Archive for January, 2019

Afternoon in Nottingham

January 15, 2019

Two-coach East Midlands train Lincoln-Nottingham-Leicester.

It could have been worse, it could have been a clapped out single coach train. At least this train was refurbished and had usb charging points. Though few use as hidden below the seats.

I took the opportunity to charge a power bank. I did not think it needed charging, other than maybe a top up. To my surprise took the entire journey to charge. Failing power bank?

A new stall outside Nottingham Station selling dosa. Too cold for street food but not impressed. Appeared to have been already made, did not look appetising, was then popped in a frying pan, hotted up, ingredients tossed on top.

I was not impressed. Not the way to make a dosa. Nothing like the quality or professionalism of Ollo Foods with a stall on Guildford farmers market.

Lunch at 200 Degrees Nottingham Station overlooking Nottingham Canal.

Tomato soup was something of a disappointment, tasted like tinned soup, but the falafal was was excellent.

200 Degrees is a small chain. Coffee mediocre at best.

Excellent cappuccino at Cartwheel Coffee.

An organic single origin from Honduras.

On sale Frank Green reusable cups. These, together with rCup, are the worst reusable cups on the market.

I suggested get shot of, stock KeepCup or ecoffee bamboo cups. But ideally encourage relax with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic, discourage takeaway.

I looked in Wired, but who I wished to see was not there.

Their own branded glass KeepCup. Large. I have never seen large before.

Guest coffee Girls Who Grind.

On my last visit I had been told by Outpost Coffee of a nearby zero waste store. I asked of the vegan stall. Cobden Chambers, but not today. I checked, no, not today. A pity, as I wanted muesli, which I had hoped to find.

Ideas on Paper not open. No information to say when open. Annoying as was the reason for my visit.

V60 from Outpost Coffee. They were busy.

I looked again Ideas on Paper. Not open.

Nottingham Station. Long walk down a long platform to waiting train.

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Vegan quasi-religious fundamentalists target Hisbe

January 14, 2019

An act of unbelievable crass stupidity when vegan quasi-religious fundamentalists target Hisbe, an ethical food store.

Where next, Infinity Foods, a workers cooperative? Maybe not, Infinity Foods bake vegan cakes and where would we be without vegan cakes?

Maybe do something useful, target and shut down McDonald’s or a halal kebab shop.

Or try targeting M&S or Waitrose for wrapping fresh produce in plastic.

Steep Hill another one bites the dust

January 11, 2019

A soap shop at the top of Steep Hill is to close.

According to the Lincolnite, regurgitating what they find on facebook, a popular soap shop is to close due to lack of customers.

Er, spot the oxymoron.

I never knew there was a soap shop.

I was told adjacent to the Russian Doll shop.

I decided to investigate.

Yes, between the Russian Doll shop and a clock shop. A clock shop that is never open.

A tiny nondescript shop, easy to see why I had missed it before.

I found it to be in darkness, closed, which at least explains why no customers.

As I was looking, a lady popped out of the Russian Doll shop with a key in her hand offered to open for me.

I declined, but said I may look on my way down.

On my way down, I again found to be closed.

Lincoln hosts smallest farmers market in the country

January 11, 2019

At one stall, Lincoln can proudly lay claim to the smallest farmers market in the country.

The farmers market used to be held in the High Street, to be pedantic two different locations in the High Street, one week north of the level crossing, the following week south of the level crossing.

By swapping locations, guaranteed to ensure the market was never a success. A couple of stalls, maybe three, if very very lucky six.

It has now relocated to the side of the river, outside the side entrance to the Central Market, with little footfall, maybe out of sight, out of mind.

There is no information in the High Street to say the farmers market has relocated, therefore it is assumed it has finally collapsed.

Nor is there any information at its new location.

I found by pure chance.

I hoped last week to find the fruit and vegetable stall, but too late, it had already packed up and departed. I was in time to see a van for Redhill Farm departing.

In the week, I checked with Redhill  Farm shop in Bailgate and they confirmed, the farmers market had relocated.

Sincil Street has been trashed by the local Council in cahoots with the local Coop, the Central Market trashed by the local  Council, which guarantees very little footfall.

I found the regular Friday fruit and vegetable stall, this one stall is what constitutes a market in Lincoln, a market town, a bread stall, a disgusting doughnut stall and one stall for the farmers market.

At two o-clock, the one stall for the farmers market had already packed away his stock. I visited the fruit and vegetable stall. When I looked around, the guy running the stall had gone.

The doughnut stall should be kicked off. The stomach churning stench is guaranteed to kill any market.

Curry’s demonstrate why buy on-line from Amazon

January 10, 2019

Last week freezer of a fridge freezer failed.

