James Marston: Detoxing is a load of rubbish, so I hear

James Marston

James Marston - Credit: Lucy Taylor

Are you on a detox?

You’ll not be terribly surprised to hear that I’m not.

I don’t believe in fad diets – unless they include chips, anyway, – and no-one wants to spend hours chopping up vegetables and fruit, do they?

As for giving up alcohol, I can barely drink these days, anyway, without getting a splitting headache either during or after, so that’s sort of taken care of itself.

I’ve heard that this detox thing is a load of rubbish anyway – from what I’ve read – and, in the word of one expert, taking a break from the booze for one month is “medically futile”.

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So that’s put paid to that.

Thus, instead of detoxing to kick-start the year, I motored from my small Felixstowe flat with sea views (distant) to London to see the Constable exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

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I took my mother, who always enjoys a day out if she is warm enough – and I much enjoyed learning about the iconic Suffolk painter and his work.

As well as getting the chance to see the famous Hay Wain painting, I also spotted Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows – a painting that many consider to be Constable’s masterpiece.

I’m no critic, but I did think it must have been quite a dark day when he put oil to canvas all those years ago – the clouds are a bit oppressive! – but it is an amazing painting.

And next month it is coming to

Suffolk – Ipswich’s Christchurch Mansion in fact – and will hang there for the best part of a year for all of us to go and visit.

I learned this little factoid when I popped into Ipswich museum with my

plain speaking photographer friend Lucy this week to talk about the stuffed brown bear, named Lucy in her honour,

who has turned completely white.

Lucy – the bear, not the photographer – is going on display at the mansion as part of a people’s choice programme to show off some of the exhibits owned by the museum but usually held in storage.

According to the museum’s records, Lucy was originally bought for £15 by a Captain Fennand of Aldeburgh before being bought for and presented to the museum by a gentleman called Sterling Westhorp.

And although she used to grace the museum’s entrance hall – she went white there because of too much light apparently – Lucy has been hidden up in her case since the 1980s, so it will be nice to get her out again and on view.

I’m sure she will be pleased.

This little episode with Lucy reminded me of a maxim taught to me by my first news editor when I entered the trade more years ago than I care to remember: “James, everything and everyone has got a story to tell.”

Even a stuffed bear.

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