Archive for the ‘Guildford’ Category

Autumn Equinox in Guildford

September 21, 2018

Autumn Equinox when length of day and night are equal, following days are shorter the nights longer. It felt like winter solstice.

Train to Gatwick cancelled, next train running several minutes late. No announcement on station what passengers should do to get to Gatwick. Display on platform not working, has not been working for months. Help machine on platform not working. I was the one who advised passengers to catch next train to Redhill, then change for Gatwick. No announcement on train. Neither wifi nor usb charging points working.

Shocked to find the North Street market has shrunk. Fruit and vegetable stall at the top was two stalls, one for vegetables the other fruit, now only one stall. Cake and bread stall gone. Cheese stall gone. A new stall, Syrians selling falafel, but not a street food market, they will not do well. Not good news market is collapsing. I have no idea why.

Excellent lunch as always at Bamboo Shoots.

Passing by Surrey Hills Coffee, as always empty, three women sat at a table. The last time I was in Guildford and passed by, not a single customer.

No one happy at the laughable video produced by Guildford Tourist Information Office, come to Guildford, we too have Costa and Starbucks, two grotty shopping centres with same crap chains as every other grotty shopping centre, a department store on the verge of bankruptcy.

Ben’s Records does a better job promoting Guildford than either the Tourist Information Office or Experience Guildford.

As always excellent cappuccino at Krema.

Advertisements

How not to promote Guildford

September 16, 2018

The Visit Guildford promotional video.

Visit Guildford or Guildford Tourist Information Office as everyone knows it, has produced a little video which is a classic of how not to.

Guildford is market town located in Surrey where the River Wey, now a navigable waterway, breaks through the North Downs. It owes its importance as a useful stopover en route from London to Portsmouth. Dating back to the 16th century, with a 13th century undercroft, the Angel Inn is the sole remaining coaching inn. It is also where Lewis Carroll lived, and Archbishop Abbott who was instrumental in the commission of the James I Bible.

Not that you would learn any of this from the video.

The video is to encourage shopping, in itself not good as we live on a finite fragile planet, and wanton consumerism is one of the many ills destroying the planet, as unfortunately is mass tourism.

The video features and please do not laugh, two coffee chains, tax dodging Starbucks and Coco-Cola owned Costa serving undrinkable coffee, a couple of indie coffee shops, little better than the chains, one sit outside and enjoy the smoke, the other nearly always empty, two grotty shopping centres, one sterile and empty, same crap chains as find anywhere and everywhere, boarded-up units and devoid of people, a department store that is on the verge of bankruptcy, a cake stall selling factory cakes.

One of these shopping centres Tunsgate Quarter with boarded-up units and no people, other than those using it as a useful short cut is a Potemkin village потёмкинские деревни in all but name. That Tunsgate Quarter is forced to have a relaunch says all you need to know.

Is this likely to attract people into Guildford? Sadly not. On the other hand a good chance it will deter visitors to Guildford. Why visit a town for the same crap corporate chains find everywhere, selling the products of sweatshop factories or serving undrinkable coffee?

Contrast with old part of York, Hull Old Town, North Laine in Brighton. Quirky indie businesses, character, interesting architecture. In North Laine, not a chain to be found. Which is why these destinations draw people in.

Sincil Street in Lincoln, running parallel to the High Street, once a thriving market, indie businesses, was between 10 am and 4 pm busier than the High Street with its corporate chains, until the local council and local Coop destroyed the street under the guise of redevelopment.

There is little point in visiting any town, for the same crap chains that can find anywhere and everywhere.

So how should they have done it?

Feature the River Wey, narrow boats on the Wey Navigation, Alice by the River Wey, the grounds of Guildford Castle, Jeffries Passage, Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage, fruit and vegetable stalls at the top of the street on the Friday and Saturday market in North Street, Celtic baker on the farmers market in the High Street on the first Tuesday of the month, Ben’s Records and Krema Coffee House in Tunsgate, cheese shop in Chapel Street.

