Sunday, 28 December 2008

Weather Alert!

I was somewhat disturbed yesterday to read Metcheck's prediction for Saturday's weather:

They seem to have changed their collective minds this morning but I did spend a minute wondering how weather like that would change the Worcester Park scenery.

I hope you all survived, or even enjoyed, Christmas!?!? We went off to "Narfuk" for a bit of relative-spotting but have been happy to return to the relative sanity of Worcester Park... Much happen while we were away?

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Bah humbug

Apparently the spirit of Christmas has deserted Waitrose car park this morning with people hooting and shouting at each other as they vie for the handful of parking spaces. If we see the police helicopter circling overhead and taste the tang of tear-gas in the air we'll know it's got out of hand.

They're probably from Banstead...

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Neighbourly spirits

We had a lovely evening in the distinguished and delightful company of some of our friends and neighbours last night, who came round to celebrate the Christmas season and the end of our recent decorating by drinking bubbly (or an appropriate alcohol-free beverage) and consuming mince pies. Many thanks to all of you who came and for those that received the last-minute invitation but couldn't make it... we missed you! We'll have to do it again some time soon.

It was a particular pleasure for me to have Mrs and Mrs Worcester Park Blogger in Brinkster Central for the first time, incognito of course, and knowing that none of our close neighbours who were there are blog readers (sorry you couldn't make it Steve!) I trust they've maintained their cover.

In more regular news the shop formerly, and somewhat inaccurately, known as the "Variety Store" (on the right, below) has now been renamed "Food and Wine" which, while more technically correct, suggests a greater abundance of those items than is strictly the case.

A new photo is in order I guess.

With the downturn in the economy we've seen a few shopfronts empty out and the former Andrews Estate Agents is on the market for a rent of £15,600 PA. Any shop owners want to let me know how that compares?? We were commenting last night on the fact that one effect of the downturn is that it's easier to get a parking space on Brinkley Road nowadays, which doesn't bode well for the restaurant trade.

As today's my last day at work before Christmas and I'm "demob-happy" I give you fair warning that updates may become more sporadic over the holiday period as we entertain the extended Brinkster Family, and I'm sure you've got plenty of things to do too, so if I don't catch you before the event... have a great Christmas!!

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Train troubles

It's early, and thanks to overrunning engineering works at Wimbledon the trains are up the creek so I'm waiting for a 93 to whisk me to Morden. It'll be a bit longer but the train times website is being so vague it should be more reliable.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Ow. By dode!

If anyone has a spare nose could they let me borrow it. Mine's broken :(

We noticed on Saturday (or was it Sunday) as we drove past that the long-since-closed TV repair shop on the corner of Central Road and Windsor Road had a big van outside and that TVs were being moved from the shop into it. I'm not taking this as a sign of imminent development in the shop, more like someone's thought of a way they might be able to get a few quid for the TVs.

Coincidentally on Sunday evening almost exactly the same spot provided the action, as the Parkerilla relates:
"Walked up Central Rd and passed Windsor Rd (where Pizza express is) at 7.15 this evening (Sunday) and road was blocked off with one rapid response fire vehicle, two fire engines, one rapid response ambulance and one ambulance. Involved the flats above Mike's Music Store, saw an elderly man in a dressing gown being helped into the ambulance (walking wounded) and firemen setting up a portable pump for something or other. Walked past again at 7.30 having been to Sainsbury's and road still blocked off with ambulance and fire engines and firemen pumping something or other. Not a false alarm, something serious happening."

If anyone can fill in any more detail then please comment below or drop me an email.

Lastly the final phase of the SEN Transport debate takes place today, as the Local Guardian relates:
"Sutton executive councillors voted on Monday for pick-up points for a potential 85 special needs children in the borough once risk assessments were completed. But opposition councillors called back the motion the following day over concerns the proposals were too vague and would not reduce savings as expected. A final vote will now take place at the full meeting of the council today."

Speaking about the disabled children in question
...executive member for young people Councillor Tony Brett Young said he disagreed with criticism of the council over its suggestion the plans would benefit the health and wellbeing of the youngsters. He said: “Walking is healthy and for many it’s an opportunity to expand life experiences."

Let's see if the Lib Dems will toe the party line and use their majority to push this through or if they'll entertain an independent viewpoint.

Friday, 12 December 2008

British pride!

Some of you may not be aware that we've had a fine athlete in our midst for years who, having been born and bred in Worcester Park, followed the path of True Love™ to Cobham earlier this year.

Phil Wicks is a long distance runner and belongs to the Belgrave Harriers athletics club and on Sunday you can either set the Sky+ or watch live on BBC2 from 1pm when Phil is representing England in the 15th European Cross Country Championships taking place in Belgium. He has Olympic aspirations for 2012 and you'll be able to read my interview with him about running and Worcester Park in January's Worcester Park Life.

In the meantime for those who need a chuckle here are a few credit crunch jokes:

Q: How do you define optimism?
A: A banker who irons five shirts on a Sunday.

Q: What's the difference between an investment banker and a large pizza?
A: The pizza can still feed a family of four.

Q: Why have estate agents stopped looking out of the window in the morning?
A: Because otherwise they'd have nothing to do in the afternoon.

Q: What's the difference between an investment banker and a pigeon?
A: The pigeon is still capable of leaving a deposit on a new Ferrari.

A lobbyist on his way home from Parliament is stuck in traffic. Noticing a police officer, he winds down his window and asks: 'What's the hold-up?' The policeman replies: 'The Prime Minister is so depressed he's stopped his motorcade and is threatening to douse himself with petrol and set himself on fire. 'He says no one believes he can get us through the credit crunch. So we're taking up a collection for him.' The lobbyist asks: 'How much have you got so far?' The officer replies: 'About 40 gallons, but a lot of people are still siphoning.'

Latest news: The Isle of Dogs bank has collapsed. They've called in the retrievers.

Q: What do you say to a hedge fund manager who can't sell anything?
A: A Quarter-pounder with fries, please.

Overheard in a City bar: 'This credit crunch is worse than a divorce... I've lost half my net worth and I still have a wife.'

The bank returned a cheque to me this morning, stamped: 'insufficient funds.'
Is it them or me?

A man had an account with RBS and went to his bank manager and said: 'I'd like to start a small business. How do I go about it?' 'Simple,' said the bank manager. 'Buy a big one and wait.'

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

I can has blog post

If you can't see the images in this post I guess you're surfing from work and your web filters are blocking them... try again later from home...

The amusement of the minute in the Brinkster household is which is the spiritual centre of the 'lolcat' phenomenon, which Wikipedia soberly describes as:
"an image combining a photograph, most frequently of a cat, with a humorous and idiosyncratic caption in (often) broken English—a dialect which is known as “lolspeak,” ”kitteh,” or “kitty pidgin” and which parodies the poor grammar typically attributed to Internet slang"

Anyway, if you're bored (like me) in a meeting (like me) and have a web capable phone (like me) then join me in using up the internet's valuable bandwidth in the name of self-humouring. Oh all right then... the rest of you can do it too... and here's a couple of my favourites to get you started:

If you're reading this kids..... look away now...

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

I have seen the future

Mild chuckle alert from this morning's Metro where "business leaders" were warning against blocking fast-food outlets from opening within 400m of a school. Their dire prognostication was that:
"The move to block fast food outlets opening within 400m of schools, youth centres or parks will lead to streets 'riddled with charity shops and hairdressers' ".

Either we're living in the future or they haven't been to Worcester Park.......

A useful Christmas service from WH Smiths is the ability to order online but have the items delivered to your nearest WH Smiths branch rather than your home. This is useful for people who are out all day and can't take deliveries at home but also for those who don't have a problem with home delivery but don't want their kids or significant other to see what's arriving.

Any last minute shopping hints for me?

