Archive for the ‘Guildford’ Category

Love Brownies Guildford revisited

November 22, 2019

Last week I passed Love Brownies Guildford in Tunsgate, splashed across the window, Now Open, only they were not open.

An example of Guildford surrealism, Alice down the rabbit hole.

Tuesday Love Brownies Guildford were rumoured to be open.

Were they? Er yes and no.

A handful of people there in the afternoon, but not open. Open at five, but only to the media.

If tried to attend the media event, ordered out by Yorkshire man. How to alienate the locals, a classic example of how not to a launch event.

The success of their exclusive media event not a mention in the media.

Friday try again.

Yes were open, only one customer, three staff.

Find clean table. One table dirty, another piled with dirty dishes.

I settle for a stool by a shelf in an alcove. Furthest away from the door. The tables were conveniently arranged by the door, a blast of cold air every time the door opened. The tables were jammed far too close together, difficult for staff and customers to pass once it started to fill up.

I asked of the brownies. No one knew what was the difference, chocolate, double chocolate or triple chocolate.

But a moot point, as only had double chocolate.

Cappuccino ordered. What size? There is only one size, the correct size.

A very long wait before order derived, and this is an empty cafe, though it was slowly filling.

I moved away from the dirty table where I had first sat, and sat by a shelf. Banged my hand on the overhang. I banged my head again when I stood up.

Eventually a cappuccino arrived, all froth and foam with chocolate dumped on top. A brownie the size of a postage stamp.

I take the cappuccino back, say no chocolate, query the size of the brownie. It was a fraction of those on show.

I was told these were vegan, and yet I had pointed to one when ordered.

Tiny samples of a vegan brownies were on display, smaller than a sugar cube. These were ok. Unusual as vegan cakes are usually dire.

I could not say the same of what was brought to my little alcove. Very cloying. Nowhere the quality I have had at Coffee Lab when they were supplied by an independent bakery.

I questioned the cappuccino. All froth and foam, too hot, all the mistakes one could make.

It looked disgusting and was not good.

No surprise, cheap catering supply coffee from Caffe Society, clueless on coffee those making the the coffee. Not to be confused with Society Café a coffee shop serving excellent coffee.

When I queried the coffee, the usual defence for all ills, we have been trained.

An SCA qualified trainer? I doubt.

Ambience pleasant, bright and airy.

Two guys serving were pleasant.

For how long will they be giving away free brownies for birthday? Or will these free brownies be the sugar cube size samples?

Once again makes the point, cannot train baristas. Not that I would call them baristas, as to do so would be to insult baristas.

I asked of the cost of the espresso machine. Refused to say. I guessed less than £5,000. I hit the ballpark.

A good machine will be in excess of £10,000.

The size of a postage stamp brownie, anywhere else would be a sample, was in a little cardboard box.

At a time when we are trying to cut waste, reduce packaging, Love Brownies Guildford serving postage size brownies in a little cardboard box. And we thought we had a problem with supermarkets.

The brownies are shipped from Yorkshire.

Today I talked to someone who bakes quality cakes, including brownies. They said not economical to ship from Yorkshire, not unless using low quality cheap ingredients.

Though on the other hand if serving postage stamp size portions at at least pushes up the margins.

Award winning brownies?

The award, Great Taste Award, a meaningless award that gets slapped on anything and everything, for which pay to obtain. No guarantee of quality.

To charge £5-50 for cheap low quality undrinkable catering supply coffee and a mediocre postage stamp size brownie is blatant rip off.

On display a glossy Surrey magazine. Not worth reading. Not sure if display or for sale.

Nothing of quality for example Cereal, Ambrosia, Drift, as find in quality coffee shops.

In a addition to mediocre brownies and poor quality coffee, what could only be described as overpriced gifts, make the whole operation look like a poundland or poor man’s version of Caracoli.

This type of tourist tat may sell to American tourists in a tea shop in Ilkley,  I cannot see it selling to locals in Guildford.

