Archive for February, 2019

Funeral Service for Mavis Alice Parkins

February 27, 2019

A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving for the Life of Mavis Alice Parkins (5 June 1929 – 6 February 2019) at Washingborough Parish Church.

Mavis Alice Parkins sadly died at 1825 on Wednesday 6 February 2019. The funeral service was held three weeks later.

The service started at 1130 with the arrival of funeral cortege led by funeral director walking in front with a cane. Which sadly those attending the service did not see as they were already in the church.

The church was nigh full with with some coming from far away, as far away as the southwest of England, Turkish occupied Cyprus and even from Australia.

A very moving reading of the Eulogy by granddaughters Abigail and Jessica, interspersed with their own anecdotes.

Apart from the last few years of her life, Mavis Alice Parkins spent all her life in Lincoln.

As the coffin was lowered into its final resting place, close family and relatives each dropped in a solitary daffodil.

The reception was held at Washingborough Hall, a short walk through a hole in the wall.

200 Degrees coffee kiosk

February 24, 2019

The degree to which coffee is hyped is inversely proportional to its quality. For 200 Degrees a chain of nigh identical cookie cutter coffee shops serving at best mediocre coffee bodes ill for its soon to open coffee shop in Lincoln.

Hyped by the hacks at Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo who think that regurgitating corporate press releases constitutes news, hyped by quasi PR agency  Visit Lincoln who should be promoting local culture and events not hyping a coffee chain.

Part of the hype, a horse box serving as a coffee kiosk by the side of the river in Lincoln to promote their new coffee shop in Sincil Street not yet open, part of the trashing of Sincil Street, destruction of local businesses by local Coop in cahoots with the local Council to then bring in chains.

Pot luck if you encountered this coffee kiosk, more by luck if passing by, as whoever handles the 200 Degrees twitter account clueless on the use of social media, failure to say when or where made worse by lack of courtesy to reply to queries.

And even for their yet to open coffee shop in Sincil Street, list of opening hours but not when it actually opens.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network —> many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social networks.

And the coffee?

Served by a guy with a bullshit job title Brand Manager, who is based in their roastery, not the head coffee roaster, handles their training.

The coffee is bulked our with robusta, a cheap nasty coffee that no reputable coffee roastery or specialty coffee shop would touch with a barge pole. I was fed some bullshit that addition of robusta improves the coffee. It does not.

The cappuccino was better than expected, but then this was a guy who claimed to be in charge of training.

The latte art not great. But then I am used to being served by world class baristas thus a hard act to follow.

On the plus side, the cappuccino was better than I expected and have had in Nottingham, which is why when in Nottingham I do not have a coffee in 200 Degrees, there are far better coffee shops, The Specialty Coffee Shop, Cartwheel Coffee, Wired and Outpost Coffee.

Compared with the corporate chains then yes, as their coffee is undrinkable.

Compared with local coffee shops Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle, no, they are in another league.

I then after walking up Steep Hill and back visited Madame Waffle where I was served an excellent V60 brewed by an expert with coffee from Square Mile.

Whilst in Madame Waffle I was chatting to a couple of Chinese visitors who were very complimentary about the tea and asked could they buy loose leaf tea. It was measured out for them.

Other visitors to Lincoln said how much they enjoyed the coffee and that it was an independent coffee shop.

Which brings us back to Visit Lincoln, why are they promoting a coffee chain when Lincoln has two excellent indie coffee shops, Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle, something Lincoln can be proud of and should be showcasing? Visitors want what is unique to Lincoln, that makes a visit to Lincoln worthwhile, not what can be found elsewhere, else why make the effort to visit?

But when Lydia Rusling  head of Visit Lincoln brags she took a visitor to Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Castle and Cosy Club, a fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake, there is something clearly very very wrong.

Visit Lincoln a quasi PR company masquerading as a quasi-tourism body.

200 Degrees will open in Sincil Street on Monday 4 March 2019. They have made themselves very unpopular by trying to poach staff from local coffee shops. Very odd as the Sincil Street coffee shop will also host a training school on a mezzanine floor. What does this say of their training school if they need to poach staff from local coffee shops?

