EDitorial ± 17-Jan-2017

TT1617, Defiants v. Rosary Yellow

Three players! Yay! Tip-off from young Natalie that someone with previous experience (and who could indeed beat her) might be willing to come aboard The Good Ship Defiant. One very poor quality mobile phone call later, "Phil" had agreed to turn out for us on Tuesday. Everything crossed.

Decent draw in last October's encounter with Rosary Yellow. Back are table-thumpin' Dave, brakeless Bob and musclebound Tony, now fighting fit again. Which is nice. In brief:

  • good 2/3 for Ed, somehow victorious in straight games against both Dave and Bob before losing an epic five-setter to Tony
  • great 2/3 for Steve, also winning his first two outings before falling in five ends to tricksy Bob
  • debut duck for Phil, demonstrating some killer shots but losing to more consistent (though not necessarily better) opponents

Needing the doubles for a draw, up strode Ed and Steve to win in straight ends. Not sure if that's ever happened before. Anyway, as per last time, a decent draw.

EDitorial ± 13-Jan-2017

Ipswich Lunches: Half Moon Foods

Swished across the gleaming white bonnet and into the Zoe's pre-warmed passenger seat. Ipswich?, suggested Andy. Yoxford!, I cried. Which was all v. well until Andy realised that the leccy charging hadn't quite gone to plan and that, while we could *reach* Yoxford, we wouldn't have enough volts for the return leg. Darn that cold snap. Oh well. Ippo it is.

Eagle eyes ever peeled for unvisited lunchettes this side of town (hello Munchies), we opted for a recce of Ransomes Europark. My bearings had long rolled away before Andy had one of those rare flashes and half-remembered a possible sandwicherie near Orwell Computers, the Mac fixers. Past Makro and into the car park of the Basepoint Business Centre. Over there, he pointed, at number 60, the unpromising facade of Half Moon Foods.

Welcome! said the purple-ish lettering, and they do indeed provide that along with freshly made sarnies, baps and baguettes. Plus a different special on Mon / Tue / Wed / Thu / Fri. Burgers today, chaps. Beef or chicken? That'll do for us. Chunky burgers with all the trimmings. Actually, no gherkins, thanks. And a can of San Pellegrino, cheers. Already pleased that we'd found somewhere new and looking forward to eating in the relative heat of the car, I looked up. Flippin' 'eck, seating! Paydirt.

Up the metal steps to what's more or less a viewing platform, as long as you grab the central table, since it provides an unexpectedly fine panorama of the grassland between (to the left) the Shepherd & Dog, now the Miller & Carter Steakhouse, and (to the right) the Orwell Crossing. Not the Serengeti but not the shabbiest of views.

As we chowed down, more folk came up to take the surrounding tables, presumably all from nearby businesses. Big site, Ransomes, easily large enough to support HMF, Kings, etc. Lunchtime rush dissipating, brief descent to secure a percolated coffee (help yourself to milk from the fridge) and a vg fruit scone. Been here a few years, has Half Moon, and they accept card payments too. Nice one.

If it was a car -- Lunar Roving Vehicle.
If they were passing by -- Helen Sharman.

EDitorial ± 10-Jan-2017

TT1617, Britannia Sparrows v. Defiants

Still a-strugglin' in olde division 2 and yet here we are, turning up at the Defoe Road Thunderdome with only two of us, me and Steve. Through no fault of her own, Helen dropped out at short notice and, being already a couple of games behind, best the pair of us go ahead and play.

Warming up are post-hernia Colin (both of whom we played in September) and the mighty John Sparrow plus, oh dear, Casey Jones Mark. Oh dear 'cos Mark sits comfortably on top of the averages in div 2 having lost a single game this whole season. Lovely guy but not gonna get too close to him on the oblong green table. In brief:

  • poor 1/3 for Ed, losing in very straight ends to Mark, in five tough games to Coliln but then easing past John
  • poor 0/3 for deeply frustrated Steve, not winning a single end all evening

Looked like we might double our points tally with a fighting doubles display against the scary pair of Mark and Colin before we lost that too. Not great.

EDitorial ± 6-Jan-2017

Ipswich Lunches: La Tour Cycle Cafe

Dear cafe owners: the presence of your eatery on our seemingly limitless to-do list does not necessarily imply that we'll ever get round to a visit. Some, like the Christian bookshop cafe at Sax, don't quite open at the right time. Some, like everywhere in Aldeburgh, are a tad too far away. Some, like Ipswich's Bubble Lounge and Darsham's Halfway Cafe, disappear shortly before our arrival.

All credit, then, to La Tour Cycle Cafe for still pedalling hard and staying on two wheels. A lifetime ago, we ate at number 13 with good ol' Grenvyle. Two very large doors up at number 17 (and well set back from the road) stands La Tour, doing their utmost to announce their presence with bikes here, bikes there, bikes every bloomin' where.

Not for us the single long communal table at the front but the big comfy lounge to the rear, home to the infamous Ipswich Writers' Cafe every now and then. Today we're at home with the mothers and toddlers. I was on the business end of some very dirty looks from the highchaired infant at another table. Didn't put me off my decent dhal with leaves and olives and bread, most yum, while Andy and Kev filled their faces with generous hot pulled pork baps.

As I know from many previous authorly visits, Anna provides a tidy selection of freshly made cakes at the busy counter. Slab of lemon, slice of apple and treacle, quality coffee on the side. You should pop in, not only 'cos they do some valuable work for the community but also 'cos the refreshments are respectable. Do La Tour.

If it was a car -- Skoda Superb Tour de France support car.
If they were passing by -- James Fleet.

EDitorial ± 3-Jan-2017

TT1617, Defiants v. Britannia Petrels

That unusual noise in the house last night (necessitating a brief pause to The Lady In The Van) was the old skool landline. Hi Ed, said a voice. We've got a game against you tomorrow. Can you book us in?

Now, it seemed unlikely that the TT season would resume so soon after Christmas. I checked my fixture list and, sure enough, that showed the first game as next week. And then I remembered hearing of a mistake on the IDTTL website with the fixtures, and that it showed the wrong dates for the second half. Oh.

New Year, no Yang, who's decamped to Cambridge mid-season. Good luck and so long. Thankfully Natalie and Steve volunteered their services at very short notice to give the Defiants a fighting chance. Visiting were Petrels who'd walloped us 9-1 back in November with Yang grabbing the only point. However, that line-up didn't include Ed or Natalie. In came spinny Bernie, lefty John and ambidextrous Paul. In brief:

  • decent 2/3 for Natalie, winning all of six points in three games against Bernie but bouncing back to pip Paul
  • decent 2/3 for Ed, also coming unstuck against Bernie but also edging out Paul 11-9 in the 5th just like Natalie
  • respectable 1/3 for Steve, beating John in straight ends

No joy for Ed and Natalie in the doubles but we already had five points in the bag. Draw's a highly acceptable result against this lot. Gonna be a tough remainder of the season.