A pleasant warm sunny afternoon, though later it clouded over and turned cool, or cooler.
I just made the train to Alton.
As the train pulled into Alton, I was tempted to catch the bus to Winchester, but thought no, I need to pop to Brock’s Farm Shop, and there are decent paces to eat in Alton, which there are not in Winchester.
Guerilla gardening by ALFI (Alton Local Food Initiative) at Alton Station.
Sometimes I find a stream train at Alton Station, but not today. I would have if I had hung around.
I looked in Alton Bookshop.
The Old Curiosity Shop. A very interesting shop.
Brock’s Farm Shop was not open. Closed early? Everything in Alton closes early. Maybe but it had the look of dereliction about it.
Excellent lunch, roast pepper soup, followed by tortellini, in the Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori. Service was appalling. Why, I do not know, as they were not busy and service is not usually a problem.
A coffee at Mog’s Deli. Shock, it had closed down. It had only opened last year.
To the fruit and vegetable shop, then back to the Italian coffee shop.
I wish they would get better tea. They pride themselves on sourcing quality ingredients, then serve teapigs, not only serve but have on sale. Teapigs is not quality tea. Marketing hype does not make quality tea.
On leaving the Italian coffee shop, walk back down the street, then out and along the water meadows, old watercress beds.
Walking through the town, many closed shops, drunks roaming the streets and outside the pubs.
Alton is the source of the River Wey. The stream bed, had dried up. All that was left was murky pools of water. No longer the flowing chalk stream. This is only the second time, or second summer, I have seen it dried up. Though the last time, there was not even the pools of water, there was grass growing in the stream bed.
My sandal snapped in half. Hobbling along, I walked up the the Parish Church, then headed to the main road. I saw a man working in his garden. I asked did he have any super glue? He said no, but went to his van and brought out a brand new roll of duct tape. A hasty repair was effected. I thanked him profusely.
I looked in on Peter O’Connor in O’Connor’s Secret Garden.
I mentioned Brock’s being closed, Mog’s Deli closed and the general state of Alton. He said Brock’s had closed several months ago. A shock as an excellent butcher. Peter said the lease due for renewal, therefore at a guess another local business driven out of business by rent hikes.
Alton a few years ago had an excellent food festival. What happened? Sponsorship by Costa one year, Iceland another year, which somewhat lost the plot for a celebration of local food. Then taken over by Hampshire farmers markets, which killed it.
I decided to stay and eat, even though it was turning cool and looked like rain. I was though a little disappointed to learn Peter was not cooking, but I need not have worried. The meal was excellent, pork medallions with vegetables.
On leaving raining. Waitrose closed. Entrance to station blocked, footbridge closed, I made the train with seconds to spare.
- PHOTOS Afternoon in Alton (more pictures to add)