Archive for the ‘Lincoln’ Category

BeerHeadZ Lincoln

August 26, 2019

I had been told by two ladies of a new bar, BeerHeadZ in East Gate.

As I was in the vicinity for the Lincoln Steampunk Festival I decided to check it out.

Very much like Growlers & Cans in Guildford, main difference more than twice the size, lacked the selection of cans and bottles, a much larger selection on tap.

The guy behind the bar knowledgeable and helpful.

I settled on 1/3 pint of Pekko limited edition Ashover Brewery. I enjoyed it, ordered another 1/3 pint.

One long table, cf Growlers and Cans, then smaller tables by the wall. Handy 13A sockets on the wall with usb charging sockets.

In design, it could have been a coffee shop.

What I did not like and hope they get rid off, a widescreen TV and quiz nights.

Occasional live music.

For people who appreciate good beer and do not like pubs.

Located off Bailgate, a little way down East Gate.

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 24, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day two of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter.

Although a hot day, it was still a pleasant walk up Steep Hill.

Before heading up the High Street, I enjoyed a smoothie off a stall I had never seen before outside Lincoln Central Market.

Looked in Crafty Bottle, a craft beer shop on The Strait. What time did thy close? Five. Madness, thousands of thirsty visitors to the steampunk festival and they close at five.

Stalls in Castle Hill, cheek by jowl, net result, cannot get near the stalls.

Not happy to pay to enter the Castle Grounds for what is normally free. I decided on a season ticket.

Highly recommended the slow roast pork off the Redhill Farm stall. Quality street food.

Why no craft beer stall? I asked of a Lincoln Castle stall. They had, but at ambient temperature. The guy running the stall offered to go down to the cellar and bring up a bottle. When he opened, most of the contents foamed up out of the bottle. Not his fault, I suspect yeast left in the bottle.

He opened a second bottle, same problem but opened a fraction to enable the gas to escape.

Sat outside the Castle Cafe very hot, no umbrellas.

What was appalling was an overflowing bin, the only bin with people coming from all directions in the Castle grounds.

Lack of bins, lack of frequency of emptying bins. And why no segregation of the rubbish? Compostable, recyclable and general waste.

Anyone fancying tea, coffee and cakes. Do not waste half an hour in the queue for disgusting tea and coffee. Take a walk out of the West Gate, cross diagonally to the left to The Lawn, coffee shop and roastery, where will be served far superior tea and coffee by baristas.

The Lawn also had a couple of stalls. I would suggest encourage stall for a nominal fee, and encourage more stalls.

Gary Nichols author of The Imaginarium gave an excellent talk on creativity, An artist who works with camera, not a photographer.

He travelled afar for one coast scene, then photos of different rock formation, different sky, all built into one image.

Another, a girl in a flowing dress, the dress becomes the pool of water.

Colin Edmonds author of Steam Smoke and Mirrors, has a third book out soon.

Two years ago, in the yard of a schools, excellent street food. Last year, something of a washout. This year at the school and a car park, mainly rubbish, And no surprise when learn organised by Lincoln BIG not the steampunks. Soonest Lincoln BIG is dissolved the better.

Many of the steampunks the same question, why is everything in the locality closed?

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 23, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day one of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter over the next few days.

Today possible to walk through the grounds of Lincoln Castle, as can do every day, but next few days, will be charged the same entrance fee as though walking the Castle walls, simply to visit a few stalls. This is not acceptable and something the steampunk organisers need to resolve. Those who have a stall in the Castle grounds pay a lot of money for their stalls and a barrier is then created to deter those wishing to visit their stalls. It also hits local businesses either side of the Castle entrances

Not many steampunks around, but next for days will be very many.

Bailgate, Steep Hill, The Strait, five o’clock nearly every single business, shop, tea room, cafe, closed, many would have closed at four if not earlier. Sheer madness, biggest steampunk festival in the world, brings in thousands of people, people with money in their pockets, and nowhere open to spend that money.

For visitors a few recommendations.

For coffee avoid the chains and their undrinkable coffee. Walking up the High Street

  • turn left before The Stonebow, Coffee Aroma on the right
  • through The Stonebow, a little further up the High Street, Madame Waffle on the right

For quality beer forget the pubs, pick up a bottle or two of craft beer.

  • on the left in The Strait, Crafty Bottle, craft beer and a bottle opener

For gear no better than

  • The Strait, J Birkett
  • bottom of Steep Hill, antique shop

Cappuccino at 200 Degrees Lincoln

August 22, 2019

Size in coffee matters.

