Dysfunctional Stagecoach

November 22, 2017

A bus pass is a bus pass, it is valid across the country no matter where issued, but try telling that to the bus drivers.

Today a bus driver caused great distress to an elderly lady, refusing to allow her to board a bus, claiming, falsely, that her bus pass was not valid.

The bus was in Hampshire, the bus pass issued in Bristol.

The driver claimed the bus pass had expired. This was simply not true, it was a valid bus pass.

He held up the bus for several minutes arguing with the lady, even though she had a valid bus pass.

The driver was clueless how to even use the bus pass.

If placed on the machine, it will fail, it has to be held above the machine.

The lady when asked, said she had not had a problem before using her bus pass.

But even if there was a fault with either the bus pass or machine, all the driver had to do was issue a paper ticket for the journey.

What you do not do is hold up a  bus for several minutes arguing over a fare of a  few pence.

The lady apologised to passengers for holding up the bus.

It was not for the lady to apologise, it was for the driver to apologise.

No apology from the driver.

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Afternoon in Winchester

November 22, 2017

Mild when I set off, in Winchester very cold.

Almost missed the train.

Dysfunctional Stagecoach,  bus driver refused to allow an elderly lady to board the bus, even though she had a valid bus pass, holding up the bus for several minutes when all he had to do was issue a paper ticket.

At Aldershot Station, no ticket office open, man manning the barrier refuses to open barrier as have no ticket.

Does public transport employ people based upon their level of stupidity?

Wifi live on No 64 bus to Winchester, but not connecting to Internet.

Tried charging power bank from usb charging point.

Last week, power bank showed full, but kept charging through journey until fully charged.

Monday, power bank used to charge Samsung Galaxy A3 from around 20% to 50% whilst in use.  Power bank showed 75% charged.  As charging, shows 75% charged.

I would normally walk down the hill into Winchester, but stay on the bus.

No 64 bus now arrives and departs from the street. It saves time going around the back streets to the bus station.

Bus Station has been refurbished. It is now worse than before. One big open space, nowhere for passengers to shelter from the rain.

I inform bus driver wifi live bus does not connect to Internet. Driver not interested.

It has turned very cold

Pasta off the Sicilian stall. Only thing worth having from the street food market.

Too cold for street food.

A wander around Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market. The ice skating rink puts to shame the one at The Village in Guildford.

Hot chestnuts off a  stall very poor quality compared with the hot chestnuts off the stalls in Athens. Very misleading stall, chopped wood, but fired by a hidden gas cylinder. And why use Italian chestnuts when there are English chestnuts?

Look in Coffee Lab. Do not stay as too cold with door open. Explains why empty.

Coffee Lab Academy busy, but again no Dhan.

Coffee Lab Academy closes at five, but they do not chase people out. I am there until gone 5-30.

Walking to catch the bus, passing Bus Station I notice in darkness. It would also help to have lights by the bus stands in the street.

I ask the driver why is the Bus Station in darkness.

The refurbishment failed to install lights.

Wifi live and connecting to Internet.

I again charge power bank for entire journey. Still charging, but is now showing fully charged when I remove from usb point.

As last week, woman, not same woman, with dirty boots on a seat. This is a new bus fleet that only officially came into service on Sunday.

Tonight no dinner at Alton Station Cafe. I learnt on way down, Bikes Night tonight cancelled.

Nearly twenty five minutes wait for a  train. I possibly just missed one.

It would have helped if new timetable tied in with the trains, though bus did leave five minutes late.

Pop in Waitrose.  I notice Union coffee beans, at least the ones I check, Yayu Forest, one month old, in Waitrose Farnham two months old, which is not doing Union any favours.

Afternoon in Reading

November 20, 2017

What a difference a week makes. Last week in Reading freezing cold, today mild and damp with occasional light drizzle.

I had intended to look in Workhouse then pop back later. But decided to stay and have a cappuccino.

Ethiopian, better than I had off Tamp kiosk last week, weak and insipid, which I poured down the drain. Not though as good as from Ethiopian Coffee Roasters.

