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the ISSUE NO: 274
‘THE CHELMSFORD FANZINE’
Telephone 01245 348256
Mobile: 077 646 797 44
We are open for Afternoon Tea, Lunch and Dinner at both Le Bouchon and Le Benaix. Why not Dine Alfresco at Le Benaix or add a Boat Trip at Le Bouchon.
Afternoon Tea on the River
Le Bouchon River Boat Trips
From only £27.50pp
1½ hour Boat trip taking in the scenic Beauty of the Chelmer Navigation Canal From the ‘Hotel’s private moorings’ available Daily 12 - 4pm
Wine & Dine Nights Offer
Two Courses each and a Bottle of wine to share Only £25 per person. Offer for a minimum of two people and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers/discounts.
Back by popular demand! 25% Food Discount Everyday Between 5.30pm - 6.45pm for tables of up to 8 people Offer only applies on orders taken before 6.45pm.
Alfresco Dining at Le Benaix In our beautiful Landscaped Garden.
Why not add a 1 hour Daily River trip to before or after Dining ONLY at Le Bouchon £6 This would make a perfect Gift!
Le Bouchon Afternoon Tea
Stay and Dine in our Boutique Hotel and Fine Dining Restaurant from £75pp*
£20 DINING DISCOUNT
Enjoy our tasting menu with this discount voucher. New menus are now available on line at both locations. On production of this voucher or quote code 20TM when booking. Can only be used for our 7 course Tasting Menu. Cannot be used in conjunction with Early Diner or any other offer. Valid until 31st August 2019.
Includes cream tea on arrival, 3 course candlelit dinner, a glass of Champagne each, and breakfast. *Stay and dine offer for a minimum of 2 guests.
Why not treat a Friend or Loved one to a special occasion with one of our Gift Vouchers available all year long email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
@ THE HEYBRIDGE HOTEL • BRASSERIE & HOTEL
The Square, Holloway Road, Heybridge, Maldon CM9 4LT Tel: 01621 856 511 • email@example.com • www.lebouchon.co.uk
Le Benaix Orangery entrance
LE BENAIX BRASSERIE & BAR
ALL MENUS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
Main Road, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8DY Tel: 01245 987888 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.brasseriebenaix.com
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the e-cigarette shop Full range of warrantied ELECTRIC CIGARETTES from starter kits & variable voltage devices through to mechanical mods & accessories. British made e-liquids in a wide range of flavours & strengths. We are a family run business who are always happy to help.
59 Moulsham Street, Chelmsford, CM2 0JA. 01245 490741 www.personalvapour.com
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And then those buttons at the bottom and the tricky, somehow upside down way, you have to fasten ’em. Yep, I’m always ready for a stiff brandy after I’ve tackled a double duvet cover.
WON THE LOTTO When people say they’ve just won £50 on the Lottery, oh no they haven’t. They’re still no doubt massively in arrears for all of the tickets they’ve previously bought that didn’t earn them a single penny. Funnily enough, they always seem to forget that.
The Edge Editor’s Column CHRISTMAS Congratulations, if that’s the right word, to the Running Mare at Galleywood who, as far as The Edge is concerned, were first out of the blocks with their Christmas Menu. Unless, of course, any of you readers know different?
DOUBLE DUVET COVER Surely I cannot be the only man that struggles with a double duvet cover? For instance, when you get it out of the washing machine and hang in on the whirly-line, which is no mean feat in itself, you have to check out the interior for stray pop socks, knickers, undercrackers and such like. Then there’s all the pegs it takes to fasten it safely on there in a letter ‘U’ formation, which is the correct way to do it, apparently. Not to mention single handedly getting the duvet back inside it is a proper bugger, I always think. You have to start with the top corners, then grab each and shake it out, although it never unfurls properly, so you have to drag the last half down.
Wife came home all excited from her trip to the supermarket. She said, “I’ve got you this Organic Soya Bean Spaghetti that everyone’s been raving about to try for your tea tonight (she actually said ‘tea’, as opposed to ‘dinner’) as I’ll be round at Leena’s. There’s some pesto in the fridge you can finish off as well.” “Who’s everyone?” replied I, none too enthusiastically. And do you know what, readers? The stuff is rank. I sort of knew it would be on sight, together with the fact that it only takes 4-6 minutes to cook in boiling water. Yuk.
TOP GEAR As I mentioned in my Editor’s Column last month, it’s been great to see the new presenters really bonding in the brand new series, after the misfiring attempts of Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc. ‘The hearse episode’ must surely go down in Top Gear folklore as being one of the best ever. I was in stitches when Paddy and Chris pulled ‘Freddie’ out of the back of that creepy ‘death trap’ area (underneath the main stage - I didn’t even know there was such a thing) in the back of the hearse, only for its lid to then fairly thwack Flintoff on the forehead.
But dear oh dear, I was then left somewhat aghast as Flintoff got his revenge later in the same episode by fairly hammering a large wedge of watermelon down onto Harris’ shaved dome that even left McGuinness splutteringly speechless. Schoolboy bullying springs to mind.
TRACY ISLAND Remember I told you we’d invested in an ickle hedgehog house that looks a bit like Tracy Island in Thunderbirds? Well, I’d like to inform you that we can now proudly boast our very first prickly resident. And you can do this too, readers. It’s easy. Just make sure you have a couple of entrance and exit points in your garden and initially start leaving out a small bowl of water and some dried hedgehog food that you can obtain from any pet store and watch out for (a) if the food’s gone the next morning, and (b) for small, usually hard black hedgehog stools on your patio. It’s brilliant watching them feeding, hearing them crunch their tucker and making their snuffling noises. And hey, get your neighbours involved too, as hedgehogs cover quite a large area during their nightly patrols. We need to look after these wonderful creatures as these days they are sadly an endangered species.
AUGUST MEANS FOOTIE That’s right, this month sees yet another Premiership campaign kick-off once again on Friday 9th August and if you’re in love with the game, it can never start a moment too soon. What’s more, next summer it’s the Euro finals, which makes it an extra long season. Lovely. THE EDGE Chelmsford CM2 6XD 0 77 646 797 44 email@example.com
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Would you look at this beauty, and it is undoubtedly a beautiful looking mountain-bike, and automatically think, ‘Yep, that’s an e-bike alright’ (electric bike)? I honestly don’t think you would. But it is, so you can appreciate just how very far design teams have come over the past decade or so, right? This particular model is a Giant Trance E + Pro, apparently, and it’s £3,999 brand new, which is a lot of money for a bicycle, isn’t it? But dedicated riders often spend even more than that, as I was soon to find out on our wonderful, near perfect, 5-day break in Dorset to celebrate my wife’s birthday, my birthday, and our 18th wedding anniversary, all within 3 glorious days of each other. I’ve always been a mountain bike rider, even though I’m a 99% road rider. Drop handlebars, lycra pornsuits, strange helmets and tap-dancing shoes have simply never done it for me, but each to their own. But I could instinctively tell, when Michael at the Giant store in New Street, told me to take this bike away for the weekend (as he knows my next one will probably be of the electric variety) that it was yearning for more than mere tarmac. ‘Faster up the climbs, longer loops, more single-track fun on any given day. Give yourself the power and freedom to extend your trail-riding adventures’ - so the Giant blurb goes. Yep. I’d thought as much. And the ridgeline between Corfe Castle and Swanage would have been ideal terrain to put this baby through its paces. Only as I’ve said, I’m a 99% road rider and the particular part of Dorset that we tend to visit does have some truly horrible hills (the road up to the Scott Arms at Kingston is a particular lung buster), so I was simply out to experience the difference between leg power and ALP (assisted leg power) and I assure you, it’s a game changer. Oh sure, I got called a “CHEAT!” within pretty much 10 minutes of being on the damn thing, after I’d put it into turbo mode and caught up some road riders who were struggling up a hill. But to my mind, it’s horses for courses, and if you’re on a mini-staycation, like we were, and you simply wanted to get around and enjoy the scenery without getting all sweaty and uncomfortable in the process, then quite honestly, electric-assistance is most definitely the way forward.
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This was the morning of my wife’s birthday and unbeknown to her I’d arranged a little surprise, courtesy of Farmer Ted (well, blokes ‘top’ their wives in all sorts of mysterious ways these days, don’t they? You read all about it in the Sunday ’papers). In truth, I’d just stopped to take a photograph of the Burpday Girl herself on, as you can see, a single track back road heading for Swanage from Corfe Castle, when this big bugger happened upon us right out of the blue. Christ, it was like ‘Operation Case Yellow’ all over again back in 1940, when German tanks rumbled into Luxembourg and Holland during WW2. It wasn’t long into this back road where I saw other FTB (fat tyred bikers) turn off through a gate to go up to the ridgeline to do some of their off-road stuff, only I figured that’s all a bit dangerous when we’re merely out for a Sunday morning poodle. Only little did I know what was in store for us. We literally had to get off our bikes, get as close to the edge of the track as we could, breathe in and just hope for the best. We’ve cycled this back road on numerous previous occasions, but always on our near 25-year-old Marin mountain bikes. But with electrical assistance, hills really do become a thing of the past and it’s entirely up to the rider to dictate how much ‘assistance’ you require, right the way from ‘JAL’ (just a little) right up to ‘WYLFB’ (well you lazy fat bastard).
