Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Guildford’

Afternoon in Guildford

July 14, 2017

Coolish start to the day then turned very warm.

Excellent moussaka off Greek shop at The Village.

I think this is now my fifth visit to The Village, still a disaster, still devoid of visitors.

A new unit has opened selling burgers. Only his second day, but sat outside eating my moussaka, disturbed by the loud music from his stall. The use of polystyrene burger boxes is not acceptable. If nothing else, The Village must set high environmental standards. If individual stalls are going to cut corners, then The Village must set the standards as a condition of opening a unit.

The burger guy comes all the way down from Stevenage.

I look in Food For Thought. They tell me of a new coffee shop, further down the street. I say I will check it out. I have a long chat about coffee. I suggest check out Union Hand-Roasted Coffee, The Little Bicycle Coffee Shop and Standart. I also recommend Real Fresh Coffee.

I look in Oxfam Bookshop. Nothing on coffee.

Outside Oxfam Bookshop, a group of Italians about to cross the road to tax-dodging Starbucks. I ask do they not like coffee? Probably not, as Italy infamous for bad coffee. I suggest Harris + Hool, FCB coffee kiosk on Guildford Station, Dylan’s ice cream or the new coffee shop I have yet to try.

I head to the new coffee shop. I double check where it is. Someone else recommends. They tell me Surrey Hills not good, a rude female with attitude problem and yes, the new coffee shop is good.

Claimed to be an artisan coffee shop. A bold claim to make. especially if not. Caracoli claim to be best coffee shop in Guildford. They are not, not by a long way, which simply makes them look foolish.

I find the new coffee shop, 62 Haydon Place. A long chat with the owner. He has Square Mile coffee which is a good sign, plus guest coffee. He says he is going to host different guest coffees, which also a good sign. I suggest try Karuna Coffee.

Then return to The Village, BBC have been filming around Guildford all day, no idea why, now filming at The Village.

Someone who appears to be responsible for The Village tells me how well it is doing, that it is busy. I look around and see the lack of people. Maybe she sees invisible people. That last week they were forced to halve the rent says the exact opposite.

I learn there is to be a food festival maybe September. I suggest invite Bedda and Karuna Coffee. I should have added Curries from Home.

I try my hand at latte art. Not very good, but I at least realise what I was doing wrong. Not bad for only second attempt. Last time was May at Miyu Coffee, and that was far worse, so at least improving.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 7, 2017

Another very hot day.

A couple of weeks ago, FCB kiosk at Guildford Station was experimenting with cold brew coffee. They were using their FCB espresso blend. I suggested use the Kenyan coffee they have as a guest coffee from Horsham Coffee Roasters. They have heeded my suggestion.

Cold brew coffee at FCB kiosk  is now available in bottle.

Straight out of the bottle, excellent. On ice not quite so good. The ice waters it down. If to serve with ice, need to cold brew with half the water the other half is in the ice.

Begs the question why is Harris + Hoole serving rubbish nitro brew coffee out of a can when they could be serving cold brew coffee.

Whilst there, an explosion on a train. Smoke then billowing from the train.

Time stood still. No one panicked.  Police and security running to the train. People stood, with concerned expressions, not sure what to do, as they assessed the situation.  A couple of Chinese girls asked me what was going on.  All I could tell them was what I had seen.

It was then announced, technical problem with the train, clear the platform, though no request to clear the station. It was then announced no trains.

I hazarded a guess, a major power short which then would have taken out the sub-station.

As I learnt later, may guess proved to be correct. But luckily no one injured as bits of the train blasted across the line, opposite side to the platform where I was standing. I was next to the train when the explosion happened further down the train.

Quick visit to the market, then looked in Food For Thought, where often something on offer on a Friday.

Lots of fruit and vegetables, a liquidiser demo making fruit juices. Watermelon and something else I cannot recall, but also some powdery rubbish.

This is the mistake Food for Thought always make, always an excuse to peddle some additive.