I was asked did I want sugar, but had to intervene to stop chocolate, I assume cocoa, from being dumped on top.

No information on the beans, but staff knowledgeable and will explain if asked.

It would though be useful to have information, for example as in Small Batch in Brighton.

I learnt why the silly names for several of the beans. These are blends and it is an attempt to give some idea of the flavour profile.

The system is very much as Monmouth in Covent Garden, choose the beans you want, these are then weighed and bagged. They will grind if asked.

Perceived wisdom is to leave beans for a week after roasting before used. Workhouse leave for two weeks.

I think, but not sure, I could have picked any of the beans for a V60, though it may have only been what was illustrated on a  sign.

The rear of Workhorse the walls used to exhibit art.

Workhouse is surrounded by dreadful places to drink coffee, opposite Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks, adjacent down the street Patisserie Valerie and Pret a Manger.

In the centre of Reading, indeed even before leaving Reading Station, I have never seen so many coffee shops, but unlike Brighton, where at least indie coffee shops, these are chains. Like a Medieval plague of rats, Reading is infested with tax-dodging Starbucks.

MangoBean closed. This does not surprise me. It is a franchise scam, relies on mugs who know nothing about coffee, as the old adage goes fools and their money are easily parted.

The only surprise is that MangoBean in Aldershot has not closed long ago.

Next door to MangoBean, Artigiano.

Artigiano a  trendy coffee ship, serving craft beer, multiple levels, very much in the style of The Underdog in Athens. A sign indicated they used Origin. Sadly though a chain, albeit a small chain.

I had wished to go back, but spent the rest of the afternoon until early evening at CUP speciality coffee and tea.

Lunch at Cup spinach and feta pie.

Artigiano and Workhorse almost empty, CUP packed. It quietened down a little mid-afternoon, then late afternoon, it fills up again.

Usually in a coffee shop, people drink coffee, in CUP, maybe half drinking tea.

A selection of 18 different teas, with an unusual method of brewing the tea.

The tea and water carefully measured and timed, boiling hot water poured onto the tea, then released through a gauze into a glass carafe with a cork in the top.

The brewing method I have seen only once before, in Just Made 33, the method of serving only seen in CUP.

The teas are for sale, they will weigh and bag.

I had wished to leave earlier than last week to miss the commuter rush hour, but left an hour later, just made it in time for a train, which I found was non-stop. The next train, ten minutes later, was ten minutes late.  Packed in like sardines.  Most of the train emptied at the first stop.

Sino:bit

November 19, 2017

Open Source coding project for children. CN000001, the first certified open source hardware in China.

Sino:bit designed by Naomi Wu with the help of David, built by Elecrow, is an Open Source coding project for children, the first Open Source Hardware Association  #oshwa certified board in China.

Sino:bit is CN000001, the first certified open source hardware in China.

Naomi Wu is a passionate and articulate advocate of Open Source.

Sino:bit is designed to introduce children at an early age to the concept of Open Source.

Open Source can be taken a step further, as part of the collaborate commons, self-organise events and conferences, do not rely upon Make and Maker Fayre.

Naomi Wu has come under a lot of stick, attacked by men, she cannot be real, she did not design the stuff. Sad as it is pathetic.

The same mindset that thinks women are there to be abused.

She gets attacked for looking sexy, for how she dresses.

One sad pathetic example of humanity attacked her for wearing a pink dress.

She is intelligent, articulate, and that really pisses off the trolls. How dare she, a mere slip of a girl, challenge them in their own world.

Then it is a state of denial, she must be a toy or a robot, someone else is telling her what to do.

She has to prove she is real.

Editor of Make magazine Dale Dougherty made the astounding claim:

I am questioning who she [Naomi Wu] really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.

But, after a lot of soul searching, Dale Dougherty has admitted he was wrong, furthermore, offered to put things right.

Yes, the action is good, and needs to be monitored.

One aspect of all these clever designers, and Naomi Wu is a passionate and eloquent advocate, is Open Source.

Sino:bit, designed by Naomi Wu, with help from friends, is an Open Source coding project for children. But is is also designed to introduce children to the concept of Open Source at an early age.

