Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category

Heighington

March 25, 2017

Pleasant spring day in Heighington.

Frost at six in the morning, a lovely warm sunny spring day.

Garden flowers

March 25, 2017

For about a week, spring flowers have been out in the garden.

Frost at six in the morning, a lovely warm sunny spring day, sat in the garden reading Standart issue 6.

Cappuccino in Makushi

March 21, 2017

Last week, a lovely sunny warm spring day. Today, first day of spring, bitter cold wind blowing.

Today a different barista, moonlighting from Coffee Aroma.

Makes the point, little independent coffee shops cooperate.

Makushi is one of the coffee shops that has Standart, an excellent  quarterly journal devoted to coffee culture.

I would have liked to have been able to borrow a copy to read, bring back, but no can do.

Back down in the town, I popped in Coffee Aroma and picked up a copy of Northern Independent Coffee Guide.  Served by the same barista who had served me in Makushi.

Bomber Command Memorial

March 19, 2017

Bomber Command Memorial, at the top of Canwick Hill, overlooks South Common, with stunning views across the Witham Valley, over Lincoln, and on a  clear day, as today, over the Trent Valley.

The site is quite eerie, consisting of a central spire, which represents two wings of a Lancaster Bomber, and concentric walls.

The spire and the walls are made of rusting iron, or maybe steel, I assume to represent Lincoln once the city of heavy industry, with foundries, sadly long gone, skilled jobs replaced by low paid temporary McShit jobs.

The spire, not apparent until close up, is hollow.

The walls, are covered in names, cut into the walls both sides, the names of airman who died during World War Two. I was told 56,000, though I did not count.

Not yet open to the public. Today was an Open Day. I was an invited guest.

Also on site and as yet unfinished International Bomber Command Centre and a wooden shed.

Inside the shed, a long table half way down one side, with half a dozen veterans signing books and limited edition prints and answering questions.

One end serving tea and coffee, the other end a few books for sale.

Signed limited edition prints of paintings by one of the veterans.

I was surprised by the number of people there.

Everything run by volunteers, all pleasant and helpful, with two exceptions.

A man thrust a bucket in my face and more or less demanded I put in some money. I had no money, I expected an empty site.

Whilst looking at one of the books, I was told they are for sale not for looking at. He then bragged to an associate that he worked in a charity shop where he tells customers that books are for sale not for looking at.

One thing is needed, and hopefully there will be, when the site is officially open, a way up from South Common, otherwise a long trek round.

There needs to be path and steps leading up from South Common to the Memorial. Then if on the Common, can walk up, or, if at the Memorial and a pleasant day can combine with a walk on the Common.

Lincoln Street Food Market

March 17, 2017

Wednesday was a lovely warm spring day, some parts of the country almost reached 19C.

Today 9C, strong cold wind, with windchill factor much lower, then it started to rain.

Begs the question, why hold a street food market this time of year?

Would not late spring, summer or early autumn be a better time?

No publicity the days before.

Large generators beside the stalls, very noisy.

Why not an arrangement where plug into power sources from lampposts, as they do in other towns?

Awful music blasting out from many of the stalls, which was very unpleasant.

It was only later, I learnt there were stalls the other side of the level crossing, by then too late. Nothing anywhere to say more stalls.

I did not try any of the stalls, and none seemed busy, too cold. I did though have a cappuccino off The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Organised by a travelling circus, which explains why not very good.

Godalming has an annual street food festival, that puts this to shame.

And if true what I was told by a local coffee shop, Lincoln BIG are paying to bring this travelling circus into town, then not good.

Lincoln should  organise its own street food festival, invite stalls.

Though on the other hand, looking at their competence or lack thereof on running markets in the town, then maybe not.

The street food market will run Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Through the busy pedestrianised High Street, an idiot driving through in a van, even though not permitted, with one hand on steering wheel, the other holding a mobile phone. Several pedestrians nearly run down.

Coffee Aroma is harassed for leaving tables and chairs outside after four o’clock, on the other hand blind eye turned to traffic driving through a busy pedestrianised street putting pedestrians at risk middle of the afternoon.

Cappuccino in Makushi

March 15, 2017

A lovely warm sunny spring day.

A walk up Steep Hill, then on the way back down, coffee at Makushi.

