Winchester Christmas market

River Itchen

River Itchen

A trip to Winchester for the Christmas market.

Bus to Aldershot, train to Alton, bus to Winchester.

I missed the train at Aldershot.

Alton to Winchester, raining. Awful driver, that and the engine noise.  I got off last stop before the Bus Station, and walked down into the town centre. Luckily not raining.

Wednesday is street food market.  Very poor fare compared with South Bank street food market, though there are exceptions. It also seems to have shrunk unless, they have squashed all the stalls together the bottom end of the town centre.

Environmental standards are also very low. If South Bank street food market can have high standards why not Winchester?

Jimmy Bean was one of the exceptions, there is little he does not know about coffee, but as I learnt on my last visit, no more. Now Savage and Bean. Even the trademark battered old Citroen van has gone.

On the stall, three very unappetising looking burger style buns advertising their wares. Er, no thanks.

Up and down, where to eat?

The Italian Table

The Italian Table

I settled on The Italian Table, Parma ham, rocket, tomato and Mozzarella cheese. It was almost as good as when Jimmy Bean did food to go with the  coffee, and considerably better than that offered by the Savage half of Savage and Bean.

I also like there is no food waste. All their surplus food is taken back up to London and taken to a cafe that is open all night.

Other stalls worth visiting, the bread stall and the cheese stall.

Flat Whites

Flat Whites

In what was Jimmy Bean’s old pitch, Flat Whites, another van serving coffee and cakes (and soup).  I had a flapjack and a cappuccino.  The cappuccino excellent, a close second to Jimmy Bean, and that is praise indeed.  The flapjack excellent too. The stall was very busy. Trade that in the past Jimmy Bean would have picked up.

In the bank, what did they know of bitcoin? Nada.

A few street musicians.

An amazing boy, all on his own, playing a violin. A jazz trio.

Winchester Christmas market

Winchester Christmas market

Now dark it was off to the Christmas market.

A grave disappointment. Last year bitterly cold, and yet a buzz and excitement. This year almost deserted and no atmosphere at all.

An ice ring, with skating through pools of water, the ice melting.

I walked through to P&G Wells, to say Hi, and wish them a Merry Christmas, and to say sorry I never made it to pick up Change Everything.  I had a copy, gave it away, learnt they had a second copy, but it was out on loan at a exhibition on my last visit.

Last weekend, I found a book on Bitcoin in Waterstone’s Farnham. Can I find it anywhere? No. Not in Waterstone’s Guildford, Waterstone’s Winchester or P&G Wells. Problem is, I do not know what I am looking for.

Walking through the Christmas market on my way to P&G Wells, I noticed a few of the stalls were already packing up. On my way back, nearly all had closed. I guess they decided lack of business, no point in remaining open.

The mistake the Christmas market is making, it is spread over far too long a time period. It has been there since sometime in November.  Ten days, two weeks maximum, in December would concentrate people into a shorter time frame and enhance the atmosphere.

Bus back at 1820. Wifi on bus not working. Can connect to wifi, but wifi is not connecting to anything.  Stagecoach are making false or at least misleading claims wifi on their buses when it does not connect to anything.

O'Connor's Secret Garden

O’Connor’s Secret Garden

On my way back, I alighted off the bus, walked through Alton, to eat at O’Connor’s Secret Garden.

I knew what I wanted. Peter welcomed me in. We do not  have pork medallions on the menu, but we can do for you.

Why did I have two menus? One was a Christmas menu.  I was going to have steak. The Christmas menu was cheaper than having steak. I decided on the Christmas menu. A mistake, as not very good. Unusual, as food usually excellent.

Walking to the station, I found the Station Cafe open. Not last Wednesday of the month, not Bikers Night, no bikes outside. I popped in. It was a Christmas meal for the bikers. They had turned up by car.

Train laves three minutes late due to late arrival of incoming train (single track line).  I only have a couple of minutes leeway to catch bus, even when on time. Luckily train makes up time, have a minute to spare, make bus as it is leaving, otherwise half an hour wait for the next bus.

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