Food rescued and stored in the garden, which at least kept viable for a couple of days.

To repair, quoted a price of £175, or £50 if no repair,  therefore decided to buy a new fridge freezer.

Last Friday paid a visit to Curry’s, a large shed on an inner city bypass, a large superstore of household appliances.

Settled on a Grundig fridge freezer, in the Curry’s Sale, £200 down from £300.

Price of many ridiculously high, for what is little more than an insulated box with a coolant system.

Grundig fridge freezer displayed on the door available in white or brushed metal.

When asked for white, an extra £20 was demanded. This was illegal, something Trading Standards should investigate, as there was nothing displayed to say white was extra. The model on display was brushed metal, a dull gun metal grey.

A moot point white, as not in stock, earliest the following Friday, with delivery some time after that.

The performance of the fridge freezer not prominently displayed. Displayed at the bottom of the lower door. Ideal for a dog to read. What were customers expected to do, get down on their hands and knees to read?

Grundig Fridge Freezer ordered. Free delivery not available until Wednesday of the following week, could arrive any time during the day.

Paid an extra £20 for removal and disposal of the old fridge freezer.

Wednesday morning, ie yesterday, delivery arrived at eight in the morning. A call fifteen minutes earlier to warn of imminent arrival.

Delivery said they could not take the old fridge freezer, a service paid for, as no room on their van, but would return within the next hour to collect.

Old fridge freeze dumped on the back lawn. Why, when hard standing where it could have been placed?

This caused a problem, as lawn maintenance service arrived in the afternoon, and had to work around the dumped fridge freezer.

Day turned to evening, no collection of fridge freezer.

Curry’s not only failed to take away the old fridge freezer for which they were paid £20, they also dumped the packaging for the new fridge freezer in the garden.

On checking today to ensure Curry’s had actually delivered the correct model as ordered, to my surprise, or maybe I should not be surprised,  I discovered the delivery was actually intended for someone else.

Curry’s were called this morning. They refused to accept any responsibility. Said the earliest they could collect would be some time next week.   They are in clear breach of contract. They were told, payment would be cancelled, and they could collect the delivered fridge freezer.

Curry’s then backed down said the earliest would be Friday, ie tomorrow, two days after the fridge freezer was delivered and old one should have been collected.

At minimum will expect refund of £20 paid for collection, as Curry’s in breach of contract.

Note: Curry’s turned up 9-30 Friday morning, 48 hours after old fridge freezer should have been collected. Two guys and a van. They had not a clue what it was they were to collect. Yet another example of Curry’s poor service.

Fridge freezer turned on after leaving to rest for five hours.

Had not reached temperature after one hour, had after two hours.

A slight adjustment of thermostat, and now with food returned from garden to fridge, has stabilised at correct temperature.

Freezer is still empty.

A bad design feature, no digital readout of fridge or freezer temperature. These days would expect as a standard feature.

Another bad design feature, bottom of fridge curves upwards towards the door. This makes very difficult pulling out the drawer for vegetables and salad and for gaining access to contents.

To compare with Amazon. A book ordered Saturday evening was delivered Sunday morning.

High Street chains are collapsing. Latest casualty HMV, which is no great loss.

High Street chains are failing because of their poor service. They compete with online by cutting service.  Thus enter a death spiral.

Latest results show failing retailers M&S and Waitrose did not do well over Christmas. This comes as no surprise when their service is so bad. Premium prices, fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves,  and yet cannot man the tills at checkouts.

Vegan friendly

January 9, 2019

What is vegan friendly?

Either a product is vegan ie plant based or it is not vegan. Vegan friendly is meaningless.

Holland & Barrett has on sale Vegan Friendly Dark Chocolate.

I queried their use of the term vegan friendly as meaningless.

They asked for more information, tried to blame the store.

I sent a picture of the chocolate bar sitting on the shelf in store.

No further response from Holland & Barrett. The usual corporate big business High Street chain customer care.

A bull in a field may be vegan friendly, a bar of chocolate not. To apply to a bar of chocolate meaningless.

Vegan is an excellent dosa of Ollo Foods stall on Guildford farmers market.

The bar of chocolate does not prominently state percentage of cocoa solids. Without, Dark Chocolate, is meaningless.

Quality chocolate, and that immediately rules out Cadbury’s,  now owned by Kraft, does not substitute. One of the commonest cheapest nastiest substitutes is palm oil.

If chocolate, or any product, contains palm oil, complain to the retailer and ask not to stock, and complain to the manufacturer.

Palm oil is bad for people and planet.

Quality chocolate use cocoa butter.

