Archive for November, 2017

Farnham Maltings Riverside Cafe

November 30, 2017

Pleasant ambience, but terrible coffee.

Sourced from Cupsmith, the coffee was disgusting. I left it after one sip.

I was appalled by their low environmental standards, takeaway cups in both the riverside cafe and the foyer cafe.

This is a captive audience. They should not be serving drinks in takeaway cups.

Do they not care about the environment? Apparently not. 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups thrown away every year, and Farnham Maltings doing their best to keep the numbers up.

I was so concerned, I complained.

Their lame excuse, someone may drop a cup and there would be broken crockery on the floor.

That would be true in every single coffee shop, and the most pathetic excuse I have come across.

If that concerned, then use biodegradable cups, bins to drop in, then compost outside, spread on the flower beds. Do the same with the coffee grounds.

Take a look at what 3fe are doing on sustainability and follow their example.

Or buy HuskeeCups. These cups made from coffee bean husks can be re-used or recycled, will not break if dropped.

Their excuse for using Cupsmith was that local.

How local is local? The Roasting Party are in Winchester, there is a coffee roastery in Arlseford. Slightly further afield Horsham Coffee as used by Krema.

They serve Loseley ice cream. Apart from not quality ice cream, it is not local and comes from an industrial conglomerate.

Coffee served in Gail’s is not good. It should better, it is sourced from Union, but the people employed clueless on making coffee.

Costa, Cafe Nero, Starbucks, serve disgusting coffee, but this was far worse.

The free coffee out of a machine in Waitrose at least dinkable.

The rubbish Italian catering supply coffee served by Jamie’s Coffee at Gatwick far better.

I have been served bad coffee, but this ranks as one of the worst.

Farnham Maltings should invite someone from outside who would do a far better job to run their coffee shop for them.

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Farnham Maltings Christmas Market

November 30, 2017

It is many years since I have been at a market at Farnham Maltings, the only reason I was there today was for a French stall.

A freezing cold day, barely above zero, strong wind and wind chill making colder still.

I alighted from the bus, walked along the riverside walk to Farnham Maltings.

The French stall was outside. I should have got what I wanted and left, but I thought no this is England go in first, maybe if I am lucky, find something to eat.

Shocked and annoyed had to pay a pound to enter the building.

Over 100 stalls each paying £75 for their pitch.

A little cafe in the foyer, impossible to remain due to the dreadful noise from a group of tone deaf people playing ukuleles.

I commented to one of the traders. She replied we have had two days of this and someone playing a penney whistle was even worse.

I looked in the main hall, nothing of interest.

The dreadful noise from the ukuleles had stopped. But it was only a temporary reprieve, followed by keyboard and penny whistle. It was hard to imagine anything worse than what had gone before, but this was worse.

As I wandered around the main hall, I noticed people with takeaway cups. Why? This is a captive market, it is not people grabbing a takeaway and running down the street.

The soup, long time coming, served in a takeaway cup, plastic spoon and knife stuffed in a card box with a bit of bread.

Do they not care about the environment? Apparently not. 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups thrown away every year, and Farnham Maltings doing their best to keep the numbers up.

I took my takeaway into a little coffe shop.

The soup was awful.

I asked what the coffee was. Cupsmith. Not good.

I chanced a cappuccino. I had to shout at the girl not to dump chocolate, as I had seen two served with chocolate dumped on top.

My cappuccino looked disgusting, and tasted even worse. It was very unpleasant. This was not only the lack of skills of the person making the coffee, I would not insult baristas by calling a barista, it was also the poor quality coffee being used.

A strange Viennese mince pie.

I decided to leave, maybe time to catch the butcher, maybe even a coffee at Krema.

I was not going to visit Krema, I thought whilst in Farnham Maltings, I would try their coffee, a big mistake, therefore maybe grab a coffee in Krema.

As I was leaving, I noticed more stalls upstairs. Only interesting stall I found was iron works.

Then as I was leaving I noticed more stalls downstairs.

Cupsmith had a stall, a lady with different lenses could add to a mobile phone, including a pouch that had five different lenses. And a guy doing tours of vineyards and breweries.