I asked what it was. A fibre additive. I pointed out, fruit and vegetables have natural fibre.

Watermelon on its own makes a very insipid drink. I suggested add apple. No one was listening, more interested in slavishly following a recipe in a book that required some additive.

Then to The Village. Maybe my fourth visit and still a  disaster. This now seems to be recognised, as rents for the units have been halved.

Wimbledon on a big screen. At a  guess  less than half a dozen people sat in deckchairs watching.

Yet again, no moussaka from the Greek shop, and now have opened a second unit. Must be gluttons for punishment.

The only unit that appears to be doing any business is Dylan’s ice cream. Today free coffee.

I tried an affogatto. Ideally two shots, but would not have fitted in the tub. We tried one shot. Excellent, but a lot of coffee flavoured liquid at the end. Maybe I did not eat it soon enough.

I tried a tea. It was excellent too.

Borrowed Real Fresh Coffee.

At Guildford Station, my guess confirmed, a massive electrical short. Fortunately trains were back to normal.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 30, 2017

A warmer sunnier day than has been of late.

I looked in Harris + Hoole. Pleased to see chiller cabinet now working and hole in the ceiling of the toilet has been patched.

Now we need Harris + Hoole to stop abusing coffee drinkers, passing their personal data to Murdoch when accessing wifi.

I spent the afternoon at The Village.

It was dead two weeks ago when it opened. It was dead today. Whoever is responsible seems determined to drive people away.  Today irritating distorted pop music from tannoys across the site.

I was looking forward to moussaka off the Greek unit. Again no moussaka. I tried the meat balls with rice and salad. This was quite good.

An ice cream off Dylan’s ice cream.

Needed, a good coffee shop. This may happen. Dylan’s ice cream will start serving coffee in about a week. They need though to source quality coffee. I have suggested Karuna Coffee.

Today, or yesterday, delivery of a brand new coffee machine. I spent the afternoon as volunteer coffee taster.

Both the Greek shop and Dylan’s ice cream, need tables and chairs. Either organisers of the village provide extra tables and chairs, or they reallocate the existing tables and chairs which are not in use.

One of the problems apart from lack of quality businesses to draw people in, the music driving people away, and the complete lack of any passing trade, is that three different organisations are responsible for The Village, Guildford Council, a private company letting the units and a third body organising events, a recipe for chaos.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 20, 2017

Hotter than Saturday.  Four days in a row,  temperature exceeds 30C.

A day for sitting in the garden under the shade of the trees, not a  day for Guildford.

But no choice, Samsung A3 2016 unlocked from iFixGadgets had locked me out. They had not carried out unlocking correctly.

Cold brew coffee off FCB coffee kiosk at Guildford Station. Far better than the nitro cold brew in a can from Harris + Hoole which was disgusting.

A method I had not yet seen. A method not mentioned in Cold Brew Coffee. Ideally stored in the fridge, served in a  frosted glass. Ideally brewed with their Kenyan guest coffee, or better still a Kenyan guest coffee from Karuna Coffee.

iFixGadget no phone number on receipt, a website that is not valid. I managed to find a phone number, email ignored, fed bullshit that must have dropped phone, put pressure on the screen.

I was fed the same bullshit on visiting the shop. Then when saw error message, it changed to must have tried to install something on phone etc etc.

No, it locked out on turning off.

It locked out because they had not carried out unlocking correctly.

After much grumbling, agreed to fix.

I wished for moussaka from the Greek unit in The Village.

I forgot, The Village closed, Monday and Tuesday. How perverse. If individual units wish to close, but not close the entire area.  Hardly surprising it is a disaster.

A disgusting feta and spinach pie off Fresco , a  Greek coffee shop. Followed by an  equally disgusting freddo cappuccino.  Never wise to post a sign Best Coffee in Town, when not, as simply makes look foolish.  The coffee sourced, over-roasted burnt rubbish from Italy, that no one who knows anything about coffee would touch with a  barge pole.

