Archive for the ‘Farnborough’ Category

Retro Coffee Shop

August 3, 2017

I have no idea why called the Retro Coffee Shop.

Is it due to the split and cracked seats? Or that you stick to the seats?

Maybe it is the undrinkable coffee, that somehow managed to be weak and bitter all at the same time? Retro coffee, regressing back to the heyday of undrinkable coffee. Though we can always drink undrinkable coffee in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks and Caffe Nero.

I asked to see the beans. Poor quality catering brand, commodity coffee.  No excuse when these days so many quality coffee roasteries to choose from.

The Tea Shop around the Corner does at least make an attempt to source quality beans, could do better, their coffee is not great, would be much better if employed a barista and sourced quality beans, but they do make the point they are a tea shop not a coffee shop.

Although called a coffee shop, in reality, an old-style greasy spoon cafe. If you are going to call yourself a coffee shop, then at least have the decency to make decent coffee.

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Surly Stagecoach bus driver refuses to accept Bus Pass

July 27, 2016

Today at a little before 1650, a surly Stagecoach driver refused to accept a valid Bus Pass and ordered the passenger off the bus.  Driver when asked, refused to give his name.

Stagecoach Goldline, route No 1, location Farnbrough Tech, bus No 22744  heading towards Farnborough town centre.

Passenger forced to get off bus and walk.

Two bus drivers confirmed Bus Pass was valid.

At Queensmead bus interchange, driver of No 1 bus heading towards Aldershot, was shown Bus Pass, asked was it a valid Bus Pass, driver said yes.

Bus Pass was used on return journey, no problem. On alighting from bus, driver was asked was Bus Pass valid, driver said yes.

Refusal to accept a Bus Pas, whilst rare, is not uncommon, drivers finding bogus reasons not to accept.

This uncouth driver, claimed use of bus passes was costing the company money.  His comment only serves to illustrate his depth of ignorance. Whilst it may be true, passengers using a Bus Pass are contributing less than ordinary fare paying passengers, they are contributing an extra revenue stream, which may make all the difference between a bus route being profitable or not, a revenue stream that would not otherwise exist.

There are also other advantages to wider society. Fewer car journeys, less congestion, less air pollution, lower emission of greenhouse gases. It gets people who would otherwise be housebound out and about, increasing their social interaction and mobility, delays dementia. The only disadvantage, makes people lazy, they may hop on a bus when they would have otherwise walked.

Anyone who deals with the public, be it in a supermarket or a bank, displays a name badge. The same should apply to bus drivers.

Once upon a time bus drivers used to have to display their licence. Why is this no longer a requirement?

The Swan

July 17, 2016
Red Arrows fly past over The Swan

Red Arrows fly past over The Swan

How to screw people, charge to sit in the garden during Farnborough Airshow.

Once the Airshow had finished, it was possible to walk into the garden.

The Swan used to be a rough pub. It was refurbished, an excellent job done, barely recognisable.

Then it closed, was refurbished again.  The second refurbishment has destroyed The Swan.

Prices are extortionate. £4-50 for a pint of beer. The barman admitted, complaints all day about the high prices.

No sooner had I sat down in the garden, asked to move please sit at another table.

Later asked to move yet again.

A burger, was quite good.

A second beer.

Now asked to leave the garden, a private party.

The private party did not use the garden.

A small terrace, used to be decking. It too has been destroyed.

Sitting on the terrace, smell of cooking food drifts across the terrace.

All the time I was there, the terrace almost empty, the pub empty, the garden all but empty.

Gurkha Palace

July 17, 2016
buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace

buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace

A Nepalese restaurant, Sunday buffet, food variable, best just after lunchtime peak, otherwise food is sitting there all day.

I walked in around half past two to be told I only had half an hour.

Half an hour for what?

To eat, we close at three.

Since when?

Since beginning of year.

At least explained why it was nearly empty.

