Archive for the ‘reading’ Category

No trains Reading to Gatwick

July 10, 2019

I thought leaving Oxford at 7-30 I would catch the same time train as I did a couple of weeks ago leaving at 6-30. Either I was too late or no CrossCountry train, which I had assumed runs hourly. Wait until 2006 and catch train for Paddington which stops at Reading.

Train ran slow. I just missed a train from Reading.

Next train at 2235, no trains for two hours for what is a service of two trains an hour.

What of trains to Gatwick, planes to catch, what alternative transport has been arranged? Nothing, no information, no announcements.

I was told to find a Duty Manager.

A train to Basingstoke, leaving at 2107. I could go a very long way round. Guard and driver see me not looking very happy. Asked what’s up, I told them. I asked could I catch the Basingstoke train. They said yes.

At Basingstoke just missed a train. Have to cross to a central platform to see display for trains, then cross back again. A girl came in late from Salisbury, next rain to Reading cancelled.

She asked did the train I was waiting for go to Woking. I said yes, then told her she had just missed a Woking train.

On reflection I realised if she wanted Reading, she wanted Wokingham not Woking.

I caught the train to Woking, then bus. Arrived home 2220, 15 minuted before the train would have left Reading had I waited two hours.

Nightmare. Go out anywhere, never know if will get back home. Last week stranded at Alton, no trains, all trains cancelled, no information.

Situation is not helped by stations not manned, or at large stations like Reading, no staff to be, no announcements, no apology. And no one cares, at least the train companies do not care. The staff are almost begging for the trains to be taken into public ownership as they a see on a daily basis how bad the service has become.

Cappuccino and V60 at CUP Reading Minster

June 17, 2019

Cappuccino at CUP Reading Mister, followed by V60 and a cake.

I was surprised how busy. Busy outside and inside.

A pity smoking outside, as not pleasant either the smoke or the cigarette ends on the ground.

CUP Reading Minster is the only coffee shop worth visiting in Reading. For a city of the size of Reading it is surprising there are not more.

Chatting with a guy about coffee, as one does at coffee shops, he said thee are more. He gave me a couple of examples, but none are in the city centre.

Cappuccino at Workhouse Coffee

June 17, 2019

Cappuccino in Workhouse Coffee. Did I want chocolate? At least they asked, but why is cappuccino being served with chocolate?

Was their coffee so bad it needed chocolate dumped on top?

In good coffee shops I am never asked, they would never dream of serving cappuccino with chocolate dumped on top.

In bad coffee shops I am never asked, they serve cappuccino with chocolate dumped on top, I then have the hassle of sending it back.

I knew their coffee was bad, but not this bad, cappuccino with half a centimetre of froth and foam, too hot, looked disgusting, tasted disgusting. I left after a couple of sips, undrinkable.

The beans on sale in open plastic boxes, one box of beans over-roasted, black and oily.

No wifi.

Honest Burgers

June 17, 2019

Not seen before, Honest Burgers.

Trying too hard to be trendy, loud moronic music blasting out. Obviously not aware of the trend to quieter restaurants.

Two waitresses doing an excellent impression of robots, reciting from a brainwashed script.

Overpriced local craft beer served in a can. £5-50 for a small can. Served ice cold with a chilled glass. Similar to Punk IPA.

Overpriced expensive burger disgusting, served with dried up salty chips that had overpowering stench of rosemary. £9 for burger and chips.

If I wished for salt on my chips I am more than capable of adding myself. And no, I do not wished to be knocked out by the overwhelming stench of rosemary.

Advice to cut salt intake not got through to the chef.

Burger under-cooked, pink on the inside.

Served with a knife, no fork. Greasy fingers as a result, more paper napkins used to clean fingers, let’s generate unnecessary waste.

Very poor quality compared with Shoot the Bull Trinity Market in Hull Old Town or Organic Dirty Burgers North Laine in Brighton.

No surprise Honest Burgers empty.

Afternoon in Reading

June 17, 2019

As train approaches Reading Station, a massive tower block under construction.

If future post-Brexit so bleak, why are we seeing speculative development everywhere?

CUP opposite Reading Town Hall, not somewhere I would have coffee, though convenient for Reading Station and vastly superior to the tax-dodging corporate chains serving undrinkable coffee.

Sorry to find Mum Mum a little Vietnamese restaurant had closed. Not great but one of the few places worth eating in Reading.

Not seen before, Honest Burgers. Trying too hard to be trendy, loud moronic music blasting out. Obviously not aware of the trend to quieter restaurants. Overpriced expensive burger disgusting, served with dried up salty chips that had overpowering stench of rosemary. No surprise empty.

Cappuccino in Workhouse Coffee. I knew their coffee was bad, but not this bad, cappuccino with half a centimetre of froth and foam, too hot, looked disgusting, tasted disgusting. I left after a couple of sips, undrinkable.

The beans on sale in open plastic boxes, one box of beans over-roasted, black and oily.

The last time I was in Reading, a little before Christmas, cold, Christmas tat on the street.

Today pleasant and warm and sunny. I was surprised the number of people in Broad Street, not so much walking around as sitting and relaxing.

In light of new rip-off pricing from crooked Three network, picked up a Lebara sim from one of the mobile phone shops.

