Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Winchester’

Afternoon in Winchester

September 25, 2019

I set off earlier than usual, I would have arrived lunchtime. As I was early, I alighted at Alresford to explore Alresford and stayed and had lunch and a coffee at Carocoli.

Day started off sunny, once early morning rain had cleared. Dark clouds from Alton, then heavy torrential rain, then sunny at Alresford.

Bus set off late from Alton, driver stood outside bus having a phone conversation. He then drove far too fast through the torrential rain to make up lost time.

Rain ceased as Alresford reached.

Alresford a small Georgian market town of Georgian town houses. I wandered down as far as Old Alresford Pond.

No time to catch next bus, stayed at Caracoli for lunch and a coffee.

Caracoli was a small chain of half a dozen coffee shops. It came as little surprise when they went bust. Poor quality coffee and did not know what they were, a coffee shop or a deli. Now only two coffee shops, Alresford and Haslemere. Guildford closed, Farnham a greasy spoon cafe serving coffee.

Lunch was fine, the coffee ok, they need to source better quality coffee. But the best coffee in Alresdford, and would be better if sourced quality coffee beans.

A few doors up the street a strange setup, DIY Coffee. Insult customers with Cupsmith coffee served from a coffee machine. No surprise empty.

Coffee #1, undrinkable coffee, poor service, poor quality food. A chain of masquerading as independent, owned by Caffe Nero.

I would normally alight off the bus, walk down the hill into Winchester. I alighted off the bus but instead of walking down the hill I headed to an industrial estate at Winnall to DT Roastery. No one there I knew, a wasted journey.

Head back down into Winchester down an unpleasant busy polluted road, then back streets along the River Itchen into Winchester.

River Itchen flowing very fast.

Excellent coffee at The Square. Not so the cake.

Time for a walk in the gathering dusk, around the back streets and along the River Itchen to catch the bus to Alton.

The bee on Winchester Cathedral to herald Green Hampshire Harvest Weekend .

No food left at Alton Station Cafe, no sign of any bikers.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Winchester

June 26, 2019

Morning coolish, sky milky white, but later sun broke through and turned very warm.

Passing through Alton, a circus with big top, though the big top looked quite small.

I was surprised to see rail bridge had gone. I think it was a brick bridge.

Bus to Winchester took a detour, direct onto the A31. This ought to be the normal route.

Same at Alresford, straight to Winchester not around the houses.

Alighted off the bus and walked down Magdalen Hill into Winchester. Always a pleasant walk.

The street food market gets smaller and worse each time I visit. The stalls are peddling crap.

The only stalls worth knowing about, cheese stall which is exceptional, French stall which is only once a month, and the bread stall which is ok.

I was too late to eat anything at City Square and so back to the market.

Signs of desperation vegan hot dog off The Vegan Hot Dog Man. To say it was disgusting would be an understatement. It was unbelievably disgusting. I hate to think what processed crap went into the vegan hot dog.

I asked the guy why serve vegan hot dogs? That’s what people expect on a market. Not true, a good street food market has excellent food. Why not have quality vegetarian food, not fake meat? If this was meant to showcase vegan food then an abysmal failure.

The guy with the horsebox and wood-fired pizzas has gone.

I though of going the Flat Whites.

No longer there, I learnt from the cheese stall.

Depressing news, it has gone, driven out of businesses by landlord. Another excellent local business destroyed by a greedy grasping landlord.

He suggested I try The Winchester Orangery and let him know what I thought of their coffee.

I found The Winchester Orangery, coffee roasted by River Coffee Roaster, a local roastery I had not heard of.

My cappuccino was excellent.

I quick look in Coffee Lab Academy. Dhan Tamang now roasts the coffee, coffee roastery which includes coffee shop and training school branded as DT. I have yet to try the coffee, too late for a coffee at City Square as now closes at six.

I will try next time, visit Dan at his roastery.

As a pleasant evening, walk along the river and around Winchester Cathedral.

Too late to  eat at Alton Station Cafe, all the food gone.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Winchester

November 14, 2018

Sunny all the way down to Winchester. Downside sun in my eyes most of the journey.

I alighted off the bus to walk down into Winchester, but instead of walking down the main road down Magdalen Hill, I followed the route of the Pilgrims Way, which passes by St John’s Church.

A plaque notes the route of the Pilgrims Way. On the plaque a scallop shell. I thought that was the symbol for El Camino de SantiagoEl Camino de Santiago. Maybe for all the routes taken by pilgrims.

The church has an unusual layout.

On the wall only noticed as leaving the church when eyes have adjusted to the light, medieval wall paintings, c 1280.

