Saturday, 29 March 2008

Model Toad & Snail?

This week Mrs Brinkster alerted me to the fact that Model Road & Rail had been closed during the week and that she'd seen people carrying out large quantities of stuff to cars outside when she'd been passing. Today I snapped the picture above of the shop closed in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, so it would appear that it's closed or closing, although there's no sign in the window.

Being graced with three small Brinksters I have been in there many times and also bought stuff there too but they seem to have moved most of their transactions onto ebay here and there's certainly somebody still posting auctions up there. I hope they don't close as they've been in business for 34 years and it'd be a shame for Worcester Park to lose a business that's been around that long....... but I guess times do change.

Friday, 28 March 2008

More good news, train strike suspended

In a flurry of good news items (well.... two) I'm pleased to say that next week's train strike on SW Trains is suspended. As I have to be in the office at least in won't be a struggle to get in or out.

And click here -

Nonsuch Mansion saved

After my previous rant here's some good news. Nonsuch Park Mansion has been saved from the nefarious schemes of Surrey Council and signed over to Epsom and Sutton councils with a 125 year lease. As someone who frequents the park, ermmm......., frequently this is good news and I'm off to the tea shop to celebrate!!

Nun liebe Kinder gebt fein acht

In something entirely unrelated to Worcester Park as I perused yesterday's letters my attention was caught by the one from British Gas saying "sorry you're leaving us for another provider" and I suddenly realised that the companies I've developed the strongest dislikes for seem to have the word "British" in them. Let's take my recent gripes about BA (British Airways) and BAA (British Airport Authority), cast into the limelight by yesterday's Terminal 5 fiasco, and then add the aforementioned British Gas and append the truly awful BT (British Telecom) and you've pretty much covered my list of thoroughly dislikeable companies.

Although most of these companies now prefer to hide behind their acronyms they do still seem to have this unspoken belief that "Yes, we're big, give rubbish service and fleece you rotten, but what are you going to do about it... because we're British". I haven't had the displeasure of dealing with BT for my home phone for nearly 15 years but as someone who deals with them as a business customer quite regularly they're outstandingly shocking (To be fair most telcos aren't great but BT are in another league entirely).

Anyway to depress you further there's an article here about the most useless drone aircraft, why the British Army have to use it and why we have to pay for it:
"The resulting Watchkeeper aircraft will be a bit better than the current Hermes 450s - but they will cost much the same as much bigger, hugely more capable Reapers. And they won't arrive until at least 2010. And they will be dependent on parts and support from both Israel and France, so they don't offer Blighty an independent capability."

"Sure, deals of this type generate jobs in the UK. But it almost always turns out that each job costs the taxpayer (at least) a million pounds over and above the cost of buying existing gear - and then, in ten years' time or less, a similar demand is made in order to preserve the said job. The jobs actually turn out to be, in effect, a tremendously expensive dole scheme."

"And meanwhile, British troops - so badly paid that they are often not from Blighty at all nowadays - wait years for their gear until it can be made in the UK, paying hugely inflated prices for the privilege. And then, often enough - considering the good old British made Phoenix - it isn't worth either the wait or the price"

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Light fingered or heavy handed?

Green Lane Primary School recently fell prey to thieves who stole the lead flashing from the roof. Unlike my recent 'dob-a-yob' entry this is a crime that would have taken a fair degree of organisation and resources and most likely would have been spotted by somebody, even if they mistook them for genuine workmen.

If you were in the area on the 19th March and have any information please do let the Worcester Park Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) know on 020 8649 3590 or email them at but please do let them know as ultimately the money for replacing the stolen lead comes out of our pockets one way or the other (Council Tax, insurance, etc).

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

SW Trains impending strike

For those oft-embattled commuters, like me, who wend our sometimes weary way into London from our very own Worcester Park station the news that there may be another train strike next week is about as welcome as Mohamed Al Fayed at Balmoral.

What information there is on the matter is provided at the National Rail website including a highly informative and very detailed map of the services that will be available during the strike, which shows that SW Trains have decided that the best way to maintain a service to Worcester Park for the duration of the strike is not to send any trains. Nada. Zilch. None.

For those who are interested there is a timetable for those non-existent trains here but for the rest of you there's the additional news that they don't appear to be running a service that includes Wimbledon or Clapham Junction on strike days either......

Those sweet members of ASLEF might call it off at the last minute, but if they don't then I'll be on the 93 to Morden.........

Thursday, 20 March 2008

2016 Olympics bid

With all the fuss about the 2012 Olympics in East London Cheam's bid to host the 2016 Olympics may have slipped beneath your radar. From the website it seems to be much better planned and thought out than the 2012 Olympics and has the map of the proposed transport links, which include expansion of the tramlink through Worcester Park with stops at Sparrow Farm, The Gamecock and Ruxley.

As part of the plan Worcester Park is due to get its own stadium to host the Olympic cricket matches which considering our recent good showing in the ECB Indoor Championship seems only fair.

