EDitorial ± 31-Oct-2007

Right Witch For Ipswich

Home on Halloween (now there's an apostrophe that nobody will miss) to an eerily deserted house. Into bedroom to select spooky outfit, put light on and boo!, there's G. in bed, out of it with a migraine. Scared me, anyway.

Tonight, Matthew, I'll mostly be dressed as some weird Frankenstein type creature with a quick sale cape from Mr Tesco and a nasty green rubber mask underneath my hoodie top. King of improv, I find a googly eye in our dressing up box -- that'll go nicely behind one of the eye holes, straining to pop out of its socket.

Down a couple of doors to Sarah's traditional scary party. I've asked The Boy to put the word out to the many kids there that he's seen something in the garden. So Dad sneaks round the back and hides behind a bush. When the little kids appear at the back door, very bravely, I play my trump card -- in my hand is my LED front bike light. Holding it at arm's length and pointing it upwards, I put it on flashing mode, highlighting my monstrous visage. Cue high-pitched screams. Even more so when they run back inside, enabling me to sneak up to the house and stare through a window. Aaarrgghh!

Quick mention for a Very Bad Thing from the weekend. Following a nightmare from way back when, The Boy still does not like anything remotely witchy. Won't it be fun, decides Middler, to dress up as a witch, complete with claws and a scarecrow mask from the most recent Dr Who comic, wait until The Boy's upstairs, then creep in to his bedroom? As I say, a Very Bad Thing.

EDitorial ± 26-Oct-2007

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Ferry Cafe

Go east, young man. Veer left at the Orwell stroke Elizabeth Hotel to take the High Road, then Cliff Road, then Ferry Road (see BoytonBoy's map). Through the golf course, past the martello towers (x2) and keep going until you can go no further. Welcome to pay & display Felixstowe Ferry, home of the eponymous Ferry Cafe.

Cult caff, this, a little like Woodbridge's very own Caravan Cafe with its rickety, ramshackle, unapologetic facade. Yet peruse the unexpectly well presented menu and you'll find a pride in the locally sourced grub. None of that fancy waiting at tables stuff here, ta very much. Find a free table with Heinz and HP, queue up, place your order, leave a surname and ready yourself for the shout in five minutes.

Choices choices: while Grenvyle went for the ever popular F&C (large portion or was his plate too small?), I opted for a pair of Dingley Dell sausages, a Snape egg and numerous chips. Very much did the job, washed down with an incongruous apple juice from James White that would have seemed more at home in an NT tea room.

By 1pm-ish, the joint was jumping, inside seating at a premium. There's a handful of outside benches if you're from the North or have unruly children. Meantime, that carrot cake wasn't going to eat itself, and it's a simple pleasure to be served a mug of tea c/w floating tea bag, confirming that pots are for girls. Afterwards, you could go to Bawdsey or buy a crab or throw stones in the sea or view some art or walk inland. We, alas, returned to the office.

If it was a car -- VW Camper.
If they were passing by -- John Wilson.

EDitorial ± 24-Oct-2007

TT0708, Week 7

Six games, six convincing wins: nobody was expecting this. Conceivably, we'll be seeded in the forthcoming knockout cup.

Up against the BT Hurricanes tonight who we sometimes see practicing in the TT hut. They look competent but were unable to reproduce their lunchtime form, all of 'em losing out to me and The Viper.

Kev showed his experience and breeding, winning a tricky five-ender in a final game deuce, but then came up against Yang. Never seen someone take so long to prepare each and every serve. And that upside-down Nike headband was Rupert-esque. Kev coulda shoulda won the first game, and did win the second. Then, egged on by Arvind, he choked like a New Zealander as Yang's points propagated. Wisely, he made no attempt to claim a place in the doubles.

