Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Day in London

July 18, 2017

A hot day, not even a coolish start.

As thunderstorm expected later, half an hour in the garden, long grass cut, grass seed sown.

Too hot for London, a day for sitting in the shade of a  tree in my garden.

But then, crossing Hungerford Bridge, with stunning view down river, I thought no different to being in a city in Europe, indeed surrounded by foreigners I could be in Europe.

On arrival, a detour to Love & Scandal.  A mistake, as the falafel was not good, but the fresh orange juice was excellent.

I  learnt from a helpful Australian  woman who preferred to sit in the coffee shop than her office, that there was another coffee shop, Coleman Coffee Roasters, further down Lower Marsh, roasted their own coffee, but closed at three.

I did check. And yes, closed at three. I asked why. They said they liked their afternoons.

I also learnt, street food market every day, not as I thought Thursdays and Fridays and that it too closes at three.

On my way to Love & Scandal I passed by a bookshop. The guy remembered me and said we have a coffee book in. It was outside on a table. I looked. Of no interest. A book of recipes using coffee.

In Lower Marsh an upmarket green grocer, spread over three floors.  They serve coffee, but not Grumpy Mule which was on sale. The owner said that from Coleman Coffee Roasters was better. No coffee, not sure why. On sale teapigs which is rubbish Tetley tea,

I cut through Waterloo Station. Quicker than walking around.

Free cans of Lucozade, free Clipper tea. Three cans of Lucozade, two boxes of Clipper tea.

I had intended to have a coffee off the kiosk at the foot of the steps for Hungerford Bridge but far too hot. The fresh lemonade was too tempting. It was excellent, though I wish would not fill glass with ice.

I sat and chatted with two girls from Latin America, one from Argentina, the other Venezuela. Conversation switched back and forth between English and Spanish.

Across Hungerford Bridge, through Embankment Gardens,  across The Strand, Covent Garden, then cut through China Town into Soho.

A Chinese lady invited me into her parlour for a massage. Sorry no time.

I was after Frith Street, which took me some time to find, in the end I had to ask.

What I was seeking, once Frift Street was found, was Bar Italia, claimed to be the oldest coffee shop in London.

Bar Italia, well worth the search. Excellent cappuccino. But, wonderful atmosphere ruined by widescreen TV.

Then to Coffee Island in Covent Garden.

I was after Standart issue 8. Third time lucky, they had in stock.

Not really time for a coffee, but I decided to try Japanese iced coffee using V60.

Then dash to Charing Cross Station, train to Lewisham, DLR to Depford Bridge, then find Taylor St Roasted for cupping session.

Interesting view from the train of route I usually walk. Front carriage of train from Charing Cross fairly empty. Packed when it pulled away from London Bridge. When I alighted at Lewisham, I saw the carriages behind packed in like sardines.

This was the only reason I was in London on one of the hottest days of the year, and had treked out to Depford, a cupping session at Taylor St Roasted.

Well worth the visit.

Back the same way to Waterloo East. Something to eat in Lower Marsh. Missed train.

As I was leaving Taylor St Roasted, the thunderstorm had arrived, drops of rain as I walked to Depford Bridge Station.

Leaving Waterloo Station to Lower Marsh, it had rained, now big drops of rain.

Whilst eating, it rained, luckily stopped as I left, wet streets already drying, but flashes of lightning in the sky, no thunder. .

From the train, very dark. I made the mistake of not looking out for the storm.

I tried one of the cans of Lucozade. It tasted nothing like Lucozade. Maybe it is now nothing more than an empty hollow worthless  brand. It was disgusting. Even more disgusting than San Pellegrino, which is also disgusting. How can people drink these disgusting fizzy sugary drinks, especially when can pop in somewhere like M&S or Waitrose and find small bottles of very interesting fruit juices?

Alighting from the train, it had been raining, started raining again. Luckily a bus, and when I alighted from the bus rain had stopped.

During the early hours of the morning, thunderstorm continued, lightning, very heavy rain, but no thunder.

  • PHOTOS Day in London

Boulangerie Bon Matin

July 4, 2017

A coffee shop  cum fancy cake shop in Finsbury Park.

What does it say of nitro cold brew coffee when have to add syrup?

What does it say when it needs a whole page ad in Caffeine to promote the ghastly stuff?

Matter of personal taste, come and visit us.

A trek on an awful jammed-in-like sardines Tube journey from Covent Garden, when I could have relaxed in Monmouth Coffee where guaranteed a decent coffee.

A pleasant job done on the interior, but sadly not coffee to match.

Stripped back bare  brick walls out the back, at a  guess a covered in yard. In many ways though a pity as no outside seating out the back.

