Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Guildford’

Afternoon in Guildford

December 18, 2017

A cold day, pockets of frost in the grass. Pleasant in the sun, cold and damp in the shade.

Stopped and had a cappuccino off FCB kisok, the excellent Colombian guest coffee from Dark Woods Coffee.

A couple of guitarists playing bottom of the High Street. They were good. No idea who they were. I picked up a couple of their CDs. I passed by later and had a chat. They said invest in high quality sound equipment. Pays itself back in a couple of weeks. I picked up two sets of their CDs. Christmas presents sorted. I recomended they released on bandcamp. I had never seen them before, though they said they have played in Guildford.

A friend had lost her bank card, or maybe been stolen. £150 was also missing. We went to the bank. The card had been used, thus stolen, or lost and found.

If the exact time of transaction is known, and the shop, One Stop in Aldershot, and the shop has CCTV, then should be possible to identify who used her card.

Phyllis Tuckwell in Farnham had sold out of their Christmas cards. In Quarry Street they still had. I wish they would get rid if their rude pig-ignorant shop manager. Always miserable and unpleasant. Always unpleasant loud music blaring out. I rarely visit the shop.

In nearby Oxfam shop, ugly Christmas cards, could not do worse if they tried. No surprise not sold.

I looked at The Village. Most of the units appear to have closed. Reality has finally set in.

Late lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Honey crunch chicken. As always, excellent.

On leaving Bamboo Shoots, it had turned very cold.

I head fo the station.


Afternoon in Guildford

December 8, 2017

A very cold afternoon. Made even colder by cold wind and wind chill.

it is official, The Village is to close, to close costing the local taxpayer £1.2 million.

To put £1.2 million in context, it cost £1 million to relay the setts in the High Street.

Walking through, as always deserted.

The ice rink being dismantled. Have they gone bust, or merely pulling out? No one knows. I am told it is busy. Not true, and if it was, why pull out? And why pull out when leading up to school holidays?

Pret a Manger are looking at how to reduce their use of disposable cups. I looked in, but no information, no reusable cups for sale, the only information, 25p off takeaway coffee if bring your own cup.

In Food for Thought, reusable coffee cups made from bamboo, that I had not seen before, but with plastic.  Or what I thought was plastic, food-grade silicone, still not good.

Co-Founder  Pukka Herbs Tim Westwel:

There is a growing interest in herbal teas and we are really enjoying being able to help bring people closer to nature through a cup of delicious organic fruits and herbs. As people become more interested in how nature can benefit our health, we feel we have a responsibility to ensure that we are also benefiting nature.

Single-use plastic is a problem for the environment and one we are keen to minimise. Our new bamboo cups are a sustainable alternative to single-use plastic cups, bringing the goodness of nature in every cup without damaging nature at the same time.

Odd, sourced from a herb company.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

When I leave Bamboo Shoots, the temperature has dropped.

Last week there was not a craft market in the Old Town Hall. Today there was. I had hoped to find the man with his poetry stall, who I talked to a couple of weeks ago, but he was not there.

Catch train at half past four, only running late

Afternoon in Guildford

December 1, 2017

A freezing cold afternoon in Guildford. Barely above freezing, strong north wind with wind chill made it much colder. Pleasant in the sun, but out of the sun, in the shade, in the wind, very very cold.

A long chat at FCB kiosk. Luckily stood in the sun.

Last week, as I passed by to catch the train, I was told must try their new guest coffee from Colombia. Sadly their guest coffee over the last few weeks which I was told was good, I never tried, as grinder was not working. Waiting new blades, then waiting for blades to be attached to the grinder.

The Colombian coffee was excellent. Best coffee I have had at FCB kiosk.

It also put to shame the undrinkable coffee I had at Farnham Malting Riverside Cafe, beans supplied by Cupsmith.

It also makes the point, there is no excuse for bad coffee.

This coffee firmly puts FCB kiosk at no 1 coffee spot in Guildford. Canopy Coffee iffy, very variable. Harris + Hoole been going downhill since acquired by Cafe Nero, never see the same staff twice, all their good staff have left.

There was unfortunately no information on the Colombian coffee. FCB need to make available more information, and offer for sale in 250g bags. Few will wish to buy beans in a kilogram bag.

