Posts Tagged ‘Christmas market’

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

December 9, 2021

I did not know if the Christmas Market was taking place, no signs in the city centre.

A pale shadow of previous years, few visitors due to the rain, no ice skating rink which was the central attraction. Where the ice rink would have been now occupied by junk food stalls.

Half way round, my paper bag carrying goodies from General Store and Coffee Lab Academy disintegrated. I am very grateful for a stall holder who came to my rescue.

Bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Salcombe Dairy. Award winning? Worthless Great Taste Award. Most of the chocolate adulterated with additives. Was not aware of a bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Winchester, Winchester Cocoa Company, on sale in General Store. Tried to bullshit me Fairtrade anything more than a scam.

A chat with a stallholder. I said I did not wish to buy anything. He said that was OK, he had had no one to talk to for the last half an hour and was glad to have someone to talk to. He said few stalls because only at the last minute had it been decided to hold the market, stall holders could not buy stock in time. He did not think the ice rink would come back, He said although fewer visitors he was seeing sales up by 30%, his best year of trading He put it down to fewer visitors meant people had time to stop at his stall, and could actually get to his stall. He said with the ice rink people did not buy anything as wished to go skating and were not able to carry anything. He also said his sales may be up due to no Christmas market last year.

Infantile behaviour by local council, no signs permitted for the Christmas market, not their market.

Winchester Christmas Market puts to shame the Lincoln Christmas Market, tat and junk food.

Basingstoke shopping mall and Christmas market

December 9, 2021

I had missed fast direct train to Winchester. Slow train to Basingstoke, change, twenty minutes wait, then fast train to Winchester.

A ghastly shopping centre, within which a tacky Christmas market tat and junk food.
Two cheeses stalls selling rubbish cheese, stomach churning stench from the junk food.

Gourmet burgers. Oh what a much abused word. One look, cheap burgers not quality.

Walking back to the station, a Victorian building with an ugly appendage attached.

Christmas Emporium Lincoln Castle

December 21, 2019

Why is it everywhere has the desire to dump a few sheds in a town centre fill with tat and junk food and call it a Christmas Market?

This market was dismal. I walked in a little after three to find no one around, all the sheds bar a couple closed. They had obviously closed before three. The ubiquitous junk food.

What is the point of a market that closes at three then reopens again at five, albeit to then charge £8 entrance fee?

I spoke to a couple of stallholders. To say the last they were thoroughly pissed off.  And I do not blame them. Paying a high fee for a pitch for no customers. They will not be returning.

I then found I could not get out the West Gate and had to walk around the Castle to Stokes at The Lawn

This is another example of the appalling mismanagement of Lincoln Castle. Complaints fall on deaf ears.

Lincoln Christmas Market

December 5, 2019

Why is it that every town thinks dump a few sheds selling tat and junk food in a town centre and call it a Christmas Market?

One of the worst if not the worst is Lincoln Christmas Market, 90% crap, and that is being generous. The travelling circus masquerading as a street food market that is held occasionally in the High Street is bad but this is far far worse.

I had wandered through Monday as was being set up, not impressed by what I saw.

Visiting Thursday afternoon, far worse than I expected, and locals had warned me it was not worth visiting.

Plastic identical shrink-wrapped in plastic flavoured fake cheddar cheese, stomach churning junk food.

Not to say there were not quality stalls, for example local farm cheese, quality meat from Redhill Farm,  local craft beer, speciality coffee from Seven Districts, but very much the exception and could count on one hand.

Seven Districts I stopped by and had a chat.

Yes, well designed packaging, but if to be taken seriously the coffee has to have details of the coffee, not local history no matter how interesting that may be.

Coffee is seasonal. It  does it help,  different single origin packaged under the same name.

Only possible to try a not very well poured V60. OK but not great. It would be interesting to see in the hands of a skilled barista.

Not having encountered before, I picked up two bags of Seven Districts coffee, but the cheese, can obtain every third Saturday from the Lincoln farmers market and from The Cheese Society, Redhill Farm has an excellent farm shop in Bailgate, where later I picked up Lincolnshire sausages.

A stall claiming its coffee was specialty coffee. It was not, it was over-roasted coffee beans sticky with flavourings. This is not specialty coffee. The stall must be kicked off the market, a prosecution by local Trading Standards. Stallholder turned unpleasant when the scam was exposed.

Market patrolled by police bearing side arms and carrying semi-automatic weapons.