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This little gem of a boutique festival was first created in 2015 and is now in its fifth year. Quite simply, SEB offers local people (it’s a ‘local’ festival for ‘local’ people) the opportunity to eat, drink, dance and be merry from noon until 9:00pm. Every year the bar is set higher and higher by adding yet more mouthwatering street food trucks and boutique bars. SEB are also pleased to announce the return of last year’s new addition, the ‘Tropical Soul’ area with Caribbean food, a Rum bar and reggae/soul DJ’s. The main DJ stage will be hosting musical delights from this years artists, including bongo players, steel drums, a flutist and saxophonist, as well as resident dancers and parkour teams (a training discipline using movement developed from military obstacle course training). New additions to this year’s food traders include Mac Street Kitchen, who serve super pimped-up cheesey Mac'n'Cheese from their vintage Bedford ambulance. Arji Bhaji, who will delight you all with their choice of Indian cuisine. Born & Raised, which is a mobile wood-fired pizzeria that creates artisan British pizzas in a converted Land Rover Defender. Plus The Taco Monster, which is a huge, red, ‘monster shaped’ truck from which you can procure the very best taco’s in town. On a sweeter note, Crepe Zone will satisfy all of your sugar cravings with their exceptional crepes, alongside regular pop-up boutique bars such as The Gin Craze, which offer a range of old and new gins alike. Meanwhile, Tricky Cider will have all of your favourite ciders served on ice from their converted horsebox, while a brand new addition this year is The Tiddly Tuk, a converted tuk-tuk serving both fizz and lager on tap. Further information on other trucks attending can be found on the website. DJs will play classic dance music anthems throughout the day, such as Ibiza lounge tracks, House and Old Skool. Kids can play in the hay bales, bounce on the spacehoppers, or bang on the upside-down buckets with wooden spoons. And if they don’t, no doubt the adults will! Tickets are on sale now from www.streeteatsnbeats.com with early bird prices starting at just £5. So why not pop along to this family fun day at Kings Head Meadows, Chelmsford, CM2 0DE (access via Baddow Road car-park, behind the B&M store on Parkway).
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We did it! Our first event was a great success! You may have seen us at the recent Essex Food Festival at Cressing Barns last month and we certainly spoke to a few of our regular Edge readers who came to say ‘Hi’, which was really appreciated, so a big thank you for that. It was definitely hard work. The weekend totally wiped us out, but it was so worth every minute. Our fryers really took a bashing on the Sunday and we managed to sell double the number of portions that we did on the Saturday, which saw us running around with our pants on fire and just about keeping control. We learnt a hell of a lot too, and by the end of the weekend, I actually thought we’d found our rhythm. It was a lovely feeling to put a ‘Sold Out’ sign up towards the end of the event and it was surreal seeing people walking around, eating our food and coming back over to give us their compliments. It’s such a buzz knowing that we brought some joy to people with our great love of food.
So, where to next?
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The festival helped us network massively and we were lucky enough to be approached about two more possible opportunities. We are aiming to be part of the Braintree Street Market, which is usually held on the last Saturday of each month. This would be a very exciting regular spot to get, with over 50 traders booked in for one of their recent markets. We were also approached by Eleanor Taylor, the director of Maldon Oyster & Seafood Festival, who stopped by for a frozen margarita. That would be a perfect event for us, located in Maldon’s Promenade Park on Sunday 8th September, totally celebrating seafood. Our aim now is to get more people to try our vegan dishes. Although we managed to sell out of our calamari, our vegan dishes played second fiddle - until people tried them! Once they had taken a bite, they were amazed at just how good they tasted. So we want people to put their trust
in us and know in their hearts that we will always deliver on flavour, especially when it comes to our range of vegan options. We hate wasting food and try to live as sustainably as possible. Using our left over box of aubergines that we had from the festival, we got really creative and tried to work them into as many home cooked dishes as possible over the course of the following week. We will try and get some of them up onto social media soon. Please make sure you give us a follow to stay up to date with what’s happening with us next. And if you’re organising a party or an event and you don’t want the hassle of cooking yourself, why not get in touch and hire us? We can provide custom based menus around our calamari, vegan dishes and really rather extensive cocktail list simply for you!
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These are the lovely ladies of the local bakery in Corfe Castle and no trip there is complete until you have sampled their lovely soft baps, readers. Corfe is a bit like a place that time forgot in a truly wonderful sense. You just get the feeling that everywhere is ‘a local shop for local people’, even though they get so very many visitors. But we never miss a trip to the bakery and pop in there every single time we visit. It’s hard to resist their bacon or sausage baps, whilst a particular favourite of mine is their chicken tikka and salad in a kind of a half a ‘submarine baguette’. Oh and don’t get me started about their bread pudding, which is absolutely to die for. Like us, so long as the weather’s favourable, many people than sit of the steps of the memorial (left) and enjoy their tucker, whilst drinking in their coffee and the magnificent views that are all around them. If there’s a better, more picturesque, more authentic village in all of England than Corfe Castle, then I certainly haven’t come across it yet. And, thinking about it, in all seriousness, I think that one day - one day I’m going to have to go and live down there, because it’s everything that Chelmsford isn’t. Five and a half hours it took us to get to Corfe Castle, due to roadworks and diversions, instead of the usual three, even though we left Chelms-ford at 04:15am that Saturday morning. Yet I’d only been in the village square, feeling like King of the Castle, sat beneath a memorial that commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897, for about 5 minutes when some flash twat rocked up and completely usurped me. Just look at his jaw-droppingly awesome Specialized bike (above) - and I do love the black and orange livery. Naturally, I introduced myself and told him he should move right along and stop stealing the Giant’s thunder. But he did tell me he’d gotten a ‘decent deal’ on his wheels by happening to be ‘in the right place at the right time’. Otherwise it’d have cost him £9,500.
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And so, with little warning and Christmas seemingly only a couple of months ago, the school summer holidays are upon us. But hey, local traffic will be better during rush hour and that’s pretty much the only positive thing to come of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I love spending time with them. However, I also love getting a couple of hours to myself every now and then, but that ain’t gonna happen until September now. From the minute their term finished in July until they go back in September, I am now expected to be a 24/7 entertainer extraordinaire. Back when I
was a kid, I think my parents opened the door in the morning, I disappeared out to play with my friends, and reappeared somewhere around bedtime. Sadly, times change and playing outside the home unsupervised is no longer an option. Another change since my childhood is the fact that we now have social media to help make me feel like the worst parent in the world. Whilst I’m trying to stagger our outings throughout the six week period (so as to avoid having to take out a second mortgage), I am constantly bombarded by posts from those who’ve managed to cram my entire programme into a single day. “Swimming this morning, followed by bowling, cinema, TGI’s, trip to Southend this afternoon, dinner in Rome, followed by flying to Paris Disneyland...,” #makingmemories #familytime #love Well, as far as I’m concerned, you can #do one with your self-indulgent, perfect parent posts, because in the real world I will be doing my level best just to survive the summer whilst retaining an ounce of sanity. Today, single-parents are under more pressure than ever, thanks to the sanctimonious preachers of MumsNet constantly telling us how and what we should and shouldn’t be doing and feeling. I’m apparently supposed to “cherish every moment”. Maybe their kids are a whole new breed of human being, but as far as mine are concerned, there are certain incy wincy moments that make me question why I ever had them (joke, just). The extra time we all spend together as a family in school holidays is not always the skipping through meadows, holding hands and singing the joys of our existence experience we’d like it to be. In most households it is much more likely to resemble a war zone. The kids are searching for ever more pointless reasons to annoy their siblings (a personal favourite of mine being a fight over a single popcorn kernel) and when they’re not doing that, the chances are they’re complaining to me that they’re either hungry, bored, or both.
One particular problem with days out during the school holidays is that everyone is doing the same damn thing. A day at the beach can be lovely, if the weather’s nice, but unfortunately you are likely to spend the majority of the day stuck in traffic, then trying to find a parking space and finally, if you’re really lucky, getting to the beach just in time to see the sun going down. On the other hand, the zoo during school holidays is quite frankly my idea of hell. All day trying not to lose my kids in amongst the hordes of others, not helped by being constantly under attack by swarms of pesky wasps. Theme parks can be fun, but again, during school holidays, much of the time spent there is likely to be queuing. And when you finally get to the front, one of my little cherubs will decide they no longer want to go on the ride and I am then faced with the situation of one wanting to go on, one not, and despite many attempts to date, I am still unable to split myself in two. Even when I’ve admitted defeat and decided to have a quiet (otherwise known as ‘boring’) day at home in the garden, there is still no escaping the expense of the summer holidays. Cue the ominous sound of the ice-cream van coming down the road. Gone are the days of scraping together all of your loose change in the hope of producing enough funds to purchase a couple of 99’s and avoid listening to the woes of ice-cream deprived children for the next few hours. I discovered relatively recently that you can now pay by card at ice-cream vans. I may be one of the last people to have realised this fact, but thank goodness for that, because I could’ve bought half the contents of my freezer from Asda for the same price as a couple of cones from Mr Whippy. And the fact is, ultimately they’re going to end up smeared across my kids’ faces and melted onto their clothes for me to wash, along with an entire mountain of other laundry, thanks to them changing their outfits about five times every day. How many days left until September?
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FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD As the cast of Oliver once sang, there’s simply nothing quite like it. And with all the work that's recently been done in our fine city over the past few years, the one thing we aren't short of these days are places to eat. But ask most people where they go to graze of an evening, weekend, or lunchtime and unsurprisingly they’ll mention the same old chains, such as Pizza Express, Ask, Wagamama, Byron, Prezzo etc.
After necking a couple of pints, we moved on to a pure gem of a place called Shwings, just 50m to the right of Olio's, residing in a canteen’s old spot. I'd walked past this venue a time or two on my way to the gym in the mornings and often wondered what it would be like and how it compared to the chain restaurant that is Nando’s, as they also offer a chicken based menu. So the two of us were stood outside, looking at the menu, and to be frank, Mr Edge was almost having a change of heart and leaning towards a ruby instead. We were literally about to walk away when, as luck would have it, owner Mark Strutton walked to the door to hand a take-away order to one of his Deliveroo drivers (one of many that seemed to be going out that night) and after eavesdropping on us discussing our options, it prompted him to bomb into our conversation and before we knew it, between his enthusiastic attitude and energy, our (sh)wings had been well and truly clipped and in we jolly well marched.
