Posts Tagged ‘Farnham’

Keep

December 15, 2018

Passing by vegan cafe Okomoko I noticed a board saying zero waste and on display in the window an ecoffee bamboo coffee cup.

I walked in to inquire, I was curious to learn how they achieved zero waste. Whilst waiting, I noticed a sign pointing upstairs to a zero waste shop. Curious and curiouser. I climbed the stairs. I was expecting to maybe find a counter selling off old stock.

What I found was a little shop in a room, an Aladdin’s cave of delights.

Keep, a tiny version of Hisbe in Brighton. Two pleasant and helpful young women. They told me they rented the room.

Quite a clever idea and not the first time I have come across this arrangement, Anonymous Coffee in Reading, down an alley leading from Broad Street to Reading Minster, has a similar arrangement, rent space in a wine shop.

By renting space, in this case a room, overheads are low, for Okomoko, assuming they are not busy, it helps share the rent and puts to use unused space.

What is the alternative, a pop up shop, a market stall?

On offer, grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruit weigh and buy what you want. At the back, large containers of liquids, for example detergents, buy what you need.

Even ecoffee bamboo coffee cups on sale.

What would be a clever idea if Okomoko and Keep crowdfunded a joint glass KeepCup.

As I explained, a similar concept to Hisbe in Brighton. I recommended they visit.

If we are to aim for zero waste, there is much that coffee shops and restaurants can do.

  • eliminaate takeaway coffee
  • on sale reusable coffee cups and offer discount for use
  • compostable takeaway coffee cups
  • leave coffee grounds to be taken away
  • use food waste in cakes and soups
  • compost food waste

Reusable coffee cups and compostable coffee cup are a step in the right direction but what we must do, is eliminate grab it and go takeaway, encourage relax with speciality coffee served in glass or ceramic.

Keep is open Monday to Friday morning to lunchtime, Saturday until five, Sunday morning.

 

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Cold wet mid-December afternoon in Farnham

December 15, 2018

Today could not have been worse, cold, heavy rain and windy.

I caught a bus that goes around the houses, to save waiting for the next bus.

I had no idea where I was, until it was driving down Castle Street. Ideal for Gail’s bakery, but still ideal for centre of Farnham.

No surprise, no one about in Farnham.

Passing by vegan cafe Okomoko I noticed a board saying zero waste. I walked in to inquire, I was curious to learn how they achieved zero waste. Whilst waiting, I noticed a sign pointing upstairs to a zero waste shop. Curious and curiouser. I climbed the stairs. I was expecting to maybe find a counter selling off old stock.

What I found was a little shop in a room, an Aladdin’s cave of delights.

Keep, a tiny version of Hisbe in Brighton. Two pleasant and helpful young women. They told me they rented the room.

Quite a clever idea and not the first time I have come across this arrangement, Anonymous Coffee in Reading, down an alley leading from Broad Street to Reading Minster, has a similar arrangement, rent space in a wine shop.

By renting space, in this case a room, overheads are low, for Okomoko, assuming they are not busy, it helps share the rent and puts to use unused space.

What is the alternative, a pop up shop, a market stall?

On offer, grains, cereals, nuts, dried fruit weigh and buy what you want. At the back, large containers of liquids, for example detergents, buy what you need.

Even ecoffee bamboo coffee cups on sale.

What would be a clever idea if Okomoko and Keep crowdfunded a joint glass KeepCup.

As I explained, a similar concept to Hisbe in Brighton. I recommended they visit.

A pity I had not seen before my visit to the butcher, as I would have mentioned to him, and he would have let his customers know.

They are reliant on word of mouth and social media. Maybe something the Farnham Herald should run a feature on.

A pleasant change to Waitrose where fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves.

It is unfortunate the shop across the road never got their act together. It could have been an excellent wholefood shop, something like Grocer and Grain in Brighton.

Very late lunch in Gail’s. I had hoped for soup. Too late. A sausage roll was the only thing available hot. At £4 a bit pricey, on the other hand the size of at least two sausage rolls and top quality.

