Posts Tagged ‘Farnborough’

Cappuccino at tax-dodging Starbucks

November 15, 2018

What was I doing in Starbucks, a place I would not normally wish to be seen dead in?

Curiosity, just how bad is coffee in Starbucks? Maybe I would be pleasantly surprised? Though I doubted.

I ordered a cappuccino.

I was offered a choice of three different sizes, normal, large and extra large, what Starbucks calls grande.

No, a cappuccino is not made this large.

I was told to go to the end of the counter to wait for my coffee.

I watched as my cappuccino was made. The girl was completely clueless on how to make a cappuccino.

It was made in a glass. The contents of the glass dumped in a large cup, more like a mug. Spilt on the side, no attempt to clean the cup, or better still, start again,

The coffee was not brewed direct into the cup, nor swilled around the cup in a circular motion to coat the sides.

The steamed milk was dumped out of the side of the jug into my cup. No attempt made to pour into the cup.

Watching my coffee prepared the attitude was one of, don’t care, don’t give a shit.

The coffee looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, brewed too hot.

The only positive I could say, no chocolate dumped on top.

It was then find somewhere to sit in amongst the rubbish, tables not cleared, dirty coffee cups, half empty cans.

Several minutes later, the girl who took my order cleared the tables.

She brought me iced water when asked. Brought in a plastic cup.

I noticed around half the customers were drinking out of plastic-lined paper takeaway cups or plastic cups.

So much for the bullshit from Starbucks caring about the environment.

The coffee was not as bad as I expected, it was far, far worse. But then what to expect from over-roasted burnt commodity coffee?

How do people drink this rubbish?

The simple answer is they don’t. What they do is add sugar add syrups in an attempt to make the coffee palatable. Hence the row of syrups prominently displayed.

The reason I asked for water was to take away the unpleasant taste of the coffee. I had to ask as no water available or brought to the table.

Beneath my table, 13-amp sockets to act as footrests.

The ambience of the coffee shop that of a station waiting room. Awful music playing in the background.

When this coffee shop opened, the then imbecile leader of the local council bragged Starbucks had made Farnborough its home. No, a tax-dodging corporate chain had opened a coffee shop to drain money out of the local economy. Home, if by home imply a company head office, is for Starbucks in Netherlands to avoid UK tax.

Outside three shed selling tat and a third shed selling disgusting German sausages. This is what in Farnborough constitutes a Christmas market.

Farnborough a run down dying town centre destroyed by decades of poor town centre planning, a council in bed with greedy developers. A council with no idea what constitutes good town centre planning or how local economies function.

Those who have the means or the time go elsewhere. And most certainly go elsewhere if they wish for a decent cup of coffee or somewhere decent to eat.

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St Mark’s Church Armistice Day Vigil

November 10, 2018

I had looked in St Mark’s Church earlier on in the day for a World War One window which had been restored.

I could not find.

Passing by a few hours later, now dark, a light on, the church still open.

St Mark’s Church open, a vigil to mark Armistice Day.

I quietly walked around the church. I still could not find the window.

I remained a little while in silent contemplation. I thought of the horror of those souls who died in the trenches.

I wished to walk back down the side aisle to light a candle, but reluctant to disturb those in the church.

The First World War did not end at eleven o’clock on 11 November 1918 one hundred years ago. That was when an Armistice was agreed, a ceasefire, the day the guns fell silent.

Peace was not agreed until the following year.

Exacting reparations were imposed on Germany. Keynes warned against but he was ignored. This led to the Second World War.

What we see today in Europe, in the Middle East, is unfinished business from WWI.

No lessons have been learnt.

Greece dared challenge the EU. A vassal state for daring to challenge the EU is being destroyed to serve as a warning to other vassal states.

WWI was the first democratised war, no family was left untouched, unlike the Boer War. It was the first industrialised war. Cavalry charges of little use against machines guns and barbed wire, the first use of tanks.

How it affected communities was brought home to me this summer in a church in Arundel. In the pews, silhouettes of the fallen.

New injuries. In the Boer war, wounds did not become infected. In the mud of the trenches, wounds became infected

Not all who died died in action. Many were unfairly executed for cowardice.

There are no survivors left from WWI. Soon their children will also be lost to us.

Memories fade.

BBC, in a ground breaking work, collected the living memories of those who lived through WWI for a series marking 50 years since WWI.

