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the ISSUE NO: 268
‘THE CHELMSFORD FANZINE’
Telephone 01245 348256
Mobile: 077 646 797 44
Afternoon Teas now available at both restaurants 12noon - 4pm A fine selection of Teas and Coffees, accompanied by a selection of finger sandwiches, Chef’s homemade cakes, pastries and freshly baked scones with jam, strawberries and cream, and a glass of Champagne plus 50% off selected Cocktails.
Package 1 £6pp: Why Not Add a Boat Trip with your Afternoon Tea, Lunch or Early Dinner
Valentines Day Lunch, Dinner or Afternoon Tea available See Menus online
Our menus change monthly. Please check online for updates and availabilities.
Our Magician and Mind Reader will be there to entertain and mesmerise every Sunday including Mothers Day on 31st March
Champagne or Prosecco and Canapes on board (See Website for Price details) Boat Trip Packages 2 & 3 apply to Min. 8 people Max. 10 People. Available from 31st March 2019. Please ask for further details. Sailing Times: Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 6pm Sunday 11am - 4pm
AFTERNOON TEA AVAILABLE IN LE BENAIX GARDENS, WEATHER PERMITTING Stay & Dine in our Boutique Hotel and Fine Dining Restaurant From £75pp*
We’re in the Top 7 Restaurants in Essex and our Hotel is ranked in the top 3% best in the world!*
Includes cream tea on arrival, 3 course candlelit dinner, a glass of Champagne each, a boat trip when in season and breakfast. *Stay and dine offer for a minimum of 2 guests. Menus online now.
A La Carte, Bar & Set Menus available at both restaurants LUNCH: Tuesday - Saturday, Midday to 2.30pm. Lunch is not served at Le Bouchon on Mondays. DINNER: Tuesday - Saturday 5.30pm. Last orders taken 9.30pm. Sunday Lunch 12 - 5pm.
20% early dining discount at both restaurants Gift Vouchers available for both restaurants Ideal presents for Afternoon Tea, Stay & Dine, Mothers Day, Fathers Day or Christmas.
On orders taken between 5.30 - 6.30pm. Discount limited to a maximum booking of 8 people. Discount is only applicable when orders placed before 6.30pm.
Le Benaix and Le Bouchon are now in the top 7 Best Restaurants in Essex! A recent study by Trip Advisor has found that we were voted in the Top 7 out of 4500 Restaurants in Essex! This has been achieved after only 4 years at Le Bouchon and a staggering 12 months at Le Benaix! This is all due to the hard work of all our staff and particularly the efforts put in by our kitchen staff led by Six Michelin Star Trained Chefs.
Private Functions Available in The Orangery and private dining areas of both Le Bouchon and Le Benaix. Can accommodate 10 to 50 people. Function menus and drink packages available.
*In a survey by Trip Advisor & Hotels Combined
“Best restaurant in Essex” “Brilliant fine dining restaurant” “WOW! WOW! and WOW!” “Wouldn’t be out of place in Mayfair” “Deserves a Michelin star” “As good as Dubai’s best restaurant” AS RECOMMENDED ON:
Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
@ THE HEYBRIDGE HOTEL • BRASSERIE & HOTEL
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LE BENAIX BRASSERIE & BAR
ALL MENUS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
Main Road, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8DY Tel: 01245 987888 • email@example.com • www.brasseriebenaix.com
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OPEN 7am-5pm Sandwich Bar
Monday - Friday Finest Quality Food
Bagels . Grilled Baguettes . Salads . Soups Jacket Potatoes . Muffins . Hot Wraps Teacakes . Toast . Coffees . Herbal Teas Fresh food made to order 20 Market Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1XA. TEL: 01245 257 239
K1 Kickboxing Class every Thursday 7pm-8pm at Chelmsford City Martial Arts Centre. Units 21 & 22, Waterhouse Business Centre, Cromar Way, Chelmsford, CM1 2QE. Â£7 PER CLASS Open to all abilities, beginners to advanced. Great for fitness, self-confidence and self-defence. 07956 968860 Kinetickickboxing@gmail.com Kineticmartialarts.co.uk
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(Ron Weasley in Harry Potter) Grint as Inspector Crome, then do try and find it on Catch-Up, or somewhere, as I absolutely loved it. Malkovich, as you would expect, is sublime as Poirot (I honestly never took to David Suchet, although you cannot beat Peter Ustinov) and plays the part with such suave aplomb. Give it a look.
The Edge Editor’s Column WHAT IS THE POINT? There’s a bit about the above mentioned topic inside the mag this month, readers. However, another thing that’s just struck me that I can never get my head around is bus timetables. On the rare occasions I ever have cause to pick one up (which is usually on holiday, in order to get back from somewhere I’ve just trekked to) I can never make head nor tail of them. What’s more, they often tend to be thick little booklets containing vast amounts of indecipherable information, when all I usually want to know is how often the bleedin’ number 52 runs. Who writes these poxy things? And do they ever get the weekend and Bank Holiday information correct?
ABC MURDERS If you missed the recent mini-series (sadly but three episodes long, run on concurrent nights) of John Malkovich as Hercule Poirot, ably and somewhat surprisingly supported by Rupert
My regular Edge columnists will tell you that I’m a stickler for not mentioning the C-word (Christmas, agh) during any other month than the December editions, but as I’m writing this on Monday 7th January I’m going to excuse myself. Apparently, 13 people filed for divorce in England and Wales on Christmas Day - yes, on Christmas Day its-very-self. More than 450 couples filed for divorce over the festive period, but those 13 poor souls, your heart simply has to go out to them, right? Since 2018, spouses seeking to end their marriage are now able to complete the whole process on line. They can fill in forms, upload documents and pay fees via the internet without the need to send off any paperwork in the post. The recent changes allowed 455 divorce applications to be submitted to HM Courts & Tribun-als Services between 24th December and New Years Day inclusive.
COMPETITIVE EATING I caught a snippet on the radio of a chap who’d rang in to TalkSport to say he enters competitive eating contests and has also drank a pint of beer whilst stood on his head, which he insists is the equivalent to downing three pints whilst stood up in a pub. Anyway, he reckoned he’d previously gotten 17 cooked chipolata sausages down (without throwing them back up again) in 15 seconds.
Now we all know that chipolatas aren’t as chunky as bangers, but even so, that’s still a rate of one per second. Only the question begs, why?
BEST PLACE TO LIVE Had a leaflet shoved through ‘Edge Towers’ letterbox from the Chelmsford Conservatives recently, who were quoting the Sunday Times as saying that Chelmsford is the best place to live in Eastern England. Really? What they go on to say is: “Bond Street and the John Lewis store have transformed our city into one of the best places to live in England.” I say again, really? (somewhat aghast) Let’s be clear, said leaflet is pretty much saying that, due to the Bond Street development, it now marks Chelmsford down as a truly fanciable location to be envied. Well I never. Has a few shops really had that much of an impact on your lives, readers?
268 I’m always a bit dumfounded whenever people ask me how long The Edge has been going. The mag comes out at the beginning of every month, right? Which means it’s a monthly monthly publication and there are how many months in a calender year? So all you do is divide 12 into the number of published issues (which is always recorded on the very front cover). So 22 years (and-a-third) to date.
PRAISE BE Thank god we’ve seen the back of January. I hate, loathe and despise the wretched month. THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 077 646 7 97 44 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Not sure whether I’ll have had sufficient time to fit in a visit to the Chelmsford Odeon to see Stan & Ollie before leaving Blighty for a fortnight in India in January, but it’s a movie I’m incredibly looking forward to seeing. Early indications are that it’s an absolute belter with Rotten Tomatoes awarding it a hefty 93% on their Tomatometer. Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly play the main characters and The Edge thinks this is going to prove to be an absolutely seismic role for Coogan, one which may make his ego become almost intolerable. Please don’t get The Edge wrong, it really likes Coogan - yet at the same time thinks he’s most certainly got issues. This movie doesn’t appear to be simply about Stan & Ollie’s life stories, but more the warmth and complexities of their relationship as both men and performers. The Edge used to absolutely adore Laurel and Hardy when it was a wee nipper, so it can only hope that this flick does their brilliant pairing true justice.
