Saturday, 29 December 2007

Worcester Park, 1944

I ventured out today in the bright winter sunshine for a gentle amble around Worcester Park, to walk off some of the excesses of the past week - up to the top of Central Road, and into Lindsay Road (opposite the North End Tavern) for a stroll around Cuddington Cemetery. In the far corner of the cemetery are a row graves of civilian war dead of World War 2 - including a family of three - all killed on or shortly after 16th June 1944.

A little web searching unearthed an eyewitness account of the event in Worcester Park, when a V2 'doodlebug' was brought down by ack-ack fire destroying a number of houses in (I believe) Caldbeck Avenue:

"FRIDAY 16TH JUNE 1944 was a day just like any other; it was bright and warm and I was either on holiday from school or it was after school.

Like most of the other houses at our end of the street we had a brick built air raid shelter in the back garden, not too far away from the back door.

It must have been just before 9:30 PM when the siren sounded. The routine was mechanical - get up, dressing gown or a coat and slippers and shoes and off to the shelter. Our house was end of terrace and we would go downstairs out the back door around the side of the house and across the road to our neighbour's shelter. On this occasion, as we went out of the back door my mother said "let's use our shelter, we've cleared it out and it might only be a short raid"


There were five of us; my mother carrying my baby sister of just four months wrapped in a shawl; my father shepherding all of us; my brother and myself. My brother caused a flap by going back into the house to find the cat but my father got him back in the shelter.

As we ranged ourselves across the seats that were across the back of our now tidy shelter we could hear the drone of what turned out to be a V2 or doodlebug. I can see my father now standing in the doorway of the shelter hands against the wall on either side to balance himself and bending his knees as he sank down to maintain his view of the bomb that he could clearly see coming straight for us. He turned and leaped across the shelter and threw himself across us.

I can remember banging my head against the wall, probably the result of my father trying to shield us from the blast, but that was all. The noise must have been tremendous but I didn't hear a thing. The incredible thing was we were alright. My father had a cut on his knee (but not in his trousers!) and I had banged my head, but that was all.

When we collected ourselves we came out of the shelter and round the side of what was left of the house, into the road. The bomb had landed in the middle of the road.

Apparently it had been hit by ack ack fire which had tipped it up so that it hadn't fallen to the ground but had literally dived in creating a massive crater. On both sides of the road was utter devastation; houses closest to the point of impact were just reduced to piles of rubble whilst for those further away it was as if some giant hand had torn the fronts off them and then attempted to gouge out what was inside. Contents of bedrooms were being spewed out into the street as the unsupported floors gradually caved in.


Fires had started from fractured gas mains and the cries of trapped people could be heard some seriously trapped under piles of masonry, others safe but unable to get out from under the stairs - the under stairs cupboard having become an all too popular "shelter".

There was an all pervading smell in the air which remained as one of my most vivid memories - I don't know what it was but I think it may have been stale air that was released when the buildings were destroyed. The houses were fronted by dwarf walls many of which had survived but had been blown over; for some reason I found this amusing.

By now anxious friends and relatives had started to arrive and also the emergency services. We were whisked away. Of our friends and neighbours 10 were killed and over 40 injured - it was not a day just like any other after all.

About a week later, week I watched a funeral in Worcester Park that included a number of little white coffins - they were my friends."

(WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar)

Thursday, 27 December 2007

It ain't what it used to be...


A little nostalgia for you, courtesy of English Heritage, with this wonderful shot of the ornate interior of the Worcester Park Odeon.

You can find the large version of this picture, and a shot of the exterior here - sadly, English Heritage's ' major online resource' of historic photographs boasts only two photos of Worcester Park, and three for New Malden - so some work still to go on that collection then.

After the Worcester Park Odeon closed, it lived out the rest of its days as a Gateway supermarket, only to be demolished in 1998 to make way for Pizza Express. Mind you, a lucky escape compared to its sister cinema in New Malden, which is now the site of McDonalds.

If you're in the mood for more old shots of Worcester Park, you can find plenty at Francis Frith and some old curiosities courtesy of Viewimage

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Anyone for more...

...turkey? Plenty of gravy left over if you want to heat it.

More mince pies?

Have another chocolate.

Xmas pud left, if anyone wants some.

How about some Xmas cake, and a cup of tea.

Sprouts anyone?

Please, please let it all be over soon. Now, where's the brandy....

Monday, 24 December 2007

But once a year...

The Seasonal Shop, Worcester Park

The annual panic has descended on Worcester Park today. Well, we are faced with the prospect of one whole day without the shops open.

I'm ashamed to admit that I fuelled the festive crush by joining the mad (but middle class) looting spree in Waitrose, and even the charity shops were busy (I thought you were supposed to take your Christmas pressies to charity shops, not buy them there).

I arrived home with a bag of chestnuts from Ross's. Goodness only knows why, but I managed to squeeze them in to the 'things you don't actually like but feel stangely compelled to buy once a year' box, alongside the sprouts, figs in syrup and 'Eat Me' dates.

The fridge is full to bursting, the cupboards overflowing with goodies - and yet we've just realised there's nothing to eat for this evening. How on earth does that work??

If you're at a loose end tonight (and don't mind the intrusion of religion into Christmas - perish the thought) then I highly recommend the Midnight Mass (11.30pm) at St Dunstan's Church, up the hill in Cheam Village. If you aren't feeling festive already, then an hour of insense and carols by candlelight will surely win you over.

A very Happy Christmas to one and all in Worcester Park!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

That's when good neighbours...

I awoke this morning to find a Christmas card on the doormat - 'To no. 87 - HAPPY CHRISTMAS - from no. 83'

Now, I've no idea who lives at number 83. Likewise, it seems they have little idea who lives at number 87. Mrs WP thought it was an extremely kind act of Worcester Park neighbourliness. I thought sending a Christmas card to a house number was vaguely pointless. Perhaps I'm being heartless?

Meanwhile, wanting to save those precious few extra minutes of Christmas shopping time I used Comet's online 'Reserve & Collect' service. I turned up at the New Malden store and proudly announced my order number, only to wait a frustrating 10 minutes whilst the checkout girl dithered around the store trying to retrieve my order, as I stood just feet away shelves overflowing with boxes of the item I had gone to the trouble of reserving online. Technology. Who needs it?!

Well, that's all for now. I'm off to M&S Tolworth to pick up the Christmas turkey. If the timing is right, I should get out of there just in time to pop it in the oven on Christmas Day. Ho ho ho.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

More travel misery..

More travel misery tonight, after a woman was struck by a train at Worcester Park around 5pm. No news on her condition at the moment.

The police tape around the station came down at 6:45pm, and it looks like the suspension of service is now being lifted - no consolation for those who had to struggle to get home tonight, with last week's chaos still fresh in the memory.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

A brief history of Worcester Park versus Cheam - Part 1

'What, pray tell, is the history of Worcester Park and Cheam?' I hear you scream. 'You're the Worcester Park Blogger' people yell at me in the street, 'Tell me this town's local history!'

OK, well, just this once. Now pay attention class - there'll be a test at the end....

Cheam, if you aren't familiar with the area, is the posh neighbour of the fair town of Worcester Park. Relations between the two towns have long been strained and have deteriorated to such a point that neither will now recognise the others' exisistence.

The breakdown in relations can be traced to 1730 when the residents of Cheam, tired of associating with their lesser neighbours, hatched a bold plan to mark out their superiority. They decided to do so by building a massive hill to allow them, quite literally, to 'look down' on the people of Worcester Park.

After a year of planning, building of the hill began with the now-famous 'Boxing Day Dig' of 1731. Some 160 men, women and children from workhouses of Carshalton began creating the giant mound using earth dug from what was to become the largest pit in south London (now Croydon).

The building of the hill was a slow and laborious process, not least because the houses and shops of Cheam had also to be elevated every month (to keep pace with the rising height of the new hill) . The movement of these buildings was performed by a skilled band of so-called "shop-lifters", predominantly from Beddington.

Enraged by these antagonistic actions, the people of Worcester Park took up arms and mounted a permanent guard to head off a possible offensive from the the people of Cheam. Records show the formation of a line of armed resistance in 1754 known locally as 'Sentry Row' (later Central Road).

