Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Farnham’

Afternoon in Farnham

July 15, 2017

Another of those strange days when starts off cool then turns very warm.

No soup in Gail’s, though maybe good fortune, as carrot and ginger. Once again, a sign on the counter saying soup when no soup.

As always, Gail’s empty.

I walk by Barista Lounge, it too appears to be empty. Yet again different staff. I look at the food, probably been there all day. The soup has been the same now for many weeks. I do not even bother to ask. I walk out.

Cappuccino and flapjack in Krema. The only coffee shop in Farnham worth knowing about.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow and Manor Field. The hay has not yet been cut. I notice far end of Bishop’s Meadow has been fenced off. Maybe when the have cut the grass they will graze animals. Excellent if they do.  What is strange, the fencing is not attached to the posts. Maybe something they will do later.

On way to Waitrose, I look in Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant, query the menu. I do this as from past experience, what it says may not be what they have.

In Waitrose, Union Hand-Roasted appears to be the only coffee worth having, the only coffee with a  roast date.

I return from Waitrose, told to sit outside, as two parties of drunk women inside. Why not tell me when I inquired earlier, as I would not have bothered to return?

Lion and Lamb Cafe and Restaurant is always empty when I walk by. There is a very good reason for this, the food is awful and expensive.  But the menu is enticing.

I ask for lamb burger and sweet potato chips. It looks disgusting when served, it is disgusting. The lamb not cooked.

Whilst I was sat outside, a couple turned up. I sad they would not be able to sit inside. They walked off.

Three people turned up as I was eating. Their food arrived as I was leaving. I warned them it was not good, and seeing two had the lamb burger, I advised check as it was probably not cooked. They cut into it, from the look of disgust I guess not cooked.

I recommended complain. I would have complained but no time, I would have missed the bus.

Afternoon in Farnham

July 8, 2017

Another very warm day.

Alight from bus and walk along riverside walk, up through Gostrey Meadow.

I wanted a book on coffee, a specific book on coffee, Real Fresh Coffee. I looked in the second hand shops, including Oxfam bookshop, nothing on coffee.

Soup in Gail’s. Usually no soup, even though always says soup on the counter. I order soup, red pepper and basil, with bread. Usually a chunk of brown bread, but today two slices of white bread.  Also a small roll with smoked salmon. Quite generous portion of smoked salmon. The soup had an unpleasant bitter taste. So long since been able to get soup, I forget their soup has this unpleasant metallic bitter taste. I have raised this before, queried what it is, but no one knows.

Gail’s source their own blend of coffee from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee. Therefore should be excellent. It was so bad, never tried again.

Fresh smoothie in Krema. I also try again their nitro cold brew on tap. It is different to last time I tried. Slightly fruity notes. But still not good. Nowhere as good as when last year did cold brew coffee or the cold brew coffee off FCB kiosk at Guildford Station. I asked, no, now we have nitro cold brew, we will not be doing cold brew. Very depresssing, could serve quality cold brew, instead serve an expansive hyped fad.

Decided to take a walk around Bishop’s Meadow only find there is a garden party at the Old Vicarage, and my friends from Curries at Home doing the food. Unfortunate I was not aware of earlier, it started at three and I did not arrive until six. I would not have wasted time in Farnham. As always, excellent garden party, good food and live music.

Afternoon in Farnham

June 4, 2017

Yesterday afternoon in Farnham pleasant and sunny.

Barista Lounge finally has acquired a barista. Maybe try next week.

Cappuccino in Krema.

A walk around Manor Field.

Once again, piss-poor service in Waitrose Farnham.

Next Saturday a sustainability festival in Gostrey Meadow.

Afternoon in Farnham

April 29, 2017

This morning in the garden, pleasantly warm, the afternoon, chilly.

I had a feeling, being Bank Holiday weekend, then may be something happening in Gostrey Meadow.

I was correct. Racing plastic ducks down the river.

