Monday, 28 May 2007

Non-WP related

On Friday I took myself off to Dorking to see Derren Brown doing his thing. Having never been to Dorking Halls before I was pleasantly surprised by the place, though it's definitely not the West End, as there was a nice bar and it had obviously been fairly recently done up. On reaching my seat up in row 'U' the young man on the seat next to me helped my solve that lifelong mystery as to where all the pies went, which did cloud my opinion somewhat of the accomodation but didn't detract from the night's entertainment.

I have seen most of his TV shows but I've never been to any kind of magic show before so wasn't quite sure what to expect but without wanting to give anything away it was fabulous. It was several steps away from the fairly intense TV character (unless you've seen "The Gathering" ) and the show had a wicked sense of humour to it, which I would be singularly unable to effectively communicate here so won't.

I couldn't pick out a 'best bit' as there were so many and I left with my gast well and truely flabbered so would be happy to recommend the show to pretty much anyone (vicars, spiritualists and people who can't tolerate swearing aside). I'm even considering picking up a vastly overpriced ticket from eBay so I can go again. His latest TV series has just finished but if you know what a 'torrent' is then there's a wealth of material to be had and his book's on for the bargain price of £6.

I'm not around until next weekend so if you pick up any Worcester Park news then please do post it

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Bikehut again, and another charity shop

Here's the advert for the Deputy Manager job at Bikehut which was posted last night, perhaps a tacit admission that their recruitment open day in Putney didn't work as hoped.
I was depressed to note last night on my homeward trudge up Central Road that the former Thomson travel agency is going to be a charity shop. Regular readers will know just how much I love charity shops. I know they make valuable money for their respective charities but I'd just like some decent businesses on Central Road...... is that really too much to hope for??
In case you're even vaugely interested, my chosen train-reading-fodder of the moment is Frank Skinner's autobiography of a few years back. I originally had a copy when it came out but got lent around and never came back so I was pleased to find a hardback copy for a quid at the Beddington Wildlife Hospital open day recently (Brinkster Clan outing). I also turned up a 1987 US edition of Peter Wright's 'Spycatcher', which has already fed my commuting brain. It's a great book, though I'd recommend keeping a pinch of salt to hand......

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The_Parkerilla posted something in the guestbook yesterday which I thought I'd move over here as it's very relevant local news. I'll be going past there this evening so will take a look and see if I can glean any clues. If any of you hear anything more then do comment to let us know. Thanks Parkerilla!


Hi Brinkster,

thought I'd drop you a line rather than post a comment as this is a news item rather than a response to a news item so its for you to post and expand or not as you think fit.

On the front window of the old M & S store next door to the Huntsman's has been posted an advert for staff vacancies for a new shop called Bikehut. I cant be certain but I presume from that that the M&S is going to be a bike shop called that.

I looked on the internet and Bikehut is a name for stores owned by Halfords but for bikes and bike stuff only and there are only a few select branches in very "smart" trendy places like Brighton and Putney. In fact from memory I think Brighton and Putney are the only ones.

Assuming the evidence leads to the above conclusion and I'm 99 % sure it does the questions are-

Almost directly opposite at what I think must be Ryan Gate now about 3 or 4 years ago a bike shop opened which was crammed with bikes and I went in there to have a browse as I was thinking of getting a one and the staff were incredibly friendly and highly professional/enthusiastic and really trying to make a go of the place. About a year to 18 months from opening the bikes were gone and a court order for reoccupation for non payment of rent was nailed to the front door, or in these days of glass frontages sellotaped to the glass.

So how will Bikehut do better, bearing in mind they have the added rental costs of an upper floor which will about double the rent compared with the old bike shop across the road plus the rent on the parking area to the front which will presumably be used by hard-core biking enthusiasts who have come to buy their supplies by!

If Halfords are planning to get the customers in by a marketing campaign which brings in people from all over London and the South East, why not attract them to the existing Putney outlet?

We wait and see.



Wednesday, 16 May 2007


Who couldn't fail to find interest in a blog that has entries that start like this:
"Remembered on the way to Cheam about the Sudeten Germans, between 2 and 3m of whom were expelled from what was then Czechoslovakia after the second world war."

I can't say that's sprung to my mind when I've been going in to Cheam, but more here:

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Instant death

I thought I'd recount an anecdote from the other Saturday when the Brinkster Clan were returning from shopping on the Purley Way (Croydon, for the uninitiated).

Driving back across Mitcham Common traffic was moving very slowly in stops and starts for no readily apparent reason. Normally it's not too bad so this was unusual but eventually it stopped entirely. I could see about 5 cars in front of me but then my view was blocked by a white transit so we waited and waited. After about 3 or 4 minutes of not moving I edged the car out and saw that in front of the Transit was entirely clear road. Huh? A couple of others behind me noticed it too and we pulled out and whizzed past the other sheeple still queuing patiently.

It was as we passed the transit that we noticed that the driver was slumped over the steering wheel, held up by his seatbelt, so I quickly pulled over to the side and ran back to see what was happening. As I got to the drivers door he was still slumped down and I could see his face looked pretty grey so I banged on the driver's door window to see if I could get a response. To my (and his) great surprise he sat bolt upright, staring at me in complete shock with his bloodshot eyes wide with fright. He turned and looked at the empty road in front of him, threw it into gear and drove off.

I can only assume that because of the slow moving traffic he'd dropped off to sleep.... which was a lot easier to explain to the Clan than about him dropping dead. Almost gave me a heart attack though.