The Sicilian guys who last year had excellent pasta appear to have left the market. They were not there last Thursday, nor today. I asked another stall, and yes, they have left the market. No surprise. They had excellent pasta, then started doing junk food. Everyone told them huge mistake, but sadly they did not listen.

I thought the Cathedral Christmas Market would be up and running. No, it opens on Friday.

I looked in The Square. They are now doing lunch until three o’cocck, so I stayed and had a mushrooms on toast.

I said I would come back and have a cappuccino.

I looked in Flat Whites but they were closing early today, as short staffed.

Cappuccino in The Square. I was curious, coffee from The Roasting Party.In CUP by Reading Town Hall, cappuccino not good. At the Square, as always, well at least usual, excellent cappuccino.

Guest coffee in The Square Ethiopia Hunkute from Bailies in Northern Ireland. It had only come in yesterday, fresh, only roasted last week.

Coffee Lab once again ripping customers off on the price charged for guest coffee is not acceptable. Ethiopia Hunkute direct from Bailies £7 plus £1 shipping. In The Square £11.

I had intended to catch an earlier bus. I caught a later bus. Catch 1750.

Around 20 minutes wait at Alton Station for a train.

I pop in Waitrose. Bananas rotting on the shelves.

Train late.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 8, 2018

A dull dreary afternoon.

Bus from Alton Station to Winchester, bus driver drives like a maniac. Slamming on brakes each time hits a speed restriction as travelling too fast.

I walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

I arrive earlier than usual though would have wished to have arrived earlier, Coffee Lab shuts at three.

A rather tacky market. The only worthwhile stall, a girl with clothes and jewellery, a stall down a side street.

Sicilian guys used to excel with their pasta, then to the dismay of everyone stopped pasta and produced junk food. Come Thursday, they would say, Thursday we do pasta. Today Thursday. I walk up and down the market. I find they are not there.

I look in Coffee Lab Academy. I am surprised at the coffee on display. I ask, no longer The Roasting Party? Yes, Coffee Lab has closed.

I go round and take a look, even though they ssk I do not.

I am shocked and appalled that Coffee Lab has closed. It opened a little over two years ago. It was a lovely litte coffee shop that set a high standard. Next year Coffee Lab Academy, then this summer The Square, plus a number of coffee shops in other towns.

Closure of the original Coffee Lab is indicative of everything that is going wrong with Coffee Lab. Vulture Capitalists have been brought in to expand the chain, Vulture Capitalists motivated by one thing and one thing only, greed. They have managed to alienate staff alienate the customers.

Coffee Lab has grown rapidly and just as rapidly gone down hill. Coffee Lab closing at three, and now closed. The Square, dirty tables, poor service, poor quality coffee, kids who do not have a clue. Coffee Lab Academy closing on the dot, tables and chairs stacked around remaining customers. No atmosphere in ether.

And just when it cannot get worst, landlord of the little wholefood shop has been bought out by the greediest of the Vulture Capitalists, a fool who is a style-styled entrepreneur, putting at risk this lovely little shop when the lease runs out.

I did not have a coffee, I went to the little pizza stall, where had an excellent pizza.

Only the eating of was spoilt by a moron blowing smoke in my face whilst telling me he knew what was good coffee as he frequented Starbucks.

I had called on the way in Holland and Barrett to inquire when their penny sale ended. Buy one get one at a penny, only applies to a very limited range. Ends on Tuesday,

Near the entrance loose nuts, dried fruits, scoop up with a shovel into a bag, weigh, then pay. Cheaper than the prepacked stuff? No, a lot dearer.

It was then to Flat Whites where I had an excellent cappuccino served by one of the baristas who has left Coffee Lab. I thought he seemed vaguely familiar. He said he knew me from Coffee Lab Academy.

Guest coffee from Steam Punks, A strange name for coffee unless there is a Steam Punk connection.

1720 bus to Alton. For once, in time to catch a train but I decided to pop in Waitrose.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Winchester

August 15, 2018

A pleasant warm afternoon.

First to dentist, then hop on a bus to catch a train.

I missed the train I would have liked to have caught, but still early. I would still arrive Winchester lunchtime, earlier than I usually arrive, in time for lunch at The Square.

A steam train at Alton Station.

I inquired at Alton Station Cafe, what was the dinner tonight. Nothing, we are not cooking. Had I got the wrong day? No, it was Wednesday, Bikers Night.

Passing through Alton I see a new coffee shop that I had not noticed before about to open. Claimed to be an artisan coffee shop, claim is one thing, reality another, and artisan is meaningless. We will see.

