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Sunday in Brighton

August 19, 2018

Train arrives at Gatwick several minutes late. I just make a train to Brighton, a slow stopping train, standing room only.

As approach Brighton, South Downs shrouded in mist.

On arrival, cool, drizzle, only not drizzle, sea mist, haar.

No Small Batch coffee stall today on the station forecourt, but not to worry, as I wish to check out coffee shops listed in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide.

Instead of heading down to the sea or into North Laine, I head into North Laine but heading under Brighton Station.  This brings me into the far end of North Laine.

What I am doing today is check out some of the coffee shops listed in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide, which I picked up on my last visit to Brighton from Pharmacie.  Those I am familiar with warrant an entry. On flipping through it, I had noticed that several were in the immediate vicinity of North Laine, thus my decision to check them out.

Immediately under the bridge, Organic Dirty Burger, excellent burgers, but sadly only open Wednesday to Saturday. Excellent burgers. Unlike the disgusting burgers from a  van in the station forecourt, Gourmet Burgers, gourmet they are not.

First coffee shop Blend & Brew not open at weekends. Very tiny, more like a kiosk. Made to look very tacky with windows plastered with notices.

Milk Not Sugar, not listed, claims to be artisan coffee. Like gourmet, meaningless. I ask of the coffee? Italian blend. Roasted by who? Do not know.

Coffee at 33 excellent coffee, very busy, maybe pop down later.

I look in Magazine Brighton. They have latest Viva Brighton (which is free). Latest Drift and Ambrosia, but not latest Standart.

Further down the street, what appears to be a scam, a rough man asking can use your phone to make a call. He has an equally rough looking mate who he then has a chat with. I suspect hand him an expensive phone and he legs it down the street. If caught has already handed it over to someone else.

I may of course be wrong as he did go into a coffee shop cum bakery and someone lent him a phone to use. On the other hand, had I waited and observed would I have seen him carry on down the street?

I head to the end of the street. I find myself in an unfamiliar part of Brighton, very rough, busy main road. It was as though I had been transported to a rough part of London.

I soon discover the maps in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide are useless, or rather their logic in their use of maps, the area I am looking at, coffee shops on three different maps.

I find The Longhouse. Closed today for decorating.

I carry on up the street. I find Presuming Ed’s Coffee House. Seedy is not the word, it is dire, I have come across more attractive squats. Moronic music blasting out, the moronic music found in rough bars in Cyprus that attract the dregs of the tourist trade. I turn on my heels and walk out.

I then find Glazed, for some reason I thought it was called Gazed (of the two I prefer Gazed). Similar to Presuming Ed’s Coffee House more like a squat than a coffee shop, only they carry it off better and do not have the moronic music. But two pleasant people. I decide to chance it and have a coffee, a cappuccino with an Ethiopian coffee. It is excellent. I sit outside as they have a sideline in making doughnuts and unpleasant stomach churning stench of doughnuts pervades the coffee shop.

Called Glazed, they offer a delivery service of glazed donuts.

Glazed is the only coffee shop other than Pharmacie where I have found The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide. I pick up a couple of copies, their only two remaining copies.

I pass by The Longhouse, they let me have a quick look inside.

Pelicano very busy. I pop in say hi. I see they have latest Drift and Standart. I say I will pop back later and pick up Standart (includes a free coffee) and maybe Drift.

I could have picked up latest Drift from Magazine Brighton but did not wish to carry around all day.

It is then lunch at Iydea. Today the sides are better than the main dish. Lasagna, but bears no resemblance to lasanga.

A quick shop in Infinity Foods. I thought they closed at four, but must be later.

I raise with them sale of Whole Earth peanut butter. It is inferior peanut butter bulked out with palm oil. There is no such thing as sustainable palm oil, bad for the environment and (destroying rain forests)  bad for our health (higher in saturated fat than pig fat). They have Meridian and Suma peanut butter, both of which is ground peanuts, no added sugar, no added palm oil.

