Posts Tagged ‘Afternoon in Winchester’

Afternoon in Winchester

November 22, 2017

Mild when I set off, in Winchester very cold.

Almost missed the train.

Dysfunctional Stagecoach,  bus driver refused to allow an elderly lady to board the bus, even though she had a valid bus pass, holding up the bus for several minutes when all he had to do was issue a paper ticket.

At Aldershot Station, no ticket office open, man manning the barrier refuses to open barrier as have no ticket.

Does public transport employ people based upon their level of stupidity?

Wifi live on No 64 bus to Winchester, but not connecting to Internet.

Tried charging power bank from usb charging point.

Last week, power bank showed full, but kept charging through journey until fully charged.

Monday, power bank used to charge Samsung Galaxy A3 from around 20% to 50% whilst in use.  Power bank showed 75% charged.  As charging, shows 75% charged.

I would normally walk down the hill into Winchester, but stay on the bus.

No 64 bus now arrives and departs from the street. It saves time going around the back streets to the bus station.

Bus Station has been refurbished. It is now worse than before. One big open space, nowhere for passengers to shelter from the rain.

I inform bus driver wifi live bus does not connect to Internet. Driver not interested.

It has turned very cold

Pasta off the Sicilian stall. Only thing worth having from the street food market.

Too cold for street food.

A wander around Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market. The ice skating rink puts to shame the one at The Village in Guildford.

Hot chestnuts off a  stall very poor quality compared with the hot chestnuts off the stalls in Athens. Very misleading stall, chopped wood, but fired by a hidden gas cylinder. And why use Italian chestnuts when there are English chestnuts?

Look in Coffee Lab. Do not stay as too cold with door open. Explains why empty.

Coffee Lab Academy busy, but again no Dhan.

Coffee Lab Academy closes at five, but they do not chase people out. I am there until gone 5-30.

Walking to catch the bus, passing Bus Station I notice in darkness. It would also help to have lights by the bus stands in the street.

I ask the driver why is the Bus Station in darkness.

The refurbishment failed to install lights.

Wifi live and connecting to Internet.

I again charge power bank for entire journey. Still charging, but is now showing fully charged when I remove from usb point.

As last week, woman, not same woman, with dirty boots on a seat. This is a new bus fleet that only officially came into service on Sunday.

Tonight no dinner at Alton Station Cafe. I learnt on way down, Bikes Night tonight cancelled.

Nearly twenty five minutes wait for a  train. I possibly just missed one.

It would have helped if new timetable tied in with the trains, though bus did leave five minutes late.

Pop in Waitrose.  I notice Union coffee beans, at least the ones I check, Yayu Forest, one month old, in Waitrose Farnham two months old, which is not doing Union any favours.

Advertisements

Afternoon in Winchester

November 15, 2017

Not as cold as last week, but cold.

Sun came out at Alton, sun and mist.

New bus, No 64 bus Alton to Winchester.

This must be third or fourth generation of new buses on this route in the last couple of years.

USB charging points, but poor design, low down between the seats, though not as low as on the No 1 Aldershot-Farnborough-Camberley route. It beggars belief, such bad design,

I would not risk a mobile phone, not unless desperate, I would though charge a power bank.

Late bus from Winchester, is a single decker, usb ports, wifi. I charge a small power bank. Last week, not so late, a double decker.

I decided to try on this new bus with a new power bank.

As showing fully charged, and only been used as a torch since charged a couple of weeks ago, I expect only a few minutes charging.

Charging entire route until approaching Winchester.

Suggests either very low output from usb port, at a guess only 500 mAh or problems with power bank. Could also be power bank is higher capacity then I realised.

I would normally alight and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester, but decide to stay on the bus into Winchester.

No one at the Sicilian pasta stall, I walk up the High Street to see what else on offer.

I find a French stall I have not seen before, tomatoes, nuts, onions and shallots. The tomatoes are rare heritage varieties.

The stall will not return until 20 December. They do a tour around England and France.

Tagliatelle off the Sicilian stall. It was better than last week, but I wish they would revert to what they had in the summer, served with a creamy mushroom sauce. Pasta is fine, but ideally it needs to be with something, not pasta on its own.

