A penguin? They are such a tie...

James Marston visits the Adnams Distillery in Southwold to see what it takes to make the worlds best

James Marston visits the Adnams Distillery in Southwold to see what it takes to make the worlds best vodka

I won the lottery this week.

In fact the Euromillions.

But you’ll be pleased to know I’ve decided it’s not going to change my life.

I’m still going to do my own shopping and I shan’t employ anyone to whip round with a Ewbank. I haven’t quite yet swapped my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) for a huge Scottish castle, or bought a new Maserati, or even bought a packet of Benson and Hedges. In fact, truth be told, I only won £2.90.

But it’s a start isn’t it? And though money isn’t everything ? though I note rich people who say that never give much of it away – I wouldn’t have minded a bit more.


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Partly because Christmas is coming and buying things people don’t really need or want is always such a drain on the finances.

Indeed, I saw the much-hyped John Lewis Christmas television advertisement the other evening as I was watching Downton Abbey and wondering why no-one mentioned ever again the cancer-stricken dog and if Lady Mary has any other facial expression beyond slightly bored, and thought if I ever want a penguin I’ll know where to go.

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But I don’t really want a penguin – they are such a tie.

In fact I’d like some new bedding because the floral yellow creation I’ve somehow ended up with is as awful as it sounds.

I’ll have to drop some hints to stave off the usual offerings.

Indeed judging by the amount of socks and slippers, and strange things like hip flasks which I seem to receive these days, people must think I spend an extraordinary amount of time running around barefoot in search of a drink.

In other news the west Suffolk village of Icklingham where I spent my boyhood is gearing up for the annual cake decoration contest during the much anticipated Festival of Lights in aid of the ancient church of St James.

The contest was once somewhat marred by controversy, according to my sister Claire, as the winner – though admittedly someone who was quite creative in the fondant icing department – wasn’t her. Indeed Claire has already taken the somewhat dubious precaution of mentioning her enthusiasm for the season of goodwill to the vicar in the hope of a highly commended.

In fact, this year I might enter the fray myself as I have an idea forming in my fertile mind of recreating the gifts of the magi with the imaginative use of wine gums.

So apart from winning the lottery and Icklingham cake-gate, it hasn’t been a very exciting week. I did manage to sample some spirits at Adnams in Southwold, which was a highlight, with my plain-speaking-photographer-friend Lucy, who said I was so enthusiastic when it comes to a drink it’s a wonder I haven’t got a hip flask.

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