Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Lincoln Vegan Festival 2019

April 6, 2019

A vegan festival would expect to showcase the best of vegan food.

Er, not in Lincoln, not if vegan festival last year was anything to go by.

Visit in the morning, eat?

I decided to check, could find little help on their facebook page, asked.

There is pizza, Indian, wraps, dosa, chips, Hot dogs, Vegan Steak sandwiches, pulled Jackfruit tacos and more.

To say the least did not sound appetising.

I ate first and turned up early afternoon.

A wise move.

Last year, the only stall making any effort at quality, an Indian stall.

Today, disgusting looking junk food.

Hot dogs. Yuk.

I am used to eating excellent vegetarian food, occasional vegan food, an Indian family that prepares excellent food, Indian restaurants, a dosa off Ollo Foods at Guildford farmers market, a lady who used to prepare excellent vegetarian meals at Guildford Institute, Food for Thought in Covent Garden.

But not what was on offer at Lincoln Vegan Festival. They even had the gall to demand Lincoln Drill Hall close its own cafe.

Apart from a couple of food stalls, clothes, hunt sabateurs, candles, soap, ceramics

I was there all of ten minutes.

I spent longer at Cafe Portico. Passing by, owner waved, I thought it rude not to look in and say hello, and he offered me a coffee.

Cafe Portico, unlike Lincoln Vegan Festival, do take care with their food. As does Curry Jacks I passed on my way to the vegan festival.

It was then to Vine’s Bakery, which opened on Friday at the foot of Steep Hill. They only opened on Friday, and selection currently poor, but 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.

A walk up Steep Hill.

Looked in Imperial Teas. Pleased to see they have added Duffy’s bean-to-bar chocolate.

Duffy’s, high quality bean-to-bar, dark chocolate vegan by definition, I am surprised no stall at the Lincoln Vegan Festival. On the other hand, the low quality food offering, maybe wise not to be associated with when have a high quality product.

Not so pleased to see Tourist Information Centre promoting Loyal Free app. Does nothing for Lincoln, even less for local businesses, but does hijack personal data from your phone.

Later, cappuccino at Coffee Aroma.

There was to be talks at the Lincoln Vegan Festival, but if there was I saw no information.

Ludicrous claims relating to environment and health on the back of the Lincoln Vegan Festival flier.

The world has been subjected to a 50-year experiment of low fat, low meat, increased carbohydrates, based upon poor quality data and biased interpretation, meanwhile we have seen an exponential rise in heart disease, obesity and type-ii diabetes. Those who dared to challenge what has now become hard wired, were smeared, denied funding, barred from publication, not invited to conferences. The few contrary studies were dismissed.

Over the last 100 years a sharp rise in the use of vegetable oils from near zero. Trans-fats are formed when we hydrogenate vegetable oils to form hard fats. The first paper alerting to the possible dangers of trans-fats, an artificial fat found in cell membranes, was followed by forty years of deadly silence as the vegetable oil industry shut down all debate. The process produces other artificial fats of which very little is known.

Cooking using polyunsaturated vegetable oils leads to oxidation products linked to cancer. Not only liked to cancer, toxic to rats and mice, damage to DNA and RNA. We breath in these oxidation products each time we visit a junk food outlet, we ingest each time we eat junk food.

Soya oils has seen use increase a thousand fold over a century.

Olive oil does not have the long pedigree led to believe. Even in Greece, use of olive oil does not stretch back into antiquity. The use of olive oil was cosmetic not culinary.

The Mediterranean Diet is recent, conferences in Mediterranean locations, good food, favourable reports, get an invite for next year, all floated on an olive oil industry slush fund.

EAT-Lancet diet for a small planet, almost vegan, good for our health, good for the planet, too good to be true, the wheels fell off within days when subject to proper scientific scrutiny. That promoted by agribusiness should send alarm bells ringing.