To Coffee at 33. I would have had a coffee, but takeaway only. I say no. I buy a couple of bags of coffee.

Then I think, not to worry, continue my search for new coffee shops to try, and once again discover how useless the maps in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide, or at least their perverse logic how they map the location of the coffee shops.

I stumble across Marwood hidden down an alley. Another coffee shop that resembles a downmarket squat. I walk in, turn on my heels and walk out.

I head off looking for Lost in the Lanes. I am stood looking lost in the lanes, though I am not lost, I know where I am. A man asks am I lost? I tell him what I am looking for. He tells me where to find the Trading Post. I know Brighton coffee scene better than he.

I follow his directions, I retrace my steps, and find I had been looking down the street where located Trading Post Roastery but not seen for looking.

Trading Post Roastery they only roast blends,. I am asked what flavour coffee do I want? Er. Dark roast or not. I am fed a load of bullshit. Cappuccino served with chocolate. I send it back.

The best I can say about the cappuccino, not good, but OK.  The flapjack aka granola bar was far better than the coffee. Questionable should they be listed in The Independent Brighton & Hove Coffee Guide?

If summed up Trading Post Roastery with one word, it would be pretentious. I was reminded of Coffee Island, the Greek version of Starbucks.

It was then to the seafront. No time to walk along the pier.

Back to Pelicano. I make it just before they close. For anyone else it would be a takeaway but they know me. Yes, I will have Standart, I would have had a cold brew, but no cold brew. V60. No, if ok, I will have V60 Japanese iced coffee, half hot water, half in the ice. They were going to make, then add the ice. I say no, ice in the carafe, as it then instantly chills the coffee. Which coffee? I let them choose.

I say V60. It was actually a Kalita Wave. It was excellent.

I also buy Drift, San Francisco edition, and I am given a  free bag of coffee.  I have last one, sadly slightly coffee stained.  I tell then if anyone asks for, please send them to Magazine Brighton as they have copies of the latest Drift.

No time to finish my coffee. They kindly pour into a takeaway cup.

I just make it for the train, only I have no ticket and they will not let me through the barriers. I am directed to a row of ticket machines. Luckily a helpful member of staff operates the ticket machine.

I get on the train as pulling out. Another packed train, standing room only,  part packed in like sardines.

Train Gatwick to Reading leaves on time. Waits outside Redhill, then shunts up and down at Redhill. No explanation or apology what is going on why now several minutes late. Guildford now running at least twenty minutes late. Only on leaving Guildford, an explanation and apology, fault with the train. North Camp now running over twenty-five minutes late.

A few days ago announced rail fares will raise yet again, not only rise, rise faster than inflation.

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AM Ozone Restaurant

August 17, 2018

 

I would have eaten at Caffe Macchiato, but fancied a change. A big mistake.

Sort of greeted by a toad like man as walked in, actually not greeted at all.

One surly waiter cleared away dirty plates.

Virtually empty, and easy to see why.

Dull and dingy, though did then manage to turn on a few extra lights.

An oriental-style buffet, food from everywhere.

The food not fresh, lukewarm at best, only one dish replenished whilst I was there. Open from midday until 10 pm. Do the dishes sit there all day? The plates stone cold.

I was worried would I get food poisoning. The place was shut down and fined it was disgusting. I looked in vein for a  food rating, it got zero last year, could not find, then spotted on the door, 4*.

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.

 

Tarrant Street Espresso

August 3, 2018

In Arundel, we look in a few coffee shops, catering supply coffee.

We find Tarrant Street Espresso. It is closed. It is a little after 3-30.  What sort of place is this? He closes at four, but today early. We make do with a takeaway. For Square Mile Red Brick espresso blend it is a disappointment. The coffee shop more of a kiosk.

Best of a bad bunch.

Coffee shops serving catering supply coffee. Could get away with this five years ago, not today with discerning coffee drinkers.

Arundel

August 3, 2018

Train from Chichester running late, missed connecting train.