My grandfather served in the trenches in France but he never talked about it, other than to complain it destroyed his health.

Did the veterans not talk about their experience because of the horrors it brought back, or because no one wished to listen?

Uncle Albert of the Trotter family in Only Fools and Horses told to shut up each time he tried to recount his wartime experience.

International Bomber Command Centre, in a race against time, has recorded and archived memories of veterans of WWII Bomber Command.

British are obsessed with the two world wars. Eighty per cent of the books on the two world wars are in English.

When veterans of Bomber Command turn up at an event people wish to talk to them, ask for their books to be signed, even though they are not the authors.

£45 million is raised by Poppy Day Appeal. To what end?

Those homeless on the street with serious mental problems are too often ex-service men who can no longer cope with modern life. Do we commemorate the dead and ignore the living? This was raised by Aaron Bastani, who was then condemned for doing so.

The First World War was called The Great War, the war to end all wars. By the 1930s this was being questioned, as the nation prepared for yet another war. 

In 1939 there was no commemoration of Armistice Day.

UK is built on a war economy. Weapons are supplied to the world’s most repressive regimes.

UK arms and provides military support to Saudi Arabia. A corrupt Islamic regime no different to ISIS, that is carrying out genocide in Yemen, that degrades women, that beheads its critics, that killed and cut up a journalist who walked into a Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

Tommies fought in the mud of the trenches. Donald Trump could not be bothered to attend a ceremony at an American War Graves Cemetery because of a little drizzle.

Did the fallen die for nothing?

On Armistice Day our thoughts turn to those who died in two world wars to liberate Europe from tyranny.

A decade ago, 60% of countries across the world were democracies. That figure is down to 40%.

Two weeks ago Greeks marked Oxi Day, the day at the start of WWII when they said no to Fascism. They paid a very heavy price. Two years ago they voted Oxi in a referendum, to then be be betrayed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

We have a Europe in chains, vassal states of the EU.

Across Europe we have a rise of Fascism as a direct response to the EU.

Armistice Day should never be about poppies, red or white, or even solemn reflection on those who died, and in the wars and conflicts of today, those who die are not only soldiers, combatants, they are civilians, innocent civilians who are not even party to the conflict.

We must question the wars, even more important question who is profiteering from the wars.

It is sickening that British Legion partners with war profiteers British Aerospace.

Destruction of local businesses

August 15, 2018

What makes a town centre, local businesses, local architecture, they provide a sense of place, the local businesses recycle money within the local economy.

Four local businesses destroyed, for what, a rapacious greedy developer to make fast buck.

A grassy area with flowering cherry trees destroyed, for what, an ugly eyesore of a Premier Inn, and of course a rapacious developer to make a fast buck.

Around the corner The Tumbledown Dick destroyed, for what, a Drive-Thu McDonald’s, and of course to enable  a rapacious developer to make a fast buck, the same rapacious developer.

Within the town centre, half the town centre destroyed, people kicked out of their homes, social housing levelled to the ground for a car park, many local business destroyed, for what, a superstore and a handful of corporate chains.

Welcome to Farnborough, one of the ugliest town centres in the country. And yes, there are worst, Aldershot down the road.

And complicit in all of this, town centre planners, who have not a clue what constitutes good town centre planning, who lack any understanding of how local economies function, but who can be relied upon to act against the interests of the local community, hand greedy developers on a plate whatever they ask for.

Complicit too, thick-as-shit local councillors who rubber-stamp whatever is put before them, who are led by the nose by the planners acting for developers, who stick two fingers up to the local community.

There is one green area left in the town centre. That too is now earmarked for development, no lessons have been learnt, no apologies for the damage wrought on the town centre.

Contrast Farnborough or Aldershot with North Laine in Brighton. Three streets with side streets, quirky indie businesses, coffee shops, music shops, bookshops, restaurants, boutiques, food shops, bakeries, pubs, and not a single corporate chain in sight, nor empty boarded-up shops.  On a Sunday busy, on a Saturday difficult to move for people.

The same is true for the old part of York or Hull Old Town.

Domino Pizza classic case study how not to conduct a management meeting

November 14, 2017

Shopping in Sainsbury’s, relax in Sainsbury’s Cafe, maybe have a coffee.

Not today.

Four Domino Pizza employees choose Sainsbury’s Cafe to hold a management or staff meeting.