Stalls with tat. The only quality stall, Hobo Co, though their coffee was a disappointment.

I suggested they check out Godalming Food Festival, Staycation Live and Guildford farmers market.

It was then to Krema, for a decent coffee.

For some perverse reason, everything came in reverse order, first a cappuccino, followed by a sausage roll, followed by soup.

Maybe my fault, as I ordered in reverse order.

I also bought a bag of coffee beans, Pioneer v4.0 from Horsham Coffee Roasters.

Very sad to see the music shop in Downing Street had closed. End of an era.

Last year we lost the greengrocer.

I will not be surprised to see the Downing Street Deli close. The best thing that could happen to it would be someone else take it over and do a better job.  The Deli side is good, but the coffee undrinkable.

Philip Higham cellist rehearsing in the Parish Church. He was very good, ideally suited to the church acoustics. I was tempted to buy a CD but at £20, no way. I left, returned, and bought. Had it been £10, I would have bought two. It was though a double CD.

Philip Higham was quite apologetic. He has to buy them. That is the disadvantage of being on a record label.

As the acoustics were so good, I suggested get hold of quality recording equipment, record, master and release as a live recording on bandcamp.

If lack the funds, crowd source.

Also consider looping the cello. I gave Zoe Keating as an example.

Or could do a duo with bass player Steve Lawson.

I walked a little way around Manor Field, not far, not even as far as the river.

Dotted around Farnham tied yellow ribbons. A few had a blue centre with hashtag #freenazanin an imprisoned journalist in Iran.

Meaningless sign on the door of Costa, or at least a meaningless award, voted the best national coffee shop. Out of what, Costa or tax dodging Starbucks or tax dodging Caffè Nero, all infamous for serving undrinkable coffee in an awful environment that screams corporate.

Afternoon in Farnham

November 5, 2016

A very cold day in Farnham.

Someone I know on the bus. I said alight at the Sports Centre, Phyllis Tuckwell furniture warehouse has books.

He did, I showed him the way, and he was pleased.

I picked up a  couple of books, The Alchemist, a book on soups and Christmas cards.

Looked in Lidl. It was packed, anyone think Christmas had already arrived. Unlike the appalling service at Lidl Aldershot, all tills were manned.

Man serving me was very cheerful. I commented he was cheerful and all tills manned. He said oi not manned, manager would be onto him.

If nothing else, empathises something seriously wrong wth Lidl Aldershot.

In the bins, power banks £9-99, 3000 mAh, similar size and shape to a mobile phone.

Walk along the River Wey and up through Gostrey Meadow to Downing Street.

Very cold walking through Gostrey Meadow.

Soup in Krema. Moroccan chicken. Not up to their usual high standard.


flapjack and cappuccino in Barista Lounge

Cappuccino in Barista Lounge. Not good, barely drinkable. Not the worse, I have had there undrinkable.

I idd it the wrong way round, I should have had soup in Barista Lounge, coffee in Krema.  But last week told kitchen closed, which was ridiculous.

Barista Lounge need to get their act together. They have had teething problems since opening. They still have problems. If operating as coffee shop, then need skilled baristas, quality coffee beans. They have neither.

The girl serving the coffee claims to have come from an  indie coffee shop in Yorkshire. Whilst this may be true she is no barista. Basic mistakes like making coffee too hot, hence bitter.

I left a copy of The Alchemist as an early Christmas present.

Now getting dark, temperature has plummeted.

Looked in Farnham Wholefoods. As always empty. But no surprise. Nothing worth buying. Unless they sort their act together they will go under. A good wholefood shop would be an asset. I suggested they visit Infinity Foods and Grocer and Grain in Brighton, especially Grocer and Grain.

Something very wrong with Waitrose Farnham. Their stock control always poor, can never find what I want. But nothing like today. The shelves were stripped bare. It was as though a National Emergency and panic buying had stripped the store. They had nothing I wanted. A completely wasted trip.

