Archive for December, 2019

Carluccio’s

December 27, 2019

A chain eatery, thus my expectations were low, and they were not exceeded.

I was only there because Madame Waffle opposite closed and a friend had said the coffee was good (I think she was taking the piss).

Soulless as would expect from a chain eatery.

Cappuccino ordered. Served with chocolate on top.

Why oh why does no one know do not put chocolate on top of a cappuccino? Not unless trying to disguise that is crap coffee. At the very least ask. And a good coffee shop would not dream of asking as would not wish to insult their clientele.

Cappuccino taken back.

Next attempt, oddly in a different cup, not good, cheap catering supply coffee.

A young fellow asked how was my drink? I said not good, very poor compared with Madame Waffle where can get an excellent cup of coffee. He scowled and walked off. Why ask if do not wish to be told the truth?

It was then to Coffee Aroma for a decent cup of coffee.

Pino

December 27, 2019

A greasy spoon cafe with pleasant decor.

Location is wrong for two reasons.

  • On a corner of a busy junction, no outside seating, if there was too polluted.
  • Within spitting distance of two greasy spoon cafes, two corporate chains serving disgusting undrinkable coffee.

Bread sourced from Iceland.

Coffee sourced from LavAzza. .

Layout poor, too much space devoted to their serving counter reducing the seating area.

Ambience not pleasant, mainly due to poor layout and hard surfaces, very noisy, impossible to relax.

LavAzza therefore my expectations were low, and they were not exceeded. Cappuccino with chocolate dumped on top sent back, second coffee undrinkable. All the classic mistakes, including coffee scalding hot.

Why oh why does no one know do not put chocolate on top of a cappuccino? Not unless trying to disguise that is crap coffee. At the very least ask. And a good coffee shop would not dream of asking as would not wish to insult their clientele.

No water brought to the table, nor could I see water on display to help oneself to.

The norm in Athens, as soon as sit down, ice cold water brought to the table. It is called service.

Ibriks on display. For show? To my surprise they served Turkish coffee. Though the bed of sand not large enough. I did not try.

Poor use of social media. Facebook, a message box pops up even though may have no wish to post a message. If do, lack the courtesy to reply.

Maybe would have got away with opening a greasy spoon cafe serving undrinkable coffee ten years ago, not now, the world has moved on, and if wish to drink undrinkable coffee have the corporate chains, two of which Caffe Nero and Costa are located nearby.

The market is saturated. If opening these days have to serve quality coffee, quality food, otherwise on a hiding to nothing. Source coffee from local roasteries Stokes or Seven Districts but God forbid not from Lincoln Tea and Coffee, cakes and bread from a local bakery.

Bricked-up windows opened up have improved a red-brick Victorian building, but why the grief and hassle by the local council, three months delay for a resolution? If going to give grief give for the garish entrance out of character with the building not the windows. The same council with not a clue what constitutes good town centre design, the town centre trashed, ugly buildings, binge drinking bars.

Rosa Luxemburg Platz

December 26, 2019

A Plaza named after the German-Polish revolutionary Marxist philosopher and writer Rosa Luxemburg.

Freiheit ist immer nur Freiheit des anders Denkenden  — Rosa Luxemburg

A strange sculpture in the square, no idea what it is. 

In the ground long strips, with words of Rosa Luxemburg or tributes to her. 

A little way off from the square, a statue of Rosa Luxemburg around the back of a radical publisher. 

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a party - however numerous they may be - is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently. Not because of the fanaticism of “justice”, but rather because all that is instructive, wholesome, and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effects cease to work when “freedom” becomes a privilege.

Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) was awarded a PhD at a time when few women went to university, reputed to speak eleven languages. She was opposed to the First World War for which she spent time in prison. She was murdered by German soldiers, her body thrown into the canal. 

Her thoughts on democracy are apropos today as they were when she wrote them, when we see how the recent General Election has been perverted by a corrupt media and facebook.

Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule. Among them, in reality only a dozen outstanding heads do the leading and an elite of the working class is invited from time to time to meetings where they are to applaud the speeches of the leaders, and to approve proposed resolutions unanimously – at bottom, then, a clique affair – a dictatorship, to be sure, not the dictatorship of the proletariat but only the dictatorship of a handful of politicians, that is a dictatorship in the bourgeois sense, in the sense of the rule of the Jacobins (the postponement of the Soviet Congress from three-month periods to six-month periods!) Yes, we can go even further: such conditions must inevitably cause a brutalization of public life: attempted assassinations, shooting of hostages, etc.

Her last known words written on the evening of her murder were about her belief in the masses and what she saw as the inevitability of a triumphant revolution.

The contradiction between the powerful, decisive, aggressive offensive of the Berlin masses on the one hand and the indecisive, half-hearted vacillation of the Berlin leadership on the other is the mark of this latest episode. The leadership failed. But a new leadership can and must be created by the masses and from the masses. The masses are the crucial factor. They are the rock on which the ultimate victory of the revolution will be built. The masses were up to the challenge, and out of this “defeat” they have forged a link in the chain of historic defeats, which is the pride and strength of international socialism. That is why future victories will spring from this defeat.

Order prevails in Berlin! You foolish lackeys! Your “order” is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will “rise up again, clashing its weapons,” and to your horror it will proclaim with trumpets blazing: I was, I am, I shall be!

Paul Mason draws on the writing of Rosa Luxemburg in Postcapitalism.

2025: The Long Hot Winter

December 25, 2019

Christmas 2025, the future.

Brian Eno narrates this fictional documentary set in the year 2025, interviewing Londoners about their first Christmas heatwave.

A terrifying missive from the near future.

Though do we even have to look that far ahead?