Yes, we should eat more fruit and vegetables, grains and nuts, less processed food, maybe less meat, but we need to take a whole systems approach, not be the latest bigot in town jumping on the latest fashionable bandwagon, the latest fad.

In many parts of the world, grazing animals is more environmentally sound than growing crops.

There is nothing intrinsically healthy about a vegan diet, especially when highly processed, indeed all the evidence is heavily stacked against.

Organic food heavily processed is still heavily processed food.

Would those tucking into the vegan hot dogs be so keen if presented with a list of ingredients?

And what of the environmental cost?

Nitrogen-based fertilisers, pesticides, palm oil, genetic modification, reliance on oil industry, just a few of the issues.

Africa, Europe, Asia, North America was covered in open woodland and grassland, savannah, prairie, across which roamed huge herds of herbivores. Man was a hunter gatherer, ate red meat, ate fat, grains did not form part of our diet.

Animals are part of the natural cycle, recycle nutrients. Contrast with ploughed fields, soil erosion.

We need to drastically reduce carbon emissions, healthy grasslands, woodlands, soils, act as carbon sinks. They also help, less radiated energy back into the atmosphere.

Try walking across soil midday day in the Middle East.

We need better farming practices that are good for planet, animals and our health.

The recent trend for fake milks, much to the annoyance of baristas as a cannot make decent cappuccino with fake milk, pause and question the environmental cost.

Where has the soya come from? Plantations where once stood rain forests. Soy can be an allergen. The soy is possibly genetically modified. Soy is bitter and has to have additives to remove the bitterness.

What of almond milk? If California, what of the water used in a state suffering from drought and over extraction of water? Five litres of water for each almond.

If do not like milk, for whatever reason, have single origin V60 pour over.

Too much fake science. For example a vegan burger compared with a meat burger, the former served with green tea, the latter served with a latte with half a dozens spoons of sugar.

There is no such thing as cheap food, we simply externalise the costs, social costs, human rights abuse, environmental degradation, climate chaos and animal welfare.

A handful of people eating plants does little to address ethics in food production.

It is not ethical when we praise quality but expensive food, nor when we praise cheap substandard food.

It is not ethical when rich folk enjoy food produced by poor folk who get poorer the harder they work. It is not ethical when the rich get richer peddling junk food to the masses.

Lincoln Vegan Festival was sponsored by a fake cheese company. If they had a stall I did not see.

Fake cheese is not cheese.

Cheese comes from the milk of ruminants, they process what we cannot eat, turn it into milk, rare breed cows out on pasture, unpasteurised milk, turned into cheese, a wholesome natural product, without any additives, flavourings, not adulterated in any way. Slow food at its best. Anything else, is not cheese.

If not made from milk, it is not cheese.

The demand for cashew nuts to satisfy vegans, especially for fake cheese, is leading to appalling working conditions for those in the Third World who shell the nuts.

Veganuary was much hyped. Was it the success it claimed to be?

Veganuary was much hyped, yes a big increase, but a big increase on a small number is still a very small number. The real measure, how many stuck to a vegan diet? A mere 16%, a tiny number on an already small number. Butchers reported no loss of business.

A vegan sausage at Greggs was much hyped. Did sales increase because their sausage rolls were so bad? Bad diet, highly processed junk food, a diet rich in highly processed carbohydrates.

Om Nom issue 2

April 5, 2019

I first came across Om Nom during a recent trip to Brighton late last year in Magazine Brighton then again in Infinity Foods. I decided to pick up what was on sale In Infinity Foods, issue No 3.

Issue 2? I checked to find impossible to obtain, long sold out.

Then an idea, Ideas on Paper, always back issues.

Out of luck.

Then another idea, Outpost Coffee. I was in luck, not only a copy, they kindly gave me their copy.

Afternoon Christmas Day, after Christmas dinner, I settled down to read Om Nom issue 2.

Om Nom is a food magazine, ethical food and lifestyle.

What is ethical?