A chat with the Cupsmith stall. I was asked had I tried their coffee? Yes, and it was disgusting. That did not go down too well. She made the ludicrous assertion that it was not London and no one outside London knew how to make coffee, The bags of coffee have silly names, nothing obvious like country of origin or roast date. I was told customers did not want roast date. The lady running the stall impressed me with her lack of knowledge. She had not a clue what was Q grade let alone the Q grade of the coffee she was selling. This was a roastery selling their coffee, or trying to. What is the point of manning a stall and cannot handled questions on coffee?

Lady with the different lenses, had tripods, and solar-powered power banks. I picked up a couple of the solar-powered power banks.

Note: Power banks proved to be faulty.

Interesting chat about wine with with the guy running the vineyard tours. I recommended read The Devil’s Cup.

A chat with the French guys running their stall. By now very very cold.

I picked up a small jar of honey, nuts and a couple of large tomatoes. It was a pity all the walnuts had gone. I regret I did not buy any of their onions.

Anyone wishing to find this French stall and their quality produce, they will be at the Winchester street food market on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

Had I not decided to visit Waitrose, I would have caught the train as not too far to the station.

I never did make it to the butcher.

Disposable coffee cups

November 28, 2017

In the UK we throw away 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year.

…the thing we found with the glass-only to-go program, is that once people understood why we made that choice and the benefits of doing so, we’ve seen tremendous support and love for the program. – Zayde Naquib, Bar Nine

Often there are very simple things we can do … like relaxing in a coffee shop with a cup of coffee, not walking down the street with a takeaway cup in our hands.

Simple things, when we all act, can change the world.

If I go to a coffee shop, unless they know me, I am greeted with, to drink in or takeaway?

I can just about understand a cappuccino in a takeaway cup, but a single origin V60, no way.

I would not drink a good red wine in a disposable cup, I object to beer in a plastic glass, why would I wish to drink a single origin V60 in a takeaway cup?

These takeaway cups are often referred to as paper cups. They are not, they have a plastic liner, and it is this plastic liner that makes them take a one way trip to incarceration or landfill, as they cannot be recycled.

OK for the pedantic, maybe a couple of plants that can recycle, but, no one is going to take the effort to separate out, therefore for all practical purposes, cannot be recycled, and are therefore on a one way trip to landfill or incineration.

That is a lot of disposable cups. One estimate puts the figure at 2.5 billion throwaway coffee cups every year in the UK.

According to a recent article in fake-left Guardian, environment department Defra using 1400 disposable coffee cups every day.

There can be no excuse for this, not when from their own internal canteens, nor for House of Commons or House of Lords.

It also means it can easily be tackled.

Bulk order KeepCups, sell to staff at a discount. Staff have to bring their own mugs or KeepCups if they wish to buy a drink.

KeepCups with Defra logo together with a few words on recycling could be handed to visitors.

Defra should look to the Bank of England. Staff were encouraged to either purchase a KeepCup or bring their own mug, for which they received a small discount of 10p. 10p was chosen as it was self-financing, cost neutral, it covered the actual cost of the disposable cup. The KeepCups have the Bank of England logo.

Lush in Australia and New Zealand gave all their employees a KeepCup in vibrant Lush colours as a Christmas present.

Disposable cups are lined with polyethylene and have a polystyrene lid, there is sufficient plastic in 28 disposable cups to make one small KeepCup.

In 2009, Simon Lockrey from the Centre for Design at RMIT completed a Symapro Life Cycle Analysis which has independently verified KeepCup sustainability claims.

Research by Canadian chemist Dr Martin Hocking found the break-even energy requirement to manufacture a reusable plastic cup versus a paper cup over a lifetime use was under 15 uses.

A captive audience at Lush, Bank of England or Defra is relatively easy to eliminate the use of disposable cups, what of the passing trade in the street?

A few coffee shops offer a discount if use your own cup. I found one offering a a substantial discount. But these are rare and makes little difference on the use of disposable cups

Coffee shops have KeepCups on sale. I have seen the cheap plastic ones in Harris + Hoole and at FCB kiosk, the more expensive glass in Coffee Island flagship store in Covent Garden.

