Day in Brighton

August 18, 2019

Morning cool, mist like drizzle, then it chucked it down.

Luckily it almost stopped as I walked to the station catch a train, as I did not wish to lug an umbrella around Brighton all day.

Odd, no one at the station waiting for the Gatwick train. Had I got the times wrong?

I soon learnt why, Gatwick train cancelled.

Myself and a lady going to Gatwick caught the slow train, and I advised her to change at Redhill.

I warned her doubtful get there much earlier, but if wait for the next Gatwick train no guarantee it will turn up, it too could be cancelled.

No station announcement to advise of this, not denouncement on the train.

Wifi not working, usb power failed.

We arrived Gatwick five minuted before the next Gatwick train would ave arrived, assuming not cancelled, assuming on time.

Train to Brighton crowded, standing room only.

I arrived Brighton one hour late.

These days, no guarantee train will turn up, or even get home, network is in chaos

A few days ago, it was announced rail fare will rise in January just short of 3%. And when they do, we will be told rail network has improved to justify the hike in rail fares.

Pass by Blend & Brew, see no one I know, owner there, I carry on to Coffee at 33.

Lunch at Coffee at 33, followed by cappuccino and cake.

New beans came in a a dustbin. Bagged, I had a bag. Only roasted a few days ago.

Coffee at 33 were not at the Brighton Coffee Festival last Sunday. I learnt why, apart from staffing issues, £1000 for a stall. Blatant rip off. Would have to sell a lot of bags of coffee to recoup. Basically it would be written off. Written off for what?

Looked in Magazine Brighton then Pelicano.

Pelicano have sold all their cosies of Drift, the London edition. Worth having if can obtains a copy. I do not though recommend the London edition of Ambrosia, a grave appointment.

Looked in The Flour Pot. Their cakes look good, but looks can be deceptive. I have tried their cookies in the past, not good and a layer of saturated fat at tee base. The Flour Pot Restaurant on by the iSore the seafront the coffee undrinkable, though compared with the tacky bars and disgusting fish n chips outlets an improvement.

Looked in Iydea. Nothing I fancied. It is depressing it has gone downhill. It was somewhere I always looked forward to eating.

Brighton Bookshop next door has been sitting derelict for months, windows covered in graffiti. It was an excellent bookshop, always interesting books in the window. A pity it was not sold as a bookshop, but I understand the owner did not even try.

Looked in Infinity Foods, picked up a couple of scones.

I raised a=once again refusal to take back Faith in Nature 5 litre containers. I learnt why, even the shop does not send them back. They are not refiled, they are recycled, therefore why send back when can send for recycling in Brighton.

Dopes this mean everyone is being conned by Faith in Nature?

Infinity Foods Kitchen once again closing early, no tables and chairs outside. The excuse this time it was raining. Maybe it was first thing in the morning, but the streets were dry and everyone else had their tables and chairs outside. Once again claimed staffs shortages.

I asked of the canned water. Met with surliness to the point of rudeness, refusal to discus.

This is a workers coop. Why do the workers not know anything? They are acting a employees.

I looked in Bond Street, coffee shop for Horsham Coffee Roasters. Keep Cup for £3, plus free coffee. Same cups as they had at Brighton Coffee Festival. If there wa san offer there,m no mention of. They do not look like Keep Cups. Ilearnt made of bamboo, cf e-coffee but a fraction of the price. Must eb a new venture for Keep Cup.

If weassume a cappuccino for £3, taht isa Keep Cup fort a pund.

Ths eKeep Cups, same aplaied to e-coffee, are not as woudl expect, very solid and feel ,ike ceramic. What I do not like are the rubbery lids and surround.

S tgeste are brabded Horsham, good marketing.

Bu they are aslo envirnamantal raesons, they are pasing out takewa coffee cups.

Soemething I ahve been arguing for some time. Compstable cups, reasuable cups, a step in he righty direction. but address sympoms. WE need tod siciaathe take away coffee sdn encouarge sit and realx with coffee served in galsss or ceramic.

