Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Guildford’

Afternoon in Guildford

September 27, 2019

Bus, then train to Guildford.

Morning sunny, but not for long. Not raining, then a downpour the like of which I have rarely seen, torrential rain I could not even cross the road to catch the bus.

A couple of hours late into Guildford.

I was pleased to see top fruit and vegetable stall on the North Street market using compostable boxes for some of their produce.

This is a standard Guildford must enforce not only for this market, but also their farmers market.

If stalls are not plastic free, they do not get a pitch, as simple as that.

Honey crunch chicken in Bamboo Shoots. No brown rice, no rice. I settled for rice noodles.

To library, climb to top floor to briefly use computers, lift out of action.

Motorcycle delivery serfs are still riding through Tunsgate a pedestrianised street.

Cappuccino in Krema. They need to change from Horsham Workhouse. I suggest Brazil Columbia blend from DT roaster, or whatever Caravan had as espresso blend at Brighton Coffee Festival or the Origin I had last week at Marmadukes.

Cut through Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. As always empty

Looked in M&S. Did not stop. Usual piss-poor service, tills not manned.

Zero fat Greek yogurt an oxymoron.

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole. Would have been perfect but for the beans.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Guildford

August 16, 2019

Cool wet afternoon in Guildford. Raining all day.

GWR Reading to Gatwick train, water flowing from disabled toilet through the carriage, no working wifi in next carriage.

At station before catching the train, I mention hassle yesterday, train Oxford to Reading running late, have to catch the following train. I am told expect problems on return. Why? No trains, lack of train crew, on holiday.

But we are told train fare rise of almost 3% in January is justified because train companies are improving their service. No one who uses the trains has witnessed an improvement, what they do see is a rail service in chaos with no guarantee will get home at the end of the day.

I like trains, but what I like are clean, reliable trains, not overcrowded, which run on time and are not charging extortionate rail fares. We need to shift people out of cars onto public transport but this is never going to happen until we improve our atrocious rail and bus service.

Market not very busy. French cheese stall not there. Last time when not there he denied he was no there.

I see an Infinity Foods lorry. I look in Food for Thought. Do they have problems returning Faith in Nature 5 litre containers? No, but then they do not use Infinity Foods, only for food items.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Closed for next two weeks.

Surrey Hills Coffee six customers. A record. When I passed later, only two.

Passing earlier Harris + Hoole on my way to the market it was busy. I let one of their baristas know how was Brighton Coffee Festival.

Cappuccino in Krema. I then try a V60 using Kenyan coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters. I was curious how it compared Brighton Coffee Festival. Good but not as good.

Long chat with Ben in Ben’s Records. Rain had by now eased off.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 2, 2019

Coolish start, turned hot when the sun came out.

Not as many people around as last week, but market busier.

There must be a glut of strawberries. Two boxes of strawberries for a pound.

Harrs + Hoole empty when I passed by.

Coffee stall gone from market. Maybe on holiday, no great loss if gone.

Surrey Hills five people, one staff.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Possibility of chess unplugged at Bamboo Shoots, maybe charge a small fee with a meal included or a break for a meal and player order from the menu, six boards maximum as six tables. Details yet to be decided.

1/3 pint at Growlers & Cans. Mentioned beer stall in Oxford Covered Market well worth a visit.

Looked in Guildford tourist information office. They used to be helpful, not any more.

They knew nothing of the cycle hire scheme, were not in the least interested in the problems it will cause when rental cycles get dumped around the town causing obstruction.

The website and a downloadable brochure for these bikes sets a new high in corporate PR bullshit.

Visit Guildford funded by public money. Is it being wisely spent when used to promote corporate chains at the expense of local indie businesses? Question how the money is spent and blocked on social media. Accountability of a public body?

Cappuccino in Krema.

On Your and Yours Radio 4 lunchtime an M&S executive explaining why they close stores, Easy, they are losing money. And why is M&S a failing retailer, it provides piss-poor service.

It gave pause for thought what this guy was on when he talked of creating an inspirational retail experience.

No, customers wish to shop with no hassle, be able to walk in, buy what they want, walk out.

Today an illustration of why M&S a failing retailer, only one till manned in the busy food hall.

M&S Guildford Station, hot air blown onto customers as they walk into the store.

Train left on time. Nearly passed out in the heat, air conditioning not functioning, no windows to open. Luckily the train was nearly empty. I hate to think what like if overcrowded. The wifi was not working.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 19, 2019

A change in weather, cool and rain all day.

Train on time, ticket office open. But Gatwick train always packed on a Friday. At least I used to think on a Friday, people going away for a weekend break, but seems to be packed everyday.

A world record for Surrey Hills Coffee, seven customers. Seven! I doubt will see beaten in a long time.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Excellent 1/3 pint at Growlers & Cans. Each week a different collection of craft beer on tap. Not open until four on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Open at midday on Friday. Closed at ten. Closed on Monday.