Open Source should though be seen within the context of collaborative commons, open coops, sharing economy.

We are now postcapitalism.

We should be asking how does Open Source, within the wider context, with the help of Make and Maker Fayre move forward.

One suggestion I will make, and I hope it gets taken forward, is self-organising conferences.

Look to Barcelona and Catalonia. There is not only extensive open coops, but a network of cooperating open coops.

With the help of Naomi Wu and friends, let us see the first truly collaborative commons Maker Fayre in China, ideally in Shenzhen, then if a viable model established, help to replicate it worldwide.

Why do indie coffee shops close so early?

November 19, 2017

I love a coffee shop that stays open late (by UK standards). — Brian Williams

A tweet raises an interesting point, why do indie coffee shops in England close so early?

I like to finish what I am doing of an afternoon, then sit and relax in a coffee shop with a  coffee. Only I cannot, as by then they are closed, or closing.

I have to rush what I am doing, finish by mid-afternoon, to catch the coffee shop before it closes.

I have then defeated my purpose of going there, to sit and relax.

People finish their shopping, finish wandering around, leave work, want to sit and relax with a coffee, only they cannot, or at least they cannot in an indie coffee shop. The chains are still open, they end up in a  chain and it becomes a bad habit.

Glutton & Glee, now under new owners with a silly name, the staff are at the door at four thirty greeting customers with ‘we close in half an hour’.

How to make customers feel welcome, I think not, without really trying.

I have sat and watched a steady stream of potential customers turned away in that last half hour.

I have sat at the back of Glutton & Glee, amongst the decaying furniture that has seen better days and had a visitor pose the question, why are they turning away customers who have money rattling in their pocket they wish to spend?

Why indeed? I have often wondered why?

Not only wondered, I have asked.

The answer goes something like this.

If we stay open longer, we have to pay the staff.

This answer defies logic.

You pay staff the hours you are open. You are are turning away customers that if they bought three cappuccinos, a cake or two, you have already covered the cost of paying the Living Wage let alone the Minimum Wage. Your fixed costs are just that, fixed, whether open five hours or twenty hours.

Look at the demographics in Guildford, wealthy middle class who are used to being in Europe, visitors from overseas, students, migrant workers. All are used to coffee shops being open late.

I am used to being in coffee shops until early evening, late at night, early hours of the morning.

Europeans friends I talk to are completely at a loss why coffee shops close so early. As am I.

In the summer, should be open until at least six, midsummer until at least seven. In the winter it is different, cold and wet and dark, wish to hurry home.

There needs to be flexibly. If sorry have an appointment, have the kids to pick up, that is different.

Nor would I dream of asking for a  coffee when I see the machine is about to be cleaned for the night.

No 64 bus route Alton to Winchester

November 19, 2017

A new fleet of buses on the No 64 route Alton came into service last week.

Officially came into service today with the introduction of a new timetable.

The last couple of years has seen new buses introduced on this route.

Now a dedicated fleet.

Free wifi and usb charging points.

Very bad design of the usb charging points, low down between the seats making access very difficult. Though not as bad the new Goldline introduced on the Aldershot-Farnborough-Camberley route a few months ago where the usb charging points are even lower, and ideal for passengers to kick with their feet or rest their feet on. Same bus, internally different seats. On the No 1 Goldline, the usb charging points are almost on the floor.

A power bank, indicating full, charged a couple of weeks ago and only used as occasional torch, to fully charge, what I thought would be a few minutes, from leaving Alton Station until approaching Winchester before indicating fully charged. Either low output or high capacity power bank. Power bank new and have not used before.

I would not risk charging a phone or tablet, but quite happy to use to charge a power bank.

Depressing to see an ignorant female with dirty feet on the seats of a brand new bus. This problem not restricted to this route, also on the Goldline route, passengers putting their dirty feet on the seats of new buses.

On the trains, can be fined for feet on seats.

Timetable improvements that should be made on this route, cut out the detour around Alresford, better connection with trains at Alton.

On the new timetable, the buses are running an hourly late night service.