I hope your Christmas shopping's going well, if you haven't finished already.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Little things please little minds

Those of you who, like me, have to attend meetings may have heard of the expression "death by Powerpoint" and one attendee on a 10-day BT training course related to me how he was told that the most important thing in his package of course materials was the elastic band that held the course notes together...... because you could put it around your wrist and flick it to help stay awake.

Last night I sat through a couple of hours of Powerpoint presentation with a speaker who managed to make a potentially dull subject quite interesting and I learned a lot of useful facts and information. His forte obviously wasn't public speaking which made his achievement even more laudable but he he did tend to have the habit of saying "sort of" and "ermm". Quite a lot. Being slightly anarchic in nature I couldn't resist turning this into a game so I began keeping a count of the number of times during each slide that he said "soft of, ermm"..... not just "sort of" and not just "ermm" but it had to be "sort of, ermm". One slide provoked a few questions and probably as a result of that he peaked at a massive fourty-five "sort of, ermm"s for that slide while I desperately avoided the gaze of the person next to me (who was in on the game) for fear that would both erupt into laughter.

So what little things do you do to liven things up a bit?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Appeal for witnesses

A request from Surrey Police:

Submitted: 02/12/2008 12:52:22
Detectives at east Surrey are appealing for witnesses following an attempted robbery in Worcester Park. The incident happened near St Mary’s Church, The Avenue, at 5.15pm yesterday evening (Monday, 1 December).

A 29-year-old woman was walking her dog when she was approached by two men one of the suspects grabbed the dog’s lead and demanded the woman’s purse, mobile phone and keys.
The suspect pushed the woman into a fence causing an injury to her left cheek. The two suspects then left empty handed.

The first suspect is described as a white man, between 5ft 8’ and 5ft 10’ tall, medium build, brown hair with highlights, aged approximately 16 years old, a fair complexion, acne, a large spot on his left cheek and a curved spike piercing through his left eyebrow. He was wearing a black hooded top which had a bio hazard motif on the front and baggy trousers.

The second suspect is described as a white man, aged approximately 16 years old, medium build, shorter than the first suspect and he may have had purple highlights in his hair. He was wearing baggy trousers and a chain around his waist.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Leigh Wall said: “This was an unprovoked and frightening incident. The young woman has been left incredibly shaken by her ordeal and it is clear we need to identify the two men responsible.

“Officers are carrying out a number of enquiries including reviewing CCTV footage from the area but we need the community to come forward and assist us further. The victim has provided us with an excellent description of the main suspect, it is a very distinctive description and I am confident someone will know who this man is.

“On this occasion the would-be robbers left empty handed but they may strike again. Surrey Police will not tolerate any form of violent crime and I am appealing to people to think back. Do you remember seeing a struggle taking place along The Avenue last night? It is a busy main road and the incident occurred during rush hour – were you in the area at the time? Or perhaps you remember seeing two men matching the suspects’ descriptions walking along the road? Even the smallest piece of information could make all the difference to my investigation.”

Can you help? Were you in The Avenue, Worcester Park, last night (Monday, 1 December) at 5.15pm? Anyone with information should contact Surrey Police on 0845 125 2222 quoting reference EP/08/4006.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Don't hold your breath (or maybe do)

Michael left a comment this morning about the traffic in which he uttered the fatefuly words "I wonder how much carbon is pumped into the atmosphere while motorists wait for no one!" which offers me the near perfect opportunity to demonstrate the new green tardis.

The picture below shows the pollution stats for the last week and you'll see that on most commuting days there's a peak in the morning and a peak in the afternoon, which goes some way to demonstrating how bad the traffic was.

On Saturday (30th) you can see a constant rumble of traffic and on Sunday there's not much at all, so although I can't give you an amount in tons (or tonnes) of pollution this gives you an idea. If you want to see some more green tardis stats then you can find them in the feed on the left or click here.

I've been wracking my brain (cell) to try and think of what to say about the new KFC that's accurate and witty without a hint of rudeness but I'll have to settle for "it looks very nice". I wonder if some of the regular clientele will worry that it's been turned into a Gordon Ramsay joint and that those people who eat in will worry that their food might be delivered to their table by someone with a spectacular French accent who will describe it in immense detail as they give it to them:

"Sir has chosen a zinger burger with the mayonnaise lightly drizzled, accompanied by the zinger sauce and french fries, and for madame..."

It does look good though so hats off to them for putting the effort in on the decor..... now for the menu ;)

Monday, 1 December 2008

Windsor Road closure

Following my observation about yesterday's closure of Windsor Road I've found out what it's about:

1. The Council of the London Borough of Sutton hereby gives notice that in order to facilitate the installation of traffic signal ducting in the carriageway, and because of the likelihood of danger to the public arising from the said works, it intends to make an Order the effect of which will be to temporarily close Windsor Road to all classes of vehicular traffic at all times.
2. The Order will come into effect on Sunday 30 November 2008 with the works expected to take two Sundays to complete. However, the Order will remain in force for 18 months to be re-introduced should further works be required. Note: these dates may change due to adverse weather conditions and/or works progress.

The good news is that it looks like it's related to coordinating the assorted traffic lights in Worcester Park to help speed up the traffic? Leaving for work early as I do I haven't noticed the effect on the traffic but has the closure made it better or worse?

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Sabbath breakers

Oliver Cromwell would be turning in his grave, if he hadn't been disinterred and hung up for public display. Workmen have dug up the junction of Central Road and Windsor Road in the latest phase of whatever digging they're doing and look like they'll have it closed for most of the day. I'm on a 213 to Kingston with the three small Brinksters to take our chances with the Christmas shoppers.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

It's done

If you want to see some photos of last night's Christmas festivities on Central Road I'd recommend you head over to the Worcester Park Blog's post on the event. I did take a bunch of pictures but his cover almost exactly the same things as mine and weren't taken whilst trying to herd three small Brinksters around ;)

Although I got a post and some twitters out I was hoping to squeeze a couple more posts in during the evening but I rapidly, and only too happily, became the carthorse for the little Brinksters assorted 'winnings' and it's difficult to blog no-handed with a mobile phone.

For me the spirit of the evening was summed up by Terry Dobbs, the organiser and owner of the One Stop Party Shop, who said "It's not about the takings, it's about giving something back" and with this event Terry and those who participate in the Worcester Park Traders Association gave us something to enjoy!

Kudos to the lady who went as if to peek up the bagpipers kilt, causing him to go wildly out of tune!

Friday, 28 November 2008

We're here

It's drizzling a bit but there are loads of people out. Parade starts at 7pm

Let there be light!

Mrs Brinkster has sent me the first picture of the new Worcester Park Christmas lights actually turned on. They should look even better when it gets darker.

Whom to believe?

As the countdown to the Worcester Park Traders Association Late Night Event creeps down below the 10 hour mark the excitement mounts, certainly in the Brinkster household, towards what should be a great evening of fun and shopping. Assuming the technology works I'm hoping to blog live throughout the Brinkster Clan visit to the event so if you're not able to be there then I'll get some photos and the like up on here for you and via Flickr (and keep an eye on the Twitter feed on the left as well).

With all such events it's proven a time to be stereotypically British and indulge in the kind of detailed weather-related speculation that's normally more appropriate to, say, an RAF sortie.
BBC Weather

Unfortunately the two main sources of weather forecasts seem diametrically opposed in their predictions of whether it'll be raining tonight with Metcheck having changed their mind since yesterday and now saying there'll be 3mm of heavy sleet while BBC Weather, and by inference the Met Office, believe that the light rain will have cleared up by 6pm. I'll be keeping an eye on the Met Office Rainfall Radar (see below) for something more accurate than the contradications above.

See you on Central Road this evening!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Looking better!

The unpredictable priests of meteorological prognostication have relented in their poor predictions for tomorrow's weather and Metcheck now forecasts a maximum of 0.1mm through the course of the evening, which even the most rain-averse shouldn't have a problem with. Do stock your pockets full of cash and come along to Central Road tomorrow night prepared to part with it and enjoy an evening of Christmas fun with fellow Worcester Park-ies and our local traders.