If wish to buy honey, local produce, try the farmers market in the High Street or the excellent cheese shop Partisan  in Chapel Street.

Only half a dozen tables, which is not viable.

In Athens ice cold water brought to the table. It is called service.

In Love Brownies Guildford had to ask.

What beggars belief is fools and their money easily parted have paid £50,000 for a franchise, for what is in essence a cafe serving poor quality coffee with a very limited choice of cakes.

I am reminded of the Monty Python sketch, spam, spam or spam.

In Love Brownies Guildford, a choice of brownies or brownies or brownies.

They could have simply opened a cafe serving mediocre coffee and sourced cakes locally for a fraction of the price.

Or save on the franchise, invested in decent equipment, hired a skilled head barista, sourced quality coffee, and still had change to spare.

These days on a hiding to nothing opening a coffee shop serving poor quality coffee, as have the tax dodging corporate chains serving bad coffee. And in a town saturated with coffee shops, does nothing to add to the coffee scene.

In Guildford, if love coffee, there is Krema, ironically only a few doors away from Love Brownies Guildford. Quality coffee, a choice of cakes not restricted to brownies, and the brownies if you want brownies are at least a decent size, not a postage stamp size.

After my visit, the coffee left untouched apart from a sip, a decent coffee in Krema.

Love Brownies Guildford located in Tunsgate opposite Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre.

Love Brownies Guildford

November 19, 2019

Friday last week across the window of Love Brownies Guildford in big letters Now Open. Only they were not open.

Welcome to Guildford surrealism.

Rumour was open Tuesday.

Late into Guildford, nevertheless stopped and had an excellent cappuccino off FCB kiosk followed by excellent late lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

Passed by Love Brownies Guildford late afternoon, my only reason for visiting Guildford. They appeared to be open, maybe.

No, not open, open for media at five.

Now a little odd, open only for invited guests, not a good way to get your coffee shop known.

At the very least would have thought would have offered a coffee, but no.

Five actually quite late considering the weather, most people want to be home.

I suggested if wished media coverage put out a well written press release to Surrey Advertiser and lazy scribblers will regurgitate.

Yorkshire man: I will talk to our marketing department.

Marketing department. WTF, it’s a coffee shop. He also fed me bullshit about branding.

Once people start talking about marketing and branding, they have completely lost the plot.

Nothing about the coffee, single origin, where sourced from.

Clueless too on use of social media, no mention new coffee shop opening in Guildford.

Cappuccino in Krema, gone five, maybe just time to pop in Love Brownies Guildford before the shops close.

I walked in, lady by the door, she says says yes, please come in, your are very welcome. Explains to me she did their design, and that the businesses started selling gifts on-line and expanded from there.

Good design is all well and good, but at the end of the day, it is all about the coffee.

I ask of the coffee, I am pointed to the coffee counter and told ask there.

I ask of their coffee.

Caffe Society who I have never heard of. I check later, a supplier of cheap catering supply coffee, thus no interest in quality coffee.

These days no excuse whatsoever to source poor quality coffee. In Yorkshire I am aware of Dark Woods, North Star, The Blending Room, to name but three.

Local to Guildford, in Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, London, there are many excellent coffee roasteries, far too many to name.

I learn Love Brownies a chain of nine coffee shops based in Yorkshire, by the end of the year 19, or maybe that was the target for a year.

The franchise scam. Minimum investment of £50,000, £25,000 up front. Fools and their money easily parted.

The woman I was talking to knew nothing of Brew & Brownie Bake Shop in York. Very odd when a very popular coffee shop in York with emphasis on brownies, especially when Love Brownies based in Yorkshire and ship their brownies down to Guildford every day from Yorkshire.

The set up is like a watered down version of Caracoli, coffee shop cum deli with overpriced gifts, nether one nor the other. One reason Carocoli went bust.

The woman I talked had no idea of Caracoli.

Surely you do your homework?

I ordered a cappuccino. Asked what size, Er, wrong question, the correct size. I wandered around to find it was waiting for me.

