EDitorial ± 28-Mar-2008

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Cafe Libra

Round the corner from the mighty Oaks Tea Room (closed for Easter?) can be found a little acorn of a venue. Yes, this is a library. Following its recent-ish revamp, Felixstowe library now plays host to Cafe Libra (see map). See what they've done there? Actually, the refurb was long overdue. See what I did too?

Another grotty blowy squally day and it's fair to say that our non-Dickensian expectations weren't great. Maybe they'd have some soggy prepacked plastic bread sarnies, unless they'd already gone. Perhaps a couple of tiny tables at most. Mais non, mes amis: bienvenue a la bibliotheque et assieds-toi. There's cafe-style tables and seating, a sprinkling of comfy red armchairs and, au centre, three flatscreen PCs offering free (!) Interweb access for those in possession of a Suffolk library card. Like me, in fact. I felt obliged to give it a quick try and nearly but not quite wrote this review there & then.

All this and, would you Adam & Eve it, the food is freshly made too. Sandwiches, rolls, toasties made to order, and today's special of beans on toast at only £1.50. Nice. Placed our respective orders and grabbed a couple of squishy chairs directly underneath the large Dewey Decimalised plasma telly showing News 24. Unlike Terminal 5, the Librans know what they're doing, and delivered our foodstuffs (toasted corn beef & onion for me) swiftly, presented on branded plates. Get them.

Like those Monty Python Yorkshiremen, we were lucky ... to get a seat. Babies and their mums were very much the order of the day, perambulators tucked in every N and C. Had plenty of time for a slab of fruit cake, a 50p bargain, washed down with a really rather good Americano. Comfy, warm, welcoming, Cafe Libra gets The Balance just right. Head on down there next time you're in Felixstowe: no need to book.

If it was a car -- Audi A3.
If they were passing by -- Louis De Bernieres.

EDitorial ± 25-Mar-2008

TT0708, Week 25

Last time we encountered Capel they fielded a pair of twins and a really good guy. This time round their line up featured the same twins -- an alternative pair would have been more than a little freaky -- and a different really good guy.

DK, the good guy, started slow, losing his opening end to Grenvyle. Yep, our man was unplugged from the dialysis machine for one night only. Then DK started to land his shots, and v. impressive they were too. I missed his match against Andy though I gather it was a corker, Andy going down 3-1 (he'd have nailed him in the fifth, apparently).

I still fancied my chances against him, and managed to sneak the first two games, extra narrowly. That was before he modified his style of play to NOT hit it with as much force as he could muster and simply to return the ball, awaiting a better opportunity to thwack it. Which he did. Repeatedly. Finally beat me 11-9 in the fifth & final. Later found out he should be playing about two divisions higher.

To nab the overall win, needed (a) Grenvyle to win his final end and (b) me/Andy to land the doubles, both of which were in the realm of Stretchy Objectives, i.e. challenging but achievable. Much self patting on the back to all three of us for bringing home the proverbial bacon. So that's played 23, won 23, one game to play. Bottom league, top of the world.

EDitorial ± 20-Mar-2008

Light Lunches: Kesgrave Kitchen

Earliest Easter for nearly 100 years, and everyone's got Good Friday off including the cafe review team. Hold on, what's this, how's about we do the day before instead? Somewhere NOT in Felixstowe? Which is how we eventually found ourselves troughing a not very light Maundy Thursday lunch at the institution that is the Kesgrave Kitchen.

As it happens, most days finds me cycling along the aptly named Main Road in Kesgrave. If the wind's in the wrong direction, I feel like I've had a fry-up as I'm passing the KK, emerging lightly Crisp-n-Dried on the other side. There's always a healthy selection of vehicles outside, often disgorging overall-ed men clutching a red top. Never actually been inside ... until today.

Table had already been claimed by Grenvyle. Lesson one: don't waste your time trying to move your chair. Clamber in and stay put. Lesson two: you places your order at the counter, you pays the man, you sits down with your raffle number and you waits for your grub. Isn't all all day breakfasts here. There's jackets and even the odd salad, though I'd guess that's as popular a choice as the carrot sticks at McDonald's.

Service was brisk: sausage good, egg a little greasy for my delicate constitution, and more chips than an IBM mainframe. The Kesgrave Kitchen is licensed to fill.