Was in two minds, Growlers & Cans midway between Canopy or Krema. I derided on Krema.

Young guy I had not seen before. But I should not have to dictate no chocolate in cappuccino. But otherwise excellent cappuccino.

Raining all day. It had stopped, but as I leave Krema stared rain. I cut through Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre, as always deserted, apart from a few people with same idea as myself, cut through because raining.

Sterile shopping centre not helped by loud music blasting out.

A Nespressso coffee shop. Why would anyone go into a coffee shop fora Nespresso? Maybe they do not, as empty. Maybe they give away free samples? Maybe one day I will ask. But I would not want even if free.

Redber have pulled out. Crap coffee so no great loss. But why a shop and stick a stall outside?

I decried to look in an upmarket optician. Curious how they survive. Pig-ignorant staff, ignored as chatting on mobile phone. I walk out. Contrast with Specsavers, where always politely greet as walk in.

More and more shops are now failing in Guildford. That is the High Street. Top of High Street, side streets and North Street far worse. Top of High Street is starting to look like Aldershot. OK, nothing can look like Aldershot.

Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping shopping centre with boarded-up shops and zero footfall can only go downhill. With growing number of empty shops in prime location in High Street and pressure on greedy landlords to drops rents, Tunsgate Zombie shopping centre is going to decline even faster as retailers will pull out and no one will be foolish enough to move in, as even with free rent would still be losing money.

Plastic Free July, plastic obscenity that is M&S gets worse. Shrink-wrapped coconuts, bananas rotting in plastic bags, and just when think cannot get worse, they are giving away plastic copies of their produce. Quite why anyone would wish for plastic replicas of M%S goods is beyond me. More totally unnecessary plastic waste. Another massive retail fail by a failing retailer.

Pop in Harris + Hoole with a friend. Only place open after six. Not been in for at least a year, not since acquired by Caffe Nero. It has got far far worse. I asked for a pour over. Surprised to find on offer, V60. I wish I had not. Beans at least a month old, barista is forced to use a pouring jug, no swan-necked kettle. Penny pinching cost cutting tax-dodging profiteering Caffe Nero refuse to supply the correct gear. It goes without saying the V60 was not good. I should have had a cappuccino.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 12, 2019

A hot afternoon in Guildford. Too hot, an afternoon for sitting in the shade of the trees in the garden.

Ticket office not open, guard on train unable to sell a ticket as machine not working, have to queue at Guildford Station to buy a ticket. I could have bought a ticket on my return, but then would have missed the train.

Given grief if board a train without a ticket, on the other hand made difficult to purchase a ticket.

Walking along the River Wey into the town centre a solar-powered narrow boats silently gliding through the water. The roof was covered in solar panels.

Watertone’s on the market. Maybe more than meets the eye. Mexico standoff to force a lower rent.

Greedy landlords are destroying our town centres. They would rather see empty shops than rents that reflect current retail reality.

I am no great fan of Wastersone’s, on the other hand if it closes, no bookshops left in Guidlford.

When in Oxford I was told by Blackwell’s that WHSmith sell quality magazines. I did not believe, but looked in WHSmith. No, they do not, racks of rubbish.
Never mind, hopefully will find what I want in Magazine Brighton.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

As always Surrey Hills Coffee empty. One customer, two staff. I am at a loss how they remain in business.

A beer at Growlers and Cans.

Cold brew coffee at Krema. Too much ice, watered down.

On leaving Krema, looked in Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. As always empty. Made worse by loud music.

Redeber appear to have pulled out. No great loss, crap coffee.

Popped in Partisan, cheesemonger at end of Chapel Street. I advised they stocked coffee from Coffee Gems. Far better coffee than what they stock from Surrey Hills. And even if Surrey Hills were better than mediocre, why stock when could buy more recent date from their coffee shop?

Afternoon in Guildford

June 28, 2019

Last night cold. This morning coolish. In Guildford hot, very hot.

France today hit a record temperature of 45.9C. Across Spain wildfires raging out of control.

Today trains at Guildford Station. Normal one may think, it is a busy station. True, but these are not normal times. Last week in Guildford on the longest day there were no trains, SWR were on strike.

Where once there was a chalkboard, FCB kiosk now a garish sign. A sign of the times, where once guest coffee, now their own coffee.

After a visit to the market, lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Before lunch looked in Surrey Hills Coffee, four customers, one more than last week.

Last week no French cheese stall on the market. Back this week.

Popped in Growlers & Cans. A rough bar, through not really even a bar. High quality craft beer, far better than would find in any local pub, currently limited selection.

Strange set up. Buy a bottle of beer, then pay a pound to drink it. I’d rather take it to the park.

