EDitorial ± 31-May-2015

130Story: Rum / Rice / Shadow / Cloth / Kidnap

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 29-May-2015

Ipswich Lunches: The Lodge, Suffolk Ski Centre

Glorious spring day for our previous mid-May outing. Grotty greyscale a fortnight later and, for once, we really should be back at our desks of work within 90 minutes. Or thereabouts. So whereabouts? Somewhere hereabouts.

Over the iconic bridge beloved of local estate agents, sneaky left, cheeky right, and there's our destination eatery. Alas, that former entrance to the Suffolk Ski Centre at the top of the hill was gated and barred and obstacled some years back: curse that cut-off. Hence whizz down to the mini roundabout, wave hi to the muscly manwich merchants of Bourne Bridge and, rather than right on to the classy Cookhouse, it's a sharp right by the Ostrich aka Oyster Reach. Driving up that hill, no problem. Park by the high ropes and let's hit those slopes. Well, the dining establishment next door.

None too many enjoying their refreshments outside on this meh May day. Inside to find a board of many lunchtime specials -- this ain't no caff, it's really a full-blown restaurant, apparently -- with options of two or three courses. Phew, there's a bar menu too. Soup, olives, sarnies, chilli, curry are all cast aside in favour of hot BLTs and cold J2Os, plus a croque monsieur pour le chauffeur. Assumed we'd be among a handful of diners but very much not so: busy-busy with the silver pound on show. Lots of well-appointed seating in The Lodge as we're guided to a raised area with high-backs. Ooh, posh. Kev gives us the director's commentary on his big birthday bash (congrats to Darren on the poker result) as we consume our crunchy ciabattas 'n' leaves 'n' crisps on upmarket platters. All most agreeable in a four Yorkshiremen style.

Five mins remain for a froffee coffee which we order while the nice young man clears our crockery. Dead sophisticated, us. Macchiato for me; copycat Kev follows suit. Large hot cups duly arrive containing milky liquid. Whatever that is is not what we ordered, recalling hit-or-miss ordering at the Town Hall Tea Room. No biggie as we slurp our oversize cappuccinos. Shame this place isn't like Saint Hilaire du Touvet and reachable only by funicular, else there'd be more of a Klammer to come.

If it was a car -- Mercury Cougar XR7.
If they were passing by -- Graham Bell.

EDitorial ± 24-May-2015

130Story: Fact / Scare / Coast / Frank / Wart

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 17-May-2015

130Story: Thank / Clear / Blush / Toe / Fancy

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 15-May-2015

Light Lunches: Granary Tea Shop, Snape

We three, says Kev in the car halfway up the A12, are like an American football team. I didn't get it, despite having watched a whole Superbowl once. That Andy, though, isn't as green as he's cabbage-looking. Ah, says he: that'll be the San Francisco 49ers. Sharp as a tack, that boy. This, however, will be the last official outing of the team under that nickname since the K-Man is on the brink of five-oh. Happens to us all, but happening to Kev first.

Foot to the floor on this fine Friday as we fizz past Friday Street before a right-turn into Severus City, hitting the outer limits of the light lunch operational range. If we'd been listening to Stock, Aitken and Waterman on Forever FM, we might have know that there's gonna be a roadblock. Sorry, lads, says the hi-vis guy, you can't come over the bridge. Oh, and you can't park at the pub. Fair enough: Andy parks down a nearby lane and it's a leisurely half-mile stroll to approach Dolby's Maltings, home of Benji Britt and the Granary Tea Shop.

Stacks o' seats in the sun but shortsleeve lightweight Kev's old bones opt for the interior. Come on a weekend and you might well struggle for a table. Not too bad today, thankfully, as we peruse the tartlets, salads and other blackboard specials. There's quite the selection and they all sound good. What could be quaintly fuddy-duddy decor -- tasteful and just about affordable artworks -- resembles the grub, which is dead classy. My bacon wedge, Kev's hot smoked salmon sarnie and Andy's coronation chicken jacket are, like the Bury St Edmunds upmarket cafe, really rather good. All come with a handful of quality crisps and fresh side salad. Tasty dressing, too.

