Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Mini revelations

I see that the Surrey Comet has the full story on the mini-car chase the other day:

"Police officers chased a stolen Mini Cooper through the streets of Kingston, Sutton and Epsom after they spotted it crawling down a road with its lights off.

Kingston police officers originally attempted to stop the car when they noticed it being driven unusually in New Malden in the early hours of Sunday, December 20.

But the driver kept going and a chase continued through to Worcester Park and into Stoneleigh."


The full story, including the "big finish" is here.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Did anybody see the car chase??

Completely unrelated picture According to Charles Michel Duke there was a car chase in Worcester Park on Saturday night involving some well-resourced police cars and a Mini Cooper, with the inevitable results.

The picture's completely unrelated to the incident but was the first one I saw when searching for "car chase" on Google Images and looked exciting. If you do happen to have any information (or pictures) then do let me know.

The only blue lights I've seen in the last 48 hours have been the hordes of ambulances scraping up the poor unfortunates from the icy pavements. Be careful out there!

pic from www.thisislondon.co.uk

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Christmas fun

We had a really nice time at the Worcester Park Christmas Evening last Friday night and the little Brinksters loved it, as their volcanic reaction to being told it was time to go home indicated, but I've seen on the Worcester Park blog that some people weren't enamoured with the stalls and rides and some people considered the games and rides as 'dodgy'.


To show that the grass isn't always greener I thought I'd pass on a couple of, admittedly blurry, photos I took in the West End's Leicester Square last night where the featured Christmas entertainment for the throngs is.... you guessed it.... games and rides. There's the old "get an impossibly small hoop round an unfeasibly large block" game, throw [insert name of object] and knock down [insert name of other objects], assorted sizes of cuddly toys as prizes and basically the same things that we had last Friday, if on a somewhat larger scale (in a larger space).



I'm of the opinion that's it's always best to try and find joy in the little things so if people couldn't enjoy last Friday night perhaps it's more a reflection on them than necessarily on the evening as a whole but anyway, next year will be great because they'll all be volunteering to help out won't they?? ;)

We all ready for the snow? I notice the grit box at the top of Brinkley Road's been topped up so we're sorted!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Tonight's the night!

Celebrities!? Big name acts!? Nope.. none of those. We're Worcester Park not some desperate-to-be-noticed town centre... we don't need THAT kind of superficial frippery!

Yes indeedy. Tonight is the Worcester Park Traders Association Christmas event on Central Road and I'm celebrating the day by being off work sick. Hopefully Superdrug will be one of the shops staying open late so that I can get a top-up if needed and assuming the (purely over-the-counter) drugs work I'll be out there with the crowds. It's normally the Brinkster Clan's cue to descend upon the stands like a horde of locusts and strip them bare of plastic, usually illuminated and frequently terminally fragile prizes, all in the name of religious celebration obviously.

If I'm really organised I'll get my phone charged up and tweet my way through the evening so if you're hip and connected then you might be able to track me down from my tweets. If not you should be able to have a chuckle at some of the photos when I put them up... eventually.

For more info I'd recommend you take a look at the Worcester Park Blog's entry on the subject and it's forecast to be cold so wrap up warm!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Sad news in Brinkley Road

A fellow Brinkley Roadian has emailed me with the sad news that one of the familiar faces in the road has passed away:

John was 74 last birthday (well that's what he told me!) and I believe he lived there all his life. He used to walk up to the shops nearly every day and I'm sure he has the best hedge in the street! When we moved here just over three years ago John quickly befriended us and would always stop to chat and occasionally pop in with fruit or sweets for our kids, he even made my hubby a huge wooden tool box! He was a real diamond and we will miss him greatly ... RIP John.

I'll miss seeing him in the road too as he was always happy to chat and was a lovely bloke.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Lighting up Sutton

Shaun the sheep and Timmy in Sutton at the lighting up festivities with Radio Jackie.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Jokey japes in Brinkley Road

Spotted this at the top end of Brinkley Road on my way to the station this morning. I suspect that someone's in for an annoying surprise when they leave for work this morning.

(Apologies for the picture quality but flash and clingfilm don't seem to like each other)

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Cafe Piccolo closed.

A quick photo and post from my phone. I know some people weren't fans but it's a shame to see another Worcester Park business go under.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Happy Birthday Herbert!!

Yes, it's the 143rd birthday of famous Worcester Park resident H G Wells (Herbert George Wells)... at least it would be if he was still alive. He was born on the 21st September 1866 and lived at Heatherlea in The Avenue briefly and if you want to get a flavour of the man then this exchange of letters in 1896 with Mr Gissing might help.

Letter to George Gissing from Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), novelist. Wells writes: "If Mr. George Gissing can tear himself away from the pleasant Epsom house at any time he will find a fervent admirer in a charming house (a little defective as to the roof & water pipes) & picturesque (if insanitary) surroundings at Worcester Park... he [Gissing] will be fed & given drink, tea, lemonade, or alcoholic fluids as he may prefer, & he will be conversed with in a genial but respectful tone. But as Mr. H.G. Wells rarely washes and is commonly unshaven and dirty about the cuffs, it will be refined behaviour on the part of Mr. Geo. Gissing if he abstains from any aggressive neatness of costume. (There is some accommodation for bicycles)."

There is a signed note in Gissing's hand: "The first letter I received from H.G. Wells." Gissing notes the receipt of this letter in his diary on 26 November 1896 (Coustillas, 'Diary', p. 428): "An odd letter from H.G. Wells asking me to go and see him in Worcester Park. He seems the right kind of man. Replied that I would go presently." On the front of the letter is attached a fragment of a newspaper clipping to which some of Wells' comments appear to refer, includes a small pen sketch by Wells depicting gate posts and a pathway.
Dated at Heatherlea, Worcester Park, Surrey.


He did mention Worcester Park several times in the famous "Argonauts of the Air" (rather than the lesser known "War of the Worlds"), which was published in 1895, though I think he'd be hard-pressed to identify the Worcester Park he knew if he was to see it today.

