Posts Tagged ‘London’

London coronavirus ghost town

September 24, 2020

Eerie, travelling across London and barely a soul to be seen.

Reclaim the Streets Soho

June 3, 2020

The impact of covid-19 has hit everyone hard, every sector, but none so hard as the hospitality sector, with no sign yet of when they may be able to open.

Look at Soho, boarded-up streets and unless action is taken soon, they will remain boarded-up. And unlike airlines and travel sector which spread covid-19, are victims.

And yet it should not have been. Opening up too soon, relaxing lockdown, will create a second wave, but there was absolutely no reason why indie coffee shops and restaurants, not chains, could have not opened up in May, the weather was ideal, opened up with their tables and chairs spread well spaced apart in the street to maintain social distancing.

What has stopped this happening is the intransigence of local councils who would rather see local businesses die than give them a helping hand.

We can hear birdsong, streets are traffic free, city centres pollution free.

Covid-19 has jolted us into another now.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

Time to Reclaim the Streets.

Pedestrianise not only Soho but also Covent Garden, leaving only the arterial routes for through traffic. Deliveries park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart or trolley.

Kick start the local economy, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables well spaced apart into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking, social distancing maintained.

Win win for everyone, local businesses helped back on their feet, improves the ambience.

Soho Summer Festival:

We’re proposing that streets around Soho are temporarily pedestrianised, in order to allow restaurants and bars the space for outdoor seating. This would allow the public to enjoy the Soho we know and love, while maintaining a safe social distance.

The norm in Athens, local streets at night turn into restaurants.  The Mayor of Athens is extending the pedestrianised streets.

The norm in North Laine in Brighton, coffee shops and restaurants, tables in the street. Brighton is extending its pedestrianised streets.

This does not require a change in licencing laws, it does require a change in the mindset of local jobsworths who would rather see local businesses go to the wall than improve the ambience of our city centres.

An initiate to Reclaim the Streets in Soho has been launched, an initiative dubbed the Soho Summer Festival. Initially pedestrianise the area for the summer. 

Once the summer has passed, it should be made permanent.

2025: The Long Hot Winter

December 25, 2019

Christmas 2025, the future.

Brian Eno narrates this fictional documentary set in the year 2025, interviewing Londoners about their first Christmas heatwave.

A terrifying missive from the near future.

Though do we even have to look that far ahead?

Fires in California, Chile, Siberia, Australia. Floods in England, floods across Europe. Melting polar ice caps, disappearing glaciers.

King’s Cross food market

November 28, 2019

When passing through or by King’s Cross Station it is always worth having an extra half an hour to spare to visit the excellent food market located outside the front of the station.

Spoilt for choice, cakes, cheese, savouries.

Excellent Comte cheese off one stall, Cheddar off another.

Then when perused the food stalls, wander down the side of the station to find Craft Coffee, serving some of the best coffee in London.

Borough Cheese Company cheese stall

December 20, 2018

When passing through King’s Cross, always worth giving extra time to visit the King’s Cross street food market, especially to visit the Borough Cheese Company cheese stall.

Excellent Comté and Tome cheese.

The stall used to only sell Comté cheese, and whilst that is still their main cheese, they compliment with a couple of other cheeses, which have been different each time I pass through.

And add a little extra time for a coffee off Craft Coffee.

King’s Cross Street Food Market

December 20, 2018

When passing through King’s Cross, always worth giving extra time to visit the King’s Cross street food market, especially to visit the Borough Cheese Company cheese stall.

And add a little extra time for a coffee off Craft Coffee.

Cappuccino at Craft Coffee

December 20, 2018

I emerged wrong entrance from King’s Cross Underground, but had an advantage. I emerged to find Craft Coffee.

Craft Coffee a kiosk down the side of King’s Cross Station, between King’s Cross and St Pancras serves one of the best cappuccinos in London.