Beer on tap, 2/3 or a pint. I asked did they do a 1/3? I had a 1/3 of an excellence beer. At £2 for 1/3 that would make it £6 a pint, though cheaper if bought a pint.

Crap coffee from Redber.

Looked in Krema but did not stop.

Walking through Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. Redber have already pulled out.

It will be how long before other retailers start pulling out.

Called it a day, too hot, caught a train to sir in the garden under a tree.


Afternoon in Guildford on Longest Day

June 21, 2019

Today the longest day.

Not a single train at Guildford Station. I came through on one of the few trains ruining, GWR Reading-Guildford-Gatwick. SWR RMT train strike. If SWR claim trains are running they are a bunch of lairs. A week long  train strike. The only people it is hurting are the long suffering passengers who pay obscene rail fares for piss-poor service even when trains are running.

Cappuccino off FCB kiosk. They used to have guest coffee from different roastery with their own house espresso blend from Horsham Coffee. Now roast their own. Last week I tried their espresso house blend, three attempts, each one slight improvement but not great. Today different barista with their guest roast, ok, but again not great.

Coffee cup and lid claimed to be compostable. But begs the question what to do with cup and lid, where to compost?

I saved to drop in with groceries off the market, to then drop on the compost heap in my garden.

Six months ago, market seemed on the point of collapse, fewer and fewer stalls. Last week I noticed new stalls, including a French cheese stall. Excellent Comte. Sadly not there today.

Last week, Surrey Hills Coffee busy mid-afternoon. An anomaly as never seen busy before. Today at lunchtime empty, ok, three customers, two staff, neither of which seen before apart from the guy who I saw last week.

I looked in. Instead of coffee in bags, coffee in plastic boxes, which they then weigh and bag. They also ship coffee beans in plastic to customers, then refill the empty boxes. Not sure if good idea or not. I can see cons and pros.

I wish people in coffee shops would not bullshit me on coffee. Guy tried to tell me coffee beans in open boxes do not oxidise.

Excellent as always honey crunch chicken at Bamboo Shoots.

Last week and this week, the number of shops and other businesses that have closed, Jamie’s Italian, Caracoli, Steamer Trading, Debenhams to close soon.

The closure of Caracoli appears to have taken Steamer Trading with it, loss of income from floor sub-let to Caracoli.

Looked in Tunsgate Quarter zombie shopping centre. Boarded-up shops, devoid of people. Its only use, a short cut High Street to Castle Street when raining, no other use, The only change, loud unpleasant music.

Redber purveyors of crap coffee have opened a coffee shop. Weird set up, in front of a shop unit not within, a coffee roastery and yet no coffee beans on sale. The girl, I hesitate to say working was too busy chatting to a female security guard to speak with a customer. And why even bother opening when Krema outside in Tunsgate?

Tunsgate Quarter in many ways indicative of Guildford now seeing a collapse of retail presided over by Experience Guildford a parasitical organisation on all local businesses.

V60 at Krema.

Guildford Station no trains, other than GWR Gatwick-Guildford-Reading.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 30, 2018

Cold in the shade, pleasantly warm in the sun.

Adding insult to injury, former head of Network Fail awarded CBE, train companies try to justify a hike in rail fares in January.

What looks like a disgusting concoction on offer at Harris + Hoole, a Christmas filter coffee. Caffe Nero doing their best to destroy a once excellent coffee shop.

Organised crime, what appear to be Albanian beggars on the street, all with the same badly written card, please help me I am hungry. They are not the local homeless.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Honey crunch chicken with brown rice. As always excellent. Today busy, but then I did arrive lunchtime, usually I am early afternoon.

I was tempted to try tea, but instead decide on coffee at Krema.

Guildford Rangers handing out a newsletters strictly speaking a news sheet, a single A4 page of zilch content. One in four kids have mental health problems, Experience Guildford encouraging taking of selfies. Car parks full to overflowing at Christmas, Experience Guildford offering free car parking. These are some of the many scams Experience Guildford dream up to waste public money.

Surrey Hills Coffee as always empty as I walk past. Literally no customers. I cannot see how they survive, always empty. Coffee not good, vegan cakes disgusting.

Caracoli surprisingly busy. I ask when are they closing? They look quite shocked when I say not time of day, when is the store closing? Appalling staff kept in the dark. Another member of staff, surprised I know, no one is supposed to know, admits they are closing some time in the New Year.

I am talking to a lady, and let her know closing sometime in the New Year. Whilst we are talking, what I assume to be a cappuccino passes us by on the way to a table. Cup size too large, looked disgusting, chocolate dumped on top.

That is one of their problems, poor quality coffee. Another is not knowing what they are. Are they a deli, a coffee shop? Exasperated by Vulture Capitalist wanting a return on their investment. It is not possible to creates a coffee chain, not unles aping Starbucks.