I was very tempted to alight from the bus at Arlesford, then continue on to Winchester, but if I did, I would not make lunch or Coffee Lab before three.

Arlesford was busy but then so was Winchester. Maybe because lunchtime.

I made The Square, but lunch, mushrooms on sourdough bread was not very good, not as good as when I last had.

The Square busy and noisy. Not an environment in which to  relax and I was pleased to leave.

It was then head to Coffee Lab. A different guest coffee from Hundred House Coffee, this time from Colombia.

I learnt why ripping people off, charging £10 for a  bag of coffee that retails for less. If not, would have to charge more for coffee brewed with the guest coffee. The logic is perverse. No other coffee shop applies this perverse logic. Need to have a rethink.

V60 with the guest coffee which I sat outside with and enjoyed. The street very quiet.

Back in the High Street, three kids playing. They were amazingly good. A sense of music few posses.

To the cheese stall. Whilst sat outside Coffee Lab, an e-mail inviting me to a coffee and cheese event at Purfrock Coffee.  It was due to have taken place several weeks ago, but cancelled at very short notice.

Looked in Flat Whites coffee shop. Their new guest coffee not yet in. Maybe next week.

Cappuccino and peanut butter brownie at The Square.

1820 bus to Alton.

Fish n chip shop near the station appears to have closed, as second time I have passed by and seen it closed.

Chicken curry at Alton Station cafe, but as last week, nothing left.

Afternoon in Winchester

August 10, 2018

A cold wet day.

Before I set off heavy rain.

I miss train to Alton. Trains are switched platforms. If there was an announcement, I did not hear. I board wrong train and head off in the wrong direction.

At Alton, torrential rain. Bus fails to stop at bus shelter, stops further down the road. Passengers get soaked running to the bus, then cannot board the bus, bus driver has not opened the door whilst he is having a drink.

Torrential rain all the way down to Winchester.

I stay on the bus into the centre of Winchester.

I make Coffee Lab as closing. A girl who knows what she is doing. I raise they are overcharging for the Hundred House Coffee guest coffee, She says yes, ten pounds correct price, but shocked when she learns retails at six pounds. Says she will raise it. She realises Coffee Lab are not doing their reputation any good ripping people off.

A wood-fired pizza off the pizza van. Not as good as on Wednesday. Not long enough in the oven.

Today Friday market day in Winchester. Rows of stalls selling complete and utter crap. More food stalls than when street food market, but the extra stalls not what would wish to eat from.

The few quality stalls, wood-fired pizzas, Flat Whites coffee, bread stall, cheesemonger.

No surprise the market not busy, especially if compare with the vastly superior street market in Guildford on a Friday and Saturday.

Cappuccino and chocolate brownie in The Square. Tables not cleared, tables dirty. Coffee Lab once again not doing their reputation a lot of good.

Evensong in Winchester Cathedral.

Find grave of Jane Austen on leaving.

One of the ushers on leaving on locking up, shows the key for the main door.

Then just sufficient time to walk around the back streets.

Passed by the house where Jane Austen spent her last few days on earth and the bookshop where she bought her books.

Catch the 1920 bus from Winchester. A marked contrast to the journey down, a lovely sunny evening.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Winchester

August 8, 2018


Today, much cooler. Yesterday over 30C, today barely above 20C.

Catching a bus to catch a train always risky, bus late, bus does not turn up, then miss the train. Luckily today, only couple of minutes wait for a  bus, catch train OK.  Maniac bus driver, pulls onto a roundabout in front of a  car, car narrowly avoids ploughing into the side of the bus.

At Alton Station, clapped out double-decker No 65 bus from Guildford sat for several minutes with engine running belching out pollution.

1315 No 64 bus to Winchester driven by a lunatic. At Four Marks and Ropely had to wait a couple of minutes as ahead of schedule. At Four Marks bus drove ogf as a girl was about to board the bus. Girl threw her hands up in horror.

Boomtown massive, runs 9-13 August. Watch towers on the security fence.

Sicilian guys still not serving pasta. No one likes their disgusting junk food, but they do not listen.

Chat with cheesemonger, tell him I now have Re-Inventing the Wheel. Also of my conversation with a cheese maker at Guildford farmers market, pasteurised milk, back and white cows, feed in one end, watery milk out the other, why produce farmhouse cheese if only to replicate industrial cheese production?

Playing in the street, The Wing Faced Earth Figs. They were excellent and attracted a large crowd.  If only this talent at Staycation Live.  They are scheduled to play at Boomtown. I pick up a CD.  It is an absolute must they are on bandcamp.