But for me, it's always important to remember Chelmsford’s quality independently owned eateries. Previously within these pages, The Edge has written about old favourites, such as Back Inn Time, the superbly run Moto Pizza, as well as the family owned Italian restaurants we have in Polignano (on the corner of Can Bridge Way and Baddow Road, serving fantastic Italian coffee in the mornings, through to lovely bottles of red of an evening, always with lots of freshly made food on offer) and Olio's, where the grub is as wonderful as the staff that serve you. I still remember the first time I went there and even though I’d never met any of the staff before, they honestly made me feel as though I’d known the clan for years. All of these things and experiences you simply don't get in chain restaurants, where we’re simply treated as though we’re just another face to serve and forget. Which brings me nicely to a recent Friday night out me and the good Mr Edge had a few weeks ago. Once again we met up at The Courtyard for a couple of cheeky pints of their superb draft ale Maltsmiths, where we discussing how poorly I'd performed in The Edge Footie Prediction Stakes for the 2018-19 season. More to my disgust, I discovered my Mexican looking work colleague, Luke Butcher, had also beaten me. “Gutted” wasn't actually the word I used at the time. www.theedgemag.co.uk
First stop was naturally the bar and Mr Edge was immediately taken by the lighting and how they served their G&Ts, with peeled cucumber and Fever Tree tonic. "All our chicken is Portuguese and cooked over an open coal fire, giving it a lovely BBQ flavour,” Mark told us. “It’s a unique twist on the traditional cooking techniques, compared to, say, Nando’s, of which we consider ourselves to be an up-market version of. All of our ingredients are imported, even our cooking coals. And get this, I persuaded the chef who first inspired me to come over from Portugal and work for me. After I'd eaten at his restaurant a few times, I'd simply fallen in love with the taste and the flavours so much that once I returned to the UK, I knew I was going to do this. But I also knew I needed to poach the main man himself to make it all happen, so I hopped back on a ’plane to Portugal to steal him from a place called The Chicken Shack." Mark continued to tell us that all of his sauces are homemade and produced on the premises. "I use jumbo chicken wings, which I find very hard to source as no other wing venue I’ve contacted seem to have them. Also all my birds are free range and we only use the highest quality ingredients. On top of that, all our products are recyclable where our take-aways and deliveries are concerned.”
As you can gather, Mark is truly doing his bit for both our bellies and the environment.
even sampled some of Mark’s latest cocktails which have recently been added to the menu.
Armed with such knowledge, we left it in his capable hands to choose our dinner for us and in no way did he disappoint.
With truly great food on offer and great service to boot, not to mention a spot-on playlist in the background, you simply can’t go wrong at Shwings.
He served up a whole piri spatchcock chicken, cooked on coals as promised, plus some buffalo wings with homemade blue cheese, both of which were absolutely superb. Meanwhile, on the sides, we had skin-on fries for Mr Edge, while I proper man'd up and had the loaded fries with bacon bits and spring onion in a special mayo sauce. Lovely. Simply delightful.
So forget all of the Brexit nonsense and get out there in Chelmsford and support our local independent restaurants. Be lucky, The Polak. xx
Which was when Mark explained why his own waistline was currently bigger than he would like! But seriously, how could anyone resist? We also had some corn on the cob in garlic butter and the house coleslaw, which once again was delicious. This was all washed down with a couple of G&Ts for old Edgy boy and a couple of beers for yours truly. Since that night, I've been back to Shwings on three more occasions with friends or family, all of whom have given a big thumbs-up to the venue. What’s more, we have Page 11
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FRIDAY 16th AUGUST
The Edge has been extolling the virtues of Swanage in Dorset to you good readers for years, hasn’t it? And why wouldn’t it? And, quite honestly, why wouldn’t you heed its advice? (Only you can answer that one, folks.) It’s a 3 hour drive from Chelmsford, door-to-door, and when the weather’s just right, like it was for our entire 4.5 day stay down there at the very end of June, then honestly, The Edge thinks it’s practically unbeatable. There’s something quite magical and traditionally, beautifully English about Corfe Castle and Swanage which you will either get, or you won’t. But if you don’t, hey, no worries. It simply means there’s a little more room down there for the rest of us to enjoy and savour. Swanage, in particular, has come a long way during the past 15 years since we’ve been regular visitors, and in the right direction too. Yet it still manages to offer quaint old seaside charm that I honestly don’t think the likes of Brighton can put a candle to - or maybe that should read fork to, or glass to, or an ice-cream etc. A place we instinctively head to whenever we go there is, well, it used to be called Gee White’s, and maybe it still is. But we always refer to it as Top Deck and Bottom Deck and you seriously cannot go wrong at either. For years my wife’s been trying to explain to me the benefits of sharing our food, but like many a Lovely big mussels in a delicious chap, I’ve always been resistant white wine sauce to the concept. But, you know, she’s right, because I made sure we kicked-off our birthday and wedding anniversary celebrations with a bowl of mussels each (plus a single portion of chips on the side), but halfway through I knew I’d done a ricket as it gets to a point where you’re no longer savouring each and every mouthful and that’s something we each need to teach ourselves to adhere to. So when we returned there two days later, we ordered that which you see below, to share this time around, and it was precisely the right amount. As I’ve mentioned, you cannot go wrong at either independently owned venue, but the view and the service are definitely superior ‘up top’, as is the quality of the prosecco, Mrs Edge reliably informs me. So what are you waiting for? Get yourselves down there during what remains of the summer and revel in both Swanage and Corfe Castle in all of its pure and unadulterated magnificence.
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Or you could try the Scott Arms at Kingston with such dramatic views of the shattered ruins of Corfe Castle (though granted it’s hard to see in this particular photograph), with Poole Harbour also in the very far distance. Oh yes, this is what The Edge calls drama, something we’re rather lacking in, by comparison, tame, rather rolling Essex. When you walk out the back this whole vista opens up right in front of your very eyes. And remember, this is the pub at the very top of a hideous hill all the way up from Corfe, for those of you thinking of cycling there. In fact, think North Hill (at Little Baddow) and then some. Only you’ll do it easily with some good old electrical assistance. There’s also a Jerk Shack (open most weekends between June and Sept-ember, weather permitting) in its gardens during the summer months, serving a feast of Jamaican Caribbean cuisine to the gentle sounds of Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, plus a whole host of other reggae and calypso tunes, while you feast on jerk chicken, goat curry, callaloo, patties and saltfish etc. kind courtesy of co-owner Nicki, who does in fact hail from Jamaica. The pub is attractively covered by Virginia Creeper for most of the year.
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The Stores Coffee, brunch & lunch
Do you remember the Black Widow gang in the Clint Eastwood movie ‘Every Which Way But Loose’ with Clyde, that bloody orangutan? Because if you do, whenever I hear a group of motorcycles roaring about, that’s the tune I kind of trumpet, rather than whistle (as whistling’s not as aggressive enough to herald what’s approaching). Only when Malcolm and his mate turned up at Swanage, it wasn’t just a roar, but the sound of distant thunder that got louder and louder the closer they got, and it was all made by Malcolm’s bike alone. And my god, what a motorcycle it was too. Trouble is, I’d ‘had a few’ by then and I cannot remember very much of what ‘Malcolm the Grebo’ was telling me (he wasn’t really a grebo and I very much doubt he’d ever bitten a chicken’s head off - it’s just a case of motorbikes being the absolute passion of guys like Malcolm). But two things did register. (1) His motorcycle cost him a helluva lot of money. And (2) he could vary its suspension height to make it low-slung or lift higher off the ground for, I dunno, I’m not a motorcyclist, but maybe he likes pig-jumping, or sumfink? But I’ll talk to anyone, I will. Especially when I’m in a happy frame of mind and I’ve taken a bit of rocket fuel on board - in this particular instance a couple of ice cold bottles of Thatchers Vintage 2018 Somerset Cider (7.4%) on a lovely summer’s day. I think it’s because I spend so very much of my time working alone that when I’m let loose, I’m a bit like a kid with a sugar rush. “Malcolm, me old mate,” I said. Well, I’m not stupid. He was hardly going to be called Gordon with a number plate like that, was he? “What say I get me Giant Trance in this ’ere line-up of hot rods and get me Sheila (motorcyclespeak for FPP - female pillion passenger) to take a snapshot of us?” “Depends,” he said. “On what?” I said. “On whether you’ve ever bitten a chicken’s head off,” he laughed. And we got along like a house on fire from that moment on.
Tuesday- Friday 8.30am-5pm Saturday 9am-5pm Main Road, Great Waltham, Chelmsford, Essex, CM3 1DE Tel ǻ 01245 362649 Email- email@example.com
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The crazy thing is, having passed my motorcycle test, I’m technically (technically and lawfully, I might add) qualified to ride Malcolm’s absolute beast of a machine. But would I? Would I dare? Not really. And definitely not without his permission. Christ, I was even beginning to feel guilty about riding an electrically assisted mountain bike by this time, so you’re hardly burning many calories when you’re straddling a hot rod, are you? And NO WAY can you take on board a lovely couple of bottles of Thatchers when you’ve got the huge responsibility of one of those things wedged between your legs. So pushbikes have always been a constant for me throughout my life. But there’s one thing I’d like to say to a lot of you readers reading this article and it’s this. If you’ve never even entertained the idea of purchasing of an e-bike, then 100% do not rule out such a prospect, because I tell you, they are a game-changer of gargantuan proportions. Sure, they’re not as physically demanding as regular cycling is, but one would honestly open up the prospect of a whole NEW WORLD for you.