When offered a choice of size it shows no understanding of coffee.

When offered a size that is big, it is not offering value for money, it is offering bad coffee.

To have a sign outside a coffee shop offering big, is simply embarrassing.

And no, never serve a cappuccino with chocolate.

There is only one size for a cup of coffee. The correct size.

At 200 Degrees, a flat white is served in a cup for a cappuccino. The cappuccino is served in a size that is too large.

Not the fault of the baristas, it is the company that is clueless on coffee. Instructing the baristas how not to serve coffee.

Nor does one add Robusta to coffee. A cheap nasty species of coffee that tastes disgusting and has none of the subtlety of Arabica. The best coffee is always Arabica, not cheap commodity Arabica, high quality Arabica.

Since opened in the spring, tables have been added in the street. Kudos to 200 Degrees for making these tables No Smoking. Other coffee shops please take note.

Easter farmers market Castle Hill

April 20, 2019

Easter Saturday I passed through Castle Hill farmers market outside Lincoln Castle on my way to Chow Down travelling circus street food festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle then returned.

The quality of the food on the farmers market was higher than that at the Chow Down street food festival which was a grave disappointment. A vegan stall, fish, cheese, fresh produce, meat, bread, cakes, pies, craft beer, mushrooms, honey, strawberries.

I picked up five tomato plants, different varieties off an organic stall, and a jar of local honey.

A long chat with a mushroom stall, also tried their excellent mushroom soup.

I was curious how the oyster mushrooms were grown.

in Brighton, coffee grounds are collected from Small Batch, mixed with straw, and used to grow oyster mushrooms, which are then supplied to the local restaurant trade, and mushroom growing kits to Small Batch.

I suggested the mushroom grower tried. He buys the straw already with the mushroom spores. He could try mixing the straw with coffee grounds.

A fresh produce stall, only the fresh produce sweating in plastic bags. An organic grower should know better. Even worse, salad leaves in plastic bags.

Off a cheese stall Lincolnshire Poacher made from unpasteurised milk and raw milk.

Anyone worried abut drinking raw milk, yes there is a risk, a very low risk, there is near zero risk cheese made from unpasteurised milk, but for those concerned about food risk, the risk is several hundred times higher eating from a bag of salad leaves. The leaves are broken and damaged, juices ooze about, a hot spot for dangerous microbes to flourish.

Raw milk is excellent with muesli.

I was pleased to find the strawberry guy. I first came across him two years ago. Excellent strawberries. I picked three boxes of strawberries.

Loaf of bread off the bread stall, off a different stall, a date slice, again excellent.

Redhill farm have a stall. Though I cannot quite see the point when they have a shop in Bailgate.

As I was leaving, two bottles of craft beer. One I saved for later, one I opened and enjoyed.

Easter street food festival Lincoln Castle

April 20, 2019

Chow Down travelling circus Easter street food festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.

A pleasant walk along Minster Yard running south side of Lincoln Cathedral.

People enjoying the sun on the grass on the east side outside the Chapter House.

Passed through a farmers market in Castle Hill, with a mental note to return later, but first the street food festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.

Long queue to get in, £3 entry fee for what is usually free access.

Inside packed.

Dogs are usually welcome in the Castle grounds. Not today. Not acceptable no dogs. No street food festival I have a visited has barred dogs. But then can usually access and walk through the Castle grounds for free.

£3 entry fee, £5 for French fries, £3-10 takeaway coffee.

Recently a new shed has been built at the West Gate. Usually manned. When queried why build a new shed which is no longer manned, told only manned when pay to gain access to Castle grounds.

West Gate closed for Chow Down which hits local businesses either side of Lincoln Castle. Something Bailgate Guild must raise.

A problem for disabled, and possibly illegal. A car park at The Lawn, a ramp for easy access. West Gate closed.

Claimed to be largest street food festival in the country. Not true.

Street food market in Lower Marsh, South Bank street food market, Godalming street food market, Street Food Picnic in a park in Guildford a couple of years ago, all much larger, all far better street food.

The burger at the Guildford Street Food Picnic, grilled on a charcoal grill, served with a side of new potatoes.

Claimed 25% of the offering being either vegetarian or vegan. I did not see a single vegetarian stall let alone a vegan stall.

Claimed craft beer breweries from across the UK will be attending so you can sample some of the finest beers the country has to offer – whether it be draught or in cans.

Really? Where were they?

