Archive for the ‘Farnborough’ Category

Cappuccino Starbucks Farnborough

October 3, 2019

What is it with tax-dodging Starbucks, incapable of serving a decent coffee, but still managing to overcharge? Greed.

Starbucks Farnborough, very noisy, has about as much character and ambience as a railway station waiting room.

The only good point staff are pleasant.

Sunday evening before they closed, to my surprise, music by Kronos Quartet. My curiosity piqued, I asked. Tita – Trio Da Kali and Kronos Quartet. Starbucks is full of surprises. A pity about the coffee.

Burger and off Old Speckled Hen at Tilly Shilling

October 3, 2019

I was going to the Tilly Shilling but as I passed by Pick a Bap Korean restaurant in the shabby shopping centre I decided to drop in instead.

A big mistake. Sweat and sour chicken, I barely touched it.

Each visit to Pick a Bap has been worse.

Friday night, I left half eaten, Monday barely touched.

Food not in the same league as Indonesian street food restaurant in Aldershot or Bamboo Shoots in Guildford.

It was then on to Tilly Shilling, a Wetherspoon pub.

Poor choice of beer. I picked Old Speckled Hen. It was off, tasted vile, smelt vile, best described as vinegar.

Waiter took one whiff and agreed and changed for a half of Brew Dog Punk IPA. I should have requested a pint.

Burger not good.

Wetherspoon has gone rapidly down hill. Poor choice of beer, food never good, corners cut to maintain profitability.

At night this pub is the go to for the local drunks boozing on cheap booze. Dreadful inside, and on the street causing a nuisance with their drunken noise, screaming and shouting into the early hours of the morning.

Police and local council need to act to either get Wetherspoon to clean up their act or shut the pub down. At the very least make tables outside no smoking and close at midnight.

Appalling treatment of elderly passenger by Nepalese bus driver

September 24, 2019

1800 No 1 Stagecoach Gold bus Aldershot to Camberly via Farnborough.

The bus was late leaving, it had arrived a few minutes before, due to driver late leaving.

This happens all the time, drivers do not arrive at the bus until this bus is due to leave.

As the bus passed through North Camp into south Farnborough, an elderly man in his 90s asked the Nepalese driver where to alight from the bus. He was nearly knocked off his feet due to the bad eratic driving.

Instead of helping the man the driver turned very nasty and started shouting at the elderly passenger.

The man clearly distreseed became confused.

When he got off the bus, and as the bus drove off, man nearly toppled over on to the bus.

The elderly passenger alighted at Albert Road at around 1825, one stop before stop for Franborough Tech.

I alighted a few stops later at Queensmead South. As I was alighting, I spoke with the driver and said I was not happy with his treatment of an elderly man.

The driver then became very aggressive, started shouting at myself, that it was none of my business, shouted at me to get off his bus.

A young lady spoke to me when she got off the bus. She said it was appalling behaviour by the driver.

This is not acceptable behaviour by the driver, either towards the elderly passenger or to myself. He should be fired.

Pick a Bap Korean restaurant

September 24, 2019

Pick a Bap Korean restaurant, generous portion size, mainly takeaway but there are tables for eating in.

My dish was slightly aromatic.

The use of plastic, both for serving and for utensils is not good.

Where I sat was dirty and had not been cleaned.

The food is promoted as healthy. Meat or poultry with rice is not healthy. White rice, as with any processed carbohydrates, is not healthy.

They are though new, only been open a few weeks and are learning.

I have suggested they must make water available, either on demand, or a jug or jar of water.

Plastic they have got to have a rethink, use of plastic is not acceptable.

Dishes for eating in, some form of compostable container for takeaway.

An idea from an Indian takeaway, metal containers which buy from the restaurant, cf reusable coffee cups, have proved to be popular. Bring back, and either refill, or exchange for new clean container.

They were were willing to listen and improve, do not wish to be seen as bad for the environment.

St Modwen, who have already done an excellent job destroying Farnborough, are doing their best to destroy the evening economy by locking the main entrance to the Kingsmead shopping centre.

Busy lunchtime, mainly the lunchtime rush, then not busy. At night empty.

I have suggested at night, what food is left, sell at reduced price or give away.

Not as good as either the Indonesian street food restaurant in Aldershot or Bamboo Shoots in Guildford, but a marked improvement on the very low quality of food in Farnborough.

Disgusting undrinkable coffee at Starbucks

September 22, 2019

A cappuccino, looks disgusting, tastes disgusting.

Every mistake. too hot, bitter, all foam and froth.

How can anyone make coffee this bad?

Sadly the norm for tax-dodging Starbucks.

Offered three cups sizes, normal, too big and far too big.

Put off my coffee even before it was served by the girl who served constantly scratting at her hair.

