Afternoon in Winchester

River Itchen

River Itchen

I would have wished to have arrived earlier, but had to mow the grass this morning, as heavy rain forecast for tomorrow. But, had I set of earlier, I doubt I would have arrived earlier, as the previous bus from Alton had broken down, and was running half an hour late.

It is a pleasant train journey to Alton from Farnham onwards, then bus Alton to Winchester.

Pleasant rolling hills, open fields, woods. I was surprised at the amount of oil seed rape. I am sure previously the fields had been cereals, probably wheat. Maybe oil seed rape more profitable or maybe the farmer rotating crops.

At Alton, I was able to alight from the train with a few minutes to spare and there was the bus waiting for me. Usually I miss the bus and have to wait half an hour for the next bus.

I asked the bus driver for bus timetable, to be told they do not carry timetables. How stupid. Also not true, as have previously picked up a timetable from the bus.

The buses Alton-Winchester are now equipped with wifi, though I did not try.

I alighted from the bus and walked down the hill into Winchester rather than stay on until bus station in the centre.

Wednesday is street food market day in Winchester, plus fruit and vegetables, fish, bread and cheese.

I had hoped to find Jimmy Bean, and pick up coffee beans. Faint hope, as he rarely does Wednesdays, but does do Fridays.

No, he was not there, a tiny blue van was in his pitch.

Yes, he was there. What was this, downsizing? Next time he will have a wheelbarrow.

No, he now has two vans, his battered old Citroen was having some work done on it.

We had a chat and I stayed for lunch. It was  a lovely day sat on his benches, then a coffee and a flapjack.

Winchester is unbelievable bad for eating out. Lunch off Jimmy Bean beats anything you will find in Winchester and nowhere can match his coffee.

I learnt the guy who had the excellent burgers no longer does the market. He started cutting corners with cheap meat. A pity as his burgers were worth a trip to Winchester.

A chat with the bread man and the cheese man. Cheese man thanked me for telling him of Jimmy Bean. He said excellent coffee.

I learnt of plans for a shopping centre for Winchester. Unbelievable crass stupidity. Winchester is lucky, it is a relatively unspoilt town. Towns already have too much retail space. A shopping centre would kill Winchester.

I was going to return on the 1750 bus (actually 1800) but it was such a lovely evening I decided to inquire at the Bus Station later buses.

Office at bus station not open, but I did at least manage to pick up a timetable.

Buses at 1820 and 1850.

A pleasant walk along the River Itchen through the town and out into the countryside.

The present course of the River Itchen within the town centre was dug by the Romans to define the boundary and form a defensive barrier.

Yellow wagtails on the river.

Walking back from the countryside and into the back streets of Winchester, earlier than I expected, plenty of time for 1850 bus, I would sit by Winchester Cathedral.

I was pleasantly surprised to find P & G Wells open. I had a chat with the proprietor. Usually I am impressed by their window display, a lot of very tempting books, though not today.

I suggested a few books, and a few I now add:

I got short thrift for Revolution. Why, locals throw rocks through the window? I suggested read, may be pleasantly surprised.

I then saw, I was going to be very lucky to catch the last bus.

Luckily I caught with a couple of minutes to spare.

At Alton Station, train pulled out as bus arrived.

Over 30 minutes until next train. I was tempted to get something to eat at the Station Cafe, biker night, but decided to visit Waitrose.

I have never seen so many bikers. Whether first Wednesday night after the winter, or maybe a pleasant evening, I do not know.

Outside Waitrose, illegally parked on a corner, on a double yellow line, with engine running, bright red Tony Fresco ice cream van. Not pleasant to walk through the fumes, and certainly not pleasant for the bikers.

I picked up a free coffee from Waitrose. Undrinkable after coffee from Jimmy Bean. I poured it away.

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