EDitorial ± 27-Apr-2015

Full English

(my winning entry in the Micro Bookends 1.28 weekly competition having the first word "GEORGE", the last word "DRAGON" and based on that flag photo, and as published on the Micro Bookends website)

George waves away her smoke and reaches for the ketchup. Sunlight bounces off the dog tag but the cat’s seen it all before.

"Mind your uniform, George."

"You know me."

He’s already changed his shirt after tidying last night’s empties and ashtrays.

"I made lunch."

"George, you’re a saint. Your father would be..."

Her fingers trace the familiar embossing on the metal ID hanging from his neck: name, service number, blood group.

Glancing down, George sees his yolk submerged in red gloop.

"Mum, shut up and eat. You know what you’re like if you skip breakfast."

"I know. I turn into a right dragon."

EDitorial ± 26-Apr-2015

130Story: Wolf / Pressure / Cast / Harmony / Planet

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 24-Apr-2015

Light Lunches: Walton Coffee House

Ever-reliable Kev, the first lord of Felixstowe, is trying to describe where this new place can be found. If you're at the lights, he says, head past Chuckles and The Bounty and it's up there on the right. Oh, I say, in Trimley? No, he says, in Walton. Hence the name.

For once, he's correct. We meet by the ominous blue flood warning post, me and Andy en voiture, Kev en velo. Smack bang on the capitalised High Street sits Walton Coffee House, a Ronseal destination: in Walton, serves coffee, is a house. A rather smart period house which, for the last few months, has been run as an upmarket bijou cafe. Enter by the heavy front door and, a little like the Fish Dish, head left or right. Left is a lovely lounge with sofas and a piano; right is a regal room (inc. papers and magadzines) with our table plum in the sunny bay window, ideal for us lads that lunch. Sun dapples the leaves and illuminates Bombay Nite opposite.

From the short and sweet laminated menu, Andy orders a chunky panini (with a pack of non-fake "Real" crisps) while I go for some oily fish in the form of a tuna mayo sarnie: both are presented on proper china plates with a teensy pot of home-made coleslaw. Not a leaf in sight for you salad-spotters out there. All very tasteful and tasty. A lively chat with bundle-of-energy Sara, our hostess, reveals that she:

  • also runs a coffee hut (not a kiosk) at The Dip towards Old Felixstowe
  • knows how to pronounce "arabica"
  • sources her caffeine from Coffee XTC of Saffron Walden

Did you notice that Cap'n Kev skipped savoury? I dunno, nearing the big five-oh and he's nibbling lemon drizzle and necking a double shot Americano like a man half his age. Time to catch him up and choose from the multitude of cake options: generous piece of farmhouse fruit cake with a jolt of strong Essex macchiato should do it. Coming here is like going to tea at your super stylish nan's. I'll be returning with my mum and to get another stamp on my loyalty card.

If it was a car -- Daimler DR450.
If they were passing by -- Mary Elizabeth McDonough.

EDitorial ± 23-Apr-2015

TT1415, Week 21

Over a month has passed since our previous game and we're still not done. There's a single game left to play but our elusive opponents have been playing hard to get. Through no fault of their own, apparently, they're way behind with the fixtures. Tonight, however, we're on.

When we last played Capel C at the back end of 2014, we were right royally hammered 8-2. Unfortunately, with teams around us already having completed their games -- that pesky Manor D leapfrogged us -- we need to win at least 7-3 to ensure we retain our prize division 2 status. At least, as they did against Manor D, Capel are only fielding two players, those being the boy Richard and cack-handed Mark, so here goes nothing. In brief:

  • super 2/2 for Ed, beating Mark for the first ever time
  • fab 2/2 for Yang, also edging out Mark with a series of high-flying lobs
  • good 1/2 for Steve, thwacked by Mark but winning out over Richard in straight games

Points tally going at the end of the singles, then, is three walkovers plus two plus two plus one, i.e. eight points. That'll do! Didn't matter enormously about the doubles defeat. As unlikely as it seemed, Defiants are staying up!

EDitorial ± 19-Apr-2015

130Story: Lazy / Browse / Tick / House / Record

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 17-Apr-2015

Light Lunches: Cafe by Giraffe, Martlesham Heath

Was a time, dear reader, when working in the wide open savanna of Martlesham Heath could leave a man-cub feeling somewhat isolated. Sure, facilities at the fibre-founding Labs were fine but telecoms types cannot live by civil service steamed puddings alone. About the only watering hole within walking distance was the quotidian Douglas Bader. Anything else, you'd have to head out on safari in a motorised vehicle.

Then came much choice in the form of the bus cafe and Langers Snack Bar and the Martlesham Cafe and Costa and M&S and even KFC and Greggs — pause for breath — plus the titan that is Tesco. It's a jungle out there, especially now that the former in-house humdrum caff has been rebranded as Cafe by Giraffe. You know, that "feel-good" chain with high up branches in Norwich and Chelmsford and Bury?