The list of sports is extensive with the usual sports such as Archery to be held in Nonsuch Park but with the introduction of such typically English sports as Aunt Sally, Croquet, Darts, International Roll-up Smoking, Pimms Tennis (Demonstration sport), Pooh sticks, Punting and Stoolball.

I'd encourage you to endorse the bid by putting their logo with Cheam's most famous resident on your website or blog (if you have one).

"Scariest person of the week" award goes to the person who read every single blog entry I've ever written (plus comments) over a 6 hour period yesterday. Congratulations......... I think.............

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Some news, apparently bad

After my earlier post I'm sad to say that Worcester Park 6-a-side cricket team didn't win the ECB Indoor Championship, being bested by last years champions Blaydon. Seems like it was a big competition though so I feel that commiserations and congratulations are due in equal measure for making it to the semi-finals.

In more general news the newspapers today are filled with obituaries to such famous names as Arthur C Clarke, Anthony Minghella, then on to the fabulous Squadron Leader Ken 'Hawkeye' Lee and the like, but I would like to draw your attention to a lesser known name who graced the TVs of 'those of a certain age' for many years......... John Hewer. He trod the stage with the likes of Julie Andrews and his screen credits include The Great Detective and the TV mini-series Nicholas Nickleby but he will always be best remembered for his stalwart role in the-bits-in-between-the-programmes as .......... Captain Birdseye, obituary here. RIP Captain.

Lastly my periodical trawling of the web for all things Worcester Park related turned up this gem of a photo showing how not to drive an Aston Martin DB9, on the green right by Worcester Park station:

Quite how he/she got it on top of those railings I can't imagine...... Likewise I can't imagine what their insurance payments are like now as it's £65K+ to buy a second-hand one.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Another mega-post

So much stuff has happened in Worcester Park over the last few weeks I've been hard pressed to keep up with it. Rather than let it pass me by I thought I'd give it a go:

Papa John's is now advertising for staff and the building work that is going on would suggest that they'll be done in a few weeks.

"Hair by Fiko" next to the station has now reopened and looks much the better for it. What this means for their offshoot barbers Ciarans on Central Road I'm not sure but I'm guessing we'll find out before too long.

There new plans in to build flats behind the "Household & Toy Warehouse" on Central Road (aka "Yoga Way"
Application No: A2008/59236/FUL
Area/Ward: A02NONSUCH
Location: Land Rear of 105 to 107 CENTRAL ROAD Worcester Park KT4 8DY
Proposal: Erection of a three storey building plus basement, comprising nine studio units, one 1-bedroomed and four 2-bedroomed flats. Provision of cycle and refuse stores and seven car parking spaces.
Applicant: Sultanglade Ltd
Web Address:

The last plans for Yoga Way never came off so let's see if these get any further.

Derren Brown's show in Epsom was outstanding and I'd recommend that if you're into that sort of thing, or just want an excellent evening out, you ought to get tickets to see him at the Garrick Theatre in May. The friend I took with me was totally blown away though the evening was slightly curtailed by leaving promptly at the end so I could be at Heathrow the following morning, an oversight on my part. We spent a good part of the time chatting with Andy Nyman, the director, so if you do go try and spot him as he's a very nice bloke and celebrated actor and magician in his own right.

On subject of Heathrow I've concluded that Terminal 4 is a pit and that BA and BAA are useless. Having used the fabulous Worcester Park station taxis to get me there (courtesy of Mr Tom Tom) I then used the e-ticket check-in and was advised by the efficient little machine that all I had to do next was to take my bag to the bag drop. The problem with that was that there were around 250 people in the queue and only four desks open, leading to a lengthy and very frustrating delay. When Terminal 4 opened donkeys years ago I remember many happy, untroubled journeys through there but it looks like those days are long gone. I'm considering Luton as my airport of choice now as it's now owned by BAA and doesn't have the same degree of silliness.

In the right hand column I've been toying with RSS feeds and email subscriptions. 20six used to offer email subscriptions, and I know many of you used them, but Blogger don't so I've thrown my lot in with Feedburner to give new, shiny feeds and the ability to receive emails whenever I post rather than having to keep coming back every so often. Do subscribe as it means you may be able to get early warning of those important Worcester Park events, such as catastrophic train problems ;)

That's all I can think of for now but in the meatime click here -

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

It definitely IS cricket

Congratulations are due to Worcester Park's cricket team who have made it through to the finals of the ECB National Indoor Championship. The ECB website takes up the story:

Worcester Park became the first side to book their place in the finals of the ECB National Indoor Championships 2008 after beating Canterbury in the South Eastern regional final at Kent CCC's Indoor School at St Lawrence.

The four teams battling it out for the South Eastern berth in the finals at Lord's on March 16 were MK Azad (Bucks) Canterbury (Kent), BT/Waldringfield (Suffolk) and Worcester Park (Surrey) who had progressed to the Regional Finals stage by becoming Champions in their respective county and winning through a play-off round.