Tp Balckbird in The lkanes.

Once again ai notoce cars parked in the epdatraisnied streets. Onc ecar neatly runs me dpwn as it drives past. Whilst in Blackbird I notoce cars driving through at speed, not slwo as woudl expect in a pdrasainced area, and the delivery moroms on motorbikesa nd motor scottesr. Comaplete alck of enforcennt.

Ba;ckbird is busy, but once again clsoing ealy. Sunday is a day out for pople. Clsing early is to turn away bsuiensses. I observed many turned away.

It ried an ethiopian V60 ratsted in Turkey. It was ok, not exepntiona.

Walking down to the sea front, as pot two tarffoc wadens. Iask ythem to enforce the pedatraiasned arae. It neds not only enformcnet, barriersa t the entarnce. Either bollasrds ar a gat.

TYhe safrina gale blwoing

I try Twin Pines. I was too late last week.

Excelent capuccino. On shwo guest coffee.

Back to the seafront. Buta gale blwing.

Idebce walk back to the fishn chip shop where Iha dexcelelnt haddocka dn chips last week.

Only haddock with skin. No. Haddock withs kin is vile. And they rerfused to agtke thes kin off.

To P;elican. To late fora coffee.

Whilst teghre there a woaman walks in, claims to be from of the local shops, babbled abouta scan, but the more she babbled, the elss sesne she made, elast of all what the scam was. Maybe she was the sacam.

No ticket coimnh down, I go to the ticket office to buya ticket. So sow I thought Iwould miss my train.

Pizza of the pizza van outside. OK, not grat. I woudl not recommend. he only thing a=Icoudls ay, ebbter tahn the dsigusting burger van.

Woudl thetrre be a train from Gatwick to Raeding? Luckily yes.

Wif works, usb works, but no working toits.

Sometime after leaving Gatwick, heavy rain en route.

Lukcily I do not gewt wet as has stoped when I alight from the train.

Iam so tired, feels lkek midnight, when not long goem nine.

A evry tiring day.

— to b econtinued —

Afternoon in Farnham

August 17, 2019

On the way to Farnham popped into Aldershot.

Walking through Gostrey Meadow a rather sad pathetic VE/VJ Fete. little there and few people. Sad too because these people gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Why do idiots think ok to park on the double yellow lines in Downing Street?

Poor quality pork chops in the butcher. He apologised for the poor quality.

Lunch at Gail’s. Nothing left. Empty.and yet tables not cleared.

To Krema for a cappuccino.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow. I was disappointed to find no cows. Then I spotted them, they had settled down for the evening.

Waitrose was almost empty. Served promptly, wonders will never cease.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 16, 2019

Cool wet afternoon in Guildford. Raining all day.

GWR Reading to Gatwick train, water flowing from disabled toilet through the carriage, no working wifi in next carriage.

At station before catching the train, I mention hassle yesterday, train Oxford to Reading running late, have to catch the following train. I am told expect problems on return. Why? No trains, lack of train crew, on holiday.

But we are told train fare rise of almost 3% in January is justified because train companies are improving their service. No one who uses the trains has witnessed an improvement, what they do see is a rail service in chaos with no guarantee will get home at the end of the day.

I like trains, but what I like are clean, reliable trains, not overcrowded, which run on time and are not charging extortionate rail fares. We need to shift people out of cars onto public transport but this is never going to happen until we improve our atrocious rail and bus service.

Market not very busy. French cheese stall not there. Last time when not there he denied he was no there.

I see an Infinity Foods lorry. I look in Food for Thought. Do they have problems returning Faith in Nature 5 litre containers? No, but then they do not use Infinity Foods, only for food items.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Closed for next two weeks.

Surrey Hills Coffee six customers. A record. When I passed later, only two.

Passing earlier Harris + Hoole on my way to the market it was busy. I let one of their baristas know how was Brighton Coffee Festival.

