Friday, 20 November 2015

Ne'er the twain shall meet

My train buddy from across the rails was bemoaning the fact that her neighbourhood watch meeting was discussing the prospect that her little corner of Worcester Park Old Malden was going to be adopted into the London Borough of Sutton at some point in the future.

"I don't want to live in SUTTON" she fumed.
"It's not even a ROYAL borough" she raged in a slightly suppressed commuter-ish way.

She did admit that the Council Tax was likely to be less but her opinion was that if you move into a borough on purpose then it's a bit underhand for some distant committee to take that away from you if it affects things such as services and perhaps the choice of schools, a big issue for secondary schools in Worcester Park.

Some Googling led me back to a Sutton Guardian article from 2012 which said that:
"The commission has also proposed changes to the Sutton and Cheam constituency which would include St James and Old Malden wards.Local MP, Paul Burstow, said: "The new proposals add Old Malden and St James from the Kingston and Surbiton Constituency of Lib Dem MP Ed Davey.
"In practice these proposals are not going ahead but if they did they are unlikely to dramatically change the political balance in the seat."
Looking at the Boundary Commission website suggests that in 2013 the review was put back until 2018
"A new law in 2011 set the timing of reviews of all constituencies to take place at fixed five year intervals, whilst also removing the ability of the Commission to undertake interim reviews. Although the first review under these new arrangements began in early 2011, Parliament postponed that review in 2013 for five years.
So it looks like my friend may have some time to wait before anything happens but it left me wondering whether Sutton is really so bad and whether being in a Royal borough is as good as it's made out to be.

Any opinions gratefully accepted, even if they're indignant and outraged ones.

P.S. Blogger is telling me this is my 500th post! Yay! Go me! There may, or may not, be cake, dancing girls and Justin Bieber...

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

New Christmas Lights in Worcester Park

As I strolled down Central Road on the way to the station this morning the undeniably eye-catching new Christmas decorations on the lampposts... erm... caught my eye. I'm presuming they were put up last night as I have no recollection of noticing them on the way home yesterday and whilst I may have been displaying almost terminal levels of inattentiveness I would have remembered them if I'd seen them.

The first thing I noticed was just how big they are, particularly in contrast to the petite ones of previous years (shown below), and the second thing is just how low they are to the pavement! I'd guess at 10 feet tops but possibly 8?

Now I'm not suggesting this for a moment but given how low they are I'd be quite prepared to put a bet on
at one of Central Road's various gambling establishments that by the time New Year rolls around some over-lubricated reveller with have attempted to swing from one, with potentially disastrous results.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

7/7 recollections of an adopted Londoner

What I've reproduced below is part of a longer post that you can find over here and was written back in 2007 by Worcester Park resident and American ex-pat The Noble Savage and is equally, make that particularly, relevant today.

If you're going to spend some time in silence today then reading this would be a fitting way to spend it.

Please feel free to add your own stories in the comments

"I was in central London the day the July 7 bombings happened. I pulled up to the train station and was told the Underground was shut. There were rumours of a fire. I called my boss to tell him I’d be late and asked him which bus would take me from Westminster Bridge to Oxford Street. I began walking to the bus stop when my phone rang and my boss was saying not to get a bus as there’d been reports of an explosion on one. He told me to stay away from tourist attractions and government buildings. He tells me this as I stood on Westminster Bridge. If I were one to freak out, I probably would’ve thrown myself from the bridge into the Thames right then and there. Amidst all the chaos and confusion, as I fought to stand still in a stream of people pushing forward, scurrying in all directions and at a loss as to what to do or where they should go, I made a decision. I would go on. So I began walking.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Police Request Help Finding Missing Girl

Just received this email from the Met Police asking for help

Police are appealing for assistance in tracing a 15-year-old girl who has been missing since Friday, 10 April.
Lauren Chandler went missing from an address in Orpington but is originally from Sutton. She is also known to frequent Bromley, Croydon, Lewisham and Wandsworth.
Lauren is described as about 5ft 4in tall, of skinny build, with mousy blonde hair and pale complexion.
She is not believed to have a phone, Oyster Card or have access to money.
If you see Lauren please contact police immediately on 101 quoting ref no: 15MIS012210. Any information can also be passed anonymously to the missing people charity on 116000.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Random Dumped Stuff - pt 2

