Archive for the ‘summer festivals’ Category

Museum of the Moon

September 1, 2018

Incredible exhibit in Hull Minster.

A suspended model of the moon filling the nave. Quite surreal.

Part of Hull Freedom Festival.

Outside in Trinity Square, a helpful guide you must go in Hull Minster and see the moon. Tempted but on my way to Thieving Harry’s, maybe if I have time on my return. She was quite insistent. I gave in. And yes, a must see.

What did you think, she asked, as she encountered me again in Trinity Square? Amazing, well worth a visit.

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Hull Freedom Festival

August 31, 2018

Freedom Festival, a three day festival in Hull.

Freedom Festival was started in 2007 to commemorate the anti-slavery pioneer William Wilberforce.

Train to Hull, stunning views over the Humber Estuary and of the Humber Bridge.

On arrival at Hull Station, greeted by Philip Larkin.

Then head to Hull Old Town, cobbled streets (strictly speaking setts) but first a detour to Two Gingers in Paragon Arcade.

Excellent cappuccino in Two Gingers.

They have recently introduced their own house blend from The Blending Room, plus single origin coffee from The Blending Room.

Zeberdee’s Yard locked off, rehearsals for a concert tonight.

Lunch in Trinity Market.

I went round the stalls, twice. None looked appetising, appalling environmental standards, food served in polystyrene boxes, plastic utensils.

Burger off Shoot the Bull. Rare breed beef, burger excellent, service not so good. No, do not put ketchup on without asking, and no, do not blame the customer for not telling you.

No mention of the offer of a meal deal with a beer. Skip the fries, offer a decent craft beer. Brew Dog Punk IPA would go down a treat with a quality burger.

Asked of Caffeinated where to locate Thieving Harry’s. They kindly marked on a map of Hull Old Town.

Passing by Hull Minster, a guide said I must enter and look at the moon. No time, maybe on my return. She was insistent. Amazing, a suspended moon occupying the nave, quite surreal. Yes, she was correct Museum of the Moon in Hull Minster an absolute must visit.

To get to the part of Hull Old Town where Thieving Harry’s is located, have to cross a busy main road with no convenient crossings, one crossing closed and long wait at the lights when crossing.

Pedestrians should have priority. The traffic is at a virtual standstill. The crossings should be more frequent for pedestrians, it will make not a jot of difference to the traffic flow.

Thieving Harry’s overlooks the old docks now a marina and the sea. Located in what was once the offices of a fruit merchant, the old Fruit Market was located in this part of Hull Old Town.

Picked up a couple of bags of coffee.

We have a problem with plastic, plastic-lined paper takeaway cups, plastic cups, plastic utensils, plastic straws.

As always it is the indie coffee shops leading the way. Compostable cups, refillable cups, though best to relax with coffee in glass or ceramic, paper straws.

Thieving Harry’s showed me something I had not seen before, drinking straws made from shells.

A diversion to Trinity Market to collect two bags of coffee off Caffeinated.

As I cut across Trinity Square a giant puppet had been erected. This was one of the giant puppets to parade through the Hull Old Town later that evening as part of Hull Freedom Festival.

I pop in Two Gingers and pick up two bags of their house blend. I would have wished for a V60 pour over, but no time.

All three coffee shops use The Blending Room, a Hull coffee roastery. Today they had a pop up coffee stall. Where, no one knew, and they lacked the courtesy to respond to a query. What is the point of tweeting have a pop up stall for the Freedom Festival and do not say where? Yet another example of poor use of social media.

Made the station in time for my train, just, only to find no train, running late.

Stunning views across the Humber Estuary out of the train window and of wind turbines.

AsylumX – Day 3

August 26, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 3: The third day of AsylumX, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

Sadly a complete washout. A cold wet day, few people on the streets, street food gave up by lunchtime as no one about, the stalls on Castle Hill were forced by Council jobsworths to cease trading by mid-afternoon (previous day forced to cease trading at six when easily could have continued until seven).

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

AsylumX – Day 2

August 26, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 2: The second day of AsylumX, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

Today, stalls in Castle Hill, in grounds of Lincoln Castle, many many steam punks. A food court open outside the Castle walls, street food, coffee van real ale, craft beer.

