Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Knockdown prices

I mentioned in correspondence with a Worcester Parker on Facebook that nothing interesting has really happened in Worcester Park of late. She was swift to correct me...

"Nothing interesting? There was two almost-fatalities at worcester park station recently... a land slide... the mystery of the empty shop... the man that walks around carrying a snake... two ladies collapsing in Waitrose within 30 mins of each other on the same day (about two weeks ago)... glorious traffic that fills the roads... the awful fence that they have put up on the bit of green opposite the station (which has probably all blown away by now!)... rat droppings found in a bakery ... the list is endless! "

Good point, Amy. And since you mention it, what is it with Waitrose and ambulances? I was quietly minding my own business at the weekend when another one raced down Central Road (if such a thing is possible) and into the Waitrose car park.

Scarcely a week goes by without an ambulance being called to Waitrose. The people of Worcester Park should be accustomed to their high prices by now, so surely it can't be the shock at the checkout that's knocking them down like flies?

I'm sure someone can explain the phenomenon of collapsing Waitrose shoppers. Now where's Hetty Wainthrop when you need her?

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

THAT landslide (in pictures)

It all seems but a distant memory, but back in December commuters to, from or through Worcester Park will recall the week and a half of misery caused by a landslide in the area.

The long awaited photograph of this catacylsmic incident has now been released and [drum roll] here it is:

Now, to the untrained eye (of which I have two), this hardly appears the major incident that caused nearly a fortnight of suffering.

It looks to me more like a large sheep landed on the rails, buckled them slightly, shed its fleece by the side of the track and spilled some gravel as it ran away. Perhaps that is really what happened, and it's all a conspiracy....

However Amy, who posted this photo on the Worcester Park Appreciation group on Facebook (what, you mean you're not on it yet?), tells me she showed this to some trainspotting anorak types at her workplace who confirmed it was indeed a serious incident; so apparently Network Rail aren't to blame in this instance.

I remain unconvinced.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

On moving to Worcester Park...

In a break from questions from my readers about disused A-roads and suicidal rodents, Clara has e-mailed me with a more general query about moving to Worcester Park,which I'm sure my regular readers will be well-placed to assist her with. She writes:

"My Family and I (husband, toddler, bump and myself) are seriously thinking of joining the Worcester Park community. In fact we have found the house of our budgets in Caldbeck Ave and are hoping to move as soon as we get an offer on our flat (want to buy a flat in Streatham? no? why ever not?). We have consequently been trying to immerse ourselves in Worcester Park culture by shopping in Waitrose, drinking hot chocolate in Costa and reading your most excellent blog.

As a self-confessed "reluctant resident" and financial exile from New Malden (we ourselves have tasted the high life in North Kingston); what advice can you bestow? What chance do you hold out for our happiness in Worcester Park?

N.B. we are generally very good on happiness, it's not as if I expect WP to make miserable people happy.

Well, Clara, a few observations of my own - firstly, I note that you have found the house of your budgets, not the house of your dreams, in Caldbeck Avenue. Quite frankly, if you've shopped in Waitrose and drank in Costa Coffee then no wonder you don't have much cash left for a house.

Oh, and no I wouldn't want a flat in Streatham. Streatham rhymes with threaten, and there's a good reason for that.

As a New Malden exile you must take the pledge never to cross the roadworks (sorry, the A3 roundabout) and visit Tudor Williams, or complain that Worcester Park has no petrol stations but New Malden has three.

Nor are you allowed to dab moist eyes as you read the Kingston Guardian and dream of 'home'. You must dedicate yourselves to the Sutton Guardian, and force yourselves to find local new from Belmont and Banstead interesting.

Also, if you want to fit in here you must crow about the fact that Worcester Park has excellent local shops, and annoy the hell out of any remaining friends by stressing that all fruit, veg and meat comes from local shops for local people (where the shopkeeper knows you by name and gives you a nod of recognition each time you pass by).

That's my take anyway.

What advice would you offer for a would-be resident of Worcester Park?

Click on the comments link below, and let your advice flow free.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Intensive careless?

'Intensification'. Not a word I use frequently. But then I never play Scrabble.
However it has cropped up, worryingly, in Sutton Councils 'Development Plan' - their vision for the Borough over the next decade.
"The Council will promote Wallington, Rosehill, North Cheam and Worcester Park as town centres for intensification of housing and retail development."
Hmm... as we emerge bloodied and bruised but victorious from our latest battle against St James' Homes expansion of The Hamptons development, the prospect of further intensification of housing development is a worrying one. Perhaps in itself this new plan will clear the way for expansion of The Hamptons. Consipracy theory, anyone?
I await with anticipation more details on how Worcester Park's roads and local services will cope with any futher development.
And what about the 'intensification' of retail development in Worcester Park? The space is there - there are empty shops aplenty in Central Road, so no shortage of commercial opportunities. One only has to look at New Malden (if you must) for an example of a town centre that has lost much of its much loved independent retail traders, who have long since shut up shop taking with them the unique character of that High Street. So by those standards, Worcester Park is doing well in terms of thriving general and specialist independent shops - it needs help and investment. Whether this falls under the remit of 'intensification' remains to be seen.
It's all horrendously complicated. There's several hundred different documents, proposals and plans filled with planning jargon for your delectation at: - and of course anyone who can comprehend any of it is welcome to join in the consultation.
Now get reading. I'll be setting an exam on it at the end of the week.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