I was told problems with deliver on Thursday. But today Saturday.

If nothing else, the should have discounted everyone’s purchases to say sorry.

had the roads not been closing I may have walked to Sainsbury’s. But I was told Sainsbury’s the same, shelves stripped bare.

Maybe seeing shelves stripped bare in Waitrose, and not knowing why, maybe it triggered panic and people went on to strip Sainsbury’s.

Would I make the bus?

Bus at 1748. All the roads were closing at six for a torch lit procession.

A No 46 bus at the bus stop. Was it going to Aldershot? No. I learnt it no longer goes to Aldershot.

Stagecoach bus service is getting ridiculous.

No 71, Guildford to Godalming. Then through the villages, to Hlseenmere, then changes to No 19 and on to Farnham and Aldershot.

A few weeks ago, I learnt No 19 no longer goes to Haslemere.

No 46, Guildford to Godalming, then Farnham and Aldershot. Now no longer goes to Aldershot.

What is the point of terminating at Farnham? Aldershot is a major bus-train interchange, as is Haslemere.

It goes without saying, no public consultation.

The intention seems to be, make bus routes unusable, then terminate the service as little used.

A lady wished to get to Guldford. She wanted No 65. It was not due until 1815. I told her it would not arrive, as all roads would be closed.

She asked the driver of No 46. He did not know the roads were closed. He rang his depot. They did not know roads were closed.

I said catch No 46. No 65 will not arrive. Then when No 19 came in, I said catch No 19, change at Aldershot for Guildford.

This she did. It would have been good advice if she had not had to wait half an hour for a bus at at Aldershot.

Luckily the No 19 turned up. I did wonder would it turn up with roads closed.

Afternoon in Farnham

September 3, 2016

Coolish day, rain threatened, at four o’clock in came the heavy rain.

As always a walk along the River Wey and up through Gostrey Meadow.  No Vintage Tea Van. last week, Natalie said, last time this season.

I stuck my head in Krema and told them of my visit to Bond Street Coffee shop.

Krema use beans from Horsham Coffee Roasters, Bond St  Coffee shop in North Laine in Brighton is their coffee shop. I wished to see what their coffee was like. To say the least I was disappointed. Krema do a better job. But I suspect the beans may have been different.

Looked in Gail’s. Nearly everything gone, even less than my visit a couple of weeks ago. As previous visits, outside tables not cleared, pilled up with dirty dishes.  Last two weeks has been almost empty. Today, packed, queuing out the door.

As I walked to Gail’s and on my way back to Downing Street, it was fine drizzle. As I reached Downing Street, the heavens opened. I just made Barista Lounge before I was soaked.

Excellent soup. Wild mushroom with spinach and rice. Nice presentation too.

I am not sure why, the cook came and had a chat with me. Asked me what I thought. I told her it was excellent. I am not sure she believed me.

I cannot say that of the coffee. It was not good. Not bad, but could be better.  They need to source better coffee beans. It was also too hot.

Barista Lounge closes at five. I am surprised for summer not six, though Farnham is quiet after four. I was there to almost six. I would have got soaked if I had left earlier.

I had a chat with the Indonesian guy who runs Caracoli. Very knowledgeable of coffee. I mentioned Coffee Lab in Winchester. Small world. To my surprise, the guy behind Coffee Lab (national barista champion for several years, international runner up) who I have not met, is his brother. I said I was surprised he had not joined his brother. He said he was asked, but is emigrating to Australia to join a coffee roastery. Luckily he mentioned, as he is leaving in a couple of weeks.

When I was in Coffee Lab a couple of days ago, after they had closed a couple of Australians walked in. Complained of poor coffee in England. I offered to list for them good coffee shops, but they were not interested, flying back to Australia next day. They said they had heard of Coffee Lab in Australia.  A likely story, as only been open a few months. Having been served their coffee, the guy dumped a large amount of sugar in his coffee.

