EDitorial ± 18-Jan-2018

Light Lunches: First, Clopton

Become subject to Brownian Motion has the boy Andy since his retirement six months back. Entirely random fluctuations appear to dicate whether we'll see him during any given week and on which day and at which time. Are you free at 3:30pm for a very late lunch, he might ask? Or I could do 9:30am if that's better? Some of us remain in full time employment. For which we should be grateful, obvs.

Out of the Prussian blue came a mid-morning message announcing his availability. No good for Kev but I'm in, and off we sailed in the VW Land Yacht past the Debach serpentine, left on the B1078 and left again into Debach Enterprises open bracket Clopton Commercial Park close bracket. Somewhere in here is a highly rated coffee shop. There, with its rakish roof and de trop decking, sits first.

As per, I'm ahead of the game since I woz 'ere last week. Happens that Mr George does some bleeding edge 3D stuff in one of these units and invited a bunch of us out. Impressive hardware and an even more impressiver eatery next door. Specials today include Med veg, a four cheese macaroni and, Andy's choice, avocado and bacon on sourdough (complete with a Gog/Magog of salad bits). I'm sticking with the combo, a magnificently generous bacon and sausage granary bap with a wodge of Stokes brown sauce. Oh my, with a Maynard House apple & raspberry juice to replace last week's Karma Cola. Ain't often that the San Pellegrino comes a poor third on the soft drink podium.

Whitewashed Alt-J breezeblocks, ply galore and heavy "first" branding give this unit a unique feel, like it or not. Canny owners The Fords made it happen so they'd have decent coffee on their Debach doorstep and, while trade seems slow today, it's all in antipation of this business park growing. Good-looking cakes are painstakingly arranged and calling out to us: rocky road for the driver, raspberry & white chocolate muffin stroke flapjack for me. Sweet in every way with a quality flat white alongside. If you build it...

If it was a car -- TREZOR.
If they were passing by -- Jeremy Deller.

EDitorial ± 15-Jan-2018

John Hegley, Bungay

"Is this a town or a village?" asks John Hegley to the packed audience in the venerable Fisher Theatre. "A town!" they shout back with some venom. Welcome to Bungay, everyone.

Used to be a regular gig for us -- eg Ely in 2010 -- but it's been flippin' years since we caught up with this national treasure. "Let's not forget that poetry can be fun," says John, and leaves a beat. "But not tonight."

Before we see "the John Betjeman of Newington Green" (thanks, Clive Anderson), there's the small matter of sitting through a performance by Shedlode, described as "a Bungay supergroup". Lordy. No idea what kind of sound will be coming out as more and more band members take the stage, then off we go on a honky-tonk hootenanny. They're top value and very much up for it and freely admit to usually playing the local pub scene, "so please ignore us and talk amongst yourselves if you like." When John appears, after half a dozen songs, he explains that he did a John Peel session way back in the early 1980s with his band The Popticians and became friends with The Farmer's Boys, two of whom are now in Shedlode.

Many many highlights including live audience French translation, a story about recreating one his dad's artworks including the impromptu use of a Strepsil, romantic advice from his Folies Bergere grandmother, and a couple of sprawling musical collaborations with Shedlode, under-rehearsed and all the better for it, finishing with a three part singalong to It All Went Pear Shaped.

Not forgetting the raffle for a one night stay in a local B&B in which John happened to be staying. "They've got one of those voice things in the room," he said, "with a girl's name. A-something?" "Alexa!" shouted one or two in the crowd. "Yeah," he said. "For the last hour and a half before the show, I've been listening to Charlie Parker. It was great!". That man's a legend.

EDitorial ± 12-Jan-2018

Light Lunches: Mumma Jones, Martlesham Heath

Trip 1, Before Christmas
Time and transport is tight today amid the tidings of both comfort and joy. Using his bionic eye, however, Andy's spotted a change of ownership at an eatery within easy walking distance. Reasonably sure there's seating though I for one am very much unthrilled at the prospect of eating outside in the middle of December.