Building of the hill was completed in 1791, by which time the people of Cheam towered more than 200 feet over its nearest neighbour of Worcester Park from where they taunt us to this day.

The rest, as they say, is history.

A hard shoulder to cry on

The Internet, so they say, arose from the Cold War - designed as a massive network of communication points so resilient the even in the event of those nasty Russians blowing up part of the world, the Americans could still download pornography.
Nowadays, it's a platform for discussion of all manner of things - even, apparently, roads. Today I learned about the existence of the excitingly titled Society For All British Road Enthusiasts. 'Paul & Lorna' e-mailed me (in my capacity as the unofficial spokesperson for Worcester Park) with this A-Road conundrum:

"Do you know anything about a partly built arterial road that starts in Lower Morden at the junction of the A24 London Road and Lower Morden Lane and would have run to Chessington?

It appears that it was to go along lower Morden Lane, then Green Lane, past the cemetry, then across the railway (one of the bridge ramps was built adjacent to Kingshill Avenue). On the other side of the railway the route is picked up in Sheephouse way then Knollmead in Malden. in Knollmead it appears that there was to be major junction where one route was to continue along Alpine Avenue to join the Kingston Bypass.
The other road continued as Knollmead swung south back over the railway on an extremely wide bridge that today goes only to a school but it appears was originally planned to have continued south to Jubilee Way in Tolworth, then along Chantry Way and Gilders Road in Chessington before joining the existing road to Leatherhead.
Basically it would have completely bypassed Ewell and Epsom.
The route can be quite easily traced on google maps satellite photos as the roads concerned are absurdly wide for minor residential roads and cul-de-sacs.If you know anything about this, I would be grateful.
It is currently being discussed here [link removed]"
Well, sadly I don't know the answer to that. My knowledge of local A-Roads isn't what it should be. Or, on second thoughts perhaps it is what it should be.
Anyway, if the fancy takes you, you can head over to that website and discover lots more and chat about about UK Roads, lost roads, arterial roads and road expansion schemes.
Or, you could just carry on downloading porn.

Update

The link where this discussion was taking place now gets redirected to a very dodgy looking page designed to look like a facebook page - but definitely isn't. If you want to take the risk - the link is: http://www.uk-roads.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18076&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0%3E%22. I wouldn't recommend visiting it but hey - it's a free country...

Unfortunately the website http://www.uk-roads.co.uk also seems to have been redirected to dodgyville as well. Sad as I would have liked to have kept open the option to look it further into this.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Dreary & Cold



I'm not quite sure what it is with one particular abandonded shop in Worcester Park - namely Druy & Cole, next to the butchers. They were estate agents with an Abbey National desk in the corner - which just does to show what a relic the place is.

The sign on the front still has the phone number with the old '01' prefix, which was pre-1990 (gosh, I remember the 90's).

I'm curious to know why this particular unit (in prime position, let's face it) has stayed empty and abandoned whilst those around it have changed hands many times in the intervening years.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Keeping cool in a crisis

Thanks to all those who have taken the time to share their transport woes on the comments sections of this blog. It seems that satisfaction is not too great with the way South West Trains have handled this week’s landslide crisis. Most weeks I envy the train commuters as I crawl through the choking treacle that is Worcester Park traffic, but for this week at least I’ve been more than happy being on four wheels.

‘Anonymous’ has got in touch to relate his own particular tale of woe:

Yesterday I arrived at Stoneleigh station only to find that the train times had changed from Tuesday which meant I had just missed one. The 7.20am was then cancelled. After asking the ticket guard where and when the replacement buses were running from, he replied that he wasn't too sure what had happened to the buses or what exit they went from, or if they were even running.

After waiting for 1 hour and 30 minutes (it was freezing!) with no information about what was happening until ten minutes before it arrived, the train eventually rolled up at the same time as the replacement bus service. 45 minutes later we arrived at Waterloo.

So despite leaving home 30 minutes earlier than normal I still ended up being an hour and a half late for work. So whilst I understand that incidents such as landslips happen, I (along with everyone else stuck on the platform!) felt that the situation was very poorly managed. The guy in the ticket office obviously wasn't being told anything by the communications centre despite all the phone calls he kept trying to make. However once he did get through he was great by keeping us updated with the station the train was at.I did contact Southwest Trains to see if I could get a refund on my weekly travelcard but as the 'land slip was not their fault' they aren't obliged to give me anything.

The guy on the phone from Southwest Trains mentioned that they can't always get replacement buses when they need, or get sufficient to provide a good service. He also mentioned that the centre their employees use to get information about for Customers (train times etc) is often busy in the morning so their guards can't get through. However he was sympathetic and mentioned that he was glad it wasn't him who was getting caught up in this every day!So considering that the earliest they will fix this is Monday, I'm dreading my daily commute into London even more than usual!”

It all sounds horribly familiar from my days on the daily commute up to Waterloo. South West trains can’t be held to account for the landslide occurring, but they can for their reaction to it and the emergency arrangements put in place.

From the comments coming in to this blog, it sounds like they haven’t acquitted themselves at all well this week.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

One track mind...

Oi you. Yes, you. The three thousandth web searcher who Googled 'Worcester Park landslide' and ended up on this page.

I'll have you know that back in the good old days (last Sunday), this was a witty monologue about life in and around Worcester Park. Then it became a traffic and travel information page. Well no more.

(Oh alright, then, one more time and just for you - there's a half hourly stopping train service between Waterloo and Epsom in both directions, and four trains an hour betwixt Waterloo and Chessington South in both directions. Replacement buses running elsewhere, yadda yadda, details here).

O.K. Can I get back to blogging business now?

Well, just a quick catch-up for now. In the tireless pursuit of service to Worcester Parkers I have added another few to the list of Worcester Park eateries which I blogged about here. I can highly recommend The Munal - for those who haven't tried Nepalese food, it's similar to your traditional Indian but lighter and far more flavoursome.

Then, of course, was the long-anticipated visit to Silks, which you can scroll down to read all about. I've also stumbled in to the Cafe Experience the past couple of Saturdays, and give two thumbs up to the cooked breakfast there.

Rest assured I shall leave no stone unturned (but probably several stone unweighed) in my mission to eat my way around Worcester Park.

Meanwhile it seems that almost whoever I blog about is reading this, and gets in touch. It was nice to get a brief comment from 'The Acorn Project' who read my post about them here.

And finally, a nod to Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Kingston Bart Ricketts who it turns out is also a reader of the blog and left a comment here. Nice of you to cross the borough boundary to join us.


Landslip of the tongue..


'A landslide in Worcester Park?' a work colleague asked me in the corridor this morning?

Momentary panic as I wondered how she knew that I was the Worcester Park blogger, then a wave of relief as I realised that she had just heard about it on a traffic bulletin.

'Yes. Terrible. Half the town gone.' I replied, shaking my head with grief.

She gave me alook of frozen stupidity, for the full 5 seconds it took her sarcasm sensor to break down the ridiculousness of my reply, couldn't quite compute a response to and shuffled away looking perplexed.

Humour. It's wasted on some people.

The great Worcester Park landslide...

So how big exactly is this now notorious landlside/landslip that hit Worcester Park on Monday? Given that South West Trains have lamely announced that services will be knackered until next Monday, one imagines a landslide of biblical proportions sweeping away all in its path and wiping out Stoneleigh.

Alas, no such luck, as my sources tell me Stoneleigh is still there (not quite sure why), but whatever the reality of the size of this mishap, the impact on rail travellers goes on.

So, today SW Trains have shovelled enough soil off the track to offer a twice-hourly stopping service between Waterloo and Epsom in both directions, and a massive four trains an hour between Waterloo and Chessington South in both directions. Big whoop.

Trains between Waterloo and Guildford, which normally travel via Epsom, have been re-routed via Cobham all day (how scenic), so buses replace trains between Leatherhead and Effingham Junction in both directions I'm afraid.

It was a busy day on the blog yesterday, with a flood of over a thousand extra visitors looking for news on the great Worcester Park landslide. So welcome to you, one and all, and do take the time to read the voice of Worcester Park and call again soon.