But with Farnborough Airshow on, would have thought would be open all day.

I would have sat inside, by the window, but a lady who was sitting outside, asked would I tell her what the planes were, I sat outside.

She invited me to join her, but as the tables were tiny , I grabbed an empty table.

Food was ok, but nothing special. I also noted that had jacked up their prices, charging evening prices for lunchtime buffet.

Farnborough International Airshow 2016

July 17, 2016
Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Every two years, a jamboree for arms dealers, a showcase for the world’s most lethal killing machines, but portrayed as a fun day out for the family.

Try telling that to families in Syria.

For the local people and businesses in Farnborough, two weeks of noise, one week of gridlocked roads.

F -35 peaked at 112 dBs.

Day 1, a heavy downpour, nothing exceptional to what we have seen this year, but the Airshow could not cope. Exhibition halls flooded, loss of power, mass evacuation from the halls, Airshow closed early.

Irony, aviation fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, airshow shut down by inclement weather.

Those expecting lots of flying, would have been gravely disappointed. Very little flying, long gaps between.

Red Arrows did a fly past, and that was it.

No Lancaster or Battle of Britain fly pass.

There was a flying fortress, it did a fly pass, and that was it.

Normally, on Saturday and Sunday, it is packed outside The Swan at the end of the runway, best place for viewing, but this year few people.

Airshow organisers showed their usual contempt for local people. No compensation for nuisances caused, but they could buy one ticket and get one half price.

Buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace. I was surprised to find closes at three o’clock.

The Swan once again ripping people off during Farnborough Airshow. A fiver to sit in the garden, £4-50 for a pint of beer.

Destruction of Farnborough town centre

May 13, 2016
not only Farnborough trashed in Aldershot board-up shops

not only Farnborough trashed in Aldershot board-up shops

Aldershot recently re-paved streets being dug up

Aldershot recently re-paved streets being dug up

More hypocrisy from Gareth Lyon, wringing of hands, shedding of crocodile tears that Farnborough town centre has been trashed by KPI/St Modwen.

Gareth Lyon is one of the local councillors responsible for the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Lyon met behind closed doors with McDonald’s and stitched up a dirty little deal to destroy the pub. He then, as chair of the planning committee, had the stupidity to brag that the planning committee had approved the deal he had struck with McDonald’s

The destruction of Farnborough town centre did not just happen. It happened because useless councillors like Gareth Lyon  gave it the go ahead.

They rubber-stamped demolition of half the town centre for a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Many small businesses were destroyed. Not only loss of livelihood,  in many cases loss of house if used as collateral for the businesses.

When retailers refused to vacate their premises, they were threatened with Compulsory Purchase Orders.

Families living at Firgrove Court, social housing, saw their homes destroyed for a car park for the supermarket.

The supermarket faces out of the town centre, to discourage leakage into the rest of the town centre. It is a trolley shop, empty into the boot of the car, drive home.

The supermarket it replaced in Kingsmead, was a basket shop, little and often, wander around the town. When it closed, Kinsgmead emptied of shoppers and retailers.

No one is surprised at the destruction of the town centre. That is the track record of St Modwen, they destroy town centres.

Destruction of Farnborough town centre approved by local councillors and never once questioned by the sycophantic local press. Indeed the local press simply year on year regurgitated press releases from the local developer and councillor more or less verbatim, and applauded the regeneration that was taking place. Only there was no regeneration, what was taking place was the trashing of a town centre.

One million pounds squandered repaving Queensmead. Shoddy workmanship, shoddy materials, and  now Queensmead floods every time there is a downpour of rain. And it did not even need repaving. The runway lights that lined the street,  are now being drilled out and the holes plugged with a dollop of tarmac.

To put the £1 million in context, that is the cost of relaying the setts in Guildford High Street.

Why therefore the Queensmead job so expensive? Incompetence? Backhanders?