Different to last week, different barista, different beans.

Makushi change their beans roughly every month.

Interesting conversation with fellow coffee drinkers and the barista.

Makushi roast their own single origin beans and unlike undrinkable coffee from Costa, the beans are not over-roasted and burnt.

Barista recommended I try The Plant Room in Brighton. Not a coffee shop I am familiar with.

Other places to try coffee in Lincoln:

  • Stokes on High Bridge
  • Coffee Aroma
  • The Little Bicle Coffee Shop

One to avoid, Angel Coffee House.

Henry’s tea room, marginal.

Had I had time, I would have popped in The Cheese Society and picked up some cheese.

Plenty of people wandering around, High Street was packed.

Cappuccino in Coffee Aroma

March 9, 2017

Lovely sunny spring day.

A few minutes stroll by South Common.

Today was the first day I have ever found St Swithin’s open. Only because a group was holding a meeting. When I passed by later, it was not open.

Deressing to see how the inside of the church has been ruined, and that they allow the malignancy of Alpha to enter the church.

Quick chat at The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop.

Followed by an excellent cappuccino at Coffee Aroma.

Coffee Aroma has been ordered to remove its tables and chairs by four in the afternoon. A pedestrianised street through which motorised traffic is allowed after that time.

So concerned are useless jobsworth at Lincolnshire County Council, who lack the common courtesy to put a name to e-mails, with public safety, they have ordered Coffee Aroma to remove their tables and chairs by four in the afternoon, but not so concerned to actually stop motorised vehicles, cars,  vans, huge lorries, to drive through the pedestrianised city centre.

As I was drinking my coffee, sometime between 1215 and 1220, white van man drove through, with Chub Community written down the side of the van, but ok, he had his hazard lights flashing.

Cappuccino in Makushi

March 7, 2017

A pleasant sunny morning to walk up Steep Hill.

High Street follows Ermine Street, an old Roman road, as does The Strait, as does Steep Hill.

Makushi is well located, half way up Steep Hill, but I prefer to drop in on my way back down.

Excellent cappuccino.

Today a different barista, noticeably different coffee.

On my way back down, Cornish yarg from The Cheese Society.

A new coffee shop opening at the bottom of The Strait, it what until recently a deli,and before that a second outlet for The Cheese Society.

Neither did well, lack of footfall. Wrong location for a coffee shop, beginning of the climb, not halfway up.

Advertising for baristas. Hmm, if opening a coffee shop, that should have already been sorted. If know nothing about coffee, forget it, there are sufficient number of outlets serving bad coffee.

Pleasant spring day in Heighington

March 4, 2017

A little after midday, a pleasant sunny spring day in Heighington.

Pleasantly warm in the sun. Crocuses and daffodils were in flower. Snowdrops have been out for at least a month.

Heighington is a village of stone cottages, narrow lanes, lined by stone walls, with tiles on the walls, not far from Lincoln.

If you want excellent pork pies, then visit the local butcher, hidden at the back of the Spar shop. He is famous for the quality of his Lincolnshire sausages.

Butcher and Beast is an old pub with an open fire, or was. It serves food, or did. The menu board outside contained blank sheets of paper. A couple of years ago, the food was overpriced and not very good. It now seem to have improved.

A small stream, Heighington Beck flows through the village, with a disused mill a little way upstream. There was a tea room by the Beck, but sadly this has closed.

Ruddock’s to close after 163 years in business

March 4, 2017

Ruddock’s and Stokes on High Bridge are permanent features of Lincoln High Street.

Ruddock’s, a printer and a shop, the shop a bookshop, stationary, art supplies, upmarket pens, located in the top half of the High Street in Lincoln.

Or was, the printing business is to remain, the shop is to close.

Ruddock’s is to close after 163 years in business. A family business, the plan is to close in April 2017, 113 years in the present location, prior to that a little further up the High Street.

Henry Ruddock blames the lack of parking.

That is not the problem, the High Street is busy, there is footfall on the street, the problem is people are not passing through the door into the store.

I am sorry to see Ruddock’s close, but sadly not surprised, it lost its way years ago.

Lack of car parking in the town centre is simply an excuse. Yes, there is a problem of traffic congestion, solve that by improving public transport.

I see a High Street packed, but I see Ruddock’s empty.

