EDitorial ± 30-Mar-2014

130Story: Strike / Milk / Clone / Peel / Pipe

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 23-Mar-2014

130Story: Sugar / Flush / Tank / Tease / Crane

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 21-Mar-2014

Light Lunches: Cookhouse, Suffolk Food Hall

Highbrown with the lowbrow. From posh to passable to perfunctory. For every marvellous mono Milsoms, there are multiple middling Mermaids and more than one makeshift McDonald's. Not, as Jerry would say, that there's anything wrong with that, the price of inclusivity. Even so.

Even so, nice to have a bit of nice. And here's nice. Those gastronauts at the Suffolk Food Hall thought they could squeeze more Waitrose wonga by building a big new shed next door. Past the bouncy pillow -- Andy, come away -- and round the path, in the door, up the stairs. Wait to be seated: we will. Busy-busy in the car park, busy-busy in The Cookhouse. Before any mention of the grub, let's take a minute to admire that view of the Orwell Bron||Broen. That framing through the upper-storey windows must have been planned. Quality.

Helpful chap finds us a cosy little whacking great 6-8 seater table with pull-out sofas either side, like that seating you can never land in Costa. Big single sheet menus on heavy paper. This lunch is going to cost us. OJ and AJ for hydration and we're both running down the light lunch options, mains-dodgers that we are. Six or seven quid for my rarebit and dressed leaves and onion chutney, good if a tad mild, and ditto for Andy's vg open beef sandwich with horseradish. Who'd a thought ten years ago we'd all be sitting here nibbling on sourdough?

Not that it looks much from the outside, but it's Madeleine (all bright) and airy and modern in here with an open kitchen and a highly tempting selection of sweet stuff just over there. Another jolly guy talks us through the calorific choices. TBH, I prefer my carrot cake a little more down and dirty with some creaminess. Couldn't fault the jolt from the macchiato, however. Bene and then some. Even though he might turn his nose up at the prices, Karl was right: top marx.

If it was a car -- Audi Q3.
If they were passing by -- Charles Dance.

EDitorial ± 18-Mar-2014

TT1314, Week 22

Barely spring yet here we are already at the final game of the 2013/14 season. Flown by, it has. Fittingly, perhaps, it's the Defiants ABC hardcore on duty tonight, being Andy, Broom and Cockerill. Oh, and with Neil aka Maddog to spectate and be Angelo Dundee to Kev's Muhammad Ali.

It's up to the Thunderdome for what should be a formality since opponents are the Britannia Cormorants, still clinging on to that bottom place. That despite grabbing a 5-5 draw against us in the first half. Fortunately for us there's no Alex tonight, he who beat Yang and Kev and Andy. Instead there's spinserve oldboy Jim, quick-on-his-feet oldboy Brian (suffering from macular degeneration) and newboy Thomas. In brief:

  • pleasing 3/3 for Ed, yay!, not losing an end, the show-off
  • satisfactory 2/3 for Andy, bouncing back from a five-end defeat to Brian to labour to a five-end win against Jim before edging past Thomas
  • very good 2/3 for Kev, coasting past Thomas but coming unstuck against nimble Brian then beating Jim in straight games

Kev's final win placed him in the doubles with Ed, naturally, and it was plain sailing to get that extra point. That'll be 8-2 to us, which looks to guarantee us 3rd spot and gain promotion: well done, all of us!

EDitorial ± 16-Mar-2014

130Story: Soul / Part / Meal / Fear / Hot

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 13-Mar-2014

Light Lunches: Shepherd & Dog, Nacton

Maybe you're familiar with the concept of Slow TV? Norwegian in origin, it began with a live feed of a multi-hour train journey. When that got the viewers hooked, they did a trip around the fjords, a wood fire -- contentious because of the different methods used to stack the logs -- and hours & hours of knitting. All live.

All that came to mind thanks to distant memories of One Man And His Dog. I should probably pitch the idea of live sheep-herding to Emil, Elias and Erik over there in Oslo. Which leads us to today's place of eats, a long-lived landmark on the old Felixstowe Road, the Shepherd & Dog. Yes, it's a pub slash carvery, but we're all a tad pushed for time and need somewhere new yet near-ish.

Collectable facts include (a) me driving and (b) Defiants backbone Kev coming along too. Note that e're almost directly opposite the track that we took to the Orwell Crossing way back when. Wait here to be seated, says the sign. Looks busy in that carvery area so we'll order at the bar, then head outside. Drinks, first: tasty Grapetise for me and, to ensure a productive afternoon, an Adnams for Kev.

No great views to be had out there, nor kids' playground. Simply good to be out in the warmth of the spring sunshine. And here, regular as an unwound watch, is Andy, very shortly followed by his food selection, a slab of millionaire shortbread cheesecake. He's evidently had a tough morning up the road in Trinity Park. Thank goodness for our sensible savoury selections: stack of sweet potato chips for Kev -- such exotic tastes -- and a Club Carvery for me. My toasted sandwich is cut into four massive quarters, each a meal in itself, plus chips (standard potato) on the side. Not easy being a legit light luncher. Sarnie was a bit dry, if I'm honest, but there was ketchup.

All in all, many food options to be had, affordable prices a la Mermaid, and mighty generous portion sizes. Enough to feed not just a shepherd but a butcher's dog too.

If it was a car -- NSEwe Prinz.
If they were passing by -- Mackenzie Crook.