They are also attempting to poach customers from nearby coffee shops. Angel Coffee House, not one of Lincoln’s best coffee shops, has been very cleverly manipulated into promoting 200 Degrees on social media.

The Perky Peacock

February 22, 2019

I have in the past tried to find a coffee shop located on or by the bridge.

Could I find, no.

Today, walking along the Citay Walls I find.

— to be continued —-

Warm sunny February day in York

February 22, 2019

Very unusual day for February. Jet stream bringing in warm air from the Canary islands.

Pleasant enough train journey to York, train to Doncaster then to York.

Today I walked into the centre along the City Walls. Mainly to obtain a better sight of York Minster, and to get away from the traffic.

I descended to the river and found a building I was not aware of.  Nor was I aware could walk under the bridge to get to the other side.

I was reminded of Prague.

An interesting building I had never seen before, as not visible when walking across the bridge on the other side of the road.

What I encountered was The Perky Peacock.

I looked inside. Intersing building, Origin coffee. I decided to stay and have a cappuccino.

Sitting outsde enjoying the sun I could have been in Tenerife.

The cappuccino excellent.

It was then over the bridge and look in Brew & Brownie.

I was after Independent Life.

Sadly they did not have, but kindly suggested I try Kiosk in Fossgate where I was headed later.

Lunch at Burr. Not somewhere I would have coffee, but lunch is usually good. Today not so good.

I have never seen the same staff twice.

The staff I would not say were surly but certainly glum. Their body language said they would far rather be elsewhere.

Looked in Spring Espresso Lendal. That was all I was going to do, but stayed and had chat and a cappuccino.

I wanted Fossgate. As always I got lost.

I eventually found. The street being dug up.

V60 in Kiosk.

No, they did not have Independent Life.

I picked up Caboodle.

I then found my way to The Shambles.

Looked in a chocolatier. Aroma of chocolate, but not as Aristokratikon in Athens

I picked up two expensive bars of chocolate. Another Hotal Chocolat clone No information on ingredients, which ata guess illegal.

I am now once again lost, but somehwo find my way back to Lenad and from there to York Staion.

Five minutes to spare to catch train for insg’s Cross, which for once si on time.

— to be continued —-

Lancaster Skies colour edition

February 22, 2019

Last year saw a pre-release screening of Lancaster Skies for WWII veterans of Bomber Command at International Bomber Command Centre.

That was the black and white version.

This was the version the director wished to go on general release but the distributor begged to differ, they wished for colour for general release.

Thursday saw a showing of the the colour edition for a  BBC film crew from The One Show, who earlier had been filming around Lincolnshire. Also present two WWII veterans of Bomber Command.

What was their view? This to be revealed on The One Show.

The film looks at a dysfunctional Lancaster crew. They had lost their skipper, killed on the return from a bomber raid by German night fighters.

There are two stories, the main story, how the crew handle a new skipper. There is also an underlying interrelated story which few who watch will be aware of.

The film is of a genre of a series of working class films that were released in the 1960s, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey all from the same film studio, Woodfall Films.

For those expecting an action packed video game shoot them up they will be disappointed.

Colour?

The colours are muted, film grainy, to give it a feel of WWII.

Lancaster Skies will be featured on The One Show, evening Tuesday or Wednesday 26 or 27 February 2019.

Lancaster Skies will then go on general release.

Cold sunny afternoon in Hull

February 15, 2019

A hard frost first thing in the morning. Cold sunny afternoon in Hull. A cold breeze blowing in off the sea.

The low sun over the Humber as train approaches Hull a little before the Humber Bridge.

I am pleased to see Paragon Arcade is slowly slowly being restored to its original splendour.

Occasional evening events in Paragon Arcade.

I had only meant to look in Two Gingers to say hi, but as I was chatting, decided to stay and have a cappuccino.

By far the best cappuccino all day. Their own blend from The Blending Room.

They also have guest coffee from La Cabra Coffee, a Danish coffee roastery.