If it was a car -- Morris Minor Van.
If they were passing by -- Leslie Grantham.

EDitorial ± 19-Mar-2008

TT0708, Week 24

Six players, four real, two virtual, five-enders, one to remember.

Nice to have a bit more space after the cramped conditions of Sidegate Lane earlier this week, and a cracking view from the stage. Mrs Worthington's attention should be drawn to the notice beneath our feet, reading:

Will members please keep their children off the stage at all times.
Thank you.

Awesome twosome of me and Andy (again) tonight. Brace of notable games:

  1. DC v. Andy -- first two ends to on-form DC who then went 6-0 up before, somehow, Andy found the mental strength to claw his way back and scrape the deuce; epic encounter went all the way to another deuce in the fifth & final end, our man ultimately winning 16-14: terrific game
  2. DC v. Ed -- first two ends to still on-form DC before, somehow, Ed dug deep to claw his way back and take it to a fifth; DC deservedly hung on to inflict a rare division 3 defeat on top-of-the-averages Ed: ouch, this one hurt

Fortunately the doubled-up doubles went our way. Played 22, won 22. But I'm still kicking myself about losing that game.

EDitorial ± 17-Mar-2008

TT0708, Week 21

You know it's a wee bit nippy out when, cycling up Valley Road en route to TT, you're overtaken by one of the council's gritter lorries. Right at the Royal George into Sidegate Lane, don't take left into Sidegate Avenue, head past Brian Cant's old school and take right at the rather shouty sign proclaiming:

Sidegate Lane Neighbourhood Group Community Centre

As Bill Withers foresaw, just the two of us (we can make it if we try) what with (a) Grenvyle at the 'ozzy and (b) Kev with the prophets of Palm Springs. Reputations on the line with four of tonight's pongers featuring in the top seven of the current division 3 averages.

First blood to Sidegate Lane with their RW outfoxing Andy 3-1, making the score 4-1 to them already: one point for the win plus our three conceded points for fielding only two players. Pressure's on to keep our unbeaten run going; only need to win ALL remaining games.

We did our best to ignore the distracting combination of red & black checkerboard floor with magnolia walls in a too-small room, claiming the next five singles with slogging deuce victories over JF. Had to grab that final doubles point to come out 6-4 ahead ... which, hoorah, we did. That'll set us up nicely for Wednesday's game against our closest opponents: watch this space.

EDitorial ± 14-Mar-2008

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Joe Crowley's

Under the west cliff you'll find a number of neighbouring nosh-spots. There's The Conservatory on the corner, The Little Ice Cream Co. at 59 to 61, and, at 65, sporting the neon open sign, what Vic Reeves might describe as a 50s throwback of a cafe: please be seated for Joe Crowley's (see map).

Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope gaze down at you from the walls, endorsing Coca Cola and the latest sleek sedans, while Al Martino croons away in the background. Screw up your eyes and you quarter-expect to see John T. and Uma T. in the next booth. What you actually get is Essex boy Joe, chockful of character and banter.

It'd be wrong to come to JC's without sampling a tipple from his pride & joy, a genuine soda fountain straight from a Preston Sturges film. Old Joe was trying to explain to us bright youngish things how it used to be before the ringpull can, and what exactly a malted shake might be. My cherry sensation needed a good stir and was foamtastic.

Hot food took a little while (Joe takes order, Joes cooks orders) but the BLT was well worth it, topped off with some squeezy ketchup. And while we merrily cleaned our Platters and raised our drinks from their Coasters, we played guess that recording artist. Doris Day? Guy Mitchell? I bet Wolfman Jack would know.

Plenty of puds on offer; go view the sample items rotating in the display cabinet. Alas we're out of time, so opted to takeaway a Sundae comprising whipped cream, choc ice cream, biscuit pieces, etc.. Ideal for a high speed journey back to work central.

If it was a car -- Plymouth Special De Luxe Coupe.
If they were passing by -- Mickey Rourke.

EDitorial ± 13-Mar-2008

TT0708, Week 23

Limbered up en route to the game with Black Dyke blasting out The Frogs Of Aristophanes -- that'd be the test piece from the 1952 brass band nationals -- followed by The Divine Comedy's Frog Princess.

