Archive for the ‘Guildford’ Category

Guildford farmers market

December 19, 2017

A hard frost this morning.

Colombian guest coffee off FCB kiosk at Guildford Station. Not as good as yesterday. What a difference a barista makes.

Walking in the High Street, two people dressed to look like Police, but not Police. On their backs, Surrey Law Enforcement. I later did a bit of checking. As I suspected, and not acceptable, the council has its own private security force patrolling the streets.

Today an extra farmers market. A Christmas market. The farmers market at the beginning of the month a fortnight ago, was not as incorrectly reported by Guildford Tourist Information Office a Christmas market.

Why does a stall have turkeys on the stall all day? This raises serious health issues, to which the local council turns a blind eye.

The honey stall, today their last market. They will not be doing any more markets. I suggested try the Farnham Maltings Christmas Market end of November, as at least it is indoors.

There is another honey stall, but not as good.

With a friend in Maplin, she bought a pair of headphones. I asked coud be brought back if faulty. The girl serving said no. This is clear breach of Consumer Protection Legislation. She then backed down, and said yes, if faulty. It is appalling the way these shops try it on.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots, honey crunch chicken.

Yesterday The Village was open. Today not. Clueless what they are doing.

I was pleased to see Surrey Hills Coffee put their coffee grounds out to be collected. I asked, did pople actually collect. They said yes.

Santander goes from bad to worse. As walk in, someone with obviously nothing better to do, can I help you? Yes, man the tills. A girl having hassle. Has lost her card, waiting three weeks and no card. Cashier, who claimed to be the manager, said address was invalid. Why not actually ask the girl to confirm whether the address correct or not, not claim the address invalid? Only when the girl created a fuss, was she then offered £50. Is this £50 every day? In which case, why not say so? In Halifax, £50 every day whilst waiting for a new card, £300 if take in passport. And why this hassle at cashier desk? Why not a desk for problems? Maybe manned by the jobsworth stood around doing nothing.

Coffee at Harris + Hoole. OK, but not great.

I asked of their KeepCups, was there a great take up? No. I suggested, target those who are picking up a coffee to take back to the office with a big discount. Everyone else, encourage to relax with a coffee in store. No, not aware that in the New Year Pret a Manger will be selling takeway coffee for 49p. Nor that 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away every year. Some people ask for two cups, one inside the other. I suggested check out Kaffeeform coffee cups, coffee cups made from recycled coffee grounds. Though the best use of coffee grounds is for the garden.

The famers market was busy, or at least there were a lot of people on the street. Probably Christmas shoppers, as a lot pf people on the street yesterday. I doubt for the farmers market due to complete lack of publicity at last market. And I noticed in contrast to the last market, everyone had a lot of stock left.

Guildford farmers market the first Tuesday of the month. There will be no market in January.


Afternoon in Guildford

December 18, 2017

A cold day, pockets of frost in the grass. Pleasant in the sun, cold and damp in the shade.

Stopped and had a cappuccino off FCB kisok, the excellent Colombian guest coffee from Dark Woods Coffee.

A couple of guitarists playing bottom of the High Street. They were good. No idea who they were. I picked up a couple of their CDs. I passed by later and had a chat. They said invest in high quality sound equipment. Pays itself back in a couple of weeks. I picked up two sets of their CDs. Christmas presents sorted. I recomended they released on bandcamp. I had never seen them before, though they said they have played in Guildford.

A friend had lost her bank card, or maybe been stolen. £150 was also missing. We went to the bank. The card had been used, thus stolen, or lost and found.

If the exact time of transaction is known, and the shop, One Stop in Aldershot, and the shop has CCTV, then should be possible to identify who used her card.

Phyllis Tuckwell in Farnham had sold out of their Christmas cards. In Quarry Street they still had. I wish they would get rid if their rude pig-ignorant shop manager. Always miserable and unpleasant. Always unpleasant loud music blaring out. I rarely visit the shop.

In nearby Oxfam shop, ugly Christmas cards, could not do worse if they tried. No surprise not sold.