Moving on, I notice that Cafe Piccolo now has part of the shop open as a cafe serving coffee, snacks and the like for those who don't want a full meal. The staggering part is that it was open when I went to work this morning and according to the sign on the door it opens at 6am!!! The lovely Costa doesn't open its doors until 7am I believe and I'm usually on a train by then so it's tempting to go into Cafe Piccolo on the way to the station just because I can :)

This post was brought to you by the letter "p".

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Going balmy

As I'm sure you're aware it's the Worcester Park Traders Association Christmas Late Night Event on Friday and the meteorological prognosticators have decreed that today and tomorrow shall be balmy, relative to the cold of the last few days that is, but that the price of that will most likely be rain on... you guessed it... Friday. The Metcheck forecast last night made fairly uninspiring reading but I notice that the latest update has heavy rain during Thursday night until dawn but only showers throughout the day.

To me that just means that some of the in-store hospitality on Friday may become even more appealing if the rain does make an appearance with Dawsons Aerials doing seasonal foods and an opportunity to discuss what'll be needed for the digital switchover, Hendy's Jewellers offering mince pies and drinks, Central Plumbing providing "Champagne and the works" and many more as detailed on the Worcester Park Blog entry here.

Come what may I know the Brinkster Clan will be out in force, and for those in need of further entertainment here's another picture of The Worcester Park Blogger and myself out on Central Road

Monday, 24 November 2008

One little victory

Those who've been following my posts and the ITV News about Sutton Council's current proposals to cut transport funding for special needs children in the borough may be interested in the latest news from the Sutton Guardian:
Protesters have won a partial victory in a fight over plans to cut personal door-to-door transport services for disabled children. Sutton Council had proposed to cut the transport budget £250,000 by introducing pick-up points for children with special educational needs.
Parents had argued the plans would put their children, many of whom require constant care, at risk and would put carers and parents under pressure.

The council announced last week that it had “responded to concerns’’ and children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, and those who can not walk unassisted, would now be unaffected by the plans. The new recommendations, which go to scrutiny overview committee on Tuesday, would affect 85 SEN students out of a former 545.

My reading of that is that someone at Sutton Council was willing to make 460 special-needs children who require assistance with walking to walk up to a mile in all weathers to a pick-up point. Does that seem like a bad idea to anybody else?

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Home Show

My regular trawl of the internet has thrown up another TV reference to Worcester Park, this time from Channel 4's recent Home Show.

"On to tonight’s show, George Clarke travels to the heartland of suburban London, home to financial consultant Grant, Mum Jo and their two daughters, five year old Isobel and two year old Daisy. "

Heartland of suburban London indeed! Click on the image below to view the gallery on the Home Show website.

The Channel 4 site isn't particularly forthcoming with schedules for the programme but it looks like it can/will be viewed using their "4 on Demand" thing.

Old timers will remember the visit from Location, Location, Location some time back but this is the first showing on TV for a while, unless you know better?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Last week Mr & Mrs Worcester Park Blogger and myself met up for an evening out while Mrs Brinkster was busy with other things. I'd suggested dinner in the Huntsmans having been there before but when we got there we discovered that the chef had long since left, the Sky TV was off because the bill hadn't been paid and the stock was being run down as they're up against the ropes and hoping to get a new owner. The assistant manager mentioned that takings were now a fraction of what they used to be but that they'd had a procession of people in to look at it so here's hoping for a Huntsman's revival (or should that just be 'vival'?) as it's one of Worcester Park's oldest pubs and was a really quiet place to have a drink. I've always thought it could be such a nice pub in the right hands. After a quick drink of whatever-they-had-left we headed up to Silks (now booking for Christmas!) and had a great time eating there instead.

Other pubs in Worcester Park seem to have music on their minds with The Drill having Rik Martin on Friday and Radio Jackie's Northern Soul Night on Saturday. Also on Saturday the North End Tavern will be featuring Serve Chilled, a four-piece blues/rock/jazz band on and the Cazbar's sure to have something going on as Carey likes to keep the calendar ticking over.

Remember to watch the English Civil War drama The Devil's Whore on Channel 4 tonight as it's had some good previews! Chances are the England game won't be anything worth watching anyway...

I hear you knocking....

The headlines today are about the membership list of the BNP leaking onto the internet and whatever your feelings about the BNP I think everyone recognises there are a fair number of people out there who are not sympathetically inclined towards their aims or methods. Because of that there are a couple of households in Worcester Park who may be feeling somewhat nervous around about now.

I won't link to any information here but if you use your l33t Google-fu skillz you're sure to find something.

It's a dramatic example of why to be cautious about who you give your personal details to. Her Majesty's Government may lose them by accident but controls can be put in place mitigate that, however if someone's determined to leak the information then it's going to be leaked, whether it's your political affiliation or online shopping details. In that vein I'll leave you with this:

Several years ago, during the United States Senate hearings on the nomination of Robert Bork to be a member of the Supreme Court an investigator opposing the Bork nomination managed to secure Blockbuster's records of the movies Judge Bork watched. Opponents also got access to his reading habits and began to draw certain conclusions about Judge Bork's mental processes. How wrong it would be to make a judgement about an individual's qualifications to be Supreme Court Justice based upon his or her personal reading or viewing tastes. How many of us would wish to be subjected to similar scrutiny? Not surprisingly, Judge Bork was not confirmed.


Saturday, 15 November 2008

You can't make this stuff up!

Just when you thought we'd peaked with snake man and the UFO sightings the local Guardian website gives us the headline "Superman pulled from car in Worcester Park"

A driver dressed as Superman had to be pulled from a car in Worcester park in the early hours of this morning, after his car hit a bollard and flipped over.

It is believed the man lost control of his vehicle, a Vauxhall Corsa, in Central Road near the junction with Caldbeck Avenue, at 12.03am.

Fire crews from Sutton, Wimbledon and New Malden attended the scene and found the man already being assisted from the vehicle by police officers.

Blue watch crew manager Trevor Corfield from Sutton fire station said the car had partially flipped over and had come to rest on the pavement next to some railings.

No other vehicles were involved.

Anybody know who it was? I hope the CCTV caught it!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Lots of news!

The details have been announced for the annual event which enables all local residents to unashamedly revel in their Worcester-Parkiness:*

Worcester Park Traders Association
Christmas Late Night

28th November 2008 - 6pm to 9pm
Late night shopping, stalls, rides,
bouncy castle, refreshments, bands and more...
Includes a visit from Father Christmas HIMSELF!!
For more information contact the WPTA on 020 8337 6007

Those of you who are local readers may glimpse posters up and down Central Road that the Worcester Park Blogger and myself have put together to assist Terry and the Traders Association and I have the personal word of Michael Fish that the weather on the evening is going to be great.

In other exciting news Mrs Brinkster just sent me a picture of the new Christmas lights on Central Road which are being put up this very morning. I'll get my first glimpse when I go home this evening.

In case you were wondering I cropped out the 20 health & safety people with clipboards, dayglo jackets and hard hats on the ground below.

I occasionally hear the question "What do our Councillors ever do"? Well the local Guardian think they've found at least one thing and reports that a Worcester Park Councillor is under investigation for alleged bullying after approaching a Cheam shopkeeper for displaying a poster against the rebuilding of the Elizabeth Hall sheltered housing complex. You can see the full article if you clickon the image below:

A Sutton Council spokeswoman said: "We've received two complaints about Coun Gordon-Bullock and we are looking into them".

Lastly the Hamptons public enquiry notice has dropped through the door so if you haven't seen it and want to know what happens next then click on the image below.

* My intro from last year, which I still like so I recycled it.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

To arms!!

