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@Gordon ... he he he .... Am I sensing the asynchronous story of ESP8266 is biting us again for the partner board story? As you know, a request to do something on the ESP8266 does not mean it is done until the ESP8266 later tells it is :-)
Which firmware is it on the ESP8266 - 0.25, or the older one?
Probably Espruino 'asks' the socket to close, but then tries to open it again before it has properly closed. I think it's something that should be fixable in the ESP8266 driver pretty easily.