A bunch of out of control kids, no parents, shouting as though in a playground. No one deals with the problem, either shut them up or kick them out.

Also very very hot inside.

The only reason I am here with reluctance, to use the wifi.

Lunch at Ghurkha Palace

September 22, 2019

Mediocre buffet lunch at Ghurkha Palace.

https://twitter.com/keithpp/status/11757859875800555567

Always has been mediocre, the one and only advantage cheap, but even that no more, no longer cheap.

Also tried a so-called Nepalese inspired craft beer. It too was mediocre.

Designing cities for people not developers

April 10, 2019

What I have seen and spent what seems to be a lifetime fighting, is corrupt town halls pandering to greedy developers, fast bucks, palms greased, with result every town looks the same, the same corporate chains dominate the town centre, the same corporate chains find in every ghastly shopping centre.

This neither brings in visitors nor is popular with locals who see familiar landmarks destroyed, lose their sense of place, money is drained out of the local economy, then large chains close, go bust, expanded on debt, leaving behind desolation, as we have seen with BHS, House of Fraser, Debenhams and many other zombie companies kept afloat by their banks.

Corrupt town planners who have not a clue what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function love big development. Big development lots of money sloshing around, some of which finds its way into the wrong pockets.

A few examples illustrates failure of good town centre design and planning.

Sincil Street runs parallel to the High Street in Lincoln. A street of Victorian buildings, local indie businesses, or was. Up until a few years ago, Sincil Street between the hours of ten in the morning and four in the afternoon was busier than the High Street, the High Street the same corporate chains find anywhere and everywhere. Now Sincil Street is being destroyed, the local council acting in cahoots with the local coop, local businesses driven out, chains brought in, Victorian building destroyed.

Enter the picture Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln. Both are hyping the chains, it gets worse Visit Lincoln being paid to do so.

Many towns now have businesses development groups, accountable to no one, act for and controlled by big businesses, not one vote per business, based upon the size of local business tax.

Experience Guildford employs Town Rangers, no one knows what purpose they serve other than to deliver a glossy A4 newssheet to local businesses which goes straight in the bin. They also subsidise the town centre car parks at Christmas, the one time of the year when the car parks are full to overflowing.

Latest examples of Lincoln BIG, take selfies and post on instagram, install an app that has access to data on phone and if use default facebook log in access to facebook data and that of friends

Ask any local businesses what is killing them. High rents, high local business taxes. The local coop owns the properties hikes the rents, Lincoln BIG exacts a levy on top of the local business taxes. Local businesses see no benefits.

Visit Lincoln masquerades as a tourism body, acts as a quasi-PR agency, is paid to hype the corporate chains moving into and destroying the character of Sincil Street.

Fake-Left Guardian had an article describing the dire state of Sheffield. The local council responded with eight tweets, big development taking place, corporate chains listed, same chains find anywhere. The same Sheffield City Council that destroyed thousands if not tens of thousands of street trees, harassed and criminalised protesters.

Empty two-coach Northern Fail train Lincoln to Sheffield, hour and twenty minutes only starts to fill as nears Sheffield passing through small towns like Worksop, making the point, not worth visiting for corporate chains find anywhere.

One of the chains mentioned, 200 Degrees, a small coffee chain serving mediocre coffee, the same chain hyped by Visit Lincoln and Lincoln BIG.

Oh the irony, when Sheffield has a thriving coffee scene and 200 Degrees empty.

In Sheffield Union St, coffee shop, co-working space, pop up kitchen, community hub located in an occupied building, Now Then, an interesting magazine, supported by local community and local businesses, published by a not-for-profit.

Farnborough destroyed half its town centre for a superstore, an estate of social houses surrounded a grassy green destroyed for the car park. A 17th century inn destroyed for a drive-thru McDonald’s.

Wastegate, chain eateries and a superstore on the edge of Aldershot town centre, destroyed the town centre now boarded-up retail units and the chain eateries pulling out from Wastegate.

In the centre of Guildford Tunsgate Quarter, a sterile shopping centre, boarded-up units, same crap cooperate chains find in every ghastly shopping centre across the country, devoid of people. The only use, provides a handy short cut. One of the crap corporate chains Cosy Club, a fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake, Visit Guildford promoted on twitter over a dozen times.

Contrast with North Laine in Brighton, three long streets, similar Victorian street scene as Sincil Street in Lincoln, local indie businesses, butcher, baker cheesemonger, bookshops, music shops, coffee shops, restaurants, worker coops, not a chain in sight, always busy.

When all places look the same they become soul destroying, we lose our sense of place, alienation sets in.

We need to green our cities, protect our existing green spaces.

In Farnborough they are destroying the remaining green space for development, in Sheffield tens of thousands of street trees have been cut down.