Yesterday Brentford was ransacked with much loss to life and property and now the enemies of Parliament muster their forces for an assault on London itself. To arms and protect your freedoms!!

Yes, today is the 366th anniversary of the Battle of Turnham Green, one of the first encounters of the English Civil War, in which King Charles I and his army confronted Parliament's much larger force but with neither side willing to commit to an all out assault they skirmished intermittently throughout the day before the King and his forces withdrew. Much of the Parliamentary army consisted of the men of London who rushed out to the field with precious little training and every time the Royalists made a move the many spectators from the city would hurriedly withdraw, taking some of the more nervous volunteers with them.

If you don't know about this fascinating period of English history which pitched friend against friend, father against son and brother against brother, then you could make a start by watching Channel 4's new drama "The Devil's Whore" that begins next week and carries on for three more and "tells the story of the seismic events of 17th century England ...through the experiences of a spirited aristocratic woman, Angelica Fanshawe (Andrea Riseborough), whom fate has decreed shall come to know the key figures on both sides of this bitter conflict. It is a story not just of political and historical significance, but of love, loss, murder, courage and betrayal.".

For those who like a higher bodycount in their historical dramas The Times explains that "The South African location brought huge cost-savings that meant that great civil-war battles such as 1642's Edgehill and Cromwell's attacks on cathedrals and stately homes look like grown-up battles rather than a handful of extras and a smoke bomb"

The slightly tangental aspect to this is that those of us who live in Worcester Park live a stone's throw away from a genuine English Civil War battlefield, namely that of The Battle of Surbiton Common which was a skirmish that happened in mid-1648 back when Surbiton Common stretched down nearly to Ewell and is where Parliament's forces caught up with the retreating Royalists. Nearby Nonsuch Palace was one of several owned by Charles I's wife, Queen Herietta Maria, but was taken over by Parliament after the skirmish and given to Colonel Thomas Pride.

If you think that Roundheads were po-faced killjoys and Cavaliers liked nothing better than a good silk scarf I have the cure! WATCH MORE TV!! Starting 19th November :)

Now to explain to Mrs Brinkster why I was googling for 'wh*re'...

Monday, 10 November 2008


Where has the week gone? Decorating, that's where my week's gone. In an effort to finishing our schemes for Brinkster Central before we become too heavily embedded in the yuletide festivities we've been sorting out stuff to give to the charity shops and generally getting dust up our noses in the name of progress. To massacre the words of Winston Churchill we are not at the beginning of the end but we are at the end of the beginning so I'm prewarning you that my upcoming posts may be sporadic or entirely taken up with subjects like why tile shops are odd places to go.

For the lovers or haters of the big green tardis on Central Road you'll now be pleased to know that it's attached to the London Air Quality Network and you can see the current situation and the graph for the last seven days, just look in my bloglist to the left for the latest update (unless I get bored of it).

For a whistle-stop tour of other local news KFC is still being rebuilt, there's an article on a local builder being affected by the credit crunch, the story of the disputed will and Sutton Council's released a guide to a half hour stroll around Worcester Park.

Lastly I'm looking forward to meeting up with the Worcester Park Blogger tomorrow evening at an undisclosed Worcester Park location (well, I'm not disclosing it anyway) so perhaps we'll let on what's afoot. For those of you who live too far away to get hold of a copy of the Worcester Park life then here's the photo I was referring to in my last post:

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Worcester Park Bloggers revealed!!

Yes, it's true! The Worcester Park Blogger and myself have been photographed in person and can be seen on page 4 of the latest Worcester Park Life magazine, now available from reputable stores and other noble locations in Worcester Park. I'm not going to give you the cheap thrill of putting it on here just yet so if you want to see us in all our glory then you'll need to track down a copy.

Monday, 3 November 2008

The race is not to the swift

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11

Whew. What a weekend! The Brinkster Clan was at Legoland by 9am on Saturday for a day of Star Wars themed activities and the usual rides and shows and stuff and although the heavens opened in the afternoon our several layers of clothing meant we stayed warm if not exactly dry. The fireworks were spectacular and Mrs Brinkster was debating whether she'd have to give up watching fireworks from now onas it's going to take something really special to top that. After the fireworks we went and saw another show and meandered around but when we got to the car park some time later there were still queues to get out! Fabulous day, even though my coat is still drying out!

The quote at the beginning of this post came back to me when reflecting on the Formula 1 last night. Last night saw me pacing around the house as the Brazilian Grand Prix progressed which the championship contest turning an otherwise dull race into a classic. Having been at Silverstone in the rain to watch Hamilton win earlier in the year watching last night was assorted agonies rolled into one with hope and expectation turning to imminent misery but turned around to sudden exhilaration and celebration. I do feel sorry for Massa and family to have the Championship torn away from them at the last moment, but not enough not to pass this on.

After that there was the new series of Top Gear with the fabulous challenge to the guys to become a trucker and pass a series of challenges. I think I laughed more at this episode than any other and watching Jeremy Clarkson drive his truck into a brick wall at 55mph was the icing on the cake. If you haven't seen it you can watch it on BBC iPlayer or catch the repeat (or download it from the internet no doubt).

Friday, 31 October 2008

Stirring stuff for Halloween

Back from Cornwall and all I can really say is "it's not Worcester Park" and you can take that whichever way you like. As the WPB has already chronicled Mann Countrywide Estate Agents has shut up shop and disappeared and when I walked past there on Wednesday evening there was one very forlorn looking Estate Agent glumly sat overseeing the banks of empty desks.

Anyway in my post-holiday letdown I've been scanning the local(ish) news and come up with these stories from the local Guardian website for no better reason than that they caught my eye. First off:
Fabian Sabbara, 15, of Cheam, was dressed in his school uniform when he was stopped by three police community support officers for taking photos of Wimbledon station on his mobile phone.

But PCSO Barry Reeve told Fabian to sign forms under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, which allows police to stop and search at random anyone they suspect of terrorism.

Taking a photo of Wimbledon station a terrorist act!?!? Oh please!! I've written about this before and I'll hold my tongue this time.

I couldn't resist this next story but I am going to resist making any comment whatsoever and let you come up with your own:
A Christian family are concerned dark forces are behind a devilish looking car that has sat in front of their house for a month.

Julian Clarke, from Long Ditton, is concerned about a black Pontiac Trans Am that has been anonymously parked in his road. The sinister vehicle has blacked out windows, 666 on the number plate, devils on all four wheels and has been stationary for a month.

“I go to church and I’m quaking in my boots,” said Mr Clarke. “The car is like the spawn of the devil, it couldn’t look more evil if it tried. The only way it could look worse would be if it had horns.”

Seeing as it's Samhain/Halloween/Nos Galan Gaeaf here's the link to the relevant Wikipedia article in case anybody asks you what it's all about, or in case it ever comes up in a pub quiz.

Any Worcester Park news you care to pass on?

Friday, 24 October 2008

Pre-weekend wibblings

Celebrity chefs. Got to love 'em. Tonight is Gordon Ramsay's show getting people to cook at home which seems to me to be in a similar vein to Jamie Oliver's "Ministry of Food", although if I participate at all it'll probably be as a spectator on the sofa. I think the one TV chef who I find most curious is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who, whilst coming up with some admirable recipes, lives the country lifestyle to the nth degree to the extent that I'm always half expecting him to pick up his pike or musket and declare for the King. Although I've talked a lot about food this week, relatively speaking, I'm ambivalent about the whole celebrity chef phenomenon. What about you? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Anyway, random burblings aside I see that another Worcester Park is up for sale:
"Character unisex salon in busy location. Regular hairdressing trade with scope for nails and other treatments. Laminate floor, central heating, reception area, 3 workstations, 2 backwash & 1 dryers, staff area. Same hands for 17 years. Advised sales c.£1,700 pw. New lease to be granted, 12-16 years, rent £14,000pa."
For more details go here but I don't think I'll be putting in an offer myself just yet.

