Archive for the ‘Godalming’ Category

Staycation Live 2017

August 6, 2017

Alighting at Godalming Station, every one else seemed to have the same idea, as most of the train disembarked and headed for Staycation Live.

I noticed yesterday and today the Parish Church was closed. Always open. I hope not a change of regime and no longer open.

Nothing on the main stage, the bandstand, either running late or previous act had finished early.

I had no idea who was playing in the cloisters.

This only serves to empathise what I raised yesterday, the need for a playlist at each of the stages and something saying who is currently playing.

I headed for Cafe Mila for lunch.  Excellent marrow stuffed with mince served with rice. It said curried mince, but did not seem to be. Curried it would have ruined the mince.

On heading back, I was able to suss who was playing on the bandstand, but not in the cloisters.

Sometimes it is easy, for example solo guitarist or folk or blues, but not always possible, unless you know them, hence the need for a playlist and who is currently playing.

Ice cream off Dylan’s ice cream. Strange, it tasted different to  The Village. It could be a different batch but I suspect it was colder.

I went for a walk along the river, then back to Cafe Mila for afternoon tea and cakes.

Lunchtime, Cafe Mila was quiet, late afternoon very busy.

On return, back to the hog roast then a beer.

I was shocked by the amount of litter. People were throwing their rubbish on the ground, or leaving on the tables to get knocked on the ground.

This was not a problem yesterday, nor has it been a problem previous years.

One of the problems Stayctaion Live now has is the same problem Ambient Picnic had which then destroyed it, becoming too popular.

Today, there was too many people, and it lacked the atmosphere of Saturday.

Unusual for me, I left early, late afternoon as the last act was only just coming on.

Dark clouds, it was turning cooler, although no rain forecast, I did not wish to be caught in the rain.

  • PHOTOS Staycation Live 2017 (to be added)

At Staycation there is always reggae, usually lots, this time none, or at least none I noticed.

Wish list for next year

  • Steve Lawson
  • Jewelia
  • Imogen Heap
  • Charlotte Church

Steve Lawson played Guildford earlier this year. sadly I missed him.

Jewelia has played Staycation in the past. She has gone from strength to strength. I am surprised she has never been invited back.

Charlotte Church impossible? Saturday night she played a free gig in Liverpool. She had been pulled from where she was playing, as running two hours late. Not wishing to disappoint, she offered to perform for free if  a venue could be found.

What of food and drink?

The Little Beer Co, as last year, did an excellent job. A pity they are not at The Village rather than an outlet selling the output of a chemical factory.

The Little Cafe Co are relocating to Brighton. Who will provide the coffee? Of those I have recommended in the past, one no longer appears to exist, another has said no, too far, which only leaves The Hobo Co, if available.

Bedda, two Sicilian guys serving pasta are a must.

Staycation Live is  a weekend event, Saturday and Sunday, first weekend in August.

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The Little Cafe Co

August 5, 2017

I came across The Little Cafe Co at Staycation Live.  An improvement as last year some ghastly franchise coffee van serving overpriced undrinkable coffee. I was pleased to see an effort had been made to invite a quality coffee truck.

At first I thought it was The Hobo Co and was about to say hello, but as I drew nearer, I saw it was not.

A row of syrups lined up is like raising a flag, we serve shit coffee.

Home made cakes.

I decided to try a cappuccino. It was not great but reasonable, I have had far worse.

Catering supply beans.

With decent beans, a skilled barissta, it would be serving great coffee.

Based in Guildford they intend to move to Brighton.

They will be in for a rude awaking, as Brighton is coffee mecca, with many wide and varied choice of high quality coffee.

If they do relocate to Brighton, back to square one for a choice of quality coffee truck for next year at Staycation Live.  Of those I have suggested in the past, The Hobo Co is the only one that may be available, as one no longer seems to exist, and the other is not interested too far away.

Staycation Live 2017

August 5, 2017

I usually look forward to Staycation Live, but today in two minds whether to go or not.

Last couple of years it has not been up to its usual high standards and it was forecast rain.

I set off with warm jacket, then changed to a light jacket, as it was quite warm, though the forecast was cool, with two periods of heavy rain.

At Guildford, I noticed heavy rain, Godalming, very heavy rain. It also turned cool, the temperature had dropped by several degrees.

No choice than to wait at Godalming Station until the rain stopped.

The next train pulled in, then blue sky started to appear.

When I arrived at the park by the River Wey I was surprised at the number of people.  They must have got soaked.

It then turned warm.

A few drops of rain, until the next heavy downpour.

Hog roast off Milford Meat Roaster.  Quite generous portions, tasty.

A cappuccino off The Little Cafe Co. It was reasonable. At least not the awful coffee of last year. Based in Guildford, but intend to relocate to Brighton. They are in for a  rude awakening.