The finals are on Sunday so hopefully they'll win it and Worcester Park will become (even more) famous!!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Dob a yob

While buying mice for Miss Brinkster's snake the other week in Pets Place on Central Road we spent a few minutes looking at the bearded dragon, gecko and tiny tortoise that were meandering around their vivariums. Fast forward to yesterday and the Local Guardian has an article on the theft of the tortoise from the shop on Saturday:

"The tortoise needs to be looked after carefully or it will die," said Mr Veal. "I am more angry than upset at the theft; that anyone can stoop so low."

Police are looking for four white youths in connection with the theft - two boys and two girls, aged 13-16, who were seen in the shop at the time.

One of the boys was about 5ft 2in tall and wore a dark hooded top. The other boy was slim with spiky blond hair and was 5ft 6in.

One of the girls was of medium build, 5ft 2in tall, with brown, bushy, curly hair. She wore a light coloured hooded top and blue jeans. There is no description of the other girl.

Apart from the obvious issue of the fate of the tortoise it's hard for small businesses to absorb these kind of losses and I'm all in favour of having more small businesses rather than less, so if you do get wind of who might have done it please call Worcester Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team on 020 8649 3590, email or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Monday, 10 March 2008

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses"

It's good to be back in the UK, away from the unrelenting cheeriness, hot sun, strange sports and behemothic shopping malls of Phoenix and embraced by the finest that English weather has to offer casting a comforting blanket over the friendly shops and traffic of Worcester Park.

I lie.

Cold? wet? grey?....... take me back to Arizona.

The promised storm has arrived and the trains were royally up the creek this morning with the pièce de résistance being the train that hurtled through the station around 7.40 which didn't bother to stop for passengers, probably because it would disrupt the timetable. The sodden, cold and huddled masses eventully poured themselves into a train around 7.50 and in the end it only took me an hour and a half to do what would normally have taken an hour (I'm being sarcastic if you can't tell).

A number of passengers at Worcester Park did try and bolster the spirits of their fellow passengers by attempting to fight off the torrential downpour and associated gales with that mightiest of implements........ the umbrella. Seriously, I know people want to stay dry but the most likely result on a day like to day is to give the assembled crowd an impromptu display of manned flight, with the possibility of dislocating a shoulder as a potential bonus. After the first few umbrellas had been comprehensively disassembled by the wind it was left to the ninjas of the umbrella art to to try and maintain their dignity, which they managed to greater or lesser degrees....... the most spectacular failure being that of an enormous golf umbrella and the subsequent attempts to right the situation left me wiping the moisture from my eyes for more than one reason.

Umbrella spotting has become a bit of a sport in the office today with assorted staff congregating pressed against the glass sides of our building attempting to prognosticate the fortunes of umbrellas and their carriers as they negotiate their way across the road and the adjoining square with such comments as "I give her ten seconds", and "He'll never hang on to that" being the standard fare. The more impressive failures are greeted with an "ooooh" and much respect is given to those who can salvage resurrect their inverted implement.

Maybe it is nice to be back in the UK after all.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

It's hot

No time for wit or insight today but I thought I'd post a few photos in case you want to know what I'm up to or even just some kind of confirmation that I'm not dead (Hi Mum!) and the worst thing I have is finding out which bits the sunscreen didn't quite cover.

If you want to know what they are then click on them or head over to my Worcester Park Gallery

And click here

Monday, 3 March 2008

An idea

Out in the desert yesterday with our guide I discovered that one of the many things I hadn't realised about Arizona is that it is legal to carry a gun in the open without a licence........ except in banks and bars. Some people think that's too restrictive and are wanting to carry them in bars [yikes].

Inevitably I got to thinking just how this might work in Worcester Park..... packing tin to the Huntsmans on a Friday night could become a sport and I'm sure some would argue in favour of letting the yokels locals wipe each other out and leave the place to the rest of us.

Considering how many guns there are around out here there are remarkably few shootings......... obviously they have a level of restraint that wouldn't be matched if some of the hooded yoof of WP got hold of them.

Off to the baseball now (SF Giants v Texas Rangers for those with any interest)...... all in the name of work of course ;)

Greetings from Arizona

It's stupid o'clock here in Arizona but I thought I'd fire off some kind of blog post as an indication that I have survived the transatlantic travel (no thanks to BA or BAA!) though any talent for blogging may have fallen prey to the time zone and altitude change.

I went shopping in dowtown Scottsdale today and I am still reeling from a shopping experience that didn't pass a single charity shop at any point. the other bizarre thing is that there are statues on every corner of their downtown shopping area, consisting mostly of cowboys, horses, 'steers' and stuff like that. As a result culture shock has definitely set in and the lack of traffic jams, cold weather, and the like is taking a lot of getting used to. I did find a couple of tarantula holes out in the desert today but wasn't dumb enough to stick anything in them so have survived thus far unscathed.

The other thing that most Americans insist on telling me is that they didn't vote for Bush, they're embarrassed and very sorry.

It's Spring Training Baseball tomorrow, which for those in the know is an excuse to sit out in the sun and drink beer for three hours!