Two loud mouth bullying male management types shouting at the top of their voices disturbing everyone around them, people wishing to relax, shouting at a young Eastern European female, repeatedly telling her what she was doing wrong, entering her personal space and waving arms around in an aggressive manner.

No, this is not how you conduct a meeting.

No, you do not shout your mouth off.

No, you do not shout at female member of staff.

No, you do not conduct the meeting in an open public place or shout at a junior member of staff in an open public place.

But at least you have demonstrated how bad the management is at Domino Pizza, another McShit job to avoid.

Classic management case study in how not to conduct a meeting.

Lemon Plaice closed

November 14, 2017

Lemon Place added to the growing number of shops closing in Farnborough.

No surprise, the only surprise it did not close years ago, as disgusting fish n chips and always empty.

A chain store opposite selling cheap rubbish has closed.

The biggest closure being Debenhams.

There are close parallels with closure of M&S in Aldershot. Both were selling rubbish the rest of the chain could not shift.

Debenhams bore no resemblance to the rest of the chain. The only time it saw anyone in store was when it held a sale.

St Modwens are threatening yet more regeneration.

Farnborough was not in need of regeneration prior to St Modwen trashing the town, demolishing half the town centre, in doing so destroying many small local businesses and throwing people out of their homes.

Time useless councillors stood up to St Modwen and said enough is enough.

Half a dozen sheds selling crap for Christmas takes the town further down market. The stench of the cooking turns stomach over as walk past. Loud music causing a nuisance.

Why does the council allow it? Because it rakes in some money. No thought given to the impact on the town, impact on businesses in the town.

Not possible to sit and relax in Starbucks with the noise and the stomach churning stench. No that I would wish to as I prefer coffee.

The next to pull out Wilkinsons? The store has been dead for years, ever since Poundland opened.

Both Aldershot and Farnborough in a downward spiral. Both due to the same causes, councillors getting into bed with developers and decades of bad planning decisions that favour greedy developers and do not do either the town or local community any favours.

Retro Coffee Shop

August 3, 2017

I have no idea why called the Retro Coffee Shop.

Is it due to the split and cracked seats? Or that you stick to the seats?

Maybe it is the undrinkable coffee, that somehow managed to be weak and bitter all at the same time? Retro coffee, regressing back to the heyday of undrinkable coffee. Though we can always drink undrinkable coffee in Costa or tax dodging Starbucks and Caffe Nero.

I asked to see the beans. Poor quality catering brand, commodity coffee.  No excuse when these days so many quality coffee roasteries to choose from.

The Tea Shop around the Corner does at least make an attempt to source quality beans, could do better, their coffee is not great, would be much better if employed a barista and sourced quality beans, but they do make the point they are a tea shop not a coffee shop.

Although called a coffee shop, in reality, an old-style greasy spoon cafe. If you are going to call yourself a coffee shop, then at least have the decency to make decent coffee.

The Swan

July 17, 2016
Red Arrows fly past over The Swan

Red Arrows fly past over The Swan

How to screw people, charge to sit in the garden during Farnborough Airshow.

Once the Airshow had finished, it was possible to walk into the garden.

The Swan used to be a rough pub. It was refurbished, an excellent job done, barely recognisable.

Then it closed, was refurbished again.  The second refurbishment has destroyed The Swan.

Prices are extortionate. £4-50 for a pint of beer. The barman admitted, complaints all day about the high prices.

No sooner had I sat down in the garden, asked to move please sit at another table.

Later asked to move yet again.

A burger, was quite good.

A second beer.

Now asked to leave the garden, a private party.

The private party did not use the garden.

A small terrace, used to be decking. It too has been destroyed.

Sitting on the terrace, smell of cooking food drifts across the terrace.

All the time I was there, the terrace almost empty, the pub empty, the garden all but empty.

Gurkha Palace

July 17, 2016
buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace

buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace

A Nepalese restaurant, Sunday buffet, food variable, best just after lunchtime peak, otherwise food is sitting there all day.

I walked in around half past two to be told I only had half an hour.

Half an hour for what?

To eat, we close at three.

Since when?

Since beginning of year.

At least explained why it was nearly empty.

But with Farnborough Airshow on, would have thought would be open all day.

I would have sat inside, by the window, but a lady who was sitting outside, asked would I tell her what the planes were, I sat outside.

She invited me to join her, but as the tables were tiny , I grabbed an empty table.