A craft beer stall, but nothing to say what was on offer. Same true of the beer tent. What was really weird, what was being served behind a partition to block sight of what was being served.

Later I had an excellent local craft beer off the farmers market outside.

Chow Down yet another travelling circus. A couple of weeks ago, a travelling circus of disgusting junk food in the the High Street.

Yes, Chow Down better than the junk food in the High Street but it would have had to have been pretty disgusting to be worse. Not a high bar to exceed.

They also appeared to have minimum environmental standards. Stalls using recyclable containers. Though then let down with no obvious bin for compostable waste. My burger served in a card box went in general waste. Only later did I see a bin for recycling. But saw no bin for compostable waste. I saw a grand total of two bins, with one young man going round collecting the rubbish ignorant people had tossed on the ground.

Chow Down also had better food offering than the disgusting offering at the Lincoln Vegan Festival a couple of weeks ago in the Drill Hall, though vegans and vegetarians would have been very disappointed by what was on offer.

I expected to be spoilt for choice. I was not.

I settled for a burger. It was good, but I have had far better. Dirty Organic Burger in Brighton, burger from street food festival in a park in Guildford a couple of years ago (and it was charcoal grilled and came with a side of new potatoes).

A cappuccino off Laynes Espresso coffee stall using Dark Woods Arboretum espresso blend. It too was good, far better than usually get at such events, undrinkable coffee served from a van and better than the undrinkable coffee served in the Lincoln Castle cafe which is to insult visitors, but not in the same league as Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle.

And on a hot day, why no cold brew coffee? A very refreshing drink on a hot day.

Nor were the waffles on a waffle stall in the same league as Madame Waffle.

Laynes espresso claimed the Chow Down travelling circus was curated, in other words they have selected the best. If this was curated, I hate to think what it would have been if not.

If this is the best the North and Midlands has to offer on street food, then a poor reflection of street food culture in the region.

Not last year but the year before, Steam Punks had a far better street food offering.

I was there lunchtime, the Castle grounds were packed, and yet what was noticeable the food stalls were not busy.

There was better food on offer at the local farmers market outside the Castle in Castle Hill, from where I was also able to pick up an excellent local craft beer

After returning to the farmers market, where I found better food on offer, then walked down Steep Hill.

Drunks spilling out of the Magna Cart were blocking the street.

If Lincoln is to host a street food festival, then do not invite a travelling circus, organise own street food festival. If stalls not of quality, then do not invite again. For example, South Bank street food market has regulars, plus a couple of pitches for guest stalls.

Follow the example of Staycation Live in Godalming (underwritten by the local Town Council). Host in the Castle grounds a weekend of live free music in the summer, Lincoln BIG or the community fund that hopefully replaces Lincoln BIG as Lincoln BIG not fit for purpose underwrites, performers have their expenses covered, sell albums, and not only music, also drama and poetry, a collection for a worthy cause, street food, quality street food, around the periphery and dogs welcome.

Free summer weekend music festival in the grounds of Lincoln Castle, street food, finish at 2000 to give time to pack up in daylight, then continue in the evening in the town, for example Coffee Aroma street party, jazz with pizza from clay oven at Caffe Portico.

Extinction Rebellion Lincoln

April 18, 2019

Mail on Sunday saw a ludicrous feature on Extinction Rebellion, they were deluded, they wished to take us back to a fossil free dark age.

No, they recognise we face a Climate Emergency, that a fossil free future is our only future.

London, key points were taken. It was not until the third day BBC started to report.

Police have been deployed to arrest peaceful protesters. Would they not be better deployed to deal with knife crime?

Arresting people is pointless, and on dodgy legal grounds. For every person arrested, two more take their place.

Nothing learnt from Civil Rights protests in US. Arresting people, more take to the streets.

In Algeria and Sudan, the people have taken to the streets, faced down oppression, kicked two brutal dictators out of office.

In Lincoln, on Day 4, a small gathering under a tree in the High Street.

Were they there days before, I do not know.

One ignorant man shouted abuse, hit out at the disruption in London.

That disruption is as nothing when London floods due to rising sea levels.

Extinction Rebellion have taken direct action as a last resort, for far too long our corrupt politicians have been in the pocket of big business, giving the go ahead to fracking, to Heathrow expansion, subsidies to oil industry, go ahead for open cast mining.

Direct action is the only action that has ever changed anything.

It will cost far more not to address climate change to sit back and do nothing.

