Archive for August, 2016

Sunday in Brighton

August 28, 2016
Brighton seafront gale blowing

Brighton seafront gale blowing

Cooler than last week. Guildford to Gatwick rain. Cloudy all day, but warm.

I needed a timetable. Queue out of ticket office into the station forecourt. No timetables on display.

FCB run the passenger waiting room. Useful literature for free, including what appears to be a monthly book on Brighton, Viva Brighton. Never seen before. There was also a newspaper or magazine for North Laine which I had not seen before. On the front page, a book about North Laine due out soon.

Popped into Grocer & Grain. Always a delight to visit. Two different suppliers of coffee beans, cakes, fruit and vegetables. Sadly I have not seen the owner for several years.

Straight down the main road to the sea front.

Taylor St Baristas closed last year. Now boarded-up. What a tragedy. Loss of a great coffee shop. Why not have let the staff and customers take it on as an open coop? It was though not in a good location. North Laine would have been a far better location.

Street Kitchen

Street Kitchen

Street Kitchen

Street Kitchen

A pop up soup kitchen half way down the road. A sad sign of the times.

A gale blowing on the seafront.

Brighton iSore

Brighton iSore

Along the seafront as far as the Brighton iSore.  Not ony iSore and eyesore, also the glass base.

This used to be an attractive area. Many stalls. Including an excellent book stall. What happened to them?

Then, having walked so far, on to a food festival at Hove. Not impressed, tacky food stalls would expect at a tacky seaside resort. I expected what I once found near the Brighton Pavilion a few yeas ago, quality foods, though it outgrew its space.

A stall selling farm produce, apples, apple juice, plums, sweetcorn, was the only interesting stall. At first I thought it was the stall which is always on the Guildford farmers market, but no.  I picked up sweetcorn and plums.

A I walked past, a cookery demonstration in a tent. On my way back, sampled the food. Potato cakes, and what I think was spinach and venison. The venison, if that was what it was, was like good beef.

On the sea front, near the pier, guy on guitar, another on drums, they were good.

It was then make my way to Iydea in North Laine for late lunch.

On my way, passed a trio, guy on bass, guy on guitar and  a female vocalists. They were good. Did I wish to buy their CD? OK. I bought two signed copies of Rhythm of the Lanes by So Quartet. I assume I saw playing were SO Trio.  Lovely cover, the location in The Lanes where I found them playing.

SO, Sara Oschlag, a Danish vocalist resident in Brighton.

I had a chat with Sara Oschlag, suggested she be on bandcamp. She directed me to her website. As I always find, an attempt to reinvent an inferior wheel. If on bandcamp, she can embed on her website, and as I said, tell people on bandcamp, then people can tell their friends.

Sara Oschlag would be an excellent addition to Staycation Live in Goldaming.

North Laine as always very busy. Busy because no chains, lots of interesting indie shops.

A Mod rally, lots of scooters. Mods as in Mods and Rockers. Brighton in the 1960s was the venue for pitched battles on the beach between Mods and Rockers. The Mods appeared to be in their 6os if not 70s.

Lunch at Iydea. As always excellent. Pleasant enough to sit outside.

I came across a guy called Windy. He was stood by a beautiful mandolin with inlaid mother of pearl. I asked was it for sale, and how old? He seemed affronted that I could even suggest it be for sale. He said he was selling a CD, A Call to Arms. Did I want one?  I took a risk and said yes. The mandolin he said was from the 1950s, not as old as it looked.  I suggested he be on bandcamp.

A couple of cookies from a little bakery.

Apples and peas from Infinity foods. Both excellent.

Coffee from Bond Street Coffee. Not impressed. Lacking in atmosphere, poor choice of cakes, as though added as an after thought. I asked for wifi password. Was told no wifi. Coffee was at best average. Date slice was good.  Beans are roasted by Horsham Coffee.

Krema in Farnham makes better coffee, though may not be using the same beans.

I sat outside and ate my apple.  I set off to buy more.

Long chat with Deliverooo delivery guys. Same exploitation as Uber, serfs working for an app.

Too late, Infinity Foods now closed.

Back down the seafront.

Grilled smoked kipper in a bun. I did not much like. I should have had a crab sandwich.