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Much of the cheaper prosecco available on the market would be better used for the cleaning of dentures or descaling kettles, says a complete knob - apologies, readers - says a leading restaurateur. The chappy concerned insists: “Aside from mixing it in cocktails, I leave it well alone, or use it for hen parties and those wearing novelty t-shirts. However, I have heard it is extremely good for removing certain extra stubborn stains.” He gave his scathing assessment of what he considers to be certain types of the lower quality, industrially produced Italian fizz sold in certain supermarkets, in food and drink magazine, Noble Rot. Indeed, he singled out “Lidl car-park prosecco at £3.33 a bottle” and also expressed his horror at people who bought prosecco themed gifts, such a doormats with the words ‘Come in if you have Prosecco!’ written on them. Prosecco has enjoyed a phenomenal rise in popularity as the UK’s party drink of choice over the past decade. But the chappy in question reckons its success has led to mass production and inferior quality. “Wines that are no longer a sophisticated expression of the giera grape and are guzzled like lemonade are what I’m alluding to,” he pronounced.
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The number of Britons with second homes has now soared to 5.5million with their extra properties worth a massive ÂŁ1trillion combined. One in ten Brits now owns their own holiday home, buy-to-let or overseas accommodation, according to some latest think-tank. But this incredible boom comes at the expense of young people who are struggling to get on the property ladder, due to ever increasing prices. These days just one-in-three own their own home by the time they are 29 far fewer than the half of baby boomers who owned one at the same time. Property wealth seems to be concentrated among older, richer Britons, with those born in the fifties far more likely to own a second home than any other particular age-group. It is also noted that younger adults are boosting the wealth of their parentsâ€™ generation by paying significant rental costs every month. The rise of additional property wealth appears to be the flip-side of decreasing home ownership. As a consequence, Britain risks becoming a country where getting ahead in life depends as much on that which you inherit as that which your abilities allow you to earn. The value of second homes has increased by 53% since 2001 alone.
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Local Chelmo family The Cadogan’s have had Snoophog for a year now and isn’t he just the cutest lil thing? Says proud mum, Esther: “He pretty much sleeps all day and parties all night. S.H. eats dried cat food and goes on his wheel every single evening for a work-out and it’s a proper noisy event! “He also gives my daughter, Ruby, lots of kisses and snuggles up on her lap for a cuddle, which I appreciate is hard to believe with all of those spikes. “Ruby absolutely adores him and sometimes takes him to the local shop with her in his special blue hedgehog transportation-pouch.” If you have a hedgehog story, contact The Edge!
Local charity Beacon House Ministries is celebrating after making a successful bid for funding from Nationwide Building Society for work to support housing in the area. Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, has been looking to support charities dealing with the many issues around housing and made £500,000 available to help make a difference Chelmsford’s Senior Branch Manager, Oliver Worthington, pictured above proudly handing over the cheque, said: “Helping people into homes of their own is at the heart of what we do as a building society, which is why it is heartening that we can make funding available for local housing projects such as Beacon House Ministries.” Nationwide invited applications for grants of up to £50,000 for housing projects that have the potential to strengthen communities and help make a difference in local areas, ranging from innovative new housing, improving conditions, to supporting the most vulnerable. A Community Board of Nationwide members, employees and local housing experts was appointed to have a say on which local community projects were supported.
Nationwide Rayleigh and Wickford branches hosted a stall at Essex PRIDE in Central Park, Chelmsford, supporting LGBT+ Communities. Above are Assistant Branch Manager Annie and Member Representative Ashley.
Above: Oliver and his fellow Branch Managers volunteering for the day at Havens Hospice. Pick up a copy of The Edge from the Nationwide branch in Chelmsford High Street.
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THE LIPPY WOMAN
About Me: I was a ‘Service’ kid. Born in Germany as my Dad was in the RAF there at that time. Schooled at Great Baddow Comp. (among the first intake). Then went to work for the Co-Op at 16. Since then I’ve had an eclectic set of jobs, including Editorial Librarian for the Essex Chronicle (paper cuttings, no less). I also did stints at Marconi Radar, AND Comms. (as so many of us Chelmsfordians did), not to mention a receptionist/Jill-ofall-trades in a private business centre in Chelmsford for a few years. Finally I finished my working life as a Doctor’s Receptionist (a much-maligned post, believe you me).
I woke to my alarm recently (to one of the radio stations currently depriving some of our golden oldies of their discretionary TV license, but I still prefer it to any station with constant adverts) to hear the presenters and their callers lamenting those annoying words and phrases creeping into everyday use. I have to confess that this is a pet peeve of mine too. So I then found myself sitting bolt upright in bed, bawling at the radio, “Yes, it ticks me right off when people say that too.” Which phrase in particular was it? “I turned around and said…” Oh no, you didn’t! Why do so many people start their sentences with that phrase? Has anyone ever seen anyone physically do that? No, of course they haven’t. And don’t get me started on the often quite frankly rotten spelling on their Facebook entries. Doesn’t anyone use their spell-checker any more?
I’m an early-retiree with far too much time on my hands and a burning desire for a forum to air my complaints. I’m an enthusiastic, albeit lazy, ‘crafter’, a reader of everything from ‘chic-lit’ to Terry Pratchett to Miss Read (usually seen as Penguin editions with the orange spine, remember those?), a pedantic corrector of others’ deplorable spelling, and I still live each day with the hope that Ryan Reynolds will find himself inexplicably passing through Springfield en route to L.A. and just happen to break down exactly outside my door. I’m also an Essex Girl through and through and very proud of it.
THE TIE A friend of mine, who still seemingly prefers mostly employment to leisure time, tells me that his company has now gone into fully ‘dress-down mode’, although he’s ‘old school’ and still prefers to wear a tie with his shirt and trousers. Well a tie doesn’t keep you warm or dry, and presumably does not add comfort to the wearer, yet men all around the world seem to love
WAFTING I’m going to let you in on my secret guilty freebie pleasure, which is to walk into a department store and spritz myself with a lovely perfume and walk around town ‘wafting’ at everyone as I go. So, if you’re going to copy my example, please do it discreetly so you don’t spoil it for anyone else. What’s more, you’d better do it before we lose all of our High Street stores, as you won’t be able to enjoy that particular secret treat online.
SHAMPERS All I wanted was some shampoo. Just something to wash my hair with. It shouldn’t be that difficult a task, should it? The only choices I seem to remember in the late sixties that were available from my local supermarket in Galleywood were either Vosene or sachets (yes, you young folk, sachets) of something for either greasy hair or dry hair. Simples, eh? Whereas nowadays I’m not saying that it’s not a fine thing to have choices, but can I be the only one that wanders up and down the same supermarket aisle with a glazed look plastered all over my face (and no doubt incurring the
interest of the CCTV camera operator), whilst simultaneously trying to negotiate my way through all of the advertising hyperbole printed in such tiny lettering (although that may have more to do with my eyesight)? I don’t know how many times I must have thrown up my hands in sheer frustration and just walked away. Clearly it’s an age thing.
WTF I’m not above using the occasional LOL, OMG or even WTF in my texts to my friends, but have we forgotten how to speak, spell, or even use grammar correctly? Punctuation is still a bit of a mystery to me, but I’d prefer to use too many commas than none at all.
wearing them. So my question is, is the tie obsolete apparel these days, even with a suit? (To answer that one, swiftly turn to Ann’s nemesis on page 27.)
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High Rollers basketball team are hosting an event that has never been witnessed in the UK before. At Marks Hall, in Harlow, on Saturday 31st August, some of the very best wheelchair basketball players from all across Europe are coming to compete for a prize fund of £550. The games are short, the intensity is high. There will also be a ‘normal’ basketball competition running at the same time with three of the highest profile streetballers in the country signed up to appear, competing for an equal prize fund. Legend in the game of graffiti, Kilo, will also be bringing along some boards for attendees who might like to try their hand at his noble craft. There is no fee, or age limit, as to who can have a crack. All that is asked is for a donation, so long as you enjoyed the experience. Music will be played throughout the day. Refreshments are available and there are also great prizes to be won in a raffle inc. premium prizes, basketball related prizes and much, much more. There will also be the chance to try wheelchair basketball, if you think you have what it takes? You actually don’t have to have a disability to play wheelchair basketball, so hey, don’t be shy, give it a try! The first games will start at noon and there will be 4 courts running the whole time, so be ready to see some truly world class basketball of both kinds (wheelchair and running). The first 20 spectators to arrive will get in for FREE. Thereafter it’s £3pp with the finals being held at around 8pm. And here, in Jack Gibbs (photographed below) own words, are his sponsorship needs....
You can never tell whether this might be the start of something reet proper interesting, or whether it’s simply yet another random, nonsensical act on The Edge’s behalf. But let’s have a go anyway, shall we, and kick-off with the PEL (proper egghead legend) that is Emmerdale’s Paddy Kirk, pictured here with his best buddy, Marlon Dingle. Now Paddy is currently tut Emmerdale’s longest serving character, which is kind of handy, as The Edge doesn’t much fancy his chances if he had to further his acting career elsewhere, do you think? If you know where we’re coming from, like. As he’s not much of an actor. He’s actually been married (on screen) three times. Yes, three. Yes, Paddy. When you wouldn’t much fancy his chances of attracting a spouse even once, if truth be told, would you? Just saying. What’s more, the writers of Emmerdale have already had him involved in several affairs of the heart. Yes, several. Yes, Paddy (above). The Padster (his nickname off-set, quite possibly) was originally drawn to Mandy Dingle, and if The Edge’s memory is correct, wasn’t she a bubbly fat lass? So who says opposites attract? Then he married Emily Dingle (aye, I know, it’s all Dingle this and Dingle that. It’s surprising there aren’t a few kids walking about with two heads in tut village as obviously the whole of Emmerdale is incestuous). But, over time, like so many modern day marriages, the sparks dampened and they went their separate ways (cue tissues and violin music). And then he married fellow vet Rhona (below), but that all went tits-up too. And come to think of it, have you ever seen one single animal being treated at Paddy’s veterinary practice? Even a hamster? Ever? No, The Edge hasn’t either. Fast forward to the present day and now Paddy is seemingly happily ensconced with that, that, ‘that thing’ behind The Woolpack bar. Ugh! Yuk! But no matter, it still makes Patrick Kirk a bona fide BALD LEG’END’ in The Edge’s eyes, due to his fantastic screen presence.
