EDitorial ± 30-Jan-2015

Ipswich Lunches: Truly Scrumptious

Strikes me that there are similarities between Eco Andy and Caractacus Potts. Wife and two children: check. A tad eccentric and prone to dressing up: check. Drivers of phantasmagorical machines: check again. This Friday there's insufficient joules in the Zoe tank for the planned long lunch outing so off we glide to admire the vernacular architecture of the 'Swich.

Near, far, in our motor car, it's up and over the bridge, Klammer down past the ski slope then a hard right at Papa's Piri Piri, formerly the Mega Byte Cafe. P-p-park on P-P-Purplett Street -- mauve that vehicle! -- and we've arrived, toot sweet, outside Truly Scrumptious. Sign above the door says "Hot And Cold Food To Take Away". Now, we don't do takeaways. However, a Action Man Eagle Eye sighting of a seat inside was sufficient for inclusion on The List. As luck would have it, the single interior table is occupied by a father and toddler. Counter lady sensibly suggests that we lug an exterior table in. That stash of napkins depletes as we act like The Beta Band and dry the rain.

Sadly they're all out of the "potato dog" pictured on the poster. Numerous warmed other savoury goodies are on display. Sausage roll starter, madam, followed by an egg sandwich. Brown bread, brown sauce, if you'd be so kind. Bit of a run on the bacon, apparently, and that pressure doesn't let up with a uniformly sized queue of folks awaiting breakfast baps and salad boxes. Glad to see the solo lady being helped out by a couple of stray passing pedestrians. This grub won't win many awards -- you most likely wouldn't mention it in passing on a postcard to your parents -- but it's as reliable as a Terry Butcher clearing header.

Shop space is cut in half by a large shelving unit on which reside pots of jam, choccy bars, and countless snacks. Haven't seen Nando's crisps before. Truly pleasing to spot two or three homemade cakes up for grabs. I show no shame in copying Andy's order for carrot cake -- posh! -- and not only is it a bountiful slice (nearly but not quite up to The Diner), it tastes darn fine too with the supplied spork. Coffee is push button: hot and wet. Far from spectacular, this corner joint, but on Truly Scrumptious you can depend.

If it was a car -- GEN 11.
If they were passing by -- Sally Ann Howes.

EDitorial ± 28-Jan-2015

Donald John Freston Broom RIP

40 years ago, I watched my Dad climbing up the golden stair to glory. This was at the old Salvation Army Citadel on Tacket Street - don't look for it now - and I'd sometimes go there with Dad on a Saturday. There seemed to be an endless supply of odd jobs requiring his attention.

When I say "climbing up the golden stair", he was, more accurately, scaling a huge ladder which started up in the gallery and disappeared into the attic. It was so high that it was like a scene from that David Niven film, A Matter Of Life And Death. I was at an impressionable age and I was impressed. He was fearless, my Dad.

25 years ago, thanks to Mum and Dad's help with the deposit, Gail and I bought a flat in Ipswich. I asked my Dad if he wouldn't mind knocking up a shelf or two, somewhere for books, videos, LPs. He took a bunch of measurements and came back a couple of weeks later in the family Yugo. Into the flat he carried piece after piece of wood, each one carefully labelled.

He drilled, he screwed, and eventually the bottom shelf was done. What did he do next? Well, he sat on the shelf and bounced up and down, first in the middle, then to the left and right. Later, once the upper shelf was in place, he hung on to it with his fingers and lifted himself up off the floor. He was a craftsman, my Dad.

1 month ago, visiting my Dad in Heath Road, I told him that I'd spent a good few hours putting up a shelf for Rose, my daughter. He laughed and nearly choked on his hospital mash. He was funny, my Dad, and I'll miss him.

EDitorial ± 27-Jan-2015

TT1415, Week 15

Defiants are on a winning streak after last week's fine victory. Admittedly it's a thin streak, amounting to a single game, but isn't that like Chairman Mao's first step? Not easy to tell where we are in the table since we appear to have played one or two or three games more than other teams. Always better to have the P in the B, as they might initially say.