Back to North Laine to Pelicano Coffee and Tea House. Reasonable coffee, always excellent cakes. Pleasant atmosphere, friendly baristas. A marked contrast to Bond Street Coffee.

Pelicano roast their own coffee, the beans are on sale, the cakes are made locally.

Back to the seafront, walk to the end of Brighton Pier.

With no timetable, all I could do was walk back to the station and hope to pick up a train.

I was surprised at the number of people about. Usually Sunday night is quiet.

Shocked by the number of homeless settling down for the night in shop doorways.

Departure Display showing many cancelled trains. Luckily a train in a little over 15 minutes. To the ticket office to buy a ticket and pick up a timetable.

Train packed.

At Gatwick, a mass of people trying to get on the train.

How can Gatwick expand, when it cannot cope now?

Basingstoke Silver Band

August 27, 2016
Basingstoke Silver Band

Basingstoke Silver Band

Passing through Aldershot on the way to Farnham, a brass band in the bandstand in Princess Gardens, Basingstoke Silver Band.

An elderly gent and a couple of others.

I felt sorry for the brass band, having come all the way from Basingstoke.

Does no one understand publicity?

Afternoon in Farnham

August 27, 2016
River Wey riverside walk

River Wey riverside walk

Another hot day.

Passing through Aldershot, a brass band in the bandstand in Princess Gardens, Basingstoke Silver Band. An elderly gent and a couple of others. I felt sorry for the brass band. Does no one understand publicity?

In the entrance to Gostrey Meadow in Farnham, there is always a chalk board announcing who is playing in the bandstand on Sunday.

Walking along the riverside walk to Gostrey Meadow, a dog decided I was a willing playmate to throw its ball into the river.

watercress and pea soup at Gail's

watercress and pea soup at Gail’s

tiny roll with smoked salmon

tiny roll with smoked salmon

Soup and a tiny roll with with smoked salmon at Gail’s.

Soup watercress with peas. Only lukewarm, and stuffed with peas, spoilt the soup. Watercress is a delicate summer soup, by all means add to bring out the flavours, but not turn it into broth.

Did I wish a coffee? No, not after what I had last week.

Gail’s has only been open a couple of weeks. New staff and it shows.

Tables outside not cleared.

If you are going to serve coffee, then have to have experienced baristas from day one, otherwise simply a cafe attached to a bread shop serving mediocre coffee, I would hesitate to call a bakery.

Last week, no wholemeal bread. This week a couple of small loaves, but I had got bread the day before in Guildford.

But reservations aside, I cannot see either Loaf or the Downing Street Deli surviving, now Gail’s has opened. .

Popped Truck and Vintage Pop up Vintage Tea Van

Popped Truck and Vintage Pop up Vintage Tea Van in Gostrey Meadow

I would have returned to Krema for a  coffee, but Natalie had told me it was her last day of the season in Gostrey Meadow, therefore a coffee off The Vintage Pop up Tea Shop. I chose an iced coffee. Big mistake. It was a sweet sickly coffee flavoured yuk. I poured it under the hedge. The flapjack though was excellent.

Hopefully she will get a  stall on Guildford farmers market, first Tuesday of the month, now it is back in the High Street.

I suggested to Popped Truck, the little van serving wine, Staycation Live. She has tried in the past, got nowhere. Something going wrong with Staycation Live and the stalls they book, as can be seen with the comments that have made on the excellent Sole Luna wood-fired pizza truck at Staycation Live. Why the paranoia and secrecy? Godalming Town Council need to start asking questions about the organisation by TST Live, why the lack of transparency? This little stall would be far better than the cocktail stall the organisers book.

A must for this little stall, they need a twitter account, to alert people to where they are.

I was pleased to see plenty of people around these two quality vans, no one by the Tony Tresco ice cream van with engine running belching out toxic diesel fumes.

To Krema, no coffee, a green smoothie. I think apple juice, avocado and lime.

Lady closng the Parish Church told me their garden fete is in two week’s time.

A very pleasant walk around Bishop’s Meadow and into the neighbouring field.

Just time to pop into Waitrose. Their stock control abysmal, no salad onions, no peas, no fresh bread, no one manning the deli counter, and even if their was, the meat looked so dried up, no thank you.

