Thursday, 28 February 2008

Passing out parade

I have this strange 'fridge ritual'. I'll look in the fridge in Worcester Park towers, find nothing in there worth eating, close the door then wander straight back, open the fridge and look through it again. Repeat several times, then retire disappointed that nothing has magically appeared in between these multiple inspections. I suspect I'm not alone in my refrigerator habits - if you suffer the same affliction, please let me know.

In much the same way, I flick to the letters page of the local paper each week in the vague hope that something interesting will appear there, but remain disappointed. I recall one contributor to the letters page of the Surrey Comet some years back. He would write in on a weekly basis (without fail) about the most banal and inconsequential of matters ('I had a cup of tea in Tudor Williams cafe last Monday - it was the best cup of tea I've had in many years' etc.etc), and each week the WP household would moan at the inclusion of such dullness.

By the same token, he became something of a cause celebre, as we awaited his latest musings each week.

In the end, one member of the WP household took it upon themselves to write in to the Surrey Comet in protest about the inclusion of his tedious scribblings in the weekly letters page. The letter of complaint was duly published, and that was that. He never wrote in again, and we found ourselves bereft of local entertainment. Life has been much duller since, and we never did get to find out if the problem pigeons had stopped defacating on his rooftop, or whether his 23p library fine had been revoked.

There is one feature of the Sutton Guardian letter pages, however, which you can always rely on; - the 'fallen over on a bus' letter.

"I wish to express my gratitude for the people who helped my when I fell over on the [insert number] bus last Wednesday. They really were very kind and looked after me until help arrived."

There's one of those in the letter pages pretty much every week. I am driven to wonder whether we have a spate of toppling pensioners in Sutton, or whether it is the same clumsy but polite victim tumbling on a weekly basis.

I may write in and ask.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Ploughing on regardless...

It was hardly the million man march but a fair smattering of local Post Office users and (surprise surprise) local politicians turned up at Plough Green today for some impropmptu tutting at the proposed closure of the post office there. Yes I know it's technically Old Malden, but we should at least acknowledge life outside Worcester Park.
I've already made my feelings known about the post office issue, and I await some real reasons as to why we actually need these institutions, but hey it gave some senior citizens a focus for the day, and the local politicians a raison-d'etre and a photocall for the Surrey Comet.

If hard earned taxpayers money is going to fund local services, then I vote that we divert it into spatial awareness classes for shoppers at Sainbury's at the top of the hill in Worcester Park - especially targeted at those who seem to have missed the fact that it is a small store with narrow aisles and are quite oblivious that their shuffling, dawdling and standing back to gaze agog at the selection of breads is clogging the entire shop and hindering the passage of others.

Oh, and whilst I'm in Victor Meldrew mode, what the in the name of financial fecklessness is the point of the raised tables/speed tables or whatever the hell they are that Sutton Council have slapped on the feeder roads where they meet Central Road? Even the road leading into the car park at Waitrose is having one plopped on it on Thursday.

There must be a point to this whole exercise. So please point it out to me.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Persian blues

The death of the Betty Boop shop on Central Road ('Treasure Trove' to give it its proper title) has been announced many times before - I believe this shop, along with Mike's Music Store have been 'Closing Down' on several occasions in the past, only to remain distinctly open.

But the writing may finally be on the wall for Treasure Trove, if a planning application to turn the premises into a restaurant gets the go ahead. If permission is granted Worcester Park will have, I understand, its first Persian restaurant, which will be an interesting addition to our neighbourhood.

Meanwhile 'Hair By Fiko' next to the station is opening next week - official opening is Thursday morning but you can join Fiko and the gang for drinks and nibbles on Wednesday 27th Feb from 4pm to 7pm if you fancy a sniff round the salon. I'm sure many a weary commuter will succomb to the offer of free wine on their way home.