EDitorial ± 23-Oct-2007

Bewilderwood, A Treehouse Adventure

Half term. G. away for the day. Me plus three kids. Somehow we're out of the house by nine-ish, picnic prep-ed and packed, and heading up the A140. Around Norwich (oh dear, here comes the rain) to Roy's Town, aka Wroxham, and it's only a few not terribly well-signed minutes to Bewilderwood.

Fortunately Dad's remembered the kids' raincoats. Though not his own, bummer. So it's a damp & dismal & drizzly debut as we head in. Paul McKenna a head, for future reference.

Within a short while, though, kiddies are climbing big wooden frames, crossing bridges, and holding on to zip wires which carry them up, up and away. Not too much sliding, however, what with the staff mopping up. Plus nobody's too keen to take off their shoes.

Naturally The Boy has a couple of scrapes, bruising both shin and cheek at the same time. He's a worry. And he really really wants to eat lunch in the car then head straight home. Thank goodness, then, for my rucksack collection of paper napkins and bags for life, giving us a dry-ish bench near the snack shack. The solitary undercover table can't be had for L. nor M. No hot food available, either: they're working on it, so they say.

Post lunch, conditions cheer up and so do we. Messing about in the maze, swinging on the three-seater and finally catching the boat back to the entrance. So, good place, will only improve, but you do need the weather.

EDitorial ± 19-Oct-2007

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Oaks Tea Room

Didn't mention last week that we only ended up at Froffee Coffee 'cos we couldn't get in at this week's location, the Oaks Tea Room, on the corner by the library and the cinema (see BoytonBoy's map).

Booking ahead, a first on the Light Lunches tour, guarantees us a table at the OTR. Chalkboards -- two outside, four inside -- proclaim "traditional homemade food" and that "all our food is homemade on the premises". So far, so blah: been there, done that, had the cream tea.

And yet the Oaks proves itself to be an unexpected gem. From the moment we enter the premises, service is exemplary. Drinks order taken promptly and enter the milkshakes, mine with a strawb on the side and Andy's with a handmade choccy on top.

That quartet of boards offer a huge choice from snacks to main meals. When we ask Mr Oaks about some of the options, he gives us chapter and verse -- this is someone who cares about food, his food. He talks us through some of the lighter and not-so-light options, aware that two, perhaps three of us are already looking at the puds. Thumbs aloft for my sardines on toast.

Savouries done, what next? There's cake, knickerbocker glory, hot sponges, a mouth-watering list of comfort food. Grenvyle's college pudding and Andy's date slice are soaked in custard, while my Eton Mess is a meringue marvel. Spot on and highly recommended.

If it was a car -- Bentley Brooklands.
If they were passing by -- Clement Freud.

EDitorial ± 18-Oct-2007

TT0708, Week 6

Jolly good game tonight made jollier still by a ten-nil victory. To us!

Not many teams bring along their own mascot (pictured left), so let's hear it for the Hadleigh Owls. Included among their number was none other than Rupert, a guy we used to play in the last millennium: you know, when the ball was smaller and we went all the way up to 21. Poor chap was suffering from table tennis elbow but still turned in a tough game. And he's still got that headband, though it doesn't appear now until the third end.

One of their other members had only been playing since May: he'd considered himself a half-decent player before joining the league. Which left a Chris Evans lookalike who seemed, at first glance, to have little in his armoury, but proved mighty tough to get past.

So that'll be three to me, three to Andy in my faded Rave T-shirt, and three to dad-to-be Arvind.

EDitorial ± 16-Oct-2007

Written All Over Their Face

Big night for Eldest -- her first gig and it's McFly (gotta love that name) at the Regent in town. Been on the calendar for months. Nice of Dad, spelt M-U-G, to shell out the £pony for the ticket.

She'll be there with her bezzy mate from school, and the deal is that (a) BM's parents will pick 'em up while (b) I drop 'em off. Before we head downtown, the girlies see fit to daub their faces with the names of various band members: there's Harry, er, and some others. Prob'ly not Charlie 'cos he was in Busted.