Veganism is not ethical. It is a lifestyle choice. A lifestyle choice bordering on quasi-religious fundamentalism.

If you do not want milk in a cappuccino, fine, but do not expect a quality cappuccino with fake milk. It will look and taste disgusting.

What of soya milk, is it ethical? Where has the soya come from? Plantations where once stood rain forests. Soy can be an allergen. The soy is possibly genetically modified. Soy is bitter and has to have additives to remove the bitterness.

What of almond milk? If California, what of the water used in a state suffering from drought and over extraction of water? Five litres of water for each almond.

If do not like milk, for whatever reason, have single origin V60 pour over.

But if insist on fake milk in a cappuccino, then ask for Oatley not an inferior cheap oat milk, and blend in the pouring jug. It looks and tastes marginally better but is not great.

Yes, we should eat more fruit and vegetables, grains and nuts, less processed food, maybe less meat, but we need to take a whole systems approach, not be the latest bigot in town jumping on the latest fashionable bandwagon, the latest fad.

In many parts of the world, grazing animals is more environmentally sound than growing crops.

https://twitter.com/EricaHauver/status/1109108123573387264

There is nothing intrinsically healthy about a vegan diet, especially when highly processed.

Organic food heavily processed is still heavily processed food.

Fake milks are highly processed, loaded with sugar. Fake meats heavily processed, laced with additives, just for starters, pea protein isolate, expeller-pressed canola oil, refined coconut oil, water, yeast extract, maltodextrin, natural flavours, gum Arabic.

Was the demand for vegan sausage rolls from Greggs an indication of how bad their regular sausage rolls?

Then there is the need for supplements, on what is claimed to be a healthy diet.

And what of the environmental cost?

Nitrogen-based fertilisers, pesticides, palm oil, genetic modification, reliance on oil industry, just a few of the issues.

Africa, Europe, Asia, North America was covered in open woodland and grassland, savannah, prairie, across which roamed huge herds of herbivores. Man was a hunter gatherer, ate red meat, ate fat, grains did not form part of our diet.

EAT-Lancet diet for a small planet, almost vegan, good for our health, good for the planet, too good to be true, the wheels fell off within days when subject to proper scientific scrutiny. That promoted by agribusiness should send alarm bells ringing.

Too much fake science. For example a vegan burger compared with a meat burger, the former served with green tea, the latter served with a latte with half a dozens spoons of sugar.

There is no such thing as cheap food, we simply externalise the costs, social costs, human rights abuse, environmental degradation, climate chaos and animal welfare.

A handful of people eating plants does little to address ethics in food production.

It is not ethical when we praise quality but expensive food, nor when we praise cheap substandard food.

It is not ethical when rich folk enjoy food produced by poor folk who get poorer the harder they work. It is not ethical when the rich get richer peddling junk food to the masses.

It is not ethical when we live in a world where McDonald’s, Starbucks and Costa colonise our towns.

Is it ethical to put a brick through McDonald’s or Starbucks?  Or should we create and support alternatives, indie coffee shops, direct trade, serving specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic, local restaurants, the Italian osteria, supporting local producers, serving local and regional dishes?

An act of unbelievable crass stupidity when vegan quasi-religious fundamentalists target Hisbe, an ethical food store. Where next, Infinity Foods, a workers cooperative? Maybe not, Infinity Foods bake vegan cakes and where would we be without vegan cakes? Maybe do something useful, target and shut down McDonald’s or a kebab shop.

Use of instagram is not ethical. Owned by facebook, claim ownership rights to your pictures, act as bait to draw into the facebook walled garden, pictures posted via robot to twitter are not visible on twitter, the pictures could be used to promote something you are opposed to, you would not know as they do not ask permission to use your pictures, complicit in teen self-harm and suicide.

Business model of facebook is to steal and abuse personal data, to manipulate. Facebook are part of a lobbying group opposed to CO2 reductions.