I mention KeepCup, as they are the industry leaders. There are alternatives. I have seen a bamboo version of a KeepCup.

I have yet to see anyone walk in a coffee shop and buy a KeepCup, let alone walk in and request a refill of their KeepCup.

HuskeeCup made from coffee bean husks is unusual in that it is reusable and recyclable. If not made at country of origin, questionable environmental credentials, and even more questionable the husks are being sourced from Burma, a major human rights violator.

The cups are around $10 each, not including a saucer.

The coffee shop, it may have been a kiosk, that was offering a substantial discount, maybe half price, I asked were there any takers. I think a couple of takers, that was all.

Ben, at Ben’s Records, pops to the adjacent coffee shop with a mug.

Prior to Budget November 2017, it was suggested impose a levy of 5p on takeaway cups, cf 5p levy on plastic bags which has reduced use of plastic bags. It was not taken up.

I doubt it would make a difference, not when the takeaway coffee is cheaper than drinking in.

Tax has various functions, raising revenue, changing behaviour.

The principle the polluter must pay be would be grounds for imposing a levy.

Let us assume a tax on takeaway cups of 10p, levied on 2.5 billion throwaway coffee cups that would raise an annual £250 million, not a paltry sum.

There are recyclable paper cups, that can be composted, but I do not see them in use. There is though a problem. If a few unlikely coincidences occur, I am on my way home, have coffee from a kiosk that serves coffee in a compostable paper cup, I have been to the market and can drop my cup in my bag with the fruit and vegetables, else where do I put the cup, and if I remember when I get home to remove from the bag with my fresh produce, then yes I can throw on my compost heap.

But if not, if these happy but unlikely coincidences do not align, then what do I do with this cup? Throw it on the nearest waste bin. That is the dilemma most will face, what to do with the cup? It is unlikely to be composted, even though it could be. It will go into the waste stream with all the other non-recyclable cups.

In Athens and Cyprus, it is the norm to see people drinking from a takeaway cup. The worst offenders are Coffee Island (Greek equivalent of Starbucks) and Coffee Berry, two chains which serve coffee in disposable cups.

At Jamie’s Coffee at Gatwick Airport, Italian catering supply coffee served in takeaway cups.

Personally I would not buy a coffee in a takeaway cup, I prefer to sit down and relax with a cup of coffee, not drink on the hoof, which I find uncivilised, apart from the very act of drinking out of a takeaway cup as opposed to a ceramic cup or from a glass.

That is not to say I never. I will have a coffee from FCB kiosk at Guildford Station or the Small Batch kiosk outside Brighton Station or the little kiosk on the South Bank at the foot of Hungerford Bridge or Ethiopian Coffee Roasters on the South Bank Street Food Market, but only because these three kiosks and one stall serve excellent coffee, not because I wish to grab and go.

Kaya has a narrow bar, barely wide enough to balance a cup, the ground slopes, pick the height that suits you. There are no seats. The coffee shop is long and narrow, with no room for seats. Stools outside to sit at the bar not possible as the ground slopes. I was the only one drinking out of a cup. All I saw were office workers, grabbing a takeaway coffee on their way home.

Coffee shops must do do more. They could voluntarily refuse to serve coffee in a takeaway cup.

Bar Nine does not serve coffee in takeaway cups. If you really need to take away your coffee and not sit and relax with your coffee, they will lend you a glass jar and trust you to return it on your next visit.

Nova Gea serves fresh fruit juices in jars.

Eden Cafe does not serve coffee in takeaway cups. It buys ceramic cups from local charity shops, the cost about the same as a takeaway cup, which customers can take away if they wish.

I have seen beautiful china tea sets in a charity shop. I recommended to a local tea shop they bought them. Not for everyday use, for special occasions when groups come in to celebrate.

We could turn the serving of coffee on its head, charge more for a takeaway coffee than if sit and relax with a coffee.

This sounds impossible, pigs may fly, and yet Lemonjello’s Coffee do just that, charge more for a takeaway coffee.

