Archive for January, 2013

Sincil Street

January 31, 2013
Sincil Street

Sincil Street

Running north-south and bounded to the north by the River Witham (bridged by a footbridge), this area was originally wetlands reclaimed sometime late Anglo-Saxon or early Medieval. The river flowed just south of the wall of the Roman City Lindum Colonia. The present course of the river dates from the 12th century.

Sincil Street is the only remaining heritage outside the Central Market in Lincoln (ironically older than the Central Market), parts dating from 1840, home to many independent retailers, the street more popular than the High Street demolishing the myth shoppers prefer the sameness of High Street retailers (Sincil Street is busier than the High Street).

Little alleys run between the shops, some run to the back of the shops, others run through to what used to be workshops, but now an ugly bus station.

At either end there are two indie coffee shops, Café 44 at one end, Revival at the other.

All that remains of heritage of this period in this part of the town centre.

And yet the City Council wishes to see Sincil Street destroyed. Revival to be demolished to make way for a soulless shopping centre.

No one wishes to see Sincil Street destroyed, it gives the area character, the local businesses recycle money within the local economy.

Why is the City Council hell bent on destruction?

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Lunch at Café 44

January 31, 2013
mushroom soup

mushroom soup

carrot cake

carrot cake

Lunch at Café 44. Great for tea and coffee and cakes, but not for lunch, though the fresh mushroom soup was excellent.

For starters fresh mushroom soup, served with a few slices of bread. Very dark, I did wonder had the mushrooms been grilled first, plenty of mushrooms. I should have asked.

Unless you have a breakfast, nothing really for a main course, snacks and sandwiches. I tried roast pork in bap. Nice piece of pork.

Followed by tea and carrot cake. Carrot cake was good, but not as good as carrot cake from Café Mila in Godalming, but then would be hard pushed to find carrot cake that good, and Godalming a long way away.

Spoilt for choice for cakes in Café 44. These they source from Greenhouse coffee shop on Burton Road up past Lincoln Castle.

The only other place in Lincoln for cakes of this quality, apart from that is Greenhouse coffee shop, would be Stokes on High Bridge.

Café 44 is misleading. From the outside it looks small, but inside it extends a long way back, though very narrow, and there are rooms upstairs, up very steep, narrow, winding stairs.

Very pleasant staff. The owner when not busy always has time for a chat.

In many ways Lincoln spoilt for choice with many indie coffee bars serving quality coffee, in Café 44 the coffee is from Stokes. Also spoilt for choice as many of the indie eateries are using fresh ingredients, locally sourced, soup will be freshly made.

Windy morning in Lincoln

January 31, 2013
Lincoln Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

The Witch and Wardrobe

The Witch and Wardrobe

Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

The Angel Coffee House

The Angel Coffee House

Sincil Street

Sincil Street

Revival

Revival

Walk down to the main road to catch a bus to Lincoln. Only five minutes to wait, assuming bus running on time. Hopped on an earlier bus running late.

Mild, but very strong wind blowing. In the High Street it was blowing straight up the High Street.

Sincil Street very busy. Demolishes the myth people prefer High Street chain stores. I have yet to find anyone who thinks demolition of Sincil Street is a good idea. Typical, a dysfunctional local council lacking vision is not listening. People see a council out of touch and on the take.

Revival in Sincil Street very busy, especially when I looked in after lunch. Not just people popping in for tea, coffee and cakes, but also meetings, activities, workshops. Very warm from the winter sun.

Revival is earmarked for demolition for a soulless shopping centre.

River Witham was almost back to its normal level. Monday it was a raging torrent.

The Witch and Wardrobe, once a 16th century merchant’s house with features typical of the period, now a pub. Tacky banners outside, widescreen screens inside. If a pub landlord is so lacking in taste, he or she should be kicked out.

I did not fancy lunch at County Restaurant. Tried lunch at Café 44. Great for tea and coffee and cakes, but not for lunch, though the fresh mushroom soup was good.

5 Nocturnes

January 30, 2013
5 Nocturnes - Foss Dyke Navigation

5 Nocturnes – Foss Dyke Navigation

That’s ridiculous, my music is like LISTENING to paint dry! — Jamie Crofts

5 Nocturnes by Jamie Crofts is a reflection on the Foss Dyke Navigation at Night. It was launched at The Angel Coffee House in Lincoln with 100 free copies given away, out of a limited edition of 500, though they are not uniquely numbered.

5 Nocturnes is part of an ongoing series Octonic Fields using Octonic Modes (eight notes which divide an octave into four tones and four semitones).

The number sequence is octal, ie base eight, hence for 5 Nocturnes we have 14, 15, 16, 17, 20.

The Foss Dyke Navigation runs from Torksey Lock on the River Trent to Brayford Pool in Lincoln, into which also flows the River Witham, then on to Boston and the sea.

Lincoln was an important port, with sailing barges passing up the River Witham, then on to the River Trent via the Fossdyke.

Brayford was the site of an Iron Age settlement, which pre-dates the Roman City of Lindum Colonia.