It then turned very unpleasant. The woman who I had been talking to said I could not have it just as the young guy who had made it handed it to me. All very embarrassing for the young guy who was trying to hand it to me.

I felt sorry for the guy. Allegedly trained and once again made the point cannot train baristas. It was all froth and foam, half an inch above the cup carpet bombed with chocolate. The only time I have seen a cappuccino this bad was at a dreadful coffee shop in Lincoln, The Old Mouse House Cheese Shop & Coffee Bar at the top of Steep hill.

No, no, no, this is not how you make and serve a cappuccino.

If this young guy wishes to learn how to brew coffee, then please go and work in a decent coffee shop.

I never did get to try the coffee, but from appearance, it was undrinkable, as at that point Yorkshire man ordered me out, reiterating it was a private function and my presence was not welcome.

Welcome to Yorkshire hospitality. How to win friends and influence people.

Yorkshire man not doing the fools and their money easily parted for the franchise any favours by almost frogmarching out a potential customer.

Any new coffee shop would welcome people to their launch event, as word of mouth these days essential.

Contrast with the launch of Blue Bear Bookshop in Farnham on Saturday. Everyone very welcoming, did their best to answer questions. But then they were not a franchise scam, it was a lady passionate about books, who always wanted to own a bookshop, and serving excellent coffee and local cakes.

I never did get to try the coffee, but from what I saw I would hazard a guess undrinkable coffee. And the rows of syrups indicated undrinkable coffee.

In which case what is the point? If want disgusting undrinkable coffee we have the tax-dodging corporate coffee chains.

Today if opening a coffee shop, have to be passionate about coffee, know about coffee, and serve quality coffee.

And for those who appreciate quality coffee, we already have in Tunsgate, Krema. And I cannot see any of their clientele drinking bad coffee.

Love Brownies Guildford located in Tunsgate opposite the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre.

Afternoon in Guildford

September 27, 2019

Bus, then train to Guildford.

Morning sunny, but not for long. Not raining, then a downpour the like of which I have rarely seen, torrential rain I could not even cross the road to catch the bus.

A couple of hours late into Guildford.

I was pleased to see top fruit and vegetable stall on the North Street market using compostable boxes for some of their produce.

This is a standard Guildford must enforce not only for this market, but also their farmers market.

If stalls are not plastic free, they do not get a pitch, as simple as that.

Honey crunch chicken in Bamboo Shoots. No brown rice, no rice. I settled for rice noodles.

To library, climb to top floor to briefly use computers, lift out of action.

Motorcycle delivery serfs are still riding through Tunsgate a pedestrianised street.

Cappuccino in Krema. They need to change from Horsham Workhouse. I suggest Brazil Columbia blend from DT roaster, or whatever Caravan had as espresso blend at Brighton Coffee Festival or the Origin I had last week at Marmadukes.

Cut through Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. As always empty

Looked in M&S. Did not stop. Usual piss-poor service, tills not manned.

Zero fat Greek yogurt an oxymoron.

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole. Would have been perfect but for the beans.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Guildford

August 16, 2019

Cool wet afternoon in Guildford. Raining all day.

GWR Reading to Gatwick train, water flowing from disabled toilet through the carriage, no working wifi in next carriage.

At station before catching the train, I mention hassle yesterday, train Oxford to Reading running late, have to catch the following train. I am told expect problems on return. Why? No trains, lack of train crew, on holiday.

But we are told train fare rise of almost 3% in January is justified because train companies are improving their service. No one who uses the trains has witnessed an improvement, what they do see is a rail service in chaos with no guarantee will get home at the end of the day.

I like trains, but what I like are clean, reliable trains, not overcrowded, which run on time and are not charging extortionate rail fares. We need to shift people out of cars onto public transport but this is never going to happen until we improve our atrocious rail and bus service.

Market not very busy. French cheese stall not there. Last time when not there he denied he was no there.

I see an Infinity Foods lorry. I look in Food for Thought. Do they have problems returning Faith in Nature 5 litre containers? No, but then they do not use Infinity Foods, only for food items.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Closed for next two weeks.