I followed with a pecan and maple tartlet (ie very small tart) and a cappuccino. The cappuccino not great but at least an improvement on the last time I had a coffee. At least drinkable.

Waitrose was all but deserted

Afternoon in Farnham

December 7, 2018

A cold wintry afternoon in Farnham.

Carrot and coriander soup with toasted bread followed by a cappuccino in Krema.

I cannot recall when was the last time, if ever Krema empty. Lovely and peaceful.

I looked in Robert Dyas. Two weeks ago, 4000 mAh power banks. I inquired last week, not in stock. I inquired again today, yes in stock, hidden out the back.

A quick shop in Waitrose.

In Starbucks, latte levy of 5p. I cannot see this would make a jot of difference. It needs to be at least 25p. 5p is less than the difference of a cup of coffee across coffee shops. It would be useful to see hard evidence.

There has been an increase in the use of disposable coffee cups. It was the chains that blocked the introduction of a 25p latte levy.

The Boston Tea Party introduced a ban on takeaway coffee cups six months ago. This has seen their takeaway trade drop by a quarter. But was this translated to relaxing with a coffee served in glass or ceramic? Again lack of hard data.

In addition to a pork chop, I had two rashers of un-smoked back bacon from the local butcher. Grilled bacon sandwich for tea. Excellent bacon.

Afternoon in Farnham

December 1, 2018

Heavy rain overnight, afternoon wet but not raining.

Last week I had found 4000 mAh power banks in Robert Dyas. I could not find today, and store too busy to ask.

I notice they have Cambridge bamboo eco mug. Are these the same as ecoffee cup which are also bamboo and look the same marketed under a different name or a clone thereof? The main difference, apart from name, not in a box and much cheaper. Horrible silicone rubbery lid and and holder.

I notice this year ecoffee cups seem to have taken off as everywhere and appear to have replaced Keep Cup, for example FCB Coffee kiosk on Guildford Station. Though personally I prefer a glass Keep Cup or better still relax in an indie coffee shop with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic.

I am also seeing, most indie coffee shops have on sale reusable cups, offering a discount if bring own cup, though many quite rightly state must be clean and barista friendly, and have moved to compostable cups. As always the indie coffee shops leading the way.

Therefore quite shocking to read a report from last month in The Mail that sales of disposable coffee cups have soared. All the more shocking in light of the massive negative press against disposable coffee cups.

It is long overdue the introduction of a 25p latte levy on takeaway coffee and that coffee drinkers are encouraged to relax with specialty coffee in an indie coffee shop served in glass or ceramic.

Leak and potato soup served with toasted sourdough bread in Krema followed by a cappuccino and flapjack.

If someone calls looking for a job in an indie coffee shop based on they have worked at any of the coffee chains do you offer them a job? No, show them the door. On the other hand if they say they wish to leave a corporate chain because they wish to learn more about coffee, then yes, offer them a job.

I catch Robert Dyas before they close. No, no 4000 mAh powerbanks, at least not what I found last week. I suspect a special buy for Black Friday to claim a price reduction.

I should have popped back last week, but I assumed they were closed.

In Waitrose, bananas rotting on the shelves.

Something I have not seen before, overpriced muesli in a plastic jar.

We are going backwards.

I speak with a member of staff. No one cares.

Cold misty afternoon in Farnham

November 24, 2018

A cold misty afternoon in Farnham.

Robert Dyas hardware shop in Downing Street, 4,000 mA powebanks, were £9-99, now half price at £4-99. If buy, given a voucher, 15% off everything, apart from Black Friday, offer only valid until Monday.

Cappuccino in Krema.

Third week running, bananas rotting on the shelves in Waitrose.

Gostrey Meadow Christmas lights switch on

November 17, 2018

Gostrey Meadow is full of people for the Farnham Carnival in the summer, but nothing like today.

Gostrey Meadow was packed with people, so crowded it was nigh impossible to move.