Sticking a large A-board outside obstructing the High Street falsely claiming serving best coffee in Guildford is asking for trouble, at the very least opening up to ridicule.

V60 at Krema.

Krema busy, I am hard pushed to find a table.

Each time I visit Krema, there are more people.

Instead of walking down the High Street or cutting through Tunsgate Quarter, I head off down Castle Street to the cheesemonger end of Chapel Street. They are gobsmacked when I tell then of a shop recently opened selling plastic wrapped cheese laced with ginger.

I query the seats outside. They tell me they now serve toasties.

Look in M&S. Olive oil spread healthy? Think again. Bulked out with palm oil, bad for planet, bad for health, high in saturated fats. Vegetables oils, including palm oil, highest content. Begs the question why not called palm oil spread or vegetable oil spread?

M&S not the only ones conning the public.

Bertolli olive oil spread, heavily promoted as healthy alternative, bulked out with palm oil.

Why are they allowed to advertise and yet Iceland Palm oil Christmas commercial banned?

To the Station.

FCB Coffee kiosk, guest coffee Costa Rica from Hundred House Coffee.

Empty Christmas boxes on FCB Coffee kiosk Guildford Station wrapped in red ribbon. Why not fill with bags of guest coffee, drop loyalty cards with e-mail address in a pot for a Christmas draw?

1730 Guildford to Ascot via Aldershot only running as far as Aldershot, where safety checks will be carried out on the train. The train then cancelled. No train until 1800. Yet another example of the failing rail network.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 16, 2018

A damp wet drizzly day in Guildford, though mild.

FCB kiosk on Guildford Station always has a guest coffee. I have often asked, why not have the beans on sale?

A first, Beanpress coffee the beans on sale in tins.

Last week I inquired the price. £18. This could not be right, I inquired of Beanpress, they would not say. Their website not working. I suggested put price of beans and description in a pdf file which can be downloaded or sent out on request.

I was told to e-mail. This I did last week. I finally got a reply this evening. Prices of beans, not the beans I inquired of.

Today I learnt £7-50. Reasonable. Unlike Coffee Lab not ripping customers off on the sale of guest beans. What not acceptable, old beans, roasted August 2018.

Bamboo Shoots closed today. I looked in Debenhams.

Debenhams used to have their own coffee shop. Then became Costa. I was shocked to find it has expanded on the ground floor, and busy, Debenhams customer obviously no taste in coffee.

Debenhams used to have excellent roast dinners, excellent roast pork. Today turkey, always turkey.

Looked in Food for Thought, sometimes freebies, not today. Ever changing coffee, Eat Your Hat, never heard of, no roast date, and looking at their website, marketing hype for the gullible.

I met up with a friend, Bamboo Shoots closed, we went to Pho.

Passing by Surrey Hills Coffee, not a single customer. The norm these days. No surprise when poor quality coffee. How long before they close?

Caracoli is closing or has closed.

I am surprised Canopy Coffee still in business.

Pho was packed, very noisy, not pleasant, but luckily we got a table by the window. On previous visits, apart from the day it opened, empty.

Menu came promptly, not the food we ordered. A long wait, a very long wait, easily half an hour or more. When the food finally came it was cold. It was fairly obvious, cooked, left, before delivered to the table. The bowls were stone cold. We requested something else. Only I ate as it was getting late. It was not good either.

Krema packed. I returned a little later still busy, but not packed. A cappuccino, then a V60 pour over.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 9, 2018

Heavy rain during the morning, which luckily I missed. Afternoon grey, damp and cold. Luckily I left Guildford before the next wave of heavy rain arrived.

Cappuccino off FCB Coffee kiosk at Guildford Station. The house blend from Horsham Coffee Roasters.

Last week in Guildford I had guest coffee from Bean Press. It was weak and insipid, not suited to espresso, maybe ok for V60 pourover.

For once the guest coffee on sale. But ridiculously expensive, In tins, no roast date or weight shown, and the tin nowhere full. £18.

A woman, asked for her coffee from Costa to be hotted up.

I suggested, next time, pour the Costa coffee down the drain and buy a decent coffee from the FCB kiosk.

I thought the coffee stall had gone from the Guildford street market. No great loss as better places from where to buy coffee. Sadly not, today I noticed it had returned.

As always, excellent honey crunch chicken on brown rice from Bamboo Shoots.

As always Surrey Hills coffee empty. OK, one customer. The ‘barista’ as always looking bored stiff does not help. Neither does poor quality coffee and vegan cakes.

By contrast as always Krema busy. Why, because Krema has quality coffee and skilled baristas who know how to make coffee, and a willingness to invest in the equipment.

If opening a coffee shop, either got to be serious about coffee or do not bother. For people who do not care about what they drink, we have corporate coffee chains serving undrinkable coffee.

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