EDitorial ± 19-Dec-2006

The Dali Chronicle

A trio -- or maybe that should be a triage after Eldest's trip to Casualty having been KO-ed by a football in the playground last week -- of events, this very day, all of which had a surreal air.

Item the first: lately the car's been trying, like the Knight Industries Two Thousand, to talk to us, flashing "Check Injection" on the display. Dropped it off with some chaps who know about that sort of stuff, pulled my two wheels out of the back, and headed off to work. Couldn't face the ring road so headed through town, past Halfords and up London Road about 8:30am. Even with my limited powers of observation, summat was clearly up, part of the road sealed off, and the PC advised me to go around.

That'll be the very same London Road you may well have seen on your televisual screens this evening providing a cold and frosty backdrop. Hey, Mr Reporter, get some gloves.

Item the second: nearing the car-fixy-place around 5:15pm, some bodily parts hot and some bodily parts not, was distracted by an unexpected noise from the Triangle Estate over the road -- the Match Of The Day theme tune being played by an ice cream van. I shook my head, but there it was, lit up and parked, presumably chocka with 99s. Look up the word "optimistic" in a pictorial dictionary and you'll see a thumbnail portrait of that van's driver.

Item the third: home in the warm at last, and The Boy shouts downstairs: Dad! Up I go, like Michael Portillo at Asda, happy to help. My friend George gave me a new car, he explains. Right, I say. And I've dropped it down the loo, he adds. OK, I nod. And I was sitting on the loo doing a ... I'll spare you the details here.

A glove was donned, there was an indelicate retrieval operation, quickly followed by some furious rinsing. Vehicle jet-washed and safely returned to its (less than careful) owner.

EDitorial ± 12-Dec-2006

Coming Like A Ghost Town

Welcome to Ipswich, says the sign on the Woodbridge Road: late night shopping Thursday until 9pm. I was going to string a few words together about the usual this-time-of-year traditions -- making that annual NME purchase, buying the tree from Notcutts, smiling along to the sounds of Tijuana Christmas -- but that all seems a little inappropriate.

Word of the discovery of two further bodies raced through the office late afternoon even before BBC News Online had the details. Then everyone got on with the down-to-earth business of trying to figure out which roads would be closed.

Ten o'clock news, "with Huw Edwards in Ipswich," broadcasting live from outside the police station, no more than ten minutes from here. Cut to Rajesh Mirchandani at Levington, a couple of miles from the office. That's half the prime-time news taken up by the town, for all the wrong reasons. Odd to hear names like Copdock and Nacton on the telly or see them on the web, ripped out of their normal context. It's all too close to home, like living through a even less credible than usual episode of Midsomer.

School play's been cancelled since it would obviously take place after dark, and the council is running special buses to the car parks. It used to be that the police helicopter was simply an annoyance and the odd siren of no particular interest; now those sounds seem to mean that much more, giving you pause for thought. Grim times.

EDitorial ± 9-Dec-2006

Dolmio, November 2006

Over a week into the new month, nombre douze, the last of this year. Where does it go? Must finish penning this intro before I kick off my Christmas shopping. Aim is to do nearly all of it online, so let's all cross our fingers for those two magical words, "In Stock", and the wonders of the postal service. Meantime here's last month's Dolmio (Doings Of Last Month Innoparticular Order). Now off to Amazon.

That is to say, an attempt to capture past(a) events before they slip... my... mind. November 2006 was spent:

  • being spooked by Neil Gaiman's Coraline; this is for kids?!
  • turning green reading an article called Blogging For Dollars
  • fearing for friends' and neighbours' safety on our explosive Bonfire Night
  • becoming mildly obsessed with the pound-a-shot Marvel Heroes bouncy balls at Crown Pools
  • staying up late too often and watching Pacino in Insomnia
  • eventually securing Ben Folds iTunes Originals for a friend: thanks to all concerned
  • learning loads about Brit Sci-Fi from BBC4's The Martians And Us
  • inviting a swarm of fruit flies into the house by not emptying the small brown bin
  • living with a victim of crime after she had her bike nicked
  • enjoying Jimmy Neutron (on VHS!) with the kids

And that was November 2006.

EDitorial ± 2-Dec-2006

Advent, Meaning Commercial Outlet

Tis shortly, not quite yet, the season to be jolly. And surely, Shirley Shelley, nothing says Christmas more than the kiddies' advent calendars. That and the Playmobil non-nativity scenes that have swept aside the fruit bowls on top of the sideboard.

This year's Kinnerton concoctions -- carefully produced in a nut-free environment, they'll have us know -- all contain surprise gifts. Tickets to the Sound Of Music? iPod Shuffle? PS3 voucher? Or maybe, just maybe, an extra chunk of choc, and be grateful yer snivellin' kids.

There's (a) Winnie The Pooh for Middler, and look, both Pooh and Tigger have made the effort to wear festive red hats; (b) The Simpsons for Eldest, and lo, the family are sporting those same hats, AND they're singing carols, AND it's snowing, so score three Xmas points; and (c) for The Boy, er, it's erm, Pirates Of The Caribbean. Hey, there's Orlando as Will and Johnny as Jack, both with swords. Even the lovely Keira's relegated to the reverse. No prezzies, no white flakes, and not a whisper of the word "advent".

Makes you feel like penning a letter to the Daily Mail, doesn't it? This country (sounds of typing) is going to a very hot place (type type) in a handcart (carriage return). Concerned parent, Suffolk.