I nearly miss Arundel. I see Arundel in the distance and think that is where the train is heading. No, have to alight at Arudel Station and walk to Arundel.

As I am about to leave the station, Chinese girl asks me the way to Arundel. I say I am going that way. She joins me. Do we need a taxi? No, we will walk.

It is not far.

We look in a few coffee shops, catering supply coffee.

We find Tarrant Street Espresso. It is closed. It is a little after 3-30.  What sort of place is this? He closes at four, but today early. We make do with a takeaway. For Square Mile Red Brick espresso blend it is a disappointment. The coffee shop more of a kiosk.

As we are half way up the hill, we head further up the hill to what could be the entrance to Arundel Castle. It is not,  and does not even list the opening hours. My new found Chinese friend had been told entrance was at the bottom of the hill, but I thought we best check, not walk down the hill to have to walk back up the hill.

We find the entrance, to be told as we walk in it is closed. Not even a quick look? No, Go for a walk along the river.

We walk a little way along the River Arun, then back up the hill to Arundel Cathedral.

At the bottom of the hill, a square with on one side a lovely little food shop. I buy cheese and a Florentine and a yogurt coated flapjack. Lady serving tells me top entrance used to be the entrance or at least the exit. She said its closure has killed the town. People enter the castle at the bottom entrance and most not aware of the existence of the town.

Between Arundel Castle and Arundel Cathedral lies St Nicholas Church.

Interesting and unusual depiction of the Crucifixion in the Churchyard.

Interesting exhibition in Arundel Cathedral. Ghost like apparitions in the pews. At first I thought only those near the door. But no, throughout the Cathedral. I guessed it was the departed souls of those who died in World War One. I was surprised how many, Arundel only a small town. My guess was correct, to mark 100 days of the end of WWI. I think 93.

Then to the station. A train at 1902, only running late. Caught the 1832 running late at 1807.

Change for Havant. Havant to Guildford. Then another train.

Walking home very warm.

Chichester farmers market

August 3, 2018

What was I doing travelling to Chichester then on to Arundel on a very hot day when I would have been better off sat in the shade of the trees in my garden?

It was already hot by nine o’clock in morning.

https://twitter.com/keithpp/status/1025360143448457216

Whilst changing trains at Guildford Station, a cappuccino from FCB kiosk. It was not great.

Train to Portsmouth from Guildford packed. A fast service London Waterloo to Portsmouth only five coaches.  Drunks on the train.

At Havant, slow train to Brighton pulls in, time to run across the bridge and catch the train. Why not time it better?

Train packed, standing room only. Train full of drunks.

Many more drunks when I alight at Chichester. The reason  why, racing at Goodwood, Glorious Goodwood.

At Chichester Station a train of Pullman coaches. I expect a steam locomotive. Sadly not, diesel engine front and back.

Train is so long,  diesel locomotive on the crossing, road closed.

I decide to take a walk along the Chichester Ship Canal. I think not far to Chichester Harbour. I am wrong, a long way.

Amazing sculptures along the route.

I call in Coffee Lab. Very annoying, Clifton Coffee beans shipped from Coffee Lab in Winchester on Wednesday not in. Makes it even worse. Old beans. Their Colonna beans also old. They say they have more recent, will bag for me.I say ok, will pick up as I pass by later. Cold brew? No, but will do me a Japanese iced filter later.

To the market. Only one stall I am interested in. The stall with the excellent onions and tomatoes.

At first I mistake the wrong stall, but eventually find.

Environmental standards on this market a disgrace. On one stall, fresh produce wrapped in plastic, sweating in the heat.

The man with the tomatoes and onions, tells me that on the Arundel farmers market they will not even be able to use plastic carrier bags. I say use paper. He says costs. I say tough. There is a cost to the environment on using plastic, Society should not carry external costs, but at least the stall is using brown paper bags on which to drop produce, as do most market stalls.

Coffee stall with beans in the midday sun, temperatures in excess of 30C a disgrace.