Up until the 1960s, the Brayford was lined on two sides by warehouses and mills. Had they been restored they would have turned the Brayford into a very attractive area just off the High Street. Instead a dysfunctional City Council lacking in vision allowed their destruction. The Brayford is now an eyesore, lined by ugly buildings and tacky fast food outlets.

The Fossdyke is believed to be a Roman Canal but recent research has cast doubt.

This evening I sat listening to 5 Nocturnes in a conservatory halfway up a hillside overlooking Lincoln and the River Witham in the gathering dusk. It seemed appropriate.

5 Nocturnes is avant-garde minimalist, and yet it works. It conjures up an image of the Fossdyke at night. I am reminded of some paintings, but cannot think what.

Performed on a Steinway grand in a suitable venue, a church with good acoustics not a concert hall, would do 5 Nocturnes justice, but not on a cheap keyboard.

Jamie Crofts is currently working on counter to 5 Nocturnes, 5 Diurnes, the Brayford Pool by day. To truly reflect the Brayford, this will have to be loud and discordant to represent the ugliness of the Brayford. Or maybe in several parts: The Iron Age settlement, the hive of activity when it was one of the busiest ports in England, the twilight years when the mills and warehouses sat empty and idle, and the brash ugliness of the Brayford today.

Octonic Fields, of which 5 Nocturnes is part, I do not recommend. Not unless you wish to die of boredom or enjoy watching paint dry. It is very much, much of a muchness, 5 Nocturnes the only part worth listening to.

5 Nocturnes is not on bandcamp. Odd, on the one hand is not on bandcamp, where it would reach a far wider audience than giving away 100 free copies at The Angel Coffee House, on the other hand, when The Angel Coffee House tried to give away the copies left, Jamie Crofts got into a strop demanding they be returned. He should have been grateful they were doing him a favour. Bolts and stable doors, tears and spilt milk come to mind, or maybe ungrateful brat.

Octonic Fields, or at least parts thereof, can be found on soundcloud. Suitable for isolated pieces or works in progress, but not for entire albums, for which bandcamp is best suited.

The waveform on soundcloud gives some idea of the monotony of Octonic Fields. Usually will see some variation in the waveform, this is less monotony, more obsession. Got me thinking, could it be tool for analysis or detection of Asperger syndrome in the same a limiting of the use of vocabulary in a writer can be an early sign of dementia?

A walk on the wild side

January 30, 2013
wood anemone

wood anemone

Mild for this time of year, a strong wind blowing.

Spring flowers are coming out. A couple of days ago, I found a solitary wood anemone. Yesterday snowdrops and celandines.

I avoided walking under trees, it was not safe. A branch came flying through the air and missed me by inches.

Through the trees, the wind was howling. As I climbed further up the hill it was roaring. A sound I had never heard before. The sound was deafening.

I would have walked further, but looking back, the sky was black, a massive storm approaching. I decided it was time to turn around and head back.

I made it just before the rain came.

Morning coffee at Stokes on High Bridge

January 28, 2013
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

cappuccino and latte

cappuccino and latte

Gone around ten o’clock and Stokes on High Bridge is packed. It was eleven o’clock and today was no exception, Stokes was packed and had to wait to get a seat in the coffee bar.

Morning and afternoon in Lincoln

January 28, 2013
The Strait

The Strait

The Strait

The Strait

It was not a Tuesday or a Friday, and so I knew not to wait for a bus but to walk to the main road for a bus into Lincoln. Well timed, a minute before the bus was due and bus only a couple of minutes late. Not long to wait. A popular bus, it was full, though maybe more room on the top floor.

Passing through Sincil Street a little before 11am, very busy. Far busier than the High Street.

On Saturday night into early hours of Sunday morning, heavy rain that washed the snow away.

This morning, the River Witham flowing very fast, muddy, ripples on the surface, very high. It was almost as it was a month ago. It has become like this virtually overnight, it was not like it on Thursday. The ground is now saturated. Any rain flows straight off the land and into the rivers, turning the rivers into raging torrents.

Morning coffee at Stokes on High Bridge. Unlike last week, Stokes was very busy, had to wait to get a table. A pity they have not been able to acquire the vacant unit next door as then they could have expanded their ground floor coffee bar.

I walked up the High Street and The Strait to the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology who are located in the Jews Court, a Norman House. I thought maybe they may have some information on Sincil Street, but sadly not, though they do have a large number of publications on Lincoln and Lincolnshire.

I did though manage to pick up poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson read in a Lincolnshire dialect. Quite a remarkable find. I suggested they upload to bandcamp to reach a much wider audience.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), poet, was born at Somersby in Lincolnshire and attended Louth Grammar School, before going up to Trinity College, Cambridge. He was appointed Poet Laureate to succeed William Wordsworth. As Poet Laureate he produced his best known work ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’. A statue of Tennyson can be found outside Lincoln Cathedral. Alfred Lord Tennyson was the first Poet Laureate to be recorded reading his own work.

Tennyson Poems was remastered and re-released for the Tennyson Bicentenary which Lincoln celebrated in 2009 with a world premier of ‘The Lady of Shalott’, with showings at The Collection.

Olibers Coffee Shop was open, but no customers, even though lunchtime. They had at least put a few boards outside. I cannot see how a coffee shop with no customers can possibly survive.