Post pictures direct to twitter, post videos to youtube or vimeo, put a link to videos on facebook, drive traffic out of not into facebook.

Instagram is hosting material that is leading young teens to self harm and take their own lives. A shocking account of how one young teenager was led to take her own life by material on Instagram.

Latest evil of Instagram, complicit in eating disorders.

Anyone encouraging use of instagram, is complicit in teen self harm. People and companies must pull the plug on instagram. Or do they wish to be complicit in teen suicides?

Engaging in a partnership with Tesco is not ethical.

To engage in partnership with Big Business is not ethical. It will be business as usual, at best greenwash.

It is ethical to create and support alternatives, build from the ground up, local, cooperative networks, disrupt, build disruptive business models that topple the existing entrenched order, but not aid, to let their existence continue.

We need to look at the entire business cycle, not focus on one aspect.

The Mylkman delivers nut milk in bottles via bicycle and now electric milk float. That he is using and recycling glass jars from a nearby restaurant is good, also that he is finding uses for the nut waste products, but where do the nuts come from, how are they processed, what happens to the waste?

With every business featured, I would ask are they coops, open coops, do they network with other local businesses, do they accept local currencies, faircoin?

Cheese comes from the milk of ruminants, they process what we cannot eat, turn it into milk, rare breed cows out on pasture, unpasteurised milk, turned into cheese, is a wholesome natural product, without any additives, flavourings, not adulterated in any way. Slow food at its best. Anything else, is not cheese.

If not made from milk, it is not cheese. It is disingenuous to claim threatened when asked to desist on calling a product cheese when it is not cheese.

Chocolate is very strictly defined:

  • cocoa solids – sugar
  • cocoa solids – cocoa butter – sugar – vanilla

Anything less is not chocolate, at least in the US, in EU 5% vegetables oils. Which means cheap crap chocolate substitutes vegetable oils for cocoa butter, the really cheap crap palm oil.

If we have standards for what can be called chocolate, it is reasonable to expect standards for what may be called cheese.

The demand for cashew nuts to satisfy vegans, especially for fake cheese, is leading to appalling working conditions for those in the Third World who shell the nuts

Threatened is when vegan fundamentalists and terrorists send pig farmers death threats. Yes the pigs may be reared in inhumane conditions, and yes that should be addressed.

 

Zero waste is a journey we should all be on.

In nature the concept of waste does not exist either in time or space, the output of one process the input to another.

People walking down the street with coffee cup in hand is a fairly recent phenomena, a recent trend.

Taking a KeepCup to Pret a Manger is not an ethical choice.

Pret a Manger was once part owned by McDonald’s, now 100% owned by German Vulture Capitalists. Pret a Manger even before acquisition dodged tax.

Reusable cups address symptoms not the underlying problem of grab it and go, pointless consumerism.

We need to stop buying stuff we do not need. We buy stuff, own it for six months, a temporary pause from extraction, manufacture, then ownwards to incineration or landfill.

More coffee shops need to follow the example set by Napier Quarter, a coffee shop in Australia that has banned takeaway coffee.

Relax in an indie coffee shop with specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic, single origin coffee, direct trade not the FairTrade scam, transparency, traced back to origin to the farm where the coffee was grown and the best ripest reddest coffee cherries picked, the farmers paid for quality, a higher price than the FairTrade price which is a tiny premium above the price for commodity coffee.

It is indie coffee shops that have led the way with direct trade, compostable coffee cups, keepcup and ecoffee bamboo clones on sale, discount if bring in own clean barista friendly cup. They are leading the way serving specialty coffee in glass or ceramic.

Ask what do they do with coffee grounds? Ask they put out in a strong paper carrier bag for gardeners to carry home.

Small Batch in Brighton have an arrangement where coffee grounds are collected by a mushroom grower Espresso Mushroom Company and used to grow oyster mushrooms. The cycle is closed when Small Batch sell the mushroom growing kits.