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

AsylumX – Day 1

August 24, 2018

Welcome to the Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln, the largest known SteamPunk Festival in the solar system.

I cannot imagine how the clockwork of the universe can exist without a clock maker. — Voltaire

Day 1: The first day of Asylum, a four day SteamPunk Festival in Lincoln.

This year, local shops take SteamPunk now in its tenth year seriously.

In Sincil Street, check out a charity shop, amazing SteamPunk creations.

A craft beer shop in the Strait, a special SteamPunk craft beer.

Near the top of The Strait, a wine shop with specially distilled SteamPunk gin.

Coffee connoisseurs are spoilt for choice with the Lincoln coffee culture, do not even think of going in any of the chains. Three coffee shops as walk from the town centre to Lincoln Castle.

Walking up the High Street, just after passing over the River Witham, turn left before passing through The Stonebow and find Coffee Aroma.

Pass through The Stonebow, up the High Street and find Madame Waffle.

Continue up the High Street, up The Strait, up Steep Hill, and as pass the cobbled section find Base Camp.

AsylumX a four day SteamPunk Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Friday 24 August to Monday 27 August 2018.

Staycation Live 2018

August 4, 2018

I was in two minds to visit Staycation Live this year, something I usually look forward to, a two-day free music festival in a park by the River Wey in Godalming.

Last couple of years I have not enjoyed as much as I used to.  Last year, both days I left early.

It was going to be a very hot day, though not as hot as Friday, there is very little shade on the site.

The clincher, South West Railways on strike.  The most ridiculous strike possible. Chinese owners have not said whether or not they will get rid of guards, the railway staff go on strike regardless. The only people it hits are the long suffering passengers, as though they do not suffer enough already from the appalling rail services in the country, as I often document.

I worked out I could get there, assuming train running, therefore set off to catch a train to Guildford, then on to Godalming.

I missed the train to Guildford. They drop the barriers and not possible to catch the train. Forty minutes wait for the next train.

At Guildford I leave the station and catch the bus.

A pleasant walk along the River Wey.

I have missed the first band, a blues band.

As I arrive a pop group playing.

I have a chat when they finish. Suggest they put their recently released work on Bandcamp, set free download, people can pay what they wish.

The cloisters used to be the quieter set, acoustics, jazz, blues, but not any more.

A rap artist with looped violin, overwhelming bass thudding out.  Had he stuck to looped violin, it would have been better. Check out Steve Lawson (looped bass) or Zoe Keating (looped cello).

I suggested to the guy who had music on sale, use Bandcamp.

Conversations on Bandcamp are either not aware of or aware of but do not use.

Maybe something on Bandcamp in the programme.

Fairly good choice of food and drink. Wheat and orange beer off The Little Beer Corporation, hog roast off  Milford Meat Roaster. Both were excellent.

A franchise coffee operation serving undrinkable coffee.

Far better would be Chimney Fire Coffee,  a coffee roastery located in the Surrey Hills, running a coffee stall next year.  Failing that Edge coffee van from Edgcumbes Coffee (though probably too far away from Chichester).

Godalming is a strange place, nowhere serving decent coffee.

I had a tea at Cafe Mila which was not good.  Their coffee is Cupsmith, undrinkable coffee. The tea also supplied by Cupsmith, which explains why not good.

There is no excuse these days for serving bad coffee. Could get away with it five years ago, not now.

Abysmal environmental standards.

Coffee stall said paper cups. Er no, plastic-lined paper cups that can not be recycled. Did though have paper straws.

Thai stall had changed to card boxes, wooden utensils. Apologised that their cups were plastic.

The Little Beer Corporation plastic cups.

There is absolutely no excuse these days for low environmental standards. It needs two things, minimum standards for the stalls, education of the people attending.

Cups can be compostable, the ‘plastic’ cups can be plant-based cellulose.

Information on each stall and in programme, take compostable items home or put in the clearly marked compost bins.

This makes rubbish disposable easier as all that is compostable can be collected for composting.

Most of the music seemed loud noise, enthusiasm but loud noise.

When I returned from Cafe Mila, a group playing, playing badly, TV theme tunes.

It was at this point I decided to leave. I had had enough.

Walking through the town, to the butcher then Waitrose, very tired, therefore probably wise I chose to leave when I did.