Friday, 18 September 2009

In The Night(mare) Garden

Over the last week my evening routine has been ruined by those inconsiderate people at CBeebies changing the second half of Bedtime Hour so gone are "Charlie & Lola" and "64 Zoo Lane" and instead we're confronted by the horror that is "In The Night Garden" (henceforth known as ITNG).

In case you're fortunate enough never to have seen ITNG some kind of description would be handy and where better to start than its own official website:
"In the Night Garden is best described as a modern televisual interpretation of a nursery rhyme picture book. It is about a magical place that exists between waking and sleeping in a child's imagination."

A magical place between waking and sleeping? Only if you're on crack it is. I've never seen such a bizarre collection of mind-torturing images since I inadvertantly saw the video Frank Zappa and Bickford put out for "Dupree's Paradise" late one dark night.

I struggle to come up with way of explaining just how painful I find ITNG but I'll try. Many years ago I had a broken tooth extracted at the London Hospital with the aid of a local anaesthetic and a valium and I have to say that it was one of the most surreal and unpleasant experiences of my life as floaty white-coated people with pliers tried to take things out of my face while all I could think to do was laugh and I start to have flashbacks of that type when I start to watch ITNG. I've never taken recreational mind-altering drugs, though some of you might think I ought to try, but watching ITNG is what I imagine a bad trip must be like and if you think the drug references are an exagerration I'll point you to The Guardian who described it as "The opium of the (little) people"... and that's from someone who LIKES it!

"At the end of every episode there is a recap, which is signposted by the Tittifers, brightly coloured birds who come together to form a harmony that acts as a signal for bedtime for all the characters."

Let me explain this. Just when I'm mentally screaming for it all to stop I'm confronted by hallucinogenically coloured birds introducing a recap of a story that I desperately don't want to remember, allegedgly for my benefit. They don't say that of course, they just tweet in an annoyingly repetitive manner in their hallucinogenic way and then just as they appeared for no apparent reason they disappear the same way. The floaty Derek Jacobi narration doesn't help matters as I've heard and seen Derek in a number of great productions as I hear his voice in ITNG I can almost picture him with a vacant stare of the insane induced by trying to understand what the whole things supposed to be about.

If you're not familiar with what I hesitate to call a 'cast' the main characters are Upsy Daisy, Igglepiggle, Makka Pakka, the three Tombliboos, not to mention the tiny Wottingers and Pontipines (did I forget anybody). In addition you have an airship called the Pinky Ponk and a train called the Ninky Nonk but trying explain this menagerie would take too long so I'll pick on the Tombliboos:
"There are three of these tumbly, pepper-pot toys – Unn, Ooo and Eee. They totter about as a group, rarely individually, and their trousers tend to fall down at unexpected times."
They'd be at home late night in Sutton or Croydon then wouldn't they!?!? If, for some strange reason, you find yourself in late night conversation with an officer of the law whilst you are in a state of some inebriation you might want to say:
"I am Eee. I am a Tombliboo and I always stagger around with my trousers round my knees".
I wouldn't recommend it as such, but it might give them a laugh, particularly if try and you stick to that story when you get down the station.

Now if you're thinking that these things aren't for adults so I shouldn't be judging the official web site does say
"The programme is consistently rich in music and rhyme, so that parents and caregivers can pick up on the fun and share it with their children"
Right. Sure they can.

Back to the Guardian for the final word:
"Some parents cry with frustration at their kids' devotion to it; others just weep along as their own most tender childhood dreams and memories are expertly pricked by its ingenious, half-submerged allusions and atmosphere."

I'll be in that first category then but the littler Brinksters love it of course. If you've never seen it do watch one episode.... your life may never be the same again...

Friday, 11 September 2009

Nonsuch Mansion revealed

Last night myself and Mrs Brinkster were honoured to be guests at a pre-opening party in Nonsuch Mansion and I have to say that its transformation from local authority education centre/spare building to prestige events venue is complete!

The interior, as I think the photos show and as I've mentioned before, is stunning and with people inside it really comes alive with the different rooms having their own ambience with people seeming to gravitate towards their "favourite" room as the evening went on. As the sun went down exterior also took on a whole new appearance with the mood lighting (of which more later) and of course if you wanted to have an event of your own there the whole lot can be tailored to suit what you want. Some people may have recently been thrilled to see the first steam train in x years on the move and others may have got chills watching the Vulcan bomber return to the air but for me it was a great feeling to see this lovely building in action, my geeky thrill if you want to call it that.

The canap├ęs, provided by caterers Bovingdons, were gorgeous with food ranging from crab to mushroom, quails eggs with smoked salmon to wasabi and were all beautifully prepared, both in appearance and flavour, and I just had to try them all.... several times.... If you haven't heard of them before Bovingdons cater at a range of venues from Kew Steam Museum to Kensington Palace and from the Royal Observatory to, appropriately for Nonsuch, Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace. I know that bookings are already coming in for weddings and anniversaries but if you work locally then it'd be a special place to stage a Christmas party, office event or customer seminar.

Normally a trip to a venue of this type would involve a trip up to London or a fair old car journey but to have one this close to home is bliss and I have to give a big "Thank you" to Lucy of Nonsuch Mansion for inviting us both!

Extra shouts are required as the cool jazz mood was provided by DJ John Clark of Shifty Translation who has the fabulous talent of jamming along to the tracks with his muted trumpet and additionally the mood lighting, so evident in the photos, was provided by Worcester Park's own Effectevent Ltd, who can provide sound, light, projection and other event services.

There are some more photos of the evening on Flickr here and you'll need to see them if you want to understand what "visiting the velvet dogs" is a euphemism for!

Anyway, as I've mentioned before it's open on Sunday from 11am until 4pm to have a look around so I'd recommend you give it a visit, whether you have an event in mind or not.

http://www.nonsuchmansion.com/
020 8786 8124
events[at]nonsuchmansion.com
http://twitter.com/nonsuchmansion

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Am I going soft?

Pedant
With the recent focus on spelling mistakes on street signs and the like I began wondering whether the amateur pedants, such as myself, are at risk of playing into the hands of the professional organised pedants e.g. Sutton Council.

