Monday, December 11, 2023
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Time to check those garden chairs

lady garden

With Easter upon us, it is time to get down to the essentials, like checking on the folding garden chairs. You don’t want to leave it until there is a heatwave to find that they are no longer up to the job.

Just open your shed door and push the Costco bulk-buy toilet rolls and half-used tins of paint out of the way.

Take the chairs into a sunny spot and wipe the cobwebs and mouse-droppings off, and carefully unfold.


Do they still take your weight, together with a pint of Aspall’s cider and a family bag of cheesy Doritos?

If they creak a little, it may be time to chuck them over the neighbour’s fence and get yourself down to Argos for some new ones.

man stuck in chairDon’t leave garden chair maintenance to chance

My hyacinths are coming along well and are even higher since yesterday. If yours are drooping, take some chopsticks from the kitchen drawer and some bag clips and stake them to take the weight from their stems.

With the snowdrops going over and the daffodils bowing their golden heads, my lady garden can look forward to a bit of hardening off and pricking out.

To get the best out of your garden, keep reading my tips in The Suffolk Gazette and whether you are a beginner or a green-fingered old hand, we will make the most of manure and get to the root of your problems. Happy Easter.

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‘Easter Bunny’ robs Suffolk off licence



By Rob Banks, Crime Editor

A robber wore an Easter Bunny disguise to hold up an off licence before hopping it from police, the Suffolk Gazette can reveal.

Cops came within a whisker of catching the “rabbit” when he stopped to pose for photographs after his heist at the All Boozed Up store near the town’s waterfront.


The robber had legged it with £120 in cash and a bottle of vodka, before heading to Christchurch Park where he stopped to pose for photographs for a group of school children.

He was last seen running towards Westerfield Road before disappearing in the warren of side streets.

Police have no idea why the robber chose a topical Easter Bunny disguise. “A rabbit does not normally drink vodka, and if he needed cash he could have burrowed it.”

Officers believe he has now gone underground, and want anyone who has seen a six-foot man with big pointy ears, a receding hareline and a fluffy tail to contact them immediately.


Meanwhile, a Suffolk bishop has said churchgoers should eat more chocolate, as it is the real meaning of Easter.

And a teacher has been suspended after telling young children in her class that you get hot cross buns by putting rabbits in a microwave.


Concern as Norfolk gets vote for first time


By Polly Ticks
Political Correspondent

There was widespread concern today about the people of Norfolk being given the vote for the first time later this year, the Suffolk Gazette can reveal.

The remote county has been excluded from all democratic processes for centuries because it is widely accepted that the locals are not educated enough to understand the complexities of politics.

While most Norfolk people can not read, many more can not write – or even hold a pencil correctly in order to mark a cross on a ballot paper.


But now the Electoral Commission has insisted the county gets the vote, with a trial set for the EU in/out referendum in June.

An insider said: “We don’t expect many from Norfolk to have a clue what’s going on, but in modern Britain everyone should be treated equally and have their say on important matters.

“We are creating some special drawings to show residents how to vote on the day, and just have to assume they have a basic understanding of what the issues are and which way they want to vote.”

A major concern is that huge numbers of locals could easily be bribed with turnips or Woodforde’s Wherry beer.

However, one man said he was looking forward to voting for the first time. “I love X Factor and it can’t be any harder than voting on that,” said Billy Bob Spuckler, from Downham Market.

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Woman finds pair of plain pyjamas at last


By Iona Diamond
Fashion Editor

After years of searching, a Suffolk mother has found a pair of plain pyjamas with NO animal cartoon or slogan – and NOT in pink or sky-blue.

“It is such a relief,” said Ida Downe. “I honestly never thought this day would come. I thought I’d be searching until I died and that I’d be in my coffin wearing something pink with a cartoon elephant on.”

The unusual pyjamas, in plain grey marl, were found at a boutique in Bury St Edmunds. Mrs Downe, from Finborough Road, Stowmarket, said: “The shop owner said they found them during a refurb. They were covered in dust and they think they had been there since 1989 and they may even have been made in Britain.

