Sunday mid-July in Brighton

Train Reading to Gatwick running at least fifteen minutes late. As a result missed 1140 Gatwick to Brighton but made 1158. No explanation or apology, no guard walks through the train.

Buy a ticket on Southern Fail to Brighton. Guard tells me toilet not working but toilets at Brighton Station now free. Money wasted to install a barrier to charge now sitting idle.

Looked in Passenger Lounge, FCB Coffee Shop. Never for a coffee, sometimes interesting literature.

Small Batch kiosk in the station forecourt usually serves good coffee.

Walk under the station and down Trafalgar Street into North Laine.

Man standing in doorway of Blend & Brew, beckons me in. What is this, Istanbul, dragged into the coffee shops?

As two weeks ago last day of June in Brighton, coffee shop empty. Do I wish for a coffee?

No. Asked what I think of the coffee I say poor quality coffee. I am talking to the owner. I tell him he has done a good job on the coffee shop, and the food looks good, now needs better coffee, this is Brighton, spoilt for choice for coffee, cannot get away with serving bad coffee. Not buy cheap crap Italian coffee. He tries to bullshit me, he sells lots of coffee. So does Costa.

As always excellent Coffee at Coffee at 33. It is busy, usually is lunchtime on a Sunday. I find I am talking to the coffee roaster. Not met him before.

I head to Magazine Brighton. Unlike last time when a young lad drove the customers away with loud music, it is busy. It usually is busy. Last time I wanted Cereal only closed early. Today I find in stock Cereal, Drift, Ambrosia and Standart. A lot of magazines to buy and carry. I will return later.

Magazine Brighton, as with Ideas on Paper, one of those places where spoilt for choice and can easily spend a small fortune.

I look in Pelicano, maybe pop back later. Last year they had Drift and Standart on sale. If I buy either I get a free coffee. No Drift, but have back copies of Standart.

I look in Iydea. Singularly unappetising. A pity Iydea has gone down hill. It was not good last year. For at least ten years, my favourite place to eat in Brighton. Lunch at Iydea was always something to look forward to.

I head for Infinity Foods Kitchen.

Last time I raised zero-waste shops cannot return five litre containers for Faith in Nature shampoo. The guy I spoke to says he raised it, no one knows why. He will raise it again.

I head to Vinyl Revolution in The Lanes. It celebrated its second anniversary this weekend by closing down. I found it has already closed.

Last visit two weeks ago, I was shocked by the number of closed shops in North Laine. Today I notice many others are closing down.

In The Lanes I find it far worse. Many closed shops. Looking down Duke Street, a sea of To Let Boards

One shop closes, less reason to visit a locality. Ten percent of shops will be on the edge. They go under. A domino effect. It can happen very rapidly. We are seeing in the The Lanes and North Laine a retail catastrophe. Talking to those with existing businesses, they are worried at the collapse of retail around them as will be fewer people visit, which then impacts on their business.

I come across The Lanes Coffee House. A main entrance and a side entrance. I enter via the alley and walk through. A greasy spoon cafe serving coffee. Wary to tell me from where they source their coffee. Italian roasted. No thanks, I will give it a miss.

I happen upon Blackbird.

An idiot has illegally parked outside in a pedestrianised street with engine running.

I will return. I now have to get back to Magazine Brighton before they close.

I make Magazine Brighton with minutes to spare. Pick up Cereal, Drift, Ambrosia  and Standart.

En route pass by The Plant Room, a coffee shop I have yet to visit.

En route aged Mods parked up with their scooters. In the 1960s they would descend on Brighton for pitched battles on the beach.

I look in Barney’s Delicatessen a cheesemonger cum deli where I had looked in earlier. A good selection of cheese and local produce. The young guy remembers me from last year when they had not long opened. I ask why Lincoln came into the conversation. He was born there.

I recommend Re-Inventing the Wheel, an excellent book on cheese. To follow Joanna Blythman on twitter. I could add Zoe Harcombe.

Cappuccino at Blackbird served with chocolate .Cardinal sin.

Humble apologies, too many asking for chocolate.

Earlier an idiot had parked a truck outside, engine running in a pedestrianised street.

I am treated to Panama Geisha.

Walk down to the sea front.

Pass by Seth Morgan busking. An excellent musician.

At the sea front I decide to call it a day and head for the station.

I pass along Duke Street. I again notice the empty shops. When I get to the end, I look back and see the sea of To Let boards.

Make train with fifteen minutes to spare. Fifteen minutes to wait at Gatwick.


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