EDitorial ± 30-Aug-2015

130Story: Paper / Heal / Lamb / Hail / Chip

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 26-Aug-2015

Woodbridge Lunches: Wild Strawberry

This, according to Andy (who came up with the concept), is a Notable Event, being the 300th light lunch outing, give or take. Picture an endless trestle table lined with plate after plate of all-day breakfasts and slices of lemon drizzle. Towards the far right are enough Americanos to sink the USS Arizona, with a smaller nested table laden with small jugs of hot milk. Anyone got a number for "Dr" Gillian McKeith?

So it's back to the start, as Coldplay advised us, with a return trip to the Wild Strawberry, still apparently going great guns after our initial visit 8 years, 3 months and 30 days ago. That was a warm day way back in 2007. Today's squally weather has dampened the outdoor seating and driven all the punters inside. Round the rear for us, minding our hungry heads, to secure a big round Arthurian table. Sadly, their large Chinotto-stocked chiller cabinet has been replaced by a more compact upright behind the counter.

Considering then passing over the sweet potato and red pepper soup, Kev follows my lead and orders the (posh) open sandwich comprising Creasey's bacon, tomato and avocado on a slice of Pump Street sourdough. This combination, dear reader, is to die for, even though Kev sullies his with a dash of Stokes' ketchup. Tasty bit of house-dressed salad on the side, too. Andy, watching his pennies, opts for the cheaper egg mayo and capers (street) closed sandwich, also top notch.

Perhaps contributing to their longevity, there's WiFi, local papers and a noticeboard, plus a couple of bookshelves if you'd like to swap a title. Being Woodbridge, the selection includes works by Picoult, Waters, Hislop and, er, McNab. With a prime window table now free up-front, we switch seats to sample the sweet stuff. Their carrot cake puts others to shame, ditto their macchiato. Lord, that's a jolt. Kev's chest hair is noticeably thriving as he sips his espresso. Mighty fine work by The Strawbs, and Grenvyle would have loved this place. Here's to the next 300!

If it was a car -- Mini Cooper Convertible.
If they were passing by -- Lily Allen.

EDitorial ± 23-Aug-2015

130Story: Tile / Pair / Tiger / Fizz / Breath

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 21-Aug-2015

Woodbridge Lunches: Tea Hut

Let's 'fess up right from the get-go. This is a revisit so, like that endless argument you have with your other half about the proper way to load the dishwasher, we've been here before. When we first paid any 'tenhut to the Tea Hut way back in 2007, we were but callow youths belonging to a different age bracket. Why, then, the return?

The new owners have only gone and done a Fitzcarraldo and moved the entire blinkin' structure, crossing the pond (well, boating lake) like Concorde. It was on the far side. It's now on the near side, though you still have to risk life & limb walking across the railway line. Unless it's my imagination, there seems to be stacks more seating on the decking area. Busy, today, what with that miasma of incandescent plasma overhead, leaving me and Andy stuck around the side. No parasol, no matter with a cooling bottle of Fentimans or Frobishers. Bypassing the more obvious items on the bijou menu, we both go for salads. Chicken caesar -- fresh, meatily generous and reminiscent of long lost Carrot Cake -- and sideways Cromer crab. Woodbridge prices net you classy nosh.

Still a fair few tables inside as we go to peruse pudds. Extra points awarded too for mags and papers. Andy, in anticipation of the long bike ride home, chooses a cream tea. For me, thinking about Sandy Lane on two wheels, it has to be the carrot cake. Boy, it's good. Coffee's pretty decent too, though that cup in front of me doesn't resemble any flat white I've seen before. Hot and strong and Paddy & Scotts, though. Tip your hat to the Tea Hut. We'll be back in a few more years once the building makes its next stride towards the town centre.

If it was a car -- Nissan Figaro.
If they were passing by -- Ellen MacArthur.

EDitorial ± 19-Aug-2015

Ipswich Lunches: Fishface

Remember that time we turned up at an eatery only to find out that it was no longer there? True, that happened only last week at the dead Darsham Halfway, but there was that earlier occasion when we missed the Bubble Tea Lounge by a fortnight. No Taiwanese milk-based drinks for us, no sir.