One more for @lbsuttonnews
On my daily walk from Brinkster Central down Central Road to the station yesterday morning I found this box and pile of clothes strewn around the pavement. I don't know if this was a charity donation that had been hijacked by someone or was just dumped there though my feeling is that it's more likely to be the former (if people want to dump their rubbish experience suggests that they do at the top of Washington Road). Either way it's fairly depressing but I was cheered by the knowledge that the LB Sutton street cleaner makes his way down Central Road at roughly the same time that I do so was confident that it would soon be taken care of.

Is it me or does the problem of dumping seem to be getting worse? If you've seen anything dumped tweet me a pic to @brinkleyroad with with the hashtag #dumpedstuff

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Bailliffs Move In On Kingfish

Unfortunately it looks as though Kingfish has felt the impact of the financial downturn and competition on Central Road as there are notices in the windows to say that the property has been repossessed. According to the notes in the window the landlord had his bailiffs enter the property yesterday and secure it so it really does look like it's all over for Kingfish.

With Nefi's across the road open longer hours plus all of the other restaurants and take-aways in Worcester Park it probably was going to be a challenge to maintain a restaurant that only provided a conventional fish and chip menu but Kingfish has been more than just a restaurant to Worcester Park in that it's pretty much the first thing you see on Central Road when you come under the bridge due to its prominent location and obvious signage.

I'm definitely sad as it's been a regular spot for me when I've been on the way home late from the station or when Brinkster Minor was on the way back from football practice so he'll also be upset that it's gone.

Let's hope that we get something good there quickly as it's such a prime spot.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Kate Bush - opening night review *SPOILERS*

Last night was the opening night of Kate Bush's long awaited return to the stage with a 22 night run of shows in London under the banner of "Before The Dawn". The UK news outlets have been falling over themselves to provide previews, reviews and opinion in the run up to the event and they'd even made big news of her requests for the audience not to take photos during the show. If you are going to one of the shows then I'd strongly suggest that you stop reading now as everything from here onwards is going to be full of spoilers and, believe me, that will detract from the occasion. If, however, you're one of the several billion people in the world who didn't get tickets for the show and want to know what happened and what I thought of it then read on.

Arriving at the venue the sense of anticipation and excitement was immense as it was such a unique experience to be present at the first night of her return to the stage in 35 years. A mass of TV crews were interviewing people as they went in, and some were still there when we came out to get first reactions. Due to the tight ticketing controls touts were conspicuous by their absence which is something that I was pleased to see.

Inside the venue there was a buzz of anticipation building towards showtime and when the house lights finally darkened and the voiceover to "Lily" began there was a huge roar which only increased in volume when a barefoot Kate Bush made her way onto the stage. The set began with what most people would consider a conventional opening to the show as they moved from "Lily" into "Hounds of Love" followed by a mellow rendition of "Joanni", a rapturously received "Running Up That Hill" then "Top of the City" and "King of the Mountain". Her every move was cheered and clapped as the fans lapped up the tight delivery from both singer and band. Then it all kicked up several gears as she revealed her love for mixing music and theatre with a complete performance of "The Ninth Wave" accompanied by impressive staging, amazing lighting and even a simulated rescue helicopter descending from the ceiling with some surround sound effects thrown in to finish the first half. That whole section was very evocative and moving and I have to say that my eyes moistened at points as the combination of music and drama hit home.

After the interval Kate went through a complete performance of "A Sky of Honey" from "Aerials" in front of a whole new staging with more impressive lighting and projection of sky scenes, woods and birds in flight. Once
that reached its surprising and spectacular climax it was encore time with Kate sat at the piano for "Among Angels" with the band rejoining her to close with "Cloudbusting".