A different stage to the summer carnival, also a large screen.

As I approached, I could hear drumming. I assumed it was a professional group. To my surprise a group of school kids.

The drumming then ceased and they left the stage.

Then as I was about to leave the drumming started again. Whether the same kids, I do not know, but I think a different group of kids and very young.

But what was amazing was how good they were.

Sadly the usual crap stalls as the Farnham Carnival, the same low environmental standards.

I am at a loss why the low environmental standards, and why they do no make the effort to offer quality street food. If the Sustainability Fayre can maintain high environmental standards, host quality stalls why not other events in Gostrey Meadow?

To see rows of stalls serving disgusting food in polystyrene containers, drinks served in plastic-lined paper cups or plastic cups, is not acceptable.

On my way to Farnham, I looked in on the Aldershot Christmas Market. Not intentionally I did not even know it was on. I missed the bus and rather than wait twenty minutes in the cold, I went for a walk.

Walking to Gostrey Meadow, I looked in a charity shop on the corner of Downing Street. A water colour of Newport Arch in Bailgate in Lincoln, a Roman arch. Also, maybe a different artist, a water colour of an alley in Canterbury.

Many people walking to and fro Gostrey Meadow, lots of traffic, and yet still an inconsiderate idiot parks their 4×4 on the double yellow lines causing chaos in Downing Street. These arrogant people think it ok to park wherever they wish as they pop into a shop.

A cappuccino in Krema. As last week chocolate was added to my cappuccino I specified no chocolate. It arrived in a takeaway cup with chocolate. Then at five o’clock harassing people to leave.

Not good.

At five maybe before, church bells ringing. A Christmas market in the Parish Church, but now packing up. As I walked in, one of the tables collapsed, smashing all the crockery. As I was leaving a man asked me to clean up the tables.

In Waitrose, bananas once again rotting on the shelves.

I let the guy on the checkout know, and the girl on the information counter. She admitted not good. I agreed not good, especially as I told them last week bananas rotting on the shelves.

On Guildford street market, bananas in this state would be thrown away. But then they have fresh stock, and not sweating in plastic bags.

I mentioned to one of the stallholders. He was appalled, but not surprised. For them, fresh produce is their business, they care.

Nor would find Hisbe in Brighton have fresh produce rotting on the shelves.

But as a lady in Krema said, in Waitrose they do not care, which is why she dos not shop there.

Too often local papers have offers encouraging freebies in corporate chains. Excellent therefore Farnham Herald has an offer of free coffee in Coffee Cherry Artisan Coffee Shop in Alton, no strings attached. Though in realty it is a third of a page ad in the local paper.

Coffee Cherry Artisan Coffee Shop is the weirdest experience I have ever had in a coffee shop. I was refused a coffee because I knew about coffee.

In the offer owner claiming she has nine years experience in coffee indutry. Not the impression I was given.

But by all means take up the offer.

Afternoon in Farnham

November 10, 2018

An unpleasant day. Heavy rain all night, heavy rain all day. I was delayed by two hours until the rain eased off a little.

I looked in St Mark’s Church. They have a World War One window which has recently been restored. I have not noticed before and could not find.

Tomato and basil soup with toasted bread, followed by cappuccino and flapjack at Krema.

Cappuccino had chocolate which ruins the coffee. Krema should know better.

Out of control children, mother makes no attempt to control them.

Sigh of relief from staff and few remaining customers when they leave.

An idiot with a large 4×4 parked on the double yellow lines and on the footpath. This is the norm for Farnham, no enforcement.

Cut through church yard.

What I assume to be Christmas lights in Lion and Lamb Walk. Could they not have waited until lights are officially turned on next week, with festivities in Gostrey Meadow from lunchtime onward?

Bananas rotting on the shelves in Waitrose, sweating and rotting in plastic bags. Pomegranates in plastic boxes. A handful of sliced green beans in plastic, shipped from Kenya.

Are the lazy people of Farnham so useless they cannot slice beans? And why ship beans from Kenya?