I have done a little sleuthing. I learnt Colombia Tormento sourced from Dark Woods.

UK disposes of 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year. More must be done to tackle this problem, and other waste in the coffee supply chain. What happens for example to the coffee grinds, all the milk that is wasted making cappuccinos?

FCB kiosk sell KeepCup. They also offer a discount, 30p off the price of a takeaway.

Assume commute every day, buy a glass KeePCup at £20. Pick up a coffee in the morning to drink on the train. £1-50 saved in a week. Ten weeks of commutting have saved £15. It will take 14 weeks of commuting to exceed break even.

Plastic KeepCup are light, relatively cheap, but plastic. Glass KeepCup are expensive, heavy and break when dropped. And have to be carried around.

A lady working for SWR ordered something to eat and drink, a little card tray for her drinks, even brought back her paper carrier bag for her food. Ideal person for a KeepCup, as only carrying to her office.

FCB kiosk give their grounds to a gardener.

Harris + Hoole sell KeepCup. What I do not know is if offer a discount if used for a takeaway.

Walking along the river very cold.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots. As always, excellent. Today honey crunch chicken with brown rice.

Then go home as sun is setting.

Too cold to hang around.

Caught train at four o’clock.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 24, 2017

A cold afternoon in Guildford, cold and damp, then turned very cold.

Debenhams packed, attractive girl opening the door for customers.

Was there a sale on? Christmas shoppers out early? Then I realised Black Friday.

20%, 30%, 40%, 50% even 70% off. And these were genuine discounts, not the misleading up to, which means nothing. Begs question were prices hiked before Black Friday?

The only time of the year retailers make money is Christmas.  Already before Christmas, retailers were discounting.  A dumb American import, Black Friday is killing retail.

It is not only in UK, as I noticed this time last year, it has now spread to Tenerife.

A handful of Christmas stalls in the High Street.

Well done Paperchase who have pulled their advertising from the Mail.

The Village as always deserted, ice skating rink deserted, not a single person skating.

Discounts are now being offered for skating, but lack of joined up thinking as The Little Red Book of Offers gives a better discount, either half price or two for price of one.

Contrast with Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market,  an ice rink that is actually in use. Take a day out, enjoy Winchester.

If walk in The Village from North Street,  stomach turns over from appalling stench of the fast food from one of the sheds that have been dumped on the site.

How to turn Guildford into Aldershot without really trying.

Deliveroo rates Deliveroo serfs, how fast they process an order. They are penalised if not fast enough, may not be selected for the next delivery.

That is why they are seen going like crazy from one drop off to the next, it is not only as I originally thought, the pressure of low pay.

I learnt today it also applies to the fast food joints who use Deliveroo. They are also timed, an order has to be ready for the Deliveroo serf to collect, they will be penalised if the serf has to wait.

Bamboo Shoots very busy, I wander off to Ben’s Records, have a chat with Ben.

One side of Tunsgate has been repaved. Down pipes sawn off, now simply empty into the street. The road is now higher than the pavement. When it rains, water will flood down the street. Businesses are losing business whilst the work takes place. Total cost in excess of £700,000. Why so much, the entire High Street £1 million? Apparently the cost of buying setts for the road. But would it not have made more sense to wait until work completed on development the other side of the street? It will take only one heavy lorry to damage the new pavement.

Rumour, empty shop next to Ben’s will be a coffee shop.

Let us hope a quality coffee shop, not another coffee shop selling rubbish coffee.

Glutton & Glee used to be reasonable, until bought by a catering company and given a  silly name.

In The Little Red Book of Offers, what was once Glutton & Glee, with any hot drink, a  free mince pie.

A craft fayre in the old Town Hall. Nothing of interest except one stall, a stall selling books of poetry, the stallholder familiar with the books.

Collected Poems of Arthur Rimbaud (pronounced Rambo in French), an obscure French poet, a case of synchronicity which took me full circle.

In the summer, I met a Greek-Cypriot girl in Esquires, a coffee shop I would not recommend, and she recommended I visit a coffee shop in Liopetri, a small one horse town in Cyprus, not easy to get to, which explains why no one wished to go there. I did eventually find my way there. Arthur Rimbaud mentioned in The Devil’s Cup, he had a mansion in Harar, a closed city in Ethiopia. He also for a time lived in Liopetri.

