EDitorial ± 25-Mar-2013

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Dock Services

As part of a Bike Week bike ride down to Felixstowe, I turned off in Trimley to take a short cut. That path, if you can find it, brings you out in the perilous Port of Felixstowe among some Very Large Vehicles with Many Wheels. Trying to find a route to the safe haven of McDonald's, I circumnavigated the abandoned remains of Anzani House, once a BT stronghold.

Near there is a petrol station, possibly called the Dock Services. And to the side stands the most unpromising portacabin you'll see. Except that the printed sign outside says "Cafe Open, Hot And Cold Drinks & Food Available". Enough said. We're there.

It's a tad intimidating to even park on the forecourt of this particular truck stop given the relative size of the surrounding rigs. Entering the cabin with no name -- conditions outside are glacial -- one thing's clear: this sure isn't the Tea Boutique. To the left is the centre of operations. Straight ahead is a retina-troubling wall of luminous stars offering each and every permutation of all day breakfast. Pick one: that'll be the double egg & chips, a bargainous £2.85. I take my ticket, number 60, and go to find a table among the Bluetoothed hi-vis menfolk. Up comes Andy clutching ticket number 10, a curious numerical sequence.

We're towards the rear near the 2.61kg tins of beans and the boxes of pre-chilled fries. View-wise, the Caravan Cafe on the Woodbridge quayside has the edge, just. There's little to relieve the eye except ads for driving jobs and a local martial arts centre. Eggs and chips, number 9, comes the shout. Ah, upside-down ticket. That's mine. Very good it is too, though the ketchup is weak, a fact I decide to keep to myself lest we find ourselves sealed in a container bound for Zeebrugge.

Plates cleaned and returned to the nice lady, we make our excuses and walk over to the garage for a very welcome Costa Express takeaway plus a cheeky frangipane tart. Sometimes it's good to get back to the car.

If it was a car -- Scania 113 360.
If they were passing by -- Ryan Gosling.

EDitorial ± 20-Mar-2013

TT1213, Week 22

Last scheduled game of the season -- already! -- though we've still got a quartet of games to catch up on. Back at the Manor Club in the town centre on another blinkin' cold, albeit dry, night.

Couple of new faces in tonight's opposition including, blimey charlie, a lady player. I know. That'll be Rosemary, who's clearly played once or twice before and who went on to thrash the lot of us. There's also hard-hitting Mick and father-of-five Matt, he of the Trinder clan. In brief:

  • 2/3 for Kennedy, mastering Mick over 5 ends and hanging on to beat Matt
  • 1/3 for Ed, edging Matt in a deuce in the 5th and final end
  • 0/3 for Steve, alas, blowing cold and feeling hot (he's not well, poor lad)

With Steve saying his farewells early on to get back to his sick bed, that left Ed and Kennedy to do the doubles one more time. Super frustratingly lost in the 5th end. Darn. Came away with a 3-7 defeat: gonna need more points.

EDitorial ± 15-Mar-2013

Shelf Assessment

(75 word short story published on Paragraph Planet on Friday 15-Mar-2013)

8:20 Monday morning was when the house fell down. Sounded like it, anyhow.

Lucky she wasn't underneath at the time.

Three long hours he'd spent putting up that blinking shelf. Day of rest?! Red wall plugs, 6mm bit. Except he only had a 6.5mm jobby. Drill had a mind of its own.

Seemed OK once he'd padded out the crumbly voids with snapped cocktail sticks. Should hold daughter's Vogue collection.

Brown wall plugs next time.

EDitorial ± 14-Mar-2013

Light Lunches: Douglas Bader, Martlesham Heath

Got an hour and a bit for an ever-so-slightly-extended Friday lunch yet got no transport to hand. As ZZ Top kind of advised, we've got legs and we know how to use them. Over the gritted A12 pedestrian bridge between Kingpin and Squash Club to the Heath. Done both the chippy and the bakery: about time we did the pub.

Within the door to this one are some snaps of the official opening by none other than Douglas Bader, he of the prosthetic limbs with the strong resemblance to Kenneth More. To further emphasise the theme, the lounge includes a frieze of WWII planes, numerous aviation paintings and a large overhead propellor fan. As the big board says, "Don't Fly By ... Drop In!"