This time of year people would be enjoying the flowering cherry trees at Firgrove Green. Not any more. Now we have an eyesore Premier Inn hotel on what was green space.

The other area of green space behind the Library, the council wish to see developed. More profit for greedy developers, more money sloshing around, more opportunity for palms to be greased.

And it is not only Farnborough the local council has destroyed.  They have done an excellent job destroying Aldershot Boarded-up shops, disgusting fast food outlets, binge drinking bars, gambling joints. The remaining shops are one by one pulling out, even the charity shops. The expensive repaving of the streets which was supposed to pull people in (only it did not) is already being dug up.

Stench of hypocrisy

May 4, 2016
The Tumbledown Dick demolition

The Tumbledown Dick demolition

Nothing like the stench of hypocrisy, especially when from a bunch of local politicians.

36 out of 38 local councillors have signed a letter condemning a decision by the Planning Inspectorate to approve the building of a block of flats in the middle of a roundabout on a busy main road, on the site of which once stood the Ham and Blackbird pub.

Anyone care to name names, who were the two who neglected to sign and why?

Let us pause and reflect here a moment.

These are the same bunch of local councillors who collectively stuck two fingers up to the local community and approved:

  • demolition of half of Farnborough town centre for a supermarket that faces out of the town
  • destroyed social housing at Firgrove Court for a supermarket car park
  • destruction of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s
  • destruction of Firgrove Green for a multi-store eyesore Premier Inn
  • are pushing for development of the last remaining green space in Farnborough town centre

And this is not counting the decades of bad planning decisions that have destroyed Aldershot town centre.

The local councillors complain at the lack of local democracy, have whinged to the Local Government Association.

And what of this local democracy? Decisions by local councillors falling over backwards to satisfy the greed of developers, what has that got to do with local democracy?

What of the demos, the people?

There was massive local opposition to destruction of Firgrove Green, destruction  of The Tumbledown Dick. Was this taken into account?

Er, no.

Not only was the views of local people ignored, Keith Holland head of planning, explicitly told members of the planning committee to ignore the views of local people. He also blatantly lied, said health was not a planning issue, asset of community value not a planning issue, that traffic congestion, litter, anti-social behaviour not a problem, that the trees at Firgrove Green were dying.

Gareth Lyon, chair of planning committee, who is bleating about the decision, is unfit to hold any public office. During the discussion on The Tumbledown Dick, his chairing of the meeting was a disgrace, he had the head of planning whispering in his ear, telling what to say.

This is the man who behind closed doors, stitched up a dirty little deal with McDonald’s to destroy The Tumbledown Dick, then later bragged that his committee had approved the deal he had reached with McDonald’s.

The only place for Gareth Lyon, is rotting in a  prison cell.

Prior to it being pushed through, internal e-mails show the council thought to approve the destruction of Firgrove Green would bring the planning system into disrepute. It was pushed through, and yes it did bring the planning system into disrepute.

So why all this bleating about the Planning Inspectorate? All they have done is approve a scheme the local council would normally happily rubber stamp, no matter how bad the scheme for the locality, no matter how strong the local opposition.

Could it be there are local elections tomorrow?

None of this is to argue in favour of the planning decision, far from it. It is merely to highlight the appalling hypocrisy.

Building a block of flats in the middle of a roundabout on a busy main road, it would be difficult to imagine a worse location. At the end of a runway maybe.  It is an accident waiting to happen.

And what of air quality? Doe it meet WHO guidelines? Was this even raised at the Public Inquiry?

The dysfunctional planning department in bed with developers  may be able to lead thick-as-two-short-planks councillors by the nose, but when it comes to Planning Inquiry, they are shown as wanting, useless jobsworth not up to the job. And that is even assuming they did not throw in the towel.

Long before planning application was submitted, the useless councillors failed to do what was needed to safeguard the site and the Ham and Blackbird.

Why was there no TPOs on the trees? When the developer started cutting down the trees, why was no emergency TPOs issued?