The first half became a giddy and immersive experience like nothing I've ever known at a gig before and the delivery of "The Ninth Wave" was so spot on that it couldn't be faulted. A couple of songs into the show Kate had stopped for a moment to thank her son Bertie, who was also on stage, and the lighting designer Mark Henderson and during "Ninth Wave" it became entirely clear why Mark was so important as his impressive contribution completed Kate's musical vision to produce a breathtaking piece which I won't forget.

The second half was a more measured affair and "A Sky of Honey" is a much more mellow piece and while "Ninth Wave" had grabbed the audience and propelled them through the experience "Honey" was much more of an
invitation to follow Kate into the world that she'd created, again with impressive staging and lighting plus an enormous painters canvas on stage which changed to follow the changing stage backdrop under the painter's
guidance while the main character was a wooden puppet propelled around stage by a man in black. If you know "A Sky of Honey" you'll know what it's like and it might not have been everybody's first choice for a show piece but it reached a massive climax with the wooden puppet casting off its puppeteer and making its own way around the stage finishing with Kate being transformed into a black bird and lifted into the air to the collective gasps of the audience. Another brilliant moment.

Her encore of "Among Angels" from "50 Words For Snow" was sensitively delivered and after an oblique intro the crowd went insane when it resolved itself into "Cloudbusting".

Interestingly for me the public request to refrain from taking photos was widely kept and much of the set was played to a silent and spellbound audience who were entirely capable of being vocal and loud when the opportunity presented itself. It was a massive contrast to some of the chatty audiences I've seen of late and an indicator of just how engaged everyone was in the experience.

It's almost impossible to pull off a perfect show and this one's no exception so while the first half was as close to perfection as you're ever likely to get the second half seemed slow at points and I was left wondering whether the two theatrical pieces would have been better off the other way round as "Ninth Wave" seemed so much stronger. Also a number of big songs were missing with no "Wuthering Heights", "Babooshka" or "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" and after she closed with "Cloudbusting" there was audible disappointment
from the audience around me though it was hard to gauge whether that was just because the show was over or partly because of those missing hits. Perhaps she wanted to not rely on the old classics by presenting material for the more dedicated fans or maybe she felt her voice couldn't do them justice as I thought that her voice did weaken in "Among Angels" and at a couple of other points though it was utterly flawless the rest of the time.

Those niggles aside it was an utterly memorable night and the faithful from the church of St Kate will be thoroughly reinforced in their devotion. While it came up a little short of perfection for me I have to say that I'd go back every night if I had the choice. It's that good.

Hounds of Love
Running Up That Hill
Top of the City
King of the Mountain

[The Ninth Wave]
And Dream of Sheep
Under Ice
Waking the Witch
Watching You Without Me
Jig of Life
Hello Earth
The Morning Fog

[A Sky of Honey]
An Architect’s Dream
The Painter’s Link
Aerial Tal
Somewhere in Between

Among Angels

Friday, 22 August 2014

They painted it to match the clouds

On my way to the station yesterday morning my attention was drawn from my Kate Bush playlist (I have tickets for opening night on Tuesday! Oh yes!!!) to the railway bridge at Worcester Park station. Wait? Didn't it used to be covered in graffiti and crap or am I just imagining that? Maybe they did it months ago and I've only just noticed!

Apparently not. As the Sutton Guardian proudly trumpeted later in the day Network Rail has taken advantage of the roadworks disruption to paint the bridge an approved shade of regulation grey. Whether this is a demonstrable example of where our increased train fares go or a subtle attempt at government sponsored mind control wasn't mentioned. If it enhances the pervasive sense of calm around Worcester Park station then we'll know it's the latter.

In other news partner blog Richmond Transits reported on some eye-watering behaviour from their local Papa Johns
We witnessed a pretty shocking behaviour from pizza delivery firm Papa John today. After one of its delivery man was knocked off, it sent another employee to collect its pizza's, leaving his colleague behind as he was being attended by three ambulance crew.
Grammatical error aside I'd be pretty miffed if I was the injured delivery driver left at the side of the road by a company prioritising product over people, although on reflection I would rather be treated and comforted by three trained medical professionals than one of my colleagues. I'd be interested whether that would be the case if the accident happened in Worcester Park...