Cappuccino in Krema. I then try a V60 using Kenyan coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters. I was curious how it compared Brighton Coffee Festival. Good but not as good.

Long chat with Ben in Ben’s Records. Rain had by now eased off.

Afternoon in Oxford

August 15, 2019

Set off later than I would have wished to Oxford.

As train pulled into Reading, a fast train to Oxford pulled into Reading. Not a chance of catching. It pulled out as I was crossing platforms.

CrossCountry train to Oxford only four coaches not five. Packed.

Why is there a bull outside Oxford Station, hidden down the side of the Said Business School? No one I ask knows.

Pleasant walk along Oxford Canal.

Jericho, reached by crossing a footbridge over the Oxford Canal, was the first suburb of Oxford. Built for the workers attracted by the canal. What is strange the footbridge is modern, not of the era of the canal.

I wished to visit 101 Coffee Espresso Bar which unlike last week was open, but thought if I did, there would be no food left at Branca Food.

There was no food left at Branca Food. I settled on a pizza and flapjack. No salad, no delicious desserts as last week.

A man apologised, said they had been very busy lunchtime and were a chef down.

I settled down in the courtyard. Problem is, once settled in the courtyard, so relaxing reluctant to move.

A cappuccino at 101 Coffee Espresso Bar, though now less inclined than before.

I learnt why closed last week, at a festival. Barista showed me their stall. They take as flat pack in a van, then erect on site.

I suggested they try Staycation Live next year, as they need a quality coffee stall.

Too late to walk back along the canal. I took the road.

It meant I saw a a part of Oxford I had not seen before.

I passed an interesting bookshop, but no time to do it justice.

I regret I did not buy My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk.

The road emerges behind street food market.

Time to look in Cafe Society, no more.

Latest issue of Society Cafe not yet published. I had hoped they would have an edition of Standart I had seen in 101 Coffeee Espresso Bar. No such luck. But I think they did have a few weeks back.

Time to visit Colombian Coffee Raster in Oxford Covered Market.

We try some beans I had picked up or been given at Brighton Coffee Festival on Sunday. I have no idea what they were or who had given them to me, a small sample not labelled.

I should have stayed another hour in Oxford. I did not realise I was returning an hour earlier than previous visits.

On arrival at Oxford Station, I regretted leaving early. Train running very late. Have to catch next train, and it arrives in Reading as my train is leaving. An hour wait for the next train.

I am in luck. Train arrives in Reading early. I somehow manage to catch the train as it is leaving.

Coffee #1

August 14, 2019

Alresford has two coffee shops, Carocoli and Coffee #1.

Carocoli never knew what they were, a coffee shop, a deli, the coffee was not good and they went bust. Now under new owners.

Coffee #1 new, only open a few weeks in Alresford.

I decided to alight from the bus passing through to Winchester, a quick look around, try a coffee at Coffee #1, then carry on down to Winchester.

It is easy to tell when a coffee shop not good, a row of syrups and asked what size cup for a cappuccino.

A row of syrups on the back wall, I was asked what size cappuccino.

If asked what size, I always ask to see the cups. Regular and large.

There is only one size, the correct size, no other size will suffice.

Feeling hungry having not eaten since late breakfast I also asked for a bap with bacon.

A long wait to be served, though there was an apology, an even longer wait to be brought my bacon bap, longer still before my cappuccino arrived.

The bap was brought with no serviette. I had to go in search of. It was ok, not great.

The cappuccino when it finally arrived appeared to have been carpet bombed with chocolate. I sent it back. The next to arrive looked disgusting, tasted disgusting scalding hot, deep layer of froth and foam, of which I scooped out a large glop with my teaspoon.

Bags of coffee on display. I picked up an espresso blend and a Costa Rican.

Nothing to say where the espresso blend sourced, the Costa Rican commodity coffee, no mention of farm.

No roast date, only a meaningless best be date. Actually worse then useless. Old stale coffee, no aroma.

Ambience pleasant.

Service took so long I missed the next bus and had to wait a further half an hour.

