Archive for July, 2020

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day one hundred and twenty eight

July 29, 2020

A warm day.

Sincil Street trashed by dysfunctional local council in cahoots with local Coop, local family businesses destroyed. For what? Corporate chains can find anywhere and everywhere.

Laura Ashley clone Sea Salt empty. Lakeland purveyors of overpriced kitchenware empty.

I looked in Lakeland. Two ‘customers’ counting myself. I say ‘customers’ as we were not buying. I was looking for stove pot coffee maker. They did not have. Indeed complete lack of coffee equipment. No V60, no Chemex, no Aeropress, no swan-neck kettle, no digital scales.

Worthless jobsworths strike again. 200 Degrees had their tables spaced apart in the street, safe for every one, though should have been in the sterile space opposite the coffee shop not obstructing the thoroughfare. Now corralled into cramped tiny space beside the store frontage.

A couple of weeks ago council bully boys kicked a well run fruit and veg stall out of Lincoln Central Market. Always busy, generated at least 80% of market footfall. Remaining traders have seen business collapse.

Outside fruit and veg stall has relocated into the market. Deserted. One bored looking stallholder.

Haddock and chips at Elite on the Bail in Bailgate.

Walked back down Steep Hill.

Excellent cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

Unlike Lakeland, Madame Waffle has not only coffee making paraphenalia but also coffee beans on sale.

How to reply to spam e-mail

July 26, 2020

The nuisance of spam e-mail.

My standard response is don’t reply, don’t even open, mark as spam or better still phishing, then delete.

But sometimes, if feeling mean, may wish to gave fun.

14-day quarantine UK arrivals from Spain

July 26, 2020

As of midnight last night, all arrivals into UK from Spain will have to go into 14-day quarantine.

Strictly speaking self-isolation, not quarantine.

For once the UK government has acted promptly.

14-day self-isolation for arrivals from Spain, FCO advice, do not travel to Spain (Balearic Islands and Canary Islands exempt).

Spanish holiday in Tenerife during the summer. Thus what is safe today may not remain safe.

The usual suspects are bleating, airlines, tour companies. They knew Spain was high risk, but happily transported tourists to Spain.

Reckless behaviour by Jet 2 encouraging tourists to ignore FCO advice and travel to Spain regardless. Those stupid enough to ignore FCO advice will invalidate their travel insurance.

Nothing surprises me cowboy Ryanair.

Countries across Europe are acting responsibly, restricting where visitors are from, who can enter the country.

More countries could be added at short notice to the UK quarantine list.

We can take the train. It will reduce CO2 emissions, but does nothing to halt the spread of covid-19. When we travel, we risk spreading covid-19.

Everyone entering UK should be scanned for high temperature, random testing of arrivals.

Those who travelled to Spain, should have known it was risky. Did travel companies like tui and Jet2 not warn them? I doubt it.

Only a couple of weeks ago, travel companies flew a plane load of willing lackeys who would write glowing reports it is safe.

If we look at affected regions in Spain, the numbers of covid-19 cases had shot up in the last few days.

The Spanish Foreign Minister who claims coronavirus under control, she also claims no political show trials in Catalonia, demonstrates her stupidity every time she opens her mouth.

If we look at USA, fast approaching 100,000 case per day.

Beaches packed, nightclubs and bars heaving. Only now has Barcelona shut down nightclubs, affected tourist areas shut down bars. In US very late in the day shut down bars.

Why were they ever open?

We should all be learning lessons.

We do not heed the whining from the tourist sector. They are not victims as they like to portray themselves, they are the perpetrators.

In England, why are pubs open? Why is The Lion and Snake and other pubs full of drunks, fights in the street, not closed, licence withdrawn?

Leicester in lockdown, why no roadblocks?

Bolton and other cities seeing sharp rise in cases, why no local lockdown?

Unless streets are closed traffic free tables in the street we are going to lose many local indie coffee shops and restaurants.

We must rethink tourism. In Venice they are rethinking tourism. It is ridiculous flying to a location for one week to sit in a bar full of drunken yobs from UK. We must encourage longer stay, direct bookings, end stranglehold of tour companies on the sector, quality tourists, fewer tourists, implement a post-pandemic doughnut economics recovery programme.

