Posts Tagged ‘Lincoln’

The Lincolnshire Echo a failing local rag

March 13, 2019

The ground used to shake in St Benedict’s Square when The Lincolnshire Echo rolled off the printing press, a daily local paper, several editions during the day, Final had the national news the dailies would cover the following morning, a special sport edition at the weekend, vendors on street corners.

The Echo as known locally a pale shadow of its once former self, a single edition published once a week, stale news, staler that what we once used to wrap our fish n chips in, the one remaining vendor on the High Street long gone, its on-line version Lincolnshire Live, drivel, regurgitation of corporate press releases masquerading as news, click bait, not a clue how to use social media. No in-depth reporting, no investigative journalism, no holding local government to account. This is left to locals with no resources. One of many failed or failing local newspapers now breathing its last gasp.

If we look at last week’s edition, it is easy to see why no one reads let alone buys.

For months The Echo has been demonising the homeless, rather than taking to task the local council for failing to help. And help is not moving them on.

The Street and Steep Hill, many failing if not failed businesses, many do not even bother to open, tea shops that close when tourists are around but open when not, too many run of the mill tea shops chasing the nonexistent tourist pound, shops selling tat.

But what we learn is a popular shop that was rarely open and hardly surprising when open not busy is to close. Any one passing by has known this for weeks.

And this is the same story of a few weeks ago of a soap shop, a popular shop closing for lack of customers.

Spot the oxymoron, popular shop closing for lack of customers.

Maybe the scribblers have a different definition of popular to that in common use.

Little more than click bait, opening of a new Boots store a boost to the High Street. Er no, Boots is relocating to across the street.

No explanation of why Boots is relocating to across the street? A question any competent journalist would have asked. Difference in rent, end of lease? Will the other smaller Boots stores in town close and relocate to one store? No mention of Boots a major tax dodger, or that the only reason BHS closed was theft from BHS pension fund, rogue tax dodger Philip Greed.

A game of Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs, one large empty unit relocates from one side of the street to the other side of the street.

Makes not a jot of difference to the High Street, there is still one large empty unit.

When writing of coffee it helps to know something of coffee. What has been written of 200 Degrees smacks of hype, ignorance and regurgitation of a press release.

200 Degrees is a chain, albeit a small chain, with a reputation for serving mediocre coffee. Better than the large corporate chains but not in the same league as local indie coffee shops Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle.

No there is not a garden courtyard. There is a back yard, as yet unfinished.

A specialty coffee shop does not serve coffee blended with cheap nasty robusta.

Why poach staff from other coffee shops if host a barista training school? No qualified trainer for the training school.

Sincil Street is not being redeveloped it is being trashed, local Coop and Council in cahoots. Why is this not being questioned?

Why no questioning of the levy on all businesses to support Lincoln BIG, controlled by Big Business, unaccountable to local businesses, the money then squandered, no benefit to local businesses. A levy few can afford.

Why no questioning of Visit Lincoln acting as a quasi PR agency, paid to promote corporate chains?

No questioning of the incestuous relationship between local Coop, corporate chains, local Council and Lincoln BIG.

The Lincolnite little better not an echo, regurgitation of press releases masquerading as news, drivel, click bait.

Bailagte Independent, glossy packed with ads freebie monthly. What little content there is reads as advertising copy without the warning. A shocking waste of trees.

Funeral Service for Mavis Alice Parkins

February 27, 2019

A Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving for the Life of Mavis Alice Parkins (5 June 1929 – 6 February 2019) at Washingborough Parish Church.

Mavis Alice Parkins sadly died at 1825 on Wednesday 6 February 2019. The funeral service was held three weeks later.

The service started at 1130 with the arrival of funeral cortege led by funeral director walking in front with a cane. Which sadly those attending the service did not see as they were already in the church.

The church was nigh full with with some coming from far away, as far away as the southwest of England, Turkish occupied Cyprus and even from Australia.

A very moving reading of the Eulogy by granddaughters Abigail and Jessica, interspersed with their own anecdotes.

Apart from the last few years of her life, Mavis Alice Parkins spent all her life in Lincoln.

As the coffin was lowered into its final resting place, close family and relatives each dropped in a solitary daffodil.

The reception was held at Washingborough Hall, a short walk through a hole in the wall.

200 Degrees coffee kiosk

February 24, 2019

The degree to which coffee is hyped is inversely proportional to its quality. For 200 Degrees a chain of nigh identical cookie cutter coffee shops serving at best mediocre coffee bodes ill for its soon to open coffee shop in Lincoln.

