Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Alton’

Afternoon in Alton

July 29, 2015
The Old Curiosity Shop

The Old Curiosity Shop

water meadows

water meadows

Heron at Kings Pond

heron at Kings Pond

A dull, cool, cloudy day. Hazy sun broke through and it warmed up a little. Then it rained and temperature dropped.

Looked in The Old Curiosity Shop.

Excellent lunch at the little Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori. Courgette soup with garlic,  followed by sea bass served with  new potatoes and beans. Started outside in the garden, then had to rush indoors when it rained. On last visit, the service was awful, today exemplary.

A walk to the source of the River Wey. The stream bed still dry. Through the water meadows, then a walk around the Kings Pond.

From Kings Pond, I found an alley that ran alongside the railway line that led to Alton Station.

Arrived at Alton Station, just in time to catch a train before it departed.

Afternoon in Alton

July 18, 2015
vintage bus

vintage bus

vintage bus

vintage bus

old watercress beds

old watercress beds

A pleasant warm sunny afternoon, though later it clouded over and turned cool, or cooler.

I just made the train to Alton.

As the train pulled into Alton, I was tempted to catch the bus to Winchester, but thought no, I need to pop to Brock’s Farm Shop, and there are decent paces to eat in Alton, which there are not in Winchester.

Guerilla gardening by ALFI (Alton Local Food Initiative) at Alton Station.

Sometimes I find a stream train at Alton Station, but not today. I would have if I had hung around.

I looked in Alton Bookshop.

The Old Curiosity Shop. A very interesting shop.

Brock’s Farm Shop was not open. Closed early? Everything in Alton closes early. Maybe but it had the look of dereliction about it.

Excellent lunch,  roast pepper soup, followed by tortellini, in the Italian coffee shop Bottega dei Sapori. Service was appalling. Why, I do not know, as they were not busy and service is not usually a problem.

A coffee at Mog’s Deli. Shock, it had closed down. It had only opened last year.

To the fruit and vegetable shop, then back to the Italian coffee shop.

I wish they would get better tea. They pride themselves on sourcing quality ingredients, then serve teapigs, not only serve but have on sale. Teapigs is not quality tea. Marketing hype does not make quality tea.

On leaving the Italian coffee shop, walk back down the street, then out and along the water meadows, old watercress beds.

Walking through the town, many closed shops, drunks roaming the streets and outside the pubs.

Alton is the source of the River Wey. The stream bed, had dried up. All that was left was murky pools of water. No longer the flowing chalk stream.  This is only the second time, or second summer, I have seen it dried up. Though the last time, there was not even the pools of water, there was grass growing in the stream bed.

My sandal snapped in half. Hobbling along, I walked up the the Parish Church, then headed to the main road. I saw a man working in his garden. I asked did he have any super glue? He said no, but went to his van and brought out a brand new roll of duct tape.  A hasty repair was effected. I thanked him profusely.

I looked in on Peter O’Connor in O’Connor’s Secret Garden.

I mentioned Brock’s being closed, Mog’s Deli closed and the general state of Alton. He said Brock’s had closed several months ago. A shock as an excellent butcher. Peter said the lease due for renewal, therefore at a guess another local business driven out of business by rent hikes.

Alton a few years ago had an excellent food festival. What happened? Sponsorship by Costa one year,  Iceland another year, which somewhat lost the plot for a celebration of local food. Then taken over by Hampshire farmers markets, which killed it.

What is Alton Town Council doing? Godalming Town Council is very proactive. Maybe the example of Frome should be followed, a Flatpack Democracy revolution, ordinary  citizens take over the Town Hall.

I decided to stay and eat, even though it was turning cool and looked like rain. I was though a little disappointed to learn Peter was not cooking, but I need not have worried. The meal was excellent, pork medallions with vegetables.

On leaving raining. Waitrose closed. Entrance to station blocked, footbridge closed, I made the train with seconds to spare.

Afternoon in Alton

November 15, 2014
Alton at dusk

Alton at dusk

I was on my way to Farnham, but as I would not make where I wished to have lunch, I decided to catch a train to Alton. I almost carried on to Winchester, but decided too late, so Alton it was.

On the train down, fields between Farnham and Bentley flooded.

The ground is saturated. Bodes ill for winter flooding.