Treated ourselves to one of those HIVE thermostat thingies recently, with a British Gas man coming along to fit it for £199 all in and thoughtfully putting on a pair of those ‘paper socks’ over his grubby looking work boots before entering our house. So hey, now I can increase the temperature of ‘Edge Towers’ without getting out of bed of a morning and before I return there after I’ve been out in the cold getting the mags out, via my nifty mobile phone app To be honest though, I was just happy to have a decent looking thermostat to replace the previous one that looked as though it belonged in a pensioner’s house and had always highly offended me. Because when you’ve changed pretty much everything in your home, including every single pane of glass, the skirting, the floor, down to even the internal doors and their hinges, the last thing we were seemingly stuck with was an antiquated sodding thermostat control.
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I took this photograph on New Year’s Eve in Budgens in Swanage, Dorset, where we always tend to see the New Year in, as it’s a lot less expensive than Barbados. Cracking snapshot though, eh, in the best of Benny Hill tradition. And once I’d arranged the buns just so in the basket, with tweezers of course, and got my phone out to record the evidence, an old dear came by and admonished me with her playful tut-tutting. “Young mannnnnnn!” she said. The Swanage Budgen is actually a cracking little supermarket and that’s something else we haven’t got in Chelmsford, along with the far better known (and far posher) Waitrose that many of us are gagging for. So anyway, I then thought I’d better have a look at the fruit and veg section and lo and behold, waddayaknow, Budgens were having a field day and fair treating a middle-aged editor from oop north with a schoolboy’s sense of humour. Simple stuff like this I do happen to find semi-amusing, in so far as it simply breaks the day up for but a moment or two. It’s like whenever I’m walking into town and there’ll be a bicycle symbol on one side of the path and a stickman on the other, to denote which side pedestrians and cyclists should walk/pedal. Only school kids will sometimes draw a penis on the stickman in chalk and it always makes me titter. I guess some folk simply grow out of having a childlike attitude in matters such as this, but the sad fact is, I never have. Which is why I sometimes still laugh at the sound of a fart.
01245 26 25 27 25 Duke Street, Chelmsford CM1 1TB
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Having said that, should he be replaced at all, as Spectre seemed to The Edge at least to be the perfect place to draw a line under matters once and for all. The forthcoming 25th Bond movie was originally scheduled for release this coming November, but after Slumdog director/ writer Danny Boyle decided to abandon ship, citing ‘creative differences’ with the producers (yes, that old well worn cliche), Camp Bond appears to be somewhat in turmoil and running behind schedule. And that’s such a shame as surely it would have been rather quite riveting to see what Boyle could have done with a character such as Craig’s Bond, who has clearly been the most introspective and emotionally damaged 007 to date
If you want local Bond fanatic Jan Attrell’s humble opinion, Henry Cavill should be the next 007 (The Edge had never even heard of him, but he’s British and has apparently appeared as Superman in Man of Steel, whilst also staring in the latest Mission: Impossible movie, Fallout). But from your editor’s point of view, I’d honestly call it a day with Spectre, allowing Bond to drive off into the sunset, in that iconic old DB5 of his, for once having got the girl (Madeleine Swann/Lea Seydoux). And if he ever is to be dusted down and brought back, then truly put some time and thought into just who could take the character forward, hopefully as much as they did before casting Ben Whishaw as Q. I guess The Edge is thinking along the lines of a Benedict Cumberbatch type of character, although it really does want Daniel Craig to hold the mantle of being the last ever actor to play the agent, as it all appears to have gone full circle, with Casino Royale being the best of the lot.
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The Edge only asks - and the question is open to both ladies and gents, naturally - is because (apparently) women were being encouraged to go ‘au naturel’ last month, in a charity drive called ‘Januhairy’. Partially on the grounds of learning to accept themselves, or so it seems. But that’s total codswallop, right? I mean, surely a lady ‘accepts herself’ whether she chooses to sport an armpit beard, or she doesn’t? So long as she smells okay, The Edge can’t see what difference a bit of plumage makes one way or the other. Only a student called Laura Jackson has been touting for women to have a month off and cease shaving their body parts in a project directly inspired by ‘Movember’ (which encourages men to grow moustaches in November to help publicise men’s health issues - although really blokes will generally grab any opportunity to look like a bit of a twat for a laugh). Miss Jackson reckons she had a “great response” (really?) from women all over the world who signed up to take part by letting their hair grow under their arms, legs and bikini line (the latter being far better known as ‘the lesser seen pubic bush’), particularly these days, or so it seems. The third year drama student at Exexter University came up with the idea after growing out her own body hair for a stage performance. “This isn’t an angry campaign for people who don’t see just how normal body hair is,” she said. “It’s simply an empowering project.” Call The Edge a bit of a dumb northern bloke, if you like, but what’s empowering about growing your armpit hair, or allowing your pubic mound to sprout, ladies? Surely it’s simply a matter of choice. Like, it’s my particular choice to shave my head, as being bald on top, I’d look like Coco the clown if I let my hair grow like ‘hedges’ above my ears and at the back, right? And where armpit hair is concerned, sure, I trim mine, as sometimes it gets too long and it’s not as if it’s curly and lustrous any more. In fact, it looks like it’s been bloody electrocuted. Chest hair I tend to leave, but my wife does slap some of that Veet stuff on my shoulders and gills (the back of one’s ribcage) from time to time, before rubbing it off (and all the hair) with a pan scourer, as when she used her hot wax treatment on me once, I honestly almost screamed the house down (how on earth so you do that to yourselves, ladies?). And when it comes to a bloke’s forest above his hinge-end, well, some of us want to look as big (or as young) as we possibly can, so we trim/shave it, whilst others prefer the caveman look. It’s simply whatever floats your boat, surely. Personally speaking though, if I saw a lady raise her arm in a ballgown at a right posh doo and reveal a fair old bit of sproutage, I’d be over as fast as my legs could carry me to see whether I could buy her a drink. I simply think men are curious about women who are seen to be breaking the rules, but I honestly haven’t a clue how women see such matters.
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IS IT JUST ME? So I’ve realised in my life that I seem to have an infinite number of minor irritations. Call them ‘first world problems’, if you like, although I’m the first to admit they’re far from life-threatening. However, they do grate on me all the same and I’m sure I can’t be alone. For example, when opening a box of medication - a bad habit of mine, I’ll grant you - it is without fail that I always open the end of the pack with the instructions in the way. Yep. Every. Single. Time. This should be something that only occurs 50% of the time, yet every time that box is
opened, I’m always faced with the instructions hindering my access. As I said, this is definitely a ‘first world problem’. With the same 50/50 probability, has anyone in the history of the world EVER managed to plug a USB stick in the first time of asking? I, for one, have never succeeded in achieving this most irritating of feats, as for me, it is forever upside down. Next, despite having seen various videos pop up on Facebook showing me just how to do it, try as I might, I seriously cannot fold a fitted bed sheet. Honestly, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it was possible. I’ve tried and I’ve tried pretty much every trick going, yet my fitted sheets tend to all end up in a screwed up bundle at the back of a cupboard. Then there’s the damn fuel gauge in my car. My car alerts me to the fact that I’m running low on fuel when I still have around 50 miles to go on my journey. Fair enough. That should give me plenty of time to find a petrol station to top up before reaching my destination, right? Wrong! At that point, my fuel gauge suddenly starts its dramatic count down to zero seemingly over the course of the next half-a-mile. Dear oh dear. What else? Maybe my next inconvenience only affects those of us with long fingernails, or maybe not. The fact is, I have wasted several precious minutes of my life trying to pick up stray coins from laminate flooring, eventually having to resort to pressing down hard on said currency and hoping it sticks to my finger long enough for me to be able to grab it. This particular issue can be especially awkward when performed in a shop full of people. In such instances, if I haven’t managed to pick it up by the third attempt, I then have to immediately assess if the
value of the coin is worth the time, effort and sheer embarrassment spent trying to retrieve it. Which generally results in my mission being aborted. Finally, has anyone else ever had the misfortune of walking through a doorway at home and getting their dressing gown sleeve or pocket caught on the door handle, causing one to be immediately and awkwardly jolted to a halt? This can quite literally ruin my day, especially if I happen to be carrying a bowl of breakfast cereal (yes, covered in milk) at the same time, as such has previously flown out of my hand - and oh what a right old mess it’s made too. Yet it takes but a few seconds to resolve this situation (unless it has resulted in said dressing gown pocket being torn, which really does add insult to injury). However, I do struggle to think of a more irritating H&S occurrence within the supposed safety of one’s own home. Believe it or not, I am normally a fairly calm and patient sort of a person and usually it takes quite a lot to wind me up. But these little occurrences have managed to find a way to get right under my skin. So I do need to know....is it just me? ALMOST A CAT-ASTROPHE! I am extremely thankful I am still able to write at all, further to yet another assassination attempt by my very dear, elderly cat. I’m not sure if dementia is a thing in animals, but I would’ve thought the acute feline senses would prevail when she saw a comparative giant (me) about to tread on her as she lay on the second step from the top of the stairs. Turns out they didn’t, when I (vision somewhat impaired by the pile of laundry I was carrying) trod on her. The ensuing carnage involved panicked screeching from the squashed cat who bowled confused, and understandably shocked, down the stairs, closely followed by a very loud thud, and every expletive known to woman, as I landed several steps down on my back with a pile of pillowcases on top of me. Even the kids looked up from their tablets long enough to ask if I was ok - it was THAT bad!
