Archive for the ‘Brighton’ Category

Imagine a beach free of litter

June 12, 2018

Imagine, just quickly,
A beach free of litter,
A sea, clean and sparkly alive,
Let’s make it happen
Yes we can do it
We must if we’re going to survive.

These words were written on the window of an ethical fashion shop in Brighton, The Fair Shop, on the road leading down to the seafront from Brighton Station.

On the seafront, disgusting fish n chip shops serving their disgusting fish n chips on polystyrene plates or in polystyrene burger-style boxes.

Iydea in North Laine, which for more than a decade has led the way on recycling, a fruit juice served with a plastic straw.

Salty Fig a bar overlooking Fig Tree Bay serving overpriced drinks in plastic.

Plastic served overlooking the sea finds its way into the sea.

Walk in a supermarket, plastic surrounds everything, podded peas in a plastic box, potatoes and bananas in plastic bags, a coconut with shell hacked off shrink-wrapped in plastic.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way, serving takeaway coffee in compostable cups, KeepCup or similar reusable cups on sale, a discount if used.

We must eliminate the takeaway coffee culture, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Water is a human right.

The coffee shops in Athens bring without asking ice cold water to the table or failing that water from which to help oneself.

A Drop In the Ocean, from March to October 2018, plastic bottle tops are to be collected from Brighton seafront to illustrate the amount of plastic finding its way into our oceans.

Plastic bottle tops are among the top five most deadly ocean trash items. Marine mammals, birds and fish see plastic bottle caps as food, which can lead to ingestion and potentially fatal consequences.

Plastic bottle tops float and take a long time to degrade. They are small enough to be swallowed whole by birds and animals. Every bottle top collected is a bottle top that won’t be eaten by a turtle, swallowed by a seabird, or settle as microplastic particles inside a mussel.



Day in Brighton

June 10, 2018

Rail works, instead of arriving midday, arrive not long before one o’clock.

Cappuccino off Small Batch stall. Compostable cup? Do not know, did not ask. Will drop on compost heap.

I love what is on the side of a bus, get on and go somewhere.

Pleased to see owner of Grocer & Grain. He has a wide range of coffee. But Union not as fresh as could be, as getting via Infinity Foods. Why are Union not supplying direct?

Stop off at soup kitchen for homeless. Quail.

A fashion shop that is ethical, though not open today.

I liked what was on the window re plastic.

But why is Brighton not doing more?

Why are the disgusting fish n chip shops on the seafront still using polystyrene trays and burger style boxes?

Cycle hire very busy. Only one not busy as not all cycles taken. Contrast with Lincoln where the cycle hire not popular.

North Laine, not possible to sit outside Iydea, carry on to Magazine Brighton. Surprisingly busy, and to my pleasant surprise has latest Standart.

Excellent lunch sat outside Iydea. Followed by refreshing fruit juice, I think apple, carrot, lemon and ginger.

The cafe next door has gone, now an ice cream parlour, Brass Moneky, the ice cream made down in the basement. I try. Very good.

Brass Monkey has only been open two weeks, will serve coffee.

Then on to Pelicano for a coffee. I was initially going to have a V60, but decie on a cappuccino. I also add one of their excellent cakes, a jewel cake.

I notice many changes. Is it my imagination? No. Standart on sale, a wider range of coffee, and the coffee has improved.

They tell me they have installed a new 20kg roaster down in the basement. I did not think to ask how they got it down there.

I was doing this the wrong way round.

Walk down to the seafront, then walk back up to the station.

Early for me to leave, sun high in the sky, only 6-30, but I am tired, and thinking will be cool at the end of my journey.

All day it has been hot.

1855 Southern Fail from Brighton to Victoria, only four coaches usually twelve, packed in like sardines.

Espresso Mushroom Company

December 11, 2017

What to do with the coffee grounds?

Coffee grounds are what you see the barista tapping out after he or she has made your coffee. If you do not see, it is the loud banging you hear.

Coffee grounds can be used for compost or on your garden.