1204 First Great Western Reading-Guildford-Redhill train

August 26, 2016

1204 First Great Western Reading-Guildford-Redhill train, one toilet out of action, the other the toilet bowl full to overflowing. Disgusting.

And why do they cover the windows by the doors?

This is what we pay our extortionate rail fares for. And the profiteers, laugh all the way to the bank.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 26, 2016
Angel Hotel

Angel Hotel

During the week, records were broken for hottest day of August. Tuesday hit 31C, Wednesday 33.9C. Although very warm last night, it was cool this morning, but soon warmed up and turned into yet another hot day. Too hot to be in Guildford.

Why do morons think it is ok to smoke on station platforms, when there are clear signs indicating No Smoking?

1204 First Great Western Reading-Guildford-Redhill train, one toilet out of action, the other the toilet bowl full to overflowing. Disgusting. This is what we pay our extortionate rail fares for. And the profiteers laugh all the way to the bank.

Surrey Hills Coffee had a couple of people as I walked past.

Excellent lunch at La Casita. Chilled gazpacho was just what I needed on a hot day.

Laden down with shopping from the fruit and vegetable stalls on the market.

Cappuccino not very good in Harrs + Hoole. First one, by new barista, was not good. He offered to do another one. No, it is ok. I was upstairs, and to my surprise, he brought me a second coffee. He said he was not happy. It was too hot a day to enjoy a cappuccino.

Harris + Hoole seriously understaffed. Two members of staff to serve, operate cash till, make coffee, clear tables, wash dishes.

Saw Neil playing guitar outside. Complimented him and his band on excellent performance at Staycation Live a couple of weeks ago. Did he have his new CD? Yes. OK, next time, too laden down with shopping.

It was then catch a train. Too hot to remain in Guildford. Time to spend the rest of the afternoon in the shade in my garden.


August 23, 2016

Rufus Wainright and choir of 1500 singing Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah.

I can personally vouch for what Jeremy Corbyn has stated are the conditions on Virgin Trains East Coast Mainline

August 23, 2016
Virgin Train at King's Cross

Virgin Train at King’s Cross

Virgin Train CCTV shows seats either occupied or reserved

Virgin Train CCTV shows seats either occupied or reserved

Jeremy Corbyn was pictured sitting on the floor by the door of a Virgin Train, bound for Newcastle on the East Coast Mainline, due to overcrowded train, nowhere to sit.

Not true proclaim Virgin Trains, we have the film footage to prove it.

I cannot comment on this particular train, 1100 Newcastle train from King’s Cross, but I can personally vouch that this is the situation on Virgin Trains heading North from King’s Cross.

I walk the length of the platform, dragging my luggage, lugging my laptop, looking for a seat.

Do I find a seat? No. What appears to be empty seats are not, they all have reserved tickets.

I get to the end of the train.

I get on, ignore the reservation, and take a seat. I encourage others to do the same.

Last time I did this, a  passenger came along and claimed their seat. I gladly gave it up. They kindly said, as you are getting off at the next stop, keep the seat until then.

This train was one coach short. Whether now the norm, I do not know.

The train was in an appalling state of repairs.

I was on the 1330 to Newcastle, overcrowded, lack of luggage space, every seat reserved.

Toilet door, lock broken. Nigh impossible to get out of toilet, as door jammed, brute force required to open. Bin for paper, hanging open, not been emptied.

When I walked down to the buffet car, people were sitting on the floor, sitting on their luggage by the doors.

By buffet car, cupboard hanging open, broken.

Totally inadequate luggage space.

One coach missing.

At Newark, passengers barely had time to get off the train.

Virgin Trains even rip passengers off on the so-called ‘free’ wifi. All of 15 minutes free, then have to pay.

This is the reality of travelling on the East Coast Mainline since Virgin Trains took over. It was never like this when the line was in public ownership, but against strong public opposition, it was handed to Richard Branson.

Speaking to staff, they confirmed my own observations, serious deterioration since Branson took over.

I was not on the train with Jeremy Corbyn, but those who were, confirm that the train was overcrowded and people were forced to sit by the door, which is the norm on Virgin Trains on the East Coast Mainline.

