EDitorial ± 4-Jun-2015

Ipswich Lunches: Stable Block, Holywells Park

From Alexandra through Bourne to Chantry, Ipswich possesses a panoply of parks. King of the heap, not least due to that killer central position, has to be Christchurch Park, playing host to music and literature and cars and sculpture et cetera. There's been a kiosk since Wolsey's time and, for the last few years, a tolerable tea room in the mansion. As for the other green spaces? You're lucky if you find a passing Peter's ice-cream van.

All change with a swag bag of lottery loot "to conserve and enhance the unique heritage" of Holywells Park, the one alongside Bishop's Hill. Off the Cliff Lane entrance -- note to self that the Princess Bakery is currently being renamed and repainted -- sits the impressive orangery. Before that, though, there's the brand new cafe within the NT-style stable block.

Actually, let's do this in a manner befitting Benjamin Button. Myself and Andy did a late afternoon trip here in mid May on a dreich and dismal day, soggy parasols slumped in the courtyard. Inside, however, was fab: stone tiles, fine wooden tables and a classy counter. Place had only been open for six weeks at that time. We took advantage of the strong free WiFi while noshing on vg icing-filled carrot cake and sipping hot tea, throwing the odd glance at the wall-mounted telly showing local live blue tits. Slinkywatch! Interesting Gainsborough pastiche painting hung on the wall, too. Ace refreshments at 4:45pm in an Ippo park. All very much in order, in other words.

Returning today for Shuttleworth savouries, the sun and the parasols are out in force. Occupying other ray-drenched tables are a healthy selection of LTLs, oldies and pre-schoolers: big tick for every age range. Ordering inside from the daintily restrained selection of sarnies, jackets and paninis, the ladies offer to bring out our grub. We've hardly taken the weight off when lunch is presented, a generously filled tuna mayo for me and bacon sarnies for Andy, both accompanied with a ramekin of doritos. Faultless food.

What with the sound of little kids in the playground, people on bikes and folk out for a stroll, it's idyllic and like a model park. You can even do like me and donate an old set of two-wheels to the Green Bike Project which lives next to the cafe. Thumbs-up for everyone!

If it was a car -- Lanchester Ten.
If they were passing by -- Philip Hope-Cobbold.