Young girl making the coffee treated very badly by young man who seemed to be in charge. Shouted at her in a very unpleasant manner Come Here. Further shouting at her. Then the shouting became worse, she walked away, clearly distressed and upset, walked into a room marked Private, and did not emerge until some time later as I was leaving.

Had I not been about to leave I would have spoken to her as a very bad example of bullying in the workplace. A report was filed to Coffee #1. They lacked the courtesy to respond, which shows the importance they attach to workplace bullying.

Note: Workplace bullying is a breach of employment legislation.

Coffee +#1 is a a large chain of around 100 coffee shops owned by Caffe Nero and it shows.

Harris + Hoole is also owned by Caffe Nero, and since bought by Caffe Nero has experienced death by a thousand cuts, but they at least attempt to make decent coffee. Coffee #1 do not even go through the motions.

The only good thing I could find to say, bags of coffee grounds to take away for the garden, though from the number of bags piled on the floor the take up appeared to be low.

It was then pick up the bus, head into Winchester, to have a decent coffee at The Square.

Alresford

August 14, 2019

I pass through Alresford, New Alresford to be correct, on the way to Winchester. Today, even though I was late and it was raining I decided to alight from the bus.

Town hosues,a few shops, at least smany indeepndent shops, tow coffee shops, Caracol and Coffee #1.

Caroclo went bsut, new owers, coffee was never good.

Coffee #1, enw, only a few weeks in Alresford. The coffee and service as I wa stio learn terrible.

It was then hop back on the bus to Winchester.

— to be continued —-

Afternoon in Winchester

August 14, 2019

This morning heavy rain. A trip to Winchester not an option. It then brightened a little, rain stopped, and off I went to Winchester.

Heavy rain on the way, roads awash with water.

Had I set off early, I would have stopped off at Alresford, arrived Winchester early afternoon.

I decided to stop off anyway, a quick look around, maybe find something to eat.

Alresford has two coffee shops.

Carocoli went bust, was then taken over by whoever runs the coffee shop in the department store in Farnham. It was not good before, can only have got worse.

Coffee #1 is new. I learnt how new, onl ya few weeks old.

It is aching, chain owned by Caffe Nero, and it shows,from the poor service to the bad coffee.

Service was that bad that I missed the bus to Winchester, caught the next bus.

Arrived in Winchester a little after five.

Long chat with cheese guy. I learnt it was he who had told me of Coffee Gems.

Just made The Square before it closed at six.

I could have maybe made the 1820 bus, decided to make the 1920, go for a walk behind the Cathedral and back vin the River Itchen.

Wednesday night bikers night at Alto Station cafe. No one had tuned up, only a single bike parked up outside. More turn up in the depths of winter.

At least it meant there was food left.

— to be continued —-

Brighton Coffee Festival

August 11, 2019

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road., only a few minutes walk from Brighton Staiton, downa steep flight of steeps,and along …. A part of Brighton i was not aware of let alone visited before.

I lacked a ticket. Nightmare trying to book on-line using a phone, little better on a laptop.

Book on-line charged £7 a further £1 booking fee. On the gate £10.

A mix of coffee roasters, many of which were local coffee shops or Sussex coffee roasters plus London coffee roasters, a couple of food stalls, interspersed with talks and a latte art competition.

It was basically wander around try the coffee. Most were serving V60, a few espresso and V60.

A few talks. The sound systems so bad impossible to hear the lady from Pharmacie. A Colombian guy Eduardo Florez from a The Colombian Coffee Company in Borough Market was comprehensible, maybe I was stood in the right spot.

Awful moronic music blasting out. It was overloading the system and clipping. It made it nigh impossible to hold conversation.

Colombian guy Eduardo Florez interesting. Why do we buy coffee? We do not buy wine.

Well actually we doe, we buy red or whit or fizzy, sweet or dry, the cheapest we can find, but basically is is we buy wine.

Similarly we buy coffee, or at least drink coffee.