Now, skidaddle. Haven't you got a replacement bus service to catch?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Landslide defeat...

Welcome to the Worcester Park blog - the voice of Worcester Park!

Severe train distruption and travel problems from Worcester Park to wake up to, I'm afraid - South West train services are up the spout for the rest of this week, apparently, because of a landslide (well, landslip) in Worcester Park.

All of this means emergency engineering works, so an extremely restricted rail service (SW Trains' talk for one crammed train per hour, no doubt) between Raynes Park/Epsom in both directions. Replacement buses (oh how we love those) will be laid on along that route, and you're also stuck with the replacement buses if you're trying to get between Leatherhead and Effingham Junction.

My advice? Spare yourself the battle of Waterloo and head on the 151/213 bus up to Cheam Station for the London Victoria/Epsom 'Southern Train' services from there instead. Chances are they're accepting SW Trains tickets in any case.

UPDATE:
15:30 Until close of service today there will be a bus replacement service between Raynes Park and Epsom and between Leatherhead and Effingham Junction.

From 16:00 until approximately 20:00 a limited rail service will operate in both directions between Waterloo and Epsom. There will also be additional trains to Chessington South during this period.

Southern trains are accepting SWT tickets for travel on their services between Clapham Junction and Epsom via Cheam.

From 19:00 a replacement bus service will operate between Epsom and Effingham Junction calling at all stations in both directions.

P.S. - Hello to all new Worcester Park readers visiting for the first time. Be sure to bookmark the Worcester Park Blog and visit regularly - we'll take your mind of train travel hell, guaranteed.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Christmas stopping



Determined not to replicate the blind panic of Christmas Eves past, I braved the crowds in Kingston today for the obligatory hell that is Christmas shopping - an unprecedented (by male standards) full fortnight-and-a-bit before the big day.

If we are in the throes of an economic downturn, then that information clearly hadn't filtered down to the thousands who were clogging up the car parks and stampeding round the Bentall Centre chucking their cash in all directions.

Alas I was just over two hours into my shopping ordeal when fire broke out in MacDonalds in the Lower Ground Floor, the emergency alarms sounded, and a recorded voice urged us to leave 'quietly'. Now, for those unable to imagine several thousand crazed Christmas shoppers leaving the Bentall Centre quietly, the video above will help you with that concept.

The centre was closed for nearly an hour at the height of Sunday trading - at the cost of thousands of pounds to the retailers, but much to the delight of John Lewis who welcomed the sudden influx of rain-sodden evacuees with open cash tills.

No information yet on exactly how the MacDonalds fire started, but no doubt somebody lost at least one star on their name badge for causing that little kerfuffle.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

The Hamptons - planning permission refused

So, common sense prevailed at the planning decision meeting on Monday evening in respect of St James' application to slap another 184 dwellings on the site of The Hamptons development in Worcester Park (with wind turbines) taking the site 30% over the capacity for which original permission was given.

The common sense was, mind you, coming solely from local residents and traders - unlike Sutton Council's 'Development Control Committee' (DCC) which originally recommended permission be granted for this further expansion.

A massive 300 objections to the development were received, the main objections being

  • The effect on road traffic and parking

  • Noise pollution from the wind turbines

  • Further strain on local services (schools, doctors' surgeries etc).
In the end, the application was refused on on all three of the above points.

But what a close shave we had. The DCC's original recommendation poo-pooed all of these conerns. What all a load of silly worry worts we must all have been as they orignally reassured us that:

'The proposed parking and access arrangements and other initiatives to promote sustainable transport would not result in an increase in parking pressure or congestion for the surrounding road network.'

Hmm... well parking pressure may not be an issue but the 'initiatives to promote sustainable transport' issue had me convulsing in laughter (or was I just choking on the exhaust fumes?). This, presumably, refers to their vain hope that a few woolly 'go green' messages, bike racks and signposted foopaths will tempt us out of our cars and back onto public transport.

It strikes me that they're missing the whole point - Worcester Park traffic is already so diabolical that most people for whom public/alternative transport is a practical option are already using it.

In the 15 minutes it takes us Worcester Parkers to crawl one-eighth of a mile down one of the 'feeder roads' onto Central Road in the morning, our fellow commuters are already aways past Clapham Junction on their train journey.

Then there's the 'access arrangements' - the majority of traffic from The Hamptons will continue to be funnelled out of Green Lane (the only access point currently) and snarl itself up in the traffic queues of Green Lane, Longfellow Road, Caverleigh Way and others. And then there will be a secondary access point for use by traffic from 100 or so of the homes in the proposed Pase 5c development which will be able to escape via Boscombe Road but then have to navigate onto the same streets to empty onto Central Road.

It seems that people power prevailed in Worcester Park. No doubt there will be an appeal pending - having bought up such a vast area of land, there's no way that St James will let this go without a fight.

Ding ding, Round 2....

Sunday, 2 December 2007

F is for Fusion...

The whole thing with Silks started with a throwaway comment at the end of a hurried posting of my thoughts on the various Worcester Park eateries that I’ve worked my around. "I've yet to try Silks (what is fusion food anyway?) " I wrote. Little did I expect James, the new proprietor of Silks (pictured) to be reading the blog, but he was and threw in his own two penn’orth to the conversation.

Since then, James tells me around half a dozen customers have been in to Silks mentioning the blog (and presumably quite a few others who didn’t mention it) – so it was about time I made it across the threshold myself.

Now I’m quite adventurous when it comes to food, but then again notoriously hard to please. I have a ‘thing’ about bad food and poor service in restaurants. Mrs WP knows this all too well and has grown accustomed to (and developed coping mechanisms for) my notorious fussiness – that has seen me at best kick up the Mother of all fusses and, at worst walk out of one establishment refusing to pay a penny for such appalling service and food.

Looking back I can't really recall what it was that put me off dining at Silks. I think perhaps it was the zebra print chairs that put me off. Then there was the feeling that it looked like a great place for a hen night or an office party, but not for a quiet meal – and by association that it would be great fun but not great food.

I think, though, it was the whole thing about ‘fusion’ – consigned, in my mind at least, to the food-fashion history books, along with nouvelle cuisine and carveries. For a start, there's the problem of what fusion really is – it certainly flies in the face of Gordon Ramsay’s obscenity-filled mantra of simplifying your menus and concentrating on one-f*#king thing.

Were it not for James’ reassurance on this blog that they did have three specialised chefs concentrating on each area of cuisine, I would have gone on assuming that attempting to blend Chinese, Thai and Italian meant being a Jack of all trades and master of none.

Once I had arrived, and unmasked myself as the mysterious Worcester Park blogger, the first challenge was to get to grips with the extensive. By them time I had read through the main courses I had all but forgotten what I’d selected for starters – but better to have too broad a choice than too narrow.

For starter, I opted for scallops wrapped in pancetta with asparagus and cooked in Sake wine, whilst Mrs WP went for the Pan Fried Gyozas Pork Dumplings. For the main course, the delightfully titled ‘Moo Yang’ (that’s char-grilled marinated pork with thai herbs and chilli sauce) and for Mrs WP the somewhat less pronounceable Phad Bal Krapow (stir-fried pork, garlic, basil and chillies, in case you were wondering).


Expectations were high, and I’m pleased to say the food certainly didn’t disappoint. Balancing flavours correctly in any dish, especially those with an oriental influence, is a hard craft to master - get it slightly wrong and one flavour can completely overpower the others. Yet all the dishes we had displayed the perfect balance of and blend of complementary flavours in the meats, the salads and the vegetables - every mouthful seemed to bring with it a new rush of flavour, and no on element was overbearing.

For Mrs WP, brought up in a land far far away where food comes straight from the field and not the freezer, freshness is a must - so a definite thumbs up for the freshness and flavour of the ingredients at Silks. (Incidentally, it took Mrs WP's feminine insight to notice that, for some reason, the restaurant’s clientele were over 80% women).