Last week, no guest coffee at Coffee Lab, shipped out, no new guest coffee. Today only one bag left of the new guest coffee, Hundred House Coffee. Kids running the coffee shop who don’t have a clue. Different staff each time I look in.

I am charged ten pounds for a bag of coffee by a girl who admits she does not know the price.  I query the price I am charged. Six pounds a bag on the Hundred House Coffee website.

I learn Dhan is in The Square. I make the mistake of ordering a cappuccino. I was so pleased to get there before they shut at three.  Though what I should have ordered was a V60.

Tables outside, dirty, cups and saucers and pots not cleared away, rubbish blowing off the tables down the street.  Not good.

I find Dhan in The Square. A big mistake having had a cappuccino as he would have made me a cappuccino. At least he has signed my book, Coffee Art.  I thank him for signing the book.

To the wood-fired pizza stall. Only a small wood-fired oven. I choose mushroom with truffle oil. At least one stall worth eating at.

I look in Flat Whites coffee shop as they are closing and drop off latest Caffeine. No new guest coffee maybe next week.

I find The Wing Faced Earth Figs packing up. People are still going up to them to thank them.

Back to The Square. A cappuccino and date slice.

I go for a wander down the River Itchen, along the back streets and around the back of Winchester Cathedral.

I look in the bookshop. Recommend they stock Re-Inventing the Wheel. They are pleased when I tell them that Paulo Coelho has a new book out in September, Hippie.

1820 No 64 bus, anther maniac driver. Crosses the white line in the middle of the road to overtake on a blind bend where thee road on approaching Arlesford goes under a railway bridge.

At The Alton Station Cafe, arrive to see the last of the night’s special vanish. I dd not really fancy meatballs.

Catch a train, then a bus.

Arrive home a little after half past eight, very very tired.

Afternoon in Winchester

August 1, 2018

Journey down, the rolling hills, most of the harvest in, straw bails in the fields.

Take advantage of usb charging point on the bus.

Alight and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Hope springs eternal, Sicilian guys will have pasta, but sadly not.

I make Coffee Lab before they close. No guest coffee beans, shipped out to Southampton and Chichester. What this means is they get old beans. Not doing reputation of Coffee Lab any good.

Something to eat at City Square. Was not good. Basically leftovers.

Then head to Flat Whites Coffee Shop.

Their guest coffee now old stock. Importing new beans from Ireland, but expensive, as shipping costs doubles the price.

Their next guest coffee will be from Outpost Coffee. A good choice.

I suggest try Taf in Athens, but on refection they may only ship their basic coffee, not their best coffee, as will not know the coffee shop. If need be, I will talk to Taf.

I also suggest try Makushi aka Base Camp.

Interesting conversation in Flat Whites whilst drinking cold brew with guest coffee from The Good Coffee Cartel.

Cheese guy has already gone from market. Market long closed, but he is always one of the last to leave.  Sicilian guys said he left early, little trade. Also problem maybe  keeping cheese cool, though today was not a  hot day. It will be hot next few days.

Back to City Square. Cappuccino was not hot enough. I also had a brownie. Not a great fan, but this was excellent.

My main reason for returning, the coffee beans, so much trouble to obtain, I had left behind.

1920 bus to Alton.

Once again, all the food at Alton Station Cafe gone. Too many bikers turn up.

I finally arrive home 2145 very tired.

— to be continued —

Afternoon in Winchester

July 18, 2018

A strange day.  Cloudy and yet very warm. Only walking down Magdalen Hill cool. Had the sun come out or clear blue sky it would have been very hot.

On the way down rolling hills, yellow with ripening wheat. At least I assume wheat, it could be barley, oats doubtful.

I pass by the site for Boom Town under construction. It is huge. This year 9-13 August 2018.

On the street food market I keep hoping the Sicilian guys will revert back to their excellent pasta, not the disgusting food they now sell, but hope in vein. It is tragic, they had an excellent food product, and now they have rubbish. Everyone I speak to is of the same opinion. People have told them and yet they do not listen. To say the least, perverse.

I find Coffee Lab open. Sadly they now close at three.

I make the mistake of not buying their guest coffee from Clifton which they tell me is every good.

Clifton Coffee are not doing their reputation any good by supplying coffee to Cosy Club, a corporate chain, a fake 1930s bar, so fake it is a parody of fake.

I learn Dhan is around.

On my way to Coffee Lab Academy, I spot Dhan at a table by the window, he spots me, smiles and waves.

I walk in and we greet each other. We have not seen each other since last year. I pass greetings from baristas I met in Athens last year. So long ago, I can no longer remember who.  I tell him of some of the coffee shops.