Sponsor Packs - “We are the only team in Essex, currently in the second division, with plans to rank up to the top league within the next five years. “Our main goal is to be the first disabled pro-team in the UK. I have personally played pro-ball in Europe and seen how the game is treated over there. It’s like a business, not just a pat on the back for playing sport, like it’s viewed over here. As you are probably aware, I am blatantly asking for help in one form or another. We are set up as a registered charity, which means donations have tax incentives. We are looking for various partnership deals with different kinds of companies, including game day sponsorship. “There are 12 varying opportunities to cover any match day. Most importantly, the benefits are that you help keep the club and the sport of wheelchair basketball progressing, which in turn offers massive benefits to disabled people and their families, both young and old. “Media coverage on our live stream/social media and advertising boards around the court on game day. Player partnership - benefits - photo opportunities with players to show the great work you are doing. “Help keep a player at the top of their game with fresh tyres and innertubes. And, for an extra cost, you can have your very own advertisement board at our games. Plus social media promotions. Or be our main sponsor and cover our fees for training, games and travel for our club to successfully run each year. “Kit sponsorship - a full kit for 12 players costs roughly £1,000 with names and numbers (home and away). Wheel bags for national and international travel cost £150 x 12 (with advertising/promotion available).”
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BETTER LATE THAN NEVER Our editor is no doubt pulling the last of his hair out, waiting for me to submit this month’s article before his deadline. Everything was already in place, but I had to wait for the conclusion of the Cricket World Cup Final before submitting my final piece; and boy, am I glad that I did. England beat New Zealand in the most thrilling fashion and are now the champions of the world! All too often English sporting teams snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and the cricket final was no different. New Zealand posted an achievable 241 runs in their 50 overs, but remarkably England only managed to tie with that figure. That meant the game went into a super-over where both sides faced six balls each and the winner was the team who scored the most runs; unbelievably both teams managed to score 15 each, but England were crowned champions after scoring more boundaries (4’s and 6’s) throughout the entire match. This was the first time in history that England have been crowned champions and what better place to do it than at the home of cricket, Lord’s. I think it has to go down as one of the greatest games ever witnessed and surely one of the
best English sporting events of all time. Now if we can only go on and replicate that success against Australia in the Ashes later this year, then I think we will look back fondly on the best summer for English cricket ever.
TRUMPED ON How on earth can anyone in and around British politics criticise Donald Trump? The recent leak involving the American ambassador, Kim Darroch, is embarrassing to us to say the least, and given the ongoing Brexit farce, I really do think it was a bit strange for him to call Trump incompetent and insecure. Quite rightly the American President hit back, calling Mr Darroch “wacky,” “very stupid” and “a fool”. Comments which ultimately cost Mr Darroch his job. In a highly polarised political landscape, I think the last thing we need right now is for our ambassadors to get drawn into this sort of unsavoury mess. Regardless of what commentators might be saying, or the mood of the public towards Trump, we do have a very special relationship with the US and maintaining that relationship, particularly in the event of a no deal Brexit, is highly important. Let’s be honest, I think everyone is in agreement that the way Trump behaves isn’t really befit-
ting of an American President. But then he doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is pretty straight-talking. Trump is starting his next election campaign by suggesting that he is presiding over the strongest economy the US has ever seen. It’s hard to argue with him on that point, given that US GDP has been strong, the financial markets have performed well, unemployment is down and wages are up. With that in mind, I don’t understand the hatred towards Trump from British shores, because quite frankly, he could soon be our most important ally. If it’s his behaviour that we are most appalled about, then perhaps we would do well to remember just how bad our own politicians have behaved in the past; I mean, it was only fairly recently alleged that a former prime minister put his penis in the mouth of a dead pig.
BE AWARE, BE VIGILANT, BE SAFE Recently a couple of trespassers were spotted in the gated community where I live and when questioned about what they were doing in our grounds, they responded that they were “looking for a lighter”. A somewhat bizarre response, I think you will agree, and were swiftly asked to leave.
Later that same night there were reports of other incidents throughout the village of Danbury, with the same response being given when questioned by other locals. Overnight there were a number of break-ins throughout the village and it’s hard not to put 2+2 together and come up with the answer of four. This coincides with a spate of recent burglaries reported by Essex Police and they have subsequently issued warnings and advice on how to stay safe, such as ensuring windows and doors especially at night, or when you are out - are locked at all times, plus keeping handbags, wallets and other valuable items completely out of sight.
Denise Van Outen YOU
live in Chelmsford these days
So do you read
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ONLY JOKING! DUMPED
The vicar dumped the male lead in a church play because he came in all the wrong places. For instance, most recently it was all over church organist Ethel’s frock.
SPEEDING Me: “Hang on, I know this one.” Cop (sighs): “You were doing 45 in a 30.” Me (throwing down my calculator and notepad): “Why bother asking if you're going to ruin it?”
OLYMPICS I was in bed with the wife last night and told her, "I've bought some of those new Olympics condoms. They come in gold, silver and bronze." She said, "Great. Try putting on one of the silver ones and coming second for a change."
HEAVEN’S GATES Forty Liverpudlians arrived at Heaven's gates. St. Peter said, "We've only got room for twelve of you, so decide amongst yourselves who's coming in." Ten minutes, later St. Peter shouts to God, "They've gone! They’ve gone!" God says, "What have? The scousers?" St. Peter says, "No. The bloody gates!"
SWITCH A man who’d just died is delivered to a local mortuary, wearing an expensive, expertly tailored black suit.. The female (blonde) mortician asks the deceased's wife how she would like the body dressed and points out that the man does look good in the black suit he is already wearing. The widow, however, says that she always thought her husband looked his best in blue, and that she wants him in a blue suit. She gives the blonde mortician a blank cheque and says, “I don't care what it costs, but please, have my husband in a blue suit for the viewing.” The woman returns the next day for the wake. To her delight, she finds her husband dressed in a gorgeous blue suit with a subtle chalk stripe. It fits him perfectly. She says to the mortician, “Whatever the cost, I'm extremely satisfied. You’ve done an excellent job and I'm very grateful to you. How much do I owe you?” To her astonishment, the blonde mortician returns the blank cheque. “There's no charge, madam,” she says. 'No, really,” says the bereaved, “I must compensate you for the cost of that exquisite blue suit.” “Honestly, ma'am,” says the blonde, “it cost me nothing. You see, a deceased gentleman of about your husband's size was brought in shortly after you left yesterday, and he was wearing the attractive blue suit you see now. So I asked his wife if she minded him going to his grave wearing a black suit instead, and she said it made no difference to her, just as long as he looked nice. “So I simply switched the heads.”
DARK SIDE OF WOMEN
Alan, who lived in the north of England, decided to go golfing in Scotland with his buddy, Chris. So they loaded up Alan's minivan and headed off oop north. After driving for a few hours, they got caught in a terrible blizzard. So they pulled into a nearby farm and asked the attractive lady who answered the door if they could spend the night. “I realise it's terrible weather out there and I have this huge house all to myself,” she said, “but I'm only recently widowed and I'm afraid the neighbours will talk if I let you stay in my house.” “Don't worry,” Alan said. “We'll be more than happy to sleep in the barn. And if the weather breaks, we'll be gone by first light.” The lady agreed, and the two men found their way to the barn and settled in for the night. Come morning, the weather had cleared, so they got on their way and enjoyed a great few days of golf. About nine months later, Alan got an unexpected letter from an attorney. It took him a few minutes to figure it out, but he finally determined that it was from the attorney of the attractive widow they had met during the golfing break. So he dropped in on his friend Chris and asked, "Do you remember that good looking widow from the farm we stayed at on our golfing break in Scotland about 9 months ago?" “Er, yes, I do,” said Chris. “And did you perhaps happen to get up in the middle of the night, go up to the house and pay her a visit?” “Well, um, yes,” Chris said, a little embarrassed about being found out, “I have to admit that I might have done.” “And did you happen to give her my name instead of telling her your name?” Chris's face turned beetroot red and he said, “Hey, buddy. Look, I’m so sorry about that. But in the heat of the moment, I'm afraid to say I did. But why do you ask after all this time?” “I’ve just found out she recently died and left everything to me!” (Come on, admit it. You thought the ending would be different to that, didn't you?)
A woman was in town on a shopping trip. She began her day finding the most perfect shoes in the first shop she visited and a beautiful dress on sale in the second. In the third, everything had just been reduced by 50% when her mobile phone rang. It was a female doctor, notifying her that her husband had just been taken critically ill and was in the ICU. The woman told the doctor to inform her husband where she was and that she'd be there just as soon as possible. As she hung up, she realised she was on a roll and potentially leaving what was shaping up to be her best day ever in the boutiques. So she decided to take in a couple more shops before heading to the hospital. In fact, she ended up shopping for the rest of the morning, finishing off her trip with a cup of coffee and a nice slice of gateaux. She was jubilant. Then she remembered her husband. Feeling guilty, she drove straight to the hospital. She saw the female doctor in the corridor and asked about her husband's condition. The doctor glared at her and said, “You went ahead and finished your shopping trip, didn't you? I hope you're proud of yourself. While you’ve been out gallivanting for the past four hours, enjoying yourself, your husband’s been languishing in the Intensive Care Unit, fighting for his life. Well, it's just as well you went ahead and finished your trip because it will more than likely be the last one you ever take. For the rest of his life, your husband is going to need around-the-clock care and attention, 24/7. And it’s YOU who’ll be his carer!” The woman was feeling so guilty she broke down and began to cry. The female doctor then chuckled and said, “I’m only joking. He croaked. Now show me what you bought.”
