Posts Tagged ‘Steep Hill’

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day one hundred and twenty three

July 24, 2020

First day of mandatory face wearing in enclosed public space.

Miss a bus which turned up several minutes early. Took the opportunity for a walk along the River Witham.

Following bus no opening of door or turning off engine when bus waiting at bus stops. Bus hot, no air, made worse by wearing of face mask.

A hot day, feeling very unwell.

No one I speak to is happy wearing a face mask.

But if I visit indie businesses, in out within a few minutes, restrictions on numbers, doors open, risk minimal.

If we are to stay safe, social distance minimum 2m, avoid enclosed spaces, avoid crowded places, avoid supermarkets and shopping centres, avoid pubs, download and install German track and trace app and share with friends.

It puts the onus on the individual who will be blamed when the inevitable second wave breaks out.

Walking through Lincoln Central Market, dead. Well done dysfunctional Lincoln City Council, kick out a fruit and vegetable stall upon which people rely, destroy a local businesses, and destroy the other traders in the market who have seen business fall off the edge of a cliff. Contrast with Louth, where on a Wednesday a thriving market that brings folk into the town, what a market town should be like. But dysfunctional Lincoln City Council would rather bring in soulless chains and destroy local businesses.

As always, excellent haddock and chips at Elite on the Bail.

The Lion and Snake quiet but soon starts to kick of with rowdy drunks.

Noise in Castle Hill, horrendous noise from a busker.

Another example of dysfunctional Lincoln City Council. No action.

Same problem in High Street.

I looked in Imperial Teas on my way back down Steep Hill. Excellent bean-to-bar craft chocolate in stock from Original Beans and firetree. But very disappointed to find firetree has additives. Imperial Teas is the only stockist of quality chocolate in Lincoln. Forage and Fill in Lincoln Central Market are looking to stock quality chocolate, but not yet as too warm in the summer to stock chocolate.

Cappuccino at Madame Waffle. Opened a week or so ago. Not open Monday and Tuesday. I sat outside.

Pedestrianise Bailgate

March 3, 2020

The local council proposal: rid the on-street parking and grant parking for residents (and of course nice little earner for the local council).

No. Get rid of the on-street parking, seize the opportunity for radical change, pedestrianise Bailgate and make traffic free.

The only surprise is that this has not been done years ago. For that thank backward Bailgate Guild that is not doing Bailgate any favours.

Bailgate Guild  are carrying out a survey. Maybe I should say ‘survey’. I have seen bad surveys, they nearly always are, slanted to deliver a desired result. But never this bad, so bad I could not in all honesty even call it a survey, this is prejudice and bias masquerading as a survey.

In local shops, asked to complete ‘survey’, but so-called survey takes as read have arrived by car, how many arrived by car etc etc.

Nowhere the option to say walked or used public transport.

Today I did both, is was raining, caught the bus, then walked to Bailgate along East Gate.

Usually I would walk up Steep Hill, a very pleasant walk, linger, but did walk back down.

At a guess, but quite an educated guess, 90% of those in Bailgate had walked.

The local council should treat this so-called survey with the contempt it deserves, ignore it.

A survey should ask, how did arrive:

  • walk
  • public transport
  • car

Then go on to ask

  • purpose of visit
  • time of day
  • how long
  • where visit
  • expenditure

I spent nigh on £50 if include a bill paid in the Post Office, which helps keep the little post office open.

I also walked around to The Lawn, had a coffee, then back through the grounds of Lincoln Castle, to then walk down Steep Hill.

There is on-street parking for about half a dozen cars. What do people do, drive round and round in the hope of finding a parking space?

Whilst I was walking along Bailgate, an idiot drove through at high speed in a 4×4.

Pedestrianise the street, make traffic free.

To do so immediately improves the environment for pedestrians, creates a safer environment, decreases pollution, contributes to reduction in greenhouse gases. Can then wander around without the risk of being run down, crisscross from side to side, will increase footfall, all the businesses benefit.

The focus should always be on making environments car free pedestrian friendly. On how do we benefit the environment, slow the rise in global temperature.

Creating a car free Bailgate would then create a pedestrian route from the High Street, up through The Strait, up Steep Hill, across Castle Hill and into Bailgate.

And for those who insist on using their cars, car parks nearby on two sides of the Lincoln Castle, and more car parking at The Lawn.

Bailgate could be divided into two halves. Castle Hill to Westgate business sector, Newport to Westgate residential. There would be an argument for resident parking in the residential sector. I would say no, grant permits to park in the nearby car parks.

Christmas Emporium Lincoln Castle

December 21, 2019

Why is it everywhere has the desire to dump a few sheds in a town centre fill with tat and junk food and call it a Christmas Market?

This market was dismal. I walked in a little after three to find no one around, all the sheds bar a couple closed. They had obviously closed before three. The ubiquitous junk food.