Right from James’ initial comment on the blog, his boundless energy and passion for his restaurant was clear, and this was evident on the evening as he enthusiastically worked the floor chatting to the clientele, guiding them through with the somewhat daunting menu choices and filling the place with a clear passion for good service and good food.

James doesn’t shy away from the restaurant’s historic failings – under his management improvements are already underway to the d├ęcor, customer service has been sharpened up and with time the menu will be simplified and honed. Perhaps the ‘fusion’ idea will give way to concentration on one specific area of influence. Most would have no problem with the co-existence of Chinese and Thai, but the Italian aspect to the menu seemed out of character with the predominantly contemporary-Oriental theme, so perhaps that would be the most logical aspect to drop (besides there is already a glut of Italian eateries in Worcester Park).

My New Year’s resolution was to avoid chain restaurants. Granted, some can serve up perfectly good fare, but not for me their blandness, their uniformity and the staff in them who care little for the food or the service they provide. A trip to Silks confirmed my reasoning behind that resolution. What you have in James is a proprietor who has a passion for what his establishment does, and channels that into attention to detail, a fantastic welcome and mouth-wateringly fresh and inviting food.

For flavour, service and quality I can't fault Silks at all. I’m genuinely pleased I made the discovery and will definitely be back again soon. So perhaps next time you pass, you too will look beyond the zebra print chairs. And when you do go in, tell them the Worcester Park blog sent you. ;-)

UPDATE: Silks restaurant closed on January 1st 2009

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Weather, or not

I finally made it to Silks restaurant last night for the much-anticipated meal. I'll hopefully get round to doing a full write up tomorrow.

Suffice to say, last night's Central Road Christmas extravaganza was all but washed away in an evening of torrential rain. The brass band had to take refuge in a shop doorway, the free hot chocolate would have been tempting were I not obsessed with finding shelter and the other attractions were more unfair than funfair, with every ride magically transformed into a watersplash.

The evening for me started off in the Chinese herbal medicine practice opposite Iceland, as I went to collect Mrs WP who had been having her chi rearranged and chakra realigned, which seemed to involve needles and laxative herbal infusions.

As we were preparing to leave, the Chinese practioner apologetically enquired whether the Christmas event in Worcester Park was traditional, or just commercial.

I considered a devastatingly insightful reply - something along the lines of it being rooted in tradition but now largely commerical, much like Chinese medicine (Mrs WP was entering her PIN number in the keypad at that point, so it could have worked a treat).

But my brain wasn't working quickly enough for that so I admitted it was purely commercial, much to his apparent disappointment. I suppose I could have made something up about it being traditional, but I really didn't want a foreign national thinking that teacup rides outside KFC and a few stalls proffering knock-off toys as prizes were in any way an English tradition.

And besides, my stomach was rumbling and I had the evening in Silks to look forward to...

Friday, 30 November 2007

Ho ho ho!

Don't forget, Christmas officially comes to Worcester Park tonight, with the WP Traders' Association Christmas event in Central Road.

The road will be lined with all sorts of festive fare - roasting chestnuts, games, competitions, festive stalls etc.

But best of all, Father Christmas arrives in Worcester Park at 7.30pm (traffic permitting).

P.S: Steve H has made an excellent comment below, about the lack of publicity about this event. It would not be beyong the wit of man to publicise it with some large banners on Central Road. New Malden High Street is awash with banners for their Malden Fortnight event. I know it's only one evening, but it's an important one for the Worcester Park traders, so a little more publicity wouldn't go amiss. Let's hope they're reading this and take note!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

From tiny acorns...

Down in the South of this parish lies Longfellow Road – famous as the childhood home of ex-P.M. John Major and notorious for long grinding traffic jams in the mornings (or is that the other way round?).

Anyway, hidden along Longfellow Road in an incongruous break in the rather dull (apologies to any Longfellow residents reading) rows of Victorian terraced housing is the ‘Rosa Smith Playground’ – named after the benefactor who bequeathed the land to the people of Worcester Park a century ago.

It’s something of a hidden gem for Worcester Park – yes there’s Shadbolt Park and Auriol Park (wonder if that mysterious white van is still parked there) but they are so scarily far away from Central Road that most people (admit it) are too frightened to walk to them lest they get lost and end up in Stoneleigh without a passport or means to get back home.

It’s nice to learn that the community spirit is alive and well as rather twee-sounding ‘Acorn Project’ is busy gathering the £30,000 of nuts needed to fund phase two the renovation of the playground to provide better facilities for slightly older hoodies to play in (re-tarmac the area, and have games pitches painted out, stick in some goals and basketball hoops etc).

The Acorn Project is making their pitch (excuse the pun) for local Council funding for this worthwhile venture, and are also trying to put together Community Panels to help ‘shape our village’.

Quite who The Acorn Project are and what else they get up to in Worcester Park is something of a mystery. Perhaps they are shadowy rivals to The Worcester Park Forum? I shall do a little digging around and let you know.

In the meantime, vive la community spirit – and all power to The Acorn Project.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Dumping ground

Spotted this morning in the window of the Marie Curie charity shop in Worcester Park:


Well, I imagine it must do, what with all the carpet cleaning....

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Are you being served?

There's quite a few things that the English are pretty bad at (football springs immediately to mind) but customer service has to rank pretty high on the list of blind spots in this country.

A particularly annoying example arose this evening, albeit with a satisfying twist. I returned some gadgetery to a store in Croydon - having apparently baffled the 12-year old behind the till with the concept that the thing didn't work properly, she asked for the card I paid with and then proceeded to refund the item before I even had a chance to point out that I wanted a replacement, not a refund.

When I deigned to ask for a replacement (the items are kept in a glass case - well, it is Croydon) I was told in as many words that I had to 'go over there and ask for one then'.

So I went over there. And I asked for one. And they handed me one. And I took it back to tilll-bound turnip who, still in a state wild befuddlement, had apparently forgotten that she had given a refund and processed it as an exchange.

The upshot? I walked out into the dark night of Croydon with a broad smile on my face and £50 of technology completely free of charge.

On the subject of service (good service), Longella left a long and well considered comment here (having stumbled on the blog whilst looking for a nail bar, apparently).

She writes:

"As a fellow Worcester Parkite I would like to show some (deserved) recognition for FRIENDLY shop workers...mine being:
1)Italian (?) man in Checkers sandwich bar (always cheers me up),
2) the pharmacist in Boots - he always goes out of his way to help,
3) the lady who serves in WH Smiths - friendly, helpful...polite
4) the waiter in Pizza Express who always remembers us (OK we do go in there a lot - I LOVE PE)"


Well, sounds like a good local blog topic if ever I heard one. So my nominations for GOOD service in Worcester Park:

1) Ross, from Ross Fruiterers - always a friendly and helful. Makes you glad such local shops exist
2) Mr Mustafa in Kingfish - fish served with crispy banter
3) People in Cuppaholic cafe (near the station) - neither brilliant location nor brilliant food, but 10 out of 10 for effort
4) Staff at Le Kitchen - for their sheer delight at remembering my address every time I pop in to place an ordet
5) The chap in the Post Office convenience store (near Mr Ink), for sheer hard work and friendliness

O.K. That's my list. Now over to you....

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Murky matters

News today of worrying goings on a little too close to home, with a police appeal after a man was attacked by in Brinkley Road last Tuesday night - pushed into an alleyway by some armed nasties and set upon under cover of darkness.

All very scary indeed, by Worcester Park standards.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Ode to Worcester Park

Apparently, there's £1,000 up for grabs from United Newspapers if you can pen a winning ditty about your local area. Details here.

Not one to miss the opportunity of wealth, I present the probable winning entry:

Ode To Worcester Park

Last night I went to Worcester Park,
After it was a just a dark
And found that it was far too late
for pizza fresh from Ryan Gate

Far far too many chavs, I see
With miniskirts in KFC -
Not a case of lamb but mutton,
off the 213 from Sutton.

Then up the hill I gainly troop
But got ripped off by Betty Boop.

(Do Worcester Parkers really think
There's real demand for Mr Ink?)


Then I stumble on a rarity
A local shop that's not for charity -
So into Broadway Bargains race
And blow the rest on wool and lace

Then join some locals for a beer
To find out what it's like round here -
Nothing but a bunch of c*nts man!
Is it always like that in The Huntsman?