“They put them out for a joke to see if anyone would buy them.


“It may have been a joke to them but it was the end of a serious search for me. My son Hugo is 16 and I have been looking for plain pyjamas since I was pregnant

“I noticed around that time that they all had a kitten or puppy on. I went to all the supermarkets and they were the same, in baby pink, blue and lemon with baby elephant cartoons or Ninja Turtles.

“Then came all the slogans like, ‘I’m a Sleepyhead’, ‘Bedtime Beauty’, ‘Snooze Time’ and ‘Take Me To Bed’. There were owls and pigs and big shiny lips.

“It was like being in a nightmare. I don’t know how any self-respecting woman can actually sleep in a yellow pyjama top with a yawning baby dinosaur.”

Plain pyjamasTaking the Mickey: silly cartoon pyjamas

Mrs Downe said: “I did research on the internet but that made it worse. Every click produced another cat under a duvet, sequins of the New York skyline, sleeping litters of glittery piglets or one of The Simpsons yawning. I thought I was going mad.

“I reached the point where I went to the doctor for sleeping pills.

“Then, just as I was giving up and in complete despair, I found this plain grey pair. The shopkeeper’s mum, who also works there, said she had a vague memory of them also being in plain navy but then the cartoon revolution began and they were consigned to a cupboard that was later covered by a wall.

“They had a label on which said £12 which is about £9 dearer than the imports they have now but they were worth every penny to me.

“I phoned the Antiques Road Show and they told me to bring them for a valuation next time they are in Suffolk.

“They are extremely rare and their experts can’t remember seeing a pyjama top without a printed slogan or decoupage cartoon for years. They could be worth hundreds of pounds but I will never part with them.”

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Suffolk Police buy fleet of Ford Cortinas


Ford cortina police car

By Rob Banks, Crime Editor

Suffolk police have taken delivery of a fleet of 1970s Ford Cortinas as part of their new policy of bringing gritty old-style policing back to the county.

Operation Sweeney, which began last week, aims to revive the days when robbers were scared of the police, who were notorious for using “any force necessary” to bring criminals in line.

Officers believe that the Ford Cortinas will be perfect for their new hard image and that baddies will now think twice about offending for fear of “falling down the stairs” at the police station.

A Suffolk Police insider said: “The chief loves The Sweeney, the old television series starring John Thaw and Dennis Waterman, and thinks the likes of Detective Inspector Jack Regan and Detective Sergeant George Carter should be back on the streets.

“They were super tough, part of the Met’s Flying Squad, and always got their man. Okay, sometimes it was by questionably forceful means – but it’s the results that count.”

The Suffolk Gazette understands officers are delighted with the Cortinas, even though they have a lack of speed when up against modern getaway cars.

“But we’re having heaps of fun driving into piles of cardboard boxes randomly piled up by the side of the road,” one detective said.

The Cortinas have been sourced from classic car auctions and scrap yards across the country.

Career criminal Lorraine Fisher, 34, said: “Cor, blimey. I’ll have to go on the straight and narra nah.”

Adnams beer duty axed in Budget


By Foo Tse
Economics Correspondent

Adnams beer duty is being axed to save drinkers around 45p per pint, the Suffolk Gazette can reveal.

Small print in Chancellor George Osborne’s budget shows that while he froze duty on beer across the rest of the country, he has actually cut Adnams beer duty to zero.

The move is seen as payback for Suffolk residents who have to put up with rich Conservative supporters from London buying up thousands of second homes across the coastal area.


A treasury spokesman confirmed: “Adnams is brewed in Southwold and is a world-class product, and the people of Suffolk deserve to get it tax free. Cheers!”

Wood burners

Closer examination of the Budget reveals other measures for Suffolk that were not picked up by the national media:

– A 25% tax on trendy wood burners
– A 10% tax hike on shell suits sold in Ipswich
– £105 million extra to pay for interpreters in Ipswich courts
– Greater Anglia keeping the region’s train franchise for another 15 years
– A new lane on the A12 exclusively for London second-home owners driving to Suffolk in their 4x4s
– £40 million to further strengthen the security fencing to keep Norfolk people out of Suffolk

But it was the beer tax which will grab Suffolk residents’ attention. One boozer in The Greyhound, a popular Adnams pub in Ipswich, said: “You could raise the price of Adnams by 45p a pint and we’d still drink it. In fact, some pubs have!”