Hyped by the hacks at Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo who think that regurgitating corporate press releases constitutes news, hyped by quasi PR agency  Visit Lincoln who should be promoting local culture and events not hyping a coffee chain.

Part of the hype, a horse box serving as a coffee kiosk by the side of the river in Lincoln to promote their new coffee shop in Sincil Street not yet open, part of the trashing of Sincil Street, destruction of local businesses by local Coop in cahoots with the local Council to then bring in chains.

Pot luck if you encountered this coffee kiosk, more by luck if passing by, as whoever handles the 200 Degrees twitter account clueless on the use of social media, failure to say when or where made worse by lack of courtesy to reply to queries.

And even for their yet to open coffee shop in Sincil Street, list of opening hours but not when it actually opens.

  • broadcast —> one to many
  • social —> interaction
  • network —> many to many

Social media is not broadcast, the clue is in the name, social networks.

And the coffee?

Served by a guy with a bullshit job title Brand Manager, who is based in their roastery, not the head coffee roaster, handles their training.

The coffee is bulked our with robusta, a cheap nasty coffee that no reputable coffee roastery or specialty coffee shop would touch with a barge pole. I was fed some bullshit that addition of robusta improves the coffee. It does not.

The cappuccino was better than expected, but then this was a guy who claimed to be in charge of training.

The latte art not great. But then I am used to being served by world class baristas thus a hard act to follow.

On the plus side, the cappuccino was better than I expected and have had in Nottingham, which is why when in Nottingham I do not have a coffee in 200 Degrees, there are far better coffee shops, The Specialty Coffee Shop, Cartwheel Coffee, Wired and Outpost Coffee.

Compared with the corporate chains then yes, as their coffee is undrinkable.

Compared with local coffee shops Coffee Aroma or Madame Waffle, no, they are in another league.

I then after walking up Steep Hill and back visited Madame Waffle where I was served an excellent V60 brewed by an expert with coffee from Square Mile.

Whilst in Madame Waffle I was chatting to a couple of Chinese visitors who were very complimentary about the tea and asked could they buy loose leaf tea. It was measured out for them.

Other visitors to Lincoln said how much they enjoyed the coffee and that it was an independent coffee shop.

Which brings us back to Visit Lincoln, why are they promoting a coffee chain when Lincoln has two excellent indie coffee shops, Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle, something Lincoln can be proud of and should be showcasing? Visitors want what is unique to Lincoln, that makes a visit to Lincoln worthwhile, not what can be found elsewhere, else why make the effort to visit?

But when Lydia Rusling  head of Visit Lincoln brags she took a visitor to Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Castle and Cosy Club, a fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake, there is something clearly very very wrong.

Visit Lincoln a quasi PR company masquerading as a quasi-tourism body.

200 Degrees will open in Sincil Street on Monday 4 March 2019. They have made themselves very unpopular by trying to poach staff from local coffee shops. Very odd as the Sincil Street coffee shop will also host a training school on a mezzanine floor. What does this say of their training school if they need to poach staff from local coffee shops?

They are also attempting to poach customers from nearby coffee shops. Angel Coffee House, not one of Lincoln’s best coffee shops, has been very cleverly manipulated into promoting 200 Degrees on social media.

Leadenham Teahouse

February 13, 2019

On the way to Grantham stopped off at Leadenham to visit award-winning Leadenham Teahouse.

What does award-winning actually mean? Not a lot as these days virtually anyone is up for an award and when given by Good Taste Lincolnshire or Good Taste Awards meaningless.

Last year Good Taste Lincolnshire awarded Coffee Bobbins the best tea and coffee shop in Lincolnshire which serving poor quality tea and coffee made the award a laughing stock, as not even the best in Lincoln.

This time around the turn of Leadenham Teahouse for this worthless accolade.

Leadenham is a village on the way Lincoln to Grantham, I say village, actually Leadenham Teahouse on the cross roads, though there is a village church and it does host to my surprise a polo club.

Leadenham Teahouse is a tea shop serving tea and snacks and cake and coffee, a Post Office, well actually a Post Office counter and a little shop selling tourist tat.

As tea shops goes quite pleasant though nothing special.

Custom was myself and a coupe of ladies. No one came in to use the service of the Post Office.

I had avocado on sourdough toast with a sprinkling of cottage cheese, and a little salad.