If want coffee beans, Edge coffee van in Draper’s Yard of Coffee Lab, but not of this stall.

Lunch at St Martins Coffee House. It is packed, but I manage to find a table in the shade in the garden.

Owner not around. A pity as I had fond sources of organic coffee.

Head down Pallant, North and South. Quiet streets running parallel to South Street.  Lovely buildings.

Cut down a narrow street, which brings me out at Coffee Lab.

They have bagged the beans, make me a Japanese iced coffee.

Train is running several minutes late. I miss connecting train to Arundel, have to wait for next train.

I nearly miss Arundel. I see Arundel in the distance and think that is where the train is heading. No, have to alight at Arudel Station and walk to Arundel.

As I am about to leave the station, Chinese girl asks me the way to Arundel. I say I am going that way. She joins me. Do we need a taxi? No, we will walk.

It is not far.

We look in a few coffee shops, catering supply coffee.

We find Tarrant Street Espresso. It is closed. It is a little after 3-30.  What sort of place is this? He closes at four, but today early. We make do with a takeaway. For Square Mile Red Brick espresso blend it is a disappointment. The coffee shop more of a kiosk.

As we are half way up the hill, we head further up the hill to what could be the entrance to Arundel Castle. It is not,  and does not even list the opening hours. My new found Chinese friend had been told entrance was at the bottom of the hill, but I thought we best check, not walk down the hill to have to walk back up the hill.

We find the entrance, to be told as we walk in it is closed. Not even a quick look? No, Go for a walk along the river.

We walk a little way along the River Arun, then back up the hill to Arundel Cathedral.

At the bottom of the hill, a square with on one side a lovely little food shop. I buy cheese and a Florentine and a yoghurt coated flapjack. Lady serving tells me top entrance used to be the entrance or at least the exit. She said its closure has killed the town. People enter the castle at the bottom entrance and most not aware of the existence of the town.

Interesting exhibition in Arundel Cathedral. Ghost like apparitions in the pews. At first I thought only those near the door. But no, throughout the Cathedral. I guessed it was the departed souls of those who died in World War One. I was suprsied how many, Arundel only a small town. My guess was correct, to mark 100 days of the end of WWI. I think 95.

Then to the station. A train at 1902, only running late. Caught the 1832 running late at 1807.

Change for Havant. Havant to Guildford. Then another train.

Walking home very warm.

Home a little after ten, very tired.

 

—- to be continued —-

 

 

Littlehampton and Bognor Regis

July 21, 2018

On leaving Edgcumbes Coffee I decided as only one stop, end of the line, I would visit Littlehampton.

If I was expecting something like a smaller version of Brighton, I was to be bitterly disappointed.  More like Aldershot-by-the-Sea. The only difference no empty and boarded up shops and no filthy Nepalese parasites.

I waled to the sea front, then back along the river. I passed a closed down amusment park

I had to change trains for Havant. Only one stop further to Bognor Regis. No, I would catch the train for Havant.

I alighted, remained on the platform as instructed, hopped on the next train which pulled in a few minutes later. It took me to Bognor Regis.

Bognor Regis a larger version of Littlehampton, equally as grim.

I walked to the sea front. A man with a truck selling wood-fired pizzas. Sorry mate, I am closed, council will not let me serve beyond eight.

It was back to the station, making do with chips to eat.

The Crafted Coffee Company

July 21, 2018

I came across The Crafted Coffee Company at Chichester farmers market where they had a stall.

Why the dark roast? The response was to ask was I a coffee roaster?

I passed by a little later, stall not manned, coffee in midday sun.

What was the Q grade of the coffee? Would not say. Was this a refusal to say or did not know? Refused to say.

The woman was rude and unhelpful.

I walked away.

It goes without saying I did not buy any coffee beans.

In coffee, respect the beans. If not walk on by.

I contrast with Edgcumbes Coffee that I visited later in the afternoon. They went out of their way to be helpful.

There are two places in Chichester for coffee lovers to buy coffee beans, Edgcumbe Coffee and Coffee Lab.