Chock-full in here today. Fortunate to taxi to a spare table. These folk know that there's some good value grub to be had from the choice-ridden Travelodge-esque menu. Our brief walk hasn't quite finished off my earlier vg breakfast at the Holeshot bus cafe, so it'll be something from the "lite bite" section. Bonus points to the DB for offering free WiFi from The Cloud, today's EADT, leaflets for local events and cherry Coke in the fridge. Many boxes ticked.

Was expecting a fair wait for food given the airfield crowds, but they've got it sussed, our plates appearing in less than 10 mins. My ham & egg & chips -- more than acceptable portion size -- goes down like a spiralling Bf109, in a not tasteless but tasty way.

This being Red Nose Day, and with Andy sporting his comedy bowtie, we have to take off back to the office to purchase charity cakes and coffee. That Douglas Bader is AOK if you're flying past.

If it was a car -- 1904 Darracq.
If they were passing by -- Gary Numan.

EDitorial ± 12-Mar-2013

TT1213, Week 21

Another week, another Capel team. This time we're at home, which is good since we'll have the slope in our favour. Conditions are snowy outside and bearable inside.

Went down rather badly last time to Burstall boys Richard and Mark and old-boy Dave, still 4th in the divisional averages despite being 73 years of age. What an example. In brief:

  • 2/3 for Kennedy, edging Richard 11-9 in the 5th, playing out of his skin to beat Dave over another five ends, then getting skunked by Mark's pimples
  • 1/3 for Ed, overcoming Richard in straight games
  • 0/3 for Steve, alas, despite some terrific play to take Richard and Dave to four ends and Mark to five ends

Cue Ed and Kennedy in the doubles, cue another loss. Too many of those stray points have drifted away, a bit like today's snowfall. Oh well, went one better than last time with a 3-7 defeat.

EDitorial ± 7-Mar-2013

TT1213, Week 20

Last couple of games we've started with only two players, thereby auto-losing three precious points. Given our precarious postiion, this is not good. So great to have Kennedy and Ed and Steve back for tonight's rainy outing to Capel D. Curse that RTA on Norwich Road for making K&E even later.

Lost 4-6 last time: could we maybe grab an extra point or two against consistent Nick, quick Keith The Older and pimply Peter The Younger? In brief:

  • 3/3 for Kennedy, the undoubted star of the night, beating Keith and Nick in straight ends and scrapping out a tactical five-set victory against Peter
  • 1/3 for Ed, awful v. Peter, good v. out-of-sorts Nick, complacent v. Keith to go down 14-12 in the 5th
  • 0/3 for Steve, also losing on a deuce to Keith in the 5th

Apparently Ed and Kennedy had beaten Nick and Peter in the previous doubles. Didn't happen tonight, losing in three tight ends. That'll be another 4-6 then, mighty frustrating given Kennedy's maximum. Memo to Ed and Steve: kick yourselves.

EDitorial ± 5-Mar-2013

Light Lunches: Lux Farm, Rushmere St Andrew

We'd all concur, I think, that it's been far too cold for far too long. Today's BBC weather for Ipswich, however, confidently predicted a double-digit temperature come late morning. By George Clothing, they were right. Not quite time for shorts as yet but no need to zip up that collar to the absolute top. A good day, then, to venture out on the velocipedes.

Action Man Andy had spotted an 'andy sign, the type we like: New Cafe. Fifteen minutes for three miles, cutting through the Grange Farm psychopath then along Dr Watson's Lane onto the rat run that is Playford Road. Left down the restfully rustic driveway into Lux Farm, home of "rare breed meats". There's been a farm shop here for a while. Now there's a cafe too, hoorah. Plain wooden tables, nicely compact -- reminded slightly of Isaacs -- and we're not the only ones here, another good sign.

Good start with a well-stocked corner unit of Luscombe and James White juicy bevs. Tangy raspberry lemonade for me. Eager-to-please lady lists today's savoury options: passing over the ploughman's and sausage rolls, he has the curried parsnip soup (with a hunk of good bread from the Woodbridge bakery), I have the salf beef roll. That's some flavourful meat in there, helped by a serving of Nick Stokes' chutney and some mayo-enhanced side salad. Better than expected, already.

Anything else, asks the lady? You bet. There is much cake, a happy sentence. Brownie? Bara brith? Flapjack? Like the sound of the lime marmalade cake. Dollop of double cream with that? Since we've cycled miles, why not. Far more calorie controlled portions than seen at Crabtrees recently. Very acceptable proppa cuppa coffee too. At the next-door shop we settle up then saddle up to re-enact part of last September's Tour of Britain, a briefly testing down and up the Hall Road dip past Milsoms. Glad that cake was the size it was.