EDitorial ± 11-Mar-2014

TT1314, Week 21

(guest review by Andy Cassy: thanks, Andy!)

Well, the score card says it all.

Having lost 4-6 away to Triers we needed a draw or better to ensure we end in top 3. So some strategic decisions were made to choose our star team [ED: you sure about this?] and it paid off.

Young Yang — started the night by crushing Chris; vanquished Vinod; and allowed Alison to take an end before he topped out and politely retired to enjoy the rest of the evenings entertainment

Amateurish Andy — tricky first match against Alison, the league's most played player, coming back from behind to snatch the first two ends, wobbling on 3rd and 4th games, before finally winning out; gave Chris a good game (who amazingly served four net serves straight!); and made a meal of defeating vulnerable Vinod

Steady Steve — struggled a little to beat Alison in four ends and smashed the other two.

Defiant Doubles — Yang kindly allowed Steve and Andy to put their lunchtime practice session to the test and topped out the night for another 10-0 win, leaving us (temporarily) on top of the division and ensured our place in top 3...

EDitorial ± 9-Mar-2014

130Story: Game / Creep / Whole / Speak / Manage

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 7-Mar-2014

Ipswich Lunches: Grumpy Mole

Now and again my Dad would take me and my brother to the pictures, probably the Gaumont (now Regent) or the ABC (long gone). Sometime in the '70s we saw a couple of Doug McClure features that have stayed with me: The Land That Time Forgot and At The Earth's Core. The former, I recorded off the tellybox at the weekend. The latter has Peter Cushing at the controls of a huge drilling machine named the Iron Mole (note). Rather than going through the mountain, they end up in a weird subterranean land controlled by flying reptiles. Who are also telepathic. And make a noise which I found disturbing as a youngster.

With me as dashing Doug and Andy as eccentric Peter, we've been at the controls of our respective velocipedic machines en route to the Grumpy Mole. Odd name, ay what, though shares its nomenclature with a chain in Cheam. What are the chances? We've been to these Queen St premises before when it was Bernie Lees: that wasn't great and didn't last long. Come on Mole, do your worst.

They've redecorated. Orange walls, random pics of flowers, the London skyline, beach huts, cartoons and menus from Singapore adorn the walls incoherently. Plenty of tabloids to titillate. Over there is a kids' playroom. We're over here by the window in the sun. Lots of tables (though sparsely populated) and far too much choice on the menu a la Travelodge. Waitress service involves much shouting back to the lady behind the bar to confirm what's available and what isn't. All very Ipswich. Still, here's my Dr Pepper and his Bounty shake.

Takes time for our food to be prep-ed, hopefully a good omen. Andy's gone posh with his breakfast muffin topped with salmon and hollandaise. Good, says the man. I've got a huge plate with a huge amount of chips and a huge lamb burger with onions, etc. Size-wise, it wins. Quality-wise, I've had worse, though lose a mark for the non-Heinz ketchup.

What with our chop-chop-busy-busy lives, there's no time for sweets. They're open well into the evening, too: maybe there's more custom then? Honestly, it all seems a tad odd and unfriendly. If I wanted some reasonably priced grub in this part of town, I'd head a few doors up to the always welcoming Central Canteen. Check back in a year to see if the GM is still here.

If it was a car -- Zastava 101.
If they were passing by -- Gian Sammarco.

EDitorial ± 6-Mar-2014


(75 word short story published on Paragraph Planet on Thursday 06-Mar-2014)

Yonks since anyone, even Kaz, had seen Twizzler. Yet there he was, as real as that Real Madrid shirt.

Been doing extra work, he said. With Russell Crowe. And had I seen that Saturdays video? Party, his place, Saturday.

Twizzler. Still full of it. Mind you, rude not to go to his do. Free beer is free beer.

There, everyone, even Kaz, was trying not to stare at this one guy. Not many Australians round here.

EDitorial ± 3-Mar-2014

TT1314, Week 20

Three games remain for Defiants to secure that all-important third spot and thereby gain promotion to the vertiginous heights of Div 2. If we went up, would we come back down next year? We don't deal in speculation. We deal in something clever that sounds a bit like speculation, probably a word rhyming with speculation and sharing that same ending. Rewrite this bit, note to self.

On our travels tonight to the 'Stowe. Once upon a time we'd have headed to the school at the end of that long road to play the caretaker and some kids. These days, Kingsfleet hang out closer to the sea on Langer Road in the notorious St Edmund church hall. You know the one. Two old familiar faces in the form of end-of-the-pier John and canny Frank, joined by new guy "good boy" Stephen, who, it must be noted, has been grabbing a few points. Corresponding match in the first half finished with us winning 6-4. Would be good to do better tonight. In brief:

  • could-do-better 1/3 for Kevin, winning his opening game in straight ends, getting nowhere against Stephen and going down 3-1 in a close game with Frank
  • satisfactory 2/3 for Yang, losing 3-1 to Stephen
  • pleasing 3/3 for Ed, yay!, gritting his teeth to beat Stephen 3-1

Surprisingly no Kev in the doubles, almost graciously stepping aside to score while Yang and Ed -- the two players with the most points, ahem -- did their bit. Nabbed that extra point without too much trouble to finish 7-3 victors, one better than last time. Let's see how we stand once everyone else has played this week.

EDitorial ± 2-Mar-2014

130Story: State / Craft / Note / Peak / Mouse

The rules of 130Story are simple: given a random seed word, write a story in 130 characters.






More to follow.