We'd been looking forward to a challenging match against Trimley's Dennis: he's their main (frog)man. Alas, he couldn't make it. Probably choked and hid under his lily pad when he saw our names.

Which left their Eddie to leap(frog) to the rescue and grab their only point of the night against Kev. He also took an end off Andy and coulda shoulda had one off me too, as should Eric.

Maybe Andy's (frog)legs had gone, but he generously sacrificed his doubles place so that others, i.e. Kev and me, might play. We won that too, no bull(frog).

Defiants (frog)march on. Ribbit!

EDitorial ± 7-Mar-2008

Felixstowe Light Lunches: The Little Ice Cream Co.

Of a wintry Sunday afternoon, you'll sometimes find me and the kiddies splashing around Felixstowe pool -- alert, Brooms on the flume! Now, I could take or leave the swimming. Undoubted highlight for me is the post-dip trip across the road to the bustling orangeness that is The Little Ice Cream Co. Shared sundae for those ineligible to vote, large latte and a piece of warmed choccy cake for grown-ups, i.e. me. Plus they're open until 5:30pm, even in January. Unbeatable.

Odd, then, to visit TLICC (see map) on a sparklingly sunny Friday lunchtime. The door's open, the sofa's inviting, and it's bright & light inside. We've got our pick of the seats 'cos there's nobody else here. Fair bet that it'd be packed if it was relocated to Hamilton Road. On the seafront, nobody can hear you order ice cream.

Let's tick some boxes:

  • local produce -- check -- fab range of ice cream is made on the premises
  • papers -- check -- today's Torygraph and a copy of the omnipresent Conde Nast Traveller
  • WiFi -- check -- and it's free of charge
  • kids' menu -- check, dur -- the clue's in the name

Savouriness ain't really the main event here with a severely limited choice of sarnies, albeit freshly made and with a free bag of Tyrrell crisps, a la Tchibo in town. Refreshing change for a soft drinks fiend like myself to pick from a range of cans from the USofA. Root beer? Cream soda? Grape? I'll take the Mountain Dew.

Given its ultra professional branding and appearance, I'd always assumed this was a franchise. Mais non, mon brave. We were told there's now a smaller sister place in Colchester but that's your lot.

To finish: ice cream, naturally. Pistachio flavour. By the side of a waffle. With whipped cream. And chocolate sauce. I left feeling pleasantly nauseous.

If it was a car -- Lotus Europa.
If they were passing by -- Clive Owen.

EDitorial ± 6-Mar-2008

Boy Called Matt

Presenting an impromptu short story by The Boy:

Once there was a boy called matt lived with his dad called Ed we are on an aventure we are going to find walit he lost it in the wild wood's.

They are lost of wild animals in the wild wood's.

We are hunting for the wallit we came to an anthill what shall we do?

So we climed over the anthill, an we wacked some tree's and they it was but?

It was sordid by evil scorpiyans how are we going to get throy. With eltrick sord's and they slised them up and grabed the wallit and went back to are camp.

By the yungset Broom!

EDitorial ± 2-Mar-2008

Dolmio, February 2008

We've got a whizzo new fireplace: it's grate! I know, I know. There's wood and black granite and, best of all, a place to burn stuff. Logs, newspaper briquettes, choccy bar wrappers, it's all good. Everything must go. Which reminds me that I should really catch up with Ashes To Ashes. Did you catch that Philip Glenister in Cranford? Coming of the railway and all that. Did for him too, poor fella. But that was at least a month back, 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. February 2008 was spent:

  • creeping myself with late night reads of Will Storr vs. The Supernatural
  • settling down to The Bourne Ultimatum only to realise had forgotten everything about The Bourne Supremacy, so watched that instead
  • lunching at Lakenheath before being rear-ended at Newmarket
  • whizzing through several Laters with Jools including the mighty Radiohead and the unforgettable Feist
  • storming Framlingham Castle before a tasty cafe trip to Carley & Webb
  • seeing a half term film with the kids in the form of Alvin & The Chipmunks
  • seeing a film without the kids in the form of the little known No Country For Old Men
  • searching for buried treasure at Sutton Hoo
  • finally sitting down to watch Al Pacino strut his Cuban stuff in Scarface

And that was February 2008.