OK, but poor quality sourdough to what I have had elsewhere and poor offering compared with excellent avocado on sourdough toast at The Cheese Society in Lincoln, which also came with melted halloumi cheese.

In the centre a wood-burning stove emitting more pollution than a diesel lorry, but maybe ok in the middle of nowhere.

The tourist tat, but no tourists, and I could not see why there would be especially as the tea shop not open on a Sunday and closes half day on a Saturday.

Outside bench seats by traffic lights on a major road.

I had a cappuccino. It was not good, poor quality catering supply coffee and clueless on how to make coffee. Though in a all fairness a tea shop not a coffee shop and there was a wide choice of tea.

A few cakes from local bakery, but did not look at all appealing.

I was surprised no fresh bread on sale.

I was told try the farm shop down the road.

Cold afternoon in Grantham

February 13, 2019

It was forecast mild. It was cold.

A long bus journey Lincoln to Grantham. I could have taken a train, but wished to stop off at Leadenham.

Passing through Navenby, at least one, maybe two coaching inns.

Each village a parish church.

Many large mansions set back from the road with long drives. At a guess wealth from sheep long ago.

Leadenham, where I alighted, a cross roads, little else, and a tea shop Leadenham Teahouse by the cross roads.

Very difficult to see how the tea shop cum Post Office cum shop with tourist tat survives with no tourists, nothing to bring in tourists, not open on a Sunday and closed half day on a Saturday.

Grantham a dump and not worth the effort of a visit. Same crap corporate chains as everywhere, greasy spoon cafes, tanning parlours and boarded-up shops. The River Witham flows through the town.

Of interest, statue of Isaac Newton, and the local parish church.

Unusual for any town no homeless on the streets.

The church offered a coat to pick up if feeling cold.

St Wulfram’s Church boasts of the tallest spire in the county if not the country. This may be true, as no matter how far I backed away from the church, I could not capture all of the spire.

A coffee in Teaspoon Tea Company. Not recommended, froth on top, scalding hot and cheap nasty coffee.

Why bother serving coffee if know nothing about coffee?

But, they may claim they are a tea shop not coffee shop.

Maybe a choice of around 50 different teas. Did not try and so cannot comment on the quality.

As heading for the bus station, I did encounter local shops. And a real coffee shop, Kitchen and Coffee. Too late for anything other than a takeaway coffee. And yes drinkable.

1610 Stagecoach bus to Lincoln failed to arrive, broken down somewhere en route to Grantham.

1710 arrived twenty minutes late at Lincoln. Missed connecting bus, twenty-five minutes wait in the cold for the next bus, one of the last buses from the bus station.

At Lincoln, seven in the evening, nearly every bay at the bus station, No Departures. And that is within the city, let alone to villages and towns outside of Lincoln.

Hotel Chocolat clones

February 12, 2019

Waitrose got into deep shit when they copied chocolates from Hotel Chocolat.

Now Holland & Barrett are doing the same, or at the very least stocking chocolates from Cocoalibre which are if nothing else a crude copy of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat.

It looks like Angus Thirlwell will once again have to threaten legal action to get withdrawn from the shelves, though I suggest this time he takes a far tougher line. I can understand why did not require Waitrose destruction of all stock as leads to food waste but at the very least, desist, pay damages and all stock donated to local food banks or handed to homeless on the streets.

Lincoln BIG demonstrates how to squander public money

February 12, 2019

Lincoln BIG is a parasitical organisation that extracts a levy on top of business rates on businesses in Lincoln town centre.

This levy is something few businesses can afford, for many struggling small businesses it is the final straw that breaks the camel’s back, especially as they see little in return.

The latest example of how to squander public money are the heart silhouettes that have appeared in the town centre.

People I have spoken to thought it was something to do with British Heart Foundation, maybe because it copies their logo and one is located outside a BHF charity shop, but no.

Wrong on many levels, not simply an appalling waste of public money.

Passers-by encouraged to take a selfie. That is let’s encourage and reinforce Narcissist Syndrome.

Lincolnshire, according to a recent survey, is where more than half of teens and young people are suffering mental problems, mental health problem exasperated by social media.

Once taken, encouraged to post on Instagram.

Instagram claims ownership of pictures posted, are not visible on twitter, act as bait to draw into the facebook walled garden where personal data is stolen and abused and then used to manipulate facebook users.

But worst of all, Instagram hosts material that leads teens to self-harm and commit suicide.