An interesting e-mail plopped into the inbox this week (email address at the top, if you feel so inclined) from David, a resident of Worcester Park for 41 years, man and boy. He writes:

"I was interested to hear what my 12 year old son told me yesterday evening regarding his journey home from school as he walked up Central Road.

Striding past The Seasonal Shop he was startled to see a large rat make its way speedily across the high street, jump up the kerb and run so close to his feet that he had to stop abruptly.

After being unable to gain access to the Seasonal Shop through the front door, it backtracked and ran on a suicidal course back across the main road causing two cars to brake sharply before, my son believes, making himself very well acquainted with ‘Mr Michelin’.

This occurred at 3.30 in the afternoon. I wonder if any other WP residents have noticed such brazen antics from local rodents?"

Well, I can't say I've noticed a phenomenon of kamikaze rats in Worcester Park. The fact that the rat was trying to get into The Seasonal Shop doesn't surprise me, having seen who else goes in there. I'm guessing the rat was crossing the road to get to KFC when it met its grizly end.

Rumours that kebab-rat was on the menu at one of Worcester Park's fast food outlets are as yet unsubstantiated. Although, if it did then at least it would be free range, so Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall would approve.

Any more sightings of suicidal rodents? Do let us know.

(P.S: Police appeal board photoshopped from The Brinkster's excellent WP photos here. He's been cleared of any involvement in the hit and run, by the way.)

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Home on the range

Thanks to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall I'm about to spend even more at Waitrose. The prick with the conscience has certainly pricked my conscience when it comes to chickens, so it's free range only from now on.

Mind you, you have to hand it to Hayley (pictured above) - the fattest of all the birds on Hugh's Chicken Run. She deserves a special award for having the brazen audacity to refuse to fork out £2 extra on a free range chicken for her family, despite clearly spending at least £150 a week on shovelling BigMacs down her own gaping gullet.

At least she's honest - I wonder how long I and the other free-range converts will maintain their pledge for.

Meanwhile back in Worcester Park, there's news of sorts on the mysterious turquoisey-blue fronted shop which used to be home to the mysterious 'Mavi Boncuk' slogan. Planning application has been put in to Sutton Council for use of the premises for 'financial services'. All quite disappointing really.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

1944 and all that

WhiteVanLady got in touch with an interesting comment in reponse to my recent post about the air raid on Worcester Park in June 1944, which is worthy of the front page methinks. She writes:

"My mum lived in Washington Road during WWII, and it was this incident when she was 5 years old that made their family realise that bombing was making it just too dangerous to live in Worcester Park, so they decided to evacuate to Hants.

Apparently, one girl from the family that got the direct hit from the V2 was at mum's house for a children's party, and was one of the few people from that family to survive. Her mum had been pulling frantically at the rubble to try and find her and was overjoyed to find her alive.

My parents think that Worcester Park had heavy bombing as enemy aircraft "dumped" bombs unused on targets in central London on their flights back to Europe. Also, St Helier Hospital was a big, fat bright white landmark to hit.

When my son started junior school, he was asked to research the history of his house. We spoke to an old lady in our street who lived in our road (south side of Central Road) since the 1930's and she told us that a mine had blown the roof clean off our house during the war.

And there was me thinking that it was property developers in the 60's who had redesigned the upstairs rooms!"

And the blog posting also caught the eye of 8-year old Theo, who spotted the graves in Cuddington Cemetery and did some internet detective work to find out more about them. It has given me great comfort to know that there is at least one young citizen of Worcester Park observant and interested and with sufficient initiative to log on and find out about the local history of his area.

Now if only we could impart that to the oiks handing around outside KFC, whose only contribution to the community is an extra layer of spat-out chewing gum on the pavement.

I live in hope.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Golden Wonder

Oh how I do look forward to receiving your comments and emails. It's always nice to receive correspondence from ones subjects.

I might make an exception for this comment, though, in response to my post here about The Golden Chef restaurant (now 'Surrey King Cafe').

Anonymous writes:

"look golden chef is a very good restaurant. I think they got nothing to do with turkish mafia. Because i went there lots of times and its a frendly restaurant."

Erm, OK then. You can't argue against research and reasoned opinion like that!

But wait a cotton-picking human-trafficking minute - I never mentioned Turkish mafia. You mentioned that bit.

Aha! The clot thickens.....