my grandmother used to say, it all went off fine.

I note that among a series of events and talks held by Mildenhall Museum is 'An Evening with Joyce Grenfell' on November 24 conducted my old English teacher Gillian Grinham. By old I mean former, obviously.


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Anyway, I wonder if Mrs Grinham gets the laughs when she expects them – probably.

Meanwhile back at my Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) I set off last Saturday afternoon to one of the town's coffee shops, of which there is no shortage.

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Three double espressos and a cheese scone in quite a short period of time left me so wired with caffeine that I forgot why I went into town in the first place.

I sometimes miss the days when people sat in the pub on a Saturday afternoon, don't you? At least you could have a nap afterwards.

In other news, my sister Claire, who wants to marry an octogenarian farmer with 4,000 acres and weak pulse, organised a Saturday night beetle drive in the village of Icklingham in Suffolk where my family are based.

I asked her how it went. She replied, 'Me and 16 people throwing a dice and drawing beetles on a Saturday night. No wonder I don't have a husband.'

Thanks this week to Rita Grehan from Ormesby who emailed to say how much she, like me, enjoys the occasional malapropism. Rita wrote:

'Dear James, Words are my great delight so malapropism sends me into hysterics, I can chuckle all day. I think it is the innocence that does it, the unexpected. All I have for you is a small Advertisement from the EDP a week or so back; 'For Sale , two chested drawers. Regards, Rita.' Very good.

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