She’s a picture of true beauty, whoever she is in the photo

I have been buoyed by a letter from Val Harding, of Stradbroke, who has congratulated me on my efforts to lose weight in time for THE WEDDING, (son to fianc�e) next April.

She says she was delighted to read I was approaching my goal and – and this is the bit I like: “I personally don’t think you need to worry. I think you have a lovely hair shade and style; a beautiful face; no double chin(s); an elegant slim neck and shoulders and a wonderful smile (probably your own teeth)”

Mrs Harding adds: “Of course, the photo doesn’t show the rest of your body.”

I especially like that first bit although, to be perfectly honest, the picture is now around eight years old and although the hairdresser has been able to ensure my hair remains the same shade, I do have the onset of early years scraggy neck. But I like the woman in that photo… whoever she is.

Val goes on to give me some timely advice about my theatrical endeavours.

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Having been a member of amateur operatic societies, she offers a few tips for chorus members and extras in plays as follows:

• Always make sure you are centre stage

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• Avoid tables, chairs and other obstacles, like the principals

• Exit through the wings with caution, you might take the scenery with you

• Never look at the lights or audience (you may cause injury to yourself and the set)

• Don’t bother to learn the lines or stage directions, just copy the others

• If you have the occasional few lines to say, then write them on your hand or on any prop you may be holding such as a fan, tray, plate or box.

You’ve seen me on stage, then, Val. (note to my director: don’t worry, Philip, only joking)

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