EDitorial ± 29-Jan-2008

Sport Please, Jim

I'm no C. B. Fry -- though I was curious to see his name attached to HMS Gannet at Chatham last Easter -- but let us count the sports: (a) ping pong last night, (b) 4-a-side footy at lunchtime today, and (c) badminton this evening. I make that three in two days.

Developments afoot on the footy. We've had a weekly Mike Read runaround on a Tuesday lunchtime since Bobbysocks won Eurovision. Let me pitch you a picture of our pitch:

  • pros -- free of charge, always available, next to changing rooms and a pebble's chuck from the office
  • cons -- overgrown in parts, has goals without nets and barely discernible lines, and will give you a nasty chafing should you stumble

One of us tried to improve the state of the pitch by pointing out some of its shortcomings in an email to various contacts. Next we know, it's been shut! Swung by this morning to find a padlock and a printed (!) sign:

Multicourt Out Of Action -- Contact Sports Club Secretary

Nonetheless, the regulars turned out today, me thinking that we'd find a patch of grass to exercise our silky skills. Then someone suggested that we could probably still use the pitch .. so we sneaked in round the fence, picked teams, and off we went.

Thirty minutes later, bloke on a bike stops by and points out that we really shouldn't be there: didn't you read the sign? Suddenly, we were all aged ten again, being told off by the local parky or cycling policeman.

EDitorial ± 28-Jan-2008

TT0708, Week 17

Chilly night up at The Geodesic Dome, home of the venerable Britannia TT Club, where time stands still at 6:23pm. Three simultaneous league matches this evening: we had the middle area, or what I like to think of as the show court. Evening's highlight was possibly one of the other players throwing his fleece over a high dividing net, only for it to land on the wall-mounted two bar heater. We were there, the night of the Dome Inferno. Cue another Balls of Fire reference here.

Alphabet off to a sorry start what with no sign of A or B from our previous encounter, leaving only the two opponents, Miss C and left-handed Mr P. That'll be three points for us without playing a shot, ta very much. Only a sextet of singles:

  • two for me, inc. a scraped a 3-1 win against P
  • two for Andy, who dropped an end against C (happy, Kev?)
  • Kev deserved two but got one, losing an epic match to P who landed a fluky edge to win 17-15 in the fifth & final end

Kev invoked our occasional team rule about the weakest player automatically qualifying for the doubles, so Andy (slight cold) sat and scored while watching his two colleagues gain the team's 9th point of the night.

EDitorial ± 25-Jan-2008

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Cafe 7

[The EDitor was otherwise engaged, so we present another guest review by Andy Cassy, for which thanks]

Our first venture out to Felixstowe by the two taxi drivers without our EDitor-in-chief to crack the whip. So we decided to try one of Grenvyle's old haunts, Cafe 7 (see map). A bit suspect looking from the outside, with '70s style windows at the front but we still decided to venture in anyway 'cause we'd found a convenient parking space and we were both hungry. Sign says open Fri-Sun, so it's a good job we didn't form a Monday Club.

Who'd have thought this place had waitress service too? Well, it did, though she was probably in her prime when Felixstowe was in its hey-day too. Well before the outdoor market appears over the road which looked rather sad in the harsh winter sun. Still, it was all rather clean and popular too with local residents and workers. We soon found out why ...

After getting up to look at the extensive selection of 'Specials', there was a minor set back when no ham was available for Suffolk Salad. In the end we both decided on pies and a hot mug of tea (no tea-pots and hot water in this place, nor papers come to that, but it did have a prime view of the market lot).

After a reasonable wait, out came the pies with potatoes, steaming hot, followed by a massive bowl of cooked veg. Definitely home-made -- chicken for Grenvyle and beef for me, with lovely gravy too. We both struggled to clean our plates. Unfortunately we were too stuffed to sample any of their extensive range of desserts too. Pity, but probably worth a future trip if you are after good, hearty fare and value for money.

If it was a car -- Fiat Panda.
If they were passing by -- Desperate Dan.

Ed will return next week. Boyton Boy

EDitorial ± 24-Jan-2008

TT0708, Week 16

Exactly four months ago since we last played the Kings Of Fleet -- into the fray once more versus:

  1. foxy FredFrank, number 2 in the rankings,
  2. spry Cyril, at number 7,
  3. and junior John, at number 13

No pushovers here. After a welcome warm-up against Son Of Branton, I watched Andy come back from 10-5 down against JJ to win the next seven points and win 12-10. Should have video-ed it and sent it to Andy Murray.

Meantime Kev played some out-of-this-world shots to take the first two ends off Frank. But that Frank isn't as green as he's cabbage-looking, throughly demoralising Kev by grabbing the next three ends. Oh, what might have been, as Kev, visiting a bad place, succumbed to Cyril too. I wrote him off in his final game v. John, and really didn't believe him when he said he'd won. Sometimes you're down, sometimes you're up.

