Posts Tagged ‘coronavirus’

The Sound of Silence

December 31, 2020

To end the year.

This could have been any city during lockdown.

It could have been Athens during lockdown when not a soul around.

Lincoln coronavirus tier 3 day twenty-three

December 24, 2020

Christmas Eve, very little traffic into the city, bus station deserted, many small shops closed.

River Witham running high, fast and muddy. Heavy rain last night, waterlogged ground, washes into the river.

Not too many people around, excellent.

Pepperdine’s closed, fishmonger closed, fruit and veg stall closed, Redhill farm shop closed, Christmas dinner screwed. But, luckily Curtis open, chicken, pork joint, cakes.

Coffee shop never found open in the summer, this afternoon with find open.

Coffee shops needs far better coffee, a decent coffee machine. Recommended
La Marzocco Linea Mini
, possibly the cheapest decent machine, will then need a decent grinder, a semi-professional domestic machine try Niiche Zero. And decent coffee, not LavAzza.

Cold.

Look in Vine’s Bakery on my way down Steep Hill, only a few loaves left. At least I warm up.

Takeaway coffee from Coffee Aroma. Very cold waiting outside.

M&S again crowded, but not as bad as Tuesday. Back to usual piss-poor service, only one till manned. Onr young lady shows initiative, without being asked, mans a till

Catch a bus. Is it that cold, driver dresses as an Eskimo. She opens up, not quite Marylin Monroe.

Please do not take reusable coffee cups to a coffee shop during coronavirus pandemic

December 23, 2020

Reusable coffee cups address symptoms takeaway cups not the underlying problem of grab it and go wanton consumerism.

Would treat a good red wine this way, then why coffee?

The only way to enjoy coffee is to slow down, sit and relax in a coffee shop drinking coffee served in glass or ceramic, coffee brewed by a skilled barista.

The world has been turned upside down by coronavirus, drinking in a coffee shop no longer possible, where open, often takeaway only, and if can find open, takeaway cups to reduce cross infection.

During coronavirus pandemic using a reusable coffee cup is an absolute no no. It is to introduce an unnecessary disease vector putting staff and clientele at risk.

No reputable coffee shop should be accepting reusable cups.

Takeaway cappuccino from Coffee Aroma. A model of how it should be. Only one person allowed into the coffee shop at a time, contactless payment only, takeaway cups a necessary evil, no reusable cups. No reusable cups accepted, anyone who tries will not be served and if persist will be asked to leave.

At the other end of the spectrum,. Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot going around coffee shops insisting they take his coffee cups, in one coffee shop he handed over two different coffee cups, then bragging on social media his cups accepted and encouraging others to do the same. Highly irresponsible behaviour.

Thermal efficiency irrelevant. If I order a coffee, it is to drink, not save for some time in the future.

If I were to use a reusable cup it would be a glass KeepCup or Huskee cup. The glass KeepCup has the bad habit of smashing to smithereens if dropped. Huskee cup is a well designed cup, the lid an optional extra.

Huskee cup is an iconic design, with eco credentials of finding a use for the discarded husks from coffee beans, but and it is a very big but, it combines the husk which can be composted with plastic which can possibly be recycled and turns into a product which can be neither composted nor recycled and will at the end of its life end up in landfill or incineration.

I have never understood why anyone wishes to drink through a hole in a lid.

Not addressed, reusable cups must be barista friendly, that is clean and not too tall will not fit the espresso machine.

If we wish to reduce the number of throwaway takeaway cups the answer is simple, sit in a coffee shop and relax with a cup of coffee, but whilst that is not possible during coronavirus pandemic, please do not take your reusable coffee cup to a coffee shop and introduce an unnecessary disease vector.

If wish to take ones own cup to a coffee shop to drink out of, then take an enamel mug.

Guildford tier 2 day four

December 5, 2020

Guildford is best avoided on a Saturday at the best of times. The first Saturday in December, the first Saturday out of lockdown, my worst fears Guildford packed. No social distancing, queues outside shops.

Sadly no lessons learnt. We entered lockdown too late, exited too soon too fast, no random testing in the community.

I walk to a station, in pain, miss train due to barriers down, wait half an hour for the next train.

Guildford Station far busier than I find on a weekday.

Coffee off FCB kiosk weak and insipid. Not to usual standard. Maybe once again changed the beans.

Cold as I walk along the River Wey.

Bottom of the High Street over the River Wey a car park. Unless choose the route I do along the river into the town, which few do, the car park empty but for a few stalls.

A useless council jobsworth decides what a marvellous location to erect stalls for a Christmas market. The market would usually be in the High Street. Speaking with one stallholder, I learnt had taken 10% of what would have taken in the High Street.

I cross the bridge and I am horrified as I walk up the High Street. It is packed with people. As is North Street. My worst fears, super spreader Saturday.

A new coffee shop Ceylon House of Coffee I have not seen before. A queue outside.