The man running the stall was fascinated by what I told him, as it was all new to him.

Bamboo Shoots even busier that earlier. No honey crunch chicken, no brown rice, no rice. I settle for prawns served with noodles. Excellent.

On leaving Bamboo Shots, temperature had dropped, now freezing

Cappuccino in Harris + Hoole.  Going down hill fast since bought by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. All the good staff have gone. Each visit new faces. Today, again new faces. They used to have cookies, flapjacks, not seen for weeks. Another example of death by a thousand cuts by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. No free wif another example of death by a thousand cuts, forced to use _TheCloud, and hand personal information to a Murdoch company.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 17, 2017

A very cold day, sunny but cold.

Waterstone’s has a reasonable, though not great, selection of coffee books.

O2 has the new One Plus Five. At £500 expensive. Though half the ludicrous £1000 for an iPhone X.

An ice ring at The Village.

Not as it may seem innovation, many towns are now doing this.

Something I did not learn until later, Guildford has an ice ring (I should have known this as I used to see people carrying ice skates), so why does it need one at The Village?

Not a single person on the ice ring.

The Village opened in the summer. It has never been a success. If not a success in the summer, it was unlikely to succeed once it turned cold and dark.

September, most of the businesses had pulled out.

A couple of weeks ago, more new businesses.

Looking today, I do not know whether these new businesses have already puled out, but few of the units were open.

But, what has now happened, sheds have been dumped on site selling junk food. What are they trying to do, turn Guildford into Aldershot? It is also unfair to the existing businesses who have stuck it out.

I walk by a stall on the market that sells coffee beans. I have yet to ever see anyone buy from this stall. The beans therefore must be old. I looked today. Anonymous plastic sacks, no information on the beans, no roast date. There are better places in Guildford from where to buy coffee beans.

Always buy coffee beans from a reputable indy coffee shop or from a reputable coffee roaster.

The stall also sells tea. This I did not check out, but if I wanted tea, I would buy from Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage where the guy is an expert on tea.

It was Bamboo Shoots where I was headed for lunch.

No honey crunch chicken. I had prawns with brown rice. Excellent.

Top of High Street, Steamer Trading, up market expensive kitchen shop.

Did they have coffee making gear? Not that I could see, Nespresso machines, and surprising, domestic espresso machines. I would not recommend either

A lady asked could she help me. Yes we do have, She took me to a corner, where V60, aeropress, though not Chemex or Japanese syphon.


I may have just made a train, but decided cappuccino at Harris + Hoole. High staff turnover since being taken over by tax-dodging Caffe Nero. Death by a thousand cuts. Today, once again new faces I have not seen before. Caffe Nero has now managed to lose all their good staff.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 10, 2017

A cold afternoon.

Lunch in Debenhams? Roast pork? Roast turkey, and not yet even December.

Does Waterstone’s have Coffee Art, London Coffee? Surprising yes Coffee Art, surprising no London Coffee.

Usually Waterstone’s has no books on coffee, today a reasonable selection.

But why promote Where To Drink Coffee which is rubbish?

Also promoting a book by Nick Clegg. Why would anyone wish to buy a book by Nick Clegg?

An example of all that is wrong with Waterstone’s.  I can wander around and be spoilt for choice and yet what they promote is crap.  Why? Because they are paid by publishers to promote the crap.

Pomegranates on the market at reasonable price, three for two pounds. There must be a glut.

As always, excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Earlier in the week shocked but not surprised to find Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage closed.

It used to be an excellent restaurant one of the few places in Guildford worth eating, but of late gone down hill, destroyed by the staff.  The decline noticeable that Bamboo Shoots has seen no jump in business following the closure.

I let Tourist Information know it is closed.

Pop back to the market, another stall, four pomegranates for two pounds, even better. I buy two for a pound.

Quick coffee in Harris + Hoole.

Strange how no one  was aware of National Cappuccino Day.

Cold and much colder once sun going down.

Afternoon in Guildford

September 22, 2017

This morning clear blue sky from sunrise. Afternoon sunshine and clouds.