No grand slip-ups for me and Andy after last week's misadventures, both of us scoring a hat trick and gaining auto entry to the doubles. Did our best to lose it. Wiped off told-you-so look off Kev's face by finally winning in the fifth and final end. Phew.

EDitorial ± 21-Jan-2008

These Raleigh Gears

Bloomin' bike. Changing bloomin' gears had become akin to juggling fuzzy felt, leading to appointment with Bicycle Repair Man. He fitted new one of these, new one of those, won't bore you with the overtechnical details. Following fortnight has seen bloomin' gears go from (a) much better to (b) acceptable to (c) golden syrup. Down the underpass, flip up from 5 to 6 and who's for a quick cuppa before the mechanism clunks into place halfway up the opposite slope. Small wonder they beheaded Raleigh.

Scenically transported kids to a middle-of-nowhere park in Ufford. Not Ufford Park, you'll understand, just a park in Ufford. Eldest and Anybeth keen to improve their sk8board skillz on the practice ramps, and down they both came, staying on the board. Easy, I said, before repeatedly demonstrating that it really wasn't. Fortunate to come away with all bones intact.

Back to find G. had been busy baking a monster batch of black & white cookies, inspired by a Seinfeld episode entitled The Dinner Party. These fellas are bloomin' gorgeous. As the man says, "Nothing mixes better than vanilla and chocolate." Next up, the chocolate babka.

22-Jan update
Back to Bicycle Repair Man who diagnoses "cable clag". Spray some lube here, apply a toothbrush there, bish and bosh. I pick it up 5pm-ish -- no charge! -- and tentatively head up a gear. Click, it whispers. And down a gear: soft murmured click again. Ah, lovely. I am a happy bunny.

EDitorial ± 18-Jan-2008

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Comptons

When the electronic invite arrived mid-Friday morning, it suggested an outing to somewhere called Cromptons. Invoking my own word association football:

  • Cromptons + Felixstowe = Cakewalk

Distant memory says that the Pier's garish entertainments used to include "Crompton's Cakewalk", where you rolled your penny down a metal launcher onto a moving belt. Then, if your coin was lucky enough to land entirely within the lines, you'd win. Tuppence, perhaps. Anyway ... Andy had got it wrong: take out the "r" and you find yourself at Comptons (see map), located centrally on Orwell Road several doors on from the chippy.

Not a large establishment, hence not many tables, and all of 'em occupied. Various polite shuffling ensued before we could take a pew. Lots of savoury choice on the properly spelled menu. Jacket spud with chicken curry for me: need summat warming on another grotty Friday. If you judge a place by its side salad, theirs featured an orange slice plus a chunk of melon. As you do. Andy's soup demonstrated that sometimes the tide goes out.

Anxious to finish firsts so we could start seconds. Board listed Dawn's Desserts in a typeface worthy of a Specsavers test. Does that say waffles with vanilla ice cream and toffee sauce? That's what turned up after five mins, even though Andy had ordered the bread & butter pudding. Needless to say, they were happy to put this right. B&B pudd came covered in custard.

Inside, the waitresses can be seen through the serving hatch in a walled off area which, bizarrely, includes a tiled roof. Original design feature, I guess. Outside, the larger lettering reads Coffee & Tea Shop, whereas the stencilled windows read Tea & Coffee Shop. My own coffee wasn't memorable; carrot cake was just about worthy of a quickly scrawled postcard home.

If it was a car -- Humber Sceptre.
If they were passing by -- Phyllida Law.

EDitorial ± 17-Jan-2008

TT0708, Week 9

See those shards of vinyl on the floor? That, dear reader, is what happens when records are smashed.

Going into tonight's encounter, three of the six players present had 100% averages. Not lost a game between 'em. That'd be Andy, me, and opponent Rob, who said he'd been looking forward to the match for some time. Gulp. Added that he'd made a special effort to turn up despite suffering from bronchitis, a cracked rib, you name it. That's Roy Castle type dedication.

  • first average to go: Andy, going down 3-1 to drugged-up doughty Rob
  • second average to go: me, losing 3-0 (I know, I know) to medicated match(un)fit Rob
  • only average to stay: run-down Rob

While two of us hung our scalp-free heads, Kev grabbed a battling brace himself (also losing to pharmaceutical Fred) to claim a place in the doubles -- no storming off this evening. Apparently unbeaten as a pair, him and Andy nicked that vital extra point leaving little old 97.4% me to score.

