Archive for the ‘Farnham’ Category

Afternoon in Farnham

July 13, 2019

Morning cool, afternoon hot, evening cool. Strange weather.

Alighted from the bus before Farnham, visited Bells Place Fete.

A mistake. It was not very good last year, nor this year.

Then walked through Farnham Park. Climbed to the top of the ridge, walked along, then down into the centre of Farnham through Castle Street.

Dropped in The Nelson Arms and had a half.

Once again reminded why I do not frequent pubs. Idiots blocking access to the bar, idiots stood between door and the bar. Entire pub to occupy, which was other wise empty, but they block access to the bar.

My beer was not that great either.

Once again, far better craft beer available in coffee shops and in Growlwrs & Cans, and do not have idiots blocking access to the counter.

I then visited Krema. Not seen owner for several months. We were chatting but if someone came in to order a coffee, I moved out of the way, I did not block their access.

I suggested what several coffee shops offer, a rotating selection of guest coffee, and gave a few suggestions.

Earlier I had popped in the vegan restaurant cum zero waste shop, obtained muesli and apricots.

Walked through the churchyard but too lazy to walk around Bishop’s Meadow.

To Waitrose. Appalled to see Cupsmith tea on the shelves in Waitrose. Massive fail by their buyers. Cupsmith coffee is crap, their tea little better.

Once again Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant closed. It appears to have closed down as each time I pass by it is closed. I did though notice that the dirty cups I saw last time I passed by and looked in the window had been removed. Power to the espresso machine still on.

No surprise if it has closed. It was always empty, and although the menu always looked enticing, the couple of times I have eaten there the food was not good.

Coffee Diem

June 20, 2019

Last year Caracoli collapsed.

No surprise, a chain of half a dozen coffee shops serving at best mediocre coffee. What was it, a deli, a coffee shop, they did not know what they were.

One of these coffee shops cum deli was in Lion and Lamb Walk in Farnham.

Caracoli in Lion and Lamb Walk has reopened as Coffee Diem.

Today I tried a cappuccino.

When the coffee is Cupsmith, expectations are low. And yes, expectations were not exceeded, it was not a pleasant coffee, what came across was that it was cheap crap coffee.

First I had to reject a cappuccino served with chocolate. Why does no one know how to make a cappuccino? It is not made with chocolate, though when the coffee is Cupsmith then maybe understandable to hide that it is cheap crap coffee.

My flapjack bore little resemblance to a flapjack. Maybe it wasn’t a flapjack.

Whilst it is commendable to buy local, it is false economy when it means sacrificing quality.

Nor is there any excuse these days when spoilt for choice for coffee.

Locally there is Chimney Fire Coffee in the Surrey Hills, The Roasting Party in Winchester several coffee raosteries to choose from in Brighton and Sussex.

Gail’s bakery, with useless baristas are able to make a better coffee with Union coffee.

Coffee Diem is more a greasy spoon cafe serving coffee than a coffee shop.

The location is good, outside seating, passing trade. The surprise is that Krema did not snap it up, either as a second coffee shop in Farnham or to relocate from Downing Street.

Once again I am baffled by the logic of opening a coffee shop in a saturated market with no experience or understanding of coffee. Not unless employ a highly skilled head barista.

Keep

December 15, 2018

Passing by vegan cafe Okomoko I noticed a board saying zero waste and on display in the window an ecoffee bamboo coffee cup.

I walked in to inquire, I was curious to learn how they achieved zero waste. Whilst waiting, I noticed a sign pointing upstairs to a zero waste shop. Curious and curiouser. I climbed the stairs. I was expecting to maybe find a counter selling off old stock.

What I found was a little shop in a room, an Aladdin’s cave of delights.

Keep, a tiny version of Hisbe in Brighton. Two pleasant and helpful young women. They told me they rented the room.

Quite a clever idea and not the first time I have come across this arrangement, Anonymous Coffee in Reading, down an alley leading from Broad Street to Reading Minster, has a similar arrangement, rent space in a wine shop.

By renting space, in this case a room, overheads are low, for Okomoko, assuming they are not busy, it helps share the rent and puts to use unused space.

What is the alternative, a pop up shop, a market stall?