Quality chocolate is from aristan chocolate makers, expensive.

Quality chocolate is often bean-to-bar.

Artisan chocolate makers are following the lead of coffee, direct trade, often single origin, cocoa beans roasted to bring out the best flavour profile of the beans.

The Strait and Steep Hill no tourists tea and coffee shops open

January 8, 2019

It beggars belief, over the Christmas New Year vacation many tourists milling around, up The Strait and Steep Hill, in Castle Hill and Bailgate, tea and coffee shops were either closed or closed early.

Now the holiday season over, no one around, the streets deserted, the tea and coffee shops open.

This would be like a business in the tourist area of Cyprus closing during the peak summer season then opening in the winter when no one about.

To say the least, bizarre.

Although not all were open, and a few closed early.

The Rest rarely found open. Today no exception. Rumoured to be for sale

Bunty’s tea room, closed or closed early when tourists around, now no tourists tea room open.

Bookstop Cafe, closed or closed early when tourists around, now no tourists open.

Imperial Teas, a rarity, open over Christmas New Year.

Pimento tea rooms, once excellent, new owners took over and destroyed with six months.

Changed hands yet again. Closed over Christmas New Year, does not reopen until no tourists outside.

Since my last visit, interior has changed and not for the better.

A board outside promises specialty tea and coffee, new menu.

No menu, no espresso machine.

It takes more than a sign to serve specialty tea and coffee.

I said I may pop back later. When I did, a little after three, I found to be closed.

When queried, told closed early today. When asked when usually close, told between three and four.

Quad Restaurant reusable coffee cup

January 8, 2019

Quad Restaurant demonstrating how not to.

Not barista friendly ugly plastic reusable coffee cups, one of the worst examples of reusable coffee cups I have come across.

No surprise,  low take up.

The Quad is the privately run renamed former County Restaurant, the staff restaurant of Lincolnshire County Council.

Early last year, it was the norm to see staff sitting at table drinking tea or coffee out of a takeaway cup when ceramic cups available.

This has at least improved, more are using ceramic or compostable cups. But where are the compostable cups deposited? This will be general waste stream unless special bins provided.  A tiny step in the right direction but still a  fair way to go.

Plastic cups are still being used for water. These should be glass.

Plastic is being used for their own yogurts. And why low fat yogurt with additives which is very unhealthy?

Only one person observed using a Quad Restaurant reusable cup everyone else using ceramic or Vegware compostable cups.

The reusable cups need to be removed, or if compostable cups for people to take back to their office, bins for compostable cups.

Lincolnshire County Council should be setting standards, not lagging behind best practice of indie coffee shops.

The County Council needs to do a deal with KeepCup, ecoffee or POLŪ to bulk buy branded cups, which are sold at cost to staff, given away at conferences, to get the message out.

There should be a latte levy of 25p on takeaway cups. The money goes into a  separate pot, once a month, staff choose, funds raised go to a local environmental group.

Should aim at 80% minimum of replacement of takeaway cups with reusable cups.

But also recognise compostable cups, reusable cups, are addressing symptoms of a grab it and go takeaway culture. Should encourage relax with coffee served in ceramic.

The Quad should have a target date for plastic free, zero waste.

Sausage and mash County Restaurant

January 8, 2019

County Restaurant for many years was an excellent place to eat. It then went downhill, picked up, sadly seems to have gone rapidly downhill again.

Very poor choice today, bangers and mash or bangers and mash. There was a choice of sausage or fake vegan sausage.

And a choice of a flavoured chicken.

The bangers and mash were served with (at extra cost) unappetising looking mash potatoes, under-cooked beans and overcooked greens, served in a bowl formed by a Yorkshire pudding that required a saw to cut, plus gravy if desired.

The sausages cheapest disgusting sausages they could find, though not as bad as found in a Coop or M&S bangers and mash ready meal.  The sausages under-cooked.

The mash tasted better than looked.

Vegan sausages to pander to the vegan lobby. I do not know why anyone wishes to eat fake sausages or fake meat, anymore than from Greggs a fake sausage roll or even why eat from Greggs,  I would rather have an excellent vegetarian dish, though the vegan sausages could not have been worse than the half cooked real sausages.

Served in a Yorkshire pudding a gimmick.

They need to concentrate on quality not gimmicks.

They used to have two good chefs. No sign of them. Maybe they have left.

Water, plastic, not glass.

On sale, Quad Restaurant reusable coffee cups, ugly not barista friendly plastic reusable cups. No surprise low take up.

Happy New Year 2019

January 1, 2019

Happy New Year

Feliz año nuevo

Ευτυχισμένο το νέο έτος

С новым годом

Image courtesy Ken Crane.