Protesters in Lincoln were calling on Lincoln City Council to declare a Climate Emergency, as many councils already have, to halt the Western Growth Corridor.

Activists need to seize control of the local Town Hall, to end the one-party state in the pocket of the local coop and big business, follow the example of Madrid, Barcelona and A Coruña, open to public participation, network across Europe with other citizen-controlled Town Halls.

Lincoln and Lincolnshire have an appalling bus service. Try getting a bus to anywhere after 1900 in the evening.

The pedestrianised High Street is not. Lorries drive through any time of the day. No enforcement action, local council and police turn a blind eye.

There is a ban between 1000 and 1600, but no one takes a blind bit of notice.

There should be a ban 24/7, emergency vehicles only. Lorries park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart and trolley. The norm in Europe

Maybe they will, but the protesters should have sat down on High Bridge and blocked the High Street.

Ban wood burning stoves from the city.

It beggars belief we still build new build with no solar panels on the roof.

We need local area power distribution networks, owned and controlled by the local community, into which feed renewables paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price. Surplus generation fed to other local networks via a publicly owned National Grid. Any ‘profit’ either fed back into the system or used to fund local community projects. Electric cars provide a nighttime base load.

Avoid any corporate chain coffee shops, enjoy specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic in an indie coffee shop. In Lincoln that would be Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle. Reusable coffee cups glass Keep Cup or bamboo ecoffeecup address symptoms.

The planning application for a drive-thru Costa must be opposed. No one who loves coffee would be seen dead in Costa. More traffic. At a time when we should be reducing our dependency on the car, an application for yet another drive-thru. Local Coop once again acting for corporate chains whilst at the same time destroying Sincil Street. Those who love coffee relax in Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Brighton has Hisbe. Lincoln needs a zero waste store.

An animal diet, apart from being nutritionally dense thus better for our health, is environmental sound, grass fed animals are part of the natural cycle, improving the soil acts as a carbon sink.

We need to re-wild.

We have to drastically reduce our emissions of carbon. The longer we delay, the deeper the cuts.

Children are going on strike on Fridays. They question why their future is being destroyed.

We need a Green New Deal.

Read This Changes Everything.

Hacks at failing local rags The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo failed to cover the protest.

Asobu Stokes at The Lawn

April 16, 2019

An unusual coffee brewer, a mix of pour over immersion, also functions for immersion cold brew.

Unlike V60, no skill required, grind the coffee, pour in hot water, top up as necessary, leave for a couple of minutes, press red button to release the brew into the lower chamber.

The brewed coffee will be slightly cloudy due to a fine metal mesh filter not a paper filter.

A minimum volume of water due to part filter part immersion.

The resultant brew using a Rwandan coffee was good.

For the coffee shop, if no batch brew, an easy way to make a few cups of filter coffee.

For the home brewer, why waste money on a Nespresso? Set up your Asobu, whilst brewing, pour out the cereals, then coffee is ready. Not only that, the lower chamber has a screw on lid, take with you on your outing. Though if on way to work, maybe better to pour into s reusable cup, which can then used later in s coffee shop.

Ideally, a V60 at home, but Asobu a good start.

Many thanks to Mike, barista at Stokes st The Lawn for the demonstration.

IBCC one year on

April 12, 2019

Last year IBCC held an opening ceremony in freezing fog, so cold survival blankets had to be handed out.

Today, freezing cold but not as cold.

A small gathering to mark one year on, a couple of WWII Bomber Command veterans, ‘Vera’ (Lorrie Brown), The D-Day Darlings and from the media Lincs FM, Radio Lincolnshire and Look North.

The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo were invited but failed to show.

Designing cities for people not developers

April 10, 2019

What I have seen and spent what seems to be a lifetime fighting, is corrupt town halls pandering to greedy developers, fast bucks, palms greased, with result every town looks the same, the same corporate chains dominate the town centre, the same corporate chains find in every ghastly shopping centre.

This neither brings in visitors nor is popular with locals who see familiar landmarks destroyed, lose their sense of place, money is drained out of the local economy, then large chains close, go bust, expanded on debt, leaving behind desolation, as we have seen with BHS, House of Fraser, Debenhams and many other zombie companies kept afloat by their banks.

Corrupt town planners who have not a clue what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function love big development. Big development lots of money sloshing around, some of which finds its way into the wrong pockets.

A few examples illustrates failure of good town centre design and planning.