So who do we believe, Jeremy Corbyn, fellow passengers, or a man who knows his profiteering from the NHS and the railways will hit the buffers if Labour led by Jeremy Corbyn win the next election?


August 23, 2016

Who are what is Blenkinsop?

I decided to check, to find that I too am #BlockedByBlenkinsop which makes it curiouser and curiouser to be blocked by someone you have no idea who they are or why you should be blocked.

I decided to check out Blenkinsop, turns out to be a Tom Blenkinsop, a rather pathetic Labour MP from the wastes of the North East, a supporter of Owen Smith and one of the coup plotters.

A cursory glance through his twitter feed and he appears to spend his time when not finding tweets of support for Owen Smith to re-tweet, which must be as rare as finding nuggets of gold, spends his time when not tweeting or re-tweeting an anti-Corbyn rant or falsehood, spends his time  insulting and abusing supporters of Jeremy Corbyn, and should they react, cries foul, that he is the victim of abuse.

But why the mass blocking of people, often people who have had no contact with him, who like me, have no idea who he is, have never heard of him?

He must spend his time trawling the net, finding anyone who may or has been a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

It is some perverse form of reverse troll behaviour. Instead of harassing and abusing people, to attract attention, and he does plenty of that, he attracts attention by blocking people.


Do the good folk of the North East, really want a perverted troll to be their representative in Parliament?

Sadiq Khan does a Michael Gove impression

August 21, 2016

Did Sadiq Khan read the Micheal Gove guide How to do Politics, subtitled How to stab a colleague in the back, as that is what Sadiq Khan has just done, granted a platform to do so by those bastions of The Establishment, The Guardian and the BBC.

Sadiq Khan is telling member of the Labour Party to vote for Owen Smith.

Does Sadiq Khan seriously think that will influence a single Labour member to vote for Owen Smith?

If he does, then he is a bloody fool.

But what it does mean, is that Sadiq Khan has lost the support of members of the Labour Party. His treachery will not be forgotten.

When his name was mentioned at a Jeremy Corbyn rally tonight, it was booed.

Owen Smith is a PR drone, he says what he thinks will get him elected. He is as shallow as war criminal Tony Blair.

Pfizer has just been exposed for overcharging MSF for medicines. MSF works in war zones. Owen Smith used to be a lobbyist for Pfizer.

Why does Sadiq Khan think he was elected as London Mayor?

Two reasons

  • Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters backed him
  •  Zac Goldsmith foolishly employed a vile Aussie spin doctor to run his campaign

I have never liked Sadiq Khan or trusted him. It seems my gut reactions were correct.

Sadiq Khan is a puppet of the City of London. There to do the bidding of the greedy bankers. One of his first acts was to give the green light for the expansion of London City Airport. He has pushed for a second runway at Gatwick. Has reneged on his promise to cap rents.

According to Sadiq Khan, it was all the fault of Jeremy Corbyn that we voted to leave the EU.  This is to insult the intelligence of the people, who voted to leave because they did not wished to be ruled by the EU dictatorship. Nor do they like Sadiq Khan telling then what to do. He also misses the point, the whole point of a referendum is for the people to decide, not self-serving politicians like himself. He wanted us to side with his puppet masters the greedy bankers. And note how he is singing from the same hymn sheet as his fellow coup plotters.

Everyone is entitled to a point of view, even Sadiq Khan, but as Labour Mayor of London, he is expected to respect the wishes of the members,and those members chose Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. They did not choose their leader according to what best served the ambitions of Sadiq Khan, though Sadiq Khan was only too happy to have the support of Jeremy Corbyn to get himself elected as Mayor of London.

The Final Reckoning

August 21, 2016

The Final Reckoning by Petros Markaris, dramatised for BBC Radio 4.

Set in Athens during the economic crisis, shortly after the 2008 banking crisis and before Syriza come to power, with roots in the dark Fascist past.

Wealthy tax dodgers receive demands for unpaid taxes, when not paid, they are killed with hemlock, their bodies dumped at archaeological sites. Next are corrupt politicians.

Socrates was killed with hemlock. His dying words, the final reckoning, was that his debts and taxes be paid.

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