A couple of girls at a bus stop told me of a coffee shop to find. Nibs or Nipsy. I walked all the way around the block to eventually find Nisby’s. More of a tea and cake shop than a coffee shop. Coffee from Winchester Coffee Roasters, poor quality coffee roasters, not worth stopping for.

Broad Street Bar and Kitchen closed. And no, I am not surprised.

Looked in Anonymous Coffee, owner not there, not worth stopping.

Cappuccino at CUP Reading Mister, followed by V60 and a cake.

I was surprised how busy. Busy outside and inside.

A pity smoking outside, as not pleasant either the smoke or the cigarette ends on the ground.

1704 train from Reading. Packed, but later train would have been far worse if I had caught the following train.

Cappuccino at CUP Reading Minster

November 26, 2018

CUP hidden behind Reading Minster is worth finding as always excellent coffee in a pleasant environment.

Today, a cold wintry afternoon in Reading was no exception, an excellent cappuccino.

Nightmare GWR trains from Reading to Redhill and Gatwick

November 19, 2018

At every location on a visit to Reading, I stay far longer than intended. I will not make 4-30 train. Not even 6-30. I go for 1902 to find cancelled.

Then the nightmare begins, no trains, no announcements, no explanation, no apology.

Next train for Gatwick, showing twenty minutes late.

Next train an hour later, comes into wrong platform.

As by now frozen decide to catch this train, even if later, as appears to be on time, as at least I can sit on a warm train out of the cold.

During this time no announcements.

Train does not leave on time. Train does not leave, told to catch earlier train which has now arrived and is sitting at the station. It does not leave either. After a long delay, it pulls out of the station, only to stop 100m from the station, where its sits.

Arrive North Camp Station at 2115. If trains running normally, approximately 30 minutes from Reading depending upon fast or slow train.

A man got off the train at North Camp, hoping to pick up stopping train to Ash. Only problem, there were no stopping trains. Whilst on the train, passengers to Ash should have been advised to continue to Guildford, then pick yo a train back to Ash, either on Reading or Aldershot line. I advised he walked to Ash Vale, caught train to Aldershot then to Ash.

There were no announcements to advise passengers what was happening, no apology.

There should have been a bus running to Gatwick.

And this was not a one off.

In September, on at least two Fridays in a row, no Gatwick trains were running. No announcements, no advice to catch Redhill train, then change.

On the last day of October, last train from Gatwick cancelleld. No information at Gatwick on replacement bus or from where to catch.

Train indicator at North Camp has not worked since June. GWR refusing to pay the £5000 to repair.

Not only GWR.

South West Railways too.

During the morning, no trains to and from Waterloo.

A couple of weeks ago, no trains at Guildford, apparently broken down train at Clapham Junction.

Last week in the evening no trains at Alton. Broken down train at Clapham Junction.

September, train from Portsmouth Harbour cancelled.

Every Saturday, no trains due to guards on strike.

Other rail companies as bad.

Three times in September on East Coast Mainline, now run by LNER following disastrous performance by Virgin, trains delayed, connections missed.

Then there is Southern Fail and Northern Fail, appalling service during the summer, missed connections, delays of hours.

Trains with no working toilets.

We have a Third World train service with extortionate fares.

Beginning of January we will see train fares hiked double the rate of inflation, with rail companies telling us service has improved.

Rail fares must be frozen for the foreseeable future.

Rail must be taken back into pubic ownership, the gravy train of HS2 scrapped.

It will cost nothing as default at end of franchise.

Failing companies must be stripped of their franchise.

Note: There were no trains from Farnborough North for fours hours.

Note: GWR consider a delay of two hours to be acceptable.

Cappuccino at CUP

November 19, 2018

I would have had a V60 at CUP, but owner suggested I had a cappuccino as her barista had come seventh in recent UK latte art championships.

CUP is a Greek coffee shop hidden behind Reading Minster.

V60 at CUP

November 19, 2018

I would have had a V60 but owner suggested have a cappuccino, as her barista had come seventh in recent UK latte art championships.

Note: Filter has been washed, hot water poured over the coffee grounds and allowed to bloom.

CUP is a Greek coffee shop hidden behind Reading Minster.

Anonymous Coffee

November 19, 2018

I had looked in Anonymous Coffee last week, down an alley between Broad Street and Reading Minster, Chain Street en route to CUP.

Coffee sourced from Union, which sadly does not mean a lot these days as they will supply anyone.

I ordered a cappuccino.

Not very good, weak and insipid, with an unpleasant taste.

I find a large lounge on the first floor, learn food at weekends, occasional evenings, plus wine tasting sessions which have to be booked on advance.

Entire shelf of wine books. I suggest also have books on coffee. I recommend Real Fresh Coffee and The Wold Atlas of Coffee, and subscribe to or buy Standart and Drift. If wish to add excellent reading on food then also add Ambrosia and Om Nom.

Only a couple of customers.

I am told, look in again when owner is there, as the coffee will be better.

But if that be the case, owner should be there serving the coffee.

Anonymous Coffee occupies the corner of a wine shop. Quite a good idea as pulls more people in, and help shares the rent and bills.

Interesting mural on the wall.

What I did not like was the free wifi was being used to pass personal data to a third party. This is abuse of personal data and not acceptable.