A few coffee shops put the grounds out in a paper carrier for gardeners to take away. More should follow their good example.

The coffee grounds can be used in cakes, instead of ground coffee.

The coffee grounds can be used for making coffee cups, jewellery, even furniture.

Or can be used for growing oyster mushrooms.

Espresso Mushroom Company using a cycle and trailer, collect the grounds from Small Batch. This explains why I have seen mushroom growing kits in Small Batch, supplied for growing oyster mushrooms at home.

The idea for growing mushrooms on coffee grounds came to the two co-founders of Espresso Mushroom Company after attending a talk by Gunter Pauli from ZERI, when he discussed how smallholder coffee growers were growing mushrooms on coffee pulp on their farms.

Each mushroom kit contains coffee from 100 espressos. What is left over can be used in the compost heap or spread on the garden.

In the natural world there is no concept of waste in time or space. Walk in ancient woodland, there is not growing piles of waste, not unless Man has been dumping waste. The output of one process is the input to another.

We should aim to close the cycle, to emulate these natural cycles, the output of one process the input to another, what we once saw as waste, the raw material for another process.

Sunday in Brighton

November 5, 2017

Cold sunny autumnal day.

Uneventful trip down, which in itself is noteworthy, no rail works.

I noticed FCB at the Station Lounge had Coffee at 33 as a guest coffee. I was surprised as very small coffee shop.

A cappuccino off the Small Batch kiosk outside Brighton Station.

I missed them on my last trip.

I have been spoilt. I have lost track of the number of champion baristas who have served me last couple of weeks.  But that was Athens.

I looked in Grocer and Grain.  Always a good selection of coffee on sale.  It only serves to highlight how misguided the campaign re Sainsbury’s and FairTrade.

FairTrade is a marketing con, why buy from a supermarket when can buy from indie coffee shops, small retailers or direct from roasters, Grocer and Grain, Infinity Foods, Small Batch, Horsham Coffee Roasters?

I would question the packaging of Back Yard Coffee as what is written is meaningless. They need to look at Small Batch or Horsham Coffee Roasters.

Opposite Grocer and Grain, a bike sharing scheme, more bikes down on the seafront.

I proposed such a scheme more than two decades ago. I am pleased to see finally being adopted.

Popular, I saw many of the bikes in use.

Walking down to the seafront the sea was shimmering all the way to the horizon as though a sheet of silver. Not an effect I have seen before.

Along the seafront as far as the Pier then up through Pavilion Gardens to North Laine.

Although a cold day, many people around, possibly because pleasantly sunny, and sat in the sun pleasantly warm.

I looked in Infinity Foods. Usually I would eat first, but I wanted bread, and if I did the other way around, likely none left.

Infinity Foods busy.

A coffee I had not seen before. Source. They make the claim carbon credit registered, Meaningless as carbon credit a scam. They do more good by supporting farmers to plant trees, grow coffee in the shade of trees, and protect forests, as Union does with Yayu Forest in Ethiopia.

I was not going to sit outside at Iydea as too cold, but too busy inside, not helped by people reserving tables. Though that was happening outside too with idiots putting their bags on seats to stop people sitting down.

I managed to find a seat at the end of a table, then when the people moved,  I moved around. It was surprisingly warm in the sun.

In the summer, maybe August,  I looked in Brighton Magazine and suggested stock Standart. I learnt they already did, and was thanked for reminding them as a delivery was long overdue. I looked again September, latest issue out, but not in stock, thanked for reminding them, yet again, and they chased non-delivery.  I inquired again today, still not delivered.

I noticed they stocked Drift. Until I saw in The Underdog I had never seen before. It is like Standart only focused on one city. Expensive $22. In Brighton Magazine £16-50.

The current issue of Drift covers Melbourne, a new edition Mexico City due.

I decided to leave early as now getting very cold, and would only get colder once the sun set.

Passing by Bond Street, I asked about Work House.  It is a blend that has replaced Pioneer, or at was that was what I had thought as that was what they were using in Krema on Saturday. No, not replaced, they have two blends.