Only three tills manned. As I am laving I mention the rotting bananas. Not the first time I have raised bananas rotting on the shelves. No one cares.

This is the norm for Waitrose, piss-poor service, fresh produce packed in plastic. Waitrose and M&S, high prices and the two worst supermarkets for piss-poor service and obscene use of plastic.

Contrast with Hisebe, fresh produce loose, cereals, nuts, dried fruits loose, liquids for example organic shampoo top up own container, and excellent service.

And yet Iceland has a TV commercial banned for highlighting damage palm oil plantations cause to rain forests.

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.

Cold afternoon in Farnham

November 3, 2018

A cold afternoon in Farnham. Not as cold as Friday in Guildford nevertheless cold.

I would have alighted and walked along the River Wey into the centre of Farnham, but no longer possible as access fenced off.

Krema packed. I had a bowl of tomato and basil soup, followed by cappuccino and flapjack. But too many people and not pleasant.

Krema need to open a second coffee shop in Farnham. Maybe take over failing Barista Lounge. Or maybe Coffee Lab or someone who wishes to serve quality coffee. Krema currently the only coffee shop worth a visit in Farnham. Now that people have acquired a taste for quality coffee, time for a second specialty coffee shop.

I picked up a bookmark for a market in Farnham Maltings.

A lost couple, please follow me. I showed the way and advised if wish to have a coffee, try Krema not the Maltings cafe.  I checked, the little cafe still serving disgusting CupSmith coffee.

To my annoyance a pound to gain entry. Stalls were already packing up.

Does this mean a pound to gain entry to the cafe? Not that I would wish to.

The market was similar rubbish to their Christmas market.

The bookmark said fresh produce.  Where? Gin on my way in. After passing through a rabbit warren of different rooms, all much of a  muchness what was on sale, I found a room with bread, cakes, chocolates, and CupSmith.

The roasted coffee beans were as the stall on Guildford farmers market on display in open hessian sacks. Dark roast to the point of being burnt. Great for hiding defects of low quality coffee beans, not so great for bringing out the best of the coffee. Burnt coffee is burnt coffee. One claimed to be a lighter roast, and yet it was darker. Maybe labels got switched. Decaffeinated claimed to be a natural process. Means nothing. State what the process is.  The beans will oxidise, they had no aroma. Contrast with beans I have from Taf,  The Underdog, Mind the Cup, a wonderful aroma.  People are duped into buying  rubbish. When purveyors of coffee  are this clueless on coffee steer well clear. If want excellent coffee try Krema, if want to buy quality coffee beans visit Krema. There is absolutely no excuse these days for buying cheap rubbish coffee. We are spoilt for choice. And that applies to the catering manager buying this rubbish for Maltings cafe.

Cakes and cookies were expensive on the cake stall. Cookies at a  pound each were reasonable. I bought a couple and as it was the end of the day the lady kindly have me a third.

Back downstairs, a little section serving coffee. I was told even worse than CupSmith. Did I wish to try? Er no.  The coffee served in takeaway coffee cups to a captive audience. This is not acceptable, but Farnham Maltings do not seem to care.

Then to Waitrose. Very busy, but at least stock on the shelves. Very busy, not all the cash tills manned.

Cold wet afternoon in Farnham

September 22, 2018

A very unpleasant cold wet and rainy afternoon in Farnham.

Bus to Aldershot, then bus to Farnham.

On bus to Aldershot, Nepalese stagecoach employee stood chatting to and distracting Nepalese driver. Woman gets on the bus, dumps buggy in disabled bay with no brakes applied, woman leaves buggy rolling around whilst she goes and sits on the top deck. No action by either of the Nepalese employees. Who liable had there been an accident?

Usually I walk along the River Wey, a pleasant walk, avoids the traffic in Farnham, not though today, too cold and wet and possible not even possible to gain access due to it being fenced off to build an unwanted shopping centre.

Surrey County Council poured £50 million into this unwanted development. Surrey County Council has a deficit of £100 million.