Fires in California, Chile, Siberia, Australia. Floods in England, floods across Europe. Melting polar ice caps, disappearing glaciers.

Hallelujah

December 25, 2019

Spine tingling rendition of Hallelujah.

Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee students perform arrangement by Pedro Osuna of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah featuring vocalist Shalyah Fearing and cellist Nathaniel Taylor.

Shalyah Fearing an incredible vocalist.

Christmas Emporium Lincoln Castle

December 21, 2019

Why is it everywhere has the desire to dump a few sheds in a town centre fill with tat and junk food and call it a Christmas Market?

This market was dismal. I walked in a little after three to find no one around, all the sheds bar a couple closed. They had obviously closed before three. The ubiquitous junk food.

What is the point of a market that closes at three then reopens again at five, albeit to then charge £8 entrance fee?

I spoke to a couple of stallholders. To say the last they were thoroughly pissed off.  And I do not blame them. Paying a high fee for a pitch for no customers. They will not be returning.

I then found I could not get out the West Gate and had to walk around the Castle to Stokes at The Lawn

This is another example of the appalling mismanagement of Lincoln Castle. Complaints fall on deaf ears.

Lincoln Christmas farmers market

December 21, 2019

Held Castle Hill, a dismal Christmas farmers market, a pale shadow of when I last visited the farmers market in the summer of last year or Easter this year.

Sadly it seems to be following the ad hoc farmers market held in the High Street which became smaller and smaller and finally died.

Contrast with Guildford Christmas farmers packed with Christmas shoppers.

I managed to pick up cheese from two different stalls, and raw milk unpasteurised milk from the same stalls.

I regret I did not shop in Redhill Farm shop in Bailgate, when I passed by it was busy, later when I passed by it was closed.

River Witham flowing high

December 21, 2019

On the train to Nottingham on Wednesday, to Sheffield two weeks ago, the fields flooded, the ground saturated from weeks of heavy rain.

Thursday and Friday, heavy rain, the ground saturated, the water flowing straight into the rivers.

River Witham flowing under High Bridge through the centre of Lincoln flowing very high., flowing very fast and very muddy. The mud, top soil washed off fields

Drainage, dredging rivers is not the solution. It simply sends the water faster downstream.

We have to rewild, re-afforest the uplands, farmers change their farming practices, animals grazing fields not crops, flood plains allowed to flood.

Downstream of Lincoln was fen lands. These should be returned to fen land., sea marshes allowed to expand. Soft flood defences not hard defences.

Guildford, the River Wey poised to flood the town. Not only England, Portugal and Spain, heavy rain, widespread flooding.

Forest fires in California, Siberia and across Australia.

COP25 in Madrid collapsed with no firm commitment to the deep cuts required in carbon emissions. Corrupt politicians fiddled whilst the planet burned.

One of the worst countries that went out of their way to sabotage COP25 was Australia. Australia on Tuesday and Wednesday, the highest record temperatures, the continent ablaze with bush fires. Sydney encircled by bushfires, 45C, engulfed in toxic smoke. How many will die in Sydney as a result of breathing toxic smoke? The response of the Australian Prime Minister in the pocket of the coal industry, to go on holiday.

 

Paste Thai Contemporary Cuisine

December 18, 2019

We could find nowhere to eat, eventually settled on Paste Thai Contemporary Cuisine.

The exterior belies the interior, open and airy.

Attentive staff, maybe a little too attentive.

For starter we each had chicken and mushroom soup, though menu said chicken or mushroom, a few vegetables, with added coconut.

Main dishes, sweet and sour chicken and a deep fried crispy chicken with a sauce. I preferred the crispy chicken without the sauce as it changed the texture and taste. Both served with rice.

Ice cream with coconut for dessert.

Food was good, though maybe more suited to an evening meal than lunchtime.

Nottingham week before Christmas

December 18, 2019

Dawn thick fog, cleared to mist, very misty on train to Nottingham, fields waterlogged.

Train pulled in close to station entrance. Why does it not usually do this?

Looked in 200 Degrees Nottingham Station. OK for lunch, but not coffee. Packed. Too busy. Later passed by 200 Degrees Flying Horse Walk.

Cartwheel Coffee, last visit left disappointed.

Try Cobden Chambers. Ownership of restaurant has changed yet again. Now a cafe serving tea and cakes. It will not survive when opposite Cobden Chambers is Wired. I am not surprised Dash Vegan has closed, though I expected the Dash Vegan Zero Waste Shop to be the first to go. I looked in later, still no improvement in the stock.

Walked along the street, places I have spotted before, closed.

Settled on a Thai restaurant, Paste Thai Contemporary Cuisine.

Meal was good, though maybe more suited to an evening dinner than lunch.

Although close by Ideas on Paper, decided to go to The Speciality Coffee Shop, then return.

Tacky Christmas market in Market Square. Disgusting junk food and tat.

Why is it every town centre has to dump sheds selling tat and junk food in town centres and call it a Christmas market?

Head off down the wrong street. At least explains why the street looked unfamiliar.

Retrace my steps.

The Speciality Coffee Shop, Michelangelo greets me at the door. Closed, no coffee.

I thought he was joking. No, he really had run out off coffee, the shelves are bare. He has run down stocks, will close over Christmas, reopen in New Year.

Head back to to Ideas on Paper. Pick up latest copy of Cereal. I learn Om Nom no more. Lasted all of four issues.

Head to Cartwheel Coffee as en route to station.

Have cappuccino.

Miss train. Pulls out as walking down the platform.

Retrace my steps back to Cartweheel Coffee. We try La Pila from The Underdog as V60.

Back to station, just make train as pulling out.