Perhaps like some of you I work for a large organisation and in order to buy anything more complicated or expensive than a stapler means that quotes have to be gathered, forms have to be filled in, approvals have to be received from everyone who may or may not possibly be interested before the item stands any chance of being ordered. It would then need to be delivered by someone who'd done manual lifting training, probably passed another Health & Safety assessment of some kind and a workstation evaluation had been carried out to ensure I wasn't going to breach some obscure regulation handed to them from a higher body.

What I came to thinking in the end was do I really want Sutton Council to have someone to go around and check x thousand road signs for spelling mistakes? How much would that cost, and how much would it cost for replacements for those misspelled ones? Firstly that person could be better employed at something else more important but secondly should they succeed in their task of finding misspelled signs that might then set off a frenzy of processes as signs are ordered, checked, rechecked, requoted, installations scheduled, environmentally sound disposals of old-signs arranged, etc, etc.

It's the same kind of chain of events that fills the NHS with managers rather than nurses and fills our newspapers with Health & Safety stories and I don't think society is going to break down and anarchists are going to move in just because a street sign remains uncorrected. All of these things are a trade-off and rather than thinking "Should this road sign be corrected?" and give a yes or no answer I'm starting to think "Should this road sign be corrected or would I rather keep weekly rubbish collections?"

I may have to hand in my Amateur Pedants Association membership, if such a thing existed, for merely even thinking this but the next time I see a misspelled street sign I think I'm going to just get over it. I may grind my teeth, laugh or groan, depending on my mood, but I won't be setting up a Facebook group, writing to the newspaper, the Council or whoever... I'll just think about all of the money I'll be helping to save but not making a fuss about it and how it could be better used heating old people's houses or providing care for neglected children.... and I'm going to start my post-pedantry rehab by not spell-checking this post!

Anyone want a used copy of "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Mobile phoney

Sometime last week I was driving towards New Malden from Worcester Park and as I got to the Plough there was a car coming the other way with a portly late-middle-aged male driver who was trying to turn into the Harvester with the result that he and his car were blocking the traffic on his side as nobody would let him across.

Possibly because he was blatantly on the phone (which is illegal by the way).

Being well brung-up like I are I slowed down and flashed my lights to let him across so he, with his one free hand, tried to turn the steering wheel to the right and move forward at which point his car jerked forwards and then stalled, straddling both lanes. With one hand still holding his phone to his right ear he then smiled at me in a "These things happen" kind of way and then rather sheepishly tried and failed to restart his car whilst still talking on the phone and it was at least 15 to 20 seconds before he managed to get it to come to life and drive it into the Harvester, where he probably consoled himself by ordering every deep fried item on the menu.

I'd have thought that if someone was going to use a mobile phone while driving their car (which is illegal by the way) they'd at least have the sense that if they stalled their car then they might want to, perhaps, interrupt their phone conversation and give the task their full attention seeing as they're now blocking two lanes of traffic.

Or am I asking too much?

Monday, 7 September 2009

Some advantages to commuting

With the days becoming shorter I'm aware that I'll soon be getting up for work in the dark but in the meantime there are certain treats to be had as an early-morning commuter. Proudly presenting early morning sunrise over Worcester Park as viewed from the station.


Sunrise is 6.23am tomorrow in case you were wondering.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Nonsuch preview

As I mentioned last week I had the opportunity for an exclusive sneak peek at the renovation work that has been carried out inside Nonsuch Mansion in preparation for the official opening on the 13th.

As you may recall there's recently been a big fuss as Surrey Council were going to sell it off for development but a huge local campaign saved it for local use and now life is being brought back to the building as it's opened up for hopefully a long future of public use. You may even have seen it pop up recently on "Who Do You Think You Are" when Kevin Whately traced his ancestors back to the house.

In order to restore it to some of its former glory there's been a renovation of the main rooms downstairs and selected rooms upstairs, with the hope that more of the upstairs can be given a makeover in due course.

The pictures here will give you a taster of what it's like but as lovely as they might make it look the reality is far better as they don't really convey the scale of the place. The picture to top right shows a view through the line of rooms which overlook the lawn from east to west and the one below shows the two rooms at the west end of the house looking from the south to the north, a large 'L' shape if you can picture it. Now when you look at these pictures I want you to notice the chandeliers in each room because as these hang about eight feet off the ground that will give you the scale of just how big the doors are and how high the ceilings are.

Now pictures are all very well but you want to look around for yourself don't you and I'm pleased to be able to say that on the 13th September from 11am to 4pm it's Nonsuch Park Awareness Day and as part of the programme the Mansion will be open for you to have a look into with tours provided by The Friends of Nonsuch.

Epsom and Ewell Council's website explains:
"There will be a host of Let’s Get Active events including free cycle training and tours, health walks and Tai Chi demonstrations as well as a chance to meet ramblers and running clubs and even get a cycle MOT with Dr Bike check-ups. Dog owners can take part in a dog training clinic or meet a police dog handler to get some top tips and vets will be on hand to carry out check-ups."

Now that the Mansion has been saved the best way to keep it in the public domain is to use it so whether you're planning a a birthday party, wedding reception, anniversary celebration or company event get in touch with the folks at Nonsuch Mansion to see what you can do with this fabulous building.

If you want to see more photos from the inside check out this blog too:
http://lloyddobbie.com/blog/?p=636

Phone: 020 8874 8032
Email: events@nonsuchmansion.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/nonsuchmansion

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Bad language

After recovering from my apoplexy induced by Vodafone mail I've spent a weekend away in Norfolk introducing the Brinksters to some dinosaurs, spending a day on the beach searching for crabs and digging for fossils and then fulfilling my paternal obligation surrounding them in military hardware and then letting them shoot things and get (tiny) gunpowder burns.

Meanwhile, back in Worcester Park, there seems to be plenty of opinion being voiced with the Sutton Guardian getting on its high horse about hand-written Council signs and then pointing out the typo in "Assembley Walk" in Carshalton and meanwhile Worcester Park Blogger, freshly returned from his holiday, has posted a well-measured response to the Guardian and chucked in a couple more points on top.

Picture and story from BBC News There seems little else for me to add other than to say that we've got a long way to go to catch up with Swansea Council who famously sent an email back in 2008 to their local Welsh translator with a phrase for translation "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only", and then faithfully added the reply to the sign.

