EDitorial ± 23-Dec-2009

Ipswich Lunches: Asda

Last working week pre Christmas and meet-up plans have fallen like Bob Mortimer on Novelty Island. The fire may well be so delightful, but baby it's cold outside. I'm WFH -- it's not too warm inside either -- and determined to land one more Ippo lunch, so call up Big G. He's not buying. He's gotta go food shop. He say no, the two letters I will not take for an answer. Where you pushing your trolley, I say? Aldi, says he, then on to Asda's. Picking myself up from that painful plural, I propose we meet at the latter's caff.

No strangers to a supermarket, we've previously ticked off two of the other Big Four, namely Mr Sainsbury and Mr Tesco. Now for Asda, a mile or so away. Deciding the bike was a stooopid idea, it's into the car and into the slushy queues for the ice rink stroke car park, circling for a space. Ten minutes late and still the first to arrive.

Took a tray and scanned the high contrast white-on-green overhead menus: all main meals £4, all pies and pasties £1, etc. No sign of Terry Hall or Jerry Dammers; wot no specials. Bullet time:

  • wide choice of soft drinks inc. Drench, J2Os, AJ: cute Wee Iron Bru for me
  • bargainous bacon sandwich for £1.25 made with specially requested brown bread
  • like the happy people on the tills, it's surprisingly service with a smile

Had to titter at the "light options" offerings of chips & gravy or a chip butty. Those beautiful people have it made. Seating area is impressively self-regulating, a fine stochastic demonstration of queueing theory. In other words, you'll get a table if you hang around. I'm wiping the last of the branded Heinz condiment from my lips at Grenvyle saunters in. In a jiff he's sitting down with not one but two baps! Which prompts me to go round again and try the equally top value sausage bap, "now served with three sausages." Eyes bigger than my belly syndrome emerged about 2.5 bangers in.

Bit like Ikea, you pay for the empty coffee mug, then serve yourself. I've paid a lot more and had a lot worse. Pudd selection wasn't great -- if it's not on display, it's not available -- and I needed a sweet like a hole in my sock. So, just a pre-packed caramel slice.

If it was a car -- Mini Metro.
If they were passing by -- Coleen McLoughlin.

EDitorial ± 14-Dec-2009

TT0910, Week 6

As Strictly's Craig would say, what a dis-ah-ster, Team Defiants going down to their worst defeat of the season thus far.

Can't blame PC Andy -- did his best, as ever, and even landed his first end of division 2 against Weird Bat Alan.

Might have expected slightly more of Boyton Boy, who did well to topple Alan but came unstuck against the other two.

Ed landed a BFZ -- Big Fat Zero -- and subsequently tried to blame:

  • not having the right shoes having left his trainers at work
  • playing with an increasingly crumbling bat
  • lack of oxygen having not cycled to work that day
  • poor lighting conditions
  • unfortunate order of play, coming up against their best player first
  • no warm up
  • the coldness of Baylham Village Hall, aka Ice Station Zebra
  • thinking about last minute Christmas shopping

... and generally being a bit rubbish on the night.

EDitorial ± 9-Dec-2009

Ipswich Lunches: Karibu's Luncheon Club

Dimly remembered from CompSci lectures on artificial intelligence by Prof. Ajit Narayanan is some stuff about scripts. What I took away with me was that for most common situations, we have a series of expectations, i.e. we follow a script. When I go to the cinema, for example, I expect to pay for a ticket, show it to an usher, buy some popcorn then go through to take my seat. If I turn up and there's no list of films nor anyone to give me a ticket, I've diverted from the script and I'm confused.com.

At the Co-op Education Centre a couple of weeks ago, Andy took a flier, literally, for something called Karibu's Luncheon Club, happening "every forthnight [sic] starting from Wednesday 21 January 2009". It promised delicious African dishes -- no all day breakfast roll here -- and we pencilled in the December date. Locked bike to the railings outside St Margaret's Church Hall on Bolton Lane and located Gladwyn's Room, a comfy-chaired room with a hatch, like Lost. There's Grenvyle, already, and his food appears and is placed before him. Curious, he says: I haven't ordered yet. Which doesn't stop him digging in to his drumstick and rice.

There's no printed menu, other than a binary verbal choice of chicken or fish. What kind of fish, asked Andy? Fried fish, came the reply. Er, chicken for both of us, please. That word "karibu":

  • means welcome in Swahili, say the Internets
  • is a soundalike for the wild reindeer
  • also the opening track of an essential Pixies EP, needless to say

We're soon tucking in to our plates of meat, rice and unfamiliar veg, while being asked to buy tickets for the raffle. That done, it's on to tea/coffee and cake, which comes with or without cream. G. is very much a "with" man and is given a slice of sponge. Er, I ordered cream, he says to the waitress. It's there, she says, pointing to the filling. Touch of the Tea & Antiques going on, methinks.

