Afternoon in Godalming and Haslemere

Godalming Parish Church

Godalming Parish Church

I would usually go to Guildford, hop on the bus to Godalming, then sometimes take the train rather than the bus back to Guildford.

Today, train to Guildford, then train to Godalming as I wished to have lunch at Café Mila.

At Godalming Station I noticed something I had not noticed before, a Victorian postbox.

As I left Godalming Station I noticed something else I had not noticed before, probably because it would be closed, a lovely little coffee shop called Daisy Sandwiches. It stood out as special as usually at a station it will be a cup of tea and not much more, or as at Guildford Station, a Costa Coffee shop.

Nearly everything Daisy Sandwiches was serving was made by them, from fresh locally sourced produce, including their own sausage rolls and cakes. Whilst I was there, and this was lunchtime when the station is quiet, there was a steady flow of customers.

As I was passing by, I popped in Godalming Parish Church, but did not have a look around.

The Chief Wireless Officer of the Titanic is commemorated in the church.

I looked in Piggies, never found it open before. Two bored looking women who looked like they wished they were anywhere other than Piggies, dried out corn beef curling up at the edges. No thanks. No surprise it was empty.

I also looked in …. Better than Piggies, but again no customers.

I found a market stall beneath the Pepper Pot from which I picked up Coxes apples and Victoria plums. I later ate one of the Coxes. Crisp and juicy with a sharp bite. As apples should be, not the tasteless French Golden Delicious sold in supermarkets.

With the distractions, I got to Café Mila later than I had expected, probably around 2-30pm, to find it was very busy. In contrast to the two places I had looked in on my way that were empty, it was packed. As I had been told last week when I had afternoon tea, an impressive spread on the counter. This was nothing, I was told, to what I would have seen had I been earlier.

I chose a salad. A mistake. Nothing wrong with it, ideal as a side salad, but not as main course. Followed by a lovely piece of carrot cake and a cup of tea.

I popped into Godalming Museum to see the latest art exhibition. Nothing worth spending any time on.

General James Oglethorpe founder of Georgia hails from Godalming. He was the Member of Parliament for Haslemere. He wished to empty the debtors prisons and resettle the released prisoners in Georgia. He saw that the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution was kicking people of the land and depositing them destitute in the cites where they resorted to a life of crime. He wished to see them settled in Georgia. He also fought the Spanish over Florida.

It was then catch the bus to Haslemere.

The bus passes through heavily wooded countryside, along sunken lanes, through little villages. A load of school kids got on. Noisy but well behaved. A large group of them got off in the middle of nowhere. All I could see was trees and a track.

I visited Haslemere last year. It was cold and raining. There did not seem to be much there. My thoughts then were correct, there is little there. I found it to be a very depressing place and a waste of time visiting. For such a small place, never seen so many High Street chains. For its size, must be a record.

Costa was apparently the first, the rest followed. Totnes please take due note!

An interesting main street with one side higher than the other on an elevated walkway. Try crossing the road and nearly get killed. Why no measures in place to slow the traffic? Middle of a small town and yet no path the other side of the street.

A coffee shop called Barista Coffee. I thought maybe an indie, but when I walked in, I assumed I was wrong from its soulless corporate look. I learnt later, it was an indie. But one would not have thought so, it was as if the owner had walked into Costa and decided to replicate what he found, the same soulless look, same factory cakes. And had the gall to charge £2 for wifi (free everywhere else).

I did though find indie baker, fishmonger and a cheese and wine shop. For my tea bread and a cake from the bread shop and cheese from the cheese and wine shop.

I learn there was an indie coffee shop worth looking at. I popped into Hemingways, they told me everything freshly prepared, fair trade tea and coffee. At night it transforms from a coffee bar into a wine bar and music venue. A good idea.

I cross the road and see two Latina women waiting for a bus. I ask is this the bus for Guildford? They tell me yes, and that it is the last bus. It is 5-30pm. I thought last year I caught the bus from the other side of the street, but I must have been mistaken.

The bus took a different route back to Godalming which bypassed all the little villages. Much quicker.

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