Archive for the ‘Winchester’ Category

Afternoon in Winchester

June 20, 2018

A pleasant afternoon in Winchester.

Missed a bus, missed a train.

Looked in Alton Station Cafe. Tonight for bikers night, chicken casserole.

Driver of 1415 No 64 bus Alton to Winchester running several minutes late, driving like a lunatic, exceeding speed limit, hit curb and smashed bus at Four Marks.

Alight and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Sicilian guys still serving crap from their stall. It is tragic, they used to serve excellent pasta from their stall, worth a trip to Winchester for.

Flat Whites stall no food, all gone. Different guest coffee to last week.

I decide to check out the food at The Square. Spoilt for choice. Sourdough toast with grilled mushrooms.

The people sat outside, relaxing with a coffee, chatting with friends, I am very much reminded of Tailor Made in Athens.

Shocked to learn it is already five o’clock.

I head off to Flat Whites coffee shop. Too late, closed. I drop off a couple of copies of Caffeine. As last week, I recommend, do not subscribe to Caffeine, instead subscribe to Standart.

Back to The Square, but first check out Coffee Lab. I am shocked to find now closes at three. Coffee Lab Academy, as last week, chairs piled up, there were still people sitting there. It has gone rapidly down hill with no Laura in charge.

A cappuccino at The Square. Different barista and not as good as last week. Very large slice of walnut and coffee cake. Best I have ever had.

At Alton Station, same problem as last year, an ice cream van illegally parked in the car park, obstructing access, engine running, serving ice cream.

As last week, no special left at Alton Station Cafe.

As I board train, steam  train leaving.


Afternoon in Winchester

June 13, 2018

Miss train to Alton by twenty minutes due to usual piss-poor service by Stagecoach.

At Alton run to Alton Station Cafe to inquire of tonight, bikers night, lamb casserole.

Bus to Winchester large crack in the windscreen. Why is it still in service, especially as reported this morning by another driver?

Shocked to find the excellent greengrocer in Alton has closed. Maybe they have relocated. Let us hope so.

Walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Looking forward to pasta of Sicilian stall, shocked, annoyed, angry and upset to find no pasta, only rubbish. I try, looks like a pasty but is not, the pastry like a doughnut, yuk, inside disgusting cheap ham, tomato sauce not even tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. It was as bad as it sounds.

What is wrong with these people? They start with good food, then cut corners and and serve rubbish.

On the Flat Whites stall, guest coffee. They say go to their coffee shop and try.

The coffee shop opened end of last year, hidden in a courtyard.  I notice a good selection of guest coffees, also coffee soap, made with coffee grounds (a novel use of coffee grounds).

The coffee I was recommended, no V60, but have Chemex. I notice cold brew.

The cold brew excellent, a little cloudy as not filtered. I was surprised they brew for 24 hours.

I suggest serve in a  glass carafe with a smaller glass.

They subscribe to Caffeine. I recommend do not waste your money, subscribe instead to Standart and get a free sample coffee with each issue.

It is then to Coffee Lab Academy. I am surprised to find closed at five o’clock, chairs piled on tables.

Where is Laura?

The Square.

They have opened a third coffee shop, each one street apart.

I find a long queue outside for a pizza shop opposite. Free pizza.

The Square is a lot different to the other two coffee shops, which are each different. Much larger, seating outside and out the back, seating upstairs, and packed.

I order a cappuccino. It tastes different. I query Laura. Same coffee, they have changed the grinders, and it has made all the difference to the coffee, plus they are monitoring and adjusting the grinders during the day.

Do I queue for a free pizza? No, I am tired, I will catch the bus and join the bikers at Alton Station Cafe.  I arrive and find no lamb casserole.

Copper Joes

January 14, 2018

A coffee shop part of a museum complex.

One way to explore a city is via its indie coffee shops. Had I not been told of Copper Joes, I would not have explored a different part of Winchester, found Peninsular Barracks, or explored West Gate.

Last year, on a visit to Winchester, I was told of a new coffee shop that was using coffee supplied by The Roasting Party.

