EDitorial ± 24-Sep-2007

TT0708, Week 3

Why, said impish FredFrank after I'd beaten him, don't you attack more? Now that, FF, is a darn good question. You've got the shots, he continued, so why not use them? Think on, me, think on.

Nonetheless, a steady three for me and debutant Andy, while Kev started like a man possessed and ended like a man repossessed. Surprisingly good natured game against spry Cyril, foxy FredFrank and lashing Les. Like the Avocets, these "boys" make up in awkwardness what they lack in agility. We can only hope to be that active at that age.

Best shot of the night was perhaps one of Andy's many lobs -- such determination to aim the 40mm ball through the overhead lights -- which landed 5cm on the other side of the net before spinning back to his side, leaving his poor opponent nonplussed.

Post match calories at the traditional haunt, the Bodrum Grill. Fat kebab for Andy to celebrate his quarter century at the GPO.

EDitorial ± 22-Sep-2007

Blue Tongue Clan

The Boy said no. Middler was washing her hair. Eldest declined, then executed a Rodney Mullen 180 and said yep, she'd accompany her old Pa to the footy. Didn't go once last season, the shame. Cheaper tickets (two for £20) what with the game being live on MurdochTV. Biked down, locked up, walked confidently to the old Churchman's stand with a good two mins to spare. Informed that no, we needed the turnstiles on the opposite side of the ground. Oops, there goes kick-off. Well done, me.

With various small kids sporting freebie True Blue T-shirts and one guy screaming blue murder at the ref, we sat in the Greene King and enjoyed The Blues wallop The Sky Blues on the same day that bluetongue was found in Baylham. Near Ipswich, said BBC News? It's a good 7, nearly 8, miles away. Unless I've misheard, they say that Felixstowe's Midge Ure might be to blame.

A full 3-0 up at half-time, Pablo "Stella's Cat" Counago on fine form. Some rare breeds on display in the form of two furry horses shaking hooves with the crowd. Makes you think twice about scoffing down a Portman burger with max 30% meat content from DEFRA's Jeffers heifers.

Two more goals in the second half -- corking free kick from Stephen Hughes who, alas, plays for them -- so ended 4-1 to the Agricultural Lads. EIEIEIO, up the Championship table we go. Back along Sir Alf Ramsey Way past Megaphone Man, loudhailing his own football chants. What we call a character.

EDitorial ± 20-Sep-2007

TT0708, Week 2

Fully five months since our last outing as the BT Defiants -- we're back Back BACK, though an administrative oversight has condemned us to the depths of division 3. Like Mourinho, we shall rise again.

Inevitably late turning up what with wheelie bins to fetch and tuna melts to prepare and decimal point maths to check. Purposely chose some motivational MyTunes on the 35mph drive, inc. Hang Me Up To Dry by those b&w Cold War Kids and Brainstorm by the Glasto Monkeys. Skipped over Kate Walsh track inbetween: lovely, but not now.

Three silver haired oldies, maybe schoolfriends of Sir Menzies Campbell, made up tonight's opposition. Less than six good hips between them, but no pushovers either as Kev discovered in his opening game. I should point out that he did win his other games, however. Arvind The Viper landed all three, as did yours truly, us two also scraping through the doubles, giving us a 9-1 Golden Gordon start. Woo and indeed hoo.

According to Arvind, we should aim to finish first in the league, "at least". Now that's ambition.

EDitorial ± 17-Sep-2007

Dolmio, August 2007

Fortnight to go before long-planned family France hols. Everything falling nicely into place. Gites, ferry, insurance, etc. A thought: obviously all our passports are up to date? Yep, yep, yep, yep, no: oops, not The Boy's. Quick phone call to the helpline. Still time but need to take photos (not yet taken) and fees and forms (not yet filled in) to local office ... in London. Much fun ensued, carting Boy in early morning trip to Stowmarket Asda photo booth, seeking "professional" signature from teacher friend, taking train to unlovely Victoria. Worked out alright, of course, like last month's Dolmio (Doings Of Last Month Innoparticular Order).

That is to say, an attempt to capture past(a) events before they slip... my... mind. August 2007 was spent:

  • browning nicely at Walberswick on crabbing champs day
  • reorganising Middler's room: gotta love that orange
  • finally buying then endlessly playing Arcade Fire's Neon Bible
  • also finally reading the marvellous Curious Incident Of The Dog
  • partaking of a passport palaver
  • learning about the joys of Indian IT life with Office Tiger
  • lapping up Keillor, Streep, Jones, Harrelson et al in A Prairie Home Companion
  • squash and more squash
  • France!
    • Cabourg, Ouistreham and Villers-sur-Mer mini golf
    • Quiberville, Etretat, Yport, Deauville and Cabourg beaches
    • Super U and Hyper U
    • BN and Pick-Up biccies
    • cafe creme, cafe allonge, plain cafe
  • admiring the karmic qualities of My Name Is Earl
  • ripping through the ultimate Deathly Hallows of Potter

And that was August 2007.

