EDitorial ± 31-Dec-2014

A Betamax Christmas

(75 word short story published on Paragraph Planet on Wednesday 31-Dec-2014)

Pleasantly stuffed and awaiting Mike Yarwood, tragedy struck: a local transmitter fault.

Thinking fast, Dad slotted in tape 17.

"I ordered a 9 foot tree."

Mum's Margo was uncanny. Dad became Jerry leaving me and Trish as Tom and Barbara.

We knew all the lines. That's how it started.

Come 8pm this Christmas Day, we'll watch it with our kids on Dad's antique Sony. Trish and me now play the Leadbetters.

Silly, but it's fun.

EDitorial ± 28-Dec-2014

130Story: Warm / Mistletoe / Corn / Foil / Block

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 22-Dec-2014

Light Lunches: Paddy & Scott's, Framlingham

Have you heard the retro bells of St Michael? Fram-a-lam, ding-dong. Fram-a-lam, ding-dong. Fram-a-lam, ding-ding-dong. Shame on me for believing that was a late '70s hit for Darts when it was, as any fule kno, Rocky Sharpe and The Replays. Being a cover, appaz, of an original hit by a US doo-wop group named The Edsels. If I were to get a job behind the counter here, then you might see a board outside saying Ed Sells Sanctuary Sandwiches. Obscurity quota already exceeded, let's press on.

When dearly departed Grenvyle was still with us, we had a near-purrfect trip to Kitty's, then a frou-fruo first-floor cafe. That cattery then decamped to the cornershop before using up the last of its nine lives. Filling that 90 degree vacuum is a brand new venture from caffeine wrangling double act and local boys made good, Paddy & Scott's. Maybe you've seen them on the shelves of your Mr Tesco? They're going places, I tell thee.

Downstairs is dominated by a ping-pong sized single table, not quite as big as Pump St, while the numbered stairs lead to seating in the "living room" adjacent to the "buzz bar". In Suffolk? That heavy P&S branding is Marmite. Go with it and your reward may take the form of a tasty leafless bacon ciabatta with a dash of Stokes ketchup -- hello, farmcafe -- or, for Andy, a warming cup of tomato & red pepper soup. Obligated to mention a chicken and pesto sandwich consumed on an earlier trip which was top-drawer.

Descending for dessert, The Table is now free Free FREE! Sadly they're fresh out of their yum yoghurt and blackcurrant flapjack. Make do and mend with a choc and coconut slice, nice, with a really rather good large latte -- again with the branded cup -- to the right. WiFi. Service with a smile. Loyalty cards. A local magazine or two. If P&S made coffins, I'd say they'd nailed it.

Quicky mention for their other new branch over in that there Bury St Edmunds. It's aggressively sited on Abbeygate Street more or less opposite Caffe Nero, and enjoys far more space on the ground floor than the Fram operation. I was in there with my lot over Christmas and they loved it, all sitting there TYPING AWAY ON THEIR PHONES tap tap tap sucking up the free WiFi when this is supposed to be family time!

If it was a car -- BMW i3.
If they were passing by -- Paddy McAloon and Scott Walker.

EDitorial ± 21-Dec-2014

130Story: Paste / Day / Round / Track / Life

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 19-Dec-2014

Ipswich Lunches: Gaskins Coffee House

To say that I'm half asleep on the morning cycle commute wouldn't be too far from the truth. I'm tired -- we're all tired -- yet alert enough to deal with both the red and yellow lorries on the A1214. Approaching the milestone by the ex-Shell now-Applegreen garage -- they never close, the crazy kids! -- the cycle lane vanishes and it can be safer and quicker to dodge the cars in the layby. Looking to my left, did one of the shops really proclaim "Freshly ground 100% arabica beans coffee"?

In the past we've baguetted in bookshops, sarnied among shabby chic and quaffed amidst quilts. Never before, though have we beveraged by barbers. The short back and sides of it is that Gaskins hairdressers has diversified: to the right, they scissor clip; to the left, they serve coffee. In a separate room sit tables (couple outside as well), a telly and a tabloid or two. Free WiFi, too, if that's your style.

Need a drink? Sorted. Need a bite? Ah. Then you'll be wanting to nip to the bakery next door and bring it back here. Could I recommend the perennial Cornish pasty and a bag of tomato Snaps? They melt in your mouth, you know, more so when accompanied by a kicking glass of honey, lemon and ginger cordial with a zing that'll colour your roots.