What is the point of a market that closes at three then reopens again at five, albeit to then charge £8 entrance fee?

I spoke to a couple of stallholders. To say the last they were thoroughly pissed off.  And I do not blame them. Paying a high fee for a pitch for no customers. They will not be returning.

I then found I could not get out the West Gate and had to walk around the Castle to Stokes at The Lawn

This is another example of the appalling mismanagement of Lincoln Castle. Complaints fall on deaf ears.

Lincoln Christmas farmers market

December 21, 2019

Held Castle Hill, a dismal Christmas farmers market, a pale shadow of when I last visited the farmers market in the summer of last year or Easter this year.

Sadly it seems to be following the ad hoc farmers market held in the High Street which became smaller and smaller and finally died.

Contrast with Guildford Christmas farmers packed with Christmas shoppers.

I managed to pick up cheese from two different stalls, and raw milk unpasteurised milk from the same stalls.

I regret I did not shop in Redhill Farm shop in Bailgate, when I passed by it was busy, later when I passed by it was closed.

Lincoln Steampunk Festival Asylum X1

August 23, 2019

The eleventh Lincoln Steampunk Festival, day one of the four day event held over the August Bank Holiday Weekend.

A very hot day, and due to get hotter over the next few days.

Today possible to walk through the grounds of Lincoln Castle, as can do every day, but next few days, will be charged the same entrance fee as though walking the Castle walls, simply to visit a few stalls. This is not acceptable and something the steampunk organisers need to resolve. Those who have a stall in the Castle grounds pay a lot of money for their stalls and a barrier is then created to deter those wishing to visit their stalls. It also hits local businesses either side of the Castle entrances

Not many steampunks around, but next for days will be very many.

Bailgate, Steep Hill, The Strait, five o’clock nearly every single business, shop, tea room, cafe, closed, many would have closed at four if not earlier. Sheer madness, biggest steampunk festival in the world, brings in thousands of people, people with money in their pockets, and nowhere open to spend that money.

For visitors a few recommendations.

For coffee avoid the chains and their undrinkable coffee. Walking up the High Street

  • turn left before The Stonebow, Coffee Aroma on the right
  • through The Stonebow, a little further up the High Street, Madame Waffle on the right

For quality beer forget the pubs, pick up a bottle or two of craft beer.

  • on the left in The Strait, Crafty Bottle, craft beer and a bottle opener

For gear no better than

  • The Strait, J Birkett
  • bottom of Steep Hill, antique shop

Vine’s Bakery

April 6, 2019

Vine’s Bakery opened on Friday at the foot of Steep Hill.

Although they only opened on Friday, and selection currently poor, it was as though Lincoln had never seen a bread shop before, maybe have not, as a steady stream of people passing through the door into the shop.

I thought with them being open on a Sunday, they were open seven days a week, but no, closed Monday and Tuesday.

The location is not good, bottom of Steep Hill. Either have to walk up the High Street and The Strait or down Steep Hill.

Ideal location would have been Bailgate where they wished to open, but were blocked by shortsighted businesses in the Bail.

High minimum order for wholesale, too high. No one is going to take a chance on an unknown entity, unknown quality, unknown quality. There should be no minimum. This gives the opportunity to slowly grow the business.

I wished for a wholemeal loaf. No wholemeal. I settled for a seeded brown. OK but not great.

I have also tried a white loaf. It was not good.

Serving coffee is not a good idea. Who wants a bad coffee when there is excellent coffee to be had from Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle? Focus on bread and cakes. Begs the question planning consent for a cafe?

Ludicrous reporting by hack on the local rag, they had a tour of the bread shop. Tour? A counter and shelves with bread.

Crystal merchant atop a hill

January 24, 2019

The crystal merchant knew all there was to know about crystal, from where to buy, the quality, at what price to sell.

He used to be busy, but times had changed, few people climbed the hill, the crystal on display was collecting dust, but after 30 years it was too late to change, crystal was all he knew.

One day, just as he was about to shut up shop to go for his lunch, he saw a boy looking at his display. He had sufficient experience to appraise the boy to know he had no money and was not going to buy anything. He nevertheless delayed closing his shop until the boy walked on.

The boy walked in, offered to clean the dusty crystal on display if the merchant bought his lunch.

The merchant agreed, as the boy was cleaning the crystal two customers walked in.

Over lunch, the merchant told the boy he had no need to clean the crystal, he would have taken him for lunch, it was an obligation in the Koran.

The merchant seeing that he has already sold crystal that day, saw the arrival of the boy as a good omen and asked the boy if he wished to work for him.

The boy agreed, he would work for the day as he wished to raise enough money to travel to the Pyramids in Egypt.

The boy was crestfallen to learn the Pyramids were far away and he would have to work for at least a year to raise the money to travel that far.