Edgcumbe coffee have a van in Draper’s Yard end of East Street.

Coffee Lab are located in a courtyard off South Street. On sale their own Einstein espresso blend from The Roasting Party plus guest coffees.

Chichester farmers market

July 20, 2018

Chichester farmers market takes place twice a month, on the first and third Friday of the month, not that you would learn this from the organiser, as requests for information are ignored.

On my way down, excellent Origin guest coffee off FCB kiosk at Guildford Station where I changed trains.

Train to Portsmouth packed.  It was not last week, but I was on an earlier train and it was Friday.

I arrived Chichester around midday. At Havant I caught the slow train, saving about ten minutes by not catching the later fast train.

I looked in Coffee Lab, but no time to stop, on my way to the farmers market.

The farmers market is smaller than at first appears. There are other stalls nothing to do with the farmers market. This is at first confusing until realise the stalls of the local producers have a distinctive canopy.

All in all, compared with Guildford farmers market, first Tuesday of the month, something of a disappointment.

The same low environmental standards as Guildford, fresh produce wrapped in plastic. On one stall the vegetables sweating within the plastic.

Tomatoes off one stall. I would have had one of his cucumbers but when I walked back, all sold, Not sure if the strawberries were from this stall or a different stall.

Sausage man would not sell me any sausages. Said unless I was going straight home. Contrast this with the turkey sausage stall on Guildford farmers market, on a stall, not refrigerated in this heat.

A stall with coffee, The Crafted Coffee Company, the coffee dark roasted. No one these days, not unless low quality beans to hide the defects, does a dark roast. I asked of the Q grade. The woman manning the stall would not say. She was quite rude. The beans in the midday sun.

Then to St Martins Coffee House for lunch. Excellent. I discovered the garden was much larger than I had realised.

Excellent lunch. The owner wished to have a chat ushered me to a  seat, insisted I had a coffee and give my honest opinion.

Whilst I was quite happy to sit and chat, I did not have the time. The coffee was not good. I could have told him that without having a cup of coffee. Poor quality coffee. Anonymous catering supply coffee.  Organic does not equate to quality. I suggested a few coffee roasteries he should talk to. It may not be possible to certify organic, but they would be able to tell him what inputs if any had been used. I also suggested visit Coffee Lab, have a chat, try cappuccino, V60, cold brew. He would then see what good coffee should taste like.

It was then to the station.

I headed down St Martins, found I could cross East Street and walk parallel to South Street down North and South Pallant. A far more interesting route, pollution free, lovely buildings.

I did not have long to wait for train, but then had to change after one stop, then to Ford.

I was heading to Edgcumbes Coffee. I had tried their coffee off their van last week, it was not a good idea.  I began to wonder was this a good idea, they were in the middle of nowhere.

I finally arrived, found people sat in a courtyard. If people were prepared to trek to middle of nowhere, then surely a good sign. There was also a coffee shop, The Edge Cafe, the other side of the courtyard, the coffee roasterie, strictly No Entry.

I got into a long conversation with a young guy. The son, Edgcumbes a family business.

What did I want? A cappuccino, I let him choose which coffee to use. It was good. far better than of their van. Not as good as Coffee Lab, but still good.

I questioned the cold brew, 72 hours, concentrate, then watered down.  It was ok, a little too watered down, he added more concentrate. Now OK, but I still prefer cold brew not watered down or V60 chilled, Japanese iced filter.

I bought coffee. Again I let him choose.

I also bought a bar of chocolate. Very expensive, £7 a bar of chocolate. I tried when I got home. Very good, but then it had to be at £7.

Back to Ford, I decided to visit Littlehampton as only one stop. If I was expecting something like a smaller version of Brighton I was to be very disappointed. More like Aldershot-by-the-Sea. The only difference the shops were not empty and boarded up and no filthy Nepalese parasites.

I caught a train, but had to change as bound for Bognor Regis. Same platform next train, I was told for Havant.  I was tempted to visit, as only one stop.