It was only once the sign had been put up that a proper Welsh speaker pointed out that what it actually said was "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated".

Yes, it was the translators out-of-office reply and, apart from the obvious embarrassment of the whole thing to Swansea Council, it still begs the question as to the viability of the Welsh language as the sign would have had to go through several layers of design, approval and manufacture and it appears that nobody picked up the mistake at any point, suggesting that Swansea Council doesn't actually have any Welsh-speakers involved in that process.

I'd love to speak Welsh but I'm having enough trouble with Italian at the minute...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Yesterday's Todays (or "Why I hate Vodafone Mail")

Being a little bit of a gadgeteer I have a Nokia phone on a Vodafone that gives me 'unlimited' (whatever that means nowadays) mobile internet, amongst other things. One of my main uses for it is uploading pictures to various locations so I can email photos home or to Twitpic for example.

There's been a problem with this tho'. A few times I've emailed things and they've gone from the Outbox on my phone but then disappeared faster than you can say "dodgy canoeist" but, like a dodgy canoeist you know they must be somewhere... just not in my Inbox at home. I'd given up any hope of ever seeing them again until last Monday, 17th of August, when an email dropped into my Inbox that I'd sent on Monday 20th July, yes.... nearly a month ago. How bad does their email system have to be for it to take a month to get an email to me!?!?!?

I'll tell you how bad.

This morning, 20th August for those keeping track, I received an email that I'd sent myself on Friday 17th of July, OVER a month ago. In the generation of instant communication that's several lifetimes... even my fingernails grow at a rate faster than that email must have moved!!! I weep at the thought of insightful and fascinating photos and posts that you've been denied because of their tinpot mail system (OK, so maybe I'm exaggerating there but I'm still cross). In my attempt to work out where my missing email had been I checked the message headers of the emails and they had just been sat on one of their email servers for some reason, probably related to inefficiency and incompetence I'm guessing.

To be fair I still think they're better than O2 for a variety of reasons I won't delve too deeply into other than to say that when I went for a job interview down at the 02 office in Slough opposite the station many years ago they admitted somewhat shame-facedly that the strongest mobile signal you could get in the building was Vodafone.

I've changed my settings now and don't use Vodafone Mail. May it rot in peace.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Kingfishing for compliments?

On the way home from work last night I saw that Kingfish was having a bit of a makeover with a new paint job in progress. It was closed at the time I went past and in my hurry to get home I didn't notice anything to say how long it's going to be closed for but if it's just a paint job I'm guessing it won't be long.

Were any of you at Chessington yesterday? Mrs Brinkster had toyed with the idea of taking the Clan to our friendly, neighbourhood theme park but then went to Guildford Spectrum instead, which turned out to be a good move as the theme park was forced to close for the second time in three days because of a power cut affecting the area. Initially the headlines were about people stuck on the thrill rides but actually the worst affected were those on the placid Skytrain ride who were there for several hours as there's no easy way to get them down, unlike most of the thrill rides. The ever-predictable Daily Mail comes up with the stirring headline, "Terrified children left dangling near lion enclosure for two hours after power is cut to rides at Chessington World of Adventures" but it actually precedes a fairly unexciting description of the day's events. It does note that Police were called to calm angry park-goers and I read somewhere else that a Chessington spokesperson had said that everyone present would receive a free ticket for a return visit, which is the least they could do, literally. It doesn't compensate people who took a day off work to go or paid to stay in the hotel but then I wasn't there so I don't know what really happened so I'll leave the final word to a comment on the Daily Mail's article which seems to give a realistic view:

"Seven of us travelled to Chessington today [from Kent] only to be faced with the power cut 45mins into our time there. The above report makes you think there was uncontolable panic at the park - this was simply not the case. We carried on going around the park for two hours and whilst, yes we saw people stuck on the rides, there was no screaming or hesterics. The staff, whilst maybe not on the ball as much as they should be, where doing the best they could. People stuck on rides were given drinks and crisps. They should have however used the tanoy system to tell people what was happening. Upon leaving, we were given different info from different staff regarding complimentary tickets or refunds. We plan to return over the next few weeks and hope for good weather and more importantly, power!"

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Perseid meteor shower tonight - UPDATED

Tonight should be the peak of the Perseid meteor showers so if you, or any children you may or may not have spawned, have never seen a shooting star then tonight's your night.

Those members of the Brinkster clan who can stay awake will be camped out in hope of clear skies although the unpromising London light pollution is invariably a drawback on occasions such as this. Last year we spent a long weekend in Cornwall and late one night after others were in bed I lay out on the picnic table gazing at the multitude of stars that the clear Cornish skies were happy to reveal and although it took a while I was determined to stay out until I saw a shooting star and was rewarded by seeing a few of these distant travellers.

I'm no astronomy geek so I'll have to use the BBC article to remind myself where Perseus is but by my calculations the view from Brinkley Road might make it look like that meteors will be raining down upon the Hamptons, which might appear like some form of cosmic retribution...

BBC News - Perseid Meteor Advice
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8193769.stm

UPDATED: Twitter user BillPinnell has posted an amazing picture of last night's Perseids taken at 4.33am from his garden in Worcester Park. Looks like the show's worth staying up for! http://twitpic.com/dl4a9

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

"The past is a different country...."

"...They do things differently there" is a quote I've heard many times and with many attributed sources but it was brought to mind today when I stumbled across a gem in the film archives. No, not Youtube but British Pathe, the home of the newsreel.

If you don't know what a newsreel is then this might completely go over your head but I was excited to find that British Pathe have a newsreel online of the excavation of Nonsuch Palace back in 1959 and it seems a million miles away from Channel 4's Time Team with the 1950's version having well-scrubbed students assisting the fatherly archaeologists excavating the site.
If you were to go there today you'd find just an area of grass and weeds but the newsreel shows just how big the original site was and what an excellent building would still be standing if one of Charles II's mistresses hadn't had it demolished and sold off to pay her gambling debts.


Ah well.

