Posts Tagged ‘Winchester Christmas market’

Winchester Cathedral Christmas Market

December 9, 2021

I did not know if the Christmas Market was taking place, no signs in the city centre.

A pale shadow of previous years, few visitors due to the rain, no ice skating rink which was the central attraction. Where the ice rink would have been now occupied by junk food stalls.

Half way round, my paper bag carrying goodies from General Store and Coffee Lab Academy disintegrated. I am very grateful for a stall holder who came to my rescue.

Bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Salcombe Dairy. Award winning? Worthless Great Taste Award. Most of the chocolate adulterated with additives. Was not aware of a bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Winchester, Winchester Cocoa Company, on sale in General Store. Tried to bullshit me Fairtrade anything more than a scam.

A chat with a stallholder. I said I did not wish to buy anything. He said that was OK, he had had no one to talk to for the last half an hour and was glad to have someone to talk to. He said few stalls because only at the last minute had it been decided to hold the market, stall holders could not buy stock in time. He did not think the ice rink would come back, He said although fewer visitors he was seeing sales up by 30%, his best year of trading He put it down to fewer visitors meant people had time to stop at his stall, and could actually get to his stall. He said with the ice rink people did not buy anything as wished to go skating and were not able to carry anything. He also said his sales may be up due to no Christmas market last year.

Infantile behaviour by local council, no signs permitted for the Christmas market, not their market.

Winchester Christmas Market puts to shame the Lincoln Christmas Market, tat and junk food.

Cold afternoon in Winchester

December 12, 2018

The day started off cold and misty. Mist went but it remained very cold.

Nightmare getting down to Winchester.

Train to Alton running late. I miss the bus at Alton. I then miss the next bus sitting itn the Alton Staion Cafe. I almost miss the following bus, stopping off at Alton Books,

I pass by Coffee Cherry, note it is empty. I cannot see it surviving.

Bus gets into Winchester late.

I finally arrives in Winchester at a quarter to four.

Too cold for street food, too late to eat anywhere, I have a pizza in the street.

Chat with cheesemonger, buy some cheese.

Head off down to Flat Whites. Too late for a coffee. I stay and chat in the warm whilst closing. Then someone calls in and has a V60. I too get a V60.

Guest coffee this month Assembly. They won coffee roasting campionship this year for UK. I have tried their excellent coffee before at Kiosk in York.

I head to City Square. They are closing earlier and earlier. I did not know they were closing at eight. It is now six. Though six is reasonable for winter. Hopefully they will stay open later in the summer when it is pleasant to sit outside.

They have a reusable coffee cup Polū I have never heard of. Sustainable bamboo, or claimed to be, clone of ecoffee cup. Maybe ecoffee cup under a different name, or maybe, as this is the second copy I have come across, the other in Robert Dyas, one manufacturer different branding.

I wander to the Christmas Market. No one about, apart from the ice skating rink.

I have a chat with the guy with Comte cheese. He offers me a slice for £3-00. Er, no. I will buy from King’s Cross.

Next shed fake Cheddar encased on wax. No thanks.

Christmas market packing up at 6030. I have time to catch 1850 bus. I arrive to see it leaving at 1845. I check timetable. Throughout the day, xx20 and xx50. Showing 1845, next bus 1930.

I decide to go for a walk along the river and around the back streets, back through now deserted Christmas market. Very dark.

I catch the bus. I ask driver when did timetable change? He says early in the year. I am baffled when he says bus should have left at 1920, and I was lucky to catch, only leaving late because a kid has wrong ticket.

I go and check timetable. I had been looking at wrong timetable, but the reason I thought correct, shows bus leaving at 1845. Thus bus left as I originally thought, five minutes early.

What has changed, where late bus used to leave hourly at xx50, now hourly at xx20.

Something going very wrong.

Old bus, double-decker no wifi, no usb charging ports. Usually late bus new single-decker with wifi and usb charging ports. I assume they use these new buses as more fuel efficient.

At Alton, not train until 2044.

I pop in Waitrose. Even by the low standards of Waitrose shocking the amount of rotting bananas on the shelves. And no excuses as someone had stuck pitiful reductions on the rotting bananas.

I raise with two members of staff. Greeted by total indifference.

The fresh produce only reduced by pence. Store about to close. Will then be thrown away.

When I alight from train, fifteen minutes wait for a bus.

I finally arrive home a little before ten.

Winchester Christmas market

December 16, 2015

River Itchen

River Itchen

A trip to Winchester for the Christmas market.

Bus to Aldershot, train to Alton, bus to Winchester.

I missed the train at Aldershot.

Alton to Winchester, raining. Awful driver, that and the engine noise.  I got off last stop before the Bus Station, and walked down into the town centre. Luckily not raining.

Wednesday is street food market.  Very poor fare compared with South Bank street food market, though there are exceptions. It also seems to have shrunk unless, they have squashed all the stalls together the bottom end of the town centre.

Environmental standards are also very low. If South Bank street food market can have high standards why not Winchester?

Jimmy Bean was one of the exceptions, there is little he does not know about coffee, but as I learnt on my last visit, no more. Now Savage and Bean. Even the trademark battered old Citroen van has gone.

On the stall, three very unappetising looking burger style buns advertising their wares. Er, no thanks.

Up and down, where to eat?

The Italian Table

The Italian Table

I settled on The Italian Table, Parma ham, rocket, tomato and Mozzarella cheese. It was almost as good as when Jimmy Bean did food to go with the  coffee, and considerably better than that offered by the Savage half of Savage and Bean.