EDitorial ± 14-Sep-2007

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Coffee Shop

This week's venue was self-selecting by virtue of (a) being on the nearest edge of Felixstowe town centre and (b) having stacks of free parking. I guess it was a smart move to chop the final 200m of railway track some years ago, allowing all that space by Homebase to be used.

Grab your gratuitous P spot, point your feet townwards (see map) and the first refreshment place you hit within the old station is ... well, I missed the name on the way in and it wasn't at all obvious once sat down. Popped back out to discover we were in the Coffee Shop (marketing boys on overtime). Can't be sure about that definite article either.

Inside is akin to being in a large conservatory, albeit without the condensation and wicker furniture. Thumbs aloft for lots of natural light through the glass roof. Confusingly, no printed menus on the tables: everything's on one small-ish blackboard propped up by an eclectic selection of (ex-library?) books for sale.

No pretensions here -- I had the double sausage & egg bap (on brown or white), yolkily consumed with some squeezy ketchup and washed down with a Yazoo milkshake. GS chose a daily special of ham/chips/peas and was delighted to find out that this included, gratis, a dessert of peaches & cream. Bonus!

Nothing fancy about afters either. There's an assortment of cakes and slices already dished out on, er, dishes, lined up and waiting. Ninety degrees of bakewell? Twenty centimetres of Swiss Roll? I was swayed by the sheer size of the fruit cake: take a large adult portion, then double it. Yum, cake, and plenty of it. Had no great hopes for the coffee, then raised by sight of proper looking machine. Sadly the end result wasn't worthy of a postcard home. Still, quick service (are you listening, Mr Bonnet?) and top value for money.

If it was a car -- Austin Allegro.
If they were passing by -- Billy Bragg.

EDitorial ± 10-Sep-2007

CatCam

Guess the malodorous connection between:

  • my rucksack
  • Eldest's box of Playmobil
  • The Boy's bodywarmer
  • G's pile of wet washing
  • Eldest's bed
  • Middler's bed
  • The Boy's bed, repeatedly
  • Middler's school bag
  • my pyjamas
  • mother-in-law's furry coat on New Year's Eve

Answer: all of the above have been wee-d on by one of our 'orrible cats. Urgh.

I say "one" since (a) we have two mogs, two more that I'd ideally like, and (b) we'd never caught one of them in the act. Initial bets were on Snowy, the black ratbag. Recently the odds have shortened on Misty, the grey ratbag. But with it happening more and more (all upstairs doors are now closed during the day), how best to pinpoint the offender for imminent "rehousing"?

Would love to take credit for it though was G's idea, perhaps inspired by the near-lengendary FruitCam, to set up a honeytrap -- leave The Boy's bedroom door open, his scrunched up duvet at its most inviting, and rig up a webcam. Which I did on Saturday morning, hooking up my orange D-Link to the laptop and activating the motion sensor. Anything moves on the bed and snap!

Was able to follow all the action on the downstairs machine. Ignoring an impromptu dance by Middler and a play visit by The Boy and his mate, spotted a standalone JPEG taken at 13:44:29. Well, well, if it isn't Misty? Bounded upstairs to find a stinky soggy pile of bedclothes. We have a winner.

Do let me know if you're looking for an adorable house-trained cat.

EDitorial ± 7-Sep-2007

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Bonnet Coffee & Tea House

Done Woodbridge (17 eateries). Next up: Felixstowe (30+ eateries). Should keep us out of trouble for a few forthcoming Fridays.

First out of the heaving hat is Bonnet, pronounced, I believe, Bon-A. This esteemed establishment has been on Hamilton Road (see map) since, well, forever. Fact fans might like to know that in the late 1930s, Louis Bonnet planned to move a few doors down and open a pavement cafe on the corner of Bent Hill, then WWII intervened: site remained derelict, then the Post Office stepped in.

Forward to the 1970s to find me salivating over the jars of sweet pebbles in the window, then spending ages in the toy shop nearly next door choosing a Pink Panther car. Happy times.

