EDitorial ± 19-Oct-2010

Woodbridge Lunches: Caffe Nero

Dear oh dear, whatever's happening to olde worlde Woodbridge, where once only independent traders were welcome? First Costa, with their damnably flexible & family friendly opening hours, then WH Smith with their wretchedly wide range of stationery, and now another chain store tarnishing the Thoroughfare. Mark my words, won't be long before Mrs Piper's morphs into McDonald's.

Roadworks make it bloomin' noisy as I lock up the bike right outside Wine Rack. Whoops, no, the offy's gone off, and in has marched Caffe Nero. Local press reports claim that Nero, in characteristically tyrannical fashion, haven't applied for the correct "change of use" planning permission, not unlike events at Felixstowe. That'd be Nero, the emperor who ordered the killing of his own mother.

The folks inside couldn't give two hoots for all that brouhaha: they're here for a quick chat on a comfy seat over a nice latte. Thanks to the spending review, the trainee baristas are in charge, hesitantly blending frappes and nervously toasting paninis. One of them takes the money for my Quattro Stagioni orange & passion fruit -- posh Oasis -- and offers to magically reheat my Tuscan bean soup. Which, er, is tastily satisfying with the companion slab of bread.

Despite Herr Rene's presence, we don't lay down our beach towel quick enough and so are relegated to the workmen's dark wooden tables & chairs to the rear. While our German friend tucks into not one but two sarnies, poor Andy nibbles on his cheese straw. I hear there's are espresso houses in Florence and Siena which have, on the wall, large black and white photos of 1950s Woodbridge.

Who knows how but my Nero loyalty card has miraculously acquired the full nine stamps, even without buying the in-store copy of The Times. That'll be a gratis grande white Americano, grazie. May as well put that money saved towards a chocolate twist. Lovely, not had one of those calorific treats in yonks. Will the planners kick out this plush new centre of caffeinated convenience? Too late!

If it was a car -- Hertz Ford Mondeo Auto.
If they were passing by -- Bruno Tonioli.