Surrey Hills Coffee six customers. A record. When I passed later, only two.

Passing earlier Harris + Hoole on my way to the market it was busy. I let one of their baristas know how was Brighton Coffee Festival.

Cappuccino in Krema. I then try a V60 using Kenyan coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters. I was curious how it compared Brighton Coffee Festival. Good but not as good.

Long chat with Ben in Ben’s Records. Rain had by now eased off.

Guildford farmers market

August 6, 2019

Weather forecast was cool with rain. Not only did it not rain, it turned hot in the sun.

Small producers should set high standards, if not, what is the point, I can obtain low standards in a supermarket. Many take a pride in their produce, too many do not.

Coffee that is very poor quality. The only reason they get away with it is that the average Joe or Jo is used to bad coffee.

For coffee try Krema, excellent coffee, plus they sell coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters. They will also advise on what is best suited on home coffee making and no not a Nepresso machine, no not a home espresso machine, they will never produce a good cup of coffee, a French press, not really.

I had hoped Coffee Gems would have a stall. Excellent coffee.

Cheese, quality cheese, comes from raw milk, grass fed cows, not pasteurised milk, not the black and white bulk milk producers.

If want quality cheese, check the cheesemonger end of Chapel Street also the French cheese stall on the Friday market in North Street.

On farmers market in Lincoln not only cheese made from raw milk, also raw milk on sale.

A chat with a chocolate maker. Craft chocolate is a meaningless designation, we see the same with coffee, gourmet coffee, artisan coffee, meaningless designations.

Looking at the chocolate stall, only one chocolate would I call a quality chocolate, the rest had emulsifiers, additives, adulterated chocolate, and that is even before I try the chocolate.

Chocolate

  • cocoa mass – sugar – vanilla
  • cocoa mass -cocoa butter – sugar – vanilla

The purists will not allow vanilla, others say ok if enhances the quality of the chocolate. A moot point.

Always check the list of ingredients.

Quality chocolate will be bean-to-bar. Anything that is not bean-to-bar paying a lot of money for someone to buy in chocolate and turn into bars.

Asked why chocolate on the stall had soy? Soy destroys rain forests, likely to be gmo, most probably unless organic, sprayed with glyphosate. It could be worse. it could be palm oil. Green and Black chocolate is padded out with palm oil. Emulsifiers are used instead of cocoa butter. Why, because it is cheaper.

EU permits emulsifiers, USA does not.

Chocolate, high quality single origin bean-to bar chocolate has many subtle flavours, no quality chocolate maker would dream of adding additives. This would be like adding syrups to a good coffee.

Chocolate has more flavour profiles than coffee. Coffee has more flavour profiles than red wine.

We are going backwards. Chocolate wrapped in plastic. Why? Chocolate used to be foil wrapped, then wrapped in paper.

To claim cannot as small business is nonsense.

It is indie coffee shops that have been leading the way on reusable cups compostable cups, on direct trade not the fair trade scam which is little more than a marketing scam to make the smug middle class feel good. Being small, is being nimble.

What asked these questions, lady manning chocolate stall turned very unpleasant and refused to answer.

Excellent beer from the beer stall next to Silent Pool Gin stall. I bought three bottles, one chilled to have with my lunch. My only criticism, the bottles are too small, should be 330 ml not 250 ml.

A year ago I was assured the market would be plastic free this year. It is not, if anything it has got worse.

Persuasion is not working. It should not be individual stalls, the paella and dosa stalls set high standards. If stallholders are not cooperating and clearly they are not, then rules have to be set and enforced. No plastic. If not plastic free, then will not be allowed on the Guildford farmers market. If stallholders whinge its is costing them, tough. If their businesses model is not valid they should not be in business. It is not acceptable to externalise their costs onto the environment and the rest of society.

Guildford is the only farmers market where I see what should normally be in a fridge 0-5 C sat on a stall at 20 C or higher. Any stall wishing to sell meat, poultry, fish and dairy products must have refrigerated stalls. No refrigerated stall then not permitted on the market.