I suggest they sell extra virgin olive oil. I learn the oil they use comes from their family farm back in Sicily. I also suggest a Christmas hamper.

The street food market only allows one of everything. Why then was another stall selling inferior pasta allowed on the market?

This rule is wrong, there should be at least two to give choice, but correct to limit to maintain variety.

I look in Coffee Lab. I speak with the barista who I talked to last week.

I visited Workhouse in Reading.

What did you think of the coffee?

Unfortunately I did not try.

But I did try CUP speciality tea and coffee. Excellent.

No sign of Dhan.

A cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy.

Had I waited, Dhan would have appeared.

1720 Winchester to Alton, ignorant female has her dirty trainers on brand new seats.

I learn from the driver, new fleet, does not officially come into operation until Sunday 19 November when new timetable is introduced. Which may also explain why no working wifi, as not yet gone live.

Excellent chicken curry at Alton Station Cafe. They invite me for Christmas dinner.

For inexplicable reasons, train is divided at Farnham. I could understand adding coaches, not removing coaches. No explanation given. No announcement if in correct part of the train.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 8, 2017

Last night, knowing there was to be a two day rail strike, I decided not to travel down to Winchester and did not get to bed until early hours of the morning, had I decided otherwise, I would have had an early night.

This morning, I decided why not, I will travel down to Winchester, if I do not make the train, I will not bother.

I was reluctant for another reason, train strike, I would be crossing a picket line.

No picket line, barriers open, train of twelve coaches, empty.

Bizarre strike. The new Chinese owners have not said they will not get rid of the guards, on the other hand they have not said they will get rid of the guards.

A strike simply alternates the travelling public.

Train down to Alton, only one an hour, not two, I check I can get a train back.

Alight off bus and walk down Magdalen Hill into Winchester.

Sunny but very cold. Winchester acts as a frost trap, cold air rolls off the hills into the valley.

I find return bus is still operating from the street, though now opposite side of the street, work on bus station appears to be finished

Pasta off the Sicilian guys. Sadly they have still not reverted to their original menu even though far better.

I warn them their business will now drop off until warm weather in the spring. They will be lucky to break even.

I suggest why they do not offer lessons in Italian cooking or offer home cooking.

I decided to go home, too cold, but will visit Coffee Lab first.

Look in Coffee Lab Academy no sign of Dhan, I check Coffee Lab, no sign of Dhan, I return to Coffee Lab Academy where it is warmer.

Both are empty.

I guess the cold weather. In the summer coffee shops should be open late, in the winter five o’clock as more than late enough. People wish to get home, cold and dark.

On my way down I learn from Guildford Tourist Information that today is National Cappuccino Day. No one is aware of this, and neither was I.

The coffee shop they show is not somewhere I would recommend. Not unless you enjoy bad coffee and cigarette smoke blown in your face.  A cafe serving coffee masquerading as coffee shop.

Lucky for me, cappuccino in Coffee Lab, though sadly no Dhan.

Both Coffee Lab and Coffee lab Academy have had a makeover, forced by change of logo. I like the new look.

Charming lady who I often chat with is pleased to see me.

I am surprised when she makes my coffee. I did not know she was a barista. She is very good.

I have a brief look at Coffee Art, a book by Dhan released a month ago. It looks worth having. None are signed.

A flapjack as well. I learn made in the Salisbury coffee shop.  Excellent.

Then to catch the bus. Far later than I wished.

I decided catch 1720, catch a  little before it leaves, then not hanging around in the cold. Bus is late, ten minutes waiting the cold.

As a result of bus being late, miss train at Alton.

Luckily Alton Station Cafe open. Bikers night. Every Wednesday in the summer, usually once a month in the winter. Empty.

When they prepare their own food it is excellent. Tonight chicken Kiev, bought in crap.

I leave, they prepare me breakfast. I leave most of that too, as now not hungry.

Train again twelve coaches, empty.

Afternoon in Winchester

July 12, 2017

Coolish in the morning then turned warm.

Alighted from the bus and walked down Magdalene Hill into Winchester.