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When I was an impressionable young pre-editor, aged 12 (not that I cannot still sometimes be impressionable these days), it occurred to me that the sexiest thing on the planet might well be a Ben Sherman shirt. The rage back then was for black, blue or red and white check, but I made my debut with an all black affair which set me back, if I recall rightly, about £12 (only let’s call it £15 as it might well have been).
So imagine what immediately ran though my mind when I enquired of an opticians recently as to how much it was for an eye-test? Especially when they told me £45. ‘S’truth,’ thought I, ‘that’s three Ben Sherman shirts.’ That’s how my mind works and I’m stuck with it, although Christ only knows what a BS shirt costs these days - not that I’d want one. Anyway, as a pre-editor aged midthirties, when I first started out
doing the mag, my eyesight was perfectamundo. But 22 years of staring at a computer screen and age having had its wicked way with me, short distance at least, my eyesight is somewhat fecked. These days I have 6 pairs of glasses (a pair beside my bed, another pair in my office, one set by the TV in the lounge, 2 sets in my car, plus a ‘fun pair’ for holidays). However, one’s eyesight apparently constantly changes, doesn’t it? So I’ve figured I’m probably due another updated set, or two, and what better place to buy them than while I was in India, which I visited just last month. After all, why pay more for exactly the same thing, especially when you get an awful lot more spectacle for your rupee over in India. Thing is, the perception of people wearing glasses has changed dramatically over the years, hasn’t it? I remember, during my schooldays, people who had to wear ’em were called swots, at best (you know, studious types) of four-eyes at worst. But these days, no one bats an eyelid if you've ‘got the doubleglazing on’ and a lot of us actually look better wearing specs than not. Take Jeff Goldblum. I ask you, is there a cooler looking guy on the planet? And, if you want The Edge’s humble opinion, yes ladies, he is even more handsome than George Clooney.
And what about Naga Munchetty on BBC Breakfast TV News? She looks absolutely blinding in those big, black Ronnie Corbett’s of hers. Due to abject fear, one of the things I’ve never entertained is (a) wearing contact lenses, or (b) going down the route of getting my eyes lasered (I think for obvious reasons, particularly in the case of the latter), so I’m stuck with having to carry a pair of specs around with me wherever I go. Only another sign of old age creeping on is a forgetful memory and my problem is that I keep on forgetting to take a pair out with me. (But no way am I going to go around with a pair dangling around my neck like John McCirick or David Dickinson.) Anyway, since a while ago, I’ve managed to find an opticians that does eye-tests for £30 (which is just two Ben Sherman shirts, in old money) so I reckon I’ll be going
there. Only wherever I end up, I can never stop myself from laughing whenever I see myself in the mirror with that weird contraption in front of my face (see below) as the optician ‘tunes me in’ - can you, readers? It’s just so funny. Even better than walking through the ‘Hall of Mirrors’ on Skegness Pier by far.
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FRIDAY 15th FEB.
Then make it your business to visit any one of Chelmsford’s back street motor mechanic businesses and if you spot a car with it’s wheels off, go and have a good old lick of its brake calipers. Potions and tablets from health shops are all well and good, but you truly cannot beat going directly to source.
Not to put too fine a point on it, The Edge was mortified when it saw what Maynards have gone and done. The fact that they’ve expressly chosen to bring out a bag of wine gums with just two colours/flavours in them would strongly appear to suggest that such a duo happen to be the vast majority of people’ favourites, wouldn’t you readers assume? But they’re most definitely NOT The Edge’s favourite, so what’s going on? Surely the best two colour/flavours combo is obviously orange and lemon, clearly? (Do you ever find it strange/weird/odd when other people seemingly don’t have exactly the same opinion as you? The Edge would even go so far as to say it finds it highly annoying.)
Abbi Perrin PAINTER & DECORATOR
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Ended up visiting The Bakehouse TWICE within 4 days, which was rather crafty of your editor, don’t you think? Initially my wife and I cycled over one Saturday morning, only we were a fraction too late to enjoy a hearty breakfast, so we had to order from the lunchtime menu. Now then, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that (because remember, the Fox & Goose scored 10/10 in last month’s editions and The Bakehouse’s lunchtime grub comes directly out of the F&G kitchen). It’s just that (FACT) me and my missus rarely ever ‘do’ lunch and I specifically wanted to experience the breakfast vibe. So, back I returned the following Tuesday morning, though riding solo this time - and The Bakehouse does attract many a cyclist, not to mention cyclists in groups (and many lycra-clad too, heaven forbid). I was immediately made to feel welcome by both Jean and Marie who appear to be on ‘FNT’ (first name terms) with many of the punters. To be honest, I didn’t even need to look at the menu.
I wouldn’t say I’m a creature of habit, but it was a pot of green tea for me, followed by a bacon & egg sandwich on lightly toasted (not fully toasted, mind) granary bread, liberally accompanied by lashings of HP sauce, with a nice hot soya latte to wash it all down with. “Is that all he’s having?” came the word back from the kitchen! (But guys, guys, I had a deadline to meet immediately afterwards and the last thing I needed was a dead-weight in my stomach if I’d have gone for, say, The Bakehouse’s ‘Country Breakfast’ (£12.50) which consists of (get a load of this): 2 rashers of smoked bacon, 2 Cumberland sausages, oven dried tomato, sauteed button mushrooms, baked beans, eggs (any style), black pudding, bubble’n’squeak, lamb’s kidney + 2 slices thick cut toast. I mean, s’truth, that is a breakfast-and-a-half in anyone’s language. Fact is though, you can tell an awful lot about a place simply by what I’d ordered. Such as their bread comes from Ravens of Ingatestone, which The Edge was already familiar with, while their coffee is a unique roast blended specifically for
The Bakehouse by top quality local suppliers Mac & Me. So in all honestly, a visit to The Bakehouse is a bit of a no brainer, as it’s hardly a case of shall you go, but when you’ll go. There’s literally stacks and stacks of choice, although if, unlike The Edge, you do actually ‘do’ lunch, then you’ll hopefully be pleased to learn that beef (or roasted vegetable) lasagne (£8.95), Ploughman’s (£8.95), Housemade Burger (£10.50), Sausage & Winter Vegetable Casserole (£7.95) are all on the menu, together with sandwiches, jacket spuds, wraps, bagels, crusty rolls, soups, salads, cakes and scones. Oh and do consider their ever so popular Sweet or Savoury (nice twist) afternoon teas at £19.95 per person, the convenient option to place online orders (to be collected) & not forgetting that The Bakehouse offer their very own loyalty cards.
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The Stores Coffee, brunch & lunch
Tuesday- Friday 8.30am-5pm Saturday 9am-5pm Main Road, Great Waltham, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1DE Tel Ç» 01245 362649 Email- email@example.com
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tionship (we lived a fair way apart, but we did spend a few weekends together).
The Edge has been bemoaning the seeming popularity of social media for ages and if you want an example of one of its worst ‘crustaceans’, then look no further than the likes of Tinder, Plenty of Carp, Plenty of Trout, Plenty of Mutton etc. I was giving my wife and one of her younger girlfriends a lift into town the other Saturday evening and some of the stories that were coming from my wife’s friends’ mouth (who sounded as though she’d had at least a couple of liveners before we’d picked her up) from her time spent on dating sites were truly unbelievable.
The Edge’s point is that what’s happening today is just wrong, wrong, wrong on so many levels. The sad fact is, social media has given every Tom, Chastity, Mercedes (no-one christened their daughter Mercedes back in The Edge’s day) and Harry the opportunity to be the stars of their very own Reality Shows and all the lot of you are doing is saying, “Look at me. Aren’t I wonderful? Don’t you wish you were doing/eating/ catching/swimming in what I’m swimming in right now (the SMST - social media shit tide)?”