Lastly I wasn't able to go to last night's local council meeting for a variety of reasons so if you were there then please do leave a comment with items of interest, otherwise I'll just wait for the audio to come out.

Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Can't see the wood......

On the way back down Brinkley Road in the gathering dusk last night I noticed that those dear little scamps from Sutton Council had replaced the trees that were cut down back in May.

At least they would have done but one car was parked too close to one spot so I assume they'll come back to do that. The other looked nice though!

After my culinary contemplations of yesterday I noticed this morning that The Drill is looking for a line chef to bolster their kitchen operations:
"The Drill is an independent pub/ restaurant requires a chef to work alongside our newly appointed Head Chef. Our mantra is "Eat be Entertained"; with live music every Friday, Open Mic nights & Jazz evenings. Our pub has been recently acquired and refurbished and we are in the process of building a reputation for delivering quality, freshly prepared food - we are letting our food do the talking! We are passionate about what we do & I want a chef that is passionate about food and what it means to deliver quality to the table!"

I daren't get my hopes up for the ascent of Worcester Park into gastro-pub heaven just yet but if it does happen then I'll be as happy as Larry, whoever he may be, although I confess I'm slightly concerned that they advertised it on Gumtree but I couldn't spot it on If you're any good and you want to apply though do go ahead!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

In the land of the Rising Sun

As anyone who knows me will be able to tell you I do like good food. I mean really good food. Myself and Mrs Brinkster have been fortunate enough to dine at some of the loveliest restaurants on offer and when I met Gordon Ramsay last year I was able to chat with him about the merits of Claridges evening menu having been there not long before.

One reason to enjoy living in Worcester Park is the multitude of food offerings available with more Italian, Chinese and Indian flavours on offer than you could shake a stick at, proverbial or otherwise. Add to that the kebabs and other fayre available pretty much everything is covered to some degree (although we have to go to Desperado's in North Cheam for Tex Mex if we're in that mood). For us on Brinkley Road they're only a short stroll away which is all too tempting on occasion but our kitchen doodlings do turn out some decent results as well, thanks almost exclusively to the talented Mrs Brinkster.

That said every once in a while I want some really decent food without having to slog up to Mayfair or down the A3 to Ripley or even Reigate or the other side of Dorking. Fortunately it seems as though there is a gem which while it isn't exactly in our midst it is a short drive to Epsom away.

Earlier on this year we went to a birthday party at The Rising Sun in Epsom and on the way in we glimpsed the kitchen and said to ourselves "We'll have to come back here". Well last night we made good on that promise and returned with a couple of family members to see what they had to offer having been enthused by the menu on show on their website. I plumped for a couple of the specials with crayfish and lemon risotto followed by pan-fried monkfish in parma ham and lastly vanilla creme brulee for dessert. Others in our group went for dishes such as the crab, crayfish and chilli linguine, the smoked haddock fishcakes but none could resist the prospect of the creme brulee! All in all the food was excellent,as were the atmosphere and the staff, and my portion of monkfish was surprisingly large so if you're looking for somewhere slightly special to go to eat then I'd recommend you give it a try and I suspect you'll go back.

I'll still be heading off to Drakes and others but this The Rising Sun is defnitely on my list from now on. Pub changes are rarely universally welcomed by the previous customers but if they took over the Huntsmans they'd certainly have my support!!
Lemon Tart

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Gutted [updated]

As I walked home from the station in the rain last night I was surprised to see that KFC had been almost completely gutted.

I'm assuming it's some kind of makeover rather than a Gordon Ramsay takeover so I'll let you know what I see happening.
[update] As of 10.30 this morning it's been completely gutted and fenced off so works are carrying on at speed and I hope to get sight of the new insides soon!

I see from the Sutton Guardian that there was some excitement yesterday:
A man scrambled onto the roof of a Sutton house to evade police capture yesterday.
Sutton police spokesman Colin Walden said the man ran off when stopped by officers on suspicion of travelling in a lost or stolen car in Caldbeck Avenue, Worcester Park. Two other men caught in the same car were detained by police officers. The officers eventually tracked the third to nearby Stoneleigh Avenue. Mr Walden said the man climbed through the house to reach the roof but was talked down around 2pm.

On the subject of the Sutton Guardian on Saturday I weaved my way between the police cars on Brinkley Road and headed off to the local Kimpton recycling centre to part with some cardboard boxes and stuff and I have to say that it was quite an enlightening experience. I go there frequently so that wasn't the enlightening bit but having been greeted by the friendly man at the gate and then finding a number of other bored-looking workers apparently viewing p*rn on their mobile phones (judging by the comments) I went off to dispose of my recycling. When I got to the paper recycling I was a tad surprised to find that there was a whole ream of unopened Sutton Guardians in there.

I can imagine various scenarios for how they might have got there but if someone from the Sutton Guardian's reading this perhaps they might like to comment?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Incident update

The Met Police press office has let me know that the incident in Brinkley Road on Saturday involving the Police, air ambulance and other ambulances was a response to calls about a child falling from a 2nd floor window and according to the notes they have the hospital reports are positive.

If anybody can confirm that by commenting below or by email I'd appreciate it but I'd like to send my best wishes to the family for what must have been a traumatic time.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

An incident on Brinkley Road

Right now there's an incident on Brinkley Road with a number of police cars, ambulances and the air ambulance in attendance. No solid news on what it is yet but more when I get it.

Traffic's being diverted from the top of the road and Worcester Park is awash with people in uniform. The air ambulance appeared to put down in the Hamptons as the nearest open space. I hope it's not bad news.......

Thursday, 16 October 2008

An apology to Dorking

Where's the week gone?!?!?! It's Thursday already and I've hardly have the chance to rub my two braincells together and come up with a post.

Isn't it funny how the word "apology" has subtly changed in meaning over the years from "an expression of being sorry" to "what you say when you're not really sorry but feel like you need to appear to be". I've heard so many unauthentic apologies over the years I've lost count but the prize probably goes to South West Trains, although I've probably picked on them because of my frequent use of their services. I just think that if you're going to offer an apology, or even actually say "s*rry", then doing it using an automated message is somehow missing the point.....

That aside I need to start with a quick apology to Dorking, which is a nice place and has a really nice blog so it almost pains me (but only almost) that Worcester Park FC have beaten them twice in the last few weeks, the second time by 5-0 following on from the 4-0 drubbing in the 2nd round of the Combined Counties League Cup. If you want to know how keenly they're feeling the pain then read this.

Lastly I've been on the phone to the folks of Enviro Technology in Gloucestershire to find out what the new big green tardis actually does and the very helpful Mike told me that it can analyse air samples every second and report back the results. He put me on to Eddie from Sutton Council who was able to add that the site will be live from mid-November and the stats should be viewable on the London Air Quality Monitoring Network web site. Its priority is to measure pollution rather than pollen and will allow the council to monitor whether they're meeting the National Air Quality Standards, particularly in relation to people shopping and living by the Central Road.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

A fine weekend

What an amazingly nice few days of weather! The Brinkster Clan mostly spent it in the garden, in Nonsuch Park or Cannon Hill Park. A geocaching journey took us to Henry VIII's old banqueting house in Nonsuch Park for the first time and I was surprised to see how much of it was still there. If you haven't found it before I'd recommend it and if you don't know where it is drop me an email and I'll send you a link.

Firstly the Parkerilla pointed me in the direction of the article saying that plans to turn the old BBC Sports Ground in Motspur Park have been shelved. This has dragged on for ages and I know some the locals who've commented or emailed me will be pelased. The only rain on their parade was an apparent attempt by the local LibDem MP to snaffle some of the credit:
Kingston Liberal Democrat MP Edward Davey posted leaflets about the news through doors at the weekend but was criticised by the association for “claiming the credit”.
“He shouldn’t have written that letter,” Mr Moore said. “We have had absolutely no help from him.”
Mr Davey said he had simply sent the newsletter to let people know his position.