It is not only the video, the Tourist Information Centre has repeatedly tweeted to promote Cosy Club, a corporate chain fake 1930s bar, so fake it a parody of fake. Is this appropriate, promotion of Big Business that drains money out of the local economy?

Contrast with Chichester where the local tourist information promotes local cultural events, reasons why may wish to visit Chichester.

Leeds and York, Independent Life, art, culture, the independent scene. Not the usual ghastly freebie magazine that goes straight in the bin. Independent Life also publishes The Little Black Book Leeds, now vol 3, a guide to the independent businesses in Leeds. If one does not exist, I assume in the pipeline a similar guide for indie businesses in York.

Experience Guildford places a levy on all businesses in Guildford, something struggling indie businesses cannot afford and from which they see little if any return. Subsidising car parks at Christmas when they are full to overflowing, a fake beach by the River Wey, are examples of how this money is wasted.

Question how Experience Guildford spends public money, blocked from accessing their twitter feed. What are they trying to hide, what does it say of public accountability of how public money is spent? Deeply disturbing to say the least.

The irony is, Ben’s Records are doing more to feature Guildford as the destination to visit than those squandering public money.

Nuisance caused by Deliveroo serfs

August 17, 2018

Whilst sat outside Krema in Tunsgate overlooking Guildford Castle grounds, unacceptable and illegal behaviour by Deliveroo serfs.

Late afternoon, Deliveroo serf illegally parked his white scooter MJ15 UXK outside the gate to Tunsgate, illegally left engine running, keys left in the ignition, whilst collecting his delivery from Pho, a fake Vietnamese street food restaurant.  No removal of crash helmet, which is also not acceptable.

On return he was told he was illegally parked. He turned very nasty, his arrogant response, I am working and can park where I like.

Complaint lodged with manager of Pho. Not my problem, they work for Deliveroo. Wrong, they are picking up your deliveries.

Forty-five minutes later, a repeat performance, a different Deliveroo serf parks scooter LF15 XKC illegally, no removal of helmet, a delivery for Pho. At least he turned off his engine.

Walking down the street, walking into a restaurant without removing crash helmet is intimidating for staff and diners. It shows lack of respect and courtesy to staff and diners.  There should be a standing instruction to all Pho staff, any Deliveroo serf walking in wearing a crash helmet is asked to immediately leave and not allowed to return until crash helmet removed.

Tunsgate had been pedestrianised, now that the roadworks have finally been finished, people can sit and relax outside overlooking the Castle Grounds. They do not want this nuisance, especially pollution from an engine left running.

Deliveroo serfs on scooters in Guildford are now a major nuisance, they are driving through pedestrianised streets, wrong way down one way streets, ignoring traffic lights. A few months back, I was amazed no accident the behaviour of one of these idiots, the complex road junctions outside the bus station.

The two who were illegally parked at Tunsgate, both were learners, the first not English the second unknown. Are they insured for using their scooters to carry out a business?

Both Police and Guildford Borough Council need to clamp down on these Deliveroo serfs as it is getting out of hand.

V60 at Krema

August 17, 2018

V60 at Krema in Tunsgate overlooking Guildford Castle grounds.

A guest coffee from Clifton Coffee, which I had picked up from Coffee Lab a couple of weeks ago, sourced from Congo.

 

Afternoon in Guildford

August 17, 2018

A pleasant warm afternoon.

New compostable cups at FCB kiosk at Guildford Station, a step in the right direction, but in the absence of bins for compostable waste, what to do with the cups?

Lunch at Bamboo shoots. No brown rice today.

Walking past Surrey Hills Coffee empty. Literally empty, not a single customer. The lad who was there when they relocated not seen for a while, maybe moved on to somewhere better.

V60 at Krema, with guest coffee from Clifton Coffee, which I had picked up from Coffee Lab a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst sat outside Krema, a moron, a Deliveroo serf, illegally parked his scooter, illegally left engine running, keys left in the ignition, whilst collecting his delivery. No removal of crash helmet, which is also not acceptable. On return he was told he was illegally parked. He turned very nasty, his arrogant response, I am working and can park where I like.