PLENTY OF FISH
However, the somewhat sad and undeniably concurrent theme was the fact that my wife’s friend (and one of her other mates who is also on a couple of dating sites) regularly placed bets to see just how long it would be, following initial contact made, before a guy would send them a photograph of a particular part of his anatomy - and there are no prizes for guessing which well ‘fishy part’ we’re talking about. Now let’s just drop our guards for a moment, be honest about it, and admit that we really don’t mind seeing members of the opposite sex (or even members of our own sex - after all, whatever floats your boat) naked. But what The Edge is talking about here is something else entirely and, being truthful about it, out of all the girls I’ve ever had relationships with, I had seen not one of them naked before I’d met them. And hey, thank god for that fact too, because where has mystery and romance disappeared to these days? Clearly we are talking about a huge generation
gap here - a chasm - and although some of The Edge’s younger readers might be going: “Oh, pipe down, Grandad”- the answer is no, The Edge won’t, because you lot are the ones with a huge ‘social problem’ of your very own making.
Years ago, when I was at a bit of a loose end in the late eighties, there used to be some sort of a Lonely Hearts section in Time Out magazine and I remember writing a letter or two and sending them to a P.O. Box number or three, along with a couple of photographs of myself, only the thought would have simply never entered my head to send a total stranger a photograph of my John Thomas, not least because way back then, you had to collect said photographs from Boots after dropping the negatives off to them. But you would tell the person a little bit about yourself, what your situation was, what you liked doing, and, if she was interested, she’d get back to you, no doubt after judging your handwriting. I was fortunate to meet ever such a sweet Japanese girl and then another girl from West London who worked for C4 who I ended up having a bit of a fling with, if not a full on rela-
You always associate a library as a silent place with thousands of books packed full of knowledge, don’t you? Only who needs to visit a library these days when all of it is right at our very fingertips, on an iPhone, which everyone and their dog seems to own these days, sometimes from the age of 10 upwards (maybe even younger?). But how many people are using theirs in their quest and thirst for knowledge? Not many, Benny. You reap what you sew, and by god, we sure are reaping it in the year 2019. It may seem an obvious observation to make, but the older generation feel that everyone these days is forever staring at their phone, which sadly appears to be the case. The question is, why? When was the last time any of you picked up the telephone, eh? Or wrote a letter (“Wot’s one of those?” comment the ignorant youth of today). It’s not just our failing High Streets that you can blame social media for, you know.
Can you spot Ye Olde Edge Editor on this train in India, readers? Read all about his trip in the March editions, folks. Page 16
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What was the first thing you thought when you heard that couple had won £115m on the Lotto recently? The Edge thought ‘B st rds!” * * Not in a cruel or resentful sense (honestly). Well, a bit. But more in a sense of frustration i.e. I wish I’d won it, even though I don’t do it. Well, a quid per ticket for such long odds I could just about stomach, but when it went up to two quid, nah, that was me out. I always thought I was saving £104 a year, until some jammy sod goes and gets their balls in the right order. But have you ever thought about what you’d do if you ever landed such a windfall? £115million is sort of ‘a bit much’ if you’re not used to having very much more than a pot to p ss in, don’t you think, so it’s * good to see their intention is seemingly to ‘spread the love/ dosh’ amongst both family and friends. Personally, I’d want to travel and travel light. Me and the missus would simply go out and buy the campervan of our dreams and off we would jolly well go. Plenty of the world would be our lobster in a campervan and the rest of it (where it wouldn’t necessarily be worth shipping it to), well, we’d make other plans. But just because we had a campervan doesn’t mean we’d be sleeping in it every night. No, no, no. I mean, can you imagine swinging onto the gravel courtyard of some swanky hotel in a campervan, where the rest of the motors are Bentleys and Porsches, tossing the keys to a bloke in a right tall hat and saying, “Park that for me, will you, mate” before slapping one’s Plutonium Card on the meet’n’greets counter and asking for the very best room in the house. That wouldn’t necessarily be The Edge’s style, but just knowing you could do it, if you wanted to, I imagine gives a person a certain sense of inner peace and self-assurance. I don’t think I’d go in for doing any daft stuff though. Like going out and buying a Lamborgini (trust me, if you’re into campervans, Lamborginis are the last thing on your mind). I wouldn’t even be interested in hiring a Lambo out to do a track day event at Brands Hatch. However, if it was possible to hire a few of those bendy single-decker buses for a day and get a fair few of your friends together (you can always find ‘friends’ when you’ve got £115m in the bank, I’d imagine) for a bit of a champagne jolly up at Silverstone, that’d probably be fun.
Ed Sheeran could afford to do that even without winning the Lottery. Apparently he earnt £181,00 per day in 2018. Nope, that wasn’t a typo error just then. Ed Sheeran earnt a colossal £181,000 per DAY in 2018. And The Edge strongly suspects that makes it £1,267,000 per week (as Sheeran tends to work weekends doing concerts and stuff) as opposed to just a paltry £905,000 for a five-day-week, which would be slacking.
Can you honestly imagine having such wealth? Taking on board the notion that money doesn’t necessarily make you happy, The Edge would counter that not having money doesn’t necessarily make you happy either, so I’d definitely be prepared to give it a go. I get told by my wife to ‘be thankful for what I’ve got’ on a semi-regular basis and that far more people in the world are worse off than we are. To which I counter, “Yes, my sweet. But then far more people in the world are far better off than we are too.” I guess it’s all down to the way in which you look at things.
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CHINA If press reports are to be believed, West Ham’s Marko Arnautovic has recently handed in a transfer request in order to force through a transfer to “an unnamed club in China” (by the time you are reading this, he may already have packed his bags and gone). The story doing the rounds is that West Ham have received an offer of £35m for their star player and Arnautovic has been offered in the region £300k per week, which is said to be almost four times his current salary.
While that is clearly some incentive for wanting to move, Arnautovic is hardly on the breadline with a current reported salary of £80k per week, so approaching 30 I just don’t understand why a player would want to effectively end his competitive playing career. Although he is unlikely to lift major silverware if he stays at West Ham, reports suggest that there are also a number of top European clubs that are interested in acquiring his
services and if he keeps himself in good shape, then he probably has three or four years left at the highest level, which is presumably what he has trained for his whole life. His brother, who is also his agent, has said that Arnautovic wants to move to China in order to challenge for major titles. What a load of nonsense. He wants to move to China to become filthy rich.
YOU If you’re like me and are forever scrolling through Netflix trying to find something to watch, then you can’t go too far wrong in giving a series called ‘YOU’ a watch. The show is an American psychological thriller TV series (based on a 2014 novel by Caroline Kepnes) that follows the story of Joe Goldberg, a New York bookstore manager, who falls in love with a customer named Guinevere Beck (‘Beck’ for short) and quickly becomes obsessed with her. Immediately after meeting her, Joe becomes infatuated and frequently follows her every move, including stalking her in order to steal her laptop and mobile phone so that he can check on her emails, text messages and social media in order to find out as many details of her life that he possibly can.
Rotten Tomatoes, the review aggregator, gives the show an 89% rating and I can honestly see why. Granted it is not up there with the Godfather trilogy, but if you are a fan of shows such as Dexter and want to watch something a little bit creepy, then this is most definitely the show for you.
SOUTHEND Last month I was at home one day, desperately trying to find something for me and my eldest to do. I wanted somewhere I could get some food, a bit of fresh air, and a little bit of entertainment for a three-year-old with cabin fever. I remembered the previous summer I’d once taken her to Southend and how wonderful the fresh sea air was for getting her to sleep that night. In need of similar results, we headed off, albeit with some slight
reservations as the weather was a chilly 7 degrees, which is hardly ideal for a day on the beach. However, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Southend is a vastly different place in the winter and is actually quite a pleasure. Wrapped up in our winter clothes, we took a walk along the pier, looked for crabs on the beach, played the amusements and stopped off for some hearty fish and chips. Getting to the seafront itself was easy. We got parked in seconds and there were definitely no crowds to be seen. We had a thoroughly enjoyable day and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an inexpensive day out (especially if you have young children). And yes, she was sound asleep by 8pm that night.
It soon becomes clear that Joe will go to extreme measures and overcome any obstacle standing between him and the life he longs to have with Beck.