A Chinese girl on the bus with luggage. I assumed she had like me, alighted from the London train. I found her waiting at a bus stop. I asked where she was going. I was surprised when she said Heathrow to catch a flight to China.

I asked where she had come from, when she was on the bus. She said she lived in Alton. I explained she was going a very long way around. She should have from Alton Station, caught the train to Woking, then bus to Heathrow. Maybe she will do this when she returns.

Pasta off Bedda was not good. Two Sicilian guys have been there since beginning of May. Their pasta usually excellent, tagliatelle with creamy mushroom sauce excellent. Today tomato sauce, like spaghetti Bolognese minus the meatballs. Not good

Why do people do this? Start off excellent, then rapidly deteriorate.

I eat my not-so-good pasta in the Cathedral Grounds and pick up a new found friend, a dog joins me.

Flat Whites packed up early. No. I had not even said what I wanted. I do not want a coffee, a cake. The answer was again no. I asked why were they leaving early. An ignorant man, who I have never seen before, argued, said they always leave at this time, and he should know because it was his van. And no, they do not usually leave early

Odd, it belongs to lady who usually runs the van, and when not there, helpful young lads. Has she sold the business since opening a coffee shop in Southampton? Or if staff, not doing her reputation any good at all.

Too late for a cappuccino at Coffee Lab machine shut down. A chat with Dhan. Which then made me too late for a coffee in Coffee Lab Academy.

A cappuccino at The Dispensary Kitchen, which unfortunately spoilt by the addition of chocolate. Nothing wrong with it, but when using a quality blend from The Roasting party, not getting the best out of it.

A walk along the river and around the back streets and through the Cathedral Grounds.

Luckily on arrival I had noticed the bus station being demolished, as had to catch the bus in the street.

Ice cream van in the car park at Alton Station, blocking access through the car park, engine left illegally running belching out toxic fumes.

Popped in Waitrose. Compared with Sainsbury’s or Asda, only about half the coffee on sale rubbish brand coffee, the other half at least an attempt at quality coffee. Only that from Union Hand-Roasted Coffee appeared to have a roast date, and then only just inside the optimum as roasted a month ago. Makes the point that the furore about Sainsbury’s pulling out of the FairTrade scam is meaningless.

One of the counter arguments against Sainsbury’s ditching FairTrade, is can buy FairTrade in Waitrose. I did not notice any of the coffee to be FairTrade.

Union is direct trade. Union pay farmers a better price than FairTrade, they want quality coffee not commodity coffee.

If you want quality coffee, why buy from a supermarket? Buy from indie coffee shops or coffee roasters where not only will get fresh quality coffee, but the farmers are getting a higher price for producing quality, not FairTrade commodity coffee.

For example in Winchester can buy coffee from Coffee Lab or Coffee Lab Academy, which is their specified blend from The Roasting Party.

Excellent chilli con carne at The Station Cafe. Apart from too spicy. But far better than the disgusting meal when I last passed through.

I would have sat outside as a pleasant evening. But not possible because of the pollution from the ice cream van.

I do not know who owns the car park, but South West Trains or Alton Town Council need to deal with this problem.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 14, 2017

A hot day. First hot day since May.

Alighted before bus station and walked down the hill into Winchester.

Pleased to find the Sicilian guys had pasta. At first I thought not as they were not there.

I looked in The Dispensery Kitchen, but no time for a coffee. Maybe later.

From Academy Lab an affagato. I had to explain how, but at least this time they had ice cream, Jude’s ice cream which is excellent ice cream.

Comments from several people, a coffee culture in Winchester,  Coffee Lab, Coffee Lab Academy, Flat Whites, The Dispensary Kitchen.

Just had time to walk alongside the River Itchen, a little way into the countryside, then around the back streets, through the Cathedral grounds, back into the High Street and to the bus station.

Very disappointed with the food bikers night at Alton Station Cafe. Doubly disappointed. I had hoped for moussaka. Not only no moussaka, not even there wonderful freshly prepared food. Scampi and chips or fish and chips, which can get anywhere.

A very warm evening.

Next time, I will try and set off much earlier, then maybe stop off at Arsleford, maybe even get a steam train to Arelsford. Or maybe get off bus and have a wander over St Catherine’s Hill.