I looked at The Village. Most of the units appear to have closed. Reality has finally set in.

Late lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Honey crunch chicken. As always, excellent.

On leaving Bamboo Shoots, it had turned very cold.

I head fo the station.

Afternoon in Guildford

December 8, 2017

A very cold afternoon. Made even colder by cold wind and wind chill.

it is official, The Village is to close, to close costing the local taxpayer £1.2 million.

To put £1.2 million in context, it cost £1 million to relay the setts in the High Street.

Walking through, as always deserted.

The ice rink being dismantled. Have they gone bust, or merely pulling out? No one knows. I am told it is busy. Not true, and if it was, why pull out? And why pull out when leading up to school holidays?

Pret a Manger are looking at how to reduce their use of disposable cups. I looked in, but no information, no reusable cups for sale, the only information, 25p off takeaway coffee if bring your own cup.

In Food for Thought, reusable coffee cups made from bamboo, that I had not seen before, but with plastic.  Or what I thought was plastic, food-grade silicone, still not good.

Co-Founder  Pukka Herbs Tim Westwel:

There is a growing interest in herbal teas and we are really enjoying being able to help bring people closer to nature through a cup of delicious organic fruits and herbs. As people become more interested in how nature can benefit our health, we feel we have a responsibility to ensure that we are also benefiting nature.

Single-use plastic is a problem for the environment and one we are keen to minimise. Our new bamboo cups are a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic cups, bringing the goodness of nature in every cup without damaging nature at the same time.

Odd, sourced from a herb company.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

When I leave Bamboo Shoots, the temperature has dropped.

Last week there was not a craft market in the Old Town Hall. Today there was. I had hoped to find the man with his poetry stall, who I talked to a couple of weeks ago, but he was not there.

Catch train at half past four, only running late

Guildford farmers market

December 5, 2017

A cold damp day, that got colder.

Missed my train thanks to barriers going down and unable to cross the line. Thirty-seven minutes wait in the cold for next reain. Train has no wifi, or at least has wifi, wifi does not connect to Internet.

Today new fare increases announced for the railways, the biggest hike in five years.

Waterstone’s marginally better choice of coffee books, but still not great.

Lots of stalls selling junk.

Many stalls either sold out or almost sold out.

Guildford Tourist Information Office becoming very tardy of late. Usually they are pretty good, but of late, erroneous information.

Today was not the Christmas market. I asked one of the stalls. No, he then told me Christmas market in two week’s time. He thanked me for reminding him, and said he only found out this morning.

Apple stall also told me a Christmas market in two week;s time.

But no information on the market.

I popped in Guildford TIC and let them know their mistake. Due care not taken as they  sent out incorrect information. I am pleased to see, they did send out the correct information later in the day for the Christmas market.  Though to be fair they were not the source of the wrong information, they simply re-tweeted it.

Turkey stall piled high with turkeys. Who is going to buy a turkey twenty days before Christmas? What are they going to do with it?

And why was the stall piled high with turkeys. Temperature was 9C. This is well outside safe storage limit for poultry. The only positive that could be said, is that in the summer, they have poultry on their stall when 30C.

Does Environmental Heath turn a blind eye when it is their own market.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

The Little Red Book of Offers, an offer at Kalm Kitchen, what used to be Glutton & Glee, hot drink, free mince pie. Con would be a better description, a tiny mince pie, what many would give away free. The girl serving looked embarrassed and apologised that is twas so time. The coffee undrinkable.

By now, even before I made the mistake of a coffee in Kalm Kitchen, very cold.

Next to Ben’s Records, a new coffee shop to open, but who?

I should have caught four o;clock train, as last Friday, caught five o’clock train. No functioning wifi on the train.

Finca El Tormento

December 1, 2017

Tormento Colombia is a single origin coffee from Finca El Tormento in Colombia.

I passed by FCB kiosk on Guildford Station on my way to catch the train. No time to stop, other than say hi. Try our guest coffee next time you pass by.

This I did next time I passed by.

The Colombian coffee was excellent. One of the best coffees I have had at FCB kiosk.