The discerning coffee drinker seeks out quality, wishes to know the origin, the provenance of the coffee, the variety, when it was roasted, by who was it roasted.

Coffee farmers who focus on quality, are able to command a higher price for their benas, everyone is happy, the grower gets more money. the coffee drinker better quality coffee. Constart with the fair trade scam whi pays a tiny margin above commodity price, mainaytsn gafmers in poverty as no incentive to improve quality.

The rubbish coffee relies on marketing.

WE as coffee drinkers by seeking out the best coffee, frequeting indie coffee shops, avoiding the corpaoarte chains and coffee shops serving bad coffee are helping the coffee farers improve their lilehood.

It wa s apity he did not have astall to enable visitos to try and buy his coffee.

Intetetsing converaation with .. a coffee farmer in Rwanda. Sge told me a little of the etstae, taht processings atkes packe on the farm, a schoo has bene built for the children.

Red Roaster roast her coffee beans.

On walking in, greeted by Small Batch, and unfortunately an unpleasant cacophony of noise.

I am not a fan of takeaway coffee, the only way to enjoy coffee is to sit and relax with a coffee glass or ceramic but one of those rare exception where I will stop time permitting and have a coffee is the Small Batch kiosk outside Brighton Station. The coffee served always consistently good.

Small Batch had receptacles for coffee cups, liquid, and lids. The only stall, though others may have had hidden, as took cup if handed over.

Everyone was using compostable cups.

I then wandered around clockwise.

First coffee off Horsham Coffee Roasters.

A Kenyan V60, it was excellent. The first and best coffee of the day.

I later returned and tried a Rwandan. It too was good.

It will be interesting to see how compares in Krema.

By contrast, a coffee off Roasted was disappointing.

A table with The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide. Now in its second edition, a useful guide to have, but a case of feel the width never mind the quality. Too many coffee shops which if the idea is to highlight the best in Brighton I would not include.

How is it financed?

Redemption roast coffee at Aylesbury Prison, where also teach coffee skills to young offenders. They also have four coffee shops in London.

Excellent cappuccino off Caravan with their espresso blend. Very interesting flavour profile.

Pelicano had an impressive stand. There coffee shop in North Laine is one of my favourite coffee shops. Not only for coffee, always an impressive display of cakes. One of the few places places can obtain Drift and Standart.

Passing by the Pelicao coffee shop later they told me they had had a very good day at the coffee festival.

I have never been to the London Coffee Festival, and frlom what I learn, each yaer it gets worse.

The ogaisners of the Brighton Coffee Festiva were helpful, responded very promtly to my queries.

The ticetin on-line a nightmare. I would suggets fir future use Event Brite, as never had problems.

Please please ditch the music. It made convesraion nigh impossibe.

I was pleased toge chains and corpaorate coffee suplliers ddid not get a look in. The ficus was onspecialty coffee and local.

I would have liked to have seen Square Mile, Alchemy, Kiss the Hippo, Coffee Gems, Columbia Coffee Roasters, DT Coffee Roasters.

How to fit them all in, if space cannot be extended? Omit the food stalls, food was avalibes o no need for food stalsl. And that included The Flour Pot, who are a cake shop.

Consider a fringe or alternative coffee festival, events sprad overf a week or longer, hosted in different coffee shops across Brighton.

Brighton Coffee Festival was hosted in Brighton Open Market, along London Road., only a few minutes walk from Brighton Staiton, downa steep flight of steeps,and along …. A part of Brighton i was not aware of let alone visited before.

The central are lined with shops. Unfortunate less tahn half were open, and most of yhsoe taht weee open closed before four. I would have liked to ahve looked in the zero waste shop.

I found a Turksih lady wih a stall making food I have never come across before. She made it look simple, bust she told me not as simple as seh made it look.

A ball of doughm which she dropped into a machine resmabeleling a minute version of an od fashioned mangle,s he then rolled witha tiny rolling pin. Droppped nto whatever you wished for, vegan vegeatian meat. I chose lamb. Fold in half,, thne poppped ona hot palte for five minutes. Delicious. I nacan olny decsribe as almsot like a thin pizza base, bust then folded to resemble a Cornish pasyty.