Starbucks empty. Never seen Starbucks empty before.

Young woman in a shop selling nuts and dried fruit having difficulty keeping order. Sign clearly states five people I would consider two too many, but no one taking any notice.

Harris + Hoole packed. No one keeping order. Too many people in the coffee shop, no social distancing. They should be in a socially distanced queue waiting outside.

North Streetjam packed with people.

I wanted lunch in Hanki a Korean restaurant it is packed. Never seen anyone in it before. As is Koja, aka Surrey Hills Coffee, which is always empty.

As I walk into Hanki, two tables become free. I sit in the far corner.

But half a dozen Chinese. Absolute pain, shouting.

I didn’t enjoy my meal.

I am pleased though they took note of what I said about Deliveroo. A notice on the door telling Deliveroo serfs to wait outside. But half ignore, they don’t bother to take of crash helmet, not all are wearing a mask, and leave door open as walk in and out. Cold air, but at least ventilation.

To Koja. Barista / manager says busy. A lady leaves and gives me her seat. Others then leave. Occasional customer pops in for takeaway or a bag of coffee.

I order a cappuccino. It is not good.

I learn Koja has not changed hands. A rebranding exercise under new new management.

It is then to Krema where I have a decent coffee.

On the way pass by Gail’s bakery in Tunsgate. If as bad as the one in Farnham, then not worth a visit.

I learn that earlier in the day Gail’s was chaos, full of people, no social distancing. The Council should act to close down coronavirus hotspots and hit with hefty fine.

Excellent cappuccino from Krema. Alost closing time, not too busy.

Suggest to Ben’s Records, if we go into a third lockdown, which looks increasingly likely, stick a table across the door and sell out of the door.

To Waitrose. A queue. Waved through quickly, wiz round and make my train.

Athens coronavirus lockdown day five

November 11, 2020

Few people around, very little open, cold with a cold north east wind.

Walk a little way into the pine woodland on the lower slopes of Hill of the Muses. Too windy to climb to the top.

One of my favourite walks in Athens, follow the footpath that runs along the side of the Koine Valley, then back the other side. Once an ancient route from Athens to the sea.

Athens can be teeming with people, always peace and quiet along the Kolne Valley, not a soul to be seen. Not today, more people than I am seeing in usually busy parts of Athens. I can only assume, in lockdown, taking a walk for exercise.

Usually I encounter wild tortoises, sadly not today.

A cappuccino from The Underdog.

I am always the only one in The Underdog, but a steady stream of customers, someone will arrive as I am taking my coffee.

No one around.

From Monastiraki head to Athens Central Market.

Pass by Dope,  closed.

Dope is a strange one,  they roast and serve Robusta.

Dope is covered over space between two buildings, hence the graffiti on the bare walls.

But if passing by Dope, may as well head to Mokka, always excellent coffee, though neither are currently open during  lockdown.

Nuts, dried fruit, chocolate and yoghurt coated nuts from stalls outside Athens Central Market.

Spoilt for choice, not only between the different stalls, but also between different grades or different origins.

Quality is vastly superior to anything found in England.

Head to Duo Goulies & Duo Mpoukies before they close.

Nikos on his own, Tanya on furlough. Long hours 7-30 in the morning until 5-30 then an hour to clean machines.

Head to feyrouz Lebanese street food that I stumbled upon previous day.

Idea had been to order for later to be delivered.

Not possible, have to use an app for Wolt.

I try later give up, too much hassle, to much personal data requested, same model as Deliveroo, exploitation, serfs working for an app.

As I walk back through empty streets Ermou and Plaka deserted.

I cannot see the few remaining businesses open remaining open beyond the end of the week, no one around.

Deliveroo serf speading covid-19

October 5, 2020

Deliveroo serf acting as ideal disease vector for covid-19.

Deliveroo serf waiting several minutes in Hanki a tiny Korean restaurant, several minutes within a small enclosed space for order to be processed. That was whilst I was there. How many more minutes before I walked in? How many places visited, in out no mask, how many customers visited no mask, today, preceding days, following days? No track and trace, not required to provide contact details. No attempt  to remove crash helmet.

No surprise covid-19 cases doubling every few days.

I asked the young guy serving to file immediate complaint with Deliveroo. In future, make wait outside until order ready, do not allow inside, if steps inside to collect, remove helmet, wear mask. It would be advisable not to deal with this Deliveroo serf again.

Lack of covid-19 biosecurity Gatwick Airport

September 30, 2020

Gatwick South Terminal deserted.

With so few flights, why night flights permitted?

What is shocking Gatwick Airport one of the country’s busiest airports or was is that with the exception of hand sanitiser stations scattered around a complete lack of covidd-19 biosecurity.

No temperature screening on entry to the airport. No temperature screening at check-in. I cannot comment security checks, passport control, boarding, as I did not get that far. Nor was there any covid-19 testing available at the airport, nor in the locality.