He abandoned his dream.

He would work long enough to buy a ticket back home and buy sheep, he was a shepherd and sheep was all he knew.

The boy cleaned the stock, was good with the customers, and businesses once again picked up.

 

Two months on, the boy asked could he build a cabinet at the bottom of the hill to display the crystal, as this would tempt visitors to climb the hill to the shop.

The merchant was reluctant, business was picking up, the crystal would get broken, and anyway he did not like change.

But he saw the boy was correct and agreed.

One day the boy overheard from those who climbed the hill how tired and thirsty they were and would it not be a nice idea a drink of tea.

The boy suggested to the merchant they should serve tea in crystal.

The merchant was reluctant, more change, and what did he know about tea, but he agreed.

Business again picked up, word got around, tea was being served in crystal. Many of the men said how their wives would love to serve tea in crystal and bought crystal as a gift for their wives.

In less than a year, the boy bid farewell to the crystal merchant, he had saved enough money to buy a ticket, buy 120 sheep, knew about crystal, could speak Arabic, obtain an import licence for Spain.

The crystal merchant reminded him of his dream, that a caravan was about to depart, that he should follow his dream, that was his destiny.

Steep Hill follows the route of an old Roman Road, it used to be lined with shops, many people walking up the hill to the Castle and Cathedral, stopping part way en route to visit one of the many tea shops.

Now there are few visitors, a bus carries visitors to the top of the hill, many shops have closed, when there are holidays the tea and coffee shops are closed, we too deserve a break they say, then reopen when few visitors are around and bemoan their lack of customers.

There are few businesses of quality, little to draw people back.

At the top of the hill there used to be a tea shop, it closed, premises gutted. Now a cheese shop and coffee shop, the cheese shop selling plastic-wrapped adulterated fake cheddar cheese, the coffee shop serving undrinkable coffee.

The story of the crystal merchant and the boy is taken from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The boy is the shepherd boy Santiago who follows his dreams.

The illustration by Jesús Cisneros from the illustrated Folio Society edition of The Alchemist.

Steep Hill is the tale of a real street in terminal decline.

 

Steep Hill another one bites the dust

January 11, 2019

A soap shop at the top of Steep Hill is to close.

According to the Lincolnite, regurgitating what they find on facebook, a popular soap shop is to close due to lack of customers.

Er, spot the oxymoron.

I never knew there was a soap shop.

I was told adjacent to the Russian Doll shop.

I decided to investigate.

Yes, between the Russian Doll shop and a clock shop. A clock shop that is never open.

A tiny nondescript shop, easy to see why I had missed it before.

I found it to be in darkness, closed, which at least explains why no customers.

As I was looking, a lady popped out of the Russian Doll shop with a key in her hand offered to open for me.

I declined, but said I may look on my way down.

On my way down, I again found to be closed.

The Strait and Steep Hill no tourists tea and coffee shops open

January 8, 2019

It beggars belief, over the Christmas New Year vacation many tourists milling around, up The Strait and Steep Hill, in Castle Hill and Bailgate, tea and coffee shops were either closed or closed early.

Now the holiday season over, no one around, the streets deserted, the tea and coffee shops open.

This would be like a business in the tourist area of Cyprus closing during the peak summer season then opening in the winter when no one about.

To say the least, bizarre.

Although not all were open, and a few closed early.

The Rest rarely found open. Today no exception. Rumoured to be for sale

Bunty’s tea room, closed or closed early when tourists around, now no tourists tea room open.

Bookstop Cafe, closed or closed early when tourists around, now no tourists open.

Imperial Teas, a rarity, open over Christmas New Year.

Pimento tea rooms, once excellent, new owners took over and destroyed with six months.

Changed hands yet again. Closed over Christmas New Year, does not reopen until no tourists outside.

Since my last visit, interior has changed and not for the better.

A board outside promises specialty tea and coffee, new menu.

No menu, no espresso machine.

It takes more than a sign to serve specialty tea and coffee.

I said I may pop back later. When I did, a little after three, I found to be closed.

When queried, told closed early today. When asked when usually close, told between three and four.

The Old Mouse House Cheese Shop & Coffee Bar

December 31, 2018

The Old Mouse House Cheese Shop & Coffee Bar is a weird set up, cheese and coffee.

If walk in, not obvious a coffee shop, as through the back, though a glimpse of their espresso machine from the cheese shop provides a hint of more beyond.

It took several visits over Christmas and New Year to find the coffee shop open, cheese shop not always open or closed early.

According to their own facebook page, coffee shop in the cellar they say downstairs, it is not it is a tiny room out the back, climb two steps. Cosy would be the word.

Also a little room upstairs reached by narrow steep stairs. No handrail.

It is also necessary to climb the steep narrow stairs to reach the toilets. Not accessible to those with physical disabilities or the frail and elderly.