UP IN THE WATCH TOWER A young couple and a handsome stranger get stranded on a desert island. The wife quickly gets bored with her hubby and starts to flirt with the stranger. Between them they decide to build a watch tower in order to see any passing boats. The stranger offers to take the first watch. After about ten minutes, he yells, “Hey, no sex down there. You’re supposed to be collecting driftwood!” The hubby yells back indignantly, “We’re not having sex.” “Are you sure?” shouts the stranger. “Well, okay then. Keep on collecting wood.” Twenty minutes later, the stranger in the watch tower shouts, “Oi, no sex on the beach!” Once again the hubby puts him right. Three more times during his shift, the stranger calls them out about making love on the beach and each time, the hubby assures him that nothing untoward is going on. Finally, it’s the husband’s turn to keep lookout. The stranger takes his wife’s hand, leads her to the middle of the beach and they begin to make mad, passionate love. Hubby yells down from the watch tower, “Hey, you’re right. It does look like your f cking from * up here!”
CELEBRITY If you take a ‘bit’ out of a celebrity, you're left with a tasteless, pointless, vegetable.
SEASONS There are four seasons in a year. Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Carbs.
BEDTIME Boy: “Can you leave the light on, please?” Dad: “So it will be easier for the monsters to find you?” Boy: “What?”
All jokes published are supplied by Edge readers. Please send your ‘egg yokes’ to firstname.lastname@example.org
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Woke up on a Saturday morning to see this! Yes, that’s exactly what we thought.... ‘What on earth’s going on ’ere?’ Tracy Island (left) is occupied, so what he/she’s seemingly been doing is collecting extra straw from our old, unoccupied and, quite frankly, inferior hedgehog house (certainly compared to Tracy Island) on the right. Which led us to conclude that it was Miss Scarlet, in the conservatory, with the lead-piping. Ha! No, clearly not. But might it not be that perhaps we have a female preggers hedgehog residing in Tracy Island and she’s been gathering extra straw prior to giving birth? Thing is though, the mystery deepened the following evening when we had a visit from the cutest ickle baby hedgehog we’ve ever seen at ‘Edge Towers’. He/She wasn’t a baby baby hedgehog, if you know what I mean, but it was the smallest ickle hedge we’ve definitely had visit us. Although perhaps this is merely a coincidence and is totally unrelated to the events of Saturday, but we honestly daren’t lift the lid on Tracy Island as if you disturb ’em, hedge mums sometimes eat their prickly young.
For the past 23 years The Comedy Club - ‘As Seen on TV’ - has been bringing laughter to the fine City of Chelmsford. Yes, professional, live, stand-up comedy, served up in style at The Lion House Function Suite, set within the grounds of the stunning venue that is Boreham’s The Lion Inn. Each month plays host to Essex’s premiere comedy club, with four top professional comedians gracing the stage (different comedians each month). The Comedy Club never provide 'Open Mic' acts, or comedians that do not already have great ‘live’ reputations, of have invaluable TV experience. With drinks service to your candlelit table and modern, clean, stylish surroundings, you can always have a pre-show meal in the highly rated Lion Inn prior to taking your seats for a great night of laughter There is also some audience participation with the written ‘Joke of the Month’ competition and without doubt, The Comedy Club is likely to be the most fun you can have in Chelmsford with your clothes on! And hey, why not round up your office pals, friends, family and celebrate Christmas 2019 in style on either 9th or 10th December? Join us for a preshow 3-course meal, top comedy and music, with carriages at midnight. Christmas Party Night Tickets are £47.00 including a 3-course meal, or £22.00 for comedy only tickets. For up and coming show dates, to see who’s performing, full booking details, timings, menu choices etc., please visit www.thecomedyclub.co.uk Remember, shows sell out fast, so book now to avoid disappointment!
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It certainly did mine. I think it’s beautiful and would be perfect for noncing around whatever local area you happen to be holidaying in, either at home, or abroad.
Only it’s like I’ve already said, grey skies and rain is like ‘pissing on the chips’ - it just spoils everything. And it’s so very difficult to even pre-arrange a simple BBQ for a future weekend, as we never know what the weather’s going to be like from pretty much one day to the next.
Nope, I wouldn’t particularly want to take it round the M25 and down the M3, but as a vehicle to take charge of immediately upon arrival, oh yeah, absolutely. Because it’s got BAGS OF CHARACTER, hasn’t it? And y’know, thinking about it, that’s a fact, rather than a question. Just look at this Range Rover (left). Sure, it’s a nice, big, comfy gas-guzzling motor. But it’s simply not for The Edge. I’d all but ridden past this Land Rover on Swanage seafront when I had to turn me bike around and pedal back to capture it for you readers, as I’m wondering whether a lot of you think pretty much the same as me? Only I’m not so sure I’d be that much in love with it during a grey, cold, wet winter. Come to think of it, nah, I probably wouldn’t. But the summer always paints such beautiful pictures, doesn’t it? And I for one rarely see any point in holidaying abroad between June and September, for the simple reason that when the weather’s tip-top in Blighty, well hell, all’s well with the world and what we’ve got right here at home often suits me just fine.
But just think what it would be like if we got consistently blue skies and sunshine in our summertime. Because if we did, then maybe it’d help us to express ourselves in even more ways than driving around in an old Land Rover with the roof down and a massive grin on our face.
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any city its mojo. And, it follows, the young provide a turnover in the population. As they grow a little older and have kids of their own, they tend to move out to the suburbs, leaving a space for the next generation to fill. That next generation brings its own culture, so a true city never stands still - it’s always changing face.
Happy summer to you. As you get to read this it will be early August. The annual journey through Dante’s tenth circle of hell - that’s Stansted to you - will have come and gone. The grass will need cutting. Again. Kids will be bored witless. Parents will be despairing. And someone will decide something labeled as a ‘family fun day’ is a good idea. Roll on winter, huh? Having said all that, out here in southern California, it’s pretty much 12 months of summer. So the advent of a few sunny days doesn’t put the sort of pressure on us lucky residents to get out and do things. For someone used to UK summers, that anxiety was hard to shake off. For years after moving here it felt almost obscene to spend a day attending to chores indoors when the sun was shining outside. Eventually, that guilt wears off and you realise that indoors stuff has to be done at some point. And anyway, there’ll be another sunny day along tomorrow. And the next day. And the day after. Incidentally, is there a more dispiriting phrase in the English language than ‘family fun day’? Maybe ‘bus replacement service’ does it, or anything containing the word ‘festival’. Anyway, grumpy old git stuff done, let’s take a look at something a lot more interesting. We’re going to leave the politics aside again this month. Hurrah and Yee-hah! Even though the sight of Farage and Widdecombe sullying the UK’s image abroad still further by behaving like rude and ignorant English football louts was tempting, we won’t go there. It was, however, something that Trump said
recently that set the grey cells going. This is paraphrasing, but basically the point he was making is that cities are hell holes of crime, violence, drug taking, homelessness and general decrepitude. Left unsaid, but hanging in the air like a bad smell, was that all these horrors were entirely due to the fact that cities have a lot of black and brown people in them. By now you expect nothing less from the repulsive man, but those of us that live in cities would beg to differ on his characterisation of our chosen abode. Firstly, we have to define what constitutes a city. Out here in the US, any old collection of houses can declare itself a city, as long as certain legally defined administrative things are in place. Those aren’t cities in the generally accepted meaning. To be a true city it needs to have a population that can be measured in millions, or at least a significant part of a million. But the big differentiator as to what constitutes a real city is the number of young people living there. Those that are attracted to cities have an unlimited self-belief and energy. They wouldn’t be there if they didn’t expect to make it big. It is the young that gives
To those of a small ‘c’ conservative leaning, that constant change feels like a terrible thing. On the other hand, no matter what your age - and some of us city dwellers are proper old - if that constant evolution is something that you appreciate as a very good and life affirming thing, then a city is a bloody great place to be. Is there crime, homelessness and the odd junkie in a city? Yes, of course. All of it unpleasant, but that’s part of the equation you evaluate if you choose to live in one. As a city dweller you decide that the plus side of dynamism and energy feeding your own soul wins it for you over the negatives. Those who think of cities as hell holes draw a different conclusion from the same evidence and determine that a quiet and possibly even boring life is preferable to the increased risk of being asked if you have any spare change five times a day. And of course, young families don’t belong in cities. Different strokes for different folks. Neither is right or wrong, and it would be good if we all could adopt such a live and let live attitude. But sadly that acceptance of human differences seems a bit old fashioned now and your side has to win at all costs. Anon.
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lot of you probably haven’t heard of Belle Delphine, and I hadn’t either, until I started seeing lots of posts and memes cropping up on Reddit. The content of these posts definitely piqued my interest, so I decided to do some further investigation and find out what all the fuss was about. For those of you who don’t know, Belle Delphine is a 19-year-old South African born resident of the UK, but more importantly is famous in the only way that really matters these days - by which I mean ‘not really doing anything, but taking lots of revealing photographs of yourself on Instagram’. Now I may sound like I’m mocking her, but I’m actually quite impressed. Take away the pink hair, the giggles and cleavage shots, and it’s soon apparent that she’s a very shrewd young lady indeed.