I feel sorry for those come from afar to this tacky market.

A claimed 250,000 visitors. How are they counted?

Lincoln is close to gridlock ever day. This is gridlock, roads closed, bus routes diverted, long queue to enter the railway station.

Look to Winchester for a quality Christmas market. Runs end of November until Christmas, does not overload the local infrastructure, includes a large ice rink, attracts quality.

Winchester Christmas Market attracts half a million visitors a year, is ranked as not only the top Christmas Market in UK, but one of the top ten in Europe.

In Lincoln, the car park by Lincoln Castle hosting a big wheel, could be a large ice rink.

The organisers of this appalling market need to think again.

For visitors, visit any time of the year and not be jostled, or if wish to come when an event do so over the August Bank Holiday Weekend for the Asylum Steampunk Festival when will enjoy a far more pleasant experience.

Aldershot Christmas Market

November 17, 2018

A tacky Christmas market.

Tacky fairground rides, tacky stalls, a shed selling disgusting junk food.

No publicity in the street during the week.

More people on the street than a usual Saturday.

But then contrast with the Gostrey Meadow Christmas lights switch on in Farnham.

To add insult to injury, McDonald’s staff handing out promotional material. But then this is Aldershot, obese city, infamous for its disgusting junk food outlets.

Farnham Maltings Christmas Market

November 30, 2017

It is many years since I have been at a market at Farnham Maltings, the only reason I was there today was for a French stall.

A freezing cold day, barely above zero, strong wind and wind chill making colder still.

I alighted from the bus, walked along the riverside walk to Farnham Maltings.

The French stall was outside. I should have got what I wanted and left, but I thought no this is England go in first, maybe if I am lucky, find something to eat.

Shocked and annoyed had to pay a pound to enter the building.

Over 100 stalls each paying £75 for their pitch.

A little cafe in the foyer, impossible to remain due to the dreadful noise from a group of tone deaf people playing ukuleles.

I commented to one of the traders. She replied we have had two days of this and someone playing a penney whistle was even worse.

I looked in the main hall, nothing of interest.

The dreadful noise from the ukuleles had stopped. But it was only a temporary reprieve, followed by keyboard and penny whistle. It was hard to imagine anything worse than what had gone before, but this was worse.

As I wandered around the main hall, I noticed people with takeaway cups. Why? This is a captive market, it is not people grabbing a takeaway and running down the street.

The soup, long time coming, served in a takeaway cup, plastic spoon and knife stuffed in a card box with a bit of bread.

Do they not care about the environment? Apparently not. 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups thrown away every year, and Farnham Maltings doing their best to keep the numbers up.

I took my takeaway into a little coffe shop.

The soup was awful.

I asked what the coffee was. Cupsmith. Not good.

I chanced a cappuccino. I had to shout at the girl not to dump chocolate, as I had seen two served with chocolate dumped on top.

My cappuccino looked disgusting, and tasted even worse. It was very unpleasant. This was not only the lack of skills of the person making the coffee, I would not insult baristas by calling a barista, it was also the poor quality coffee being used.

A strange Viennese mince pie.

I decided to leave, maybe time to catch the butcher, maybe even a coffee at Krema.

I was not going to visit Krema, I thought whilst in Farnham Maltings, I would try their coffee, a big mistake, therefore maybe grab a coffee in Krema.

As I was leaving, I noticed more stalls upstairs. Only interesting stall I found was iron works.

Then as I was leaving I noticed more stalls downstairs.

Cupsmith had a stall, a lady with different lenses could add to a mobile phone, including a pouch that had five different lenses. And a guy doing tours of vineyards and breweries.

A chat with the Cupsmith stall. I was asked had I tried their coffee? Yes, and it was disgusting. That did not go down too well. She made the ludicrous assertion that it was not London and no one outside London knew how to make coffee, The bags of coffee have silly names, nothing obvious like country of origin or roast date. I was told customers did not want roast date. The lady running the stall impressed me with her lack of knowledge. She had not a clue what was Q grade let alone the Q grade of the coffee she was selling. This was a roastery selling their coffee, or trying to. What is the point of manning a stall and cannot handled questions on coffee?

Lady with the different lenses, had tripods, and solar-powered power banks. I picked up a couple of the solar-powered power banks.

Note: Power banks proved to be faulty.

Interesting chat about wine with with the guy running the vineyard tours. I recommended read The Devil’s Cup.

A chat with the French guys running their stall. By now very very cold.