And finally, I've had a lot of new visitors to the blog in the past few days, thanks to its front page exposure on the 'Sutton Guardian' newspaper. Thanks to all those who have got in touch via the comments or e-mail - in particular to one anonymous commenter who writes:

"Your blog is very, very funny and highly informative. It is one of the best blogs I have come across and I think it should be serialised on Radio 4. Under no circumstances cease!"

Well, you're too kind. Radio Jackie, maybe - but if Radio 4 are reading this do get in touch.

'Under no circumstances cease' sounds incredibly posh if you don't mind me saying. Clearly one of my readers from the 'clean air' side of the low emmisions zone.

And with that, I bid you good day gentlemen.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Faking the headlines?

I have been tempted, I admit, at times to turn to the Surrey Comet when blogging fodder is a little lean and I'm running short of local inspiration.

Now the worm, it appears had turned.

A few days ago, I blogged a largely tongue-in-cheek piece about the Low Emissions Zone and how it cuts Worcester Park in half. An insignificant piece of local information, which makes no real difference to anyone (as confirmed by the singular lack of response to this blog piece).

But, let's not allow that to get in the way of a good bit of blog mockery, so I wrote:

"The next time you are in Central Road stand and take in the sweet perfumed low-emission, early-spring air outside the Halifax Bank. Then, cross (at your own peril) to choke on the rancid fume-filled air. Beeeg Eeeshoo, amigo? Who knows - perhaps being in the zone will inflate house prices even further."

Now, I value the intelligence of my readers so I'm assuming I do not have to point out that the piece was very much cast in a satirical hue. The air on one side of Central Road is not going to be chokingly fume filled any more than the air on the other side will be fresh as a spring meadow.

Surely nobody would have been gullible enough to take this bit of blogging seriously? Well, apparently they are.

The subtlety and tone of the article was lost on the Surrey Comet, who have picked up this blog posting and turned it into a crisis of their own making:

"Fears are growing that divisions are opening in Worcester Park after the suburb was split neatly in two by the new low emissions zone." the paper bleats alarmingly.

Oh dear, irony lost on them. Then they go on to quote 'the author of one local web log' (my good self).

To compound their own non-story, they then analyse my quip about house prices going up in the non-polluted side of Worcester Park versus the potential cost increase from removal firms surcharging because of the cost of compliance with the LEZ.

Huge sighs, all round.

But the Surrey Comet outdo themselves in the over-reaction stakes with this hyperbolic gem:

"Local people seem agreed on one point: Worcester Park could slowly become polarised. Rarely has a settlement known such fear since beachside apartments sprung up beside the sprawling slums of Rio de Janeiro."

That's it. I'm moving out of Worcester Park and shutting down this blog because of:

(a) The fear and divisions in the street caused by the Low Emissions Zone; AND

(b) The recent the spate of alien abductions from the car park of Waitrose in Worcester Park.

You can find the Surrey Comet's article inspired by my blog posting here. I'll post a link to the the story about alien abductions from the Waitrose car park just as soon as the Surrey Comet pick up on it here and turn that into an article as well....

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

One letter and now you're a part of it...

Under cover of darkness and behind twitching suburban net curtains, a network of secret informants is working to provide The Worcester Park Blog with the latest gossip, scandal and local information.

OK, well it's not that glamorous. But I am indebted to my growing army of informants who feed me interesting tid-bits of information on goings-on in Worcester Park.

If you have a story, campaign, promotion or simply a complaint that you think the rest of Worcester Park should know about e-mail me (e-mail address at the top of the blog) or post a comment via the 'Guest Book' link.

Anonymity is assured - I never ever reveal my sources!

I look forward to hearing from you.


Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Post Waste

I'm finding it increasingly hard to understand the furore over Post Office closures. In fact I've never really understood whether it's a 'few-roar' or 'few-roar-ee', so what hope is there for me?

Even as someone brought up on a staple diet of Postman Pat, they seem an increasingly obsolete institution. Perhaps I'm too wedded to technology (the woman I wedded not too long ago will probably agree with that) but what purpose do they serve in today's towns and cities?