KiNGPiN The Kingmeister reports
THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE COSPLAYER AND THE BATHWATER
ber of people to be permanently out of work.” Some are more hopeful than others though and believe that if we can change and adapt along with AI then there’s no reason not to believe a whole host of new jobs wouldn’t be required. They envisage a future where education becomes more agile and adaptive, giving us the skills we need to reinvent ourselves alongside the ever-changing technologies. As with any technological revolution I think it’s obvious that there will be both good and bad, and it will be used to help and harm, depending on just who uses it.
Apart from the fear that AI will eventually end in a ‘Terminator’ style situation, the main fear seems to be that humanity will be left behind, if not eventually supplanted by what we’re creating. So in Belle is a cosplayer, which for the comes my favourite eccentric biluninitiated means she dresses up Buying a teenagers’ bathwater....there’s nothing dodgy about that lionaire, Elon Musk and his as various movie and particularly ‘Neuralink’ company. Neuralink have the pro-gamer girl camp, drinking someone’s bathvideo game characters. She’s marketed herself as one goal in mind: To be able to combine our water? What the bloody hell is wrong with people a ‘gamer-girl’, a move which has made her the brains with machines. From what I‘ve read, they’re these days? internet darling of over 4 million followers, at least already making very good progress. 3.9 million of which I’d guess are ‘gamers’ themIT’S LIFE, JIM, BUT NOT AS WE selves. Now gamers have something of a reputaTheir immediate goal is to design a brain/machine KNOW IT tion for being over-sexed, basement dwelling interface that will help anyone with a neurological ’ve been reading up on artificial intelligence (AI) deviants, and as someone who has been a gamer condition. For example, it’s entirely possible that lately. as a life-long Sci-Fi fan, the idea of AI (though more of the sophisticated, gentlemanly such a neural chip could let a paralysed person has always fascinated me and I’m genuinely type) for most of my life, I can safely say that walk again by circumventing the neurological damexcited to see what the future holds. Whatever while it’s certainly not true for all of us, there’s also age preventing the correct signals going from the your views are on AI, whether it will be a bane or no smoke without fire. brain to the nervous system. In the medium term, boon to the human race, there’s one thing everythey want to enable us to control our smart one seems to agree on; the advancement of AI With her revealing, but never too revealing, cosdevices directly via our brains. and its increased involvement in our lives is going tumes and giggly, girlish persona, it’s easy to to happen. Indeed, it’s already happening. imagine what many of the comments under her I still get excited that I can ask Alexa to turn my prolific Instagram photo’s say, and it was one of lights on and off, so this sort of thing really blows Many experts agree that what they call a ‘technothe most oft-repeated comments that gave Belle my mind. logical singularity’ is almost certain at some point, an idea. I guess if you hear: “I’d happily drink your and whether that’s a good thing or not remains to bathwater” enough times, you eventually think: “I Elon and Neuralinks long term goal is to allow us be seen. The ‘singularity’ is that point in time when wonder if they’d actually do it?” to interface directly with the AI’s of the future, to give us our own ‘super-intelligence’ and Cue a video of Belle in the bath (in a as far as the ‘Technological Singularity’ swimming costume), showering herself goes, perhaps something like that could and filling up jars of ‘gamer girl bathwabe the only thing that would enable us ter’, which she then began to sell for $30 to exist at the same level as AI’s? a pop. She caught a lot of flack for it, but Perhaps this could even go beyond fully everyone shut up when they sold out integrating with a self-aware machine almost immediately, and then started intelligence? showing up on Ebay going for anything If we can link our brains to a machine, up to $15,000. then what’s to stop us uploading our consciousness into a digital repository, Apparently there’s nothing sexual about into another body? Our minds are all it and the bathwater was marketed as just 1’s an 0’s after all. It’s all just data, ‘for sentimental purposes only’, but you so why not? I know it sounds fantastical can’t tell me there’s nothing sexual in a and this sort of scenario has been a teenage girl showering her bottom while mainstay of science fiction for years, but catching the water in a jar. What’s that? then again, so were small, hand-held This is the look I’ll be going for once I’ve uploaded my Of course I watched the video. I’m a procomputers that could link to a global brain into a machine fessional after all and I do my research, network and function as a communicaone of the machines we’ve made begins its own thank you very much. tion device. series of continuous improvements, making itself better and smarter all the time until, eventually, it It didn’t take long for other videos to surface of It sounds fantastical now, but in another 50-100 completely surpasses human intelligence. It’s people actually drinking the bathwater, and one years, it’s entirely possible this could actually be impossible to know what would happen at that lad used it to make his macaroni & cheese dinner. happening. Then, of course, it opens up a whole point, but many people are genuinely concerned God only knows what other people were up to offnew can of worms. If we’re uploading our minds by the possibility and it’s easy to see why. camera. I’ve missed out on all this internet celebriinto a computer or robotic body, is that simulacrum ty stuff by being both too old and too misanthropic, of us human? Does our mind make us what we One thing that is certain about AI is that, at some so this sort of thing amazes me, and it’s true that I are? Do our emotions? Emotions are merely a point in the not too distant future, it’s going to began by scoffing at the whole notion. But now? chemical reaction, but take them out of the equacompletely change our lives, with some people Now I’m thinking: ‘Good on her.’ If you can sell tion and what does that do to our personality? To predicting these changes could start happening access to your private Snapchat for $2,500 a our humanity? within the next 10-20 years. The most obvious month and people actually pay it, then go, girl, go. change will be AI, and the attendant advances in And if you can sell your bathwater and make more I don’t know what the future holds and I’m sorry automation it will allow, putting lots and lots of money at 19 than most of us will ever see in a lifeI’m not going to be around to see all this exciting people out of work. Amy Webb, professor of time by simply playing dress-up and having a stuff, but if AI and machine/human interfaces strategic foresight at NYU said recently: “We need laugh, then more power to you, Miss Delphine. become as powerful and as prevalent as they to address a difficult truth that few are willing to seem to think they will, I’m certain about one utter aloud: AI will eventually cause a large numOn the other hand, even though I might now be in thing: The future certainly won’t be boring. Page 26 The Edge 01245 348256
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LACK OF NECKWEAR I’ve now reached that age which I really never thought would arrive. I’m fully retired, qualified for my bus pass and all manner of other ‘senior’ discounts, including the fabled ‘OAP fish & chip lunchtime special’. So what exciting things can you write about when you’ve gone past your sell-by-date and find yourself being defined as a pensioner? All of us who’ve reached that age when getting up during the night is part of ones normal routine (more of which later) will have noticed the absence of ties that used to adorn the necks of the professionals that we used to seek advice and reassurance from during the majority of our lives. This ranges from Prime Ministers, most MPs, to Doctors and even Bank Managers. In my rapidly ageing mind, I’m convinced that some of the political crisis that we find ourselves stuck with today is due to this lack of neckwear that many of our leaders and professionals insist is part of their everyday uniform. In my view, this group of partially clothed ministers going off to do battle with their opposite numbers in Europe are already at a disadvantage, with the
Europeans looking crisp and sharp in their Hugo Boss suits, white shirts and carefully knotted ties, all looking intimidating and professional, whilst our mob, with their open collars and rumpled suits, look like schoolboys given the afternoon off. So it’s really no surprise that we’re always failing to get a deal.
of our country are a direct result of all too often going tieless and wearing poor quality, half-buttoned shirts. And if you don’t believe me, look at when the last banking crisis occurred. It coincided with the shift to casual clothing in the city and had nothing to do with subprime mortgages.
The real problem is what Jerry Seinfeld defined as the ‘second button’, which if set too low makes you look like one of those sixties pop stars without the medallion, and if set too high makes you look like you just got dressed in a hurry.
In a similar manner, ‘Tulip Mania’ in Holland in the mid 17th Century, with its massive swings in the price of tulip bulbs, which everybody compares to the current house price bubble, coincided with the change in men’s neckwear from the elegant ruff to the open neck shirt with its lace collar. So if we want to keep our country politically and economically stable, don’t mess with the neckwear!
If you’re going to go tieless, take a leaf out of both President Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s dress code. They always looked terrific, sharp and emanated power in a simple polo shirt and jacket and nobody ever threatened those guys. Or for an even more menacing look, they could try the Iranian approach. Their ministers in their carefully constructed colarless shirts gives them an aura of ‘don’t mess with me, you don’t know what I’m capable of’. So in my aged addled mind, I’m completely convinced that the ills
TECHNOLOGY Do you ever wonder where all that touch screen technology came from? One minute we had keyboards and a thing called a mouse (why?) and the next it was all on your phone. Only now we have a thing called a cloud, which I can never see when I look up at the sky, but we’re told it’s all around us (where?). Only now I’ve read about the fact that the cloud is being filled up and is running out of space? I always
thought that space was infinite, so how come we’re running out of it? I’m utterly convinced that all of these new developments are a product of alien technology, maybe from Area 51 in the Nevada Desert, or some agreement that our governments have made with an extra terrestrial trading partner. If you’re not convinced, just think about it. In 2007 we had mobile phones that simply made calls and sent text messages. By the following year the phone was suddenly able to control all manner of things related to our lives and all we had to do was touch its screen. Nowadays everyone has one. So who’s controlling all of this?