Quick visit to Waitrose.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 27, 2016
River Wey riverside walk

River Wey riverside walk

Another hot day.

Passing through Aldershot, a brass band in the bandstand in Princess Gardens, Basingstoke Silver Band. An elderly gent and a couple of others. I felt sorry for the brass band. Does no one understand publicity?

In the entrance to Gostrey Meadow in Farnham, there is always a chalk board announcing who is playing in the bandstand on Sunday.

Walking along the riverside walk to Gostrey Meadow, a dog decided I was a willing playmate to throw its ball into the river.

watercress and pea soup at Gail's

watercress and pea soup at Gail’s

tiny roll with smoked salmon

tiny roll with smoked salmon

Soup and a tiny roll with with smoked salmon at Gail’s.

Soup watercress with peas. Only lukewarm, and stuffed with peas, spoilt the soup. Watercress is a delicate summer soup, by all means add to bring out the flavours, but not turn it into broth.

Did I wish a coffee? No, not after what I had last week.

Gail’s has only been open a couple of weeks. New staff and it shows.

Tables outside not cleared.

If you are going to serve coffee, then have to have experienced baristas from day one, otherwise simply a cafe attached to a bread shop serving mediocre coffee, I would hesitate to call a bakery.

Last week, no wholemeal bread. This week a couple of small loaves, but I had got bread the day before in Guildford.

But reservations aside, I cannot see either Loaf or the Downing Street Deli surviving, now Gail’s has opened. .

Popped Truck and Vintage Pop up Vintage Tea Van

Popped Truck and Vintage Pop up Vintage Tea Van in Gostrey Meadow

I would have returned to Krema for a  coffee, but Natalie had told me it was her last day of the season in Gostrey Meadow, therefore a coffee off The Vintage Pop up Tea Shop. I chose an iced coffee. Big mistake. It was a sweet sickly coffee flavoured yuk. I poured it under the hedge. The flapjack though was excellent.

Hopefully she will get a  stall on Guildford farmers market, first Tuesday of the month, now it is back in the High Street.

I suggested to Popped Truck, the little van serving wine, Staycation Live. She has tried in the past, got nowhere. Something going wrong with Staycation Live and the stalls they book, as can be seen with the comments that have made on the excellent Sole Luna wood-fired pizza truck at Staycation Live. Why the paranoia and secrecy? Godalming Town Council need to start asking questions about the organisation by TST Live, why the lack of transparency? This little stall would be far better than the cocktail stall the organisers book.

A must for this little stall, they need a twitter account, to alert people to where they are.

I was pleased to see plenty of people around these two quality vans, no one by the Tony Tresco ice cream van with engine running belching out toxic diesel fumes.

To Krema, no coffee, a green smoothie. I think apple juice, avocado and lime.

Lady closng the Parish Church told me their garden fete is in two week’s time.

A very pleasant walk around Bishop’s Meadow and into the neighbouring field.

Just time to pop into Waitrose. Their stock control abysmal, no salad onions, no peas, no fresh bread, no one manning the deli counter, and even if their was, the meat looked so dried up, no thank you.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 20, 2016

Heavy rain during the night, early afternoon warm and sunny, by evening back to rain.

As I walked through Gostrey Meadow, some sort of fun fair. No publicity. I only learnt what it was from one of the stalls, a VE/VJ Celebration.

I have learnt I am not the only customer to have an unpleasant experience from the woman running the Deli. If behave like this and with competition from Gail’s Artisan Bakery that has recently opened in Castle Street, it is difficult to see them surviving. The best thing that could happen, would be someone takes over the business and does a better job.

Gail's Artisan Bakery

Gail’s Artisan Bakery

I learnt of Gail’s Artisan Bakery, a new baker in Castle Street.  I decided to take a look.

Very little bread left, not much choice, but the staff said they were busy earlier.