British Pathe - Nonsuch Palace 1959
http://www.britishpathe.com/record.php?id=888

Monday, 10 August 2009

From the Embers

When Ember Travel shut up shop on Central Road and took its wares onto an unsuspecting internet there was a collective groan from all those who saw another empty property on Central Road but the good news is that More Than Lofts are opening up there, so whether you're after a loft room or one of their other assorted building services then you'll soon be able to discuss your requirements without having to go any further than Central Road.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Jam tomorrow?

If, like me, you commute into London by train then there's some good news and some bad news. The good news is that by the end of 2013 the platforms at Worcester Park will have been lengthened to accomodate 10-carriage trains, rather than the 8 we now get. I know this because Network Rail have published a fairly inpenetrable 192 page document (PDF) that tells me so, together with 191.5 pages of other things that I don't care about. For the nerds amongst you the trains will most likely be the Class 455 stock that are already in use rather than anything newer and flashier though I did get one of those nice news trains from Worcester Park recently when the guard apologised that they'd run out of the old ones that particular day. Fine by me.

Now for the bad news. Well actually there isn't any. Not in the document at least, but I can't imagine that building work on that scale will pass without any kind of disruption at all to the army of hardy commuting-folk. So what do we reckon? Do the work off-peak? In the evenings? Close the station for a month and give us buses instead?

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Changes afoot on Central Road?



The answer to that question is a simple "Yes" as the Opticians just above Brinkley Road gets a makeover and in the photo below the former shop of Model Road & Rail is having some work done with insulation being put on the walls. Whether this is by the landlord or by an incoming tenant I'm sure we'll find out shortly.



Sunday, 2 August 2009

Sunset over Worcester Park

If the sun ever does set on Worcester Park then it can't look any better than it did last night. You can even see the mobile mast on top of the Green Lane Exchange to the right and for the pedantic the photo's entirely unretouched. Click on the pic for the full size.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

You spin me right round baby right round

The Worcester Park Blogger and myself recently ranted against news sources that publish press releases as news, in that particular case the Harvester chain was the source and various local newspapers were the culprits and just this week the Met Office have discovered to their cost that having a PR person tout a 65% chance of decent weather as a "Barbecue Summer" has backfired horribly.

This week I've had a couple of press releases from Andrews Estate Agents about their reopening (they call it an opening) in Worcester Park so in the spirit of pointing out PR spin bear with me while I raise a couple of small points, but first I'd like you to skim through this press release:

ANDREWS OPENS 50TH ESTATE AGENCY BRANCH IN WORCESTER PARK
Andrews Estate Agents enters its Golden era by opening its 50th Estate Agency branch in Worcester Park, Surrey next week.

In a sign of increased confidence in the Property Market, the branch at 50 Central Road, Worcester Park will be officially opened by the Deputy Mayor of Sutton, Councillor John Leach on Monday 3rd August.

Area Manager for Andrews, Nigel Churaman said: “The opening of the Worcester Park branch is a sign of Andrews commitment to the area, it compliments Andrews’ other branches in New Maulden and North Cheam which further improves our service to our customers.”

Local residents are invited along for a free Home Health Check from 6pm – 8:30 as Property experts from Andrews will be on hand to give advice on buying or selling your home, renting or letting out your property, how to get the best surveys and give details of the latest mortgage deals.

New Branch Manager at Worcester Park, James Ankers comments: “Andrews is always one step ahead of the Property game and we are delighted to be opening our 50th Estate Agency branch in Worcester Park. The housing market has been through a challenging time recently, but there are overwhelming signs of improvement and our new branch demonstrates our belief that the tide has truly turned. Andrews staff will be on hand to answer any queries the community of Worcester Park might have. There is an exclusive special opening offer to the first 10 people who instruct Andrews to sell their home will pay just £1500 plus VAT*”

We will also have a Limited edition Bag for Life with a Worcester Park design which we will be giving away to show that we are proud to be in the local community.

The Grand Opening of the new Andrews branch on 50 Central Road, Worcester Park is from 6pm – 8:30pm. The first 100 people to visit will receive the special limited edition “Worcester Park” Bag for life.



Still with me? Good.

Point number 1 (A minor one for sure) - Skating over their inability to spell New Malden it's really a re-opening... not an opening. If you close something (like your bathroom door) and then open it again you re-open it. If you want to take it to extremes then Costa shutting it's doors on Tuesday night and (re) opening on Wednesday could be called a "Grand Opening".

Point Number 2 - This one's more tricky. Exactly how many branches do Andrews have? When I visited their website the first page Google took me to it said that they have 48 branches but on the front page it says that they have "a network of 80+ branches across the South" but I'd have thought that the most reliable counter should be the "Branch Locator" page as obviously they don't want to send people to non-existent branches. If you go to the Branch Locator and click on the "All Branches" button then count them, like I did, then the number of branches you should find is 57. Count 'em. 57! That includes their Head Office in Keynsham but is still more than 50 (and yes, the list does include Worcester Park).

Don't get me wrong. I'm happy that Andrews will be back on Central Road and they did a good job for us when we bought our house years ago so I'm happy to recommend them. My photo of Phil Spencer outside Andrews (top) is still one of my favourite WP photos, it's just that I'd rather have had a press release that said it was re-opening and didn't mention 50 branches. Don't they know how pedantic we can be on the internet?

Pedantry aside, you can get a free bag out of it and the other email I received from them promised " a glass of bubbly" and if those don't appeal then you could just go along and harangue the Deputy Mayor about why the council has been spending its time lobbying TFL to stump up £2 million enhancing Wallington High Street and not matched that effort in Worcester Park.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A Colonel of truth

Some people might unkindly stereotype the customers of KFC but there's a post on a blog called "I like boring things" where the writer reminisces about his experiences with the Colonel:

After work, I would get the 213 bus home, but rather than getting off at Worcester Park station, I’d stay on the bus one stop further and go to KFC (114 Central Road). I would then walk home, possibly taking one or two sips from my Tango on the way back.
Once home, I would carefully assemble my meal. Placing my Zinger burger neatly on my plate and then adding the fries. I’d sprinkle the contents of the two sachets of salt over the fries and then (and this is important) I would add lots and lots of black pepper.
The black pepper is important because it hints at what was so significant about this ritual. They don’t give you pepper in KFC, only salt. No-one ever gives you pepper; not KFC, nor Burger King, nor McDonalds (except for with the breakfast menu).