You pay for the cost of the takeaway cup, it is built into the price, it is not made explicit. Why not make it explicit? Why not separate out as airlines do with luggage? You pay for your seat, want to take luggage that is an additional charge. You pay for your coffee, want something to carry it away with, that is an extra charge.

If I drink a coffee, I wish to sit down and relax in a coffee shop with my coffee in a ceramic cup, whether or not a saucer a moot point. If V60, Chemex or Japanese syphon, in a glass.

I do not like carting stuff around, if had a KeepCup I would have to cart it around. Then I would leave it somewhere and lose it.

Where I think a KeepCup comes into its own, is for office workers and shop workers who pop out for a takeaway coffee, then yes, they should be using a KeepCup.

I like to post pictures of the coffee shops, the coffee served. But not on Instagram, they claim rights to the pictures, and Instagram not visible on twitter.

What looks more photogenic, a takeaway cup or a ceramic cup or a glass?

To put your image, logo, marketing crap on a disposable cup is to associate your message with trash, it is saying you are ephemeral, transient, worthless. But then is that not true of most marketing?

One person using one paper coffee cup a day is the equivalent of a tree being cut down each year to produce those cups.

Why do we not value the coffee we drink? If we would not dream of drinking wine out of a disposable cup, why do we treat coffee in this way?

The only way this can be tackled, is to ban the use of disposable takeaway cups, coupled with information on why they are being banned.

The takeaway cups are not the only waste coffee shops generate. What of the coffee grounds? These can be used on the garden, used in cakes.

A couple of coffee shops, at my suggestion, have made the grounds available for people to take away. The take up has bordered on zero.

3fe recycles waste, compost bins, using waste milk, sources local food, chaff from the coffee roasting process is used by a local supplier to smoke bacon.

Coffee grounds are used on their garden out the back, what they do not use, a local cress grower Littlecress uses, who then supplies them with cress.

Steaming milk for a cappuccino wastes a lot of milk. 3fe use for making yogurt.

Coffee industry, the speciality end, has quite rightly focused on the supply chain, traceability, transparency, quality, accountability, from farm, through roastery to the coffee shop and what is poured into our cup.

We now must ask what happens, beyond the coffee shop.

Underlying all this and more fundamental, is the grab it and go culture, pointless consumerism, a throw away culture. The consumer culture that keeps the economy afloat.

Consumer junk passes from extraction to factory, six months in the home, then on its one way trip to incineration or landfill.

Until that is tackled, we will have a problem, and not only limited to coffee cups.

The People’s Internet

November 27, 2017

It is shocking that in a major American city like Detroit, a city that had two major car companies, 40% of the city lacks access to Internet.

Net neutrality is a big political issue. We cannot have a handful of companies controlling access to the Internet. That access has to be for everyone, rich or poor.

In Detroit, the Equitable Internet Initiative is building community-owned wireless internet infrastructure in towns that big telecom won’t touch. Hundreds of towns have built their own internet service providers. Rural communities are putting wireless internet antennas on top of mountains, grain silos, and tall trees. The fastest internet connections in the United States are provided by local governments, not big telecom. In Southern California, Tribal Digital Village is using unused television spectrum to deliver internet. All over the country, big telecom is being rejected and subverted, and you do not need to have a pile of money, an army of lawyers, or a degree in network engineering to take action.

In England in rural areas, local people are digging the trenches, laying fibre optic cable.

In Greece communities are building their own broadband network.

Postcapitalism, people are taking control of their own political, social, employment space.

Why is the Mail targeting Naomi Wu?

November 26, 2017

I put up with constant abuse and endless shit, I wake up to DMs and emails full of rape and more rape every day. I’d just like to share my builds and tech stuff without the constant condescending nitpicking. It’s very little to ask why not just show that small measure of respect? — Naomi Wu

Very strange that the Mail appears to be running a smear campaign against Naomi Wu.

Naomi Wu has wisely launched a preemptive strike, as did Charlotte Church when gutter press tried to dig up dirt from her neighbours

But why Naom Wu?