Not long to wait for a bus. It was then do I risk catching a train and risking no train, or go to the bus station and catch a bus. I decided on the latter.

I could have stayed later. The cloister which usually finishes early, was going on until late.  It looked more interesting later, but with no trains, no buses, not viable.

Running a festival is not easy. Who to invite? Bring back what was excellent last time, and that is assuming available?

In the past, I have bought a lot of music, often given away.  Today, none.

I am lucky, I encounter good music. And these days I only buy from those I encounter, supporting struggling musicians, even financing albums.

Do I make a note, suggest for Staycation Live?

I would certainly invite Jewelia, she appeared a few years ago in the cloisters, and give her the main stage.

Some of the reggae bands that have played in the past have been exceptional.

Alternative Dubstep Orchestra were amazing at Staycation Live 2013. A mix of avant garde rock, ska (reggae) and salsa. In many ways they were like a cut down, avant garde salsa band, with brass, strings, guitar, percussion and vocals.

Sunday I think I will give a miss.

 

Bells Pierce Summer Fete

July 15, 2018

In the summer I have passed by Bells Pierce Summer Fete but never visited, too late to then visit Farnham.

On Saturday as I was early in Farnham I visited Bells Pierce Summer Fete.

I assumed next to The Six Bells, or even associated with, but no, it was along a drive.

The Six Bells was once again closed and derelict. It appears to change hands every six months. That it is owned by Greene King, one of the trio of bad pubcos who screw pub landlords the other two Enterprise and Punch, says it all. One of the ladies serving food, confirmed The Six Bells closes and changes hands quite regularly. She said she has had good food, when she next went it had changed hands ad the food was disgusting, and she has never been since. Again, typical of Greene King.

To my surprise Bells Pierce Summer Fete very popular. A typical English summer fete.

I was reminded of the fete at the English church in Puerto de la Cruz. The main difference was less junk and not forced to pay to enter.

I wish people would would learn how to cook on a barbeque. One could see the sausages were not cooked. I sent mine back, and even then, only barely cooked.

I decided to walk along the ridge of Farnham Park into Farnham. This brought me to Farnham Castle, then out into Castle Street and down to Gail’s Bakery.

Godalming Street Food Market

July 7, 2018

A very hot day in Godalming.

The market stretched down Church Street as far as the Parish Church. It was though an illusion. A French market had been tacked on. A big mistake, as the French market is a travelling circus.

I was though pleased to see a French stall that I once found in Winchester, quality produce brought over from France. Not part of the travelling circus, an independent stall.

I wandered up and down, each year fewer stalls, at least fewer stalls of quality, fewer interesting stalls. Many stalls that used to come no longer do.

Gin tasting was a con, they were selling gin, and they were not even the producers.

It was good to see a Punch and Judy show. A rarity these days.

Music and dance at the Pepper pot.

Would it not be great if somewhere in Godalming served quality coffee? Sadly not.

I passed by Jory Cafe Gallery in Church Street. More a greasy spoon cafe than a coffee shop. What were the coffee beans? Would not say, may steal their secrets. Over roasted Colombian. I ordered a cappuccino. Chocolate dumped on top. I sent it back. Second cappuccino not good.

Were their takeaway coffee cups compostable? It did not say. Yes. On leaving I was handed a cup and lid to add to my compost experiment.

I popped in The Star, walked into their back garden. A mistake. Full of drunks. I took my beer out into the street. Remind me again why I prefer coffee shops to pubs.

All day I was wishing for a refreshing cold brew coffee. Chance would be a fine thing.

Disappointed Chimmney Fire Coffee did not have a stall.

Abysmal environmental standards on the market, food safety and obscene us of plastic.

The same stall as of Guildford farmers market, poultry sat on the stall with temperature in excess of 30C. Why was it not closed down? Were the butcher to put poultry on a stall outside the shop would very quickly be shut down.

Food and hot weather do not mix. In this hot weather Environmental Health should be patrolling food markets, not wait until people fall sick.

Humans have this strange ability to hold two contradictory and opposing views simultaneously. We know plastic is polluting our oceans and yet we continue to use plastic.

The amount of plastic on the market was appalling, drinks in plastic, plastic straws, junk foods served in plastic boxes. Even sweets in plastic coffee takeaway cups.