I also like there is no food waste. All their surplus food is taken back up to London and taken to a cafe that is open all night.

Other stalls worth visiting, the bread stall and the cheese stall.

Flat Whites

Flat Whites

In what was Jimmy Bean’s old pitch, Flat Whites, another van serving coffee and cakes (and soup).  I had a flapjack and a cappuccino.  The cappuccino excellent, a close second to Jimmy Bean, and that is praise indeed.  The flapjack excellent too. The stall was very busy. Trade that in the past Jimmy Bean would have picked up.

In the bank, what did they know of bitcoin? Nada.

A few street musicians.

An amazing boy, all on his own, playing a violin. A jazz trio.

Winchester Christmas market

Winchester Christmas market

Now dark it was off to the Christmas market.

A grave disappointment. Last year bitterly cold, and yet a buzz and excitement. This year almost deserted and no atmosphere at all.

An ice ring, with skating through pools of water, the ice melting.

I walked through to P&G Wells, to say Hi, and wish them a Merry Christmas, and to say sorry I never made it to pick up Change Everything.  I had a copy, gave it away, learnt they had a second copy, but it was out on loan at a exhibition on my last visit.

Last weekend, I found a book on Bitcoin in Waterstone’s Farnham. Can I find it anywhere? No. Not in Waterstone’s Guildford, Waterstone’s Winchester or P&G Wells. Problem is, I do not know what I am looking for.

Walking through the Christmas market on my way to P&G Wells, I noticed a few of the stalls were already packing up. On my way back, nearly all had closed. I guess they decided lack of business, no point in remaining open.

The mistake the Christmas market is making, it is spread over far too long a time period. It has been there since sometime in November.  Ten days, two weeks maximum, in December would concentrate people into a shorter time frame and enhance the atmosphere.

Bus back at 1820. Wifi on bus not working. Can connect to wifi, but wifi is not connecting to anything.  Stagecoach are making false or at least misleading claims wifi on their buses when it does not connect to anything.

O'Connor's Secret Garden

O’Connor’s Secret Garden

On my way back, I alighted off the bus, walked through Alton, to eat at O’Connor’s Secret Garden.

I knew what I wanted. Peter welcomed me in. We do not  have pork medallions on the menu, but we can do for you.

Why did I have two menus? One was a Christmas menu.  I was going to have steak. The Christmas menu was cheaper than having steak. I decided on the Christmas menu. A mistake, as not very good. Unusual, as food usually excellent.

Walking to the station, I found the Station Cafe open. Not last Wednesday of the month, not Bikers Night, no bikes outside. I popped in. It was a Christmas meal for the bikers. They had turned up by car.

Train laves three minutes late due to late arrival of incoming train (single track line).  I only have a couple of minutes leeway to catch bus, even when on time. Luckily train makes up time, have a minute to spare, make bus as it is leaving, otherwise half an hour wait for the next bus.

Cold afternoon in Winchester

December 19, 2014

Once again a ruined afternoon trip to Winchester thanks to dysfunctional public transport.

I make the train to Alton with five minutes to spare. It is running two minutes late, miss bus from Alton as it is timed to leave at the same time as train arrives, so miss the bus, next bus fails to turn up, bus after that 5-10 minutes late. Over an hour wait in the freezing cold. Unable to see out of the bus as the windows are filthy. Bus is freezing cold, no heating. Arrive in Winchester well over an hour later than planned, now very cold.

Whilst waiting for the bus, I have a chat with the charming girl who works in the Station Cafe. I see Tuesday, they had a Christmas dinner. It was probably good, as their food is good. I give her a signed copy of Monsters as an early Christmas present. She is over the moon.

I was looking forward to a burger off New Forest Steak Burger stall. He has sold out and is packing up.

I am cold and hungry, chilled to the bone, so cold I am shivering with cold.

candle lit lunch by Jimmy Bean

candle lit lunch by Jimmy Bean

Candle lit lunch by Jimmy Bean, hotted up sausage roll, tomato and basil soup, followed by a cappuccino.

Jimmy Bean serves the soup in a recyclable, compostable paper cup with a lid. If he can do it, why not everyone? And not even from special suppliers, easily obtainable from catering suppliers. He said cup product of Compost Me.

Winchester Cathedral

Winchester Cathedral

High Street packed. Loads of people heading towards Winchester Cathedral.

Jimmy Beans says Christmas market well worth a visit.

I head that way.

Christmas market

Christmas market

He is right, large sheds, lots of variety, and mainly not tat. And an ice ring.

A festival atmosphere. A cross between carnival in Puerto de la Cruz and a street market.

A pop up cafe. I have a hot dog. It is not a hot dog so why call it a hot dog? It is a sausage in a roll with onions. The sausage is disgusting, the onions disgusting.

I just make six o’clock bus. Windows filthy, impossible to see out. As going down, a new bus. Or should I say a newer new bus, as they are new double-deckers on this route, not the clapped-out, fit-for-scrapyard double-deckers Stagecoach run elsewhere. The main difference, is two seats at the front replacing the luggage rack. Luggage rack now a tiny space behind the two seats. Totally inadequate for a fold up buggy, if space has to be vacated for a wheelchair. The other difference is the lighting. Far too bright.

I deicide to read This Changes Everything on Nexus 7, but not ideal, feel travel sick. I find there is wifi, only does not connect to anything. This is common on Stagecoach buses with wifi. Does not connect to anything. Nothing to say bus has wifi.

At Aldershot, no bus, twenty minutes wait in the cold for the next bus.

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