Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Premier Inn North Terminal Gatwick Airport

March 17, 2023

I would have, could have, caught a train on landing. But my original plans had been changed, I would have landed on a later flight. My hotel stay booked and paid for, I had changed the day from Wednesday to Tuesday (changed the day three times).

I was shocked treatment of staff at check in. Guy bent over trying to read an antiquated screen. He should have been seated ,  screen and keyboard at the correct height.

Dinner in the evening not good. Everything nearly cold. Best that could be said, superior to the eateries in South Terminal. Poor choice of drinks with the dinner.

Breakfast in the morning was reasonable.

Room reasonable. Clean and comfy.

Why no dropped curbs en route from North Terminal to Premier Inn?

Notes King’s Cross

February 6, 2023

Arrival at King’s Cross Station a detour to Notes , only to find closed.

Why are you closed? We are always closed.

I asked for the manager.

She knew me and was pleased to see me.

She apologized and explained close early evening on Monday at eight. Later in the week, Wednesday onwards, open until late.

Not an entirely wasted journey. I picked up a bag of coffee.

Happy New Year 2023

January 1, 2023

London firework display to welcome in the New Year.

Moving tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II using drones.

Notes King’s Cross

September 29, 2022

Arriving at King’s Cross Station, a pleasant evening.  Instead of descending into the bowels of the London Underground, I decided to go for a wander in search of Notes coffee  shop.

But first I checked with a stall holder closing up at the street food market outside King’s Cross Station.

Nearby and open until ten pm.

The back of King’s Cross Station used to be rough, very rough, an area for travellers to avoid.

I found night life, a trendy area.  People sat outside. It was as though late August not late September.

I almost gave up, turned around to return to King’s Cross Station, and found myself facing Notes.

A very trendy coffee shop.  More like Athens than London.

I asked, if I bought a bag of coffee beans would I receive a free coffee? Yes. Always worth asking.

My coffee reasonable but not great.

While I was leaving, I noticed filter coffee, free samples. I tried both. One I was very impressed by. I was going to change my purchase, but then decided I would have both. The girl was surprised as the coffee had been sitting for hours. Er, should refresh every hour.

The girls were very pleasant and helpful, but not baristas. Lack of knowledge of coffee. A shame when Notes has an excellent reputation as a roastery. Maybe knowledgeable baristas during the day when they function as a coffee shop, night morphs inti cocktails and food.

A brief chat with the guy making the cocktails appears to be using quality ingredients, which is more than can be said of most bars. On reflection I should have tried an espresso martini.

Food being served looked good too.

If passing through King’s Cross with time to spare, worth a detour to Notes.

Ethiopian coffee ceremony

April 16, 2022

Wandering around Finsbury, down a side street opposite Finsbury Park, I passed by JoJo an Ethiopian coffee shop. Inside the door tiny cups on a table and the brewing pot made from clay called a jebena, which is filled with hot freshly roasted ground beans and water and brought to a boil over a fire.

I could not resist. I walked in and asked of Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

I sat by the door and waited.

A young woman brought a large saucepan, which she wafted around, smoke billowing from the coffee beans. I assumed mixed with hot charcoal. She did not say, no explanation or commentary provided.

These were taken away.

Next a jebena, and what was incense, I only know because I asked. And popcorn.

Coffee poured from a height, aimed into a tiny cup.

Enough for the dregs in a second cup.

I was told it was for two people.

I expected very strong coffee. I was pleasantly surprised to find not, more like an excellent pour over with floral notes.

Sadly a travesty of Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony. No explanation or commentary of what was happening. I had to occasionally prompt. How, for example, were the beans ground? At a guess with a pestle and mortar, but I do not know, as I did not ask.

Whilst I enjoyed the experience, enjoyed the coffee, I was nevertheless disappointed.

London Coffee has an essay on Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony, with an explanation.

Day in Finsbury

April 15, 2022

Hottest day of the year. Very hot and sunny breakfast onwards. Over 23C.

After breakfast before checking out of Finsbury Park Travelodge I went for a walk to check out the nearest coffee shop, Fine and Grosso.

Back at hotel, shower, then check out.

A different route to Fine and Grosso, continued my earlier conversation. I was told the beans dark roast. Were that true I would have walked out. Medium roast.

i asked for an espresso. I was baffled why an espresso arrived as I thought I had asked for a cappuccino. A cappuccino followed Both were excellent

Finsbury Cycles busy. I looked in. I was amazed how many cycles packedin.

Dress DhipStreet. Not the real name,but no early everydhopa dress shop in

Walk to Finsbury Park.

Then decide to try a side street. Note what looks an interesting coffee shop, carry on down, look in Salt the Radish. Stop and hea be e espresso

tbey tell moremlre ships further down.

i carry on down the street. Mm y attention caught by Ethiopian coffee shop.they tell me they carry out Ethiopian coffee ceremony. I day.