Just time to walk down to the seafront and to the Pier and see the sun setting.

To the station to catch a train, barely time for a detour to Small Batch to pick up leaflets on their coffee.

When I looked earlier, and on my way to the station, very busy, not possible to relax.

Train packed, 1635 to Victoria,

Earliest I have ever left Brighton.

Black Mocha

August 19, 2017

Coffee shop in North Laine in Brighton.

I had noticed Black Mocha in North Laine on a previous visit to Brighton last year, a relatively newcomer to the Brighton coffee scene.

Chatting with a girl sat outside, I asked what was it like, she said good.

OK, I am on my way to Coffee at 33, maybe some other day.

OK, we will compare notes.

Passing by again, I was heading for the seafront, then changed my mind, as it was  a pleasant late afternoon, I decided I would stop and sit outside.

Black Mocha, which I had passed earlier, I tried a cappuccino. Not very good, not helped by chocolate dumped on top.

Staff very pleasant.

Interior pleasantly laid out.

I am not to sure of the ad hoc tampering of their espresso machine. The metal panels removed, replaced by glass, glass I am assured that  is shatter proof. Espresso machines have inside high pressure boilers.

Coffee from a local roastery, Cast Iron Coffee Roasters.

Black Mocha has potential, if employed skilled baristas.

Day in Brighton

August 13, 2017

All day, clear blue sky.

Thameslink train from Gatwick to Brighton running ten minutes late, lucky for me as I was able to catch.

It was packed, it was like Tube during rush hour.

New trains no wifi, display on train said out of service.

A chat with the girl running FCB at The Waiting Room.  I mentioned Standart, suggested they ordered and stocked. She has not heard of Standart. Said they would look into it.

A cappuccino off the Small Batch kiosk in the station forecourt. I though it was smaller. It was. I wondered how they towed it a way. Then I saw in three sections, arranged to give a larger space.

The cappuccino was  excellent. Best of the day.

I asked of Standart. Guys running the stall had never heard of Standart, even though Small Batch listed as distributors.  They suggested I try Small Batch in North Laine.

I looked in Grocer and Grain. Sadly the owner not there, expected later.

Excellent selection of coffee, Grumpy Mule and UnionUnion. Plus excellent selection of cakes. They also serve coffee.

Why buy coffee from a supermaket, when can buy from coffee shops or shops like Infinity Foods or Grocer and Grain?

I headed to the sea front.

Shocked by the number of homeless and beggars in the street as I walk down to the seafront.  A sharp increase to autumn of last year, the last time I was in Brighton. This was of the level I am used to seeing in Athens. It was as though I was in Calcutta.

Along the seafront, almost to Brighton Pier, then across to Brighton Pavilion.

I then waste nearly an hour looking for a coffee shop. Had I known where it was, I would have headed straight there.

An entirety wasted journey, The Plant Room has closed down. Google Maps was correct, it was shown as closed.

Walking through North Laine saddened to find the remainder bookshop near Resident had closed. It always had good books.

I learnt later, as too many good businesses, driven out of businesses by rent hikes.

I look in Resident. Nothing of interest.

Seats outside Iydea occupied, then a couple vacate. Excellent timing.

Lunch at Iydea excellent. Always consistently good, but today they surpass themselves. Mushroom stroganoff, served with rice, roast potatoes, mangetout  peas and seeds and tzatziki. Generous portion size and quite filling.

Followed by fresh fruit juice, carrot, apple, ginger and lemon.

I head to Magazine Brighton, pick up copies of Viva Lewes and Viva Brighton. I ask for a bag, and offer to pay, but owner says no, he knows me.

I suggest, he stocks Standart. To my surprise he says he does and a new issue is overdue, and I have reminded him to chase it up.

He also tells me Standart did a feature on Magazine Brighton, but it was never published. I try to think what angle. I tell him I will think about it, and do it.  He used to stock coffee from Coffee at 33, and that is how I first learnt of this coffee shop, a few doors further up the street.

