EDitorial ± 28-Aug-2009

Ipswich Lunches: Caffe Basso

As the much-missed Grandaddy observed on their final album, "Summer, it's gone and I don't know." Sunny hols now behind us and French BN biscuits are all eaten. Refreshed, let's regroup, refocus and review an eatery. On y va and all that.

A year ago we resumed our Friday thing with a Felixstowe foray to the Italian-style Cafe Bencotto. A year later we're taking an Ipswich outing to the Italian-style Caffe Basso. I'd directed jobseeker Grenvyle to meet us on Tacket Street, along from Millets. Perhaps I should have foreseen that he'd head for the other camping shop branch on Tavern Street, though it's really on Carr Street. He found us eventually. Weirdly, Kelly's 1970 directory tells us that 18 Tacket Street was home to Granville Town & County Florist.

Got good vibes from the moment we stepped in here, having been greeted in a friendly fashion and talked through the available food. Who cares if the options are limited when the pizza squares are freshly made and can be accompanied by a balsamically dressed side salad? Drinks wise, we're sipping our San Pellegrino aranciata. Sadly for me, and possibly me alone, they no longer serve the acquired taste that is Chinotto. A big draw must be the free WiFi, and I saw a newspaper or two, plus assorted free local listings mags, always a good indicator.

Enough: let's talk about the coffee. That Illy logo announces "quality", and there's a fantastic looking coffee machine on display. My double macchiato was among the best I've had. Ever. Darn good on its own. Even better with an Italian slice of torta di Americano, i.e. cheesecake.

Final point: I had to go into town the next day, and I went to Caffe Basso again for another macchiato. Quite possibly my new favourite cafe.

If it was a car -- Lamborghini Gallardo.
If they were passing by -- Antonio Carluccio.

EDitorial ± 24-Aug-2009

Have I Got Languedoc?

Back in palindromic 2002 we holidayed in France with the in-laws. Since we'd be (a) taking ferry to Calais then (b) driving to Brittany, we thought it sensible to break up the journey and stop overnight, halfway-ish, in Caen. All very sensible.

Seven years later and we (minus the in-laws) are doing a different bit -- the bottom bit -- of the same country. Since those cheap flights aren't quite so cheap with five of us, and to save on car hire, we decide to drive. Advice reaches us that bang-in-the-centre Bourges is a good place to stop. Hey, if we're being thrifty, do we really need that overnighter? Let's do the whole A to B in one day, un jour, and we can catch up once we're there. It'll be fine.

That'll be why we hit the A12 at 3:30am and were filling up in a Kent service station at 4:50am. Into the Eurotunnel shopping area for 5:15am ready for our departure at 6:20am -- windows half down, leave it in first -- then ejected onto the streets of Calais at 7:50am, French time. Sacred blue, it's early even with the extra hour.

Now half-nine-ish and a welcome break at the Wancourt Autogrill for PDJ. First driver switch: hoorah, my turn, and blow me down if that isn't Paris on the horizon. In from the north, play it safe on the peripherique and we scarily slingshot out the south. Finally the kids are asleep, so on we press. Waddya know, our 2pm-ish lunch stop turns out to be at Bourges. Are we there yet? Not as such.

Driver switch 2, and my turn in the back for a fitful nap, Eldest navigating. Down, down we go, and I'm at the wheel once more just prior to the spectacular Millau viaduct. Wow. Carried further south still to the holly-holiday sounds of Boney M, and not that long (relatively) until we're looking for an emergency 8pm loo stop near Clermont L'Herault. Temperature noticeably hotter.

What you don't really need at this point is a long and winding road over the hills looking down at the pylons. Stop the clock at 8:50pm, villa reached. Calais to Roujan, A1/A10/A71/A75, a mere 1000km. Tish.

EDitorial ± 1-Aug-2009

50 Ways To Adastral Park, Week 2

Anyone can do the whole bike / liftshare / bus / shuttle bus / walk thang.

Takes a tad more determination and forward planning to follow it through to a second week and find another 5 Ways To Adastral Park. Story continues:

  • Monday -- train to nearest station
  • Tuesday -- taxi: I 'ad that bloomin' weirdo in the back last week
  • Wednesday -- park and, if you will, ride
  • Thursday -- hitch like Will Smith
  • Friday -- jogged the 7.5 miles, of course

Now in search of a man with a tandem.