Moving on Skin and Body Care in Windsor Road has closed it's shop for business but is apparently carrying on as a home-based business.

Lastly a big green tardis has appeared outside the British Legion and although I haven't examined it too closely it would appear to be the air quality monitoring stations that we were scheduled to get some time ago. Judging by the plastic bags covering bits of it and the fact it doesn't make an appearance on any statistics yet I'm guessing it's not in operation but hey, who couldn't love an enormous, shiny green box on their main shopping street. I'm sure we'll be seeing them spring up on Sutton High Street in no time.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Lots of news

No Friday laughs I'm afraid.

For those who haven't seen the Sutton Guardian alliteratively headlined article instigated by the Worcester Park Blog's recent post, and subsequent debate, about Sutton Council's advice on feeding foxes then I've scanned it and made it available if you click on the image below.

Or read it here

In other news the carnage on the A24 London Road continues. In the last two weeks we've had the fatal hit and run which claimed the life of William Buckingham and unintentionally led to a string of accidents at the site, one which led to a cyclist being airlifted to hospital. Mrs Brinkster saw the North Cheam junction closed at one point last week and now there's been another hit and run involving a car and motorcycle.

To take a quote from the Guardian
”The helicopter has been here about four times in the past couple of weeks. It’s shocking, something needs to be done about this stretch of road - it’s a death trap. Its a 30mph zone but cars come flying along here at about 70mph. We need a zebra crossing or some speed cameras at the very least.”

The Guardian has also run an article about Sutton Council's proposal to change transport arrangements for special needs children in the borough where the Council stands accused of using dubious "research" to support the measure by suggesting that there's a direct correlation between special needs and obesity. One person told me that Stanley Park High School, recently in the news for expelling three pupils for sex attacks on girls, is now being investigated because of reports that some pupils were waiting for the special needs children to get off their transport and then insulting and bullying them which, if true, doesn't go far to inspire confidence in Sutton's provision for those families with special needs children.

With £5.5 million of Sutton Council's money caught up in the Icelandic banking crisis I anticipate we'll hear more stories of proposed cuts before too long......

But if you want to see a really, stupidly extreme example of poor research and special needs (don't get me started on the MMR/autism debate) then consider PETA's (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) latest misinformed advert which has now thankfully been pulled from the billboards:

Thursday, 9 October 2008

National Poetry Day

Yes. Today's copy of the Metro tells me it is and inspired into prose by that and Lemsip Max Strength (darn cold) I thought I'd challenge you to leave some poetry of your own in the comments below. Bonus points if it's Worcester Park related but I'm going to be happy with any contribution.

Obviously I can't expect you to do it without having a go myself so without further ado I offer you an untitled 'poem'.

From the station, up the hill
How come I'm commuting still?
Shouldn't I be on a beach relaxing?
Or something else that's not so taxing?

There's lots of things I want to try
One hundred and one before I die
But then I think of all the bills
As I pass KFC on the way uphill

Until the credit crunch is done
Until the lottery is won
I'll leave for work early in the dark
And just stay here in Worcester Park

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

If it ain't bust

Did you ever post anything on the internet that you wish you hadn't? Well according to my regular Google blog search for "Worcester Park" she might have.

In some small way I hope she provided the photos herself rather than "a friend" providing them without her consent

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

It's a small world after all

The meaning of that annoyingly catchy Disney song was brought home to me last night night when Mrs Brinkster returned from picking up Miss Brinkster from one of her many clubs with a story to tell. There were a few parents waiting around when she got there so she sat down with a couple that she knew who were engrossed in the latest Worcester Park Life. The wife turns to Mrs Brinkster and points out my article on geocaching, points to her husband and reveals him as the Michael in the article. Mrs Brinkster then spills the beans as to her alter ego and much amusement is had at the fact that our families have known each other for years and their daughter's been to Miss Brinkster's birthday party in the past. On the subject of spilling the beans Mrs Brinkster also coughed up my secret identity when held down and interrogated mercilessly by another school mum (well actually she asked nicely but for the sake of it I'll make it look like Mrs Brinkster put up a fight).

So "Hello" to Gill (Jill?) from Longfellow and *waves* to Michael.

Given Mrs Brinkster's ability to keep secrets it looks like any potential career in the security services is history (though some might say 'guaranteed').

Anyway, the weather forecast for this Saturday is looking bright so what to do with the last nice day of the year? As the Worcester Park Blog notes The Friends of Honeywood Museum are staging an Olympic exhibition at Worcester Park library between 2pm and 4pm displaying people's memories of the 1948 Olympics as a taster for the 2012 Olympics. They're particularly keen for everyone who has photos, memorabilia and the like from 1948 to bring them along for them to see and they're offering free tea and cake whether or not you bring something. There a lot more to it than I've mentioned so do have a look at their website.

Changing subject again the makeover fairies have been at work over the last few weeks and given a couple of Central Road establishments a new look

Firstly The Cafe Experience has turned into Berties

And the Cazbar has also got a new look

Your verdicts please! Which looks better?

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Where it's all happening

For those who missed it:

Andrews disappeared pretty much overnight. Knightwood Estates turned into Mummas & Cuppas in a weekend and Rendezvous went up for sale. Just another week in Worcester Park....

For those who are interested this, and other recent photos have been taken with the GPS activated so Flickr will automatically plot them on a map, though for some reason it's insisting on prefixing "Worcester Park" with "Old Malden" :(

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Now you see it......

Mrs Brinkster phoned me in a rather excited manner last night to let me know that Andrews the Estate Agents on Central Road had disappeared. Gone. Completely. When she walked past it at around 7pm everything except the desks had gone from inside and the sign had gone from outside so in the blink of an eye, in Worcester Park terms, another Central Road business has disappeared. This adds to what has been a confusing seven days for that row of shops with Knightwood Estates turning into "Mummas and Cuppas" over the course of the weekend, "For Sale" signs in the windows of Rendezvous and now Andrews disappearing, although the old Grand Estates on the corner of St Philip's seems to be being fitted out for something. What next?

In other news I received a note last night saying the following:
Has anyone heard what was happening at the station tonight approx 7.00pm. Road was closed & I was diverted up Church Road. I managed to come back out onto Malden Road via The Manor Drive. There were 2 ambulances approx 100 yards to the left on carner near where the green starts & the police had cordoned off the station. Then as I got to top of Central Road 2 more police cars sped past nearly taking me out ! presumable on way to station ?

On the Worcester Park Blog it says that the station was evacuated because of a suspect package but what about the ambulances? Post any info or wild speculations below.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Making a point

I notice that the Oxford Mail has been gathering support for their County's darts teams trip to Worcester Park this weekend after they were only able to salvage a draw against Kent in their last outing:

Oxfordshire have stuck by their Men's A team for their Premier Division match away to Surrey this weekend. ...
The selectors have kept faith with the line-up for the Surrey contest which takes place at Worcester Park British Legion, near Kingston-upon-Thames....
The games will start at 11.30am on both Saturday and Sunday.

Note to self. Avoid Central Road at the weekend.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Driven to distraction

Lots of car-related news this morning, starting with the Worcester Park Blog's post on the flaming car at the end of Washington Road, complete with photo. Next up is a story from one of my neighbours about an incident on Saturday where a Range Rover by the WH Smiths crossing on Central Road trying to nip past a bus on the outside only to come head-to-head with a car turning out of Longfellow road, with the bus then joining the accident moments later. The local Guardian reports that a snoozing driver with an over-developed sense of irony demolished part of an optician's shop in Cheam at 4.30am on Saturday and lastly, but most sadly, there was a hit-and-run incident in which William Buckingham, 21, was killed on the A24 London Road by on the hill up passing Nonsuch Park at 1.15am on Sunday morning. We passed the scene shortly after the road reopened in the afternoon and there were a huge number of floral tributes in place. Ironically, on the return journey it was itself the scene of a multi-car shunt where someone appears to have been preoccupied with the floral tributes on the roadside and not with the brake-lights of the stationary traffic in front....