Believe what you like about the state of Ipswich town centre -- there ain't no shops left! -- but there do exist brave new businesses giving it a go. One such enterprise is Fishface, purveyors of painted furniture and floggers of fabrics, who've taken over the old BTL stroke Clovers premises in The Walk (opposite the old Orangery). Been here since October 2014, apparently. Most of the ground floor (one of three, natch) is given over to a cafe. Ashamed to say I didn't know this until a recent tip-off. Very poor on my part.

Seating befits the establishment with shabby chic tables (hello, Wigglywoo's) front and back among the rocking horses, Audrey cushions and chalk paint. Paninis and soups are up for grabs. Eye can't get past the promise of a bean salad, however, while Andy opts for a feta slice with chutney. Tastefully relaxing atmosphere among the arty paraphernalia, sitting and sipping a classy Fentimans Rose Lemondade with crooning over the speakers. Food's here soon enough. I could probably eat several mixing bowls of assorted borlottis, pintos and chick peas, though this comes with crunchy leaves, a sun-dried tomato or two and some dressing. Tasty combo.

Fifteen minutes parking left at single storey Crown Street leaves us a handy dessert slot. Always a pleasure to have to choose from a wide selection of cakes which cover the FF counter. Pecan pie, please, and an almond twist will do us rather nicely. Maybe I should leave off ordering a macchiato (previously) since that can result in confusion for all concerned. My frothed coffee still packs a welcome punch, though. Plus there's comfy sofas and some outside seating. Quality pla(i)ce, that Fishface.

If it was a car -- Plymouth Barracuda.
If they were passing by -- Alex Salmond.

EDitorial ± 16-Aug-2015

130Story: Phone / Crime / Local / Snack / Fright

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 14-Aug-2015

Light Lunches: Lily's Pantry, Darsham

Finally, finally time to tick off a distant and durable destination, the heralded Halfway Cafe at Darsham. Couple of occasions we've come close, either shooting past to the Hamper or being seduced en route by Louie Lou's. Today, though, a decision has been made. All hail the Halfway!

See where this is going? So we park outside, next to the railway line which crosses the A12, and head inside. There's no obvious signage, oddly. Are we in the right place for the cafe, I ask? Yes and no, says the lady running this emporium of bricolage. That disappeared back in February. Oh. Try the caff in the garage over the road. They do a good sandwich. It's the Bubble Tea Lounge all over again!

Two hundred yards up the road sits the Darsham Service Station, home to the unprepossessing (visions of Boss Hoggs) Lily's Pantry. Easy to park, free WiFi. Where's the actual cafe? Inside the Londis shop, size of a small Tesco, sits a Greggs-style "Good To Go" hot counter with sausage rolls, cheesy pastries, etc. If none of those rallies your calories, choose from the single page laminated menu for jackets, ham/egg/chips, etc, all freshly prepared. True to form, bacon bap for our Andy and some beans on toast for YT. Yes, they can throw in a fried egg for an additional 50p, bless 'em. Take a seat.

One big plus point is the fantastic range of soft drinks in the fridge. Us being posh birds, we both choose cans of San Pellegrino, darling. Truth be told, the seating area is capacious and even has a sofa or two but seems a little unloved. I'm reminded of a French "aire" (shop sells baguettes) prior to extensive refurbishment. Anyway, here's our piping hot food and this'll more than do, and is most likely not far off what we might have had at the Halfway. Gotta love some egg and beans. Vintage b&w Jaguar and Maserati racing car prints prettify the walls. Don't speed, kids. It's neither big nor clever, especially on this particular stretch of road.

Being Friday, there's all the time in the world for pudd, but what to choose? We've become conditioned to expect a fine array of cakes. These bags of cookies and muffins on display aren't fulfilling expectations. Thank goodness for Mr Kipling's reliable cherry bakewells along with a none-too-shabby push-button latte. So, Lily's. Nowhere near as bad as you might expect.

If it was a car -- Vauxhall Frontera.
If they were passing by -- Lily Loveless.