Shop in zero waste stores, Hisbe in Brighton which recently celebrated five years, Keep in Farnham, a small room above a vegan restaurant which only opened a few weeks ago.

If shop in Waitrose, harangue the staff and management, ask why fresh produce wrapped in plastic, bananas rotting on the shelves, ask are they still in the environmental dark ages? In M&S individual turnips shrink-wrapped in plastic, coconuts with shells hacked off shrink wrapped in plastic.

In Hisbe, all the fresh produce loose, not wrapped in plastic, pick what you want, pop in a paper bag, weigh, label then purchase.

Bad as Waitrose and M&S are for plastic and over packaging, as nothing compared with Hotel Chocolat with their excessive over packaging and obscene use of plastic.

It was not so long ago buying water in a bottle would have seemed a strange choice when it came free at the turn of a tap. Similarly it would have seemed strange to carry milk back from the shop when it was delivered to the door.

I remember being at my grandmother’s when the milk cart passed by early in the morning, I would hear the rattle of the milk bottles, one of the first sounds I would hear of a morning. It may have even been horse drawn.

I also remember how as children we would knock on doors, and ask for their empties, take to the corner shop and claim the deposit.

We recycle stuff, what of people and places?

There are many abandoned and derelict buildings, abandoned land, people thrown on the scrap heap.

ReSpace puts to use empty and abandoned buildings.

The Hive in Dalston hosted conferences, workshops, small businesses, social enterprises, theatre, music.

A derelict shopping centre in Aldershot could have been reused, but no one came forward to take it on.

Nomadic Community Gardens, a spare bit of land, two people toiling away, bringing back into use. They did not ask for volunteers, the community joined in.

Land in London, ethnic communities, amazing variety of vegetables grown.

A large garden, too much work, people who desire a plot to work, join forces, share what is grown.

The system outlined by Dale Vince of Ecotricty for power distribution is neither green nor ethical. No we do not need large lithium-ion batteries, fields covered in solar panels, crops grown for biofuels.  Lithium is scarce, comes from conflict zones.

We should be creating community owned and controlled local area networks, fed by renewables paid a fair price, mandatory for every new build to have solar on the roof, consumers pay a fair price, any surplus generation fed to other local grids via a publicly owned National Grid, any monetary surplus either fed back into the local grid or used to fund local community projects.

Biodigesters on farms can power the farm, feed into their local grid, the residual waste put back on the fields.

The so-called smart meters being rolled out across the country are anything but smart, all they do is provide real time indication of the electricity we are using.

A real smart meter would enable remote switching on and off of low grade usage. For example an immersion heater for hot water could be turned off to help reduce peak demands, with an override switch.  Electric cars can be charged over night to deliver a base load for wind and wave turbines.

We need heat pumps. All new build should have heat pumps.

Imagine an estate powered by one power station. Build a second estate, conventional thinking is we now need a second power station. No, reduce power consumption of existing estate, build second estate to much higher standards, maybe even a net contributor to the local grid, now not only do we not need a second power station, we have surplus generation from the first, or can be replaced with a more efficient power source, which could be an off-shore wind farm.

We need a Green New Deal. We need a soft energy path, where generation is matched to supply.

Dale Vince owns Forest Green Rovers, a football club he has taken from a village side to the Football League with ambitions to go further.

Classed as the greenest football club in the world. The pitch is chemical free, mowed by a solar-powered, GPS-controlled, robot mower. Real Madrid visited to view the pitch.

A new stadium will be built using wood from sustainable sources, solar power on the roof.  Outside the stadium, charging points for electric cars.

Food served is vegan. Fans come from miles around for the food, not because they are vegan, the food is better than typical football club fare.

Jamie Oliver featured the club for veganuary on his Friday Night Feast on Channel 4.

Veganuary was much hyped, yes a big increase, but a big increase on a small number is still a very small number. The real measure, how many stuck to a vegan diet? A mere 16%, a tiny number on an already small number. Butchers reported no loss of business.