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WHAT IS THE POINT of PUFFA JACKETS? The Edge is the (not so) proud owner of not one, but two of the damn things, and granted they are ever so light and weigh practically nothing. However, the fact remains that if you walk any more than 50 paces whilst wearing one, your upper body starts to sweat profusely. It’s instantly like being in a bloody furnace with no temperature control. Not only that, but they only ever seem to make them with zips up the front, so it’s pretty much a case of having to wear them open (unzipped) or closed (zipped) with no half-measures like good old fashioned buttons offer. And they don’t half make them so that they’re snug under the armpit area too, which only causes one to sweat even more. VERDICT: Rubbish design
WHAT IS THE POINT of CORGI DOGS? For starters, they look far too much like Basil Brush, which is off-putting. More than that though, if big ears weren’t enough, what is the point of having paws that are pretty much directly attached to their body, without any ‘leg’ in between worth speaking of? Surely it has been noted by now that The Edge doesn’t really do D&K (dogs and kids)? Having said that, it is not so ignorant a publication as never having heard the term ‘walkies’. Only you don’t say that, do you? Certainly not where a Corgi is concerned. Because how on earth can it keep up with the strides its owner takes? Which is why the damn things end up being dragged everywhere. Decent enough as a floor sweeping mechanism, but not much else. VERDICT: Rubbish design
WHAT IS THE POINT of TREKKING POLES? The Edge cannot make head nor tail of ’em. Whatever they say about them, The Edge doesn’t believe a single word of it. For instance, how can they possibly reduce the amount of impact on joints when they’re just a couple of flimsy poles? How can they reduce the chances of slipping, or falling, when after all, they’re just a couple of flimsy poles? And how can they promote arm strength and bone density when they’re - you guessed it just a couple of skinny walking sticks? Oh, and how can they possibly improve circulation when they’re just a couple of stupid, flimsy twiglike poles (not to mention an increase in calorie burn and oxygen consumption). Nope, The Edge isn’t having one bit of it. It’s all total bollocks, is what it is. VERDICT: Rubbish design
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Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa are getting in the mood for love this February by offering couples the opportunity to float away on a luxury hot air balloon. In partnership with Taittinger Champagne, SbN has launched its Month of Love campaign, which encourages couples to celebrate their affection for each other throughout February, as it’s not always convenient to honour Valentine’s Day midweek. The resort is offering a number of great value romantic packages as part of their Month of Love campaign and couples taking advantage of these fantastic offers will also be entered into a prize draw to win afternoon tea at the hotel, followed by a luxury Champagne balloon flight across Constable Country. Included in the campaign is a ‘Just the Two of Us’ overnight stay with Prosecco and a 3-course dinner, followed by full English breakfast the next morning, from only £80.00 per person. There is also a ‘Chocolate Kisses’ Spa Day from £79.00 per person for those that love a pamper, and for traditionalists there are two dining options at the award-winning AA Two Rosette Lake’s Restaurant starting at £32.50 per person for 3-courses. To find out more please visit www.stokebynayland.com/month-of-love, or call the sales team on 01206 262 836 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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ONLY JOKING! LABOUR PAIN
During labour, the pain is often so intense that women can sometimes feel what men feel like when they are suffering from Man Flu.
THE WEDDING TEST I was a very happy chappy. My wonderful girlfriend and I had been dating for almost two years, so we decided to get married. There was just one little thing bothering me. It was her beautiful younger sister. My prospective sister-in-law was just twentytwo, wore very tight mini-skirts and generally no bra. She would regularly bend over in front of me and I always got more than I bargained for, particularly when she wasn’t wearing any knickers. Surely it had to be deliberate, because she never did it when she was around anyone else. One day, the 'little sister’ called and asked me to go over to her place to check on the wedding invitations. She was alone when I arrived and she whispered to me that she had always had feelings and desires for me that she could not overcome. She told me that she wanted me, just the once, before I got married and committed my life to her elder sister. Well, I was in total shock. I couldn't say a word. She said, “I'm going upstairs to my bedroom now and if you fancy a wild fling with me, just come on up and have me.” I was stunned as I watched her slowly mount the stairs. I stood there for a minute, wondering what to do, before making a beeline straight out the front door. Then, as I was opening the door to my car, lo and behold, all of my entire future family were standing outside, clapping and cheering me. With tears in his eyes, my father-in-law hugged me and said, "We are so very happy that you have passed our little test. We couldn't ask for a better man to marry our daughter. Welcome to the family, son." If only he’d known I’d been heading to my car where a kept a handy packet of condoms in the glove-compartment.
GREAT BOOK I was reading this book the other day called ‘The History Of Glue’. S’truth, I honestly couldn't put it down.
BLIND DOGS Two women were out for a Saturday lunchtime stroll. One had a Doberman and the other had a Chihuahua. As they walked down the street, the one with the Doberman said to her friend, "Let's go over there to that flash new bar and have ourselves a little drink." The lady with the Chihuahua said, "We can't go in there. We've got our dogs with us.” The one with the Doberman said, "Just watch me and do as I do." So they walked over to the bar and the lady with the Doberman put on a pair of dark glasses and began to walk straight into the bar. The doorman raised his hand and said to her, "Sorry, lady. No pets allowed." The woman with the Doberman said, "You don't understand. This is my blind dog." The doorman said, "A Doberman?" The woman said, "Why yes. They're using them all the time now. They're very good." The doorman said, "OK. Come on in." Meanwhile, the lady with the Chihuahua thought that convincing the guy a Chihuahua was a guide dog might be a bit more difficult, but she thought she’d give it a go anyway. So she put on her dark glasses and started to walk in. Once again, the doorman raised his hand and said, "Sorry, lady. No pets allowed." The woman said, "But you don't understand. This is my blind dog." The doorman said, "A Chihuahua?" The woman replied, "A Chihuahua? They gave me a f *** ing Chihuahua?”
SHOPLIFTING Jamie Oliver has been accused of shoplifting a kitchen utensil from Tesco. Oliver says it was ‘a whisk he was pwepared to take’.
COSTUME PARTY A couple was invited to a swanky costume party, only the missus got a terrible headache and told her husband to go to the party alone. He, being a devoted husband, protested profusely, but she argued and said she was going to take some aspirin and go to bed and there was no need for him not to have good time on her account. So he took along his costume and off he went. His wife, after sleeping soundly for about an hour or so, awakened without any pain whatsoever, and as it was still early, she decided to get ready and go along to the party. Since her husband did not know what her costume was, she thought she would have a little fun with him by observing him to see how he behaved when she wasn’t around. She arrived at the party and soon spotted him, excitedly cavorting around on the dance floor, dancing with every nice looking woman he could get his hands on, and copping a crafty feel here and a little kiss there. Eventually, his wife sidled up to him and, being a bit of a looker herself, he immediately left his current dance partner and devoted his time to her. Naturally she let him go as far as he wished, because he was her husband, after all. Finally, he whispered a little proposition in her ear and she agreed. So off they went to one of the guest bedrooms to have a quickie. Just before the unmasking ceremony at midnight, she managed to slip away, went home, put her costume away, and got into bed, won-
dering what kind of an explanation her husband would offer for his sordid behaviour. She was sitting up reading when he got back home, so she asked what kind of a time he’d had at the party. “Oh, quiet,” he said. “You know, I never have a good time when you're not there.” “Did you dance much?” she asked him. “I tell you what, I never danced once,” he said. “When I got there, I met up with Pete, Bill, Trevor and some of the other boys and we went down into the den and played poker all night. But baby, you're not going to believe what happened to the guy I loaned my costume to....”
SANDPAPER I've been charged with murder for killing a man with sandpaper. To be honest, I only intended to rough him up a bit.
ORDEAL OF FRUIT Two men are shipwrecked on an island and are captured by cannibals. The chief informs them that the only way to avoid becoming dinner is to undergo the ‘Ordeal of Fruit’, which the two men accept at once. So the chief sends them off into the jungle to collect 100 pieces of fruit and bring them back to him. Pretty soon, the first guy returns with 100 grapes. “Right,” says the chief, “I want you to shove them one by one up your arse without giggling and if you can do that I will set you free. But no sooner have but 5 grapes passed up the guys jaxie than he cannot help himself and bursts uncontrollably out laughing. “What’s so funny?” demands the chief. “Don’t you realise I’m going to eat you for this?” “I’m so sorry,” the guy says, “but my mate’s still out there foraging for pineapples.”
ARMLESS A man with no arms and no legs is sunbathing on the beach. He is approached by three beautiful girls. The first says to him, “Have you ever been hugged?” He shakes his head sadly, so she gives him a hug, squashing her breasts into his chest. The second says, “Have you ever been kissed?” He shakes his head sadly, so she sticks her tongue down his throat. Third one says, “Have you ever been f*** ed?” To which he vigorously shakes his head. She says, “Well you’re going to be, the tide’s coming in.”
PARALYMPICS Seven wheelchair athletes have been banned from the Paralympics after being tested positive for WD40.
