It’s My Life - with Karen Pasquali Jones: Close encounters of the celebrity kind

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TWISTING my spaghetti on my fork, I glanced up and froze. “L-l-l-ook,” I managed to gasp to my friend.

There, sitting just four feet away from us, on the next table, was Colin Firth. Mr Darcy himself! Though today he was wearing jeans and a beige jumper instead of britches and a ruffled shirt.

“OMG!” my friend spluttered, pasta flying everywhere. “Is it really him?”

This was an intimate Italian restaurant. He was within touching distance. Of course, it was him. I could even smell his classic aftershave. It was enough to make a girl stammer.

Feeling brave, I smiled at Colin. He grinned back. My friend burst into tears. “Stop it,” I hissed, desperate to act as if I lunched with A-list stars all the time.

But she was sobbing now. “I love him,” she wept, staring doe-eyed and open mouthed at him.

Colin was talking to a director-type, probably about his next movie role.

But I couldn’t hear over my friend’s sighs, and frantic phone calls telling everyone she’d ever met in a stage whisper, “I’m sitting next to Colin Firth.”

I tried to sit it out but when she started trying to take pictures on her mobile, I knew it was time to leave. ‘Bye Colin,’ she said, standing over him and waving. He politely nodded while I practically dragged her away.

It was only 10 minutes of gazing at the man who’s now tipped to win an Oscar for his spell-binding performance in The King’s Speech but it was enough.

I now know why 50 per cent of women would happily ditch their other half on Valentine’s Day to go on a date with Brad Pitt.

Luckily I’ve never seen Mr Darcy dining nearby since, or my hubby would be left home alone on February 14.

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• Karen Pasquali Jones juggles being a mum and working as a freelance journalist from Eastbourne - often with disastrous results!

• More about me on www.truelifestories.me