On an entirely different note The Drill is hosting the Dave Markee Jazz Band on Wednesday night so for a mere £5 you can see the former bass-player for Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading and Faith Hill do his thing. I'd recommend it!

Friday, 26 September 2008

Friday soap

Oy, Tina! D'you remember that coffee shop up the top o' the 'ill?
What? Costa?
No! The one that used to be the Polish place but closed down for ages and then opened again as Rondayvoo or summink.
Yeh. Wot 'bout i'?
Well. I saw Lisa who'd talked to Ryan who'd heard from Nina who'd been told by her Mum that it closed down for the summer but hasn't opened up since then.
Yeh. And?
But the shop next door called NightNight Estates or summink that everyone thought was dodgy and people said that somebody made off with the cash has closed but now there's a sign in the window saying it's going to be a coffee-shop for Mums and kids.
Another coffee-shop?
Yeh. Wanna get some KFC and go down the park?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

An auction through the centuries

I'm happy to say the trains were back to normal this morning after the carnage and confusion of last night. The poor SW Trains staff were having to cope with the misinformation appearing on the illuminated overhead boards as well as the disruption. I wasn't happy. At all.

For all of you with eBay accounts you may want to have a bid for the copy of "Worcester Park and Cuddington A Walk Through The Centuries" that's currently listed for the price of ninety-nine of Her Majesty's pennies with £2.00 tacked on for postage. The auction ends on Sunday, but for those for whom used books just aren't enough then you can get a new copy from David Rymill himself if you cantact him directly (put his name in the search box at the top of the page for details).

For those that were wondering, but hadn't checked, nobody bid for the Ryan Gate in the recent eBay auction.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

National frail?

I hope you had a great weekend! We made the most of the good weather by joining the throngs heading to Legoland together with friends on Saturday and then on Sunday we were at a country show in the afternoon having gone geocaching in the morning, though if you want to know more about that you'll have to wait for the next installment of the Worcester Park Life. I was particularly pleased to see that it was sunny all weekend and is gloomy now, rather than the other way around, although with the onset of autumn getting up in the dark is taking some getting used to.

This morning saw Dorking trains through Worcester Park cancelled due to power supply problems at London Waterloo. To me it looked like platforms 1 and 2 at Waterloo were out of action which would explain why they'd had to reduce the number of trains going in or out. I resorted to getting a bus to New Malden which got me a seat on a train, which probably wouldn't have happened if I'd stuck around at Worcester Park. As I write a quick glance at the National Rail website suggests the problem's still ongoing although it although they do say that it'll be fixed by 10am.

And you can read the ITV Local London blog interview with me here.

EDIT: 15.26 The trains still aren't fixed and National Rail is saying the problem will continue "until further notice". If you're heading home by train this evening be prepared for delays and overcrowding. You can check the Waterloo train times here and the service bulletins here.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Avast ye scurvy landlubbers!!

Arrrr... Today be Talk Like a Pirate day and the Jolly Roger be flying proudly at me place of employment. If ye want to find out more about aboot talking like a pirate then do set sail for the official web site.

Enough of that frivolity. Yesterday saw a pile of papers burned outside Lloyds, left either by some half-hearted arsonist or by some protestor attempting to burn down Lloyds for taking over HBOS, or both. Either way the window had been covered over with a board when I went past this morning and actual damage is unknown.

Still on Central Road I'm pleased to say that Cycle Power is having its grand opening tomorrow with special discounts throughout the day. Do go along and support this great new local business! If you want to find out what's going to replace the now-closed Loving Thoughts gift shop then you can find out at Worcester Park's blog.

Speaking of local business I've discovered the December 2007 document that Sutton Council appear to have based their retail decisions on. Starting with point 2.55
In considering proposals for such development outside designated town centres, including the extension to existing shopping facilities, the Council will adopt a sequential approach to site selection.

and moving on to point 2.63
This policy states that the Council will give priority to preparing a town centres strategy and action plan for Wallington and Rosehill District Centres.

It would appear to my untrained eye that in the name of a "sequential approach" the Council appear to be committed to doing nothing to enhance Worcester Park as a retail area until they feel like they can get around to it. I haven't ploughed through the whole 260 pages just yet but would seem to be the impression, though if I find something to contradict that I'll let you know. Fortunately Worcester Park business seems generally to be able to look after itself at the moment......

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

An update at last

Apologies for not bringing you any Worcester Park news so far this week but having been stinkingly busy and the economy news not helping The Parkerilla's been filling the breach with the historical and neighbourhood stuff while the Worcester Park Blog relates the outcome of the garden waste review meeting I mentioned would be happening last week.

The news this week is humming with a couple of Worcester Park residents and their (allegedly) foul deeds. Firstly Kym Farid gets a mention in the Hastings Observer in relation to a £1million drug scheme and then the local Guardian describes what Buckland Way resident Joseph Pullen did to get himself a 5 year sentence though to sum it up the Guardian relates that:
A statement from a traffic officer of 16 years’ experience, read out at Kingston Magistrates’ Court today, said he had never seen anyone “so intent on causing damage”.

Moving on I've found a description of the demise of Tone's Bar in North Cheam, the long-time Chelsea stronghold, when the owner couldn't afford to keep the place going:
Rupert Murdoch’s regular bastardization of the fixture list coupled with the exorbitant cost of public broadcast fees and the belt-tightening forced upon many regular punters has diminished his takings to such an extent that it was no longer financially viable and so it was with a heavy heart that he’d taken the decision to call last orders.

On the way home last night I snapped the "Loving Thoughts" card shop, next to the One Stop Party Shop, which has covered its windows and not left any message to say why. Any ideas?

To end on a positive note the reshowing of the 400 Years of Worcester Park History exhibition went well on Saturday and it was great to see such a number of people there and also to meet up with David Rymill.

I used the opportunity to get material to try out Microsoft's new Photosynth service and uploaded a handful of pictures from the inside of St Mary's to create a panoramic effect and the results of which can be seen here, although you'll need to be a Windows user and have installed the Photosynth software. It gives me a "synthiness" of 65%, which means I'm just above average rather than poor but if I can improve my synthy skills I might 'synth' the whole of Central Road to see what that comes out like.

...and Michael will be pleased to know that I've GPS'd up my Nokia N73 so although it can't use GPS Tuner it will work with Nokia Maps and Google Maps. Now to work out how to Geocache with it......

Friday, 12 September 2008

Friday stuff

While browsing eBay last night I happened upon a strange but amazing sight. Worcester Park's most distinctive supermarket, Ryan Gate, is up for sale on eBay with the opening offer standing at an inviting £10K. You can opt to "Buy it now" for £108K but I'd suggest holding out for a last-minute bid.

I love the description of the Ryan Gate in the auction:
"Ryan Gate is a slightly impluasible Lebanese deli in Worcester Park consist of range of services; pizza making, greengrocery, bakery, butchery (sic), kebabs, burgers, hot Lebanese delicacies and a coffee shop. Oh, and wedding cakes. It has been opened since october of 2005."

I'm not 100% sure whether it's a prank or not but I'll keep my eye on it.....

Anyway, there's a lot of other stuff to pack in today so let's get to it!!

For those following the Special Needs Transport changes proposal the Sutton Guardian has an article in it this week which I've scanned in and you can see by clicking on the image below:

On the subject of Sutton Council the leader of the Conservative Group, Paul Scully, has blogged to say that the £35 garden waste charge is on its way out after a belated consultation exercise. I won't shed any tears for it though I have to say that the glass recycling hasn't been better and the fears of yobs sucking the dregs from booze bottles before hurling them through windows hasn't materialised, at least in Brinkley Road anyway.