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The bastard keeps digging up the garden.
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time. Infrastructure. Not the UK’s strong suit. Here in the US most cities and towns like a descriptive catch phrase to hang their hats on which will instill some civic pride in the residents. For example, you’ll know that Chicago is the Windy City. Boston is Beantown, New Orleans likes to be known as The Big Easy and Las Vegas goes by Sin City. Others? Los Angeles is the City of Angels and St Louis the Gateway to the West. Philadelphia the City of Brotherly Love. The list is almost endless. The origins of most of those sobriquets are fairly easily identified you’d think, although Beantown is probably not quite so obvious. Apparently it’s because way back when Boston earned a reputation for a local delicacy of baked beans smothered in molasses. It sounds disgusting, but the name has stuck. And with molasses involved, ‘stuck’ is probably a very apposite word. New York takes the cake though with not one but three nicknames. The Big Apple, the City That Never Sleeps and, at a stretch, So Good They Named It Twice. Out here in San Diego we go by the somewhat boastful title of America’s Finest City. This wasn’t one of those appellations that arrived organically. No, it was dreamed up, somewhat unromantically, by a marketing team in response to the city being pissed on by the organisers of the Republican Convention in the 1970s. Us residents don’t argue about the manufactured title now though, and happily bask in our superiority over any lesser mortals not privileged enough to live here. So, it gets you thinking. What would Chelmsford be
Roads aside, all those new high-end shops are a sign the place has ambition. It would be good to think that ambition will be realised eventually and the town become a proper city. So there’s a John Lewis, a Wagamama and a classy steakhouse in Chop Bloc. You even have an art-house cinema these days progress indeed. It’s all a very far cry from the lifeless, dull and grey place it was in the 60s, 70s and 80s. called if the UK adopted the US habit of adding a descriptive epithet to its towns and cities? Yes, it’s already ‘The Home of Radio’ but that doesn’t really cut the mustard does it? As a descriptive phrase, it’s got no soul. It’s just a fact, not a phrase that encapsulates the real character of the place. So let’s take a leaf out of the San Diego playbook and pretend we’re a marketing consultancy being paid vast sums to come up with something that really applies to Chelmsford. But before we get to that, we’ll take a little diversion. Your California correspondent recently returned to Mid-Essex for a couple of weeks to see family and friends (and a few Spurs games, of course). Jeez, the place has changed in recent years, hasn’t it? One thing that hits you after a spell away is the sheer volume of traffic. It’s obvious that they build ever more houses and flats, yet the main arteries into town are the same roads that were there a century ago in 1919. So it’s no surprise streets built for a few horses can’t cope with a gazillion SUVs. But really, the centre of town seems to be one big car park most of the
Hell, there aren’t even that many charity shops in the High Street. That fact alone sets Chelmsford above many of the other provincial towns that have not managed to find a way around the rise of Amazon. Most places don’t seem to have the imagination to look beyond Oxfam and Starbucks to fill their High Street. But for all the changes that have occurred in Chelmsford recently, one thing has remained frustratingly and depressingly constant for at least the last 20 years. There are no bloody trains at weekends. How can it be that a country that likes to think of itself as advanced can’t sort out its transport? Infrastructure. Not the UK’s strong suit. So back to where we started, and trying to find a nickname for the town. Well, given how long it has been a feature of life in Chelmsford, maybe that stuff about the inability to travel anywhere at weekends is the real soul of the place. How about this as the handle by which the town should promote itself… Chelmsford - Bus Replacements “R” Us. Until next time.
Over a year ago, a very nice chap called Oliver Worthington appeared in The Edge, who despite being the manager of the Chelmsford Nationwide Building Society also happens to be an ardent Wolverhampton Wanderers fan (‘Boys from the Black Country’ and all that). Anyway, almost fully 12 months after said article appeared, another chap called Ian Williams (a Tottenham fan) wandered into said local Nationwide in Chelmsford High Street (incidentally, he was not a customer of theirs) and asked to see Oliver, due to the fact he had a small gift for him. After having a bit of a clear out at home, Ian had come across an old 1960 Wolves football programme for one of their pre-season friendly matches, under floodlights, against Dynamo Tbilisi (see left). Ian had actually gone to watch the game as he was in the RAF at the time and was stationed within the vicinity, which was a good move on his part as the tussle ended 5-5. “What a jolly nice bloke to be bothered to do that,” says Oliver. “Is it a story worth a mention in your mag?” Do you know what, readers? I rather think it just might be. Whoever you support, isn’t it fantastic to have Wolves back in the top flight of English football? What’s more, if their current form is anything to go by, it appears they’re not just back for the short-term either. The Edge remembers player like Derek Dougan, Mike Bailey, Alun Evans, John Richards, Kenny Hibbitt and, later on, Andy Gray and Steve Bull. And if memory serves The Edge correctly (it isn’t going to Google-check), there were also a couple of epic end-of-season encounter at their old Molineux (great name) Stadium when it recalls Wolves thwarted the mighty/dirty Leeds United team of the Revie era from winning the old First Division title. But then didn’t Liverpool go and win it for themselves there, somewhat spectacularly, a season or two later, Oliver? Page 24
The Edge 01245 348256
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The Edge is telling you, itâ€™s a recipe for disaster. I appreciate Iâ€™m getting on a bit myself these days, but what is it with old people in supermarkets, eh? For starters, you often see them just inside the entrance/exit doors. Yes, thatâ€™s right, about two metres inside, stopped, with their trolley at a right-angle, completely blocking everyone else whoâ€™s trying to get in, or out. Grrrrrrrrrrr. Think of two blocked lanes on the M25 at rush hour and youâ€™ve got some idea of the picture The Edge is trying to paint for you here. Or perhaps theyâ€™ll have just stopped for a breather, as itâ€™s a fair old trek from the carpark (surely theyâ€™re too old to still be driving?) or bus stop. Or maybe theyâ€™ve abruptly pulled up to alter the setting on their pacemaker? Or sometimes youâ€™ll see them patting themselves down, as though theyâ€™ve lost a glove, or theyâ€™re searching for a Rennie as theyâ€™ve got a bit of heartburn coming on. Worst of all is if they see Ethel or Mildred or Connie coming in the opposite direction with a fully laden trolley (like below) which then tends to block off ALL points of entry or exit, as though an articulated lorry has shed itâ€™s load and the entire M25 has come to a temporary standstill, until theyâ€™ve finished discussing what the weatherâ€™s been like, or what theyâ€™ll be having for their tea. Fact is though, they are completely oblivious to the sheer and utter carnage they are creating as they try to decide whether theyâ€™ve got enough to say to each other that warrants a trip to the supermarket cafeteria, only theyâ€™ll usually decide against it if Ethelâ€™s bought some frozen haddock that she doesnâ€™t want to defrost, whilst both of them will be cautious about just how much room theyâ€™ve got left in their catheters. Bless them.
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ou could be forgiven for thinking you’re about to dive into a bad fantasy novel with the title of my opening gambit this month, but the Shylocks of SEPP are all too real. For those of your fortunate enough not to have been ensnared in their web of greed, SEPP are the South Essex Parking Partnership, the shadowy cabal responsible for enforcing the varied and arcane laws of parking in our fair county.
While between cars, my company had kindly hired a car for me, so naturally I wasn’t about to stick my permit to the windscreen of that, so I used to place it on the dashboard. Unfortunately, I got into work before 7.00am one morning, and more importantly before I’d even had a coffee I realised I’d totally forgotten to display my permit. Yet almost immediately the minions of SEPP pounced and gave me a ticket. Fair enough, as far as they were concerned, I was parked in a permit space with no permit displayed, so I can’t argue with that. The ticket stated I could challenge it and specifically mentioned people forgetting to display their permits should photograph it and
THE SHYLOCKS OF SEPP
I wrote to both SEPP and Councillor Malcolm Sismey, who I understand is the council’s big cheese of parking, to express my disgust at their cynical and opportunistic business practices. I was polite and to the point and not once did I refer to them as avaricious, money-grubbing swine, yet neither SEPP nor the Councillor have bothered to respond.
The SEPP Christmas Party in full swing
Too busy diving into pools full of money like Scrooge McDuck, I shouldn’t wonder. Now that public bodies, particularly any associated with governmental or municipal fields, have to be transparent, after the MP’s got found out for stealing from us for so long (the thieving pigdogs), SEPP publish how much money they make from their ‘enforcement’ services against how much it costs to run their cartel, and at first glance the figures all look perfectly reasonable. Then I noticed it said how much money they were making from offroad offences, with no mention of on-road ones, like my case was. If they’re not making an ill-gotten fortune from that, then I’ll buy the biggest hat in the world and eat it. I was curious enough to send in a freedom of information request and I’ll be interested to see how those numbers stack up.