Few places are safe to travel to. It is not only the risk of quarantine on return, it is the risk of being stranded, of falling sick. Does your travel insurance even cover covid-19?

And those places that have had few cases, where unlike UK they acted quickly, will see cases rise if they permit visitors from countries like UK where covid-19 is not under control.

Those returning from Spain, or had their package holiday cancelled, will very soon discover the cover tui was offering not worth the paper it was written on.

Cancelled flights, refunds within seven days. Cancelled package holidays, refunds within fourteen days. But good luck with that as many are still waiting a refund.

Local businesses in Cyprus plead for more help

July 25, 2020

Unless there are structural changes to the tourist sector a bailout of local businesses in Ayia Napa and Protaras would be pouring money down the drain as all it would do would be to delay the inevitable collapse of local businesses.

It comes as no surprise collapse of local economy, local businesses struggling.

30% of tourists was over optimistic. Even 25% was optimist.

But even before covid-19 pandemic the local economy was in dire straits, killed by tour companies and all-inclusive hotels, bars and restaurants empty, no money flowing into the local economy.

Thus even if 30% tourists, of no benefit if attract bottom end of the tourist market brought to the island by tour companies staying at all-inclusive hotels.

Government is still not addressing the underlying structural problem, over-reliance on tour companies, mass tourism, all-inclusive hotels.

The opportunity the crisis offered should have been taken for a complete overhaul of the tourist sector. Close the bad hotels, bars that attract the dregs, outlaw all-inclusive hotels, reduce tour companies to no more than 20% of occupancy (no single tour company more than 10%), encourage direct bookings, longer stay, fewer tourists, quality tourists.

Hoteliers should be offering special deals to attract regulars for this year and next to reward them for their past support.

If look at Ayia Napa and Protaras, few decent places to eat. Cannot compete with all-inclusive hotels by offering poor quality and poor service. To do so is to engage in a race to the bottom that no one can win. Nor does it help when sit down for a meal unable to relax or hold a conversation due to deafening noise from a tacky bar across the street.

To eat it is necessary to go outside the area, to little villages.

Similarly with coffee. Nowhere serving a decent cup of coffee. Have to travel to Larnaca.

If local businesses wish to have a future, they need to demand of government structural changes to the tourist sector, implementation of doughnut economics for Cyprus, if not they have no future, as it would be businesses as usual, no money flowing into the local economy.

Madame Waffle re-opens

July 24, 2020

Madame Waffle has been open a week or so. Not open Monday and Tuesday.

My first coffee since lockdown began.

I sat outside with a cappuccino. I would not wish to sit inside.

Looking inside I see the tables are partitioned off. I understand why, but I would feel less safe, enclosed space within enclosed space.

Staff and customers for their own protection, download and install and share Corona-Warn-App the German track and trace app.

Madame Waffle is on limited opening hours, not open on Monday and Tuesday.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day one hundred and twenty three

July 24, 2020

First day of mandatory face wearing in enclosed public space.

Miss a bus which turned up several minutes early. Took the opportunity for a walk along the River Witham.

Following bus no opening of door or turning off engine when bus waiting at bus stops. Bus hot, no air, made worse by wearing of face mask.

A hot day, feeling very unwell.

No one I speak to is happy wearing a face mask.

But if I visit indie businesses, in out within a few minutes, restrictions on numbers, doors open, risk minimal.

If we are to stay safe, social distance minimum 2m, avoid enclosed spaces, avoid crowded places, avoid supermarkets and shopping centres, avoid pubs, download and install German track and trace app and share with friends.

It puts the onus on the individual who will be blamed when the inevitable second wave breaks out.

Walking through Lincoln Central Market, dead. Well done dysfunctional Lincoln City Council, kick out a fruit and vegetable stall upon which people rely, destroy a local businesses, and destroy the other traders in the market who have seen business fall off the edge of a cliff. Contrast with Louth, where on a Wednesday a thriving market that brings folk into the town, what a market town should be like. But dysfunctional Lincoln City Council would rather bring in soulless chains and destroy local businesses.