I was pleased to see The Little Beer Co as they did an excellent job last year organising the drinks. I wondered were they still around as no stall at the Guildford farmers market.

Various food stalls, including Thai, vegetation, and of course Dylan’s ice cream.

Later, after a visit to Cafe Mila to escape the rain, I had sweetcorn based snack off the vegetarian stall. A little bland. maybe add peas and chickpeas to the sweetcorn.

Violinist Mike Dennis was excellent, at least what little I saw. Looped violin for first number, then ruined it with rap. It was though impressive in the thunder and lightning.

It was then to Cafe Mila before I got soaked to the skin, which meant I missed the rest of his set.

A cappuccino. Not great.

Cafe Mila no longer use Bristo, catering supply coffee, which is a step in the right direction. Though Cupsmith is not much better. I tried a couple of weeks ago. Not good. It could have been the beans or or lack of a barista. They now have their barista back, today was his first day. Coffee still not great. Having got their barista back, they now need to buy in quality coffee beans.

On return I caught the last of a blues group  Mule Train in the Cloisters. They were good, the cloisters packed.

Last act on the main stage otherwise known as the bandstand La Inédita. Interesting fusion of Latin American, without the brass section,  vocals, or percussion, mixed with a little reggae.

I missed the end. It was catch a train, a couple of minutes to catch the next train, hope it was not late. But, at Guildford, for some perverse reason pulled up way down the platform. Had the next train not been late, I would have missed it.

Organisation good but at times leaves much to be desired. It is irritating little things, that could easily be put right. Lack of a running playlist at each of the stages, a sign saying who is on, lack of coordination between the two stages. It would be helpful if the programme said a little more on each of the bands, links to more information, a twitter address for example.

Usually I pick up loads of albums. I did not see anything on sale. That may be I was not in the right place at the right time.

Staycation Live is  a weekend event, Saturday and Sunday, first weekend in August.  On a Saturday it continues at various venues in Godalming.

Love and Light

July 25, 2017

Art exhibition in Cafe Mila in Godalming.

Art by Julie Smallwood.

Natter Cafe

July 25, 2017

There used to be on the platform at Farncome Station, a little coffee shop, Coffee Charisma. I have never found it open.

In Guildford, on the market in North Street, a stall selling coffee, Coffee Charisma.

Confused? Me too. Especially as both had identical logo.

Last time I passed through Farncombe Station, I noticed no longer Coffee Charisma, now Natter Cafe. And no, not open.

Two different businesses, both with identical names. Something had to give.

Natter Cafe also comes as two. There is also outside Farncombe Station, Natter Cafe, and that was where I was headed for a  cappuccino, break my journey on the way to Godalming for lunch, only it did not quite work out that way.

I was looking at the menu, and was then given some advice on the coffee. Try our filter coffee, V60, single origin from Uganda. I do not know why Uganda was chosen, other than a single origin. Possibly because no single origin from Brazil.

I had a look around, before settling down in the garden outside.

Very pleasantly done, both inside and out, inside art on the walls, which is periodically changed.

The V60 was not poured as I would have expected, a continuous pour, not pour to wet the coffee, pause, pour again, and repeat a couple of times.

Compare for example with a V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Coffee Island in Covent Garden.

I also noticed, did not first cleanse the filter with hot water, which is very important.

I queried this later with the barista. He said they had done that first at the espresso machine.

I found the coffee to be too strong, possibly why I was brought milk. It would also have been better served in glass.

I requested a glass of water, used the glass

Why it was too strong I do not know. Could be the beans which I suspected were over roasted, poor quality beans, maybe too much coffee. It could even be the method by which it was poured.  Also could have been the grind, which would determine how fast or slow the hot water passed through, thus the extraction time.  A courser grind maybe would improve the coffee.

I compare with a Japanese syphon. First time, awful coffee, second time excellent, third time too strong. Why,  poor quality Indonesian coffee, speciality coffee coffee from Columbia, grind too fine, filter clogged, and over-brewed. Small differences make a difference.

Also compared unfavourably with a filter Kenyan at Karuna Coffee and the V60 Japanese iced coffee. And compared unfavourable with all twelve lots from Los Nogales Project during a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

But to be fair, though I would have expected the V60 filter to be better much better than it was, I am drawing a comparison with very high quality coffee.

I asked of the beans.

Natter Cafe have their own blend which is roasted for them, also single origin, which is also roasted for them.

All the single origins, maybe even the blend, all roasted to the same roast profile.

Not how any competent roastery would roast beans. Roasted to bring about the best from the beans, also depends upon how the beans are to be used, espresso or filter.