On offer, grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruit weigh and buy what you want. At the back, large containers of liquids, for example detergents, buy what you need.

Even ecoffee bamboo coffee cups on sale.

What would be a clever idea if Okomoko and Keep crowdfunded a joint glass KeepCup.

As I explained, a similar concept to Hisbe in Brighton. I recommended they visit.

If we are to aim for zero waste, there is much that coffee shops and restaurants can do.

  • eliminaate takeaway coffee
  • on sale reusable coffee cups and offer discount for use
  • compostable takeaway coffee cups
  • leave coffee grounds to be taken away
  • use food waste in cakes and soups
  • compost food waste

Reusable coffee cups and compostable coffee cup are a step in the right direction but what we must do, is eliminate grab it and go takeaway, encourage relax with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Keep is open Monday to Friday morning to lunchtime, Saturday until five, Sunday morning.

 

Cold wet mid-December afternoon in Farnham

December 15, 2018

Today could not have been worse, cold, heavy rain and windy.

I caught a bus that goes around the houses, to save waiting for the next bus.

I had no idea where I was, until it was driving down Castle Street. Ideal for Gail’s bakery, but still ideal for centre of Farnham.

No surprise, no one about in Farnham.

Passing by vegan cafe Okomoko I noticed a board saying zero waste. I walked in to inquire, I was curious to learn how they achieved zero waste. Whilst waiting, I noticed a sign pointing upstairs to a zero waste shop. Curious and curiouser. I climbed the stairs. I was expecting to maybe find a counter selling off old stock.

What I found was a little shop in a room, an Aladdin’s cave of delights.

Keep, a tiny version of Hisbe in Brighton. Two pleasant and helpful young women. They told me they rented the room.

Quite a clever idea and not the first time I have come across this arrangement, Anonymous Coffee in Reading, down an alley leading from Broad Street to Reading Minster, has a similar arrangement, rent space in a wine shop.

By renting space, in this case a room, overheads are low, for Okomoko, assuming they are not busy, it helps share the rent and puts to use unused space.

What is the alternative, a pop up shop, a market stall?

On offer, grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruit weigh and buy what you want. At the back, large containers of liquids, for example detergents, buy what you need.

Even ecoffee bamboo coffee cups on sale.

What would be a clever idea if Okomoko and Keep crowdfunded a joint glass KeepCup.

As I explained, a similar concept to Hisbe in Brighton. I recommended they visit.

A pity I had not seen before my visit to the butcher, as I would have mentioned to him, and he would have let his customers know.

They are reliant on word of mouth and social media. Maybe something the Farnham Herald should run a feature on.

A pleasant change to Waitrose where fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves.

It is unfortunate the shop across the road never got their act together. It could have been an excellent wholefood shop, something like Grocer and Grain in Brighton.

Very late lunch in Gail’s. I had hoped for soup. Too late. A sausage roll was the only thing available hot. At £4 a bit pricey, on the other hand the size of at least two sausage rolls and top quality.

I followed with a pecan and maple tartlet (ie very small tart) and a cappuccino. The cappuccino not great but at least an improvement on the last time I had a coffee. At least drinkable.

Waitrose was all but deserted

Afternoon in Farnham

December 7, 2018

A cold wintry afternoon in Farnham.

Carrot and coriander soup with toasted bread followed by a cappuccino in Krema.

I cannot recall when was the last time, if ever Krema empty. Lovely and peaceful.

I looked in Robert Dyas. Two weeks ago, 4000 mAh power banks. I inquired last week, not in stock. I inquired again today, yes in stock, hidden out the back.

A quick shop in Waitrose.

In Starbucks, latte levy of 5p. I cannot see this would make a jot of difference. It needs to be at least 25p. 5p is less than the difference of a cup of coffee across coffee shops. It would be useful to see hard evidence.

There has been an increase in the use of disposable coffee cups. It was the chains that blocked the introduction of a 25p latte levy.

The Boston Tea Party introduced a ban on takeaway coffee cups six months ago. This has seen their takeaway trade drop by a quarter. But was this translated to relaxing with a coffee served in glass or ceramic? Again lack of hard data.