Just a reminder that there's a reprise of the 400 Years of Worcester Park exhibition tomorrow, and I even posted the info to the Local Guardian website!

The X26 bus is a familiar sight in Worcester Park plying its trade between Croydon and Heathrow and apparently they will be changing the timetable in November to every half hour instead of every hour between 7am and 7pm, which will make it a more viable option for getting to the airport for holidaymakers (though not early morning commuters)

I can't move on without a mention for Talk Like A Pirate Day next Friday, the 19th. Ye have been warned!!!

Those with a keen eye and poor time management may have noticed that at the bottom of the right hand column there's now a feed from my Twitter page, which I'm using to record random thoughts that don't necessarily warrant a full post. I'll see if I can overcome my inner luddite to make it useful.

No Friday news slot would be complete without its closing bizarre article and it's always more funny to point out other people's peculiarities rather than your own so in that vein I was searching for a postcode earlier I stumbled across which explains the theology of adherents like so:
"The database contains records of Ordnance Survey bench marks, with particular focus on the numbered flush brackets which appear on walls and buildings across Britain. In addition, fundamental bench marks, projecting brackets, tidal observatories, and other bench marks are also included, to help give a more complete picture of the levelling lines."

Say what?

Anyway, I now know what the Second geodetic levelling was though I can't say that I feel particularly enriched by the knowledge, in fact I feel somewhat violated by the thought that someone may mention it in conversation one day and I'll actually know what the hell they're on about..... I'm sure they're lovely people but..........

Have a great weekend and perhaps I'll bump into you at the history exhibition tomorrow

Thursday, 11 September 2008

400 years of Worcester Park

One of the many good things about the Worcester Park Life is its news about upcoming stuff, otherwise it'd be possible to miss things like this:

There will be another chance to see the ‘400 years of Worcester Park’ exhibition, originally produced for the anniversary in 2006, at the Heritage Open Day in St Mary’s Church, at the top of The Avenue, on Saturday 13 September, 11am-5pm. There will also be new displays about Cuddington and Worcester Park in the 1950s, including a look at the story of the Operatic Section of the Cuddington Players, formed in 1958. All are welcome, and light refreshments will be available in the hall adjoining the church.

For those new to the blog the historical information's been compiled by the incomparable David Rymill, archivist and maven of Worcester Park history. He will be there and his book will be available for purchase and I'd highly recommend it:

Worcester Park and Cuddington: A Walk through the Centuries, produced by David Rymill in 2000, is still available at £8.95 plus £1 p&p if required. For further details, phone 020 8330 6563. The 170-page book combines memories of life in Worcester Park from the 1910s
onwards with documentary evidence, and includes over 75 illustrations.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Sutton Council in the news

Thank you to all who signed the petition in my last post and ITV London News led with it as their top story last night so I've grabbed the video for you in case you missed it.

The intro's misleading as the majority don't get taxis but get minibuses from home, but the Council proposal is to make these disabled children walk up to a mile in all weathers to get on the same minibus that would normally meet them from home.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

A minute of your time

I don't usually do this but please spend a minute reading this email from a local Councillor in Sutton and then go through and sign the petition please.
The London Borough of Sutton is proposing to cruelly slash the budget for transporting Special Educational Needs Children from January 2009. Obviously, anyone with the capacity for thought and compassion will recognise that this is a travesty and not welcome in our allegedly civilised world. The cuts would place in severe jeopardy hundreds of special children, this is A FACT, not a dramatisation of a distressed father, and add even more stress to the parents, carers, siblings and teachers that have to cope and deal with far too much as it is without cynical governmental penny pinching measures sticking a further unwelcome knife into their backs.

Consultation on this matter is a fallacy, I am an elected Councillor of Sutton with a severely Autistic son of 8 years old and not once have I been asked for any information, input or, unfortunately, the time of day. Indeed, disregard and contempt has met any attempt to raise the issue democratically. The only consultation apparent is with those without direct knowledge of a serious and rapidly increasing problem.

I urge you to sign the petition at:

Councillor David Theobald
St Helier Ward
London Borough of Sutton

Thursday, 4 September 2008

A developing issue

With the Hamptons grabbing the limelight in Worcester Park the smaller developments may slip under the radar. A developer has twice proposed knocking down two bungalows in Brinkley Road and replacing them with flats in a fashion not entirely dissimilar to the new Brinkley Court, which replaced the disused church/factory for those of you who ever saw it. Having been turned down by Sutton Council for first 18 and then 14 flats they've returned to the fray with a proposal for 10 flats:

Application No: A2008/59560/OUT
Location:34-36 Brinkley Road Worcester Park KT4 8JF
Proposal:Outline application with all matters reserved for a building comprising ten self contained flats with car, cycle and refuse facilities following demolition of existing bungalows.
Applicant:Mr Gary Hull

For details of the application you can find the plans and forms here:

and you can register your objection online here:

If you're one of the Brinkley Road residents who reads this then please do what you feel is appropriate but if you're stuck for words to write your objection then do email me and I'll let you know what I wrote.

On a vaguely Council related issue I see the Evening Standard is running a story entitled "Council wastes thousands on free DVDs telling residents how to fill their wheelie bins" about Fylde and Wyre Council in Lancashire. I know that Sutton Council is doing much in the recycling arena but if they ever send me a DVD about it I'm reaching for my fiery torch and pitchfork and leading the rebellion towards the Civic Offices.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Is no news really good news?

What's going on? I went to Google News this morning to do my regular search for Worcester Park news over the last week and there's absolutely nothing, zilch, nada!?!? Other than the opening of Cycle Power being pushed back into September is there really that little going on? I could try and do something with the story about Sutton being London's happiest place, but then you knew that already didn't you.....  Fortunately the latest edition of the Worcester Park Life is available in the usual outlets for your reading pleasure although the PDF version hasn't made it onto the website just yet.

After the excitement of Friday night Saturday saw me taking Brinkster Junior to see the new Clone Wars thing while Brinkster Minor watched Miss Brinkster having a riding lesson. After that we all met up and headed off to Nonsuch Park to amble round in the unusual brightness of a genuinely sunny afternoon and make the most of an unseasonably early start to the conker season.

This led to the discovery by Mrs Brinkster that Mole Valley Orienteering Club (MVOC) are holding some introductory 2km and 3km events at Nonsuch Park on Saturday 27th September between 10am and 11am for the nominal sum of £1 (aged 19 and under) and £3 for adults. I've never professed any great desire to orienteer, if that's the word, but any excuse to spend some time hurtling around Nonsuch Park on what will hopefully be a sunny day can't be a bad thing in my books. For those who can't make that one they're doing another one in October at the Hogsmill, details on the flyers below:

For more info do visit their website.

To change the subject, and tone, entirely I like to think of myself as having a somewhat refined vocabulary so it pains me when there is no option other than to resort to four-letter words, particularly the "c" one but here goes. Over in the Worcester Park Blog there's been some conversation involving the word "chav" and for the benefit of readers all and sundry I thought I'd pass on the link to "Chav Master", a game in which "you enage in the ultimate battle of bad behaviour: compete against your apponents in a no-holds-barred contest to collect A.S.B.O's. To win the Golden A.S.B.O. simply hold onto your electronic tag and prove that you are the ultimate loser!"

I thought the typo was a nice touch.

Anyway, who could resist gawking at the website of a game that describes itself thus:

Strap on your electronic tag, turn down Trisha, and get ready to go head-to-head in the ultimate battle of bad behaviour!!!

3 - 12 players slog it out. Only one will prove themselves worthy of the Chav Master title, and the Holy Grail of Chavdom - The Golden A.S.B.O.

Seven classic party games get a 21st Century kick up the arse. Collect as many A.S.B.O's as you can and hold on to your electronic tag, or you're out of the game!

Here's the link.