A vegan sausage at Greggs was much hyped. Did sales increase because their sausage rolls were so bad? Bad diet, highly processed junk food, a diet rich in highly processed carbohydrates.

Several of the people featured in Om Nom issue 2 have come from what David Graeber would describe as bullshit jobs. The classic bullshit job marketing. Was it these bullshit jobs that was the impetuous to do something different, to add meaning to their lives, to make a difference? What they fail to comprehend is that it can no longer be Businesses as Usual, we cannot draw from businesses, we have to implement radical changes, there is no Planet B.

Do you have to be a vegan to be an activist?

Do you have to be an activist to be a vegan?

What is an activist? What is activism?

Signing an online petition. Joining a protest. Occupying Starbucks. Refusing to cross the threshold of Starbucks or McDonald’s. Blocking access to a fracking site. Supporting local coops. Relaxing in an indie coffee shop serving direct trade specialty coffee served in glass or ceramic. Objecting to obscene use of plastic by supermarkets. Lobbying politicians. Buying fresh produce off local markets, dried goods from zero waste stores. Objecting to McDonald’s trashing a local pub.

Activism takes many forms. And no, do not have to be a vegan to be an activist.

If we look at meat consumption, be it per capita or per country, it has risen. It would appear the richer we are, the more meat we consume, no meat or little meat is seen as a poor person’s diet. This level of meat consumption is not sustainable.

In 1961, global meat consuption 22kg per capita, 2007 40kg per capita.

There is though a large disparity between countries. India 3.2kg per capita, for Brits and Americans, 85.8kg and 125.4kg per capita respectively.

One of the driving factors was in the USA, post WWII, increased production was going to lead to a glut, people were urged to eat more meat.

But the figures are highly misleading. Meat consumption has risen, but only because of the increase in poultry consumption. This is for the last century. If we go back two centuries, meat consumption, red meat consumption, has declined. If we look at the the historical record, red meat consumption was much higher.

We should also note that if we go back to 1900, consumption of vegetable oil was near zero, if we compare with today. The exception being olive oil in Greece.

But even in Greece, use of olive oil does not stretch back into antiquity. The use of olive oil was cosmetic not culinary.

The Mediterranean Diet is recent, conferences in Mediterranean locations, good food, favourable reports, get an invite for next year, all floated on an olive oil industry slush fund.

No food magazine is complete without recipes. Om Nom is no exception and has a handful of recipes scattered throughout its pages.

They say print is dead. Who they are I do not know. Print is not dead.

What is dead is the rubbish we find in the newsagent, the glossy freebies no one wants, vehicles to peddle crap we do not want, an appalling waste of trees.

Quality print, Om Nom, Ambrosia, Standart, Drift, no advertising, is not dead. Nor the outlets, indie coffee shops, Ideas on Paper, Magazine Brighton.

Om Nom is available as a digital copy, the price is too high. It should be set at one pound, maximum two pounds, made available on LeanPub, set own download format.

Also make Om Nom available on Issuu to browse on-line.

Independent Life is an example of a quality print magazine available on Issuu to browse on-line.

The name Om Nom, I have absolutely no idea. I have asked wherever found, and everyone admits they do not know either. It has been suggested it may mimic the sound of eating.

Shanti

January 26, 2019

I tend to avoid any town on a Saturday.

The town was busy, it seemed even busier than when shoppers out Christmas shopping or the January Sales.

Everywhere was packed.

I had intended to eat at Shanti around one, arrived at two.

It too was busy, two spare seats at a table for four.

I was asked to come back in forty-five minutes.

I took a walk up The Strait, Steep Hill and into Bailgate.

I noticed yet another business on Steep Hill closing. No surprise, one of the junk shops that is rarely open,

On the way back down, a chat with Fools on the Hill, fools with a table urging people to support a Second Referendum, only they lack the integrity and honesty to call it a Second Referendum and call it a People’s Vote.  No surprise, entirely clueless the EU and having a hard time gaining any support.