Picked up working phone from iFixgadets. Guy who fixed it extremely rude.

iFixgadets are also ripping people off. Cleaning kit from Poundland on sale for a  fiver.

In M&S, an excellent example of why not buy coffee in a supermarket. Beans with a roast date of 11 January 2017, well past their best. Which is why coffee beans in supermarkets do not usually show roast date, as old beans long past their optimum.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 16, 2017

The morning coolish, by afternoon hot.

I again tried guest coffee off FCB kiosk on Guildford Station. This time Kenyan from Horsham Coffee Roasters. I think the same as Krema uses for either filter coffee or cold brew, or maybe I am wrong. Excellent cappuccino.

I suggested they try guest coffee from Karuna Coffee.

When Caracoli stick a sign outside obstructing the highway claiming the best coffee in town, it simply makes them look stupid, as no, it is not the best coffee in town.

Too late to eat at Thai Restaurant in Jeffries Passage. Instead Thai green curry from their takeaway top of the High Street. It was not good.

I looked in Esquires Coffee. Not a recommended pace for coffee, clueless on coffee. too large cups beans from a catering supplier, they could not even tell me the roast date.

Same applies to Oxfam shop. They peddle low quality FairTrade coffee. Far better direct trade, growers get a far better price for quality coffee.

I checked out The Village. A disaster area. More or less the same location as the failed farmers market last year, lessons not learnt. Moronic music blasting out.

Too hot for cappuccino. I fancied a cold brew coffee, ice cold. Harris + Hoole brought out a murky looking concoction from the fridge, looked as though dredged from the bottom of a pond. Concentrated filter coffee which they chill, then dilute. Yuk.  I tried nitro cold brew out of a can. Only one word to describe, disgusting.  Not helped by the chiller cabinet not working, and so  not cold. Contrary to the false claims made by Chloë Callow in Cold Brew Coffee  I have yet to see any coffee shop with shelves groaning with jars of cold brew coffee, let alone restaurants with fridges full of the stuff.

There is a fairly new Greek coffee shop, which from the numbers outside, must be popular. I assumed and had been told, open until early evening. I asked, to be told closed in a few minutes. Open until seven which I guess is better than the indie coffee shops which close at seven. They gave me half a dozen little savoury pastries. Apart from one that had inside a disgusting sausage, were quite pleasant.

Afternoon in Guildford

June 9, 2017

Slowly slowly turning warmer.

Two weeks ago Gatwick train almost empty, Guildford deserted, following Manchester suicide bombing and raised terrorism status. It was like stepping into Nineteen Eighty-Four. I wondered would today be the same with terrorist attack in London last weekend on London Bridge and at Borough Market. Surprising not, Gatwick train packed, Guildford busy.  Guildford not quite so busy on Tuesday at farmers market.

As always excellent lunch at La Casita.

For starters gazpacho, followed by fillet of sea bream with rice, followed by affogato.

After visiting the market, a cappuccino in Surrey Hills Coffee. Not great, barista took great exception to being asked questions, bags of coffee on sale close to being past their best.

From Waterstone’s Cold Brew Coffee, only published a few days ago, surprised to find.

Then a far better cappuccino in Harris + Hoole.

Passing by Coffee Culture in Angels Gate on my way to the market, busiest I have ever seen it. Rumour on the street is they have gone bankrupt. Whether true or not I do not know.

Afternoon in Guildford

May 5, 2017

Morning cold, or at least a very cold wind blowing. Afternoon warm in the sun out of the wind, cold in the shade in the wind.

The intention had been, lunch in Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage, and had I gone straight there, it would have been possible.

Looked at coffee beans in Surrey Hills. A wide range of coffee beans, which maybe explains why they were all too old. They should know better.

A coffee in Coffee Culture. A big mistake, coffee not good and too late for lunch at Thai restaurant.

Usually on a  Friday, Thai restaurant open all day. Not anymore. I arrived to find too late for lunch.