So I read the Surrey Comet's report news that two post offices in Kingston, two in New Malden, one in Surbiton and one in Worcester Park (the one in Malden Road, not Central Road) could be closed as early as July with my usual mix of indifference.

Now, before you fire off your comments about Post Offices being the heart of the community, Worcester Park is hardly the village of Greendale, so Granny Goggins will not be suffering in this process.

What irks me more is one comment of 'Simon' the Surrey Comet news website. He warns:

'Soon enough, we wont be able to pay bills, send post or draw pensions out."

Well no, because we don't have banks, telephone banking, Direct Debits, the Internet or chequebooks do we, Simon?

And before you hit me with the 'Yes but that's fine for young people' argument, let's take a step back and stop being so patronising to the more senior in our society and belittling of their ability to cope with one more change in what has been a lifetime of radical developments in the way we live our lives.

If you can come up with really good reasons of why we need our loss-making Post Offices then I'm willing to hear them.

Answers on a postcard, please.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Stupid burgers...

I must admit that as the days at work have got longer and longer, my trips to Worcester Park's fast food outlets have become more and more frequent - so some timely advice from an Anonymous commenter on the blog today:

"I am new to Worcester Park, after reading this post, I went to Nefis over the weekend and the food was delicious and portions were very generous. The owner even gave me free bottle of Coke when I mentioned of reading about Nefis on your blog :-) "

Fantastic, but why didn't I think of that? There am I quite unashamedly plugging Nefis out of the goodness of my heart (and the clogged arteries leading from it) and it never even occurred to me to profit from my own plugging.

So I call on all the good people of Worcester Park to hot foot it to Nefis (the pedestrian crossing has been moved to right outside the shop, so it is clearly meant to be) and proclaim 'I read about you in the Worcester Park Blog. I'd like to claim my free bottle of Coke'. I wonder how generous they'll feel after the first dozen?

Association of ideas, I found myself in a City pub on Friday night, for the first time in many a year. The suited scrum to get to the bar was almost enough to remind me why I abhor such institutions, but the posh hooting of a drunken city worker in my left ear confirmed it all.

With far too little blood in my alcohol stream, I ended up joining the drunken masses in the queues for Burger King at Waterloo station for a midnight snack. As you do. I thought I had seen the very worst of the city types, until the suited buffoon ahead of me strode up to the counter and declared in an upper class bellow:

"Good evening Sir. Could I possibly have the largest Whopper you can possibly possibly muster?"

Merchant banker.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Errors and emissions

Worcester Park now has the dubious honour of straddling the low emissions zone (LEZ to its friends). And I know how much you all enjoy a good straddle...

The boundary of the LEZ actually runs along Central Road (stay with me) so the shops on the north side (that's the KFC/Ryan Gate side) are all in the LEZ, whilst those on the Costcutter/Waitrose side of the road are outside it.

If you don't believe me, then next time you are in Central Road stand and take in the sweet perfumed low-emmision early-spring air outside the Halifax bank. Then cross (at your own peril) to choke on the rancid fume-filled air outside Iceland. Beeeg Eeeshoo amigo? Please amigo?

Who knows - perhaps being in the zone will inflate house prices even further. In which case the drinks are on The Brinkster.

Any why is it that all the pubs and bars (and supermarkets) are on the south side of Central Road? I'm sure somebody somewhere can tell me why.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Talking shop

Fiko (is that really his name) of Hair By Fiko is currently making a guest appearance at Ciaran's (the new barbers next to the soon-to-fail sewing machine shop) whilst his place next to Worcester Park station is being re-roofed and refurbished. Hair by Fiko is due to re-open on 18th Feb. I think Ciaran's might be 'Son of Fiko', but it's all Greek to me.

Well, I just thought you might like to know. Evidently not.

Oh, and Waitrose are giving away free energy-saving light bulbs when you spend £10 or more with them (which, let's face it, isn't that tricky).

So let's all jump in our 4 x 4's and drive down to Watirose to do our bit for the environment!