Just in time for a coffee in Coffee at 33. Guy was grumpy. He was grumpy the last time. The first time I visited, excellent service, and interesting conservation about coffee.

On my way there, I look in Pelicano, but do not stop.

I notice Bond Street, have coffee from Los Nogales Project.

I enquire in Small Batch of Standart. No, they have never heard of it. And I must admit, I have never seen it on sale. They tell me unlikely to be on sale.

All very strange, as Small Batch listed as  a distributor, whereas Magazine Brighton not.

Black Mocha, which I had passed earlier, I try a cappuccino. Not very good, not helped by chocolate dumped on top.

Staff very pleasant.

I am not to sure of the ad hoc tampering of their espresso machine. The metal panels removed, replaced by glass, glass I am assured that  is shatter proof. Espresso machines have inside high pressure boilers.

Usually my phone, Samsung Galaxy A3 2016 lasts all day, but not today. Usually by the end of the day, maybe down to 50%, sometimes down as low 20%.  Not today.

Sat outside Black Mocha, warning below 14%. When I leave 3%

Down the the seafront. Cockles off the stall.

A walk along Brighton Pier, but not  to the end.

I could have stayed to watch the sun set, but would have meant catching a train an hour later.

There are two places to see the sun set. End of Brighton Pier and on the sea wall at Puerto de la Crus.

I am surprised having been warned phone down to 3% still able to take photos.

I arrive at Brighton Station early as I did not know if my train for Gatwick was 2025 or 2035, to find no train, running 15 minutes late, which means I miss the train at Gatwick an hour wait for the next train. I may as well have stayed on the pier.  Next time I look, train on time.

Front coaches of the train, no working toilets.

At last, Southern have wifi on their trains, but it is not acceptable to use ‘free’ wifi as an opportunity to trawl for personal data on passengers, wanting name, e-mail address mobile number.

Phone has switched off. I connect power bank. I only reach 6%, before power bank fails.

Power bank 2200 mAh. It should have lasted longer. Either not charged or faulty.

Train from Gatwick, no functioning toilets, one out of action, the other no water. No water, disease spread through the train if passengers cannot wash their hands after using the toilet.

Broken windows on the train, cold air chilling the passengers.

No sign of the guard.

Second power bank reaches 20% before it fails.  Capacity 1200 mAh.

Phone Samsung Galaxy A3 2016, battery 2300 mAh.

When I alight from the train sometime after 2200, it has turned cold. I am glad of the warm jacket I have been carting around all day.

Nightmare of weekend rail works gets worse

October 30, 2016
North Camp rail works

North Camp rail works

The nightmare of weekend rail works, travelling down to Brighton last Sunday, could not get worse, could it? Unfortunately yes.

This Sunday, rail works on the line Reading to Gatwick and a repeat of last weekend’s nightmare with rail works Gatwick to Brighton.

Bus Reading to Guildford, then train to Gatwick.

As the clocks had gone back to GMT, and it gets dark an hour earlier, I set off an hour earlier, plus twenty minutes because bus was twenty minutes earlier.

A journey to Gatwick, that would take an hour, now an hour and a half.

I arrived ten minutes early for the bus. Road to station closed. Where to pick up the bus? No information at the station, nor an amended timetable or where to pick up the bus.

Displays on the platforms were not showing amended times, merely rail works and a bus service in operation.

No bus. The bus failed to turn up.

A bus for Reading arrived. The driver was asked to either contact the driver or his office. The driver refused on the grounds that he did not know the number of his own office.

Passenger decided to walk to another station and get to Guildford that way. Either way, train from Guildford to Gatwicks missed, an hour until next train.

Tough job passengers with a  plane to catch.

Not possible to cross the line due to rail works.

A detour to cross via a road bridge.  Dangerous to walk along, no footpath

On crossing the road bridge, bus turns up. Flagged down, and passengers get on the bus.

Now twenty minutes late.  No explanation or apology from driver as to why twenty minutes late.

For some perverse reason, driver decided to drive down the closed road. For what? There are no passenger to pick up, we are the passengers.