No guest players tonight and the long-awaited return of exam-sitting Latin-loving Natalie, armed with "A"s and "A*"s. Steve and Ed make up the remaining 66.6% as we welcome Rosary Blue (previously). There's Oh Phil, Numanoid Adrian and chop-choppy Colin. In brief:

  • fab 3/3 for Ed (!), outnetting and outedging irked Phil, brushing aside Adrian and restricting Colin to not many points
  • frustrating 1/3 for Steve, not taking matchpoints v. Colin before bouncing back to bat aside Adrian
  • frustrating 1/3 for Natalie, coming back to beat Adrian but losing out in a super-close five-ender to Phil

Ed and Natalie into the doubles needing that extra point to claim the victory, going 2-0 up and looking comfortable before somehow losing the next three. Draw, it is: that'll do.

EDitorial ± 25-Jan-2015

130Story: Joining / Peach / Token / Praise / Fail

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 23-Jan-2015

Light Lunches: The Diner At Bentwaters

Hard to imagine now what the skies used to be like in these parts. We're not talking The Orb's Little Fluffy Clouds as depicted by Gainsborough. We're talking planes, and lots of 'em. An F1-11 here, a C-130 there, though mostly A-10s. Tankbusters with in-your-face cannons capable of untold armour-piercing damage. I was quite the fan, building the 1:72 model and painting it light aircraft grey. It's probably very wrong to miss them.

Those Fairchild monsters are now, well, phantoms, shipped out along with their USAF masters. Head beyond Woodbridge, wave a wing at the Ruddy Duck and throw a pot at Jars Of Clay and you'll behold Bentwaters, the old airbase, featured in Bronhom's The Fourth Protocol. Eyes straight ahead at the entrance checkpoint and there's the diner. Need directions? Hangar left.

What would appear to be an out-of-the-way location is busy-busy with lads over there, mums and babes over here and Vin Diesel in the middle. See, there's filming goes on here, inc. stuff such as Fast & Furious 6. Check the DVD to see a beefed-up Andy drifting in his Zoe. Within the semi-permanent structure is a counter of cans and choccy bars and a huge Jacks-ian blackboard of sandwiches, jackets and main meals. They tell me I'm special so it's the Mexican bean soup for YT, a spicy bowl with a truncheon-sized warmed baguette. Both K&A play it safe with the breakfast bap. I spy a curious assortment of modern art on the walls and a disturbing number of day-old D*ily M*ils. Food is no-frills, filling and functional.

They're clearly serving The Right Stuff since The Diner was voted the best local cafe by the Suffolk Cyclists' Touring Club. Those spokesmen know their stops. I'd guess it acts as a community hub of sorts, playing host to loads of fliers (!) and business cards. Never mind the DMs, just count the therapies on offer from Heights of Tranquility to Maharishi Light Therapy With Gems. Area 51, anybody?

Cake, you ask? Of the takeaway variety this week, an absolutely stonking slab of sponge, lovely with a cuppa back in the office. That is the true taste of Friday.

If it was a car -- Acura NSX.
If they were passing by -- Ben Collins.

EDitorial ± 20-Jan-2015

TT1415, Week 14

Memories of last week's abysmal outing aren't fading terribly fast. No points at all? Very, very poor, even if our opponents that night, Manor B, should be a full division higher than us. Best we all move on.

With Yang unable to make our home games, a plea went out to our Thunderbirds pals. Once more, for the third time this season, that call was thankfully answered by Alison. And the mere fact of us having three players means that we're already three points up. Sadly, party-time Peter (last time) has picked up an injury to leave just easy-going Brian the younger and tracksuited Brian the older. In brief:

  • OK 1/2 for Ed, losing out to the younger in a ding-dong five-ender
  • good 1/3 for Steve, outgunning the older 3-1 and grabbing an end from the younger
  • very good 1/3 for Alison, winning in straight ends against the older but losing in straight ends in a big-hitting game with the younger

As before, mighty kind of Alison to make way in the doubles, her faith rewarded by a 3-1 win for Ed and Steve versus Brian and Brian. Much relief for seven whole points in the bag.

EDitorial ± 18-Jan-2015

130Story: Ruler / Biscuit / Still / Farm / Flee

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 16-Jan-2015

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Fish Dish

Sliding over the Zoe's bonnet before checking our seatbelts, that perennial question resurfaces: where now? Nowt new in Woodbridge. All but done Ipswich. Further afield to-do places in Suffolk are too far today. That French automobile mutely navigates itself to the A12 roundabout and points itself seawards. To the coast, we coast.