Smear campaigns have been launched against Charlotte Church, Russell Brand, Jeremy Corbyn for having the audacity to attack the tax-dodging oligarchs who own and control the media, even worse for daring to propose an alternative to neoliberalism and a fairer society.

The Budget has estate agents rubbing their hands with glee at abolition of Stamp Duty, which will lead to a hike in house prices in a stagnant housing market, no attempt to deal with tax dodging, tax hand outs to oil companies, the poorest third of society will be poorer, the richest third richer.

The media oligarchs are losing their grip. They smeared Jeremy Corbtyn, nevertheless he manged to win the Labour leadership twice, has turned Labour into the largest social movement in Europe, almost won the last General Election, and has had the government on the defensive ever since.

Where though does Naomi Wu fit into all of this?

Maybe she was confused with Naomi Klein?

We are now postcapitalism.

Do we have a future of low wages, zero hours, part time, temporary, soul destroying McShit Jobs? Deliveroo and Uber are but two examples of serfs working for apps, old fashioned exploitation by any other name.

Or do we have a future of open source, open coops, collaborative commons?

Naomi Wu is an innovator, designer, a passionate and articulate advocate of open source, sino:bit in addition to being a coding project for kids is to introduce at an early age the concept of open source, the first official certified open source hardware project in China.

is this why she is seen as a threat?

Every day Naomi Wu wakes to a torrent of abuse, threats of rape.

The last thing she needs, a smear campaign by the Mail.

It could of course be a journalist collecting background, prior to writing an article on the work of Naomi Wu, two side panels, one highlighting the abuse she receives, the other on how to deal with on-line abuse and cyber bullying. Plus a supplement on projects people can build.

But until that happens, until we start to see quality journalism, retailers will continue to pull their advertising from the Mail, Paperchase being but the latest to do so.

Media has a vital role to play, challenging corruption, informing democracy, and holding government to account. But less and less does it play that role, it acts as a megaphone for the corrupt, smears anyone who does expose corruption. 

To be a journalist is a dangerous profession, we see that with the number of journalists put in prison, killed. 

Journalists are put in danger when Donald Trump attacks the media. 

But we need to question when vile trolls like Katie Hopkins are granted a media platform, as the hate they espouse then becomes the norm, by granting her the oxygen of publicity all attention seeking trolls crave, it acts to normalise and encourage their behaviour.
 

Christmas street scene window display

November 25, 2017

A cold afternoon in Farnham.

I cut through the churchyard. It is freezing, noticeable colder than the street.

Walking through Lion and Lamb Courtyard, it too is freezing cold as the churchyard.

I look in Waterstone’s. Their one and only book on coffee, Where to Drink Coffee, is probably one of the worst they could stock, entirely useless as a guide.

Walking back from Waitrose, I notice a wonderful display in Neal’s Yard Remedies. This time last year in Puerto de la Cruz, Exposición de Belenes en Casa Ventoso, an amazing exhibition of Christmas street scenes. This was similar, though on a  much smaller scale, nevertheless, it must have taken a lot of time and effort to construct. Far, far better than the usual Christmas scenes.

 

 

Percussionists in Farnham Parish Church

November 25, 2017

A cold afternoon in Farnham.

I cut through the churchyard. It is freezing, noticeable colder than the street.

No board outside the church, though lights on inside.

A man walks out of the church. I ask is it open? A sore point. He is not happy that he has been thrown out of his own church by a bunch of percussionists.  I say I will chance it. He wishes me luck.

I walk in, no on says anything. Then when I take a picture, a woman ask me to leave, says someone might steal their percussion instruments. I cannot see how, when they are there.  She is eating a takeaway, the smell permeating the church, another woman using her mobile.

I have often in the summer wandered in during rehearsals, no one ever objects.  I am careful not to disturb the rehearsal.  I am always made welcome, invited to attend the concert. They will explain who they are, what the concert is. Not this rude woman, I am asked to leave.  These though were musicians on tour. Obviously full of their own arrogant self-importance.

I ignored the woman who has asked me to leave, made my way out at my own pace, stopping to write notes in the visitor book to say how appalled I was by their behaviour.

This incident raises important questions on the use of Farnham Parish Church.