A selection of cakes, cookies, rolls and sandwiches,

Very expensive for example a sandwich, £5 takeaway, £6 eat in.

I stayed and had a soup, and a small roll. I ate outside, cheaper,

Soup was tomato and red pepper. Choice of small or large. I chose small, which was of generous portion size. It was excellent, as was the tiny roll with smoked salmon.

I was then going to return to Downing Street and have a coffee in  Krema.

I stayed and had a coffee. A mistake, it was not good.

It was then on to Waitrose.

I walked up Castle Street and along an alley to Waitrose.

I was shocked at the number of chain eateries in Castle Street and more yet to open.

Gail’s where I had been, claims to be a neighbourhood bakery. Not really, it’s a chain of over 30 outlets, a bakery cum coffee shop cum cafe.

I cannot see Loaf in Downing Street surviving, nor the Downing Street Deli with competition from Gail’s.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 13, 2016
riverside walk by River Wey

riverside walk by River Wey

Morning was dull, thick clouds, but luckily clouds broke up, a pleasant warm, sunny afternoon in Farnham.

Stopped off at Princess Gardens in Aldershot. Charity event by Step by Step. Not many people there. But lack of publicity, what to expect.

A farm had a stall. I suggested Guildford farmers market, especially as many of the stalls have pulled out. Their sausage at £2 was quite good.

Walked along River Wey and up through Gostrey Meadow.

I had a chat with the lovely Natalie who runs the Vintage Tea Van. I suggested she tries for a pitch at Staycation Live, contact Godalming Town Hall. Also Guildford farmers market, contact Guildford. To let me know how she gets on.

Cappuccino and flapjack at Krema.

Barista Lounge has re-opened. Owner has simplified what they are doing, and will now be making the coffee. Good moves.

Being chased into Robert Dyas and shouted at that do not like comments on their undrinkable coffee by the woman who owns the Downing Street Deli does little to enhance their reputation.

If you serve undrinkable coffee, then deal with the problem, lack of skill, poor quality beans, ancient espresso machine, but do not blame the customer. Serving coffee scalding hot is such a basic mistake that no barista worthy of the name would make. If you cannot get your head around that something is very very wrong, then things will never improve.

A skilled barista takes a pride in their work, always striving to improve, takes on board valid criticisms and tries to address them. Also engages with the customer.

There is excellent coffee available in Downing Street, but not in the Deli. Try Krema or Barista Lounge. Both are run by people who know about coffee, both serve excellent coffee. The deli side though of Downing Street Deli is excellent, simply not the place for a decent coffee.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow and into the field beyond. Ugly boards have been erected.

In the field beyond a mare and her foal. They came galloping over. The foal inquisitive, would come near but very skittish. Mother was quite relaxed once I had been checked out.

Decent service in Waitrose.

Afternoon in Farnham

July 30, 2016
River Wey riverside walk

River Wey riverside walk

A pleasant walk along the River Wey, then up through Gostrey Meadow into Downing Street.

I was pleased to see the little tea van was back in Gostrey Meadow, though less pleased to see the ice cream van engine running belching out toxic fumes.  I wonder how many parents appreciate the brain damage being done to their toddlers.

The reason the van has not been around, was as I thought, at festivals.

I suggested for next year, Godalming Staycation Live, which this year is next weekend.

As always, excellent cappuccino in Krema.

Barista Lounge closed down.  Re-opening Monday.

Late afternoon walk around Bishop’s Meadow. I noticed last week the grass had been cut and the hay gathered in. Fencing around parts of the meadow. Maybe cattle will be introduced.  Unless my imagination, the patch that had been ploughed and wild flowers sowed a couple of years ago appears to have been extended.

Late for Waitrose. Then too late as chatted with a lady with a dog.

Missed the bus, or to be correct, bus only goes as far as Farnham not all the way to Aldershot.

Caught train instead.

Man closing station, warns me of the drunks by the bus station. Same problems as Friday evening, when police had to be called.