On my next visit to Winchester, it was a pleasant summer afternoon, I decided to see if I could find it. Other than it was using The Roasting Party and a rough idea of where to head, I had no idea what I was looking for as I lacked a name.

I trekked up the High Street to check it out. I was led to believe it was Eat Drink and Be, that maybe had changed hands.

No, it was still using Winchester Coffee Roaster, though whether it had changed hands, I do not know.

It was a little after three o’clock and they were already clearing out the food. Why, what do they do with it? Do they throw it away, dish it out the next day?

Having got thus far, I decided to carry on.

I passed by West Gate. Saw some run down shops on a corner.

I had thought I was on the road to the station but I was not.

I was about to give up, when I saw a board flat on the ground telling me coffee from The Roasting Party 50 yards.

A few more boards, each different.

I passed by an army barracks, was it here? I carried on, found nothing, retraced my steps.

I found myself at Copper Joes, in the guard house of what was once a military barracks, Peninsular Barracks, part coffee shop, part museum.

Three people and a very hot dog sat outside.

I asked was the coffee good, they replied yes.

I went inside. Myself and the three outside, the only customers.

A very pleasant ambience.

A mother and daughter operation, mother Nikki makes the food, daughter Layla the coffee. The cakes supplied by The Winchester Cakeologist.

I ordered a cappuccino, sadly spoilt by the addition of chocolate.

A coffee shop serving coffee sourced from The Roasting Party should know better than to add chocolate to a cappuccino, or at the very least ask.

The name Copper Joe comes from two different sources.
In 1913 Josephus Daniels was appointed secretary of the Navy. The story states that on 1st June 1914, Secretary Joe issued General Order 99, this prohibited alcohol aboard naval vessels. From this point on, the strongest drink allowed on naval ships has been coffee. The annoyed soldiers unhappy about the changes called the coffee ‘a cup of joe’ out of anger.

The Copper element was added due to location. The Guard House was used by the Military Police, in Cockney slang coppers.

On my way back down, I found a side door into West Gate, stone steps, that led to a museum, once a debtors prison, further steps led to the roof, with a restricted view looking down the High Street.

Flat Whites coffee shop

December 16, 2017

Flat Whites is familiar to many as a little van, strictly speaking a pod, in the High Street in Winchester.  It took over the spot previously occupied by Jimmy Bean. Sometime in the summer they opened a coffee shop in Southampton. They have now opened a coffee shop in Winchester.

It is located in Parchment Street. I have never before walked down Parchment Street. Lined with interesting shops, far better than find in the High Street.

Flat Whites towards the end of the shops, in a little courtyard.

I walked in, found it was busy, a warm greeting from Abby the owner. She knows me from her little van.

Abby who owns Flat Whites coffee shop has done an excellent job, guest coffee, coffee beans for sale, on display Standart latest issue and Drift the Melbourne issue.

Standart is very rare to find. Drift I had never come across until The Underdog in Athens.

Coffee from Mozzo, served for cappuccino. My cappuccino excellent.

Strange, it was better than I have had off the van. The only way for a fair comparison, would have to have then had a cappuccino off the van, but then it would have been a different person serving. Unless different beans, I can only explain the difference a better machine, or maybe machines, espresso machine and grinder.

Guest coffee from Bailies Coffee Roasters for pour over. Little cards giving more details of the guest coffee. These are attached to the menu, and on the shelve where the bags of coffee for sale. They are not though doing themselves any favours with cards with tiny writing that needs a magnifying glass to read.

Balies I had not heard of. Not surprising, as in Ireland.

Guest coffee will periodically change.

I suggested try Tormento Colombia from Dark Woods Coffee, a single origin coffee from Finca El Tormento in Colombia.

Very expensive peanut butter from Cliptop Kitchen If quality peanut butter, I cannot think why would then wish to ruin it by adding chille.

On a shelf by the window, treats for dogs. Whilst I was there a black poodle came in. Must have been a regular, as asked for a  treat.

A lovely ambience.

The tables appear to be from reclaimed wood. The bench seats are cleverly disguised storage boxes.

When I walked in it was busy. A good start as they only opened the week before.