Last month Guildford declared a Climate Emergency. Empty words unless followed by action. Markets in Guildford should demonstrate best practice not worst practice, set a lead for others to follow.

And please get rid of the ice cream van at the bottom of North Street with engine running belching out toxic fumes at the height of toddlers.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots with a bottle of craft beer off the market, but 250 ml too little.

Passing by Surrey Hills coffee five people, when I passed by later one person. I cannot see how they survive.

Walking back down the High Street to Tunsgate, craft beer stall said they would return on Saturday. I was surprised as I was not aware there was a market on Saturday. A vegan market. No publicity, no mention by any of the stalls.

As always, excellent cappuccino at Krema.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 2, 2019

Coolish start, turned hot when the sun came out.

Not as many people around as last week, but market busier.

There must be a glut of strawberries. Two boxes of strawberries for a pound.

Harrs + Hoole empty when I passed by.

Coffee stall gone from market. Maybe on holiday, no great loss if gone.

Surrey Hills five people, one staff.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Possibility of chess unplugged at Bamboo Shoots, maybe charge a small fee with a meal included or a break for a meal and player order from the menu, six boards maximum as six tables. Details yet to be decided.

1/3 pint at Growlers & Cans. Mentioned beer stall in Oxford Covered Market well worth a visit.

Looked in Guildford tourist information office. They used to be helpful, not any more.

They knew nothing of the cycle hire scheme, were not in the least interested in the problems it will cause when rental cycles get dumped around the town causing obstruction.

The website and a downloadable brochure for these bikes sets a new high in corporate PR bullshit.

Visit Guildford funded by public money. Is it being wisely spent when used to promote corporate chains at the expense of local indie businesses? Question how the money is spent and blocked on social media. Accountability of a public body?

Cappuccino in Krema.

On Your and Yours Radio 4 lunchtime an M&S executive explaining why they close stores, Easy, they are losing money. And why is M&S a failing retailer, it provides piss-poor service.

It gave pause for thought what this guy was on when he talked of creating an inspirational retail experience.

No, customers wish to shop with no hassle, be able to walk in, buy what they want, walk out.

Today an illustration of why M&S a failing retailer, only one till manned in the busy food hall.

M&S Guildford Station, hot air blown onto customers as they walk into the store.

Train left on time. Nearly passed out in the heat, air conditioning not functioning, no windows to open. Luckily the train was nearly empty. I hate to think what like if overcrowded. The wifi was not working.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 26, 2019

Today hot and muggy at 24C with high humidity following thunderstom early hours of the morning, but at first felt cool compared with record breaking 38.1C on Thursday.

Once again wifi not working on GWR Reading-Guildford-Gatwick train.

Maybe I should try the impossible as suggested by GWR, e-mail them to get the wifi working.

By River Wey, electric cycles, unbelievably heavy, could barely lift. Construction indicates would be heavy. I assume must be collected at night and returned to a charging station. Download an app, scan the cycle, at least that is how I assume it works. Begs the question will Guildford experience the same problems as Berlin and Athens where cycles and electric scooters are dumped everywhere? I will have to pop in Tourist Information and ask how the scheme works. The problem, an unregulated sector, like Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

Man greeting customers at Santander, can I help you? Yes, try manning the tills. Why is customer service such an alien concept for Santander?

Duo, two guys busking at the bottom of the High Street. They were good and drawing a crowd. I bought two CDs. I wish I had stayed for a chat. Not seen them before. No idea quality of CDs. Problem is I cannot play on new laptop. New laptops do not have DVD drives, have to then buy external drive. They also have low capacity internal drives, then have to either buy external drive or as I did, open up, invalidate warranty, and install a far higher capacity internal drive. We are going backwards.

I was surprised at the number of people around. Maybe they have wisely stayed home last few days as too hot to go out and are now out and about.

People on the street, but retail collapse continues. The loss of chains we should not weep over, chains destroy town centres.