The coffee Stokes, the tea tea pigs.

A bakery cum tea shop opposite Coffee Aroma in the town centre, Stokes coffee, tea pigs tea, lasted all of nine months. Clearly no lessons learnt.

It could though be worse, tea and coffee supplied by Lincoln Tea and Coffee.

A row of syrups on a back shelf. A sure sign of bad coffee.

One cappuccino ordered. Cup size too large the larger size.

Having explored upstairs, I found my cappuccino awaiting me on a table when I returned downstairs.

WTF, this a CAPPUCCINO. Dribbling down the side, spilt in the saucer.

What I assumed to be a chocolate melting in the saucer.

The coffee looked disgusting, chocolate sprinkled on top.

Not only looked disgusting, tasted disgusting, served scalding hot, undrinkable.

I took one sip and left untouched.

I asked of the cheese counter the cheese.

Dunno, replied the girl behind the cheese counter, ask her out back.

Her out back, who made the coffee, daughter of the cheesemaker, cannot tell you how we make our cheese, it is a secret, if we told you everyone would copy us.

This is the same bullshit I am fed in coffee shops serving bad coffee, cannot tell you who supplies the coffee as other coffee shops would copy us.

I politely tell them of transparency, direct trade, traceability through roasterie back to the farm.

I had visions of cows eating seaweed or the marram grass in Skegness.

They buy in the milk, pay a fair price, or so claimed.

The cheese Lymn Bank Cheese, the finest Skeggie adulterated fake cheddar 17 different flavours, including ginger, all identical size wrapped in plastic. Some of the cheese encased in wax.

The odds are stacked against any new business. 80% fail in the first 18 months.

Five years ago may have got away with opening a coffee shop serving bad coffee. Not today. You have two weeks to prove yourself. People will check you out. If they like your coffee they will return, bring their friends, if not, they will tell their friends not to bother.

A coffee shop has to have a quality espresso machine, quality grinder, skilled barista, buy quality coffee, coffee ground fresh for each shot, precise measurements, weigh the coffee, extraction time, temperature. And with repeat consistency from one cup to the next.

For bad coffee we have the chains. Every cafe in Lincoln serves badly made Stokes low quality catering supply cheap commodity coffee. Why join the list? And if wished to try Stokes they would visit Stokes.

Nor is there any excuse for using poor quality tea pigs. Even less excuse when on Steep Hill have Imperial Teas.

But a quality coffee roastery or tea merchant would need to be convinced you have the expertise else they get a bad name.

No outside seating. Essential these days for a coffee shop to have outside seating.

In Lincoln there are three excellent coffee shops, Coffee Aroma, Madame Waffle, Base Camp. In the spring 200 Degrees will open, coffee mediocre at best, but better than the corporate chains.

Low quality cheese can buy in a supermaket.

A cheese shop has to have quality cheese, rare breed cows out on pasture not the black and white bulk milk producers, unpasteurised milk.

Heed the advice of Bronwen Percival on buying cheese in the Appendix to Reinventing the Wheel.

Buy unadulterated cheese … if a cheesemaker hides behind added ingredients, whether smoke, added fruits or spices … it is either a tragedy … or a sign their milk was devoid of character in the first place … Buy raw-milk cheese … Buy complex cheese … Buy from a cheesemonger … good cheesemongers are curators of good cheese.

Adulterating cheese is akin to adding syrups to coffee. Don’t. It either ruins a good coffee or is used to hide bad coffee.

Their use of social media to say the least perverse. A badly filmed video of their coffee shop located out the back. A picture of a dog tied up outside in the cold and wet (since deleted). Questions posted on their cheese and coffee, not only lack the courtesy to answer, the questions are deleted.

And no, not the Rolls-Royce of coffee machines.

Footfall on Steep Hill has in recent years dramatically fallen. The only way to attract business, to offer quality, word of mouth.

Who are the demographics? The tourist are nigh non-existent, and visitors from Europe are accustomed to quality cheese. Are German visitors going to wish to buy a waxed cheesed stamped with a Lancaster WWII bomber that may have atomised their grandparents?

For quality cheese in Lincoln, The Cheese Society, top of the High Street, bottom of The Strait. Or if in Bailgate next to the Post Office try Redhill Farm Shop which has a small selection of quality local cheeses. There is also local cheese on the monthly farmers market in Castle Square.

Earlier I had excellent lunch at The Cheese Society. Walking up The Strait and Steep Hill, passing many closed business, it was going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

On my back down I passed by The Cheese Society, still packed.

I passed Madame Waffle, it too was packed.

I later returned to Madame Waffle and had a cappuccino. A pleasure, as is always a well made coffee. The difference a skilled barista and quality coffee makes.

Quality, service, word-of-mouth, counts.