Suggestions for future guest coffee:

  • Athens – Taf – The Underdog
  • Nottingham – Cartwheel Coffee – Outpost Coffee
  • Brighton – Coffee at 33 – Pharmacie

Tea pigs not quality tea. Added as an afterthought, but indie coffee shops these days do make the effort to source quality teas.

Imperial Teas in Lincoln a good starting point.

Two Gingers had no wish to be listed in the scam Indie Coffee Guide, thus a cheek listed against their wishes.

Next door White Rabbit which I had not noticed before. But if you are going to open a chocolatier, please have quality chocolate and employ people who know about chocolate.

Quality chocolate has to be bean to bar, not bought in chocolate melted down and remoulded.

And please note quality chocolate:

  • cocoa mass – sugar
  • cocoa mass – cocoa butter – sugar – vanilla

Anything else is not quality chocolate. Quality chocolate is not bulked out with emulsifier. In the US legal definition of chocolate excludes emulsifiers. Emulsifier used because cheaper than cocoa butter.

The bars of chocolate excellent copy of Hotel Chocolat, the look and feel even down to obscene use of plastic and addition of emulsifiers to what is claimed to be quality expensive chocolate.

Near the Maritime Museum a new coffee kiosk, The Lost Flip Flop.

The coffee I did not try, but catering supply coffee from a coffee roastery in Surrey I have never heard of.

Do not touch with a barge pole Cupsmith tea or coffee, nor Surrey Hills Coffee. Chimney Fire Coffee in the Surrey Hills maybe.

There are though many excellent coffee roasteries. To buy in cheap crap commodity coffee is a bad move and to serve poor quality coffee on a hiding to nothing when can buy poor quality coffee from the corporate chains.

Tea poor quality tea pigs.

On to Trinity Market.

None too pleased to find Shoot the Bull had stopped serving. What is the point of quality food if piss-poor service?

A falafel off The Falafia. ok but not great.

Cappuccino off Caffeinated.

When I first encountered Caffeinated least year I was told to be in the scam Indie Coffee Guide was a mistake, a mistake they would not be repeating. And no, they are not listed in the latest edition, apart from an entry in the back. But why then tell me they sold all their copies when previously said unable to shift and ended up giving away. And it would be amazing if they did sell when no one else manages to sell.

The concept of Trinity Market is excellent, and puts to shame the disgusting Central Market in Lincoln, but standards are slipping, the Yorkshire pudding stall in the corner for example and the low environmental standards are not acceptable. Food served in polystyrene boxes. Why is it council run markets always have low standards?

Hull Old Town is unfortunately crossed by a busy heavily polluted road which is difficult to cross. No help to those businesses such as Thieving Harry’s located on the other side. At the very least operate the pedestrianise crossings more frequently.

Cappuccino at Thieving Harry’s far better than it looked.

Thieving Harry’s are featured in Coffee Shop North. Quite wisely they have pulled out of the scam Indie Coffee Guide though like Caffienated still listed at the back.

Thieving Harry’s an excellent location to watch the setting sun this time of year.

There are three coffee shops worth a visit in Hull, Two Gingers, Caffienated and Thieving Harry’s. Of the three, Two Gingers in another league, partly the skill of the barista and partly they choose their own blend.

Kitchen and Coffee

February 14, 2019

Kitchen and Coffee is possibly the only real coffee shop in Grantham, at least they appeared to care and knew how to serve coffee.

I found Kitchen and Coffee as heading back to the bus station looking forward to leaving Grantham.

Located in a street which had other local businesses.

Unfortunately as I was now heading home, only time to ask for a takeaway coffee if I was not to miss my bus. As it turned out, bus failed to turn up and I had to wait an hour in the cold for another bus, but that is a different story.

When out and about have a couple of bad coffees, as I did today I begin to wonder my sense of taste, and then I have a coffee that is drinkable and all is well in the world.

Coffee beans on sale. A blend from two different estates in Brazil. Roasted for them by coffee roasters in Nottingham, but not either Cartwheel Coffee or Outpost Coffee.

Teaspoon tea company

February 13, 2019

A coffee in Teaspoon Tea Company. Not recommended, froth on top, scalding hot and cheap nasty coffee.