No change at Shanti, but the couple on the table for four about to leave.

To my annoyance told we have to check our bookings.

It was then, ask a group of Indians on a table to move up to create space for me.

Begs the question, why not put me on table where there was room when I first walked in?

Half an hour before a couple of rostis served with a small portion of salad. I was asked vegetarian cheese or vegan cheese? In other words real cheese or fake cheese, fake cheese which actually cannot be called cheese.

A vegetarian cum vegan fake Indian restaurant.

I was looking forward to eating at Shanti, I was very disappointed.

I found it to be very cramped and claustrophobic.

The food was ok not great. Not sure what was dumped on top. It tasted like jam.

I have had a far better dosa off a stall at the Guildford farmers market, and far far better Indian food elsewhere. I have also eaten at far better vegetarian restaurants.

The irony was, I passed Curry Jacks by the river. I would but the fact a cold location, been better off trying their food.

Curry Jacks once a month an evening of their food at Coffee Aroma.

Lincoln Vegan Festival

April 7, 2018

I have to admit, I am no great fan of vegan food, a main dish yes but cakes are always disgusting.

Lincoln Vegan Festival held in the Lincoln Drill Hall.

If nothing else, an opportunity to see inside.

Wonderful ironwork. Shame the building has been partitioned and ruined.

Few food stalls. Most of the stalls were anything but food, animal rights, hunt saboteurs, tea, coffee, candles.

One stall selling vegan sausages. Yuk. Another had some very disgusting looking chips.

The only stall with food worth eating was Indian food. I though had already eaten.

Low environmental standards. Food served on plastic, plastic utensils.

The only stall I found of interest was a tea company from Hull, Leaves of the World,  where I stopped and had an interesting conversation on tea.

As I was leaving, I noticed a coffee stall. At first I assumed it was a roasterie, as prominently displayed a bag of coffee. That would have made sense. But no, it was a pop up coffee shop, Happy Cat Coffee House. I had a cappuccino. It looked disgusting and was not good.  It is not possible to make a decent cappuccino with fake milk. Apart from tasting disgusting, it looks disgusting. And what of the environmental damage caused by soy plantations, one of the main causes of destruction of rain forests? The takeaway cups were compostable or at least some were.  The coffee I poured down the drain.

It was then to Makushi aka Base Camp on Steep Hill where I was guaranteed a decent cup of coffee served in ceramic not a takeaway cup.

It did not happen whilst I was there, apparently the power kept tripping out. Either earth leakage problems or excessive power load.  The organisers claimed this regularly happens at festivals, ask caterers. Not something I have ever experienced.  Ask the caterers may give a clue. Excessive power load if all the caterers hit peak demand simultaneously. It is the norm to have a separate power circuit for cooking equipment due to the excessive load. If the catering equipment is plugged into 13A power circuit this explains a lot, and the system was reacting as designed by cutting out. This is something Lincoln Drill Hall should check. If they are permitting excessive load, they may be invalidating their insurance.

Pimento Tea Rooms

February 4, 2013
Pimento Tea Rooms

Pimento Tea Rooms

Assam tea served in unusual glass spherical tea pot

Assam tea served in unusual glass spherical tea pot

Pimento Tea Rooms is located near the top of Steep Hill in Lincoln. Entry is unusual, you enter through a fashion shop. Well actually a choice of two fashion shops. You enter through the street door, then have a choice between two different fashion shops, each of which leads into the tea rooms.

I commented on this unusual arrangement to the pleasant girl serving. She said she was aware of something similar in Devon. I asked Totnes, but she was not sure.

A large choice of teas, which ironically come from Imperial Teas of Lincoln, which until they relocated across to the other side of the street, used to be located beneath the tea rooms.

I commented on the contrast with the rude old crone across the street. I was told she was actually quite pleasant, but they do not like photos being taken as they are paranoid, they think people are going to steal their business ideas!