City centres should be pedestrianised, delivery vehicles park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart and trolley.

Cities generate data, the data should be used as a common good. Citizens may consent to access to their data receiving benefits in return, the data randomised and made available to local businesses.

The city should support and encourage local businesses and local coops, encourage to network with each other

Citizens need to seize control of their local Town Halls, open to public participation, network with other citizen-controlled Town Halls. No more one party states.

There is not a conflict with locals and tourists. There is only conflict when lose businesses serving locals and replace with businesses selling overpriced tourist tat, when AirBnB moves in, rents are hiked, but that is a problem of over-tourism lack of regulation, rather than tourism per se.

At the time of the English Civil War, the Diggers asked the question: who owns the space? The space they were asking of was land, who owns the land?

They saw God created Man and Woman as equal, the land was owned by everyone and no one, it was a common wealth. 

The question is as pertinent today. Who owns the space, who owns the public parks, public space, the empty buildings, the data we generate?

Space is not static, something to be owned. It is dynamic, only has meaning if used, lived on, shared, enjoyed. Derelict buildings we must occupy, put to use on behalf of the community, fight the loss of community space.

Cappuccino at tax-dodging Starbucks

November 15, 2018

What was I doing in Starbucks, a place I would not normally wish to be seen dead in?

Curiosity, just how bad is coffee in Starbucks? Maybe I would be pleasantly surprised? Though I doubted.

I ordered a cappuccino.

I was offered a choice of three different sizes, normal, large and extra large, what Starbucks calls grande.

No, a cappuccino is not made this large.

I was told to go to the end of the counter to wait for my coffee.

I watched as my cappuccino was made. The girl was completely clueless on how to make a cappuccino.

It was made in a glass. The contents of the glass dumped in a large cup, more like a mug. Spilt on the side, no attempt to clean the cup, or better still, start again,

The coffee was not brewed direct into the cup, nor swilled around the cup in a circular motion to coat the sides.

The steamed milk was dumped out of the side of the jug into my cup. No attempt made to pour into the cup.

Watching my coffee prepared the attitude was one of, don’t care, don’t give a shit.

The coffee looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, brewed too hot.

The only positive I could say, no chocolate dumped on top.

It was then find somewhere to sit in amongst the rubbish, tables not cleared, dirty coffee cups, half empty cans.

Several minutes later, the girl who took my order cleared the tables.

She brought me iced water when asked. Brought in a plastic cup.

I noticed around half the customers were drinking out of plastic-lined paper takeaway cups or plastic cups.

So much for the bullshit from Starbucks caring about the environment.

The coffee was not as bad as I expected, it was far, far worse. But then what to expect from over-roasted burnt commodity coffee?

How do people drink this rubbish?

The simple answer is they don’t. What they do is add sugar add syrups in an attempt to make the coffee palatable. Hence the row of syrups prominently displayed.

The reason I asked for water was to take away the unpleasant taste of the coffee. I had to ask as no water available or brought to the table.

Beneath my table, 13-amp sockets to act as footrests.

The ambience of the coffee shop that of a station waiting room. Awful music playing in the background.

When this coffee shop opened, the then imbecile leader of the local council bragged Starbucks had made Farnborough its home. No, a tax-dodging corporate chain had opened a coffee shop to drain money out of the local economy. Home, if by home imply a company head office, is for Starbucks in Netherlands to avoid UK tax.

Outside three shed selling tat and a third shed selling disgusting German sausages. This is what in Farnborough constitutes a Christmas market.

Farnborough a run down dying town centre destroyed by decades of poor town centre planning, a council in bed with greedy developers. A council with no idea what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function.

Those who have the means or the time go elsewhere. And most certainly go elsewhere if they wish for a decent cup of coffee or somewhere decent to eat.

St Mark’s Church Armistice Day Vigil

November 10, 2018

I had looked in St Mark’s Church earlier on in the day for a World War One window which had been restored.

I could not find.

Passing by a few hours later, now dark, a light on, the church still open.

St Mark’s Church open, a vigil to mark Armistice Day.

I quietly walked around the church. I still could not find the window.

I remained a little while in silent contemplation. I thought of the horror of those souls who died in the trenches.

I wished to walk back down the side aisle to light a candle, but reluctant to disturb those in the church.

The First World War did not end at eleven o’clock on 11 November 1918 one hundred years ago. That was when an Armistice was agreed, a ceasefire, the day the guns fell silent.

Peace was not agreed until the following year.

Exacting reparations were imposed on Germany. Keynes warned against but he was ignored. This led to the Second World War.

What we see today in Europe, in the Middle East, is unfinished business from WWI.

No lessons have been learnt.