Why bother serving coffee if know nothing about coffee?

But, they may claim they are a tea shop not coffee shop.

Maybe a choice of around 50 different teas. Did not try and so cannot comment on the quality.

Leadenham Teahouse

February 13, 2019

On the way to Grantham stopped off at Leadenham to visit award-winning Leadenham Teahouse.

What does award-winning actually mean? Not a lot as these days virtually anyone is up for an award and when given by Good Taste Lincolnshire or Good Taste Awards meaningless.

Last year Good Taste Lincolnshire awarded Coffee Bobbins the best tea and coffee shop in Lincolnshire which serving poor quality tea and coffee made the award a laughing stock, as not even the best in Lincoln.

This time around the turn of Leadenham Teahouse for this worthless accolade.

Leadenham is a village on the way Lincoln to Grantham, I say village, actually Leadenham Teahouse on the cross roads, though there is a village church and it does host to my surprise a polo club.

Leadenham Teahouse is a tea shop serving tea and snacks and cake and coffee, a Post Office, well actually a Post Office counter and a little shop selling tourist tat.

As tea shops goes quite pleasant though nothing special.

Custom was myself and a coupe of ladies. No one came in to use the service of the Post Office.

I had avocado on sourdough toast with a sprinkling of cottage cheese, and a little salad.

OK, but poor quality sourdough to what I have had elsewhere and poor offering compared with excellent avocado on sourdough toast at The Cheese Society in Lincoln, which also came with melted halloumi cheese.

In the centre a wood-burning stove emitting more pollution than a diesel lorry, but maybe ok in the middle of nowhere.

The tourist tat, but no tourists, and I could not see why there would be especially as the tea shop not open on a Sunday and closes half day on a Saturday.

Outside bench seats by traffic lights on a major road.

I had a cappuccino. It was not good, poor quality catering supply coffee and clueless on how to make coffee. Though in a all fairness a tea shop not a coffee shop and there was a wide choice of tea.

A few cakes from local bakery, but did not look at all appealing.

I was surprised no fresh bread on sale.

I was told try the farm shop down the road.

Cold afternoon in Grantham

February 13, 2019

It was forecast mild. It was cold.

A long bus journey Lincoln to Grantham. I could have taken a train, but wished to stop off at Leadenham.

Passing through Navenby, at least one, maybe two coaching inns.

Each village a parish church.

Many large mansions set back from the road with long drives. At a guess wealth from sheep long ago.

Leadenham, where I alighted, a cross roads, little else, and a tea shop Leadenham Teahouse by the cross roads.

Very difficult to see how the tea shop cum Post Office cum shop with tourist tat survives with no tourists, nothing to bring in tourists, not open on a Sunday and closed half day on a Saturday.

Grantham a dump and not worth the effort of a visit. Same crap corporate chains as everywhere, greasy spoon cafes, tanning parlours and boarded-up shops. The River Witham flows through the town.

Of interest, statue of Isaac Newton, and the local parish church.

Unusual for any town no homeless on the streets.

The church offered a coat to pick up if feeling cold.

St Wulfram’s Church boasts of the tallest spire in the county if not the country. This may be true, as no matter how far I backed away from the church, I could not capture all of the spire.

A coffee in Teaspoon Tea Company. Not recommended, froth on top, scalding hot and cheap nasty coffee.

Why bother serving coffee if know nothing about coffee?

But, they may claim they are a tea shop not coffee shop.

Maybe a choice of around 50 different teas. Did not try and so cannot comment on the quality.

As heading for the bus station, I did encounter local shops. And a real coffee shop, Kitchen and Coffee. Too late for anything other than a takeaway coffee. And yes drinkable.

1610 Stagecoach bus to Lincoln failed to arrive, broken down somewhere en route to Grantham.

1710 arrived twenty minutes late at Lincoln. Missed connecting bus, twenty-five minutes wait in the cold for the next bus, one of the last buses from the bus station.

At Lincoln, seven in the evening, nearly every bay at the bus station, No Departures. And that is within the city, let alone to villages and towns outside of Lincoln.