Odd though, no information on the bag apart from an interesting drawing and the name, Colombia Tormento.

A little sleuthing and I learnt the guest coffee was supplied by Dark Woods Coffee.


Castillo, Colombia and Caturra.


Finca El Tormento located at a height of 1,750 – 1,850 metres above sea level in the mountains of Southwest Antioquia is owned by Oscar Montoya Vazques.

The hand-picked cherries are dry pulped, fermented and washed, then sun dried on raised beds (parihuelas).

FCB kiosk

Guest coffee at FCB kiosk on Platform 2 at Guildford Station.

tasting notes

Citrus flavours and nutty caramel.

Northern Coffee Adventure

One does not expect a rail company to take passengers on a tour of a a coffee roastery, and yet that is exactly what Northern Rail did, to a few specially invited passengers.

During their visit, a very very special treat. They had a taste of  lot #227 from an estate in Panama. This scored a Q grade of 97, and  was sold at auction for a mind boggling $5000 per kilogram.

Synchronicity. Taf serve Ninety Plus coffee, coffee with a Q grade in excess of 90. Whilst there I had the great honour of being introduced to World Barista champion Stefanos Domatiotis. He showed me some beans that he said was from their estate in Panama. He then made me a V60 using Geisha from their Panama estate. The same estate that produced  lot #227. Was I served the same coffee? I do not know.

Afternoon in Guildford

December 1, 2017

A freezing cold afternoon in Guildford. Barely above freezing, strong north wind with wind chill made it much colder. Pleasant in the sun, but out of the sun, in the shade, in the wind, very very cold.

A long chat at FCB kiosk. Luckily stood in the sun.

Last week, as I passed by to catch the train, I was told must try their new guest coffee from Colombia. Sadly their guest coffee over the last few weeks which I was told was good, I never tried, as grinder was not working. Waiting new blades, then waiting for blades to be attached to the grinder.

The Colombian coffee was excellent. Best coffee I have had at FCB kiosk.

It also put to shame the undrinkable coffee I had at Farnham Malting Riverside Cafe, beans supplied by Cupsmith.

It also makes the point, there is no excuse for bad coffee.

This coffee firmly puts FCB kiosk at no 1 coffee spot in Guildford. Canopy Coffee iffy, very variable. Harris + Hoole been going downhill since acquired by Cafe Nero, never see the same staff twice, all their good staff have left.

There was unfortunately no information on the Colombian coffee. FCB need to make available more information, and offer for sale in 250g bags. Few will wish to buy beans in a kilogram bag.

I have done a little sleuthing. I learnt Colombia Tormento sourced from Dark Woods.

UK disposes of 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. More must be done to tackle this problem, and other waste in the coffee supply chain. What happens for example to the coffee grinds, all the milk that is wasted making cappuccinos?

FCB kiosk sell KeepCup. They also offer a discount, 30p off the price of a takeaway.

Assume commute every day, buy a glass KeePCup at £20. Pick up a coffee in the morning to drink on the train. £1-50 saved in a week. Ten weeks of commutting have saved £15. It will take 14 weeks of commuting to exceed break even.

Plastic KeepCup are light, relatively cheap, but plastic. Glass KeepCup are expensive, heavy and break when dropped. And have to be carried around.

A lady working for SWR ordered something to eat and drink, a little card tray for her drinks, even brought back her paper carrier bag for her food. Ideal person for a KeepCup, as only carrying to her office.

FCB kiosk give their grounds to a gardener.

Harris + Hoole sell KeepCup. What I do not know is if offer a discount if used for a takeaway.

Walking along the river very cold.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots. As always, excellent. Today honey crunch chicken with brown rice.

Then go home as sun is setting.

Too cold to hang around.

Caught train at four o’clock.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 24, 2017

A cold afternoon in Guildford, cold and damp, then turned very cold.

Debenhams packed, attractive girl opening the door for customers.

Was there a sale on? Christmas shoppers out early? Then I realised Black Friday.