Very much the same physical space as before, clearly, though now with a far more vibrant atmosphere. They've even stuck in the odd diner-style booth. Smiling ladies ask what we'd like and we're stumped. Far too many fresh and varied options up on the board (and also available in a handy-sized fold-up leaflet). Er... Salads? Hot dogs? Savoury croissants? Mighty pleased with my bowl of chilli with salsa and avocado, including a free discussion with the waitress on how to pronounce the word "chipotle": the jury's out. Kev's even more delighted with his green chicken curry with extra chillies -- "top marks" -- though Andy's underwhelmed with his smoky bacon bap. Sassy San Pellegrino is slurped on the side.

Back up to the beaming ladies at the counter to order what turns out to be a really good hot and strong flat white, albeit with a foamed milk pattern resembling a Rorschach test. Are those two spotted hyenas? That slab of shared chocolate cake is good, too.

Sitting among bright paintings and eating vaguely exotic food seems somewhat at odds with the mundane shopping experience a few metres away through that doorway. As long as you don't expect to look out of the window and see herds of okapi sweeping majestically through the 24 hour garage, you'll enjoy it.

If it was a car -- Jeep Wrangler.
If they were passing by -- Lisa Kudrow.

EDitorial ± 12-Apr-2015

130Story: Burger / Pool / Tender / Tangled / Dine

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 9-Apr-2015

Light Lunches: Waitrose, Saxmundham

I guess we thought that sunny Saxmundham should be a relatively straightforward centre of population to tick off, cafe-wise. T'ain't so. Even as we make our first / second / third / fourth trip, we find that there's a pie & mash place (Cafe 9) about to launch, a new ice cream shop (Katie Custard) open for the first time today and another previously unknown eatery (Pear Tree Cafe) on the edge of town. There's even, on Market Place, a Macdonalds, which is handy if your telly's on the blink.

Plan was to do the Christian bookshop cafe but, maybe still celebrating Easter, the lights are off. Fairy nuff: let's retrace our footsteps (and buy a Big Issue) to Bracknell-based Prosecco purveyors, that Waitrose. True, we've waited in the Ipswich branch before, over two years ago: maybe this'll be different and, we can hope, a tad quicker. Only other time I was here, there seemed to be all of two-and-a-bit tables. My, how it's grown. Busy, too. We provide unintentional amusement for the chatty ladies in green by failing to find the external door press and having to go the long way in. Gifted and talented, that's us.

High on the wall is printed a large menu similar in physical size to the 'Swich. Too late for breakfast, Andy opts for a pre-packed fine-sounding bean & chorizo salad while I, like a fool, order the tuna flatbread. Top selection of broadsheets, by the way, one of which we take outside to soak up some rays. It's a prime view of the war memorial and the bike racks, there on the patio. My banana milkshake and most of Eco's leaves are gone by the time my flatfish is delivered. Same old same old Waitrose wait, though that's some tasty tuna and rocket.

Door entry system well and truly sussed, I head back in to survey the ever impressive array of John Lewis baked goods. Where to start? That Andy's a pushover for a pricy slice of carrot cake, whereas I'm a dummy for a butterscotch yum-yum with, naturally, a large latte to sip. Yep, another of those must-we-really-go-back-to-work situations. Nibbling sugary goodies and slurping hot coffee in the sun, this Sax is on fire.

If it was a car -- Bentley EXP 9 F.
If they were passing by -- Victoria Derbyshire.

EDitorial ± 5-Apr-2015

130Story: Win / Dusk / Pity / Whisk / Normal

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 2-Apr-2015

Ipswich Lunches: Fresh Fry

We don't do chippies, unless there's seating like Neptunes or they're gourmet like Hot Chip or Kev's coming with us to the Flaming Fryer or it's nearby like Admirals et cetera. Or it's a really awkward time in the afternoon, say 3:45pm, and we've got 45 minutes to tick off somewhere that wasn't even on the ToDo list.

Seats have been spotted by yours truly and Fresh Fry, opposite Goals, is open from lunch to late, so let's do it. Andy's grabbed some nifty Blackfriars-style parking right outside and is awaiting his doner wrap. Heck, why not: me too, please. Other meal deals are available:

  • meal 1, jumbo sausage and chips: £2.50
  • meal 2, beef burger and chips: £2.50
  • meal 3, doner meat and chips: £3.50
  • meal 4, quarter pounder and chips: £3.50

No fried and sliced potatoes for us today but we will have some condiments on our meat: chili for Andy and straight-up "burger" sauce for me. Wrapped in plain white chip-shop paper, we gamely consume our very large snacks under a Pukka Pies clock while a wall-mounted telly plays Judge Judy or similar. Yes, we remain classy.

FF forms part of the enormous Just Eat empire, if that's your bag, and I believe there's another FF up off Foxhall Road, if you'd like to do the set. There are scary looking pickled eggs and pickled onions too. I'm sure this place would more than see you right on the way back home after a night out, but it's hard to recommend late afternoon. And boy, does that doner stay with you.

If it was a car -- Tofas Sahin.
If they were passing by -- Danny Dyer.

EDitorial ± 1-Apr-2015

Ipswich Town FC's Original Colours

The Ipswich Association players pose at Broom Hill in 1882.

Back row (left to right): W.Herring, Edward Peecock, Frederic Bond, J.M.Franks, Henry Peecock, T.W.T.Miller.

Front row (left to right): Alfred Newman, Charlie King, John Knights (captain), Francis Peecock and George Sherrington.

Match report from the East Anglian Daily Times, 1882.