On leaving via the London Road entance I aspoke witha man packing up a bookstall. He said wjen evenst were onm it was varied but today he did quite well.

— to be continued —

Free Coffee

August 11, 2019

On my way to Brighton Coffee Festival at The Open Market I encountered outside Costa on London Road a small van giving away free coffee.

No idea why.

I think it was to promote the hemp milk they were using, though it could have been a protest against Costa.

The coffee was undrinkable, though probably still better than Costa.

If drinking undrinkable coffee may at least drink free undrinkable coffee, though I would prefer to have neither and pay for good coffee, or failing that a beer or water or fruit juice or tea.

I did not try until I reached The Open Market, a little further up the road. It was scaling hot. I have never had coffee this hot.

I poured it down the drain and the cup I dropped in a bin.

— to be continued —

Sunday in Brighton

August 11, 2019

A pleasant day in Brighton.

Train to Gatwick, no wifi, train to Brighton, no wifi.

At Brighton Station popped in Passenger Lounge for wifi to load Google maps of where I was going.

I headed a back way out of the station down steep steps, that eventually brought me out some way along London Road.

A guy with a little van parked up outside Costa giving away free coffee. No idea why. It was undrinkable, though probably still better than Costa. If drinking undrinkable coffee may at least drink free undrinkable coffee, though i would prefer to heave neither and pay for good coffee, or failing that a beer or water or fruit juice or tea.

London Road, the further walk along away from the seafront the worse it gets.

Not far along London Road, past Presuming Ed, and there on the right the entrance to The Covered Market.

It was only then I tried the freebie coffee. It was scalding hot. I have never had coffee this hot. I poured it down the drain and dropped the cup in a bin. An afterthought, maybe I should have kept for the Brighton Coffee Festival.

I lacked a ticket. Nightmare trying to book on-line using a phone, little better on a laptop.

Book on-line charged £7 a further £1 booking fee. On the gate £10.

A mix of coffee roasters, many of which local coffee shops or Sussex and London Coffee roasters, some food.

It was basically wander around try the coffee. Most were serving V60, a handful espresso and V60.

A few task. The sound systems so bad impossible to hear the lady from Pharmacie. A Colombian guy from a Columbia coffee company in Borough market was comprehensible, maybe I was sood in the right spot.

Awful moronic music blasting out. It was overloading the system and clipping. It made it nigh impossible to hold conversation.

Onleavingm I thought of trying coffee shops in this part of Brighton, but not sure if open and wished to make Blackbird before tyhey clsoed.

Very annoyed to find they had clsoed early.

On the safront very windy.

Walked onto tghe oier, Very strong wind.

Decied to check coffee shops in Kemptown. Tghey were clsoed.

A wanswe through Kemptown. Very rough arae with rough peopel hanging around.

I decided to call it a day, jehad to Palicano, have a coffeem thne catch a train.

I apssed a fisg =h n chip shop. A man eating outside. It looked good. I asjked, and he said it was good.

I checked, open until seven.

Time to have a coffee at Pelican. New staffm no. Had tgheie been the original straff I would have had a coffee.

BNack ti fish n chip shop. I ordered fresh cooked haddacka dn chios, the haddock with no skin.

Long ytime coming. By time I had findihedm sun had gond and turning cold.

Sag stod at the end of the tabel hoping for someting to eat.

Time to head for the staion. I caugght an earleir train tahn a couple of weeks ahom thogh later tahn woudl have caught if had noit had fish n chiosp. But if I had caught next trainm I would miss connection at Gatwick and have long wait for next train.

I was surised to find train waiting at Gtwick. Wifi workingm no usb opaiwer.

On leaving a lady with astall Turksih food. It was excelelnt. Tgherew ere sonme food shops. They clsoed before four ans several were not opem.

— to be continued —