He then goes on to revisit the KFC experiences of former years:
"Instead, and cringing slightly as I said the words, I ordered a “Wicked Zinger Box Meal” (there is no other Zinger box meal available, so why do KFC insist I add the word “Wicked”?). Although the Wicked Zinger Box Meal comes with a regular drink and regular fries (there didn’t appear to be a large option, although there was a Tower option), it does comes with a Side of your choice and two Hot Wings. At KFC, there really is only one side any self-respecting chicken fan would even consider ordering. Chicken gravy. A glorious, gloopy, brown concoction (which, though delicious, perhaps isn’t suited to a sunny July afternoon. I ordered it anyway)."

I'm not sure I've ever considered using the word "concoction" when thinking about KFC's output! Worcester Park devotees will notice that the picture at the top is KFC in its pre-makeover incarnation back in 2005, probably as the blog author would remember it.

Elsewhere on that blog there's also a competition that runs out tomorrow so maybe we should surprise him by emailing in loads of entries!

I like boring things - My Lunch
http://iamjamesward.wordpress.com/

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Punishing schedule

It was brought to my attention yesterday that the fine people of Sydenham may have some unexpectedly progressive thinkers in their midst. It seems that one of their residents has initiated a "Campaign to Restore Sydenham Ducking Stool" in order to help restore law and order and to stop throwing money away in expensive legal cases. Click the image to the right and you can read the full text

I'm not sure that it'd work so well in Worcester Park, unless you fancy installing one by the pond up at the Plough, and I think we'd be better off with a set of stocks on the corner of Green Lane and Central Road so that miscreants could be pelted with leftover fruit from Ross Fruiterers on a Saturday morning.
In the photo to the left two children are modelling the stocks having been apprehended for giving their teacher some cheek. It's not all fun and games at school nowadays!

From the original Londonist article here.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Missing cat on Brinkley Road

A fellow Brinkley Road resident has been in touch to say that their cat has gone missing so hopefully one of you vigilant individuals will be able to help reunite them:

Please can you help us find our much loved cat Billy?He’s a 9 month old Ginger & white cat with golden eyes.

He is very much a home cat and if he's not in the house he is only laying in the garden which is why its very strange to have not seen him. He doesn’t have a collar, but he is chipped with our address & contact details.

If you could check your gardens, garages, sheds, bins, roofs etc we’d really appreciate it.

Many thanks,

Jack
07766 168 224/ 020 8329 9050

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Panel beating

I see from the Surrey Comet that the Harvester up by the Plough is looking to create a food panel in order to give feedback on the food and also to meet up and discuss it with other panel members.

The Kermit quotes:
John Jackson, manager of the Plough Harvester, said: “We are always looking for feedback on our menus and we feel that by creating a food panel, we will have the perfect forum in which to discuss how we should be changing what we offer to guests.”

Good idea John but based on our recent trip there (see my Tweets) I'll give you some hints for free:

  1. If I turn up at 4.45pm it would be nice for the waitress to acknowledge my existence rather than re-laying some distant table in the hope that she won't have to take my order before her shift finishes at 5pm,

  2. If by some strange chance she does take my order before 5pm it'd be nice if she did it with with some kind of civility, perhaps even a smile, rather than grimacing as though she'd just finished sucking 2kg of lemons after having a tooth extracted,

  3. When handing over from one shift to the other it'd be nice to have a bit more organisation. When the new, happy waitress brings the plates out using oven gloves then that's the big clue that they've been sat under the lights for too long,

  4. As a result the food was dry.

  5. The deep-fried stuff was really greasy.

You might remember that I posted back in May that they were asking for volunteer chicken-tasters so I'm not sure what's happened to that group. I hope they survived the experience...

Surrey Comet
Harvester's Food Panel

Monday, 20 July 2009

Andrews Estate Agents Reopening?


Passing Andrews Estate Agents this afternoon, which was vacated several months ago when they closed that particular branch, I noticed that there are signs in the window trying to recruit new staff, yes for Andrews!

Is this some kind of sign that they consider the housing market is picking up again or is some other force at work (they just miss Worcester Park too much!)?

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

An unwelcome disturbance - UPDATED


I've been in touch with Councillor David Theobald, a leading voice in Sutton for autistic people and their families, and he's told me about a disturbing incident that happened in the borough the other week.

Five children from Stowford College were on a class outing to Cheam Park and were accompanied by a teacher with all of the required passes for their lunchtime trip on the 213 bus. For some reason that's not entirely clear the driver called an Inspector who arrived accompanied by two other officials and they then apparently manhandled these disabled children from the bus, pinned them against the wall and shouted at them. Now you have to remember that none of these five children can speak so quite what they thought would be acheived by this I don't know. Imagine "Rain Man" being put in that situation and you're not too far from what was happening.

Apparently the school are now appealing the £125 of fines that the boys were given as a result of the incident so if, like me, you're disgusted with the treatment that these children received and the hands of the TFL Inspectors then comment below or send this story on to your friends.
UPDATE: The TFL Press Office have just got back to me with the following:
A Transport for London spokesperson said: “We are cancelling all the Penalty Fares with immediate effect, and apologise for any distress that may have unintentionally been caused in this case.

“Nevertheless, we must stress that a carer’s responsibility when travelling with vulnerable passengers on public transport includes ensuring that all the correct passes are carried.”

Additional briefing.
· The ticket inspector clearly explained that in issuing the Penalty Fares for the young passengers, he was confident that they would be cancelled if a copy of their passes was provided in appeal, and he encouraged the adult passenger to do this.
· The Revenue Protection Inspector did not ask anyone to leave the bus. The matter was dealt with on the top deck, and the RPI only accompanied the group off the bus when they had reached their destination.