EDitorial ± 11-Jan-2008

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Spa Pavilion

Due to meet up with "Walkout" Kev at the hard to find Clifftop Cafe, where parking is for tenants only. Chairs on tables, no sign of life, handwritten "closed" sign in the window. Ah. Best head elsewhere. Head down through the biting wind and the Spa Gardens to, er, the Spa Pavilion (see map), home of "quality entertainment by the sea".

Glad to simply be indoors and pleasing to see a fair few other hardy folk already tucking in to their grub. Mighty tempted by the various specials and the double egg & chips. Um-ed and ah-ed hugely before settling on the roast veg and tomato soup: good thick consistency, plenty of bread on the side. Alcohol is served here, if that's of interest -- OAPs can get their two course deal c/w a glass of wine. I opted for the J2O.

Unbeatable views from our window seats, of which there are loads given the long zigzag glass wall. Soup long gone by the time Grenvyle's volcanically hot pie turned up. Quick browse of the what's on leaflet yielded an impressive line-up including:

  • R.E.M.
  • The Eagles
  • Queen
  • ABBA
  • Barron Knights
  • Pink Floyd
  • and even The Beatles!

Tribute bands: gotta love 'em. Anyway, service is friendly if minimally staffed, and the coffee is OK, as was the scone. I'd go there again and not just to get out of the rain.

If it was a car -- Ford Galaxy.
If they were passing by -- Chuckle Brothers.

EDitorial ± 10-Jan-2008

TT0708, Week 14

Let there be three individuals named A, E and K:

Situation 1

  • K likes to play doubles
  • A&E have it in their power to let K play doubles
  • with the doubles about to start, K appears disinterested
  • A&E deny K doubles by playing the final game themselves
  • K expresses his dissatisfaction with A&E
  • K storms off and declines to talk with A&E

Situation 2

  • E likes marshmallows
  • A has it in his power to let E have marshmallows
  • with the marshmallows about to be eaten, E appears very interested
  • A denies E marshmallows by plonking them in his hot chocolate
  • E expresses his dissatisfaction with A
  • E forgets about it (eventually) and stays to talk with A

Balls of fury indeed.

EDitorial ± 4-Jan-2008

Felixstowe Light Lunches: The Conservatory

Day 4 of 2008. Take A12/A14/A154 to Felix's Toe, where we'll stop, only me and the driver know. Doesn't really work, that. Plenty of free spots on the front, a pebble's throw from the out-of-season boating lake and crazy golf. Seaside resorts in January: someone should write a book.

Meantime, past The Corner House Cafe (apparently closed on Fridays in winter) and over the foot of South Hill, the one that's home to Martello Tower Q -- used to serve refreshments not so long ago but now a private residence. Nestled snugly at the bottom of the hill is The Conservatory (see map). It's a cafe & tea shop, proclaim two appropriately ampersand-ed and accented signs outside.

Had the pick of the seating so opted for cushion corner, the big window seat, yielding a fine view of the leisure centre's brick wall. Andy pointed out a disturbing logo on the front of the menu: appeared to be a hand emerging from an oversized cup -- and I was not waving, but drowning -- though probably meant to be a cartoon milk splash.

Hard working waitress, cook and bottle-washer delivered our pretty good milkshakes (quick test: straw stands up on its own) and bagels. For me, a Rhode Island, aka a tuna melt, for him, a Manhattan, with scrambled egg and bacon. Enjoyed mine a lot: filling and warming. Points deducted for absence of newspapers and badly spellchecked menu: three Ts and an E in Andy's bagel's name. Place beginning to fill up with still just the one poor girl doing the lot, so didn't test the coffee machine. Yummy takeaway biscuit slice.

If it was a car -- VW Polo.
If they were passing by -- Anne Kirkbride.

EDitorial ± 3-Jan-2008

Dolmio, December 2007

Hyper efficient post Christmas clean up this year. Despite a funfilled and very late New Year's eve -- reading with The Boy at 1:15am -- January 1st was spent de-decorating and felling trees. Not the fake one, the real McCoy. Out the front door, through the side passage and round the back by early afternoon. Much lopping ensued. Even managed to drag whole family out of the house for a runaround at the well-furnished Kingston fields of Woodbridge. Shame that Costa was just closing its doors at 4:10pm. Oh well, here's 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. December 2007 was spent:

  • chortling to the really rather funny Bugle podcast with New York's John Oliver and London's Andy Zaltzman
  • admiring the women of BBC's Cranford
  • gawping at the (a) fake tree in the back room and the (b) real tree in the front
  • wrapping late night presents watching Steve Coogan as Anthony H Wilson in 24 Hour Party People
  • spending a fab Christmas at Onehouse playing games:
  • digging up photos of birthday cakes from the past 10 years
  • replaying Randy Newman's Songbook
  • putting the lights out at home for a creepy Murder In The Dark
  • discovering how my imagination plays tricks in Stumbling On Happiness

And that was December 2007.