Whilst I was there, a customer walked in and bought a bag of beans. Abby went through the bags to select the latest roast date. She can rotate if slightly older. It is this attention to detail that makes the difference between an average and top quality coffee shop.

An excellent addition to the thriving Winchester coffee scene.

Afternoon in Winchester

December 15, 2017

A very cold day, only a few degrees above zero, wind chill making feel much colder.

I missed the train to Alton thanks to dysfuncytional Stagecoach bus service. I missed a bus, half an hour wait for the next bus, a bus service that is supposed to be every ten minutes.

At Alton, popped in The Station Cafe, wished them Merry Christmas. Next Bikers night will be last week in February.

On the way to Winchester, charged power bank. It was fully charged last trip a week ago, only used as occasional flash light, It showed fully charged, half way through journey, fully charged.

I was tempted to alight from bus and walk down into Winchester, too cold.

I would usually visit Winchester on a Wednesday, when they have a street food market, albeit a very small street food market that is getting smaller. Today market day, many more stalls.

Pasta off the Sicilian stall. Far too cold for street food. The High Street seems to focus the wind.

I learnt last week, Flat Whites have opened a coffee shop. I decided to find it, take a look, but not stay.

It is down Parchment Street. I have never before walked down Parchment Street. Lined wth interesting shops, far better than find in the High Street.

Flat Whites towards the end of the shops, in a little courtyard.

Abby who owns it has done an excellent job, guest coffee, coffee beans for sale, on display Standart latest issue and Drift the Melbourne issue.

It was then to Coffee Lab Academy, now nearly five o’clock.

I asked what time were they closing, there are a lot of people in the High Street, I added, hopefully.

Seven o’clock.

I decided to take a walk to the Cathedral Christmas Market, then come back.

Winchester Cathedral Market is far more impressive at night than during the day. In the daytime it lacks atmosphere. Plenty of people enjoying the ice skating. Contrast with the pathetic ice rink at The Village in Guildford, which has now closed, and The Village will also close Christmas Eve, having cost the local taxpayer £1.2 million.

Back to Coffee Lab Academy. No Dhan, but luckily, he has signed copies of Coffee Art for me.

Cappuccino and date slice.

I find there is not a bus at 1850. I am sure there used to be. Now hourly from 1820. Lucky for me Coffee Lab Academy not closing until seven.

Train from Alton, intersting conversataion with an American economist from New York, he had studied at LSE.

Afternoon in Winchester

December 6, 2017

A cold damp dull afternoon in Winchester. Temperature was 10C, but it did did not feel as 10C, due to cold wind and wind chill.

I pop into Alton Station Cafe. Confirm I will be at Christmas dinner this evening. Had I booked? No, but was invited. OK, we will fit you in.

Rain all the way down from Alton to Winchester.

Charged power bank on the way down. 75% full, though only used occasionally as flashlight since last charged on the bus two weeks ago.

Still charging on arrival in Winchester, journey of 50 minutes.

The output from the usb ports on the No 64 bus must be very low. Maybe deliberately low, as not to burn out any device being charged. There is no warning, use at own risk, thus bus company would be liable.

I would usually alight and walk down the hill, but cold and miserable day.

Very cold when I alight from the bus.

Concrete barriers in the street. No one knows why. Is Winchester expecting a terrorist attack?

Fewer stalls. And will get worse. Stallhlolders worried Council wish to reduce the number of stalls.

No consultation. The usual contempt for the people.

No consultation with stall holders, no consultation with people in the street. Usual dicktat.

A good street market, which sadly Winchester has not, pulls people in.

No one visits Clone Town, a town with the same crap chains as in every other town, selling the same sweatshop labour goods from the same Third World sweatshops

Ttagliatelle  off Sicilian stall.

I learn Flat White, the coffee stall, had opened a coffee shop. No one knew where. Odd no sign on their coffee stall proclaiming they have opened a coffee shop.

On checking, I find Stonemasons Court Parchment Street. I walked down Parchment Street, but where Stonemasons Court?  Press report wrong. Says no plans to open in other towns.  Not true,  Flat White opened a coffee shop in Southampton several months ago.