Next train, went to Bognor Regis. It did say it on the train, but I thought a mistake.

At the station they let me out. I walked to the sea through the town. Bognor Regis was as grim as Littlehampton, only slightly bigger.

 

—- to be continues —

Trip to Chichester

July 11, 2018

Uneventful trip down, train to Havant, then train to Chichester.

Chichester, as the name suggests, is a Roman town.

Basically it is a cross roads, with the Buttercross at the centre, a Cathedral City, the cathedral having moved from Selsey to Chichester 1075, or at least the seat of the Bishop moved.

The Buttercross known as the Chichester Cross, is where in Medieval times people would bring their produce to sell.

The centre is quite small, and the inner core pedestrianised.

Sadly Chichester is a classic example of how to ruin a town, not as normally the case a town centre ruined by corrupt planners in the pockets of greedy developers of which there are too many examples across the country, but ruined by corporate chains, the same crap corporate chains that blight every town centre, but at least the planners could have done something about the tacky shop fronts out of character with the buildings.

Writing in The Telegraph, Boudicca Fox-Leonard writes of Chichester having lost its soul.

In a city with such solid historical foundations, where the Romans based their AD 43 invasion of Britannia, and Cicestrians still talk fondly of routing the Vikings in Kingley Vale, the homogenising hand of high-street capitalism has been allowed to walk in without contest, and conquer all.

A tantalising mixture of high and low, like an upmarket, al fresco Westfield. I reckon you could find anything you want in Chichester: just probably not something unique.

Earlier this year, a flesh-eating piranha was found dead in the sewers, but locals are less concerned about the prosaic dispatch of a carnivorous pet than they are about the insatiable hunger of local landowners who have driven up business rates so that only the same old chains can afford shop rents.

The locals’ refrain goes something like: “There are 82 cafés in the centre of Chichester: we’ve got a Starbucks, Pret, Caffè Nero…”

This is not a boast. How could a city that prides itself on a cultural history, famous for its groundbreaking theatre, its arts festivals, its links to Olivier and Larkin, sell out quite so blandly?

Where are the independent retailers? Who is in part to blame? The same response comes from all in a stage whisper: the church.

Along with a few old families, the Diocese of Chichester is the main landowner in the city. And it has presided over its assets with maximum economic nous but, perhaps, minimal foresight.

Chichester has one of the UK’s highest concentrations of chain shops.

Meanwhile, on the fringes, in the fascinating medieval and Georgian lanes fanning hither and thither from its rigid Roman centre, there are still a few independent cafés, record shops, crafters and bric-a-brac purveyors. The architecture is beautiful, as is the wisteria. The pulse is weak, but Chichester’s once mighty heart is quietly beating.

Not though everywhere ruined, still some excellent unspoilt buildings.

And where there was not corporate chains, greasy spoon cafes masquerading as tea shops and coffee shops.

Today was market day. I was surprised how large, down two streets. But most of it was tat.

The only quality stall, a French stall. I do not know who was the more surprised to see each other, he or I.

The other a Sicilian stall that I see on the street food market in Winchester. Sadly still peddle rubbish. But I am not the only one to tell them. Hopefully they will heed what everyone is telling them and revert to their excellent pasta. There are few people who can make excellent pasta, they are one of the rare examples.

And Rasta man who has a fruit and vegetable stall on the Guildford market.

And the cheese guy and coffee woman from Guildford market. Neither seemed to have customers. Not a lot different to Guildford.

And coffee shops, excellent speciality coffee shops? Could I find? No, or at least not as I expected, to be spoilt for choice.

I had sent a message to Chichester Tourist Information Office to ask. No response.

Why have a twitter account if do not know how to use social media? Social media is not broadcast, it is not PR, it is not marketing, it is social interaction, it is implicit in the name, social networks, many to many, social meaning interaction.

Not only the Tourist Information, Chichester farmers market too. I had asked when, how often? No reply. I learnt locally, twice a month, I think first and third Friday, though that needs double checking. At the very least their twitter account could state.