Thursday night, River Wey in Guildford was high and very fast flowing.

No steam trains.

I looked in on a jumble sale at the Catholic Church near Alton Station for all of five minutes. Junk, not worth the visit.

A quick look in Alton Books, but nothing I desired.

An interesting conversation in Brock’s Butcher. I was curious why the name change, it used to be Brock’s Farm Shop, did they no longer have the farm? It still was Brock’s Farm Shop, the canopy had changed and they had changed the name to reflect they were a traditional butcher, but there was another reason, public perception a farm shop is expensive. People sadly shop for food on price not quality. A pork chop/ Will it be as good as the butcher in Downing Street in Farnham?

mushroom tortellini

mushroom tortellini

Excellent mushroom tortellini in the Italian coffee shop. I would have had tea, but it is teapigs which is not quality tea, a totally owned subsidiary of Tetley.

By now starting to get dark, even though not long gone four o-clock.

I passed a shop I had not noticed before, Mog’s Deli, a coffee shop cum deli. I bought some ham, which proved not to be very good. I would have expected a deli to have much better quality ham. The coffee, a brand coffee, why not from one of the many small coffee roasters? Nicely done out.

<em>Revolution half price in Waterstone’s. It was half price in WHSmith, then they bumped the price up.

Greengrocer has a good idea. Samples to try. The clementines were excellent.

Museums in Hampshire have been transferred to a trust. Or dumped in a trust, depending upon your perspective. A good idea? Funding guaranteed for a few years. Where future funding? Last thing we want is going cap in hand to business. Where was the public consultation?

Service Waitrose Alton far better than the piss-poor service at Waitrose Farnham. Cups by the coffee machine, free coffee in coffee shop, newspapers to read no queues at checkout.

I ordered a free pot of tea. I thought I had missed the tea cup, was about to go back, when the store manager pointed out the clever design, the tea pot nestled in the top of the tea cup. Not seen that before.

Although it means travelling down to Alton, maybe I will shop here rather than Farnham. Hassle free shopping, I can leave when I know the train is due, and as as the train sits for some time at the station, can sit and read on the train. In Farnham, wait in the cold and wet for a bus, which in winter is not good when it is raining, especially when the buses are erratic at best of times.

Afternoon in Alton

September 6, 2014
diesel-hauled train at Alton Station

diesel-hauled train at Alton Station

Swan Hotel

Swan Hotel

Old Town Hall

Old Town Hall

food banks fastest growing sector of the economy

food banks fastest growing sector of the economy

Church Mice Cottage

Church Mice Cottage

A very pleasant warn and sunny afternoon.

I quite surprised, a very impressive schedule running from Alton Station, but not steam trains, only diesel-hauled, which probably explained few people on the platform, few passengers on the train that pulled in.

I looked in Alton Books. I usually stay and have a chat, but time was pressing. I let the lady know about appalling behaviour WHSmith re Paulo Coelho’s latest book Adultery. She said she was not surprised. I let her know Paulo Coelho was a guest of Oprah Winfrey on Super Soul Sunday.

Lovely mushroom tortellini in the little Italian coffee shop. It was very pleasant stay under a tree in their walled garden. So pleasant, I stayed and had a pine nut and honey tart and a pot of tea. For teapigs, it was about acceptable.

By now way gone five.

I was lucky, I thought maybe the excellent greengrocer would have closed, but still open. It gave me time to catch Waterstone’s before they closed.

Under the despised and hated ConDem government, food banks are the fastest growing sector of the economy. A new one has just opened in Alton.

Then a walk to and through the water meadows, the source of the River Wey.

I walked the back way, up a hill, and via the Parish Church. I do not know why but this always seems shorter.

I was surprised to find the Allen Gallery open. A private showing of a ceramics exhibition, Ceramicus 2014. I blagged my way in. I was pleasantly surprised, very high quality ceramics on display.

I was surprised to find O’Connor’s Secret Garden closed. Last time I passed it was closed, but that was for holidays. Worried it may have closed, which would be a grave loss, I asked a little corner shop. No, on holiday. I recommended a note to that effect, otherwise people will think they have closed.

Chips from the local fish n chip shop. Enough chips to feed a family.

A diesel-hauled train departed as I arrived at Alton Station. It was now dark and I could not see what it was.

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