I am pleased that is is open, unlike most churches which are locked, I am pleased that it is put to use, I would not expect to walk in on a concert in the evening without paying, and if rehearsal, I  take great care not to disturb, but I take great exception to being asked to leave, especially by people who were showing disrespect to the church and those who use it, but acting as though they owned it.

Carrot soup in Gail’s

November 25, 2017

A cold afternoon in Farnham.

A heron catches my eye as I walk along the riverside walk.

From Gostey Meadow I cut through alleyways to Castle Street.

Soup, maybe something savoury, a cheese and tomato bread roll, in Gail’s artisan bakery.

No bread rolls, I settle for the carrot soup, carrot and ginger.

Service has been appalling in Gail’s ever since it opened sometime last summer, today no exception. Rarely see the same staff twice though individual members of staff try their best and are always polite.

First find a clean table. Tables piled with dirty dishes. I find one that does not have dirty dishes, but it is not clean.

My soup comes, or what jokingly is called soup arrives. A few spoonfuls of puree carrots, bowl filled with cubes of soggy bread, is not soup.

I use the serviette to rest my phone on, as I did not wish to rest on the dirty sticky table.

I have to ask for butter, then ask for a  knife.

Waitress walks by, looks at the disgusting soup, stops and asks is it ok? I say no, it is disgusting. She offers to do something, I am not sure what, I say no.

During the summer, one thing that could be relied upon at Gail’s, when  available, was the soup.

The coffee is awful, they are using Union, and not doing Union any favours.

I leave for Krema, where I know I will at least get a decent cup of coffee.

Afternoon in Farnham

November 25, 2017

Very cold in Farnham.

A heron catches my eye as I walk along the riverside walk.

From Gostey Meadow I cut through alleyways to Castle Street.

Soup, maybe something savoury, a cheese and tomato bread roll, in Gail’s artisan bakery.

No bread rolls, I settle for the carrot soup, carrot and ginger.

Service has been appalling in Gail’s ever since it opened sometime last summer, today no exception. Rarely see the same staff twice though individual members of staff try their best and are always polite.

Find a clean table. Tables piled with dirty dishes. I find one that does not have dirty dishes, but it is not clean.

My soup comes, or what jokingly is called soup, arrives. A few spoonfuls of puree carrots, bowl filled with cubes of soggy bread, is not soup.

I use the serviette to rest my phone on, as I did not wish to rest on the dirty sticky table.

I have to ask for butter, then ask for a  knife.

Waitress walks by, looks at the disgusting soup, stops and asks is it ok? I say no, it is disgusting. She offers to do something, I am not sure what, I say no.

During the summer, one thing that could be relied upon at Gail’s, when  available, was the soup.

The coffee is awful,  they are using Union, and not doing Union any favours.

I leave for Krema, where I know I will at least get a decent cup of coffee.

Owner is very pleased when I give him a couple of copies of Caffeine.

I look in Cook. I ask have their mince pies changed, as usually excellent, but what I had a couple of weeks ago, were not good.  They say no.

I cut through the churchyard. It is freezing, noticeable colder than the street.

No board outside the church, though lights on inside.

A man walks out of the church. I ask is it open? A sore point. He is not happy that he has been thrown out of his own church by a bunch of percussionists.  I say I will chance it. He wishes me luck.

I walk in, no on says anything. Then when I take a picture, a woman ask me to leave, says someone might steal their percussion instruments. I cannot see how, when they are there.  She is eating a takeaway, the smell permeating the church, another woman using her mobile.

I have often in the summer wandered in during rehearsals, no one ever objects.  I am careful not to disturb the rehearsal.  I am always made welcome, invited to attend the concert. They will explain who they are, what the concert is. Not this rude woman, I am asked to leave.  These though were musicians on tour. Obviously full of their own arrogant self-importance.

I ignored the woman who has asked me to leave, made my way out at my own pace, stopping to write notes in the visitor book to say how appalled I was by their behaviour.

Walking through Lion and Lamb Courtyard, it too is freezing cold as the churchyard.

I look in Waterstone’s. Their one and only book on coffee, Where to Drink Coffee, is probably one of the worst they could stock, entirely useless as a guide.