Complaint lodged with manager of Pho. Not my problem, they work for Deliveroo. Wrong, they are picking up your deliveries.

Forty-five minutes later, a repeat performance, a different Deliveroo serf parks illegally, no removal of helmet, a delivery for Pho. At least he turned off his engine.

There should be a standing instruction to all Pho staff, any Deliveroo serf walking in wearing a crash helmet is asked to immediately leave and not allowed to return until crash helmet removed.

Tunsgate had been pedestrianised, now that the roadworks have finally been finished, people can sit and relax outside overlooking the Castle Grounds. They do not want this nuisance, especially pollution from an engine left running.

How not to social media

August 9, 2018

The social media consultants

Two girls dropped off a leaflet for social media. Only problem it showed they were clueless on social media.

Some fliers they had not even bothered to cut out straight, showing lack of care, leaflet lacked web address, twitter account, contact number.

In the bottom right hand corner what appeared to be a carton of McFries.  Of what relevance? What was this trying to say, they supply a McShit service?

First impressions count.

Needless to say those who received a flier were singularly unimpressed.

Classic example of how not to social media.

I decided to do a little digging.

Their website dreadful. I would not say the worst I have every seen but down there with the worst.

It has irritating popups that keep popping up every few seconds.  They were a bit like the targets that pop up on a firing range, in your peripheral vision, then they are gone.

Their writing is awful gushing style like a tui flight magazine guaranteed to annoy.

One of the worst examples a blog on what it is like to work for  company.

An example of crass advice. Need pictures of people. We know we exist in the Narcissist world of selfies, but why do we need pictures of people? A dating site, yes, a profile, yes, otherwise no.

If I wish to know about people I wish to see and chat with them face to face, to interact. I will visit visit a coffee shop or roastery to taste the coffee, but chat with the people too.

Guildford farmers market

August 7, 2018

Another very hot day.  Coolish before ten, half an hour later hot.

Thoroughly disgusted to see turkey stall on the market with turkey and turkey sausages sitting on their stall, not refrigerated. Sitting on cold packs will make not a jot of difference.  Ambient temperature close to if not exceeding 30C.  Ice in a glass melts within minutes.

One stall had bottles in water in a box with large blocks of ice. The ice melted within an hour.

Food and hot weather do not mix. Where were the Environmental Heath Officers? In this hot weather they should be patrolling all food markets.

If this is what we see in public, what happens behind the scenes?

What is is market waiting for, a major outbreak of food poisoning, for people to die?

Farmers market a synonym for quality is a myth they like to project.

I would not buy from many of the stalls. Fresh, quality produce, on many this is not the case.

Fresh produce wrapped in plastic, sweetcorn with dry papery outer leaves which should be lush and green.

Cupsmith coffee stall with open hessian sacks of roasted beans. If this lack of respect for coffee beans then avoid.  I have had the misfortune of trying both the tea and the coffee, neither are good.

Spoilt for choose these days for excellent coffee roasteries there is no excuse for buying low quality coffee.

Locally if looking for coffee beans, then visit Krema in Tunsgate (next to Ben’s Records).  For tea, Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

Very disappointed  have again failed to have a stall on Guildford farmers market, especially as the market lacks and needs a speciality coffee stall from a local coffee roastery.  In the meantime Horsham Coffee from Krema.

Not to say there is not quality on the market.  Wholemeal bread off Celtic baker, cakes off a stall, excellent sweetcorn off the stall where Secrett’s used to have a stall, plums, strawberries, apples and chilled apple juice off the apple stall.

Guidelines have been produced on food handling, but they are meaningless.  Meat, fish and cheese has to be as in any shop, in refrigerated units.

Winchester has an excellent cheese stall, a refrigerated stall. In the hot weather he knocks of early as impossible to keep the cheese cool and it would have to be thrown away.

From where to obtain excellent cheese? Cheesemonger in Chapel Street? Direct from the farm?