Afternoon in Winchester

June 3, 2017

A coolish start to the day, sun came out and turned quite warm in the afternoon.

Earlier than usual in Winchester, alighted from the bus and walked down the hill into Winchester.

Wednesday is street food market day in Winchester.

I thought I would not be eating off the falafel stall, I would try the pasta stall Bedda.  But no falafel stall. No pasta either. I was earlier, but not early enough.  All that was left was spaghetti. I am no great fan of spaghetti. It was spaghetti or nothing.

Although I was early, by the time I got to Coffee Lab and Coffee Lab Academy, too late for a coffee.  I had hoped to try their affogato.

I tried a new coffee shop, The Dispensary Kitchen. Strange thing was, I was recommended by bank manager in Santander and by Coffee lab.

A long chat with the owner of The Dispensary Kitchen.

Excellent cappuccino, made for me by the owner. He apologised, said he was not a barista, and would have been even better if brewed by his barista.

Coffee a blend, Elixir 22, from The Roasting Party,  who also supply Coffee Lab.  Named 22 because they use 22 grams of coffee, not 18 as is common.

I learnt something very interesting. One sees on sale in a coffee shop ‘home made cakes’, it is from a company of that name.

Something I had noticed on the market, a stall selling identical cakes to a stall in Guildford.  I queried this, to be told they buy from the same supplier. Everyone in Guildford has been led to believe the stall is selling their own cakes.

No time to walk along the river or the back streets.

Alighted early from the bus and walked through Alton.

Sorry to be able to confirm, O’Connor’s Secret Garden has indeed closed. The place gutted, nothing left.

I inquired opposite. Apart from being able to tell me had closed about six weeks ago, they knew nothing more.

Wednesday night bikers night at the Staion Cafe. I arrived in time to see the last portion of the night’s special being scooped onto a plate.

Afternoon in Winchester

May 3, 2017

Mayday was wintry, winter had returned, yesterday was a pleasant warm day, today worse then Mayday.

Why was I travelling down to Winchester on such a cold, unpleasant day? On the way down rain.

Passing through Alton, I was shocked and saddened to see O’Connor’s Secret Garden had closed. This was an excellent restaurant.

On the way down, cowslips on the grass verges and on roundabouts.

The road leading down to Winchester, a meadow carpeted with cowslips.

I would normally alight, and walk down the hill into Winchester, but today, such a cold miserable day, I stayed on the bus until the bus station in the town centre.

Wednesday, Winchester has a street food market. Each time I visit it has become smaller.

Today many of the stalls had gone. Though many it is no loss.

But no fruit and vegetable stall, no fish stall (though I was told had packed up early), the bread stall and the excellent cheese stall still there.

But no falafel stall. What was I to do for lunch?

I walked up and down, eventually settled on a Sicilian  stall Bedda doing pasta.  A good choice, the tagalette was excellent. Worth a trip to Winchester for.

It was then to Coffee Lab for a cappuccino, and to get warm.

A brief chat with the lady running Flat Whites where I would have a coffee but for Coffee Lab. I did though buy one of her excellent cakes.

Excellent cappuccino from Coffee Lab.

I then popped to Coffee Lab Academy where they weighed out and bagged coffee beans, Einstein blend. Now a choice of Einstein blend or Heisenberg blend.

Just as I was leaving, Dhan popped in. I said hi, apologised, had to run, a bus to catch.

I would have walked through Alton to double check that O’Connor’s Secret Garden had indeed closed, but cold, drizzling of rain, alighted at Alton Station.

Bikers night at The Alton Station Cafe. Not many bikers. Too cold. I had hoped for moussaka. Excellent cottage pie.

I suggested they look into taking on O’Connor’s Secret Garden.

Afternoon in Winchester

November 2, 2016
Winchester

Winchester

Yesterday in Guildford for farmers market, cold and grey and misty.

Today in Winchester for street food market, sunny, but very cold.

On my way, looked in Alton Station Cafe. What was tonight for biker night special? Chicken casserole. Moussaka? OK.

St John the Baptist

St John the Baptist

Walked down the hill into Winchester, but then on a detour to St John’s Church. It would have been easier to have walked down to the church by going on a detour down the hill.