Lunch at their takeaway shop. Green Thai curry. Not good. Usually very good but not today. The chef had screwed up, overdosed with spices. I told the guy behind the counter it was awful and he must throw it away.

Food for Thought is a  little wholefood shop tucked down a side street off North Street. I occasionally pop in to see what they are offering.

Today, Hummus Chips. I enjoyed munching as I had a look around the same. On my way out bought a bag.

Coffee in Harris+ Hoole. A marked contrast to Coffee Culture.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 4, 2016
River Wey from Debenham's restaurant

River Wey from Debenham’s restaurant

Raining all day, often heavy.

Taxi to the station, else I would have got soaked. I forgot I have got a large umbrella.

Cappuccino off FCB coffee kiosk at Guildford Station.

I could not see the rain, I could hear it hammering on the roof.

It eased off, I made it Debeneham’s.

Turkey. It was turkey on Tuesday. It has been turkey every time I have looked. It is bad enough turkey every day over Christmas. Do they not realise pople do not want turkey, they are sick of turkey. Customer feedback, what is the point if no one listens? Staff know customers do not want turkey, but turkey is served on dikatat from head office. They used to serve excellent roast turkey, but instead they serve turkey.

Turkey it was. The vegetables were stone cold. Kitchen staff kindly hotted it up. Now it was piping hot, but it was not good. I only ate about half.

I regretted not eating elsewhere.

Still raining. A cheesecake and pot of tea. This was far better than the roast dinner.

It was still raining when I left, but at least not heavy.

Market deserted.

Pomegranates even dearer than last week. Now £1-20 each.

Nothing reduced, even though end of the day and no customers.

At least it had now stopped raining.

Looked in the cheese shop in Chapel Street. I wanted Caerphilly cheese. Cheese stall had none, neither the cheese shop. I had excellent Caerphilly cheese off the cheese stall in Winchester. I will have to find out what is is. Winchester cheese stall did tell me.

Excellent glass of red wine in La Casita.

Appalling piss-poor service in M&S. Easy to see why it is a failing retail chain.

Only two check-outs serving. I asked to be served at information counter. They refused. Asked they opened more tills. They refused. They directed me to sue the self service.

I should have dumped my goods on the floor and walked out.

Afternoon in Guildford

October 28, 2016

Mid-morning a chill to the air, by midday, pleasant and warm and sunny.

By the time I reached Guildford, cloudy, but not cold.

Last week, left stranded by sick bastard guard who thought a great joke to leave passengers stranded. Trains were re-timed two minutes early to that shown on the timetable. Sunday I found alternate trains re-timed two minutes early.

To date, no reply to complaint to cowboy rail company, no information at station that an alternative timetable in force.

North Camp small print on station timetable

North Camp small print on station timetable

I queried at the station. They said, check small print on the timetable, it says an amended timetable from 10 October 2016. In the past, there would have been new timetables published, now a tiny note in the timetable, old timetable still displayed at stations.

This is the contempt the rail companies have for passengers.

A cappuccino off FCB coffee stall at Guildford Station. A mistake, as by the time I reached Debenhams, literally no food left.

Vodafone stole £1100 from my bank account

Vodafone stole £1100 from my bank account

A lady in the High Street mounting a one woman protest against Vodafone. They had stolen £1100 from a her bank account. Whilst I was talking to her, several people stopped to tell of their bad experience with Vodafone. She said she had had people telling her all day long of their bad experience with Vodafone.

Vodafone are infamous for piss-poor service. They have recently been fined £4.6 million by Ofcom for their appalling customer service. It is the largest ever fine imposed on a telecoms provider.

They also dodge tax. They were the first company targeted by UK Uncut for tax dodging.

Not a company to touch with a barge pole.

Guildford cheese shop cum deli

Guildford cheese shop cum deli

What was an awful record shop in Chapel Street is now a cheese shop cum deli. A good selection of cheeses, and chatting to the guys, they know their stuff. Fancy breads. I would rather see a wholemeal loaf. A rather poor selection of cakes.

