Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Guildford’

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.

Afternoon in Guildford

November 2, 2018

Cold afternoon in Guildford.

I arrived in Guildford nearly an hour later than I wished, as missed a train as unable to cross the line with barriers down. Had I not bought a ticket, I could have crossed the line and caught the train.

A coffee off FCB kiosk. I tried the guest coffee from Bean Press Coffee (I have never heard of). To me weak and insipid. Spoilt by two weeks of excellent coffee in Athens.

I am pleased to see FCB kiosk now using compostable cups. But begs the question, what to do with the cup? Unless facilities to compost the cups, will go straight into the general waste stream.  As I was going to the market in North Street, I saved mine for the compost heap.

In the sun pleasant, very cold walking along the river in the shade.

Spitfire No 85 WHSmith.

No Hippie. Not on display, not in stock. Talking to a helpful guy he said he cannot recall ever seeing in the store let alone on display.

Waterstone’s across the street no better. Hippie not on display. I did eventually find, spine only, on the bottom shelf next to the floor with new books. A little direct action, now on display on table by the entrance.

Contrast with Athens, Hippie in window display of all major bookstores, one even had a display poster on the door.

Last time I passed through the street market some weeks ago I was shocked by how much smaller it was since my last visit.  Today, beginning of November, smaller still. The cheese stall and the coffee stall have gone.  Loss of the coffee stall no great loss, cheese can be obtained everyday from the excellent cheesemonger in Chapel Street.  Fruit and vegetable stall at the top, was two stalls, now only one stall.

It will be a shame to see this once excellent market collapse. But once the number of stalls goes down, and fewer visitors,  on a vicious downward spiral,

As always excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots.

Interesting conversation with attractive young woman sat next to me.

Leaving Bamboo Shoots, the temperature had plumeted, now very cold.

As always, Surrey Hills Coffee empty. OK, two people, but as near as empty.  Last few times I have passed by it has been quite literally empty, not a single customer. But if serve poor quality coffee, disgusting vegan cakes, then no surprise always empty.

By contrast, Krema busy.

My cappuccino weak and insipid. Culture shock after the excellent coffee in Athens.

Afternoon in Guildford

August 17, 2018

A pleasant warm afternoon.

New compostable cups at FCB kiosk at Guildford Station, a step in the right direction, but in the absence of bins for compostable waste, what to do with the cups?

Lunch at Bamboo shoots. No brown rice today.

Walking past Surrey Hills Coffee empty. Literally empty, not a single customer. The lad who was there when they relocated not seen for a while, maybe moved on to somewhere better.

V60 at Krema, with guest coffee from Clifton Coffee, which I had picked up from Coffee Lab a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst sat outside Krema, a moron, a Deliveroo serf, illegally parked his scooter, illegally left engine running, keys left in the ignition, whilst collecting his delivery. No removal of crash helmet, which is also not acceptable. On return he was told he was illegally parked. He turned very nasty, his arrogant response, I am working and can park where I like.

Complaint lodged with manager of Pho. Not my problem, they work for Deliveroo. Wrong, they are picking up your deliveries.

Forty-five minutes later, a repeat performance, a different Deliveroo serf parks illegally, no removal of helmet, a delivery for Pho. At least he turned off his engine.

There should be a standing instruction to all Pho staff, any Deliveroo serf walking in wearing a crash helmet is asked to immediately leave and not allowed to return until crash helmet removed.

Tunsgate had been pedestrianised, now that the roadworks have finally been finished, people can sit and relax outside overlooking the Castle Grounds. They do not want this nuisance, especially pollution from an engine left running.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 27, 2018

Another very hot day. Though not as hot as yesterday when 35.1C.

Stopped at FCB kiosk cappuccino Origin guest coffee.

I learnt FCB are going to set up their own coffee roastery, to which I was invited to visit.

Lunch at Pho, fake Vietnamese restaurant, a pleasant day and can sit outside.

Service at Pho is not poor, it is non-existent. A very long wait, maybe half an hour before anyone came to take an order. They could at least have brought a drink. In the top coffee shops in Athens it is the norm to bring ice cold water as soon as take a seat.

Order taken, another long wait before food arrived. Drinks were not brought until food was delivered.

As eating, heavy thunder, then lightning, followed by heavy rain. To their credit, staff rushed out and helped carry things indoors. And replaced my drink.

Another long wait for bill to be brought. In the end it had to be asked for.

In gaps in the rain, dash across to Krema.

Did I want cold brew? No, I would have V60 Japanese iced filter coffee, and showed how to make it.

Afternoon in Guildford

July 21, 2018

A hot afternoon in Guildford.

Remind me again why I avoid town centres on a  weekend. Guildford was packed.

The only reason I was in Guildford, coffee tasting at Steamer Trading, a kitchenware shop.

Coffee beans were a choice of seriously over roasted, dark black and oily, a dark roast and a medium roast.

A cappuccino was made in an automated expensive domestic espresso machine. Pour the beans in the top, it will automatically tamp the ground beans, extract, even has a wand for steaming the milk.

The result looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, an unpleasant bitter coffee.

These machines are a complete waste of money. If you want an espresso, flat white or cappuccino, go to an indie coffee shop where they serve speciality coffee, have the gear in which to make it, and employ skilled baristas.

And do not part with money for a Nespresso machine,  expensive low poor coffee, the pods bad for the environment.

If wish to see how bad Nespresso, take a Nespresso off the stall in Tunsgate Quarter, I am assuming free, do not part with money, then visit Krema in Tunsgate and try a cappuccino.

I am not sure what was the purpose of the coffee tasting? Was it to showcase the coffee or the machine? It was a dismal failure either way.

Bamboo Shoots closed. Excellent lunch at Pho, though service very slow. I sat outside. Pleasant sat outside, but they should make no smoking. I would not sit inside. Dark and dingy with awful loud music.

Back to the market. Little left.

Cold brew at Krema.

I have never seen Tunsgate as busy as today. Maybe because a Saturday.