The Kingmeister reports
As you’ve probably already guessed by now, I recently got a ticket while parked outside my office. My company give me a permit to park on the road opposite rather than use the on-site car park which is constantly packed and double-parked. Now I’ve got my Hilux I take up almost one-and-a-half spaces, so I definitely wouldn’t be popular parking my beast downstairs.
to make more money.
email the picture, along with their challenge, which I duly did. This was just before Christmas, that time of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, so I was confident they’d understand it was a simple mistake and leave it at that. However, I honestly hadn’t counted on SEPP’s unbridled lust for money and the very week before Christmas I received a letter stating they’d reviewed my case and “decided not to waive the penalty”. Oh, cheers so much for ‘deciding’ to take £70 out of my pocket for virtually nothing, you soulless harpies. Granted seventy quid isn’t a kings’ ransom, but the more I read their letter, the more annoyed I became.
Apparently SEPP will gleefully charge you even if your permit was stuck to your screen, but happened to fall off. How is that anyone’s fault? They could save themselves an awful lot of ink by not listing all of the reasons they’ll charge you for and simply say: “We’ll take your hard-earned cash for basically any spurious reason we can think of. So there.” The Shylocks of SEPP state that they provide parking “enforcement” services, but I think they’ve mixed up ‘enforcement’ and ‘punishment’. Enforcement is giving a penalty to someone not legally allowed to park somewhere, but giving someone a ticket for either an honest mistake or their permit coming unstuck is punishing people simply
Funnily enough, I recently read an article that said the average cost of responding to an FOI is around £200. That’s not the reason I sent it in, of course - I’m not that petty but I’ll admit that knowing I’m costing them a few quid is definitely a nice little bonus.
T H E L A S T LEG Hey, I’m nearly there! After around 3 years of work I’m just about ready to pull the trigger and publish my first novel on Amazon. My girlfriend created the cover, which I’m very happy with, and I’m just about done with my third proof-read (and now that I’ve said I’ve proof-read it three times, I look forward to getting pulled up on any mistakes I’ve missed)! I’ve made a few changes, which I hope makes the story flow better, and cleared up anything that might have been confusing, but I’d say it’s probably 90% the draft I first put down, so I’m happy with that. Having a few people test read it has been a big help and their comments and criticisms have been gratefully received, though sometimes completely ignored at my peril. I’m very excited, and pretty nervous, about putting it out there for anyone to read and I’m already steeling myself for the first comment along the lines of: “I’d rather down a pint of tripe than read this garbage!” Reading something like that probably will sting a bit (OK, more than a bit) but I’m just going to have to get used to the fact that some people will absolutely hate what
I’ve done and not be shy in telling everyone. I think I’ve got one slight change left to ensure a revelation late in the plot isn’t completely out of nowhere and too jarring, but once that’s done, it’s then all down to formatting it for Kindle and submitting it to Amazon, which I’m aiming to do by the end of this month. For those of you that might be interested, here’s the premise of what has taken up so very much of my spare time over the past couple of years. “Daniel Cross: Thief, smuggler and occasional gun-for-hire. Cross was very good at his chosen trades and life outside of the law was going pretty well. At least it was until someone killed him. Now, somehow, Cross is back on the London streets and will stop at nothing to find out what happened to him. There’s a lot more at stake than Cross’s murder though, and now some very nasty people, from this world and the next, want to talk to him, and talk to him hard. Luckily for Daniel Cross, when he came back from the dead, he didn’t come back alone…” It’s genre fiction, which I know isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you think along the lines of a sometimes dark, brutal, yet in places funny, supernatural thriller that takes you through
London, Heaven, Hell and everywhere else in between, with a supporting cast of angels, demons, assorted maniacs and a vicar who works for the Devil, then Revenant Days just might be your particular cup of tea!
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Adult £18.50 Child £7.50* Shakespearian actor John Duttine (better known as Tim off Corrie) has been treading the cobbles for the past six years and is married to Sally, mechanic Kevin Webster’s former bit of stuff. Strangely enough, ‘Nice But Dim’ Tim had already made a previous appearance on the formidable North Western soap, which 76%* of households in Chelmsford regularly tune into, as long ago as June 2010. Playing the role of Detective Sergeant Carr, he arrested po-faced Gail Tilsley (David Platt’s mum) for soliciting outside of The Kabin*. But they don’t much seem to bother about stuff like that, do they (i.e. one person actually being two separate people in a soap?), because they probably think none of us will remember. Which we don’t. But like Kevin and Platty and Kenneth and Dev (all established Corrie characters), window cleaner and part taxi cab owner Tim has now become part and parcel of the bedrock of Weatherfield fabric. Born in tut Bradford, Duttine first worked as a dustbin man* before landing the job of assistant stage manager (as you do) at Wakefield Theatre in 1896 (sorry, 1986)*. Interestingly (well, The Edge thinks so at any rate), three years later, he wrote and produced a short audio play entitled This Gun That I Have in My Right Hand is Loaded*, satarising typical mistakes of radio drama, including over-explanatory dialogue and the misuse of sound cues. Prior to Stratford-upon-Avon, Tim-Dim played repertory seasons in the likes of Newquay, Hull, Northampton and Salisbury, before making his London debut at the Piccadilly Theatre in the farce Caught Napping*. He was also a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company for three seasons, and that, dear readers, is the absolute, though be it somewhat surprising, truth*. Though fond of treading the boards (“The stage is an awful lot smoother than the Coronation Street’s cobbles,” admits Metcalfe, “but you get a bit fed up playing King Lear* after a while), he says he’d far rather spend his evenings playing arrows with Kirky in the Rovers. Coming up for Tim’s character in the future is a Hot Air Balloon fiasco with Roy Cropper*, a three-way love-triangle with his wife and Carla Connor*, plus a terrifying ghostly encounter with the dear departed Emily Bishop*. “It’s all go,” admits Tim, “but it’s far better to be in demand than not. Plus the Maserati won’t run itself, will it? I only had a 1.3 Vauxhall Astra when I was playing Hamlet*, but these days I’ve decided to, you know, milk it.” Later this year, Duttine is set to star as Ray Doyle* (wearing a curly wig) alongside former Spandau Ballet lead singer Tony Hadley* (Bodie) in a rerun of the late-seventies/early-eighties MI5 series The Professionals, with Charles Dance as Gordon Jackson* (George Cowley). *Pack of lies The Edge 077 646 797 44
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SEX ROBOT FUNDRAISING STINT FALLS FLATTER THAN A PAIR OF PUNCTURED PLASTIC PUPPIES A company that sounds a lot like Unicorn, but isnâ€™t, strangely envisaged that something called Eve's Robot Dreams would become the first consent focused (consent focused?) robot brothel in the world - but punters failed miserably to cough up enough cash to get their rocks off. In fact, the first sex robot brothel that was set to go down in history has totally flopped after failing to reach its $155,000 fundraising target. In short, the venture accumulated just $2,659 of its $155,000 (ÂŁ123,000) goal - equivalent to just one measly per cent. The brothel was set to be aimed at those of us who "have wild fantasies, want to explore without cheating, and are interested in taking our relationship with technology oh so much deeper." For one particular (dozy) punter, who coughed up $10,000, there was even the promised opportunity to fly to LA for the opening party and be the first person to take one of the dolls on a â€˜private and public dateâ€™. (OMG, can you imagine walking into The Ivory Peg of a Saturday night with a sex robot on your arm?) Meanwhile, to have sex with one of the ÂŁ11,000 robots and â€˜get to know her personalityâ€™ in a private curtained booth would have set customers back $122 (ÂŁ97). Jeez, some folks must surely have a lot more money than sense. Sounds like â€˜Unicornâ€™, who described themselves as a â€˜cult (surely they got a letter wrong there?) leaderâ€™, previously insisted that the brothel would be respectful to robot rights and was keen to do so to avoid a â€˜robot rebellion in the futureâ€™. (Eh?) Staff were to be paid a living wage and â€˜Unicornâ€™ were keen to work with the authorities to create a safe and hygienic environment (lots of tissues). There would also be the chance to get to know the dolls' personalities rather than just, you know, treating them like pieces of meat/rubber. The robot dolls were to be based on the â€˜Realdoll Harmony Xâ€™ model, but would have certain modifications. Guests would be offered the opportunity to spend time with their favourite robot in a private room and also be invited to build up a relationship with their RSF (robo sex friend) using a smartphone app. The campaign also claimed that the brothel might be suitable for those who aren't comfortable with human company. In their intro video, â€˜Unicornâ€™ said it may have "benefits for people with Autism". Whatâ€™s more, everyone would have been expected to purchase their own â€˜insertâ€™ which they must place in their choice of robot orifice (a couple of options were said to be available, according to the campaign). But now that the fundraising campaign has come to an abrupt end, it's not clear if â€˜Unicornâ€™ will pursue other avenues to raise the cash for the brothel. Hey, perhaps they could even launch one in Chelmsford?
