Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Guildford’

Afternoon in Guildford

June 22, 2018

Strange weather, starts cool, turns hot.

As I walk up North Street by the market, arrogant idiot parks in No Parking to do his shopping on the market. When it is pointed out No Parking, he ask where am I to park when shopping? Maybe car park as everyone else.

Lunch at Bamboo Shoots, honey crunch chicken with brown rice, then back to market, but too late, strawberries gone. From another stall, two boxes of strawberries, two pineapples, £3-00.

Work on Tunsgate progressing backwards, now digging up that previously laid.

In Krema, excellent cold brew coffee. I resist the temptation to have another.

I give one box of strawberries, one pineapple, to Krema.

Walking down to The Keep, I see the work on Tunsgate is extending half way down the road.

In The Keep, Hidden Curiosities Gin have set up a gin pop up shop and free tasting.

I am no fan of gin, cannot stand the smell let alone the taste, but was curious, this was craft gin.

For some perverse reason, gin has become the in drink.

Did I wish to try?

The aroma was quite pleasant, not at all like that normally associated with gin. To drink, like drinking firewater, lacking the maturity of a good brandy. I could see why it is usually drunk diluted. It also has potential for cocktails with cold brew coffee.

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Afternoon in Guildford

June 18, 2018

Strange weather. One day cold, next day hot. Weekend was cold, especially Sunday, this morning at eleven it was cool, by midday warm, afternoon hot.

FCB coffee kiosk open, a coffee and a chat.

Lunch at Pho, Vietnamese street food restaurant. Last day half price.

What a difference a few days make, no queue, upstairs empty. Different staff to last Friday, I would not say rude, but curt and not very friendly. As I walk in, I notice a couple of tables people querying their bill. I think no more of it, until I receive my bill. They have sneaked on the bill 10% service charge, 10% of full price. This is not acceptable. No mention of this when I walked in, it was not added Friday. The price on the menu should be the price paid. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth and undermines any goodwill they have generated with 50% off opening offer.

Coffee at Krema. I start with cappuccino, then cold brew. A mistake, I should have stuck to cold brew.

Krema should have view of Guildford Castle, instead roadworks.

How long is it going to take to finish Tunsgate? The workman knocked off before four. The very least the traders in Tunsgate should get Business Rate relief for the duration of the work.

The completed work is being dug up to add drains.

No response from local council. The jobsworth forget at their peril they are paid for and accountable to local people

Afternoon in Guildford

June 15, 2018

A pleasant warm and sunny afternoon in Guildford, warmer than expected.

You must try Pho in Tunsgate I was told as I passed through the market in North Street on my way for lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage. Pho? A new Vietnamese restaurant in Tunsgate, today food half price, try it and report back.

I checked it out. Not half price, free, but they had problems, please come back at five o’clock, we will reopen half price.

As always excellent lunch at Bamboo Shoots in Jeffries Passage.

Surrey Hills Coffee has closed. No surprise, it was only a matter of time. They have not though closed down, they are reopening in Jeffries Passage. I cannot though see being any more successful as the coffee not good and there are better places for coffee in Guildford.

It was then to Krema where I spent the rest of the afternoon. Excellent cold brew coffee. I was surprised when shown how brewed, in essence a central metal filter in a jug where course ground coffee is left for 24 hours in cold water

Krema has only been open a few weeks and already very popular.

Between Bamboo Shoots and Krema, Tourist Information Office to obtain contact for farmers market, long overdue is a coffee stall.

On leaving Krema, I decided to try Pho, surprisingly only a short queue. Not long to wait.

Looking at the menu, and having looked earlier, nothing I really fancied, but found something.

A bottle of cold water brought to the table.

I have no idea what Vietnamese food is like, this is not a Vietnamese restaurant, it is a chain. Maybe in the kitchen.

Credit where credit due, and I hate to praise a chain, the food was good. And what I saw brought to adjacent tables also looked good. They must have good chefs.

No long queue formed outside. Maybe few knew half price, though these days of social media, usually spreads rapidly.

Contrast with free pizza in Winchester on Wednesday, a queue down the street.

Free or half price is an excellent idea. Better than any advertising, puts new staff through their paces, if people like, they will come again, tell their friends write good reviews.

On leaving, I wandered through Tunsgate Quarter. The only good thing I can say about it, useful short cut. Mainly empty units, those occupied are occupied by chains. Very unusual these days for a developer to build without guaranteed tenants, guaranteed rents, as the units will remain empty.

What we now need to see is the independent businesses on Tungate compensated for loss of business during road works. The least the Council can do is give a business rates holiday and once the work finished hold an event in Tungsgate. For example during the summer, turn one of the farmers markets into a street food market and let the stalls flow into Tunsgate.

And why oh why do Experience Guildford and the Tourist Information Office keep tweeting promoting chains? They are not there to give them free PR. So far I have had two tweets for Cozy Club alone, a crap chain.

Chains destroy a locality, destroy the sense of place, drain money out of a local economy. It is independent businesses that give character, a sense of place, recycle money within the local economy.

Contrast North Laine in Brighton with Tunsgate Quarter, one full of people, the other fake and empty.

Two tweets for Cozy Club, not single tweet for Krema, an excellent indie coffee shop that has opened in Tunsgate, something Guildford should be proud of, worth a trip to Guildford for.

Then when these chains go bust, which is now happening with regular monotony, or some one at head office decides not making enough, the stores close, leaving gaping holes in our High Streets never to be filled.

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.