It was then to Coffee Lab Academy. Too cold to wander to the Christmas market.

Cappuccino and date slice.

No Dahn. I leave Coffee Art for him to sign.

Walking to catch the bus, I notice the grey concrete barriers merge into the background, no lights. Normally a barrier in the street has lights. An accident waiting to happen.

Power bank fully charged as reach Alton.

A table has been reserved for me at the Bikers Night Christmas dinner.

The full works, turkey and all the trimmings. Followed by a small slice of Christmas pudding served with brandy sauce.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 22, 2017

Mild when I set off, in Winchester very cold.

Almost missed the train.

Dysfunctional Stagecoach,  bus driver refused to allow an elderly lady to board the bus, even though she had a valid bus pass, holding up the bus for several minutes when all he had to do was issue a paper ticket.

At Aldershot Station, no ticket office open, man manning the barrier refuses to open barrier as have no ticket.

Does public transport employ people based upon their level of stupidity?

Wifi live on No 64 bus to Winchester, but not connecting to Internet.

Tried charging power bank from usb charging point.

Last week, power bank showed full, but kept charging through journey until fully charged.

Monday, power bank used to charge Samsung Galaxy A3 from around 20% to 50% whilst in use.  Power bank showed 75% charged.  As charging, shows 75% charged.

I would normally walk down the hill into Winchester, but stay on the bus.

No 64 bus now arrives and departs from the street. It saves time going around the back streets to the bus station.

Bus Station has been refurbished. It is now worse than before. One big open space, nowhere for passengers to shelter from the rain.

I inform bus driver wifi live bus does not connect to Internet. Driver not interested.

It has turned very cold

Pasta off the Sicilian stall. Only thing worth having from the street food market.

Too cold for street food.

A wander around Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market. The ice skating rink puts to shame the one at The Village in Guildford.

Hot chestnuts off a  stall very poor quality compared with the hot chestnuts off the stalls in Athens. Very misleading stall, chopped wood, but fired by a hidden gas cylinder. And why use Italian chestnuts when there are English chestnuts?

Look in Coffee Lab. Do not stay as too cold with door open. Explains why empty.

Coffee Lab Academy busy, but again no Dhan.

Coffee Lab Academy closes at five, but they do not chase people out. I am there until gone 5-30.

Walking to catch the bus, passing Bus Station I notice in darkness. It would also help to have lights by the bus stands in the street.

I ask the driver why is the Bus Station in darkness.

The refurbishment failed to install lights.

Wifi live and connecting to Internet.

I again charge power bank for entire journey. Still charging, but is now showing fully charged when I remove from usb point.

As last week, woman, not same woman, with dirty boots on a seat. This is a new bus fleet that only officially came into service on Sunday.

Tonight no dinner at Alton Station Cafe. I learnt on way down, Bikes Night tonight cancelled.

Nearly twenty five minutes wait for a  train. I possibly just missed one.

It would have helped if new timetable tied in with the trains, though bus did leave five minutes late.

Pop in Waitrose.  I notice Union coffee beans, at least the ones I check, Yayu Forest, one month old, in Waitrose Farnham two months old, which is not doing Union any favours.

No 64 bus route Alton to Winchester

November 19, 2017

A new fleet of buses on the No 64 route Alton came into service last week.

Officially came into service today with the introduction of a new timetable.

The last couple of years has seen new buses introduced on this route.

Now a dedicated fleet.

Free wifi and usb charging points.

Very bad design of the usb charging points, low down between the seats making access very difficult. Though not as bad the new Goldline introduced on the Aldershot-Farnborough-Camberley route a few months ago where the usb charging points are even lower, and ideal for passengers to kick with their feet or rest their feet on. Same bus, internally different seats. On the No 1 Goldline, the usb charging points are almost on the floor.

A power bank, indicating full, charged a couple of weeks ago and only used as occasional torch, to fully charge, what I thought would be a few minutes, from leaving Alton Station until approaching Winchester before indicating fully charged. Either low output or high capacity power bank. Power bank new and have not used before.

I would not risk charging a phone or tablet, but quite happy to use to charge a power bank.