20%, 30%, 40%, 50% even 70% off. And these were genuine discounts, not the misleading up to, which means nothing. Begs question were prices hiked before Black Friday?

The only time of the year retailers make money is Christmas.  Already before Christmas, retailers were discounting.  A dumb American import, Black Friday is killing retail.

It is not only in UK, as I noticed this time last year, it has now spread to Tenerife.

A handful of Christmas stalls in the High Street.

Well done Paperchase who have pulled their advertising from the Mail.

The Village as always deserted, ice skating rink deserted, not a single person skating.

Discounts are now being offered for skating, but lack of joined up thinking as The Little Red Book of Offers gives a better discount, either half price or two for price of one.

Contrast with Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market,  an ice rink that is actually in use. Take a day out, enjoy Winchester.

If walk in The Village from North Street,  stomach turns over from appalling stench of the fast food from one of the sheds that have been dumped on the site.

How to turn Guildford into Aldershot without really trying.

Deliveroo rates Deliveroo serfs, how fast they process an order. They are penalised if not fast enough, may not be selected for the next delivery.

That is why they are seen going like crazy from one drop off to the next, it is not only as I originally thought, the pressure of low pay.

I learnt today it also applies to the fast food joints who use Deliveroo. They are also timed, an order has to be ready for the Deliveroo serf to collect, they will be penalised if the serf has to wait.

Bamboo Shoots very busy, I wander off to Ben’s Records, have a chat with Ben.

One side of Tunsgate has been repaved. Down pipes sawn off, now simply empty into the street. The road is now higher than the pavement. When it rains, water will flood down the street. Businesses are losing business whilst the work takes place. Total cost in excess of £700,000. Why so much, the entire High Street £1 million? Apparently the cost of buying setts for the road. But would it not have made more sense to wait until work completed on development the other side of the street? It will take only one heavy lorry to damage the new pavement.

Rumour, empty shop next to Ben’s will be a coffee shop.

Let us hope a quality coffee shop, not another coffee shop selling rubbish coffee.

Glutton & Glee used to be reasonable, until bought by a catering company and given a  silly name.

In The Little Red Book of Offers, what was once Glutton & Glee, with any hot drink, a  free mince pie.

A craft fayre in the old Town Hall. Nothing of interest except one stall, a stall selling books of poetry, the stallholder familiar with the books.

Collected Poems of Arthur Rimbaud (pronounced Rambo in French), an obscure French poet, a case of synchronicity which took me full circle.

In the summer, I met a Greek-Cypriot girl in Esquires, a coffee shop I would not recommend, and she recommended I visit a coffee shop in Liopetri, a small one horse town in Cyprus, not easy to get to, which explains why no one wished to go there. I did eventually find my way there. Arthur Rimbaud mentioned in The Devil’s Cup, he had a mansion in Harar, a closed city in Ethiopia. He also for a time lived in Liopetri.

The man running the stall was fascinated by what I told him, as it was all new to him.

Bamboo Shoots even busier that earlier. No honey crunch chicken, no brown rice, no rice. I settle for prawns served with noodles. Excellent.

On leaving Bamboo Shots, temperature had dropped, now freezing

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole.  Going down hill fast since bought by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. All the good staff have gone. Each visit new faces. Today, again new faces. They used to have cookies, flapjacks, not seen for weeks. Another example of death by a thousand cuts by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. No free wif another example of death by a thousand cuts, forced to use _TheCloud, and hand personal information to a Murdoch company.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 17, 2017

A very cold day, sunny but cold.

Waterstone’s has a reasonable, though not great, selection of coffee books.

O2 has the new One Plus Five. At £500 expensive. Though half the ludicrous £1000 for an iPhone X.

An ice ring at The Village.

Not as it may seem innovation, many towns are now doing this.

Something I did not learn until later, Guildford has an ice ring (I should have known this as I used to see people carrying ice skates), so why does it need one at The Village?

Not a single person on the ice ring.

The Village opened in the summer. It has never been a success. If not a success in the summer, it was unlikely to succeed once it turned cold and dark.

September, most of the businesses had pulled out.