Inquiry at WHSmith, Hippie available prior to publication date. WHSmith a shop I avoid as service is so bad. I have not been in for well over a year. The service has got a whole lot worse. Only two members of staff. No they did not have, no did not know if would have. Long queue forming, people told to use the self-service.

High Street retailers cannot compete with on-line, their answer, cut the service to the customer.

It is not only WHSmith, though they are one of the worst and the surprise is they still exist.

Poundland in Guildford yesterday, long queues half way to the back of the store. In M&S the usual piss-poor service only two tills manned in the food hall.

And faced with this hassle, people go on line,

Gail’s busy a rarity for Gail’s, and the tables promptly cleared, again a rarity for Gail’s. A tiny roll stuffed with smoked salmon, sufficed for lunch.

The vegan place, before 2-30, sign saying kitchen closed, chef gone for lunch.

Barista Lounge packed, a rarity for Barista Lounge.

Krema packed, the norm for Krema. I saw soup, first day soup. Sweet potato, butternut squash soup with added herbs, served with toasted sourdough bread. Followed by cappuccino and a flapjack.

I was tempted to go for a walk, but on leaving, heavy rain and turned much colder.

In Krema, flipped through a booklet for Farnham Food Festival. Mention of a Heidi bakery in Elphicks.

Elphicks is a department store. I decided to check it out. Far larger that I expected. A dump. On the first floor Heidi, more like a greasy spoon cafe. Coffee LavAzza, in other words give it a miss.

Inquired of Hippie in Waterstone’s. Yes they had, it was hidden. All of one copy. A best selling book from a best selling author and Waterstone’s has one hidden copy. I ensured it was prominently displayed.

The usual piss poor service in Waitrose. Find the bananas that are not rotten, though not as bad as my last visit. Why are bananas prepacked in plastic, why indeed is everything prepacked in plastic, potatoes, apples, fresh produce? Young guy struggling to slice ham with a blunt knife. Not all tills manned. Staff are embarrassed by the poor service, customers pissed off.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 18, 2018

A pleasantly warm afternoon.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to walk along the riverside walk along the River Wey.

Once again, publicly minded citizens have torn down a section of the fence obstructing the footpath. The problem is getting out the other end.

And why is the footpath closed? To enable a bridge to be built to bring construction material in from the A31, one lane of which will be coned off for months if not years, to build a shopping centre that no one wants, a shopping centre that will be empty, a shopping centre that will destroy the character of an historic market town. Many empty shops in the town but corrupt local councils decides to build a shopping centre, a shopping centre that will sit empty.  The only reason it has been able to proceed, the developer went bankrupt, is because Surrey County Council has handed over £50 million of public money to keep the project afloat.

A festival in Gostrey Meadow, some sort of 1940s celebration, an American band playing. Nothing to say what it was, no people. Closing the footpath leading into the park does not help.  I learnt later, a VE/VJ fete.

Just made the butcher before he closed. I missed last week. I asked did he close on the dot if not early. He admitted he may have closed early as very quiet last week.

Vegan restaurant very strange soup, watermelon, apple, and mint. I cannot see how this can be soup. I was willing to try, but no we stop serving food after four. Not, sorry we have run out. That is why these little businesses fail, lack of flexibility, turning away custom. Maybe I was lucky.

On to Gail’s. For once tables outside clean. Not busy, only one table inside occupied. Gail’s is never busy.

Tomato and red pepper soup was good.

I sat outside. It is not pleasant inside.

People sat next to me after the table was vacated. When whatever they had ordered was served, they had to ask for the table to be cleared.  The table the other side of me not cleared. When they left, no attempt to clear the tables.

I rarely see the same staff twice at Gail’s. Again new staff.

To Krema for a  cappuccino and flapjack.

I dropped off a card for Coffee Festival in Winchester.

Then walk around 23-acre Bishop’s Meadow. They have introduced cattle at the far end, but already removed as not sufficient grass in the dry weather. There is in other parts but lacks secure fencing.