If passing through King’s Cross, always worth setting aside extra time to visit Craft Coffee, to stop, relax and have a coffee. Note relax, not grab it and go, relax and enjoy.

My cappuccino, the best since Athens, and that is high praise indeed.

Coffee, La Vega, a Colombian single origin, an exclusive roast for Craft Coffee from nearby Notes.

Notes is nearby, literally a couple of minutes walk across the open space.

Also worth setting aside extra time when passing through King’s Cross to visit the Street Food Market in front of King’s Cross Station, especially the Borough Cheese Company cheese stall.

V60 at The Espresso Room

December 9, 2018

Saturday in London, looking forward to a V60, I detour to The Espresso Room, which luckily I find still open.

Too late to eat at Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, Saturday evening there will be a long wait as very popular, I go on a detour to The Espresso Room, which I find open, open until seven.

I abandon all hope of eating at Home Slice, as there will be a long wait.

They remember me, I get a free coffee, as bought a bag of coffee on my last visit.

A Lithuanian girl makes me V60 using Kemyan coffee. Excellent. Best coffee all day. Very fruity.

We chat long gone closing time.

Available free Clipper. An example of a free magazine of quality. Comparable with Independent Life, a free magazine in Leeds and York.

On my last visit I was given direction to a shop selling Standart, Drift. I could not find. I followed directions, head down Monmouth Street to Seven Dials.

I learn a vital piece of information was missing, in Shorts Gardens.

Balance

December 9, 2018

I looked in Balance on my way to Four Corners.

Chatting to Jessica Moscrop by her stall JesSpoke, her own designs, I noticed Balance, a new coffee shop across the street.

Mushroom and chestnut soup in Balance had sounded good when I looked in earlier. I double checked it was still available and that it was mushroom and chestnut, not chestnut mushrooms. Sounds good.

Sadly when served weak and watery and lukewarm almost cold. The toasted bread soggy, as they had already put the butter on the toast.

I ordered a cappuccino. Served too hot.

The menu says we do not serve coffee hot, thus absolutely no excuse.

The salad looked enticing except it looked no different to when I looked in much earlier. Not therefore so enticing.

Moronic music playing in the background, fortunately not too loud.

A coffee shop trying to be trendy and failing miserably.

Four Corners

December 9, 2018

Lower Marsh, hidden behind Waterloo Station, is one of those up and coming places that has not yet arrived, but well worth exploring.

Lower Marsh has a street food market in the week, Saturday a craft market.

In London a couple of weeks ago on a cold misty day in London, I encountered Four Corners serving coffee from a van outside Waterloo Station. Or at least they were serving coffee, when I found them they were packing up. They suggested I try their coffee shop in Lower Marsh.

It was on my way to find their coffee shop in Lower Marsh that I came across Jessica Moscrop with her stall JesSpoke, her own designs.

At the far end of Lower Marsh I found Four Corners.

I order a cappuccino. Blended with cocoa. Why, why use Ozone coffee, then ruin with cocoa? I cannot be bothered sending back.

On the way I encountered drunken idiots in Santa costumes, more and more and kept turning up. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Impossible walk down the street. Eventually coffee shop door is locked to prevent then walking in to use the toilet. Not a singe one buys a coffee, not even a takeaway coffee. They are also sitting on the coffee shops seats outside, leaning on the window. When they finally leave the street is covered in rubbish. They have managed to kill trade for the day or the street market. Whoever was responsible for this charade should be made to pay to clean up the street.

In indie coffee shops it quite common to find books on coffee. In Four Corners a long bookshelf lined with travel books hence the name. They also supply Four Corners passports, mugs, little notebooks and sweatshirts.

Amazing poster hidden in the toilet.

Finally the drunken idiots depart leaving a trail of rubbish.

Four Corners were giving away free books. No idea why and I did not see any. Maybe publisher is nearby and have surplus stock to dump and what better way to obtain free publicity? But why promote a book on trash? Pulp fiction?


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