A couple of weeks ago, more new businesses.

Looking today, I do not know whether these new businesses have already puled out, but few of the units were open.

But, what has now happened, sheds have been dumped on site selling junk food. What are they trying to do, turn Guildford into Aldershot? It is also unfair to the existing businesses who have stuck it out.

I walk by a stall on the market that sells coffee beans. I have yet to ever see anyone buy from this stall. The beans therefore must be old. I looked today. Anonymous plastic sacks, no information on the beans, no roast date. There are better places in Guildford from where to buy coffee beans.

Always buy coffee beans from a reputable indy coffee shop or from a reputable coffee roaster.

The stall also sells tea. This I did not check out, but if I wanted tea, I would buy from Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage where the guy is an expert on tea.

It was Bamboo Shoots where I was headed for lunch.

No honey crunch chicken. I had prawns with brown rice. Excellent.

Top of High Street, Steamer Trading, up market expensive kitchen shop.

Did they have coffee making gear? Not that I could see, Nespresso machines, and surprising, domestic espresso machines. I would not recommend either

A lady asked could she help me. Yes we do have, She took me to a corner, where V60, aeropress, though not Chemex or Japanese syphon.


I may have just made a train, but decided cappuccino at Harris + Hoole. High staff turnover since being taken over by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. Death by a thousand cuts. Today, once again new faces I have not seen before. Caffe Nero has now managed to lose all their good staff.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 10, 2017

A cold afternoon.

Lunch in Debenhams? Roast pork? Roast turkey, and not yet even December.

Does Waterstone’s have Coffee Art, London Coffee? Surprising yes Coffee Art, surprising no London Coffee.

Usually Waterstone’s has no books on coffee, today a reasonable selection.

But why promote Where To Drink Coffee which is rubbish?

Also promoting a book by Nick Clegg. Why would anyone wish to buy a book by Nick Clegg?

An example of all that is wrong with Waterstone’s.  I can wander around and be spoilt for choice and yet what they promote is crap.  Why? Because they are paid by publishers to promote the crap.

Pomegranates on the market at reasonable price, three for two pounds. There must be a glut.

As always, excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Earlier in the week shocked but not surprised to find Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage closed.

It used to be an excellent restaurant one of the few places in Guildford worth eating, but of late gone down hill, destroyed by the staff.  The decline noticeable that Bamboo Shoots has seen no jump in business following the closure.

I let Tourist Information know it is closed.

Pop back to the market, another stall, four pomegranates for two pounds, even better. I buy two for a pound.

Quick coffee in Harris + Hoole.

Strange how no one  was aware of National Cappuccino Day.

Cold and much colder once sun going down.

Guildford farmers market

November 7, 2017

A cold wet miserable day.

A dosa. A mistake as I was having lunch later.

Half a loaf of bread and a couple of cakes off Celtic Bakers.

Tempted by tomatoes.

A couple of flapjacks off new stall selling flapjacks.

Honey from honey stall.

Apples off apple stall.

A few days ago an article claiming apples left rotting on the trees, lack of pickers, would be worst when we left EU.

It sounded like typical scaremongering from Leave campaign.

I asked were the apples rotting on the trees?


A few trees yes but in general no.

Thus as I suspected the post a few days ago of apples rotting on the tress was garbage

What of the workers and impact of leaving EU?

A mix of migrant workers from Roumania, a few from Poland and the rest from UK.

The migrant workers move around, crops are seasonal.

Could not see any problems obtaining migrant workers once leave EU and saw it as scaremongering by Leave campaign.

Lunch at bamboo Shoots.

Coffee at Harris + Hoole. It was not very good and I did not enjoy. I did not enjoy last Friday either.

I asked, has the coffee changed since the summer or is it me?

No, the coffee has not changed.

It is me, I have been spoilt by being served coffee in Athens last couple of weeks by champion baristas.

Only one person serving and making the coffee. Death by a thousand cuts by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. Contrast with several people serving in Krema in Farnham.  The difference being Krema an indie coffee shop, not owned by a  greed-driven corporation.