Paella stall an exception, but that an initiative of one stall. It should not be down to one stall, standards should be set for the market, no plastic.

It is not only Godalming. Farnham Carnival, Guildford farmers market, Winchester street food market, all have abysmal environmental standards.

Nor is it only local markets. Wimbledon is handing out bottled water. To add insult to injury, French bottled water.

Has no one heard of Plastic Free July? Does any one care?

From Cook a raspberry and mint lollipop. It was excellent. I went back and had a second.

In Waitrose rCup. Waitrose had their own reusable cup at £3, now the rCup at £12. Claimed to be made from a dozen recycled coffee cups. Which makes the point, plastic is not recycled, it is down cycled. Designed by a former designer for Dyson. Maybe should stick to vacuum cleaners as not barista friendly, something fairly basic for a reusable coffee cup. Greenwash by Waitrose to distract from fresh produce in plastic.

Farnham Carnival

June 30, 2018

Farnham Carnival is an annual event, last Saturday of June.

The disgusting fast food stalls would have done justice to Aldershot. I had hoped maybe they would have improved but sadly not. It contrasts badly with the Sustainability Fayre of a few weeks ago.

There is absolutely no excuse these days for not inviting quality street food stalls, anymore there is no excuse for coffee shops sourcing bad coffee.

A beer tent rows and rows of pumps serving Carlsberg.  Why not invite The Little Beer Corporation to run a beer tent? They have done an excellent job at Staycation Live last two years.

It was then to Krema for a cold brew coffee.

Questions to Krema, and to a  lesser extent a coffee stall at the Carnival.

Takeaway coffee cups compostable? No.

If compostable, will end in general waste stream, and are they compostable?

Reusable cups, heavy, expensive, bulky and a pain to carry around.

A step in the right direction but addresses symptoms, does not address grab it and go takeaway culture. We need to discourage takeaway, encourage relax in an indie coffee shop with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow was tempting, but too hot and I would not have got out of Farnham before the roads closed.

On cue in one of the alleys leading from the churchyard a Starbucks plastic takeaway cup illustrating why we need a latte levy.

I did not think I would, but caught the last bus out of Farnham before the roads closed.

Lincoln Castle Food and Drink Festival

September 17, 2017

Sadly yet another excuse to charge for access to Lincoln Castle, access that is normally free.

I was there when vehicles arrived Friday. A convoy in Castle Hill, others blocking nearby streets as no idea where to go. Engines left running.  From what I could see, too many vendors of junk food.

Saturday afternoon it poured with rain.

More or less the same Sunday afternoon.

By the time I arrived the Castle Grounds turned into a quagmire and stalls packing up.

Walking into one marquee, and this was inside the marquee not outside, the mud oozed over the top of my sandals.

My initial reservations of Friday were more than confirmed. A travelling circus of mainly junk food, and they had the gall to charge a ten pound entrance fee.

Stallholders, based on a complex formula, were paying several hundred pounds, some a thousand pounds, to exhibit.

A coffee vendor, a franchise. No, I did not have a coffee. I asked why waste money on a franchise? Learn about coffee by working at a speciality coffee shop, then set up with quality coffee, but do not waste money on a franchise to sell poor quality coffee.

Another coffee stall, I asked where was their coffee from. They refused to say, rivals may steal their coffee.

What complete and utter garbage.

Speciality coffee shops make a point of where their coffee is sourced from, right down to the farm, it is all about transparency and traceability.

Whilst waiting for the rain to ease off, I just made it from one end to the other before the rain came down, a man with quality cakes, and lovely painted bowls. Very much Spanish influenced.

I contrast with others, cakes from a  factory frozen.

Chunky chips, burgers. Yuk.

If to repeat a food festival, hold an annual street food market in Castle Hill, as it grows extend into Bailgate, invite quality food stalls, wood-fired pizzas, vineyards, real ale, bread, cakes.

There are sufficient good examples from around the country, and they are free, but please do not insult people who appreciate good food and coffee with a repeat of this travelling circus.

Armed police were patrolling inside and outside the Castle Grounds.  An over-the-top security presence to gain access to the Castle. And why were private security directing traffic on Castle Hill?