Walking back from Waitrose, I notice a marvellous display in Neal’s Yard Remedies. This time last year in Puerto de la Cruz, Exposición de Belenes en Casa Ventoso, an amazing exhibition of Christmas street scenes. This was similar, though on a  much smaller scale, nevertheless, it must have taken a lot of time and effort to construct. Far, far better than the usual Christmas scenes.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 24, 2017

A cold afternoon in Guildford, cold and damp, then turned very cold.

Debenhams packed, attractive girl opening the door for customers.

Was there a sale on? Christmas shoppers out early? Then I realised Black Friday.

20%, 30%, 40%, 50% even 70% off. And these were genuine discounts, not the misleading up to, which means nothing. Begs question were prices hiked before Black Friday?

The only time of the year retailers make money is Christmas.  Already before Christmas, retailers were discounting.  A dumb American import, Black Friday is killing retail.

It is not only in UK, as I noticed this time last year, it has now spread to Tenerife.

A handful of Christmas stalls in the High Street.

Well done Paperchase who have pulled their advertising from the Mail.

The Village as always deserted, ice skating rink deserted, not a single person skating.

Discounts are now being offered for skating, but lack of joined up thinking as The Little Red Book of Offers gives a better discount, either half price or two for price of one.

Contrast with Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market,  an ice rink that is actually in use. Take a day out, enjoy Winchester.

If walk in The Village from North Street,  stomach turns over from appalling stench of the fast food from one of the sheds that have been dumped on the site.

How to turn Guildford into Aldershot without really trying.

Deliveroo rates Deliveroo serfs, how fast they process an order. They are penalised if not fast enough, may not be selected for the next delivery.

That is why they are seen going like crazy from one drop off to the next, it is not only as I originally thought, the pressure of low pay.

I learnt today it also applies to the fast food joints who use Deliveroo. They are also timed, an order has to be ready for the Deliveroo serf to collect, they will be penalised if the serf has to wait.

Bamboo Shoots very busy, I wander off to Ben’s Records, have a chat with Ben.

One side of Tunsgate has been repaved. Down pipes sawn off, now simply empty into the street. The road is now higher than the pavement. When it rains, water will flood down the street. Businesses are losing business whilst the work takes place. Total cost in excess of £700,000. Why so much, the entire High Street £1 million? Apparently the cost of buying setts for the road. But would it not have made more sense to wait until work completed on development the other side of the street? It will take only one heavy lorry to damage the new pavement.

Rumour, empty shop next to Ben’s will be a coffee shop.

Let us hope a quality coffee shop, not another coffee shop selling rubbish coffee.

Glutton & Glee used to be reasonable, until bought by a catering company and given a  silly name.

In The Little Red Book of Offers, what was once Glutton & Glee, with any hot drink, a  free mince pie.

A craft fayre in the old Town Hall. Nothing of interest except one stall, a stall selling books of poetry, the stallholder familiar with the books.

Collected Poems of Arthur Rimbaud (pronounced Rambo in French), an obscure French poet, a case of synchronicity which took me full circle.

In the summer, I met a Greek-Cypriot girl in Esquires, a coffee shop I would not recommend, and she recommended I visit a coffee shop in Liopetri, a small one horse town in Cyprus, not easy to get to, which explains why no one wished to go there. I did eventually find my way there. Arthur Rimbaud mentioned in The Devil’s Cup, he had a mansion in Harar, a closed city in Ethiopia. He also for a time lived in Liopetri.

The man running the stall was fascinated by what I told him, as it was all new to him.

Bamboo Shoots even busier that earlier. No honey crunch chicken, no brown rice, no rice. I settle for prawns served with noodles. Excellent.

On leaving Bamboo Shots, temperature had dropped, now freezing

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole.  Going down hill fast since bought by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. All the good staff have gone. Each visit new faces. Today, again new faces. They used to have cookies, flapjacks, not seen for weeks. Another example of death by a thousand cuts by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. No free wif another example of death by a thousand cuts, forced to use _TheCloud, and hand personal information to a Murdoch company.