The tea rooms consist of a parlour, and two rooms which are more or less one room, with a very tiny open kitchen at the end.

Pimento Tea Rooms was one of the places I had thought of having lunch but I did not want to climb all the way up the hill, only to find it was not to my taste.

The kitchen is vegetarian and vegan, with a few choices gluten free, home made, locally sourced, they can tell you what is in the food, as they make it. A baker comes in and makes their cakes. From what I saw, it looks worth visiting one day for lunch.

Newspapers to read, local newsletters.

On a nearby table, I got chatting to an attractive female who I thought was a waitress writing out menus. No, she was a regular who came in to relax and read a book. She was writing out 40 invites for a kids party. I suggested BookCrossing. Both her and the girl who was serving thought an excellent idea.

I ordered tea. Assam tea, a blend of three different teas. It was served in a very unusual tea pot, glass, almost spherical. I was given precise instructions, to operate a lever to withdrew the tea. I lost track of time and forget how long, but I think it was four minutes.

My new found friend on the adjacent table said she operates the lever after a minute, unless I like my tea strong. I do not, I prefer it weak, and so I operated the lever.

It was excellent tea.

I had intended to have a cake, but had a large lunch, and I noticed it was already 3-30am and I was not going to make the market down in town as everything in Sincil Street seemed to shut at four o’clock.

My new found friend suggested I tried The Shed in Bailgate. I not heard of or seen. She told me to walk through a shop and it was out the back. The Shed was my next port of call. I popped in the butcher first and he confirmed The Shed.

Pimento Tea Rooms is well worth the climb up The Strait and Steep Hill.

Synchronicity: My new found friend was from where I live!

St Ann’s Well Café to close

April 24, 2010
St Ann's Well, Malvern Hills - Steve Luttrell

St Ann's Well, Malvern Hills - Steve Luttrell

After 20 years, St Ann’s Well Café in the Malvern Hills is due to close.

After 20 years, John Redman, who owns the now expired lease and runs the quirky vegetarian café, is to be evicted by an unaccountable quango and the café turned into a tourist information centre.

St Ann’s Well is set on the slopes of the Malvern Hills above Great Malvern, with commanding views over the Severn flood plain. The building dates back to 1815 and houses an elaborately carved water spout from which Malvern Water flows. It also houses the St Ann’s Well Café. The well is conveniently sited on a path leading up to the Worcestershire Beacon.

St Ann is the maternal mother of Jesus and the patron saint of many wells.

The water from the well is believed to have healing powers.

Out of thy famous Hille
There daily springeth
A water passing still
That always bringeth
Great comfort to alle them
That are diseased men
And makes them well again
So Prayse the Lord!

A plaque above the water spout celebrates the water.

Drink of this crystal fountain
And praise the loving Lord
Who from the rocky mountain
This living stream out-poured
Fit emblem of Holy Fount
That flows from God’s eternal mount

The café provides a fare of vegan and vegetarian meals, teas, snacks, a selection of scrumptious cakes and you can also fill your glass with water fresh from the spring.

This is not the first time the unaccountable quango otherwise known as the Malvern Hills Conservators has found itself embroiled in controversy. In 1963 they made the decision to demolish the “lump of Victoriana” known as St Ann’s Well. John Betjeman, poet and founding member of the The Victorian Society expressed concern about the plans for the building and his support and strong public feeling for St Ann’s Well convinced the Conservators to change their minds.

The café has acquired something of a New Age cum hippy reputation, which may be why the Conservators are determined to close it down.

Two ley lines pass through the café. Nigel Kennedy has used the octagonal room for a recording.

In a world of corporate conformity, we need quirky little places like St Ann’s Well Café.

The supporters of the café do not intend to give up without a fight. A support group has been formed on facebook and an on-line petition launched which all are encouraged to sign.

websites

St Ann’s Well Café
Save St Ann’s Well…!!!

also see

The Alchemist