It's buzzing outside the theatre and there's no need to flash your tickets until you're well inside, so into the foyer we go. While I'm showing them where to go and we're straining to look at the merchandise stall, some chappy with a camera introduces himself: I'm with the local paper, he claims, I like what you've done to your faces, and I'm taking pictures for tomorrow's edition -- do you girls want to be in it? Which is how the pair of 'em, "excited McFly fans", landed themselves a prime slot in the Evening Star's double page spread the following night.

On the night, as a bonus, the boys did a cover version of Rihanna's Umbrella in tribute to Eldest ('ella, 'ella). She came home pumped up with ears still ringing.

EDitorial ± 12-Oct-2007

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Froffee Coffee

Here's a Marmitesque name you'll love or loathe: Froffee Coffee. Next time we're pootling down Hamilton Road (see map), I won't be in too much of a hurry to point out their sign to The Boy, given his "th" versus "f" pronunciation predicament.

That risible rhyme didn't inspire confidence. Then in we stepped to find plenty of room, lots of customers (though no newspapers), an interesting food menu and even a separate smoothie menu. Optimism's a fickle mistress. Chap took several attempts to jot down our order, but hey.

Ten minutes or so later, he reappeared to say sorry, no pittas: panini OK? Sure, I said. A moment passed, back he came to say sorry, no raspberries for the smoothie. Er, cranberry juice is fine, ta. You know that feeling?

Time passed. Finally, Andy's ham/egg/chips turned up with no cutlery. More minutes elapsed. Hurrah, my chili chicken panini and Grenvyle's sarnie. No pot of tea, no mustard and one shared napkin. They appeared chronically understaffed, as if half the team had phoned in sick or were at lunch themselves. Maybe it was our waiter's first day or there was a hidden camera.

Comically inept service apart, food and coffee were pretty good. Let's assume they were having a bad day at the office. Froffee Coffee could do with Yoffy lifting a finger.

If it was a car -- Lancia HPE.
If they were passing by -- Jack Douglas.

EDitorial ± 10-Oct-2007

Thomas Dolby, Carling Academy Islington

Only seems like yesterday (actually July 2006) that me and little sis were privileged enough to see the first UK concert by Thomas Dolby for aeons. This time, we find ourselves in an Islington venue situated within an anonymous Borders/Gap/Wagamama shopping centre. There's an Australian guy at the bar who's been waiting, he says, for 25 years to catch such a live appearance. To a relatively small bunch of people, me included, this means a lot.

And here's Mr Dolby, minus the greatcoat but still sporting assorted technical headwear. Weak start, IMHO, with the newly written Your Karma Hit My Dogma, though things take an upturn with The Flat Earth (prefixed by Trevor Horn anecdote) and Europa. Submarines, alas, is missing its essential bassline due to a software expiry issue.

A succession of surprises:

  1. he introduces a three man horn section: real instruments!
  2. on come his original band of (Soft Boy) Matthew Seligman and Kevin Armstrong: more real instruments!!
  3. flippin' 'eck, it's Lene Lovich!!!

There's a blinding Blinded Me with random shouts of Science! from the crowd amid the Magnus Pyke samples, and a lovely I Scare Myself with Dolby / Seligman / Armstrong together for the first time since backing Bowie at Live Aid. Doesn't get much better.

EDitorial ± 8-Oct-2007

TT0708, Week 5

Poor old Kev. Turned up late to a venue he doesn't like, root canal work tomorrow, played below par and went home (in a Weakest Link style) with nothing.

Meantime Ed and Arvind drove the Defiants diesel ever onwards, beating both Cormorants convincingly. Only two for the opposition: mysterious Russian's non-appearance equals three walkover points for us.