I tried Colston Blue. Excellent cheese. I suggested they stock Lincolnshire Poacher.

I told the cheese stall on the market, now a cheese shop. Out of curiosity, I tried the Colston Blue. I was surprised a big difference in flavour. I can only assume age.

Four o’clock, and a chill in the air.

Why are pomegranates so expensive?

In Lidl 79p each.  Off market stall in Aldershot, three for a pound, but small pomegranates. Waitrose two for £2-75. Off the market stall in Guildford, two for a pound, but as large as a grapefruit. I weighed in M&S, half a kilo each. In M&S no pomegranates. Only seeds in a tiny plastic box, works out at £20 per kg. On the market in Winchester, no pomegranates. I asked the stall after they had closed. The answer was what I expected, too expensive.

To think,  a couple of weeks ago, I was picking pomegranates, last week piled up in Monastiraki, though I did not inquire the price.

Afternoon in Guildford

September 16, 2016
Guildford Grammar School

Guildford Grammar School

Yesterday was hot, Tuesday the hottest day of the year. Today, at least at lunchtime, cold, though it did warm up a little by mid-afternoon.

Last night a violent thunderstorm, very heavy rain. This morning, many places flooded, trans cancelled, a train derailed following a landslip.

Government promises flood protection. Hard flood defences do not work. Even if protect one area it simply sends the flood water downstream and another area floods.

We need soft defences, slow the flow of water, rewild the countryside. We also need to address the causes of climate instability. The government is doing neither.

Reading-Guildford-Gatwick train running at least five minutes late. By the time Guildford reached, ten minutes late.  Announced train will only go as far as Redhill, alight and catch another train to Gatwick. But, at least train guards, there were two of them, walked through the train and explained the situation to passengers. Unheard of customer service.

Excellent cappuccino from Chase at FCB coffee kiosk.

I was unable to buy ticket at station, machine in ticket office not working, guards on the train could not sell a ticket as they lacked a ticket machine between them. Queue at Guildford to buy a ticket.

Lunch at La Casita. A always excellent. Sorry to learn my friend Katalina returning to Spain.

Beans off Surrey Hills coffee roaster, single origin from Brazil, roast date 8 September 2016.

I could smell the beans all  afternoon, until I put books in the bag they were carried in. The paper of the books must absorb the aroma of the coffee.

AeroPress on Guildford market

AeroPress on Guildford market

AeroPress coffee maker, £25 in coffee shops in Brighton, £26 on coffee stall on the market in North Street, £27 in Steamer Trading. It goes up by a a pound every time I look.

Coffee machines in Steamer Trading not worth buying. Domestic espresso machines do not make good coffee, no one tales them seriously.  Nespresso machines forget it.

Deliveroo Guildford

Deliveroo Guildford

Chat with serfs working for Deliveroo. I thought they were a Guildford company, but they are now everywhere. I only noticed them in Guildford a few weeks ago. Now they are like a blue plague all over Guildford.

For the first time seen in Guildford on motorcycles. Unlike Brighton where cyclists only paid for delivery, maybe different for motorcyclists, I was told both get the same rate, £6 an hour, ie less than minimum wage, plus a pound for each delivery. No delivery in an hour, and earn less than minimum wage. Deliveroo serf bears all the costs, cost of motorcycle or cycle, insurance, deposit of £150 for box, clothes and other gear (but is it refundable). For the motorcyclist, and only a low power motorbike, insurance of £200 per month because being used for business. . He said needed to work 70 hours a week to make any money, he would prefer to work 30 hours a week. The Deliveroo serf bears all the costs, because deemed to be ‘self employed’, In reality, not self-employed, as only working for Deliveroo.

The takeaway pays a  fee, either a minimum or a percentage of the value of the order. The recipient of the order pays two pound.

No, or little costs to Deliveroo, they cream off the profit, the serfs put up the capital, do all the work,  take all the risks.