Interesting art by David Bage on the walls, though only interesting because copies of original works, and it is difficult to see how an unknown artist can justify prices in excess of £200 for copies of originals.  A bit like being stopped in Puerto de la Cruz by illegal immigrants and being asked for twenty euros for a  fake Rolex (which they insist is the real thing).

A cappuccino ordered. Cappuccino with coffee dumped on top, immediately sent back.

What then came not a lot better.

No cookies. I ordered a chocolate brownie. It was not good. I asked was it vegan, as that often explains why not good. No.

Food looked decorative, though nothing to say what it was, or the price.

I asked to see the coffee they used.

Italian coffee, catering supply.

When are coffee shops going to learn? If you want to serve good coffee, source quality beans, employ a skilled barista. There is no excuse for importing rubbish coffee from Italy, when there are excellent coffee roasters in London.

Try The Deli at 60, far better coffee and cakes.

 

Bravery of Tower Bridge police officer

June 28, 2017

Armed only with his baton police officer Wayne Marques faced down three Islamist terrorists. 

A very moving account by an unarmed police officer Wayne Marques who during the terrorist attack on Tower Bridge and Borough Market put his own life on the line and as a result saved the lives of many.

Today scum Tories denied a pay rise to police officers but could find £1 billion to buy the votes of DUP to enable Theresa May to cling on to office.

Love & Scandal

June 22, 2017

A detour to Lower Marsh to investigate a street food market I happened upon Love & Scandal.

 

Would I like to try a coffee?

Yes, but sorry no time, I am on my way to a coffee festival, Union Summer Carnival at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, somewhere in Docklands, one of the top coffee roasters in the country.

Maybe later, If I have time.

On leaving Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, I decided I would return.

Too hot to sit outside, we sat outside discussing Cyprus, Turkey, the divided island and the Middle East. It turned out my host was a Turkish-Cypriot. Interesting to hear from the other side.

Eventually I got around to ordering falafel wrap, hummus and salad. Followed by a cappuccino.

The coffee used, a blend form Alchemy, Opus Espresso v 12.  Like Pioneer from Horsham Coffee Roasters, the blend is seasonally adjusted to attempt to retain a similar flavour profile, cocoa, hazelnut, orange.

I had not heard of Alchemy, but speaking to a  Greek barista at Union Summer Carnival, he said it was a highly regarded coffee roaster.

Only for the last couple of weeks, Love & Alchemy has been opening in the evening as a bistro.

Sadly I was the only one there.

On leaving sometime after ten o’clock, I was surprised to find a man with a van from Grimsby selling fresh fish.

 

 

House of Cards portent of things to come

June 18, 2017

House of Cards 1993.

Grenfell Tower 2017.

Grenfell Tower fire

June 16, 2017

Grenfell Action Group

Watching breaking news about the Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe. Too soon (5am) to even guess at numbers of casualties and fatalities. Our heartfelt and sincere condolences to all who have perished, to the injured, to those who are bereaved or are still searching for missing loved ones.

Regular readers of this blog will know that we have posted numerous warnings in recent years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC.

ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time. Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/fire-safety-scandal-at-lancaster-west/

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

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Grenfell Tower

June 15, 2017

It is difficult to imagine anything more terrifying than being caught in a fire in a tower block knowing you are going to be burnt alive.

Fires do not just happen. Someone drops a burning cigarette, a faulty appliance.

With a tower block, there are additional problems, how to get out, the stairwells acting as chimneys which helps the fire.

With Grenfell Tower, cladding had been fitted. If there are gaps between the cladding and the structure of the building then additional chimneys are formed.

There are reports of cladding which is metal sheets held away from the structure with wood, infilled with polystyrene. If true, we would have polystyrene as a hazardous material, which is inflammable, which gives off highly toxic fumes.

What is shocking is the speed at which the fire spread and engulfed the building. Even more shocking that residents had been warning of the dangers.

There had also been similar tower block fires, with lessons not learnt.

Kensington has put management of the tower block into the hands of an arm-length management company,

Four Executives at KCTMO allegedly ‘managing’ Grenfell Tower paid £125,000 each.

Tenants complained about the building, the management company, the shoddy refurbishment, a tragedy waiting to happen. They would have taken legal action, but cuts to legal aid made this impossible.

Tenants who complained, were threatened with legal action.

This is no uncommon. Tenants on slum estates in Aldershot have got nowhere with their complaints about shoddy housing, lack of repair. The useless local councillors fail to act, the housing association engages in harassment of more vocal tenants.

In local government, and that is not unique to Kensington, there is a complete lack of local accountability.

Tories blocked amendment to housing legislation to improve conditions for tenants.

Tory cuts to councils has not helped, nor cuts to Fire Services.

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn paid a visit today.

Theresa May stayed long enough for a photo shoot with firemen.