Saturday, 17 November 2007

Golden balls

The Golden Chef takeaway has transformed itself into the 'Surrey King Cafe' - possibly because under its the previous name it was becoming better known for its people trafficking rings than its onion rings (full story from The Independent newspaper here, for those who missed out on that one).

I have no information to say that it's actually changed ownership, so will continue to boycott this murky establishment.

I took the snap on the way to the Worcester Park Tavern to see Radio Jackie in action - Neil Long was busy strutting his stuff half way through the 12-hour marathon disco. I was there at the lull between the family bit an the main evening entertainment/auction, and Zammo from Grange Hill had yet to arrive and draw the main crowd with him.

The Deputy Mayor of Kingston (we'll give them that one, as technically the WP Tavern is in the Royal Borough) was milling around - he deserves a mention for three reasons:

(1) He was in Worcester Park
(2) He has a comedy name - Bart Ricketts (and is so far the only person I've known to be named after a cartoon character AND a disease)
(3) He has a blog where no doubt he'll write about his experiences in the WP Tavern

I didn't stay too long, downed my pint, declined the invitation to buy a Radio Jackie balloon and headed off into the Worcester Park darkness.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Goodby Mavi, Hello Jackie!

Goodby Mavi!
Every time I left Worcester Park train station, past 'Hair by Thicko' (or is it Fiko?), I wondered just for a moment who or what 'Mavi Boncuk' is, or was. For the unitiated, it was painted haphazardly above a deserted shop (used to be an independent record shop, if I remember correctly) next to the Cuppaholic cafe.

But now Maci Boncuk has left us for good. The shopfront has been painted over, a nice shade of dark green. No indication of what is going in its place - all I could spy inside was a nice wooden floor and wooden panelling, a kitchenette at the back and an air conditioning unit. Well, at least it's not going to be a charity shop.

Hello Jackie!
Last night I blogged about Radio Jackie's Children In Need fundraiser at the Worcester Park Tavern. This morning in a spooky coincidence of timing I tuned into Radio Jackie this morning just in time to hear Neil Long on the breakfast show talking about the existence of the Worcester Park blog, and entertaining his listeners with my blog posting about Zammo (from Grange Hill)'s planned visit to Worcester Park.

Neil also threw down an audio gauntlet by asking that the Worcester Park Blogger reveal themselves (in the 'getting in contact' rather than flasher-mac sense, I'm assuming).

Reveal myself? Not a chance, Mr Long. The Worcester Park blogger stepping into the glare of publicity would be like Banksy doing a personal appearance, or Trevor MacDonald actually contributing something more than an opening link in the 'Tonight' programme that bears his name.

Still, you did chastise me 'on air' for not mentioning you. So consider yourself mentioned. And linked to.

Happy now?

That said, he did describe the blog as 'Very funny', so in true (South) West-End tradition, I'll have to add it to the top of the blog.

Cheers Neil!

There goes the neighbourhood!

They must be an altogether different breed of people over in the Auriol Park corner of this fair neighbourhood.

Whilst most areas find something some decent threats to their neighbourhood to get riled over (like a new runway through their back gardens, a surge in shootings and other such trivia) it seems the good folk of Salisbury Road are getting very hot under their white collars over the issue of a ‘white van’ which has been left parked on one of their roads for the past few months and has barely moved over all that time.

Yes. A van! On a road! Can you Adam & Eve it? There goes the neighbourhood!

“Local people have tried to confront the white van man but he repeatedly eludes them by arriving after dusk and disappearing at dawn.

To engage him, one person resorted to a sticker bearing the message: "This van is lowering the tone of the neighbourhood, please remove it." reports the local Guardian.

Only in Worcester Park. Now where's Miss Marple when you need her?

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Zammo from Grange Hill...

Yesterday I declared the announcement that Father Christmas was coming to Worcester Park to be exciting news.

Back then, it was.

Today , however, brought news of an impending celebrity visit so momumental that Santa as well chop up his sleigh for firewood and bugger off to a retirement home in Cheam.

Yes, Zammo from Grange Hill (a.k.a. Lee MacDonald) is giving up an afternoon of cutting keys at his shop in Wallington to visit he Worcester Park Tavern to help Radio Jackie's local fundraising jolly for Children In Need.

Jackie are somewhat optimistically touting it as being the '
the biggest charity night in the world ever'. I think 'the biggest charity night in the world ever in Worcester Park' might have more chance of coming to fruition.

All starts at Midday on Saturday at The Worcester Park Tavern. Nice to hear that loads of Worcester Park Traders are pitching in to donate stuff for the charity day.

But just what does one say to Zammo Maguire on a cold November day in Worcester Park?

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Christmas bizarre...

In their infinite cheapness Sutton council don't actually take down what passes for the Christmas lights in Worcester Park, they simply unplug them at the end of the festive period and leave them aloft the lamp posts to gather dust before sending a man in a cherry picker round in November to liven them up again.

(I wonder if the Mayor of Sutton leaves his Christmas tree in the corner of the room all year round and just plugs the lights in for two months of the year?)

Anyway, I digress. We may not have good Christmas lights, but at least we do have a touch of festive magic in the form of the Christmas Fair organised by the Worcester Park Traders' Association. Technically they call it an 'Open Night', but that sounds wrong (and just plain dull) so I'm sticking with 'Christmas Fair'.

Each year Central Road comes alive to the sound of fairground rides, the smell of chestnuts roasting (on an open fire etc) with an array of stalls, games and other attractions - all very festive and 'villagey' indeed.

This year's event takes place on Friday 30th November from 6pm. Father Christmas is going to be arriving in Worcester Park at 7.30pm (well, not if he gets caught in the A3 roundabout roadworks he isn't).

And a Merry Christmas to you all.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Worcester Park blag...

Following The Brinkster's tip off yesterday, I headed up to the van outside Costcutter to pick up my free Smartwater kit.

From my conversation with the man handing out the kits, the van's presence hadn't been well promoted which was a shame. He asked how I knew that they were going to be in Worcester Park, but I didn't have the energy to explain who The Brinkster was so I just mumbled something vague about the internet.

Anyway, pictured for those who are interested is the Smartwater kit. The bad news is that Mrs Worcester Park got to it first and mistook it for a new line of mascara. The good news is that should an eyelash fall out soon, we have a high chance of getting it returned.

Those of you who read my last blog entry and comments will know that I have managed to blag a discount from Silks restaurant in return for a review on this blog. James from Silks has now emailed me - so thankfully nobody else will be able to claim the Worcester Park blog discount on my behalf. I shall check it out some time in the next few weeks, and of course you can read here how the meal goes.

Now, I must point out that the voice of Worcester Park has no price and cannot be bought by the offer of freebies or discounts. I resent the suggestion that this blog is becoming nothing more than a vehicle for product placement and the soliciting of personal kickbacks. That's vehicle in the generic sense, not the kind of Jaguar or Lexus vehicle that you may find at Evans Autos, 674 London Road Cheam.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

>> Worcester Park, Surrey, KT4 <<

WORCESTER PARK SHOPPING:

CENTRAL ROAD
1 Sainsbury's Local (Supermarket)
2 Stitch Right Dry Cleaning
4 EMPTY
6 Le Kitchen - Bangladeshi Cuisine
8 Ocean Fish Bar
10 Star Cars - Minicab Office
12 Deb'n'Hair (Hairdressers)
14 Amor Beuaty Salon
16 Ace Accountancy Services
18Dual Tools (Tool Hire & Sales)
19Vivash Hunt Solicitors
22Eagle Dry Cleaners
23 Broadway Bargains (Haberdashery)
24 Voltz (Electrical supplies and installation)
25 Rumours Wine Bar
26 Classic Wok (Peking & Cantonese Takeaway)
28 Flower Parade (Florists)
29 Happy Garden Chinese Takeaway
30 Frederick W Paine (Funeral Directors)
31 Meghna Indian Cuisine
32 Ember Travel & Tours (Travel Agency)
33 Bairstow Eves Estate Agents
34 Stitch Express (Dry Cleaning, Alterations & Repairs)
34 Grand Estates (Sales & Lettings)
36 Cut & Design (Hairdresser)
38 Launderette
40 Surrey Comet Newsagents
42 Bronze Studio (Tanning and Beauty salon)
44 Model Road & Rail (Toys, models)
45 Cromwell's Estate Agents
46 Rendezvous Coffee Shop
48 Knightwood Estate Agents
50 Andrews Estate Agents
52 De Niro's (Pizza Pasta Kebab)
53 Beds To Go
54 Dawsons Aerial & Electrical Supplies
55 Costcutter (Supermarket)
56 AMS Opthalmics
59 The Seasonal Shop
60 Treasure Trove (furniture and Betty Boop!)
61 The Gallery Kitchen Studio
62 Central Locksmiths
63 Goslett's Furniture Store
64 Central Plumbing Supplies
66 Connor Prince Estate Agents
67 Barnard Marcus Estate Agents
68 Masters Chinese Canteen
69 Royal British Legion Worcester Park Social Club
70 Silks - Italian, Chinese, Thai Cuisine
72 Preview Menswear
74 The Chef (Chinese restaurant)
76 Munal (Nepalese Restaurant)
77 EMPTY- (was - Choices Video Store)
78 Graham Lee Carpets (Carpet, Rugs, Vinyls, Laminate Flooring)
79 Papa Johns (Pizza takeaway)
81 Camera Continental (cameras and accessories)
82 Cafe Piccolo (Italian Deli, Cafe and Restaurant)
83 Worcester Park Discount Motor Spares
85 EMPTY (was TV & Video Clinic)
87 Pizza Express
88 Party Express (party goods, fancy dress)
90 Megabyte Computers
92 Coversure Insurance Services
93 NatWest Bank
94 Ladbrokes (Bookmakers)
96 Garners Funeral Services
98 St Raphael's Hopsice (Charity Shop)
99 FARA (Charity Shop)
100 Kimerley's Nail Bar
101 Abbey
102 The Rose Spa (Beauty salon)
103 Household & Toy Warehouse (household goods, toys, accessories)
104 Read'n'Rite Newsagents
105 Pets Place
106 Hendy's Jewellers
107 Superdrug
108 Kodak Express (Photographic developing, frames)
109 Cafe Experience
110 Sue Ryder Care (Charity shop)
111 Geranium Shop For The Blind (charity shop)
112 The Seasonal Shop
113 Variety Store (Newsagents)
114 KFC
115 Princess Alice Hospice (Charity Shop)
117 Fowlers Toys Books Stationery
118 D&A Opticians
119 Debra (Charity Shop)
120 Tarrant Hardware
121 Ciaran Barbers
122 Seanhanna (Hairdressers)
123 Redgwell Sewing Machine Centre
124 EMPTY (was 'Worcester Supermarket)
125 Bakers Oven
126 The Conservatory Florists
127 Quality Dry Cleaners
128 Checker's Sandwich Bar
129 Nationwide
130 Ross's Fruiterers
131 EMPTY (was Dury & Cole / Abbey National)
132 William Hill Bookmakers
133 Woodward Bros Butchers
134 Chinese Medicine 2000 Ltd
136 Frean & Smyth Veterinary Surgeons
137 Sole II Sole (shoe repairs, key cutting)
138 Halifax
140 Casual Schoolwear & Shoes
141 Iceland
142 Clark's Shoes
146 Loving Thoughts (Cards, Gifts)
147 Thomas Cook
148 One Stop Party Shop (fancy dress, party goods)
149 Costa Coffee
150 HSBC Bank
151 Marie Curie Cancer Care (charity shop)
153 W H Smith
154 Worcester Park Police Office
155 UK Household (Household accessories)
156 La Mamma (Italian Restaurant)
157 John James Gardening
158 Boots (Chemist)
159 R Woodfall Optometrists
160 KIM's Barber
161 Zeus Menswear
162 Samuel James Estate Agents
163 The Barber Shop 2 Hair Masters
165 Barclays Bank
166 Mann Countrywide (Estate Agents)
167 Gascoigne Pees Estate Agents
169 CAZBAR
170 Lloyds TSB Bank
171 Off Licence - Wines Beers Spirits
173 Surrey King Cafe
174 Ryan Gate (Continental Deli, Halal Butcher)
175 Surrey Nefis Kebab
176 Post Office
177 M&S
178 Prospects Recruitment Bureau
180 Worcester Park Mini Market Newsagents & Convenience
182 Mr Ink (cartridge refils)
184 Kingfish (fish & chips restaurant and takeaway)

CHEAM COMMON ROAD (top of Central Road)
198-202 Cameo Office Supplies (office furniture)
204a Charcoal Grill
204 Hair Cutting Co
206 Jolley's Newsagents
208 Royal India Indian Cuisine

WINDSOR ROAD (off Central Road, by Pizza Express)
1 PowerHouse (Electrical goods)
3 Mikes Music (second hand records and CDs)
5 Ginger & Garlic (Asian takeaway)
7 Skin & Bodycare
9 Pigment Parlour


ESSENTIAL CONTACTS

Sutton & East Surrey Water - 01737 772000
Thames Water 0845 920 0800 (24 hours)
Gas (Transco) 0800 111 999 (24 hours)
Electricity - EDF Energy 0800 783 8866


SUTTON COUNCIL:
You give them over a grand of your heard-earned money a year, and they give you a website. Woop-dee-doo.

WORCESTER PARK RUBBISH:

The Oldfields Re-use and Re-cycling Centre ('the tip' to you and I) - find it here. Open Tuesday to Sundays (check website for precise times).

WORCESTER PARK DEMOCRACY:

Worcester Park Residents Association Representing the local community and acting as the voice for Worcester Park. Kind of like the Worcester Park blog, but with committee meetings and minutes, and without the humorous postings. So, in other words, nothing like the Worcester Park Blog.

Paul Burstow, MP for Sutton & Cheam (covering Worcester Park). I bet two-thirds of Worcester Park's population don't know who their MP is. I bet the other third think it's Paul Burrell. Well, educate yourselves here.

DOCTORS SURGERIES / GP SURGERIES IN WORCESTER PARK:


Dr BRADY & partners
Manor Drive Surgery, Manor Drive Health Centre, 3 The Manor Drive, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT47LG
Doctors: DR. CLIVE TIMOTHY MALCOLM BRADY, DR JONATHAN DOUGHERTY, DR SUSANNE MICHAELA RADIG
Tel: 0844 4778795

Dr GREENE
Manor Drive Surgery, Manor Drive Health Centre, 3 The Manor Drive, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT47LG
Doctors: DR. WILLIAM JAMES GREENE
Tel: 020 83375888

Dr BOWEN-PERKINS & partners
Shadbolt Park House Surg, Shadbolt Park, Salisbury Road, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT47BX
Doctors: DR ELIZABETH ANNE SHEPHARD, DR. HYWEL HENRY BOWEN-PERKINS, DR CATHARINE JANE LAWS, DR ANNE MARIE HOLLINGS
Tel: 020 83373966, 020 83

Dr KANTHAN & partner
6 Well Court, 740 London Road, North Cheam,Sutton, Surrey, SM39BX
Doctors: DR SUKIRTHALOJINI KATHIRGAMA-KANTHAN, DR KANAGARATNAM KATHIRGAM KANTHAN
Tel: 020 86448400

Dr BRENNAN & partner
The G.P. Centre, 322 Malden Road, North Cheam,Sutton, Surrey, SM38EP
Doctors: Dr Celia Brennan, Dr Catherine Neylan

CHEMISTS IN WORCESTER PARK:

Superdrug Pharmacy, 107 Central Road, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT4 8DY
Tel: 020 8337 2325

Boots The Chemists Ltd - 158 Central Road, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT4 8HH
Tel: 020 8337 2612

Plough Green Pharmacy - 364 Malden Road, Worcester Park, Surrey, KT4 7NW
Tel: 020 83372083

Victoria Chemist - 524 London Road, North Cheam, Surrey, SM3 8HW
Tel: 020 82874777

J Sainsbury - 566 London Road, North Cheam, Surrey, SM3 9AA

Nearest late night chemist/pharmacy to Worcester Park is Lloyds Chemist, 11 The Broadway, Tolworth, Surrey, KT6 7DJ. Open to 11pm, 7 days a week.