It has been several weeks since I have passed through The Village. It has now all but collapsed. Many of the businesses have pulled out. I was sorry to see the ice cream shop had gone, about the only success story. Those that remain and new businesses are a classic case of self-delusion.

If it was not a success in the summer then it is not going to be a success as the nights draw in and it gets cold and dark.

Sticking outdoor heaters is not the answer. There is no better example of crass stupidity than trying to heat outdoor air. If it is too cold to sit outside, do not sit outside. These heaters should be banned. Or does no one still get it over global warming? How many more destructive hurricanes do we have to see? it is also to throw more good money after bad. How much longer is the local council going to pour public money into this black hole?

There is to be a street food festival at The Village. Not the best location. The High Street would be a far better location. But I can see why The Village want it, in the hope it will pull in the punters.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage, honey crunch chicken with brown rice. Very tasty, generous portion size. A new Chinese girl working in Bamboo Shoots. Very pleasant personality.

Bambook Shoots is one of the best places to eat in Guildford.

The Thai restaurant next door closed. It says closed for staff holidays. Rumour has it that it has closed.

I am not surprised. It is always empty. It used to be an excellent place to eat, but the staff have done their best when the boss not there to destroy its reputation.

In Food For Thought, the young guy I sometimes talk to about coffee, told me he had spent three years at Lincoln University.

A sign outside Wairose directing to Canopy Coffee for eats. Unlikely to wish to eat, on the other hand directing to a coffee shop for coffee would make sense. I wonder how long before either Waitrose or the local council effect its removal.

A cappuccino at Canopy Coffee. I have spent several weeks visiting top class coffee shops. How does Canopy Coffee compare? It does not. Not to say bad coffee, but not in the same league as the best coffee shops. I picked up a bag of Santa Lucia from Honduras roasted by Origin Coffee. Strange not shown on the Origin website.

It was then a cappuccino at Harris + Hoole. Which is always consistently good, and today was no exception.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 11, 2017

Another of those days when the weather does not seem able to make up its mind between cool and warm.

The Village again not busy, busy would be an exaggeration, but more people as school holidays. Though once the beach or whatever it is called opens next to the Electric Theatre, they will probably vanish.

On my way to Bamboo Shoots, shop at fruit and vegetable stall. The coffee stall as I pass by, no one. I have yet to ever see a customer. The cheese stall is more or less the same since an excellent cheese shop opened on Guildford in Chapel Street.

It is easy to see why I never see anyone at the coffee stall. No roast date, if ask questions, reluctance to answer. No roast date indicates only one thing, old beans, and with a wide variety of beans and low turnover, another indication of old beans.

If you want quality coffee, go to a speciality coffee shop that has fresh coffee, knows about the coffee, and can and is willing to answer questions.

The coffee stall also has tea. For tea, visit Bamboo Shoots, a wide variety of tea imported from India and China with a very knowledgeable proprietor.

Excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots. Steamed bun, steamed dough stuffed with Chinese roast pork char siu, followed by crunchy honey chicken served with rice and stir fried vegetables, everything freshly prepared.

Looked in on Ben’s Records. Shocked by the state of Tunsgate. Work started then halted when it was discovered gas and water pipes too close to the surface. In the meantime small businesses in Tunsgate see a loss of trade. And did the street require work, er no.

Like all local councils, Guildford likes to indulge in vanity projects, whilst at the same time denying vital services money.

Resurfacing the High Street last year cost £1 million. Yes, the work was necessary, and the contractors carried out an excellent job, but why then allow traffic through after four o’clock, in what is a pedestrianised street?

The Village, at £1 million, plus a further £90,000 for summer relaunch, is an appalling waste of public money, badly managed, and that is only the costs we know about. The concept good, but ill-thought through, badly managed and the wrong location. It was known the location was wrong, as the farmers market collapsed when it was moved to this location last year when the High Street was dug up.

Dumping sand outside the Electric Theatre is another example of waste of money.

Too many local councils have no idea of what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function. It was on that basis that In Business last night was a breath of fresh air, local communities rebuilding their local economies. Bottom up works, top down does not, and yet local councils are still in bed with big business and greedy developers who are destroying our town centres. One only has to look at Aldershot or Lincoln to see how bad town planning and greed is destroying once viable town centres.