Chatting, the chap explains that all the hot drinks come from a Tchibo machine: remember their store at Felixstowe which was half-cafe, half-commodities? Scanning the drinks list, I order a "latte macchiato" since I'm not sure what that is. Shortly after, a fairly ordinary frothy coffee appears, spruced up with a little Rioba biscuit. There's just about sufficient jolt to cut through the pre-bought Belgian bun, a cherry-topped beast roughly the size of Belgium. So, an odd little enterprise, perhaps a little hair-brained.

If it was a car -- LPG Mazda MX-5.
If they were passing by -- Craig Ferguson.

EDitorial ± 9-Dec-2014

TT1415, Week 11

Not long until Christmas, snow expected any day and the goose is looking worried. About time, then, for Defiants final game of what's been a tough first half. That Natalie's pleaded pressure of work, bless her, so supersub Steve has stepped in, bless him.

Bit of a scary fixture, this one. Britannia Eagles are soaring high atop division 2 having conceded no more than a handful of points. Hopes rise when the boy Daniel doesn't show but there's still fearsome opponents in the form of lefty Paul, ex of the Merlins, Guess Who Rob (previously), and new to us Paul. Yes, another one. In brief:

  • disappointing 0/3 for Ed, losing out to big Paul 11-9 in the 5th and getting played off the table by the other Paul
  • good 1/3 for Yang, also taking big Paul to five ends but winning the 5th
  • not unexpected 0/3 for Steve, not winning an end against tough opposition

Once more, Steve offered Ed and Yang the doubles. Won the first, lost the second, won the third, lost the fourth and, hoorah, won the fifth to double our points tally! That could be all important come the end of the season.

EDitorial ± 7-Dec-2014

130Story: Detail / Nest / Chili / Rude / Roof

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 5-Dec-2014

Light Lunches: Greggs, Martlesham

Freewheeling down the Kingpin side of the A12 pedestrian bridge, I'd eyeballed a bunch of old buildings morphing into shiny new premises c/w glossy tarmac car park. Never did I dare to dream that one day we'd be undertaking an outing to Unit 1A. And yet.

Balloons have all been popped since last week's inception: did you know that every single branch of Greggs is opened by somebody of that name? Proops to whoever came up with that idea. Double doors are open and, like that Python sketch of Thomas Hardy writing his new novel, the crowds are loving it. They're arriving in their droves and other vehicles. Back to those doors: despite the seasonal temperatures, they're kept open. Blinkin' freezin' inside. I guess it discourages dwell-time. Everything is freshly made today, reads the sign. Someone's setting their alarm clock for an ungodly hour given their 7am start.

Pros and cons of a chain are that you know what's coming, hence there's not an ocean of changes since we did the Ipswich branch. Squillions of sausage rolls sit above a plethora of pizza slices and a felicitous forest of their famous festive bakes (chicken, not turkey). Beanie Kev and pedestrian Andy make like The Specials and Do The Dog while I bag a roast chicken bloomer and energy-giving Lucozade. Both are a bargainous £3, i.e. more reasonable than rational Rene Descartes. While we're sat there in the chill, those punters keep on coming. Wonder where they all used to buy their warm savoury slices?

Couple of quid left from that none-too-crisp fiver buys you the dessert deal. It'd be a fool who said no to coffee and cake for that price, esp. since a latte is £1.75 on its lonesome. Friday equals fresh cream aboard an apple Danish slice. See also Andy's positively rude Belgian bun. Hot coffee plus yum-scrum sweetness. Spot very much hit. Grazie, Greggs.

If it was a car -- Vauxhall Astra Excite.
If they were passing by -- Greg Rutherford.

EDitorial ± 1-Dec-2014

TT1415, Week 10

What with KO Cup week, there's been no game for Defiants since that defeat at home to Capel D back in mid-November. Now it's December, the John Lewis ad has been on steady rotation for the last fortnight (though I've still not seen it), and it's more than time for us to paddle up.

Top-scorer Yang from last time is summarily dropped in favour of Ed The Sec alongside Steve and Natalie. Twenty minute trip down the A12 takes us to Capel: keep going until you're nearly out of the village and opposite Pound Lane. There should be a sizeable church to your right. Park and follow the dimly lit path to the left, to the rear, in the hall and up the stairs. Can't miss it. Ready and waiting are super-retriever Dave and the boy Richard (previously), joined by Colchester all-star Peter. In brief:

  • OK 1/3 for Ed, beating Richard but going down 3-1 to both Dave and Peter
  • good 1/3 for Steve, not taking advantage of more than one matchpoint before finally edging past Richard on a nailbiting deuce in the 5th end
  • not great 0/3 for Natalie, losing 3-1 three times and lacking in match practice

Steve sat out the doubles in favour of Natalie and Ed who promptly got nowhere, yielding an underwhelming 8-2 loss. At least there were biscuits.