It is not though only lack of understanding of social media, it is pig ignorance, lack of common courtesy. Is not the role of Tourist Information to encourage visitors, therefore if a potential visitor asks questions, should they not promptly respond?

And the coffee shops?

I thought maybe only Harris + Hoole. Marvellous job done on the interior, but now Caffe Nero, death by a thousand cuts.

I think East Street, but maybe wrong, I went to the end, and then a little further, where I found Draper’s Yard, a yard with lots of interesting businesses. But out of the way and does anyone know it exists? I guess not, as deserted. But well worth the effort to find.

Within, an old van, Edge, outlet for Edgcumbes, a local coffee roaster.

Did they have cold brew? Yes, but seems perverse to make with espresso blend not high quality single origin coffee.

I thought I had misheard when told brewed for 72 hours. It must be so over extracted as to be undrinkable. Brewed in a jug. I asked could I try.

The young guy put an ice cube in a plastic cup. Plastic! Poured in a small amount of the cold brew. Very dark to the point of being opaque. I thought this was for me to sample, it did not even cover the ice cube. No, it is concentrate, as it was snatched from me.  He then topped up with lukewarm tap water.  At least I assumed tap water. As a van, maybe not.

To say the least, it was undrinkable. It was like coffee that had been left to go cold, then watered down.

I asked for a cappuccino. It was not good either.

Coffee beans on display were high Q grade, 85 plus, and Ethiopian was 90. And surprisingly cheap, £6 a 250g bag.

I picked up a bag of Ethiopian. £8-50 including the cappuccino. I handed over a tenner. Sorry, we do not take cash.

I have never ever come across anywhere that does not take cash. I may be wrong, and stand corrected if wrong, but I believe it is illegal to refuse to take coin of the realm, legal tender.  And the reason why? Inconvenient for them.

But as the neither the cold brew nor cappuccino were good, maybe I was fortunate.

It was then to St Martin’s Organic Coffee House which I had looked in earlier for very late lunch.

A beautifully restored town house which apparently was derelict.  Excellent food, lovely little garden out the back, but not somewhere I would recommend for coffee.

Then I learnt of Coffee Lab to which I was directed.

I have had my reservations Coffee Lab opening several coffee shops, but I  was not disappointed. The guys knew their coffee and I was served an excellent cappuccino. I also tried their cold brew. It put to shame what I had tried at Edge aka Edgcumbe Coffee.

I had intended to catch a train at six, but having now missed, I decided to have a wander around the Cathedral.

In doing so, I encountered the wonderful Bishop’s Palace Gardens.

The cathedral was now closed, but I noticed no entry free. Too many are charging for entry.

But why all the corporate chains in Chichester? Landlord is the Church and they are screwing tenants, destroying local businesses. The Church once again showing its lack of moral leadership.  The Church at Church House recently hosted an arms conference, the Church has failed to divest from oil.

Then there is Greene King, one the three pubcos the other two Enterprise and Punch, that are screwing pub landlords and destroying pubs.

One in Chichester, the building was leased, that is not a tied pub, excellent businesses built up, Greene King in their greed took back the lease, fired the staff, and now serves their standardised crap, yet anther local business destroyed.

On my way in I passed Artie’s Kitchen. A Spanish tapas restaurant. Three tapas for £15, pricey, though included red wine and bread, which I did not want.

On my way to the station I decided to eat. Had tortilla. OK not as good as I would have in Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife. I was the only one dining.

Opposite, queuing outside a pub for football.

As a result of stopping to eat I missed my train a little after seven. Next train late, missed train at Havant.

Opposite restaurant queue to get in a  pub to watch football. Another pub the same outside the station. A little dumb, are going to get into a  pub full of football supporters? They are not going to leave until end of the match.

On leaving the tapas restaurant, arrived home three hours later, very very tired and physically exhausted.

From various places compostable coffee cups these to be added to the compost heap.