I decided to stay and have lunch, having been tempted by watercress soup and fish cakes served with salad. Both were excellent.

Followed by a cappuccino and a flapjack dipped in chocolate.

The cappuccino not great, large amount of froth and foam. The flapjack excellent.

On sale bags of beans and the little V60 used to make my filter coffee.

Nothing was priced. No roast date on the beans nor could I find the weight. Best by for coffee is meaningless.  A speciality coffee shop would have more information on the beans, though more than would find in a supermarket on brand coffee.

Staff very pleasant and helpful.

I was looking forward to a coffee and was gravely disappointed. On the other hand I was not expecting to eat and found the food to be excellent.

I would highly recommend for the food and ambience, but not somewhere I would go for a  coffee.

Afternoon in Farncombe and Godalming

July 25, 2017

A pleasant hot sunny day, welcome after the last three cold, wet days.

Afternoon zig-zagging back and forth between Farncombe and Godalming.

The idea had been, set off an hour and a half early, coffee at a coffee shop in Farncombe, Natter Cafe, then on to Godalming for lunch at Cafe Mila. Only it did not quite work out that way.

No train for Farncombe, it had been cancelled. Half an hour wait for the next train.

I had intended, cappuccino at Natter Cafe, then on to Godalming for lunch.

Instead, a filter coffee with a V60, watercress soup, then fish cakes with salad, then a cappuccino and a cake.

The filter I found to be too strong. Many reasons, too much coffee, poor quality coffee, roasted to dark, grind too fine.

I asked for a glass of water. I used the glass for the coffee.

The soup, watercress soup, was excellent. As was the fish cakes and salad.

Surprisingly busy for lunch, I say surprising as nothing in Farncombe. Though it did then die down.  To then pick up again mid-afternoon.

Cappuccino was not very good, though chocolate dipped flapjack excellent.

Irony, I was there for the coffee, but found the food to be far better than the coffee.

I then found I had no money.

They trusted me to leave, go to Godalming, return, then pay, which I did.

I looked in Cafe Mila before my return.

On my way to the station I realised, no phone, I had left in Cafe Mila.

I could see it was one of those days.

Luckily, cafe Mila had my phone when I returned.

In Cafe Mila, an art exhibition, Love and Light.

A wander through Godalming, saw a bus at 1828, went for a walk by the River Wey.

Rather than walk back, I kept on along the river to catch the bus at the other end of Godalming.

I then found I had somehow misread the timetable, there was no bus.

I could have walked back though Godalming caught a bus to Guildford, but decided instead, catch a  train.

I did not know how long I would have to wait. Luckily only a  little over five minutes, again for a train from Guildford.

Coffee

July 1, 2017

I often find interesting books in Cafe Mila, not the rubbished hyped by marketing.

It was in Cafe Mila, I picked up and had a browse of Coffee.

A glossy picture, with facing page text printed on glossy paper making difficult to read. The two contributors not experts  on coffee.

Not a book I would recommend.

For a brief introduction, cannot go far wrong with How to Brew the Perfect Cup from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.

For something can easily read in afternoon, or browse in a coffee shop, Coffee and Cold Brew Coffee.

For something more substantial, the definitive guides to coffee, but still can be browsed whilst sitting in a coffee shop, The World Atlas of Coffee, The Best of JimSeven and Real Fresh Coffee.

To curl up and read, God in a Cup.

Godalming Food Festival

July 1, 2017

A quick tour, then popped into Cafe Mila.

The Godalming Food Company have marginally improved the coffee they are flogging, but there is far better quality coffee around from quality coffee roasters.

Appalled at the rubbish ice cream van. Disgusted at the engine left running all day.  Why no Dylan’s ice cream serving quality ice cream?

Bins overflowing with rubbish.

I contrast with the street food party in Lower Marsh two days ago to launch Waterloo Food Month where not only were the bins regularly emptied, men were walking up and down the street with sacks collecting rubbish off people.

Waverley,  a useless council if ever there was one, need to get their act together. They know there is a street food festival all day, step up rubbish collection accordingly.

Low environmental standards.  Why are stalls allowed to use polystyrene burger-style boxes?

Excellent rhythm and blues band playing in The Pepperpot mid-afternoon.  A must for Staycation Live. Maybe also have play The Village in Guildford, which to date has been an unmitigated disaster.

I looked in the Goldalming Museum. Something I must do more often, as they always have an interesting art exhibition worth visiting.

I looked in Cafe Mila. Pleased to see they had changed their coffee. I went back later, had a coffee. Not bad but not great. I have reservations on Cupsmith, who I have never heard of. No information on the bags of coffee, and calling a coffee Breakfast Coffee, is meaningless.  Best by is also meaningless. At the very minimum, roast date, where sourced from and if single origin or a blend.

