Posts Tagged ‘Farnham’

Afternoon in Farnham

August 17, 2019

On the way to Farnham popped into Aldershot.

Walking through Gostrey Meadow a rather sad pathetic VE/VJ Fete. little there and few people. Sad too because these people gave their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Why do idiots think ok to park on the double yellow lines in Downing Street?

Poor quality pork chops in the butcher. He apologised for the poor quality.

Lunch at Gail’s. Nothing left. Empty.and yet tables not cleared.

To Krema for a cappuccino.

A walk around Bishop’s Meadow. I was disappointed to find no cows. Then I spotted them, they had settled down for the evening.

Waitrose was almost empty. Served promptly, wonders will never cease.

Afternoon in Farnham

August 10, 2019

Very strong winds, cool compared with of late.

Alight from bus and walk along River Wey and up through Gostrey Meadow.

This used be an enjoyable pleasant walk, but since building of an ugly bridge to facilitate building of an unwanted shopping centre not so, but still better than walking through the narrow streets and enduring traffic fumes.

I looked in Okomoko zero waste shop, almost filled a jar with muesli, then topped off with dried apricots.

Why were the apricots dark brown? I have seen dried apricots like this before, but not in England, in Athens.

Girl said the orange coloured ones were dyed. Seemed odd.

I checked. No, treated with SO2 to retain their orange colour, the dark ones are not and turn a dark colour as dry naturally in the sun.

Gail’s the service has never been great, never see the same staff twice.

Tables covered in dirty dishes. Customers were having to clear.

When my order was brought, a sausage roll, the sausage pink and under-cooked, no attempt to clear my table.

Gail’s is not god for coffee.

As always cars parked outside Gail’s on the double yellow lines.

To Krema for a coffee.

I thought of going for walk around Bishop’s Meadow, dark clouds were not far away. I thought best to go to Waitrose.

Irony is lost on Waitrose. A notice where the shelves stacked with toilet rolls stating Waitrose going plastic free, the toilet rolls warped in plastic.

The usual poor service in Waitrose. Only two tills manned.

No 1 Bus from Aldershot going on a diversion. Nothing at the bus station to inform passengers.

Afternoon in Farnham

July 27, 2019

On the bus, any bus, there is a sign instructing do not stand in front of this line and distract the driver.

Why do Stagecoach staff who should know better think it does not apply to them?

En route to Farnham, Stagecoach staff member stood chatting to the driver, distracting the driver, obstructing view of the road, putting passengers at risk.

Why did the driver not instruct him to sit down?

Alight and walk along the River Wey, through Gostrey Meadow and into Farnham.

Made butcher before closed. I always forget to ask the butcher to score my pork chop. I think I will give standing instruction. Maybe he will remember even if I never do.

It was only when walking to Gail’s to see what there was to eat I remembered I had forget to bring container to pick up muesli from Okomono zero waste shop. I did think of seeing what they had I may use. A moot point, as by the time I passed by later already closed.

A weeny teeny bread roll with smoked salmon at Gail’s. Table outside dirty. Not cleaned until I was about to leave. And even then only the dirty crockery taken away, the table not cleaned. Poor service the norm for Gail’s. That and poor quality coffee.

If I sit outside, I hate to sit inside, all too often cars park in the disabled bay. Today, car parked, disabled badge displayed in the window, able bodied driver walks off down the road.

Cappuccino at Krema. Gone five and busy.

I had not intended to walked all the way around Bishop’s Mewadow.

The path leading into the next field overgrown as was the field. There can no longer be horses kept there as usually a grassy field. I am surprised the farmer has not cut the hay.

On my way meet half a dozen cattle grazing.

On my way back, long conversation with a man about the management of Bishops Meadow.

By the time I reach the the churchyard, tired.

To Waitrose, then two buses to catch.

Afternoon in Farnham

July 20, 2019

A warmish afternoon in Farnham.