Farnham Christmas Market

November 18, 2017

Alighting off the bus in Farnham, walking along the riverside walk, I found a Christmas Market in Gostrey Meadow.

Very muddy. I hate to think what like later when it rained.

Unlike the Aldershot Christmas Market, Farnham Christmas Market was busy with lots of stalls.

The Christmas Market was for turning on the Christmas lights.

Why so early, why not wait until early December?

I like what they did in Winchester, instead of wasting money on a so-called celebrity, they had the local Big Issue seller turn on the Christmas lights.

 

Aldershot Christmas Market

November 18, 2017

Passing through Aldershot on my way to Farnham, a rather sad affair of a Christmas Market in Union Street.

A handful of stalls selling rubbish.  A brass band, and sheds selling junk food.

The sheds have made an appearance the last few years. Now Union Street has the appalling stench of their food for the next few months.

Does Aldershot not already have a bad enough image for its disgusting junk food outlets without taking it further down market, if that is possible?

Once again an example of the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor does not care about Aldershot.

A far superior Christmas Market in Farnham.

At  a guess, the Christmas Market was for turning on the Christmas lights, as when I passed through later, I saw the Christmas lights were on.

Why so early, why not wait until early December?

I like what they did in Winchester, instead of wasting money on a so-called celebrity, they had the local Big Issue seller turn on the Christmas lights.

Afternoon in Farnham

November 18, 2017

A cold day, worse than yesterday in Guildford, as cold and wet

Passing through Aldershot, I found a rather pathetic Christmas Market, a a few stalls, sheds selling junk food which unfortunately will remain through Christmas until the New Year, and a brass band.

Alighting off the bus in Farnham and walking along the riverside walk, I found a Christmas Market in Gostrey Meadow.

Unlike Aldershot, it was busy, many people, lots of stalls.

Cappuccino and flapjack in Krema.

The Christmas Market was for turning on the Christmas lights.

Why so early, why not wait until early December?

I like what they did in Winchester, instead of wasting money on a so-called celebrity, they had the local Big Issue seller turn on the Christmas lights.

A lesson other towns should learn from.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 17, 2017

A very cold day, sunny but cold.

Waterstone’s has a reasonable, though not great, selection of coffee books.

O2 has the new One Plus Five. At £500 expensive. Though half the ludicrous £1000 for an iPhone X.

An ice ring at The Village.

Not as it may seem innovation, many towns are now doing this.

Something I did not learn until later, Guildford has an ice ring (I should have known this as I used to see people carrying ice skates), so why does it need one at The Village?

Not a single person on the ice ring.

The Village opened in the summer. It has never been a success. If not a success in the summer, it was unlikely to succeed once it turned cold and dark.

September, most of the businesses had pulled out.

A couple of weeks ago, more new businesses.

Looking today, I do not know whether these new businesses have already puled out, but few of the units were open.

But, what has now happened, sheds have been dumped on site selling junk food. What are they trying to do, turn Guildford into Aldershot? It is also unfair to the existing businesses who have stuck it out.

I walk by a stall on the market that sells coffee beans. I have yet to ever see anyone buy from this stall. The beans therefore must be old. I looked today. Anonymous plastic sacks, no information on the beans, no roast date. There are better places in Guildford from where to buy coffee beans.

Always buy coffee beans from a reputable indy coffee shop or from a reputable coffee roaster.

The stall also sells tea. This I did not check out, but if I wanted tea, I would buy from Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage where the guy is an expert on tea.

It was Bamboo Shoots where I was headed for lunch.

No honey crunch chicken. I had prawns with brown rice. Excellent.

Top of High Street, Steamer Trading, up market expensive kitchen shop.

Did they have coffee making gear? Not that I could see, Nespresso machines, and surprising, domestic espresso machines. I would not recommend either

A lady asked could she help me. Yes we do have, She took me to a corner, where V60, aeropress, though not Chemex or Japanese syphon.

 

I may have just made a train, but decided cappuccino at Harris + Hoole. High staff turnover since being taken over by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. Death by a thousand cuts. Today, once again new faces I have not seen before. Caffe Nero has now managed to lose all their good staff.