Ant Middleton YOU
live in Chelmsford these days
So do you read
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BIZARRE NEWS NURSES ‘OFF THEIR FACES’ ON CANNABIS CAKE
Nurses were said to be completely 'off their faces' after a kindly grandad accidentally gives them a cannabis cake. Police later ‘destroyed’ (The Edge bets they did) the red velvet sponge after a man who was ‘unaware of its content’ gave it to hospital staff as a present. The red velvet cake was brought into the hospital by a grateful patient and nurses were soon reportedly ‘totally trolleyed’ after a ‘nice old man’ handed them a cake laced with cannabis as a thank you gift. Police were called to Crack House Hospital in Essex after staff ate the red velvet sponge that was spiked with the class B drug. A grateful grandaddy, who wanted to thank the nurses for their care of a relative, is said to have been unaware of the cake's additional ingredient. He had taken it from his grandson's 18th birthday party before presenting it to the nurses. Hospital bosses are said to have denied anyone consumed the cake, but Essex Police have counter confirmed that some of it was definitely eaten on the premises. A member of staff, who obviously did not want to be named (your secret’s safe with The Edge, Moira), told this publication that: "Three or four of the nurses were definitely the worse for wear after eating a slice of the cake.” They added that the staff members concerned were also feeling “well chilled” after consuming the contraband, along with a civilised cup of tea. One hospital worker said: "They were enjoying eating the cake, and the next minute they were all completely off their faces. It had apparently been brought in by a nice old man as a thank you gift, but it was full of some funny stuff and soon had the nurses all over the place. "Fortunately there was no impact on any of the patients, but they all knew something was wrong, so the police were called in," said a snitch. Officers tested the sponge and confirmed that it contained cannabis, making it officially what is commonly referred to as a ‘Space Cake’. An Essex Police investigation found the grandfather had no idea what was in the cake and was shocked to discover the disruption it had caused on the ward.
MAN JAILED FOR REPEATEDLY BLOCKING WOMEN’S TOILETS
This month it’s the pint-sized legend that is
RALPH WOODLEY (age 4) Page 28
A man has been jailed for 5 months and given 3 years’ probation for deliberately blocking women’s toilets. Around a dozen incidents dating back to August 2017 have been investigated, whilst the ‘gentleman’ (aged 26) concerned has apologised for his misdemeanours and said he is currently “praying for forgiveness”. He explained to police that he gets the urge to do “strange things” every now and then, such as searching for empty plastic containers in order to jam them into a U-bend. He was discovered to be the perpetrator after a job agency informed police of several toilet blocking incidents at places where he had worked as a temporary employee. He was convicted of five counts of criminal damage. Furthermore, the judge handed down a much tougher custodial sentence than prosecutors had initially requested, so beware all you people in Chelmsford who have similar plastic fetishes. The man was also ordered to pay in the region of £4,350 for being a frickin’ nuisance and instructed to complete 100 hours of community service. If you readers have any local Bizarre News stories, please send them to Max Headroom, courtesy of The Edge!
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Man on the Clapham Omnibus THE FLIGHT
I had been invited (as had Mrs M, who was otherwise engaged in India) down to Ibiza to stay with a group of friends at a very lovely villa in the hills above Ibiza town. A kind invitation from a very old friend to the so called party island. It is the only one of the main Balearic Islands I had not visited. The mere idea of me being in ‘Beefa’, as colloquial parlance seems to call it, created much mirth. Of course, there were questions of what tweed I would be taking down there with me and much speculation if the infamous lightweight Harris tweed racing swimsuit would make an appearance. Mere trifling questions once the flight to the island of beautiful people is taken into consideration. I can confirm people seem to adopt a certain viewpoint of themselves once they are en-route to ‘Beefa’ and that somehow beautifulness is bestowed upon them magically. This is, of course, a major act of self-disillusionment in so many cases. Most males think/become either members of the rat pack a la Dean Martin, or some Range Rover owning gangster type, despite the fact their mum just dropped them off at the airport. Stansted, 4.30am. I traipse down to the departure gate ready for 5.30am, having already been up since 3.00am and let down by the cab company - you know who you are. There is a thing when one travels solo. It is that you are able to, desire to, or are forced to, listen to other people’s conversations. I am joined by three young girls at the gate. Their make-up is full-on and heavy. They have either been up since 1.00am, troweling it on, or it is there from their clubbing adventures of the night before. Their whole conversation consists of like, like, and like and oh my god, oh my god. For a brief moment the ‘oh my gods’ were coming so thick and fast I thought I was at an orgasm convention. I shut myself off and begin listening to a pair of very angry Easy Jet check-in staff. It seems everybody at Easy jet is turning round. The conversation went thus: “He said blah blah and I turned round and went blah blah. Then he turned round and said blah blah, so my friend turned round and said blah blah before the supervisor turned round and said blah blah.” Which explains why we have delays as none of them are on the straight, they are all turning round constantly. They then have to deal with a ‘Jack the Lad’ who tries to flatter
them with his charm whilst wearing a straw pork pie hat. The angry ladies reduce him to the status of a little boy in a silly hat in front of his mates. The despatch is quick and well executed, probably the quickest thing they will despatch during the course of that day and certainly quicker than they dispatched the flight. We board. I am in an extended leg room aisle seat. The rat pack boys get on. The gurning idiot who has quickly recovered from his humiliation at the hands of the angry ladies heads straight for me, and the seats beside me. He knows I think he is a knob and enjoys the prospect of sitting next to me. He does not disappoint. A ‘second marriage’ hen party of slightly more mature ladies get on. Hmmmm. They pass. I am safe. Behind me, though, are four mummies on a weekend away without their children. Shortly after bar service begins it is obvious the girls are in trouble. There has been an extended period of about an hour without prosecco. This is remedied with sufficient purchases to meet the possibility of the pilot getting lost and spending eight hours flying to New York. The conversation is soon focused, and graphically I might add, to the benefits of a C section birth, as opposed to natural birth. All to do with how one’s lady parts are and look afterwards. I have seen it three times over and can cope, but the kid beside me wants to curl up and die with fear and embarrassment. His girlfriend is now thinking that he is not going near her ever again, based on that conversation alone. We land at 8.30am. I collect my bags and my friends collect me. We stop at the supermarket for more beer. By 10am I am sitting in the pool with a cold tinny in my hand, good company around me and a view to absolutely die for. There is a saying “sometimes it is better to travel than to arrive”. However, I think the arrival certainly won over on this particular occasion.
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Thank you for raising money to help people affected by life-limiting illnesses in mid Essex. www.farleighhospice.org g It is because you care that we can. www.farleighhospice.or
Registered charity no 284670
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MY BIRTHDAY August is always a month of catching up and trying to get my home straight again from all the partying that goes on in July. The Ed and myself share the same birthday and July is always filled with dread; another year older and commiserations of “S’trewth, where have the years gone?” followed by a reality check.
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Around 16th June each and every year, a great depression descends upon me and I start thinking, “I’m not going to celebrate my birthday this year”. And then the cards and flowers and dinner invitations start pouring in and I start getting all excited. For me, my birthday always lasts at least two weeks. I have so many wonderful friends and family; a lot of my friends go back to my infant school days. I have a circle of about 40 school friends and their partners who I speak to every week and many most days via WhatsApp. When I look back, we have all been through so very much together; leaving school in the 1980s and the YTS schemes where we were paid £28.50 for a whole week's work. Kids today don’t even know they are born! Deleting and blocking someone never happened in my day. We worked at our friendships and if we had the hump, we wrote them a letter in red ink! I know that if I ever need help my friends will always be there for me, as they have in the past – many times. You cannot put a price on friendships like that. People are always shocked when I tell them about my circle of school friends and how close we all are. We all went through our life events together, such as our first cars, engagements, broken engagements, marriages, divorces, children, illnesses, deaths and yet we’ve all stuck together throughout it all, long before the internet and Friends Reunited. There was even a time when we all used to write to each other. I know, can you image that today? But we used to all send postcards whenever we were away on holiday. To phone each other we used to get a stack of 2 pence pieces and head to the phone box which stank of wee. Life is so much easier these days because we can all email and WhatsApp whenever we like. I sometimes feel that I am truly blessed to have such wonderful friends in my life. So my birthday is always a time of great celebration. ‘Him Indoors’ really
pushed the boat out this year and took me away for a beautiful weekend to Mudeford in Dorset. He planned it all; a beautiful hotel and spa, he even booked dinner on both nights in fabulous restaurants, and he also took me on a ferry ride to the amazing Mudeford Sandbank Beach, which was just unbelievable. It had a cocktail bar and trendy food cafe, a seafood bar, and the beach huts were unbelievable. They even had an upstairs and the most beautiful decors, like something out of a movie. I started saying we should buy one, until I looked up the starting prices: £300k and council tax of £5,500 per year! We went for a walk along the sugar sanded beaches to Highcliffe Castle which was steeped in history and recently restored to its former glory. It's former owners were the real life Duchess of Duke Street and Harry Selfridge, who built Selfridges in London. The Visitors Book showed Kings and Queens to showgirls and as I walked through the rooms, I tried to imagine the parties that had taken place there. The beautiful 16th Century stained glass windows had survived the French Revolution and sailed across the seas to their present home intact. Makes you think that courier companies today cannot even deliver anything breakable 20 miles without mountains of bubble wrap, yet these magnificent windows survived a war and a choppy crossing across the sea. I was sad to have to come home. I was spoilt rotten the whole weekend. Then my big party arrived in the garden and I decided this year to do something different, so I organised lots of cocktails and food and then broke the news that there would be team sports games. Everyone groaned and moaned until their competitive streak kicked in with children being elbowed out the way as the adults fought to the finishing line, not to mention lots of cheating during the egg & spoon and sack races, the latter of which my son Charlie brought the house down with his hilarious attempts to take the first place medal. I was truly given so very much this year and it was wonderful to feel so much love in my life. So I guess, whilst the years are inevitably ticking by, and the wrinkles and aches and pains are starting to increase, I am truly blessed to have such amazingly special family and friendships to celebrate with each and every year. And I raise a glass to my beautiful friend, Debbie Handsley, who sadly passed away last year, who also shared the same birthday. She was the life and soul of all our girlie parties and a bestie friend since 16. So rather than moan about a few wrinkles and a bit of a middle aged spread, I am grateful to have such happy memories and such fantastic birthdays. The gauntlet has already been thrown down with the men challenging the girls to team games next year, so 2020 could be a very interesting birthday party indeed.
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Chelmsford Essex based zine with local fun, reviews and news