Thursday, 10 May 2007


On Tuesday Mrs Brinkster and her cohorts descended on Caffe Picollo and had avery nice evening .They do now have their alcohol licence so free booze is off, but Mrs Brinkster enjoyed it and helpfully it's not too far for her to stagger home. The one and only gripe I've heard is that there's a lot of background noise in there so if that bothers you then you might think twice at busy times.

To give credit to our neighbouring hamlet, North Cheam, they do have an enjoyable little TexMex called "El Desperado" which I've been to a couple of times and had fun and good food. Does anybody else remember Smittys? It was a quirky little TexMex on Central Road where Rumours is now towards the top of the hill and we often used to cross the A3 from deepest New Malden for a quiet meal there ..... too quiet to keep the money coming in perhaps..... I do miss Smittys.

I'll be deserting Worcester Park on Saturday for the delights of the Rio Cultural Festival in Kingston so I'll let you know if anything much happens, unless you happen to be at a loose end and fancy turning up!

Lastly, a big welcome to "The_Parkerilla" and "Andrew" who've made their mark in the comments and guestbook respectively. I'd heartily suggest you take a trawl through some of the latest comments and add your own, as you feel inspired! :)

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Worcester Park's pre-raphaelite past

From here, italics mine:
Near Kingston, and close to the home of his friends the Lemprières, is a sweet little river called the Ewell, which flows into the Thames. Here, under sonic willows by the side of a hayfield, the artist found a spot that was in every way suitable for tile background of his picture, in the month of July, when the river flowers and water-weeds were in full bloom. Having selected his site, the next thing was to obtain lodgings within easy distance, and these lie secured in a cottage near Kingston, with his friend Holman Hunt as a companion. They were not there very long', however, for presently came into the neighbourhood two other members of the Pre- Raphaelite fraternity, bent on working together ; and, uniting with them, the two moved into Worcester Park Farm, where an old garden wall happily served as a background for the " Huguenot," at which Millais could now work alternately with tile " Ophelia."

It was a jolly bachelor party that now assembled in the farmhouse -Holman Hunt, Charlie Collins, William and John Millais-_all determined to work ill earnest ; Holman Hunt on his famous " Light of the World" and " The Hireling Shepherd," Charlie Collins at a background, William Millais on water-colour landscapes, arid my father on the backgrounds for, the two pictures he had then in hand.

From ten in the morning till dark the artists saw little of each other, but when the evenings "brought all things home" they assembled to talk deeply on Art, drink strong tea, and discuss and criticise each other's pictures.

Fortunately a record of these interesting days is preserved to us in Millais' letters to Mr. and Mrs. Combe, and his diary-the only one he ever kept-which was written at this time, and retained by my uncle William, who has kindly placed it at my disposal. here are sonic of his letters-the first of which I would commend to the attention of Max Nordau, referring' as it does to Ruskin, whom Millais met for tile first time in the slimmer of this year. It was written from the~ cottage near Kingston before Millais and Hunt removed to Worcester Park Farm.

For those interested the "Huguenot" picture referred to can be found here, the wall in the picture being that of Worcester Park Farm (you can tell can't you). If you follow the original link there are more WP references. Don't say I don't spoil you!

Friday, 4 May 2007

Guardian comment

I came over all cross and grumpy when I read on the local Guardian website about how Sutton Council's going to spend £250,000 on Sutton High Street so I commented.

The secret of their success

It does seem like Caffe Picollo has been doing a roaring trade since it opened and perhaps above expectations, certainly mine, as I've noted before . A cohort of Mrs Brinkster went in to eat at Caffe Picollo on Wednesday and reports that she got a complimentary glass of wine on arrival..... nice. The second glass of wine also failed to show up on the bill....... bonus!!

Apparently, as they haven't had their alcohol licence through yet they can't actually sell the stuff, so they're giving it away. If that's true then I'd recommend you get your skates on ASAP before the licence comes through!

Thursday, 3 May 2007


Apparently there was an assault in "A Worcester Park tailor's" at 6.45am last Thursday. I didn't see anything, though it was around the time that I was going to the station for the 6.56. Judging by the age of the victim (65) and the description of it being a tailor's I'm guessing it's the shop on the right of this photo, as they're closing down due to retirement, but I'd be interested to find out for sure. If anyone has an info the original link has the contact details for the police.

Worcester Park is generally a quiet place, which is why this counts as big news, but it'd be nice not to have this kind of stuff happen at all. That probably qualifies me to be Squadron Leader of the 1st Worcester Park Flying Pigs but hey.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Digital Plaza

Somehow I managed to entirely let the closure of Digital Plaza pass me by. For those new to the Worcester Park scene Digital Plaza was down by Boots and was a Korean techie store with computer bits, mp3 players, printers, etc. In similar fashion to Mr Ink and Worcester Supermarket I never seemed to see anybody in there, and the proprietor soon realised this and seemed to have put his wife in there to look after the place, with a sideline of selling jewellery (or trying to). On one occasion they did sport a collection of photos in the window from their CCTV of local youths they suspected of pilfering from their shop, but they disappeared after a week or so, probably at the behest of the local bobbies. Entertaining though.

Despite the complete lack of customers it was absorbed into the scenery of Worcester Park until a couple of weeks ago when I noticed on my way home from work that the shutters were down when I'd have thought they should be up. Last week they stripped the place out and yesterday the shutters were up, showing that it had been emptied.

They were never going to compete with Megabytes on the computer front and their prices never seemed that good for the other stuff so I'm not entirely surprised. Lastly, their website's been hacked but I'm not going to link to it here as visiting hacked websites isn't recommended, but the locals among you can read the website address on their shopfront if you're that way inclined.

On a different note I've been pleased to see how much trade the new Caffe Picollo is doing. It seems to have people in there pretty much all day long, which is good news!