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Man on the Clapham Omnibus
ECHOS OF THE PAST Sitting at the kitchen table, working on the laptop, I am bathed in natural light from the garden, the best and most beautiful kind of light by far. The next and closest to natural light comes from the magic provided by the electrical light switches on the wall - perhaps the greatest invention ever. Electric light extends the day, but sadly it also extends the working day. It can put us, as individuals, in the spotlight to bask in its glory, or even hide us in its shadows. My parents grew up in the time when gas mantles provided the light. All activities were carried out under its smelly, dim, noisy, glow. My childhood in the 1960’s was okay. There is no big traumatic back story to support why the son of a butcher became a degree educated, tweed obsessed, bank employed mardy git. We lived in a big old council house in Harold Hill where each of the rooms had a single ceiling rose to provide us with light. Oh how we bathed in the glow of a 60 watt pearl lightbulb. We were similarly amazed when mum moved the stakes up to the blinding brilliance of a 100 watt with lampshade. Then we somehow managed to have a pair of wall lights installed in our front room - yes, front room, not sitting room - and our world was transformed. Jumping forward 40 years, lighting is now sophisticated, mood enhancing, mood creating, multi-coloured and even reactive. Our kitchen has hidden LED lighting that is capable of changing colour and can even provide a disco lightshow while we cook our chips, if required. You may say, “That’s all well and good, Mott, but we are all familiar with electric lighting these days, so where are you going with this?” Well that’s easy to answer. Quite simply, if I had chosen to write this article in three hours’ time, I would be writing like some kind of Dickensian figure. Yes, that’s right, I would be crouched over the page, bathed in candlelight. Oh it may smell of garden meadow, fresh linen or some other outlandish fragrance, but it’s still a bloody candle. And it will join those burning in the sitting room (we’re proper posh these days) and the hallway etc. You see, we have lots of lovely bright lights, modern programmable lights, some of which work by remote control. However we choose to spend lots of our time searching in drawers for matches and lighters to fire up our candles. December brought us a ton of fresh supplies, as the ubiquitous candles arrived in all shapes and sizes. It’s funny though, how my electricity bill is still so very eye watering. I will admit it is nice to idle in the faint glow of candlelight, within reason. It is
part of a bigger picture on this backward path we seem to be following these days. During my childhood, the first one home from school always had the onerous task of lighting the coal fire. The house would be cold enough to make ice of a runny nose and I used to keep my school coat on for the first couple of hours. It used to take forever until the coal fire reached its peak and looked as good as it did in the movies. When I got married our first house had central heating and it was nirvana. The daily challenge to emerge from under the bed covers had improved. No getting up to frosty windows on the inside, but magical heat that had come on whilst you enjoyed the last hour of snoozing. Lovely. But wait. Yes, you’ve guessed where this is going (at long last). We now have friends who have switched to log burners. Again, lovely, cosy and aesthetically pleasing, but also as practical as flat tyres on a racing bike. Why does one espouse waking up to a warm room in favour of emptying out the ash bucket, getting kindling and lighting a brand new fire? Hardly practical, or progressive, is it? And why are we cooking on log powered AGA type cookers in the middle of modern housing estates? Some things from the past are attractive and possibly better. Things like good manners and politeness, yes. But lighting fires indoors? No, definitely not. To capture the spirit of this return to ways of old I decided to move things to the next step. This December just passed, I decided that Mrs Mott’s decidedly retro ways should be rewarded. Feeling certain she would embrace taking another step into the past, our utility room was reconfigured. I replaced our fully automatic washing machine with a hot tub, water boiler and a mangle. It all looked so good bathed in the comforting glow of several candles. Only it was then that the fight started. Yours aye from the spare room!
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still on ‘Jane Plan’ (but just who the heck is Jane and what is her story anyway?).
TOTALLY TRACIE WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? So it's that time of the month again (no, not that time) - the Love & Romance time. Yep, it’s February, the month when Cupid shoots his arrow and we all wait for that card to drop through our letterbox to tell us just how much we are loved, or not! Yeah, yeah, yeah, the roses are always way overpriced, the restaurants are full of loved-up couples, staring into each other's eyes, who only last week were tearing each other apart over who last put the bins out, and you've had to pay the babysitter double simply to get out for the evening. Is it worth it? Hell, yes! To lose sight of romance in one's life is to simply stop living and breathing. Oh the cynical ones amongst you may laugh in the face of St. Valentine’s Day. You’ll surely laugh at the card shop tills ringing with the most cringeworthy cards and hideous gifts, but when you’re in love, none of it seems cringy at all. It's all so exciting and fun! The feminists' movement wants to ban St. Valentine’s Day, on the basis that it exploits women. Whereas actually, I happen to think it exploits men, who are the biggest spenders of all on flowers, cuddly toys and the restaurant bill. Yep, men are the ones who traditionally propose and buy the ring (except during a Leap Year, but we’re safe ’til 2020 from that one, girls! And personally, I think we should simply ban Leap Years). I know its old fashioned, but a man asking a woman to marry him on St. Valentine’s Day surely has to be the most romantic thing ever. We women love to coo over the romance of our friends and listen endlessly to their proposal stories. Yes, we women can do most things men can do these days, but nothing beats a marriage proposal from a man. We all have that one friend who ‘asked her husband to marry her’ and good on her for having the guts to ask but February is the one month we get the chance to be loved and adored, if only for a very short time. However, as good as St. Valentine's Day is, rather than hold it in February, shouldn’t it be moved to May or June instead, when we’re all much warmer, thinner and are full of the joys of Spring? I mean, come on, in February we’re all still holding our stomachs in and counting the calories after Christmas and the New Year. We’re all Page 30
I always start my very own healthy eating plan in January and by February I'm usually staring longingly into the cupboards in the hope of finding an unopened packet of crisps circa 2012 that fell down the back. No, February is definitely not a good month for ripping off the clothes. Those pull-your-stomach-in knickers are bloody murder to get off in a hurry anyway. Let's face it,in February, most of us are wearing our big knickers that stay hidden in the back of the drawer for the remainder of the year. Come to think of it, even my socks are made of spandex to thin my ankles in February. And absolutely no one, in February, is up for the Anne Summers Challenge on the underwear front. Not to mention the fact that my house is so cold there is certainly no undressing for bed once the clocks have gone backwards for Winter. Out here it's a case of putting on more and more layers and praying we don't die of hyporthermia during the night. I don’t know how anyone can look sexy in a tracksuit, 4 jumpers, a bobble hat and bedsocks. It's just not happening in that get-up. Fifty Shades? More like Five Degrees Below Zero and fighting over the duvet. Only let's not go there on the duvet saga as it's like a bloody tug of war all night long. Hot Romance? It's more like the Cold War here!
DOWN & DIRTY Do you remember the days when you used to have to wait all week for an episode of a series to come on the tele? You'd honestly plan your life around the week night it was on. But not anymore, which is yet another thing that’s disappeared since the invention of Smart TVs and BBC iPlayer. I just love a box set. I go to bed with my coffee and biscuits and I literally binge watch. I've even been known to be up all night long watching ‘a good one’. Just like a good book, once you start, it’s almost impossible to stop. But is this just yet another example of the ‘have it all immediately’ age that we live in? We simply cannot wait for anything anymore. We have to have it all now or we’re simply not interested. But thank heaven’s above ‘Luther’ is back on TV. Idris Elba is such an amazing actor. Recently ‘the girls’ and I got together to watch the movie ‘The Mountain Between Us’, which is so romantic and heartwarming - until they got down and dirty in the log cabin and my friend Tina piped up, “As if you would after being trapped on a mountain for weeks without a shower with hairy legs and armpits”. She had a point. It would take a bloody brave woman to bump uglies with Idris Elba without a change of underwear and a decent Bic razor. But still, it’s a brilliant film all the same. And the moral of the story here is never underestimate a group of women, a glass or two of wine and chick flick to tell it like it really is!
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