In addition to a pork chop, I had two rashers of un-smoked back bacon from the local butcher. Grilled bacon sandwich for tea. Excellent bacon.

Afternoon in Farnham

December 1, 2018

Heavy rain overnight, afternoon wet but not raining.

Last week I had found 4000 mAh power banks in Robert Dyas. I could not find today, and store too busy to ask.

I notice they have Cambridge bamboo eco mug. Are these the same as ecoffee cup which are also bamboo and look the same marketed under a different name or a clone thereof? The main difference, apart from name, not in a box and much cheaper. Horrible silicone rubbery lid and and holder.

I notice this year ecoffee cups seem to have taken off as everywhere and appear to have replaced Keep Cup, for example FCB Coffee kiosk on Guildford Station. Though personally I prefer a glass Keep Cup or better still relax in an indie coffee shop with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic.

I am also seeing, most indie coffee shops have on sale reusable cups, offering a discount if bring own cup, though many quite rightly state must be clean and barista friendly, and have moved to compostable cups. As always the indie coffee shops leading the way.

Therefore quite shocking to read a report from last month in The Mail that sales of disposable coffee cups have soared. All the more shocking in light of the massive negative press against disposable coffee cups.

It is long overdue the introduction of a 25p latte levy on takeaway coffee and that coffee drinkers are encouraged to relax with specialty coffee in an indie coffee shop served in glass or ceramic.

Leak and potato soup served with toasted sourdough bread in Krema followed by a cappuccino and flapjack.

If someone calls looking for a job in an indie coffee shop based on they have worked at any of the coffee chains do you offer them a job? No, show them the door. On the other hand if they say they wish to leave a corporate chain because they wish to learn more about coffee, then yes, offer them a job.

I catch Robert Dyas before they close. No, no 4000 mAh powerbanks, at least not what I found last week. I suspect a special buy for Black Friday to claim a price reduction.

I should have popped back last week, but I assumed they were closed.

In Waitrose, bananas rotting on the shelves.

Something I have not seen before, overpriced muesli in a plastic jar.

We are going backwards.

I speak with a member of staff. No one cares.

Cold misty afternoon in Farnham

November 24, 2018

A cold misty afternoon in Farnham.

Robert Dyas hardware shop in Downing Street, 4,000 mA powebanks, were £9-99, now half price at £4-99. If buy, given a voucher, 15% off everything, apart from Black Friday, offer only valid until Monday.

Cappuccino in Krema.

Third week running, bananas rotting on the shelves in Waitrose.

Gostrey Meadow Christmas lights switch on

November 17, 2018

Gostrey Meadow is full of people for the Farnham Carnival in the summer, but nothing like today.

Gostrey Meadow was packed with people, so crowded it was nigh impossible to move.

A different stage to the summer carnival, also a large screen.

As I approached, I could hear drumming. I assumed it was a professional group. To my surprise a group of school kids.

The drumming then ceased and they left the stage.

Then as I was about to leave the drumming started again. Whether the same kids, I do not know, but I think a different group of kids and very young.

But what was amazing was how good they were.

Sadly the usual crap stalls as the Farnham Carnival, the same low environmental standards.

I am at a loss why the low environmental standards, and why they do no make the effort to offer quality street food. If the Sustainability Fayre can maintain high environmental standards, host quality stalls why not other events in Gostrey Meadow?

To see rows of stalls serving disgusting food in polystyrene containers, drinks served in plastic-lined paper cups or plastic cups, is not acceptable.

On my way to Farnham, I looked in on the Aldershot Christmas Market. Not intentionally I did not even know it was on. I missed the bus and rather than wait twenty minutes in the cold, I went for a walk.

Walking to Gostrey Meadow, I looked in a charity shop on the corner of Downing Street. A water colour of Newport Arch in Bailgate in Lincoln, a Roman arch. Also, maybe a different artist, a water colour of an alley in Canterbury.

Many people walking to and fro Gostrey Meadow, lots of traffic, and yet still an inconsiderate idiot parks their 4×4 on the double yellow lines causing chaos in Downing Street. These arrogant people think it ok to park wherever they wish as they pop into a shop.