How much information to put on a bag of beans was discussed at Union Summer Carnival. Every bean has a story to tell.

Go into Waitrose and check out coffee beans from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee.

Cafe Mila often have interesting books dotted around. I quickly browsed Coffee. Glossy pictures, text on glossy paper making difficult to read. The contributors not experts on coffee.  Not recommended. There are far better books on coffee.

A few ideas tossed around whilst at Cafe Mila. Try Karuna Coffee, or at the very least as a guest coffee. Consider next art exhibition entitled coffee. Could be still life of a coffee, a coffee scene outside a coffee shop. The opening could be a coffee festival held in Angel’s Court.

I also gave a copy of Waterloo Food Month Gastro Passport. Could do the same in Godalming, use street food festival as the launch party for a  Godalming Food Month.

I recommended copies of Caffeine, help yourself, Standart to browse or for sale. If for sale, Cafe Mila would be on the Standart distribution map.

The food festival finished at five o’clock, but stalls were packing up at least half an hour before. Then idiots were driving through at speed, with risk of injury, other idiots illegally parking on footpath, engine running, obstructing the highway.  A bus even tried to get through.

At five, allow stall vehicles through to dismantle stalls, then open at six.

Local businesses do not like the food festival as they see takings fall. This is short sighted. It brings many more people into Godalming, who see what is in the town. Maybe they will return.

I could have eaten in Cafe Mila. I did not, as there was much on offer in the street, but I did return mid-afternoon, had a drink and a cake.  I noticed although empty inside, there were many people sat outside.

A chat with Godalming Mayor, who is also the local butcher.  He was interested to hear these observations. At least as the local butcher, folks can bend his ear.

A clash, Southampton had a coffee festival on the same day.

Guildford farmers market, first Tuesday of the month.

Staycation Live, first weekend in August.

Gryphon Live at St Mary’s Church Farncombe

August 12, 2016
Gryphon

Gryphon

Excellent concert Gryphon at St John’s Church. Medieval and Renaissance influenced rock.

Although in Farncombe, venue easy to get to as the church is opposite the station.

6-piece band, multi-instrumentalists, brass, acoustic guitar, bass, percussion, violin, various wind instruments some the like of which I had never seen before, keyboards, vocals.  Quite an impressive line up and performance.

Sound balance and quality was at times a bit iffy. They could have done with a better sound system.

Before the concert started, I was having a conversation sat outside the church with one of the band, the guy who plays keyboard and many wind instruments, of the Canterbury music scene, of influences, of who played, bands like Soft Machine and Caravan. He was part of the scene, and said he was a chorister in Canterbury Cathedral. Then in our teens and early twenties.  Lucky because we had exposure to excellent music.

How do we come across music or literature worth knowing about, worth listening to, worth reading?

At university The Who, Fleetwood Mac, Led Zeppelin played. But also Soft Machine, Caravan, Spirogyra, experimental groups. I was exposed to a wide range of music, often what friends played in their rooms, music I would not otherwise have encountered. Much I did not at the time necessarily like, but it entered the psyche. We were part of what became known as the Canterbury music scene.

I was surprised how far people had travelled to the concert.  I thought I has come a long way from the other side of Guildford. Guy catching the train was heading to Reading, before the concert someone said they had come down from Hertfordshire, during the interval I overheard someone say they had come down from Yorkshire, a young guy with a skateboard had come from Holland (I assume not by skateboard).

Looking at the table, the organiser has an impressive range of acts playing at their little church. I suggested book Jewelia, Steve Lawson, Imogen Heap.

Talking to the band, I suggested they release on bandcamp.  I also suggested they play at Staycation Live next year.

I picked up all three of their albums, Midnight Mushrumps, Red Queen to Gryphon Three, Gryphon. Three of the band kindly signed.

Sole Luna wood-fired pizzas at Staycation Live

August 9, 2016
Sole Luna wood-fired pizzas at Staycation Live

Sole Luna wood-fired pizzas at Staycation Live

Pizza off the pizza truck Sole Luna at Staycation Live in Godalming.

I designed my own.

Excellent pizza cooked in a wood-fired  oven. On a par with Home Slice in Covent Garden.

Expensive, but that is due to high pitch fee of £600 for the weekend, which then gets passed on as high priced pizza. Which in turn leads to lack of custom, and they do not come again.

Far better model. Charge a reasonable pitch fee, charge no more than a fiver for the pizza. Once pitch fee covered, 10% of additional sales is donated to Staycation Live.

Hopefully Sole Luna will be back next year, but that is going to depend upon intelligent pitch pricing.

I recommended Sole Luna try the street food market every Wednesday in Winchester (they would be the best stall there) and Godalming Food Festival (an annual event first Saturday in July).