But I would agree most of the developments within the city centre have been to the detriment of the town centre. For example the ugly high rise buildings, destruction of Sincil Street and the market, allowing motorised traffic through a pedestrianised city centre.

Ruddock’s used to be an excellent bookshop. Ruddock’s lost their way when they stopped selling books, though difficult to compete with on-line and Waterstone’s selling cut price best sellers, deals that are not offered to indie bookshops. Walk in now, and it is newspapers, magazines and rubbish.

Though first floor is a specialist art supplier.

Henry’s tea shop upstairs, is nicely done out, has atmosphere, but the coffee when I tried was not good. These days if open a coffee shop, ok it is a tea shop, you have to employ top class baristas and take a pride in the coffee you serve, not leave it to someone who makes the sandwiches. And how many passing by know there is a tea shop upstairs?

The tea shop will remain open or for the time being, but it is difficult to see how this will work if the shop is to close.

The tea shop is also placed at a competitive disadvantage when Starbucks and Caffè Nero dodge tax.

Ruddock’s also sells high quality pens, and I do not mean trendy rubbish Ted Baker as they promoted on twitter.

Montegrappa The Alchemist

Montegrappa The Alchemist

One of the rare shops I have found selling Montegrappa pens though not their top range, for example The Alchemist pen.

Lincoln will now have lost all its indie bookshops, or soon will have.

Readers Rest closed a couple of years ago. A great loss, and still missed.

Harlequin is going, driven out of business by a greedy landlord hiking the rent.

BookStop Cafe remains, local authors and second hand books, located in an undercroft beneath a Norman building with stunning view down Steep Hill.

Business rate hike is going to kill off many more indie businesses.

Development of Sincil Street has done an excellent job of driving out indie businesses. The street is now derelict. It used to be between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon busier than the High Street.

What is left? The same boring chains as seen in every town.

And where we do see indie coffee shops like Coffee Aroma, harassment from the County Council for leaving their tables and chairs outside in a pedestrianised area.

Yet what we see sadly is not only Lincoln, planners who care not for the local town, lack vision, lack understanding of town centre planning, and too often in the pocket of greedy developers.

When I attend a planning meeting and find a planner arguing on behalf of a greedy developer, dismissing any local objections, often quite well founded local objections, blatantly lying on the presentation, then I know something stinks.

And we only have to look at the results.

That is why time and time again, when English visit small towns across Europe, and still find the butcher, baker and indie bookshops, the historic centre free of traffic and unspoilt, they ask, why is my town not like this?

Libreria Palazzo Roberti

Libreria Palazzo Roberti

In Bassano del Grappa, a small town north of Venice nestling in the foothills of the Alps, we find traffic free streets, little shops, three indie bookshops, one of which is in a former palace where Napoleon once stayed.

Lincoln City Council, shedding crocodile tears, wringing of hands, not us guv.

Of course they are at fault, they are the planning authority hand in hand with Lincolnshire who are the Highways authority.

A classic case study in bad town centre planning.

And then have the gall to blame Lincoln for being a historic town. That is its attraction, there is nothing else of attraction. Or do they think people visit to admire the ugly buildings, to shop in the same shops as found elsewhere?

I fully back Henry Ruddock in his damning critique of the City Council.

Lincoln would make a case study in unimaginative, bad town centre planning.

Where I would disagree, is in the comments on car parking.

In the last decade or more we have seen ugly high rise buildings, each one uglier than the other.

Brayford is an eyesore.

This was an area of old warehouses and mills. This area could have been restored, to create an attractive and vibrant atmosphere, ground floor indie coffee shops and other indie businesses, first floor small businesses, design studios, hi-tech, top floors living accommodation.

Look to Bristol for an example.

A couple of years ago Sincil Street was thriving, between ten in the morning and four in the morning, it was busier than the High Street.

Now it has been blighted by development and sky high rents. And if look at the hoardings, more High Street chains, where once we had indie businesses.

Look to North Laine in Brighton, three streets each longer than Sincil Street, associated side streets, always busy, not a single chain, all indie businesses.

We see harassment of Coffee Aroma for leaving their tables and chairs outside, rather than deal with the real issue of stopping traffic through a pedestrianised area and delivering by handcart and trolley, as the norm in Europe.