We tell him one passenger for Gatwick is on the other side, but not possible to cross due to rail works.

Driver decides to pick up passenger, even though pointless exercise, train missed at Guildford.

Driver, instead of going to car park, drives to another station.

Bus then stuck, as not possible to turn around the bus.

Eventually after much manoeuvring, bus turned around. Bus now running 40-50 minutes late.

He then goes to another station to pick passengers up. No passengers to be picked up.

Arrive at Guildford, train for Gatwick long gone.

Had though the bus been on time, sufficient time to walk through the station and catch the train, insufficient time to buy a ticket.

Any passenger coming by bus without a ticket should be allowed through to catch their train.

At Gatwick, no announcement how to get to Brighton.

I saw a train leaving in five minutes for Havant, stopping at Three Bridges, nipped across to Platform 7, and caught it.

At Three Bridges, unlike last Sunday, no announcements. I assumed as last week, walk through car park and catch a bus.

Very efficient, as soon as a bus full, dispatched.

Double-decker buses, as last week.

As soon as bus pulled out, luggage rolling around, nowhere to safely stow. Area for wheelchairs and buggies doubled as luggage space

French girl on the bus, said she had no idea what to do on arrival at Three Bridges as no announcements. She said trains in France do not provide this appalling service nor are they expensive.

Return from Brighton as efficient, as  soon as  a bus full, dispatched.

At Three Bridges, choice of two trains, one for St Pancras, the other for Victoria, both stopped at Gatwick.

Train to Guildford, then bus.

As train pulled into Guildford, announcement where to catch the train, and again at the station.

Bus driver appeared to know the route, in contrast to the driver in the morning who did not seem to have a clue where he was going.

Day in Brighton

October 30, 2016
Brighton seafront

Brighton seafront

Last Sunday, nightmare of rail works Gatwick to Brighton. This Sunday, same nightmare, plus rail works on line to Gatwick.  The nightmare of weekend rail works gets worse.

As clocks had gone back, set off an hour earlier. Bus failed to turn up, no information at station, as a result missed train at Guildford.

Misty in the morning, dull and grey, then en route to Brighton, clouds broke up and the sun came out.

Arrived an hour late, thanks to rail works and late bus.

Walked down to the sea front. Pleasantly warm and sunny.

Mistake of chips and fish cake from Carousel’s on the sea front. Both were disgusting. Even the sea gulls did not try to steal, that was how bad.

Walked back to the North Laine up through the Royal Pavilion Gardens.

Lunch at Iydea. Not as good as last week. Very variable, sometimes good, some times not so good.

Had I been earlier, sun would have been shining through the street, now too late.

From Resident a copy of Citizen Of Glass and a special limited edition of Aventine.

I asked, and they knew what I was after. I popped back alter to buy, and they had playing Citizen Of Glass, a wonderful album.

I suggested they would also like Jewelia.

I also picked up two more of the special bags.

From Magazine Brighton, copies of November issue of Viva Brighton and Viva Lewes.

I was told could also find at the station. Picked up a couple more copies of Viva Brighton as I passed through later.

Walked back down to the seafront, but no time to take a walk.

Cappuccino at Pelicano House. I thought I would miss the bus, but luckily time to catch as I did not wish to catch a later bus.

Apart from much longer journey, not problems en route.

At M&S at Gatwick girl serving was curious about the bag, said she liked it. I said it was special for the album Citizen Of Glass.  I should have said, pop down to Brighton, visit Resident in North Laine, buy the album, and ask for the special bag.

I noted for her Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel.

Thanks to the rail works and bus failing to turn up and missed train, my day in Brighton four hours.

Nightmare of weekend train travel

October 23, 2016
bus Three Bridges to Brighton

a bus is not a train

Train to Gatwick, no rail works.  Relief short lived. Rail works from Gatwick to Brighton. Journey that would take 20 mins fast train, 30 minutes slow train, now over an hour if train and bus, or hour and a half by train.

Train from Gatwick to Three Bridges, then bus.

