Afternoon in Winchester



The morning started dull, cloudy and cool, more like autumn than mid-August. Luckily it turned into a pleasant warm afternoon, and the evening was not cold as I expected.

A steam train was pulling away from Alton Station.

At Alton, the bus stop used to say bus-train interchange. It no longer does. The 65 bus used to come down from Guildford, change to a 64 bus at Alton Station then carry on down to Winchester. September last year, it came as far as Alton Station, turned around and went back to Guildford. The bus up from Winchester did the same. No warning, passengers who thought they were on a through bus, found themselves going back whence they came. Now at the bus stop, a poster telling passengers to take a ten minute walk into the centre of Alton to pick up the 65 bus.  Tough luck if raining, unable to walk, or carrying heavy luggage.

On the way down, BoomTown Fair, with special buses from  Winchester.  Not something I have ever heard of, but apparently a music festival.

The other side of the road, a multi-car pile up.


I alighted last stop before Winchester Bus Station and walked down the hill into Winchester.

I was last in Winchester in June. I was shocked at how the street food market had shrunk since the winter. I was shocked to see it had shrunk again.  The local council seems determined to kill it. Do they not comprehend that a good market pulls people in? I like to visit Winchester but I visit on a Wednesday because of the street food market, but now there is very little reason to visit.

Falafel with salad in pitta bread.  The only thing worth eating.

I sat on a wall in the Cathedral grounds to eat.

I cut back to the High Street but found myself much higher up than intended. I had promised to buy cheese off the cheese stall, but realised if I walked back down then back up, I would be too late, if closed at five for a new coffee shop I wished to try,  Coffee Lab.

Coffee Lab is hidden down a side street off the High Street in what was Ginger Gelato, opposite Ginger Two.  I had noticed it on my last visit to Winchester a couple of months ago. A promise of high quality coffee. Many promise, few deliver. I was pleasantly surprised, excellent cappuccino.

Ginger Two is no more. I noticed on my last visit a name change to SO Winchester. It has changed name yet again, now Winchester Cafe, which seems singularly unimaginative.

Ginger Two I learnt closed owing the tax man over half a million pounds. It beggars belief how a little cafe can run up such a high tax bill.  Companies House records show that when the company was wound up in October, it owed around £289,000 in corporation tax, £275,000 in VAT and £16,000 in PAYE fees. They have also left behind a trail of unpaid bills.

Playing in the High Street Marvin B Naylor. I picked up a signed copy of 17 Guitar Instrumentals. I said £8 was too much, would sell more at a  fiver. OK. give me a fiver.  Lovely cover, a painting in the style of Impressionists.

It was then walk around the back streets, a very short walk along the river,then catch the bus as it was literally pulling out of the Bus Station.

It was one of their latest fleet of buses. I had admired them last time I was in Winchester but did not realise they ran to Alton, but appears they do in the evening, as happened on my last visit.  They claim not only wifi, but also usb ports to charge a phone. But where? I could not find on my last trip.  I then noticed the front seat had by the side of the bus, but not where I was sitting. I then noticed, in the least expected place, it was at the base between the two seats in front of me. Unless an emergency, I would be reluctant to use, as I do not know how clean is this supply. It is one thing on train to plug a charger into the mans socket which many trains supply, quite another to plug an unknown source direct into an expensive phone or tablet.

On my way down I noticed the Station Cafe closed.  Wednesday night is Bikers Night. A lot of bikers looking lost. Station Cafe is under new management. It used to serve great food. It has been taken over by the kebab van that forced them out of business.

A kebab shop has also taken over what was an excellent butcher in Alton.


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