He kindly signs a copy of Coffee Art which I wish to give as  a gift and makes me a cappuccino.

It is then to The Square for lunch. They warn me in Coffee Lab Academy I am too late for lunch.

They are correct. Lunch now ceases at two. When nothing on the street food market, I think no problem, excellent lunch at The Square.

Winchester is weird. Everywhere stops serving food at two. If you are lucky three.

The Square was serving food into the afternoon, but the residents of Winchester are now so brainwashed into believing no food after two, that The Square had no custom after two.

What I have suggested is they follow the example of Just Made 33 or 200 Degrees, freshly made food, once it has gone its has gone.

No Laura today.  Off ill. I ask wish her well.

It was then to Flat Whites Coffee Shop.

They prepared me something to eat. It was not good.

It is rare to find coffee shops with good food.

I try their cold brew. It is OK, but not great. I am sure the last time, it was not concentrate, then watered down.

Two new guest coffees from The Good Coffee Cartel.

In a tin, as though a tin of meths. Not sure this is a good idea. The idea is reuse the tin, but from where the beans to top up the tin? It is not like going into Grocer and Grain and topping up with olive oil.

I am now back to my original dilemma, where to eat in Winchester. A tourist city that has nowhere to eat. Utterly bizarre.

Now too late to buy anything off the cheeses stall. We have a chat,  and had a short chat earlier.

I tell him of the turkey stall on Guildford farmers market and Godalming street food market and the ludicrous advice given to stallholders, poultry and turkey sausages sat on the stall in these high temperatures. He said even with refrigeration, he is having difficulty keeping the cheese cool, and some days has had to pack up early, otherwise would have to throw the cheese away.

I mention Re-Inventing the Wheel. He knows the book but has not read. I ask of Salers Tradition, from the Auvergne, made in 45 kg wheels. He knows the cheese, knows the area, has a  house there and has recently returned.

A couple of weeks ago, I was to have attended a talk at Pufrock, Bronwen Percival and James Hoffman on cheese and coffee. It was cancelled at short notice It is due to be held again end of July or early August I will let him know if I learn more.

Back to The Square. A cappuccino and a cake.

I stay until a little after seven, catch 1920 bus. It is tempting to go for a walk, catch 2020 bus.

Five coffee shops visited, five if I count Flat Whites van.  A coffee in three.

Nothing left at Alton Station Cafe. It was chicken curry, I had looked in earlier on my way down to Winchester.

I would have liked moussaka They often used to have moussaka, and I never tried,  once I tried and could not believe how good.  In Athens and Cyprus not as good, but the bikers do not like and they do not make any more. I suggested do a special for the bikers, but also a small amount of moussaka.

Wednesday night is Bikers Night, but now they are becoming a  pain, too many are turning up.

I walk in Waitrose. Long queue in Waitrose. I walk out. No trains. I go back. Train turns up. Not leaving until 2115. There has been no trains since 1735 which did not turn up.

Does Waitrose hate customers? The cheese counter was closed at least twenty minutes before the store closed.

I arrive home at ten.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 20, 2018

A pleasant afternoon in Winchester.

Missed a bus, missed a train.

Looked in Alton Station Cafe. Tonight for bikers night, chicken casserole.

Driver of 1415 No 64 bus Alton to Winchester running several minutes late, driving like a lunatic, exceeding speed limit, hit curb and smashed bus at Four Marks.

Alight and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Sicilian guys still serving crap from their stall. It is tragic, they used to serve excellent pasta from their stall, worth a trip to Winchester for.

Flat Whites stall no food, all gone. Different guest coffee to last week.

I decide to check out the food at The Square. Spoilt for choice. Sourdough toast with grilled mushrooms.

The people sat outside, relaxing with a coffee, chatting with friends, I am very much reminded of Tailor Made in Athens.

Shocked to learn it is already five o’clock.

I head off to Flat Whites coffee shop. Too late, closed. I drop off a couple of copies of Caffeine. As last week, I recommend, do not subscribe to Caffeine, instead subscribe to Standart.

Back to The Square, but first check out Coffee Lab. I am shocked to find now closes at three. Coffee Lab Academy, as last week, chairs piled up, there were still people sitting there. It has gone rapidly down hill with no Laura in charge.

A cappuccino at The Square. Different barista and not as good as last week. Very large slice of walnut and coffee cake. Best I have ever had.

At Alton Station, same problem as last year, an ice cream van illegally parked in the car park, obstructing access, engine running, serving ice cream.

As last week, no special left at Alton Station Cafe.

As I board train, steam  train leaving.

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