Chaos at Gatwick. Screens not working properly. Kept flashing on and off, no time to read the information. Three pages of information scrolled through one screen. Can they not afford three screens?

No announcements. I knew had to change at Three Bridges, I saw a train was leaving for Portsmouth, stopping at Three Bridges, so hopped on.

Chaos at Three Bridges. Platform heaving with people. An accident waiting to happen. But at least they announced find your way to the buses in the car park.

Five minutes walk, out of station, through car park, to find buses.

No coaches, the double-decker buses that serve Brighton.

Buses left promptly, so promptly that passengers were left behind.

Return journey as bad. Had no idea what bus to catch. Turn up at station and hope for the best.

At Brighton, one screen scrolling five or maybe six pages.

Again a double-decker bus. Total inadequate luggage space for people with roll-on hand luggage. Would have been even worse if normal luggage.

Chaos at Three Bridges. At least people kept to one side through subway, but at the top, massive jam of people, people trying to climb out of subway over the rails because of the jam.

At Gatwick, further chaos.

I arrived at Gatwick to see the train I wished to catch running ten minutes late just leaving. Hour wait for next train.

Gatwick is a major international airport, is seeking a second runway, and yet the rail connections are a nightmare and unable to cope now.

We pay for a train, but get a bus. Journey takes much longer, but not classed as delayed, due to amended timetable in force.  No compensation is offered let alone paid.

Rail works on this route has been ongoing for a decade.

Cold day in Brighton

October 23, 2016
North Laine

North Laine

Relief at no rail works to Gatwick, short lived as rail works Gatwick to Brighton. Bus replacement from Three Bridges to Brighton. Journey from Gatwick to Brighton that would take 20 minutes, 30 minutes if slow train, now over an hour, hour and a half if by train.

Looked in Grocer and Grain. Hakan not there, not well. I asked wish him well.

Straight to North Laine, too late to walk down to the sea front and hungry.

Excellent lunch in Iydea. Sweetcorn fritters, peas and roast potatoes.

Looked in Magazine Brighton. Thanked them for directing me to Coffee at 33 on a previous visit. Also looked in and was lucky to pick up copies of Viva Brighton. Man suggested also take Viva Lewes. I said no, as only one copy left.

Looked in Coffee at 33. I would have liked to have had a coffee and a cake, but it was packed. Visit sea front first, then have a coffee at Small Batch on way to station.

A couple of albums from Resident. Speculative purchase, could be rubbish, hopefully not. Citizen of Glass by  Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel and ….

Given a smart back. Gift with one  of the albums.

Apples, bread, muesli, scones from Infinity Foods. Apples delicious. As too the scones.

Chatting to a homeless man outside. I said council has a statutory duty to house him. He said yes, but waiting list. He was at 25 from from the top, was at a 100, has taken him nine months to move up the list.

In Finland, Homes  First. People are housed.

I asked did he go to the food at lunchtime? He said no, he had a church to go to in the evening.

Infinity Food Cafe, chat with Greek guy. I suggested they opened another shop, served fruit juices in jam jars like nova gea in Plaka in Athens. Open as an open coop. Already have the fruit and vegetables in Infinity Foods.

Too cold to walk down to the sea front, but cannot visit Brighton and not visit the sea front.

Crab sandwich to eat on way home.

All summer, Guildford has had cows dotted around the town. Brighton has snow dogs.

Looked in Small Batch. Packed and no  cakes. Not a pleasant ambience, horrible corporate feel.. But I wished to try there coffee.
On my way to Coffee at 33,  Brighton sausage Shop. Did I want a sausage roll? No.

Interesting conversation on democracy.

Coffee at 33 closed.

Coffee at Pelicano. Then to the station.

Burger from what is claimed Gourmet Burgers, a stall outside the station. Vile and disgusting, anything but gourmet.

Bus to Three Bridges. Chaos at Three Bridges. Platform jam packed with people.

Chaos at Gatwick. Arrive to see the train I want running ten minutes late just leaving. Hour wait for next train