I picked up a small jar of honey, nuts and a couple of large tomatoes. It was a pity all the walnuts had gone. I regret I did not buy any of their onions.

Anyone wishing to find this French stall and their quality produce, they will be at the Winchester street food market on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

Had I not decided to visit Waitrose, I would have caught the train as not too far to the station.

I never did make it to the butcher.

Winchester Christmas market

December 16, 2015

River Itchen

River Itchen

A trip to Winchester for the Christmas market.

Bus to Aldershot, train to Alton, bus to Winchester.

I missed the train at Aldershot.

Alton to Winchester, raining. Awful driver, that and the engine noise.  I got off last stop before the Bus Station, and walked down into the town centre. Luckily not raining.

Wednesday is street food market.  Very poor fare compared with South Bank street food market, though there are exceptions. It also seems to have shrunk unless, they have squashed all the stalls together the bottom end of the town centre.

Environmental standards are also very low. If South Bank street food market can have high standards why not Winchester?

Jimmy Bean was one of the exceptions, there is little he does not know about coffee, but as I learnt on my last visit, no more. Now Savage and Bean. Even the trademark battered old Citroen van has gone.

On the stall, three very unappetising looking burger style buns advertising their wares. Er, no thanks.

Up and down, where to eat?

The Italian Table

The Italian Table

I settled on The Italian Table, Parma ham, rocket, tomato and Mozzarella cheese. It was almost as good as when Jimmy Bean did food to go with the  coffee, and considerably better than that offered by the Savage half of Savage and Bean.

I also like there is no food waste. All their surplus food is taken back up to London and taken to a cafe that is open all night.

Other stalls worth visiting, the bread stall and the cheese stall.

Flat Whites

Flat Whites

In what was Jimmy Bean’s old pitch, Flat Whites, another van serving coffee and cakes (and soup).  I had a flapjack and a cappuccino.  The cappuccino excellent, a close second to Jimmy Bean, and that is praise indeed.  The flapjack excellent too. The stall was very busy. Trade that in the past Jimmy Bean would have picked up.

In the bank, what did they know of bitcoin? Nada.

A few street musicians.

An amazing boy, all on his own, playing a violin. A jazz trio.

Winchester Christmas market

Winchester Christmas market

Now dark it was off to the Christmas market.

A grave disappointment. Last year bitterly cold, and yet a buzz and excitement. This year almost deserted and no atmosphere at all.

An ice ring, with skating through pools of water, the ice melting.

I walked through to P&G Wells, to say Hi, and wish them a Merry Christmas, and to say sorry I never made it to pick up Change Everything.  I had a copy, gave it away, learnt they had a second copy, but it was out on loan at a exhibition on my last visit.

Last weekend, I found a book on Bitcoin in Waterstone’s Farnham. Can I find it anywhere? No. Not in Waterstone’s Guildford, Waterstone’s Winchester or P&G Wells. Problem is, I do not know what I am looking for.

Walking through the Christmas market on my way to P&G Wells, I noticed a few of the stalls were already packing up. On my way back, nearly all had closed. I guess they decided lack of business, no point in remaining open.

The mistake the Christmas market is making, it is spread over far too long a time period. It has been there since sometime in November.  Ten days, two weeks maximum, in December would concentrate people into a shorter time frame and enhance the atmosphere.

Bus back at 1820. Wifi on bus not working. Can connect to wifi, but wifi is not connecting to anything.  Stagecoach are making false or at least misleading claims wifi on their buses when it does not connect to anything.

O'Connor's Secret Garden

O’Connor’s Secret Garden

On my way back, I alighted off the bus, walked through Alton, to eat at O’Connor’s Secret Garden.

I knew what I wanted. Peter welcomed me in. We do not  have pork medallions on the menu, but we can do for you.

Why did I have two menus? One was a Christmas menu.  I was going to have steak. The Christmas menu was cheaper than having steak. I decided on the Christmas menu. A mistake, as not very good. Unusual, as food usually excellent.

Walking to the station, I found the Station Cafe open. Not last Wednesday of the month, not Bikers Night, no bikes outside. I popped in. It was a Christmas meal for the bikers. They had turned up by car.

Train laves three minutes late due to late arrival of incoming train (single track line).  I only have a couple of minutes leeway to catch bus, even when on time. Luckily train makes up time, have a minute to spare, make bus as it is leaving, otherwise half an hour wait for the next bus.

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