Inside, a very unusual church.

River Itchen

River Itchen

Instead of later, when it would have been cold and dark, a walk alongside the River Itchen, the boundary of the Roman city, around the backstreets, and into the High Street through the Cathedral grounds.

Popped into P & G Wells. They usually have a wonderful window display. Sadly not today. Even they admitted, would you wish to give or receive autobiographies of Nick Clegg or Ed balls for Christmas. And no, they have not sold.

I suggested put in the window And the Weak Suffer What They Must? and accompany it with The Global Minotaur.

Christmas Market and ice Rink opens on Friday 18 November 2016.

Around the back of the Cathedral, like walking into a deep freeze.

Falafel off Falafel stall. This time hot.

Then coffee at Coffee Lab. Coffee Lab too cold with door open, Coffee Lab Academy instead, where it was warm, but noisy. And I get a cappuccino by Dan. I asked him where had the training machines gone. He said they had been loaned out for an event, but would be coming back.

Longer in Winchester than I had intended. By now very cold.

Bus to Alton Station.

Moussaka at Alton Station Cafe, then train.

Afternoon in Winchester

October 26, 2016

Thanks to dysfunctional Stagecoach bus service, I missed my train. Half an hour wait for next train.

But luckily, as I alighted from the bus, there was a friend who I had not seen for over a month.

steam train at Alton Station

steam train at Alton Station

At Alton Station, a steam train. A locomotive I had not seen before.

On the way down to Winchester, the steam train on an embankment on the skyline.

Alton, warm and sunny. On the way down to Winchester, dark, black clouds, but as Winchester was neared, out came the sun.

Winchester

Winchester

Alighted at the last bus stop before bus station and walked down into Winchester.

Falafel wrap off falafel stall. Not as good as usual, but that was because I let it get cold.

Chatted to a young guy at the stall. He did not know Winchester, and we suggested what he could see, and I showed him the way to the Cathedral.

cappuccino in Coffee Lab

cappuccino in Coffee Lab

I then bumped into him a little later, showed him the back streets. He was delighted, especially as he appreciated good coffee and I took him to Coffee Lab.

He had a machiatao and was impressed.

Although he knew coffee shops in London, I suggested a couple he did not know:

I pointed him in the direction of Winchester Station for him to catch the train to London.

Not long after I arrived at Cafe Lab in walked my Spanish friend Emilio. We met in Athens the week before.

Long chat with Emilio, until we were thrown out of Coffee Lab an hour after closing time.

Not long after we arrived, in walked Dan, champion barista. I asked he make me a coffee.

He made me a cappuccino last week in Coffee Lab Academy. This was better. I wonder why?

Bus to Alton.

moussaka at The Station Cafe

moussaka at The Station Cafe

Bikers night at Alton Station Cafe. Only about half a dozen had turned up. Maybe too cold and dark, maybe they expected the winter regime, when bikers night only once a month.

But no special. In September, I had regretted not having their moussaka, as it looked good. Last week they said moussaka today. No moussaka, I had looked forward to it. The chef offered to make moussaka just for me. I thought he was joking. But no.

I popped to Waitrose, came back, and moussaka was served with a little salad.

It was delicius.

Then train to Aldershot, then bus.

Missed the bus, 25 minute wait with the drunks that have been hanging outside the station since the summer.

Afternoon in Winchester

October 19, 2016
cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy

cappuccino in Coffee Lab Academy

Catching the train down to Alton the weather was fine. Alighting at Alton, cold. Rain all the way down to Winchester. Winchester colder still with temperature dropping all afternoon. By late afternoon more like November.

Pleased to see the falefel stall is now using card boxes not polystyrene.

Would have had a coffee in Coffee Lab, but no date slices. Having never had a coffee in Coffee Lab Academy, decided to try there instead.

I was privileged to be served by barista champion Dan.

Too cold to hang about, a bite to eat, coffee and then catch return bus.

Windows of bus too  filthy to see out, no heating, no wifi,  all too typical of the contempt Stagecoach has for passengers.

Reasonable chicken curry and rice at The Station Cafe at Alton Station.

Train no heating, wifi did not connect to internet.