Depressing to see an ignorant female with dirty feet on the seats of a brand new bus. This problem not restricted to this route, also on the Goldline route, passengers putting their dirty feet on the seats of new buses.

On the trains, can be fined for feet on seats.

Timetable improvements that should be made on this route, cut out the detour around Alresford, better connection with trains at Alton.

On the new timetable, the buses are running an hourly late night service.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 15, 2017

Not as cold as last week, but cold.

Sun came out at Alton, sun and mist.

New bus, No 64 bus Alton to Winchester.

This must be third or fourth generation of new buses on this route in the last couple of years.

USB charging points, but poor design, low down between the seats, though not as low as on the No 1 Aldershot-Farnborough-Camberley route. It beggars belief, such bad design,

I would not risk a mobile phone, not unless desperate, I would though charge a power bank.

Late bus from Winchester, is a single decker, usb ports, wifi. I charge a small power bank. Last week, not so late, a double decker.

I decided to try on this new bus with a new power bank.

As showing fully charged, and only been used as a torch since charged a couple of weeks ago, I expect only a few minutes charging.

Charging entire route until approaching Winchester.

Suggests either very low output from usb port, at a guess only 500 mAh or problems with power bank. Could also be power bank is higher capacity then I realised.

I would normally alight and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester, but decide to stay on the bus into Winchester.

No one at the Sicilian pasta stall, I walk up the High Street to see what else on offer.

I find a French stall I have not seen before, tomatoes, nuts, onions and shallots. The tomatoes are rare heritage varieties.

The stall will not return until 20 December. They do a tour around England and France.

Tagliatelle off the Sicilian stall. It was better than last week, but I wish they would revert to what they had in the summer, served with a creamy mushroom sauce. Pasta is fine, but ideally it needs to be with something, not pasta on its own.

I suggest they sell extra virgin olive oil. I learn the oil they use comes from their family farm back in Sicily. I also suggest a Christmas hamper.

The street food market only allows one of everything. Why then was another stall selling inferior pasta allowed on the market?

This rule is wrong, there should be at least two to give choice, but correct to limit to maintain variety.

I look in Coffee Lab. I speak with the barista who I talked to last week.

I visited Workhouse in Reading.

What did you think of the coffee?

Unfortunately I did not try.

But I did try CUP speciality tea and coffee. Excellent.

No sign of Dhan.

A cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy.

Had I waited, Dhan would have appeared.

1720 Winchester to Alton, ignorant female has her dirty trainers on brand new seats.

I learn from the driver, new fleet, does not officially come into operation until Sunday 19 November when new timetable is introduced. Which may also explain why no working wifi, as not yet gone live.

Excellent chicken curry at Alton Station Cafe. They invite me for Christmas dinner.

For inexplicable reasons, train is divided at Farnham. I could understand adding coaches, not removing coaches. No explanation given. No announcement if in correct part of the train.

National Cappuccino Day in Coffee Lab

November 8, 2017

Where better to have a cappuccino on National Cappuccino Day than in Coffee Lab?

On my way down to Winchester I learn from Guildford Tourist Information that today is National Cappuccino Day. No one is aware of this, and neither was I.

The coffee shop they show is not somewhere I would recommend. Not unless you enjoy bad coffee and cigarette smoke blown in your face.  A cafe serving coffee masquerading as coffee shop.

If I were in Guildford there are better places for coffee.

Lucky for me, cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy , though sadly no Dhan.

I had hoped to find Dhan, but he was nowhere to be found, I looked in both Coffee Lab and Coffee Lab Academy, but no Dhan. I returned to Coffee Lab Academy where it was warmer.

Both Coffee Lab and Coffee lab Academy have had a makeover, forced by change of logo. I like the new look.

Charming lady who I often chat with is pleased to see me.

I am surprised when she makes my coffee. I did not know she was a barista. She is very good.

I have a brief look at Coffee Art, a book by Dhan released a month ago. It looks worth having. None are signed.

A flapjack as well. I learn made in the Salisbury coffee shop.  Excellent.

If you wondered what really happens when a cappuccino is made, a clip from the BBC Archive.