Is it really a proper use of public funds to promote Instagram, direct vulnerable people to a site that is complicit in teen self-harm and suicide and by directing there Lincoln BIG are also complicit.

Lincoln BIG is also squandering public money to promote Cosy Club, a ghastly corporate chain, a fake 1930s bar, so fake a Monty Python parody of fake.

It is time to bin Lincoln BIG.

Demolition in Sincil Street

February 2, 2019

The demolition of a building in Sincil Street started Monday, by mid-week building almost demolished, Friday piles of rubble.

More regurgitation of corporate press releases by scribblers at Lincolnite masquerading as news reporting.

This is not regeneration, and no matter how often regurgitate Lincoln City Council and Co-op propaganda, it is still not regeneration.

Sincil Street has been trashed, local businesses destroyed, the Central Market a disgrace, and for what, to make way for more corporate High Street chains, the same crap chains that can find in any ghastly shopping centre.

Contrary to the Lincolnite scribblers I saw no bulldozers, nor were any bulldozers visible in their pictures.

What I did see, was heavy equipment being used to demolish a multi-story building alongside a street with passers-by, a hoarding to prevent unauthorised site access and yet no other protection.

This may be acceptable on a remote factory site, it is not acceptable in a town centre.

There should have been scaffolding covered with netting to protect passers-by from flying debri.

The jobsworth who signed this off, who put people at risk, at the very least negligent if not criminally negligent.

Lunch at The Cheese Society

February 1, 2019

New Year’s Eve, I could not find anywhere open for lunch.

Luckily I managed to squeeze on the sharing table at The Cheese Society.

The same today, early afternoon, I thought I may be lucky, and again just managed to squeeze onto the sharing table.

Excellent avocado on sourdough bread topped with grilled halloumi cheese.

My companion Boston sausages on toasted sourdough bread topped with melted Lincolnshire Poacher (Cheddar-like local cheese, not to be be confused with finest adulterated fake cheddar from Skegness).

Served with a small salad, generous portion size.

I have no idea Boston sausage, maybe a variant of Lincolnshire sausage.

Whilst waiting, I tried a brie from Scotland. I will have to pop back and buy.

I recommended Ambrosia to add to their reading material.

I fancied a coffee from Base Camp, but closed, closed for the foreseeable future, change of ownership. Nothing to say closed, or when it may reopen.

Excellent cappuccino at Madame Waffle.

Walking through the High Street, a van and a lorry in what is a pedestrianised street. Every day the same, no Enforcement.

Demolition in Sincil Street, started Monday, by Wednesday almost demolished. And no bulldozers as reported by Lincolnite. Part of the ongoing destruction of Sincil Street by Lincoln City Council in cahoots with the local Coop.

The demolition scant regard for safety of passers-by. There should have been scaffolding and netting to stop debris landing in the street.

Lincoln Central Market

January 28, 2019

Lincoln Central Market is disgusting, shabby and drab.

The couple of excellent stalls, spice stall, wholefood stall, have gone.

Well done Steve the fruit and veg stall guy for speaking out.

More traders need to speak out, they do so privately but fear to speak publicly.

The City Council jobsworth is talking nonsense.

‘The council prides itself on having a great relationship our traders’, if this is a great relationship, I hate to think what a bad relationship looks like.

I have yet to speak with a single trader who is happy with the way the Central Market is run.

If the Council unaware traders not happy, why did they order the banner be taken down at the fruit and veg stall?

No rent increase. Considering the atrocious state of Central Market, the near zero footfall, the traders should be seeing a rent decrease.

I have never seen anything in the bus station promoting the market. I have seen promoting Greggs.

But in its present dire state, there would be little point in promoting the market as it would be counterproductive and show Lincoln in a bad light.

Lincoln is a market town in the middle of an agricultural county, and yet lacks a market.

Nor does Lincoln have a farmers market in the town centre, not if class one stall, two if lucky, maybe half a dozen stalls if very very lucky, as a farmers market.

The one and only stall has relocated to beside the River Witham, but no one knows, no information in the High Street, no information at its current location of the relocation.

People looking for the farmers market in the High Street assume it has finally collapsed.

On a Friday, one stall representing the farmers market, plus a cake and bread stall and a fruit and vegetable stall.

On a Saturday the fruit and vegetable stall and Curry Jacks a curry stall.

York has a market and a street food market.

Chichester a small market town and yet has a thriving market and farmers market.