Airports and airlines whinge about 14 day quarantine for arrivals from high risk countries and yet fail to put there own house in order.

There should be temperature screening, anyone with high temperature refused boarding but officered the option of a cvid19 test. A fast turn around as at Rome airport where they test and have result in loess than 30 minutes.

I am not suggesting instead of 14 day quarantine, I am proposing in addition to.

We are in the middle of a pandemic with cases rapidly rising, but would not think so with the caviller attitude taken by airlines and airports. Schools have more stringent protocol in place that Gatwick.

Deserted Gatwick South Terminal

September 29, 2020

Little traffic, Gatwick South Terminal not in use deserted.

If so few flights, why are night flights permitted?

Coronavirus testing farce

September 28, 2020

Try for days and days, day after day, to obtain a coronavirus test, morning, afternoon, evening, night time, early hours of the morning. Finally Saturday offered a test. Home test kit to be delivered Sunday.

Sunday evening I find a parcel delivered by Amazon dumped on my doorstep. Third time in as many days Amazon dumps a parcel on the doorstep.

This morning open testing kit to find swab missing.

Call to request a courier to delivers a swab or new kit. Not possible, have to start all over again.

Have to go through this process twice. First time denied a test kit due to one only just been despatched. Second time will be delivered in two days.

Multiply this across the country and easy to see why coronavirus out of control and cases rapidly rising.

The application to apply for a test is badly designed. Each question is on a new page. It does not save the replies, have to start all over again.


Update

Tuesday a message to say home test kit dispatched. To my surprise delivered same day, again dumped on doorstep.

I carry out test, put swab in vial, in plastic bag, in biohazard bag, then in box to post.

Have to register on line. Need to scan biohazard bag, take out of box and scan box.

Web page fails on security test. It is missing.

Once again have to call number. They do not wish for ID that links to original request which registration requires nor ID of box which enables tracking.

Seal box, dash to sorting office to find have missed the last post.

Posted Tuesday night, will not be collected until Wednesday. As I write almost midnight Thursday night, no results.

Saturday 6-39 in the morning, an e-mail to say tested negative.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day one hundred and sixty-two

September 1, 2020

For six months a diversion, instead of ten minutes into Lincoln thirty minutes, whilst a roundabout under construction.

Today, an hour late into town, no bus stop, temporary bus stop vanished. What did this mean, back to normal or yobs stolen the bus stop?

Thee was no information on the bus last week, nothing from drivers to say normal service resumed.

A lady pulled up, to say no bus, now back to previous route, road opened.

To previous bus stop, both sides of the road notice at bus stop to say bus stop not in use. No timetable.

Would it not have made sense to have left temporary bus stop in place for at least a week, notice to say normal service resumed? Or, whoever removed temporary bus stop, notices on other bus stops?

A bus passed by leaving Lincoln, therefore can expect bus into Lincoln to pass by anytime soon.

At Lincoln Central Bus Station, no timetables, not a single timetable. New timetable came into play Sunday. Information office not open. Information office never open.

Buy two glasses for coffee from Lakeland. Not a shop I would recommend. Promotion for loyalty card (to enable tracking). Does it give discount? You will get vouchers in the post. Fat lot of use. Contrast with Hotel Chocolat, apply for VIP card in store, kicks in immediately.

Faffle at the till. Lady has a card that does not work. Tries contactless. Card not contactless. Tries again, tries again with keying in pin. No success. Why does she not use cash? Tries again. Works. Has a basket full of goods, then someone else has basket full of goods on same card.

I am about to walk out, when staff member opens a second till. I am given vouchers. Not valid until October, have to spend over thirty or fifty pounds. This is Lakeland taking the piss.

In High Street too many people.

Walk and Ride. First time I have caught and busy.

Bailgate, as expected, restaurants empty, back to as was in July, Eat Out to Help Out finished.

Haddock and chips at Elite on the Bail. Not busy. Staff tell me Eat Out to Help Out was not good, customers rude, insufficient staff, then quiet the rest of the week.

Many of the chains are offering for September or part thereof half price meals. They are still displaying Eat Out to Help Out. This is misleading. If half price, were they previously ripping off customers, or if running at a loss, to put indie restaurants out of business?

A pleasantly warm afternoon. Walk around to Stokes at The Lawn, but too late, to catch the sun on the terrace.

Mike too busy to try a coffee. I have a cappuccino.

As I am leaving, he wishes to try Ethiopia Arsosala WS, an Ethiopian coffee I had picked up from Cartwheel Coffee. I would have suggested V60, Mike says no, an espresso. He is impressed the bag lists brew ratio for espresso and filter, which gives a good starting point. Something more coffee roasteries should list.

We try espresso, or at least Mike tries espresso, for me he adds hot water a sort of Americano, though I would have preferred to try espresso. We are both impressed. Very fruity.


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