Alighting from the bus and walking along the River Wey I could hear music, but it was not coming from Gostrey Meadow.

I headed down a side street to the William Cobbett.

Several years ago I found a music festival in the back yard of the pub. A hog roast and excellent music. Never to be repeated, pub changed hands and has probably has several times since.

I slipped though a fence into the back of the pub. An impromptu stage, dreadful singer playing a guitar, no hog roast, burgers and hot dogs.

I slipped into the pub, could not see a thing, dark and gloomy. When my eyes adjusted, the same crap beer as in every pub across the country, even on the hand pumps, though I did find one lone brewery on a hand pump, it was ok, but not in the same league craft beers in Growlers & Cans, the usual bores blocking access to the bar, an old pub ruined by a massive widescreen TV on one wall. Easy to see why pubs are closing.

I took my half pint, sat outside for a while, but could not stand the noise from the singer.

Made the butcher as about to close. An idiot in an expensive Porsche, parked on double yellow lines, engine running, whilst did a soot of shopping.

Cappuccino at Krema.

A walk around Manor Field and a small section of Bishop’s Meadow

Coffee Gems

July 11, 2019

I had learnt of Coffee Gems from two different sources. Time to pay a visit.

Head roaster Ricardo. Background in coffee, had grown up on the family coffee farm in Colombia, had worked across Latin America as an agricultural adviser to farms helping to improve their coffee to enable them to secure a better price, direct trade not the FairTrade scam that maintains farmers in poverty. Now he was at the other end, roasting high quality coffee beans, nothing less than Q grade 94.

Whilst we were chatting he made me a cappuccino. Excellent.

I would have stayed and had a V60, but time was not on our side and he still had an order to process and deliver.

He gave me a bag of coffee he had literally just roasted, I could smell the roasting as I arrived, and invited me to return.

Highly tempting when I learnt he has Cup of Excellence from Colombia and Panama.

I made a number of suggestions:

  • Follow the example of Pharmacie in Brighton, open on a Saturday as a pop up coffee shop.
  • Hold coffee cupping.
  • In the summer have a stall on the Guildford farmers market.

I also suggested a number of outlets for his coffee.

Note: I revisited the following week. I left with a bag of freshly roasted Colombian coffee. This I tried a few days later at Blackbird in Brighton. We agreed it was excellent.

Coffee Diem

June 20, 2019

Last year Caracoli collapsed.

No surprise, a chain of half a dozen coffee shops serving at best mediocre coffee. What was it, a deli, a coffee shop, they did not know what they were.

One of these coffee shops cum deli was in Lion and Lamb Walk in Farnham.

Caracoli in Lion and Lamb Walk has reopened as Coffee Diem.

Today I tried a cappuccino.

When the coffee is Cupsmith, expectations are low. And yes, expectations were not exceeded, it was not a pleasant coffee, what came across was that it was cheap crap coffee.

First I had to reject a cappuccino served with chocolate. Why does no one know how to make a cappuccino? It is not made with chocolate, though when the coffee is Cupsmith then maybe understandable to hide that it is cheap crap coffee.

My flapjack bore little resemblance to a flapjack. Maybe it wasn’t a flapjack.

Whilst it is commendable to buy local, it is false economy when it means sacrificing quality.

Nor is there any excuse these days when spoilt for choice for coffee.

Locally there is Chimney Fire Coffee in the Surrey Hills, The Roasting Party in Winchester several coffee raosteries to choose from in Brighton and Sussex.

Gail’s bakery, with useless baristas are able to make a better coffee with Union coffee.

Coffee Diem is more a greasy spoon cafe serving coffee than a coffee shop.

The location is good, outside seating, passing trade. The surprise is that Krema did not snap it up, either as a second coffee shop in Farnham or to relocate from Downing Street.

Once again I am baffled by the logic of opening a coffee shop in a saturated market with no experience or understanding of coffee. Not unless employ a highly skilled head barista.

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.

 

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.