Afternoon in Winchester

Last night, knowing there was to be a two day rail strike, I decided not to travel down to Winchester and did not get to bed until early hours of the morning, had I decided otherwise, I would have had an early night.

This morning, I decided why not, I will travel down to Winchester, if I do not make the train, I will not bother.

I was reluctant for another reason, train strike, I would be crossing a picket line.

No picket line, barriers open, train of twelve coaches, empty.

Bizarre strike. The new Chinese owners have not said they will not get rid of the guards, on the other hand they have not said they will get rid of the guards.

A strike simply alternates the travelling public.

Train down to Alton, only one an hour, not two, I check I can get a train back.

Alight off bus and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Sunny but very cold. Winchester acts as a frost trap, cold air rolls off the hills into the valley.

I find return bus is still operating from the street, though now opposite side of the street, work on bus station appears to be finished

Pasta off the Sicilian guys. Sadly they have still not reverted to their original menu even though far better.

I warn them their business will now drop off until warm weather in the spring. They will be lucky to break even.

I suggest why they do not offer lessons in Italian cooking or offer home cooking.

I decided to go home, too cold, but will visit Coffee Lab first.

Look in Coffee Lab Academy no sign of Dhan, I check Coffee Lab, no sign of Dhan, I return to Coffee Lab Academy where it is warmer.

Both are empty.

I guess the cold weather. In the summer coffee shops should be open late, in the winter five o’clock as more than late enough. People wish to get home, cold and dark.

On my way down I learn from Guildford Tourist Information that today is National Cappuccino Day. No one is aware of this, and neither was I.

The coffee shop they show is not somewhere I would recommend. Not unless you enjoy bad coffee and cigarette smoke blown in your face.  A cafe serving coffee masquerading as coffee shop.

Lucky for me, cappuccino in Coffee Lab, though sadly no Dhan.

Both Coffee Lab and Coffee lab Academy have had a makeover, forced by change of logo. I like the new look.

Charming lady who I often chat with is pleased to see me.

I am surprised when she makes my coffee. I did not know she was a barista. She is very good.

I have a brief look at Coffee Art, a book by Dhan released a month ago. It looks worth having. None are signed.

A flapjack as well. I learn made in the Salisbury coffee shop.  Excellent.

Then to catch the bus. Far later than I wished.

I decided catch 1720, catch a  little before it leaves, then not hanging around in the cold. Bus is late, ten minutes waiting the cold.

As a result of bus being late, miss train at Alton.

Luckily Alton Station Cafe open. Bikers night. Every Wednesday in the summer, usually once a month in the winter. Empty.

When they prepare their own food it is excellent. Tonight chicken Kiev, bought in crap.

I leave, they prepare me breakfast. I leave most of that too, as now not hungry.

Train again twelve coaches, empty.

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