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.