Jeremy Corbyn stayed and talked to local people.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also visited and talked to local people.

If houses are vacant for six months, they can be seized by local councils.

For Kensington, foreigners are laundering dirty money to buy property that then sits empty.

This should be seized, if need be, emergency legislation passed to enable the property to be seized.

Squatters should seize the empty properties, then open to those made destitute.

This was already happening in Kensington before the fire.

Those who failed to act, must be charged with corporate manslaughter.

This was not a natural disaster or an act of God, this was man made.

When the government said they wanted a bonfire of red tape, we now know what they meant.

The price of austerity is not only food banks, it is incinerated bodies in a tower block.

In This Changes Everything, with reference to Hurricane Katrina, Naomi Klein discusses how cuts have consequences.

When Sandy hit New York, it was Occupy Sandy that organised all the relief work, officialdom was absent, their only concern to get Wall Street up and running to show the world it was business as usual.

London Bridge terrorist attack

June 5, 2017

As a proud and patriotic British Muslim I say this: you do not commit these disgusting acts in my name. — Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Saturday night, a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge, then three men leapt out of the van and attacked with knives people in nearby Borough Market. Within eight minutes, armed police arrived on the scene and the terrorists were cut down in a hail of bullets.

Seven killed, 48 injured.

Prior to the police arrival, ordinary people, unarmed, attacked the terrorists and probably saved more people from being killed or injured.

In many ways a copycat of what happened on Westminster Bridge in March.

The attack less than two weeks after the suicide bomb attack at a concert in Manchester leaving 22 dead, and on the eve of a  benefit concert in Manchester.

A sobering and informative account by Paul Mason in an interview for Democracy Now.

A lesson for the BBC which has become a national embarrassment.

Countries across the world, mayors across the world, have pledged support for Sadiq KhanMayor of London, but not Donald Trump who has once again shown himself to be an ignorant ill-informed arsehole.

Yes, we have to clamp down on Muslim extremists in UK, a view backed by Muslims I talked to today.

That Theresa May has cut the number of police officers by 20,000 officers does not help.  When the Police Federation at the time warned of the consequences, they were accused by Theresa May of scaremongering.  Local police, bobbies on the beat, are the eyes and ears in the community.

Often the terrorists are not known. In these last three attacks, they were known.

We also have to tackle countries like Saudi Arabia, a country that funds ISIS, exports a perversion of Islam, is waging genocide in Yemen, and is now waging a war of words with Qatar.  We must stop supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia. We must stop buying their oil and move to a  Green New Deal where we move very rapidly to renewable sources of energy. We must see publication of the government report that links corrupt House of Saud to terrorism.

Only a few days ago, at a hustings in Thanet, a candidate was cut off for highlighting these links.

As the ISIS Caliphate is destroyed, their ideology not.

Three attacks this year.  At least five attacks thwarted.

Benita Bakery

May 1, 2017

Opposite Union Chapel, alongside Costa and tax-dodging Starbucks.

The decor excellent, but the same cannot be said of either the coffee or the pastries.

Sadly not a clue. The coffee not ground fresh for each cup, I checked what they use, a freshly opened bag, it smelt disgusting, no roast date, basically rubbish for catering supplies.  Pastries and stuff to be hotted up. No flapjacks or cookies.

The best to be said of the coffee, drinkable.

But why bother?

There can be no excuse for sourcing cheap rubbish coffee when in  London have Monmouth Coffee, Union hand-roasted, Square Mile.

Ethiopian Coffee Roasters

May 1, 2017

The London South Bank Street Food Market is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and a Monday if a Bank Holiday.

On this market there are two coffee stalls, one a battered old Citroen van, the other .

When a coffee stall adulterates its coffee with syrups, cannot be bothered to grind coffee fresh for each cup because it is too much trouble, then it is best avoided.

Which is why I had a coffee off . The other reason because I know they will serve me excellent  coffee.  I had actually been looking forward to this coffee since the day before.

Coffee off this stall is probably the best coffee in London.

I had a chat with the guy about their beans, but a girl from Brazil also was asking questions. I said would pop back. Sadly when I did, he had gone home.

But before the girl interrupted, as you are one of our regulars, would you like to come on a coffee trip to Ethiopia?

I had to say, no I am not a regular. I have chatted to the guy twice before, and once had a coffee, and that was over a year ago. But each time he recognises me, hence the regular.

The beans available on the stall: Yirgacheffe,  Sidamo and Harrar.

My cappuccino was excellent, a blend of two of their beans, Harrar and Sidamo Guji.

I took away a bag of coffee beans, Sidamo.

I then had hoped to visit Monmouth Coffee in Covent Garden, but found they were closed for the Bank Holiday.