No joy with the prize draw today, and it's unclear who to pay. I hand over my £3.50 -- bargainous -- to the cooking lady who has her baby strapped to her back, like Nessa in the arcade. Like I say, sometimes there is no script.

If it was a car -- Jeep.
If they were passing by -- Michael Palin.

EDitorial ± 8-Dec-2009

TT0910, Week 13

Thanks again to Andy Cassy for this guest report:

Well, not a bad result given this team of youngsters is second from top as we started the night.

Anshul had a surprisingly close defeat to their number one player Matt and Andy took a surprising good win against the first of the twins – James. Then Rene turned up with his dancing shoes and a borrowed bat before returning home for his sneakers, which with hindsight was unnecessary but shows dedication and determination. Similar story for the next two rounds with Anshul’s turn to beat James and us all losing out to the others.

6-2 down going in to the last two games, though Rene had now warmed up and settled down to play his best all night to the invincible Matt who just kept on hitting ‘em harder, faster and wider than anything we’d seen for a loooong time (no wonder he’d been playing up in Div1).

So that just left the doubles, which Andy and Anshul faced the Maidstone twins with Matt gracefully sitting out to score. Inspired by the previous game Anshul emulated our nemesis and we comfortably took the final point of the night. They are looking forward to playing Mr Broom on the rebound, so watch that average!

EDitorial ± 4-Dec-2009

Ipswich Lunches: The Orangery

Why is it that some places can happily trade under the same name for over 50 years -- hello Jack's -- whereas other places seem to change their name every 5 minutes? To wit, before the assorted Costas and Starbucks came to town, you might have seen me through the window of Delifrance, a pleasant spot for a filled croissant. Forward a few years and the same premises were retitled the Boulangerie, holding on to that Frenchy theme like a Pritt stick. In 1967, this was Marshall's Coffee House. In 2009, this is very much The Orangery, apparently. Overdone the bold?

Part of The Walk, described by picky Pevsner as "a cosy little bit of half-timbered pedestrian shopping", it's impossibly central, more so than even the Central Canteen. Bloomin' busy as I arrived to find that G&A had bagged a booth at the back. They'd ordered too. Waitress was happy to add to her pad my bacon and egg butty. First cafe I've seen offering a shot of (zing!) Relentless on the menu. Today's special: duck salad.

Spit spot, food is here. I guess service has to be pretty darn efficient given the lunchtime trade. All day breakfast sarnie is good enough and reasonably priced, and relatively rare to have a proper bottle of Coke. Everyone knows it tastes better that way.

As we're eating, all eyes are drawn to a sign offering selected hot pudds for only £2. No brainer: we're all in. Treacle sponge for him, jam sponge for him, spotted dick and custard for me. Yum. Comfort food on a chilly day, as recommended by NHS Direct. Tagline at The Orangery is "the cool place for a hot drink", so feel obligated to finish with a coffee. That's not half bad, too. Next time you're picking up some protein shakes from Heroes Fitness Store opposite or a novelty stick of rock from Games & Giggles, drop in before the next Russell rebranding.

If it was a car -- Renault Modus.
If they were passing by -- Jason Orange.

EDitorial ± 2-Dec-2009

Sherrington Road

Look in the private residents section of the 1973 Kelly's Directory of Ipswich and you'll find an entry for "Ramsey, Sir Alfd E" -- the mighty Sir Alf -- at 41 Valley Road, two roads away from Broom Acres on Broom Hill Road.

Next street along in the opposite direction is Sherrington Road, best known as the site of the entrance to Broomhill Pool. Until some recent idle Googling, I had no idea that the road took its name from one Charles Scott Sherrington. Follow the link to his page on Wikipedia and you'll discover some of this estimable fellow's achievements:

  • played football for Ipswich Town
  • rowed for Oxford
  • published poet

More than enough for most people. But hang on, there's a tad more:

  • president of the Royal Society
  • awarded the Order of Merit
  • winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1932

Quite a list, no? Young Charles was brought up in Anglesea Road in a place called Edgehill House, later rechristened The Hill House. Following a brilliant career in physiology at Liverpool and Oxford, he retired to little old Ipswich.

Look in the private residents section of the 1937 Kelly's Directory of Ipswich and you'll find an entry for "Sherrington, Sir Chas. S." -- the mighty Sir Charles -- at 73 Valley Road. Top man.