EDitorial ± 23-Aug-2013

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Winkles At The Ferry

As we were chatting to the friendly lady who runs the Boathouse, she let slip that she'd recently been across the water to check out some new competition. Our petite pixie ears pricked up: ooh, new place? Yes indeed, she confirmed, and pointed (like something out of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers) to the 'Stowe. Specifically, to the boatyard, home of the recently opened Winkles At The Ferry. Ooh-err!

Word on the water is that WOTF was set up by an ex-employee of Ferry Cafe, a veritable veteran of that vicinity. Now there's a pebble's chuck between the old guard and the young Turk. Apparently built from an old shipping container, Winkles sits like a pouting Marlon Brando, squarely on the waterfront. There's seats inside 'cos it's not always going to be sunny, but today the cooler kids are on the plentiful outside tables.

Bit of a bunfight to order inside, truth be told, jostling for position and trying to avoid getting poked by kids inspecting the fishing nets. No great surprise since school's out and it's a scorcher. Whereas the View Point Cafe give you a plastic bucket to confirm your order number, here it's a polished stone. Out to our bench we go to sip from cool cans, feel envious of the ferryman, and wait. And wait. As I said, the world and their grandchildren are down here today, and it's a lovely spot to sit and watch the waves. Those order numbers creep up until eventually our plates materialise. Well worth the delay for some tastefully presented and mighty tasty ham, egg and chips. Couldn't quite run to today's special, the lobster.

Shame that it's another of those Fridays when we really should put in a token reappearance at the office. Off we drag ourselves but not before getting some coffees to go -- good 'n' hot -- plus some cake to share. To cap off a fine outing, there's an almighty noise as a Vulcan bomber soars overhead en route to the Clacton air show. Woah.

If it was a car -- NSU Ro 80.
If they were passing by -- Roy Hudd.

EDitorial ± 16-Aug-2013

Ipswich Lunches: RaRa's

As midsummer as it gets, August 16th, and the rain it is a-gently-raining as me and him saddle up at the Sham o' Martle. Front wheels pointed over the A14 bridge, off we push for a preprandial seven mile saunter, a spin in the park next to the recent Bawdsey sportive. Next stop, the 'Swich.

Safe and secure outside the library, it's down a door or two to number 12, the landmark that is the Golden Panda. Nope, that was donkeys' ago. Since that time it's morphed from Artista to Lemon & Mint to Chaupatty, none of them lingering too long. Now, with its raspberry red frontage, we find RaRa's, an ice cream parlour which threw open its doors in, er, December. Brrr. Well done for making it through to August.

Jukebox? Tick. Booths? Tick. Coke ads? Tick. Film posters of 12 Angry Men and Attack Of The 50 Foot Woman? Tick. Savoury somethings? Not as such. RaRa's is all about sweet treats, from the knickerbocker glory to the cherrybomb and every dairy good and bad thing in between. Scanning the menu pix, Andy goes for the bananacakes (yum, pancakes) while the lemon & ginger delight is delightful. To balance out that evil sugariness, he has the root beer and I have a cherry Coke. You can almost feel the next Denplan payment leaving your account.

One point away for not having a proper coffee machine -- wouldn't some spluttering espresso noises and cappuccino steam add to the atmosphere? -- but one point added for the always welcome free WiFi. I gather it's packed at the weekends. Let's hope RaRa's lasts.

If it was a car -- Plymouth Savoy.
If they were passing by -- Robbie Coltrane.

EDitorial ± 10-Aug-2013

Light Lunches: Hot Chip, Norwich

They don't generally meet the guidelines -- must serve tea, must have seating -- but every now and then the light lunch limo has alighted at a chippy, from Felixstowe to Martlesham via Melton and Woodbridge. Usually these are make-do locations. Today, though, it's a special trip prior to replacing The Boy's phone which went for a swim on holiday.

Backtrack to pre-hols times and we were queueing for ice creams at Walberswick, as you do. Behind us was a poshy-washy girl's voice bemoaning her lot in life, namely having to work behind the counter of a fried potato emporium. Not any old pla(i)ce, though, but a better class of fast food establishment with the laid back name of Hot Chip. Given the people who hang out on the Suffolk coast, I assumed this would be somewhere in that London. Not so, said Mr Google the next day: that'll be, er, Norwich.

Owned by local aristo Lord Somerleyton, Hot Chip occupies a sweet spot in the city centre. In we go, the four of us, and thankfully a table quickly becomes free. Walls are pleasingly covered with olde worlde local newspaper ads interspersed with HC's self-promotion: they only cook in rapeseed oil, you know, 'cos it's much healthier. Girls go for the Hot Chip Butty, The Boy has a monster of a bacon butty and I take on The Spaniard with "pan-fried chorizo, melting Manchego cheese and quince salsa." Oh yeah. Other options include spicy lamb, tandoori chicken or even a Sunday roast.

At £12.50 for our quartet of cartons, it's top value; nothing's over a fiver. Good selection of soft drinks too, including San Pellegrino cans, plus they do coffee. We all give it a big fat thumbs-up. Hey, Hot Chip, come and open up in Ipswich!

If it was a car -- Aspid GT-21 Invictus.
If they were passing by -- Alexis Taylor.

EDitorial ± 5-Aug-2013


We've skirted Orange, rounded Marseille, skipped Cannes and seen an overhead sign reading Nice Prom. Finally, with 950 miles clocked up in the family motor over the last two days, we arrive in our quaint Italian town. Light is fading as we collect keys from the local bar.

As we hand over our deposit, the bar owner points out that the road up to our villa is on the narrow side, whereas the Scenic isn't. Up to you, he says, though you could park in the town square and carry up your cases. Your choice. But if you do drive up, don't leave your car in the turning area or the locals will slash your tyres. Er, OK.

I'm driving and I say we do it: we don't want to lug our luggage. Turns out there are three roads leading up to our place. Imagine a three-tier marble run in reverse. Up the first slope we go. It's wide enough, just, and runs out onto a cobbled area where I do a five point turn. There, that wasn't too bad.

Second ascent has stone houses on the right and a thin railing on the left. This one's not so generous. I edge up, adjusting constantly. Ahead, there's a kink in the handrail and the stone wall juts out. I don't fancy my chances. I don't think there's room. I need to reverse.

Going forwards was easy. Going backwards less so. There's a jolt as one of the rear wheels bumps over something. Needing to correct, I slip into first and accelerate. The car protests. I rev hard and there's a nasty smell of burning rubber. That back wheel is caught behind the marbled front step of a house. A house where an irate Italian lady lives, it becomes clear. An Italian lady who comes out shouting "Avanti!" and urging me forwards, walking me up the slope to show me the way. I have no Italian. She has no English and would obviously like this particular English to get off her step. Welcome to Badalucco.

How did it work out? Well, I got back in, went back very gingerly, managed to angle past her step, and decided it was simplest to do the slope no matter what. Which, somehow, I did, breathing in and using the wing mirrors like a cat's whiskers. There followed a nine point turn at the top and some more ultra careful backing in to half a parking spot. There the car stayed, about as hot as me, while we trundled the cases up slope number three.

About 15 hours later I manned up to do the descent, missing the lady's step and directing the car to the nicely proportioned central car park in the town square.