Sincil Street runs parallel to the High Street in Lincoln. A street of Victorian buildings, local indie businesses, or was. Up until a few years ago, Sincil Street between the hours of ten in the morning and four in the afternoon was busier than the High Street, the High Street the same corporate chains find anywhere and everywhere. Now Sincil Street is being destroyed, the local council acting in cahoots with the local coop, local businesses driven out, chains brought in, Victorian building destroyed.

Enter the picture Lincoln BIG and Visit Lincoln. Both are hyping the chains, it gets worse Visit Lincoln being paid to do so.

Many towns now have businesses development groups, accountable to no one, act for and controlled by big businesses, not one vote per business, based upon the size of local business tax.

Experience Guildford employs Town Rangers, no one knows what purpose they serve other than to deliver a glossy A4 newssheet to local businesses which goes straight in the bin. They also subsidise the town centre car parks at Christmas, the one time of the year when the car parks are full to overflowing.

Latest examples of Lincoln BIG, take selfies and post on instagram, install an app that has access to data on phone and if use default facebook log in access to facebook data and that of friends

Ask any local businesses what is killing them. High rents, high local business taxes. The local coop owns the properties hikes the rents, Lincoln BIG exacts a levy on top of the local business taxes. Local businesses see no benefits.

Visit Lincoln masquerades as a tourism body, acts as a quasi-PR agency, is paid to hype the corporate chains moving into and destroying the character of Sincil Street.

Fake-Left Guardian had an article describing the dire state of Sheffield. The local council responded with eight tweets, big development taking place, corporate chains listed, same chains find anywhere. The same Sheffield City Council that destroyed thousands if not tens of thousands of street trees, harassed and criminalised protesters.

Empty two-coach Northern Fail train Lincoln to Sheffield, hour and twenty minutes only starts to fill as nears Sheffield passing through small towns like Worksop, making the point, not worth visiting for corporate chains find anywhere.

One of the chains mentioned, 200 Degrees, a small coffee chain serving mediocre coffee, the same chain hyped by Visit Lincoln and Lincoln BIG.

Oh the irony, when Sheffield has a thriving coffee scene and 200 Degrees empty.

In Sheffield Union St, coffee shop, co-working space, pop up kitchen, community hub located in an occupied building, Now Then, an interesting magazine, supported by local community and local businesses, published by a not-for-profit.

Farnborough destroyed half its town centre for a superstore, an estate of social houses surrounded a grassy green destroyed for the car park. A 17th century inn destroyed for a drive-thru McDonald’s.

Wastegate, chain eateries and a superstore on the edge of Aldershot town centre, destroyed the town centre now boarded-up retail units and the chain eateries pulling out from Wastegate.

In the centre of Guildford Tunsgate Quarter, a sterile shopping centre, boarded-up units, same crap cooperate chains find in every ghastly shopping centre across the country, devoid of people. The only use, provides a handy short cut. One of the crap corporate chains Cosy Club, a fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake, Visit Guildford promoted on twitter over a dozen times.

Contrast with North Laine in Brighton, three long streets, similar Victorian street scene as Sincil Street in Lincoln, local indie businesses, butcher, baker cheesemonger, bookshops, music shops, coffee shops, restaurants, worker coops, not a chain in sight, always busy.

When all places look the same they become soul destroying, we lose our sense of place, alienation sets in.

We need to green our cities, protect our existing green spaces.

In Farnborough they are destroying the remaining green space for development, in Sheffield tens of thousands of street trees have been cut down.

City centres should be pedestrianised, delivery vehicles park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart and trolley.

Cities generate data, the data should be used as a common good. Citizens may consent to access to their data receiving benefits in return, the data randomised and made available to local businesses.

The city should support and encourage local businesses and local coops, encourage to network with each other

Citizens need to seize control of their local Town Halls, open to public participation, network with other citizen-controlled Town Halls. No more one party states.

There is not a conflict with locals and tourists. There is only conflict when lose businesses serving locals and replace with businesses selling overpriced tourist tat, when AirBnB moves in, rents are hiked, but that is a problem of over-tourism lack of regulation, rather than tourism per se.

At the time of the English Civil War, the Diggers asked the question: who owns the space? The space they were asking of was land, who owns the land?

They saw God created Man and Woman as equal, the land was owned by everyone and no one, it was a common wealth. 

The question is as pertinent today. Who owns the space, who owns the public parks, public space, the empty buildings, the data we generate?

Space is not static, something to be owned. It is dynamic, only has meaning if used, lived on, shared, enjoyed. Derelict buildings we must occupy, put to use on behalf of the community, fight the loss of community space.