Some 35 years later and there's still some lovely looking handmade chocs downstairs. We're up the stairs -- cafe/restaurant part is named Cornelian, not sure why -- among the Sally Cameron mixed media modern artworks: corner table, just about a sea view, Volets Bleus on the wall. Befitting the sunny day, service is what you might loosely term "leisurely". Pear juice by James White is good, iced coffee is so-so, G's pot of Assam is lukewarm.

Bags of choice on the menu inc. some pricy specials if you're monied and in the mood. Homemade Bonnet chicken/ham pie plus fries sounded special; what we got was pie & chips with a single lettuce leaf's worth of garnish. Thumbs up for ketchup, points away for no HP. It all equals out, says Philosophy Kev.

Rich and dark carrot cake was v. good, as was the cafetiere of Monsoon Malabar: shame that it took so long to arrive. And does it really take so long to find out that there's no caramel slice? Let's call it an opportunity missed.

If it was a car -- Jaguar XJ6.
If they were passing by -- P.D. James.

EDitorial ± 5-Sep-2007

Short Shrift

Country = France, month = August, day = Wednesday.

Overnight hail and rain pounded our Longueil gite, not far from ticket outta Quiberville. Local paper's weather prediction is "maussade", outside my O-level vocab of soleil and pluie. Handy pocket dictionary obliges with sample phrase "Quel temps maussade!" -- what gloomy weather! Teriffique. Fortified with a pain au chocolat or three, off to Dieppe, "a cheery port".

Voiture parked safely underground, we emerge on the front to be met with a mighty wind. Kids enjoy leaning back into the gusts, raincoats flying. Spot a handful of brave souls in the outdoor part of a nice looking swimming pool, c/w water slide, rapids, the whole ten metres. Looks warm and inviting.

Take shelter in La Coupole snack bar. Further nourished by frites and oeufs and citron crepes, clasping a tourist info leaflet, we head for the old fishing district over a bridge built by a chap named Eiffel. There's a "vent violent" and I vaguely fear that something, maybe The Boy's Monoprix-bought Playmobil quad bike, or someone, maybe The Boy himself, will get swept into the sea: walk abandoned. Head for safety of Auchan supermarche.

Two days later, conditions un soupcon improved, back to scallopville with towels and swimwear to try out Les Bains, built 2007. Navigate state of the art PIN-protected lockers, all change, and into the water ... pardon, mon ami, not so fast. Who, moi? Oui, says lifeguard fella, not with those shorts. I point to the Speedo logo. Still non, dit-il. There's proper trunks available upstairs, he continues. I slink back to the desk in my shorts of shame.

Waddya know, they have a vending machine dispensing maillots and goggles for those with the appropriate Euro moolah. I feed in some currency, and voila, my new "boxer homme moyenne". One final filigree of Frenchery to request change for the locker and, enfin, je suis dans l'eau.

EDitorial ± 2-Sep-2007

Woodbridge Coffee Shops

Fancy a light lunch in Woodbridge, or maybe just a cuppa and a piece of cake? On Friday lunchtimes between April and August in 2007, members of the BT Defiants table tennis team undertook a summer tour of each & every caff, cafe and coffeehouse.

Thanks to:

  1. Grenvyle for driving, most of the time,
  2. and Andy for painstakingly creating/updating his official map of Woodbridge cafes

We supped, we nibbled, and we did it all for ... ourselves. Jolly nice it was too. Here's the full set of reviews:

  1. Beech Tree, Notcutts
  2. Browsers -- cafe gone 2014
  3. Caffe Nero
  4. Caravan Cafe
  5. The Cooks Shed, Gobbitts Yard
  6. Costa Coffee
  7. Christine's
  8. Cumberland Fish Bar
  9. East Coast Diner
  10. Eat Drink Rugby -- gone 2015
  11. Frangipani -- gone 2013, replaced by Cumberland Fish Bar
  12. The Firestation
  13. Georgian Coffee House
  14. Green Olive Deli -- gone 2015
  15. Honey & Harvey
  16. Jars Of Clay -- moved 2014 to Rendlesham
  17. Moorish Lounge -- gone 2012, replaced by The Table
  18. Mrs Piper's
  19. The Pavilion
  20. Pickwicks Tea Rooms -- gone 2010, replaced by Eat Drink Relax
  21. Pizza I Paella (pop-up outside the Riverside)
  22. Riverside Kiosk
  23. Sandwich Shop
  24. Subway, The Co-op
  25. The Table
  26. Tea Hut -- revisited 2015
  27. Waterfront Cafe
  28. Whistlestop Cafe
  29. Wild Strawberry Cafe
  30. Woodbridge Deli
  31. Woodbridge Fine Food Company -- gone 2014 and replaced by the Woodbridge Deli

Next stop Felixstowe!