Stowford College
http://www.stowford.sutton.sch.uk/

Reasons to love the internet - Part 103

I see that Worcester Park has been visited by one of the most delightfully insane projects ever to grace the internet. Yes, if you thought this blog was strange (why would you?) there is a blog out there who's stated aim is:
"Attempting to map the availability of Cadbury's Twirls in Central London"

Anyway on Saturday one of their intrepid reporters graced Worcester Park with their presence and headed for the Worcester Park Mini Market, making the following observations:

TWIRL AVAILABILITY: Excellent
TWIRL STORAGE: On shelf
TWIRL PRICE: 59p
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: When I was taking this photo, I noticed that the man in the shop was looking at me, so I felt to self-conscious to go in to the shop. However, I am so dedicated to this blog that, later, when I went to a party at my aunt's house nearby, I drank so much alcohol that I was forced to sleep in their spare room and come back the next day.

The London Twirls Project - Worcester Park Mini Market

Friday, 3 July 2009

Twilight Robbery

Apparently the Post Office on Central Road has been robbed this evening, which would account for at least some of the many sirens that seemed to be around earlier. A Policewoman was overheard saying that they got away with around £3,000 though I don't have any more details than that.
I hope they get whoever did it and if you have any more details about what went on then do let me know.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Another week is passing.

Mollie Sugden - picture from BBC News
Today's the day of the Nonsuch election and if you want to know who to vote for then the Worcester Park Blog has done an excellent round-up of the assorted candidates on his blog.

Unbelievably Berties is still suffering from "Electrical problems" and has remained closed. Anybody know the full story? Talking of stories anybody hear about the punch-up between two parents in the playground of a Worcester Park infants school this week!? It apparently happened in front of children and other parents and although I don't know whether police were called I assume there has to be some kind of action taken.

Lastly RIP Molly Sugden. While many of you may be mourning the loss of Michael Jackson, and good taste prevents me repeating any of the MJ jokes I've heard so far, I'll be missing Molly who, in the role of Mrs Slocombe, introduced my teenage self to pu**y jokes with her straight-faced innuendo. Thanks Molly!

Mollie Sugden tribute on BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8129617.stm

Nonsuch Candidate Round-up at The Worcester Park Blog
http://www.worcesterparkblog.org.uk/

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Yet another Worcester Park blog

Who can't help but love a blog whose stated intention is "To document the cans and bottles of the alcoholic drink left just about any where by drinkers".

Two entries so far, both from Worcester Park, and I somehow expect there'll be more soon..

Alkohol
http://alkhohol.blogspot.com

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Lights, camera, action!!

A green car pulls across in front of another car and forces it to stop with a squeal of tyres. Out jump two scrawny youths in their late teens shouting threats and abuse with one waving something in his hand that glints in the evening light. The other car reverses in panic as the youths advance but in his haste to escape he doesn't quite make it around the silver taxicab behind him and the two meet with a crunch of metal and plastic. Spooked by the attention they're now getting the youths jump back into the car and speed off...

Not a remake of "The Sweeney" or some other TV show but the scene outside Christ Church St Phillips last night around 8pm according to eyewitness reports.

Let me know if you've heard any more.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Fathers Day approaches

Nick from VoucherCodes got in touch with me today to mention that they have a number of Fathers Day offers up for grabs which might help if you're late in getting your Fathers Day gifts. The way it works is that you get the code from their web site and it'll give you a discount buying from that particular retailer, with the list of participating retailers including Lovefilm, Game and (more importantly to me) Hotel Chocolat! They also have a number of printable vouchers you can take with you into places but these seem to mostly be for restaurants. If you can't get down to the retail heaven that is Central Road in time for Fathers Day then this may be the option you've been looking for.

All we need now are some Voucher Codes for our local Worcester Park shops and restaurants and we're set!!

Voucher Codes Fathers Day Offers
http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/fathers-day-voucher-codes.html

P.S. To keep my dealings entirely transparent I don't receive any money or freebies for passing this on and my Dad's dead so it's not much use to me anyway.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Putting his foot in it

This is going to do Browning Avenue's reputation no end of good..... Daniel Davison, of Browning Avenue in Worcester Park, has been convicted of importing and selling 200 pairs of fake Nike trainers on eBay. Sutton Council's Trading Standards report that:
"He was given a seven-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work at Croydon Crown Court on 29 May after pleading guilty to the possession and supply of the goods. An investigation by Sutton Council's Trading Standards officers found that Davison had earned around £16,500 through selling goods on eBay from January 2007 to June 2008. Sutton Council officers are now working to seize Davison's illegal earnings through the Proceeds of Crime Act."

Any other dodgy traders you know of in Worcester Park?

Sutton Council Trading Standards
http://www.sutton.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5659

Monday, 8 June 2009

Dog-napped?


I spotted a desperate cry for help on Gumtree from someone in Worcester Park whose dog has gone AWOL and thought I'd reproduce it here:

On Sunday the 7 June My Dog got out of the house. A woman was seen to have picked the dog up. On the corner of Yew Tree Close and Church Lane. When approached by a neighbour, she said that she only lived round the corner, and would bring her back later that afternoon, she was asked for some information on who she was, she declined to give any information, and followed on to say ‘ I know what it is like to loose a dog’ .

So far the woman has not turned up with my little dog

Description of Dog
She is a brown and white Chihuahua X Jack Russell. Very small and very nervous little thing. Her name is Dotty and also adorable although a little scatty.

My daughter and I wondered if you have any information on the whereabouts of our little love, would you please contacts us on
07980204535 OR 07957971110, 07599032014


If you live in that part of Worcester Park, or have friends who do, please bring this to their attention and hopefully we'll have a happy outcome!!


Sunday, 7 June 2009

Making water run uphill.

Seriously nice thunderstorm this morning. Brinkster Minor had woken up early this morning so we had the full pleasure of it but if anybody was hoping to go to Sainsburys at the top of the hill it's closed because of flooding. Quite how you flood something at the top of the hill I'm not sure but you'll have to go elsewhere for your eggs and bread until they mop it up.