Two minutes stroll leads us to Ridgeons, our local timber and builders merchant, in whose yard is plonked Mumma Jones. Lady here fancied a major career change, buying out and severely poshing up what was once Langers Snack Bar. There's a far fancier menu, a Christmas tree and handmade cards. Heck. Orders placed, we seek Maslow-like shelter in the bijou gazebo with its pull-the-cord-three-times heater. Tea is sipped, cherry Tango is supped, and here's our hand-delivered grub:

  • Andy -- burger with blue cheese
  • Kev -- herby omelette in tiger bread
  • Ed -- chilli pot with tiger bread to dip

All homemade, this is some proper chow and super satisfying. Way better than expected and wouldn't be out of place in an upmarket caff. Come here, buy your planks then say thanks for Mumma's food.

Trip 2, After Christmas
Similar situation mid January and only time for a Friday lunchtime walk down the road so where better than Mumma Jones? Only me and Andy this time and lucky to catch her (open Monday to Friday, 8am to 2pm, i.e. same times as the yard) but very glad we did:

  • Andy -- homemade burger with Stilton
  • Ed -- chilli pot with buttered bap

Plenty of other options on the menu but you'd be a fool to stray too far from the homemade section wherein live the soup, burgers and chilli. Word's getting around and people travel from far and wide for one of those Stilton burgers. Go, MJ.

If it was a car -- Corporal Jones' Ford BB Box Van.
If they were passing by -- Gemma Jones.

EDitorial ± 10-Jan-2018

Syncope No Good To Me

Me, who's never ill, contracted The Dreaded Lurg in the run-up to Crimbo. Biked to work as per on the Wednesday and spent that morning feeling like Billy Ray Cyrus's blood-pumping organ. Up to the point, that is, when I remembered the Lemsip Max nestling at the back of my drawer. Come lunchtime, felt right as Barbara Cartland's daughter.

Had already booked off the next day, a Thursday, as time-off-in-the-loo and had plans aplenty to make a start on some serious present-buying. Woke up around 9am to take more drugs then drifted back to sleep. For another five hours. Didn't purchase many gifts that day.

That weekend, absolutely totally completely 110% recovered, I took a long overdue power shower. Stepped on to the mat and promptly had an attack of the vapours. My mental magic 8-ball presented various options:

  • throw up
  • wash face
  • lie down
  • pass out
  • remain motionless

Still wet, I slumped on the floor against the pumping hot radiator before streching out on the floor. Gotta get that head level with the heart, advised the doc after my last episode. Minute or so later, normal service resumed. All good since then.

The Boy, who's never ill, contracted The Dreaded Lurg in the New Year. While Christmas was officially put back in its box for another twelve months, he lay sweating in his bed or semi-comatose on the sofa with one clouded eye half-watching bad film remakes. Point Break, anyone? Still not right come the weekend, he even ducked out of his Scholl-like shoe shop shifts.

Finally, yesterday, he declared himself officially able to make like Tebbit and take to his bike. Bit of a bummer, then, to find his back wheel flat as a waffle. Drop it off at Ranelagh Road or Halford's, I suggested, on your way to college. Dead helpful, me. Off he walked, pushing that Triban. Now, I was staying at work to play ping-pong and thought I'd make a Dad call early evening to catch up with him:

[DAD] You playing badminton tonight?
[BOY] No, not really up to it.
[DAD] Oh?
[BOY] Yeah, I fainted in Halford's this morning.

He'd strolled half a mile with the dead bike, found one bike shop closed, then wheeled back to Halford's. Carried his racer upstairs to the bike department, said hello to the sales guy, then passed out. Minute or so later, having downed a couple of glasses of water (Halford's guys were excellent and the silly boy hadn't eaten or drunk anything that morning), normal service resumed. All good since then.