Lunch at the County Restaurant. Nothing wrong with it, but not really to my liking.

I popped to The Angel Coffee House, I was pleased I was able to pick up a copy of 5 Nocturnes for Piano – The Foss Dyke Navigation at Night which had its album launch at the Angel last week. A limited edition of 500 copies. I am hoping the composer Jamie Crofts will make available on bandcamp as he will then reach a much wider audience.

Last orders? How councils can protect local pubs from closure

January 26, 2013
The Lord Tennyson

The Lord Tennyson destroyed for student accomodation

The London Unity under threat of redevelopment thanks to greedy PubCo

The London Unity under threat of redevelopment thanks to greedy PubCo

The Tumbledown Dick  hand-tinted photo c 1911

The Tumbledown Dick under threat of demolition for Drive-Thru McDonald’s

Iris Murdoch once wrote of pubs as ‘universal places, like churches, hallowed meeting places of mankind’. This leads you to two inevitable conclusions: 1) she had a lovely turn of phrase and fully deserved that DBE, and 2) she had clearly never been to the Wetherspoons in Leeds city centre on a Friday night.

Like churches, however, pubs are facing a period of great challenge: the British pub is battling with diversifying consumer trends. The latest figures show that pub closures have slowed in 2012, but are still occurring at a rate of 18 a week, leading the Chief Executive of CAMRA to remark earlier this year that the future of Britain’s valued community pubs is ‘in jeopardy’.

Despite this, the emotion people have for community institutions like pubs sets them apart as a distinct political issue for local authorities. And recent planning policy suggests this is a concern shared by central government. The 2012 National Planning Policy Framework includes new responsibilities for local authorities to promote local pubs. According to the framework, planning policies and decisions should:

  • plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities (such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship) and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments; and
  • guard against the unnecessary loss of valued facilities and services, particularly where this would reduce the community’s ability to meet its day-to-day needs. (NPPF, March 2012)

The public house has never been specifically identified in a document like this before, so its inclusion is significant. The Localism Act too raises similar issues. The new Community Right to Buy makes it possible for communities to list local pubs as assets of community value, and to bid for them should they come up for sale.

There is certainly a strong argument to be made for the social and economic value of the community pub. IPPR’s recent report Pubs and Places: the social value of community pubs, placed the wider social value of a sample of community pubs at between £20,000 and £120,000 per pub. It noted that pubs inject an average of £80,000 into their local economy each year, besides their cultural and practical community value.

With this in mind, some local authorities have already gone out of their way to safeguard the future of their local pubs. Cambridge City Council and the London Borough of Islington, for example, have both established their own ‘pub protection policies’ to make it more difficult for planning loopholes to be exploited to turn pubs into housing, or betting agencies.

Of course this won’t be a priority for all councils. Pubs have the potential to exclude as well as include, and councils will need to weigh their decisions against the views of their community. Nevertheless, if councils want to protect the pub, they now have the powers to do so. We hope those authorities that plan to use them will get in touch to share their work with us.

For more information go to:

Posted by Lauren Lucas on Local Government Information Newtwork.

Pub closures, although they have slowed, are still running at the rate of 18 a week.

They are being sold by zombie pub owning companies that are unable to pay their loans for redevelopment as Tesco supermarkets, housing, drive-thru McDoanald’s.

The Lord Tennyson, a fine example of a Victorian pub was sold last year against strong local opposition for redevelopment as student housing.

The London Unity is under threat of redevelopment for housing.

The Tumbledown Dick, an old coaching inn c 1720, is under threat of demolition for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The greedy Pub Companies will falsely claim the pub not viable. What is not viable for them, is not the same as the pub not being viable. CAMRA has shown that pubs sold freehold without economic burden of extortionate rent to a PubCo can flourish thereafter.

Afternoon coffee at Stokes on High Bridge

January 25, 2013
Stokes on High Bridge

Stokes on High Bridge

afternoon coffee

afternoon coffee

I was in Stokes Thursday morning, but too late for coffee, so I popped back mid-afternoon.

But now of course, I should have been having afternoon tea.

Stokes is that sort of place, where genteel folks partake of afternoon tea.

Aleph left for Jo, as she had already gone home, left with Jemma. Earlier I had given Jemma a copy of The Valkyries.

I suggested turn the coffee shop into a BookCrossing zone.

lunch at County Restaurant

January 25, 2013
County Restaurant servery

County Restaurant servery

County Restaurant leek and potato soup

County Restaurant leek and potato soup

County Restaurant roast pork

County Restaurant roast pork

Moroccan spiced pork, an excellent piece of roast pork for lunch. I did not notice any spices, which was good as it would have spoilt the pork.

Accompanied by potato croquettes and red cabbage.

For starters, leek and potato soup. Usually made very thick, too much potato. This was not thick, and totally different flavour to the average run-of-the mill leek and potato soup. It had subtle flavours and was spicy. I asked. Vegetable stock, leak and potaoes and ground pepper.

When they try the chefs do an excellent job.

  • soup £1-20
  • main course £3-95

Very good value for money.