Guildford has a thriving Friday and Saturday weekly market with three excellent fruit and vegetable stalls, that if in Lincoln would stretch the length of Sincil Street, once a month a farmers market, that if in Lincoln would stretch from St Mary’s Street up through The Stonebow.

Mercado Municipal en Puerto de la Cruz en Tenerife, ground floor little shops, including an excellent little bookshop, first floor fruit and vegetable stalls, a deli cum wine stall, a deli cum little restaurant, a fishmonger. On a Saturday, many stalls selling everything, the fishmonger serving cooked seafood with champagne, the delis also serving up food.

Lincoln Central Market needs gutting, most of the traders kicked out, then revamped with the emphasis on quality independent traders.

Look to Trinity Market in Hull Old Town. Light and airy, quality food stalls, indie specialty coffee, craft beer, bench seats to sit either inside or out. Then contrast with the disgrace that is Lincoln Central Market.

One of the ironies, at a time when we should be moving to eliminate plastic, when Tesco is looking to close its fresh produce, when we should be supporting markets, local shops, zero waste stores like Hisbe, Lincoln instead of moving ahead by supporting its local markets, is doing its best to kill them.

Trashing of Sincil Street has not helped.

Sincil Street was once a busy street of thriving indie businesses. Now look at it. Most of the businesses destroyed, buildings destroyed, new build with large plate glass windows, large size units, neither matches the Victorian street scene, nor of suitable size for the small family businesses that have been kicked out, let alone afford the rent.

Moving in, rubbish chains that find in every ghastly shopping centre up and down the country.

I have yet to meet a single person who is happy with the trashing of Sincil Street.

Look to North Laine in Brighton, three long streets, each one longer than Sincil Street, side streets, similar street scene, except it is busy, full of indie businesses not a chain in sight and very rare to see empty shops, and if empty do not remain empty for long.

Instead of building on Sincil Street and highlighting it was different to the High Street, it was trashed.

How it could be.  The Central Market used for start ups, as they grow, expand into an empty shop in Sincil Street.

Lincoln lacks a wholefood store. If Gaia Wholefoods was still in Central Market, and successful, it could have relocated to Sincil Street.  Not possible as pulled out due to lack of footfall, and even were it still there and successful, no longer anywhere in Sincil Street to relocate to.

That is how shortsighted Lincoln City Council, not only killing existing local businesses, but killing off the growth potential of any future new businesses.

The difference between Hull Old Town and Brighton where they value their cultural heritage and Lincoln, is a lack of vision, useless jobsworths who are clueless on what constitutes good town centre planning, clueless on how local economies function, on the need to recycle money within a local economy, lack of support for local businesses, but only too happy to fall over backwards to facilitate greedy developers and corporate chains.

It is quirky indie businesses, markets, that make a town, give a sense of place.

The City Council in cahoots with the Co-op have done an excellent job destroying Sincil Street, Cornhill and the Central Market.

Lincoln would make an excellent case study in bad planning.

It is not only Sincil Street, Cornhill and Central Market, ugly tower blocks ruining a historic skyline, accomodation for students, temporary residents at best, homeless living on the streets.

Lincoln Co-op a disaster as a retailer, but by historic accident owns large parts of the town centre, and abuse their position to destroy local businesses.

Sincil Street, the frontage of the buildings should have been restored to Victoran frontage, no garish signs.

Central Market the foodie area cf Trinity Market Hull Old Town.

Sincil Street a mix of retail, bakeries, little restaurants, boutiques, bookshops, music shops, coffee shops cf North Laine Brighton.

I have no problem coffee shops, but these have to be high quality indie coffee shops eg Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle, Base Camp, no chains

No corporate chains.

Corporate chains destroy towns, lead to sense of isolation, sameness, drain money out of the local economy, then go bust or a head office spreadsheet exercise leads to store closure, leading to boarded-up shops never to be filled, desolation.

This has happened to too many town centres, Aldershot the classic example, stores pulling out weekly, the few remaining waiting for lease to expire, main street shop after shop down the street boarded-up, junkies and losers lost on the streets.

it is not only the market area the Council has trashed.

Up until the late 1960s early 1970s, Brayford Pool was lined with mills and warehouses.  These could have been renovated. Ground floor indie businesses, workshops, indie coffee shops, first floor studio and office space, top floors flats and apartments. A pleasant urban park leading off the High Street, accessed down the side of Stokes on High Bridge.

Instead what do we have, a desolate wasteland, an ugly urban eyesore.

Yet another example of City Hall jobsworths completely clueless on what constitutes good town centre planning.