With the ever expanding empty retail space in the centre of Guildford it is highly unlikely the retail units in the Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre will be let.

The retail collapse is not helped when Visit Guildford and Experience Guildford promote corporate chains to the detriment of local indie businesses.

Market though was not busy.

Nor was Bamboo Shoots busy. After four people left, I was the only customer, though as leaving, a couple of people popped in for a takeaway.

It goes without saying Surrey Hills Coffee as always not busy, two customers, four if count two standing at the counter, two staff. Contrast with Harris + Hoole and Krema, both were busy. I am at a loss how they remain in businesses.

Popped into Growler & Cans, same as last week, not yet changed what was on the board. What I ought to have done was popped in earlier, bough a bottle of beer and had with my lunch.

I learnt the Growlers cost something over £12 to buy. I thought expensive on the other hand 20% discount if filled with beer and a reusable coffee cup will cost this or more and do no get 20% discount if filled.

The cans, no one uses, now used for decoration. Problem filling, beer bubbles up inside whilst trying to fill. If the demand exists, talking to breweries to supply filled.

I find 1/3 pint too little, 2/3 pint too much. I settled for half a pint.

The lady running Growlers & Cans knows her beers and the breweries. More than can be said for most pubs where they serve whatever crap is dumped on them by the pubcos.

Lady is tying to get free beer from Brew Dog. She was surprised when I said I was going to Brighton maybe where Brew Dog are giving away free beer this weekend.

Note: Brew Dog giving away free beer Friday and Saturday, not weekend. My mistake.

I recall in the 1960s, when Guinness used to give away free beer in Skegness during the summer. Disgusting drink.

To Krema. Cappuccino.

Last year, once the long over schedule roadworks in Tunsgate were complete, Krema had tables and chairs in the street. Not this summer. A hot day, but far hotter inside than out. I wished to sit outside but no tables and chairs. Council has ordered their removal. Yet another example of how local councils and worthless jobsworths are killing local businesses.

Then to Waitrose. Good deed of the day, lent a girl my power bank and cable. Explained where she could obtain from. But the problem seemed to be her connection. Asked could she remove the battery. Answer in the affirmative I suggested get a stand alone battery charger.

I ought to have given her my e-mail address asked her to contact me and I would have looked up for her.

No train at Guildford Station, or at least a train but not going anywhere, no train crew, train finally leaves over twenty minutes late with next train following four minutes behind. Guildford to Reading cancelled.

Yesterday trains were not running. Too hot, risk of lines buckling in the heat, overhead power lines sagging.

And just when think cannot get any worse, East Midlands trains are once again on strike.

Climate Emergency, we need people to ditch their cars, walk, cycle, use bus or train, but an uphill struggle when public transport so bad.

V60 how not to Harris + Hoole Guildford

July 19, 2019

I have not visited Harris + Hoole for over a year. I stopped going when they were taken over by Caffe Nero.

It was then death by a thousand cuts, cost cutting, insufficient staff, lost all their good baristas, coffee no longer supplied by Union, now Caffe Nero.

Today popped in Harris + Hoole with a friend. Only place open after six.

Not been in for at least a year, not since acquired by Caffe Nero. It has got far far worse.

I asked for a pour over. Surprised to find on offer, V60. I wish I had not.

Beans at least a month old (beans this old should be used for training), barista is forced to use a pouring jug, no swan-necked kettle. Penny pinching cost cutting tax-dodging profiteering Caffe Nero refuse to supply the correct gear.

It goes without saying the V60 was not good. I should have had a cappuccino.

I would hasten to add, no fault of the barista, who was clearly embarrassed by the poor quality beans and lack of a swan-necked kettle.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 19, 2019

A change in weather, cool and rain all day.

Train on time, ticket office open. But Gatwick train always packed on a Friday. At least I used to think on a Friday, people going away for a weekend break, but seems to be packed everyday.