Greece dared challenge the EU. A vassal state for daring to challenge the EU is being destroyed to serve as a warning to other vassal states.

WWI was the first democratised war, no family was left untouched, unlike the Boer War. It was the first industrialised war. Cavalry charges of little use against machines guns and barbed wire, the first use of tanks.

How it affected communities was brought home to me this summer in a church in Arundel. In the pews, silhouettes of the fallen.

New injuries. In the Boer war, wounds did not become infected. In the mud of the trenches, wounds became infected

Not all who died died in action. Many were unfairly executed for cowardice.

There are no survivors left from WWI. Soon their children will also be lost to us.

Memories fade.

BBC, in a ground breaking work, collected the living memories of those who lived through WWI for a series marking 50 years since WWI.

My grandfather served in the trenches in France but he never talked about it, other than to complain it destroyed his health.

Did the veterans not talk about their experience because of the horrors it brought back, or because no one wished to listen?

Uncle Albert of the Trotter family in Only Fools and Horses told to shut up each time he tried to recount his wartime experience.

International Bomber Command Centre, in a race against time, has recorded and archived memories of veterans of WWII Bomber Command.

British are obsessed with the two world wars. Eighty per cent of the books on the two world wars are in English.

When veterans of Bomber Command turn up at an event people wish to talk to them, ask for their books to be signed, even though they are not the authors.

£45 million is raised by Poppy Day Appeal. To what end?

Those homeless on the street with serious mental problems are too often ex-service men who can no longer cope with modern life. Do we commemorate the dead and ignore the living? This was raised by Aaron Bastani, who was then condemned for doing so.

The First World War was called The Great War, the war to end all wars. By the 1930s this was being questioned, as the nation prepared for yet another war. 

In 1939 there was no commemoration of Armistice Day.

UK is built on a war economy. Weapons are supplied to the world’s most repressive regimes.

UK arms and provides military support to Saudi Arabia. A corrupt Islamic regime no different to ISIS, that is carrying out genocide in Yemen, that degrades women, that beheads its critics, that killed and cut up a journalist who walked into a Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

Tommies fought in the mud of the trenches. Donald Trump could not be bothered to attend a ceremony at an American War Graves Cemetery because of a little drizzle.

Did the fallen die for nothing?

On Armistice Day our thoughts turn to those who died in two world wars to liberate Europe from tyranny.

A decade ago, 60% of countries across the world were democracies. That figure is down to 40%.

Two weeks ago Greeks marked Oxi Day, the day at the start of WWII when they said no to Fascism. They paid a very heavy price. Two years ago they voted Oxi in a referendum, to then be be betrayed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

We have a Europe in chains, vassal states of the EU.

Across Europe we have a rise of Fascism as a direct response to the EU.

Armistice Day should never be about poppies, red or white, or even solemn reflection on those who died, and in the wars and conflicts of today, those who die are not only soldiers, combatants, they are civilians, innocent civilians who are not even party to the conflict.

We must question the wars, even more important question who is profiteering from the wars.

It is sickening that British Legion partners with war profiteers British Aerospace.

Destruction of local businesses

August 15, 2018

What makes a town centre, local businesses, local architecture, they provide a sense of place, the local businesses recycle money within the local economy.

Four local businesses destroyed, for what, a rapacious greedy developer to make fast buck.

A grassy area with flowering cherry trees destroyed, for what, an ugly eyesore of a Premier Inn, and of course a rapacious developer to make a fast buck.

Around the corner The Tumbledown Dick destroyed, for what, a Drive-Thu McDonald’s, and of course to enable  a rapacious developer to make a fast buck, the same rapacious developer.

Within the town centre, half the town centre destroyed, people kicked out of their homes, social housing levelled to the ground for a car park, many local business destroyed, for what, a superstore and a handful of corporate chains.

Welcome to Farnborough, one of the ugliest town centres in the country. And yes, there are worst, Aldershot down the road.

And complicit in all of this, town centre planners, who have not a clue what constitutes good town centre planning, who lack any understanding of how local economies function, but who can be relied upon to act against the interests of the local community, hand greedy developers on a plate whatever they ask for.

Complicit too, thick-as-shit local councillors who rubber-stamp whatever is put before them, who are led by the nose by the planners acting for developers, who stick two fingers up to the local community.

There is one green area left in the town centre. That too is now earmarked for development, no lessons have been learnt, no apologies for the damage wrought on the town centre.

Contrast Farnborough or Aldershot with North Laine in Brighton. Three streets with side streets, quirky indie businesses, coffee shops, music shops, bookshops, restaurants, boutiques, food shops, bakeries, pubs, and not a single corporate chain in sight, nor empty boarded-up shops.  On a Sunday busy, on a Saturday difficult to move for people.

The same is true for the old part of York or Hull Old Town.