Food was ok, but nothing special. I also noted that had jacked up their prices, charging evening prices for lunchtime buffet.

Farnborough International Airshow 2016

July 17, 2016
Red Arrows

Red Arrows

Every two years, a jamboree for arms dealers, a showcase for the world’s most lethal killing machines, but portrayed as a fun day out for the family.

Try telling that to families in Syria.

For the local people and businesses in Farnborough, two weeks of noise, one week of gridlocked roads.

F -35 peaked at 112 dBs.

Day 1, a heavy downpour, nothing exceptional to what we have seen this year, but the Airshow could not cope. Exhibition halls flooded, loss of power, mass evacuation from the halls, Airshow closed early.

Irony, aviation fastest growing source of greenhouse gases, airshow shut down by inclement weather.

Those expecting lots of flying, would have been gravely disappointed. Very little flying, long gaps between.

Red Arrows did a fly past, and that was it.

No Lancaster or Battle of Britain fly pass.

There was a flying fortress, it did a fly pass, and that was it.

Normally, on Saturday and Sunday, it is packed outside The Swan at the end of the runway, best place for viewing, but this year few people.

Airshow organisers showed their usual contempt for local people. No compensation for nuisances caused, but they could buy one ticket and get one half price.

Buffet lunch at Gurkha Palace. I was surprised to find closes at three o’clock.

The Swan once again ripping people off during Farnborough Airshow. A fiver to sit in the garden, £4-50 for a pint of beer.

Destruction of Farnborough town centre

May 13, 2016
not only Farnborough trashed in Aldershot board-up shops

not only Farnborough trashed in Aldershot board-up shops

Aldershot recently re-paved streets being dug up

Aldershot recently re-paved streets being dug up

More hypocrisy from Gareth Lyon, wringing of hands, shedding of crocodile tears that Farnborough town centre has been trashed by KPI/St Modwen.

Gareth Lyon is one of the local councillors responsible for the destruction of The Tumbledown Dick for a Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

Lyon met behind closed doors with McDonald’s and stitched up a dirty little deal to destroy the pub. He then, as chair of the planning committee, had the stupidity to brag that the planning committee had approved the deal he had struck with McDonald’s

The destruction of Farnborough town centre did not just happen. It happened because useless councillors like Gareth Lyon  gave it the go ahead.

They rubber-stamped demolition of half the town centre for a Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Many small businesses were destroyed. Not only loss of livelihood,  in many cases loss of house if used as collateral for the businesses.

When retailers refused to vacate their premises, they were threatened with Compulsory Purchase Orders.

Families living at Firgrove Court, social housing, saw their homes destroyed for a car park for the supermarket.

The supermarket faces out of the town centre, to discourage leakage into the rest of the town centre. It is a trolley shop, empty into the boot of the car, drive home.

The supermarket it replaced in Kingsmead, was a basket shop, little and often, wander around the town. When it closed, Kinsgmead emptied of shoppers and retailers.

No one is surprised at the destruction of the town centre. That is the track record of St Modwen, they destroy town centres.

Destruction of Farnborough town centre approved by local councillors and never once questioned by the sycophantic local press. Indeed the local press simply year on year regurgitated press releases from the local developer and councillor more or less verbatim, and applauded the regeneration that was taking place. Only there was no regeneration, what was taking place was the trashing of a town centre.

One million pounds squandered repaving Queensmead. Shoddy workmanship, shoddy materials, and  now Queensmead floods every time there is a downpour of rain. And it did not even need repaving. The runway lights that lined the street,  are now being drilled out and the holes plugged with a dollop of tarmac.

To put the £1 million in context, that is the cost of relaying the setts in Guildford High Street.

Why therefore the Queensmead job so expensive? Incompetence? Backhanders?

This time of year people would be enjoying the flowering cherry trees at Firgrove Green. Not any more. Now we have an eyesore Premier Inn hotel on what was green space.

The other area of green space behind the Library, the council wish to see developed. More profit for greedy developers, more money sloshing around, more opportunity for palms to be greased.

And it is not only Farnborough the local council has destroyed.  They have done an excellent job destroying Aldershot Boarded-up shops, disgusting fast food outlets, binge drinking bars, gambling joints. The remaining shops are one by one pulling out, even the charity shops. The expensive repaving of the streets which was supposed to pull people in (only it did not) is already being dug up.