Not very gappywhn seats sticks a NH sin me look ess than happy when I find ripped grousers. Even my ess be spot when they refuse to pay for the FD amsge.

Dinner for Ukraine

April 14, 2022

Hosted by Jamie Oliver at Jamie Oliver HQ.

You are going to get to try some very authentic Ukrainian food. — Jamie Oliver

No more beautiful way to speak out against the war than through food. — Alissa Timoshkina

After drinks on arrival, shown to our tables, Jamie Oliver welcomed everyone and explained Cook For Ukraine. He then passed over to Alissa Timoshkina and Olia Hercules co-founders of Cook for Ukraine.

Cook for Ukraine was founded by Alissa Timoshkina and Olia Hercules, with the help of Clerkenwell Boy.

Their aim was to celebrate Ukrainian and Eastern European food while raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis facing Ukraine as well as emergency funds.

Alissa Timoshkina expanded on the founding of Cook for Ukraine.

Olia Hercules gave an emotional account of relatives in Ukraine and her fear for their safety.

Dinner for Ukraine a fundraiser for Cook for Ukraine.

By the side of each invited guest, a menu and cutlery wrapped in a yellow or blue ribbon.

The food prepared by Jamie Oliver and a Ukrainian chef Yurii Kovryzhenko, served by a team of willing helpers, all volunteers.

On the table a large plate of fermented vegetables. Help yourself, washed down with Dima’s vodka, a three-grain Ukrainian vodka.

Followed by soup, borscht, a beetroot soup.

Followed by slow roast belly pork served with new potatoes.

Followed by dessert, dumpling filled with I think apricots, together with cream and raspberries.

Part way through the dinner, a lottery draw, with prizes which included a complete set of signed Jamie Oliver cookbooks. Myself and my guest twice missed by one number, then me by two.

I have never tried Ukrainian food before, I had no idea what to expect, the names meant nothing. Would I even like?

Menus wrapped in ribbons, alternated blue and yellow along the table and across the table.

The food was amazing. As was the white wine and vodka.

Special thanks to Jamie for an amazing evening, excellent food, and to all his willing helpers, who volunteered their time for free.

I had spoken to Jamie earlier, I have an idea. We like ideas, we must discuss later. But sadly did not see later to discuss or to explain the idea.

Last year I met Mad Heads, a coffee roastery in Kyiv. Excellent coffee. I have have been in contact with them recently. Yes, they can ship coffee to Ukraine.

i would ask, please talk to your local specialty coffee shop. Would they like to stock and serve Mad Heads as guest coffee?

Happy New Year 2022

January 1, 2022

I thought there was to be no fireworks in London. There was a somewhat muted affair of fireworks and drones.

Mooted and yet effective and very impressive.

St James’s Park in London, 16.3C, highest New Year’s Day on Record.

Gaia is telling us, the planet is dying.

We have two priorities for 2022:

  • coronavirus
  • global warming

Black Sheep Coffee King’s Cross Station

October 4, 2021

Passing through King’s Cross Station, I noticed what I had never seen before, Black Sheep Coffee.

A mild evening, pavements wet with rain, I decided to give it a try.

They were closing and yet it was not late, not yet yet eight o’clock. I was offered Robusta. You got to be kidding me.

I learnt from an Italian guy bringing in the tables that it was a chain, all over London.

The only reason I walked in I saw their equipment. They had good equipment, usually a good sign.

Travelling into across and out of London during coronavirus pandemic

October 4, 2021

LNER Azuma into King’s Cross, luckily not busy, but I was one of the few passengers actually wearing a mask.

Outside King’s Cross Station, Black Sheep Coffee shop, never seen before. Not too cold, a mild evening, take a break and have a coffee. They were closing and yet it was not late, not yet yet eight o’clock. I was offered Robusta. You got to be kidding me.

I learnt from an Italian guy bringing in the tables that it was a chain, all over London.

The only reason I walked in I saw their equipment. They had good equipment, always a good sign.

Lady manning barrier at King’s Cross advised I travelled via Oxford Circus, Victoria Line to Oxford Circus, then Bakerloo Line to Waterloo. The reason for this advice, apart from quicker, was that I only had to cross the platform, whereas via Leicester Square I have to negotiate steps.

What struck me was how decrepit the London Underground, and the sparsity of information. In the past there was as enter the platform, opposite the route. Nada. Nor could I find a map pf the system. This is very basic.

Tube not busy, though not deserted as last few tines have passed through London. Only half the passengers wearing masks. To wear a mask is mandatory on Transport for London. Why is it not being enforced?

Waterloo, South Western Railway to Portsmouth. These are usually short trains. I was pleasantly surprised to find a long train of at east ten coaches. This is a marked improvement. The train not busy. Only a tiny minority wearing a mask.

I was very very lucky I passed through London when I did. London was later hit by a heavy downpour, flash flooding, with parts of the London Underground flooded.

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