EDitorial ± 30-Sep-2015

Ipswich Lunches: Artizan

Last day of the ninth month and the gang's not all quite here. Kev's out, then he's in before he flips again. Much like those Con Club poker games of a Friday evening, he's out before the action's really started. Undeterred, Andy's at the wheel of fleet vehicle 001, his planet-bothering VW. Cough-cough, let's head off.

Handy half-hour slot outside the Star offices, then a sunny stroll along Turret Lane and through the bus station. To our left, It's A, It's A, It's A Sin. To our right, the Buttermarket behemoth. Quiet now, 'cos we're stepping softly down Silent Street in search of Artizan, one of a select bunch of eateries (along with Fishface and one or two others still to do) that have recently come to our attention. Quality frontage, that. To give a mathematical view of the blackboard resting outside, they offer:

Handmade (cakes and savouries and chocolates and chocolate slabs and bread)

Excellent first impressions (posh loaves, comfy seats) though I'm on the backfoot straight away when the guy in charge (Noel, I later find out) gives me a very enthusiastic hi! Don't remember me, do you? Oops. Noel used to run a bakery near me on Norwich Road, it emerges, but has been chef-ing while waiting for the right premises to become available. And here we are. From the savoury display, we go for a sage tartlet and an Italian pasty. Reheating duties for Noel, seating for us out back in the small suntrap of a garden. Sure beats being in the office, this, as we soak up the summer's last rays, sip a fresh orange and lemonade and tuck in to our tasty pastry.

As top-notch as those savouries are, the best is yet to come for the sweet selection is a thing of rare beauty. For once, it seems wrong to talk of mere cake. We are through the looking glass into the lush land of patisserie. What's good? Everything, clearly, from the strudel to the eclairs. Tough call, but we'll go for a slab of ginger hummingbird and a tropical bakewell. There follows ten more sublime minutes in the sun. Go, Noel!

If it was a car -- Citroen DS23.
If they were passing by -- Michel Roux.

EDitorial ± 28-Sep-2015

Mother Knows Bert

(my winning entry in the Micro Bookends 1.49 weekly competition having the first word "JAZZ", the last word "AGE" and based on that saxophone photo, and as published on the Micro Bookends website)


Mum’s right, of course, in her own unpredictable Nokia text speak. Lazy bones is exactly what I am.

I should have popped round today to say hello and to talk about Col’s birthday. Unlucky lad had his Raleigh nicked last week and she wants me to find him a replacement on eBay.


Pay what you like, Mum. This 18 speed hybrid looks good, though.

Auction ends later tonight and the current price is £40. I think it would be a steal at twice that.


EDitorial ± 27-Sep-2015

130Story: Hotel / Mash / Sock / Crab

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





More to follow.

EDitorial ± 25-Sep-2015

Light Lunches: Flying Goose Cafe, Yoxford

Can't shake a Kings Of Leon lyric: "Oh, that Sax is quite far". Zipping out there in the Zoe, we three, Andy&Ed&Kev, are grimly determined to "do" the Pimpernelesque Cafe 9. Perhaps foolishly, we've still not pre-ordered our pies as previously advised. Let's refuel with whatever's in the fridge. Off the A12, over the rails and oops, we have ourselves another Darsham Halfway. Number nine is no more and is now a nouvelle vaporium. There's that idea up in smoke. Best of British to Simon the pieman in his next endeavour.

One route recalculation later takes us left at yonder Yoxford, past loo-less Louie Lou's (and the really rather splendid Main's restaurant) and out on the A1120, tourist route of choice. A mile up here, said the sign, is "one of Suffolk's leading antiques centres" incorporating the Flying Goose Cafe. As per the Ruddy Duck, honk if you spot it.

Brushing aside the 5000 square feet of bygones, following the yellow brick signs brings the intrepid trio, er, outside. In that spruce shed sits the nest. With its Photo Post pics, musical instruments overhead, fairy lights and more besides, the Goose shares similarities with the awesome Old Stores. Plentiful blackboards talk of parsnip soup, cheese melts and Seussian ham & eggs. Two busy ladies sell us Ben Shaw fizzypops and promise to bring our savoury goodies to us. Good amount of seats inside but then you'd miss staring at the long line of arts & craft beach huts -- you heard me -- bristling with bric-a-brac. They can't just let bygones be bygones.

Some minutes later and here's our special homemade sausage rolls with chutney, a hand-picked selection of fine leaves and a splash of balsamic, all on a characterful plate (out of picture). We've had worse, I tell ye. Sat by the sinks and other garden ephemera in the September sun is a situation to be devoutly wished. They're revving up the motor while I'm waiting for my decent takeaway latte, though we'd all like to linger longer. Spread your wings, fly to the Goose and go take a gander.