Next table had some familiar faces from Trimley, plus C from last week. Gleaned more info about that ping pong pandemonium:

  • with E as umpire, C finished her game against D: bear in mind that E and D have a little "history"
  • both players went to shake hands with E, the umpire, who was writing down the final score
  • D held out her hand, unseen by E, still writing
  • thinking she'd been ignored, D (a) slapped E, then (b) knocked a ball into E's face
  • E went for D, grabbing her and pulling her hair
  • C stepped in to break it up, restraining E

Later that evening, E's mum got involved, shouting at D, then everyone retired outside for a big clear-the-air chat. Nothing like that ever happens at our games. Shame.

EDitorial ± 5-Oct-2007

Felixstowe Light Lunches: River Of Life

Following a two week hiatus thanks to chauffeur shortage (confession: I hitched a lift to Browsers last Friday lunchtime), back in the back seat with the A12 a mere blur. Yep, Andy's driving.

Park a la gare, past the indefinitely articled and unfairly maligned Coffee Shop, no need to cross a road and behold, it's the River Of Life (it's a powerful thing). As ever, consult the map for detailed directions.

Befitting its beatific location on the corner of St Andrews Road, this place is at pains to point out that it's a Christian coffee shop. Which could be why the sun was beating down on us, as we sat outside In The Light. Couldn't figure out if it was waitress service, so ordered inside. Instead of the daily papers, there's a prayer box -- Grenvyle needs all the help he can get. Limited savoury options not a problem as long as you like soup or quiche or a ham or cheese roll.

I'd started off peckish. When the food finally came (they'd had "a flow", and they are volunteers, bless 'em), I was ravenous. Quite tasty quiche, sans grated carrot, quickly consumed. Moved rapidly on to pudd: good range of obviously home-made cakes and slices, plus a half-decent coffee machine. Being harsh, points deducted for serving the coffee with a UHT sachet.

During demolition of the choc cake, a mini EDitorial readership convention sprang up, like a Felixstowe flash mob albeit without the concomitant crowd. Two wheels good, GE, and good luck with the A-bike.

If it was a car -- Fiesta with a fish on the back.
If they were passing by -- Pam Rhodes.

EDitorial ± 4-Oct-2007

TT0708, Week 4

Didn't recognise any of the oppo's faces tonight. Two guys, one gal, the three of 'em with names beginning A, B and C, straight out of Dr Seuss. Transpired that:

  • C hadn't played for six months -- during her last game, she'd had to break up a fight between an opponent and a team-mate (who was umpiring)
  • A threatened but couldn't deliver, going down to Kev in five ends
  • B took home their only points of the night, beating Arvind & Kev while unapologetically winning a key game on a net

I got hot as a dog beating B (best form of attack is all-out defence), using my lucky Rave T-shirt as a towel, then got hotter still looping them back against A. BT Defiants: played 3, won 3, against 5, for 25. Ain't all bad down in the bottom league, no sirree.

EDitorial ± 2-Oct-2007

Dolmio, September 2007

Friend down the road very kindly chopped up some wood for us t'other day. Thought it only right to reward him, so popped in to little Tesco en route home on the bike. Already carrying rucksack of clothing, and pannier chock full of laptop and trainers. In other words, way too much. Bought brace of beer bottles -- Old Peculier and Old Speckled Hen -- then hung these from left handlebar. Too near and they'd bash front wheel, too far and they'd fall off. Fun ride home guaranteed, 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. September 2007 was spent:

  • tackling and completing a devilish "circle line" Inquisitor crossword in The Indy
  • kicking off the Felixstowe cafe tour
  • paying first visit to ITFC for a coupla seasons
  • starting Chris Anderson's The Long Tail
  • attending Sat morning Hollywood pictures with The Boy for Spider-Man 3
  • dumping LoveFilm subscription but did catch Cache with Auteuil and Binoche
  • watching more BBC4 docs on:
    • the legendary Joe Meek,
    • and the reclusive Scott Walker
  • anxiously avoiding dropping stuff on the spongy new carpet
  • chuckling along to BBC4's Flight Of The Conchords
  • "celebrating" 20 years of work

And that was September 2007.