As always, excellent haddock and chips at Elite on the Bail.

The Lion and Snake quiet but soon starts to kick of with rowdy drunks.

Noise in Castle Hill, horrendous noise from a busker.

Another example of dysfunctional Lincoln City Council. No action.

Same problem in High Street.

I looked in Imperial Teas on my way back down Steep Hill. Excellent bean-to-bar craft chocolate in stock from Original Beans and firetree. But very disappointed to find firetree has additives. Imperial Teas is the only stockist of quality chocolate in Lincoln. Forage and Fill in Lincoln Central Market are looking to stock quality chocolate, but not yet as too warm in the summer to stock chocolate.

Cappuccino at Madame Waffle. Opened a week or so ago. Not open Monday and Tuesday. I sat outside.

Market Day Louth

July 23, 2020

I visited Louth a year ago, tucked in the foothills of the Lincolnshire Wolds. I found a dead and dying town, few people around. I was told visit on market day.

The previous week Look North had visited Louth. It showed a thriving market, which is more than can be said of Lincoln, where the local council does everything it can to kill what little is left of the market, their latest to kick out the fruit and vegetable stall that generated at least 80% of the footfall.

Today Wednesday, market day in Louth.

At Lincoln Central Bus Station, a crowd waiting for the bus. I did not fancy travelling on a crowded bus. I hoped for a double-decker bus. A single-decker bus pulled into the bay. Only four got on the bus, I was the only one who went to Louth.

An hour by bus. The last time it seemed to take forever to get out of Lincoln. Not today, little traffic.

The bus continues on to Mablethorpe. I was tempted, but after an hour on the bus I had had enough. It was another hour on to Mablethorpe.

It started raining as the bus left Lincoln, and continued to rain all the way.

I alighted from the bus as it pulled into Louth and continued on foot. Luckily the rain had eased off.

I asked a couple of times for directions to the market. A maze of streets and easy to become disoriented

But first I looked in Beaumont’s near the church with the spire for which Louth is famous. An excellent deli. Noticing they had chocolate I suggested they stock chocolate from Louisa’s and Bullion, both are relatively local.

As it was on Look North, a thriving market, and unlike my previous visit and as I had been told, busy. A busy market attracts people into the town.

I wandered around the market, a quick look around the town, then back to the market.

Word has reached Louth of the disgusting treatment of a market stall in Lincoln.

The last time I was in Louth I had noticed Auction House and thought it would make a wonderful coffee house. Today open, as a coffee shop and serving food.

I looked in and said I would pop back.

A long wait for a table, one never became free. Would I wish to sit outside. I had not been told they had tables outside, where I preferred to sit.

Arriving back in Lincoln, I noticed how drab and run down compared with Louth.

Auction House

July 22, 2020

On my last visit to Louth a year ago I noticed Auction House, it had not long closed. A pity, it would be an ideal coffee shop, was my thought at the time.

Today, one year on market day I noticed it was open. New owners. A coffee shop of sorts, also serves food.

I asked of their coffee.

Alvingham Coffee Roasters, who I had never heard of. A local roastery.

I said I would pop back after a wander around.

I popped back, did not fancy sitting upstairs, an enclosed space, downstairs, no one seemed in any hurry to leave.

Eventually what I had ordered arrived. Did I wish to eat outside? I did not know they had outside seating.

Outside seating  was located across the street in the market square. But only on market days.

Gammon and chips and garden peas and a duck egg. I did not wish for the egg. Gammon was reasonable and a good-sized portion, maybe could have been cooked a tad more. Chips excellent. Garden peas? Grown in their garden? Not fresh podded peas that was for sure.

I then ordered a cappuccino. I had noticed earlier one carpet bombed with chocolate. I said no chocolate.

Served in a cup size too large, poor quality coffee.

Depressing they are sourcing poor quality coffee, as with the right equipment, competent baristas and sourcing high quality coffee, could be an excellent little coffee shop in a prime location overlooking the square.  Commendable to source local, but not if poor quality coffee. I would suggest they check out Seven Districts, Outpost Coffee, Cartwheel Coffee,  The Blending Room and Dark Woods.