I had a chat with one cheese stall. Raw milk, not pasteurised? No. Milk has many microbes, these are what makes the cheese, gives it character. Pasteurisation does not make the cheese ‘safe’ as cheese ideal breading ground for microbes. Kill off the microbes and have to add a culture. Far from making the cheese safe, grant the opportunity for pathogens that otherwise would not get a look in. And the cows? Those black and white bulk milk producers, feed in one end, watery milk out the other. Totally unsuitable for quality cheese production. This is sadly to reproduce on the farm industrial cheese production. The only difference scale and lack of mechanisation.  Contrast with artisan cheese producers in France, milk straight into a wooden bucket, cheese left to mature on wooden planks.  Maybe that is why French produce excellent farm cheeses that command a  premium price.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Passed by Surrey Hills Coffee twice, on both occasions empty.  Passing by a second time, coffee grounds for the garden.

Why do more coffee shops not put the coffee grounds outside for passers by to help themselves? Maybe something to be encouraged.

V60 Japanese iced coffee sat outside Krema. A little disappointed compared with their cold brew.  Maybe not suited to Ethiopian coffee. Maybe needs a single origin Colombian, or better still Panama Geisha. I have offered to bring in beans from Burundi to try.

Apple stall had saved me a chilled apple juice. Drank and bought a second to take home.

Passing the ginger ale stall, a cold ginger ale.

Cold ginger ale, like cold brew coffee, very refreshing on a  hot day.

Two girls dropped off a leaflet for social media. Only problem showed they were clueless on social media. Some fliers they had not even bothered to cut out straight, leaflet lacked web address, twitter account.  Classic example of how not to social media.

The market is to go plastic free next year. A step in the right direction which is long overdue. It needs to be rigorously enforced, offenders barred from the market.

V60 Japanese iced filter coffee at Krema

July 27, 2018

Today a hot day, not as hot as Thursday when it hit 35.1 C, but still a very hot day.

Did I want cold brew? No, I would have V60 Japanese iced filter coffee, and showed how to make it.

Ratio of water to ice 1:1. Half the usual amount of water, the other half as ice in the carafe. As the hot coffee drips through instantly chilled by the ice.

Served in an ice cold glass out of the fridge.

Not cold brew, nor the same as a V60, brewed with hot water then chilled.

Very refreshing on a hot day.

This was 50:50 hot water to ice. May wish to try a ratio of 3/2.

Brewed with a Kenyan single origin from Horsham Coffee.

Possibly better with a high Q grade Colombian, or better still Panama Geisha.

Last word to James Hoffman.

 

Afternoon in Guildford

July 27, 2018

Another very hot day. Though not as hot as yesterday when 35.1C.

Stopped at FCB kiosk cappuccino Origin guest coffee.

I learnt FCB are going to set up their own coffee roastery, to which I was invited to visit.

Lunch at Pho, fake Vietnamese restaurant, a pleasant day and can sit outside.

Service at Pho is not poor, it is non-existent. A very long wait, maybe half an hour before anyone came to take an order. They could at least have brought a drink. In the top coffee shops in Athens it is the norm to bring ice cold water as soon as take a seat.

Order taken, another long wait before food arrived. Drinks were not brought until food was delivered.

As eating, heavy thunder, then lightning, followed by heavy rain. To their credit, staff rushed out and helped carry things indoors. And replaced my drink.

Another long wait for bill to be brought. In the end it had to be asked for.

In gaps in the rain, dash across to Krema.

Did I want cold brew? No, I would have V60 Japanese iced filter coffee, and showed how to make it.

How not to social media

July 24, 2018

A classic example of how not to by Canopy Coffee.

Pictures posted to twitter via Instagram are not visible on twitter.

Always post pictures direct to twitter, assuming that is the reason for posting pictures to social media is wish pictures to be seen.

Scroll down the Canopy Coffee twitter feed and all that is seen is er, nothing.

It is a reasonable assumption that in posting pictures Canopy Coffee did wish the pictures to be seen, otherwise why go to the trouble of posting.

How not to use social media. Pictures posted to twitter via instagram are not visible on twitter. Always post pictures direct to twitter, assuming that is the reason for posting pictures to social media is wish pictures to be seen.