WiFi, magazines and local papers (full of unavoidable ITFC play-off talk), plus reasonable prices further up the scores. It's our understanding that you'll need to remortgage to visit the far posher Cafe 1885 upstairs, but we'll save that for when Kev nails the Felixstowe poker pot. Sweet stuff? Well, those cakes looked mighty tempting but, like Blur, we're out of time. This granary's great.

If it was a car -- Mercedes C63.
If they were passing by -- Courtney Pine.

EDitorial ± 10-May-2015

130Story: Web / Glue / Orange / Grow / Empire

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 8-May-2015

Light Lunches: katiecustard, Saxmundham

Sortie number six to Sax and our situation sucks. Assorted caff c*ck-ups (one asking for pie pre-orders, another closed by midday) have resulted in us wandering like Wordsworth. Along the high street, past the bonzer Bistro and wave to Waitrose, when lo, behold a brightly coloured bicycle.

Come in, says Mrs katiecustard. I'm afraid there's nothing savoury I can offer you, but there's plenty of ice-cream and cake. Not a problem for us light lunch lags, for we've been to the Moon & Sixpence and lived to tell the sandwich-free story. Ice-cream and cake, you say? Let's have both!

Which is what we do, choosing from the wide variety of colourful tubs: salted caramel scoops for Andy and a pistachio cone for myself, instantly taking me back to deepest France. Locally sourced dairy product starters done, we move on to the main course of a red velvet iced cupcake, yum-yum, and a decent looking scone (and jam) (and cream) for the non-diabetic driver. All with a specially brewed pot of fresh coffee on the side, natch. Mrs KC tells us that her habadashery business didn't make it through the recession, hence the new business in the same premises, but it's still tough competing against free tea and coffee on offer in that Waitrose.

There may be nothing salty here today (apart from the posh ice-cream) but she's doing well selling cooked breakfasts on a Sunday morning, apparently, and is considering offering quesadillas. Por que no? Also, the Sax schoolkids love the bubblegum ice-cream once lessons are learned. Did I mention the dog sleeping in the corner? There's a dog sleeping in the corner.

So, very much a work in progress. Stuffed with sugar and feeling pretty fine, time for a quick saunter to the bakery opposite Trinity's for some honest-to-goodness pastry. Never has a humble Suffolk pasty tasted as good.

If it was a car -- Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.
If they were passing by -- Matt Smith.

EDitorial ± 3-May-2015

130Story: Spire / Class / Thorn / Speech / Claim

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 1-May-2015

Light Lunches: Pear Tree Cafe, Saxmundham

As we glide in the Siri-controlled hovercar up the A12 past political placards a-plenty -- every five years, folks -- there's talk of the new domestic "Powerwall" batteries being released by Tesla. Now that was a man. Full-on mad scientist, looked like that fella out of Sparks, and portrayed in the film The Prestige by none other than David Bowie. Wozza-wozza!

The thin white duke, as you'll know, played sax. Go on, guess where we are? Heading into Mayday 'Mundham, we've previously turned right for the Smile Cafe. Today, though, it's lefty loosey down a well-signed residential street in pursuit of the Pear Tree Cafe. There she blows! Best we park sensibly so as not to annoy any neighbours.

Think your shed's big? This cabin's bigger, somewhere between hoooooge and mahooooosive. You wouldn't want to put it up yourself, shall we say. Outside sit informative boards with the full menu and prices. Inside is warm and abuzz with lunching ladies joined by our sweet-smelling selves. PTC was set up a couple of years back "to provide a meeting place for local people and a place of work for vulnerable adults." Yep, more social enterprise, bless 'em. No cheap jokes here, for once.

Semi-pro menus show a sizeable range of grub, from chicken curry to soup to chilli and omelettes. For Eco-Andy, the ever reliable breakfast bap. For me: it's been far too long (last time?) since I had the classic eggbaconchipsandbeans, AKA the EBCB. Served on a random china plate with some brown toast and a 7-Up, that is some fab Friday fare. Fingers and thumbs very much elevated.

All cosy in here among the secondhand books and random knitters. Alas, time is drifting away, necessitating takeaway treats. Can they oblige? Yes, they surely can, providing a lidded cup for my (hot!) double-shot latte and a disposable container for some shared bakewell and brownie. Top marks for the pear-shaped cabin.

If it was a car -- The Splinter.
If they were passing by -- Kristen Connolly.