A world record for Surrey Hills Coffee, seven customers. Seven! I doubt will see beaten in a long time.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Excellent 1/3 pint at Growlers & Cans. Each week a different collection of craft beer on tap. Not open until four on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Open at midday on Friday. Closed at ten. Closed on Monday.

Was in two minds, Growlers & Cans midway between Canopy or Krema. I derided on Krema.

Young guy I had not seen before. But I should not have to dictate no chocolate in cappuccino. But otherwise excellent cappuccino.

Raining all day. It had stopped, but as I leave Krema stared rain. I cut through Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre, as always deserted, apart from a few people with same idea as myself, cut through because raining.

Sterile shopping centre not helped by loud music blasting out.

A Nespressso coffee shop. Why would anyone go into a coffee shop fora Nespresso? Maybe they do not, as empty. Maybe they give away free samples? Maybe one day I will ask. But I would not want even if free.

Redber have pulled out. Crap coffee so no great loss. But why a shop and stick a stall outside?

I decried to look in an upmarket optician. Curious how they survive. Pig-ignorant staff, ignored as chatting on mobile phone. I walk out. Contrast with Specsavers, where always politely greet as walk in.

More and more shops are now failing in Guildford. That is the High Street. Top of High Street, side streets and North Street far worse. Top of High Street is starting to look like Aldershot. OK, nothing can look like Aldershot.

Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping shopping centre with boarded-up shops and zero footfall can only go downhill. With growing number of empty shops in prime location in High Street and pressure on greedy landlords to drops rents, Tunsgate Zombie shopping centre is going to decline even faster as retailers will pull out and no one will be foolish enough to move in, as even with free rent would still be losing money.

Plastic Free July, plastic obscenity that is M&S gets worse. Shrink-wrapped coconuts, bananas rotting in plastic bags, and just when think cannot get worse, they are giving away plastic copies of their produce. Quite why anyone would wish for plastic replicas of M%S goods is beyond me. More totally unnecessary plastic waste. Another massive retail fail by a failing retailer.

Pop in Harris + Hoole with a friend. Only place open after six. Not been in for at least a year, not since acquired by Caffe Nero. It has got far far worse. I asked for a pour over. Surprised to find on offer, V60. I wish I had not. Beans at least a month old, barista is forced to use a pouring jug, no swan-necked kettle. Penny pinching cost cutting tax-dodging profiteering Caffe Nero refuse to supply the correct gear. It goes without saying the V60 was not good. I should have had a cappuccino.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 12, 2019

A hot afternoon in Guildford. Too hot, an afternoon for sitting in the shade of the trees in the garden.

Ticket office not open, guard on train unable to sell a ticket as machine not working, have to queue at Guildford Station to buy a ticket. I could have bought a ticket on my return, but then would have missed the train.

Given grief if board a train without a ticket, on the other hand made difficult to purchase a ticket.

Walking along the River Wey into the town centre a solar-powered narrow boats silently gliding through the water. The roof was covered in solar panels.

Watertone’s on the market. Maybe more than meets the eye. Mexico standoff to force a lower rent.

Greedy landlords are destroying our town centres. They would rather see empty shops than rents that reflect current retail reality.

I am no great fan of Wastersone’s, on the other hand if it closes, no bookshops left in Guidlford.

When in Oxford I was told by Blackwell’s that WHSmith sell quality magazines. I did not believe, but looked in WHSmith. No, they do not, racks of rubbish.
Never mind, hopefully will find what I want in Magazine Brighton.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

As always Surrey Hills Coffee empty. One customer, two staff. I am at a loss how they remain in business.

A beer at Growlers and Cans.

Cold brew coffee at Krema. Too much ice, watered down.

On leaving Krema, looked in Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. As always empty. Made worse by loud music.

Redeber appear to have pulled out. No great loss, crap coffee.

Popped in Partisan, cheesemonger at end of Chapel Street. I advised they stocked coffee from Coffee Gems. Far better coffee than what they stock from Surrey Hills. And even if Surrey Hills were better than mediocre, why stock when could buy more recent date from their coffee shop?