On the window coffee cocktails, or maybe it is either or. No way could make coffee cocktails with the poor quality coffee they are sourcing. For cocktails would need top quality single origin coffee.

They need outside seating. Today was market day.

Why is the street not pedestrianised?

They need to apply for outside seating. Once legalisation passed, currently on its Third Reading, apply to local district council, for Louth East Lindsey, the council has to respond within 15 days. If the council fails to respond, have requested seating by default.

As with other coffee shops and tea shops on limited hours. People will not feel safe until they can be served outside, and even that may not be sufficient to entice people out.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day one hundred and twenty

July 21, 2020

Half a dozen passengers on double-decker bus into town. Driver failed to open door or turn off engine whilst waiting at bus st=ops.

Busker blasting out the High Street causing a blood nuisance.

As always excellent haddock and chips at Elite on the Bail. Now open on Tuesday.

The Lion and Snake attracts drunken yobs, fights in the street, lack of bio-security, barrier obstructing footpath, negative impact on neighbouring businesses. Action by dysfunctional Lincoln City Council, especially since last week granted additional powers. Er, do nothing, tell impacted local businesses to deal with the problem themselves.

Tourist Information Office now open.

Back down in the city centre, busker still causing noise nuisance in the High Street, no action by dysfunctional Lincoln City Council.

Cappuccino at Coffee Aroma. I am the only customer.

Leonard Cohen on Hydra

July 20, 2020

In 1960 Leonard Cohen bought a house on the Greek Island of Hydra.

Once you’ve lived on Hydra you can’t live anywhere else, including Hydra. — Kenneth Koch

Leonard Cohen wished for somewhere quiet to write. He left Montreal on his first trip outside North America with a Canadian Arts Council Grant of $2,000 and one published book of poetry. He was writing a novel or trying to, blackening the pages three pages a day. Hydra seemed the ideal place, warm and sunny, especially compared with cold and grey and damp London. He arrived on Hydra with his green Olivetti. He had taken up an offer of Barbara Rothschild to stay on the island, only when he arrived at the house and mentioned her name, he was turned away by the housekeeper ‘we don’t need any more Jews here’. Leonard Cohen put a curse on the house and within six months it had burnt to the ground.

Prior to the purchase of his house, Charmian Clift and George Johnston offered a room in their house. He would sit writing on their terrace.

It was on Hydra he met Marianne and where he wrote ‘So Long Marianne’ and ‘Bird on the Wire’.

In a letter to his mother:

It has a huge terrace with a view of dramatic mountain and shining white houses. The rooms are large and cool with deep windows set in thick walls. I suppose it’s about 200 years old and many generations of must have lived here. I will do a little work on it every year and in a few years it will be a mansion… I live on a hill and life has been going on here exactly the same for hundreds of years. All through the day you hear the calls of the street vendors and they are really rather musical… I get up around 7 generally and work till about noon. Early morning is coolest and therefore best, but I love the heat anyhow, especially when the Aegean Sea is 10 minutes from my door.

What more could an unknown writer ask for?

He was part of a group of writers and artist and poets who used to meet at Κατσικάς Katsikas.

One of his friends Charmian Clift wrote Peel Me A Lotus her account of living on Hydra in the late 1950s.

They were all cursed. Charmian Clift killed herself after leaving Hydra, George died a year later.

His first concert in Australia was dedicated to the couple and he opened with ‘Bird on the Wire’.

We have photographer James Burke to thank for a series of photographs of these days in 1960 on Hydra.

A Theatre for Dreamers a fictional account by Polly Samson seen through the eyes of an 18-year-old girl, who with a thousand pounds left to her by her mother escapes from an abusive father. She reads a book Peel Me A Lotus by Charmian Clift, sent to her mother by the author a close friend of her mother, of life on Hydra. She remembers the friend of her mother from when she was a child and writes to her asking if she can find her a room to rent.

We start in 2016, Leonard Cohen has recently died, a very sad loss, and Trump has won the US Presidential elections. Word reaches Hydra ‘and spread rapidly like a stench along the agora. There were horrified groans, even from the donkeys, disbelieving splutters from every table, passer-by and boat. For a moment it was a comfort to think at least Leonard had been spared this.’

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