WORCESTER PARK WEB LINKS

Cheam Common Junior School
Christ Church with St Philip
Cuddington Community Primary School -
Deb'n'Hair Hairdressers -
Europol Supply Ltd
Green Lane Primary and Nursery School
Malden Parochial C of E Primary School
Manor Drive Surgery -
The Rose Spa
Saint Matthias' Church -
St Mary the Virgin, Cuddington
Stoneleigh and Auriol Residents' Association (SARA)
4th Worcester Park Scout Group
Worcester Park Baptist Church
The Worcester Park Blog
Worcester Park Community
Worcester Park Cricket Club
Worcester Park Football Club
Worcester Park Observatory
Worcester Park Residents Association
Worcester Park Tennis Club

WORCESTER PARK PRIMARY SCHOOLS

1. Cheam Common Infants' School

Cheam Common Junior School
Dorchester Primary School
Malden Parochial CofE Primary School
Cuddington Community Primary School
Green Lane Primary and Nursery School
The Mead Infant School
Auriol Junior School
Malden Manor Primary and Nursery School
Linden Bridge School
Sparrow Farm Community Junior School
Stoneleigh First School
St Cecilia's Catholic Primary School
Nonsuch Primary School

Local Roads:


Columbia Avenue
Idminston Road
Burford Road
Broadmead Avenue
Malden Green Avenue
Mayfair Avenue
The Glebe
Perry How
Fullbrooks Avenue
Forest Side
Avondale Avenue
Manor Way
Manor Drive
The Hollands
Leyfield
Highdown
The Avenue
Avon Close
Delta Road
Vale Road
Avon Close
Kinross Avenue
Ardrossan Gardens
Cuddington Avenue
Newbury Gardens
Westways
Alsom Avenue
Cunliffe Road
Lynwood Drive
Sandringham Road
Stoneleigh Avenue
Bridgewood Road
Windsor Road
Hampton Road
Moreton Road
Donnington Road
Knollws CLose
Hobart Road
Braemar Road
Kingsmead Avenue
Dalmeny Road
Oaks Avenue
Tudor Avenue
St Clair Drive
Woodbine Lane
Shrubland Grove
Huntingdon Gardens
Lingfield Road
Wellington Avenue
Cheam Common Road
Pembury Avenue
Caverleigh Way
Green Lande
Kingshill Avenue
Risborough Drive
Green Lane
Longfellow Road
Sherbrooke Way
Lewiston Close
Beaumont Drive
Lincoln Road
Caldbck Avenue
Washington Road
Brinkley Road
St Philip's Avenue
Lindsay Road
Browning Avenue
Ruskin Drive
Merrilands Road
Buckland Way
Dorchester Road
Cotswold Way
Boscombe Road
Conrad Drive
Inverness Road
Clarke's Avenue
Carter's Close
Langley Avenue
Colborne Way
Ebbisham Road
Beverley Road
Morningside Road
Colborne WAy
Hill Cresent
Bedford Road
Grandison Road
Elm Way
Trent Way
Lavendar Avenue
Courtenay Road
Lloyd Road
Woodlands Avenue
Elmstead Gardens
Fairford Gardens
Squireels Green
Rushmere Court
Orchard Court
Badgers Copse
Suffolk Road
Dene Close
Shadbolt Close
Lady Hay
Yew Tree CLose
Paddock Close

And end to the con-fusion...

A week ago I posted (somewhat hurriedly) my brief thoughts on each of the Worcester Park eateries I have tirelessly 'researched' in the past year or so, and commented that I hadn't ever tried 'Silks', on Central Road.

I was delighted, nay honoured, that the new proprietor of Silks is clearly a fan of the Worcester Park blog and has taken the time to put finger to keyboard and tell me a little more about his establishment. He writes:

Hi there,


As the new proprietor of Silks, I invite you in to try some of our food. You've given some good reviews of other restaurants so maybe you could give us a go and see what you think.

To put the record straight, we offer Chinese, Thai and Italian food. In our kitchen we have three seperate chefs for each cuisine. All highly experienced and highly trained in cooking their specific nations food. So, we don't have one specific chef cooking different styles of food.

Your right, our branding and the word fusion needs bringing up to date so that everyone knows exactly what style of food we offer. As time moves on (and finances improve!) we will invest in better signage and a stronger corporate image.

Roy, I appreciate your views on my restaurant, it's a shame we didn't entirely 'wow' you. All of our food is cooked from fresh and is bought by hand from the markets twice weekly to ensure our food is totally fresh. Our chef's have rigourous training to ensure they are up to the job of preparing and cooking top food.

I do understand that Silks won't be to everyone's taste, because we don't fit into a specific genre of restaurant, but we have come a long way in the three months I've been involved, I would go as far as to say the restaurant is the best it's been since it opened 5 years ago. As you can probably see from my babblings above I am very passionate about what we do and would urge anyone and everyone to give us a go! I will personally look after you to ensure your total satisfation!

Many thanks,

James Colairo-Moss

Well, James, I may just take you up on your offer. Oh, and if I put a link to your website here, do I get a crafty discount.....?

UPDATE: Silks restaurant closed on January 1st 2009

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Central Rude...

Speculation is rife over on The Brinkster's blog that "one of the shops towards the top of Central Road has been closed for providing the kind of services that can't be advertised publicly".

Of course I knew that already.

Yes, at first I too was taken in by the facade of haberdashery, pocket money toys and the 3 for 2 offers on knitting needles.

But when Grandma Worcester Park wandered innocently in, declared she was into cushion making and was looking for cheap frills and extra stuffing, it became all to clear that Broadway Bargains is not all it seems....

[Note to lawyers: This is a joke (possible even 'satire'). Broadway Bargains is a perfectly respectable, if odd, haberdashery establishment]


Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Power to the people?

Clearly that hamster-in-a-wheel that supplies EDF energy to Sutton, Worcester Park and Cheam is not at all well as there was yet another power outage last night around 6pm.

This time it was just out of the confines of Worcester Park in the no-mans land that is known either as North Cheam or the A217. I prefer the latter.

Meanwhile in Worcester Park the lights were dimming intermittently, so there is clearly trouble't'mill.

Perhaps those wind turbines in The Hamptons aren't such a bad thing after all?

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

A pint of the dark stuff?

The local Guardian has helpfully reported the restoration of electrickery to Worcester Park and Sutton following last night's powercut, along with EDF's standard blah-blah about a fault on the underground network being to blame.

The article also pointlessly notes that "Despite being hit by the power cut punters at the Lord Nelson, London Road, Cheam were still able to enjoy pint albeit in the dark" (Blitz spirit indeed) - neglecting to report the similarly earth shattering news that Mrs Doris Steele of Cavendish Road was able to make tea on a gas hob and that drivers used things called 'headlights' to get around in the dark.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Worcester Dark..




..normal service has, it seems, been restored after the power went out at 6.45 this evening and plunged Worcester Park into darkness.

Luckily we had fork handles in the living room so continued our meal by candlelight (even an omelette seems romantic in that light) and then spent the next hour gathered around the tranny ('sistor, that is, not 'vestite) as they would have done in the good old days.

I've no idea how widespread the power cut was, although did hear on the radio that the lights were out as far up as North Cheam. We did the neighbourly thing by knocking on the front doors either side of us to offer the use of our candles if they were in need. Although, if the truth be told, it was more of a smug "Ahaha... we've read the government's Emergency Planning leaflet and are prepared for all eventualities and you're not" visit than anything else.

Thankfully it is November 5th and the house behind us were midway through their own mini display which added some sporadic illumination to proceedings - indeed the experience was probably enhanced by the lack of orange sodium tinge to the sky.

EDF Energy had nothing but on hold music - so it appears the good folk of Worcester Park were flocking to this fair blog for news on the power cut..