The Editor of the Suffolk Gazette said he wanted to remind readers that Adnams is his beer of choice, so please remember that when using this link to buy him a beer.

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AGA cookers in style recall shock


By Colin Allcabs
Consumer Correspondent

Upmarket AGA cookers have been urgently recalled because some of the colours have suddenly gone out of date.

Housewives are being offered counselling after realising their kitchen showpiece might not be as achingly cool as the new one in the big farmhouse up the road.


An AGA insider said: “We are recalling certain colours of ranges for safety. An upmarket housewife from Aldeburgh or Southwold could die of shame if they know we have brought out new colours and their kudos could be left wanting.

aga cookerCooking up a storm: some Aga colours have lost their shine

AGA ranges are often said by their owners to be “the heart of the home”, with some country folk using the warmth of the oven to rear lambs, while other, more careless ones have found themselves with a surprise lamb dinner.

Style guru Kirsty Allslop said yesterday: “If they do bring out a new colour chart for AGA cookers it could prove fatal to those who have the early, less desirable shades. They need to contact the showrooms to see if they can afford to set the latest trend. I believe AGA are setting up a hotline to help those who are suffering stress.”

It is believed one particular cooker, the Delia Delight AGA, with sickly green body and canary yellow doors, is one of those destined for the scrap yard.

The newest AGA, the Multi-Function Textmaster can be controlled from the dashboard of the BMW 5 series so that the sustainable salmon with samphire can be ready by the time owners get home from Pilates class.

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Victoria Beckham signs fashion deal with Poundland


By Iona Diamond, Fashion Editor

Victoria Beckham has signed a fashion deal with POUNDLAND after reports that husband David had to fork out £5 million to prop up her upscale clothing and accessories empire.

Posh’s designer brand lost £3.8m in a year after some customers at her new Mayfair shop left without even buying a 5p carrier bag.

Now her new spin-off, Posh At Poundland is set to bring her glittering range to ordinary people – and will be launched exclusively at Poundland’s Ipswich store next month.

Quids in: Victoria Beckham is launching her Posh at Poundland brand in Ipswich

A pal of Victoria, one of the five Spice Girls, told the Suffolk Gazette: “Victoria needs to stay true to herself with her designs while appealing to the Poundland set.

“She’s already working on her Suffolk handbag in black leather with white dots, based on a set of pub dominoes. It would have been priced at £1,275 but will now be a buy one, get one free at a mere pound.”


Victoria’s clients sip Champagne while browsing in her Mayfair shop. Now Poundland is considering putting a tea urn in the corner of its store to cosset Victoria Beckham’s fans.

Sized 18-28 plus

And it’s not the only change in the pipeline: Posh’s elegant designer gear went up to a size 14 in Mayfair, but now she will cater for a wider Suffolk audience sized 18-28 plus.

We can reveal her first Poundland Suffolk collection will also includes a one-strap indigo gingham apron with matching tea-towel, satin-bow-embellished green wellies with a matching crystal-handled shovel and wooden clogs with a crocodile trim suitable for wading through turnip fields.

Ipswich shoppers were excited about Posh at Poundland launching in the town,. Mum-of-two Geeta Bargen said: “I will be queueing from dawn when Victoria’s clothes come to the town.

“I have always loved her designs but could never afford them or even the glossy magazines they were in. I’m hoping to get my hands on her linen asymmetric farmer’s smock in Tractor Boys Blue.”


The Sun reported yesterday how David Beckham had to fork out £5.2 million to “bail out” Victoria’s company. But the Beckhams claim the payment related to transferring contracts between Victoria’s business and David’s DB Ventures Ltd.

Company accounts show a potential loss of £3.8 million on a turnover of £34 million was largely due to the one-off costs of opening her Mayfair outlet, and the cost of a new website.

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