If it was a car -- Buick Roadmaster.
If they were passing by -- Freddie Starr.

EDitorial ± 20-Sep-2015

130Story: Waste / More / Cradle / Beg / Sow

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 13-Sep-2015

130Story: Bill / Flea / Law / List / Troll

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 9-Sep-2015

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Lillie's

There is, I notice, something pleasing to us wot likes our maffs about the number of coffee shops that we've covered in various places. For Woodbridge, where this all started, we have around 25 on the list, whereas Ipswich has nudged past the 100 mark. That little market town of Framlingham is showing just 5 at present, leaving good old Felixstowe with approximately 50. Those, I put it to you, are nice numbers.

Good to return to the heart of our favourite nearby coastal town. Not Walton, not Old Felixstowe, but the centre ville itself. To be totally truthful, if you think of Hamilton Road as Broadway, then this is Off Broadway. It seems like only last month since we visited Comptons on this very spot. Actually that was seven long years ago when we could still get up out of a chair without making involuntary noises. Exit Comptons, enter Lillie's around three months ago with that troublesome apostrophe.

That slightly tarty paintwork is clearly bringing in the punters since all four groovily shaped tables, rounded with corner chairs, are occupied. Since it's 2015, we can legitimately share with that singleton lady: pardon us, madame. Menu lists breakfasts up to 11:30am (about 90 minutes ago), sarnies, paninis and omlettes (sic), plus a bunch of hot meals such as sausage and mash, lasagne, etc. Gammon and chips captures Andy's eye. I'm playing safe with a chilli jacket. And sorry, yes, we are on a bit of a deadline, TBH. Our straight down the line grub does the job and it's hoorah for a chilled Dr Pepper.

Coffee is courtesy of Paddy & Scott but has to be consumed in a takeaway cup due to us being essential workers. My highlight was the fine slab of severely underpriced rocky road to go, greedily and covertly enjoyed back in the office. Nom. Still not sure about that apostrophe.

If it was a car -- Nissan Juke.
If they were passing by -- Lily Collins.

EDitorial ± 7-Sep-2015

130Story: Hug / School / Snake / Cycle / Blast

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






More to follow.

EDitorial ± 6-Sep-2015

Like The Clappers

(75 word short story published on Paragraph Planet on Sunday 06-Sep-2015)

Fully expecting lip from the tangled knot of schoolkids splayed across the cycle path, they spot him and miraculously part with a cheery "soz, mate".

Grateful, he dings his thanks.

One of the uniforms, perhaps the lad on the red Chopper, dings in reply.

His thumb double-dings acknowledgement.

This, too, is echoed back.

As the call-and-response carillon continues, dog-walkers wonder at both the Doppler effect and the Lycra-clad loon now grinning like a madman.

EDitorial ± 2-Sep-2015

Felixstowe Light Lunches: Angel Inn Coffee House

September already, sheesh, and not looking too none bright today, neither. Kev, one of the three muskehounds, has cried off. Maybe he's in the doghouse. That leaves us other two cartoon canines, Bathos and Pathos, to sniff around for a new bone.

Ten electrified Zoe minutes later and it's welcome to Walton once more in the 'Stowe suburbs. Back when spring had sprung, we hit the High Street at number 276 for the classy Walton Coffee House. Look, we can wave to it from where we're parked. Today, however, we're at 230, formerly a Chinese dentist, to alight upon the Angel Inn Coffee House. Er, how do we get in? Front or side? Both are good, apparently.

Entering by the pillar box red postbox, we encounter a counter and a nice chap (Gabriel?) who says to take a seat down the steps. That'll be in ye olde inne, this being a dead historic beamed pub and one of the oldest buildings around these parts, FYI. Other folk in here are partaking of salads and omelettes and pasta. For us, though, it's a wrap. BLT for the driver, chicken & chilli for Iggy, both well-presented chunky handfuls with a few balsamic-dressed leaves on the side, a touch that Kev would have appreciated.

Having opened up only six months ago, AICH is still earning its wings, so it's pleasing to see people from neighbouring businesses dropping in for the odd takeaway coffee. Probably helps, too, that the room morphs into the Post Office next door. There's even a table or two among the greetings cards and parcel tape up there. Wraps gone, it's time to test the caffeine. Andy returns from his long trip upstairs with a fine piece of carrot cake, always reliable, and a really good flat white that would have graced the Wild Strawberry. And that, readers, is high (and almost heavenly) praise.

If it was a car -- Lagonda Rapier Tulipwood.
If they were passing by -- Angel Di Maria.