Felicitations to that formidable furnisher of Felixstowe fry-ups, the Family Cafe, outside which we park. Mid-January in a seaside resort spells off-season for the opposing Corner House Cafe and Conservatory. Along the undercliff, however, is (or was) a dead pub. Remember Millar's, or the Felix, or even Old Millar's? Gone and transformed into an asset of community value: welcome to the smart new visage of Fish Dish. Snappy name, snappy service, as we're welcomed by a charming chap. Over there is quieter, he says, and over here is warmer. Your choice. Good start. This must be the plaice.

In the more temperate area -- predictable or what? -- we join the other diners and take a comfy padded seat. No coveted window seat for us, alas. On offer are charcoal grilled bass and bream, deep-fried tiger prawns and a selection of salads. Cannily, though, the F&C (fish and chips) are F&C (front and centre). For me, has to be the fillet of cod burger, while the driver opts for Cap'n Haddock. While that's being prep-ed, time for a chat over a pleasing glass of rare Ben Shaw's dandelion & burdock.

There's rock and roll over the speakers as our platters emerge. Oh my cod is langourously draped in a bap and dressed with tartare and a cheesy slice: nice! Maybe it's the beef dripping. Maybe it's the local spuds from Denison's of Ipswich. Maybe it's a secret that Alper, the manager, has brought down from Whitby. Whatever it is, readers, these are some champion chips. Proper ketchup, too. Kev, our hard-to-please absent colleague, later told us that when the family want battering, he comes here. That's a recommendation.

Great grub, super service, and comparable with the also very decent Cumberland Fish Bar over in poshy Woodbridge. Bellies bulging, we roll into the chilly air. Just time to nip into the neighbouring Little Ice Cream Co. for a reliable takeaway latte. Fish Dish? First class.

If it was a car -- Austin "Landcrab" 1800.
If they were passing by -- Fatima Whitbread.

EDitorial ± 14-Jan-2015

TT1415, Week 13

Biggest crowd for years tonight despite the wind, the cold and the rain, all hoping to watch a good match between two unevenly matched sides. Reduced ticket prices have helped swell the numbers and there's always the chance of an upset.

But that's enough about the football. Meantime, at the Manor Club across town, Defiants are up against it, the opponents being a well-placed second in the current table. Once more there's lightning Rosemary, thwacker Antonio and big-hitting Mick. In the first half game, Ed grabbed three unlikely points for Defiants by playing out of his skin to beat R+A+M. Can he do it again, maybe with another point or two from Steve or Yang? In brief:

  • woeful 0/3 for Ed, winning his first end of the evening before losing the next nine: v. poor
  • not unexpected 0/3 for Steve, going the whole night without an end
  • unlucky 0/3 for Yang, losing a cracking game to Rosemary

Nine singles matches played, zero points gained. Up to Ed and Yang in the doubles to grab a consolation point which they never looked like doing. Poor show all round, skunked 10-0. Plus ITFC went down 1-0 to Southampton in the FA Cup. Must try harder.

EDitorial ± 11-Jan-2015

130Story: Trance / Spend / Face / Coffee

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





More to follow.

EDitorial ± 6-Jan-2015

TT1415, Week 12

A brand new year! Quarter-past eight in the evening! If we're honest, it was a somewhat underwhelming end to 2014 for the Defiants, scraping only four of the 20 points available from our last two matches. It's gonna be tight down the bottom of division 2 so some points would be handy. Alas, Natalie's doing exams and Steve's done his leg in. Fortunately Alison's been good enough to join Ed and Yang again. Here goes nought.

What with this being the second half of the season, we're now playing the first half's fixtures in reverse. Step forward the Petrels. Only powerful Peter remains from our original game back in September, now joined by two ex-Merlins, ex-BT Mick and lefty Andrea. In brief:

  • decent 1/3 for Alison, beating Mick in straight ends
  • OK 1/3 for Yang, doing the same with an epic 19-17 third end
  • excellent 3/3 for Ed, doing enough to beat Mick before outlasting both Andrea and Peter (revenge!) in two sweaty five-enders

All of which guaranteed not losing, an enviable position going into the doubles. Alison generously stepped aside only to see Ed and Yang go 2-0 down before rallying to a late victory, making it a satisfactory 6-4 on the night. Good start, team.

EDitorial ± 4-Jan-2015

130Story: Hope / Door / Coal / Wine / Connect

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






More to follow.