For those with a meteorological slant here was the weather radar at 6am this morning.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

It's just not cricket

If you want a chuckle you might want to read Quadrant Cricket Club's description of playing Worcester Park Cricket Club recently. It seems as though the hallowed turf of a cricket pitch isn't universally respected in South West London, Battersea in this case:

"There was a fair crowd lining the boundary, too, and the ICC's global committee will have learnt a few things if they had ventured to SW London to witness the cosmopolitan crowd on show. Admittedly, Quadrant had around 20 of its own while the other 100 were soaking up the sun, but they soon knew a game was on when Edmunds and Arbee stroked the ball onto one girl’s back, through sunbathing chicks and then dangerously close to happy families lounging beyond long-on.From here the game turned. Worcester Park’s ‘Uncle’ called a mid-pitch meeting and urged the game to be scrapped – citing a dangerous pitch and safety of the locals – before a compromise was set at 25 overs each"

"Quad had to deal with several unexpected sightings in the field. They might well have been put off by a gaggle of single mums walking their pitbulls and Rottweilers across the pitch as well "

At least I think it was at Battersea...

Quadrant Cricket Club
http://quadrantcc.blogspot.com/2009/06/quadrant-lose-opener.html

Worcester Park Cricket Club
http://www.wparkcc.co.uk/

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Fire in Brinkley Road

There was a big fire in Brinkley Road yesterday with fire engines in attendance and smoke so thick that one person described how they could see it all the way from Central Road and another commenting that they couldn't see the other end of Brinkley Road. Whatever it was it seems to have been fairly significant and more than your average chip pan fire.

Apparently.

I was at work and Mrs Brinkster was out-and-about so I don't really know what happened or whereabouts in the road. A quick stroll up and down the road last night didn't reveal any charred buildings so I'm assuming that it was at the back of a property or in the garden. Can anybody enlighten me?

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

I see that after my comment the other day about the number of vans parked in Brinkley Road someone has posted a note of protest onto the windscreen of one of the vans, pointing out that it's been parked there without moving for six months, which is a fair hing to point out in anybody's book I'd say.
It's not technically illegal as the van's taxed but it's certainly inconsiderate.

Monday, 25 May 2009

A new drive thru?

Is there a new drive-thru in Worcester Park? After my observation of the Porsche outside KFC the other night I took this photo of an elderly couple enjoying their fish & chips in their car parked on the kerb outside the Ocean Fish Bar!?!?

I guess you can't eat in and although the view's not much at least it's getting out!!

Friday, 22 May 2009

A landmark ruling

I see that the Sutton Guardian has started a campaign to find a landmark to compete with the Angel of the North and asks the question:
"...if Sutton had a landmark to rival that of the Angel - championing and symbolising the town - what would it be? "

Hmmmm.... "Championing and symbolising" Sutton. That's a tough one. A list of notable Sutton-ites is suggested and Adrian Short points out John Major as a significant Worcester Park resident but other than that the list's fairly thin with Harry Secombe and someone from S-Club 7 getting mentions. I'm not quite sure about how serious the Guardian are about the whole thing as you'll see if you view their mock-ups of an Eiffel Tower and and Angel of the North in Sutton (see link below). It's hard for me not to be cynical about the stated desire to give Sutton High Street a cafe-culture feel as it seems to me that the only way to do that would be to get rid of most of the people and ship in some new ones...

Now, if I had to symbolise Worcester Park?!!? That's a real challenge! Suggestions please!

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Things that go "ding-dong" in the night

I woke up this morning to read, through blood-shot eyes, the Parkerilla's post from yesterday about the crashed UFO in Green Lane and the breach in The Matrix spotted in The Midas Touch and the general level of eerie events in the Worcester Park. On a normal day I'd write that off as the fevered speculation of someone who's spent too long breathing in the fumes on Central Road but after last night I might give it some thought.

After crawling into bed around 11pm last night for some much-anticipated, and some might say much-required, beauty sleep I anticipated being disturbed by nothing more than the possible consequences of an overindulgence of artisan cheese. Not so. At 2.05am I was awakened by Mrs Brinkster getting out of bed, with my initial thought being that Brinkster Minor's cold was keeping him awake, but when she said "Someone's ringing the doorbell" I became aware of the rapidly-repeating 'ding-dong' and my brain attempted rather half-heartedly to kick into gear... then stalled... then rotated violently around it's axis before spewing out random thoughts. Doorbell? 2am? It's going to be a bad thing. What kind of bad thing? Too late for Jehovahs Witnesses. Robbers? Police? Drunken oafs?

It turned out it was our next door neighbour who "had heard a tremendous crash, followed by groaning" and was convinced that someone in our house had fallen down the stairs and was lying in great agony to the extent that he'd called the Police, who'd advised him to ring the doorbell. He'd apparently spent some time at our door with a torch trying to spot the injured person but, as we assured him and a quick check of the house proved, there was no injured person and nothing had crashed.
I can't be cross with him though as if it had been a real situation that's exactly the kind of reaction I'd want from my neighbours, though it's interesting to me what he could have possibly heard that was so convincing, knowing that he's not prone to flights of fancy, as it wasn't just a single sound that he reported but two entirely different types of sounds.

Any more strange goings-on in the neighbourhood that you know of?

Monday, 18 May 2009

Please don't step in the politics

Politics is a bit of a dirty word at the moment but many of the issues in the Sutton part of Worcester Park can only, to a lesser or greater extent, be changed by either engaging with Sutton Council directly through the Councillors or at the very least by taking an interest in who you decide to vote for in the local elections. Apart from the historical issues surrounding garden waste, the Sutton Life Centre, yet another plan to renovate Sutton High Street and more there are a variety of other things which go on all of the time that you can get yourself heard on. Sutton Council do have consultations on certain issues but these haven't been well-responded to leaving the Councillors free reign to interpret the results in the way they choose but spending a few minutes a week to participate can make a huge difference.

If you look in the sidebar on the right-hand side I've introduced a section for Council Blogs with a couple of LibDem ones and a Tory one in there to get started but if you know of any more good local politics sites then do let me know.

Recently local blogger Adrian Short has taken the Sutton LibDems to task for their latest election pamphlet in a post entitled "With lies like these I’d rather the LibDems fiddled their expenses" and uses words such as "misleading" and "sordid" to describe it. If you're even thinking of voting in the upcoming European elections then do take some time whether your chosen party really is the right one to get your vote, and you might want to start by looking at Adrian's post.

Adrian Short