And lo and behold at 8.20pm the power was back on. Has Worcester Park been ransacked in a crazed outbreak of looting and pillaging under cover of darkness? Did the good folk of The Huntsman resolve their differences over the romance of candlelight and vow to put the arguments of the past behind them? Did anyone else struggle to find the number for EDF Energy?

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Hello weiners...

When I was young, Halloween was celebrated with pumpkins and apple-bobbing in the comfort of our own homes, not on the streets of Worcester Park aggravating the bollocks off total strangers by banging on their doors of an evening.

There must be something uniquely unlucky about my house. At Christmas it was a mecca (if you'll pardon the mixing of religions in that analogy) for 'carol singers' inflicting their lame doorstep screeching on me in the hope of pecuniary gain. Then, come October 31s it's the Happy Halloweeners beating a path to my door.

Or not, as the case may be. This being the first year ever that I've got organised enough to have a bowl full of fun-size chocolate bars on standby happens to be the first year that we've had no callers at the door. Well, at least I know how to ward them off next year.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Sun in the morning, beer in the evening

Nothing much to report from Worcester Park, except for the fact that since the clocks changed, the sun is annoyingly low in the sky and blindly bright when I turn onto Central Road for my morning commute about 7.30, so I have to point the car in the vague direction of the top of the hill and hope for the best.

I will write a letter to the Sutton Guardian, demanding that something is done about this. Immediately.

Oh, and it's nice to see that this fair blog has been quoted on the excellent pub-review website 'Beer In The Evening' in the latest user's review of The Huntsmans.

The worrying news is that Beer In The Evening has been bought by a private company (boo hiss) - no idea what their plans are for it, but as said company owns a number of inconsequential social-networking sites I fear that B.I.T.E. will morph unsuccessfully into an alcohol-based SpaceBook, or MyFace or whatever the hell those things are called.

Whatever they do to is, let's hope this essential internet resource for pub-lovers is kept online and true to its original aims. Besides, The Huntsman's Hall gets a lousy 3.8 out of 10 - a warning to everyone not to venture into it at any costs.

There you go. Public service. I knew the internet would crack it sooner or later.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Legions of volunteers?


The Poppy Appeal is always something I've supported - right from my days at school when appreciation of what the poppies signified was secondary to the excitement of the interruption to lessons when the Poppy tray came round, the thrill when the ones with a green leaf on them were introduced, and the inevitable tears when one classmate (and there was always at least one) impaled themselves on the little pin.


As my understanding of the significance of the appeal grew, so has my support for it. November wouldn't be the same without the comforting familiarity of watching the Remembrance Day service from a grey and overcast Cenotaph in London.


Last year, the newspapers were full of stories like this one about the dwindling number of collectors on the streets, meaning millions of pounds of missed takings for the appeal. The same story does the rounds year after year, but last November as I stood reading about it in a newspaper (at Vauxhall station, in case you needed that detail) I resolved that next year I would do my bit and volunteer as a 'Poppy Person'.


So, I filled in my details on the Royal British Legion website earlier this year, and waited for a response. I had a voicemail message from them, saying my details had been passed on to the Worcester Park coordinator and I would be hearing from him shortly. That was at the beginning of the month, but no contact came.


Last Friday, I got back in touch with the Legion, got the number of the Worcester Park coordinator and called him directly. He had never had my details passed on to him, and in any case Worcester Park, apparently, has its complement of poppy people for this year - which is a good thing. The bad news is that the 'float' has been cancelled for lack of response. So it was 'thanks but no thanks' for my interest.


I shall put my name forward again for next year. No doubt the sames stories of shortages will be in the papers again in November. Let's hope that next year, the Legion get their act together and make use of the help that is offered to them.
In the meantime, I'll still be wearing my poppy with pride.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Friday night's alright for fighting...


The Hunstmans is now back open.

The terms of my life insurance prevent me from going inside to review it, but I give it a week before it all kicks off and the smell of fresh blood mingles with that of fresh paint.

Leave im, babe, e'ain't wurf it...

This town is blog enough for the both of us...

The Brinkster's blog has suddenly disappeared, to be replaced with the '20six' homepage. This has I assure you, nothing to do with the sudden resurrection of this Worcester Park blog.

The timing is entirely coincidental. Honest. It would appear that the whole of 20six has (at the time of writing anyway) gone totally tits up, so lets hope the blogs are restored shortly.

Panic not - this is not the result of some terrible act of sabotage, born of a fierce turf war for blogging rights in Worcester Park.

Ah, would you look at that - in the time it's taken me to type this, the blog has resurfaced, and this entry is meaningless. Ah well, might as well hit 'Publish' anyway, and it can join all the other meaningless ones!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Ryan Gate sells everything...





Ryan Gate has been very much the butt of my blog-based jokes. A curious beast, Ryan Gate is a slightly impluasible Lebanese deli in Worcester Park that since its inception (around 2 years go if my memory serves me well) has added to its range of services those of pizza making, greengrocery, bakery, butchery (sic), kebabs, burgers, hot Lebanese delicacies and a coffee shop. Oh, and wedding cakes.

Now, much as I am shamed to admit it, I seem to recall that I gave Ryan Gate a life expectancy of about three months when it originally opened, but that has not stopped me developing a curious affection for this place - its bewildering foodstuffs, its amiable staff, their willing helpfulness despite not beginning to grasp my explanations of what pineapple juice is and the irrepressible pace at which it reinvents itself. Oh, and then there's its frustrating habit of stopping serving pizzas around 8 o'clock when most people are just beginning to crave one, but enough of that.

I have (infrequently) come to frequent Ryan Gate and have grown to love it as a Worcester Park institution. It is up there on my list of protected species - along with Broadway Bargains, the Betty Boop shop and Mike's Music (which is doing incredibly well for a store that was supposed to have been closing down 2 years ago).

So imagine my horror when I discovered this 'Substantial Restaurant Deli Convenience Store For Sale' on the Telegraph Business Club Website. Ryan Gate, the store that sells everything (except pineapple juice) is up for sale.

A moment's silence please?

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Rugby my baby tonight...


Yes, I have caught a nasty case of World Cup Fever. In fact it struck quite unexpectedly last Saturday. It must have been a particularly virulent strain, as it struck only 24 hours after I had contracted the realisation that there actually was a Rugby World Cup underway.

Now, I make no apologies for my sudden conversion to this game. I make no pretence to be a regular rugby fan, nor do I claim to understand what is going on - yes, I get the grabbing the egg-shaped ball bit (passing backwards, not forwards), diving onto the touchline with it and then booting it over the H-shaped thing... but anything beyond that is, well, beyond me.

I do not, however, pretend that I will watch a single game past tonight's final (win or lose) until the next time England gets reasonably far in a World Cup. But at least I'm honest about that.

What bugs me, with increasing and inexplicable wrath, are the legions of 'regular rugby fans' which have sprung up all over the place, proferring their ill-informed opinions on what quite probably are the only 3 games they've watched all year.

Oh, and look today at the swarms of England rugby shirts being paraded around our High Streets, pubs and train stations. Yes patriotism is great, but I my urge to smack you in the head would be greatly diminished if that rugby shirt were actually a regular feature of your attire, and not just something you've had gathering dust at the back of the closet for the past 4 years.

But still, tonight will be fun. We'll all get excited, and invariably we'll lose. Then we'll all completely forget about rugby until the next time we all become 'devoted fans'.

Swing low, etc.

Blog on, Worcester Park!


It was well over a year ago since my last blog post. Well over a year and a half ago since I stopped blogging regularly.


My, how time has flown.


Rarely to I look back at my old blog postings, but in a bored moment looking back at my last post today, I saw that it had elicited no less than 35 comments. Admittedly, 29 of these were offers of Viagra and penile extensions, but buried amonst them were a good few posts clamouring (well, almost) for the return of the WorcesterPark blog.


Well, OK then, you win. Here goes. So I resolved to put fingers to keyboard once more and re-start the proud tradition of blogging from Worcester Park. But not without a nod to co-blogger the Brinkster who continues to keep the blogging flag fluttering from Worcester Park.


So here we are. Worcester Park is back, and back for good (well until I get bored of it again, I guess).