Cappuccino at Canopy Coffee. Was able to try their latest guest coffee, Rwanda from North Star Coffee Roasters.

Walked through The Village, late afternoon and deserted. The businesses are closing earlier and earlier, and who can blame them.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 4, 2017

Morning quite cool, afternoon pleasantly warm

Today busiest I have seen The Village. Some sort of activity for kids.

A couple of weeks ago, an area had been laid out for crazy golf. I assumed for the summer, or at the very least school holidays.  The following week it had gone. By the time word of mouth gets out, it has gone. Just one of many examples of mismanagement of this site, and why it needs a change of management.

Last week and I looked again today in Lakeland. It is a shop that sells kitchen ware. I somewhat foolishly assumed maybe they sell coffee making equipment, eg Chemex, V60, Japanese syphon, Kalita Wave, French press, coffee grinders, maybe even swan-necked kettle for pouring, digital scales. But no, instead shelves of Nespresso machines and clones thereof, ideal for making rubbish coffee. I would have asked, but was ignored by staff. A man looking, I advised do not waste your money. He thanked me and walked out.

I contrast with Coffee Island in Covent Garden.  An excellent range of coffee making equipment. And no, they do not insult their customers with Nespresso machines.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage. Excellent honey coated crunchy chicken as I had last week. I also decided to try steamed bun. I assumed a dumpling, but no. It is dough as a bun but steamed and much larger, maybe the size of a small stuffed apple. Very tasty. Not something I have come across before.

Food at Bamboo Shoots highly recommended.  Everything freshly prepared.

A cappuccino at Canopy Coffee. Followed by a filter coffee using Kalita Wave and one of their guest coffees, I always let them choice,  Sumava Lourdes from Costa Rica roasted by Square Mile. I have been spoilt.  Nothing now compares with Finca Immaculada Laurina  let alone Martin Hudak Signature Geisha, first from Colombia, second from Panama, both roasted by Union.

I walked through The Village. Now early evening. Back to the moronic music thudding out. Empty.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 28, 2017

Cool, an hour warm, then rain and cool.

Just when could not think The Village could not get any worse, today looking like a used-car lot.

Walking on site, moronic music blaring out of the in-site speakers. Sufficient to make one turn on ones heals and walk out.

It was having the desired effect, even fewer people than usual.

The guy selling burgers, who only opened a couple of weeks ago, full of enthusiasm,  has woken up to reality, and has already pulled out.

To put in context, Guildford town centre this afternoon packed.

No Greek food.

Last week a drama performance, nothing to say who or what it was, even the stalls had no idea.  I subsequently learnt it was a pre-performance of The Railway Children, now on at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

I learnt that last Saturday The Village closed at 3-30 in the afternoon due to heavy rain.

Serious questions need to be asked of the management of this site.

Lunch at Thai restaurant not great. When the boss not there, never very good and these days the boss rarely there.

Third visit to 62 Haydon Place. They still do not accept the coffee has been bitter. Tomorrow they will have been open a month.

Today a new barista who used to be at Harris + Hoole. A much better cappuccino, though different coffee, today Resolution blend from Origin Coffee.

I was asked to try a filter coffee. I would have preferred freshly made, not made, then stored.

I asked would they like to try Finca Immaculada Laurina, Union Hand-Roasted from Colombia,  sadly now past its optimum., as roasted 21 June, but still excellent.

It was brewed using a  Kalita Wave, which I have not seen before, let alone tried. I had seen before in the coffee shop, thought a cheap clone of a Chemex, in many ways a cross between a Chemex and V60.

I learned why it is called V60, the angle is 60 degrees.

Beans carefully weighed and ground, the filter cleansed with hot water, brew carefully timed.

Hot water is poured over the ground coffee to allow it to bloom, lets the CO2 escape, then pour in slow concentric circles, pause, repeat, for four minutes

I would have thought same beans, different filter method, nevertheless filter, Japanese syphon compared with Kalita Wave, would be the same. I was surprised to find a big difference in taste.

We all tried, including a couple of customers.

As on previous visits, a continuous stream of customers. Word is getting out. What I also noticed, discerning customers, they ask questions, wanting to know more about the coffee they were drinking.

I took a takeaway to Dylan’s ice cream in The Village.