Why was the Ham and Blackbird not listed as local building of historical interest? Once known as the Railway Tavern, its construction coincided with the arrival of the railway.

It is now being claimed there will be a legal challenge. More hot air? On what grounds?

The decision cannot be challenged on the grounds you do not like it, no matter how bad the scheme. That was the role of the Public Inquiry.

There are six weeks within which a legal challenge may be mounted. This can only be on a point of law, that correct procedures were not followed. Leave has to be requested from a Judge, to take the case.

No grounds have been shown.

Will this all be quietly forgotten, once local elections are over?

A handful of local councillors do their best to act for the local community. But sadly they are just that,  a handful. The rest are a bunch of carpetbaggers.

The flats when built, will not be marketed locally. They will be marketed in London.

Something very wrong with Stagecoach bus service

February 10, 2016

 

bus stop display

bus stop display

Last Saturday waiting around half an hour for a bus when a bus is supposed to run every ten minutes.

On my return journey I found the bus times had changed. There was no notice on the bus advising of change, no timetables.

Yesterday, I found the bus times had changed. No timetables on the bus, no notice on the bus advising of timetable changes. Luckily when asked, the driver was able to give me one from his bag.

This afternoon, I missed a  bus at 1335. If running every ten minutes, then should be another bus at 1345.  If ignore the school bus at  1455, the display at the bus stop showed buses at 1524 and 1532, not exactly every 1o minutes.

A bus turned up at 1550, 15 minutes after the last bus that has passed by, not the service claimed of every ten minutes or more frequent.

To add insult to injury, there may not be a poster on the bus advising of timetable changes, there is one claiming bus punctuality of better than 75%.

Dysfunctional SouthWestTrains to Waterloo

November 22, 2015
overcrowded SouthWestTrains

overcrowded SouthWestTrains

Disgraceful train service by SouthWestTrains to Waterloo.

Midday: Only one man manning the ticket office, long queue, train five minutes late, only five coaches, passengers packed in like sardines, standing room only, by the time train leaves running ten minutes late, arrival at Waterloo over ten minutes late.

Service from Waterloo no better.

Late night: Yet another overcrowded train, again only five coaches. Leaves on time, then runs slower and slower, now ten minutes late.

I had ten minutes to catch a bus. Luckily I caught it, as running late.

Time to re-nationalise the rail network.

Banquet at Diwali

August 26, 2015
Diwali

Diwali

I had not intended to eat at Diwali, I was actually on my way to the Coop to get something to eat, but as I passed by Diwali, I saw it was banquet night (also Sunday night) and decided to give it a try.

Nicely laid out, starched white table clothes, folded napkins on the tables.

I was shown to a table.

Then began a very long wait.

Eventually my order was taken, then another very long wait.

I was brought a starter, but no appetiser had preceded it. I let them know when they took away my cleaned plate.

It was probably around half past eight when I finally got my main course. I had walked in not long after seven o’clock.

During my long wait, I noticed wrong meals and drinks being delivered to the wrong tables.

Around the time I got my main course, the couple on the next table got their main course (I learnt later they had been there since seven o’clock). The lady had to repeatedly ask for items that were missing that she had ordered or had asked for.

The food was so so, nothing special. Better than the Indian food served at The Queen Hotel in Aldershot which looks disgusting and is disgusting, but not in the same league as Zaffron in Farnborough.

Presentation was fine.

Portion size was large.

When I got my bill, there was something wrong with it. It showed VAT at zero, which could not possibly be correct.

I paid, the bill and my money was taken away. No change was returned to my table. My drinks and the free chocolate that had been delivered with my bill, were also taken away.

Service was unbelievably  bad. It was as though they had only opened that night, as the staff did not have a clue.

Not somewhere I would recommend.

Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor is becoming meaningless. Diwali has a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, which is not deserved.

Ranked No 5 on TripAdvisor. What does that say for the other restaurants in the locality?