If it was a car -- Fiat Lux.
If they were passing by -- Paul Heiney.

EDitorial ± 4-Mar-2013


Twelve months back it was all about Words With Friends on the 'Pad. Got more than a bit daft at times, with 20+ games on the go, mostly against mother-in-law and me own mum. Especially when determined to have no moves outstanding by the morning and it's gone midnight. Red-eyed and it ain't 'cos I've been crying. Well, maybe a little sob if I've lost a game by the odd point WHICH V. RARELY HAPPENS.

Christmas at the in-laws and new lexical fun hit the family's iOS devices in the guise of Letterpress. Board comprises 5x5 letters, each player going taking turns to form a word and gain ownership of those letters. It's Othello meets Boggle, loosely. Opponents can be your friends, family or drawn at random from the Interweb. Game ends when all remaining unplayed letters have been used, often some weird combination of Z and V or J and W or simply the odd Q. Then comes The Reckoning.

If this is the sort of game you like -- I do -- then you'll like this sort of game -- I do too. But since we must all eat and sleep and work, alphabetically, then an individual game can take hours, days or weeks, like postal chess. One such encounter has just finished. Bearing in mind that a game can be over in 10 goes, this was an epic with a grand total of 71 moves. For your wordy pleasure, it went like this:

  1. them -- SQUIGGLY : adverb as you mean to go on
  2. me -- SQUADDY
  3. them -- MUZZILY : canny use of both Zs
  4. me -- MUGGILY
  5. them -- GLUMLY
  6. me -- FLOOZY : first non-adverb
  7. them -- STODGILY
  8. me -- GLOAMS
  9. them -- FOGGILY
  10. me -- FLOGS
  11. them -- GOLFS : cheeky anagram
  12. me -- GLITZY
  13. them -- MOZZ
  14. me -- FOLIOUS
  15. them -- FOLDOUTS
  16. me -- DOOMFULLY
  17. them -- MOODILY
  18. me -- GOODLY
  19. them -- GOOFILY
  20. me -- GLAZY
  21. them -- GAUZILY
  22. me -- GAUZY
  23. them -- BUGGY
  24. me -- MUGGY
  25. them -- SMUDGILY
  26. me -- MUDDILY
  27. them -- MUDDY
  28. me -- GAUDILY
  29. them -- DOGGY
  30. me -- DOGMATIC
  31. them -- DOGMATICS : cursed myself for not using the plural
  32. me -- DAGGAS : types of hemp
  33. them -- SLUDGY
  34. me -- DOGMATA
  35. them -- DITZY
  36. me -- OUTDID
  37. them -- GUILTY
  38. me -- LUTZ : figure skating jump
  39. them -- MUDDLY
  40. me -- GODDAM
  41. them -- DATUM
  42. me -- CUDDLY
  43. them -- CUDDY
  44. me -- DUMBLY
  45. them -- FUGGILY
  46. me -- UGLIFY
  47. them -- SQUIDGY
  48. me -- QUAGGAS : extinct horses
  49. them -- GAMBOLS
  50. me -- OOMIACS -- Eskimo boats, yer complete Inuit
  51. them -- GAZOOS
  52. me -- MAGGOTY
  53. them -- FAGGOTY
  54. me -- FOGDOGS : whitish spots seen in fog
  55. them -- CLOGGILY
  56. me -- CLAGGY
  57. them -- GLAUCOMA
  58. me -- GLAUCOMAS : my turn to pluralise
  59. them -- FACTUALLY
  60. me -- ZODIACAL
  61. them -- GLOOMILY
  62. me -- UFOLOGIST
  63. them -- CLOUDILY
  64. me -- MUCOIDAL
  65. them -- SMUGLY
  66. me -- GUMBOILS
  67. them -- GUMBOOTS
  68. me -- MUTABLY
  69. them -- BAGFULS
  70. me -- BUZZWIGS : gambled to grab the unplayed Z
  71. them -- ADJUSTABLY : 10 letter word inc. that J to end the game

Somehow, I won 13-12, i.e. by the odd point in 25. Ironically I haven't the least clue who my opponent was beyond their cryptic username of "spgrabia". Whoever you are, well played: great game. Fancy playing? I go by "freston.net" on the Game Center (excuse spelling).