A cappuccino in Krema. As last week chocolate was added to my cappuccino I specified no chocolate. It arrived in a takeaway cup with chocolate. Then at five o’clock harassing people to leave.

Not good.

At five maybe before, church bells ringing. A Christmas market in the Parish Church, but now packing up. As I walked in, one of the tables collapsed, smashing all the crockery. As I was leaving a man asked me to clean up the tables.

In Waitrose, bananas once again rotting on the shelves.

I let the guy on the checkout know, and the girl on the information counter. She admitted not good. I agreed not good, especially as I told them last week bananas rotting on the shelves.

On Guildford street market, bananas in this state would be thrown away. But then they have fresh stock, and not sweating in plastic bags.

I mentioned to one of the stallholders. He was appalled, but not surprised. For them, fresh produce is their business, they care.

Nor would find Hisbe in Brighton have fresh produce rotting on the shelves.

But as a lady in Krema said, in Waitrose they do not care, which is why she dos not shop there.

Too often local papers have offers encouraging freebies in corporate chains. Excellent therefore Farnham Herald has an offer of free coffee in Coffee Cherry Artisan Coffee Shop in Alton, no strings attached. Though in realty it is a third of a page ad in the local paper.

Coffee Cherry Artisan Coffee Shop is the weirdest experience I have ever had in a coffee shop. I was refused a coffee because I knew about coffee.

In the offer owner claiming she has nine years experience in coffee indutry. Not the impression I was given.

But by all means take up the offer.

Bananas rotting on the shelves in Waitrose

November 10, 2018

Not for the first time I find bananas rotting on the shelves in Waitrose.

Not the first time I have to draw to the attention of staff, bananas rotting on the shelves, but no one cares.

Bananas rotting on the shelves in Waitrose, sweating and rotting in plastic bags.

Pomegranates in plastic boxes.

A handful of sliced green beans in plastic, shipped from Kenya.

Are the customers of Waitrose so lazy, so useless, they cannot slice beans? And why ship green beans from Kenya?

The service no better. Only three tills manned.

As I am leaving I mention the rotting bananas. Not the first time I have raised bananas rotting on the shelves.

No one cares.

This is the norm for Waitrose, piss-poor service, fresh produce packed in plastic.

Waitrose and M&S, with their high prices, are the two worst supermarkets for piss-poor service and obscene use of plastic.

Contrast with Hisbe, fresh produce loose, cereals, nuts and dried fruits loose, liquids for example organic shampoo top up own container, and excellent service.

And yet Iceland has a TV commercial banned for highlighting damage palm oil plantations cause to rain forests.

Afternoon in Farnham

November 10, 2018

An unpleasant day. Heavy rain all night, heavy rain all day. I was delayed by two hours until the rain eased off a little.

I looked in St Mark’s Church. They have a World War One window which has recently been restored. I have not noticed before and could not find.

Tomato and basil soup with toasted bread, followed by cappuccino and flapjack at Krema.

Cappuccino had chocolate which ruins the coffee. Krema should know better.

Out of control children, mother makes no attempt to control them.

Sigh of relief from staff and few remaining customers when they leave.

An idiot with a large 4×4 parked on the double yellow lines and on the footpath. This is the norm for Farnham, no enforcement.

Cut through church yard.

What I assume to be Christmas lights in Lion and Lamb Walk. Could they not have waited until lights are officially turned on next week, with festivities in Gostrey Meadow from lunchtime onward?

Bananas rotting on the shelves in Waitrose, sweating and rotting in plastic bags. Pomegranates in plastic boxes. A handful of sliced green beans in plastic, shipped from Kenya.

Are the lazy people of Farnham so useless they cannot slice beans? And why ship beans from Kenya?

Only three tills manned. As I am laving I mention the rotting bananas. Not the first time I have raised bananas rotting on the shelves. No one cares.

This is the norm for Waitrose, piss-poor service, fresh produce packed in plastic. Waitrose and M&S, high prices and the two worst supermarkets for piss-poor service and obscene use of plastic.

Contrast with Hisebe, fresh produce loose, cereals, nuts, dried fruits loose, liquids for example organic shampoo top up own container, and excellent service.

And yet Iceland has a TV commercial banned for highlighting damage palm oil plantations cause to rain forests.

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.